Showing posts with label Jonah Goldberg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jonah Goldberg. Show all posts

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another Take on The Press' Response to First Amendment Violations

We are all concerned about the potential violation of First Amendment rights by our beloved Justice Department but Jonah Goldberg has an interesting take on the First Amendment and the press' reaction to the intrusion on its particular interest in that amendment.   We think it's worth of reflection as we celebrate this holiday weekend and those that died in defense of our Constitution and way of life.

Don't edit the First Amendment
The press tends to forget about the parts it finds inconvenient.
by Jonah Goldberg from National Review Online

"“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

That’s the full text of the First Amendment. But (with apologies to the old Far Side comic), this is what many in the press, academia, and government would hear if you read it aloud: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, blah blah blah, or abridging the freedom of the press, blah blah blah blah.”

Don’t get me wrong: The revelation that the Obama Justice Department has gone to unprecedented lengths to hamper or punish journalists is real news. DOJ trawlers dropped a gill net over the Associated Press in the hope of landing a single fish.

James Rosen, a reporter for Fox News (where I am a contributor), is the first journalist ever treated as a criminal under the Espionage Act. Other reporters at Fox — a news outlet the president has spent years trying to delegitimize — have been investigated by the DOJ as well. 

The press can always be counted upon not just to speak up for itself, but to lavish attention on itself. “We can’t help that we’re so fascinating,” seems to be their unspoken mantra.

And that’s fine. What’s not fine is the way so many in the press talk about the First Amendment as if it’s their trade’s private license.

The problem is twofold. First, we all have a right to commit journalism under the First Amendment, whether it’s a New York Times reporter or some kid with an iPhone shooting video of a cop abusing someone.

I understand that professional journalists are on the front lines of the First Amendment’s free-press clause. But many elite outlets and journalism schools foster a guild mentality that sees journalism as a priestly caste deserving of special privileges. That’s why editorial boards love campaign-finance restrictions: They don’t like editorial competition from outside their ranks. Such elitism never made sense, but it’s particularly idiotic at a moment when technology — Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Vine, etc. — is democratizing political speech.

The second problem is that the First Amendment is about more than the press. In public discussion, First Amendment “experts” and “watchdogs” are really scholars and activists specializing in the little slice dedicated to the press. The Newseum, a gaudy palace in the nation’s capital celebrating the news industry, ostentatiously reprints the entire First Amendment on its facade. But if the curators of the Newseum are much interested in the free exercise of religion or the rights of the people peaceably to assemble, I’ve seen no evidence of it.

White House press secretary and former journalist Jay Carney repeatedly insists that the president is a “strong defender” and “firm believer” in the First Amendment.

Even if that were true when it comes to press freedoms — and that’s highly debatable — it’s absurd when it comes to the rest of the First Amendment, with the small exception of the “establishment of religion” clause. Deeply secular, the press is ever watchful that the government might force someone to listen to a Christian prayer.

But when it comes to the constitutional right to exercise your faith freely, the press drops its love of the First Amendment like a bag of dirt. The president’s health-care plan requires religious institutions to violate their core beliefs. To the extent that such concerns get coverage at all, it’s usually to lionize “reproductive rights” activists in their battles against religious zealots.

The IRS scandal and the DOJ’s assault on the press may be two separate issues, but they are both about the First Amendment. The groups the IRS discriminated against wanted to exert their First Amendment rights to assemble, to petition government, and to speak freely. Then–House speaker Nancy Pelosi dubbed angry voters at local town-hall meetings “un-American.”

Some Americans wanted to exercise their religious conscience. (James Madison, author of the First Amendment, said, “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”) The IRS told one pro-life group in Iowa that it had to promise — on pain of perjury — not to protest Planned Parenthood. That is an outrageous assault on the First Amendment as disgusting as anything aimed at the AP or Fox News.

By all means, journalists should be outraged by the president’s attitude toward the press. But if you’re going to call yourself a defender of the First Amendment, please defend the whole thing and not just the parts you make a living from.""

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Obama's Energy Policy

Jonah Goldberg has a good column on the president's energy policy so we thought we'd share it with you.   One thing we think he might have stressed more was the president's opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline.    While the president tells us he wants our country less dependent on foreign oil, he has scuttled the opportunity to use oil from a friendly 'foreign' country, Canada....

Obama's pump debacle
The president's energy policies have been a failure.

"As gasoline prices climb, President Obama's poll numbers plummet. In February, a Washington Post/ABC poll had Obama up 6 points against Mitt Romney. Monday's poll has him down 2. According to the polls, gas prices are a huge part of the story, particularly given how the last 30 days or so have not exactly been great for the GOP.
No wonder Obama is desperate to get out in front of the issue. The dilemma is that he's invested so much of his prestige in his energy policies that he can't admit those policies have been an abject failure. But he also can't have people thinking his policies are responsible for the energy price Americans care about most: gasoline.

"Despite the gains we've made, today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future," the president declared Monday in a statement on the one-year anniversary of his "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future."

Let's take the second proposition first. Obama often says, "Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years." That's true: It's also true that under Obama's administration, Snooki from "Jersey Shore" got pregnant and Charlie Sheen lost his job. And he can take about as much credit for those developments too.

