Monday, January 31, 2011

Breaking News: Obamacare ruled unconstitutional

The San Francisco Examiner and the New York Times report that Judge Roger Vinson of the United States District Court for Northern Florida has ruled the entire Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, because the provision to require individual purchase of health insurance is unconstitutional, and cannot be severed from the rest of the Act, according to reporters who have seen the decision. Judge Vinson rejected the claim that the states were "commandeered" to implement the Act, stating that however impractical to notion may be, the states could opt out of Medicare.

This is a victory for the 26 state Attorneys General who filed the suit; however, it is certain to be appealed by the Obama Administration.

The full text of the decision is not yet available.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Events in Egypt

Lew Rockwell has a whole slew of articles on the Egyptian crisis, but their comments boil down to this:

I see the essence of the story in this. An authoritarian state with rigged elections and with an extensive and brutal secret police and with control over the internet, can be brought down by direct citizen action. I said “can” since we do not know yet how this will play out. But other authoritarian states have been brought down in similar circumstances (Iran, Philippines, Romania). -- James Ostrowski, "The Death of a State."

And, under similar circumstances, so could the United States.

Gov. Kasich: "I don't need your people."

So said State Rep. Sandra Williams from the legislative Black Caucus in the video linked here (from WCMH NBC4 in Columbus), who insists that Gov. Kasich told the caucus "quote, I don't need help from you people, unquote." (at 1:31). The Governor's office then insisted that what he meant was that he did not need the help of partisan Democrats. Such a disclaimer is lame following such an impolitic outburst.

We know by now that Gov. Kasich is (1) passionate and (2) sometimes very intemperate in his remarks. Ohio, with its $8-$10 billion budget crisis needs all the help he can get. Some Democrats could be persuaded to support the Governor's plans if he approaches them with a collaborative attitude; but he probably did lasting damage with this gaffe.

I do not agree with Rep. Williams that Gov. Kasich was trying to be racist, and the Governor's Office has shown that he has tried to recruit minorities for Administration positions. I also think that trying to fix quotas by race, sex, etc., is not the way to ensure that your Administration will have all the best people.

However, I do feel very strongly that everyone should be treated with respect, and that the Governor should try to listen more carefully to other opinions. If he cannot learn to do these two things, he will end up in the same fix as George W. Bush -- even his own friends will start abandoning him. And that would be a tragedy for Ohio.

Déjà vu all over again...

J. D. Longstreet, writing for the Freedom Fighter's Journal, points out that there is a very close parallel between the times in which we are currently living, and the years immediately preceding Mr. Lincoln's War. Both then and now, states are passing nullification resolutions to prevent the enforcement of harmful and misguided federal laws. Both then and now, the people bucked a smug media that insisted that this could not be done. Both then and in the near future (if nothing changes) the people will resort to secession -- even if it means war -- to reclaim their freedom:
Look. This is serious business. I have read “smirking” reports in the mainstream media concerning the states and nullification. I expect you have seen them and heard them, as well. Here’s the truth about that: Those same kinds of reports by the press were made in the mid 1800’s and we all know what happened in April of 1861.

I don’t think the folks in the mainstream media, living their sheltered lives in the metropolitan areas on the east coast and the west coast, have any real idea of the American rage sweeping the nation between their respective coasts. They certainly give no evidence of it, if they do.

I am not beating a drum for the break-up of the United States. I am trying to make the point that if the people of America are not allowed to live and breathe free, that break-up will happen whether anyone beats a drum for it, or not! Fanning the flames of a prairie fire is not required for a little grass fire to become a huge firestorm. It requires only a spark – and sparks are flying all across this land.

Media folk may snicker at the folks in the aforementioned states if they choose. But remember, it has happened before on this very soil.
Mr. Longstreet's article shows a deep understanding of both the current issues and the history of the pre-1861 era. It is well worth reading.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ron and Rand Paul form tag team to audit the Fed

From Business Wire:
Congressman Ron Paul and his son, Senator Rand Paul, today introduced companion legislation in both chambers of the United States Congress to require a full and thorough audit of the Federal Reserve.
The bills, both titled The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011, but known better as “Audit the Fed,” are numbered H.R. 459 in the House and S. 202 in the Senate and continue the efforts championed by Ron Paul last year that won 320 co-sponsors before passing the House and 32 cosponsors in the Senate before falling short on a floor vote.

H.R. 459 starts the session with 56 original bipartisan cosponsors, while Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) are original cosponsors for S. 202.
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011 would open up the Fed’s funding facilities, such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, Term Securities Lending Facility, and Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility to Congressional oversight and audit by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office. Additionally, audits would include discount window operations, open market operations, and agreements with foreign central banks such as ongoing dollar swap operations with European central banks.
The Wall Street bankers have reason to be afraid -- very, very afraid.

