When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The following are some thoughts from Laura Beth, a friend of mine who is a conservative woman and involved deeply in the community and regional politics. I am posting as is...

For those of you who don’t believe that an assault on our First Amendment rights is brewing, get a load of this.

LA Times op-ed columnist and a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center Rosa Brooks has joined the Obama administration as an advisor to the undersecretary of Defense for policy, but not before writing her final column on April 9 calling for a federal bailout of the newspaper industry. In her article Brooks advocates increasing "direct government support” for public media (scary!) and, even scarier, creating licenses to govern news operations.

Our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves if Ms. Brooks’ proposal were to come to fruition. Not only does it fly in the face of one of the very first issues expressly addressed in the Bill of Rights, it’s incredible that an adviser to our federal government would even consider bailing out an industry that “free enterprise and competition marked for failure – or a transition into something else,” as Ken McIntyre, media & public policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation, so rightly points out.

Brooks admits that (she) "can't imagine anything more dangerous than a society in which the news industry has more or less collapsed". And on this point, I wholeheartedly agree. But what Brooks is missing is the fact that the news industry isn't collapsing - it's merely evolving with new technology.

People my generation and younger obtain their news differently than previous generations, and have vastly different expectations of the type of the news we read. We get most of our news from the internet and expect it to be both immediate and free. Not only that, but we may also read the same story from several different sources in order to formulate our own thoughts and opinions on the subject. Newspapers, and even the nationally televised news channels, simply cannot meet our needs and expectations. Mark my words, before too long, newspapers and television news will join scrolls and stone tablets in the graveyard for obsolete media.
Ms. Brooks, this is not the time to cry “Do not go gentle into that good night”; instead, it’s time to recognize that the aging prize-fighter’s winning streak is over, and allow the champ to disappear quietly with his dignity.
Providing a licensing system and/or a bailout package in the hopes of reviving the struggling news media industry is not only expressly contrary to the rights expressly granted to the people by our federal Constitution, but also completely disregards the valid reasons that these rights were granted to us in the first place.

The term “free press” obtained its origins from the abolishment of licensing printer/publishers. In 1688, when England abolished the office of Imprimenteur, “works could then be published without first obtaining the permission of the government officer”, as Thomas Paine elegantly explained in his 1806 letter on the Liberty of the Press.

In fact, the common law view to this very circumstance was expressly addressed in Blackstone’s Commentaries, a major legal text of the 18th century. It reads, "To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the Revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government."

One of the primary reasons for the freedom of the press clause in the First Amendment is to eliminate government censure, but the practice of licensing journalists would practically guarantee that widespread censure is exactly what would occur.

Preventing governmental censure is also a primary reason that the media should reject any and all “direct government support”. If the government is licensing and financially supporting the national news media, they are merely a hairsbreadth away from controlling its content. Then, what would be the point? Joel Brinkley, a visiting professor or journalism at Stanford University said “no one would trust the news industry if it accepted heaps of government money.“ And you know what? I think he’s right.

However, it’s already started. In a March 18 article in The Nation, John Nichols & Robert McChesney admit that “Today the government doles out tens of billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies, including free and essentially permanent monopoly broadcast licenses, monopoly cable and satellite privileges, copyright protection and postal subsidies”, as if calling the postal subsidies instead of mini-bailouts will make it all better. So far, the Obama administration has been silent on the issue, and media experts don’t believe that there will be any chance of an actual bailout for the newspaper industry. Even so, legislation is in the works to allow newspapers to operate as tax-exempt nonprofits as long as they don’t endorse political candidates, effectively censuring editorial columns nation-wide in one fell swoop of the pen.

I am positively flabbergasted that the movement supporting a “broadsheet bailout” is gaining momentum. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since Ms. Brooks apparently isn’t on her own; several formal journalists from media powerhouses such as the Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, and the Washington Post have gone to work for the Obama administration after the ax had fallen. But what gets me is that it now seems as if the journalists’ self-preservation is quickly superseding the defense of rights that journalists have fought for centuries to protect because of their advocacy of programs that would essentially eliminate the freedom of the press.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party - Birmingham, Al

Surely everyone who may read this knows of the Tea Parties that were held across our land yesterday. I thought I would give you a brief commentary fro my perspective, as I was part of the Tea Party in Birmingham, Al last night.

A week or so ago, I was contacted by one of the organizers to help with the volunteer security arrangements for the event. By the time I was bale to get in touch with the appropriate persons, it was merely 36 hours before the event and no one knew how many would attend. I walked into the park at about 430 pm and there were about 150 people milling about. I looked for the organizer I had been talking to and we waited for others, all the while he was distracted time after time with many things going on at the park.

