Thursday, April 29, 2010

Revolution in the air -- at least in some states

Timothy Baldwin is an attorney who has extensively researched issues of nullification and secession. In recent weeks, he has posted excellent insights to several blogs generally expressing the view that Americans need either to embrace the coming revolution, or accept the long-term loss of their liberties.

In this article, "A 'Keener' Whiff of Revolution," posted in the Liberty Defense League website, Mr. Baldwin observes that some states appear destined to become leaders in that revolution, because they have already adopted legislation to counter some of the excesses of federal government. On his list are Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Alaska.

On the other hand, he observes that there will always be those who, benefitting from the existing system, will resist any attempts at change. Quoting Thomas Paine, he writes:

“INTERESTED MEN, who are not to be trusted; WEAK MEN who cannot see;
PREJUDICED MEN who will not see; and a certain set of MODERATE MEN, who think better of the European world than it deserves…[The moderate men] will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three.” [all-caps emphasis Baldwin's]

Those classes of people exist today in large part, and we see its effect today. Immediately in observation, we evidently find that a large number of coastal-west, mid-north and north-east states will not participate in freedom’s revolution, because they will not consider themselves to be under any sort of tyranny or despotism. They prefer (whether knowingly or not) socialism, big government, elimination of state powers, status quo, etc. These states would likely even preclude the possibility of a constitutional amendment some are advocating to “roll back” the federal government.

Even among the “Tea Party” movement, the idea of revolution is not altogether shared. Many of them simply believe that we should “vote the [bums] out” or should use the (federal) court system to “regain freedom.” This mentality shows that they are federal-government-risk averse, likely and largely because they either believe that the federal government is “too strong” to resist (they say, “look at the Civil War: the federal government will crush our attempts to secede or resist them!”); that the federal laws are in fact supreme over state laws and thus, we must change the federal government to restore freedom; or that the union must be saved at all costs and so any State that resists and acts individually upon its own sovereignty is foolish.

Ohioans would seem to be among those who are in denial, in Mr. Baldwin's view. I agree that there are many (probably a majority) among us who feel that way. Certainly, the majority in the Ohio House of Representatives and of the state's elected officials are "federal-government-risk-avers". I have frequently commented on that tendency in Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish. We should therefore salute the courage of Reps. Kyle Jordan and Jarrod Martin, and Sen. Timothy Grendell in bucking the trend to press for greater freedom for all Ohioans.

However, Ohio is not a "blue" state. Nor is it a "red" state. It is a rich purple. With respect to the coming revolution, I anticipate that Ohio will again become the battleground state that it has been in recent Presidential elections.

Mr. Baldwin continues:

Even if a state possesses people who understand they are living in despotism, they will likely be so overwhelmed and overcome by the state and federal government–not to mention the other people who view them as “terrorists”–that they will not be able to ... forget their state government and go forth with revolution.

Compare that scenario with people who live in a state where the state government not only supports the revolution but also participates in and leads it... I believe we are essentially at that point already.

Ohioans who would restore our liberties must be persistent in persuading their friends and neighbors that the "revolution" is a cause that will benefit us far more than the costs it will entail. This fall's election can be the opportunity for Ohio to break out of the cocoon of fear, and fly with the states who are leading the charge for freedom. Under the current system, it is probably impossible to change Congress; but changing the Ohio General Assembly is well within our grasp -- and should be the focus of Ohio's liberty movement in the months to come.

Virtual buckeye to Bill Miller at Secession and Nullification News and Information.

Quotation of the day

"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes lawless or, which is the same thing, corrupt." – Mohandas Gandhi

As one commenter said, it's "a sacred duty precious few are willing to accept."

Virtual buckeye to Jason Rink.

What the War between the States was really about

Here is a concise explanation of why Mr. Lincoln's war was fought. It was not about slavery -- it was about secession, or "preserving the Union." It was written by Timothy Cotton in "How I See It", a feature in the Culpeper (Virginia) Star-Examiner.

The issue that brought about the Civil War was not the evils of slavery, but of secession. The moral question had long been acknowledged by all sides, and in fact Virginia was among the first of several states to outlaw the slave trade. The Confederate Constitution addressed it long before the Union one, and ironically it was Lincoln’s invasion that halted the debate on how to rightly abolish it. The issues that precipitated secession in 1861 were much the same as those which brought about a declaration of secession in 1776.

Secession was a result of the federal government overstepping the boundaries set forth in the Constitution. Theses boundaries were established as a safeguard against those issues that led to the first secession.

