Monday, October 29, 2007

Barbara Jordan said it in 1974...

"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution."
Representative Barbara Jordan (1936 - 1996) ,
speaking at the House Judiciary Watergate Impeachment Hearings

Friday, October 26, 2007

Keep us out of Iran!

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution states that its purpose is to “provide for the national defense” and to “secure the blessings of liberty on ourselves and our posterity.”

A war with Iran would be a breach of that contract that, in my opinion, by itself justifies secession. Such a war against a nation that is no direct threat to our national security, will be financed with borrowed money, fought by troops we cannot spare, attracting enemies (Russia, China, and who knows how many al-Qaeda sleeper cells) we cannot afford to alienate, to secure a product we should be replacing, to which victory again remains undefined.

To suggest that the justification for such a war is “national defense” is Orwellian newspeak (you know, “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”).

I am not anti-Semitic. Israel can defend itself, and if Europe feels threatened, then let it take responsibility for its own defense. They need Middle Eastern oil more than we do. I think Americans who can view the issue objectively, will understand that my position is simply common sense.

A war with Iran will be a catastrophe from which the United States of America, as we now know it, will never recover. Not financially. Not politically. Not militarily. Not economically. Not ever.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making secessionism respectable

(Disclaimer to fellow secessionists: I shall be mildly critical of some of my fellow travelers; however, I do subscribe to the Middlebury Institute's Statement of Collegiality)

While I am a new to public participation in the secessionist movement, I have been thinking about this subject for many years. I have discussed it privately with my friends and acquaintances; and frankly, Ohio secessionists have some baggage to carry that those in other states may not.

First, to recite the obvious, Abraham Lincoln and the Radical Republicans of his day did an excellent job of brainwashing the American public into thinking that secession was illegal. This sense of illegality is strengthened by three court decisions: Texas v. White (U.S. Supreme Court, 1869), Chancely v. Bailey and Cleveland (Georgia Supreme Court, 37 Georgia Reports 532, 1868), and Kohlhaas v. State (Alaska Supreme Court, 2006).

Secondly, also obviously, the same people planted it into the heads of generations of Americans that the purpose of the Civil War was to abolish slavery; therefore, secessionism in any form is inherently racist.

Thirdly, Ohioans share with other Midwesterners a strong sense of the practical. This has served us well in history, since we are noted for our inventiveness; but it also means that we don’t deal very well with philosophical abstractions. To put it in plain English: if we can’t see the practicality of an idea up front, we reject the idea before even considering its other merits. When the subject of secession comes up, the usual first response is: it won’t work!

Finally, Ohio has a special problem. Ours is, and always has been, a diverse state. In the Nineteenth Century, being located along many of the major transportation routes across the continent, we faced waves of immigration from the English, French, Germans, Irish, and Swiss; followed by Italians, Greeks, and various Eastern European nationalities. Our industrial base in the mid-Twentieth Century attracted Afro-Americans; and today, we experience immigration from Hispanics, Asian Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and various nationalities from the Islamic world. However, Ohioans historically have also had a very strong commitment to the English language as the medium of political and commercial communication, and (at least until the early 1980s) a strong commitment to limited state and local government.

This diversity is what makes Ohio so interesting to the national political pundits. We are neither a red state nor a blue state. We are a rich purple – or to carry the analogy to its breaking point, we are a gradient: solid blue in Cleveland and Youngstown gradually turning into solid red in Cincinnati.

This also means that, unlike New England and the Deep South, we do not have a provincial tradition. In fact, at least since the Civil War, Ohioans have been very self-conscious about being self-conscious. We seem to want to blend into America as a whole. Except for a special ceremony in Chillicothe on Statehood Day (which relatively few of us know is March 1), we passed our Bicentennial in 2003 very quietly, being mostly remembered for our painted barns and Bicentennial bells in each county.

We must be prepared with more facts than theories, and show our people a great return on the investment of time, effort, and emotion that such an enterprise will require.

I do not think Ohio is alone in these challenges. I imagine the same can be said for the secessionists in the upper Midwest, California, and the Pacific Northwest, among others. If secessionism is to become a pan-American movement, then, we need cooperation from our fellow travelers:

1. Let’s show some decorum in our communications, and show some respect for the Presidency of the United States, even if the incumbent doesn’t deserve it. Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence that “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes” President Bush’s term of office ends January 20, 2009. The republics we seek to create we want to outlive us.