The rest of us have a cause to press with our Congressmen and Senators. This is only the first step toward honest money, but we can not progress farther without it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quotation of the day

Yesterday, Charlie Earl was trying to decide which to watch and which to record -- the State of the Union Address or the Ohio State Buckeyes basketball game. (I advised Charlie to record the State of the Union so he could rewind if his jaw dropped or to get a quote right).

The following, by John K. Fockler, Jr., appeared as another comment on the schedule conflict:
One of them is an ultimately meaningless entertainment put on by generally inflated egos who believe that they're entitled to do whatever they want to do and to hell with everyone else. The other is a basketball game.

I ended up missing both, but will comment on the State of the Union after I have had time to read the transcript. The (1) Buckeyes beat (12) Purdue 87-64 and have a perfect 20-0 record.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

As Nike says, "Just DO it!"

Update Jan. 26: My good friend Teri Owens advises me that the same bill has been introduced in Texas (HB297), Montana (SB161), Indiana (SB505), Oregon (SB498), Maine (LD58), Wyoming (HB0035), and Oklahoma (HB1276). Now it's our turn.

The Hill reports that Nebraska, with some prodding from that state's Campaign for Liberty, has introduced in its State Senate* LB 515, a bill to nullify Obamacare simply and completely. Section 3 of the bill reads:

Sec. 3. (1) The Legislature declares that the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers and is hereby declared to be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.
Part (3) of Sec. 3 is even more interesting:
(3) Any official, agent, or employee of the United States or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States that enforces or attempts to enforce a federal act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the United States government in violation of the Federal Health Care Nullification Act is guilty of a Class IV felony.
State officials who enable the enforcement of Obamacare will be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.

Some members of Ohio's liberty movement have expressed the concern that our HB 11 is more of an end run around nullification by implying that parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are constitutional. At the same time, The Ohio Project's amendment only addresses mandatory health care. What we really need is a complete and blanket nullification of the law all in one place, as Nebraska has proposed.

* Nebraska has a one-house (unicameral) state legislature, which is known as the Senate.

20 things that should make you angry

From Economic Collapse. Economic Collapse is a little bit conspiracy-theoryish, but the sources are good, though in some cases, you will find the true source only on the second or third click.

#1 U.S. consumers have withdrawn $311 billion more from savings and investment accounts than they have put into them.
#2 15 billion dollars: the total amount of compensation that Goldman Sachs paid out to its employees for 2010.
#3 The number of American families that were booted out of their homes and into the streets set a new all-time record in 2010.
#4 Dozens of packages that we buy in the supermarket have been reduced in size by up to 20%
#5 One Canadian company is making a ton of money shipping "millions and millions of dollars" worth of manufacturing equipment from factories that are being shut down in the United States over to new factories that are being set up in China.
#6 In America today, the wealthiest 20% own a whopping 93% of all the "financial assets" in the United States.
#7 Only 35 percent of Americans now have enough "emergency savings" to be able to cover three months of living expenses.
#8 47 percent of all Americans now believe that China is the number one economic power in the world.

#9 If the U.S. banking system is healthy, then why does the number of "problem banks" continue to keep increasing?  This past week the number of U.S. banks on the unofficial list of problem banks reached 937.
#10 According to former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, the wealthiest 0.1% of all Americans make as much money as the poorest 120 million.
#11 U.S. housing prices have now fallen further during this economic downturn than they did during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
#12 According to some very disturbing new research, 45 percent of U.S. college students exhibit "no significant gains in learning" after two years in college.
#13 Americans now owe more than $884 billion on student loans, which is a new all-time record.
#14 The United Nations says that the global price of food hit an all-time record high in December, and the price of oil is surging towards $100 a barrel, but the U.S. government continues to insist that we barely have any inflation at all.
#15 The more Americans that are on food stamps the more profits that JP Morgan makes.  Today, an all-time record of 43.2 million Americans are on food stamps, and JP Morgan is making a lot of money processing millions of those benefit payments.
#16 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.
#17 Dozens of U.S. states are either implementing tax increases in 2011 or are considering proposals to raise taxes.
#18 The United States has had a negative trade deficit every single year since 1976.
#19 The U.S. national debt has crossed the $14 trillion mark for the first time, and at some point during 2011 it will cross the $15 trillion mark.
#20 The Obama administration is proposing a "universal Internet ID" that would watch, track, monitor and potentially control everything that you do on the Internet.

Virtual buckeye to The Liberty Voice.

Blogs I like

Regular readers already know about Rebellion and DumpDC. Here are some other blogs I like:

For those of you who like your libertarianism on the more personal family/neighborhood level, I would like to recommend a blogger who is new to me. Karen DeCoster, a resident of Detroit,  writes on such topics as distracted walking, the nutritional snow job being pulled on schools by Domino's Pizza*, Coca-Cola, and terrorist backpacks. She also is one of the workhorses in Lew Rockwell's stable. Lew Rockwell, a radio talk show host and founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (a libertarian economics think tank) publishes an extensive compendium of libertarian writing every day from a number of authors.