In tracing the history of the argument, we need to look back at the debates of both the Northwest Ordinance and the Missouri Compromise. We can see that the “extension of slavery” into new states was an issue that highlighted the bigger one. Contrary to popular opinion, this did not mean more slaves in more states. The slave trade was already abolished, and debates were beginning on how best to abolish the institution entirely. The issue was whether slaves could be moved by those settling to the new states.

This discussion was cut short by war. Because that discussion was cut short and the war took place, full equality for the African-American was held back by Jim Crow and federal meddling. Consequently it took almost 150 years to accomplish what African-Europeans and African-Brazilians accomplished much sooner. And another result of that war was setting into motion the gradual federal dismantling of the Constitution, which we are seeing is nearly completed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taking a stand on illegal immigration

The Dayton Daily News reported yesterday that Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones and state Rep. Courtney Combs plan to ask legislators to back an immigration bill similar to Arizona’s.
Last year Rep. Combs (R-Hamilton) introduced a bill that would require employers to check the Social Security numbers of new employees to assure they are in the country legally. Combs said in May 2009 the bill about giving jobs to Americans and taking away a paycheck from illegal immigrants during tough economic times. Sheriff Jones said the bill also is about giving law enforcement more teeth to stop illegal immigrants with fake documents.

As introduced last year, the bill would require all public and private employers to check Social Security numbers against the federal government’s free E-Verify system before hiring someone. Their action comes as protests have erupted in Arizona, since the governor there signed an immigration bill into law last week. The bill makes being an illegal immigrant a state offense. Police can ask suspected illegals for documentation, and arrest them if they don’t have papers.

Opponents say the law will lead to rampant racial profiling and turn Arizona into a police state with provisions that require police to question people about their immigrant status. But supporters of the law, set to take effect in late July or August, say it is necessary to protect Arizonans from a litany of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Arizonans have been putting up with illegal immigration on their border with Mexico, which consists straight lines mostly in the middle of desert. Their immigration bill can indeed make their state a police state, and thus is a setback for liberty; but Arizona cannot pass its own laws governing immigration. That power was delegated to the federal government by the Constitution; but Arizona does have the right to protect itself when the feds fail to perform the most basic function of border control.

Ohio shares a water border with Canada, which does not pose the kind of problems states face that are next to Mexico. I am in favor of strict enforcement of immigration laws, but it is not necessary for us to adopt such extreme measures here. A better idea would be for Ohio to pass some immigration enforcement laws that mirror the federal law, but enable county sheriffs and city police to enforce them as state law.

An even better idea would be for Congress to get off of carbon emissions taxes and handouts to Wall Street, and pass some reasonable immigration legislation -- but I suppose I am whistling into the wind.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Court decisions added to Links page

I have been playing Constitutional lawyer the last few days, so I thought it would be a good idea to put all the court decisions in one place. The following decisions may be found on the Links page in the Nullification & Secession section:

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)
McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819)
Osborn v. Bank of the United States, 9 Wheat. (22 U.S.) 738 (1824).
Chancely v. Bailey and Cleveland, 37 Georgia Reports 532 [page 350 of the link] (Georgia Supreme Court,1868)
Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1868)
Kohlhaas v. State I, sp-6072, 147 P3d 714, (Alaska Supreme Court 2006)
Kohlhaas v. State II, sp-6450, 223 P3d 105 223 P3d 105, (Alaska Supreme Court, 2010)

Ohio State Rep. Kris Jordan introduces bill to intercept Federal taxes

Rep. Kris Jordan (R-Delaware) introduced HB 496 to the House of Representatives on April 19. Its purpose:

To enact sections 131.70 and 131.71 of the Revised Code to assert the state's claim of sovereignty pursuant to the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to require Ohio residents to remit federal taxes to the Treasurer of State, to require that those taxes be retained by the state for its own use to the extent the General Assembly finds that the federal government penalized the state for failing to comply with a federal mandate determined by the General Assembly to be unconstitutional or to the extent directed by a statewide ballot initiative, and to declare an emergency.

I have worked with Rep. Jordan and his staff on this bill, which is modeled on Georgia's; and have discussed with them some practical issues, which will need to be hammered out in committee -- assuming that Speaker Budish and Rep. Gerberry (chairman of the House State Government Committee) allow it to get that far. I do strongly favor the principle, which would provide Ohio a solution to balance the budget by eliminating federal penalties for state non-compliance with federal laws and regulations that are not in conformance with the United States Constitution.

