The Daily Switch

Posts Tagged ‘Freedom of Speech’

New Era of Obama = Same Old Politics

Posted by maker on December 18, 2009

As much as this characterizes our government, it is also becoming a universal sentiment of an entitled society.

Last week, President Obama lashed out at the financial institutions on Wall Street, again.

When the President of the United States flippantly refers to private citizens and their businesses as ‘fat cat bankers on Wall Street’ there is a problem with the president. When the public sees nothing wrong with this, there is a larger problem with the public itself.

The irony of this particular instance of class warfare populism exhibited by Barack Obama, is that as he delivers these remarks, we learn that government employees are much better paid than private workers. This may seem unrelated at first glance, however, the president petulantly proclaimed these so called ‘fat-cats’ the architects of our current recession, seemingly excusing the federal government of any and all responsibility in the matter. I won’t get into all the intricacies and arguments here, but suffice it to say this is a more than generous revision on the president’s part. So the age old question ‘cui bono?’ does not reflect well on those ‘fat cats’ in D.C. if we understand their role in the unraveling of our economy compared to their ever increasing compensation.

The cycle is a vicious yet convenient one: Support and push policies that loudly proclaim help for the helpless while quietly destroying the free market, which action directly creates more ‘helpless’ to promise more for while also creating the circumstances in which people will more likely cede power to ‘the only people’ who can fix things. Oh, and they need to be better compensated for all the extra work of saving us.

In fact, USA Today reported the following:

  • On average, federal employees earned $71,206 per year, compared to $40,331 in the private sector.
  • From December 2007 through June 2009, average federal employee salaries increased by 6.6 percent, while average private-sector salaries increased by 3.9 percent. Federal employees at the top of the pay scale received pay increases of 8.6 percent during that period.
  • Federal employment is getting top-heavy. Federal employees making more than $100,000 increased from 14 percent to 19 percent of total government employment. In fact, the number of federal employees making more than $100,000 has more than doubled in less than two years. There are now more federal employees making more than $100,000 per year than $40,000 per year.

How could anyone say no to this face?

In light of these facts, how can any government employee begrudge any private citizen their salary? The fact is that these ‘fat cats’ on Wall Street are creating something. They are creating jobs and wealth for millions. The ‘fat cats’ in Washington are best known for creating hurdles for those that would create jobs and wealth.

Worse still, Obama warns that the ‘fat cats’ had better stop opposing government control of their pay and strict oversight of their day-to-day operations because, basically, they owe him for the bailout, which coincidentally many of them have paid back and others have been deterred from paying back.

Obama’s ignorance seems only matched and perhaps exceeded by his unmitigated arrogance. These comments were made just before the president was to meet with said ‘fat cats’ to persuade them to comply with his wishes.

Who says this guy isn’t smooth?

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Posted in Capitalism, Conservatism, Culture, Economics, Liberalism, Liberty, Obama, Politics, The Daily Switch, War on Business | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Whither the Constitution?

Posted by maker on May 1, 2009

With the recent revelation that Justice David Souter will be retiring from the Supreme Court, we are given an opportunity for debate on a matter of great importance. Is the Constitution of the United States of America relevant or even worth consulting? Surely, foundational respect and reverence for the Constitution is an apolitical issue, no? If only it were that simple.

Justice Souter

There are two sides to the debate over the Constitution and its legitamacy. On the one hand, there are those that believe that it is a ‘living, breathing’ document that changes over time as cultural or societal norms shift or decay. On the other are those who say the Constitution means what it says and says what it means, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, this is another issue that is pretty clearly divided along ideological lines. Liberals, or more accurately, Statists tend to believe that as times change the Constitution must adapt and change as well. Conservatives trend towards acknowledging that the values and morals implicit in the Constitution are timeless and just as applicable today as they were at their writing. It seems that in valuing the Constitution we are faced with an ‘all or nothing’ decision. As Mark Levin writes in his new book Liberty and Tyranny ,

“If the Constitution’s meaning can be erased or rewritten, and the Framers’ intentions ignored, it ceases to be a constitution but is instead a concoction of political expedients that serve the contemporary policy agendas of the few who are entrusted with public authority to preserve it.”

Is the Constitution a binding contract prescribing the standards for governing? Or, can the laws be changed based on trends or feelings indicative of different social ‘values’? Levin goes on to say,

“To say the Constitution is a ‘living and breathing document’ is to give license to arbitrary and lawless activism. It is a mantra that gained purchase in the early twentieth century and is paraded around by the Statist as if to legitimate that which is illegitimate.”

Article V of the Constitution addresses the ways that changes can be made to the Constitution. There are but two, and only one has ever been used. The built-in difficulty of changing the Constitution speaks to the critical nature of its reliability. A constitution is made powerful by its permanence. If it is something easily altered or ‘reinterpreted ‘ it is a sand-like foundation at best.

The Constitution

The Constitution

 

 We can mostly agree that the founding of our country was a net good. And, judging by the 200 plus years since, it has birthed the greatest nation in history, both in might and benefit to the rest of the world. This success is owed entirely to the Constitution that has liberated, prospered and strengthened generations of people united under its protections, and to the principles and faith upon which it was founded.

 The question I submit for your consideration is this: If the Constitution is a malleable thing, upon what foundation is our country now built?

Posted in Conservatism, Culture, Liberalism, Liberty, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

From the Field

Posted by maker on April 15, 2009

Can you feel it?

Can you feel it?

