Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Governing Ourselves is now at the publisher

Those who have followed my blog know that I have been working on one of my life's major goals -- writing a book. Governing Ourselves: How Americans Can Regain Their Freedom. Publication will be completed as soon as I have resolved a few copyright questions, and is expected in February 2012. Right now, I am delving into the business end -- hiring an editor and setting my marketing plan.

When the book hits the street, please be assured that you will be the first to know!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A concurring opinion about secession

Western Australia has sought independence from Australia since 1933, and has found the doors slammed in its face, in part because the mineral wealth of the West has helped fund government for the rest of the nation. Businessmen there are particularly unsettled by an Australian law imposing a carbon tax, scheduled to take effect this summer. This issue has been brought forward in a piece by Sukrit Subhlok in The National Forum. Like mainstream politicians here in America, the Australian establishment views secessionism as "the work of a lunatic, right-wing fringe in the Liberal Party".

As in America, the constitutionality of secession is debatable; however, Mr. Subhlok makes an important point, echoing my own from Nov. 3:
The legality or otherwise of secession is a moot point. If secession is to occur, it will never happen with the High Court's approval, simply because the court is appointed and funded by the federal government and will therefore tend to rule in favour of Canberra. Hence, in an important sense the legal arguments of Williams and Craven are irrelevant to the issue at hand. The debate over secession must occur primarily in the political rather than the legal arena.

For the sake of argument though, is the legal case against secession really as strong as Williams and Craven say it is? The answer is no. When Australia's colonies agreed to come together as a federation under the Constitution, they did so on the assumption that the federal government would be limited to the powers enumerated in section 51, and that the states would retain their reserved powers. Common-sense, not to mention elementary contractual principles, dictates that if the federal government oversteps its bounds and encroaches into areas of state responsibility then a state is justified in exiting the constitutional compact.

For Americans "section 51" is Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. A literal reading of Article I, Section 8, should make it clear that our federal government has far overstepped its bounds and encroached into areas of state responsibility.

I shall let Mr. Subhok make the closing point:
As more people become aware of the positive effects of secession, let it not be said that it is an idea only supported by the 'loony right'. Secession is an idea whose time has come. Everyone should seriously examine its merits.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Václav Havel, 1936-2011

CNN reported yesterday afternoon that Václav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia, and later of the Czech Republic, died at the age of 75. There are very few people on this earth for whom I have as much admiration as I do for this man, who skillfully used the power of the pen to undermine the Communist régime in his country. In that effort, he suffered imprisonment for 4½ years; but emerged victorious in the Velvet Revolution that ended Communism in Czechoslovakia. The last Communist Parliament elected him President of the republic, an office he held until the "Velvet Divorce" that established the independence of Slovakia. Mike Tuggle at Rebellion aptly described Mr. Havel's approach to Slovak independence:
Faced with a secessionist movement by the eastern half of Czechoslovakia, he took the role of the anti-Lincoln, and respected the Slovaks' right to govern themselves. The two nations continue to live in peace.
He later returned to serve as President of the Czech Republic. During his presidencies he displayed moral leadership to an exceptional degree, which has been recorded in his speeches (particularly his first New Year's speech as President of Czechoslovakia) and writings, such as his book The Art of the Impossible. (He wrote several other books, but this one stands out for me).

He was a modern man, in that he was a playwright in the absurdist style and liked rock and roll music. In fact the Charter 77 declaration that established him as a dissident was inspired by the Communist arrest of a Czech rock band.

He was the rare leader that did not allow power to go to his head, but acted as a servant of the people. He continued that role to the end of his life. Last year, he protested the arrest of a Chinese dissident whose movement was modeled on Charter 77.

He will be missed; but more importantly, he provides a model of statesmanship that we would do well to follow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blunt truth of the day

From Jennifer Smith, political director of the Franklin County Libertarian Party, via Facebook:
Just so that everyone knows what our civil-liberties-stomping president just signed: ANYONE who fits a very broad definition of activist (Tea Partiers and Occupiers, for example) can be swept to Guantánamo Bay by the MILITARY. No trial. No due process. No police. No proof of anything. If you know any Obama supporters, share this story with them. If they STILL support him, then you know they're war mongering, anti-civil rights bigots. Because this is it.
The following article, which Jennifer linked, is to a Politico piece about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 being sent to the White House for signature.

The article states that President Obama lifted his veto threat when it became clear that Congress had the votes to override. I am not surprised. Please note (and I am repeating myself): The President's signature to this legislation will provide ample grounds for declaring Ohio's independence (See Trigger #1 on the right sidebar). If we value our freedom at all, we must act to ensure that this provision of law never touch otherwise law-abiding citizens within the State of Ohio. First step: Press our state legislators to NULLIFY Sections 1033 and 1034 of the Defense Appropriations Act of 2012. If this effort fails, then a declaration of independence will be justified.

Update Dec. 16: Another friend of mine on Facebook reports that he struggled for 11 years to obtain U.S. citizenship for his wife, who was born in the Soviet Union. Now he feels that they are no better off than before.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How did the U.S. end up owing so much money?

This chart makes it very clear:

Click to enlarge.
Sources: Office of Management and Budget, U. S. Treasury, and the Bureau of Economic Affairs.

It's about the OATH, stupid!

As we all know, journalists like to create controversy in the oddest places. One of the questions that arose in last Saturday's debate was "Is marital fidelity important in a President?" The other candidates took potshots at Newt Gingrich.Here are the highlights of last Saturday's ABC News/Yahoo! Republican debate, which includes his answer to this question. 

Ron Paul gave the correct answer, which is that obeying an oath is a sign of character. Dr. Paul said that while marital vows are important, the oath that really matters is to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Dr. Paul is the only candidate who has consistently worked to do just that over 30 years. That should speak volumes about his character, and about what he would do as President.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Amen, sister!