I have suggested that the law enable federal participation in the process of determining Constitutionality, to overcome objections that it might violate U.S. Supreme Court decisions, such as Marbury v. Madison and Osborn v. Bank of the United States.

I expect that the bill will be quickly pilloried by those who favor an activist federal government; and I'm sure the liberal mindset will try to laugh it out of Columbus; but I also see enactment of HB 496 and its counterparts in other states as a sucker punch that will effectively take some the wind out the federal behemoth.

It is an item in the 2010 Ohio Republic legislative program that should be supported by those who love liberty and support Ohio's sovereignty.

Texas v. White: Judge Napolitano's opinion

On Saturday, I commented on an article by Joseph Becker citing the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Texas v. White (1868) as the final word that secession is unconstitutional. At the reception prior to the Young Americans for Liberty rally at the Ohio State University Mar. 8, I asked Judge Andrew Napolitano about this. This is what he told me:

[It doesn't forbid secession, but] It raises the bar very high... Texas v. White says states can secede if 37 states agree to it. This shouldn't be necessary, because each state entered the union in a legislative act [Ohio's was by its First Constitutional Convention in November 1802], and it can be reversed the same way.

"The last time, South Carolina addressed the issue of secession, the court said you can secede." Judge Napolitano's conclusion about Texas v. White: "The glass isn't half empty, it is half full."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Followers of the world, unite!

I don't usually go for making fun of the President. Most such efforts are in awful taste, and I feel that we are more effective persuading by other means. However, I could not resist this graphic by Mike Tuggle at Rebellion, which was inspired by an idea of mine.

Another attorney's view of secession

This time from Timothy N. Baldwin, J.D., quoted in DumpDC:

Human nature and experience prove that as a body of people or states regard their God-given freedom and rights as stolen or trampled and as “peaceful” political process effects no restoration of those freedoms and rights for generations, “breakup” is not only inevitable, it is necessary. America’s founders believed the same: “[I]n the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands.” *

Do not be deceived into thinking that this necessity will not occur, is impractical or is foolish. The course of events in the United States has proven one thing: the federal government is out of control and has been for generations. Freedom is always a worthy goal, even when the chances do not humanly appear favorable. There were many throughout the colonies in 1776 that saw no hope in the breakup from Great Britain; but to their surprise, the breakup was successful.

Moreover, despite that the colonies appeared to be wholly inadequate to backup their breakup from Great Britain, their secession produced the freest and most successful country the world had ever known. Those who advocated for reconciliation with Great Britain were terribly wrong and would have only perpetuated what was destroying the security, happiness and freedom of the colonies.

We the People of the States should not simple-mindedly and passively wait for a “collapse” of the U.S., as if our existence consists of nothing more than being cattle, wondering if we are going to the slaughter today or tomorrow. Instead, the States should proactively plan, engage and prepare in the political understanding, knowledge and truth that make people free, just as America’s forefathers did. In the end, free people are only those who plan for freedom.

Amen. As I wrote nearly two years ago, Ohio must begin thinking like an independent nation!

* Declaration of Independence

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tea Party civics and the logic of lawyers

Now comes Joseph Becker, who in writing an opinion piece for the National Law Journal, holds that the "[Tea] Party members' reading of the 10th Amendment to deny broad power to the federal government is without support in legislative history or Supreme Court case law."

The summary is correct. It doesn't. However, there's a flaw in Mr. Becker's logic, as we shall see presently. He begins by citing the response of the First Congress to anti-federalist objections that the Tenth Amendment should deny the federal government all powers not expressly delegated to it by the Constitution. In the debates, James Madison countered, "it was impossible to confine a Government to the exercise of express powers; there must necessarily be admitted powers by implication."

Mr. Becker continues:

The proposal was rejected. Chief Justice John Marshall, in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), thought this bit of negative legislative history profoundly significant: It meant that the federal government had implied powers inferable from those actually granted. A wooden reading of the amendment, favored by grand simplifiers of the Tea Party, would not disclose this hidden truth.

A "wooden" reading? Do I detect a hint of bias? Here is what the distinguished New York attorney says about Tea Parties:

The party's affection for the 10th Amendment exudes something else: an aroma, not of tea but of the foul smell of secession. In Texas, the air is particularly heavy with the scent. It is apparently not enough that the calamitous Civil War was fought to put an end to such talk. Nor, it seems, is it significant to that state's current governor that, as a legal proposition, the Constitution prohibits secession: This is an "indestructible union," said the Supreme Court in Texas v. White (1868), a post-War holding that the purported secession by Texas (ironically) was a nullity. The principle is now indubitable.
I'll get to Texas v. White in a minute.

