Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ohio Olympics Update

Jamie Moriarty (Pepper Pike) pushed his team's bobsled USA-3 to a 13th place finish in the Winter Olympics yesterday. While eclipsed by Steven Holcomb's stunning gold medal win on USA-1, the achievements of our fellow Ohioans should not go unnoticed.

The Olympic Games are a source of not just national, but local pride. I encourage my fellow Ohioans to support promising athletes both for the Summer and Winter Games and the various championships leading up to the Olympics, as representatives not only of the United States, but of the State (and future Republic) of Ohio.

Friday, February 26, 2010

If you're a Texan with a Citibank account, you might want to go shopping...

Whiskey & Gunpowder reports that New York-based Citibank has sent out a notice with its statements nationwide:

“Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change,” Citigroup said on statements received by customers all over the country.”

According to Ira Stoll at The Future of Capitalism, the notice was meant to apply only to depositors in Texas.

From checking accounts? One has to wonder, is Citi that insolvent, are they just harrassing Texans because of the strength of their secessionist movement, or are they just trying to see how much they can get away with? One has to wonder...

Might be a good time to buy some bullion (Monex latest: Gold $1,112; silver $16.38 per troy ounce).

Virtual buckeye to Old Rebel at Rebellion.

Ohio Olympics update

The U.S. women's hockey team, including forward Kelli Stack and backup goalie Brianne McLaughlin, won silver after being defeated by Canada 2-0 yesterday.

Jamie Moriarty will be competing in the 4-man bobsled USA-3 (or bobsleigh, if you prefer) this afternoon.

Finding the Ohio Libertarian Party

A commenter to my Feb. 19 post listing the Constitution and Libertarian Party candidates noted that he was unable to access the Libertarian Party of Ohio site. I have found that my access to that site has been sporadic, which suggests to me that the Libertarian site has server problems.

I am therefore giving another link, the Ohio page to the Libertarian Party's national website, which contains some useful information for Ohioans interested in that party.

I would be grateful if a Libertarian will inform me when the state party site is again operational.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How to wage a revolution

It's as simple as this, and my last post on holding local politicians accountable.

From Ten Bears at the Ohio Freedom Alliance Forum:

I've stopped in on occasion, but mainly have been active only in my local community forum.

I wanted the opportunity to share a recent event.

Last weekend on 2/20, I met with three other posters to my local forum.We recognized one another on the forum as people with genuine concerns and decided to meet one another over coffee. It was by far one of the most moving experiences that I have had in recent times, It would be pretty fair to say it was the most positive experience that I have had in at least a decade in regards to community.

Each one of us that met that day came from different backgrounds both personal and political. After the initial introductions, we struggled a bit as we really had not discussed the agenda of this meeting. Each of us had something to say, all of which were various tangents of the same concern...Government.

I have had a fair amount of experience in talking to small groups and directing the group to positive results. We agreed to a quick consensus exercise.The object of the exercise being to identify our common concerns.

Something amazing happened, after identifying the individual concerns and listing them, we then moved on by giving each person a piece of paper and a pen. Each person was to prioritize the list of concerns in order of their perception of importance. We then tallied up the concerns and the results were truly amazing. People from all walks of life from both sides of the aisle found common unity, we shared common ground. We learned something.

It was 2 and half hours on a Saturday morning. We're meeting again soon.We left the initial meeting determined. There is too much division, we've all participated in the "Us vs. Them" game at one point or another, it's futile.

We each are spreading the word to our friends and family and in just a few days have tripled the number of people that will join us for coffee the next time around.

This time we're going in with an agenda,
1. Introductions
2. Identify common concerns
3. Identify common solutions
4. Identify next steps.
5. Present the (me x 3) philosophy. If your coming back to the next meeting bring three or more people with you.

I'm looking forward to it. My intent is to share the results of the next meeting on this site. I just wanted to say that hey I'm still here and still alive, and have begun attempting to nudge people into action. I believe in democracy, I've always believed that it only works when people are involved.

Looking forward to sharing our results and expect that shortly you will see an increase in traffic, the consensus of the first meeting leaves no doubt.

Keep up the good work, Ten Bears -- but make sure you move from talk to action as soon as possible!

How anyone can work to preserve the Constitution

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best. Take, for example, this one from Gahanna City Councilman John McAllister, who has frequently bucked his colleagues in resisting federal grants for his city for purposes he shows to be unconstitutional:

Hold all officeholders accountable to their fidelity to the Constitution. All officeholders swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States (and, except for federal officials, the Constitution of the State of Ohio as well). If monitoring the Statehouse seems too difficult or intimidating for you, then hold the feet of your city councilmen, township trustees, and county commissioners to the fire.

Councilman McAllister elaborates, on his page

If "we the people" are ever going to have a Constitution that has any teeth in it, then "we the people" will have to give it meaning by acting at the local level and confronting local politicians who violate their oath. When the next local election comes up, the Constitution can be made the issue by making it known how many times an incumbent violated his or her oath.

A simple action plan Just ask your neighbor if he or she thinks it's right for their local politician to violate their oath to the Constitution. If your neighbor says, “No it's not right”, you've got a chance to make a convert out of him or her and explain the original meaning of Article I, section 8 [Page 8 on this link]. So now you've got two people monitoring the local votes. Two can become four in the same manner and four can become eight, etc.

Wouldn't it be nice if during "hearing of visitors" people came to their local government meetings and started publicly asking their local politicians if they were going to violate their oath by voting for an unconstitutional ordinance?

This is a movement that requires no national organization or money-raising. It is a movement that could "go viral" with emails, youtubes, blogs, etc. Every American respects the U.S. Constitution, but most have not read Article I, section 8 and do not realize that it is the part of the Constitution which places limited powers on Congress.

Gee, d'ya think??

Ohio freedom activist Jason Rink has posted an interesting graph from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Yearbook on his Facebook page:

Mr. Rink's comment: "Of course, it's only the Democrats' social welfare programs that are bankrupting the U.S., not the cost of maintaining an empire."

What it takes to win

Facing Reality - Part 3 of 2

I had not planned on writing a Part 3 to my recent series on facing reality, but a comment by Mike Smitley in Facebook reminded me of an additional point that needs to be made.

Mr. Smitley wrote:

If the legislators won't change, then Americans must elect different candidates. The problem we currently face is ballots rarely include bona fide small government candidates who actually have what it takes to run a competitive race. Sure, there are Libertarians and independents listed in many of these races, but those choices will never be legitimate until they stop trying to win votes with issues and begin trying to win them with viable campaigns (competitive fundraising, big-budget-style marketing techniques and an adequate network of grassroots volunteers to get out the vote.)

Some questions: Assuming existing legislators will NOT change election law in a manner that makes their parties vulnerable...

1) Can viable candidates successfully leverage existing party networks to win primary elections against big government encumbents?

2) Is the Libertarian Party's history of insignificance preventing it from running successful races regardless of the candidate's viability?

3) Can independent candidates competitively raise funds without the assistance of existing partisan networks?"

The comments that Mr. Smitley made about the Libertarian Party applies with equal force to all parties and candidates other than the major parties; and he is right. Campaigns cannot be won on issues alone. If the voter is not forcefully made aware of a candidate (as through mass media, mailings, and door-knocking), they do not know about the candidate; or if they do know of the candidate, are quick to assume that the candidate isn't viable. This is perhaps the harshest reality of all, but it is still a reality that must be dealt with, if our candidates are to start winning elections.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The GOP for small government? I don't buy it. Neither should you.

