Archive for the civil rights Category

The Obama Win: Come January

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, Energy, First Amendment, healthcare, John McCain, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , , on November 5, 2008 by Randy Streu

Congratulations to Barack Obama for a hard-won presidential election.  I won’t say it was well-played, because it was not — on either side.  But, the people have spoken and, sadly, it would appear they’ve grown weary of liberty, and have chosen instead to sacrifice it to the god of Financial Security.  History, it would seem, has not been as eloquent a teacher as Obama has been a communicator.  The irony is in how many of those voting for Obama were so very fond of paraphrasing Franklin: “those who would sacrifice liberty for security shall have none and deserve neither.”  And yet…

Does that sound bitter?  It isn’t.  I’m not even angry.  Just sad.

Democrat rhetoric during the last year or so has shown us, I think, the directions we’ll be looking as a nation, come January 2009.  In spite of the closeness of the election, there will be talk of “mandates,” and the Democrat win (aka the de facto ‘mandate of the people’) will be used as justification for more and more federal intrusion, higher taxes, and fewer freedoms.

People who sincerely love freedom, no matter who you voted for, I sincerely hope you watch this new administration closely.  I hope you watch for the erosion of our liberty — and I hope that, no matter who you voted for, you will fight to keep that freedom when the time comes.  This erosion is going to come in many small ways, from many directions.  It’s going to come as a gift — a trojan horse: in the form of healthcare, new entitlement benefits, new Social Security rules.  But these small intrusions will turn into larger ones.  These gifts will soon reveal their costs.  And, once the mistique wears off — once the thrill of making history has worn thin — we will perhaps begin, finally, to see what we have wrought.

Watch for a re-emergence of the so-called “fairness doctrine.”  The idea that freedom of speech only applies to private entities who willingly give up their podium to the opposition, in spite of the fact that the opposition controls the majority of the mass media, and suffers under no such requirement.  Make no mistake; this doctrine has nothing at all to do with fairness, and everything to do with silencing criticism of the establishment.  Congressional Democrats have long been vocal about their wishes in this matter, and Barack Obama will, given the chance, seek to abide by them.

Watch for unreasonable mandates to appear, with an aim toward crippling the energy industry as we know it.  And understand that, before those “evil” energy corporations go bankrupt, it will be you and I who first foot that bill.

Watch for “free healthcare” to become a mandate to business owners to pay beyond their means for employee benefits — benefits which were not negotiated between employer and employee, or even between employer and union, but instead introduced, coerced and enforced by federal government.  And watch the prices for simple goods and services skyrocket as business owners try to comply with federal law without going belly up.  And when the market finally ceases to be able to bear the burden, watch for the unemployment rate to acheive new highs.

Watch for the government to sieze control over your 401(k) as a means of alleviating the damage done by the collapsing economy, and place caps and limits on your retirement earning potential.

Will all of this happen under Barack Obama?  God willing, it will not.  But none of this is outside the realm of possibility, and, indeed, most of the policies listed are either direct interpretations of Obama’s own policies, or policy suggestions made within the Democrat Party.

This is History’s sad truth about handing over liberty for the sake of financial security: it doesn’t work.  It never has.  The most successful communist/socialist countries are either, like China, finding that they have to embrace some forms of Capitalism in order to stay afloat, or, like Cuba, are home to a vast population of the impoverished — but at least they have nice hospitals.   Most, however, either never make it out of third-world status or, like the USSR, finally kill off enough citizens to render itself unsustainable.

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
-Benjamin Frankin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1738

Advertisements

One Day Left: A Constitutional Conservative Looks at the ’08 Election

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, national defense, Obama, politics, taxes on November 3, 2008 by Randy Streu

I can’t pretend I’m not going to be relieved when this circus of an election season is over.  As a Conservative, this cycle has been frustrating and exhausting — and, at times, exhilarating.  One of the most sobering realizations for a Conservative in these times is that the vote for a Third Party candidate is a wasted one.  And, this election, there have been times where that was exactly the direction I was heading.  Granted, in these times, their imminent slaughter is not the only reason I couldn’t in good conscience vote for a party that stands more closely to my own values (such as the Libertarian or Constitution parties), but my level of irritation at recent actions of certain Republicans has definitely made it an option worth considering.

