Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where I stand in general

I have taken the World's Smallest Political Quiz several times, and have consistently come up with results in the Libertarian area. I am not a "pure" libertarian because I favor I some role for government -- just one much smaller and much more decentralized than what we have now. On the other hand, I'm pretty close...

We can eliminate unemployment overnight!

And it's really very easy, writes Lew Rockwell in

The catch? We have to eliminate the minimum wage and let individuals decide how much (or little) they are willing to work for. Exploitation? Mr. Rockwell has an answer for that, too:

I propose to you, then, a definition of exploitation that comes from the writings of William H. Hutt: violence or threat of violence implied in the negotiation of anything affecting the life of a worker or employer. In that sense, the present system is exploitation. Workers are robbed of wages. Employers are robbed of profits. Poor people and young people especially are robbed of opportunity.

However, employers must be assured that a free labor market will be the policy on the long run -- otherwise, they will be hesitant to make the commitment to new employees.

I firmly believe that, in a free labor market, anyone of working age, except some elderly and the very severly disabled (either mentally or physically) can find a job. In fact, the developmentally disabled could be utilized far more in some manufacturing situations they are, simply because many of them thrive on the repetitive tasks that drive the rest of us batty.

This is what libertarianism is really about -- removing governmental barriers to individual opportunity. For a few people (government regulators and union organizers, for example), such a system would provide great hardship. For the rest of us, it would bring great hope for a better life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Finally, the President is getting it

... the President of France, that is. Nicolas Sarkozy, in his opening speech to the G20 economic summit in Davos, reminded the bankers and government officials present that there is a link -- a necessary link between economics and morality. He used a word that I thought had become archaic in our political discourse -- citizen.

The speech is fairly long, but Moshe Braner summarizes it nicely in Vermont Commons. Here is a sampling from near the beginning of the speech.

Yes, in the world of tomorrow, we must again reckon with citizens, with the demands of morality, the demands of responsibility, the demands of dignity for citizens. We must see this not as yet another problem, but as part of the solution; not as an additional difficulty, but as something healthy and virtuous, that may, perhaps, allow us to feel happier with what we are, happier with what we accomplish...

This crisis is not just a global crisis.It is not a crisis in globalisation.This crisis is a crisis of globalisation.

There are indecent behaviors that will no longer be tolerated by public opinion in any country in the world. There are excessive profits that will no longer be accepted... That those who create jobs and wealth may earn a lot of money is not shocking. But that those who contribute to destroying jobs and wealth also earn a lot of money is morally indefensible.

In the future, there will be a much greater demand for income to better reflect social utility and merit. There will a much greater demand for justice. There will be a much greater demand for protection. And no one can escape this.

President Sarkozy offers a much-needed breath of fresh air. Would that the United States could elect a President with such character!

State Sovereignty Resolution Update - 1/29

Things have been rather quiet on the state sovereignty front the last few months, but there has been a little activity since I last reported:

I reported last July that Nebraska had prefiled a state sovereignty resolution at the end of last year's session. It has now been introduced as LR 292. The resolution is much shorter than most, and its language is unusually mild.

South Carolina's S 424 was adopted by the Senate January 19, and was recommended by House committee to the full House January 21. The resolution has been amended to emphasize that the state will nullify any provision of federal law requiring participation in a federal health care plan.

On a related note, I have also updated the table of Ohio state sovereignty and nullification resolutions to include the introduction by Rep. John Adams of the income tax phaseout.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nullification may be the best option

... for now.

Michael LeMieux publishes a blog called News with Views. Yesterday, he published a letter from an 80-year-old lady who had immigrated from Europe as a child; and like many who came over in those days, she was relieved and very proud of her adopted homeland. However, she has a long memory -- and sees that the trend toward tyranny occurring in the United States today is horrifyingly similar to what her parents saw (and communicated to her) in Europe of the 1930s. The letter is beautifully written and a clear warning to all of us.

Mr. LeMieux then follows with four options that Americans can take to deal with the crisis:

(1) Do nothing, which he describes as desirable only for those who want to be enslaved.

(2) Work within the system. Mr. LeMieux's comments on that option are worth reproducing here: (I have broken up some long paragraphs)

In an ideal world this may work however in reality the system is broke and in its current condition is designed to withstand such a contrivance from succeeding. Power and the ability to effect change in Washington resides in the hands of the upper leadership. Any new representative (Senate or House) that arrives in Washington will be vetted by those in power. If the representative is deemed a threat to the “system” that individual will not be given any position that will allow them to upset the status quo.

If the new representative is deemed a “player,” someone they can work with and mold, then they will be put into the right committees and mentored by the elite. There are those that argue that at times like this (election years) we have the opportunity to replace massive amounts of the Washington elite in a single election. This is true and you also have the chance to become a millionaire on the poker tables of Las Vegas, but what are the odds? Those in power have in their favor incumbency, party backing, money, corporate sponsorship, main stream media, and a flock of zombies that pull the lever at every election based on a D or an R.

Compound this with politicians like Senator Elect Brown from MA who ran on a platform of anti-healthcare and the day after winning the election stated that some of the healthcare bill was good and that he was not going to be the 41st vote against healthcare. We can NEVER be truly assured of who and how strong the people we send to Washington will be until they are there and then it too late.

(3) Nullification. One or two of Mr. LeMieux's suggestions seem a bit too extreme to me; others support concepts that I have preached in the last few months. He especially likes the approach of placing personal federal income tax funds in escrow, which is part of The Ohio Republic's legislative program.