An Ohio writer I regularly follow is Wood County's Charlie Earl whose littlestuff-minoosha brings the big topics down to a human scale. I particularly like his curmudgeonly style, of which he is justly proud. His most recent posts deal with the bankruptcy of state governments. He was a state representative in the early 1980s, and brings that experience to bear in his political insights. Another Ohio-based blog that I check into occasionally is Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, completely devoted to restoring the states' role in the federal government by returning to the election of U.S. Senators by the state legislatures.

If you want to follow the secession and nullification movements across the U.S. of A., you can get brief news summaries from Bill Miller's Secession and Nullification -- News and Information, and from the Tenth Amendment Center (which also provides model nullification legislation and extensive resources to learn about, and persuade others to support state sovereignty).

Links to other Ohio and libertarian blogs are available on my Links page. 

And if you are suffering from insomnia, and want a sure-fire sleep aid, there's my old blog (2005-2006) on theology and politics, The Middle Way. I suppose it's conceited of me to put it under "Blogs I like," but it was a learning experience that helped train me for the blog you are now reading.

* I'm sure Donato's in Columbus won't mind :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Sesquicentennial: WHY?

Not surprisingly, the 150th anniversary of the war that continues to tear this country asunder is being debated. On the one hand, unionist and "politically correct" historians like Mark Potok at the Southern Poverty Law Center (as reported in the BrightonPittsford [New York] Post) are stressing the  war's purpose as the abolition of slavery; while "revisionist" historians like Thomas Woods and Thomas DiLorenzo, are stressing other causes, such as the desire for financial hegemony by New York bankers (a desire quite fulfilled by now, by the way), and a desire to turn the South into a colony to their interests (also largely achieved, but unraveling).

Mr. Potok writes:
Freeing the slaves may not have been Lincoln's original intent, but it became a major aim of the war, as any serious student of Civil War history knows. And the right to own slaves was, most certainly, the primary reason the Southern states seceded from the Union.

Nice, neat, simple, and not quite right. I can agree that freeing the slaves became a major aim of the war, but it was not the major aim of the war. And any serious student of what is inaccurately called the "Civil War" *  knows from the history of the preceding forty years, the issues were far more complex than just maintaining what one historian has called the "Peculiar Institution." 

It is one thing to say that commemorations of Confederate history attract racists. They undoubtedly do. But it is quite another, and very inaccurate, to say that everyone who wishes to commemorate Confederate history is a racist. After all, the South was invaded. Many poor and middle class people (including my great-great-grandfather in Virginia) saw families broken and impoverished, and homes destroyed, by a Union Army practicing the most horrible forms of destruction known up to that time. And Mr. Potok's analysis certainly does not account for the African-Americans who gave their blood to the Confederate cause, as Champion of Liberty H. K. Edgerton reminds us.

It also fails to account for the Peace Democrats ("Copperheads") in New York City and the Midwest who too often were just as racist as the Southerners at whom Mr. Potok points his finger; but who clearly saw that "Lincoln's War" would begin the systematic destruction of the Constitutional order that continues to this day.

The truth is, the war arose from all of these causes; plus the absolute unwillingness by Lincoln and the Northern financiers to arrive at the kind of reasonable compromises that peacefully ended slavery in Britain, France, and Brazil. There were Southerners, including Alexander Stephens (whom Mr. Potok cites unfavorably), who preferred to remain in the Union. If Lincoln had proposed some plan to buy freedom for the slaves, so that the economic cost to the landowners could have been mitigated, the war probably could have been avoided. But this is not what the Northern radicals wanted. So the rest, as they say, is history.

* Technically, a "civil war" is a conflict between two factions seeking control of a national government. The war we are remembering was one between two independent nations (and the Confederacy was in fact independent, even though its independence was never recognized under international law). My Dec. 20 post describes why none of the common names for this war is truly neutral. The most accurate is probably the "War for Southern Independence," but its connotation is strongly pro-Confederate.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Breaking up is hard to do"

Or maybe not.

Rebellion has posted a link to an interview on National Public Radio (of all places) on Parag Khanna's new book, How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance, which argues that letting minorities break away from one-size-fits-all central governments is the best path toward peace.

Rebellion continues:
Different cultures embrace different standards of social arrangements, and forcing others to conform to one, "universal" standard only worsens conflicts between peoples. Left to chart their own course, says Khanna, allows them to preserve their traditional way of life, and to create a compatible governmental structure.

