Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas is getting expensive...

When the mainstream media, say, ABC News, says that the bailout is getting expensive, maybe we should sit up and take notice. That "$700 billion" bailout is now expected to cost as much as $7.5 trillion, which is more than twice the inflation-adjusted cost of World War II ($3.6 trillion). This could increase the national debt to some $18 trillion, and the total unfunded liabilities of the U.S. Government to more than $60 trillion. According to Russell Goldman at ABC News:

"Bailout programs also include a Federal Reserve plan to buy as much as $2.4 trillion in short-term notes called commercial paper that began Oct. 27, and an FDIC plan to spend $1.4 trillion to guarantee bank-to-bank loans that commenced Oct. 14, according to Bloomberg News, which first compiled the total cost of the bailout.

"'No one really knows if any of this is going to work," said Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Fusion IQ, an online quantitative research firm and author of Bailout Nation. '"

In addition, the Feds are putting in $600 billion to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt, and $800 billion to shore up consumer credit.

How will we pay for it? Print more money. You know what happens when we print more money? Ask the folks in Zimbabwe.

Virtual buckeye to Rob Williams at Vermont Commons.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Five tech products you can do without in a recession

It had to happen. High-tech gives way to *shudder* real life! Chris Matyszczyk at cnet news thinks that you can do without Twitter, the cell phone, PowerPoint, Second Life, and eHarmony. Click on the link to see why.

On a more serious note: if you have enough clothes and are connected to utilities to stay warm, have a roof over your head, and enough food to eat, you are better off than 25% of the American population was during the Great Depression. Be thankful for what you do have, and generous to those who don't have it.

"Paper Money Is Fraud!"

___On the afternoon of Saturday, November 22nd 2008, over a hundred daughters and sons of the great nation of Ohio assembled in downtown Cleveland. The purpose? To expose the corruption of the central banking cartel and demand the abolition of the Federal Reserve System.

___The date itself marked the ninety-fifth anniversary of the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, which subverted the constitutional ban on issuance of paper money and allowed a private banking enterprise to exercise the singular privilege of printing money for the Federal Government. Originally redeemable in specie (silver) currency, the fraud inherent in such an arrangement became quite apparent in 1929. After the disappearance of large sums of fractional reserve money, frightened depositors descended upon member banks to find that their hard-earned silver had been given to someone else.

___Rather than forcing the banking system to honor their contractual obligations on penalty of imprisonment (a punishment ordinary mortals like you and I would face), the politicians in Washington DC instead devised a convoluted “Rube Goldberg machine” of monetized debt securities in an effort to make the entire scam seem perfectly reasonable and even enlightened. Since then, Federal Reserve Notes have been made “legal tender”, which all U.S. citizens are forced to accept under penalty of law, no longer redeemable in “lawful money”.

___The deception continues to this day, as generation after generation of schoolchildren grow up believing that economics is a such a boring and difficult concept to understand that it is better just to leave the monetary policy of our nation to “experts” who care about such things. That this attitude is a fatal mistake is now becoming clear as the banking system racks up record profits while the losses are once again foisted upon the gullible American taxpayers. Simultaneously, the stolen purchasing power is used by the Federal government to finance their Imperial wars of global conquest and pseudo-legal domestic “surveillance” operations while the schools and bridges in our States crumble to dust.

___But on November 22nd, brave patriots from across the continent assembled in front of all Federal Reserve regional banks and made their voices heard. “No more bailouts! End the Fed!”, we shouted. “Inflation is theft! End the Fed!” With signs and voices raised in protest, we marched through the centers of our great cities, demanding an end to the central banking scheme once and for all.

___The alternative to continued servitude under the political and monetary dictatorship of the American Empire? Restoration of national sovereignty to the Republic of Ohio and prompt implementation of circulating currency physically consisting of silver (or other precious metals). In my opinion, any efforts to reform the system and bring it under control while still allowing the bankers to create fiat money out of nothing are doomed to fail. And since the Federal government in Washington has proved themselves to be unredeemably corrupt by perpetuating this unjust and unconstitutional system, the time has come to wrest out State sovereignty back from the Federals who have abused the privilege.