(4) Rebellion. He acknowledges that considerable amounts of what I will rephrase as "raw courage" will be required to execute either of the last two options -- but he stresses that they are the only options left for those who desire liberty. Mr. LeMieux makes no reference at all to peaceful secession, as The Ohio Republic and others have advocated as a last resort. From his context, I suspect that he thinks peaceful secession is an impossibility. His failure to address secession as a possibility was my only disappointment with an otherwise excellent article.

Now, this IS unusual...

Joe Hallett at the Columbus Dispatch observed in his blog in late January that only one statewide officeholder is seeking re-election this year -- Gov. Ted Strickland.

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher is running for the U.S. Senate, running against Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in the primary.

Auditor of State Mary Taylor is John Kasich's running mate for Lieutenant Governor (which in my opinion was a very bad decision on her part -- she would have been highly electable as Auditor and would have much more impact on state government in that office than she ever would as Lieutenant Governor).

Attorney General Richard Cordray replaced Marc Dann in midterm.

Treasurer Kevin Boyce replaced Mr. Cordray when he became Attorney General.

Should make for a very interesting election this fall!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is secession the "third rail" of politics?

Russell D. Longcore at thinks so.

[T]here is a new political "Third Rail" in America today... Secession. It evokes fear and dread in most politicians, no matter if those politicians are at the state or federal level. Even the lone Congressman leading a revolution in Washington for liberty... Dr. Ron Paul of Texas... won't speak of secession as a solution to end Federal tyranny.

Mr. Longcore spoke with Rep. Paul recently and asked him about secession. Rep. Paul's opinion was that the states had no chance for secession at this time. "Rather," Mr. Longcore writes, "he stated that as the Federal government implodes, the states wold be able to nullify or simply ignore Washington... a 'de facto secession' is what he called it."

Mr. Longcore links to Rep. Paul's "State of the Republic" address, in which Rep. Paul outlines the reasons why America is in such deep trouble as a nation. However, it is evident that Washington will not consider any of Dr. Paul's prescriptions for America's recovery. Even with 315 co-sponsors to HR 1207, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve Bank, Rep. (and Dr.) Paul does not anticipate that a vote will be taken in 2010.

Russell Longcore's conclusion:

There remains only one solution.


I disagree with Doctor Paul. I do not believe that we can prevent "blood from running in the streets." State secession would not prevent the economic collapse of the Dollar. And when the dollar melts down, crime, hunger, poverty and death are still going to happen widely in America. I also believe that the President will invoke martial law as soon as the economic collapse occurs. At that moment, governors and state legislators are going to have to make a hard decision about who is finally in charge.

In Mr. Longcore's opinion, the only hope for a state to "shorten the suffering of its citizens" is to secede and immediately adopt a gold- or silver-based currency.

I think he's right.

Virtual buckeye to Bill Miller at Secession & Nullification.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gov. Strickland's State of the State

Gov. Ted Strickland delivered a one-hour State of the State message today in the House Chambers at the Statehouse. I shall leave it to the print and broadcast media to report on the specifics, but will offer a few personal impressions.

One reason I have generally liked Gov. Strickland has been his vision. While I have a few disagreements with the way the vision has been executed, he deserves much credit for consistently pursuing and clearly articulating his vision for the State of Ohio. Today's speech focused on the challenge of increasing Ohio's employment. Gov. Strickland emphasized that the work of his administration to date has been to lay the infrastructure for future economic growth. He cited numerous special funds and public-private partnerships to build Ohio's renewable energy industry, provide venture capital and training for startup businesses, encourage insourcing to provide jobs for Ohioans, and to increase the market share of Ohio-grown farm products within Ohio. He also is working on the creation of university-private partnerships to help Ohio firms develop innovative products to fuel future economic growth.

He touched on the budgetary issues by noting that the personal property tax remains unfriendly to business growth, especially in the energy sector; university tuitions have increased more slowly in Ohio than in any other state; regulatory reforms have reduced the cost and business-unfriendliness of state government, and that Ohio has 5,021 fewer state employees than at the beginning of his term (January 2007).

The Governor and the General Assembly have the right priorities, and to their credit have aggressively pursued long-term goals, at a time when it would have been very easy to cut back to concentrate on immediate needs. That strategy might work in some states, but Ohio has had so much economic recession for so long, that pursuing a vision like this one is imperative if Ohioans are going to have opportunities in the future.

My greatest objection to his speech lies in the plethora of new programs he has devised to create these public-private partnerships and to foster access to venture capital. Today, these may seem like good ideas, and there is a fair chance that they will work; but he is creating a complex system that will be an administrative nightmare a few years from now.

Now, Gov. Strickland and the General Assembly need to keep an eye on Washington. It is fair to say that federal regulatory policy creates so much overhead on state governments, that it is the primary reason 49 of the 50 states are having difficulty balancing their budgets. At the same time, Washington and Columbus are beginning to work to cross-purposes. While Ohio wants to foster entrepreneurship, the feds want to increase governmental control over the private sector. The time will soon come when fiscal considerations will force us to choose between Ohio's clearly common-sense approach to economic development, and the District of Coercion's ideological approach.

We need to begin freeing Ohio's financial sector from the manipulations of New York. This can be accomplished in two ways: by enabling the use of gold and silver coin in payment of taxes and other transactions, which will help protect us from inflation of the U.S. dollar, and by creating a state bank modeled on North Dakota's to partner with local banks to provide those low-cost loans to entrepreneurs. Both actions will also contribute to a sound currency following Ohio's independence, in the event secession become necessary. By following this approach, which is part of The Ohio Republic's legislative program, he could achieve the goals of his public-private partnerships more simply and much more effectively.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Secession rally held in South Carolina

This Freedom Rally, held in Columbia Jan. 9, even passed under the radar screen of the usually-alert Rebellion. According to the source, It's My Blog, about 2,000 people attended in the unusually cold weather that battered the South earlier this month.

