Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Springtime for Hitler

Mel Brooks' The Producers was a play and movie that skewered creators of Broadway shows by creating a musical (funny, but in awful taste) entitled "Springtime for Hitler". The song ran through Bill Wilson's mind and my own as he reports on calls by the editors of the Washington Post and the New York Times for the Feds to create a Department of Culture.

The editorials focus on the problems arts organizations are having in securing funding. As a patron of the Columbus Symphony, which is currently on financial life support, I can certainly relate to their concerns. However, the editors apparently have forgotten that Departments of Culture tend to be used for more sinister purposes as agents of totalitarian régimes. Mr. Wilson recalls how the culture ministry was used for censorship by Adolf Hitler, and how the Communists directed their writers, composers, and artists to create bland and worthless works through their "unions". We have a National Endowment for the Arts that works reasonably well. There is no need -- and considerable danger -- to elevating it to a Cabinet department.

The problem with influential liberals is that they want the government to force us to pay for charities and arts that people should be voluntarily supporting out of their own pockets.

Culture is wonderful, but only if it is generated in a free society -- free, that is, from the government control that comes with taxpayer dollars.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sweet land of liberty!

Writer Dan Cooper at has written a funny piece on the freedoms we enjoy every day -- with some help from the Feds.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have" -- President Gerald Ford, address to Congress, August 12, 1974, often incorrectly attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

Virtual buckeye to amyers68 at the Ohio Freedom Alliance.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peace on earth, goodwill to men?

The Ohio Republic is, by design, a secular blog. This is not because I am "ashamed" to acknowledge that I am a Christian; but because (1) I agree with the separation of church and state, ensuring that each institution remains effective at its mission, and (2) because a "Christian" blog would confuse readers as to my intent, which is to promote the secession of Ohio as a viable, independent, and secular nation.

That said, I do have to acknowledge the resistance that many people, including readers to this blog, have to the Christian faith. I submit that this is true in part because Christianity has done a poor job of communicating its purpose to a new generation.

The purpose of Christianity, or any other religion, is to address the human need to connect with the spiritual force of the universe, which we call God. Every major religion associates moral conduct with bringing us closer to God, but one can be atheist and moral, and one certainly can be religious and immoral. On the other hand, those who attempt to use religion as a device to control believers will fail to bring spiritual harmony either to themselves or to other believers. This is why Jesus argued with the Pharisees about such issues as the Sabbath being made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

One of the issues this blog regularly addresses is the effect that the American Empire has on its own people. Our imperialism is driven by the desire for more and more material things. This drive has alienated us from nature, and has resulted in a people who are materially rich, but spiritually starved. One of the reasons I favor secession is to reduce our society to a scale that ordinary people can understand, so we have the understanding to develop true community.

So, we Christians take December and cherish the traditions that have been handed down to us over a thousand years, to honor a Baby born in a stable a thousand years before that. For those who honor these traditions, it is a reminder of things that bring much more satisfaction than money and power. Peace on earth and goodwill toward men are elusive goals for nations, but are essential for each of us to cultivate in our hearts; for only in this way will we find peace with God and with ourselves.

Or as the late Wally Bronner, who lived Christmas every day at his CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan, put it: "Enjoy CHRISTmas. It's His day. Enjoy life. It's His way."

May the peace and joy of Christmas be with you and your family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Manna Storehouse gets legal help

The Buckeye Institute's 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today took legal action in Lorain County Common Pleas Court against the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Lorain County Health Department for violating the constitutional rights of John and Jacqueline Stowers of LaGrange, Ohio.

"'The use of these police state tactics on a peaceful family is simply unacceptable,' Buckeye Institute President David Hansen said. 'Officers rushed into the Stowers' home with guns drawn and held the family - including ten young children - captive for six hours. This outrageous case of bureaucratic overreach must be addressed.'

"The Buckeye Institute argues the right to buy food directly from local farmers; distribute locally-grown food to neighbors; and pool resources to purchase food in bulk are rights that do not require a license. In addition, the right of peaceful citizens to be free from paramilitary police raids, searches and seizures is guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 14, Article 1 of the Ohio Constitution."

Text of the complaint (.pdf file)

All posts on Manna Storehouse.

Virtual buckeye to JBZ at the Ohio Freedom Forum.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

South Carolina secedes again!

I have seen this before, but hidden in the humor may be a fairly clear idea of how secession will actually occur in North America in the near future.

