Friday, July 30, 2010

Lost in the maze

This is a roadmap of the new national health care system, passed by Congress March 21, from The Ohio Project.

Click on the map to enlarge it. (Note: it is a .pdf file. Further enlargement can be done within Acrobat Reader).

I would have put this up sooner, but I got stuck in a traffic jam between the GAO and the PCORI Methodology Committee...

Thursday, July 29, 2010


In George Orwell's novel 1984, the residents of socialist "Oceania" spoke an updated form of English, called Newspeak. The purpose of the language was to limit the ability of an individual to think creatively by reducing the number of words and ideas that can be communicated. For example, every idea that could be construed as contrary to the will of Big Brother could only be expressed as crimethink.

Doublethink is defined in the novel as
"The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth "

Libertarian candidate for Governor of Ohio Ken Matesz (without saying so in as many words) believes that the Republicans are practicing doublethink. According to House Minority Leader John Boehner:

“House Republicans are leading the drive for smaller, more accountable government and better solutions to the challenges facing our nation.”
Uh-huh. Mr. Matesz observes that memories must be growing shorter and shorter. He reminds us that before President Obama's stimulus package of 2009 came President Bush's stimulus package of early 2008, which President Bush called "a booster shot for our economy." At the time, it was said to prevent the onset of the recession.

Agreed, Bush’s spending spree was smaller, at “only” $168 billion, but it was a government stimulus program nonetheless. Proponents want to argue with me that Bush actually wanted to send checks to the little guy, so that makes it better. Sorry guys, government spending is government spending, no matter what it is spent on – your mortgage or someone’s pet alternative energy project. Either government spending solves the economic doldrums or it doesn’t. I know that government spending always hinders the free market economy; it’s not just the spending programs put in place by Democrats that do damage.

Now, here's where it gets interesting. Not a single Republican voted for the Obama "porkulus" package, but President Bush's stimulus received support from every Ohio Republican in the Congress! Including, of course, Rep. Boehner. Who also voted for the Wall Street bailout.

Now, Rep. Boehner, why should we believe you? There is an old saying, "Fooled once, shame on you; fooled twice, shame on me." Rush Limbaugh is saying that voting Republicans back into the Congress is a better solution than secession. Seems to me that Mr. Matesz has made clear that a Republican comeback will do nothing but continue the insanity we are now experiencing with a few cosmetic changes.

There is only one way to get government to act in the interest of the people. And since we know that the interests of both Republican and Democrat are in continuing the present system, the only way to do that is to throw both parties out and vote Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and independents in!

A better solution is to throw the Republicrats out of office in Ohio, replace them with Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and independents, and then declare independence from the United States -- but that's a step that even Mr. Matesz is not ready to consider.

If you think you can explain how electing candidates from the major parties will solve any problems that both of them had a hand in creating, you're welcome to post a comment!

Friday, July 23, 2010

1851 Center files appellate brief in Manna Storehouse case

It's been a while since I last reported on Manna Storehouse. Here's the latest from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law:
The 1851 Center is defending Manna Storehouse and its owners, the Stowers family (right), arguing that the Ohio Constitution does not permit the Departments of Health and Agriculture to impose a retail grocery store license upon their home-based, private-membership organic food cooperative. The Stowers' home was violently raided by these officials in December 2008.

The 1851 Center successfully obtained a court order for the return of over $10,000 in food seized from the family. However, Judge James Burge ruled against the family on the licensing issue with little comment.

The stringent requirements of the licensing law, as applied, will spell an end to the families' cooperative, which focuses on supporting local agriculture.The Stowers' appeal focuses particular attention on the unconstitutionality of attempting to license basic private activity.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The purpose of Obamacare isn't ... healthcare?

Not to Casey Myers at Facebook, whose explanation actually makes more sense:
Yet another reason that excessive regulation has caused me to be determined to hire an absolute MINIMUM of employees in my future business ventures. Apparently big government doesn't want us businesses to hire - they want as many people possible unemployed, desperate, on welfare and hopeless, so they'll be more likely to vote for more liberals and feed the cycle.