Mr. Becker continues by citing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in what he called a "dismissive" construction of the Tenth Amendment, quoting the good Justice in 1833 as writing that the amendment "could only 'reserve' that which existed before." A state cannot reserve a power that never existed.

This argument is logically sound, except for one thing. The thirteen original states, Vermont, Texas, Hawaii, and (technically) California, were de jure independent nations prior to their ratifications of the Constitution. Every state is required as a condition of admission to ratify the Constitution. This is usually done -- as it was in Ohio in November 1802 -- in the form of an ordinance by the new state's Constitutional Convention. This suggests to me that for every state, for the brief moment between the adoption of its initial state Constitution and the passage of its ratification ordinance, was de facto an independent nation, with full sovereignty. In other words, all the powers that apply to independent nations were "reserved" to the states prior to their ratification of the U.S. Constitution, if only for a brief moment. I am not suggesting here that any state other than those I named above even thought of this (though four of the original thirteen did expressly reserve the right of secession in their ratification statements). Nor am I suggesting that any of them had any desire in that moment to bolt from the union. Nor am I suggesting that they were in any condition to do so if they had tried. But this is a legal discussion, and as a matter of constitutional law and procedure, this appears to be the truth to me.

Mr. Becker closes by pulling out Texas v. White, a U.S. Supreme Court decision that was written in the heat of Reconstruction, at a time when the United States had completed its conquest by force of another nation, the Confederate States of America. The Confederate States used the established processes of law to secede; but the unionists wanted to use the law to cement the military victory. In other words, he who uses Texas v. White as the basis of an argument against secession is being hypocritical. Why? Because he is asserting on the one hand, that we are a nation of laws, and the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the law. On the other hand, as I just wrote, he is stating that might makes right. Now which argument should we expect from a professional who has sworn to uphold the law as an officer of the court?

Let me remind the reader of a contrary argument, made by Judge Harris in the case of Chancely v. Bailey and Cleveland, 37 Georgia Reports 532 (1868) * While it expresses the minority opinion of that court, I believe it states the truth about the adoption of the U.S. Constitution:

If any prominent advocate of the Federal Constitution had … intimated an opinion, that by ratification of the Federal Constitution, the states surrendered their separate individuality and sovereignty as States, such was the extreme jealousy for the maintenance of State sovereignty, [that] such an opinion… would have led to the prompt and overwhelming rejection of that instrument.

The intent of the framers of the Constitution and of those who attended the conventions to ratify it is quite clear and a matter of public record. They did not make the right of secession explicit, because they believed that rights are given by God, not any government; and "whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government..." The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document, but here in Ohio (and many other states), we have a Constitution that asserts the same right (Article I, Section 2 of the Ohio Constitution).

This Court finds in favor of the Tea Parties. Case dismissed.

* On page 350 of the link.

Virtual buckeye to Bill Miller at Secession and Nullification News and Information.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Seen in Facebook

Virtual buckeye to Robert Carlson.

Jason Rink at Cincinnati Tea Party

Jason Rink speaks to the Cincinnati Tea Party in these powerful April 15 YouTube videos. He tells us that the Democrats want to be our mommy, the Republicans our daddy. What we need is a government that is our employee, with the Constitution as the employee handbook.

Jason is an acquaintance of mine and one of the founders of the Ohio Freedom Alliance and the Ohio Liberty Council.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The irony of history...

Now here's a little historical irony for you! From Pravda of all places:

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America ' s short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more than another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe . These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all.

First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, losses, and swindles of
hundreds of billions of dollars. The proud American will go down into his slavery without a fight, beating his chest, and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

The comment from Rebellion (to which a virtual buckeye is due):

The irony of this article appearing in the English edition of Pravda (Russian on-line newspaper) defies description. Why can a Russian newspaper print the following yet the American media can't/won't see it?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here is why we need decentralism

The Tea Partiers themselves are divided. According to a survey of attendees to the national Tea Party in Washington by Politico magazine, while 75% are convinced that President Obama is leading us to socialism; 43% want government to promote traditional values -- a position held by Sarah Palin, who was supported for President by 14% of the attendees. However, 42% hold that government should not be in the business of promoting any particular set of values -- a position held by Ron Paul and most libertarians. Rep. Paul was supported for President by 12% of the attendees. The article presents a number of other statistics, but they support the same point.