December 16, 2008

Transcript of a phone conversation between Mark Sanford (roman) and President George Bush (italic):

“Good Morning, Mr. President. This is President Mark Sanford of the Independent Republic of South Carolina. I hope you’ve seen a copy of the diplomatic instruments we delivered last night to the State Department and—”

“Listen, Governor, this whole thing is an outrage! If you think—“

“I am a president, Mr. President, as you will see in those instruments. The people of South Carolina elected me to head the new constitution they approved when they voted so overwhelmingly for separation. Let us treat each other with the respect do to equal sovereigns.”

“Equal, what the hell do you mean equal?! You’re the tinpot head of an illegal and unconstitutional state, I’m the head of the mightiest army in the world, and you ought to be damn thankful that we haven’t bombed you to the Stone Age.”

“We are grateful for that, Mr. President, though of course you know that well over two-thirds of the military personnel in this state—including all of the 27,000 Reserves and National Guard, are supporters of secession, are happy citizens of the new South Carolina, and would not have been a part of any military operation you might have thought of launching. Besides, we have established a kind of camp for the soldiers who did not want to become citizens, and we will ship them wherever they want to go, at our expense, as soon as possible. They, and all other Federal personnel who chose not to take citizenship, are being treated very well and will soon be repatriated.

“And while we’re on that subject, Mr. President, I trust you have read in the documents where we have offered extremely handsome sums for the six Federal military bases. Similarly with Federal office buildings. The Interstate Highways, as you know, are state property, but if you want a return on your original investment in them, we can negotiate that. And as for the national park lands, in the interest of burying the hatchet we will not seek compensation for your seizure, use, and long tenure of them, and just call it even.”

"Listen, Sanford, all this is a load of cow-poo, as we say in Texas. You can’t secede from the United States. It’s illegal, and we proved that 150 years ago.”

”No, Mr. President, it’s not illegal, not even unconstitutional—go read the thing, it says nothing at all about secession—and all you proved back then is that a government that turns dictatorial can carry out the wishes of a rising corporate plutocracy at the cost of an incredible, and incredibly stupid, loss of lives. And you’re not going to do that again.”

“Yeah, why not?”

“Because, sir, you are discredited and disgraced, your Administration has no moral authority whatsoever after your illegal wars, your economic meltdown, your lies, and your shredding of the Constitution--and your military would not obey any orders from you after your thoroughly contemptible conduct as commander-in-chief. Besides, before we declared independence we made sure to get backing for our cause from the United Nations Human Rights Council and thirty-five nations which themselves were created by secession, including all of the former Soviet republics, all of the former Yugoslav states, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Panama, Taiwan, East Timor, Singapore, Portugal, and Ireland. It would be beyond even your crude unilateralism to go up against that much world opinion. Even if you could.”

“Listen, Sanford, we have no intention of letting you get away with this. If I can’t use military force, then we’ll try something else. How about a boycott—how’d you like that? A call to Bentonville, Arkansas, and there goes your Wal-Marts. Another to Minneapolis, and no more Targets. How you people going to like that, Mr. Secession?”

“Go ahead and try it, won’t worry us. Why shouldn’t Wal-mart want to keep on doing business here, in another foreign country, like they do around the world? No never-mind to them that we’re not part of the U.S. Except that they could figure that people would have a whole lot more disposable income if they weren’t sending off $23 million in taxes to Washington, DC every year. That might make them very eager to do more business with us.”

“You think I’m a Texas knuckle-knocker, boy? I know full well you get a lot more money from us up here than you pay in. You’re not getting that any more. You’ll be living in tin-roof shacks.”

“Well, that is one thing you’re right about, Mr. President. In fact we get about 25-35 cents back for every dollar we send you in taxes. But in the first place, we’re no longer a part of that failed economic system you people put together, and that odious trillion-dollar bigshot bailout, no longer liable for the immense debt you ran up, no longer going to even be using American currency, and we’re not going down your dollar-based rathole. Second, you forget that most of that money that comes from Washington goes straight to the military establishment here, doesn’t do much for the wider economy, and we won’t need to be supporting that military any more cause we have our own national guard, so we just don’t need the money. And to top it off, we now no longer have to pay all that money to follow all the rules and regulations you’ve put on agriculture, and businesses, and industry, and schooling, and everything else the Feds put their noses into, and we’ll have a whole lot of extra money."

“All in all, Mr. President, we figure we’re going to be a little Southern Switzerland, running our own economic affairs for our own benefit, free and transparent banking, small markets with a lot of self-sufficiency, proud and prosperous and, may I say, palmy.”

”You sunuvabitch, you won’t get away with this. We’ll—"

“Forgive me for interrupting, Mr. President, but it might be wise for you to take some time to reflect on what I’ve said. Perhaps get some of the wiser heads in that city together and let them tell you not just how legal and permissible is what we have achieved, but how right and just and proper, and how it may even point the way for other states to follow our lead and allow your rotten and incompetent Federal government to shrink to a reasonable size where democracy and accountability can be restored.

