Alexander's Column

Free speech and terrorism

Mark Alexander · Feb. 15, 2002

Ignoring their oaths to support the Constitution, a majority of the House of Representatives early Thursday passed “campaign finance reform” legislation, 240-189. Referring to the money swamping politics, bill sponsor Marty Meehan (D-Taxachusetts) claimed, “James Madison would be rolling over in his grave” if he could see the attempted influence buying. But we think not!

We think these statements more akin to Madison’s view: “This bill does not contain real reform. Instead, this bill strips citizens of their political rights and unconstitutionally attempts to regulate political speech,” noted Rep. Tom DeLay. Observed Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason, “In fact, the Shays-Meehan bill would make it more difficult to achieve consistent, fair, and, yes, vigorous enforcement of campaign finance laws. Furthermore, certain significant provisions of Shays-Meehan are so complex, so vague, or so broad as to be unworkable, or unenforceable.” NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre warned, “Shays-Meehan attacks the very heart of the First Amendment. We will fight this infringement right up to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of all Americans. Fairness and free speech cannot be victims of politics.”

The bill is more accurately called “Demo incumbent protection act” than reform, and it violates constitutional rights on several scores – notably, free speech, freedom of the press, free association, and free use of property. As Madison and all the Founding Fathers well understood, “factions” would often arise in politics to press for common goals, and a free people could never suppress factionalism without destroying liberty. But there is nothing about money in politics that couldn’t be better fixed by injection of a little integrity into politicos! Now, the issue moves back to the Senate, which earlier passed a similar bill, and President George W. Bush has indicated he will sign into law any “improvement” over existing campaign finance rules.

But hey, at least it leaves all the Leftlabor graft and payola untouched!

In other news, on the overseas warfront against Jihadistan, typifying the enemy we face, a suspected al Qaeda terrorist cornered in Yemen blew himself up with a grenade rather than be taken prisoner. In eastern Afghanistan, a team of forensic specialists gathered biological evidence to determine if Osama bin Laden was among those killed in a U.S. missile attack last week against members of his al Qaeda terrorist network. The evidence collection also turned up U.S. credit card applications and airline schedules. Sources say bin Laden was in a village near the missile strike site a few days before the February 4th operation. (We suppose that U.S. intelligence either has collected DNA samples from members of bin Laden’s family for comparison – or Monica Lewinsky was a one-time intern to Osama and she saved the blue burqa as a souvenir!)

Reactions to President Bush’s naming names in calling Iraq, Iran and North Korea the “axis of evil” continued arriving – with our European “allies” alternately wailing and sniping. Evidently they have not yet gotten over the Clinton-era propensity of treating words as weapons and weapons as words. (You know what we mean … like saying a cruise missile was lobbed to “send a message”! Only “message” ordnance can send is “Boom!”)

Mr. Bush said Wednesday of the Iraqi tyrant, “President Saddam Hussein needs to understand I am serious about defending our country.” Mr. Bush repeated that he will “keep all options available” to deal appropriately with the Iraqi threat to our countrymen and allies, including the possibility of a U.S. “stand-alone” strike. “This is not an argument about whether to get rid of Saddam Hussein. That debate is over. This is … how you do it,” an unnamed senior administration official said, about plans to gear up for Iraq as the next major battlefront in the anti-terror war. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher backed up Mr. Bush’s stance: “His [Hussein’s] aim is, in fact, quite clear: to develop weapons of mass destruction so as to challenge us with impunity. How and when, not whether, to remove him are the only important questions. … America’s allies, above all Britain, should extend strong support to President Bush in the decisions he makes on Iraq.”

The Pentagon and CIA are currently filling in final mobilization details for an assault on Iraq using 200,000 U.S. troops. Battle orders could be issued within 60 days.

President Bush also entertained Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf Wednesday, renewing mutual pledges of assistance in the anti-Jihadi war. Musharraf indicated confidence that capture of Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, the suspected lead kidnapper of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl would lead to his safe return, although Saeed has reportedly given conflicting accounts of the safety and whereabouts of Pearl.

Counterterrorism experts have now identified Abu Zubaydah, a wily Palestinian terrorist, as al Qaeda’s new chief of operations, replacing Mohammed Atef, who was killed in a November missile strike in Afghanistan. Zubaydah is believed to be attempting quick activation of Jihadi “sleeper” cells in the U.S. and Europe. Ominously, though, he is said to have active contacts in Pakistan.

And at the five-month mark since 9-11, not that we need reminding of why we are at war with Jihadistan, the bodies of five Port Authority police officers were recovered from the rubble at New York’s “Ground Zero.”

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