The photos taken are particularly interesting. Here's my favorite, with It's My Blog's comment:

These guys have the right idea. A lot of the speeches today were about state sovereignty and the fact that the federal government has overstepped its bounds, so we need to "pass resolutions to assert the 10th Amendment." Well, I have news for those people: the tyrant Abraham Lincoln nullified the 10th Amendment. The only way we are going to get out form under the oppressive burden of the federal government is to secede. As Thomas Jefferson said, it is both our right and our obligation to do so.

Why health care, and many other Federal activities, are unconstitutional

The Tenth Amendment Center has published an interesting debate between Constitutional scholars Rob Natelson and Akhil Reed Amar on the Constitutionality of various federal laws and regulations based on the Interstate Commerce Clause. The writer, Prof. Natelson, takes a strict constructionist view. Prof. Amar takes a commonly-held "living Constitution" view that asserts federal authority over "anything touching interstate commerce," which Prof. Natelson shows was dismissed by the framers as "sophistry."

It is a clear explanation of an often (intentionally) muddled topic.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quotation of the Day

"WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few. At the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

-- Smedley D. Butler (left), author of War is a Racket (1931)

Virtual buckeye to Patrick at the Ohio Freedom Alliance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Alabama enacts state sovereignty resolution

Alabama yesterday became the eighth state to fully enact a state sovereignty resolution, reports WAFF-TV 48 in Huntsville. Here was some citizen reaction:

"You're supposed to be quiet in the gallery but everybody was cheering," said Angela Laughlin, a member of a patriot group near Huntsville.

Laughlin doesn't believe Alabama will ever attempt to leave the United States, but she believes the foundation is there in case such a move was ever warranted and leaders in Washington should take note.

"You don't kick a tenant out without serving them notice first," said Laughlin. "So we are serving them notice."

It's about time.

Kohlhaas blocked again

You cannot circulate an initiative petition to get a referendum on secession in Alaska. This is what the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Kohlhaas v. State II, decided January 15. This decision follows a similar 2006 ruling. The reasoning of the earlier ruling was criticized (or perhaps satirized would be the better word) in the Alaska Bar Association's Bar Rag soon after it was issued.

In the January 15 ruling, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled:

Kohlhaas’s revised initiative seeks either secession itself or a change in the Alaska Constitution to allow secession. We have held that secession from the Union is clearly unconstitutional. We have also held that the Alaska Constitution may not be amended by initiative. Therefore, the lieutenant governor correctly denied the initiative’s certification and it was not error for the superior court to dismiss Kohlhaas’s suit on summary judgment grounds. For these reasons, we AFFIRM the superior court’s judgment.

The Court relied heavily on Texas v. White, an 1868 U.S. Supreme Court decision that basically says that the United States is an "indivisible Union of indestructible States." In other words, statehood is like joining the Mafia -- you can't leave alive. The Court also noted that the Alaska Constitution (written in 1956) contains many references to its relationship with the federal government -- references that were politically necessary if Alaska were ever to become anything more than a territory.

The Court left no room for argument:

[I]f and to the extent Kohlhaas’s revised initiative seeks secession itself, it is clearly unconstitutional and therefore an improper subject for the initiative process.


After this second Kohlhaas case, it should be clear that the Alaska Constitution, unlike that of Ohio, cannot be amended by an initiative. Article XIII of the Alaska Constitution provides only three methods for amendment: recommendation by two-thirds vote of each house of the State Legislature, by convention, or following a referendum placed by the Lieutenant Governor in which the voters call for a Constitutional Convention.

There is something to be said for having a Constitution that is harder to amend than Ohio's is; but I'm not sure that the initiative route should be completely closed for Constitutional amendments; and in my opinion, the Court's restriction of subject matter as being a priori unconstitutional, was an abuse of its power.

Clearly, achievement of secession by any means will require all the political savvy the Alaska Independence Party can muster. They will have to run an effective statewide campaign, running candidates for every seat in the Alaska legislature, and electing many of them, before secession can become a reality within their legal system.

Perhaps a more realistic approach would be to concentrate on nullification of unconstitutional federal laws that Alaskans find offensive.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is the economy tanking by accident or by design?

Read this piece by Bill Sardi at and judge for yourself.

The Iranian "threat"

Justin Logan at the Cato Institute has compiled a history of U.S. government efforts to persuade us that Iran is a threat to our national security. As long ago as 1991, Congressional reports and CIA assessments asserted that "the government of Iran has acquired all or virtually all of the components required for the construction of two to three nuclear weapons." The feds continued to hype the possibility of Iran possessing nuclear weapons throughout the 199os.

In January 2000, a CIA assessment held that "the CIA cannot rule out the possibility that Iran may possess nuclear weapons. The assessment is based on the CIA’s admission that it cannot monitor Iran’s nuclear activities with any precision and hence cannot exclude the prospect that Iran may have nuclear weapons."

Mike Tuggle, who posted Mr. Logan's article in Rebellion, summarizes it this way:

Despite the record of hyping up the imaginary Iranian threat, the pro-war, any war crowd keeps sounding the alarm. John Bolton's "United Against Nuclear Iran" organization, for example, keeps the Chicken Littles screaming for a pre-emptive strike against a nation that has not threatened us, and is not occupying the lands of any other nation.

