Michael Ramirez gets the trend in the open hand of diplomacy as presented by President Obama:

The open hand of diplomacy

He could have added Great Britian to the list as one of the ally nations being trashed by the current undocumented President.

Does it makes sense to play nice with the nations that hate us, and look with distain on those nations who are our allies? Yeah, I didn’t believe so either. But that’s what America gets when it voted for an unqualified neophite for president.

Cheered on by the success of socialism in taking over the health care industry, liberal radio talk show host, Ed Shultz explains clearly the next on his socialist agenda (h/t to Brian Maloney):

SCHULTZ (30:58, initially responding to caller claiming “virtual war” between Dems and GOP): It is a cultural war that’s taking place in America, you’re exactly right. And it’s being played out over the airwaves of America. And I hope the Democrats now turn to the Fairness Doctrine.

It’s time now for the Democrats to consider the Fairness Doctrine when you’ve got Rush Limbaugh out there saying, it’s, we’ve got to defeat these bastards. He is now openly admitting that he is going to work against and campaign against the Republican, against the Democratic Party and campaign against Obama, and he is motivating people with the microphone and he’s electioneering. Keep on talking, Rushsky! Hell, maybe I’ll get on 600 stations too, or how many you own or whatever.

The fact is, look, it’s not a level playing field when it comes to the audio culture of the country. Ownership has its privileges. When you own, I will be honest, if I owned 500 stations, the drugster wouldn’t be on any of ‘em. And that’s just where it’s at right now. But maybe we have reached the point where the Congress needs to equal it out. Equal out the audience.

SCHULTZ (32:51): Just keep in mind, there aren’t any poor people with microphones.

SCHULTZ (33:56): And so, I think that, you know, hell, if we’re going to be socialist, let’s be socialist all across the board.

But for some reason, they don’t like being called socialists. Huh. This is the same Ed Schultz who said the following about the special election in Massachusetts the resulted in Republican Senator Scott Brown being elected:

I tell you what, if I lived in Massachusetts I’d try to vote 10 times. I don’t know if they’d let me or not, but I’d try to. Yeah, that’s right. I’d cheat to keep these bastards out. I would. ‘Cause that’s exactly what they are.

Cheat during an election? Obviously, he misspoke, right? He didn’t really willing admit that he’d violate federal election law did he? When given the opportunity to clarify, he did so in his next broadcast: “I misspoke on Friday. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I meant to say, ‘If I could vote 20 times, that’s what I’d do.’ ” Real class act here.

Doing a quick count on his website, I see Schultz broadcasts from 78 stations. That’s not bad considering the leftist Air America program failed, and he was the most successful of all the hosts. But in the free market, he still can only convince one station to carry him for every eight that carries Rush Limbaugh. That’s the free market for you.

But if you hate the freedom to listen to the person you want, and you want government to step in to force stations to carry a lesser light, then you are a socialist. And socialism is all about taking away your freedoms in the guise of being fair, or compassionate, or looking out for the greater good.

It’s funny how the greater good always benefits the socialists, no?

I was listening to the radio the other day, and I heard that the city of Bountiful, Utah, has banned visible tattoos on city employees:

City officials have banned employees from having tattoos in easily visible places in an effort to make sure employees put city government in a good light.

The policy mirrors that of the Los Angeles Police Department, which bans tattoos on the face, neck, head and hands.

Several people, including the show hosts, were questioning the legality of this rule claiming that it violates the freedom of speech of the people tattooed.

Baloney.

Accepting for the nonce that a tattoo is “speech,” it is well within the rights of the city, or any employer, to set a dress code for its employees. If you are unwilling to abide by the dress code of a company, why apply for a job there? But the city dress code doesn’t violate the free speech of tattooed people. They are free to tattoo themselves any place they like, but they do not possess a corresponding right to be hired by the city.

But the talk show hosts and some of the callers are not the only people who don’t understand the freedom of speech. A large segment of the U.S. population is equally ill-informed, as exposed by a recent Rasmussen poll:

Nearly half of Americans (47%) believe the government should require all radio and television stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary, but they draw the line at imposing that same requirement on the Internet. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say leave radio and TV alone, too.

It’s obvious from this poll that 47% of Americans surveyed don’t understand the part of the First Amendment dealing with speech, so here it is: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” Congress had already attempted to abridge this with the Fairness Doctrine, but it was finally removed in the ’80s. As it was abolished, the FCC recognized that the Fairness Doctrine succeeded in limiting speech, not enhancing it.

If Congress were to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine as these 47% think they should, it would be a clear case of Congress making a law abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. After all, the owners and operators of the radio and television stations would no longer have the freedom to plan their own show lineups. They would have to obey the law telling them how to run their stations.

The report goes on to explain that 31% of those surveyed believe that internet sites should also be balanced. That would mean that for every right-leaning conservative piece I post on my site, I would have to allow an equal-length left-leaning liberal piece to be posted.

But I won’t allow that.

You see, it’s my site, my code, and other than the occasional posts by my wife, it’s my opinions. If people disagree with my opinions, they are just as free to get their own sites and publish their own opinions. My freedom of speech on my site does not limit the freedom of others to voice their own opinions on their own sites. But once the government steps in and mandates that I must allow someone else equal time on my site just to provide “balance” to my opinions, then the government is limiting my freedom to post what I will on my site.

If the government were to force me to obey the Fairness Doctrine, I would instead choose to close down the blog. The end result of “fairness” and “balance” would be less free speech, not more, but I have to believe that is the real and unspoken goal of the proponents of the Fairness Doctrine. And that is why I believe that too many Americans don’t understand the true nature of freedom of speech.