Let that sink in a minute. Think about Ohio's high unemployment rate, then read this editorial from the Columbus Dispatch.

And people wonder why I'm a secessionist...! Dear reader, it's not going to get any better until we reject conventional politics, either by electing people who are not Democrats or Republicans; or by shaking off the bands that tie us to the District of Coercion. Or both.

"One nation indivisible" is one nation irreparable.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You get what you vote for

Ken Matesz, Libertarian candidate for Ohio governor, echoes on his Facebook page something that I wrote for the current issue of the Liberty Voice:

As a “third-party candidate,” I get to hear this one phrase so many times I practically hear it in my sleep: “A vote for a third party is a vote for the
__________(insert party name).”

Funny thing about this is that my third party had no hand in the current economic mess. Libertarian policies did not produce the Federal Reserve Bank that slashed interest rates making the housing bubble possible. Libertarian philosophy or policies did not encourage banks to lend to those who can’t really pay back their mortgages. Libertarian philosophy would NEVER have bailed out Wall Street or car companies the way Republicans and Democrats did. Libertarian philosophy and policies do not allow spending to exceed revenues. Libertarian policies are always 100% anti-tax to the highest degree possible. Libertarian policies did not drive the deficit to nearly $2 Trillion and the national debt to nearly $14 trillion. Libertarian policies would not allow a congress to regularly increase the debt ceiling as both Republicans and Democrats have done for decades.

So while both parties have made a royal mess of our economy for decade upon decade, it’s the third party candidates, like me, who get blamed for getting poor officials into office. This is like saying a death-row inmate was killed by an electric shock because he desperately wanted to live! Think about it. Such an inmate might have three choices: to die by lethal injection, to die by the electric chair, or to find a way to be free and stay alive. His chances of freeing himself may be slim, but who would blame him for trying? Would you say that it was because he chose freedom that he was killed in the electric chair? Or would you say he was killed by lethal injection because he wanted to escape to freedom? People who vote for alternative candidates want to be free. They understand that it’s the two hard-to-distinguish-from-each-other parties that have slowly killed the economy with their lethal injections or electric shocks. One party shocks the economy with excess taxes; the other injects it with spending that exceeds revenues. I want to be free and live without that pain and unconstitutional meddling. I would ALWAYS choose to find a way to free myself from that merry-go-round.

Don’t you want to be free? Don’t you want to be able to look in your children’s eyes and say, “I’m sorry things are such a mess, I did everything I could to make us free.” Or will you turn to your young one and say, “Well, it didn’t look like we would have much chance of survival, so I chose to feed us all poison.”

Those who “won’t vote for a third party because it means the Democrats will win” are saying, “I don’t want to kill the economy with taxes, I want to destroy it with excess spending.” Same difference. Either way, you get a mess. Most people, of either party, will agree that the political environment is a mess. Yet they insist that the only way to fix it is to keep voting for the same two parties that have been messing things up for 75 years or more. Strange how it all works, isn’t it. You vote for the lesser of two evils and, amazingly, you end up with evil. What an insight: You get what you elect.
Makes sense to me. I wonder why it makes sense to so few others? Maybe they've been brainwashed into thinking that no one except the Demopublicans can win an election?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Governing Ourselves

Readers may have noticed that my blog posts have been getting rather sporadic lately. One of the reasons for this is that I have been working on my first book. Entitled Governing Ourselves, it articulates a libertarian vision for America in the near future. My plan is to have the book ready to publish by the end of the summer, so it can be released in time for the fall campaign season. This is a challenging schedule, however.

I have posted a preview of the book, which includes the contents, introduction, and first chapter. All of it is in draft form, and subject to change; but you are welcome to comment on what is up so far.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quotation of the day

"Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic."

-- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) on liberation theology,
in Truth and Tolerance (2004), p.168,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The practical side of secession

... from the Third Palmetto Republic in South Carolina. They provide a sensible approach, for our consideration.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vermont Independence Day

Today is Vermont Independence Day, commemorating the date in 1777 that Vermont declared its own independence, not only from Great Britain, but from New Hampshire and New York as well; however, Vermont's separation from those states was not recognized until it became the 14th state, in 1791. It is for this reason that one of its leading secessionist organizations is known as the Second Vermont Republic. The green flag was that of Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution, and is the symbol of the Vermont independence movement.

Vermont's secessionist sentiment is clearly displayed in these two photos from American Independence Day parades in that state.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quotation of the Day

Continuing our "secession week," from Peter Brimelow, at, about Arizona's immigration crisis:

"An American state is forced to defend itself against a federal government that will not honor its constitutional obligation to defend the states against invasion—which must ultimately raise the secessionist question: what good is the American Union at all?"

Virtual buckeye to Old Rebel at Rebellion.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Declaration of Independence for Ohio

Last week, the blog Let a Thousand Nations Bloom had "Secession Week." Due to time constraints, I was unable to participate at that time; but it appears that I have been running one of my own this week.

Following is the first draft for a Declaration of Independence for the Ohio Republic. I know this is running ahead of public opinion, but it's not too early to think about it, is it?

Declaration of Independence [i]

The State of Ohio having assumed a separate and equal place among nations, has an obligation to herself, to the United States of America, and to the nations of the world, to declare the immediate causes which have led to the act of secession.

In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make laws for the government of that portion composed of the thirteen American Colonies. A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted, on July 4, 1776, in a Declaration, by the Colonies, "that they are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do."

They further solemnly declared that whenever any "form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government." Deeming the Government of Great Britain to have become destructive of these ends, they declared that the Colonies "are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a Constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments-- Legislative, Executive and Judicial. For purposes of defense, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they entered into the Articles of Confederation, whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first Article "that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled."

Under this Confederation the war of the Revolution was carried on, and on September 3, 1783, the contest ended, and a definite Treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the Colonies in the following terms: "ARTICLE 1-- His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free, sovereign, and independent states; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof."

Thus, the Colonies asserted two important principles: the right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these principles, was the fact, that each Colony became and was recognized by the mother Country a free, sovereign, and independent state.

In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles of Confederation, and on September 17, 1787, these Deputies recommended for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.

Nine of these sovereign States agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the Federal Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority. Of the original thirteen States, two did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation.

By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But to remove all doubt, the Tenth Amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people. On November 29, 1802, Ohio, by a Convention of her People, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution for the United States, having adopted her own Constitution in conformance to the obligations of Statehood she had undertaken.

On June 17, 1851, the electors ratified a new Constitution for the State of Ohio, which reaffirmed in Article I, Section 2, that "All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform, or abolish the same, whenever they may deem it necessary."

Thus was established, by compact between the States, a Federal Government with definite objects and powers, limited to the express words of the grant. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights.

We hold that the Federal Government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.

The ends for which the Constitution of the United States was framed are declared by itself to be "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

In the last century, we have seen the Federal Government change from an agent of the States to carry out the objects assigned to it by the Constitution of the United States; to a tyrannical régime to carry out contrary purposes. Let the following facts be submitted to the world for reasonable witnesses to judge their merits:

-- The Federal Government has used the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to collect taxes directly from the American people, so as to institute a régime of extorting the States to do its will by withholding the taxes so collected from the people of the States until their State Governments consent to reduce themselves to mere agents of the Federal;

-- The Federal Government has imposed a code of taxation of such complexity it perplexes even those whose are tasked with its enforcement, and provides an easy pretext for the government to find wrongdoing among its citizens.

-- The Federal Government has imposed a system of taxation that is inherently unjust, placing heavy burdens on some while exempting others. Coupled with this system is a structure of subsidy in which wealth is taken from one citizen and given to another. Such a system destroys the motivation for productive enterprise within the one who is forced to give and the recipient.