The result will be a world where all peoples will be able to live in conditions most conducive to their own happiness, which will lead toward greater harmony and mutually beneficial relations with other peoples.

Old Rebel's comment is one that I can easily echo: "Wow. I'm still not used to being mainstream. It's fun, though slightly disorienting."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Obamacare is a Constitutional right?

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Houston, Texas) said so on the floor of the House yesterday, as reported by American Spectator:*
“The Fifth Amendment speaks specifically to denying someone their life and liberty without due process," she said in a speech on the House floor moments ago. "That is what H.R. 2 does and I rise in opposition to it. And I rise in opposition because it is important that we preserve lives and we recognize that 40 million-plus are uninsured.

She continued, "Can you tell me what’s more unconstitutional than taking away from the people of America their Fifth Amendment rights, their Fourteenth Amendment rights, and the right to equal protection under the law?”

Jackson Lee mentioned the names of several people who she said would be helped by the national health care law, including a schizophrenic, a dialysis patient, and somebody whose mother cannot otherwise get dental care. “I know they would question why we are taking away their rights,” she said.

She went on to declare, “I’m prepared to stand, extend a hand of friendship, standing on the Constitution to enable us to provide for all the citizens of this country. This bill has been vetted. This bill is constitutional and it protects the Constitutional rights of those who ask the question: ‘Must I die? Must my child die, because I am now disallowed from getting insurance?'"
So according to Rep. Jackson-Lee's logic, we have to keep all our entitlements, because to take them away is to deny people their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. And when the federal government finally acknowledges its bankruptcy and has to cut back or eliminate some of these entitlements, how would the distinguished Congresswoman from Texas reconcile her interpretation of the Constitution with fiscal reality?

* I am reporting from the American Spectator because it has the most complete account, but it has also been reported in the Dallas Morning News blog, FoxNews, NewsBusters, and other sites.

We need to round up corporate agriculture, not crops

I am not particularly well informed on agricultural issues; but I am in favor of sustainable farming, which means to me that we need to be careful what we use for fertilizers and herbicides. Jeffrey Smith, at the Institute for Responsible Technology, has written an interesting, and fairly scary, article about a "Sudden Death Syndrome" (SDS) that affects crops on land repeatedly treated with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide). The article is well-illustrated, for us non-farming types. The illustrations provide documentary evidence of the claims made in the article.

According to Mr. Smith's research, such herbicides are not only responsible for SDS, but have led to crops lacking in nutrients. Glyphosate has entered our diets through corn, soybeans, meat, and milk, and has been associated with a number of human health issues, including a sharp increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's Disease since the 1990s. In support of that claim, the article notes that one of the primary triggers of Alzheimer's is a lack of copper and magnesium in the diet. A test of glyphosate applied to a Roundup-resistant alfafa (called "Roundup Ready") showed a 20% loss in the copper content and a 26% loss in the magnesium content the year following application of the herbicide.

Mr. Smith wants the Secretary of Agriculture to deny approval for Roundup Ready alfalfa. Approval of the strain will continue to support manufacturers of potentially dangerous genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

I am sure professional agronomists can find room for argument in the studies presented; but for the layman, it provides one more example of how large-scale government tends to protect the corporation at the expense of the individual. Decentralism will strengthen local governments and peer pressure; which I suggest would actually prove more effective at dealing with such issues.

Common sense on the debt ceiling

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) explains to the Wall Street Journal how the United States can meet its fiscal obligations without raising the debt ceiling. He notes that about 67% of federal expenditures can be met without further debt, which is ten times the amount needed to pay interest on the existing debt.

Sen. Toomey grants that, "[w]ithout the ability to borrow the other third, spending cuts would be sudden and severe: Projects would be postponed, some vendor payments would be delayed, certain programs would be suspended, and many government employees might be furloughed." However, to raise the debt ceiling without getting both discretionary and entitlement spending under control, he contends, would be even worse.

I question whether it is even possible to get federal spending under control, given the entitlements, our national politics, and the depth of the debt crisis. But if it is possible, we must begin somewhere; and Sen. Toomey has suggested a good place to start.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What is "racism", really?

The following questions appeared in an anonymous comment in Rebellion. The first three questions (about Communism) have answers that will vary with personal opinion; and I, for one, do not wish to get into a shouting match with readers over whether Dr. King was or was not a Communist. He obviously favored governmental solutions to problems, and was therefore "liberal" as we currently understand the term, and he had at least one Communist (Bayard Rustin) on his staff. In the absence of an organizational affiliation, one must judge "Communism" on the basis of a person's commitment to Marxist-Leninist or Maoist ideas. Dr. King clearly espoused communitarianism, which is an integral part of the culture of both Africans and African-Americans, which stresses that the local community should be the engine for solving social problems. In my opinion, it is not valid to extrapolate that communitarianism into support for state capitalism, dictatorship of the proletariat, or any of the other central tenets of Communism.