Karen Kwiatkowski, again. This time in her own words, from, about Christmas, Christianity, and fascism. The entire article is well worth reading.
Christmas is a Christian celebration, but it is truly something that should be celebrated each day, in peace, in forbearance, in humble joy and gratefulness for God’s love, His generosity and His guidance. I’d like to think that we Christians might someday be able to show that Gandhi was wrong about us – that we do indeed follow the Prince of Peace in our daily lives, in our relationships at home and at work, and through our participation in politics. It is impossible for a true Christian to cheer war, to celebrate death, disease, destruction and poverty, to wish ill on others. It is downright devilish for Christians to claim their faith while exalting human governments that seek war on the basis of lies, that sow fear and loathing in the name of empire or government survival, and governments that would steal the very future from their own children in the name of patriotism. All I want for Christmas is a glimpse of real Christianity, in our lives and in our politics... [Emphasis added]

God knows what we need even before we ask Him, so I’ve been taught. That being the case, maybe I should see to it that I love liberty more passionately. I’ll add a grain of pure courage to my morning coffee, and I will try to think more independently, and step away from the party lines. I’ll see if I can live my Christianity in a more honest way. All that would make for a lovely Christmas, and it would be more than enough.
But Santa, if there is room for one more gift, please give me the opportunity to vote Ron Paul for President in 2012. Merry Christmas, America!
One more good reason she should be Vice President (if not President) of the United States!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quotation of the day

Karen Kwiatkowski
I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.
-- Barry Goldwater (1960: Conscience of a Conservative), echoed by Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (Ret.), libertarian candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in the Sixth District of Virginia, and my top choice for Ron Paul's running mate.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We the sheeple of the United States...

Mike Adams at Natural News reports of a study conducted in the early 1960s, known as the Milgram experiments, which shows that 70% of people will administer painful, even lethal, electrical shocks if told to do so by a researcher. Now this is psychological research, and no one was really harmed. The "shocks" were signals given to an actor to feign pain. The researchers used psychological tricks like warning the subjects that they would ruin the project or do serious harm to the individual if the shocks were not administered as ordered.

The study was replicated in 2008 at the University of California at Santa Clara ... with the same results.

Mr. Adams writes:
For many years, psychologists speculated the original studies must have somehow been flawed. Humans beings couldn't be so cruel and gullible, could they? But now this repeating of the study immediately clobbers any debate on the subject and forces us all to confront the terrible reality: Most human beings of all ages, races, religions, cultural upbringings and professions will actively torture, harm and even kill fellow human beings if ordered to do so. [Emphasis in the original]

Why is this important to understand? Because it explains the sheeple effect that's so dominant in society today. Why do consumers obey apparent authorities so blindly? Why do they do what they're told even when it goes against all common sense and their own ethics?

According to Mr. Adams, we were all raised to be mind slaves:
Think about it: From the very first day you go to kindergarten, you're punished for getting out of line (literally), talking out of place, expressing your own ideas or refusing to follow commands. This psychological brow-beating goes on for thirteen years, and it's enforced by most parents, counselors and other authority figures.

And in most universities, the browbeating continues through the college and graduate school years. Very few of us are really taught to think for ourselves.
He cites a common example of this kind of conditioning, done at Costco and Sam's Club:
[P]eople just wait at the exit for some lame worker to check their receipt and mark it with a pen. People actually line up like cattle even after they paid for their stuff! I just walk out the door with the stuff I paid for, utterly ignoring the silly "receipt checkers" who keep screaming "Sir! Sir! Sir!" What I've learned is that after three or four screams, they just shut up and go back to the line of sheeple. Just slap on a pair of headphones, crank up your iPod and walk right out of the store, folks. Why are you giving up your Constitutional rights and submitting yourself to illegal search and seizure for a cart full of stuff you just paid for? [Emphasis added]
This explains the conundrum faced by libertarians. We want our people to be free, but only 30% of us know that we are not -- and even among that 30%, only about 3% of the population is motivated to do anything about it. Even intelligent people (or myself for that matter) sometimes get caught acting like one of the "sheeple." In everyday situations like the Costco one, it is probably harmless; but we need to heighten our awareness, so that we do not let ourselves be lulled into more harmful invasions of our rights, like the TSA scanners and police ID checks. 

The women's liberation movement realized that the first step to success was to raise the consciousness of the population to how women were being discriminated against. Libertarians need to do the same thing with the general population. I hope this post has been a small contribution in that direction.

Virtual buckeye to The Liberty Voice.

Update Dec. 7: Here is a concurring opinion from Bruce E. Levine at AlterNet. He cites eight reasons why young Americans are not fighting the system. I will refer you to the article to read the details, but here is the list:
  1. Fear they cannot repay their student loan debt
  2. Misuse of psychiatry and drugs to quell non-compliant behavior
  3. Schools that educate for compliance and not democracy
  4. "No Child Left Behind," a federal program that bases aid on test scores, which forces teachers to teach to the test, and not helping the child learn how to think for himself
  5. Confusing the difference between education and schooling. Young people are taught that disliking school is the same thing as disliking learning.
  6. Normalization of surveillance -- beginning at home as parents monitor their children's computers and social networking pages.
  7. Television -- for sixty years, the opiate of the people
  8. Fundamentalist religion and "fundamentalist consumerism," which destroy self-reliance and foster self-absorption.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Now the military is infiltrating the police

This story is nothing new -- we reported on an armored vehicle being used by the Fairfield County Sheriff in July 2009. A commenter on that post called it "the optics of clampdown."

However, it is getting worse. As reported by Benjamin Carlson in The Daily, the Pentagon has a surplus of military equipment which has given to law enforcement agencies nationwide since 1997 under the "1033" program. Through this program the military gave away nearly $500 million in surplus equipment in federal fiscal year 2011, ending Sept. 30. This is more than double what they gave out under the program the previous year. Equipment being provided includes grenade launchers, helicopters, military robots, M-16 assault rifles, and armored vehicles. Data provided to The Daily by the Defense Logistics Agency indicates that requests this fiscal year have increased 400% over last year.

While local law enforcement agencies like the program for its free goodies, it dangerously changes the mentality of police officers. The article tells of a story in which a grandfather in Framingham, Massachusetts not suspected of any wrongdoing was accidentally killed by a SWAT team earlier this year. The mayor of a small Maryland town had his door broken down, his two Labrador retrievers killed, and was interrogated for hours about a drug ring with which he had no connection.