“In sum, Mr. President, we ask you to remember the flag that was created for the first American Navy at the beginning of the War of Secession in 1775 by an honored son and delegate of the South Carolina colony by the name of Colonel Christopher Gadsden, a copy of which was also given to the South Carolina legislature to fly at the capital. It showed a fierce eastern diamondback rattlesnake—an animal that did not exist in Britain—whose tongue was flickering and hissing, with the words beneath—and I would like to impress them on you, Mr. President—DON’T TREAD ON ME.

“Good morning, Mr. President.”

And that’s the end of the transcript.

Virtual buckeye to Kirkpatrick Sale at the Middlebury Institute.

Further update on Manna Storehouse

My friend Ed has given me a personal update on the Manna Storehouse situation, reported here last Wednesday and yesterday:

"Reading the blogs as well as local press reports gives us differing accounts of the incident. I spoke with a co-op member and friend of the Stowers' who talked to them shortly after the incident. I was skeptical about the blog reports, so I asked about some of the details. She assured me that indeed there were large weapons that were drawn and aimed at the family, based on information given to her by family members she spoke with. She said, also, that the family seems to be well, and the children were about their normal activities."

As I wrote yesterday, the trial should be very interesting.

All posts on Manna Storehouse.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Update on Manna Storehouse

According to the Lorain County Sheriff, as reported in the Plain Dealer's, last Wednesday's account of the Manna Storehouse raid was a bit overblown. The sheriff states that his force has no automatic weapons, and the raid took four hours, not nine as was reported by my sources. He considered the raid "uneventful", and stated that no one was held at gunpoint, but were confined to one room of the house as part of a standard procedure when searches are conducted.

"Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Scott Serazin said 'any business that sells perishable foods must be licensed and follow regulations covering those who store and supply food. There is no exception in the law for a co-op,' Serazin said, and Manna cannot ask customers to waive safety regulations."

The Stower family has no comment, probably because a suit is being prepared, but even this account does not explain why a raid was necessary to enforce a law requiring a license to sell food, and one wonders, in the light of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's past record of using excessive force, whether the sheriff is telling the truth or covering up.

I suspect that a very interesting trial is in Lorain County's near future.

All posts on Manna Storehouse.

Virtual buckeye to Ed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Update on the call for a Constitutional Convention

It appears that the call for the Constitutional Convention is dead as far as this Ohio General Assembly is concerned. Both Senator Carey’s office (chairman in Senate committee) and Representative Huffman’s office (sponsor of HJR 8) have indicated that neither committee will be holding any further meetings or votes on the Con-Con resolutions for the remainder of this legislative session.

In hearings Wednesday, 10 people testified to the House committee, none of them in favor of the proposal. Their reasons mirrored those expressed in my post on Wednesday.

Interestingly, Frank at the Ohio Freedom Alliance forum has suggested adding a secession trigger to the Ohio Constitution, in the event the 34th State does call for the Con-Con and the end result is harmful to our freedoms. (I have commented on it, but it wasn't my idea -- honest!).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Change we can believe in? A cautionary note.

If you still think that President-elect Obama's incoming Administration reflects his slogan of "change we can believe in," you might want to read this analysis. We know that most of Mr. Obama's advisors are veterans of the Clinton Administration, and appear to be more concerned with allaying the fears of Wall Street and oh, maybe by the way, Main Street, than in pursuing any kind of bold new direction.

The best economic stimulus, by the way, is the one Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) proposed to give us all a one-year holiday from the Federal income tax. But don't hold your breath -- you won't live long enough to see it.

NO to a Constitutional Convention!

As I am writing this, the Ohio House of Representatives is deliberating on a joint resolution (HJR 8) to request a Constitutional Convention to consider a balanced-budget amendment. I have written to several legislators asking them not to support the move; not because I object to a balanced-budget amendment (though I wonder how it could possibly be enforced at the Federal level), but because a Constitutional Convention is an extremely dangerous way to bring it about. Worse, they are trying, with the Senate, to fast-track the proposal so it can be completed within the week.

History records that the original Constitutional Convention in 1787 was called by the Continental Congress for the express purpose of recommending amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which, according to the Articles, had to be approved by the Congress and ratified by all 13 States. However, when the convention convened, it found the Articles so flawed that they decided to create an entirely new form of government. Fortunately for us, the Constitution was a brilliant work designed to protect our freedoms in a structure that enabled free trade among the States and an effective foreign and defense policy for the nation. However, the truth remains that, according to the terms laid out by the Articles of Confederation, our Constitutional Convention was out of control.