2. In the same vein, I appreciate humor as much as anyone; but secession involves changing established ways of thinking, and a radical change to our way of life. Of course we believe it to be for the better, but it would help if we held back on flippant remarks in our blogs.

3. Most of us need to make a special effort to ensure that our movements are open to people of all races and creeds. Without sacrificing the essential principles of decentralism, we need to remember that the secessionist tent has to be the biggest one of all, because it involves everyone in our area. We need to have the active involvement of, and access to governance by, a cross-section of our populations: men, women, Caucasians, Afro-Americans, Asian-Americans, Democrats, Republicans, and the huge mass of the people who are fed up with both.

4. I have always believed in political campaigns, it is best to balance the negative with the positive. Each time we send a negative message about the economic disaster to come, or the follies of the “Empire,” we need to balance it with the positive advantages of independence. Contrary to conventional political wisdom, I believe that Americans are now open, more than in many years, to people with positive visions – including ours.

What this means for the Ohio secessionist is that we have the challenge of making our independence even imaginable for our people. If we act like adults with a serious message, open our movements to all who support our objectives, and balance our negative and positive messages, we will ultimately succeed. And ultimately is what counts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another voice against empire

Veteran journalist Charley Reese has reminded us that the Pentagon now has 702 overseas bases in 130 countries, on which are stationed more than 250,000 uniformed troops. The question is, why do we need all those bases? How do they contribute to our national defense? The only powers that can really wage war against us are Russia and China – and against them, land-based forces in distant parts of the world will be useless, because they will fight with missiles.

The only reason for such an extended military is to maintain an empire. Or as Mr. Reese writes,

“Americans need to realize that we are not the police force of the world. It is not our responsibility to overthrow dictators or effect regime change in other people's countries. It is not our responsibility to stop slaughters such as seem to be a permanent feature of Africa.”

He concludes: “You can't have a free republic and an empire. It is time to choose.” A free republic needs a strong defense. It also needs to mind its own business.

Your vote may be a public record

As though we weren’t having enough problems already, Dan Williamson of The Other Paper (Columbus, October 18) reports that voters in ten Ohio counties who use iVotronic machines no longer have a secret ballot. It appears than an individual’s vote can be identified simply by making a request under Ohio’s public records law and comparing the paper trail from the voting machine with the poll books, which show the order in which individuals voted.

State Senator Jeff Jacobson (R-Dayton), a leading elections expert in the General Assembly, said, “It is a problem with paper trails. I remain frustrated by the fact that we were goaded into electronic voting in the first place.” Sen. Jacobson prefers the optical-scan method, which also leaves a paper trail, but can be shuffled to prevent identification of voters with their votes. The optical-scan method is used in many Ohio counties.

At first this may appear to be a strictly internal matter that would affect us whether or not we were independent. But guess who did the goading?

This issue has since been corrected.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween in DC: Part I

(Part I, because I anticipate many sequels…)

Now this is scary stuff:

1. Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post has found that Verizon and AT&T admit to voluntarily turning over telephone records in response to FBI requests for information “thousands of times” since 2005. The carriers insisted that it was not their responsibility to determine the legality of the requests, in the interest of “saving lives in criminal investigations.” The disclosures were made in a letter from Verizon to three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the carriers' participation in government surveillance programs. So now we don’t have to worry about the Feds ignoring the Fourth Amendment. We have to worry about the Feds and the phone companies ignoring the Fourth Amendment.

2. Suzanne Goldenberg, writing for the Guardian, a British newspaper, reports that Hillary Clinton is staking a claim to be the most hawkish Democrat in the race for President. In an article for Foreign Affairs, Sen. Clinton argues that Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to America and its allies, and that it must not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. So now we have to worry about more American troops sacrificed for purposes unrelated to national defense.

3. According to Web Wire (affiliated with WorldNet Daily), former Mexican President Vicente Fox admitted that he and President Bush have “agreed” to create a common currency, the “Amero”, and contended that a union between the United States, Canada, and Mexico is “inevitable.”
(My thanks to the League of the South’s Rebellion for bringing these items to my attention).

