Friday, November 30, 2007

Activity behind the scenes

Pressing personal business will probably keep me out of the blog for another week; but be assured that the Ohio Republic remains active and committed. Readership continues to slowly increase, and behind the scenes, we are working on a major position paper on the Republic's monetary policy.

Of course, the best advice is to put us on an RSS or Atom feed (see link at the bottom of this page), so you get updates as soon as they are posted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Be thankful for our freedoms – we may not have them much longer…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and it is appropriate to give thanks for our material blessings (most of us do have enough – or too much – to eat, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads); and for the remaining freedoms of speech, press, and assembly.

However, Ralph E. Shaffer and R. William Robinson of the Baltimore Sun reported November 19, that a bill in the U.S. Senate seriously threatens those freedoms. Known as the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act,” the bill currently rests in the Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Sen. Joseph Lieberman. The Sun says that “swift Senate passage appears certain.”

Rep. Jane Harman (D-California) introduced the act to avert an anticipated “native brand of terrorism in the immediate future,” and “offers a plan to deal with ideologically based violence.” She wants to create a commission with investigative power and a mandate to propose laws prohibiting “homegrown terrorism.” However, in its power to hold hearings (which may be called by individual members), the commission is very likely to operate in the same manner as Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee in the early 1950s. Clearly, such a commission would pose a dire threat to even the most non-violent secessionists.

The Act is both unnecessary and dangerous. Crime is crime. If violence is committed, arrest the perpetrators and mete out justice for the crime. But don’t use the “hate crime” logic of attempting to judge what is in the heads of dissidents. A strict-constructionist Supreme Court would immediately strike such an act down as violating the First and Fourth Amendments – but we can’t count on such a Court right now.

Please contact your Senators and urge them to oppose the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act,” at least in its investigatory provisions.

Ohio’s Senators may be reached by e-mail at:
George Voinovich:

Sherrod Brown:

Monday, November 19, 2007

President Bush and the Constitution

Last Friday, I made a request for evidence from mainstream media, confirming that a statement derogatory to the Constitution was made by the President in the fall of 2005. The request remains open; however, I have to admit that, for an Internet source, Capitol Hill Blue was thorough in its documentation. Here is the link, for what it’s worth to you.

If it has any validity at all, it should be grounds for impeachment. The President of the United States has sworn (twice!) to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution of the United States. To show contempt for the Constitution clearly violates that oath, and in the President, should be considered a “high crime” or “misdemeanor”. I am surprised that Congressional Democrats, who are looking for any excuse to hang the President, have not latched onto this.

My thanks to Carol Moore for clarifying this issue with me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why is our economy failing?

The Columbus Dispatch Daily Briefing for yesterday reported that 58% of Ohioans interviewed in a recent Ohio Poll, expect our State economy to get worse in the months ahead. Only 20% thought that economic conditions are "good" or "excellent." Statistics by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services note that Ohio has had a net loss of 11,500 jobs in the last year, including over 16,400 manufacturing jobs (Yeah, there was a net increase elsewhere, but guess what "elsewhere" is ... ) We are still facing a major outmigration of our best and brightest young adults, and inflation is hitting us like everyone else.

To be fair, Ohio has made its own mistakes -- we have allowed ourselves to get into a feeding frenzy for large employers that promise to build plants in Ohio; when we should have been creating a favorable tax and regulatory climate for entrepreneurial startup businesses. We also need to stress innovation, as I stated yesterday.

But we also have a Federal Government that has aggressively pursued economic policies that are against our national interest. Tax laws favor the very rich, and reward spending instead of saving. Federal and State laws have permitted lenders to extend too-easy credit at confiscatory rates. We have built huge trade deficits with China and many other nations, and the Feds don't have a clue how to reverse them.

An Ohio Republic might still make some mistakes, but I can assure you of this: it will conduct foreign trade policy in our national interest -- one that promotes domestic manufacturing, innovation, and the wise use of resources.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ohio and innovation

The Kauffman Foundation, a think tank associated with the Duke University School of Engineering, has issued an interesting report on intellectual property creation in the United States. It compares patent generation by State, by company, and by university. For the most part, Ohio is high-average on the lists by State.

In 2006, Ohio generated 26.7 patent applications per 100,000 workers, slightly higher than the national average of 25.1, which resulted in a ranking of 18th among the 50 states. In 1998, the comparable figures were 20.5 and 13th. For total patent applications from industry, Ohio ranks 9th, with approximately 1,200 applications in 2006, compared with approximately 1,000 applications in 1998.