Still, though my Republican-of-choice was not ultimately chosen as the GOP candidate (indeed, neither were my second or third options… in fact, McCain ranked pretty near the bottom, to be honest), I still determined early on that I would hold my nose and cast my vote. 

McCain has done much since that decision to secure my vote (and yes, for you naysayers, his selection of Palin as VP still ranks, for me, as one of his better decisions), and some to make me question it.  But over all, this election has, for most Conservatives I Know, never really been about John McCain.  It’s not been about George W. Bush.  This is not a year in which Conservatives, by and large, will be voting for a candidate, so much as against a set of ideals.

I’m not going to elaborate much on which ideals I’m against — a cursory glance through the various posts on this blog should provide plenty of insight into where I’m coming from.  But, for one thing, I’m against the idea that the Government has the moral authority to determine who deserves the money a man makes, for the simple reason that he happens to make more than some arbitrary amount.  Barack Obama is for this idea.

This alone, with no other considerations, is enough to make me vote against Obama.  As it turns out, there are other considerations.   Many others.  Abortion, gun control, Foreign policy, character, integrity… getting the idea?  But even without these other things, I could still not vote for Obama, because of the first.

A man, or a party, who has claimed moral authority over a man’s property or earnings has also claimed authority over that man’s liberty, because property and liberty are inseparable.  A governor who would make a man a slave to another in this way (because, really, this is the end result of wealth redistribution) is not a man of solid character.  He is untrustworthy as a leader — certainly as a leader of what was conceived as a nation of free men.

Barack Obama claims to know the Constitution.  Scripture says even the Devil knows the Bible.  The question, for me, is not whether Barack Obama knows the Constitution.  It is whether he honors it; whether he loves it — not just as a solid “political document,” but as the foundation of this country.  Does he understand the meanings of it, and the intent of the Founding Fathers — and does he agree to uphold those ideals?  Because if he does not — and indeed, recently uncovered interviews appear to suggest this very possibility — how can he take an oath swearing to do exactly that, and still hold himself an honest man?

Tracing the Market Melt Down

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, politics with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by heapotrouble

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122298982558700341.html

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122290574391296381.html?mod=article-outset-box

 

Having read these articles, many others, and relying on memory that becomes less trust worthy with time, I think it is naïve, or politically contrived to pin the blame on any individual, administration, or party. There is plenty of blame and demonstrated incompetence to go around.

 

I read one article that traced the roots of the current crisis to the Johnson administration. The author made the case that in order to get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off the federal books to support spending for the war in Vietnam, Johnson privatized both of these organizations. Because it was politically expedient to obfuscate the true relationship between the federal government and these mortgage corporations, the implication was let stand that they operated with the full backing of the Federal Reserve. While this was not true, the stock price of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac soared on initial public offering because of the implied safety. This swelled the corporate coffers and entrenched a culture of inordinate risk and cavalier risk assessment.

 

Another article I read cited the Community Redevelopment Act of 1977 and the Carter administration as “ground zero” in the current fiasco. By law, these lending institutions were required to meet quotas on minority lending to borrowers that would not normally qualify. Again, it was implied that the Federal Government would cover any losses due to loan default. The program expanded to include not just minorities but all borrowers who would not ordinarily qualify for mortgage loans.  

 

Yet another article blamed the Reagan administration for “deregulating” the mortgage industry. However, it does point out that this deregulation began during the Carter years. It goes on to say that the problem wasn’t that the industry was under-regulated, but that it was poorly regulated. Laws were enacted to meet political needs of elected officials of both parties that did not serve the public in the long run, but did serve the immediate political needs of the representatives.

 

More recently, I think you will remember two incidents that seem to have escaped wide publication. The first was the lost opportunity to mobilize the nation in the wake of 9/11 when President Bush advised the public that the best way to beat Al Quida was to “keep shopping.” That put the consumer credit lenders on notice to open the flood gates. The second was during a State of the Union Address. I can not remember exactly which one, but it was early in the Bush administration. The President voiced his goal that “all Americans should reap the benefits of home ownership.” Once again the signal was received loud and clear, not only by mortgage lenders, but by enabling politicians whose near term political goals coincided with the President’s vision, and once again we were off to the races.

