Tag Archives: John Hall

Two Wrongs Compromise A Right

(Not precisely CA, but many of our Reps (and both Senators) are implicated – promoted by jsw)

Over the weekend, Rep. John Hall (NY-19) posted a diary on DailyKos announcing his intention to introduce a House resolution censuring Rush Limbaugh today:

I know that there is a back and forth about whether another condemnation is worth the time. I happen to believe it is in this case. Therefore, I’m introducing a resolution that shows emphatically that Congress will not condone ad hominem political attacks on U.S. troops. On Monday, I’m introducing legislation to express the Sense of Congress that this body rejects and condemns Limbaugh’s heinous remarks, and will continue to engage in a debate on ending our involvement in Iraq that eschews character-based attacks on our Armed Forces.

Hall’s action followed on the heels of an email blast sent out by Jerry McNerney under the heading Chickenhawk Limbaugh Goes Too Far:

Yesterday, right-wing icon Rush  Limbaugh insulted everyone who has served our nation in uniform.

In an exchange with a caller, he actually called troops who return from Iraq and voice their opposition to the war “phony soldiers.”

Where does Rush Limbaugh get the moral standing to pass judgment on our heroes who wore this nation’s uniform and returned to exercise their First Amendment rights? Even for Rush, that’s too far!

Will you join me in calling the following radio stations to demand they take Rush’s show off the air?

Meanwhile, Mark Udall (CO-02), the Colorado Congressman who is running for Senate in 2008, is seeking support for his own resolution to censure Limbaugh.

So why is it that after nearly 20 years of listening to Limbaugh’s blather, these Congressmen are suddenly SO offended by this particular comment? Gee, you don’t think it could be anything so politically craven and cowardly as a CYA for their votes in favor of censuring MoveOn, do you?

That’s right — all three of these Congress members voted to “condemn in the strongest possible terms the personal attacks made by the advocacy group MoveOn.org impugning the integrity and professionalism of General David H. Petraeus.” So when they faced the inevitable strong blowback from their supporters (why are these guys always surprised by this stuff?), how did they respond? By trying to paint their stand as a noble, bipartisan defense of our troops. With all the problems facing us in the world, their primary concern is protecting our soldiers from rhetorical slings or barbs. You want to let them be blown up? Fine. But call them a name? Not on their watch!

Meanwhile, all of the members of Congress who voted to censure MoveOn and who are now contemplating censuring Limbaugh, have violated their oath of office: To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

See how on the flip…

Here’s how Justices Black and Douglas put it, concurring with the majority opinion in BATES v. LITTLE ROCK:

First Amendment rights are beyond abridgment either by legislation that directly restrains their exercise or by suppression or impairment through harassment, humiliation, or exposure by government.

And why are these First Amendment rights held to be so inviolable? Again, I’ll defer to the Justices – this time Brandeis and Holmes in WHITNEY v. PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA:

Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence [274 U.S. 357, 376] coerced by law — the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed. […]

Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.

Cross posted on The Progressive Connection