For patent application originating from universities, Ohio ranks 10th, with approximately 1,200 applications in 2006, compared with about 500 in 1998. (Figures are approximate, because they were read from bar graphs).

From this report, we can see that Ohio’s recent emphasis on university research is beginning to pay off; but we are starting to fall behind the curve in corporate research.

Independent or not, Ohio’s economic future depends on innovation in many areas, including automotive technology, information technology, polymers, clean fuels, and alternative energy sources. But I suggest that independence will give us the focus we need to aggressively press for the research and technology we need to thrive in the 21st century.

Who cares about “rule of law”?

Columnist Robert Novak reports that a delegation of Iraqi attorneys, frustrated with the American priorities for the Iraqi legal system, came to Washington to meet with Fred Fielding, the White House legal counsel, to seek more aid (still a modest amount) for building the Iraqi legal and judicial system. What they got was a meeting with a low-level White House staffer (and, interestingly, a 45-minute audience with Chief Justice John Roberts). In other words, a cold shoulder from the White House.

But then, why should that surprise us? A President who has shown contempt for the Fourth Amendment in this country should not be expected to champion the rule of law in another one.

On a related note, the blogosphere has reported that the President has referred to the U.S. Constitution as “just another g-damned scrap of paper,” but I have not seen reliable evidence that he actually said it. If you have evidence, other than from a purely Internet source, that he actually said it, please contact me. I refuse to add my name to urban legends.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"A State of Mine"

Here is a YouTube link to an upcoming movie, featuring secession movements in California and neighboring states:

Why secession makes sense

Kirkpatrick Sale, of the Middlebury Institute, has just published one of the most persuasive papers in support of secessionism that I have read to date. "The Logic of Secession: Three Tines to a Trident" makes, as the title suggests, three major points:

1. There is really no workable alternative that will replace a corrupt system with one accountable to the people. We could look for a better candidate for President or Congress, but the best people have proven incapable of raising the money. Why? Because they were good enough not to be corrupted by the money machine. We could try a reformist lobby, but again, many environmentalist and liberal groups (and conservatives, for that matter) have tried to influence Congress in this fashion, and, again, it hasn't worked. Finally, we could have tried a third party, but -- as effective as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader seemed at the time -- it is obvious that the system is stacked against them. This, by the way, is why Ron Paul's candidacy will fail. Revolution might be an answer, but who could stand up to the full array of military might that Washington now commands? So, finally, there is secession, a peaceful alternative that matches our American ethos and can be supported morally and diplomatically.

2. Secondly, the secession movement is rapidly growing. Mr. Sale's article will give you the statistics, and they are impressive!

3. Finally, it should be clear by now that peak oil, climate change, and a collapsing dollar will culminate in events that will force us to buy our products and live our lives locally -- conditions that favor separation into multiple nations.

I encourage you to read the entire piece, and to record your comments on it here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thought for Veterans’ Day

I am sure that there are many Americans who feel that the secessionist movement is a slap in the face to those who have fought and died in the American armed forces. To those people, I ask this question:

What did they fight and die for?

Their struggle abroad is our struggle at home. We are on the same side in support of our Constitution and our freedom, against those within our own borders who use government and promote warfare for their own selfish gain.

I appreciate the personal sacrifice of time, treasure, and, too often, life, of every one who served in the armed forces; including those where their Commanders-in-Chief were ill-prepared for the outcome, or where the initial purpose was unclear; because their sacrifice was for the right reasons, even if the wars they fought were conceived for the wrong ones.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Positive signs in Ohio

Secessionism can be a gloomy business, stressing as we all do, the reasons that the Feds are no longer fit to live with. However, the Columbus Dispatch reports two very positive developments that are well worth reporting here.

The first story (actually a pair of stories) by Alayna DeMartini and Dean Narciso in the Metro and State section, reports the growth of environmental activism in the Clintonville neighborhood, and in the suburbs of Dublin, Upper Arlington, Westerville, and Worthington. The groups, known as Sustainable [area name], exist to educate their members and the general public on how we can minimize the waste of natural resources. Their approaches are all common-sense, and often take advantage of new technologies (such as porous driveways, to minimize runoff during rains). They also engage in activism to advocate the use of recycled materials where available.