-- The Federal Government has used the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to deny State Governments their representation in the United States Senate, thus eliminating any influence by State Governments to prevent the Federal Government from reducing them to mere administrators of Federal policy;

-- The Federal Government has sent our youth to risk their lives in wars that have been proven unnecessary to the national defense; exhausting the Federal treasury, wasting the goodwill of friendly nations, and enriching favored individuals and corporations;

-- The Federal Government has employed corporations of barbarous mercenaries[ii] to fight its wars and to enforce its will, not subject to any military or civil law;

-- The Federal Government has delegated its power to create money to a Federal Reserve Bank, which has debased the currency of the United States to the advantage of vested interests, and to the detriment of the general population;

-- The Federal Government has failed to maintain even a semblance of fiscal prudence; having accumulated liabilities so great that they can never be repaid, forcing it to seek credit from nations that now seek to use their creditor status to destroy our economy and endanger our national security;

-- The Federal Government has increasingly displayed its disposition to delegate the powers granted to it by the States to international organizations that are not accountable to anyone except themselves; [iii]

-- The Federal Government has passed laws in direct conflict with the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing for searches and seizures without warrants; in some instances even denying the accused the right of habeas corpus, and threatening witnesses to such seizures with fines and imprisonment for disclosing the fact such seizure even occurred. [iv]

-- The Congress has voluntarily relinquished its responsibility for drafting or even reviewing the legislation it passes, outsourcing the legislative process to special interest groups that have agendas often at odds with the well being of the citizens and the nation as a whole.

-- The Federal Government has refused to assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good, and has substituted laws and regulations that are injurious to the welfare and prosperity of the people.

-- The Federal Government has refused to be held accountable for illegal and criminal actions, setting themselves above the laws they have imposed upon the people.

-- The Federal Government has refused to secure the borders of the United States from those who desire to do injury to its citizens and institutions.

-- The Federal Government has used and misused the military forces of the United States, imposing rules and regulations upon them detrimental to their stated mission and purpose. Such actions unnecessarily jeopardize the lives of those who serve in the armed forces and emboldens the enemies that desire to do us harm.

-- The Federal Government has embarked upon a course of foreign policy that serves only to anger our staunchest allies and strengthen our enemies. It has also long pursued a course of action that has placed the acquisition of our most criticial natural resources dependent upon the whims of our enemies while unnecessarily restricting the development of those same resources domestically.

-- The Federal Government has forbidden the governors and legislators of the many states discretion in their affairs and has imposed burdensome regulations upon them while in many instances refusing to provide the means for their implementation.

-- The Federal Government has by law codified discrimination, setting one class of citizens over another, when the other has been responsible for no wrong or injury to the privileged class.

-- The Federal Government, through word and statute, has shown contempt for the religious tradition largely responsible for the foundations of this nation and its system of law and justice, and embraced by the vast majority of its citizens.

-- The Federal Government has detained and murdered its own citizens without due process or just compensation for the exercise of their rights under the compact of the Constitution or as a consequence of their ancestry.

-- The Federal Government has made repeated attempts to intimidate those who oppose its growing power through the exercise of their rights under the Constitution. It has labeled them traitors and has sought to use the power of the government and its agencies to silence them. [v]

-- The Federal Government thus, by condoning and promoting acts, which in every age have defined tyranny, has made itself unfit for the rule of a free people.

For the last thirty years, the people of the State of Ohio have patiently supported the Federal Government with the expectation that the economic conditions which have so adversely affected them would find remedies; and repeatedly, those expectations have been disappointed. Our patience has been rewarded, not only with the loss of our manufactures, but of our best and brightest youth, who have found it necessary to emigrate to other States, while the Government of this State has suffered repeated financial shortages caused by the lack of economic capacity to produce revenues; further aggravated by Federal mandates imposed on this State requiring the use of revenues intended for the Government of this State. We have sought reforms to return the Federal Government to its original purposes, but have been met only with repeated injury.