I should add, before someone else does, that Rebellion, being a secessionist site favoring restoration of the Southern Confederacy, is sharply critical of Dr. King's plagiarism in college and of his personal morality, and is strongly opposed to observance of Martin Luther King's Birthday as a holiday. Christian faithful know that God has used some very imperfect instruments for carrying out his will -- and I suspect that Dr. King was one of those. While this reduces Dr. King's value as a role model, it does not erase the good that  his leadership accomplished while he was among us. Nor do these facts erase the thought-provoking value of the questions that follow:
Who was more Communist, MLK Jr. or Obama?

How Communist does someone have to be before people stop calling you racist for calling the person Communist?

Are there any other Communists that have a national day of recognition/holiday?

Why do those that claim to oppose slavery support modern day slavery by buying slave made products from China etc. ad nauseam?

Why do those that oppose racism here not object to the racism of American jobs going to China which is pretty much a one race society?

Why do Hispanics here and in Mexico etc. not complain about the American jobs that went from here, then to Mexico, that then went to China? Isn't that racist?

Why are white people the only people guilty of racism?

Why have American Indians and the jobs they have lost due to "outsourcing" been left completely out of the equation?

Why can it not be mentioned that illegal aliens pouring into the country displaces/replaces U.S. Hispanics, American Indians, Whites, Blacks, Orientals etc., etc.?

Why won't anyone use the word replacism since that is what's happening?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Champions of Liberty

Last year, on Martin Luther King Day, I honored three African-Americans for their outspoken support for state sovereignty and libertarian causes. Both of this year’s Champions of Liberty are well-established bloggers who are outspoken about the need for self-reliance.

Elizabeth Wright

Elizabeth Wright publishes Issues & Views, which she describes as “A black conservative's place for independent thinking and common sense -- A little oasis for those who got caught up in the momentum of the civil rights movement, but failed to discern the false from the true.” A resident of New York City, Ms. Wright began Issues & Views as a hardcopy newsletter “to counter notions of victimization and collective entitlement prevalent in the black community.” She writes that her “conservatism was derived from the wisdom of earlier generations of American blacks, like Booker T. Washington, who attempted to steer their people towards greater economic self-reliance. The newsletter also challenged ideologues who misused ‘civil rights,’ in order to deny basic rights to others and to impose politically correct mandates. Editorials were committed to principles of free speech, with the First Amendment paramount.” Like last year’s honoree H. K. Edgerton, she has defended respect for Confederate heritage.

She is also outspoken in support of free speech and a sensible foreign policy. Her comment on the Wikileaks controversy neatly ties both issues together:

We should view the WikiLeaks controversy in the larger context of American foreign policy. Rather than worry about the disclosure of embarrassing secrets, we should focus on our delusional foreign policy. We are kidding ourselves when we believe spying, intrigue, and outright military intervention can maintain our international status as a superpower while our domestic economy crumbles in an orgy of debt and monetary debasement.

Most importantly, her message stresses self-reliance and truth over victimization, “political correctness” and hatred. A message that applies equally to everyone, regardless of race, but one that is especially needed and wanted from the black community.

William N. Grigg

William Grigg is a modern muckraker, and that’s meant to be a compliment. A resident of Payette, Idaho, he thoroughly researches his topics and writes (often at considerable length) on governmental abuses of deadly force, among the police and in the military, in his blog Pro Libertate. His most recent contribution (Jan. 10) is entitled “The Cult of Sanctified Violence,” in which he contrasts government’s treatment of violent citizens with its own unrestrained violence in Pakistan. Mr. Grigg uses rather unusual language (referring to ordinary citizens as “Mundanes,” and calling Rep. Peter King, House Homeland Security Chairman, as a “former bagman for the IRA,” * for example), in support of some interesting points. In this post, he attacks the cult of “state worship”:

Hundreds of civilians have likewise been massacred in the ongoing "surge" in Afghanistan, many of them in nighttime raids by "Special Operations Forces" -- that is, death squads -- whose behavior is not easily distinguishable from that of Jared Loughner. At least a hundred thousand civilians have been annihilated in the continuing war in Iraq, which was inaugurated for reasons just as delusional as anything that percolated in Loughner's distressed mind.

For those who worship at the altar of the omnipotent State, mass murder of this kind is an exercise in sanctified violence. In a 2009 interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Bill Clinton -- who has repeatedly denounced  "anti-government" speech as a form of criminal sedition -- defined terrorism as “killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority." (Emphasis added.) What this means, of course, is that "killing and robbery and coercion" by duly authorized agents of the State isn't terrorism, it's policy

You see, bombs and drones may demolish homes, but only "anti-government" words can harm us. This is why one of the political elite's most urgent priorities is the control and criminalization of anti-government speech.