Before this was over, more than 6,000 people were in the park. Sean Hannity had a live feed from there, and radio personalities Rick and Bubba as well as a few local market talk show hosts spoke at the event. It was absolutely amazing to me that a crowd this large turned out in probably the most red of red counties in the nation.

It was a republican grassroots movement that has probably never been seen. Despite the mainstream media's portrayal of the event, as well as some juvenile commentary regarding the event, across the nation people are fed up with out of control government. Fed up with bailouts and taxation. Fed up with an administration that only three months in office has launched the most liberal and immoral assault on liberty ever seen. Fed up with a President who says that we are not a Christian nation, but a nation of citizens.

This movement must continue. It must gain traction and become a monthly event, allowing the numbers to swell, and the voices to grow. We must not let the left hijack this country as it is attempting to do. Check our local area and join the organization that organized the event. Join in, and help stop the overwhelming onslaught against freedom.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Will Always Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Hello to all! I know this post is a long time coming, but as some of you know, my wife and I are expecting our first baby, so my time has been consumed by attending to all of her needs. My promise and commitment to you all is that I will be posting as much as time permits me to. Having said all of that, allow me to share my first post with all of you!

Our Vice President; Mr. Joseph Biden, was absolutely right. He told us before Barry was elected that our young president would be tested by a foreign relations challenge before the end of their first six months in office. Well, he was right. Two times over! First, N. Korea and their little cherub like dictator announced to the world that they were planning on launching a rocket to "send a communications satellite into space." In reality, this was to test their first long range rocket and show to the world that N. Korea is more than a dirt poor country where people out in the country eat mud.... and each other because they're so poor. In response to this announcement, the POTUS said, "I am going to send a couple of guided missile cruisers to sit off the coast of the Korean peninsula to shoot this thing down if they can actually get it off the ground." OK, now, I am with the POTUS so far. I actually respect him a little more at this point, unfortunately that respect would be short lived. Then the day comes where the Koreans launch this thing, and our response is....... (insert cricket sounds here...). Ok, thats not "entirely" true. The POTUS was woken at 2am to learn of the news that N. Korea fired the rocket, at which time he assembled his crack foreign relations team (lead by none other than Hillary Clinton herself) to formulate a response. After many, many hours of brainstorming they had a plan! Go to the U.N. security council and let THEM slap Kim Jong Il's little hand. Brilliant! If nothing else, Barry is consistent. He told us that once he was POTUS he would seek world consensus before acting. Kudos Barry! So, what was the U.N.'s decisive edict? (Insert cricket sounds here......) Yep, thats right, nothing... well, "maybe" impose more sanctions on the country where human flesh is the dish de jure.
OK, foreign relations crisis numero dos (I am practicing my Spanish... we are going to need it soon)! Terrorists (a.k.a. Pirates... Yaaaaaaaaaar!) have taken a U.S. flagged cargo ship off the coast of Somalia. Why is this significant? After all, these kids in their lil boats have been doing this for a loooooong time. Well kiddies, if you read and know your history, you would know that this is the FIRST TIME IN OVER 200 YEARS that a ship flying a U.S. flag has been boarded and held. Can anyone tell me what President Jefferson's response was to the piracy the last time one of our ships was taken (Cue my Marine friends here....)? The answer can be found in the second line of the Marine Corps Hymn, "From the shores of Tripoli." Thats right kids, President Jefferson's response was to send in the Marines because he knew that acts such as these could not be allowed to go undeterred (side note, this is also where Marines got the nickname "leathernecks." But thats for another rant.) What has been our valient president's response thus far? Insert cricket sounds here. Ok ok ok.. thats not entirely true. He did dispatch a U.S. Navy destroyer to shadow the ship as well as sent a team of F.B.I. hostage negotiators to talk to the "misguided young Somali men." Huh? Team of negotiators? Come again? What about that whole "The U.S. will NEVER negotiate with terrorists" thing? I want to know why we dont have a Marine Expeditionary Unit parked in some Somali port right now. Well, I know the answer, but it makes me want to vomit, so maybe someone else can give me another answer to make me feel better. Sigh....
If you couple those two incidents with Barry's "Apologetic World Tour '09," the POTUS BOWING to the king of Saudi Arabia, giving the P.M. of England some DVD's that wont play in British players, giving the Queen of England an Ipod and giving the finger to our dead war heroes at Normandy... I am seriously beginning to question this man's ability to lead. Also, look at the fact that he went to Europe "hat in hand" so to speak to beg for more NATO troops to be sent to Afghanistan and was told again to go pound sand. Where is the egalitarian spirit that was going to unite the world behind us? I can think of one quote from the movie "A Few Good Men" that so eloquently sums up what happened to us on November 4th, 2008: "Col. Jessep: You fuckin' people... you have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That's all you did. You put people's lives in danger. Sweet dreams, son."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Congress Is On The Warpath

This past weekend I was entertained by what was originally an HBO mini-series on our founding father, John Adams. I got the three DVD set from Netflix, and spent about 10 hours engrossed in the biography of one of the most impressive men in our nation’s history.