We, therefore, the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other United States of America is dissolved, and that the State of Ohio has assumed her position among the nations of the world as a separate and independent Republic; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent nations may of right do.

[i] Modeled on South Carolina's Declaration of the Causes of Secession, December 20, 1860, reproduced at (retrieved Nov. 3, 2009).
[ii] For example, Blackwater.
[iii] North American Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the proposed Copenhagen treaty on carbon emissions.
[iv] These are provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.
[v] The last 13 charges are from “Declaration of Independence” in the blog American Revolution, by Patrick Samuels:, retrieved 11/16/2009.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nullification is for sissies

... says Russell Longcore at

Mr. Longcore likens nullification to attempting marital counseling with a spouse who is a criminal.

Nullification is based upon the premise that staying in the Union has some value, and that the Federal government should continue to rule over the states in all the areas of governance except the ones the states nullify. But if you’ll remember, the states created the United States as an errand boy for the states.

Well, the errand boy has grown up to be the uncontrollable bully boy of the states and of the planet. The states have been subsumed by the DC crowd. They have abrogated their sovereignty and have no real authority or power to control Washington, since no states control the power of the sword or the power of the purse.

What benefits do the states presently receive from being in the Union? I contend that they receive NONE. Washington only breathes out tyranny, regulation and oppression, both on American soil and around the world. It is so cumbersome, so corrupt and so bloated that it destroys everything it touches...

My challenge goes out to my friends still embracing the concept of Nullification – wrestle your sovereignty away from DC by seceding from the Union. Stop trying to maintain a relationship with a criminal. Don’t just go to counseling with your obdurant political spouse…get a restraining order, a divorce and a gun. Then commit all your efforts to re-creating a new nation where individual liberty and property rights are respected and protected.

There is one flaw in your logic, Mr. Longcore. It makes too much sense.

What if America fragmented?

It could be a good thing.

At least one newspaper, interestingly, The Arizona Republic, is open enough to secession to publish an opinion piece favorably speculating on what such an America would be like. This piece by Paul Starobin, staff correspondent for the National Journal and contributing editor to The Atlantic, offers some interesting insights on how secessionism could play out in the United States in the near future:

Consider this proposition: America of the 21st century, propelled by currents of modernity that tend to favor the little over the big, may trace a long circle back to the original small-government ideas of the American experiment. The present-day American Goliath may turn out to be a freak of a waning age of politics and economics as conducted on a supersize scale - too large to make any rational sense in an emerging age of personal empowerment that harks back to the era of the yeoman farmer of America's early days. The society may find blessed new life, as paradoxical as this may sound, in a return to a smaller form.

Mr. Starobin speculates on how splitting California into not one, but three, independent republics (one of which merges with Baja California Norte in Mexico) could help resolve the state's fiscal problem. Naturally, he also refers to the immigration crisis in Arizona as a spur to that state's independence or to a regional federation that would include Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. He imagineers independent city-states, a concept Singapore proves to be workable. He cites Las Vegas and Greater Miami as possible examples. I would also favor an independent city-state in Chicago. Such an entity might enable Ohio and the old Northwest Territory to form a regional federation (the "Confederation of the Great Lakes"?)* based on mutual interests that are very different from those of the Windy City.
Even for the hard-edged secessionist crowd, with their rapt attentiveness to America's roots, popular texts in the future-trend genre mingle in their minds with the yellowed scrolls of the anti-federalists.


Mr. Starobin then writes about the thinking of the Anti-Federalists, concluding:
The anti-federalists lost their battle, but history, in certain respects, has redeemed their vision, for they anticipated how many Americans have come to feel about their nation's seat of federal power.

He seems to view the War between the States as an aberration. On the one hand, it was a righteous battle against slavery; on the other, it was the product of the centralizing influences of 19th century industrial society. In the 21st century, however, success will bless those societies that are the most inventive. In his view, smaller is better, citing the historical example of the city-states of the Italian Renaissance.