He is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment right to own weapons. This attitude may be a byproduct of his research into the abuses of police departments in specific investigations, such as those in Denver and Kenosha, Wisconsin. In these posts, Mr. Grigg conducts his own interviews.
His posts also contain unusual and detailed historical references. He compares an incident in which Rep. Allen West, then a candidate for Congress, once used a motorcycle gang for “security” to eject certain Democrats from a rally, to Nazi efforts to bring down the Weimar Republic in Germany. In his Jan. 10 post, he traces the “sanctification” of violence to an 1863 serman by Rev. Henry W. Bellows, who

extolled the U.S. President as a literally messianic figure; his text was the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, which contains the phrase "and the government shall be upon his shoulder." Those who condemned Lincoln's crimes against the Constitution, he insisted, were made of the same wretched stuff from which were formed "the enemies of our Saviour, who were always flinging in his blessed face the authority of the Mosaic law."

Bellows granted that Lincoln violated the Constitution in countless ways, but maintained that just as Jesus was the incarnate Lawgiver, Lincoln should be regarded as the living Constitution. Were the actual written document to prove an insuperable impediment to Lincoln's divine mission, "the sooner it were abandoned, the better."

See any parallels to the present day?

Mr. Grigg has courageously stood up for the Constitution and the people at a time when too many people refuse to stand up for themselves. If we (the people) do not enforce the Rule of Law against our rulers, we will allow our rulers to become a law unto themselves – one in which there are no safeguards against abuse.

* Referring to past fundraising efforts by Rep. King in support of the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ohio Project update

Commenters to my post on Wednesday about HB 11, to require General Assembly approval before implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") were disappointed that no bill in the Ohio General Assembly has yet addressed the mandatory purchase of insurance.

I anticipate that there will be several state sovereignty-related bills in this session of the Ohio General Assembly. There seems to be some opinion there that the Ohio Project should be left alone to complete its petition and place it on the ballot, which is shared by the Ohio Freedom Alliance, the lobbying arm of the liberty movement in Ohio.

As of Nov. 17, the Ohio Project has collected over 250,000 signatures, not including a blitz last Election Day. They are required to have 385,245 valid signatures, and have set a goal of 577,868. They have collected the minimum 5% of the vote from the 2010 gubernatorial election in the requisite 44 counties.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Virginia introduces honest money bill

Rebellion reports that Virginia State Representative R.G. Marshall yesterday introduced HJR 557, to create a joint subcommittee to study whether Virginia should consider establishing an alternative currency to that issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. The whereases are quite lengthy. Here is the Now therefore part:
That a joint subcommittee be appointed to study whether the Commonwealth should adopt a currency to serve as an alternative to the currency distributed by the Federal Reserve System in the event of a major breakdown of the Federal Reserve System.

The joint subcommittee shall consist of eight legislative members who shall be appointed as follows: five members of the House of Delegates to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates in accordance with the principles of proportional representation contained in the Rules of the House of Delegates and three members of the Senate to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules. The joint subcommittee shall elect a chairman and vice-chairman from among its membership.

In conducting its study, the joint subcommittee shall call or hear from such witnesses and take such other evidence as it deems appropriate and shall consider recommendations for legislation, with respect to the need, means, and schedule for establishing such an alternative currency.

If enacted, the joint subcommittee will have to submit its report to the General Assembly by November 30, 2011.

Legislation to allow silver or gold to be used as an alternative currency for the payment of taxes ("Honest Money") is being researched in Ohio.

Montana legislator wants to add teeth to state's firearms nullification bill

In April 2009, the Montana legislature passed a bill that exempted from federal law all firearms both manufactured and sold within the state, which is not interstate commerce within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8.

Now, Bob Unruh at WorldNet Daily reports that State Sen. Greg W. Hinkle (R-Thompson Falls) has introduced SB 114, which would require federal employees to obtain the county sheriff's permission to  make arrests, searches, and seizures. With some exceptions, federal officials violating this act would be subject to prosecution. The act specifically states that federal employees do not have the authority of a county sheriff within Montana. The act applies to all federal law enforcement activities within the State of Montana, except on federal lands. It is not limited to firearms enforcement. If a county sheriff is under investigation, the federal official must obtain permission from the state attorney general.

Mr. Unruh notes that this is an example of a "sheriffs first" bill, which is being talked about in several states.

This bill is downright gutsy. It will be interesting to see how the legislative process plays out on this bill. Stay tuned.

