Friday, May 30, 2008

Montana threatens secession

Reason magazine reports that Montana wants to ensure that the Second Amendment is an individual, not a collective, right.

"In a joint resolution, the Montana politicians argue that when Washington approved the state constitution, including a clause granting 'any person' the right to bear arms, upon the Treasure State’s entry into the Union in 1889, the federal government recognized that clause as consistent with the Second Amendment."

Montana argues that if the Supreme Court decides in D.C. vs. Heller that the right is a collective one, it would breach the Constitutional compact made with Montana on its admission.

“A collective rights holding in Heller would not only open the Pandora’s box of unilaterally morphing contracts, it would also poise Montana to claim appropriate and historically entrenched remedies for contract violation.”
That remedy for a Constitution is known as secession.

Secession, while not explicitly authorized by the Constituion was recognized as a legal right by the Federal Government early in the Lincoln Presidency. This explains why Jefferson Davis was not tried for treason, and why the Congress during Reconstruction after the Civil War repeatedly changed its policy on readmission of the seceded States.

The idea is getting less loony all the time. Thanks to Rebellion for bringing this to my attention.

Additional information on Montana (June 16).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ohio blog links added

On the right panel, I have added several Ohio political blogs to my links list. They are of both liberal and conservative persuasions, all well-written, and most have at one time or other expressed cordiality to this writer.

I will use this opportunity also to highlight The Carnival of Ohio Politics, to which most of these blogs (and The Ohio Republic) regularly contribute.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Case for Secession

"The Case for Vermont's Secession," by Frank Bryan, was published in Vermont Commons in 2005. Its arguments could just as well apply to Ohio's secession (in some particulars even more so: Vermont gets $1.15 from the Feds for every dollar sent, Ohio only gets $1.03). And nobody will call a nation of 11.5 million people a "cute little republic". (Ohio's population is comparable to Chile and Hungary). We might need more military than Vermont to cover a larger, flatter land area; but for self-defense, we will need much less than Washington would have us believe.

Read it for its logic, and for its faithfulness to what we have traditionally prized about America.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Talk is cheap

Robert Price at the Bakersfield Californian offers many secessionists a much-needed reality check. The town of Needles, in eastern San Bernardino County, is over 200 miles from its county seat, and has had trouble getting the county to support a full-service hospital in the area. Consequently, some officials there have been seeking to separate from California and join either Nevada or Arizona, both of which are just across the Colorado River. While one councilman is at least pressing for a feasibility study, the Chamber of Commerce thinks the Needles city council is "nuttier than a fruitcake."

Mr. Price then surveys other secessionist proposals along the Pacific Coast (interestingly, omitting both the "State of Jefferson" and Cascadia). One of them is a proposal to split off Eastern Oregon from the rest of the State to form a 51st State. Mr. Price gets to the heart of the matter:

"The challenges such a state would face are not unlike those a wayward city or newly created county might experience. Would it have the revenue to pay for its schools? Law enforcement? Roads?

"Editors of the paper in Pendleton, Ore., asked some of those very questions to a leader of the secessionist group. 'I honestly don't have a clue,' was the answer. The word 'independence' has a nice ring to it, but the details can be cumbersome."

The devil is in the details. I have complained before about "ivory tower secessionists." Doing the homework is hard work, but is essential if our movements are ever to secede (or succeed).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Blood of Patriots

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

– Thomas Jefferson.

Monday is Memorial Day, when we pause to remember and honor those who gave their lives for their country. Traditionally, this observance has been reserved for those who have served in the armed forces. It is fitting that they be remembered, even in the battles that we joined that were not worthy of such a sacrifice.*

However, we need also to remember those who gave up their lives at home in the cause of freedom: John** and Robert Kennedy, Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Vicky Weaver at Ruby Ridge, and Joe Vogler come to mind.

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of Joe Vogler's death under highly suspicious circumstances. He was the founder of the Alaskan Independence Party, and ran for Governor of Alaska on that ticket in 1972, 1978, and 1986.