Article V of the Constitution does not specify any procedure for electing or appointing the members of the Convention, nor does it provide any limits on the Convention's power, once convened. In other words, there is nothing to prevent a new Constitutional Convention from scrapping our existing Constitution and introducing something else, such as this horror, suggested in 1974.

Given the accelerating trend of centralization of government, it seems likely that a new Constitutional Convention would be very likely to scrap our existing document in favor of one that enhances the power either of the Federal Government, or of international organizations.

We cannot afford to take that risk.

Please contact your State legislators and urge them to vote against this resolution and its companion Senate resolution SJR 9. The Ohio Freedom Alliance has suggested some links for additional information.

Halloween in Lorain County

Frequent readers to this blog have noted that I use "Halloween" as a rubric for major and egregious governmental intrusions on the rights of the people. Usually, it refers to an act of arrogance by the Federal Government.

Unfortunately, the following story refers to an act of arrogance by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. I have been slow to report it, in the hope that it would be more extensively reported in the mainstream media; however, I believe there is enough truth in it to report here, and further delay in reporting it will only serve to erode our rights further.

As reported by the Lorain Morning Journal December 3:

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP — An Ohio Department of Agriculture agent seized food, electronic devices and documents from a Pittsfield Township organic and natural food cooperative believed to be unlicensed, according to a search warrant filed yesterday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.Jacqueline and John Stowers, owners of the Manna Storehouse, 43565 SR 303, were inspected in November 2007 by the Lorain County General Health District, according to court records.

On Monday, ODA enforcement agent William Lesho confiscated hundreds of pounds of processed beef and large amounts of lamb, turkey and other perishable products in addition to office files, a computer, two cell phones and other electronic devices, according to the search warrant inventory. The items were taken to establish the Stowers' ownership in any property, records of hidden wealth or illegal income and anything that would establish illegal activity, according to the search warrant affidavit.

However, this is not the whole story. A thoroughly-investigated piece in a Christian blog adds the following details:

On Monday, December 1, a SWAT team with semi-automatic rifles entered the private home of the Stowers family in LaGrange, Ohio, herded the family onto the couches in the living room, and kept guns trained on parents, children, infants and toddlers, from approximately 11 AM to 8 PM. The team was aggressive and belligerent. The children were quite traumatized. At some point, the “bad cop” SWAT team was relieved by another team, a “good cop” team that tried to befriend the family. The Stowers family has run a very large, well-known food cooperative called Manna Storehouse on the western side of the greater Cleveland area for many years.

There were agents from the Department of Agriculture present, one of them identified as Bill Lesho. The search warrant is reportedly supicious-looking. Agents began rifling through all of the family’s possessions, a task that lasted hours and resulted in a complete upheaval of every private area in the home. Many items were taken that were not listed on the search warrant. The family was not permitted a phone call, and they were not told what crime they were being charged with. They were not read their rights. Over ten thousand dollars worth of food was taken, including the family’s personal stock of food for the coming year. All of their computers, and all of their cell phones were taken, as well as phone and contact records. The food cooperative was virtually shut down.

There was no rational explanation, nor justification, for this extreme violation of Constitutional rights.

Presumably Manna Storehouse might eventually be charged with running a retail establishment without a license. Why then the Gestapo-type interrogation for a 3rd degree misdemeanor charge? This incident has raised the ominous specter of a restrictive new era in State regulation and enforcement over the nation’s private food supply.

(The source linked above also contains some interesting and very scary quotations suggesting that this kind of activity is likely only to increase in the months ahead).

Please note:
* The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) agents did not state what allegedly illegal activity was being investigated.
* The Stowers contacted the ODA requesting information on how to comply with the law. Their request was never answered.
* This is not the first time the ODA has been chastised by the courts for its flagrant disregard of Constitutional rights.

There is an irony to this story as well. Mr. Stowers was not home when the raid took place because he was serving in Iraq.

I cannot put a secessionist spin on this article, except to suggest that the ODA is being encouraged by Federal use of police-state tactics and Federal contempt for the rights of the people.

The time may soon come when we will have to openly protest against "repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny," if there is to be any hope that absolute tyranny can be averted.

This story has several updates, which may be found in the category Manna Storehouse.

Virtual buckeye to PeaceChicken.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Consolidation of private enterprise

I have often wondered what would happen if so much enterprise were so efficient and/or so foreign that there would be no one left to buy anything. According to Sherry at Liberty Voice, it looks as though I'm about to find out, and it won't be pretty. In an article by Michel Chussodovsky, the coming depression results from the collapse of consumer demand, coupled with an overproduction that has triggered a string of bankruptcies.