___More information about the “End The Fed” movement can be found at: Thanks to the Campaign for Liberty, the Ohio Freedom Alliance, Peace Chicken, and everyone else who helped to organize this glorious event.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Russians predict Soviet-style collapse for U.S.

Say what you will about the Russians, there are no people on earth with a better knowledge of how empires collapse; so when two Russian experts, independently of each other, say that the United States is on the verge of collapsing -- well, maybe we should listen to what they have to say.

The Drudge Report cites Professor Igor Panarin of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an interview with Izvestia. When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles." He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified national laws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions."

The other is economist Dmitry Orlov, cited in the Campaign for Liberty blog, who identifies five stages of collapse: financial, commercial, political, social, and cultural. In the financial collapse phase, credit dries up, savings are wiped out, and frantic efforts to save solvency with liquidity cause hyperinflation. He takes for granted, reasonably enough, that the United States is well into this first stage already. In the next two stages, which Mr. Orlov asserts are totally unavoidable, supplies dry up (from lack of money, comes lack of products) and political corruption runs more rampant than ever. Both stages driven by financial collapse, he says, they will overlap, and it isn't clear which will begin sooner. "With the disappearance of the free and open market, even the items that still are available for sale come to be offered in a way that is neither free nor open, but only at certain times and to certain people. Whatever wealth still exists is hidden, because flaunting it or exposing it just increases the security risk, and the amount of effort required to guard it."

Mr. Orlov says that political collapse is hard to spot because "the worse things get, the more noise the politicians emit. The substance to noise ratio in political discourse is pretty low even in good times, making it hard to spot the transition when it actually drops to zero." The variable that's easier to monitor is the level of political embarrassment. He cites the example of Mr. Nazdratenko, the governor of the far-east Russian region of Primorye, who stole large amounts of coal, made strides in the direction of establishing an independent foreign policy toward China, and yet Moscow could do nothing to rein him in, you could be sure that Russia's political system was pretty much defunct."

So, as V.I. Lenin famously asked, "What is to be done?" Mr. Orlov argues elsewhere that Russians, who housed three generations accustomed to hardship under one roof, were actually better prepared for collapse than Americans, who live alone or in nuclear families, spread out geographically. Where the Russian attitude was "life goes ever on," we will find ourselves stranded among strangers. To prevent this social collapse, "[the] only reasonable approach, it seems to me, is to form communities that are strong and cohesive enough to provide for the well-being of all of their members, that are large enough to be resourceful, yet small enough so that people can relate to each other directly, and to take direct responsibility for each other's well-being. Do you think your web-based communities will ever be able to perform these functions? Please, stop dreaming. "

And what of the political collapse? Orlov says that this is when local politics will matter the most. The federal government will be deaf as ever to the public outcry, but municipalities will feel the distress as roads, sewer mains, and the like can no longer be maintained.

In other words, the only government that will matter will be that which is closest to us, which is the essence of decentralism.

Virtual buckeyes to Mike Tuggle at Rebellion and Path I've Made at Ohio Freedom Alliance.

Ken Blackwell for Republican National Chairman?

Today's Columbus Dispatch reports that former Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell may be making a bid to become Republican National Chairman.

Suits me just fine. He can probably destroy the party as efficiently as anyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Report on the Third North American Secessionist Convention

The Free State Observer in New Hampshire has provided a detailed account of the proceedings of the Third North American Secessionist Convention, held in Manchester, NH, November 14-15, 2008. The reports from the various secessionist movements were interesting; unfortunately, several appear to be more like micronations or assemblages of the politically clueless (in contrast to the more serious movements, such as the Parti Québécois, League of the South, the Second Vermont Republic and a few others). This fact is becoming a source of frustration for those who can show that secessionism is a viable answer to the problems of liberty, economy, and peace facing North America today. (The Middlebury Institute, which sponsored the convention, has provided YouTube videos of the proceedings).

With this in mind, I am repeating my disclaimer that The Ohio Republic is a blog, not a movement. While I strongly favor the creation of a movement in Ohio, it will come only when enough people are frustrated enough with the existing system to hear the call to action which The Ohio Republic provides. In the meantime, I am prepared to remain the voice in the wilderness for as long as it takes.