4. David Brooks, of the New York Times, reports that one reason Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-Columbus) decided not to seek re-election, is that she grew tired of the dirty politics used by partisan “handlers” to secure her re-election last year. “I was appalled by what I had to do,” she was quoted as saying. Mr. Brooks continues by noting that campaigning, at least at the Congressional level, is a soul-destroying exercise.

“They spend their days talking endlessly about Me. When they meet donors, they want to know if they are giving to Me or against Me. When they meet advisors and fellow pols, they want to know, do they support Me or Not Me. When they think about strategy, it’s about better ways to present Me. When they craft positions, they want to know, what does this say about Me? No normal person can withstand the onslaught of egotism and come out unscathed.”

Mr. Brooks then noted that while the homo politicus may be successful, the species becomes sad and lonely, frequently the victims of political scandals, like the recent one that beset Idaho Sen. Larry Craig. Congresswoman Pryce is to be commended for her unwillingness to sell her soul to the political game, but Ohio will be poorer for losing her.

All of these reports display symptoms of the arrogance of power which has smitten Washington for many years, and is the direct result of ignoring the Constitutional principles of government. As State Rep. Corry warned us in 1863:

“It is probable that our neglect of Constitutional learning in Ohio and the North-West alone made this war of sections possible; and the revival of that learning is the only way out of it … There are many of the most energetic, ambitious, selfish, and unscrupulous men both in civil and military life, who are bent on erecting a simple but plausible despotism upon the ruins of our … institutions.

“When States’ Rights now threatened are clean absorbed by centralization, and when the States themselves are blotted out, and [the States] descend to the corporate condition of counties only, and their people be no longer the defiant, independent sovereigns whose fathers conquered a realm from … wilderness; [they will become] the patient … workers for a master class, or the contemptible parasites of courts and camps.”

More on the Secessionist Convention

Here is a YouTube object giving Chattanooga's WDEF-TV news report of the Second North American Secessionist Convention, held in that city October 4-5. It appears to be well-balanced, but naturally has a bit of a Southern slant:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Still horrified at the idea of secession?

Here is a Vermonter's view from an environmentalist site. Note the emphasis on "green" living and the practicality of his ideas for clean energy!

Friday, October 12, 2007

An Ohioan’s warning from the past

I plan to include statements from prominent Ohioans, past and present, in support of the rights of the States generally, and of secession in particular.

One of these is a dire prophecy by State Representative William McMillan Corry, who delivered a lengthy address to a meeting of the Peace Democrats (commonly known as “Copperheads”) in Canton on July 4, 1863. This is what he said:

"The moment she [the State of Ohio] abandons her sacred duty, under her own social compact, of defending her citizens and herself from encroachment upon undelegated rights, or from interference with the sovereignty of the States, she consents to sink to the condition of a dependent corporation."

("Against the Degradation of the States," published in Cincinnati in 1863)

Which is, of course, what many inside the Washington beltway would like to see happen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Has America gone fascist?

You be the judge. Here is Merriam-Webster’s definition of Fascism:

Main Entry: fas·cism
Function: noun

Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces.

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition 2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.

Now, compare that with this post (with an admitted leftist bias) by Christopher Rowthorn in the Dandelion Salad blog, and some rather disturbing analysis by William M. Arkin, national security writer for the Washington Post, which envisions a Department of Homeland Security turning into J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, complete with witch hunts. The comments to this post are also interesting.

I am no leftist; but I do fervently believe that a free people defending those freedoms is the best protection against tyranny – both foreign and domestic. I would also like to believe that the people of Ohio, when made aware of those dangers in a way that exhibits careful reasoning, will stand up for their rights and for Constitutional government; even as a separate Republic.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This just in: Secessionism is “politically incorrect”

The Middlebury Institute held its second annual Secessionist Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee last week, which attracted delegates from 14 organizations in North America and two in Europe. They also invited the mainstream media. Anyone who still believes that the “mainstream” media report objectively should take a look at these links.

The most widely distributed article was by Bill Poovey of the Associated Press (reproduced in the Columbus Dispatch) . Nothing was written about the actions of the convention. Instead, it focused on the Convention’s co-sponsor, the League of the South, whose avowed purpose is to restore the Confederacy. The article devoted considerable space to the alleged racism of that organization, citing documents from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate groups in America. It also quotes that organization and a professor in North Carolina as expressing “surprise” that the “far left” New Englanders in the Middlebury Institute would cooperate with the Southern “racists.”