What was particularly interesting was the interactions and friendship between Adams and Thomas Jefferson. It portrayed a relationship that is exactly that which I have decried for years as what the nation needs to see from its political leaders. Adams, a devout Federalist, believed to the core that a strong Federal government was necessary to the freedom of the nation. Jefferson, influenced by Locke and others, believed that it was the individual and the sovereign states which held the powers and the responsibilities. He served as Adams Vice-President, and the two were good personal friends while political opponents. Their deaths, which occurred within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, ended the lives of the last two signers of the Declaration of Independence.

So while these two men possessed complete opposite views of the size and responsibility of government, agreed on one thing: The role of the government was to protect the rights of individuals guaranteed under our Constitution. Today, our government, and particularly those on the left, find that the power of government should be used for personal folly. Senator Christopher Todd (D-CT) decided that he would target specific individuals with the United States Tax code. The issue arises from the massive and absurd bailout bill given to companies to weather this recessive storm. AIG received massive amounts of that money, and gave their executives $165 million in bonuses. Now, forget the ethics of the bonuses. I am opposed to them in principal, as the company failed and is needing citizen’s money to survive. I want to focus on the targeting of the bonuses.

Dodd and his colleagues rushed to pass enormous amounts of bailout money with no oversight, in an attempt to correct a regulatory system that had no oversight. It is taxpayer money and should not have gone to pay huge bonuses for failure. Yet, there was no such provision in the bill. Dodd wants to target these bonuses with special tax legislation. Do you think that is a legitimate function of government? I say not. I say a government that will write into a tax code provisions to tax at immoral and surely unconstitutional rates is out of control. Do you think that these fat cats deserve the money? Do you think they deserve individual action by the United States Congress? Is say they do not, and that any sanctioning of this measure is indicative of supporting the most tyrannical of regimes.

What is to stop them from individually targeting the money of families? is someone else’s success today, it could be yours tomorrow. Even John Adams would find this reprehensible, and I think is rolling over in his grave. United in spirit, there men, yet again.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What Happens When I Accidentally hit Publish

Oops. I would wipe this out but since you all are having fun in the comment section.

(Note: This was originally blank, but I had to add something.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Post to Jennifer

This is an open post to Jennifer, who is one of the creators of Conservative Convictions and has now decided to leave it.

I tried to figure out what the problem was, so I scrolled down and found your last post here, Jennifer. The one titled “Short and to the Point.” I think that semantics is what is causing the problem. Let me try to explain. You write that you “have been reading over and over on conservative blogs that they wish Obama complete failure, but I truly wonder if they understand the ramifications of what they are saying. If Obama fails in keeping us safe and protected, then that means that you are in essence asking for another 9-11.” That’s true, Jennifer, but I must explain that although I hope he keeps us safe I hope his socialist policies are a “complete failure“ and I believe we are on the same exact page. I think that’s where the misunderstanding lies. We conservatives can’t wish for him to succeed when that would mean his socialist policies succeed and there are scads of them, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want him to keep this country safe. So, just like Rush Limbaugh, I hope he fails too, as long as his success means his socialist policies succeed. There are going to be some people, including conservatives, who will disagree with that. It's okay. It's the way I feel and I have a right to my opinion, as you have a right to yours, as they have a right to theirs.

I read the comments in the “Short and to the Point” post and can see why you felt you were under attack. I personally believe it is a matter of misinterpretation of what you wrote. I don’t hate Obama, but I do hate his politics and absolutely hate where they are leading this country! I want to make it clear that there were also some things that Bush did and didn't do that I also hated, and although Obama isn't directly responsible for the mess we are in now, what he has tried to implement since he has been in office will prove to be a disaster.

You are one of the creators of this blog and one of it’s most valuable writers. I don’t know why you believe you aren’t eloquent because it isn’t true. Your opinions and insight are needed every bit as much as anyone's. I hope you will reconsider and return, and I have to tell you that if you don’t, it is truly our loss! Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best in all that you do. Although I know that you have already given this a lot of hard thought, please think about it a bit longer. It's my belief that you are appreciated far more than you know!

God bless you.

The Blessings of Liberty

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. . . . But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget 'contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.'
- NY Times columnist David Brooks, March 2, 2009

David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, David Frum, Christopher Buckley and other self-described conservatives who supported the candidacy of president Obama perplexed me. There is a nascent desire to get along and not to confront what needs to be addressed in all of us, even among those who, like Brooks, should have known better. I have discovered a more ominous threat than the desire to get along and that threat is fear, the fear that makes some receptive to vapid messages like Hope and Change. When did this happen, how did so many of us become fearful and susceptible to the irrational?