This is the way DC keeps its subjects in line -- with a steady diet of fear. That way, we will humbly look to our overlords for protection, and will surrender whatever they demand, whether it be our children to serve in DC's armies of "liberation" or tax dollars.

Tyranny thrives on instilling fear in the people. If the United States ever goes into war with Iran, we might then have just cause for being afraid. Iran, originally known as Persia, is a large nation that has existed continuously since Biblical times. A war with Iran makes no political, economic, or military sense; but such a war could easily inflict damage on us in all three respects.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Champions of Liberty

"All generalizations are untrue, including this one." -- George Bernard Shaw

Racial stereotyping, unfortunately is still with us. Certainly, there is less of the negative stereotyping of African-Americans that was typical fifty years ago; but one stereotype persists -- that in politics, blacks are a monolithic bloc that invariably supports liberal Democrats. As popular as the liberal Democracy is among African-Americans, that appeal is not universal.

For Martin Luther King Day this year, I would like to honor four African-Americans who have courageously stood at the forefront of the state sovereignty and libertarian movements.

Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is America's best known black conservative, with columns published in 140 newspapers and articles appearing in academic journals and other publications. He is a popular substitute host on the Rush Limbaugh radio program, where he delivers his opinions and answers callers with vast knowledge, warmth, and wit.

However, the economics professor at George Mason University is also an outspoken constitutionalist, libertarian, secessionist, and critic of today's "civil rights movement". He has written repeatedly in favor of state sovereignty resolutions.

A persistent racial theme in his work states that the problems of the black community (and he acknowledges there are some) have more to do with federal government policies than with what we customarily refer to as racial discrimination. For Prof. Williams, state sovereignty, and even secession, are remedies to an overbearing federal bureaucracy.

Prof. Williams's arguments give the lie to the notion of the federal government as the protector of the African-American people. A free society will improve the lot of all people, regardless of race.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Like Prof. Williams, he is an economist and a widely published columnist; and like him, has been critical of race-based policy, such as affirmative action. Prof. Sowell began in rural North Carolina, moving to Harlem at the age of 17. Initially a high school dropout, he supported himself at various jobs, eventually landing a position with the federal government. Following service in the Korean War, he got his GED and studied economics at various institutions, culminating with a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1959. During the 1950s, he acknowledged that he was a Marxist, a position he later rejected when he performed a study of the impact minimum wage laws and found that higher minimum wages reduced employment.

Since then, he has been an outspoken critic of Marxism and proponent of libertarian ideas. He has also been critical of liberal media bias, militancy in U.S. foreign policy, and judicial activism.

I was unable to locate anything from Prof. Sowell’s writings on secession.

Prof. Sowell's website

Ian Baldwin

There is no question about Ian Baldwin's secessionist credentials. He is the founding editor and publisher of Vermont Commons, an avowedly secessionist newspaper and website that is frequently quoted here. He came to secessionism by way of a lifetime of passionate concern for the environment and for rebuilding life on a human scale. Secessionism has not been easy for him – he has taken it contrary to the opinions of his family and many of his friends. With his wife Margo he founded Chelsea Green Publishing Co., for 25 years a publisher of books on “the politics and practice of sustainable living.”

Perhaps the spirit of Ian Baldwin (pictured at left with his granddaughter Charlotte) is best expressed in his own words, published in the inaugural issue of the printed Vermont Commons:

But now, in April 2005, and from this moment forward, there are reasons to hope. Fear, as one of our presidents cautioned, is our only real enemy. While the world shakes, and we with it, we need to turn to each other and open our hearts and minds. We need to speak and to listen, to hear and behold “voices of independence” that rise from the depths of everyone, regardless of education, status, employment, race, gender, creed, from all of us who livehere, in this river- and hills-bounded place, our own immortal land: Vermont.

And that is what this new journal is about. How do we return to our roots, with all the new things we have learned in the course of a century, the good and the bad? How can we feed ourselves again; transport ourselves without having to wage wars to do it; light our homes without destroying the lands of others or divesting our children of a safe future? How do we shelter and warm ourselves without laying waste to the land around us, which gives us our peculiar soul as Vermonters; how do we heal and care for our sick without succumbing to debt beyond bearing; how do we educate our children without the gun of federal law leveled at our temples? In this journal we endeavor to explore those issues, and much more.

Our bag is full of questions seeking answers.

Vermont Commons continues to live up to that vision, and in so doing inspires the rest of us, even in far-flung places like Ohio.

H. K. Edgerton

H. K. Edgerton's photo (right) will probably arouse a sense of cognitive dissonance. How in the world does an African-American associate with the Confederate flag? * Very simply, because he is proud of his heritage, which includes ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. He is a secessionist because he wants to preserve his distinctly Southern culture and, like the rest of us, free it from the tyranny of Washington.

In his website Southern Heritage 411, he exhaustively documents the historically valid reasons that the War between the States was fought – and the preservation of slavery was not prominent among them. He explains that 50,000 blacks fought on the Confederate side for the same reasons that Japanese-Americans fought for America in the Pacific Theater in World War II ** – first to defend their homes and families from outside aggression, and secondly, to prove to the world that they could fight with as much integrity and valor as anyone else.

Mr. Edgerton neither ignores nor condones the fact that slavery existed, and acknowledges that some slaveowners greatly abused their slaves; but he points out that some of those slaveowners were black. In other words, contrary to what most of us were taught in school, not all blacks in the antebellum South were mistreated or oppressed.

