Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Shooting from the hip
President Bush's budget "cut" prompts a few thoughts.
First, the budget cut is not really a cut. The federal budget will grow
by four percent this year. It is still growing, just not at the eight percent
rate the government enjoyed under the Clinton administration.
Maybe one day we can elect a president and congress capable of really
cutting the budget.
Knowing the nature of politicians and voters, the probability is low.
Second, the relative rate of spending was much higher under Clinton when
you consider that while he grew government at eight percent per year, he
did not spend the necessary money on our military. Instead he coasted on
the military procurements of the Reagan/Bush years.
Anyone that owns a car knows that you can save a few bucks in the short-term
by putting off minor repairs and maintenance. Most of us also know that you
will pay double and triple later on as minor problems turn into big ones.
Clinton did not check under the hood of our military for eight years and
we are going to get the bill shortly.
Bush has a tough row to hoe if he is going to reverse eight years of neglect
in our fighting forces and cut government spending as well.
It is probably just as well that nobody died and made me king.
Or president for that matter.
I would counter China's demand for an apology with an offer — an
offer to stomp a mud hole in their country and then stomp it dry if they
did not have all our people and every scrap of that airplane back home in
If the plane did not come home, we would commence to stomping.
There is no other way to deal with a bully like China, whether you are
on a third-grade playground or the stage of international affairs.
Like everything in this world, there is a price.
There is a price for doing what is right, and a price for not doing it
If we are not willing to do what is right and pay that price that goes
with it, our days are already numbered as a free country.
And one day, we will get to pay the price of appeasing a bully. It is
a fair bet the cost will be a lot higher then.
I took great joy in reading where an Italian-American group has sued
HBO for its stereotypical portrayal of Italians as mobsters in "The
It is offensive to the Italians.
I do hope that they are doing it tongue-in-cheek to point out the silliness
of many American's long cruise on the good ship Ethnic/Gender Sensitivity.
As we are beginning to see, the destination on this cruise is Port Absurd
in the land of the Morons.
Speaking for myself, I will stay on the dock in America where I have the
right to offend, as well as be offended, without worry of civil or criminal
So far at least.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
DOT spending your money to squash free speech
There is a fellow named Pat Barber who has been fighting our state for
the last couple of years over his right to speak freely.
He just won. It is unfortunate that he had to fight at all, and doubly
so that he had to go to the Texas Supreme Court before he did.
Barber is an attorney. He also has some pretty strong feelings about the
Constitution and likes to spread the word.
Near Colorado City, along Interstate 20, he put up a sign on his own land
that read, "Just Say NO to Searches." If you dialed the telephone number
on the sign you got a recording telling you to exercise your constitutional
right to say no when police ask to search your car.
The Texas Department of Transportation ordered him to remove the sign.
Apparently, the sign was not well received by some.
One of the most bothersome aspects to the whole story is that many of
those most opposed to the sign were reportedly members of the law enforcement
If it true, it is a shame. Texas Peace Officers are sworn to protect the
Constitution — not subvert it in the name of making a few more busts.
The U. S. Constitution protects all Americans against unreasonable searches,
including peace officers, and for very good reason. The prohibition against
unreasonable searches is one of just a few checks written into the Constitution
to prevent our country from becoming a police state.
If a peace officer has probable cause he can search your car whether you
consent or not. All he has to do is obtain a search warrant. If he does not
have probable cause, he cannot search your car unless you give consent.
You do not have to give consent.
And no peace officer should begrudge a fellow American this right.
When we get to the point that the ends justify the means — when
we are willing to sacrifice basic rights to accomplish a minor goal, we've
lost the war for freedom.
All the drug busts in the world will not fix what is wrong with our country
at that point.
Pat Barber deserves a medal for his stand against the petty bureaucrats
of the Department of Transportation that would prefer to keep the Constitution
safely in the dark, and away from the eyes of the people.
The DOT officials involved ought to be fired, and then forcibly immigrated
to China where they would be more comfortable with police search procedures.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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