We went to the local farmer’s market on Saturday, and bought some yummy cherries at $3.33 a pound. That’s a steal for Rainier cherries–yum! While we were there we noticed an older gentleman with a satchel over his shoulder. A placard attached to the satchel read: “PENTAGON IS EVIL.” My wife said, in a voice deliberately loud enough to be heard, “Jeez, some people don’t have anything better to do.” I was more discreet as I whispered to my wife, “He doesn’t like five-sided shapes!” I don’t think he would have gotten it if I had stood there with placards reading “SQUARE IS GOOD” or “TRIANGLE IS AMBIVALENT.”

I find it strange to use the locale of a farmer’s market to peddle one’s political point. Perhaps he was prepared to pass out pamphlets pulled from his pouch. OK, enough alliteration, but why would someone think that a public gathering like a market is the proper venue to vent one’s spleen on divisive issues? I love a good debate; however, people who stand around with large placards are not generally willing to discuss the issue in a rational manner. Their vehicle of expression is usually to shout, rant and automatically disagree with anything that is said. And as Monty Python pointed out:

Argument Clinic

M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn’t.
M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!

Unfortunately, the level of political debate these days is too often more along the lines of simple contradiction, veering dangerously close to getting-hit-on-the-head lessons. Did that man at the market really want a serious discussion of the issue? Is there anything I could have explained or pointed out that would have changed his mind about the Pentagon being evil? I don’t think so. I suspect he had already made up his mind and nothing could shift him. Now I don’t have trouble with people who have a firm conviction of their beliefs, but I do have trouble with people who, once they’ve made up their minds on a political subject, refuse to acknowledge any evidence that they could be wrong.

Incidentally, whenever there is a public gathering, why is it that the most common placards and opinions to be seen express leftist sentiment? Other than people at ball games with “Go Team” and “John 3:16″ quotes, when you see people holding up signs or plastering bumper stickers to their cars, they’re almost always leftist slogans. Maybe it’s just that I live in a very blue state, but I don’t think so. Back when I lived in a very red state, the right-wing political bumper stickers I saw were almost always limited to two per car: one for a specific political candidate, one for a pro-life sentiment. And they were discreet. Even in this red state, when I came across a car sporting leftist political bumper stickers, they were usually in-your-face and all-over-the-place–cars held together with multiple slogans like “Somewhere in Texas there’s a village missing an idiot,” “Where are the WMDs?”, “Frodo has failed! Bush has the ring!”, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. In any case, what I sense from the plethora of bumper stickers is not a willingness for rational debate, but a shouting match. You don’t get rational thought or reasoned argument from a bumper sticker; it’s the printed equivalent of a shouted slogan. I don’t see there being much opportunity for discussion; all you get is the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

I find very little debate on issues and ideas coming from the American left. If you watch the talking-head shows on TV where there are two pundits discussing a liberal vs. conservative theme, notice how often the liberal interrupts, talks over or shouts down the conservative whenever he or she is speaking. It’s an easy tactic to deny one’s opponent the ability to express a thought by shouting that person down. I’ve suggested elsewhere that the political left doesn’t really believe in freedom of speech for everyone. Based on their actions, I believe that they want freedom of speech for themselves and the force of law to shut up everyone else who takes a contrary position. How much longer will it be before leftist “discourse” becomes outright getting-hit-on-the-head lessons for conservatives?

Argument Clinic

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]

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” – First Amendment

You’d think that with language as clear as that, Congress would not meddle with freedom of speech, but you’d be wrong. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is planning on resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine of decades past. In a nutshell, the Fairness Doctrine says that radio stations can’t host one political side without giving equal time to the other. That’s only fair, don’t you agree? We don’t want our media to become too lopsided, do we?

Regardless of how you wrap this idea up in nice platitudes, the fact remains that the Fairness Doctrine is Congress making laws restricting and abridging the freedom of speech. If a radio station wants to play all-conservative or all-liberal shows 24/7, that decision should be up to the owners of the station, not Congress.

Besides, why should we grant Congress any say in the playlists of radio stations? Is there any indication the Fairness Doctrine worked before? The Fairness Doctrine caused radio stations to languish during the ’70s and early ’80s. Two things fueled the resurgence of AM radio: the removal of the restrictive Fairness Doctrine in 1987, and the subsequent ascendancy of the Rush Limbaugh show made possible by the vanished Fairness Doctrine. (Whether you like Rush or hate him, he did usher in a new public interest in the talk radio format.) But with the near-complete dominance of talk radio by conservative shows, it is no wonder that the newly-elected Democrat Congress is drooling over the prospect of reanimating the corpse of the old Fairness Doctrine.

You won’t hear Democrats admit openly that they want to oppress conservative talk radio, although that is their goal. Instead you will hear them talk about how unfair it is that only one side of the political spectrum is represented on mostly-conservative talk radio. Liberal talk shows have not met much success in the free marketplace, so Democrats want to try to level the playing field by shackling conservative shows. Handicapper General Diana Moon Glampers, call your office.

It’s only fair to follow three hours of the conservative Rush Limbaugh show with three hours of the liberal Randi Rhodes show, right? Well, it depends on what your definition of “equal” is. To be really equal, the three hours of any conservative show with a ten-point market share must be followed by thirty hours of any liberal show with a one-point market share. 3 x 10 = 30 x 1, right?  So everyone is happy and everything is fair in the topsy-turvy world of Democrats. Well, except the listeners, the hosts, and the radio station owners who are getting shafted.

Feel free to send Rep. Kucinich a note reminding him that the First Amendment phrase “Congress shall make no law” applies to him and to the Fairness Doctrine. I am.