Joseph McNamara, former chief of police in Kansas City and San Jose, California, puts it this way:
“It’s totally contrary to what we think is good policing, which is community policing,” he said. The profile of these military police units invading a neighborhood like the occupation army is contrary to what you want to do as a police department. You want the public to feel comfortable calling you to report crime and supporting you in working against crime and coming forward as witnesses.

“The idea that some police have that by being really super tough and military and carrying military weapons is a way to prevent crime — this is false,” he continued. “We have a lot of evidence on how to prevent crime and the major component is to win support for police, that we’re not this aloof occupation army.
Exactly. Never mind posse comitatus or amendments to the National Defense Appropriations Act for 2012 -- the ruling elite can accomplish the same purpose by militarizing our local police and sheriffs. This should become a political issue in every county sheriff campaign in Ohio next year. The purpose of law enforcement is to protect and to serve, not to dominate and kill. We need to make sure our local police and county sheriffs know that we want law enforcement to be community-friendly, and that acquiring 1033 hardware is not the way to achieve that objective.

Update Dec. 6: Five minutes after posting this, I get a Facebook comment about how Brimfield Township in Portage County got an M113 armored personnel vehicle. Send me news stories of 1033 donations in your area, and I will post them in this space. Another friend had already shared the article.

Virtual buckeyes to Mike Tuggle and Gabe McGranahan

Friday, December 2, 2011

Speedbump on the road to tyranny

In the interest of accuracy and full disclosure, I need to report that the following amendment to the National Defense Appropriations bill (S. 1867) was approved Dec. 1 by a vote of 99-1:

SA 1456. Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Mr. Levin and Mr. Durbin) proposed an amendment to the bill S. 1867, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes; as follows:

   On p. 360, between lines 21 and 22 [Section 1032], insert the following:

   (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

The lone dissenter was Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona). This is good news, but we need to remain vigilant. My post yesterday remains true enough. Still makes me want to rethink going to Canada next summer...

The truth is stranger than fiction

In my update to yesterday's post, I addressed the conspiracy theory (actually well-grounded in fact) that the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9-11 was not only the attack by commercial jetliners, but a controlled demolition as well. This has led to a Facebook conversation with a skeptic (whose name I am withholding), which I thought deserved a larger audience.

Skeptic: Who set the charges?

HT: As I indicated in my post, we do not know. If it was a false-flag attack (conspiracy theory alert), it would probably have been done by undercover CIA operatives, possibly agents of al-Qaeda on the CIA payroll, as suggested by my link to Michael Chussodovsky [director of the Canadian think tank Global Research, often quoted in this space]. I do not know -- we may never know.

Skeptic:  really!? Our own CIA was in on destroying two of the most expensive buildings in the world and killing thousands of people and doing incalcuable harm to the American economy. okay, gotcha.

HT: I know it's hard to believe. I get that. The problem is that our federal government has been manipulated for years (I'm not sure how many) by people intent on using it for their own benefit at the expense of the rest of us. These people have no problem with murdering thousands (even hundreds of thousands, if you include Iraqis and Afghans) and cleaning millions of Americans out of their savings (through bank and currency manipulations) to maintain their wealth acquired through an imperialist American foreign policy. I'm not speculating about Jews, Illuminati, and Freemasons -- I'm talking about New York bankers (and by extension, the Federal Reserve Bank, which prints our money), arms merchants, and people like George Soros, a billionaire who profited heavily from our moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (by buying into a Brazilian oil company that is drilling in the Atlantic and ... the Gulf of Mexico), and is trying to replicate on the dollar his feat of profitably crashing the British pound about a decade ago -- effectively stealing billions in savings from the British people. [To which I should have added a host of very corrupt Congressmen, like inside traders John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi and those who donate heavily to their campaigns.] The endgame is to reduce all but a small elite of the American people to poverty, so they will willingly enslave themselves to the rich that remain in order to survive. It serves their interest to have Americans more interested in football, Lindsay Lohan, and Dancing with the Stars, and in what would be (but for Ron Paul) a meaningless Republican primary, than to understand what is really going on.

A future historian might well entitle their work on the last fifty years, While American Slept: The decline and fall of the United States of America.

Wednesday night, I attended a meeting of an organization of which I have been a member for sixteen years. Before it started (it is a small group), I briefly went over the Defense Appropriation Bill's detainment provisions and their implications (essentially what I wrote Nov. 29), and asked them if this was the kind of government they really wanted to pledge their allegiance to (They know I have not recited the Pledge of Allegiance since I joined them). And again, even with this warning, I remained the only one not to stand up for the pledge. Our people are very confused, and I am beginning to wonder what, if anything, will shake them out of the myth that we still live, and always will live, in a "sweet land of liberty."

My allegiance to the United States government is conditional on its fidelity to the Constitution, which represents the basic principles of our Founding Fathers. My desire for Ohio independence is to replace that government with a smaller one that is faithful to the same principles, as the Ohio Constitution is (in some ways better than the U.S. Constitution). If we see a miracle next year in the election of a President and Congress who are faithful to the Constitution, I will reconsider my position, but I am not confident that such a miracle will happen.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A lesson from history

Reichstag fire
Compare the following account in Conservapedia with the logic behind Sections 1033 and 1034 of the Defense Appropriations bill, which we discussed Tuesday. I found the comparison rather chilling:
On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag in Berlin was destroyed in a fire that had plainly been deliberately set. Exactly who set the fire remains a question never fully resolved. Most contemporary observers both in and outside of Germany blamed and still blame the Nazis themselves, though [author William] Shirer admits in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that “The whole truth about the Reichstag Fire will probably never be known...”
Didn't all this hysteria over terrorism start with 9-11? Like the Reichstag fire, the whole truth of how the World Trade Center was destroyed will probably never be known.* In response, Congress passed several acts designed to restrict the freedom of the American people, notably the USA PATRIOT Act, creation of the Department of Homeland Security (which makes it possible for the federal government to create a secret police apparatus), the REAL ID Act, and those Transportation Security Administration gropers and scanners.