I remember a time when the Republican Party did stand for less government. Unfortunately, that hasn't been true since 1980 -- Ronald Reagan's rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding.

Do the Republicans think that we are so desperate for legitimacy, or have such short memories as to think that they are sincere when they try to embrace Ron Paul and the Tea Parties? If the GOP does embrace them, it will be a bear hug that will save the party and kill them.

Glenn Greenwald at expands on this idea:

This is what Republicans always do. When in power, they massively expand the power of the state in every realm. Deficit spending and the national debt skyrocket. The National Security State is bloated beyond description through wars and occupations, while no limits are tolerated on the Surveillance State. Then, when out of power, they suddenly pretend to re-discover their "small government principles." The very same Republicans who spent the 1990s vehemently opposing Bill Clinton's Terrorism-justified attempts to expand government surveillance and executive authority then, once in power, presided over the largest expansion in history of those very same powers. The last eight years of Republican rule was characterized by nothing other than endlessly expanded government power, even as they insisted -- both before they were empowered and again now -- that they are the standard-bearers of government restraint.

Have we forgotten how we felt only 15 months ago?

What makes this deceit particularly urgent for them now is that their only hope for re-branding and re-empowerment lies in a movement -- the tea partiers -- that has been (largely though not exclusively) dominated by libertarians, Paul followers, and other assorted idiosyncratic factions who are hostile to the GOP's actual approach to governing. This is a huge wedge waiting to be exposed -- to explode -- as the modern GOP establishment and the actual "small-government" libertarians that fuel the tea party are fundamentally incompatible. Right-wing mavens like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin and National Review are suddenly feigning great respect for Ron Paul and like-minded activists because they're eager that the sham will be maintained: the blatant sham that the modern GOP and its movement conservatives are a coherent vehicle for those who believe in small government principles. The only evidence of a passionate movement urging GOP resurgence is from people whose views are antithetical to that Party. That's the dirty secret which right-wing polemicists are desperately trying to keep suppressed. Credit to Mike Huckabee for acknowledging this core incompatibility by saying he would not attend CPAC because of its "increasing libertarianism."

Some people in the liberty movement may be ignorant, but they're not stupid. The difference? Stupidity is permanent. Ignorance can be fixed.

Virtual buckeye to Elizabeth Wright at Issues and Views - The Blog.

An immodest proposal

A flag for secessionists now, and the Ohio Republic later. It is the same as the state flag, but enlarging the buckeye and "O", and removing the 17 stars which symbolize our yoke to the Union.

I personally think removing the stars both simplifies and improves the design.

Political integrity

Facing reality – Part 2 of 2

In Part 1, I observed that politics is a process. In a democracy, that process is based on the fact that every citizen has an equal right to influence the political process; and consequently will lead to legislation that can (and usually will) contain content that for one reason or another will be objectionable to most legislators – but for which they must vote because the overall purpose of the bill is a good one. From this, I concluded that "litmus tests" tend to be an unfair measure of a legislator's integrity.

So does that mean that they're all bums? No. What it means is, that we must understand what integrity is in a political context. In my experience, most officeholders do have integrity, in that they genuinely want to serve the greatest good for the greatest number. They genuinely want to do the right thing in office.

The easiest way to arrive at that proper understanding is to consider the difference between strategy and tactics, where strategy is the overall record of a political official, and a tactic is a particular vote or decision. In the military, tactics are designed to fit a particular strategy. The tactics may change because of the battlefield situation at a given time, but the changes are still intended to carry out the strategy.

So it is in politics. An honest candidate will communicate to the electorate his strategy – that is, the principles and major policy positions he will adhere to during his term in office. He then holds himself accountable to the voters for keeping his votes and decisions (tactics) aligned with his principles and positions (strategy). Sometimes, after getting into office, an official might discover that a particular position was unrealistic or undesirable; in which case, he must explain to the voters why he changed that position and how his new position still aligns with his principles. However, we should expect that such changes will be uncommon. Those who repeatedly vote against their declared principles or who repeatedly change positions; for example, after being influenced by polls, are rightly understood to lack integrity.

The candidates that we want to support will hold fidelity to the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Ohio as their highest principle, and will hold themselves accountable for votes and decisions that generally work toward more Constitutional government. Sometimes they will have to vote for a bill or make a decision that at first blush appears contrary to those goals (for example, in the budget bill to ensure that the state continues to operate); but their overall voting record should make it clear that they are working toward greater freedom.

Lenin (who for obvious reasons is rarely quoted here) said that sometimes "we have to take two steps forward and one step back." That is the nature of politics. The path to any political goal is not a straight line; but if we persevere, understanding the realities of politics, we can ensure that the path will ultimately lead us where we want to go.

It is therefore of the highest importance for the liberty movement to keep this reality in mind when endorsing candidates and legislation – that our best friends will sometimes have to craft or support ugly legislation, because it proved to be the best way to proceed toward that most beautiful of goals.

Update Feb. 25: I have added a third part on the perceived viability of minor party candidates.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The road to freedom passes through the state capitols

... not the one in Washington. Russell Longcore, at explains very clearly why in a December 2009 article he aptly entitles "Cowardice in State Governments." I am reproducing the entire article, because of its central importance to the liberty movement in Ohio and other states. (Emphasis added)

The United States was organized with a Federal structure. Under that structure the national government was supposed to have two overriding dicta: to safeguard the States from foreign invasion and domestic violence, and provide a Republican form of government to the States. (Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution)

It should have been pretty easy to protect the States. A wide ocean on the east and west, and peaceable borders on the north and south do the government’s job for them without spending a penny. So, they should have been focusing all their attention on providing the states with a Republican form of government. Instead, what we have now is a fascist police state.

I don’t think that qualifies as a Republic.

A republic is a representative democracy, as opposed to a direct democracy. The key word is “representative.” The states were supposed to be the pre-eminent players. In the beginning, the Senate chose who would be President of the USA, and the Senators were there in Washington to represent the interests of their states.

Over the past 200 years, Washington has turned the government we were promised into the government we were trying to prevent. Could any absolute monarchy or dictatorship be any worse than what we have now? King George didn’t lay on a combined tax burden nearing 50% and trillions in debt.

The states of the Union have become little more than big counties, subservient geographic entities owned by Washington. For reasons too numerous to list here, the states allowed Washington to usurp nearly all of their power. The fecklessness of every state’s political leaders mocks this nation’s Federal system, and has destroyed the most important checks and balances against Federal tyranny.

Make no mistake. No one truly expects the Federal Government to check and balance itself…where would be its motivation to do that? No, the final arbiters were supposed to be the states.

The states had many arrows in their quivers to control the Federal Government. One of the most effective should have been nullification. Simply put, if Washington enacts laws that the states interpret as unlawful, the states could ignore the new laws like they never happened. Modern states are unwilling and afraid to use nullification against Washington.

Another strong arrow used to be withholding funds from Washington. But with the enactment of the income tax, that arrow was broken, and Washington takes the tax money directly from the people.

I say all of that about the states of the United States in general, but specifically as it relates to monetary policy in America. The US states have allowed…even empowered…Washington to destroy the monetary system of the USA through the Federal Reserve and fractional reserve banking.

The Federal Reserve, a consortium of PRIVATE banks, prints counterfeit currency for the Federal Government. Fractional reserve banking laws allow all the rest of the other banks to counterfeit by creating credit (money) out of thin air.

