Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dennis Steele asks the tough questions

Second Vermont Republic advocate Thomas Naylor can get a little irritating sometimes, but when he makes a point, he packs a punch.

Vermont secessionist candidate for Governor Dennis Steele stunned his opponents at a recent debate in Hyde Park, when he asked them, “If you are elected governor, will you do everything in your power to bring home the Vermont National Guard troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and block any future attempts by the Federal Government to deploy them overseas? And if you are unsuccessful in bringing the Vermont troops home, will you call for Vermont to secede from the Union?”

Mr. Naylor reports:

Without exception the five neoliberal Democrats lined up behind the U.S. Commander in Chief marching in lockstep to the beat of the American Empire’s drum. They summarily rejected the idea of intervention on behalf of the Vermont National Guard troops to bring them home sooner. They made it abundantly clear that their loyalty lies first and foremost with the Empire, not with the people of Vermont. (Emphasis added).

His comment:

How is it possible that [they] continue to pledge their allegiance to the most materialistic, most racist, most militaristic, most violent empire of all-time? An empire which is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, and the Israeli Lobby. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

We need to ask the same question of Gov. Strickland, Mr. Kasich, Mr. Spisak, and Mr. Matesz.* Where is their allegiance -- to the Empire, or to the people who will elect them?

* The latter two candidates represent the Green and Libertarian Parties, respectively.

Question for Attorney General Cordray

According to the Hannah Report: Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray "Attorney General Richard Cordray Monday said his office would not file a legal challenge to the health care reform bill passed by Congress, saying that he did not think it would be a good use of taxpayer resources."

Because he agrees with the Congress, because he believes it's Constitutional, or because there is a better way to deal with the issue (e.g., nullification)?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Health care act: corporations now tax us directly

"Beneficiaries Behind the Curtain", a comment by "-savoy", a libertarian writing for The Nolan Chart:

This bill, while having a few partially obliging fragments, is a giant giveaway to special interests. It is welfare for the rich. It is a version of corporate welfare unlike this country has ever seen. It turns 30 million more American citizens into their customers. In contrast to the bailout of Wall Street, where our government paid the money to the big banks, this now sets the precedent of taxes paid directly to corporations. Gone are the days in which the government dishes out subsidies to multinational corporations which they have taken from your paycheck. Now the corporations use the government to directly impose their own taxes on the people. It is now the law that you purchase health insurance from one of these companies that helped to pass the very law that mandates you as one of their customers. It is a reverse catch 22. It is a direct tax on you and your family that you will be forced to pay to private companies that your government has been selected to represent.

Who will enforce this new law of the land and require that you purchase this potentially substandard, overpriced, and fascist product? Well none other than the good ole IR of S. That’s right, contained in this lovely package of corporatism and tyranny are 16,500 brand new IRS personnel whose sole purpose will be to "collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses in the ‘reconciliation’ bill," according to Congressman Kevin Brady of the 8th District of Texas. This will lead to your medical information being a matter of public property with the US Government.

Goodbye privacy, hello despots.

Best solution: support Ohio's initiatives to nullify federal health care.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tenth Amendment Center: Lawsuits won't work

Responding to the challenge by twelve state Attorneys-General to the enactment of Obamacare, Tenth Amendment Center director Michael Boldin warns (via American Conservative Daily):

Relying on a federal lawsuit to invalidate the new Health Care Reform Law is not only an uncertain endeavor in the face of decades of bad Supreme Court precedent; it could also take years to go anywhere, according to the Tenth Amendment Center. “The reality is this, considering a lawsuit as the primary response leaves the people in opposition holding the bag,” says Michael Boldin, founder of the Center. “That's why we advocate a solution to this mess that leaves the people, not the courts, in charge."

That solution is nullification -- a legislative act to ensure that unconstitutional federal laws are not enforced within a state's boundaries. There are those who are concerned that the federal government will reject nullification by force; but this is the next to last resort we have as the American people to reverse what the Congress has done over our objections. The last resort is secession.

Lawsuits will not work, because in the end, it goes before a federal agency called the Supreme Court, which has consistently (with a few exceptions) defended the growth of federal power at the expense of the states and the people. We have tried reform over and over. Those who hope for a Republican victory in 2010 will be disappointed with the result -- think Contract for America and 1994, then think about the Bush Administration. We have to show Washington that we are serious about preserving our freedoms as Americans, regardless of where that takes us.

I would prefer to stay in a Union based on Constitutional principles, but if that proves impossible -- and we will soon know whether or not it does -- I would rather live in freedom, than to be enslaved just for the sake of holding the Union together.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sens. Jones and Grendell introduce SB 244

State Senators Timothy Grendell (R-Chesterland) and Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) have introduced yet another approach to repeal Obamacare in Ohio, a simple bill, SB 244. The language is (as bills go) short and sweet:

To enact section 3901.711 of the Revised Code to prohibit requiring an individual to obtain or maintain a policy of health insurance.

Section 1. That section 3901.711 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 3901.711.
(A)(1) No individual who is a resident of this state, regardless of whether the individual has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through the individual's employer, or a plan sponsored by this state or the federal government, shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual health insurance coverage.

(2) No provision of Chapter 1751. or Title XXXIX of the Revised Code shall render an individual who is a resident of this state liable for any penalty, assessment, fee, or fine as a result of the individual's failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage.

(3) No public official, employee, or agent of this state or any political subdivision shall impose, collect, enforce, or effectuate any penalty as a result of the failure of an individual who is a resident of this state to procure or obtain health insurance coverage.
(B) The attorney general shall seek injunctive or any other appropriate relief as expeditiously as possible to preserve the rights and property of the residents of this state, and to defend as necessary this state, its officials, employees and agents in the event that any government, subdivision, or government agency enacts or adopts any law, rule, or regulation that violates division (A) of this section.
(C) This section shall not apply to individuals voluntarily applying for coverage under the medicaid program established under Chapter 5111. of the Revised Code or the children's health insurance program established under sections 5101.50 to 5101.529 of the Revised Code.

In my opinion, we don't need a Constitutional amendment to nullify federal health care mandates. A simple act of the General Assembly is sufficient -- and is preferable to cluttering up the Constitution with still more statutory legislation. I encourage you to write your State Senator in support of SB 244.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Iowa Congressman floats secession as solution to forced health care

ThinkProgress captured Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggesting that if all else fails, he might have to [help] "start a country":

Yesterday as the House passed historic health care reform legislation, groups of Tea Party activists were still amassed on Capitol Hill protesting the bill. When word reached them that they had lost their battle, they began singing the national anthem and reciting the pledge of allegiance.

“The most important thing to remember,” said Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots, “is that the fight for freedom, it never ends!” Reps. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Steve King (R-IA) then went out and spoke to the protesters, with King floating the possibility of secession (even though he said they should “hope” it doesn’t come to that):

KING: I just came down here so I could say to you, God bless you. … You are the awesome American people. [...]

If I could start a country with a bunch of people, they’d be the folks who were standing with us the last few days. Let’s hope we don’t have to do that! Let’s beat that other side to a pulp! Let’s take them out. Let’s chase them down. There’s going to be a reckoning!

True, there will be a reckoning; but what still doesn't make sense to me is, why they are still pledging allegiance to the flag of the tyranny they are trying to overcome? Our Founding Fathers believed that allegiance must be earned -- and this federal government doesn't deserve it!

Why can't we see the alternatives?

The health care crisis has prompted considerable discussion in Facebook and some other forums that I follow, to the effect that federal funds are the only way to ensure that those who are in need get a hand up. By implication, critics of libertarian causes accuse us of promoting selfishness, because we oppose the use of government funds for charitable purposes.

Let's set aside the argument that taxation is legalized theft; and that government is forcibly redirecting our tax money to spend on its favorite causes (some of which are indeed charitable); or even that the data show that conservatives and libertarians give much more generously to charities than liberals, who seem to want charity only with other people's money. These statements are true, but we need to dig deeper.

There is a widespread assumption, undoubtedly fostered by the federal government, that only the federal government has the resources to solve social problems. Never mind that, but for the Federal Reserve and its ability to print money, the federal government would have been bankrupt years ago. Never mind that three generations of inner-city people have relied on federal handouts instead of themselves. Never mind that Medicare and Medicaid, with their myriad regulations, have distorted the once-free health care market to give providers incentives to raise prices to their current ridiculous levels; instead of keeping them low because they face competition. The fact remains, the federal government is not the only way people can be helped. And, as I shall show presently, it isn't even the best way.

We've all heard the proverb that, if we give a man a fish, he will eat a meal; but if we teach him to fish, he will always be able to eat. Federal entitlements have stripped us of the ability to fend for ourselves, and to teach others to fend for themselves. Even those of us who have jobs are afraid to step out to do what we really want to do, because we see too few examples of successful entrepreneurship. Government has destroyed meaning and purpose from millions of human lives -- and not just those of the needy. Few of us will ever experience the spiritual benefits of true charity, because the opportunities are few and not well known to the general population; and because our consumer society promotes selfishness. Liberals have tried to persuade us that libertarianism will put selfishness on steroids.

Eighty years ago, there were plenty of institutions that gave real help to people in need. There were the YMCAs, the settlement houses, the food pantries, ordinary people helping other ordinary people to find jobs; and employers willing and able to take a chance on the poor, but promising young person. People did not delegate everything to the social worker; and government regulations did not give an employer an additional disincentive to hiring a risky employee. Not all of these institutions have gone away, but they are less prevalent in our society now than they were then. Why? Because government has made them seem unnecessary and ineffective; and through taxation it has too often shut them out in the competition for financial and human resources.

Many years ago, we thought of multiple "institutions": churches, schools, community non-profit organizations, arts groups, informal voluntary groups, and free enterprise (meaning farmers and mostly small business). French historian Alexis de Tocqueville* commented at length at the American tendency to form voluntary associations to do all kinds of things, when he visited in the 1830s. Most of us don't do much of that anymore, because we are too busy working long hours at our jobs (to make up for our families what governments take in taxes) or scooting our children from one sport/dance school/planned activity to another. In so doing, we have stripped ourselves and our children of the ability to creatively solve the problems of life. In so doing, we have stripped ourselves and our children of much of our humanity.

As we begin to think about how we might dismantle some (or all) of this federal government, we also need to think about how we can build up the alternative -- voluntary -- institutions that can take up the slack, particularly with education and the social services. This is made more necessary because government is singularly incapable of providing the one thing people in need, need most: love. Jesus taught that, more than anything else, it is love that exalts the human spirit -- but government must by its nature be concerned with efficiency and accountability. Love has trouble staying strictly within the rules.

Non-governmental institutions were the true strength of America, an historical fact recognized by Alexander Stephens in a speech he gave November 14, 1860, in an effort to keep Georgia in the Union:

Our Institutions constitute the basis -- the matrix -- from which spring all our our characteristics of development and greatness. Look at Greece! There is the same fertile soil; the same blue sky; the same Aegean; the same Olympus; -- there is the same land, where Homer sung; where Pericles spoke; -- it is, in nature the same old Greece; but it is 'living Greece no more!'

Descendants of the same people inhabit the country; yet, what is the reason for this mighty difference? ... Why is this so? I answer this, their Institutions have been destroyed! These were but the fruits of their forms of Government -- the matrix from which their grand development sprung. And when once the Institutions of our people shall have been destroyed, there is no earthly power that can bring back the Promethian spark, to kindle them here again, any more than in that ancient land of eloquence, poetry, and song!

(Alexander H. Stephens, A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States [Philadelphia, 1868], p. 8).

By reducing our government, we will restore our humanity; and with that restoration we can build a vibrant culture. This is a change that can again fill our people with real hope and provide them with real opportunity for personal advancement and growth. However, it won't happen until we detoxify ourselves of the synthetic entitlements emanating from a power-hungry federal government.

* In Democracy in America.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Here's how to defeat Obamacare in Ohio

Well before yesterday's vote, two joint resolutions, HJR 3 and SJR 7, were introduced to ensure that no Ohioan would be forced to participate in a federal health plan. In addition, the Ohio Liberty Council announced today that it and the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has successfully submitted an amendment to the Secretary of State for a referendum, probably in November. The language is brief and simple:

Be it resolved by the people of the State of Ohio that Article I, Section 21 of the Ohio Constitution be adopted and read as follows:

Preservation of the freedom to choose health care and health care coverage

Section 21 (A) No federal, state, or local law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.

Section 21 (B) No federal, state, or local law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance.

Section 21 (C) No federal, state, or local law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.

Section 21 (D) This section does not affect laws or rules in effect as of March 19, 2010; affect which services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or provide; affect terms and conditions of government employment; or affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry.

Section 21 (E) As used in this Section,

(1) "Compel" includes the levying of penalties or fines.

(2) "Health care system" means any public or private entity or program whose function or purpose includes the management of, processing of, enrollment of individuals for, or payment for, in full or in part, health care services, health care data, or health care information for its participants.

(3) "Penalty or fine" means any civil or criminal penalty or fine, tax, salary or wage withholding or surcharge or any named fee established by law or rule by a government established, created, or controlled agency that is used to punish or discourage the exercise of rights protected under this section.

The road to freedom passes through the state capitols, and (obviously) not through the one in Washington. This amendment will, when adopted, effectively nullify federal law related to mandatory health care in the State of Ohio.

President Obama's legacy

...is already very clear, as Sharon Roberts, in the Constitutionalist blog Texas for 56*, makes clear in her reaction to last night's vote for health care against the clearly-expressed will of the American people:

We have a man in the White House who does not refer to the Constitution, but constantly refers to changing America. Yes indeed he has changed America. It is clear that he is skillfully and aggressively dismantling the United States of America. Since his time in office, he has pushed the progressives in the House and they have passed legislation giving the Federal government power over automotive industries, banking, financial sectors, student loans, insurance companies, and now our healthcare. He had condoned arm-twisting, bribes, lying, and any other manner of unsavory thug tactics to get his agenda accomplished expediously. People have tried in vain to ask if he condones this type of behavior in the Congress. He adroitly avoids an answer, and fills the gap with rhetoric of how he is “saving Americans”.

At a time when our country is deeply in debt, the Progressives under his urging and leadership have continued to pass numerous bills which require more money resulting in a larger deficit. Tonight they passed a large healthcare bill as their latest gambit to completely control the American people. This will begin taxing the people immediately in a time when millions are out of work and small businesses are struggling for survival. One would seriously question their motives after this blatant gesture of ignoring the plight of the American people. These same people have their own healthplan. The Congress refused to be on the same program for Healthcare as the American People. How dare they? Clearly, they are unaware of who their employer is at this point in time. Obama cannot save them from the consequences of their actions. The American people are not stupid and see exactly what is going on in Washington.

This was exactly the situation the framers of the Constitution envisioned when they provided for impeachment for "high crimes and misdemeanors." (Article I, Sections 2-3). Unfortunately, the judges and jurors (the two Houses of Congress) are part of this conspiracy against the American people.

Ms. Roberts is writing the truth, easily verifiable from other sources; but be warned, the President's sympathizers are losing patience for people who speak the truth, if Sean Penn's remarks about Hugo Chávez (the dictator in Venezuela) are any indication**. We must speak the truth boldly!

Defending our freedom isn't racist or right-wing. It is the essence of the America we inherited from our parents, and we have an obligation before God to pass it on to our children! The alternative is to meekly lose everything we hold dear.

* The 56 in the blog's name refers to the 56 signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

** I would love to know how Mr. Penn reconciles these views with the ones he expressed in September 2008, especially the line, "We have got to stop telling people not to think and speak." But now his friends are in power. I guess that makes all the difference.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Return of an old friend

On Monday, I wrote a farewell to the blog Rebellion, based on an e-mail I had received from Michael Tuggle, who managed the blog. Since then, he has had a change of heart and is back in the saddle. The one-week hiatus turned out to be due to technical problems the blog was experiencing, which were fixed with some expert help from the League of the South "rebmaster".

I was sincere in my sentiments on Monday, but am equally sincere in my joy that it is still published.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vermont Secession Strategy

The Middlebury Institute e-newsletter announced today the strategy to be followed by the Second Vermont Republic and the nine (was seven) secessionist candidates for Vermont governor, lieutenant governor, and state senate. While director Kirkpatrick Sale notes that "it is (very) specific to Vermont," he believes (and I agree) that much of the strategy should be of interest to secessionists everywhere.


The Problem:
The American Empire is the largest, wealthiest, most powerful, most materialistic, most racist, most militaristic, most violent empire of all time. It is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, and the Israeli Lobby. It has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable, ungovernable, and, therefore, unfixable.


1. The Vermont Mystique. Classic red barns, covered bridges, the picturesque patchwork pattern of small farms, black-and-white Holsteins, tiny villages, little rivers, ridges, hollows, valleys, and dirt roads.

2. The Vermont Village Green. A place where people meet to chat, have a coffee, a locally brewed beer, a glass of wine, or a bite to eat; read a newspaper; listen to music; smell the flowers; and pass the time away. A place which is all about the politics of human scale---small towns, small businesses, small schools, and small churches. The village green is neat, clean, democratic, radical, nonviolent, noncommercial, egalitarian, and humane. A mirror image of the way America once was but no longer knows how to be.

3. David and Goliath Image. What could be more absurd than tiny Vermont, the second smallest state in the United States in terms of population, confronting the most powerful empire in history? The image of Vermont as an underdog is not likely to go unnoticed.

1. Neoconservatives.
The Republican Party, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. [Vermont] Governor Jim Douglas, Lt. Governor Brian Dubie, the Ethan Allen Institute [John McClaughry], and True North Radio.

2. Neoliberals. The Democratic Party, most of the national media including ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, PBS, and PBR. Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressman Peter Welch, and their political

The peaceable return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic [1777-91] and the peaceable dissolution of the American Empire.

Political independence by 2015.
2. Dissolution of the American Empire by 2020.

1. Moral Authority.
Challenge the moral authority of the U.S. Government, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressman Peter Welch, and all of their collaborators.

2. Swiss Model. Unabashedly embrace the socio-economic, political model of Switzerland, the most sustainable nation-state of all time.

3. Imagine…Free Vermont. Launch a new political party whose aim is to elect state government officials and members of the legislature committed to Vermont independence. Once the party has a majority in the legislature, a motion will be introduced calling for a statewide convention to consider articles of secession. After these articles of secession have been approved by a two-thirds majority of the convention delegates, negotiations will begin with the United States Government for the peaceable departure of Vermont from the Union.

4. Vermont Commons. Develop the economic, agricultural, energy, and environmental foundations necessary to support a sustainable, politically independent Free Vermont.

Radio Free Vermont. Sow the seeds of peaceable rebellion against the Empire through Vermont-based music produced by Vermont musicians.

6. Outreach. Through the Middlebury Institute, the website
SecessionNews.com, and other networks, reach out to other independence movements in the United States and elsewhere.

7. Finance. Utilize modern Internet-based social-network technology to raise money to finance the activities of the SVR Strategic Alliance.

Call to Congressman called "harrassment"

Tempers are short on Capitol Hill. A constituent of Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA 10) tried to call the Congressman's office in Washington. Several times. Each time, the constituent was cut off by the staffer. Finally, after several attempts, the staffer called Capitol Police to complain of harrassment. While the story ended well (the Capitol Police advised the staffer that the constituent's phone call was not "harrassment"), it does indicate (1) just how deep the arrogance of power has become in Washington, and (2) how willing Washington is to use the image of federal power to shut up people they don't like. The latter should be chilling to every American who values their freedoms.

The writer, who uses the pseudonym "Capitol Confidential" in the biggovernment.com blog, continues:

After I hung up, I realized that this story should be told. Besides being an attorney, I’ve also had the privilege of serving this great country in the United States Marine Corps. Having seen the ugly legislative process the Senate Bill had been through, I saw this as not just another tactic to pass the Senate Bill at all costs, but also as an affront to our liberties.

While I’m fortunate enough to be able to legally challenge what happened today, others aren’t. The sad part is the democrats know this. They know that Americans unfamiliar with federal jurisprudence can easily be silenced when threats to involve federal agents are made. They know that most Americans don’t want trouble and they’ll go away rather than face the possibility of having to explain themselves to federal agents. That’s why I found this tactic appalling, as a Marine, as an attorney and as a proud American.

During my final contact with Mr. Garamendi’s staff, it was confirmed to me that he would vote for the Senate Bill no matter what. I was told that I was wasting my time by calling. Mr. Garamendi is a junior member of the House of Representatives. He was just elected via a special election last November. He has made it clear that he is willing to forsake his constituents in order to please the Speaker of the House.

Speaker Pelosi has said that she will stop at nothing to get the Senate Bill passed. She publicly stated that she would “pole vault over a wall” if barriers stood in her way. While that may be an amusing spectacle, it is indicative of what happened to me today. Apparently, threatening Americans with federal crimes to silence them is the latest tool in Speaker Pelosi’s dirty bag of tricks.

In the coming days, I’m sure more stories will develop illustrating the “win at all costs” tactics being employed by democrats. It’s these tactics that have appalled a majority of Americans to the point that the Senate Bill has overwhelmingly been rejected by the American people. When we try to explain that to Speaker Pelosi’s Caucus, we are threatened with criminal sanctions. We are told to shut up or face federal agents. Such treatment may be acceptable in the former Soviet Union, but it’s repulsive in the country I love and served. Is this hope and change?

Virtual buckeye to Mike McCool.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Using silver to pay taxes

According to The Idaho Reporter, a state representative there is introducing a bill with the same idea as our proposed Honest Money legislation. State Rep. Phil Hart (R-Athlon) has introduced a bill to allow the state treasurer to accept a silver "medallion" in payment of taxes. The medallion would be a bullion coin, to observe the Constitutional prohibition against states "coining money."

The legislation would also help revive a lagging silver mining industry and help resolve an environmental problem with a silver-like waste that threatens the water table in Northern Idaho.

While I personally like the idea of using the pre-1965 U.S. dollar, which is also silver, in payment of taxes, it is good that states are experimenting with different approaches to restoring sound money.

A proposal for Ohio is on the drawing board, and will be announced when introduced.

Where are we going?

One of the greatest factors retarding Ohio's recovery has been a romantic notion that manufacturing can be revived on the grand scale of the past. While that notion is mostly abandoned by now, nothing has arisen to take its place.

James Howard Kunstler uses Cleveland as an object lesson in our failure to prepare for an alternate future. It is a sad story -- morality tale actually -- which points the way to the path we should be taking:

Being an actualist, I'm in favor of getting real about things, and the reality we've entered is one of comprehensive contraction, especially for our cities. One of the reasons places like Cleveland (and Detroit, and Milwaukee, and St Louis, and Kansas City....) continue to fail in their redevelopment efforts is because they are already too big. They became overgrown organisms a while ago, unsuited to the realities of the future -- especially the energy resource realities of the future -- and they have tried everything except consciously contracting into smaller, finer, denser, differently-scaled organisms. In fact, the trend up until the so-called housing bubble of recent
years was to just keep on expanding ever outward beyond the suburban frontier, which left our cities in a condition like imploded death-stars -- cold and inert at the center, with debris speeding uselessly outward to an unreachable infinity.

This future we're entering, which I call the long emergency, compels us to imagine our society differently. Our cities and towns exist where they do because they occupy important sites. Cleveland is where a significant river empties into the world's greatest inland sea (which has the additional amazing benefit of being fresh water). Some human settlement will continue to be there, very probably a place of consequence, but it will not be run under the same circumstances that produced, for instance, the civic center of Daniel Burnham with its giant Beaux Arts courthouses, banks, and municipal towers.

This disintegrating nation is woefully distracted by Web 2.0, iPads, Avatar movies, Facebook, and the idiot celebrity spectacles of TV, not to mention the disasters of job loss, foreclosure, medical extortion, bankruptcy, corporate loot-ocracy, and the squandered moments of politics. We know we have to go somewhere. We know that something like history is leaving us behind. We have no idea how to get to a new place. And we're spending most of our mental energy gaping into the rear-view mirror, which is the last place to look for your destination.

The confusion is apt to get a lot worse before it gets better. I'm not saying this to be ornery but because I believe it is true, and it will benefit us to know the odds we're up against. The confusion is going to generate a lot of ideas that are inconsistent with reality -- especially involving the seductive nostrums of technocracy. Our redemption will be found closer to the ground in the things we do by hand. But we don't know that yet, and we're going to try everything except looking there before we find out.

The sooner we look ahead, instead of in the rear-view mirror, the less devastating the reality will be. "With no vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

Virtual buckeye to Carolyn Baker at Vermont Commons

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unemployment is worse than we thought

Last month, I reported on a Buckeye Institute for Public Policy study that detailed the sluggish employment growth in Ohio in the last twenty years. It turns out they were too optimistic, as director Matt Meyer said to Bob Connors at Columbus radio station WTVN yesterday.

Mr. Meyer attributes the employment problem to Ohio's high cost of government and favorable climate for unions. He does not believe the situation will significantly improve until Ohio becomes a Right to Work state, like 22 Southern and Western states which have cheerfully accepted businesses emigrating from Ohio during that period.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Health care vote this week

... whether we like it or not.

According to the Associated Press (via Redstate.com), U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduling a vote to apply a little-known House rule called "reconciliation" to pass the health care proposal without the House really voting on it. Besides being blatantly unconstitutional (Article I, Section 7 makes it clear that bills must be passed by both Houses), it is obviously a trick to force into law a proposal the American people have made it abundantly clear that they do not want. This is the "nuclear option" I discussed Mar. 4. As Redstate.com says, it is a win/win for Congress and a lose/lose for the American people, since it technically allows Congressmen to argue that they never voted on health care (only the "reconciliation" resolution).

Contact your Congressman and ask him to vote against reconciliation.

If it does pass, we still have recourse in Columbus, by pressing our State Representatives and Senators for the passage of HJR 3 and SJR 7, both of which press for an Ohio Constitutional amendment prohibiting federal health care from being forced on the people of Ohio.

But it would be easier and better to nip it in the bud in Congress.

Police state on the horizon?

Those who still sing "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty" might want to think again. The blog The End of the World (as we know it) has catalogued 20 recent actions, all of which point to the development of a police state within the United States of America. All of them have been documented publicly. Here are the top five:

#1) A new bill being pushed by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman would allow the U.S. military to round up large numbers of Americans and detain them indefinitely without a trial if they "pose a threat" or if they have "potential intelligence value" or for any other reason the President of the United States "considers appropriate".

#2) Lawmakers in Washington D.C. working to create a new immigration bill have decided on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would be required to obtain.

#3) Barack Obama is backing a plan to create a national database to store the DNA of people who have been arrested but not necessarily convicted of a crime.

#4) Just to get on an airplane, Americans will now have to go through new full-body scanners that reveal every detail of our exposed bodies to airport security officials.

#5) If that wasn't bad enough, the Transportation Security Administration has announced that airport screeners will begin roving through airports randomly taking chemical swabs from passengers and their bags to check for explosives.

#20 was perhaps the worst of all: "[O]ne other recent poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree with this statement: 'It is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.'" No it is not necessary! The greatest threat to American national security came from the Germans and the Japanese during World War II, and, with the egregious exception of the Japanese-Americans (Nisei), very little liberty was suspended for the duration.

Virtual buckeye to When Giants Fall

Highlights from the Young Americans for Liberty Rally Mar. 8

I promised last week to give some highlights "when time permits". It took a week for the time to permit, but here are the memorable moments for me:

I was impressed with singer Jordan Page, who sings protest songs in a style somewhat reminiscent of those from the Vietnam era, but with a harder edge to the music. I particularly liked "The Pendulum Swings" and "The War Machine". I also noticed that he was wearing an "End the Fed" T-shirt. The young people are remarkably sophisticated about their understanding of the Federal Reserve Bank, a subject on which the vast majority of their elders are completely ignorant.

Judge Andrew Napolitano hosts an Internet-radio show each evening at 7 pm on foxnews.com. His style of interviewing is not journalistic, but asks loaded questions as a softball lead-in to the respondent's answers. Sometimes, the questions turn into speeches; but it's good for rousing the troops.

Here are quotations from Judge Napolitano's guests:

Sheriff Richard Mack (founder of OathKeepers):
"Nothing is more important than for an official to uphold his oath to defend the Constitution."
(Quoting Judge Antonin Scalia:) "The Constitution protects us from our own best intentions."
"The sheriff is the last line of defense against federal tyranny… Sheriffs have no duty to obey unconstitutional laws."

Candidate Ron Hood, former state representative running for the Republican nomination in the 7th Congressional District:
"State legislators are not interested in the Tenth Amendment – they're interested in federal bribe money."

State House candidate Alicia Healy:
"People have been deceived as to what government can do for them."

Judge Napolitano:
"The greatest right, after right to life, is the right to be left alone."

Dave Grabaskas, president of the Young Americans for Liberty at Ohio State University:
"There is a two-party system: the Establisment vs. us."
(Question from Judge Napolitano: What made young people realize the need to change?")
"[The federal government] abandoning everything we hold dear, and seeing [President] Obama elected and doing the same things the Republicans did."
(Reaction from Judge Napolitano: Tell the neoconservatives and social conservatives, "Go back to the Democratic Party from where you came!")

From Ron Paul's speech:

"'Preventive war' means that we initiate the war… We just marched in, why don't we just march home?"
"The Constitution is supposed to hold the government in check, not hold the people in check!"
"When the government is bankrupt, the federal government will become irrelevant because it will be unable to bribe us."
"The Second Amendment wasn't put there for rabbit hunting."
"We've had too much bipartisanship. [It is] overwhelming when it endorses Keynesian economics." He observed that both parties support the Federal Reserve Bank and continuing the wars abroad.

On U.S. foreign policy:
"Principled non-intervention is not isolationism."
"Bring all the troops home – not just from the Middle East, but from Germany, Japan [and everywhere else]."
"The United States Government has a policy of assassinating U.S. citizens if they are deemed a threat by unknown people in the Administration – without trial or due process of law."
"Instead of giving other nations money or bombs, why don't we just give them friendship and trade? … Look at what we achieved with peace in Vietnam, compared to what we lost with war in Vietnam."

"The solution to economic problems is very simple: just get government out of the way. We don't need bailouts, just get rid of the income tax!"
"It's your life and your responsibility. You have the right to keep the fruits of your labor."
The principle of income tax: "The government owns you and lets you keep a certain percentage of your income." Rep. Paul cited Selective Service (registration for the military draft) as another example of the same principle.

"The real purpose of life is to work for virtue and excellence."

Farewell to an old friend

Longtime readers of The Ohio Republic know that one of my favorite sources of information was the blog Rebellion. I was notified last week that it had ceased publication. It was unquestionably a Southern blog, with its continuing guerrilla war against the Southern Poverty Law Center and its peculiar attitude toward Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We made a gentlemen's agreement to disagree over the latter issue. A unique feature in recent months was the "Southern music break."

However, Rebellion contained interesting news and comment about federal follies and secessionism that was not readily available elsewhere – so they were the largest single recipient of virtual buckeyes* from The Ohio Republic. Rebellion was more than a weblog – it was a forum, with some of the most interesting and spirited discussion to appear anywhere in the blogosphere. For many Southrons and this writer, it will be sorely missed.

Its blogger, Mike Tuggle ("Old Rebel") will remain active, concentrating on growing his organization and working on its quarterly newspaper, Free Magnolia.

We'll send it off by striking up the band with a rendition of an old Ohio show tune by Daniel Emmett, originally known as In Dixie's Land:

Civil War Tunes - Dixie .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

* To the uninitiated: a virtual buckeye is a link to allrecipes.com for Ohio's signature confection, known as a buckeye: a ball of sweet peanut butter encased in chocolate. It serves the same purpose as "HT" (hat tip) in other blogs.

Friday, March 12, 2010


You know how it is when you're busy and things just pile up.

The same thing has been true of this blog. Add a label here, a feature there, and the site starts to get cluttered. Write 700 posts in 2½ years (as of yesterday) and things can get quite messy.

Fortunately, Blogger came out with a new feature, "pages", to help organize all that static information. Here is the new arrangement:

The About page gives the purpose of this blog, some biography about me, and links to my writings, speeches, and videos.

The Legislative Action page summarizes my January 1, 2010, post giving my vision for legislation in the Ohio General Assembly and includes status links to the Buckeye Liberty Legislative update and my Ohio legislative status sheet. It also includes the link to my state sovereignty resolution status sheet.

The Links page rearranges in a (hopefully) more logical order all the links that festooned the right sidebar of the home page.

The Speaking to Your Group page is a bit of shameless self-promotion that gives information about speeches I am prepared to give your group.

If I come up with any other wild ideas, Blogger will let me create five more pages.

I hope this will make The Ohio Republic look a bit cleaner and make it easier to use.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Racing off the cliff...

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the health care bill, from a speech she delivered yesterday:

You’ve heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don’t know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention—it’s about diet, not diabetes. It’s going to be very, very exciting.

But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.

We have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it? Making law isn't "Let's Make a Deal", folks (selecting the prize in Box 1, Box 2, or Box 3). We are talking about major legislation that is trying to impose major controls on how we use our own bodies, applying the same arrogant logic that Susan Zhu expressed in The Harvard Independent last week.

Passing this bill is a huge step toward absolute tyranny over the lives of Americans. Pass this, and we can kiss what's left of our freedom goodbye.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Revolution in the mosh pit

That's one way to describe the Young Americans for Liberty rally at the Newport Music Hall Monday evening. About 2,000 people attended, the great majority of them college students. The first hour featured interviews by Judge Andrew Napolitano on his FoxNews.com program Freedom Watch (videos below). The second hour was a speech by Congressman Ron Paul. It was inspiring to see both the enthusiasm of the young adults for the liberty movement, and their sophistication -- they understand why we need to End the Fed, where most of their elders are clueless.

Work and life have (and will continue to) intrude on my blogging time this week, but I do want to share the videos of Judge Napolitano's show with you. (You will need Adobe Flash Player to play the videos). When time permits, I shall share with you some highlights and comments.

Part 1, featuring Maurice Thompson at Ohio's 1851 Center for Constitutional Law:

Part 2, featuring Congressman Ron Paul:

Part 3, featuring State Senator Timothy Grendell (R-Chesterland), author of Ohio's state sovereignty resolution SCR13:

Part 4, featuring Dave Grabaskas, president of the Ohio State University Young Americans for Liberty:

Videos of Rep. Paul's speech are on The Daily Paul.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The arrogance of being Eastern Establishment

Susan Zhu, writing in the Harvard Independent, a student newspaper, gives us a great window into the mind of the Eastern Establishment:

I will admit that the government may not be the most efficient, as evidenced by the United States Postal Service, but I really don’t trust people to take care of themselves. The income tax forces them to set aside money for their future by taking away some money now; without it, I see a good deal of manipulation and exploitation by private companies, and a whole lot of bankrupt, health care-less elderly citizens.

Consequently, she has no use for Tea Parties or the liberty movement:

I would say that these Tea Party-ers remind me of an earlier age in the history of the American republic: an age when John C. Calhoun suggested that South Carolina had a constitutional right to nullify federal laws, when Andrew Jackson killed the Bank of the United States, when western vigilantes patrolled the land. Then there’s secession — why does that sound familiar? Could it be because we fought a bloody civil war to keep the union together? Oh yeah, and they also had slavery then, and killed off Native Americans like it ain’t no thang. Health care? A stable economy and money supply? The chance for higher education? Yeah, good luck with that...

With the economy in its current state, a couple of wars, and a slow-moving government, it’s no surprise that people are having fits and flinging tea. With that in mind, I sincerely hope that this movement dies out soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if it makes a dent in the 2010 elections, but let’s be perfectly honest: the federal government is written into the Constitution. There’s no logical way to love the Constitution if all you’re going to do is rip it up and write a new one for each individual region, state, or person. For that reason, I’m not worried about the existence of the federal government. But I am worried about the short-term implications for policy and the general psychological health and logical ability of the American people.

Obviously, she does not understand the liberty movement, the Constitution, or why restoring the rights of the states is consistent with, not "ripping up" the Constitution. Several commenters challenged her on her statements. My comment was this: "Let’s make a deal. You can have New England and New York and run it your way. We’ll take the rest of the country and run it our way. We’ll see which country has more freedom and prosperity ten years from now."

Her reply:

Mr. Thomas – DEAL! Mind if we also take California? They’re liberal and bankrupt anyway, wouldn’t be of much use to you guys. Oh, and the mid-Atlantic, please, so we wouldn’t have to move the White House. I don’t think we’re defining “freedom” in the same way … I’ll take my civil liberties, but it’s totally okay with me if the government wants to make sure I have money and healthcare when I’m 90 years old. But if you’re defining freedom as “the ability to not have to pay for any other kids’ educations or old people’s health” then yup, I’m gonna guess that your hypothetical country will be more free than mine :)

And that is the nub of the argument. We don't define freedom the same way. Miss Zhu is willing to give up essential liberty for her idea of economic safety. The liberty movement would do the reverse. We just happen to believe that people are more capable of making their own life decisions than the government is.

So, good luck, Miss Zhu. If you want to live under a homegrown Communism, go for it. The only problem is, with that Harvard education, you're likely to be part of the ruling class -- so you still won't get it. :(

Envisioning Ohio independence: Switzerland as a role model

Thomas Naylor of the Second Vermont Republic has written an article detailing exactly how a small country can successfully protect the liberties of its people -- even when its neighbors are trying to pull it into a different direction. Switzerland, since its independence in 1291, has never been conquered by a foreign power, and has what Mr. Naylor calls "the weakest federal government in the world." Switzerland has one third the land area of Ohio and two thirds the population. Mr. Naylor attributes the success of the Swiss to twelve principles:

- Small is beautiful
- Gold backed currency
- Fiscal responsibility
- International tax haven
- Swiss federalism
- Direct democracy
- Neutrality
– Avoiding entangling alliances
- Decentralized health care
- Swiss railroads and infrastructure
- Locally controlled schools
- Decentralized social services
- Sustainable agriculture, energy, and environment

The article adds considerable detail to each of these principles, and is well worth reading.

Quotation for the day

Short and to the point, from Ohio freedom activist Matt Bianco:

"Any government that grows, eventually kills; first productivity, then wealth, then people."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Quotation of the day

It is not often that Hollywood offers pearls of wisdom, especially in a movie directed to teenage girls; but this speech from The Princess Diaries (2001) has much to say to those of us who are a little fearful of getting too involved in the struggle for freedom.

It was given by Joe (Hector Elizondo) to Mia (Anne Hathaway) when Mia was beginning to understand what it was to be a princess:

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you will be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey.

Friday, March 5, 2010

From here to freedom

Here is an article in LewRockwell.com by Congressman Ron Paul on how a strict Constitutionalist President could begin dismantling the federal government in a way that would reduce spending, balance the budget, and, over time, put an end to entitlements without throwing people out into the street.

One of the biggest problems of the liberty movement is the need to show America a vison of a future in freedom. Until we can draw that picture, we will remain vulnerable to our liberal critics.

Ron Paul and Judge Andrew Napolitano will be in Columbus for a Freedom Watch rally, to be held Monday, March 8, at the Newport Music Hall, 1722 North High Street, between 12th and 13th Avenues. Doors will open at 6:15 pm, with speeches beginning at 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Young Americans for Liberty at Ohio State University.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why sound money is important

If Ohio's U.S. President William McKinley (1897-1901) were alive today, he'd be shaking his head. On the one hand, he found secession absolutely abhorrent. On the other, he would agree with the liberty movement's demands for sound money. Sound money, based on gold, was the basis of his entire political career.

In this article, "Sound Money and Limited Government," Russell Longcore at dumpdc.com gives a nice introduction to the issue of sound money, and why it is important to us today. The article is written in simple language that should help anyone to explain it to others.

The dangers of changing Senate rules

The Unrepentant Patriot has been doing some research on the implications of using the "Nuclear Option" to force through President Obama's health care plan. He gives the history both of the filibuster (a tool created by the Founding Fathers to prevent the passions of direct democracy from taking over), and of the "reconciliation rule," which was intended to be used only for moving budget legislation, so that a deadlock would not shut down the federal government.

The extension of the reconciliation rule is even beginning to scare liberal Democrats, as the quotations in the article attest. Another interesting feature is a listing of Democratic comments on Republican attempts to do exactly the same thing during the Bush Administration.

This kind of hypocrisy is rampant, both in federal and state governments, because too few members of the Congress or the General Assembly are willing to hold fast to principle at the risk of losing re-election. This kind of hypocrisy is also feeding the liberty movement, which by November may well prove to be a highly potent force for turning things around, at least here in Ohio, but perhaps at the federal level as well.

California spinoff

Leave it to California to take a fresh approach to an old idea. Instead of speaking of secession, with all those bad vibes from the War of 1861, some Californians are now talking of spinoff. Not surprisingly, it is not the Tea Parties that are getting Californians to think this way, but their pocketbooks. From FutureofCapitalism.com:

[T]he big news in California is less the Senate race than the quietly brewing talk of secession -- or, as the Silicon Valley types much prefer to call it, a spinoff.

Not only are California's high income citizens being milked by progressive taxation to support the rest of America, but coal-rich states like West Virginia and Ohio* are hampering the state from pushing a low-carbon (wind, solar) economy, and nativists outside of California are preventing the state from running a pro-immigrant, pro-growth policy on green cards. Not to mention that California is under-represented in the Senate, with just two senators for all those Californians -- the same number as states with much smaller populations. Or so the argument goes, so far as I could follow the description of it from the California bureau. First it was Vermont, now California. Not to mention Rick Perry's victory this week in the Texas gubernatorial primary after warning that Texas may get so fed up that it wants to secede. The California bureau [of FutureofCapitalism.com] recommends reading Harvard economics professor Alberto Alesina on The Size of Nations.

Secession has a bad name for us in the North because of the Civil War and the horrors of slavery, but the American Revolution was a secession from Great Britain, after all. "Spinoff" avoids all the Civil War connotations. As Thomas Friedman paraphrased one Silicon Valley chief executive as putting it, the Obama Team is "very good at listening to Silicon Valley," but "not so good at responding."

And then, there's this: As with every other state (except North Dakota), the Feds are bankrupting the state governments. Californians are hurting that way more than most. A corporate "spinoff" might be just what the doctor ordered. (And just think, we'd be rid of Nancy Pelosi!)

* I know what they're saying; but for the benefit of non-Ohio readers, I would point out that the Buckeye State is building windmill farms and actively pursuing alternative sources of energy, as well.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ralph Nader: Libertarian from the left

Ralph Nader has posted a new and timely warning about the ruin we are about to experience as the result of corporate greed. That's nothing new, of course; but the way he states it sounds a lot like those of us who have supported Tea Parties and nullification.

From CommonDreams.org (reproduced in full):

The twin swelling heads of Empire and Oligarchy are driving our country into an ever-deepening corporate state, wholly incompatible with democracy and the rule of law.

Once again the New York Times offers its readers the evidence. In its February 25, 2010 issue, two page-one stories confirm this relentless deterioration at the expense of so many innocent people.

The lead story illustrates that the type of massive speculation—casino capitalism, Business Week once called it—in complex derivatives is still going strong and exploiting the weak and powerless who pay the ultimate bill.

Titled "Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide," the article shocks even readers hardened to tales of greed and abuse of power. Here are the opening paragraphs: "Bets by some of the same banks that helped Greece shroud its mounting debts may actually now be pushing the nation closer to the brink of financial ruin."

"Echoing the kind of trades that nearly toppled the American Insurance International Group /AIG/, the increasingly popular insurance against the risk of a Greek default is making it harder for Athens to raise the money it needs to pay its bills, according to traders and money managers."

"These contracts, known as credit-default swaps, effectively let banks and hedge funds wager on the financial equivalent of a four-alarm fire: a default by a company, or in the case of Greece, an entire country. If Greece reneges on its debts, traders who own these swaps stand to profit."

"It's like buying fire insurance on your neighbor's house-you create an incentive to burn down the house," said Philip Gisdakis, head of credit strategy at UniCredit in Munich.

These credit-default swaps increase the dreaded "systemic risk" that proliferates until it lands on the backs of taxpayers, workers and savers who pay the price. And if Greece goes, Spain or Portugal or Italy may be next and globalization will eventually bring the rapacious effects of mindless speculation to our shores.

Greece got into financial trouble for a variety of reasons, but it was widely reported that Goldman Sachs and other big banks showed them, for generous fees, how to hide the country's true financial condition. Avarice at work.

Note two points. These derivatives are contracts involving hundreds of billions of dollars and are essentially unregulated. These transactions are also essentially untaxed, unlike Europe's value added tax on manufacturing, wholesale and retail purchases. The absence of government restraints produces unlimited predation.

As astute investors in the real economy have said, when money for speculation replaces money for investment, the real economy suffers and so do real people. Remember the Wall Street collapse of 2008 and who is paying for the huge Washington bailout.

The other story shows that the Presidency has become a self-driven Empire outside the law and unaccountable to its citizens. The Times reports "how far the C.I.A. has extended its extraordinary secret war beyond the mountainous tribal belt and deep into Pakistan's sprawling cities." Working with Pakistan's counterpart agency, the C.I.A. has had some cover to do what it wants in carrying out "dozens of raids throughout Pakistan over the past year," according to the Times.

"Secret War" has been a phrase applied numerous times throughout the C.I.A's history, even though the agency was initially created by Congress right after World War II to gather intelligence, not engage in lethal operations worldwide.

Unrestrained by either Congress or the federal courts, Presidents say they can and do order their subordinates to go anywhere in the world, penetrate into any country, if they alone say it is necessary to seize and destroy for what they believe is the national security. American citizens abroad are not excluded. Above the law and beyond the law spells the kind of lawlessness that the framers of our constitution abhorred in King George and limited in our country's separation of powers.

Because our founders would not tolerate the President being prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, they placed the war-declaration and appropriations authorities in the Congress.

Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama believe they have unbridled discretion to engage in almost any overt or covert acts. That is a definition of Empire that flouts international law and more than one treaty which the United States helped shape and sign.

Equipped with remote and deadly technologies like drones flying over Pakistan and Afghanistan by operators in Nevada, many civilians have been slain, including those in wedding parties and homes. Still, it is taking 15,000 soldiers (U.S. and Afghan) with the most modern armaments to deal with three hundred Taliban fighters in Marja who with many other Afghans, for various motivations, want us out of their country. Former Marine Combat Captain Matthew Hoh described these reasons in his detailed resignation letter last fall.

Mr. Obama's national security advisor, Ret. General James Jones estimated that there are about 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan with the rest migrating to other countries. And one might add, those whose migrate are increasing their numbers because they cast themselves as fighting to expel the foreign invaders.

So many capable observers have made this point: occupation by our military fuels insurgencies and creates the conditions for more recruits and more mayhem. Even Bush's military and national security people have made this point.

The American people must realize that their reckless government and corporate contractors are banking lots of revenge among the occupied regions that may come back to haunt. We have much more to lose by flouting international law than the suicidal terrorists reacting to what they believe is the West's state terrorism against their people and the West's historical backing of dictatorships which oppress their own population.

America was not designed for Kings and their runaway military pursuits. How tragic that we have now come to this entrenched imperium so loathed by the founding fathers and so forewarned by George Washington's enduring farewell address.

Where are "We the People"?

Where, indeed?

Virtual buckeye to Rob Williams at Vermont Commons.

Don't mess with Texas ... or the rest of us!

Yesterday's Texas primary election led to the renomination of Gov. Richard Perry (Associated Press article). Gov. Perry, of course, won fame with his appeals to the Tea Party movement, including his veiled reference to secession last April. He also endorsed the Texas state sovereignty resolution. While some in the liberty movement have questioned his sincerity in espousing its goals, there is no question that he is popular within it. Debra Medina better fit the goals of many in the movement, but while she captured 19% of the Republican vote, she was unable to force a runoff. Between the two candidates, the message is clear. Texas wants Washington out of its business.

So do the rest of us, as I suspect the 2010 election cycle will make clear.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another view of the Pledge of Allegiance

This time, from Russell Longcore at dumpDC.com . He gives the complete history of the Pledge, including the change from the Roman/Nazi salute to the hand-over-heart in 1942, but its his last two paragraphs that pack the punch:

So, when you place your hand over your heart and mindlessly recite the Pledge of Allegiance, you are pledging your fealty to a nation that does not exist, and an authoritarian Federal Government that has completely ignored the Constitution and rules in any manner it chooses, without regard to any restrictions on its power whatsoever. Your pledge of allegiance says that you belong to the tyrants and criminals who stole the United States of America. They don’t even have to threaten YOU…you’re voluntarily their property. (Emphasis added)

Now, how does that feel?

I'd feel pretty sick if I were still doing it.

The Regressive Movement

Sticomythia at Vermont Commons returned from a town meeting last night, and the natives are getting restless:

Just came from the Ripton Town Meeting. Folks are uneasy. We have excellent management, excellent intentions, great visions... but we're having the life sucked out of us by the US Empire: its wars, racism, cruelty and waste of human potential.

And there's the rub. How can we achieve a green, peaceful Vermont, within such an Empire? Our State representative gave us some unfortunate numbers from the State budget. I confronted him with the actual numbers, already presented to the legislature, which show a $1.2 billion a year give-away to huge corporations. This puts the entire tax burden squarely on people who work for a living, and small-to-medium size business. Of course there's a crisis, but the crisis is entirely unnecessary. His reply was to plead ignorance of the situation.

A very brave lady then spoke up, declared that 'it is not about numbers, it is about real people'. I bow to her on this essential fact.

Our management are excellent, yet they have failed us. They need to decide whether their loyalty is to the Empire, or to their people in Vermont. Choose the Empire, and they must be confronted and voted out. Most are Democrats, whose opposition to the Bush wars fell silent the moment the Bush wars became Obama's even bigger wars, and our Guard were federalised and sent off to Afghanistan.

How much sacrifice can we endure? How long will our representatives ask us to turn our backs on the needy, cutting programs and care to those who can least afford to lose it, before we say 'Enough is Enough'? (Emphasis added)

This is a liberal concern, which should help give the lie to those who think liberty activists are all rightist wingnuts. A more libertarian question would be "How long will our representatives continue to frustrate our efforts to provide personal assistance and opportunities to the needy, before we say 'Enough is Enough'?

The writer concludes:

The Green Mountain State has championed many progressive causes and elected a socialist Senator. But it's still part of an uneasy empire, and some people want out of the "big muddy."

The link includes two related videos.

Akron blogger sows confusion

Yesterday, in the Blog of Mass Destruction, which appears in ohio.com along with the Akron Beacon Journal online edition, a writer known only as "the Reverend" used an incredible array of misstatements and confusion in an effort to prove that the Ohio Freedom Alliance video series was advocating actions that he considered illegal and probably unconscionable. He was particularly fond of characterizing the liberty movement in the same light as neoconservatives who are merely looking for political advantage against the Democrats.

Read the piece and see what you think. My replies are the sixth and tenth comments at the bottom of the page.

Urban farming a growing trend in Ohio

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, urban farming and gardening is improving the quality of vacant land and providing high-quality food to city dwellers in Cleveland and Youngstown, and will soon do so in Akron as well.

Thanks to enthusiasm and support from partners in the Summit Food Policy Coalition, a group started last year to address food access in Summit County, Akron is jumping on the urban farming band wagon. The Summit Urban Farming Initiative (SUFI), a seven-week training program, will begin in March at the Akron General Wellness Center in Bath Township...

Prospective or current urban farmers are being sought for the program to develop for-profit or not-for-profit agricultural enterprises in Akron and Summit County.

John Moore, director of Akron's planning department, said, ''This program will expose city residents to the necessity and lucrative nature of urban farming. The marketing, accounting, social as well as other business skills learned through this program will be valuable to the participants regardless of their final career path.''

The training will help participants refine plans for agricultural endeavors, whether they hope to develop market gardens, pick-your-own mini-farms or CSA operations. Sessions will be taught by farming experts from OSU Extension, the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, other farm-related organizations and successful urban farmers.

The goal of the SUFI program is simple: to bring more agricultural enterprises into Akron on both private property and city-owned vacant land. SUFI sponsors hope to be able to offer mini-grants in 2011 to help participants develop or enhance their urban farms. The hope is that in time, Akron residents looking for fresh, local food may have to go no further than just down the street.

This can be one of the best ways to prepare for the economic collapse, because we will then depend on our neighbors instead of faraway food sources. I hope the concept can soon spread to other cities in Ohio!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy Statehood Day!

On this day in 1803, Ohio's congressman and senators were seated in Washington. This event officially commenced Ohio's existence as a sovereign state.
The best way to observe the day is to take a few minutes to imagine an Ohio that is free, prosperous, and independent.

Pledge of Allegiance

Here is the view of a former teacher who sees the Pledge of Allegiance much as I do.

I acknowledged earlier that I have not recited the Pledge since 1990, and nothing since then has persuaded me to change my mind. One change since that post was written: I have remained seated while the Pledge is recited, but out of respect for the opinions of others, I try to sit near the back of the room.

The crisis to come

I got some cold water splashed in my face over the weekend.

The truth is, the Constitution doesn't matter. It should matter, but to our handlers, it doesn't. Long time readers of this blog are aware that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have reportedly expressed contempt for the U.S. Constitution.

I mention this because the crises I have described in this blog are moving us into revolutionary times. We must be prepared in all ways: politically, mentally, strategically, and spiritually -- and the time to start is now.

I recommend reading Tom Baugh's six-part series A Nation without a Country, in the dumpDC blog, which provides several scenarios and an action plan for securing our freedoms in revolutionary times.

Please understand that I am not advocating sedition (advocacy of the overthrow of the United States government by violent or unconstitutional means). I am advocating defending ourselves in a day when the United States government might try to attack us by violent or unconstitutional means.

Maybe we don't really NEED all this health care insurance

I hear the cries already, "Heresy! No one can pay those high medical bills without insurance!"

Let me state up front that I am not in favor of abolishing health insurance, but of limiting it to catastrophic health situations, such as surgeries or other expensive procedures. As nurse Kimilee Parker Steinmiller observes in The Nolan Chart website, prescription drugs and office visits are often less expensive when paid for out of pocket. She should know. She is out of work suffering from an injury from an auto accident, her husband is an unemployed mechanic, and her son suffers from a wide range of medical issues.

We can regain our lost freedoms with only a minimum of suffering, but we have to start thinking outside the box our handlers have built around our minds.