The article continues:
A day later a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state” was passed:
“Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searchers, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”  [Does the part in italics sound familiar?]
Thus, the first taste of Nazi state terror was rendered “legal,” as over the next week Brownshirts took into “protective custody” several thousand Communist officials and many Social Democrats and liberals. These prisoners, often snatched from their homes and off the streets, were loaded onto trucks and carried off to SA barracks and hastily set up prisons where many of them were held, tortured and killed without the formality of a hearing or trial. The rationale for these drastic measures, Hitler’s government insisted, was the dire threat posed by the communist menace... 
Not to be alarmist, but if the Defense Appropriations bill stands, our soldiers will be able to do exactly the same thing, and not just to suspected al-Qaeda terrorists! And then there are those empty FEMA camps... Continuing in Conservapedia:
“The burning of the Reichstag was to be the signal for a bloody insurrection and civil war…it was ascertained that today was to have seen throughout Germany terrorist acts against individual persons, against private property, and against the life and limb of the peaceful population, and also the beginning of general civil war.” 

Compare this paragraph with Senator Lindsay Graham's statement about Al-Qaeda on our shores in the Defense Appropriations bill debate (from The Hill):
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued that al Qaeda members are enemy combatants and should be held and prosecuted by the military. He and fellow Republicans have been critical of reading terror suspects Miranda rights.

“When they say, ‘I want a lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up,’ ” Graham said. “ ‘You don’t get a lawyer. You’re an enemy combatant, and we’re going to talk to you about why you joined al Qaeda.’ ”
At this point, the democratic Weimar Republic became Adolf Hitler's totalitarian Third Reich. Let me suggest that we may have a point of comparison here with a statement of President Obama's (July 27):
[The President] admitted that “the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting” when it came to dealing with Congress over the debt deal. And while he added the caveat that our democracy doesn’t work like that – the crowd was cheering the possibility of Obama side stepping Congress and doing things his own way.
The Third Reich built a system that enriched Germany's largest industrialists at the expense of everyone else. We call that system Fascism. In one of my early posts (January 2008), I listed ten steps to fascism. This act effectively completes Step 10 (to suspend the rule of law). The only remaining step is Step 9, to assert that dissent is the same as treason, and I expect that shoe to drop very shortly. We are already close to that, as evidenced by this Washington Times interview April 6 (which I reported a month later) and this Homeland Security advisory dated April 7, 2009.

When I was a student at Ohio Northern University, I lived on the west end of a large open space on campus. I could see the sunrise (or a moment or two after, because of buildings and trees in the distance). I once had a horrific dream where I saw the sun rise, on which was emblazoned a black swastika. In the midst of the Red menace when I went there, that would have seemed ridiculous; but it convinced me then that Fascism would be a greater threat to this country than Communism ever was.

This is one dream that I do not want to come true.

(Source of the Reichstag fire account: William Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, volume II)

* Update 12/2: I have encountered some skepticism about this claim, because it suggests that I am a so-called "Truther". There is considerable evidence gathered by professional architects, engineers, and demolition experts that the World Trade Center could not have fallen the way it did solely from the planes crashing themselves through the buildings. The collapse of each building, in their professional opinion, and from films I have seen of controlled demolitions, suggest that the crash was supplemented by a controlled demolition. See the 911 Architects and Engineers for Truth site for this evidence. Also see my Dec. 2 post.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Next steps

In yesterday's post, I wrote that enactment of the defense appropriations act (S.1867) without the Udall (or Paul) Amendment would be, in my opinion, grounds for pressing for independence. I am not being rash. I have been thinking about this for several years.

However, that time is not quite yet. To become law, S.1867 has to go through one or two more steps. The first is, to be signed or vetoed by the President. The President has stated that he would veto the bill if the offending sections were not removed. To sign the bill after that statement would be an act of perfidy unrivaled in the history of the Republic, which only eleven years ago would have provided sufficient grounds for impeachment. However, with this President, we cannot rule out that possibility.

The second possibility, which offers a slender thread of hope, is that the President will veto it. To overturn the veto requires a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress. The House of Representatives would easily pass the bill again; but to override the veto, the Senate is six votes short.

Judge Andrew Napolitano asks today, "What if the Constitution no longer applied?" What is to be done?

The prudent course of action would appear to be, continue unless and until the bill is enacted; and if it is, to determine the most effective course of action moving forward. It may be necessary to stop this blog for a time, to ensure that my actions do not defeat my purpose; which is, and always has been, to restore the liberties of our Founding Fathers to the people of Ohio.

In these times, you cannot be a patriot and a coward at the same time.So choose wisely, dear reader. Remember from history the Nazi concentration camps, which housed not only Jews, but many others, including "Aryan" dissidents. Remember the Soviet gulags. Remember the "tiger cages" of Vietnam. Remember how men disappeared and died in Argentina in the days of Juan Perón. We have heard rumors of Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) concentration camps* being erected for those who commit so-called "domestic terrorism." Sen. Rand Paul yesterday noted that people who could be suspected for "domestic terrorism" under existing law include those with missing fingers, those who store guns and ammunition, and those with more than a seven-day food supply in their homes. If the FBI and the military are given free rein to pick up American citizens on the slightest suspicion, those concentration camps (some built by Halliburton, Dick Cheney's company, by the way) will become reality.

Without liberty, there is no true prosperity and no purpose in life. However, as we have often quoted Thomas Jefferson in this space, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Are you prepared to give yours, to ensure the freedom of your children and grandchildren?

* I have no way of knowing whether everything in this link is factual; however, the San Francisco Chronicle editorial in the middle of the link is convincing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The last straw

Speaking of Gestapo tactics, now come Sens. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona) to sneak into a defense appropriation bill provisions that potentially would enable the military to enter the home of any American citizen on American soil and detain them indefinitely without any warrant or trial. The bill (S. 1867, specifically sections 1031-1032) is justified on the grounds that it will give the military the flexibility and tools it needs to combat al-Qaeda. Technically, the executive would be given discretion as to whether a specified terrorism suspect should be tried in the civilian courts or a military tribunal.

It has been opposed by (among others) Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado). Sen. Udall has introduced an amendment to remove sections 1031-1032, which would conform the bill to customary American values. President Obama, to his credit, is threatening to veto the bill if the two sections are included.* The White House issued this statement giving the President's objections:
Moreover, applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.
I would have liked it better if the President could say "Fourth Amendment," but I suppose that is asking too much.