Back to the Convention. As with the previous conventions, held in 2006 in Burlington, VT, and in 2007 in Chattanooga, TN, this convention issued a Manchester Declaration, which is reproduced below. (The text of all three declarations may be accessed from the Middlebury Institute's home page).

The Manchester Declaration
Adopted at the Third North American Secessionist Convention, '
November 15, 2008, Manchester, New Hampshire

We, the delegates to the Third North American Secessionist Convention, meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire, do declare the following:

· The recent election in the United States, far from signaling a change in the imperial system or a restructuring of the essential political order, unfortunately perpetuates the two-party system and its old familiar politicians that for decades have promoted the interests of the corporate/financial elite whose willing servants they remain.

· The recent financial flailing and machinations in the U.S., including the trillion-dollar bailout of the institutions that created the economic meltdown in the first place, provide ample and blatant evidence of Wall Street’s control over U.S. politics in the interest of trying to see that the rich get richer and the rest get nowhere.

· Together these two processes, along with a long string of abuses and usurpations over the past decades, unmistakably indicate that the U.S. is bankrupt in every way—financially, economically, politically, socially, academically, militarily, spiritually, and morally.

· This fact should demonstrate to the North American public, and the world, that it is the very scale and complexity of the various interlocking political and economic systems that is the fundamental cause of their failure—as well as the reason that no one on the scene has any idea whatsoever of how to fix it.

· That being the case, it is necessary, for the restoration of democracy—not to mention sanity, prosperity, sustainability, governance, and peace—that the imperial system be dismantled, and various states, regions, and elements of North America exert their right to secede into independent regimes laying their foundations on such principles and organizing their powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. It is to this end that the secessionist movement will dedicate its energy, time, talents, moneys, and sacred honor, and we invite, indeed implore, the participation of our fellow citizens.

Passed this day, the fifteenth of November, 2008.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What secessionism is all about

Here is the video of a speech by Dexter Clark, Vice Chairman of the Alaska Independence Party, speaking to the Third North American Secessionist Convention, held in Manchester, New Hampshire, last weekend.

He begins with an expanded story of the media circus around Sarah & Todd Palin's involvement, then goes into just why secessionism is the only way we can recover the ideals that made America great. He is a plain spoken man, but his speech is both hilarious and eloquent. Viewing it will be 15 minutes well spent.

Virtual buckeye to Biker Bill at Adventures in the Free State (New Hampshire).

Republicans: It’s time to hang it up

This will not be an easy post to write. I have been registered as a Republican since 1971, and as a young adult, I ran twice as a Republican for local offices and was a party activist. However, after 152 years, it’s time for the Republican Party to call it quits.

In the last century, the national Republican Party has suffered from bipolar disorder, where the poles may neatly be described as paleoconservative and neoconservative. The paleoconservatives, of which I consider myself one, have consistently advocated limited government, particularly at the Federal level, balanced budgets, a strong national defense but avoidance of foreign wars; and social and economic freedom. Examples of paleoconservative Presidents are Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower (with the qualification that President Eisenhower was unable to balance his budgets – partly due to World War II debt and partly due to a Democratic Congress through most of his administration).

Neoconservatives have consistently advocated the use of the military to expand American interests throughout the world, economic freedom, and a more proactive approach to the regulation of business. Since 1980, neoconservatives have advanced a social agenda reflected in the preferences of the Religious Right, They have been outspoken for Second Amendment rights, and have tended to expand Federal powers affecting secrecy and individual rights. Early examples of neoconservatives (before the term came into use) are Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. More recent examples of neoconservative Presidents are Ronald Reagan, and our current incumbent.

The bipolar shifts have confused Republicans to the point where many wonder whether the Party has a philosophy at all; and it has alienated the general public to the extent that a recovery in four years may not even be possible.

Therefore, I would like to offer a not-so-modest proposal. For now, America would be best served by a vibrant three-party system.

The Democrats would remain as is, less a few conservatives who would be more attracted to one of the other parties, since neither now would be called “Republican”. The Democrats would continue to represent the liberal tradition of governmental activism both at home and abroad.

A Populist Party would represent the paleoconservative tradition, best represented today by Ron Paul. It would seek a return to Constitutional limitations on Federal power, would emphasize both social and economic freedom, and support a strong national defense – but for defense only.