And, by the way, he's no "Uncle Tom" either. Mr. Edgerton was president of the Asheville, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP in the late 1990s, and serves as chairman emeritus of the board of directors of the Southern Legal Resource Center. ***

* The flag is actually that of the State of Mississippi, but you get my point.
** Despite the fact that their families were being
interned in concentration camps on the order of the United States Government.
*** Not to be confused with the
Southern Poverty Law Center.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The day Ohio robbed a bank

Joe Bozzi, of the Honest Money initiative at the Ohio Freedom Alliance, tells the story of how Ohio State Auditor Ralph Osborn carried out a mandate from the Ohio General Assembly in 1819 to collect $100,000 in taxes from the Bank of the United States (precursor to the Federal Reserve Bank).

The background of the story describes economic conditions similar to those we experience today, and is an example of state sovereignty in action at a time when no one questioned the right of states to nullify offensive federal laws under the Tenth Amendment.

It's easy reading and contains valuable lessons for all of us.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sponsor testimony Jan. 19 for HB 400

The Buckeye Liberty Legislative Update reports that Ohio House Ways & Means Committee will hear sponsor testimony for HB 400, which is the bill to gradually eliminate the Ohio income tax. The bill was introduced by Rep. John Adams. The hearing will be held Tuesday, January 19, at 1 pm. As with most hearings in the General Assembly, HB 400 will be one of several bills being considered.

If your State Representative is on the Ways and Means Committee, please advise of your support for the bill!

Quotation of the day

"Thoroughly vet those who preach conservatism this election year. Are they walking the walk? Does their record match their rhetoric? Are they merely trying to ride the coattails of a popular mass opposition to socialism? If so call them out, no matter who they are."

-- Michael Wolfe, Jefferson Democrat for Congress in the 15th District Ohio
Virtual buckeye to Terri Cain Owens.

Vermont secessionists form slate for state offices

According to the Associated Press (this link to the Los Angeles Times), Vermont secessionists are fielding candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and seven State Senate seats. They are not organized as a political party, but as an informal coalition. The spin on the article not surprisingly pooh-poohs their chances of winning -- but it marks another step forward for American secessionism. Vermont is only the second state in modern times (after Alaska and its Alaska Independence Party), to offer a secessionist slate of candidates for statewide office.

I can guarantee you that it will not be the last.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gov. Strickland and John Kasich: This one's for you

An open letter to the governors of the 50 states -- why it is in your interest to consider secession, by Russell D. Longcore at

Opposition forming against the Council of Governors

On Tuesday, I reproduced the White House announcement of the formation of the Council of Governors, to advise the President on homeland security and synchronization of activities related to the National Guard. At least one gubernatorial candidate in Oklahoma will hear none of it.

As reported by Red Dirt Report, an Oklahoma news blog:

"This power grab eliminates the lines between federal and state authority," [Republican State Senator Randy] Brogdon said. "This move by the administration undoubtedly violates our Tenth Amendment rights as a state..."

"As governor I would never sit idly by and allow the federal government to usurp power clearly delegated to the State of Oklahoma," Brogdon said.

Brogdon, a longtime defender of states' Tenth Amendment rights, called on Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry to boycott the Council if called upon, and immediately denounce any further intrusive action on the citizens of this state.

"This is an opportunity for us as a free people to stand up and stand strong for the protection of our freedoms," Brogdon concluded.

As I wrote Tuesday, we need to make sure that Gov. Strickland and John Kasich know that we'll have none of it, either.

Michael Bolden, of the Tenth Amendment Center has another good idea. Writing to BeaReady at the Ohio Freedom Alliance, he suggests:

[This is] another reason why people need to start demanding that their states pass laws nullifying the use of their National Guard troops in all situations except the three very limited ones in the Constitution.

According to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, the National Guard (which is what the Founding Fathers called "the Militia") may only be used to "execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel Invasions." "Repel invasions" means fighting on our soil, not theirs.

Virtual buckeye to BeaReady at the Ohio Freedom Alliance.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Black Republican gives Harry Reid his comeuppance

Here's one African-American who isn't afraid to say what he really thinks. Lt. Col. (Retired) Allen West is seeking the Republican nomination for Congressman in Florida's Tenth District. He sent out a letter castigating Sen. Harry Reid for his remarks about President Obama, as reported by the Washington Independent blog:

The revelation of Senator Harry Reid’s comments referencing “negro talk” is just indicative of the true sentiment elitist liberals, and indeed the Democratic party, have toward black Americans. The history of the Democrat party is one of slavery, secession, segregation, and now socialism. It is this new aged socialism born from the Johnson Great Society programs that have castigated blacks as victims needing government dependency. One need only to look upon the city of Detroit to ascertain what liberal social welfare policies have produced for the inner city… the new plantation for black Americans...

One can only imagine the insanity and media outrage if Reid’s quote had come from a member of the Republican party. I look forward to hearing from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on Reid’s comments… or has liberal hush money paid for the silence of these proprietors of poverty and victimization theory. Actually, if President Obama had any courage he would demand Reid step down as Senate Majority Leader, and discontinue any support for his Senate reelection… notice I said “if”. I am quite sure the Soros money which elevated Obama to the position of President has bought his servitude.

Rev. Jackson has weighed in -- to him, Sen. Reid's remarks were merely "an inartful way of speaking the truth".

Why am I running for US Congress as a Republican? Simple. I would rather stand proudly and be called “an Uncle Tom and a sellout” than lose my self-esteem and be considered an inferior by liberals. I understand the legacy of the GOP and the black community… not the revisionist history espoused by liberal educators. I am not, shall never be, and will not raise my daughters to be a part of the liberal 21st century plantation. I am not just some articulate, clean, well spoken negro. I am an American warrior, Congressional candidate, and shall never submit to the collective progressive ideal of inferiority.

Senator Harry Reid’s comments are disgusting, despicable, and unacceptable. They are representative of how intellectual elite liberals do indeed speak of black Americans in their closed private spaces. Next week I have been invited to NYC to address the Hudson Institute, a conservative organization, conference on “Reclaiming American Liberty”. That invite came to me because I took advantage of the opportunities this great Republic offered. I followed the guidance of my parents and set my standards above all others around me. I speak well and have impeccable communicative skills because my Father and Mother prioritized that quality. I shiver to think what my future could have been if I listened to the insidious rhetoric of charlatans such as Harry Reid, and the ambassadors of affirmative action who reside in the Congressional Black Caucus.

Sure, the “stuck on stupid” blacks are going to address me in derogatory names...

Of course. When liberals can't reason, they result to namecalling. It's how they work.

...but I possess something which they lack; Honor, Integrity, and Character. To them I say, continue to be slaves to the liberals for your vote… and in a year you will be calling me Congressman West.

Steadfast and Loyal,
LTC(R) Allen B West

Next Monday, I shall be honoring four African-Americans who have been outspoken proponents of liberty. Lt. Col. West is not on the list (because I didn't know about him until today) -- but at this rate, he will soon be added to it.

On a related note, here is a column by Michael Barone that shows how the liberal "educated class" likes to put down the tea parties. He concludes:

On these issues [gun control and global warming] the educated class is faith-based and the ordinary Americans who increasingly reject their views are fact-based, just as the Obama enthusiasts are motivated by style and the tea partiers by substance.

As the educated class bitterly clings to its contempt for the increasing numbers not enlightened enough to share its views, other Americans have noticed, even in the liberal heartland of Massachusetts, where Republican Scott Brown seems on the brink of an upset victory in the special Senate election next Tuesday. That would have reverberations for the educated class an awful lot like that tea party back in 1773.

As the liberals said joyfully in 1968, "the times, they are a'changing," but they're not going to like the changes coming down this year.

The three grand principles of secession

Bill Miller maintains two websites on secession that I follow: Secession & Nullification - News and Information, which reposts articles from various blogs on those subjects, and an educational site called Secession University.

His latest installment in Secession University states that the right of secession exists on the basis of three grand principles:
- The United States was founded on the right of secession
- The Constitution does not prohibit states from seceding
- The sovereign authority of the states -- a concept that he shows was supported even by Abraham Lincoln.

The interesting thing is, he relies solely on logic and documentary proof, not just from statements from the Founding Fathers or other similar sources. This article -- and both of Mr. Miller's websites, for that matter -- are well worth reading.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

President Obama sets up "Council of Governors"

Press release yesterday from the White House:

The President today signed an Executive Order (attached) establishing a Council of Governors to strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State Governments to protect our Nation against all types of hazards. When appointed, the Council will be reviewing such matters as involving the National Guard of the various States; homeland defense; civil support; synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil
support activities.

The bipartisan Council will be composed of ten State Governors who will be selected by the President to serve two year terms. In selecting the Governors to the Council, the White House will solicit input from Governors and Governors’ associations. Once chosen, the Council will have no more than five members from the same party and represent the Nation as a whole.

Federal members of the Council include the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, the U.S. Northern Command Commander, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. The Secretary of Defense will designate an Executive Director for the Council.

The Council of Governors will provide an invaluable Senior Administration forum for exchanging views with State and local officials on strengthening our National resilience and the homeland defense and civil support challenges facing
our Nation today and in the future. [including critics of the government like yours truly?]

The formation of the Council of Governors was required by the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act which stated, “The President shall establish a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.” (NDAA FY2008, Sec 1822)

I do not think it alarmist to suggest that this is another step toward the destruction of the states as sovereign political units. Many writers on American federalism prior to 1861 warned of efforts to "reduce the states to mere counties." I suspect that the endgame will occur when the feds create something like the British Commonwealth's "governor general" to supervise operations in each state. If this scenario occurs, the American people will have lost their final source of protection from federal tyranny.

Virtual buckeye to BeaReady at the Ohio Freedom Alliance.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ohio public employees face a triple whammy

1. On Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch wrote an investigative piece about the costs of the five Ohio public employee retirement plans. The piece was factual, but was slanted in favor of scrapping defined-benefit plans in favor of defined-contribution plans similar to 401(k).

2. Tuesday morning, radio station WOSU (National Public Radio) reported that many public employees cannot collect their full public employee pensions because of Federal rules related to Social Security. The end result, primarily affecting non-teaching school employees, is a pension that pays less than survival level.

3. Also on Tuesday, Fox News reported that the Senate version of the health care bill (the one that no one but the Congress and the President want) will impose an income tax on recipients of "Cadillac" health plans – those costing employers more than $27,000 a year. While promoted as taxing health plans for high-level executives in the private sector, half of those this provision would tax make less than $100,000 per year, many of whom happen to be public employees.

Disclaimer: I am a public employee. I benefit from the health coverage, and my retirement is largely (though not entirely) dependent on my public employee retirement plan. I agree that the existing pension and health care plans are unsustainable, but a few facts are not being brought out.

Public employees in Ohio and several other states do not pay into, nor will they receive Social Security related to their public employment. I do not think it is unreasonable to expect the state to contribute the 6.2% rate that private employers are required to pay into Social Security. In addition to Social Security, private employers who have 401(k) plans typically contribute up to 3-5% of the employee's salary into those plans. This means that the combined employer contribution for employees who fully support their 401(k)s typically falls between 9.2% and 11.2%. Employees in the private sector also pay 6.2% of their salary into Social Security.

The problem is, Ohio's public employee plans receive 14-29.5% in taxpayer contributions, while employees pay 10-12% from their salaries. (State employer contributions higher than 14% are limited to pensions for law enforcement and firemen).

The Retirement Study Committee should consider gradually reducing the state contribution for non-police and fire employees from existing levels to 10%. Another change they might consider is to offer an incentive, in the form of a higher benefit, for those who will delay retirement until age 70, as Social Security now does. Otherwise, I agree with their recommendations as cited in the Dispatch. Obviously, these proposals will reduce the benefits, but sooner or later, they will be reduced anyway. The question is, do we want to reduce benefits in a controlled manner now, or wait for the system to collapse when the state has no money left?

As for medical insurance, I personally have no problem with going to a plan more like the old major medical plans, with higher deductibles and copayments, but such plans would work serious hardships for employees making less than $40,000 per year.

Whenever state employee numbers or compensation becomes a political issue, the General Assembly gets the temptation to cut staff levels so much that the agencies' ability to carry out public services is handicapped; and compensation to a point where state and local governments are no longer able to compete with private enterprise for the best people.

I am sure that these suggestions will not go down well with some of my peers; and certainly not with AFSCME or SEIU; but for the state, it's about the only place left to cut back without starting another round of staff reductions.

Then again, if Gov. Strickland and the General Assembly were to see the light on what the feds are doing to state governments, maybe we could ease the pain to both state employees and the taxpayers.

Bring the National Guard home!

On Monday, I commented on the absurdity of the wars in which the United States is engaged. One way we can quickly put an end to this madness is for state governors to refuse deployment orders for their state's National Guard units. There is a website, Bring the Guard Home, that is organizing a nationwide campaign to get bills through state legislatures to force state governors to do exactly that. The site is attractive and contains many useful resources. It would be even more useful if it linked to the relevant U.S. Code sections relating to the governor's authority to deploy the National Guard.

The site claims to have an active campaign started in Ohio, but includes no Ohio contact information.

On a related note, U.S. militarism appears to be hitting a wall in Yemen. Lee Keath at the Associated Press (Columbus Dispatch link) reports that the Yemeni government welcomes cooperation from the United States military for training, support, and logistical purposes, but will not allow U.S. combat forces on the ground. It will be interesting to see whether Yemen's sovereignty will be respected.

Sadly, the comments in the Dispatch ran more in favor of "bombing them back into the Stone Age." How can we explain it better? The equation is very simple:

Increased U.S. force in the Middle East = Increased terrorism in U.S.

Bringing our troops home will reduce the motivation for terrorists to attack us. It's as simple as that. I am for a strong national defense -- which means effective defense of our borders from outside attack (something we obviously aren't doing very well, by the way).

Virtual buckeye to Rebellion.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ohio Secession Petition

... and no, I had nothing to do with it!

PetitionsOnline has a petition for Ohio secession. To date, it has received 45 signatures, but only about half of them have signed their real, full names (in contrast with the state sovereignty petition, where the great majority signed their real, full names and addresses). I don't think much of online petitions presented in this way, and this one is very badly written. For those reasons, I am not signing it and do not endorse it. However, it is an interesting indicator of sentiment in this state that such a petition has been introduced on the Internet.

Secession will require a much higher level of frustration with the federal government than Ohioans have displayed to date, and a much higher level of sophistication in communicating the need. A movement for secession should also follow accepted procedures (see OFA video 4B for my recommendations as to how secession should be carried out).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Coal vs. the environment

This should get you warm, figuratively as well as literally. Frank Smecker at Vermont Commons reports on a coal mining practice known as "mountaintop removal" (MTR), in which entire tops of mountains are literally blown away to yield coal. As Mr. Smecker describes it, it is an environmentally horrible practice.

My question is, does the economic value of MTR really exceed the environmental cost? If we don't know, this points to the need for accounting standards to deal with the costs of cleaning up the environment, which should be part of the bookkeeping for every company that deals in an environmentally hazardous process -- coal companies being near the top of that list.

Ohio is heavily dependent on coal, both for electricity and for jobs in the southeastern part of the state. Since Ohio has no mountains, it is unlikely that MTR is done here. It is still important that Ohioans should continue to be vigilant to ensure that coal mining causes as little environmental damage as possible. And to ensure that coal miners and their families are adequately compensated in wages and health benefits, taking into consideration the nature of their work.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mark Twain's War Prayer

As we now go into Yemen, we need to remember that when we seek victories of war on foreign soil, this is what we are, in effect, praying:

O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

The "War Prayer," written by Mark Twain, was written during the U.S. war in the Philippines in 1905; but was not published until 1923, thirteen years after his death.

How any Christian can hold that in his heart is beyond my understanding; even in self-defense. (In my opinion, "self-defense" means the minimum amount of force necessary to repel invasion).

Support the Troops: End the Wars.

One way we can do this on the state level is to demand that Gov. Strickland refuse any further deployments of National Guard troops from Ohio.

Quotation of the day

What state sovereignty is all about:

"The way to get rid of corruption in high places is to get rid of high places."
-- Frank Chodorov

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Well, this should come as no surprise...

Neil Irwin of the Washington Post (link is to the Columbus Dispatch) confirms what we all know -- workers and families went backward economically since 2000. Here is one telling quotation from the article:

“This was the first business cycle where a working age household ended up worse at the end of it than the beginning, and this in spite of substantial growth in productivity, which should have been able to improve everyone’s well being,” said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.

Another expert attributes it to "macroeconomic mismanagement." I wouldn't expect the liberal Washington Post to call it what it really is -- a calculated theft of resources from those who earn the money to those who simply play with it.