Dr. Andrew Bosworth, writing for the Canadian think tank Global Research, has done an extensive analysis of the bill, which is reproduced in the website. In an article aptly titled "Treason from Within," Dr. Bosworth cites the opinion of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld 542 U.S. 507 (2004), in which an attempt was made to detain Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American citizen, as an enemy combatant:
… it would turn our system of checks and balances on its head to suggest that a citizen could not make his way to court with a challenge to the factual basis for his detention by his government, simply because the Executive opposes making available such a challenge. Absent suspension of the writ by Congress, a citizen detained as an enemy combatant is entitled to this process.

Dr. Bosworth concludes:
The “war on terror” was originally to be waged against foreigners in far-away lands, but Rep. Ron Paul was right, the anti-terror infrastructure is swinging around to be used against American citizens.

This was the design all along.

The intention was always to immobilize the American public with a police-state control grid, now backed by the regular military, so that the process of economic extraction and political subjection could be completed.

The NDAA for 2012 represents a significant step, on the part of the government, towards a “final takedown.”

The bill’s provision for the indefinite detention of American citizens, without charge or trial, represents nothing short of an declaration of war by the federal government on the American people.
Couldn't have said it better myself, though I will add a couple of comments:

If there is danger from terrorism (and there may well be), it is because we have sent our military abroad, who have killed innocent civilians in "collateral damage." As one active-duty soldier put it, "There is no flag large enough to cover... the shame of killing innocent people" (in Pakistan, for example). Further restricting our liberties only erodes the moral standing this country once had with the world -- and for that matter, with its own people.

If this bill is enacted without the Udall Amendment, I will consider it to execute both Triggers 1 and 2 to Ohio independence (see right panel), and will thereupon press for independence in earnest.

Even if a soldier knocks down the door of my home and takes me.

Update 9 pm: The Washington Times reports that the Senate voted 61-37 to approve the bill, including Sections 1031-1032. Senators Rand Paul and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Illinois) were the only Republicans voting against the bill because of the language. Forty-four Republicans, 16 Democrats, and one independent voted in favor. The Constitution is dead. Heaven help us all.

Virtual buckeyes to Charlie Earl and Jason Rink.

* Unless Sen. Levin is right, and the President was conveniently posturing against a position he originally pressed for.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gestapo tactics

Henry D'Andrea at the Politicons website cites an Atlanta Business Chronicle article about a Waco, Georgia, crane operator who has put the following sign on his trucks:

When asked why the signs are there, Bill Looman, owner of U. S. Cranes, LLC, said, "Can't afford it." He was interviewed by the FBI following a tip that he was a "threat to national security." It was also referred to the Secret Service. However, the Secret Service's reaction was interesting:
The Secret Service left here, they were in a good mood and laughing,” said Looman, who added he just spent 10 years in the Marine Corps. “I got the feeling they thought it was kind of ridiculous, and a waste of their time.”
As Mr. D'Andrea wrote, apparently liberal tolerance only flows one way.

The slippery slope toward tyranny is getting icy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The wall of silence is cracking

Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Forbes, a business magazine I have always liked for its independent attitude, has broken the mainstream media's wall of silence against Ron Paul. I saw evidence of that wall of silence this weekend while traveling -- USA Today refused to even mention Ron Paul in its coverage of the foreign policy debates Monday evening. Pollster John Zogby, in an op-ed piece published Nov. 9, thinks that the intensity of support behind Ron Paul makes him a force to be reckoned with:
 I don’t expect Paul to drop out, or for very many of his supporters to abandon him when the process comes down to the two-person race many anticipate between Mitt Romney and Herman Cain or Rick Perry. Instead, I could see Paul gaining support, especially if Cain’s candidacy is blown up by sexual harassment charges.
Mr. Zogby likens Rep. Paul's candidacy to those of Ralph Nader, in that both have been strong rejections of the existing two-party (or one-party with two faces*) system. In his view, Rep. Paul's candidacy will pressure the other hopefuls to cater more to the libertarian wing of the party -- but notes that the reward might not be worth the risk to candidates, such as Mitt Romney, who will be facing a President Obama posing himself as a "centrist" against the "extremist" GOP.
Mr. Zogby concludes:
Paul gets labeled a fringe candidate. But in this era of a closely divided electorate, anyone who commands the allegiance that Paul does from an activist libertarian movement must be accounted for in the political calculus.
I personally do not think a Ron Paul nomination is completely implausible. The media have been feeding on Presidential candidates like piranha in the Amazon, destroying the candidacies of one after the other. I would not rule out the possibility that Rep. Paul might be the last candidate standing come June. With a choice as sharply defined as the one a Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama election would provide, we would know for sure just where the American people want to go.
On a personal note, I know my output has been low this month. I am finishing work on my book (really), and expect to get back up to speed next week.

* As evidenced by their Congressional delegations "failing to agree" on a deficit-reduction package. It's not a failure to agree -- in fact it was the reverse. They agreed to continue business as usual indefinitely.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Prophecy of the day

Jimmy Carter,
President of the U.S., 1977-1981
We are at a... turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure... [Emphasis added].

Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny...

This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation. The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them."
-- Jimmy Carter July 15, 1979

It is the responsibility of every nation to secure sufficient energy resources within its borders, to the extent possible (and with creative thinking, it should be possible for every nation, though the means will differ with climate and location).

Say what you will about Jimmy Carter, he nailed the situation we see today -- 32 years ago.

Virtual buckeye to Erin Baker Platt.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our troops know what is going on

This photo appeared earlier this week in Facebook. I'm sure some will find it offensive, but it is certainly the truth. If this country is to survive the next few years, we must bring our troops home and reduce some of the taxes used to pay for these wars to let us build up our economy!

The inscription on the flag reads, "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

My meditation today is a paraphrase of Winston Churchill:

Never in the field of human conflict have so many given so much for so little.