How to get from here to there?
Secessionists such as Texas' Miller pledge a commitment to peaceful methods. History suggests skepticism on this score: Even the American republic was born in a violent revolution. These days, Russian professor Igor Panarin, a former KGB analyst, has snagged publicity with his dystopian prediction of civil strife in a dismembered America whose jagged parts fall prey to foreign powers including Canada, Mexico and, in the case of Alaska, Russia, naturally.

Still, the precedent for any breakup of today's America is not necessarily the one set by the musket-bearing colonists' demanded departure from the British crown in the late 18th century or by the crisis-ridden dissolution of the U.S.S.R. at the end of the 20th century. Every empire, every too-big thing, fragments or shrinks according to its own unique character and to the age of history to which it belongs.

The most hopeful prospect for the U.S., should the decentralization impulse prove irresistible, is for Americans to draw on their natural inventiveness and democratic tradition by patenting a formula for getting the job done in a gradual and cooperative way.

And America isn't alone. The United Kingdom is beginning to split as Scotland works its way toward regaining its independence. Spain has been wrestling with independence movements in the Basque region and Catalonia. There is talk in India of splitting into approximately ten nations; and even China may not be exempt from the trend, once the aging Communist leadership dies off.

So, why not America as the global leader of a devolution? America's return to its origins - to its type - could turn out to be an act of creative political destruction, with "we the people" the better for it.
Why not, indeed? With Arizona leading the way...

* While I have toyed with this idea, I have reservations about it. The five states of the old Northwest Territory (excluding Minnesota and the city of Chicago) have a population of nearly 40 million, which is still too large for government on a human scale. Such a confederate government would have to be designed to be extremely weak. Experience with the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution shows just how difficult this is!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Should we really be celebrating the 4th?

Harry Browne at the Tenth Amendment Center doesn't think so. In fact, he thinks the oratory about freedom in the United States is deceitful.

[T]he America that’s celebrated no longer exists.

The holiday oratory deceitfully describes America as though it were the unique land of liberty that once was. Politicians thank the Almighty for conferring the blessings of liberty on a country that no longer enjoys those blessings. The original freedom and security have disappeared — even though the oratory lingers on.

What made America unique is now gone, and we are much the same as Germany, France, England, or Spain, with:

- confiscatory taxes,
- a Constitution and Bill of Rights that are symbolic only — merely documents used to justify governmental actions that are in fact prohibited by those documents,
- business regulated by the state in the most minute detail,
- no limits on what Congress or the President might decide to do.

Yes, there are some freedoms left, but nothing like the America that was — and nothing that you can’t find in a few dozen other countries...

Fortunately, in America a remnant has kept alive the ideas of liberty, peace, and self-respect — passing the concepts on from generation to generation.

And so today millions of Americans know that the present system isn’t the right system — that human beings aren’t born to serve the state and police the world.

Millions more would be receptive upon being shown that it’s possible to have better lives than what they’re living now.

Both groups need encouragement to quit supporting those who are taking freedom away from them.

If we do this, Mr. Browne writes, "The 4th will be worth celebrating again."

Virtual buckeye to my good friend Gabe McGranahan.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Slavery in Ohio


Sandra Snyder reports for Citizen USA-Ohio that Ohio's location near the Canadian border and weak human trafficking laws make Ohio a mecca for slavery. Because the issue is so shocking, I am quoting the article at length here:

More than one thousand American-born youths in Ohio are forced into the sex trade each year, according to a new study released [June 9]. About 800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed, against their will, to work in fields, restaurants, sweatshops, or constructions sites.

Because the price for labor and prostitution is high in the U.S., traffickers make higher profits. In Ohio, there have been many documented cases of traffickers bringing immigrants here, finding them work, and confiscating their wages to satisfy an inflated debt for their ticket to America.

Ohio’s weak laws on human trafficking, its growing demand for cheap labor, and its proximity to the Canadian border are key contributors to the illegal activity, according to the report by the Trafficking in Persons Study Commission. The commission found that one in three Ohio runaways gone for two weeks or longer is at risk of being trafficked for sex.