(Because of the time required to maintain a status report of legislation in other states, I will not be keeping a spreadsheet of state sovereignty and nullification resolutions this year. Readers desiring this information should check the Tenth Amendment Center site).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New General Assembly wastes no time asserting Ohio’s sovereignty

The 129th General Assembly is barely a week old, and already State Representatives Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) and Ron Maag (R-Warren County) have introduced a bill (HB 11) to prohibit Ohio departments from enforcing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (inelegantly referred to as “Obamacare”), unless it is pursuant to an act of the General Assembly, and the affected agency submits a report to the General Assembly with the following information. [For brevity, the word enforce below means to “implement and enforce” in each instance.]
  •  A citation from the federal Act requiring the department to enforce the provision,
  •  A list of waivers or options available to the state under the provision,
  •  The steps the department would have to take to enforce the provision,
  •  What individuals would be affected if the department enforced (or did not enforce) the provision,
  •  The cost to the State of Ohio or its citizens of enforcing the provision, and
  •  A list of consequences to the state if the department or agency does not enforce the provision.
 This bill does not duplicate the Ohio Project’s proposed Constitutional amendment exempting Ohioans from the requirement to purchase health care coverage. The Ohio Project is still circulating petitions for that amendment, which it expects to place on the November 2011 ballot.

I have included HB 11 on a new legislative spreadsheet, which may also be accessed from the Legislative Action tab above..

The perils of punditry

Experience has shown that relatively few posts in The Ohio Republic draw comments. This is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, commenters to this space are either supportive, or are thoughtful in their criticism. We have been blessed by the absence of the childish sniping that too often occurs in comments to media and other blogs. On the other hand, there are times when I crave feedback and receive none.

My post on Monday so far has drawn an unusually large response – eight comments from others, three of them on the Facebook page. I would like to share one from an old friend, whose sympathies I know to be decidedly liberal:
Instead of trying to defend the indefensible (and how on earth do you defend Sarah Palin’s "reload" ...comments let alone all her other violent metaphors?),  why don't we just all agree the political rhetoric (from all sides) is poisonous and contributes to the agitation of those who are unbalanced. We need to respect each other despite our VERY different viewpoints on how to achieve progress for mankind.
I would not go so far as to argue that all political rhetoric is poisonous; but we clearly need to work toward eliminating all poisonous rhetoric. We need to reject all political rhetoric that calls for violence, even metaphorically.  Everyone of good will agrees that our society is very broken. Our (good) rhetoric should aim toward its rebuilding.

I do not apologize for my appeal to the Left (the need for which was thoroughly documented by Michelle Malkin); but as two commenters pointed out, the Right is not blameless. They support their charges with examples of a vitriolic statement by Glenn Beck against filmmaker Michael Moore and some tasteless t-shirts offered for sale to Tea Party followers.

In my second anniversary post (Sept. 13, 2009), I cited State Rep. Ted Celeste (D-Upper Arlington), who has campaigned for greater civility in political discussion. He said:
We politicians are as much to blame as anyone. Our discourse has become partisan and angry, thoughtless and hurtful and totally lacking in civility. We are headed down a very dangerous path, and this is not the type of leadership that our constituents expect of us.
Last Saturday, we saw where that dangerous path ends. While we are not responsible for what Jared Loughner did, we are responsible for what we say and the way we say it. Freedom of speech carries with it the responsibility to use it wisely.

Being human and passionate about the cause of liberty, I will make mistakes. And I am thankful for the commenters who make the effort to keep me honest, because it is the truth that will set us free.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Governor John R. Kasich

John Kasich is a passionate man. He is anxious to roll up his sleeves and solve the problems that have plagued Ohio for over a generation. Because he is passionate, he is vulnerable to being portrayed as the bull in a china shop and prone to the occasional gaffe (such as an opinion he expressed last month about state employees). He left a bad taste in many mouths for the rabid negativism of his campaign against Gov. Ted Strickland. It seems, however, that political campaigning brings out the worst in otherwise worthy and virtuous people. On the other hand, I remember him as an energetic Congressman who wanted to show the American people what fiscal responsibility looked like; and partly as a result of his prodding, the federal budget was balanced from 1998 to 2000.

The purpose of an inaugural address* is to set the tone for an administration, to help the citizens understand where the new Governor is coming from, and to provide a general direction. Policy matters are deferred to the State of the State address, usually given in March.
The inaugural address, which Gov. Kasich says he wrote on Christmas Day, did not convey the arrogance that sometimes came across during the campaign. Rather, it was a statement of his fundamental values: faith, family, friends, and teamwork.

On teamwork:
I want to thank Ohioans, all Ohioans, for giving me the chance to form a team. To form a team. And to transform our great state. You know, years ago, I used the word “I” an awful lot. I don’t know whether it is age or whether it’s prayer or it’s the constant beating that my friends give me, but it’s not “I” any longer. It’s “we.” I learned long ago working with my great pal [U.S. House Speaker] John Boehner, only teams, only teams can accomplish great things. And you know, ’ole Woody was right, there is no “I” in team. And together, we, as Ohioans, can get this job done.