Those who serve know it -- and give their campaign money to Ron Paul. No one wants to give their life to an unworthy cause; but thousands of Americans have done so, not because the defense of the United States is unworthy of their sacrifice, but because their sacrifice has had nothing to do with the defense of the United States.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The importance of Issue 3

Thomas Jefferson, father of nullification
I have a running argument with a friend on Facebook who sees no value to nullification; and I admit, his arguments are impressive and, from a legal standpoint, persuasive. He sent this letter to the Columbus Dispatch, which as far as I know, was not published:

Economically, Constitutionally, and Logically, Issue 3 is a lose-lose:

Regardless of your political leanings and view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Issue 3 is a bad proposition for Ohio. The amendment would cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, result in needless litigation, and, in the end, leave us in the exact same place as now.

Throughout our 200 year history, state-level nullification of a federal law has been attempted on numerous occasions, always with the same results. The Supreme Court consistently has found that states do not have a right to ignore or override a law enacted by the federal government. (e.g., McCulloch v. Maryland, Osborn v. Bank of the United States, Cooper v. Aaron). With 200 years of precedent against nullification, what makes us think that this will be any different?

This time, it won't be any different – Ohio will not be allowed to nullify the ACA. The state will spend tens of thousands of dollars, and countless man-hours, defending a losing battle. Instead of being able to 'opt out' of the ACA, we will be back where we are now, only with a loss of money and time. Issue 3, in the end, will change nothing. 

If Ohioans see Issue 3 as the end of the matter, it will change nothing; because, as my friend writes, it has no legal standing. Nullification does not repeal a federal law, no matter how unconstitutional that law may be. Whether it can stop an unconstitutional federal law within its own state depends on how the battle of wills between the people of Ohio and the federal government plays out, as I shall explain presently.

In 1798, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which greatly restricted freedom of speech. Because of the First Amendment, the Acts were grossly unconstitutional; but there was no case to bring before the Supreme Court (before it was generally acknowledged that the Supreme Court could rule on the constitutionality of a law). Thomas Jefferson and James Madison held, in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, that when all else had failed, the states had a right to prevent enforcement of an unconstitutional federal law within its boundaries. The nullification resolutions started a political uproar that led to a new President and Congress in 1800, and the prompt repeal of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In 1832, South Carolina passed a nullification ordinance against the federal tariff. President Jackson threatened force against the State of South Carolina if it attempted to block federal enforcement of the tariff. The resulting battle of wills led to a compromise, in which Congress repealed the provisions of the tariff that were most harmful to South Carolina, and South Carolina agreed to accept the amended law. 

These were two examples in which nullification succeeded, not as a legal act, but because it sent a clear signal to Congress that the acts being nullified were intolerable to the people of an entire state. In other words, nullification is not a legal act, it is a political one. There are also plenty of examples in which nullification attempts failed – because the issue being nullified was not compelling, or because the cost of upholding the nullification was greater than what the people of that state were willing to pay.

Normally, people will uphold the rule of law and use the court system when they collectively feel that the system is just and fair. In such times, nullification efforts will fail. However, when the people find that the law has become merely "an instrument of the tyrant's will" (as Thomas Jefferson wrote), then they will resort to extraordinary measures.

In American political theory, there are three political steps that can be taken when the people find that the law has turned against them:
  1. They can vote the enactors of that law out in the next election, and elect a Congress that will repeal that law. But what happens when people perceive that system to be unjust, not just in the last few years, but over a generation or more?
  2. They can, as Ohio's voters just did, turn to nullification, to send a strong message to the Congress that the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 is infringing on the rights of the people to make their own health care decisions. Nine other states have made the same statement. But what happens if the federal government is determined to enforce its laws over repeated nullifications, or Congress is simply tone-deaf to the people it purports to represent?
  3. A state has the right to secede. Secession, like nullification, is not a legal act even though it observes a legal process. Our Founding Fathers declared independence when it found a British Parliament that was tone-deaf to the pleas of the colonists. We may be approaching a time when, having tried and failed to repeal offensive legislation or to nullify it within the states; that separating ourselves becomes the only recourse that can be initiated peacefully. We have seen instances in the last twenty years in which secession abroad has been carried out in peace; but that does not mean that any such act can be done peacefully here.
I assert the right of secession as a natural right. A good argument can also be made, based on contract law, that the Constitution of the United States is a compact between the fifty sovereign (really, sovereign) states to provide for a common defense and agreed-upon services from a servant federal government. When the federal government rejects the authority of that Constitution, the compact is broken, and the states have the right to repeal their ratification of it. 

Failing all three, there is nothing that can be done within the legal process. If the federal government is determined to suppress secession by force, then we face a situation when (again quoting Jefferson) "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants."  In other words, we would have to resort to the natural right of revolution, just as thirteen Southern states found themselves having to do 150 years ago.

The best solution is for Congress to heed the calls of the several states to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, Real ID, the USA Patriot Act, and other offensive legislation; and if it fails to do so, for the people to enact nullification ordinances all over the place until it does. But if the federal government is intent upon establishing a tyranny over us, we have the right to secede, before any of us resort to violence.
"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…"  -- Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 2.
Update Nov. 10: This is 213th anniversary of the adoption of the Kentucky Resolutions, written by Thomas Jefferson, against the Alien & Sedition Acts mentioned above.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The state issues summarized

I plan to vote Yes on all three issues:

Issue 1. I have come to oppose any laws that restrict the choices of voters (subject to one qualification, coming up), whether it be age limits for judges or term limits. Raising the maximum age to 75 is a step in the right direction, but age limits should be abolished entirely. Even better is merit selection. Most non-lawyers vote on name recognition alone. Those who go to a bit more trouble will check what the Bar Association thinks. Merit selection allows us to vote a judge in, then decide every six years whether the judge is worth keeping. (Here is a concurring opinion favoring Issue 1 from Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor).

Issue 2. If you have read this blog more than a day or two, you know that I passionately support Issue 2,  limiting (but not abolishing) the collective bargaining rights of public employees. There are flaws that need to be addressed, but the financial situation in our state and local governments calls for an immediate response.

Issue 3. This is a Constitutional amendment to prohibit the feds from forcing Ohioans to buy health care. No one should be forced by government to buy anything.* Obamacare is blatantly unconstitutional, will interfere with patient-doctor relationships, and sets a dangerous precedent for future legislation. Vote Yes on Issue 3.