State political leaders are so clueless and visionless that they have laid down and allowed Washington to endanger the very economic security of each American state through the institutional counterfeiting of the Federal Reserve and all other American banks.

These are some of the reasons that I am not encouraged and excited to know that 39 states have passed some type of 10th Amendment resolution* thereby taking a position that they might just do something in the future, by God. The steely resolve is inspiring, isn’t it?

But where is the state legislature and Governor that will notify Washington that there is a new “nullification sheriff” in town? When will some state begin nullifying the laws coming out of Washington, and refusing to allow them to be obeyed in that state? When will a state refuse to enforce Federal legislation? When will a state slap the cuffs on a Federal law enforcement officer who is trying to enforce Federal law in a state that has nullified Federal law?

Where is that state that will be true to its origins, and allow nothing but gold and silver coin (specie) as tender in payment of debts (Article I, Section 10)?

As a beginning step, how about if a state stops tax withholding and makes the payment of state income and property taxes mandatory in gold or silver coin or electronic gold? That would begin inculcating the citizens in a small way to once again consider gold and silver coin as money. I realize this idea doesn’t work in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming, since none of them have a state income tax. But it would work for their property
taxes, and both will work everywhere else in America.

Any state could facilitate the exchange of Federal Reserve Notes for specie by making such transactions exempt from sales tax. The exchange of FRN currency for specie, which are both legal money, are in essence a “currency exchange,” no difference substantively from changing dollars to Euros, Yen or Pesos.

One of the reasons that a gold/silver monetary standard would work so well for Texas is its petroleum exports. A New Texas with a gold standard would demand gold or silver specie as the only settlement of petro and natural gas transactions from any other country.

But you see, taking a position like that would directly challenge the power of Washington and the Federal Reserve. The paper money they issue says “this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” If a state refused to accept Federal Reserve Notes for payment of state income or property taxes, they might have a fight on their hands.

A principled stand like this over money might also help repudiate the scurrilous IRS case of Robert Kahre in Nevada. Mr. Kahre is now beginning a Federal prison term for paying his employees’ wages by using legal tender gold coins. Kahre was acquitted on all 161 counts of tax law violations back in 2007.

But the IRS tried him again (double jeopardy, anyone?) and a jury convicted him in 2009. Keep in mind that gold and silver coins are legal tender in the United States, just like Federal Reserve notes. But no one embarrasses the IRS, and Kahre has now paid the price. His life as a free man is over.State political leaders have no stomach and no backbone for a fight with Washington. Those American citizens in favor of state secession might look to these issues as a barometer of how their state political leaders would react to a political or economic meltdown. If a state won’t protect itself now, why should anyone believe that it will take principled stands later?

There is craven cowardice in the halls of state government in every state in the United States of America. Legislators and state executives go along to get along. Many look at state office as a springboard to Federal office. Few serve their constituents…most serve Washington, the Federal Reserve and banking interests.

“So that’s how liberty dies…to thunderous applause.” Princess Padme, watching the Senate in Revenge of the Sith

Copyright © 2009, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

* This statement is incorrect. 39 states have introduced state sovereignty resolutions, but only eight have enacted them.

Ohio Olympics Update

Kelli Stack (Brooklyn Heights) scored the 8th point in the 3rd period to help the U.S. women's hockey team defeat Sweden 9-1. This thrust the team to the gold medal match against rival Canada on Thursday (2/25) at 7:30 pm ET.

Quotation of the Day

Even the devil speaks the truth sometimes...

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

- Hermann Göring, Nazi leader.

Virtual buckeye to Ben Sariwatta

Monday, February 22, 2010

Secession: Getting it right this time

Jonathan M. Kolkey at thinks that the word "secession" is inappropriate to our current situation. For one thing, the word is too emotionally charged from the War between the States. He suggests "partition", because it suggests a win-win solution -- the South can preserve its culture, New England and California can try out their Americanized European welfare state, and Ohio can rebuild its economy free of federal baggage.

So contemporary Secessionists will only succeed fully when they garner widespread political and geographic support and avoid close association with any particular party or ideology. Therefore, any Secession movement must pay as much attention to the North as to the South and West. And rather than wasting time blasting the "Puritan" North as the source of all American dysfunction – as at least one contributor routinely does – would-be Secessionists must devote all their energy to convincing Northerners that Secession is also very much in their own best interest.

In truth, the Blue-state folks also favor the dismantling of the Union – they just don’t know it yet. Indeed many Blue staters speak wistfully of an American version of a European-style secular social democracy that would arise eventually once the South leaves. But they have no concrete plans for any disconnection. (So in the absence of any such plans, why not supply them?) Be sure to make Blue Staters willing accomplices or "co-conspirators," if you will.

Of course, at present the North has too much invested in the Union victory of 1865 and everything that followed accordingly, especially the Civil Rights’ crusade of the 1960s. The North is loath to abandon its heroic triumphs over Southern "barbarism." In fact, it would be better for the Secession movement to drop the term "Secession" itself in favor of "partition" – a less historically-charged word that denotes a clean break from which both sides presumably benefit.

Sounds good to me, but then I'm for anything that will help us regain our lost freedom.

Who is our role model, Jefferson or Lincoln?

Jeff Eboch at the Tenth Amendment Center explains why we can't have it both ways. Either we admire Thomas Jefferson's defense of the rights of the people, or Abraham Lincoln's defense of a union by force:

In light of these facts, no serious student of history or politics could believe that Jefferson and Lincoln possessed similar visions for America. Or that Jefferson would have condoned the violent subjugation of a single sovereign state (let alone 11 of them), or thought Lincoln’s disregard for the Constitution in any way legal or justified.

Rather, he would have known at once that what Lincoln spawned through his belligerence was a government capable of violating its own fundamental law at will; of using illegal force to prevent the governed from withdrawing voluntary consent (regardless of their motivation), and thereby destroying consent altogether. Such a government is incapable of liberty, and antithetical to the very existence of efferson’s America.

For that reason, it is not possible to truly understand, and yet still admire, the words and deeds of both men. Despite his occasional use of the Declaration’s language, Lincoln himself despised Jefferson; demonstrating by his policies that they occupied polar opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, as do their political descendants today.

The facts of political life

Facing reality – Part 1 of 2

The Ohio Freedom Alliance (OFA) is a diverse array of Tea Parties, 9-12 Projects, Campaigns for Liberty, minor parties (Constitution and Libertarian), single-issue groups, and a few cantankerous individuals such as yours truly. The mainstream media and the blogosphere has been active in recent months analyzing, dissecting, and trying to understand the purpose and direction of the liberty movement, which in Ohio is spearheaded by the OFA.

There seems to be a general agreement within the movement that, while rallies are a good thing; we need to move to the next level, which is defined as candidate recruitment and support. The movement has attracted many people who have had little or no previous involvement in the political process. The newcomers are attracted by freedom-loving ideals, but are unfamiliar with the means by which those ideals might be achieved.

The Republican Party now would like to take advantage of this inexperience, and steer the movement toward its candidates and policies. In so doing, the Republicans are doing nothing wrong – they are simply doing what the Republicans and Democrats have been doing to upstarts like us for a century and a half.

In the last two weeks, The Ohio Republic has issued several warnings – to the Tea Parties in particular – to beware of celebrities and establishment politicans. We must keep our wits about us. This means that we must communicate our goals clearly, often, and with passion. We must also be realistic about how the political process works, and what we need to do in 2010 to bring about a favorable result.

