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."