* Contrary to a popular belief, Ohio's financial responsibility law does not require Ohioans to purchase auto insurance, as long as the driver can prove that he can pay $25,000 in damages as the result of an accident. (Ohio Revised Code §4509.01(K)).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Question for the anti-Issue 2 crowd

What is so horrible about paying a teacher based on their effectiveness as an educator?

Quotation of the day

Charlie Earl, again... reacting to a story in the Daily Caller (and elsewhere) about President Obama's announcement that he will "continue to act independently of Congress to benefit the American people."
Of course... it's the divine right of kings.
I think the President is serious about wanting to be a dictator.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Message of the day

Happy Halloween from Ohioans for Healthcare Freedom (the folks who are supporting Issue 3). Their email message certainly is appropriate to the day:
Government involvement in your healthcare is creepy        

A video we have produced pokes fun at the idea of government involvement in your day to day healthcare decisions, and yes, its funny.  

It's meant to be funny (and a little creepy), but still make you think about the absurdity of good old Uncle Sam being involved in your day to day healthcare decisions. 

If we couldn't laugh, we'd cry, so let's not lose our sense of humor in the face of the government takeover of healthcare.
Unfortunately, the truly scary part is that in federal or state based mandated healthcare - the government really can define your insurance for you. Bureaucrats start deciding what will and what won't be included in your newly government defined healthcare insurance.

And where previously, you had the option to switch insurers and get away from a plan you don't like, or even skip insurance altogether - now, you will participate in a government defined health plan whether you like it or not.

What does government defined insurance look like?

Well, that's the fun part - no one really knows the answer to that question. It's a moving target. What we do know is that - you don't have a say in the matter. 

And that's a huge problem. When government mandates are implemented - your freedom to choose goes out the door.

It's a slippery slope. Let's remind the government, when it comes to healthcare - three's a crowd.

Vote YES on ISSUE 3!

I support Issue 3, and urge you to share your support with others.

"When did you stop beating your wife?"

There is an old game in political circles that asks how a candidate could credibly answer the question, "When did you stop beating your wife?" If the candidate answers by denying that he ever beat his wife, he gets accused of a coverup.

There is a philosophical truth that no one can prove a negative; yet, journalists expect candidates to do this all the time. Case in point: the airwaves are all atwitter with allegations that Herman Cain had engaged in some kind of "sexually suggestive behavior" to at least two female employees when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

Note the vagueness of the accusations, as reported by Fox News:

The report said the women signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them five-figure financial payouts to leave the association and barred them from discussing their departures. Neither woman was identified.

The report was based on anonymous sources and, in one case, what [the Politico website] said was a review of documentation that described the allegations and the resolution.
Queen Victoria (1837-1901),
the model of propriety
He say, she say. We do not even know for sure that there was any "documentation that described the allegation and the resolution." What we read is what the publication said was a review, etc.

And what is "sexually suggestive behavior"? Some people would consider "sexually suggestive" that a man wear a shirt with more than the collar button unbuttoned. Given the current state of sexual harassment law, "sexually suggestive" is what the most prudish woman in the workplace says it is. Maybe Mr. Cain just winked his eye at her.

I have at present no way of knowing whether the allegations against Herman Cain are valid. I know only two things: (1) They were obviously politically motivated, and (2) They are impossible to disprove, even if Mr. Cain was a virgin* at marriage and has been completely faithful to his wife ever since.
* A man can be a virgin in the sense of definition 4.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Recording of my appearance on Global Freedom Network released

Last Tuesday, I appeared on the Global Freedom Radio Network to discuss The Ohio Republic, sovereignty, and secession with host Brent Johnson.

I was not completely happy with my performance, but it was a good learning experience.

I should add that Mr. Johnson and I disagree about several of the things he promotes, such as common-law solutions to problems with government; however, we have enough in common to justify the appearance.

Lobbyists too powerful because government is too powerful

As a member of the Libertarian Party, I frequently get e-mails from national party Chairman Mark Hinkle and Executive Director Wes Benedict. I read them and usually delete them. However, today's message from Mr. Hinkle gets right to the root of the problem with big government. I am quoting it in full:

"President Obama is currently caught in a bit of a scandal over his pledge not to take campaign money from lobbyists.
"According to the New York Times, 'Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid.'

"It's unfortunate that the president has added one more to his pile of broken promises. But it's not at all surprising.

"Our government has far too much power and money at its disposal. The inevitable consequence is that businesses, organizations, and individuals will work very hard to guide that power and money in their own favor.

"In fact, it often seems like politicians intentionally create incentives for people to try to bribe them.

"Businesses especially will fight for more corporate welfare, and also for regulations that stifle potential competitors. What choice do they have? If they don't fight for those special government favors, then someone else will, which will put them at an increasing disadvantage, and might drive them out of business.

"A recent Economist article pointed out that over the last ten years, companies that lobbied heavily had a much bigger increase in stock value than those that didn't. Executives might conclude that if you're not lobbying, you're ripping off your shareholders!

"And of course, these entities that stand to benefit from government favors will work hard (and spend hard) to get friendly politicians elected.

"Some people feel that massive campaign finance regulations will stop this unholy bargaining. It won't. When the dust settles, campaign finance restrictions usually just make life easier for incumbents and harder for challengers. We Libertarians know that only too well.

"I have to remind myself, lobbying isn't essentially a bad thing. It's an expression of our right to 'petition the government for a redress of grievances.' It provides information to politicians. But when politicians get in the habit of handing out favors, you can bet everyone is going to run up to the trough.

"The only way to reduce the power of lobbyists is to reduce the power of government. That choice rests with the voters. If voters keep electing Democrats and Republicans, then the power of government and lobbyists will continue to grow. If voters start electing Libertarians, things will change."
Besides voting Libertarian, the only long-term solution to lobbyists is to decentralize government so much that lobbying becomes impractical, except by local citizens and businesses.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is secession legal?

This issue was posed to opposing teams of British and American lawyers, asking whether America acted legally to use the Declaration of Independence to separate from the British Empire. According to BBC Magazine, the judges found in favor of the Americans, because of the American argument that the reasoning behind the Declaration of Independence already appeared in a British document in 1688: "The English had used their own Declaration of Rights to depose James II and these acts were deemed completely lawful and justified."