Born in Kansas in 1913, Mr. Vogler (right) graduated from the University of Kansas with a law degree. During World War II, he moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he worked with the Army Corps of Engineers. He later described Alaska during this period "a place [where] you could do anything you were big enough to try." In 1951, he filed a homestead claim for 320 acres near Fairbanks, and began mining at Homestake Creek. It was this interest in mining that gave him the impetus to begin a political career twenty years later. As has been true with other Western states, the admission of Alaska to the Union in 1959 came with the seizure of large tracts of land by the Federal Government, one of which included his mine. He was never compensated.

Mr. Vogler stressed in his political debates that he believed the biggest problem with the federal government was that they have overstepped the bounds of the Constitution. Vogler challenged the federal government's practice of owning land in Alaska or any other state outside the original limits of the United States Constitution. Vogler believed that federal claims of land for preserves and parks is outside of the original intent of the framers of the Constitution and that the federal government has no right to own land in the western states except for "forts, arsenals, dockyards and other needful government uses. " [source]

In 1973, Joe Vogler began to press for Alaskan independence, having learned that the Statehood vote for Alaska was a violation of the rules of the United Nations. The United Nations requires that elections affecting the status of a territory include four options. Using American terminology, those options are Statehood, independence, commonwealth status (e.g., Puerto Rico), and to remain a territory.*** The election held for Statehood in August 1958 included only two options: Statehood or to remain a territory. In addition, United States military personnel who were not legally residents of Alaska were registered to vote in that election and urged to vote for Statehood; and ballots were issued only in English, not also in Inuit tribal languages, as required by the United Nations. Mr. Vogler wrote "Alaska and Statehood: A Factual Primer" in 1990 (cartoon at left is from that source), that explains the legal issues in greater detail. The same year, the AIP won the Gubernatorial election with Walter Hickel as its candidate.

In 1993, as reported by the Juneau Empire this March, Mr. Vogler

"and his miner friends took out full page ads in Anchorage newspapers comparing Alaska with Lithuania and the U.S. with the Soviet Union. He looked for a sponsor in order to speak before the U.N. General Assembly on Alaska independence. Iran was more than happy to oblige.

"Weeks before he was to fly to New York City, friends found his cabin empty on Memorial Day, 1993, his dogs unfed, his car parked in front, his wallet and heart medicine on the kitchen table, and the cage of his pet goose wrapped in a blanket.

"Joe Vogler's remains were found seventeen months later in a gravel pit outside of Fairbanks. A jury ruled Manfred West had killed Joe over the price of dynamite giving the part-time burglar an 80 year sentence for murdering 80 year old Joe. "

In the words of his (distant) cousin, Jeff Trigg:

"Speculation continues to this day, that the killer was set up to take the blame and that is was a government plot to keep Joe from that United Nations presentation for sovereignty. Yeah, it's conspiracy theory stuff, but it's also exactly how Joe predicted he would go."

We probably shall never know the whole truth about his death, but let there be no doubt that Joe Vogler was a martyr in the cause of freedom, whose name deserves to be remembered this weekend.

* I commend to you a book by Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, War Is a Racket, which explains how American corporations profited from World War I (a war I never could understand in terms of the American national interest).

** There is a small bit of evidence to back a conspiracy theory suggesting that the motive for President Kennedy's assassination had to do with a plan to issue United States Notes, which would have represented a commitment to specie-based currency, and would have broken the Federal Reserve Bank.

*** The same violations occurred in Hawaii's election for statehood, and support that state's movements for independence.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Secession and International Relations

If you’re not a pointy-headed intellectual, you might want to skip this post.

The international intellectual community is struggling to fit the secession of Kosova into the framework of international relations theory – and struggle is the correct word. One example is this article by Sumantra Bose on the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) site out of Zürich, Switzerland.

In “Kosovo to Kashmir: Self-determination Dilemma”, the author compares the role of the United States and other great powers in dealing with the attempted secession of Kashmir from India and Pakistan, and that of Kosovo from Serbia. Why did the powers help move Kosovo out, while insisting on leaving Kashmir in?

The author's arguments are inconsistent. On the one hand, Prof. Bose states that Kashmir is a polyglot mix between pro-Pakistani, pro-Indian, and pro-independence factions, justifying American insistence on working out a compromise between India and Pakistan. On the other hand, we read that Kosovo’s independence is justified by a 90% Albanian majority, despite the fact that the country is dotted with heavily-Serbian enclaves. The conflict between Israel and Palestine “can indeed be ended only by an equitable two-state solution,” but Kurdistan’s independence would be “regionally destabilizing.”

