The news today comes out of Birmingham, Alabama--an unlikely place to find such a blatant example of the squelching of free speech and the dangers inherent in daring to speak out against the political powers that be. But first a bit of background.
Russ and Dee Fine have been household names in the Birmingham radio market for over 30 years. Dr. Russ Fine is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He and his wife, Dee, have been tolling the bell for liberty on various radio stations in the area and have amassed quite a following all over the state of Alabama. For the past several years their program has been heard on the local Crawford Broadcasting talk radio station, 101.1 FM in Birmingham. The popularity of the Fines is unquestioned as their program has been the highest rated local talk radio show in the area. This is not to say they do not have their detractors. These fearless champions of freedom have taken on many a powerful politician, sometimes at great personal expense and risk. This has created enemies, no doubt. But the venerable husband-and-wife team bravely carried on the fight no matter what the odds.
Apparently, however, the long arm of big government, special interests, and the almighty dollar finally created such a powerful unholy alliance that the Fines could no longer withstand the continual onslaught. On Monday, Sept. 25, 2006, the Fines were summarily fired by Crawford Broadcasting, even before their morning show had ended. When asked for an explanation, none was provided.
The events prior to Sept. 25, however, give some tale-tell clues as to the explanation.
Russ and Dee Fine almost single-handedly planned and implemented the citizens' campaign to defeat Governor Bob Riley's massive tax increase program, which was proposed in 2002. The Fines began a grassroots effort to get the measure defeated, citing discrepancies in the figures provided by the Governor's office to justify such a sweeping proposal. In short, the measure was defeated by the citizens, and the subsequent years have shown that no such tax increase was needed, since the state coffers are running at a record surplus...all without any tax increase whatsoever.
The Fines were thus vindicated, but they found themselves in stark disfavor in the Governor's office and in the offices of many powerful special interest groups that had a vested interest in the massive tax increase, such as the state's monolithic teacher's union. Apparently these forces have been looking for a means by which to silence the Fines, and they found such an avenue in the current re-election bid of Governor Bob Riley.
A news story appeared in one of the rural news outlets in Alabama that Governor Riley was a member of a Masonic order that allegedly excludes non-whites from membership. The Fines picked up on the story and began talking about the matter on their morning talk show, and this, apparently, is when their latest troubles began.
No one at this point is willing to confirm or deny anything, but one can certainly surmise that some powerful voices came together in a concerted effort to rid the airwaves of Russ and Dee Fine. Crawford Broadcasting caved. And hence, the silence when asked to provide a reason for the decision to pull Russ and Dee off the air.
Make no mistake, this is a blow to liberty. The Fines have a well-known and documented record of support for citizen control of their government, for lower taxes, for 2nd Amendment rights, and for 1st amendment rights.
Although they are off the air, temporarily one can only hope, the Fines have taken their fight to their website at www.russanddeeonline.com.
If you are looking for a cause for which to fight that takes the issue of liberty and free speech to the front lines, look no further than here.