I still have to wonder why, if secession was so amply justified in 1776; that the same act, under similar circumstances, has been deemed illegal and reprehensible both in 1861 and today. To me, it seems logically inconsistent.

Secession will take place in the near future, because nothing really unites the country that has taken diversity to an extreme. There are no unifying principles, religion, or language. As Patrick Buchanan wrote recently (article in the Tampa Tribune, but published nationally), we will face a "secession of the heart." We need to think about this now, while it is still possible to do so in an orderly manner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Remind me why

From Judge Andrew Napolitano's Facebook page:

The courage and valor of the American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines is admirable -- the purpose of their missions, unfortunately, is not.

"National defense" means protecting the territory of the United States from foreign aggressors, such as Mexican drug lords.

Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.
But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.
She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
- John Quincy Adams, Independence Day speech to the U.S. House of Representatives, July 4, 1821

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to approach the Occupy movement

I know many people consider the League of the South to be a racist organization,* but I think their approach to Occupy Whatever is exactly right. We need to consider the same for Ohio.

From their news release Oct. 17:
The League of the South, the primary Southern nationalist organization, has watched the Occupy Wall Street movement for a month now with some interest. We have even been asked to participate in some of the protests in cities across the South.

However, we have politely declined. And here's why, according to League President Michael Hill: "Though we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Wall Street banksters are crooks, we have no interest in either occupying Wall Street or reforming it. Simply put, we want to leave it behind, along with every other corrupt institution of the American empire, and work to create a free and independent Southern republic. That is our solution. We encourage the Southern people to embrace it."(Emphasis added).
* I report, you judge.

Union bashing

A very good friend of mine protested on another friend's Facebook page with respect to Issue 2: "I'm so sick of union bashing." The friend who wrote that is a retired teacher, who undoubtedly sees the union as a protection in what has become a very stressful profession.

I firmly believe in the right to organize and to collectively bargain. There are occupations that often need a union to protect its workers from being abused by poor managers. I have cited corrections guards as a strong example within Ohio state government (see third bullet point here).

However, there has to be a balance of power. A union that is too weak is ineffective. A union that is too strong becomes a parasite that slowly kills its host (for example, much of the American auto industry). When wages and benefits negotiated by unions become more costly than the company or taxpayer can bear, they have to be cut back, no matter how much its members dislike the fact. In the government of a free society, the will of the taxpayer must always be paramount.

I understand that the original Republican motivation for SB 5 was to "bust the union," and from a Republican political point of view, it is not hard to understand why. Everyone who seeks power wants to get rid of their strongest adversaries. Democrats do the same thing when they inconsistently try to limit corporate campaign contributions without imposing the same limitations on unions.*

A union should not force workers who do not wish to join the union to pay the "fair share fee." I get that, in a way, this is unfair to the union, because non-union workers benefit from collective bargaining -- though that could be remedied by removing non-union workers from the protection of the union. For example, non-union members could be exposed to the same rules and grievance procedures as their supervisors. The point is, that by creating union shops, the unions develop power structures that are unaccountable to their own members and constituents. If the union had to work to increase its membership, or even keep the membership it has, it will be more attentive to the needs of all its members, and will greatly increase its attractiveness to non-members as a result.

If Republicans really want to bust the public employee unions, they should work for state and local governments that are so well managed that employees will not want to join a union. That strategy has clearly worked in private enterprise, as evidenced by the decline in union membership in the last thirty years. I cannot believe that it could not be applied to government, given enough creative thinking and hard managerial work.

* It is inconsistent because in both cases campaign contributions are being taken out of funds that were acquired with the understanding that they be used for a different purpose -- the unions for collective bargaining, workplace protection, and in some cases benefits; the corporation as capital or revenue from sales. I favor campaign finance laws that prohibit all contributions, except from individuals living within the candidate's district.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Exposing Progressive Capitalism

... is an interesting new page in Facebook. Its purpose, as well expressed by its logo (left), is to inform the American people how the leftist-sounding rhetoric actually serves a few large corporate interests. Republicans will not like the site, but all of us need to think about whom government is meant to serve.

For myself, I would prefer a Jeffersonian nation of farmers, shopkeepers, and artisans to the society we have now -- it would be much more satisfying physically and spiritually, and require far fewer resources to maintain. This graphic from that page neatly summarizes how corporate cronyism works, at both the federal and state level:

Dreaming of independence

Yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court rendered its decision on the Republican redistricting plan, which the Court ruled may be put up for a referendum (News article from the Youngstown Vindicator). The Vindicator recommended that a plan submitted last year by Secretary of State Jon Husted should be considered for creating more reasonably drawn districts.
Former state representative Charlie Earl must have learned this close to bedtime, because he started dreaming of independence, as recorded in his blog littlestuffminoosha.
If for some reason (pick one, any one), the district map fiasco hasn’t been resolved in time for a reasonable petitioning/filing date, reasonable primary date and sufficient time to prepare for a general election or special election, then Ohio could claim a “time out” from participation in the federal government until we get the matter resolved. Actually, we might discover that our little breather or suspension of our federal participation might not be deadly. It might even be an occasion for exercising our rights as citizens without fear of Big Government trampling them just because some bureaucrat decides it can. We in the Buckeye state may conclude that we enjoy freedom, independence, self-reliance and the ability to chart our own course without interference from the Nanny state. Freedom can be exhilarating.

It is possible that our small-minded state politicians who are more concerned with holding and exercising power than with following the national and state constitutions have provided us (unintentionally) with a golden opportunity for reclaiming our liberty. If it works out that we become a “free state,” then our first order of business should be to select legislators and administrators who know what they’re doing, who have the interests of Ohio ahead of their partisan desires, and who are NOT seeking a lifetime job at the government trough. Deep in my heart and veneered onto my brain is the hope that our venal self-serving political class has finally shot themselves in the feet. Their faulty marksmanship can set us free. Just a thought for your consideration. I’m going back to sleep now and attempt to recapture the dream.
Okay, it's an improbable scenario, but it's a start. As Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski wrote (and I quoted in August):
It may well be that the impossible at a given moment can become possible only by being stated at a time when it is impossible.
In the crisis we all know is coming, all kinds of improbable scenarios might come to pass. Remember what the USSR was like in 1989, and what happened to it two years later.