Many people who have entered politics with high ideals work at it for a while, then decide that politics is corrupt beyond repair. They get frustrated and give up. I suggest that this is because they do not have a realistic understanding of the political process.

Politics is the collective process of reaching a decision. In centuries past, when a king ruled with absolute authority, the purpose of the political process was to influence the king in one's favor. "Court intrigue" is nothing more than a synonym for politics in that context. In free societies, politics is the process of electing officials favorable to one's cause, and of influencing those officials to adopt favorable legislation or policies.

Since politics is a process, it is neither good nor evil. Rather, we should say that politics is used for good or not-so-good ends. As members of the liberty movement, we want to use the process to support greater personal freedom and a reduction of the role of government (at all levels) in our lives.

However, being a democracy in fact*, we acknowledge that every citizen has an equal right to participate in the process. Some citizens will see everything our way, some will see some things our way, and some will see nothing our way. That's life.

A legislator or executive who is accountable to the voters has to consider that the electorate as a whole has diverse opinions on every issue. The good ones will make their decisions on the basis of principles they have communicated to the people in their campaigns, and which have received popular support at the ballot box. Of course, the not-so-good ones will base theirs on which citizens make the most noise, or have given them the most money.

All right, you're saying, "Harold, this is just common sense!" And it is. Bear with me for just another minute, and you'll see where this is headed.

Legislation is a complex process of obtaining compromises, so the bill can attract the support of enough legislators to pass and become law. Take our state sovereignty resolution, for example. SCR 13 was introduced by the most libertarian members of the Senate – those who want to pass it in its original form. A majority of the Senate agreed to it without amendment – and that is because a majority of the people who voted for a majority of the Senators are likely to be sympathetic to state sovereignty resolutions. At the moment, SCR 13 is sitting in a House committee, where a majority of the people who voted for a majority of the Representatives are likely to be hostile to state sovereignty, at least in the form passed by the Senate. This leaves us supporters of SCR 13 with only two options: Accept the fact that it cannot pass in its original form and let it die in committee, or amend the bill in a way that it will attract the votes of a majority in the House. To its sponsors and the liberty movement, this will be considered "watering down" the resolution. So we must decide which is more important, to let the bill die in its "pure" state, or to get the bill passed with amendments.

When dealing with critical legislation like a budget, nearly everyone acknowledges that the bill must be passed somehow. No one really wants the entire apparatus of state government to shut down until the next election – so the only option there is to pass it with amendments. Lots of amendments. Amendments from representatives and senators who come from very different districts, all trying to respond to different, and often contradictory, sets of needs. All with an equal right to be represented. This is why we like to quote Mark Twain when he said, "Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made." It's ugly, but assuming there is no obvious corruption, it the only fair way it can be done.

I mention this because many newcomers to politics believe that any legislator who votes for a bill that contains any objectionable content lacks integrity; for example, a Congressman who would vote for a defense bill in which some other Congressman or committee sneaked in an amendment allowing torture of suspected enemy combatants. Now, what should the Congressman do? Vote for the defense bill because it was generally well-written and provides, say, better protective gear for our military forces, or vote it down because of the torture provision? If every legislator had to worry about litmus tests for every bill, nothing would ever get done. Then they would be derided for being a "do-nothing Congress."

So, if we have to expect that bills will contain some content that is objectionable, does that mean that voting for them displays a lack of integrity? No. I'll explain why in Part 2 on Wednesday.

* I agree that the Constitution intended to create a representative republic and not a democracy; but clearly the system that exists today is not the one the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Prophecy of the day

From the Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents (one of the Anti-Federalist Papers):

As this government will not enjoy the confidence of the people, but be executed by force, it will be a very expensive and burthensome government. The standing army must be numerous, and as a further support, it will be the policy of this government to multiply officers in every department: judges, collectors, taxgatherers, excisemen and the whole host of revenue officers will swarm over the land, devouring the hard earnings of the industrious. Like the locusts of old, impoverishing and desolating all before them.

No comment needed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ohioans in the 2010 Winter Olympics

Let's take a break from politics to honor the Ohioans who are on the 2010 U.S. Winter Olympics Team (from the Plain Dealer):

Jamie Moriarty, Pepper Pike, pusher on two-man bobsled USA-3, which is competing this weekend.

Brianne McLaughlin, guard on the hockey team, Sheffield Village
Kelli Stack, forward on the hockey team, Brooklyn Heights
The women's hockey team will compete in the semifinals against Sweden Monday Feb. 22.

Louie Vito was born in Columbus and grew up in nearby Bellefontaine. He moved to Vermont as a teenager to train as snowboarder. He finished 5th in the halfpipe.

I dream of them marching into the stadium behind the Burgee* at the 2014 Winter Olympics!

* The Ohio flag (pictured)

Why I don't buy the argument that Lincoln saved the Union

Bill Miller at Secession U. states it very clearly: Lincoln didn't save the Union, because the Union was in no threat of being destroyed. Temporarily reduced in size, yes -- destroyed, no.

Secession is legal, Constitutional, and soon will become necessary.

Friday, February 19, 2010

North Carolina: Secession "solution to tyranny of national government"

A North Carolina patriot blog, Triangle, has published a piece by one John (Hans) Mentha, advocating nullification and secession as potential remedies for federal tyranny.

After providing links to the Tenth Amendment Center on nullification and to Whiskey & Gunpowder on secession as a solution to the federal debt crisis, Mr. Mentha adds this comment:

But wait – are we not forbidden to secede in the constitution imposed by US military occupation during Reconstruction? Article I Section 4 of our constitution reads “we shall ever remain a member of the American Union”. Let’s pick a few nits here… if ‘the several States’ determine that national government operating in the District of Columbia is injurious to themselves, and they band together to divorce themselves only from the political influence of the District of Columbia (not a State), one could easily argue they remain members of an American Union.

This argument is both far-fetched and unnecessary. Secession is Constitutional, as I have discussed on many occasions. Here is the short course from William Miller's Secession University.

Article I Section 35 of [North Carolina's] constitution encourages this possibility: “A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the
blessings of liberty”. Fundamental principles may only be interpreted as a return to philosophy of the Declaration of Independence, wherein the Founders agreed “…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,…”

This is all we need. We have God-given rights to the blessings of liberty. When government seeks to take them away from us, we must defend them.

The State of the State: another view

A few weeks ago, Gov. Strickland gave his State of the State address, in which he focused on governmental solutions to produce jobs in Ohio, which met with a skeptical response from this corner. While I accepted the idea of "public-private partnerships" in the context of the existing political system in Ohio, only a radical decentralization of government will provide a long-term solution.

Now, the Buckeye Institute has produced a report supporting my post earlier today, and detailing the root causes of Ohio's unemployment. We have an employer-unfriendly labor climate, high taxes; and in the Buckeye Institute's view, too much government. Don't let the heft (111 pages) of the report intimidate you. The report itself is only 15 pages long, but the supporting data includes a page for each county supporting the Institute's conclusions.

Candidates filed with the Secretary of State

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has published the list of candidates on the statewide ballot in the May 4 primary. Following is a list of the Constitution Party and Libertarian Party candidates:

US Senate
Eric W. Deaton (Constitution)
Steven R. Linnabary (Lib)

Ken Matesz/Ann Leech (Lib)

Attorney General
Robert M. Owens (Constitution)
Marc Allan Feldman (Lib)

Secretary of State
Charles Earl (Lib)

L. Michael Howard (Lib)

Matthew P. Cantrell (Lib)

Neither party has a contested primary at the state level. For information about your local races, select your county board of elections from this list.