Of course this is not all new...

Ohio Freedom Alliance releases four additional videos on state sovereignty

I announced and posted the first video December 26, which is an introduction to the concept of state sovereignty. The Ohio Freedom Alliance has now released the remaining videos in the series. The links below also appear on the right sidebar for future use.

Part 1: Ohio State Sovereignty - An Introduction
Part 2: Federalism
Part 3: The Constitution and the Courts
Part 4A: Nullification
Part 4B: Secession

Secession: Freedom's Greatest Ally

David Kretzmann at Freedom Chatter has been reading a subversive book by Thomas Woods: 33 Questions About American History That You're Not Supposed to Ask. He comes up with a stunning revelation -- the War between the States was not about slavery!

He quotes a letter from British Lord Acton, who was the leading libertarian of his day, to Robert E. Lee:

I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy.

I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our
progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo. — Lord Acton (Emphasis added by Mr. Kretzmann.)

Mr. Kretzmann includes quotations of Abraham Lincoln, familiar to most readers of this blog, about the purpose of that war being the preservation of the Union at all costs.

He then observes:

Today many find the idea of secession immoral and totally unacceptable largely based on what they learn about the Civil War in school. Textbooks and teachers are quick to blast the South’s secession, yet they omit the fact that the U.S. itself exists because we attempted to peacefully secede from Great Britain.

Secession is perhaps the greatest weapon of peace against a tyrannical, centralized authority. Without the possibility of state secession or nullification, what does the federal government have working against its power? As Thomas Jefferson stated, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” How can the states, and the people thereof, possibly resist that “natural progress” of government expansion if they are forcefully bound within a central government that may not serve their interests, and possibly even works against them?

How, indeed? Recently, I have been emphasizing that secession is a last resort. The legislative program I recommended yesterday has two purposes: First and foremost, to preserve the Union as it was intended by our Founding Fathers -- but failing that, to help prepare Ohio for life as an independent nation.

Daniel Webster, in his Second Reply to Hayne (1830), called for "liberty and union, now and forevermore, one and inseparable." That's fine, but when liberty and union work to cross-purposes, liberty must prevail.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A legislative program for 2010

Restoring Freedom to Ohio: Part 3 of 3
(Part 1: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself)
(Part 2: Finding the path to freedom)

Let us not delude ourselves. The struggle for liberty is ongoing. We cannot erase a century's damage to our Constitutional freedoms in a year or two; but we have to have the courage and the organization to start somewhere.

Here is what I would like to see introduced (and in my wildest dreams, passed) in the Ohio General Assembly in 2010, in rough priority order:

1. Gradually repeal the Ohio income tax (introduced in the House 12/23/2009 by Rep. John Adams as HB 400 and awaiting referral, probably to the House State Government Committee). This will make Ohio a more desirable location for business and help stop the "brain drain" we have long experienced.

2. Introduce a measure similar to my proposal to redirect federal tax funds to the Ohio Department of Taxation for escrow pending a determination of the Constitutionality of their purpose by a commission established for that purpose. This will give the State of Ohio greater control of "federal funds" to enable more realistic budgeting and elimination of unfunded mandates; and free some Ohio agencies to adopt procedures that are more efficient or which provide better service, but are contrary to federal regulations.

3. Introduce a measure to stabilize money in Ohio, which may take one or both of two forms:

a. The Honest Money initiative, which facilitates the use of gold and silver coin as legal tender by enabling the State Treasurer to accept same in payment of state taxes and other obligations.

b. Establishment of a State Bank, similar to the Bank of North Dakota, which, holding all state funds on deposit, will provide backing for secured low-interest loans to individuals and small business. The Bank could operate as a "banker's bank," eliminating concerns that it would operate in competition with existing Ohio banks.

4. Nullify mandatory participation in the federal health care system (introduced in the House 8/26/2009 by Reps. Ron Maag and Barbara Sears as HJR 3 and sitting in the House Insurance Committee, and in the Senate 9/24/2009 by Sen. Timothy Grendell, and sitting in the Senate Insurance, Comerce, and Labor Committee). The federal health care system is clearly unconstitutional, and will distort the health care market. It may also result in the rationing of health care to the detriment of the chronically ill and the elderly.

5. Nullify Federal firearms law for weapons manufactured in Ohio (introduced 10/16/2009 by Reps. Seth Morgan and Jarrod Martin as HB 315 and sitting in the House Commerce & Labor Committee). This will send the feds an important message – that we demand adherence to the strict letter of the Constitution in the federal government's dealings with the states.

Five or six measures is an aggressive agenda, but three of them have already been introduced, and the Honest Money initiative is in an advanced stage of development.

During the first half of 2010, the liberty movement should press for adoption of these measures. To the extent they are not adopted, the movement should be prepared to hold the incumbents accountable for their failure to pass them, and have candidates ready to oppose them.

There are many more ideas out there, and some of them need to be addressed later, but we need to consider which measures in 2010 are the most politically feasible, and will provide us with the greatest benefit. As I stated on Wednesday, working within state government is likely to produce far more beneficial results than a concentration on the federal.

Now, let us reason together and come up with a plan. Let us pursue that plan with such enthusiasm that, when the history of our time is written, it will show that in 2010, the people of Ohio asserted their rights as a free people, by demonstrating their preparedness to take on the corresponding responsibilities.

The views expressed in this series are my own, and do not reflect those of any organization; but they are based on years of study and some experience with practical politics. I trust that these views will make sense to the reader; but am certainly open to better strategies as we move ahead.