Today I was driving through western Tennessee for work.  One of the real benefits of my job is the privilege to get to know this country a little better, first hand. I was struck by the beauty of the land even on a cool and overcast day. The rolling hills and quaint little towns seem so far away and insulated from the rest of the country which is reportedly rife with turmoil and despair. I also noticed that more than any other area I’ve travelled, northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky seemed packed with birds of prey. Nearly every mile I travelled brought with it the sight of an owl, hawk or bald eagle. At the risk of  inordinate sappiness, I’ll tell you that every time I see a bald eagle I find myself overcome with a sense of nostalgia and patriotism. I try to imagine what the founders must have intended with the choice of this majestic bird as a national symbol and I am proud. 

As I passed by small town after small town I listened to a long line of callers reporting in to conservative talk radio shows about their experiences of the Tax Day Tea Parties they attended. I was struck by the unique nature of today’s events. When do we as conservatives ever do something as a group? When do we clearly articulate a feeling, belief or sentiment in a way so attractive to so many?  These thoughts caused me to regret being away from home and unable to participate.  I even looked up locations in Tennessee just in case I might have time to stop on the way to the airport. Unfortunately, the event in Nashville was scheduled to end before I would arrive. I resigned myself to live vicariously through the callers speaking of their ‘electrifying’, ’empowering’ and ‘encouraging’ experiences.

Original Tea Party Tea

Original Tea Party Tea

As I navigated my way through the town square of Springfield, TN (pop. approximately 16,000) on my way to Franklin, KY, I noticed a large crowd forming in front of the courthouse.  I checked the clock and was thrilled that I had an hour and a half  to spare before my next appointment about 30 minutes down the road. I turned around, parked and walked towards the courthouse to find that the crowd I had seen just moments before had already grown and was continuing to do so.  I approached the outskirts of the crowd and was struck by the diversity of the assembled throng. Business men and women in various levels of formal work attire mixed with obvious farmers who rubbed shoulders with young mothers pressed up against men in full revolutionary war garb. It seemed as though everyone in the crowd, regardless of dress, held something in their hands, whether it be a sign, child, camera, placard or breifcase (no pitchforks or torches. Sorry, acorn).

As I pressed in a little closer I noted the countenance of the people around me. Despite the reported rage that was fueling these ‘radical’ protests, I was met with bright eyes and ready smiles, doubly surprising if you knew what I look like. This was not an angry mob. This was a peaceful gathering of good-willed citizens exercising their constitutional right to assembly, many for the first time.

I caught the attention of a nearby participant to ask what time things were scheduled to start. He informed me that they were running behind because of a court proceeding that was running long that they didn’t want to interrupt. Twenty minutes, two renditions of This Land is Your Land, God Bless America, countless chants of U.S.A! and one Pledge of Allegiance later, a local pastor named Bob Carroll stepped up to a podium to deliver his speech. The speech was well written, well delivered and well received. It was met with loud applause at times, shouts of encouragement and agreement at others. It was stirring and surprisingly non-partisan. The greatest strength of the speech, however, was its seamless inclusion of direct quotes from the constitution.

Sadly, at this point I had to hit the road again. Nonetheless satisfied, I proudly returned to my work comforted by the knowledge that even in what some would label a “backward’ southern area these tea parties were being conducted in a respectful, peaceful and effective manner.

My sincere hope for this country is that these Tea Parties might stir something up within the citizenry. I pray that we would consult history to learn from what our leaders are so eager to repeat. I pray we would each set aside our prejudice and party affiliation and embrace common sense and respect for the constitution upon which this great country is founded.

Posted in Capitalism, Conservatism, Culture, Economics, Liberty, Politics, The Daily Switch | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Liberty’s Last Breath

Posted by Ender on February 16, 2009

Earlier this week Geert Wilders was denied access to England where he was invited to speak before the UK House of Lords. He was preparing to give a speech after the viewing of a sixteen minute documentary on radical Islam. The movie is called Fitna and can be found here.  (Please be advised that it is graphic and is not for weaker stomachs.)

Wilders was arrested on the tarmac in Heathrow airport and immediately returned to the Netherlands. The UK had this to say of the documentary “[it contains] extreme anti-Muslim hate and we have very clear laws in this country.”

If you did not watch Fitna it contains quotes from the Quran, speeches from Muslim leaders, pictures from protests, videos of terrorist attacks and pictures of victims. It attempts to visibly show the clear link between radical Islam and terror. Now, as is the case here, some people are doing everything in their power to bury their heads in the sand in order to ignore this link. The actions by the UK government are a deliberate attempt to silence the debate on this issue. Please keep in mind this is the same government that allowed Ibrahim Moussawi, the spokesman for the terrorist group Hezbollah to speak before them. This is how an extremely liberal government shows its “tolerance.” By silencing the free speech of one side and giving a bull horn to the other.

How can no one see the insane hypocrisy here?

If they can see it, why aren’t they outraged by it?

What a joke.  What a perverse, sick, disgusting joke.  When a society is ready to classify the truth as a hate crime, it is ready to die.

The would be Wilders speech can be found here. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing.

One quote,

“Ladies and gentlemen, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack. In Europe, freedom of speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural component of our existence is now something we again have to fight for. That is what is at stake. Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue. The question is: Will free speech be put behind bars? We have to defend freedom of speech.”

I am saddened to say that the moment the UK banned Wilders from speaking was the exact moment free speech died in Britain.

I pray that there are some left in Britain who agree with Wilders when he said,

“We will never apologize for being free. We will never give in. We will never surrender. Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail.”

I pray that Liberty did not breath its last breath in Britain this week. I pray that I’ll never say the same about America.

Posted in Culture, Liberty, National Security | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »