Monday, April 28, 2008

Refund checks are coming...

... so help your neighbors and our state. Buy or invest in Ohio!

Transporting food around the world

Would someone please explain to me how -- economically or environmentally -- this makes any sense:

The New York Times reports that "cod caught off Norway is shipped to China to be turned into filets, then shipped back to Norway for sale. Argentine lemons fill supermarket shelves on the Citrus Coast of Spain, as local lemons rot on the ground. Half of Europe’s peas are grown and packaged in Kenya."

The article goes on to cite example after example of how food gets moved around the world as the result of cheap transportation costs.

Sure, I like kiwi and Icelandic cod. But I could live with less of it, or without it to save fuel.

Thanks to Vermont Commons for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sex and the City

According to this week’s The Other Paper, Columbus is the second most sexually-satisfied city in America. But it is also the eighth fattest. Go figure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Here's how we can put Humpty together again

There are signs that our food distribution system is beginning to fall apart. The New York Sun reported on Tuesday that rationing of some items has already begun to take place in New York and California. We need to prepare for the day when we will have to rely on local farmers (not Kroger, Giant Eagle, or Wal-Mart) to provide our food.

The Daily Mail reports of a village in England that has already done this, with amazing and very positive results. Such as better quality food and a much more satisfying sense of community.

Thanks to Rebellion for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Are we in recession? Is there any doubt?

This article in the Columbus Dispatch website should remove all doubt that Ohio is still in a deep recession:

- Half of all babies born in Ohio receive services through the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program. Half! In a healthy economy, people would be working at jobs that pay well enough that they would not qualify, reducing demand for the program.

- More than 1/3 of all school children receive free or reduced-price school lunches.

- 10% of Ohioans get food stamps.

- Food pantries throughout the State are reporting increased demand, to the point where some have to close after running out of food. (This can also blamed on rapidly rising food prices).

Do the Feds care? Read the last paragraph:

"Despite the daunting statistics, hunger has yet to get much mention from the presidential candidates and Congress has been unable to seal the deal on a long-awaited farm bill that would boost nutritional aid to states."

And people wonder why we're bitter!

Bitter? Darned right, we’re bitter!

Robyn Blumner wrote an opinion piece on Sen. Obama’s now-famous comment about the people in the small towns being bitter. This column should be copied, linked, and posted as being one of the best secessionist manifestos written to date.

What is she bitter about? Read the column to capture her passion, but here’s the laundry list:
- Waging a war putting our young people in harm’s way and shifting the bill to later generations;
- Wealth and taxes shifted to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class;
- A “macabre” health system that lets a single illness destroy the economic health of a family (a situation with which I am personally acquainted);
- “Industry insiders” put in charge of the agencies that regulate them, twisting policy to their own advantage;
- Doubling of the national debt in the last seven years;
- Iraq reconstruction funds wasted in corruption;
- A counterproductive foreign policy that makes enemies of long-time friends;
- The willingness to use torture, making us recruiters for our enemies.

Let me add some more:
- Continued destruction of Ohio’s manufacturing sector with no relief in sight;
- Federal resistance to developing industries to create sustainable and environmentally-friendly solutions to our energy and transportation needs.
- Playing on the fear of terrorism to accelerate the erosion of our Constitutional liberties.

The system is fouled up beyond repair. None of the Presidential candidates can (forget about will, the correct word is can) resolve these issues at the Federal level. The Federal Government abuses its power because it has the power to abuse and knows it.*

The Republic of Ohio:
- Will be incapable of waging foreign wars; but very capable of defending itself and its borders;
- Will be 26 times more accountable to its own people, better insuring a fair system of taxation;
- Can find a sensible solution to health care within its own borders, using its own resources;
- Can, with the accountability mentioned above, ensure that regulators do the job they are hired to do.
- Will continue to operate on a balanced budget, every year, as it has every year since 1852.
- Will limit or eliminate governmental foreign aid, but have the ability to coordinate private efforts abroad.
- Pursue a non-military foreign policy according to its own interests, particularly with respect to trade and commerce.
- Will strictly follow the Geneva Conventions in time of war, in the highly unlikely event that a war should occur.

* See chapter 2 in Leopold Kohr, The Breakdown of Nations.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Greening of Columbus

Today's Columbus Dispatch published a major piece on efforts by Columbus city government to pursue a list of 20 major environmental goals. To Mayor Michael Coleman's credit, most of the initiatives were made voluntarily, not as the result of Federal or State pressure. Reporters Robert Vitale and Mark Ferenchik observe that "Columbus has made notable progress in the ensuing three years, if not the 'light years' leap that Coleman boasts." The biggest obstacle to progress seems to be getting Columbusites to recycle. An experiment in 2005 with using blue bags to separate recyclables from other trash only found 850 out of a possible 10,000 households taking part. The city has been much more successful with internal initiatives, such as recycling asphalt and purchasing cleaner or alternative-fuel vehicles.

The Ohio Republic is concerned with Ohio's ability to sustain itself in the use of natural resources for the long haul. We cannot expect overnight miracles, but the city of Columbus is setting a good example for the State. Carry on, Mayor Coleman!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just for fun

I have added to the Documentation site a list of films that were either shot or set in Ohio. Please feel free to comment or e-mail me to suggest others.

Advice for the Attorney General

Here is some advice for Marc "Hef" Dann, our playboy Attorney General, from our late Gov. James A. Rhodes: His recipe for avoiding scandal was, keep your fingers out of the till, keep your hands off the help, and don't do your drinking downtown.

Sounds good to me...

New masthead - same great content!

I have redesigned the masthead to The Ohio Republic to present a more distinctive look. The Liberty Head is taken from the US large cent that was minted prior to 1857. During the Civil War, the Peace Democrats (the Ohioans who wanted to let the Confederacy go) cut the Liberty Head from the large cents and made them into pins to identify themselves. This then led to them being called “copperheads”. It therefore impressed me as a highly appropriate symbol for Ohio secessionism.

Wrong Way - I

Last Friday (April 11)*, the Columbus Dispatch editorialized in favor of a bill by State Representatives Larry Wolpert and Larry Flowers to consolidate local governments and school districts with fewer than 2,000 students. At first blush, this looks like a good idea – local governments are expensive and efficiency is a good thing, right? In some cases, consolidation probably does make sense, especially with townships in urban counties that are very small and fragmented. Perhaps a reform of township and village government could reduce the number of elected officials. However, as a general rule, we should be empowering government at the lowest level, not taking it away. Empowering local government enables individuals to have greater influence on their government – it builds community and is the essence of democracy.

I also object to setting an arbitrary minimum enrollment for local school districts. As long as the district is able to meet Ohio’s graduation standards, whether it has 500 students or 500,000 should be of no consequence to the State.

* Archived link temporarily unavailable.

Wrong Way - II

Sen. John McCain admits that he is ignorant of economic policy. This ignorance really came out in his recommendation for a summer holiday from Federal gasoline taxes (link to related Toledo Blade editorial), for the following reasons:

- The Feds should be discouraging gasoline usage, not encouraging it.

- Cheaper gas delays or eliminates the incentive to develop vehicles using renewable energy sources. It also delays or eliminates the incentive to build public transportation systems.

- Cheaper gas keeps us dependent on the Arabs, a definite national security issue (did I get your attention, Senator?)

- Reduced tax intake delays needed highway repairs and construction.

Senator, we need leadership, not pandering!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Does the Union even exist anymore?

Here is a challenge for the attorneys in our audience, from a letter to the editor of Vermont Commons:

Dear Vermont Commons Editor,
As April 15th approaches and the populace sends its tribute to the Emperor, here's a theater piece that I'd like to see:

I'd like to see a stage full of lawyers debating whether or not this political construct called the United States of America actually exists any more. I'm willing to bet that there is not one lawyer anywhere on the planet that could successfully argue that the political construct which the Founding Fathers envisioned and which the Constitution defines is still in existence -- eitherin this dimension or in any other!

In fact, I bet some of the history students at BUHS [a high school in Vermont] could wipe the floor with one lawyer after another. Let's get the best and the brightest up here ... Alan Dershowitz, for example, to argue that it is our moral imperative to bomb and torture one-third of the planet -- as I'm sure he would argue. And that, yes, it is the American way!

What do you say? Are there any lawyers out there who would take me up on my challenge? It would be great fun. It could go on for weeks--a marathon theater piece. And, in the end, we'd be faced with having to answer these questions: What happened to the United States? And just what exactly has this country become?

Jacqueline Brook
Putney, Vermont

I'd love to see it in Ohio, especially given the passionate support the Empire still enjoys among a portion of our populaton!

Friday, April 11, 2008

President Bush gets 28% in Gallup Poll

According to the latest Gallup Poll, President Bush (right, of course) has dropped to a 28% approval rating, the lowest of his administration and the lowest since Jimmy Carter's administration (during the Iran hostage crisis). This figure matches a Newsweek poll from last week, according to Plunderbund.

Let's see, he was at 32% in January... at 2% per month, he will be down close to former Gov. Bob Taft's level (6.8%) by the time he leaves office...

However, my prediction is that the next President (whomever is elected) won't fare much better once the honeymoon wears off. The system is broken, and I don't think McCain, Obama, or Chelsea's mama have a clue how to fix it.

My thanks to Plunderbund for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I feel so foolish....

....for all this time that I've been going on about silver, I've totally forgotten about copper! But it seems that, up until 1982, all pennies were between 85%-90% copper! I am definitely starting a collection jug for those when I get home. Not only is the value of copper as a commodity also considerable, but it can be melted down and used for everything from electronics to the firing caps on jacketed rounds....

Party on, Charleston!

I also wish to remind our readers that this is a very important weekend. Saturday, April 12th is the 147th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, located in Charleston harbor, South Carolina, at which time the confederates demonstrated the deadliness of their resolve to protect their States' Rights and popular governments from Federal intrusion.
Sunday, April 13th, is Thomas Jefferson's birthday. Long a proponent of limited constitutional government and an honest, asset-based currency, it was he who left us a gift in the form of his collected writings. We should all return the gesture by heeding his warnings before it is too late.

The Fed crumbles around us

Harold has challenged me to come up with another piece on the Federal Reserve System, which has been on the news daily for the last year at least. Sadly I can't come up with anything right now that has not already been stated in previous posts. I will add, however, that I have been trading every FRN I can spare from my minimum-wage paycheck for silver specie from the local coin store. I did so on Tuesday - I got $2.75 face value (meaning the face value printed on the silver coins adds up to that amount) for $30.10. Wow!

The way it works (according to the gentleman at the coin shop) is this: the coins in question, meaning half-dollars, quarters, and dimes minted in 1964 or before consist of 90% silver. I don't know what the other 10% is, but this was done so the coins would not be soft and wear away. A "dollar" face value is supposed to weigh one troy ounce (which is only 85% of the "normal" ounce the Americans use). So, the guy at the store takes the commodity value of silver on that day (it was $17.83 on Tuesday I think) and multiplies it by 0.715 to get the cost of one "dollar's" weight of silver, which came out to be $12.75. This is what he charges me: apparently he profits off those poor souls who have been so harmed by the Fed in recent years that they have been selling their silver - not a good long-term plan, in my opinion, but I guess it beats losing your home....
Now, hopefully at least a few of you are saying what I said: 85% of 90% of 1.00 comes out to be 0.765, not 0.715, so what accounts for the difference? He couldn't answer the question (I think I confused him) but I suspect it represents the cost of the energy it would take to melt it down and extract the pure silver. He called this number the "melt value".

I would also like to point out an often overlooked benefit of restoring silver to our currency: public health. The fact is that silver has potent anti-biotic properties and will inhibit the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms in a petri dish. (So does gold, but I cannot afford gold....) Thus, the use of silver currency would tend to greatly reduce the transmission of bacteria from one human to another in everyday commerce. Contrast this with the Fed's greasy "rag money" which is known to harbor such teeming varieties of microorganisms that all fast-food employees are admonished never to touch food after operating the cash register unless they have properly sanitized their hands!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I hope he's wrong, but with his track record...

The Rutland (Vt.) Herald reports on a speech at Middlebury College by Scott Ritter, the head weapons inspector in Iraq who protested that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now, Mr. Ritter has presented some evidence that the United States is preparing for war with Iran, which Mr. Ritter correctly argues "would hasten the ongoing decline of American standing in the world," enabling Russia and China to fill the resulting vacuum.

Congress appears to be complicit in this plan, having approved funding for additional "bunker-busting" bombs and the bombers to carry them; both with contract completion dates this month.

Interestingly, he began his talk by talking about spring, and how mother birds will feed their young by "puking" [Mr. Ritter's word] into each one. He used that reference in his closing statement:

"'It is far too easy to look for people to blame,' he said. For instance, 'we blame the media, but the media simply give us what we're asking for.'

"Everyone needs to start understanding and caring about their Constitutional rights, and everyone needs to start finding the facts for themselves and taking strong individual stands, Ritter said. If you do nothing but take in what the TV and newspapers tell you, 'all you're going to get in return is puke.'"

I don't think The Ohio Republic has left much room for doubt as to its position on a war with Iran; but in case you do not want to follow the link, let me reiterate the conclusion:

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.

Thanks to Vermont Commons for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Can anyone say "military-industrial complex"?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower (left), who in my opinion is the most underrated President in American history, delivered his Farewell Address three days before yielding the Presidency to John F. Kennedy. In that 1961 speech, he warned against the development of a "military-industrial complex" in these words:

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. "

Well, that potential has been realized, folks. As evidence, check out this article from the International Herald-Tribune, which gives the result of a survey indicating that members of Congress have collectively invested as much as $196 million in defense companies.

As Mike Tuggle wrote at Rebellion, instead of a conflict of interest, we now have in Congress an interest in conflict.

Thursday, April 3, 2008