 

I think all these instances can be grouped into two broad categories. The first is where the motivation is noble, but the logic is tragically flawed. The politician truly desires to better the lot of the electorate, but doesn’t understand the root issue. Home ownership is a sign of prosperity. If it becomes easier to obtain credit to buy a home, the owner becomes prosperous with the purchase of a house. Continuing that logic, if the government were to buy everyone a Lexus, Mercedes, or BMW, we’d all be considered “rich” and could afford higher taxes. This group proves once again the old axiom; “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

 

The second broad group is as dangerous as the first, but much more pernicious. They are the ones that see the Treasury as an extension of their campaign funds. They use the power of the pen to enact legislation that will direct common resources to benefit their constituency, and support their re-election. In effect, they buy your vote with my money, and visa-versa. This, unfortunately, has become the Washington way of doing business. The McCain-Feingold Act attempts to address this issue, but while trampling the Constitution under heel, misses the point. Because the bill did not address the root cause; there is so much money in politics because there is so much money in government, it serves as the “incumbent protection act” and does more harm than good. Once again, the road to hell…

 

The unfortunate part is that come January, none of this will change. McCain, while he preaches systemic change, is too impulsive to look beyond the surface and address root causes. He is a bull in a china shop, and he doesn’t mind bringing his own china shop. Obama sees change as implementing expanded policy and legislation, delivering more power into the hands of the very people who have brought us to this crisis, either through benign incompetence or malevolent self promotion.

 

In either case, I fear we will get the change promised. But we will find out that disaster is also a form of change.

The Nanny Congress and Tobacco

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Elections, John McCain, News, Obama, politics with tags , , , on August 1, 2008 by Randy Streu

On Wednesday, a not-well-publicized vote went to Congress, to turn over the regulation of tobacco to the FDA. The bill, of course, puts more money into the FDA to combat smoking, in the latest federal attempt to keep adults from taking care of themselves as they see fit. John McCain approves of the measure. So does Barack Obama. And, as evidenced by a 326-102 vote in favor, so do far too many “Republicans.” Virginia Republican Tom Davis even called it a “vital step in protecting the public health.”

So is mandating condom use, Tom… at least in theory. Where does it end?

I got a letter in the mail the other day from the treasurer of the RNC, asking if I’ve given up on the Republican Party. With votes like this one, I continue to wonder if it’s not the other way around.

Michigan rep John Dingell, in making his own impassioned plea for the bill’s passage, even tipped his (and most of the Democrat Party’s) hand as to their attitude in approaching the smoking issue:

The distinguished gentleman (Rep. John Boehner, a smoker), the minority leader, is going to be amongst the next to die. I am trying to save him, as the rest of us are, because he is committing suicide every time he puffs on one of those things.

In other words, since Boehner — and every other consenting adult that chooses to light up — is too stupid to care about health, we, the federal government, should do it for them.  This is, frankly, the type of big-government, elitist nanny-state nonsense I thought we elected Republican leaders to fight.  But only 102 had the cojones to stand up to it?

Of course, other Dems (and GOP supporters) tried to deflect the nanny-state explanation of Dingell with the same old song and dance number called “It’s about the children.”  If I hear that tired refrain again, I may actually tear my hair out.  If I hear it from another Republican, I think I’m switching to a doomed third party.

Aren’t we paying these idiots to deal with important things?  Don’t we have bigger fish to fry?  This week, they’ve apologized for slavery and now taken “great strides” in fighting tobacco.  I thought maybe they’d want to toss around that off-shore drilling idea a bit, since their constituency is losing their collective shirt on gas prices.  Or maybe vote to kill attacks on the First Amendment like the “Fairness Doctrine.”  Does anyone else get the feeling that the Legislature is just running down the clock until vacation time?

Get Active: Stop the Fairness Doctrine

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, Get Active!, politics with tags , , , on July 18, 2008 by Randy Streu

What follows is a “Forward” sent to me by Grassfire.net, after signing the petition to demand a vote on HR290, the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007.

