Archive for the First Amendment 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

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.

Get Active: 10-yr-old Suspended for Shell Casing

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, Get Active!, politics, Second Amendment with tags , , , , on May 31, 2008 by Randy Streu

A Fourth-grader at Toy Town Elementary School in Winchendon, MA was suspended for five days for showing his friends an empty shell casing to some friends at lunch.  According to the NRA-ILA, Bradley Geslak had been given the casing — from a blank fired during Memorial Day — by a US veteren.  He was given two, one of which he gave to his grandfather, also a veteren.

He was showing his souvenier off to some friends during lunch when a teacher confiscated the casing and called the boy’s mother to take him home.  He’s also been told he won’t be getting the very dangerous shell casing back.

This is getting beyond the point of ridiculous, and it is time for citizens who care about freedom to step up to the plate.  So frightened of another Columbine situation are school officials that children are being suspended for even drawing pictures of guns.  Schools are overreacting, and creating new problems — and worse, these naive and idiotic new rules provide a false sense of security.  Keeping a kid from drawing a picture, or bringing empty shell casings to school, will not prevent another Columbine.   All it does is punish good kids.

It’s time to tell school officials that there are appropriate ways to safegaurd the safety of students, and that punishing them for innocent and harmless acts aren’t among them.  Rather, this sort of response is a copout to the real work that needs to be done.  Instead, they could actually do their jobs: educate teachers, parents and counselors on recognizing warning signs, be on the watch for actual weapons entering the premises and work with local police to provide an armed safety officer during the school day.

We who love liberty cannot any longer stand quietly by and let things like this happen.  Freedom, no matter where, is everybody’s business.

Let Winchendon Public Schools know how you feel about their punishing a young boy for nothing.  The school needs to give this student a public apology, and expunge this incident from his record.  And, if they have it, they need to return the boy’s property.  Tell them about the appropriate ways to keep their schools safe.  It only takes five minutes to draft and send an email — even less time to leave a voice mail.

To email Superintendent Brooke Clenchy:  bclenchy@winchendonk12.org
To leave a voicemail:  978-297-0031

There is no change without action.

-streu-

Conservatism as Moral Imperative: Why am I Conservative?

Posted in abortion, civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags on May 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

In July of 2003, a group of Berkely researchers for the American Psychological Association did a study on what makes a Conservative.  Rather unsurprisingly, after basing their “research” on the fairly specious definitions to be found in “fifty years of literature,” they basically decided that Conservatives are narrow-minded, bigoted fearmongers by nature or psychology.  That Conservatism, in other words, was a pathology rather than a set of values.

I’m not going to spend this post dispelling the moronic notions put forth in this five-year-old study; if I recall it was fairly deftly dispatched at the time.  But I did come upon this study again the other day, and it got me thinking:  why am I conservative?  What is it that makes being Conservative make so much sense to me?

It is that question I’ll try to answer.

I like to tell people I tried being a liberal once, while I was in college.  I found out I felt neither guilty for my own position in life, nor entitled to anyone else’s.  As glib as this is, there’s also a lot of truth to it — and it cuts to the heart of my position of Conservatism. 

In contrast to the mainstream (and incorrect) view of Conservatism, I am not judgemental or pessimistic.  I’m not wealthy by any financial standard.  I’m not distrusting of, nor biased against, those of other races or genders.  I’m also not a fan of NASCAR, just to eliminate all stereotypes.

Instead, I am something of an optimist.  Although I usually consider myself a realist, the fact is, I believe the best is always possible.  I’m quick to give my trust (though not as quick to give it back once I’ve been burned), and quick to believe in people.  True to stereotype, I am an Evangelical Christian, which goes a long way to explain my concern and, yes, compassion, for my fellow man.

All these things are why I am a Conservative. 