In other words, Tea Partiers are as polarized as much as the rest of us.

There is only one way to resolve this problem -- decentralism under a libertarian government. In other words, all governments above the local (city, village, township) level must be values-neutral; but allow considerable latitutde for local governments to promote the values held by their inhabitants. This way, we can all live in the kind of communities we want; and if we don't like where we live, its a short move to a better situation.

Starving the beast

Last week's Tea Parties didn't tell us anything that was really new. We all know that government -- especially the federal government -- has turned from what American Revolution called a benign beast of burden, into a hydra -- a snake with many heads. When one is cut off, many more take its place.

Our politics is a double-edged sword. One edge is Democratic, the other Republican. When either attacks the hydra, the same result occurs -- it adds more heads to attack the wealth and even the lives of the American people.

This how American Revolution describes the situation:

We are no longer dealing with a constitutional republic or even a democracy but an authoritarian oligarchy. In our fight against our government we do no disservice to the vision of Adams, Madison, Jefferson or Washington. The beast trampled their vision long ago. I would think they would be rather proud of our efforts to resist the its tyranny.

That understood, how do we kill the beast? How do we exploit its “Achilles' Heel”? Every government requires money to operate. Ours requires trillions of dollars. Right now it devours around a third of everything we produce in this country. It won’t be long until it demands half. New taxes for health care, higher taxes to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent, a Value Added Tax are all coming. And we keep paying. Voluntarily we offer up our flesh and blood to feed the beast. Sure we complain. Sure it hurts because there are a lot of things we would rather do with that sizable chunk of money. Sure it annoys us because we know our money is being used to forge ever tighter chains or simply turned into worthless manure. But we stand there and take it because we think we have no choice, because we are afraid of the beast, because we have been
brainwashed into thinking we asked for it so we have no right to refuse. We have every right to refuse. No man or government has the right to demand our involuntary servitude. No man or government has the right to seize our property.

No man or government has the right to annihilate our liberty. It is time to finally stand up and say NO. NO, you may no longer take the fruits of my labor. NO, my property is mine and I do not own it simply at your pleasure. NO, my rights and liberties come from God and not you and you may not manipulate them or take them as you wish. It is our refusal as a people that will bring down the beast.

What can we do? We can hide or we can "run". A few of us "hide": can leave our homes, take all of our money where the government can't get at it, and wait it out. A better solution is to "run", but it also requires more courage, because it means we live with a black-market economy that denies to the federal government the taxes it uses to enslave us.

Create an underground economy and stop cooperating with the government. Do not obey their mandates or collect their taxes. Work on a cash (or gold/silver/barter) basis with your fellow patriots. Starve the beast of our money and cooperation. Riskier perhaps, but it also accomplishes something important that hiding does not. It creates tightly knit and organized communities that will be necessary when the beast succumbs. And it will fall. We are already stretched to the limit and even if we do nothing, the whole system, governmental and economic, is going to collapse. It is “unsustainable”. A good
case could be made that our current crop of rulers is trying to hasten that end.

So what will be the endgame? Our handlers will try to use this as the final blow to enslave us all. To resist will require courage and planning; but resistance will bring its own reward -- our discovery that the path of freedom will bring us -- us, the people, a true sense of community, lasting prosperity, and a sense of purpose that is lacking for most of us.

What are you choosing?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Another health care nullification proposal introduced in Ohio House

State Representatives Terry Boose (R-Norwalk) and Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) introduced HB 489 on Wednesday, April 14. The purpose of the bill is to nullify any effort by the federal government to make health care insurance mandatory. It is virtually identical to SB 244, introduced March 23 in the Ohio Senate.

This is the fifth legislative proposal brought forth to achieve this object. HB 489 and SB 244, if passed, will result in simple statutes. The other three would result in an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. This array of proposals is likely to get confusing for most people, so I shall try to sort it out here:

The first proposals made were joint resolutions HJR 3 and SJR 7, to place an amendment to the Ohio Constitution to prohibit mandatory participation in the health care system. They were introduced last August and September, before the House Democratic leadership made it generally known that Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish does not support putting forth symbolic resolutions to the federal government on any subject. Essentially, it appears that he finds such resolutions to be a waste of time.

Neither HB 489 and SB 244 have yet been assigned to a committee. Both bills are apparently intended to work around Speaker Budish's objection to resolutions. However, some may view this approach as problematic because it does not amend the Ohio Constitution to protect a fundamental right.