America has been a blessing to so many for so long that we have had the security to listen to revisionist history, politically correct moral equivalents and accept them as equally valid points of view, because there was no threat. We have been so removed by time and distance from the lack of liberty, that we take our own for granted. Now that our way of life is under threat and people are losing their jobs, their retirement incomes and security that we will endure, we no longer have a national understanding of the blessings of liberty. Even those whose instincts tell them that as the moderate Gerald Ford observed, that the government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have (paraphrasing), are uneasy about standing up to those who would enslave them.

Liberty from the tyranny of government and the free (non-coerced) exchange within a market economy is at the core of what defines my conservatism. I also believe that what John Adams said regarding America is true: "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." My Christian faith, which is core to my being also informs my conservatism. Some will try to characterize that faith as intolerant or impractical and focus on that but my response is that you don't know my God!

I, like Jennifer, am bowing out. I appreciate the invitation to join the fine folks here and to contribute as an author but in ordinary times our differences would be academic. I think there's consensus, even among those of us who disagree, that this is no ordinary time. As I mentioned to Jennifer, I believe I am responsible for the sharp differences and fissures that have revealed themselves here. I am unyielding and stubborn in the best of times but when I sense danger, I am intractable. It is my view that some of the ideas put forward here are decidedly not conservative in the classical liberal, modern conservative tradition. I'm not talking about the difference between Ron Paul followers with neo-cons on the war in Iraq, I'm talking about more fundamental, basic issues about ownership of production, do the producers own what they produce or does the government? I say the producers because that embodies the wisdom of our founding fathers.

I am also unrelenting in the face of a threat to me or mine and I say no to Hitler taking the Sudetenland, I mock those who pronounce "peace in our time." Analogies often fail, so let me be direct. Do I want Barack Obama to succeed with his plans? Hell to the no (forgive the ethnic expression)! I have studied this man and his words, his background and associations, his tactics and his actions, he is a lying Marxist in the Saul Alinsky tradition. My beliefs don't accommodate another view, my family is under threat from this man and his collaborators and I am locked and loaded!

God Bless you all and Good Luck!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Farewell, My Friends.......

This is not an easy thing for me to do, because truly I had such high hopes for this blog and our success in making a true difference. Fulfilling a vision that I had for my country's future. I know I am not the most eloquent writer so I left some of the really tough ones to those more equipped to do it justice and tried to put my unique spin on things. Lately, as most of you have probably noticed we have pretty much disappeared off of the face of the earth and have only been kept up to date with Ken and TAO's guest posts. (Thank you by the way!)

My emotions and feeling have been through the ringer lately because I just don't feel like I fit in anymore. I consider myself a conservative because I truly want less government interference in our lives, and less spending. I thought conservatism was about individual responsibility! What I was truly surprised to find though was this blind hatred. This all or nothing mentality. I just don't have it in me to hate the man and wish his failure. To some, this does not make me conservative and so be it. I am tired of trying to convince people of my views. I personally think it makes me an optimist. It makes me realistic and practical...to steal TAO's words. I have fought hard against Obama, since he first became a candidate and don't like him any more now. He scares me, especially when I think of what he has done with this stimulus bill, or BULLSHIT as Patrick likes to describe it. :-) I have a feeling that there are a lot of emails in store for me, to my lovely NJ representatives. in the future.

I am not giving up the fight nor am I giving in. I just don't feel that this blog is right for me anymore. I feel like everything I've written lately has brought in some people and opinions that completely contradict everything I am trying to say and these are not liberals, but conservatives. I am not accomplishing my goals and that really was my whole point in this endeavor. This blog is better run by those that share the same views and opinions and mine definitely seems to be completely my own right now. I treasure all the authors and commenters here, and hope that you will continue to fight the good fight in whatever way you think best. I will continue to visit and give you my input (I'm too stubborn to stay away) but being an author here will only continue to cause questions about what conservatism means or doesn't mean and that is another issue that has been talked about to death. I find the constant bickering harmful in the big scheme of things, and that was never my purpose here.

I also have some personal issues that have been taking up a good majority of my time, and if I can't do something with my whole heart, I don't do it. It's not fair to me and it certainly isn't fair to the readers. So I will leave with a heavy heart knowing that what I am doing is best for me and the sake of the blog. Thank you for giving me this chance to write and be heard even if you didn't happen to agree with me all the time, or any of the time for that matter. I truly am thankful for the friends I've made and the times we've spent together bringing this blog to fruition.