Toledo ... ranks fourth in the United States in terms of arrests, investigations, and rescue of domestic child-sex victims. Only Miami, Portland, Ore., and Las Vegas had more. The practice is a growing, vastly underreported problem that affects inner cities and affluent suburbs.

The report was compiled by the Commission’s Research and Analysis Subcommittee. The subcommittee presented four observations for consideration by the larger commission:

- Ohio’s response to child sex trafficking is weak.
- Ohio’s first responders to human trafficking remain unaware and unprepared and services are insufficient.
- Those who purchase youth remain protected, receive minimal charges and are rarely prosecuted in a significant way, while traffickers also suffer minimal consequences.
- Ohio’s young people are highly vulnerable to trafficking.

“These are disturbing facts,” said Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, chairman of the commission. “According to the report, it is estimated that in Ohio more than a thousand young people between the ages 12 and 17 have been trafficked into the sex trade over the course of a year. This is clear evidence that we need to do more, much more, to protect our youth in Ohio."

“Ohio is not only a destination place for foreign-born trafficking victims, but it’s also a recruitment place,’’ said Celia Williamson, an associate professor at the University of Toledo who led the research.

“From 1990 to 2000, Ohio’s foreign-born population increased 30 percent, and the state has a growing pool of legal and illegal immigrants who draw victims or hide victims,” Williamson said.

“These networks are highly organized, with brothels fronting as legitimate businesses.” In addition to Ohio’s weak state laws, law enforcement agencies often don’t recognize human trafficking when responding to reports of illegal activity. “For example, Ohio is quick to label child prostitutes as delinquents and to incarcerate them, rarely looking further at the adults involved,” Williamson said.

The commission’s conclusion is that 52 specially trained case managers, with annual salaries and benefits of $77,000 each are needed to combat the problem. At a price tag of $4 million, potential funding includes: federal money from a variety of sources; private foundation support; and the general public.

Since Ohio does not have a stand-alone human trafficking law, Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Senator Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) jointly introduced Senate Bill 235. Ohio is one of seven states without trafficking legislation in line with the federal definition. Senate Bill 235 would make labor or sex trafficking in Ohio a second-degree felony. The bi-partisan bill is co-sponsored by twenty-six senators [more than ¾ of the Senate].

It is a good sign that the bill enjoys bipartisan sponsorship. It needs to be passed as soon as possible. Many churches are reluctant to take on human trafficking as a social concern or outreach, because it can affect the reputations of its members. However, this is one place where well-coordinated efforts could achieve a lot of good, both for the individuals and for the community. Those who are equipped to do so should take on the challenge.

This is the first time I have heard of the site Citizen USA-Ohio. I have added its State News page to the Ohio sites on the Links page, and will continue to monitor its content.

Virtual buckeye to Mike Tuggle.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gov. Strickland: Here's an opportunity to do the right thing

Gov. Strickland:

Bring our Ohio National Guard troops home. Now. You have the authority. Use it.

Public opinion in Ohio is turning against the war in Afghanistan. According to a poll by Quinnipiac University, reported in today's Columbus Dispatch, Ohioans narrowly disapprove of the war (48% opposing, 46% in favor).

Ohioans may be patriotic to a fault, but we also have a lot of common sense. We see that this war is accomplishing nothing except killing Afghans and our troops for a cause neither they nor we understand. It is not advancing their freedom, and it certainly isn't advancing ours.

Other results from Quinnipiac's Ohio poll:

President Obama's performance: 49% disapprove, 45% approve.

Oppose health care plan: 55% opposed, 36% in favor, unchanged from April. (By the way, have you signed The Ohio Project petition to nullify mandatory health care yet?)

U.S. Senate race: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 40%.

Quinnipiac’s telephone poll of 1,107 registered Ohio voters from June 22 through Sunday [June 27] has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.