The second, on the Business page, reports of a visit to Columbus by John Ratzenberger, best known as an actor in the television series “Cheers”; but who has recently become a vocal advocate for American manufacturing. He stresses that American manufacturing is essential, not only to our economic health as a nation, but to maintain quality and integrity in the global markets. He is looking forward to the day when we will be proud to tell others that our son will be a machinist, or our daughter a welder; because that will be a sign that our middle class is healthy and strong. The alternative, he fears, is that America will become a “slave nation” to China and India.

Mr. Ratzenberger will give a presentation at the Columbus Athenæum, 32 N. 4th St., Columbus, Thursday, November 8, at 6:30 pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

On the cultural front, I had some free time this afternoon and paid a visit to the Ohioana Library. The Ohioana is a unique cultural treasure, consisting of 45,000 books and pieces of sheet music, all written and composed by Ohioans or persons with Ohio connections. The institution is thriving, despite years of operating on a shoestring from limited state government funding. They hold two major events each year, the Ohioana awards ceremony recognizing Ohioans who have excelled in art, literature, and music; and a spring book fair, providing a collective opportunity for Ohio authors to promote current works. One of the roads to independence will be taken when we begin to appreciate and participate in the culture of our own state.

The Ohioana is a little hard to find -- it is at 274 First Avenue, Suite 300, behind the State Library in Columbus -- but then, treasures often are hard to find.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Freedom Agenda, or "stand by your man" ?

Dana Milbank, in a column for today's Washington Post, observed that President Bush had proclaimed a "Freedom Agenda," to spread democracy across the world. He said, "We are standing with those who yearn for liberty."

But now that Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf has suspended his country's constitution, his aides are saying "we think what we ought to be doing is using our various forms of influence ... to help a friend, who we think has done something ill-advised." Mr. Milbank suggests that even a "diplomatic slap on the wrist" is unlikely at this time.

So which is it? Freedom or alliance-at-all-costs? My mother used to say, "Actions speak louder than words," and right now, President Bush's actions in contempt of human rights are deafening.
A small nation such as the Ohio Republic would have too few resources and even less desire, to engage in such hypocritical nonsense -- since its foreign policy would be focused principally on trade.

Interesting William McKinley quote

One of the economic goals of the Ohio Republic should be to encourage local manufacture of goods that are durable and desirable. With this in mind, along with recent news of even more (and worse) sweatshop conditions in Chinese and Indian factories supplying American retailers, this quote from Ohio's President William McKinley is particularly telling:

“I do not prize the word 'cheap.' It is not a badge of honor. It is a symbol of despair. Cheap prices make for cheap goods; cheap goods make for cheap men; and cheap men make for a cheap country.”

Friday, November 2, 2007

We need vision – and it won’t come from Washington

Cal Thomas hit the nail on the head in his column yesterday:

“What is lacking in all of these candidates [for President] - Democrat and Republican - is a clear vision that empowers individuals. This is supposed to be a country of opportunity for its citizens. It has become (even with Republicans in charge) a government that dispenses goodies to the group that can produce the most votes. This cynical and selfish approach to government is what has turned so many people off to politics and politicians.”

In over thirty years as both an observer and a participant in the political process, I have seen this cynicism grow. Today, it is a cancer that is slowly killing the American political system. (Some of my fellow secessionists argue that it is dead already, and they may have a point).

We need leadership with vision and a moral compass, one that can imagine what the broader public interest is, and how to act upon it. But our Federal elected officials have forgotten that one-size-fits-all solutions do not work in such a large and diverse nation.

As an independent Republic, Ohio will be diverse enough, as I indicated earlier; and will need to decentralize still more. Here’s why: Would-be lobbyists and moneyed interests would find funding and following up on so many smaller governments to be an expensive and downright impractical exercise; especially with the increased accountability those officials would have to the voters.

In other words, elected officials would then be free to develop and pursue their visions, giving us the opportunity to select the ones we feel would most benefit Ohio.

Gen. Abizaid confirms what I wrote

ABC News reported that retired Gen. John Abizaid, said yesterday:

“We shouldn't assume for even a minute that in the next 25 to 50 years the American military might be able to come home, relax and take it easy, because the strategic situation in the region doesn't seem to show that as being possible,”

thus confirming what I wrote last Friday, that “a war with Iran will be a catastrophe from which the United States of America, as we now know it, will never recover.” The American people, despite the 52% approval rating, will soon realize that a war with Iran has nothing to do with our national defense. When they do, the message of this blog might begin to make more sense to them.

Gen. Abizaid is former commander of the Central Command, which is over the forces in the Middle East. He was speaking to the Joint Improvised Explosive Devices Defeat Organization Technology Outreach Conference, where he was the keynote speaker.