All of the other bills have been assigned to committee, but none of them have been reported out as yet.

This leaves us with the initiative petition offered by the Ohio Liberty Council, which would also amend the Ohio Constitution. The petition was submitted to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner with the required number of signatures in March, and was certified as to form by Attorney General Richard Cordray April 1.

The initiative would add Section 21 to Article I of the Ohio Constitution with the following language:

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.

Despite the relatively brief, straightforward language, the Ohio Ballot Board ruled April 9 that the proposal be divided into two issues, which would force the petition backers to restart the process of collecting some 420,000 signatures, this time for two initiatives. The Ohio Ballot Board does not make clear (to me) how this division is to take place -- my guess is that Section 21 (A), (B), and (C) would be one proposal (dealing with freedom to purchase health care insurance, or not) and the remaining sections would be the other (dealing with "governance" of the health care insurance industry).

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has filed for a writ of mandamus in the Ohio Supreme Court to block the Ohio Ballot Board's decision.

While I dislike adding statutory law to the Ohio Constitution -- in this case, I think it is needed to minimize the likelihood of a future General Assembly taking away what should be an essential freedom. The best solution, then, would be for us to see the initiative passed, hopefully in the November election. Passage would send a statement to the nation that this comes directly from the people of Ohio, that we do not want federal interference with our health care system.

The Findlay Tea Party

Thursday afternoon, I took a drive up in absolutely perfect driving weather to Findlay, about 70 miles northwest of Columbus, to speak at its tea party. According to the Findlay Courier, the attendance was about 200, though it seemed smaller to me. Those present were quite diverse in age, mostly middle clase, and 1/4 to 1/3 were women.

I was the second of three speakers; having been preceded by Dr. Robert M. Wagner, who is well known in Central Ohio by his scientific arguments against the theory of global warming; and followed by Tony Steer, who impersonates the Virginia Anti-Federalist Patrick Henry, and who delivered his famous "give me liberty or give me death" speech.

At the beginning of my speech, many in the audience were skeptical of my thinking on nullification and secession, but its reaction toward the end turned quite favorable.

Joy Brown, the reporter at the Courier, found my speech difficult to cover. (Lesson learned: provide advance copies or try to make speeches more journalist-friendly) This is not a criticism of Ms. Brown: she was dealing with material that was undoubtedly very foreign to her experience and covering it as factually as possible.

Here was her account of my speech:

"It's warm today because we're turning up the heat on Washington," said Harold Thomas, a Columbus business analyst who also spoke Thursday.

Thomas, a states' rights proponent and blogger at, suggested Ohio secede if Congress does not revert to strict constitutional interpretation. He also called for citizens to place initiative petitions on the ballot to repeal federal

In a comment to the online article, I pointed out that nullification is not about "repealing" federal legislation, but to block its enforcement within Ohio. I also stressed in the speech that secession was to be used only as a last resort, once nullification and other efforts have been exhausted.

The rally itself did not encounter any hecklers, who appeared content to hit the comments to the Courier's coverage of the event. When I read the first few comments, I was surprised by the liberal tone of the remarks, given that Findlay has a reputation for being a very conservative area of the state. Fortunately, the later comments provided successful rebuttals, and even got one of the original commenters to think a bit -- which is what blogs and comments should do (including, maybe especially, this one).

Some might think me foolish for taking an afternoon off work for a 20 minute speech that took a four hour round-trip drive; but I found the experience well worth it, and look forward to more in the future.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Oklahoma considers reviving the state militia

Last December, I quoted Russell Longcore when discussing possible Texas independence:

Any state that seriously contemplates secession must reconstitute and rebuild its own Militia. This will be one of the most solemn indications of that State’s seriousness about its own liberty and the liberty of its citizens.

Now on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Oklahoma legislators and tea party activists are exploring the idea of reviving the state militia, the volunteer organization that used to defend states from invasion and served as a warning to the federal government against excessive encroachment on the rights of the people.

Thus far, the discussions have been exploratory. Even the proponents say they don't know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates. Critics also asserted that the force could inflame extremism, and that the National Guard already provides for the state's military needs.

State militias clearly are constitutionally authorized, but have not been used in recent times, said Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and an expert on the Second Amendment. "Whether someone should get a militia to go toe-to-toe with the federal government ... now, that strikes me as kind of silly," he said.

Some conservative legislators in Oklahoma say talk of a militia, which would be privately recruited, armed and trained, goes too far.

"If the intent is to create a militia for disaster relief, we have the National Guard," said Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. "Anything beyond that purpose should be viewed with great concern and caution."

Fair enough. But consider this: Oklahoma (probably subconsciously) may be preparing for independence. No state will be able to make good on secession unless it has a military to defend itself. Consider this also: Even if they are not considering secession, have a state-run militia is a good way to take the steam out of the "unorganized" outfits like the Hutaree militia in Michigan.

Can I imagine Ohio taking this step now? No. But then, I continue to be amazed at the speed with which Ohio has embraced ideas like nullification that used to be unthinkable. Next year, or the year after, who knows?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Libertarian Party

Yesterday, I published the Green Party's response to my questionnaire. Today, I am giving that of the Libertarian Party.

1. What do you consider to be the most important statewide issues in this year’s campaign?

The single most important issue is the economy. Ohio's unemployment rate in February was 10.9%, the highest it has been in a decade, and a full 1.2 percentage points higher than the US as a whole. The rate of job growth in Ohio over the past decade is ranked 49th out 50 states, and the GDP growth of the state was 6th worst. What these numbers tell us is that companies don't want to open facilities in Ohio, even though there is ample workforce available. Why is this? Taxes and government bureaucracy are keeping businesses from coming to Ohio, and chasing away those that are here. Ohio needs to make it easier for companies to come here, and give them a reason to stay!

2. What legislation will be the highest priority for Libertarian Party candidates for the General Assembly?

The main legislative issues from a party point of view include anything that increases the freedoms of Ohioans, reduces or eliminates income taxes, and protects the property rights of Ohioans. However, unlike the Republicans or Democrats, we don't dictate to our candidates what their views or legislation must be; they are free to do that on their own.

I requested further information from their legislative candidates. This is the answer from Michael Johnston, Libertarian candidate for State Representative from the 19th District):

However, for many of our candidates to the General Assembly, their highest priority in office will be working to improve the economic climate of Ohio to generate both short-term and long-term growth in a sustainable manner. We need to make Ohio an attractive place to do business and take advantage of the many natural and social resources Ohio has to offer to a diverse array of businesses looking for an educated, hard-working labor force.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Green Party

To better inform Ohio voters about Ohio's alternative parties, I sent questionnaires to the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties. I am publishing the Green Party's response today, and will give the Libertarian response tomorrow. The Constitution Party did not reply to my questionnaire.

1. What do you consider to be the most important statewide issues in this year’s campaign?

Sustainability in our economy and our ecology. This includes eliminating waste and fraud in the state budget, and investing in healthy infrastructure which will save money in the long-run instead of cost us more money in the long-run. Examples are ridding us of subsidization of already profitable and often polluting industries such as agri-business and coal; other examples would be investing in educational opportunities, so that we would save us in long-term costs of housing prisoners and increased crime.

2. What legislation will be the highest priority for Green Party candidates for the General Assembly?

Moving the Ohio economy away from fossil fuels and investing in the profitable future of non-polluting, sustainable energy production, including, but not limited to Wind Turbine and Solar Cell production involving the collapsed industries known as “the rust belt”.

3. What is your party doing to increase visibility among the general public, and voter registration leading up to the primary election?

Trying to get the word out that people have more choices this year than previous years. This is a historic opportunity that is largely ignored in the general media. We have been using alternative media, email, and announcements at events whenever possible. Focusing on specific issues-related groups who are disappointed/disgusted with the present 2-party control is often effective, even though it’s hard to break through their history of voting for those 2 parties.

4. How would you answer a voter who asks, “Why should I become a member of the Green Party?”

You should become a member of the Green Party if you are tired of the corruption of the two-party control of our government at all levels. If you are interested in ecological and economic stability and sustainability, then you are a Green. If you believe in true universal healthcare as not only a better option for many people in need but also an economic opportunity for any state which establishes its own single-payer system, then you are a Green. If you believe in smaller, organic family farms rather than giant agri-business that pollutes our air, water, land and food supply, then you are a Green. If you believe in local, de-centralized control over our lives, then you are a Green. If you believe in non-violent methods of solving international crises and conflict, along with fair-trade practices to allow more people around the world to make a decent, respectable living, then you are a Green. There is much more, but these are the main features. People can find out more at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thomas Jefferson

Today is Thomas Jefferson's birthday. He, more than any other Founding Father, was jealous for the rights of the people; and his legacy has paid for that conviction. Our Establishment squirms at the thought of him. Since he did write the Declaration of Independence, he has to be honored, but those who have imperial ambitions would like to shove him over to the side. Thus, his birthday is not widely observed, and his memorial in Washington is kind of set over to the side -- not set in the Mall like those of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Those who value their liberty, however, honor his memory; because in his heart raged the fires of revolution. "I swear eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the minds of men." Yet, his was a constructive activism. He had nothing to do with writing the Constitution (he was ambassador to France at the time) but while he had serious reservations about the Constitution, he was not an Anti-Federalist. In later years, he vocally supported the Constitution against those who would subvert it.

He didn't even want to be remembered for the fact that he was the third President of the United States; perhaps because the Louisiana Purchase and other actions tested his values.

Thomas Jefferson will not be widely honored today, but he will be two days from now, for surely his spirit infuses all of the Tea Party rallies and protests against a federal government spun out of control. He wanted that the government be afraid of the people, not the people of the government. "Eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tea Parties, beware!

Now the Left wants to "crash the tea parties" -- and not just with signs. Several Internet sites have pointed to , which calls itself a "nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans, and independents who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons; who constitute the fake grass-roots movement which calls itself 'The Tea Party.'" The group wants to "dismantle and demolish" the Tea Party by infiltrating the Tea Parties.

Their tactics? They want to "act on behalf of the Tea Party in ways which exaggerate their least appealing qualities (misspelled protest signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.) to further distance them from mainstream America and damage the public's opinion of them."

First of all, it is evident that they want to promote lies about the movement. The Tea Parties I have seen have a few black faces in them (though not as many as I would like), and while some Tea Parties take a Religious Right tack in their speeches; it is very incorrect to state that Tea Partiers are all "homophobes". As to "morons" -- well, that's the Left's intellectual arrogance for you.

Their methods border on disorderly conduct, which contrasts them with the Tea Partiers, who are basing their actions on the respect for the Constitution of the United States -- and by extension, respect for the rule of law. The Left has the same rights to demonstrate and assemble as we do, and are welcome to hold their own counter-demonstrations in their own space in their own time.

One other common charge from the Left, though not evident here, is that Tea Partiers are "neo-Nazis." I have an easy answer for that one. We are peacefully demonstrating for "redress of our grievances" in accordance with the First Amendment. They want to intimidate us by emulating the tactics of the Hitler Youth.

Speakers at the Tea Parties need to make crystal-clear to their audiences the truth that the Tea Party movement is an inclusive movement open to all Americans who care about their freedom and that of future generations, regardless of race or sexual preference.

Tea Party organizers also need to pay close attention to security, and keep in close communication with the local police.


On a personal note, I apologize for the dearth of posts the last two weeks. I have had a full schedule, both personally and politically. I expect it to let up to some extent next week, and certainly after May 1.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not sure which party to support in the primary?

The Ohio Republic is here to help. In the coming weeks, I plan to provide information about three of the four alternative parties in Ohio: the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties. (The fourth is the Socialist Party). Basic information and links are also available on the Alternative Parties tab under the Ohio Republic masthead.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Planning a Tea Party?

It's that time of the year again. I will be speaking at Findlay's Tea Party April 15, for 15 minutes between 4 pm and 6 pm, beside the Post Office, 229 West Main Cross Street.

Jason Rink will be speaking at the Cincinnati Tea Party, March 15, 2010 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Nathaniel Greene Lodge at Veterans Park 6394 Wesselman Road, Cincinnati, OH

Know of some others? E-mail me, and I will add them to a list to be published later this week.

Depression could cause secession

Kurt Hartman at the Financial News blog speculates on what could happen following a period of depression. While he dwells a bit too much for my liking on Igor Panarin's prognostications; they do make some interesting and valid points. First, that the American Revolution was a secession from the British Empire; second, that inequitable distribution of income provides incentives to secede; third, that there are significant differences in social and moral philosophies between Washington and many of the states; and finally, that the U.S. military and the national debt are both overextended and are not sustainable at current levels.

Mr. Hartman concludes:

I do pray the US can find a way out of the fix it finds itself in. I don't see it happening, however, simply based on the record of Gerald Celente, Peter Schiff, and other people who refuse to sugarcoat our crises. Darker days are ahead, and President Obama will need more than symbolic comparisons to Lincoln to maintain the Union as it currently is. He will have to wield vast Federal power with impunity in order to keep the general populous on short leash. A relatively young nation stands at the crossroads yet again. Who knows what form it will take next, or what form of rule we will end up with?

It is up to us, the people, to rescue our liberty from the wreckage.