Saturday, January 31, 2009
Most of the co-sponsors are Democrats; but I thought the Republicans were going to change their tune and become the party of governmental economy...
Warning to the GOP: Your credibility is going... going... Don't wait until it's gone.
Virtual buckeye to amyers68 at the Ohio Freedom Alliance.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY CENTERS.
(a) In General- In accordance with the requirements of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish not fewer than 6 national emergency centers on military installations.
(b) Purpose of National Emergency Centers- The purpose of a national emergency center shall be to use existing infrastructure--
(1) to provide temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster;
(2) to provide centralized locations for the purposes of training and ensuring the coordination of Federal, State, and local first responders;
(3) to provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, esponse, and recovery efforts of government, private, and not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations; and
(4) to meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Sounds like a nice loophole to enable the construction of concentration camps, which would not be unprecedented in American history. A letter to your Congressman requesting, at minimum the deletion of subsection (b)(4), would definitely be in order!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
At the very least, this should help discredit Edward Sebesta's assertion that secessionism is inherently racist.
"I voted for Barack Obama for many reasons, if not out of political conviction. I am entangled. Entangled by history, by family, by friends, by a sense of justice and honor toward those fellow human beings my Euro-American tribe first enslaved and then segregated as non-equals. Human beings who are finally honored and respected without any equivocation. Set free. For them I am moved -- not for the United States.
"For the United States the hour is late, very late.
"Any one of you who have African-American friends knows how deep, how absolute and complete Mr. Obama’s election to the office of the U.S. presidency is for them, in particular. The meaning of this achievement lies unbounded by words, unshakable in the hearts of our African-American brothers and sisters.
"I am a lone secessionist in a large community of family and friends, almost all of whom (not quite all!), starting with my walk-beside, my own wife, do not share this peculiar dream of mine. So, even if the Vermont secessionist movement grows, despite Vermonters’ overwhelming vote for Mr. Obama and his promise of change, what about New Mexico or North Carolina or Massachusetts or anywhere else in the multitude of Empire’s diverse homelands, where secession still sleeps? I have daughters, sons, granddaughters, every imaginable in-law, a mother, brothers, cousins, and friends who live all over America and for that matter, the world. Thus mindful, if I look at, if I sense the man Obama presents in the media, I see a smile that feels true, eyes that betray more than a hint of unmalicious humor, a face that reflects the joy of being connected to others -- in short, a mensch, not a trickster. "
In the remainder of the longish article, Mr. Baldwin describes his intellectual journey toward decentralism and secession. He finds it ironic that President Obama takes office at the very time the United States is starting to founder. He repeats Sebastian Ronin's observations about peak oil and the urgency of building secessionist movements now, or face chaos later.
"In cities, neighborhoods, towns, suburbs, rural villages, bioregions everywhere the forces of liberty and innovation and local self-reliance are going to surge, with or without Empire. We must hold our stand on the land, pull down the flag that signals our forlorn allegiance to Empire, and hoist a new flag, founded on a new allegiance -- to liberty and unity in one small place."
For him, that is the Green Mountain flag of Vermont. For us, it's the Burgee.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Mr. Brown's conclusion is one we all need to consider:
"But that would mean that on average, each Vermonter would need to buy $34,000 worth of 'Second Vermont Republic' bonds, perhaps accessing cash via home-equity loans? *
OR, we could wait ten years until our share of the national debt has gone up to $100,000 per person.
OR, we could just keep our fingers crossed that Barack will 'save us' and keep passing off our obligations onto our children and grandchildren.
I think it's helpful if we reality-check ourselves and consider secession in this context. This is where the rubber meets the road."
One point Mr. Brown overlooks: a seceding State can also claim the per capita share of the Federal Government's assets for its population, and reduce the debt by that amount.
This will be difficult for the first State out, but easier for those that follow.
* Mr. Brown may need to consider one reason this crisis occurred -- too much mortgage debt leading to foreclosure.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
President Obama’s Inaugural Address was a well-written, well-delivered speech. His rhetoric was impeccable, but subject to various interpretations. Inaugural addresses are not intended to deliver policy, but to set the tone for an administration. Given that purpose, I liked his address. Will he apply reason to the conduct of Federal Government and indeed do away with programs that don’t work? Will he really show as much Midwestern horse-sense as President as he did in his speech? I don’t know, but I try to be fair about these things.
President Obama, by reciting these words, established a contractual relationship with the American people:
“I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear, that I will execute the office of President of the United States faithfully, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
If President Obama protects and defends the Constitution in all its parts – that is, he respects the rights of the States (in the 10th Amendment), the right of the people against unreasonable searches, seizures, and Federal snoopervision (in the 4th Amendment), takes no action against peaceful dissent (1st Amendment), and works to roll back the excesses of Federal power taken in the last century (see Article I, Section 8), he will have no problem with me.
In other words, he must honor his oath of office. If he fails to do so, I shall exercise my right to openly and vocally dissent. If the President had been Sen. McCain, Rep. Paul, or anyone else, I would have imposed the same conditions.
"Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power... Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
--Thomas Jefferson: Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Ohio has had a long history of being culturally diverse. I believe I reflect the majority opinion in Ohio (white, black, yellow, Asian Indian, and most* Muslims in Columbus) when I assert that a society must agree on at least a few core values, such as the use of the English language in the public square, freedom of expression, and the rule of law. The application of decentralist ideas will contribute to the long-term success of this principle, since it would give us the benefits of diversity, while enabling everyone to live in the neighborhood with which they are the most comfortable.
As I stated earlier, the end goal of decentralism is not just a new political alignment, but the ability to recover our humanity after generations of being treated as homo oeconomicus.
* Some of the first-generation Somalis in Columbus haven't gotten it yet (a few of the young men have disappeared, presumably to join the radicals in Somalia); but the Somalis here are distressed by their disappearance, which suggests that the community as a whole is beginning to understand our common values as Ohioans.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Robert Romano at The Daily Grind* calls it “Stimulating Debt, Abandoning Hope.” :
“Never mind that the government has ducked any responsibility for creating the current mess. Or that it has failed to enact—or even propose—reforming and repealing the very policies that caused the financial system to crack in the first place: too much credit, too low interest rates, regulations by government to force banks to give out loans that ultimately could not be repaid... ad infinitum, ad nausea[m].
“Beneath this abdication of accountability is a complete lack of faith by politicians in the very people they represent. And, of course, in the American spirit of free enterprise.”
The “stimulus” package, Mr. Romano writes, is not based on increased revenues, but on “a desire by politicians to exacerbate the self-same economic policies that caused the crisis to begin with.”
“It was not government that invented the steam engine that powered factories and mills, locomotives and steam boats; it was the individual initiative of several engineers over the course of hundreds of years, including James Watt and Richard Trevithick. Nor was it government that forever revolutionized the process of making cars—and just about everything else that is manufactured; it was the initiative of Henry Ford and his assembly line that created millions of jobs and made the 20th Century the era of the automobile. And again it was not government that transformed and made more efficient the use of computers; it was independent innovators like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.”
The second is Glenn Sheller’s piece in today’s Columbus Dispatch. He applies some good old-fashioned Ohio horse-sense, first by using a medical analogy:
“The economy is sick because its arteries are clogged with bad investments, bad debt, bad financial managers and bad companies. And these things grew to such toxic levels because they got a pass from bad regulators and from bad politicians who short-circuited the market forces that would have punished such foolishness long before it grew big enough to shake the financial underpinnings of the entire planet.
“The economy seeks to purge itself of these toxins, and only after it does can it regain health and resume growth. But all efforts so far seem directed toward preventing that from happening. We don't want to let foreclosure eliminate bad mortgages, we don't want to allow the failure of financial institutions that are built on bad decisions and rotten assets. We don't want to let companies that are ill-managed, overburdened and underperforming go bankrupt.”
“It's like saying that the cure for hangover is to drink more alcohol. A hangover can be postponed by more drinking, but that ‘solution’ leads to fatal alcohol poisoning. Assuming that nobody wants that, then sooner or later the agony of the hangover must be endured in order to return to sobriety and health.”
He concludes that we are acting like lemmings. We are trusting the same people who got us into the mess to get us out of it. His conclusion: “That's sounds more than just counterintuitive. That sounds crazy.”
Why does it sound crazy? I don’t know the exact M1 figures, but I do know that the bailout has created at least $2 trillion since last September out of nothing. Continuing along this path will flood our economy with too many dollars chasing too few goods and services – which is the definition of inflation. Flooding it too much will cause the patient to die of congestive heart failure, or hyperinflation.
If you want to know what that’s like, check out this article about Zimbabwe dollar from Agence France-Presse, which uses numbers I have never seen outside of astronomy.
The constitution they adopted (accessible from the link above) is a very interesting precursor to the Constitution of the United States.
Best wishes, Vermont, not only for a happy celebration; but that the day will come soon when Vermont enjoys liberty in its Second Republic.
Virtual buckeye to Rob Williams at Vermont Commons.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Further down in his article, Mr. Roberts reviews the rapidly growing Federal deficit, and states that the Federal government has a "negative net worth" (= unfunded liabilities) of $59.3 trillion, which is an increase of nearly 10% in less than six months. The bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone is cited to be about $3 trillion.
His conclusion: The Feds lie to us.
My conclusion: The Constitution says that the purpose of government is to provide for the common defense, promote the common welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty on ourselves and our posterity. Now if the Feds aren't doing any of these right, why do we keep supporting them?*
* I know, I left out "to form a more perfect Union," but if they can't fulfill any of the other purposes, the Union by itself is useless.
Virtual buckeye to Rob Williams at Vermont Commons.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
In a commentary published in yesterday's International Herald-Tribune, Dr. Kissinger argues that the global economic collapse resulting from that of the financial markets presents a unique "opportunity" arising from a disconnect between a global economy and national political institutions.
"In the end, the political and economic systems can be harmonized in only one of two ways: by creating an international political regulatory system with the same reach as that of the economic world; or by shrinking the economic units to a size manageable by existing political structures, which is likely to lead to a new mercantilism, perhaps of regional units. "
The remainder of the piece discusses the problems of the United States, Europe, and China in resolving their economic problems in the absence of such a system. Dr. Kissinger, of course, advocates that one be created.
Only one problem, and it's a big one. History has shown that, the larger the political structure, the more fatal it is for individual liberty. Instead of growing the "political regulatory system" to have the same reach as the global economic system, we actually need to do the reverse: actually shrink the economic units to a size manageable, not by existing political structures, but by even smaller ones.
Dr. Kissinger is afraid that this will lead to a new "mercantilism" by "regional units." Mercantilism is defined as:
"an economic system ... to unify and increase the power and especially the monetary wealth of a nation by a strict governmental regulation of the entire national economy usually through policies designed to secure an accumulation of bullion, a favorable balance of trade, the development of agriculture and manufactures, and the establishment of foreign trading monopolies."
In a world of large nation-states, this theory makes sense. However, the world may soon contain several hundred smaller nations, following a trend that started in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and will accelerate following the collapse of the United States. In this world, mercantilism need not be a concern, because few nations will have the power to carry out mercantilist policies; and the smaller nations that would be impacted by those policies will have many alternative sources for the goods and energy they need.
We don't need a global economy or a global polity. We need economic and political structures that are small enough for people to understand and work with, and small enough to enable the people to maintain a free society.
* President George H. W. Bush let slip another open reference to the "new world order" in 1991 in a speech discussing the challenges of the post-Cold War world.
Virtual buckeye to Sebastian Ronin at Novacadia Alliance.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Take responsibility. Support independence for Ohio.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Two well-known local currencies in the United States are the BerkShares in the Berkshire Mountain region of western Massachusetts, and the Ithaca Hours in upstate New York. More technical information on local currencies is available from the E. F. Schumacher Society.
Buckeye Bucks, anyone?
Virtual buckeye to Carl Etnier at Vermont Commons.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
"They are so worried they want a portable asset in their house. I never thought I would be getting calls from clients saying they want a box of krugerrands," he said.
According to The Telegraph, Merrill-Lynch predicted that gold would soon blast through its all time-high of $1,030 an ounce, and would hit $1,150 by June. They see gold as a "safe haven" in deflation, and as a store of value in an inflation (which I think is more likely).
Merrill-Lynch expects global inflation to hover near zero, with rates of -1% in the industrial economies. Maybe at first, but with the trillions of dollars being pumped into the economy, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we experience double- and maybe triple-digit inflation by the end of the year.
Virtual buckeye to FrankRep at the Ohio Freedom Alliance.
“It took just about a month for the mainstream media to catch up to a story on the disintegration of the United States. The story, by Russian Professor Igor Panarin, first broke on November 25, 2008 . I refer, of course, to the WSJ article which ran on December 29: As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.“The WSJ article is getting a lot of play in the blogosphere. The original Izvestia story, as was covered by Global Futures, was touched on with a post in [the Novacadia Alliance] blog and can be jumped to here (link to the original Global Futures article inclusive).
“The motives for such an esteemed gatekeeper as the WSJ to run with this story is left to individual imaginations. It is safe to say that the determination of motive will vary with the degree of one’s political smarts and where one sits within the conspiracy cosmos, i.e. alternative interpretation of “the news.” The acknowledged role of the corporate media within such “conspiracy cosmos” goes without saying.
“More to the point, the issue for the NAmerican secessionist movement (NASM) around this story is not if Professor Panarin is a nut job or to the degree, if any, that his theories on the break-up of the United States serve Russian propaganda purposes. The issue for the NASM here is the degree to which it has been caught with its pants down.* By all rights, a representative body of the NASM should have been all over this story and the wide public attention it received like a dirty shirt; it should have been collecting PR premiums hand-over-fist via the positioning of the NASM in the public psyche.
“Unfortunately, the NASM is asleep-at-the-wheel because it is currently structured to be asleep-at-the-wheel, i.e. there is no structure; there is no representative body. Within a context of political organization, the movement is straddled and limited by an uncoordinated gaggle of state/provincial and regional secessionist initiatives ranging from the politically astute and professional (Quebec, Vermont, The South, Texas, Alaska), to fledgling start-ups, to the ongoing competition amongst Cascadian organizations as to who can design the prettiest web site.
“The Middlebury Institute, widely recognized as being the clearing house for secessionist news and information, makes no mention of the Panarin story. The American Secession Project is likewise out of the loop, which stands to reason as it seems that activity there has been dormant since 2007.
“Perhaps the current state of the NASM is no better reflected than with the dismal flop of the recent Third North American Secessionist Convention. After the major international media breakthroughs accomplished at the Second NAmerican Secessionist Convention held in Chattanooga, TN in 2007, the NASM took a step backwards with the Third NAmerican Secessionist Convention held this past November in Manchester, NH. For the media the convention was a non-event, possibly due to a combination of Obamamania, lack of interest (choreographed media boycotting of the convention possibly inclusive), and/or poorly executed press releases. Based on the haphazard organization, a majority no-show of secessionist organizations, lack of parliamentary procedure and decorum, and the tired parading of the usual secessionist “assets” and ringers, one convention delegate opined that maybe it was just as well that the media were a no-show…
“If, indeed, the NASM has in its collective mind the intent to harness a revolution of perception and consequent action amongst its autonomous, regional satellites for the full benefit of a Post-Peak Oil public, then the current organizational non-structure and general invisibility of the NASM will not suffice.
“It is put forward for strong and serious consideration that the NASM must evolve in tandem with the historical condition. If not, then we may as well all grab our marbles and go home. To work towards the bankrupt political status of [Canadian] Green Party [or U.S. third party] lobbying is not an option. Actually, as a responsible political force and voice, the NASM should be ahead of the unfolding condition; it should be able to pre-empt the condition in order to most effectively ensure its political positioning. As is, the condition, e.g. the entry onto the Post-Peak Oil slope, financial and economic meltdown, imperial over-reach, NWO geopolitics, etc., is outpacing the isolated managerial and political capacities of the NASM in leaps and bounds.
“The onus falls on NAmerican autonomous secessionist organizations to make the democratic, coordinated and organizational efforts to catch up to the condition in order to reap full public relations benefits, to position the NASM in the NAmerican political psyche. The garnering of support and call for the creation of an organizational, coordinating and legally incorporated and registered body such as a North American Secessionist Congress may be the route to go. The necessity to do so would seem to be obvious and crucial. The will to do so, unfortunately, is another thing altogether."
His analysis of the North American secessionist movement is right on target. Of all the secessionist bloggers out there, Mr. Ronin seems to have the firmest grip on reality. Since the best-known secessionists (Kirkpatrick Sale and Thomas Naylor) are academics, it will be difficult to make the transition that he suggests. While the statements of the Middlebury Institute have been useful, they can do little more than set a tone. We are at a point now where we need to understand and apply practical political action.
Secessionism is, by its very nature, splintered. While a (future) movement in Ohio could be nurtured and given some technical support from a North American secessionist organization, Ohio's independence will have to be built by Ohioans, rooted in Ohio's customs, developed in the environment of Ohio's politics, and deal with Ohio's issues. The same is true of any other state or region desiring independence.
One promising approach for local secessionists is to hook up with political action groups that support personal liberty, such as those spawned by Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty. The Ohio Republic joined one such group in supporting the successful effort to persuade the last Ohio General Assembly to prevent it from supporting a call for a U.S. Constitutional Convention; which is likely to replace our existing Constitution with a new one far less friendly to personal liberty. The advantage for the secessionist movement is that members of such groups are apt to consider secession as a viable option. An idea currently under consideration is to take to the Ohio General Assembly a proposal for a joint resolution, or even a "secession trigger" in our State Constitution; in the event that a Constitutional Convention attempts to replace the U.S. Constitution, or ratifies the North American Union. This is a logical next step following last year’s assertion of State sovereignty by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and the statement by 39 elected officials in Montana threatening secession if Heller v. D.C., a gun-rights case then pending in the Supreme Court, had been determined against the rights of gun owners.
Independence will not come all at once. We have to take baby steps to warm people up to the idea. We have been fortunate to have favorable or neutral media coverage; but the media could, and probably will, turn very hostile when corporate interests realize that the dissolution of the United States and Canada will generally work against the interests of multinational corporations. If we are to secede, we must develop person-to-person contacts and hold discussions at the local level; not just with each other, but with local politicians -- most of whom will pooh-pooh us at first; but as we organize and make ourselves heard, the derision will give way to serious thought, and then to serious action.
It would certainly help if we had a cohesive North American Secessionist Congress with alert leadership and sharp PR people, to inform the public on issues common to all of us; but if the battle is to be won, it has to be won in each State and each region on its own terms.
* The Ohio Republic was on it.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
A commenter to that blog wrote:
"I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who believes empire and imperialism aren't problematic. It is the conclusion that secession/rebellion, for all its violence and bloodletting, is somehow a sufficient and even desirable way to deal with centralized government that is bothersome."
As Mike Tuggle, who maintains Rebellion, writes: "It's good to be challenged -- it forces you to re-think and re-state your reasons for blogging and for advocating a particular point of view."
The problem with all consolidated government in large nations is this: They tend over time to become dictatorial. The District of Coercion can fail, and fail miserably; spending us into hyperinflation (coming soon to a store near you), but (as Mr. Tuggle writes):
"Thanks to the rigorous indoctrination of the government schools, folks think Lincoln's counter-revolution, which substituted the sovereignty of the central government for the sovereignty of the people, is somehow sacred. So they are unable to conceive of human-scaled government -- all the important decisions must be made by the Wise Ones in DC, no matter how often they screw up. We're stuck playing musical chairs, switching names and positions in DC, in the illogical belief the system is good and noble, and only needs different people to make the system work. Meanwhile, things mysteriously get only worse."
Either we, the people, force DC to return the power it seized (the old word was usurped) from us, or we should fire them. And firing means secession. Perhaps total withdrawal from the Union isn't necessary, but it must be available as an option to provide us with the necessary leverage to ensure that Washington listens to us and honors our rights as States and people. We have the reserved right to withdraw from the Union.
To those who see local culture as romantic and unattainable, we argue that, on the contrary, it is quite necessary. Mr. Tuggle notes that no political unit can be born or survive without the affection and loyalty of its people, and no voluntary political unit can be established without a cultural foundation uniting the people.
Quoting professor Ghia Nodia of the University of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia:
"Democracy has always emerged in distinct communities; there is no record anywhere of free, unconnected, and calculating individuals coming together spontaneously to form a democratic social contract ex nihilo. Whether we like it or not, nationalism is the historical force that has provided the political units for democratic government. 'Nation' is another name for 'we the people'."
For local sovereignty to return as a counterweight to the present centralized system, local loyalty must be nourished. And the creatures who feed off the cancerous growth of Big Government know that, which is why both leftists and Neocons are afraid of our little secessionist movement; and in their fear, they want to persuade us of its impracticability, of the "inevitability" of war, and even that secessionism is inherently racist* (a point The Ohio Republic has repeately refuted).
War is not inevitable following a secession, and it is not inherently impractical; and we have plenty of history to prove it! Holland seceded from the old Netherlands (creating Belgium), Norway from Sweden, the 15 Soviet Socialist Republics from the USSR, the five Yugoslav republics and Kosova from what is now Serbia, the Slovak Republic from Czechoslovakia. All were peaceful, except Bosnia-Herzegovina.
All it takes is the ability to think like an independent nation, and the determination to act.
* with the patently absurd charge that the Alaskan Independence Party is somehow "neo-Confederate" in its thinking.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
1. That secession is anti-majoritarian. Mr. Desnoyers notes that secession will create two new majorities where one existed previously. In the case of the South during the War Between the States, each majority would have been happy within its own territory.
2. That secession tends toward anarchism. That is, that under the right conditions, there will be secessions from secessions from secessions from... well, you get the picture. He points out that the Declaration of Independence explains why this has not happened, and is not likely to happen in the future.
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
3. That reserving rights to the States could not include "destroying the government." Secession does not destroy the government for those who remain under it. If the secessionists had destroyed government, who put all those men in arms to fight each other during the War Between the States?
4. Finally, President Lincoln argued that the Constitution was merely a continuation of the union formed under the Articles of Confederation, which argued that the union was "perpetual". To use this as an argument against secession requires an ignorance of the nature of the union at that time. The Constitution was written precisely because the thirteen States were each independent nations, and acted like independent nations. The Constitution's call for a "more perfect Union" was intended to more capably defend against foreign invasion and to strengthen trade among the States.
On February 12, Americans will observe the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. This would be an excellent time for us to set aside the idolatry many Americans have of him, and expose his statements and actions to the intellectual and moral scrutiny that they deserve.