The neoconservative home might be called the “Christian Conservative” Party, because it would represent the desires of the Religious Right regarding homosexuality and abortion, favor military interventions abroad, and be less committed to decentralism than the Populists. Sarah Palin might be a good example of a Christian Conservative.

This partisan alignment would lead to shifting coalitions based on issues. For example, the Christian Conservatives might ally with the Populists on economic issues, but with Democrats on foreign policy. The Populists and Democrats might see eye to eye on social policies, while the Christian Conservatives and the Democrats might ally on economic stimulus issues.

I do not expect such a system to be permanent – American history teaches that sooner or later the parties will again become only two – but while it lasts, it would give the American people an opportunity to see issues more clearly and to decide for themselves just what this nation is about.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Post Peak Oil and Secessionism

Last weekend, the Third North American Secessionist Convention was held in Manchester, NH. The featured speaker was Sebastian Ronin, who is working for the formation of a new nation, called Novacadia, from the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine; and the Canadian provinces of New Bruswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia (plus the Gaspé Peninsula of Québec). His presentation was entitled, "Post-Peak Oil and NAmerican Regional Secession."

His argument is that the convergence of the vanishing supply of oil, global militarism, financial and economic decline, and the push for a "North American Union" will lead to the collapse of the American and Canadian empires. Particularly interesting is his observation that world population depends upon the energy supply. For example, in 1940, the world was producing approximately 6 million barrels per day, and the population was just over 2 billion. Today, production is approximately 82 billion barrels per day, supporting a population of 7 billion. However, when the peak passes (probably between now and 2015), production will decline rapidly. By 2060, oil production will reduce to the level of 1940, and along with it, the world population.

Such a dire outcome can be mitigated by seeking alternative energy sources; but even more importantly, by greatly reducing energy consumption and relying on local resources to produce fewer goods of more permanent value. In other words, the elimination of industrial civilization as we currently know it.

His conclusion:
"It is not necessary for N[orth] American secessionists to advocate a blind and groundless act of secession based on questionable and quite possible reactionary and redundant motivators... What is of greater tactical importance is to acknowledge the historical conditions for secession as they exist in the present, conditions which were not caused by secessionists and which quickly approach a crisis and, as such, call to be acted upon [emphasis added]. To undo the institutional construct of the large industrial nation state ... is no small task. Fortunately, secessionists need not overly concern themselves with having to "do" such a task. It is the historical condition with corresponding opportunities and synergies that will unravel the artificial identity of large-scale nationalism. Secessionists need merely to perceive such and adapt accordingly."

The work of the secessionist will be to agitate and to educate, Mr. Ronin writes, because our revolution will be one of thought and of perception.

The challenge will be to again envision our personal worlds on a human scale, and not the gargantuan scale of the last 200 years.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Auto industry bailout not the answer

The lead story in today's Columbus Dispatch asks a provocative question: "Automakers now roadkill?" Writer Dan Gearino carefully researches the history of job losses in Ohio's auto industry and the pain that would be caused if the Big Three were to be allowed to collapse.

Mr. Gearino quotes James Rubenstein, a geography professor at Miami University and "an expert on the Ohio auto industry": "The severity is such that the nation as a whole needs to face up to a regional issue." According to Prof. Rubenstein, the bailout should be thought of as disaster relief for the Great Lakes states, "just like the country banded together to help the Gulf Coast after natural disasters" [Mr. Gearino's words].

The rest of the nation does not give a rat's patoot about the Great Lakes States. I know this is not the way to gain popularity in this State, but the Big Three should be allowed to collapse. Yes, I know it will be extremely painful; and at least 40,000 more workers will be out of a job -- but to send taxpayer money to the automakers, even as a loan, will only prolong the agony. Yes, I know that the American public thinks that American automakers make poorer quality cars than they really do -- my wife and I each have a Ford Focus, both over four years old, and we are completely satisfied with them.

The problem is not all the United Auto Workers, and it is not all corporate arrogance in Detroit. The problem is, that the Big Three are structurally incapable of responding quickly to innovation. Instead of bailing out the behemoths, we need to incubate new, smaller automakers that will develop electric and hybrid cars; and invent new forms of transportation that remove our dependence on Oil. We need free enterprise, not government-subsidized enterprise -- that can compete and innovate. This is the playing field on which Ohio is strongest, and the one on which Ohio will win, given the opportunity.