7/18/2008

I just signed a petition opposing the so-called “Fairness Doctrine
and similar efforts to silence conservative leaders like Rush Limbaugh,
Mark Levin and Sean Hannity.

Now I understand that liberal leaders are blocking an effort to
protect the rights of conservatives.

Please join me in signing this petition.

Just When You Thought The PC Police Couldn’t Get Any More Idiotic…

Posted in civil rights, First Amendment, News, politics with tags , , , , , , on July 13, 2008 by Randy Streu

I wanted to post this a couple days ago, but time eluded me.  Better late than never, as they say.  Anyway, you’ve likely read or heard by now of the latest racial row in Dallas County, TX.  If not, here’s the sum:  White guy says the term “black hole,” referring to an office in which things seem to get lost a lot; two Commissioners of African-American descent take umbrage to the term, calling it unacceptable and going so far as to demand an apology.  It seems “Black hole” is now a racist term.

Never mind that the term refers to an area of space devoid of all light, and therefore actually “black.”  One commissioner, in defending his position to a local news outlet, equates the term to other “racially charged” ideas, such as white “Angel Food Cake” versus black “Devil’s food cake” or a “Black sheep.”

One would think that, before an elected County official starts acting offended and taking an official position on a topic, he may want to consider history and usage.  But context, evidently, is too difficult a concept for these particular Commissioners.  They might consider, for example, that the term “black sheep” is informed by the relative rarity in use of black sheep, thanks to the limited usability of black wool for fabric (versus white wool, which is preferred, not because some hick redneck thinks it makes some racial point, but because it is easier to dye other colors).  Hell, I’m not even all that educated — or from Texas — and I can figure that out.  Our dear Commissioner John Wiley Price may even have been able to simply google it, if the logic of the thing was too difficult.

But this whole debacle has got me thinking.  We must be doing pretty damned well, race-relations-wise, if this is the kind of stupid shit people have to complain about.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just irritable.  Does anyone else have a different opinion?  Maybe you think the guy’s got a point?  I want to know.  Really.  I have to understand what’s going through the brain of somebody who actually thinks like this.  I won’t even make fun of you.  Much.

The Federal Government Is Trampling your Right to Contact America’s Enemies in Private

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, national defense, News, politics, Stupid Media with tags , on July 9, 2008 by Randy Streu

I will freely admit that I’ve longed believed the mainstream media has a left-wing bias.  I will also freely admit that I, personally, have more of a right-wing bias, and that I am therefore more sensative, perhaps, to such biases when they come from a purportedly “balanced” media.

So I was annoyed, but not surprised, when I read the ABC News write-up of the Congressional passage of the FISA Bill.  From the page title (“Spy Bill Passes: Gov’t Free to Spy on You”) to its faintly veiled commentary (“And so the FISA bill was an ‘historial embarrassment’ that Specter became complicit in when he chose later to vote for the law.”), the piece is rife with the sort of fear-mongering nonsense for which the news media is, sadly, becoming known.  And,  of course, their basic conclusion, that the Government wants to SPY ON YOU, is not only way off-base, but an out-and-out lie on the part of liberals and media goons.

What the bill does do — what the Homeland Security domestic spying program has always done — is allow for the wiretapping of known enemies of the state (i.e., terrorists), and those inside our borders who are in contact with them.  How do we know these domestic individuals are in contact?  Simple.  When you call a tapped phone, your call is traced.  The bill also grants cooperating phone companies a level of protection from lawsuits for the act of, you know, aiding in the defense of our country.

So let’s review:  The government isn’t spying on you.  George Bush doesn’t give two flying figs about your date last night, or how hot the neighbor is, or about the crappy book you’re reading.  Unless you happen to be chatting up a known Enemy of State, your communication is secure.  We simply don’t have the resources to tap every phone in America, and Americans wouldn’t stand for it if we did (even Republicans).  Nobody’s “rights” are being violated — unless you consider the ability to privately contact a terrorist a “right.”

Just a fair warning, by the way: Anyone who chooses to argue by incorrectly quoting Ben Franklin, and attempting to equate his brilliant remarks on essential liberty and temporary safety to the situation here will simply be labeled an idiot and ignored, unless you can demonstrate how contacting known terrorists falls under “essential liberty.”  Good luck with that.