Now, try to persuade me that the global economy is all it's cracked up to be!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Abraham Lincoln: a cautionary note

Here's a good question, from John Stoeffler, writing for the Suburban Journals in the St. Louis area:

"He discriminated against certain groups and believed they should be deported. He favored a strong controlling central government. He jailed newspaper editors and judges and had his military commanders close down those newspapers whose editorials disagreed with his policies. He had one legislator* removed from office and banished from the country. He confiscated private property and firearms. Can you guess the name of this tyrant?

"Was it Saddam Hussein or North Korea's Kim Jong Il? Was it Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung or Josef Stalin? No, he was one of America's most lionized presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

"Shocked? You should be, especially in view of a number of those in the media who, before he is sworn in as our next president, are comparing Obama to Abraham Lincoln."

President-elect Obama has expressed a great deal of admiration for the style and policies of Abraham Lincoln. This is understandable -- after all, Mr. Obama is from Illinois, and I am sure there is much about President Lincoln that would appeal to him.

However, before we move the Lincoln idolatry into high gear, we should heed this cautionary note.

Did President Lincoln free the slaves? Well, sort of. He freed the slaves in the Confederacy. Mr. Stoeffler quotes a London newspaper at the time: "The principle is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States."

As a member of the Illinois legislature, he urged his colleagues to appropriate money to remove all free blacks from the State of Illinois. The following year, in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, he said, "There is a physical difference between (blacks and whites) which ... will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality" As President, he had "no purpose to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists ... and [he had] no inclination to do so."

President-elect Obama's inaugural theme is said to be taken from President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, "A New Birth of Freedom." Perhaps Mr. Obama should take note that when Maryland was preparing to vote on a resolution to let the South secede peacefully, President Lincoln arrested the leadership favoring the motion and prevented the assembly from even debating it. So much for free speech and peaceful assembly.

"A New Birth of Freedom"? Is this part of the change the President-elect promises, or will it prove to be Orwellian irony? We shall soon see.

* Congressman Clement Vallandigham, of Dayton, Ohio.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Ides of Texas

It was November 8, a Saturday night in Austin, Texas. About a quarter past seven, KLBJ host Patrick Timpone was interviewing Congressman Ron Paul, when Rep. Paul dropped a little bomb. Responding to a question from Mr. Timpone as to whether he could be persuaded to run for Governor of Texas in 2010, Rep. Paul answered that he did not consider himself the right person to run for that office. He then added in jest, "I might come up and say we should secede from the Union, and then they'd run me out of town." (located at 19:38 in this file).

Mr. Timpone rather liked that idea, and pursued it with some questions which almost sounded as though he were prodding Rep. Paul to consider secession more seriously. A few days later, Yahoo Answers posted a question as to whether Texas could make it as an independent nation. The answers from Texas were enthusiastic for secession, and quite convinced that it could be done. The movement gained legs on the Ron Paul forums as well, with one writer noting that Larry Kilgore had garnered some 27% of the vote in the Republican primary for U.S. Senator (225,783 votes) on an explicitly secessionist platform!

Then on November 25, the discussion went national on the Glenn Beck program. Unfortunately, Mr. Beck decided to have more fun with it than anything else. His division of the U.S. into six nations was funny, but totally out of touch with North American geography and existing secessionist movements (Mr. Beck and his map are at left).

The most important development was the buzz in the blogosphere, where both supporters and opponents of the idea began to take it seriously. Don't take my word for it, just Google "texas secession" to get an idea of what I mean. This is a major step forward for North American secessionism.

This is not to say that most Americans are ready to have secession on their radar screen; only that the idea is less laughable than it was even three months ago.

However, despite the groundswell of Republican support for Mr. Kilgore, Texas secessionism has some serious problems. First, except for Mr. Kilgore's campaign (he is now running for Governor in 2010), there is no really organized movement for Texas secession. A number of organizations have been created since the mid 1990s, but tended to get caught up in the so-called "patriot" movement aligned with the militias that became well known at that time. Those organizations splintered into several small, competing groups. Today, Texas secessionism remains badly fragmented.

In addition to the Texas groups, the League of the South has a Texas chapter, whose goals appear to be closely aligned with that of the general organization.

Texas is a big state, with a distinct culture and a past history as an independent nation (1836-1845). It is obviously viable as an independent nation. The challenge for Texas secessionism is to root out the crackpots and to get everyone else on the same page. Ron Paul might have the political acumen and credibility to pull it off as Governor, and perhaps Larry Kilgore could, too. One thing is sure, it will take very strong, determined leadership to build a movement that will generate any hope of success.