Candidates not linked are invited to send their links for publication.

Federal Reserve Bank: "Unemployment will remain high two more years"

The Associated Press (via the Plain Dealer) reports that the Fed expects unemployment to remain high for two more years, though "a sizable minority" thinks that it will take five to six more years for the economy and the job market to return to normal.

The Fed said the unemployment rate this year could hover between 9.5 percent and 9.7 percent and between 8.2 percent and 8.5 percent next year. By 2012, the rate will range between 6.6 percent and 7.5 percent, it predicted.

Those forecasts are little changed from projections the Fed released in late November. But they suggest unemployment will remain elevated heading into this year's congressional elections and the presidential election in 2012. A more normal unemployment rate would be between 5.5 percent and 6 percent.

Ohio's rate, of course, is higher (officially 10.9% in December), and it is well known that the definition of "unemployment" tends to understate the rate. Unemployment is defined by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services as representing "persons who were not employed during the reference week, but who were actively seeking work, waiting to be called back to a job from which laid off, or waiting to report within 30 days to a new payroll job." It does not include those who have given up or are doing casual labor. Unemployment rate is defined as "unemployment as a percentage of the civilian labor force. "

So, there you have it: It's 1980-85 all over again, until 2012, maybe even into 2016.

And people wonder why I'm a secessionist...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More warnings for the Tea Party Nation

Chuck Baldwin, who was the Constitution Party's Presidential candidate in 2008, has added his voice to those warning that the Tea Partiers are being co-opted by opportunistic establishment Republicans like Sarah Palin and Rob Perry, echoing many of the concerns expressed in this space on Monday and yesterday:

I say again, be careful, Tea Party Nation. You are being infiltrated. You are being compromised. You are being neutered. Stick to your principles. Stick with the Constitution. Keep opposing unconstitutional, preemptive wars. Keep calling for the abolition of the Federal Reserve. Keep fighting for less taxes, reduced federal spending, and states' rights. Keep opposing the Patriot Act and the New World Order. Don't abandon Ron Paul. Be wary of people such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. You don't need "big name" celebrities to give you credibility. As Samson's strength depended on
keeping his hair uncut, your strength lies in keeping your principles intact. And unless you want to wind up like the Republican freshmen in 1994, avoid Newt Gingrich like the plague!

Even worse, a professed Tea Partier is running against Ron Paul for his Congressional seat! I agree with Rev. Baldwin -- if that isn't a sign the movement is being infiltrated, I don't know what is!

And here's yet another concurring opinion (which is the source of some of Rev. Baldwin's remarks) from Jane Hamscher at the Huffington Post.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Of Tea Parties and bad pennies

Patrick Buchanan is not one of my favorite commentators (abrasion level is too high to suit me), but he cameup with a beautiful phrase that bears repeating, "secession of the heart" when he weighed in on the huge amount of commentary about Tea Parties. (including a surprisingly balanced account of the Ohio Tea Party movement from The Other Paper in Columbus).

Here is Mr. Buchanan's take, in a piece entitled "Secession in the Air":

What called the Tea Party into existence?

Some are angry over unchecked immigration and the failure to control our borders and send the illegals back. Some are angry over the loss of manufacturing jobs. Some are angry over winless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some are angry over ethnic preferences they see as favoring minorities over them.

What they agree upon, however, is that they have been treading water for a decade, working harder and harder with little or no improvement in their family standard of living. They see the government as taking more of their income in taxes, seeking more control over their institutions, creating entitlements for others not them, plunging the nation into unpayable debt, and inviting inflation or a default that can wipe out what they have saved.

And there is nothing they can do about it, for they are politically powerless. By their gatherings, numbers, mockery of elites and militancy, however, they get a sense of the power that they do not have.

Their repeated reappearance on the national stage, in new incarnations, should be a fire bell in the night to the establishment of both parties. For it testifies to their belief and that of millions more that the state they detest is at war with the country they love.

The secession taking place in America is a secession of the heart — of people who have come to believe the government is them, and not us. (Emphasis added)

You might say we keep coming back at them like a bad penny (to use a very old cliché). Speaking of which, the feds decided to redesign the reverse of the penny. The ceremony rolling it out has the propagandists touting how Lincoln and the shield design proclaim the "indivisibility" of the union. I guess they think that we'll cheerfully reduce ourselves to slavery as long as the union is preserved.

They have another think coming.

Virtual buckeye to Rebellion.

State Sovereignty Resolution Update - 2/12

The Kansas Senate has passed its state sovereignty resolution SCR 1609. As reported by the Kansas City Star:

Supporters note that while the resolution can’t force Washington to do anything, it sends a message for Kansans upset with overreaching mandates like health care reform legislation, gun control, abortion rights and immigration policy.

“It ... speaks loudly for the freedom of the citizens of the state of Kansas,” said Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, a Shawnee Republican and the main sponsor of the resolution.

Seven of the 40 members of the Senate voted against the resolution. One of them, Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City, Kan. Democrat, called it “sort of sad” and noted that the Senate had pledged allegiance to the U.S. flag just minutes before the vote.

“I’ve been unhappy with the federal government,” he said. “But not to the point of secession or sedition.”

Obviously, we have some educating to do. What is really sad is that Sen. Haley views a state sovereignty resolution as either secession or sedition. The Kansas state sovereignty resolution is an affirmation of the Tenth Amendment, which seeks to restore the balance between the states and the federal government that has been chipped away over the years.

Perhaps the Senator needs to be reminded of what seditious conspiracy really is:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. (15 USC 2384).

Virtual buckeye to Secession and Nullification News and Information

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gutless wonder strikes again

Sometimes, it's the little things that reveal the most about a person's character. Readers of this blog know that I occasionally fire at Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish for being a gutless wonder; especially where state-federal relations are concerned.

But this article from the Plain Dealer ( suggests that the problem may have deeper roots. It is a common practice in the Ohio General Assembly to recognize on the floor people, particularly high school youth, who have attained statewide distinction in one way or another. Thus, Rep. John Adams thought it was appropriate to recognize Elisabeth Trisler for winning an oratory contest sponsored by the National Right to Life organization.

Now, if you can, set aside your views on the abortion issue. Just look at it as a decision. Speaker Budish decided Feb. 3 not to allow the presentation because the award came from a "politically sensitive" group. Okay, fine -- he was within his right as Speaker to do so. When making such a decision, one in his position should have known that whichever way he decided was likely to produce a backlash of some kind.

He did get a backlash from the predictable sources -- the House Republicans and the Right to Life Organization. Here's where my criticism comes in. When he got the backlash that he should have anticipated, he changed his mind:

Budish spokesman Keary McCarthy said Budish was concerned about "inaccurate" criticism that he was silencing the teen because she disagreed with his stance supporting abortion rights.

"We will go ahead with this presentation," McCarthy said. "We'd like to shoot for sometime next week depending on how the schedules looks."

McCarthy said Budish plans "a closer look at the guidelines" concerning who can be honored on the House floor in the future. Budish had originally said that Trisler would not be honored because her award was from a "politically sensitive" group.

The voters of the 10th House district might want to consider backbone, or the absence of it, when they cast their votes for State Representative this year. At least it seems to me that a person in a leadership position should be able to consistently enforce a policy as minor as this one.

War by other means

Karl von Clausewitz famously said, "War is the continuation of policy by other means."