I believe Thomas Jefferson was right when he said, “A man is governed best who is governed least.”  I believe man — every human, regardless of race, creed or sex, is capable of providing for himself without help from a government entity.  Because of this, I believe every individual ought to be responsible for himself and his own family.  Indeed, I believe we function at our best when we are unfettered by government intervention.  I don’t believe a man ought to be given special dispensation because of race.  Being black is not a handicap, and anyone who thinks it is, is a racist.  The same goes for being female.  Or gay, for that matter.  I believe it is not compassionate to foster dependence upon others. 

Real compassion, I believe, is in allowing a person to make his own decisions with the same opportunity for reward and consequence as everybody else.  I don’t believe compassion is forcing others to provide for anyone — rather, when somebody needs help, compassion is providing for them yourself.

I am Conservative, because I believe it is the morally correct position.  I believe a man’s thoughts, beliefs and actions (so long as those actions don’t adversely and without permission impede another’s freedoms) are between him and God alone.  I don’t believe in telling somebody what they can and can’t do within their own persons or households — with exceptions only for that which would needlessly harm another human being.  I also don’t believe in forcing members of society to morally justify or accept those positions in others that they find distasteful or immoral.

I am a Conservative because my conscience demands it.  Slavery in any form — intellectual, moral, political or physical — is evil.  I believe the money a man makes is his money, and that when that money is taxed, it is to be for the purposes outlined in the Constitution — and not for anything else.  To do otherwise is to make that man a slave.

I am a Conservative because I believe life is precious, and must be protected.  I believe humanity is the highest life form on earth, and created after God’s own Image.  Therefore, at all costs, human life must be sustained.

Finally, I am conservative because I believe it is the job of government — the job we, the People, pay them for — to protect us from those who would do us harm.  This is the mandate from the people.  This is the only morality of government:  to keep the peoples’ trust.  To keep us safe. 

Conservatism is for me, a moral imperative.  I am Conservative because it is the way that makes the most sense — from an intellectual level, as well as spiritual. 

… And With That, Political Correctness Takes its Final Nosedive Into Absurdity

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Elections, First Amendment, Obama, politics with tags , , , , on April 9, 2008 by Randy Streu

The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that an Obama delegate and Carpentersville Village Trustee has resigned her delegate nomination and will not be seeking reelection as trustee after a perceived slur made by her to some kids in a tree.

What happened, in essence, is that Trustee Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski went outside Saturday and spotted two children — black children (this is important) — in a tree.  She says she “told the children to quit playing in the tree like monkeys.”  The mother of one kid was offended because her black kid was likened to monkeys (I liken my own white children to monkeys on a near-daily basis, in much the same way as the Trustee did here) and created something of a scene. 

If this was where the story ended, it may still be considered absurd, but not necessarily unheard-of.  Obama’s own books reveal him to be mellodramatically sensitive about race issues.  And, let’s face it, if more libs would resign their posts because they may have said something that may have offended some people, no matter how innocuous in intent, the word would be a better place.  No, another moronic lib quitting because she hurt somebody’s feelings isn’t the issue here.  Well… isn’t the main issue.

What strikes me as very odd is that the police were involved.  Not only involved, but they issued Ramirez-Sliwinski a $75 citation for disorderly conduct, because evidently somebody was “alarmed or disturbed.”  That’s it.  Evidently, if your words hurt, the law gets involved, out Illinois way.

Look, anybody who does not see this as a travesty of human rights is either an idiot or a resident of Hollywood (but I repeat myself).  I don’t care what planet you’re from, telling a couple kids to get out of a tree so they don’t get hurt simply isn’t a crime.  Whether you call them “monkeys,” or “scamps,” or even “twerps. ” “Ankle-biters” should get you arrested, maybe. 

Neither Obama nor the Board of Trustees should be accepting this woman’s resignation.  If these libs were truly the defender of the common man, as they’d have us believe, they should be out there fighting for this woman’s right to free speech.  Where’s the ACLU in all this, I wonder?  Is this not the sort of thing they were formed to stop from happening?

I realize, for those who think that, perhaps, I’m being a bit dramatic myself, that we’re basically talking about a $75 fine here.  But she’s being fined, not for something she did, but something she said — and more importantly, a person’s perception of what she said.

Can a country that acts in such a manner still call herself free?  I wonder.

