If liberals can’t compete in the free market, they turn to the government to make it “fair” for them. For instance, liberal talk radio sucks. I say that because I’ve listened to far too much of it, and it sucks. But that’s not just my opinion, since the marketplace has also said that liberal talk radio sucks. You can see this in the way Air America Radio has failed to succeed. So, having failed in the free market, liberals predictably turn to the government to fix it for them. And when it comes to radio, the method liberals seem to like most is the resurrection of the Fairness Doctrine, as reported on TheHill:

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”

The Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC discarded in 1985, required broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial political issues. Prior to 1985, government regulations called for broadcasters to “make reasonable judgments in good faith” on how to present multiple viewpoints on controversial issues.

Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she planned to “look at the legal and constitutional aspects of” reviving the Fairness Doctrine.

“I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit,” she said. “But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness.”

Feinstein said she is not yet ready to submit a formal proposal.

If liberals could compete in the free market, they wouldn’t need the heavy hand of government to make things “fair” for them. Liberals tell us that Americans need to “hear both sides of the story” to best make decisions, but is the public truly starved for both sides? Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing “king of talk radio,” has about 550 radio stations broadcasting him, while the left-wing NPR has about 720. If we look at TV networks, Fox News leans middle to right, and ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN lean middle to left.

Here’s how to answer Senator Feinstein and anyone else pondering whether the Fairness Doctrine needs to return — send them a copy of the First Amendment and ask them what part of “Congress shall make no law” they have a hard time understanding.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [emphasis mine -- CM]

Several news items have recently burbled to the top like shrimp rolling about in a bubbling pot of gumbo — surfacing long enough to be seen, then sinking slowly back into the pot. Or, depending on how fast the gumbo is bubbling, the “shrimp cycle” may bring it back to the surface again and again, or it may stay at the top for a spell.

OK, now I’m hungry for some yummy Cajun food.

President Bush has nominated Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Rumors flew that Judge Edith Brown Clement was the President’s pick to fill Justice O’Connor’s vacancy, and the liberals instantly mounted an attack about the President’s poor choice. Once Roberts became the official pick, the contrary liberal voices apparently crossed out Clement’s name and wrote in Roberts’. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the Washington Post pointed out that the Democrats had the same battle plans in place for whomever the President nominated:

Democrats signaled that whoever the nominee is, their three likely lines of attack will be to assert the White House did not consult them sufficiently, then paint the nominee as ideologically extreme and finally assert that the Senate had not received sufficient documents about the candidate. But Senate Democratic aides said they will focus for now on bipartisan consultation and not publicly prejudge the nominee.

Cox and Forkum do a great job of lampooning this Democrat attitude.

Liberal Dems attack any choice

I have already written about Senator Dick Durbin and his claim that Guantanamo Bay is equivalent to the Nazi concentration camps or the Soviet gulag. While that story boiled fast and furiously for days, this recent story on Senator Durbin rolled to the top and just as quickly sank out of sight. According to Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, Senator Durbin confronted President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and asked him what he would do if the law would require a ruling that would be against his Catholic beliefs. Senator Durbin says he didn’t ask Roberts that question, but Turley stands fast. “Did!” “Did not!” Although I don’t know Turley and can’t vouch for his honesty, I’d be inclined to believe his side of the story over anything Senator Dick “It’s a gulag!” Durbin has said.

So assuming this line of questioning was accurately represented, it shows that Senator Durbin views Roberts’ religion as pivotal to his confirmation. There is just one problem with asking a judicial nominee about his religion — it violates Article VI of the Constitution:

…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

This is why you won’t normally hear Senators asking a nominee about his religion; instead, the Senators will ask about the nominee’s “strongly-held personal beliefs.” Just once I’d love to hear a nominee retort by asking the Senators to define what that phrase means, exactly, and watch the Senators attempt to spin their religious test as anything but a religious test.

Speaking of nominations, President Bush’s nomination for ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, was installed by President Bush as a recess appointment. This action prompted the standard condemnation by the Left — so standard, in fact, that it was described as predictable. In his response to the President’s appointment, Senator Ted Kennedy stated the following:

It’s bad enough that the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination. It’s even worse for the administration to abuse the recess appointment power by making the appointment while Congress is in this five-week recess. It’s a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton’s credibility at the U.N.

This so-called “evading” came because the liberal Senators wouldn’t allow Bolton to have an up-or-down confirmation vote, and President Bush acted completely within his power, appointing Bolton once the Senate recessed as specified in the Constitution: “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” Senator Kennedy describes this completely Constitutional act as “devious,” but he seems to like it well enough when it is used in his party’s favor. He was quoted in the Washington Times in 1999, saying the following about recess appointments:

I have long urged recess appointments to break this logjam — this irresponsible, unconstitutional Republican leadership position which fails to give people their due and fails to meet the constitutional standard.

Matthew Hoy points out that the Democrats caused this logjam themselves by not allowing the vote for Bill Lann Lee to take place; the majority Republicans were not going to vote Bill Lann Lee into the Department of Justice. There were enough votes to pass Bolton, but not enough for Lee. But in both cases it was the Democrats who chose to dig in their heels. Predictable.

And finally, Rep. Nancy Pelosi exposed her ignorance of the Supreme Court. When she was asked about the recent decision on eminent domain, she responded:

It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It’s an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision. [emphasis mine - CM]

Oh really? These nine robed Justices speak with the voice of God in their decisions? In that case, what does the esteemed Rep. Pelosi think of other Supreme Court decisions like the Dred Scott decision of 1857 — the one that declared blacks not to be American citizens, and decided black slaves could be legally handed back to their owners even if they had escaped to free states? Or what about the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case that said it was OK for the nation to be “separate but equal,” giving the green light to “Colored Only” drinking fountains and other egregious cases of societal racism and segregation? It took the “voice of God” almost 60 years to reverse the Plessy case sanctioning segregation with the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.