Never mind that if he'd gotten the cap-and-trade proposals he campaigned on, energy prices would be even worse. (He once acknowledged that under his proposals, electricity prices would "skyrocket" and coal companies would go bankrupt. His Energy secretary, Steven Chu, admitted he wanted America to emulate European gas prices, when they were about $8 per gallon.)

The boom in oil production has taken place almost entirely on private and state lands, while on federal lands it's dropped (11% from 2010 to 2011 alone). The administration has also slowed the permitting of offshore oil and gas development to a trickle.
Another major factor is the development of new technologies that make it possible to extract ever-more fuel from domestic sources. Instead of words of support, Obama keeps telling those companies they need to be taxed more and have their subsidies yanked.

Ending subsidies to business entirely, including oil companies, is a good idea. But Obama's policy is completely different. He thinks he's smarter than the market and can pick winning industries and products.

It's an ugly record. Forget Solyndra — and other solar and wind firms that have been going belly up like birds around a windmill — that's old news. So is his decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline.

Last year, the Energy Department awarded a $10-million "L Prize" for development of an affordable and eco-friendly light bulb. Phillips just put its winning model on the market, for $50 apiece. Meanwhile, GM has temporarily suspended production of the Volt because of lack of demand for the "affordable" electric car.

On the unaffordable end of the market, things are even worse. Consumer Reports tried to test drive the new $107,850 Fisker Karma, but it couldn't. "We buy about 80 cars a year, and this is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process."

There's actually plenty Obama could do to help with gas prices, but he's right not to do some of them. He shouldn't release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, nor should he appease Iran on its nuclear program. But he could suspend the Jones Act, which requires that all ships carrying goods between American ports be U.S. flagged. Doing so would dramatically lower the cost to distribute oil and gas.

Obama was recently asked by Fox News' Ed Henry whether high gas prices are a deliberate result of White House policies. His response was telling. "From a political perspective, do you think the president of the United States going into reelection wants gas prices to go up higher? Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?"

In other words, Obama desperately wants people to think he's against higher gas prices — at least until he gets reelected."

Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at AEI.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Of Energy Independence and the Failed "Green" Jobs Effort

Jonah Goldberg has an interesting column on energy and 'green' jobs, "America's "Green" Quagmire.  Besides showing that he isn't in the 'flyover' mode  of most politicians and columnists (he talks of passing trucks carrying windmill blades on his 2000 mile jaunt across the country) he notes that the war-like effort that failed former President Carter hoped to initiate with the Department of Energy has not only failed to achieve energy independence but has also been corrupted by the hijacking of the effort by the green job promises of Obama and company.    Omaha's failed 'green-jobs-producing-mayor' might well consider the article which can be found in it's entirety at: http://www.aei.org/article/104048 .

Here is a little of what Goldberg had to say:
  • The notion that we should move to a war footing on energy has been a reigning cliche of U.S. politics ever since Jimmy Carter's Oval Office energy crisis address in 1977. "This difficult effort will be the 'moral equivalent of war'--except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy."
  • If we want energy independence..... we would massively expand our domestic drilling for oil and gas and our use of coal or carbon-free nuclear. That would also create lots of jobs that can't be exported (you can't drill for American oil in China, but we can, and do, buy lots of Chinese-made solar panels).
  • As for the windfall in green jobs, that has always been a con job.
  • ......Barack Obama came into office insisting that Spain was beating the U.S. in the rush for green jobs. Never mind that in Spain--where unemployment is now at 21%--the green jobs boom has been a bust. One major 2009 study by researchers at King Juan Carlos University found that the country destroyed 2.2 jobs in other industries for every green job it created, and the Spanish government has spent more than half a million euros for each green job created since 2000. Wind industry jobs cost a cool $1 million euros apiece.
  • The record in America has been no better, Obama's campaign stump speeches notwithstanding. The New York Times, which has been touting the green agenda in its news pages for years, admitted last week that "federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show." Even Obama's former green jobs czar concedes the point, as do other leading Democrats, including Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles.
  • Green jobs, like shovel-ready jobs, proved a myth in no small part because Obama is eager to talk as if this green stuff was the moral equivalent of war, but he's not willing or able to do things a real war requires.
  • What we're left with is not the moral equivalent of war but the moral equivalent of a quagmire. A very expensive quagmire.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Birthright Citizenship and the Constitution

We're not big fans of the "living Constitution" concept promoted by liberals. We do believe that citizens have the right to amend the Constitution and while we're not exactly fans of Lindsey Graham we think that an amendment dealing with automatic citizenship for the children of illegal aliens has lots of merit. That's where we stand.

In any event, Jonah Goldberg has an interesting column, 'Constitutional Amendments and Citizenship Rights', on the issue that's worth the read at(http://townhall.com/columnists/JonahGoldberg/2010/08/11/constitutional_amendments_and_citizenship_rights/page/full).
We tend to agree with one of his closing comments: "From birthright citizenship and gay marriage to flag-burning and gun rights, I trust the American people to change the Constitution when necessary (after lengthy debate) more than I trust five out of nine unelected justices with lifetime tenure, hiding behind closed doors and away from TV cameras."