Monday, March 19, 2012

What a "Stunt": "Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee"

Yesterday, The R-J posted a ridiculously whiny editorial bashing Shelley Berkley for merely pointing out Dean Heller's voting record and asking him to join her in saying no to secretive Super PAC campaigns here in Nevada. According to The R-J, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision only affirmed "free speech", and those big, bad "LIB'RUL!!!" women should stop attacking poor lil' Rush Limbaugh and his "free speech" rights to have advertisers pay for time on his radio show so he can continue attacking America's women.

Sorry, R-J editoral board (and all the shortsighted white male pundits who think they have a good point), but give me a f**king break!

There's disgust across the political spectrum for the system we now have that allows for the likes of the Koch family to buy elections whenever they want. Back in January, former Republican Presidential Candidate and current US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) joined with former US Senator Russ Feingold to release this statement on the two-year anniversary of Citizens United.

“Two years ago, the Supreme Court handed down one of the worst, and most radically activist decisions in the Court’s history, Citizens United. Overturning more than a century of settled law, and with an unprecedented naiveté of the political process, the Court charted a course for legalized bribery. Sadly, both Democrats and Republicans are now following the dangerous road of unlimited money in politics. There is no question whether scandal will arise from this decision; the only question is when. On this anniversary, we call on both parties to work together to remedy the obvious damage to our political system caused by the Citizens United decision.”

Another former Republican Presidential Candidate, Mike Huckabee, has also chimed in with his disapproval of the post Citizens United political landscape of unlimited secret money-bombs exploding onto our airwaves.



This obviously is NOT about free speech. Rather, Americans from across the political spectrum are increasingly fearful of a tiny group of super-wealthy donors using their Super PACs to exert massive influence over elections and gain control of government. After all, why is "free speech" no longer free? So now we're all required to raise massive amounts of money just to have the same "free speech" rights as David Koch and Sheldon Adelson?



This is why a 69% supermajority of Americans want an end to this Super PAC madness. Does The R-J editorial board think that's just a "stunt"?

And then, there's Rush-bo. When did the First Amendment guarantee the right to a multi-million dollar national talk radio contract and a full slate of advertisers? News flash to The R-J: It does NOT.

I thought the "free market libertarians" at The R-J believed in the sanctity of "the free market". So how can they legitimately complain about "the free market" determining that Rush Limbaugh's radio show is no longer a valuable commodity? At least 52 advertisers have pulled out of sponsoring Limbaugh's radio show as of last Friday. And last I checked, there's no "First Amendment mandate" for those corporate advertisers to sponsor Rush Limbaugh. Are they just as guilty as Shelley Berkley of "actively working to silence someone" who's been making a living off spewing hateful bile about women?

Yes, Rush Limbaugh has the same First Amendment rights as all the rest of us. And that's all. None of us has a guaranteed right to a multi-million dollar radio contract, and neither does Limbaugh. So if citizens like Shelley Berkley put up petitions to cancel Limbaugh's show and corporate advertisers respond by pulling their ads, that's just the American "free market" at work.

It just sounds to me like the radical "tea party" right (that The R-J loved before it became the new brand of "GOP cool") is pulling its own "desperate stunt" to change the subject because it's now starting to fear a painful loss in its War on Women. Even John McCain is now joining Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and other prominent Republicans in begging G-O-TEA leadership to drop the anti-contraception nonsense.



The polling is looking increasingly ugly for Republicans, so now some of them want to drop the birth control fight in an effort to save face. Others, however, seem to think that the bad poll numbers will just go away if they spin harder and try to turn this into an "attack on religious liberty"... And apparently now, an "attack on free speech".

What a crock of crap.

It's not Shelley Berkley's fault that Dean Heller faces consequences for supporting Rush Limbaugh over Nevada women. Her move to point out Heller's vote to restrict women's access to needed health care is not a "stunt". And her denunciation of Rush Limbaugh is not some nefarious effort to "silence free speech". If G-O-TEA politicians like Heller and "tea party" cheerleaders like The R-J editorial board really cared about free speech, they could have said something when House Republicans denied Sandra Fluke the chance to testify on her own health care.



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