Again, I know I am suggesting an extremely painful transition, but sometimes you have to perform an amputation to save the patient's life. This is one of those times.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama

For many Americans, the election of a President is a deeply emotional experience. This is understandable. For those who are candidates and political activists, a campaign consumes everything: physically, mentally, and emotionally -- perhaps more than any other human activity, except combat.
For African-Americans, Sen. Obama's victory was a sign that racism in America, while not quite dead, is no longer a threat to their legitimate opportunities and aspirations. Yes, a person of color can be elected President. Those of us who have not had the experience of being black cannot appreciate its meaning. One black friend said that the pillows that night were wet with his and his wife's tears of joy.

For many Republicans, the election was a sobering reminder that "success is never final." Some, finding their work now in vain, need to remember the other half of that quotation from Winston Churchill: "Failure is never fatal". Neoconservatism is dead, and rightly so. The Republican Party will have to go back to the drawing board, and determine what conservatism means today. It would do well to consider its paleoconservative roots in limited government, balanced budget, strong national defense (and no more), states' rights (relative to the Federal Government), and freedom both economic and social.

Many observers have become overwrought. Liberal euphoria has made the image of Sen. Obama as a "messiah" stick in the minds of many. Conservative despair looks to the onset of socialism, if not Communism in the United States of America.

Let the truth bring assurance to both camps. Barack Obama is human, like the rest of us. Being human, he is subject to the temptations of great power. The test of his Presidency will lie in his ability to harness the power he has toward ends that will make America a better nation; and in his ability to prevent himself and others from abusing that power. For every President, except the current one, the Presidency has changed the man. The candidate filled with ideals is sobered by the realities and responsibilities of actually holding the office. I have no reason to believe that President Obama will be any different.*

I do not expect the messianic age to come, nor do I expect the spectre of Stalinism to rise over the United States -- at least not right away. Once the honeymoon is over -- and it ends sooner or later for all Presidents -- I anticipate that there will be very little real change. We will still be moving toward consolidation of the Empire, as we have at least since 1913, the rights and liberties of the people will still remain in danger while the President and the Congress (especially with both Houses controlled by the same party) remain in session.

History may well recall that, from a policy standpoint, the significance of an Obama Presidency may prove to be nothing more than that of replacing red covers with blue ones on the deck chairs of the Titanic. If the ship does sink, keep in mind that those of us who preach secession will be there with the lifeboats.

In the meantime, pray for the best.

* The reason President Bush is the exception lay in a combination of his lack of intellect and his unwillingness to entertain difference of opinion.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Questions for voters on Tuesday

This will be my last post before Tuesday's election. Before you vote for President, ask yourself some questions:

- To the McCain/Palin supporters: What does "Country First" mean? Are you blindly upholding a flag, or the principles that made it great?

- To the Obama/Biden supporters: What kind of change do we really need? To just say you are anti-Bush or want a fairer distribution of wealth still leaves open a whole host of undesirable options.

Here are some more questions:
1. Which candidate will best protect and defend the Constitution of the United States?
2. Which candidate will best promote economic opportunity for all Americans?
3. Which candidate will best protect our Constitutional rights, especially those of free speech and press, and of protection from unreasonable searches and seizures?
4. Which candidate will be most likely to reduce the Federal deficit?
5. Which candidate is more likely to let you make your own decisions in life, and allow you to spend your own money as you see fit?
6. Which candidate best understands that real security lies in national defense, and not interventions in foreign countries?
7. Which candidate will best protect the Consitution and sovereignty of the United States from the "North American Union" and from delegating powers to international organizations?

If you were tempted to answer "none of the above" to four or more of the preceding questions; or if your answers were split 4-3; please consider Ohio independence as a viable solution to the broken system of government we now face.

The next President will be neither Messiah nor Antichrist. He will be a man, subject to the temptations of great power, and therefore tempted to abuse it to achieve his ends more efficiently. Think carefully, dear voter. What should those ends be, and what are you willing to do when he tries to abuse that power?