A 21st century Sun Tzu might reverse that and say that economic strategy can be war by other means. Reuters recently reported that officers in the Chinese People's Liberation Army are urging economic retaliation against the United States for offering the sale of $6.4 billion in armaments to Taiwan.

"Our retaliation should not be restricted to merely military matters, and we should adopt a strategic package of counter-punches covering politics, military affairs, diplomacy and economics to treat both the symptoms and root cause of this disease," said Luo Yuan, a researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences.

"Just like two people rowing a boat, if the United States first throws the strokes into chaos, then so must we."

Luo said Beijing could "attack by oblique means and stealthy feints" to make its point in Washington.

In addition to the arms sales, Chinese-American relations have been strained over trade and currency quarrels, Internet controls, and hacking.

"For example, we could sanction them using economic means, such as dumping some U.S. government bonds," Luo said.

The Chinese military has no authority over economic policy, and no economic sanctions are being proposed at this time.

China has the world's biggest pile of foreign currency reserves, much of it held in U.S. treasury debt. China held $798.9 billion in U.S. Treasuries at end-October. But any attempt to use that stake against Washington would probably maul the value of China's own dollar-denominated assets.

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." -- Proverbs 22:7.

This is another reason why Ohio needs to begin circulating gold and silver coin (which is already legal tender) as an alternative to the play money we call Federal Reserve Notes. A plan for this is under development. For more information, see the Ohio Honest Money Project website. The plan once executed, will work to reverse the effects of Gresham's Law (bad money drives out the good).

Virtual buckeye to When Giants Fall.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Train wreck

Gov. Strickland has been pressing for federal funds to construct the Ohio Hub project initially connecting Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland with passenger rail. In so doing, he has encountered criticism from many who object to this particular approach, whom he calls "cheerleaders for failure" (Link from Dayton Daily News).

I am passionately in favor of light rail in large cities, and of high-speed intercity rail service. They can be sensible, long-term solutions to providing transportation that will reduce fuel consumption and air pollution; and provide a more economical and convenient alternative to commuter air.

However, any such proposal has to be attractive enough to dissuade someone from driving the route. Why, for example, should anyone forego the convenience of a car for a train, when one can drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland on I-71 in four hours; in favor of a train that takes six or more?

If we're going to build this thing, let's do it right and lay the track to support a European-style bullet train that can run up to 180 miles per hour. If you build that, people will come.

Here's an even better idea -- let's change the state funding mix for transportation. From now on, the state will build the rail as I described, and will maintain existing interstates, and state and federal routes; but will stop subsidizing new construction. If a county wants new construction (even for interstates), it will be at the county's expense. The state could provide a small equalization fund to make this requirement less burdensome for counties with small populations, similar to what the feds do for less densely populated states. With the possible exception of a few bypasses, such as U.S. 33 around Nelsonville, we've paved enough land for roads. Over time, this idea will make other options more attractive than driving.

"Cheerleader for failure?" Au contraire, I just want to make sure it succeeds -- on the long run!

HB 400 hearing snowed out

The hearing scheduled for tomorrow (Wed. Feb. 10) has been cancelled, due to the snowstorm that has buried Central Ohio. I'll let you know when it is rescheduled.

Monday, February 8, 2010

HB 400 Hearing Wednesday

The Ohio House Ways & Means Committee will hold a hearing on HB 400 (Income Tax Phaseout) on Wednesday, February 10, at 9:30 AM at the Statehouse. Public testimony will be accepted.

If you testify, bring 30 copies of your statement for distribution to the committee members and others present.

You can keep up to date on the status of legislation of interest to the liberty movement by linking or getting an RSS feed to the Buckeye Liberty Legislative Update, provided by the Ohio Freedom Alliance. I shall also add a link in the 2010 Ohio Republic Legislative Program section under the masthead.

Cautionary note for Tea Parties

Sarah Palin energizes big tea party rally in Nashville.
Big mistake.

Here's why:

Sarah is urging the Republican Party to embrace the Tea Parties. Republican Chairman Michael Steele thinks that's a good idea. But does anyone really think the Tea Party movement will retain its integrity once it folds into the GOP?

From the Wall Street Journal coverage:

Organizers here seek to shift the focus from staging political rallies to winning elections. "The Tea Party movement is growing up," said Judson Phillips, a Nashville-based criminal-defense lawyer who organized the National Tea Party Convention. "If 2010 is another year of rallies, we've lost."

Rallies have value, but Mr. Phillips has a point.

Sarah Palin didn't kill Tennessee's Tea Party movement -- the movement committed suicide when it invited her. The reason it committed suicide was that the leadership apparently still clings to the notion that the federal government can be reformed -- which is the only reason to invite a national political figure (as opposed, say, to Judge Napolitano or Thomas Woods).

Federal tyranny can only be overthrown through action at the state level. There are a few politicians at the state level who can strengthen the movement, such as Georgia First Ray McBerry and the Vermont Nine; but in general, Tea Parties should be wary of establishment politicians.

This particularly goes for Ohio, where the movement takes a risk by inviting candidate for Ohio Governor John Kasich to speak. There are points of agreement, but the effect of supporting Mr. Kasich will be similar to that Nashville experienced in supporting Sarah Palin.

Back to the Wall Street Journal article:

The movement's electoral mettle will face further tests as Republican primary elections take place across the nation ahead of the November general election. At a Friday session at the convention here, activists here discussed how to coalesce around conservative candidates early in primary contests to avoid losses by splitting their votes.

"We've got to wise up to that. We need to size up candidates early and get behind them," said Bruce Donnelly, an Illinois-based businessman who created SurgeUSA, a Web site that vets primary candidates.

Attendees were urged not to spend their money traveling to Tea Party rallies in 2010, and to support political candidates instead. The message resonated with Janet Smith, a 70-year-old wife of a retired preacher, who was thinking about attending a Tea Party rally planned for September in Washington, D.C. "Maybe instead it's time to find good candidates," she said.

Correct. But Tea Partiers: don't waste your time on Congress and the Senate. If your candidates did win, they would have zero influence once they got to Washington. Concentrate on your state legislatures and Governors! Support nullification of health care, firearms regulation, and Real ID!
Support letting your states make their own decisions free of federal meddling!

The way to freedom goes through the state capitols, not the one in Washington.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Critics are coming out of the woodwork

The unionists are getting scared. I have seen a growing number of blog posts and articles sharply critical of secession and nullification. For some reason, they came out in force today. Here is a sampling from today’s Google alerts on secession:

“Secessionist talk is unpatriotic”

Here’s one for you, Old Rebel: The Crimson White, student newspaper at the University of Alabama, asserts that “secessionist talk is unpatriotic.” The writer, Jonathan Reed, took a look at the secessionist discussions taking place in the Texas gubernatorial campaign, and called them “frightening.” When Debra Medina quoted Thomas Jefferson’s “the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots,” Mr. Reed concluded that the “tyrants” were all of us as Americans. “They’re our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. They’re people who work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., watch college football and go to church.” Mr. Reed characterizes “patriots” as “people who believe in America until it raises their taxes.”

He adds:

There was once a day when patriots fought and died for one America. Not just for the land and the people, but for the idea that democracy, despite its occasional faults, can make the nation as a whole work for everyone. When we think of patriots dying in a bloody war, we don’t think of them as fighting for freedom from a government that was fairly elected by a majority of the people, we think of them as fighting against tyrants who threaten people’s essential life and liberties and who offer the people no other recourse.