Prof. Bose ends with wishful thinking:

“the vast majority of confrontations between states and self-determination movements in the contemporary world can be assuaged without creating new states. Kashmir, again, is a prime example: there, territorial autonomy combined with internal power-sharing and cross-border institutions linking Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir constitutes a necessary and sufficient solution. If only such compromises were to come to pass, the world would be a much more democratic and much more peaceful place.”

A question comes to mind: how will cross-border institutions with two nations that maintain nuclear arsenals to defend themselves from the other contribute to peace? More likely, they would contribute to the growth of terrorist movements operating in both directions.

In other words, Prof. Bose wants to maintain the status quo of relatively large nation-states on the grounds that the world would be a “much more democratic and much more peaceful place.”
However, the reverse is true. While organizations such as the European Communities may prove helpful in securing the peace and building economic cooperation, the European Community is not a nation-state, much as European idealists would like for it to become one.

“Peace and democracy” will only come from nations small enough to be accountable to their people, and which respect and promote the culture (note singular) of their people. This is true self-determination. The necessary means for achieving it will usually be secession.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's the spending, stupid!

A fellow Ohio blogger, Bizzy Blog out of Cincinnati, emphasizes business news; but he also closely tracks Federal spending and debt patterns. In today's post, notes that Federal revenue collections are up 45% since April 2004 (1.9 trillion to 2.8 trillion); however, Federal spending has outstripped revenues. For the period January-April (while the bulk of Federal taxes are being collected), revenues increased by 3%, but spending increased by 7.8%, a rate that BizzyBlog calls "unsustainable."

You know what I'm going to say next. Ohio has had a balanced budget since 1852. Do you want to consider independence now, or do you want to wait for the Feds to go bankrupt?

It ain't so, and Ted means it

I wrote an entry March 14 in reaction to speculation that Gov. Ted Strickland might become a candidate for Vice President, in which I pleaded with him (or would have if he had read this blog) to stay out of the Vice Presidential race and finish the job he has started for Ohio.

Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch quoted Gov. Strickland in a paraphrase of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman:

"If drafted he will not run, if nominated he will not accept, if elected he will not serve."

That's good enough for me.

Mr. Niquette noted that national writers considered Gov. Strickland to be a "natural choice because he's a popular governor from a key state in the Nov. 4 race." I am sure the temptation can be difficult to resist, but all of us in Ohio should be grateful that he is resisting it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The correct way to handle Myanmar

The tragedy of the cyclone that destroyed much of Myanmar's (Burma's) southern coast and took the lives of more than 100,000 people is one that touches the hearts of all of us. It has compounded that of their incredibly selfish régime, as fellow Ohio blogger Have Coffee, Will Write has extensively documented. Clearly, it has touched many others, including De Magno Opere, who writes, "I've long privately advocated a dedicated United Nations military force for dealing with governments like this. Now, I'm advocating it publicly."

Not so fast, there. The principle of sovereignty protects rights of free people as well as the prerogatives of dictators. Using the United Nations to militarily overthrow tyrannical governments would be the use of a bad technique for a good purpose. Once you make an exception to the principle of sovereignty, you are beginning to create a single world government, from which no sovereign nation will be safe.

A better, and time-tested, technique would be to funnel massive amounts of training and aid to the opposition movements and militias, so they can ultimately take over their own country.This supports the principle of self-determination while helping to bring the dictatorship to an end.

Let the Burmese deal with the Burmese tyrants, with our help as necessary.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I encourage Ohio residents to sign Plunderbund's petition to demand Attorney General Marc Dann's resignation. Marc Dann is a serious embarassment to every Ohioan, not just the Democrats. More than any other State official, except the Governor, the Attorney General must project a serious, capable image in order to successfully advocate for the consumers, the State, and victims of crime. It is no place for a frat boy who never grew up.

The other Statewide officials and the Democratic Party are to be commended for their swift and decisive response to the scandal (removal of partisan support and the threat of impeachment), which sets a new standard for Ohio politics that should be followed whenever an official violates Gov. Rhodes' rules.