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Senator Reid Foolishly Attacks Rush Limbaugh - and Loses
A Victory in the On Going Struggle for Freedom
October 28, 2007
On August 5, 1735 twelve jurors in the British colony of New York, defied the tyrannical Royal Governor William Cosby by returning a verdict of Not Guilty in the Governor's case against newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger.
Zenger had been accused of publishing what Governor Cosby considered to be seditious libels.
In reality, Zenger was guilty of printing articles critical of Cosby and his corrupt tenure as governor.
Zenger's trial and victory are a milestone in America's long tradition of a free press and our right to publish ideas and opinions of critical of those in power and their policies.
Senator Reid Attacks and Rush Responds
Recently, 272 years after Zenger's famous victory, another blow was struck for freedom of the press.
This time the victor was Conservative Talk Show Host Rush Limbaugh defending himself against a veiled attempt by Senator Harry Reid and 40 of his left wing Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pressure Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, into censoring Rush Limbaugh for comments made on his popular radio show.
Like former Royal Governor William Crosby, Senator Reid didn't like the fact that Rush Limbaugh was broadcasting the truth about a fraudulent leftist news report.
Rush Limbaugh Responding to Senator Reid
Rush Limbaugh on Jesse Macbeth
Jesse Macbeth in his Own Words
The Origins of the Controversy
Among the threats to freedom posed by big government is the use of the government's economic clout to silence opposition. It is not uncommon for tyrants in countries in which the forest and paper industries have been nationalized, to silence the independent press by refusing to sell them the paper they need to print on unless the press stops criticizing the government. The papers are still free and independent - they just have no way of publishing their independent views. With the advent of radio and television in the early 20th century, the U.S. government moved quickly to take possession of the broadcast band and, since then, has proceeded to lease segments via licensing arrangements to commercial users. As a result, when a valuable broadcast license is up for renewal, the owners of the license who, through their hard work, have created the value in their license, are at the mercy of politicians and bureaucrats who can award the license to someone else of their choosing. In light of this a suggestion from the Senate Majority Leader and forty of his fellow senators is really a thinly veiled threat to the business.
However Senator Reid's planned stab in the back for Rush Limbaugh, who has long been a major thorn in the side of the American left, suddenly blew up in his face when Mark Mays gave Rush the letter the letter from Senator Reid rather than the reprimand sought by Senator Reid. Rush immediately published the letter on his web page along with the signature pages containing the signatures of Reid and his forty fellow travelers (including Presidential hopeful Hillery Clinton) thereby exposing the letter to the public for what it really was - a blatant abuse of power by a bunch of senators seeking to silence their opposition.
The "Phony Soldier" Comment in Context
Jesse Macbeth - the "Phony" Soldier in Question
Doing an end run around the left leaning main stream media, which for the most part ignored the letter, Limbaugh publicly announced that he was going to auction the letter on eBay and donate the proceeds to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a charity that helps children of Marines killed in action. Going further, he also pledged to match, with his own money, whatever amount was raised on eBay.
The institution of the free press is too well established in the United States to be suddenly overthrown by the whim of some irate Senators even if they do currently hold a thin majority in Congress. There had to be some sort of reason behind the call for a reprimand of Rush Limbaugh. Grabbing at the first issue that came by, Senator Reid accused Rush Limbaugh of insulting our troops by referring to one of them who criticized the President's war policy as a phony soldier while talking to a caller. Without checking his facts, Senator Reid jumped on the remark. The problem was, the soldier in question not only was a phony soldier but had previously been called that by none other than ABC News.
Jesse Macbeth, the "soldier" in question, claimed to have been an Army Ranger who had served in both Afghanistan and Iraq where he witnessed numerous instances of atrocities by American troops against civilians. Listening to him, one gets the impression that all the American forces do is kill innocent civilians. However, Macbeth simply cited atrocities, he never gave any dates or locations - nothing that could be substantiated. Immediately following the release on of his interview on the internet, critics began to point out discrepancies - his uniform was the wrong one for a ranger, the patches on his uniform were not correct and the vagueness of his accounts made it impossible to verify them. It was soon obvious that this fellow was a fraud. But the real zinger came when he either became overconfident or simply believed his own lies after telling them so often, and he applied for veteran's benefits. It then came out that Jesse Macbeth was not a former Army Ranger, and had not served overseas, let alone in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead, had served a mere 44 days in Army basic training before washing out.
Rush Limbaugh Challenges Senator Reid to Debate Him in Public
Iraqi War Atrocity Testimony. Jesse Macbeth. Fraud. Poser.
Total Defeat for Senator Reid
Rush Limbaugh's quick counter attack ignited a fiery response on the internet and talk radio circuit with the result that competition on eBay for ownership of the letter quickly skyrocketing to six and then seven figures. When the bidding ended a few days later the winner, Betty Casey a philanthropist and trustee of the Eugene B. Casey Foundation (set up in honor of her late husband), ended up paying a cool $2,100,100 for the historic smear letter bearing the signatures of Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton, and 39 other Democratic fellow travelers in the Senate.
Rather than resigning in shame and trying to quietly disappear, Senator Reid made an even greater fool of himself by speaking before the Senate (throughout this controversy Senator Reid was careful to attack Rush Limbaugh vocally from the floor of the Senate where the Article I Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution - which reads:
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
- which prevented Rush or anyone else from taking legal action against him for libel) and trying to take credit for helping to raise the funds by boosting the price of the letter with the signatures of 41 U.S. Senators. Rush Limbaugh quickly pulled the rug out from under the Senator by first suggesting that Senator Reid back up his words by emulating Rush in making his own contribution matching the winning bid. The Senator, who has no qualms about freely dispensing trillions of dollars of taxpayer funds, made no response to this suggestion. Rush then publicly reminded Senator Reid that the value of the letter lay, not in the autographs of 41 mostly unknown members of an institution whose prestige has plummeted under their leadership in the eyes of the American people (as evidenced by the dismal 14% approval rating given by Americans to the Democratic led Congress) but in its value as a historic document. The two million dollar plus value placed on the letter by the free market is for its historic value as an example of wanton abuse of power by members of the U.S. Senate. In years to come the names of Senator Reid and his 40 fellow travelers will be nothing more than a historic footnote in the Rush Limbaugh free speech controversy. Like Governor William Cosby, their place in history will be with other tyrants who were challenged and beaten by freedom loving people.