Forgive me if I don’t consider Supreme Court decisions to be equivalent to holy writ.

In the spirit of honesty and accuracy, I must acknowledge that Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, not the Senate. But her wacky comments rank right up there with the rest of the Democrat Senators.

Much has been ballyhooed recently about the detainees the U.S. forces have been capturing in our War on Terror. If you follow the media, you will hear accusations that the detainees are not being accorded their rights guaranteed by the Geneva Convention. But as I have explained before, these detainees do not qualify for Geneva Convention protections as they are housed in the base at Guantanamo, Cuba, commonly called “Gitmo.” And it has been getting some nasty press recently.

The recent press about Gitmo is not the first time the Left has made an inaccurate and extreme comparison. President Bush is constantly being compared to Adolf Hitler. The Marxist Left is so enamored with this Bush/Hitler comparison that liberals will often turn a simple hand-wave into a Nazi salute. Ludicrous comparisons like Bush/Hitler or other extremes show both a contempt and ignorance of history.

Speaking of contempt and ignorance, here’s a gem of a quote from Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan: “Guantanamo has become the gulag of our time.” When people objected to this comparison, Amnesty International stood by the claim and wouldn’t budge. John Podhoretz did a very good job of comparing Gitmo with the Soviet gulag.

Number of prisoners at Gitmo: approximately 600.
Number of prisoners in the Gulag: as many as 25 million, according to the peerless Gulag historian Anne Applebaum.

Number of camps at Gitmo: 1
Number of camps in the Gulag: At least 476, according to Applebaum.

Political purpose of Gulag: The suppression of internal dissent inside a totalitarian state.
Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes.

Financial purpose of Gulag: Providing totalitarian economy with millions of slave laborers.
Financial purpose of Gitmo: None.

Seizure of Gulag prisoners: From apartments, homes, street corners inside the Soviet Union.
Seizure of Gitmo prisoners: From battlefield sites in Afghanistan in the midst of war.

If it is valid to compare Gitmo with the Soviet gulag and declare them to be equivalent, then we would also be justified in comparing a paper-cut with a beheading, or a sunburn with being burned alive. Paul Mirengoff of Power Line Blog points out that this gulag quote from Amnesty International was merely an attempt to grab publicity:

Now we have the answer — it was a publicity stunt. As the Washington Times notes, Amnesty International’s Executive Director William Schulz basically admitted as much on “Fox News Sunday.” Unable to defend his gulag analogy, Schulz instead observed that if his group hadn’t asserted that analogy, he wouldn’t “be on this station, on this program today.” To which Chris Wallace responded, “So you’re saying if you make irresponsible charges, that’s good for your cause?”

People are free to say what they want, but there is an equivalent responsibility not to mislead. Something happens when the trivial is compared with the tragic — the comparison minimizes the scope of the tragedy. If I had relatives who had died in the Nazi death camps, I’d be spitting mad at the boors who have the temerity to compare the “three hots and a cot” the detainees get at Gitmo with the ovens of Dachau.

Not to be outdone in the rush to be outraged, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) rushed forward to claim his 15 minutes of fame by tearing into the guards at Gitmo:

“If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.”

What is the torture to which Senator Durbin is referring that is worthy of comparison to Hitler, Stalin, and Pot? Mass graves? Beheadings? Brace yourself for the horror that makes Gitmo equal to these human horrors: detainees in Gitmo are subject to cold and hot rooms, standing, poking in the chest with a finger, water on the head, satirical puppet shows, American flags, and *shudder* Christina Aguilera music. Yeah, I’d rank that right up there with the ovens at Dachau. James Lileks does a grand job of showing just how stupid this comparison is.

Still, Sen. Durbin is a hero to the Marxist Left in the nation. Markos “Screw ‘Em” Moulitsas is trumpeting his support of Sen. Durbin on his well-visited site. He views what is happening in Gitmo as torture. “The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command. And Dick Durbin had the balls to say it so on the Senate floor.”

Earth to Kos — there is a difference between real torture and what goes on in Gitmo. Let’s compare and see if you can spot the difference:

Torture Not Torture
  • beheading with a knife
  • fed feet-first into a wood chipper
  • hands and feet chopped off
  • tossed off the top of a building
  • acid baths
  • watching wives and children raped and killed
  • poked in the chest with a finger
  • Christina Aguilera music
  • water on the head
  • standing
  • satirical puppet shows
  • pictures of 9/11 victims

As John Hinderaker of Power Line Blog points out, you can tell the real thing from the fake based on the number of people who die. So let’s have one last comparison between Hitler, Stalin, and Pot with what is going on in Gitmo:

Hitler, Stalin, Pot Gitmo
  • Adolf Hitler – About 9 million dead
  • Soviet gulags – About 2.7 million dead
  • Pol Pot – About 1.7 million dead
  • Gitmo – five instances of Koran abuse by prison guards
  • Gitmo – 15 instances of Koran abuse by prisoners
  • Gitmo – zero dead

Not much of a comparison, is it?

[warning: the following links are graphic and disturbing]

To paraphrase Sen. Benson: “Senator, I’ve seen torture. I knew torture. Torture is a horror of mine. Senator, this is no torture.”

Addendum (6/21/2005): Two quick updates: first, Senator Durbin apologized for having crossed the line in his comments last week. If he never intended any disrespect to the soldiers serving in Gitmo, why did he say what he said? And secondly, Cox and Forkum do a good job of showing what Sen. Durbin stands for.