Mr. Reed, everyone I know in the liberty movement also believes that we should work to make the nation as a whole work for everyone; but, as Sebastian Ronin says, "The free election of the masters by the slaves does not eliminate the master-slave relationship." The federal government is not democratic; it is kleptocratic (best government money can buy) with a thin democratic veneer.

The difference between patriotism and nationalism is knowing when loyalty to the nation becomes contrary to loyalty to the principles on which that nation was founded. We have tried reform for 40 years, and we have failed. The disease of tyranny calls for stronger medicine, so we are working on nullification, and if that fails, secession.

“The Lefty Republic of Vermont”

This one is unusual, in that the writer does not object to secession per se, but to the fact that secession can promote liberal ideals as well as conservative ones. The blog, Thoughtcrime, sounds a little too Justus Twp. white supremacist and anti-Semitic to suit me, and the writer admits that he is a bit envious of the recent article in Time about Vermont's secessionist slate. Unfortunately, he adopts the liberal tactic of namecalling:

The Vermont secession campaign is run by a bunch of hippie-dippy 60s retreads, Jewish and liberal academic types in turtle-neck sweaters and sports jackets with patches on the elbows who drink glasses of Chardonnay in lefty natters at cocktail parties in Burlington and Montpelier… The Northwest Front is frozen out, as for that matter are the libertarian secessionists in New Hampshire and the Christian fundamentalists in South Carolina. Nonetheless, when the topic of secession is found in the pages of Time, truly one of the pillars of the mainstream media, it means that secession is being taken seriously.

I have my differences with the Second Vermont Republic, but if I cannot live in a Republic of Ohio, I would rather cast my lot with the “hippy-dippy 60s retreads” than with the mountain men in the “Northwest Front.” I guess it’s a cultural thing. Or maybe because I have lived in a state that has had an ethnically and racially diverse population for many years, I don’t feel threatened by it.

"The Palin Doctrine: Lie"

Okay, here we go again. The blog What They’re Feeding Me is pulling out the old Todd Palin was a secessionist, therefore we can’t trust Sarah argument. I'm not sure I can trust Sarah, either, but not for this reason. The author, Shawn Gray-Fleek, begins by asserting “Todd Palin, known secessionist, was the real governor of Alaska…” He accuses Sarah of trying, and failing, to cover up the fact that Todd was a secessionist. Now if Sarah was so embarrassed by Todd’s secessionism, why did she speak to the Alaska Independence Party?

Anyway, Mr. Gray-Fleek has nothing but contempt for secessionism, calling it “an utmost disrespect for the law of the land” (emphasis his). For him, secessionism is based on what he calls The Big Lie:

The Big Lie is that the “government is the problem.” Why would you elect a person to an office they [you?] don’t respect? Reagan will [will? President Reagan died in 2004, or didn’t he get the memo?] project annoyance at a nation left to us by wiser folks than any of us dummies. Reagan will claim a down-home attitude, at its heart the nationalist impulse. It will be the crucial test of Sarah Palin’s Shadow Presidency if she makes any sort of "decisions,” in her Shadow State of the Union, since she holds no office currently. If she says “we should destroy the government” who is she suggesting do this? Teabaggers in the room, people watching aghast on Fox News? Sponsors are paying her $100,000. She’s helping the wealthy keep so much more. Perhaps they will “secede” in name only, simply start their own social contract and move to Texas or something. They want to destroy a democracy that the world admires for the selfish interests of the wealthy. [Emphasis in the original]

Now, the truth is coming out. Mr. Gray-Fleek’s animus against secession is deeply rooted in socialist rhetoric, as evidenced by his last sentence. The liberty movement, which includes, but is not limited to the Tea Parties, is more united on the reverse of what he wrote. That is, we want to destroy an empire that has catered to the selfish interests of the wealthy in order to restore democracies that the world will come to admire. Secessionism is not the same as anarchy (and believe me, I am no anarchist, to the consternation of some of my Libertarian friends). Most secessionists do not seek to abolish government, but to make it more accountable to the people by reducing government to a human scale.

Mr. Gray-Fleek does raise some legitimate concerns, particularly about the environment. If we believe that government exists to protect us, then environmental protection is part of the package – but there are right and wrong ways to protect the environment. Without bringing up that whole can of worms again, let me just suggest two ways the environment can be much more efficiently protected: (1) Develop and apply an accounting model to ensure that environmental costs are paid by those who make the messes; and (2) in place of an activist model where the government insists on compliance reporting, develop a more passive model that facilitates lawsuits against polluters.

Mr. Gray-Fleek continues:

The big lie will be repeated endlessly: the government is your enemy. This is primarily why people don’t vote, is the Big Lie. They are scared of government. If only the people would realize they could get the government they all secretly agree they want, a fiscally conservative but socially liberal one where all of us can be our religion or sexuality and smoke our dope and stroke our gun. If
all of us voted, we’d have that government. [Emphasis in the original]

People aren’t scared of government, they’re frustrated with it. We realize now that we can’t get the federal government we “secretly all want” for two reasons – the moneyed interests that control the Congress and the Presidency won’t let us, and what we “secretly all want” varies from state to state. Vermonters want to be “localvores” (supporters of local agriculture and simple living), the Confederates want to restore their Southern culture, and the mountain men just want to be left alone as mountain men have always wanted to be left alone. Here in Ohio, we just want to regain control of our state government and have the ability to budget our resources in the most rational way, free from federal interference. We are convinced that we can run state government much more efficiently than the feds can, with lower taxes and better services.

Mr. Gray-Fleek continues, "Health care saves money and makes sense to everyone but the Teabaggers, who believe the lie." Then why does a recent poll (Jan. 29-31) show that only 36% of Americans favor the health care proposal? Or is democracy only valid when it supports Mr. Gray-Fleek’s agenda?

The big lie turns the people into cynics. 'What’s the point of voting?' they will say. Then Reagan will come along and inspire them to do something stupid, like vote in favor of the lie.

The point of voting is to steer government in the direction that the people want. When government repeatedly ignores the will of the people by bailing out banks that should have been allowed to collapse, engaging in foreign wars that have nothing to do with our national security, and spending trillions of dollars we don’t have in a way that threatens to wipe out our life savings through hyperinflation and cause the collapse of Social Security and Medicare, the people have the right – in fact, the moral obligation to themselves and their posterity – to correct the evil that is confronting them.’’

Thomas Jefferson would have accepted nothing less.

It is now mathematically impossible to pay off the US national debt

The Economic Collapse blog explains why: the United States government owes more dollars than actually exist. The only way it can print money is to get a loan from the Federal Reserve Bank, which in turn increases the debt, which it can only satisfy by getting another loan from the Federal Reserve Bank ... well, you get the idea. It's an endless cycle.

By the way, The Economic Collapse observes that, according to the 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government, issued by the General Accounting Office, the FY 2008 deficit according to generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP) was not the "official" $455 billion, but $5.2 trillion!

Watch for more zeroes in your wallet, coming soon... and buying less.

Virtual buckeye to Ben Sariwatta

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Support the Troops: End the Wars

In an earlier post, I suggested that the best way to support the troops was to end the wars. Obviously, Washington is not about to withdraw troops from wars that serve the selfish interests of its benefactors. However, as this article from Wikipedia states (with appropriate backup), state governors do have the authority to withhold consent to send state National Guard troops abroad.