-streu-

What’s a Conservative to Do?

Posted in Economy, Elections, First Amendment, Fred(!), Hillary, immigration, John McCain, Mitt Romney, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

It was with a heavy heart that I watched Fred Thompson bow out of the race.  A heavy heart as I finally made the decision on Super Tuesday to vote for the nearest candidate left to a true conservative: Mitt Romney.

It was with a heavy heart that I watched Romney get his ass handed to him on Tuesday, and then read his concession speech today.

It was with a heavy heart that I read John McCain’s speech to Conservatives, and began to understand that this arrogant SOB is the only chance we have left against a Dem-led White House.   The speech in which he acknowledged his differences with Conservatives on particular issues, but then dismissed those issues as unimportant.  Issues like the First Amendment and border security.  Issues like the Bush tax cuts. 

To his credit (I guess), McCain did not apologize for his decisions in these matters — merely acknowledged that they failed to line up with the views of the Conservative base.  He still believes the Conservative base is wrong on these issues.  He fails to see how McCain-Feingold attacks the fundamentals of Free Speech.  He promises constructionist judges — but won’t say how he will find judges who are both “strict constructionists” and will uphold McCain-Feingold (because such individuals don’t exist — the two are mutually exclusive.  This leads one to wonder, then, which ideal will be the guiding principle).  He promises to secure the borders first, if elected, but will not backtrack on McCain-Kennedy amnesty for those already living illegally within our borders.  He has not acknowledged any wrongdoing regarding his blatant and false smear against Romney on the Iraq issue.

Today, he said the right things.  I am not convinced — and don’t expect I will be — that he is the right man.

But, we conservatives are told, now is not the time to “abandon” the Republican party.  Now is not the time to let our principles stand in the way of a Republican victory.  There’s a war on, after all, we’re told.  An economy that threatens to collapse.  Could we be so callous, so … so selfish, that we would sacrifice the US to the will of the Democrat party, simply to “make a point?”

So, with a pat on the head (or a smack on the face), we’re told to hang on to those principles until 2012, perhaps.  Or maybe 2018.  The Republicans haven’t abandoned Conservatism, we’re told.  But we really need a win right now.  And if we Conservatives weren’t so damned picky, we could have this thing in the bag.

Fine… so we hang our ideals and vote for McCain.  We beat the Democrats.  And then what?  When do the Conservatives get their party back?  When do get to fight for our own values without being labeled as “traitors” to the party that is even now betraying us?  When do we get to fight the leftward motion of the Republican party, or failing that, leave?  2012?  Assuming there isn’t a similar crisis that demands our loyalty?

McCain spent the last few years of his career betraying Conservatives.  Now he’s asking for our loyalty?  How many times does this dog have to bite before we’re allowed to put it down?

I haven’t yet made up my mind about whether McCain gets my vote in November.  I know he’s not getting my money.  He hasn’t earned my support.  He hasn’t yet earned my vote.  A few paragraphs of pretty words and a call for Conservatives to make nice doesn’t undo McCain-Feingold, or the Gang of 14, or his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, or McCain-Kennedy.  The looming spectre of a Democrat president may well be enough to scare me into pulling the McCain lever.  But neither McCain nor his supporters should make the mistake of taking the vote as anything other than that.

It’s not a mandate to continue pulling the crap he’s been pulling.  It’s not an invitation to urinate all over Conservative principles in the interest of “bipartisanship.”  Conservatives aren’t voting for the Maverick.  They’re voting against the Democrats, plain and simple.  It’ll be a hollow victory for all involved, if victory it is.  A marriage of convenience with divorce looming ever-so-near on the horizen.

So congratulations to John McCain.  He may or may not get my vote, but he has effectively won the nomination.  He hasn’t won my mind.  He hasn’t won the heart and soul of the Republican party.  In spite of the fact that most Conservatives can’t stomach the man, he has a victory.  Maybe it’ll be enough.  Maybe fear of Hillary and Obama will be enough to unite and mobilize the Republican voters.  It’ll have to be.  Because McCain isn’t.