This supposedly objective news story packs a great deal of misinformation into a small space. It is true that the Southern Poverty Law Center has characterized the League of the South as “the center of the racist ne0-Confederate movement,” (article) but bases its argument on the opinions of its founder Michael Hill and white supremacists who are not necessarily involved with the organization. It also ignores the League of the South’s own statement on racism, which explicitly states the following:

“The LS disavows a spirit of malice and extends an offer of good will and cooperation to Southern blacks in areas where we can work together as Christians to make life better for all people in the South. We affirm that, while historically the interests of Southern blacks and whites have been in part antagonistic, true Constitutional government would provide protection to all law-abiding citizens — not just to government-sponsored victim groups.”

(Formal statement, dated June 21, 2005 is in the appendix at the bottom of the linked page).

Unfortunately, the very next paragraph of the FAQ also promotes “Anglo-Celtic” culture, which undoubtedly makes the organization unattractive to African-Americans; but to call the organization racist is an assertion more deeply rooted in the desire to discredit the League of the South and the entire secessionist movement, than on fact. It is an application of the “politically correct” effort to discredit secessionists using guilt by association.

The Middlebury Institute addressed this issue in its Statement on Collegiality, which notes that the nature of the secessionist movement causes it to diverse organizations with aims (other than secession) that may strongly disagree with the aims of others. As the Middlebury Institute’s director, Kirkpatrick Sale, wrote:

“People turn to secession because they want their own form of government, on their own terms, and hope to create a state that will live out their beliefs, principles, ideals. It is no more justifiable for one organization to question or criticize or castigate those goals if they work toward a Christian-directed government that outlaws abortion and adultery than if they work for a secular democracy favoring gun-control and same-sex marriages. The beauty of secession is that it looks toward having a world where those and many other kinds of states can exist, free and independent, and not impose its ideas on others or have others’ ideas imposed on it.”

I have already stated that an Ohio secessionist movement must be non-racial.

Mayur Pahilajani’s article in All-Headline News was essentially a shorter version of Bill Poovey’s; but in reducing its length, gave it a much more objective presentation.

The Independent, a British newspaper, repeated the assertions about the League of the South, but also threw in some other biases, including a characterization of the Middlebury Institute as a “left-wing” organization (it is not -- it is just a secessionist think tank), a close association with Vermont politics (not just its independence movement), and citing the 1868 Supreme Court decision Texas v. White (“The Constitution in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.”) as the final word on the subject, as though the Supreme Court never revisited its own opinions. This is, of course, the “politically correct” orthodoxy preached by Abraham Lincoln, which appears to be the only tenet of American government that is too sacred to be revisited.

Finally, we have CNN talk-show host Glenn Beck, weighing in October 4, with this biased opener: “Tonight, here`s what you need to know. United we stand, and divided we fall.” Throughout the interview, he expressed disbelief that views as divergent as the Second Vermont Republic’s and the League of the South’s could come together in a single movement. When he did get it, he was so scared that he abruptly ended the interview.

I noted at the beginning of this long post that none of the “mainstream media” reported on what they did at the convention. Their final document, adopted October 4, is known as the Chattanooga Declaration, which is reproduced below:

“We, the delegates of the Secession movements represented at the Second North American Secessionist Convention, acknowledging our differences, yet agree on the following truths:
1. The deepest questions of human liberty and government facing our time go beyond right and left, and in fact have made the old right-left split meaningless and dead.
2. The privileges, monopolies, and powers that private corporations have won from government threaten everyone's health, prosperity, and liberty, and have already killed American self-government by the people.
3. The power of corporations endangers liberty as much as government power, especially when they are combined as in the American Empire. Liberty can only survive if political power is returned from faraway and self-interested centers to local communities and States.
4. The American Empire is no longer a nation or a republic, but has become a tyrant aggressive abroad and despotic at home.
5. The States of the American union are and of right ought to be, free and self-governing.
6. Without secession, liberty and self-government can never be sustained, and diversity among human societies can never survive. ”

It saddens me to acknowledge that they are correct – correct about the corporations, and correct about describing the United States of America as an “empire” that has become a tyrant abroad and despotic at home. Thomas Jefferson would have been proud.