Here is what it says (emphasis added):

Established under Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code, state National Guard serves as part of the first-line defense for the United States. The state National Guard is divided up into units stationed in each of the 50 states and U.S. territories and operates under their respective state governor or territorial adjutant general. The National Guard may be called up for active duty by state governors or territorial adjutant general to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, such as those caused by hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

With the consent of state governors, members or units of state National Guard may be appointed or deployed as federally recognized armed force members in active or inactive service.* If so recognized, they become part of the National Guard of the United States. The National Guard of the United States units or members may be called up for federal active duty in times of Congressionally-sanctioned war or national emergency. State National Guard may also be called up for federal service, with the consent of state governors, to repel invasion or suppress rebellion. It can enforce federal laws if the United States or any of its states or territories are invaded or are in danger of invasion by a foreign nation, or if there is a rebellion or danger of a rebellion against the authority of the federal government. However unlike the United States Army and other armed forces, the National Guard (under state status) cannot leave American soil. The National Guard can be mobilized if the President is unable with the regular armed forces to execute the laws of the United States. Because both state National Guard and the National Guard of the United States relatively go hand-in-hand, they are both usually referred to as just
National Guard.

Since the consent of state governors is required by federal law as well as by the Constitution, it is evident that state governors have the power to withhold that consent. If you are against the wars (as I am), I urge you to contact Gov. Strickland to make it clear that you do not want any further deployment of Ohio National Guard units in foreign wars; and your state legislators to pass an act forbidding the Governor from allowing the Ohio National Guard to be federalized, except as specified in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution:

The Congress shall have the Power ... To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.

* I refer the reader to the Wikipedia article for footnotes to the original sources; however, this statement is backed up by 10 U.S.C. § 12211 (Officers: Army National Guard of the United States). 10 U.S.C. § 12212 (Officers: Air National Guard of the United States), and 10 U.S.C. § 12107 Enlistment in Army National Guard of United States and Air National Guard of the United States).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Deficit spending is now a national security risk

When Giants Fall is a blog discussing the economic ramifications of the End of Empire. In yesterday's post, they cite two publications who warn that an inadequate response to the federal government's deficit spending will have severe repurcussions for national security and the global balance of power. These publications are not little blogs, either -- they are the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. government this year will borrow one of every three dollars it spends, with many of those funds coming from foreign countries. That weakens America's standing and its freedom to act; strengthens China and other world powers including cash-rich oil producers; puts long-term defense spending at risk; undermines the power of the American system as a model for developing countries; and reduces the aura of power that has been a great intangible asset for presidents for more than a century.

"We've reached a point now where there's an intimate link between our solvency and our national security," says Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior national-security adviser in both the first and second Bush presidencies. "What's so discouraging is that our domestic politics don't seem to be up to the challenge. And the whole world is watching."

And from the New York Times:

[A]s Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, used to ask before he entered government a year ago, “How long can the world’s biggest borrower remain the world’s biggest power?”

The Chinese leadership, which is lending much of the money to finance the American government’s spending, and which asked pointed questions about Mr. Obama’s budget when members visited Washington last summer, says it thinks the long-term answer to Mr. Summers’s question is self-evident. The Europeans will also tell you that this is a big worry about the next decade.

The feds are literally spending themselves into oblivion.

The states can protect themselves, even without secession, by getting out of debt themselves. How we can do that is part of the Ohio Republic's legislative program that I unveiled January 1.

Is secession treasonous?

Veterans Today calls itself a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal." The people who are most interested in reading it can be presumed to be veterans or active duty military personnel. The writer of the January 31 post is Tom Barnes, a retired Coast Guard warrant officer.

Mr. Barnes was commenting on the Time magazine online post of the same date, in which Vermont's secessionist candidate slate was announced. He reported on 2007 poll taken in Vermont:

According to a 2007 poll, they have support from at least 13% of state voters. The campaign slogan, [Second Vermont Republic leader Thomas] Naylor told me, is “Imagine Free Vermont.” In his fondest imaginings, Naylor said, Vermonters would not be “forced to participate in killing women and children in the Middle East.”

Then Mr. Barnes comments:

This is what happens when our nation continually engages in these
ridiculous and unnecessary wars overseas without taking into account the wishes of her citizens.

This is what happens when Amerika [spelling and emphasis in the original] places money and potential power grabs overseas ahead of the wishes of the people and instead caters to the whims of the military industrial complex, the emerging market manipulators, the war industry captains, the energy cartels and any other group that the Supreme Court has now given the powers of citizenship.

Strong words, which aroused an even stronger reaction from one jackspratt:

As an Active duty soldier, I cannot abide this kind of traitorous talk. The Union was worth destroying half the country for 150 years ago and the Union is no less worthy a goal now. This is nothing like the Revolution: Vermont has full representation in the Congress and they vote. The United States isn’t just some club you can leave when you get upset with things. We are required to take an oath about defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I think Vermont needs to think very carefully whether they are friends of the Constitution or potential enemies and the consequences of each case.

This comment is strikingly similar to one that was added to the Ohio Republic's post discussing Sean Hannity's poll last July.

Further on, he sounds like a radical unionist during the War between the States:

Wow. I am amazed by the traitorous nonsense on this board.

1. Secession is ILLEGAL. this was proved legally in 1869 by the Supreme Court case of Texas v. White. Check it out.

I have, and have commented on it as recently as two weeks ago.

2. Secession is illegal by precedent and by the awesome power of the United States Army. Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, proved this through his actions. Vermonters are just being spoiled. Kinda like taking your ball and going home when you aren’t liking the game. Grow up.

“The Union forever/Hurrah boys hurrah/Down with the Traitors/And up with the Star!”

jackspratt seems to think that might makes right. He also seems to be confused on the purpose of free government. Fortunately, almost all of the other commenters, many of whom give their military backgrounds, understand what it's about. I encourage you to read the post and its comments -- very interesting reading indeed!

Virtual buckeye to Bill Miller of Secession and Nullification News and Information for this post and today's post about the Daily Kos poll.

Daily Kos poll: 18% of Midwesterners favor secession

According to a poll of 2,003 Republicans taken by The Daily Kos and Research 2000, 18% of Midwesterners would favor the secession of their states from the union. Note that the question was not "do you favor the right of secession", but "do you favor secession." 61% voted No, and 21% were undecided. The poll claims a sampling error of plus or minus 2%.

While this pales next to the 33% support for secession in the South, it is higher than in any other region, and a definite uptick from the 12-13% support I estimated for Ohio when reporting the Middlebury Institute/Zogby Poll in July 2008.

This 38% increase (more or less) in support of secession does not surprise me, based on reactions to this blog and personal conversations I have had. Even in the state that is self conscious about being self conscious, people are getting fed up with a federal government that no longer represents our interests, and which we find ourselves increasingly powerless to change.

Virtual buckeye to Rebellion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why government must be decentralized

Or at least one reason it needs to be decentralized -- Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy, created by science-fiction writer Jerry Pournelle:

[I]n any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

Radical decentralization means that bureaucracy must be minimized (though, unfortunately, probably not eliminated) by ensuring that decentralization of power is not just from Washington to Columbus, but from Columbus to the counties, the counties to the municipalities and townships, and from the municipalities and townships to the people themselves.

In this way, each level performs the functions for which it is most competent; and government's accountability to the people is maximized. I like to say that (based on population) Ohioans have 26 times as much influence on state government as on the federal -- but add to that the fact that residents of, say Delaware County, have 100 times as much influence on their county as on their state, and residents of the city of Delaware have approximately 8 times as much influence on their city as on their county.