You know, my inauguration, the conductor of a great orchestra, with all of you playing an instrument in that orchestra, my inauguration is your inauguration. I want everyone to understand that I hope you can realize we accept this responsibility together. I have a sense that across Ohio, people know we have a challenge. So today, we’re all inaugurated into a better day. You know, I’m only a servant, I am only a servant, a public servant . I report to the people. I report to you, the people.

And, later, he said with refreshing humility, “I am a servant of the Lord.”

He shares an observation I have made in this space many times:
You see, Ohio has wide horizons, we have unlimited opportunity. Ohio is an exciting place. And I have come to understand as a grown man what Ohio is all about. We are about common sense. [Emphasis added]
Common sense. Reforming state government so it provides better services at less cost. With respect to doing more with less, this has been a mantra in state government since Gov. George Voinovich used those words in his first inaugural address twenty years ago. If anyone can bring innovation to Ohio government, it would seem to be John Kasich. It helps that he is supported in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly by Republican majorities.

Not that innovation will be easy:
It’s our mountain to climb. Can you see it? Can you see that mountain? I know you can. We can climb it. One step at a time. Helping each other to be strong. Together, that mountain, we will reach the summit.
When the going gets tough, when the legislature balks, when the newspapers are nipping at your heels, remember you said this, Gov. Kasich, and keep those words in your heart. In so doing, you will find success.

Best wishes for a successful Administration, Gov. Kasich.

* Text of Gov. Kasich’s inaugural address, from the Columbus Dispatch.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Advice to the Left: Look in the mirror

In the wake of the mass killings committed by Jared Loughner in Arizona, we are now hearing pious words from commentators like MS-NBC's Keith Olbermann (see Washington Post article), who charges that the Tea Party movement is inciting violence with its rhetoric. He also wants us to believe that Sarah Palin's crosshairs logo applied to a list of incumbent Congressmen she wants to defeat are having the same effect, and that Glenn Beck is inciting revolution.


No one of sound mind condones what Jared Loughner did. He should be prosecuted and given a fair trial according to our rule of law. If he is competent to stand trial and the evidence is conclusive that he committed the crime, he should be tried and, if found guilty, sentenced appropriately.

So far, reports of Jared Loughner's politics have shown considerable ambiguity. The hook the Left seems to be trying to use against the Tea Party and conservative commentators is that he favors a gold-backed currency (honest money). 

I have followed the Tea Party movement very closely almost since its inception, and I can say with complete confidence that neither the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin, nor Glenn Beck* have ever advocated the use of violence in pursuit of liberty. There may be a few commentators in the extreme fringes of the militia movement doing so on short-wave radio; but they have small followings, and they deserve to be condemned (but not censored) for their views.

It has been evident for several months that the Left has desperately sought to find a violent event on which to hang the liberty movement, and apparently they think they have found one here. But the truth is, the liberty movement believes strongly in the rule of law. Our principal objections to recent Administrations has been their contempt for the rule of law as embodied in the Constitution of the United States.

The Left needs to look in the mirror. Can its followers honestly say that our rhetoric is any more violent than that of Saul Alinsky or Van Jones? Or for those few who can remember history, the radical movements so beloved by the Left in the Sixties, such as the Weather Underground and the Black Panther Party?

My challenge to the Left: Use reason to attack our positions. Stop trying to run us out of the public space. If you want domestic peace, respect honest dissent.

Update 1/10: The Hill, a newspaper and blog reporting on Congress, notes that "Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress." Of equal interest is the comment below the post by Creed, reminds me that I have a short memory:

But putting cross-hairs on Pres. Bush, while he's making an address, on CNN or adding the words "s[***]er wanted" when his picture is posted on a late-night talk show is all right? Or a "documentary" on the Day the President Died (Bush, of course) That's not inflammatory rhetoric, is it?
 No. Only when it comes from the Right, apparently.

* Faithful readers of this space know that I have vigorously criticized both Mrs. Palin and Mr. Beck when the occasion called for it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Georgia introduces "Honest Money" resolution

From Michael Boldin at the Tenth Amendment Center  Unindented portions below are also quoted from the Tenth Amendment Center site. The term "Constitutional Tender" is a more formal synonym for what we in Ohio call Honest Money. Honest Money is the only practical way we can protect ourselves from the hyperinflation in Federal Reserve Notes that will come when investors lose confidence in the dollar.

In the 2011 legislative session, Georgia will consider House Bill 3 (HB3), which states, in part:
The General Assembly finds that, as mandated by Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, the state shall not “make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” Federal Reserve Accounting Unit Dollars, having no redeeming value in gold or silver coin, shall not be made a tender in payment of debts by the state.
and further:
silver coins, silver eagles, and gold eagles shall be the exclusive medium which the state shall use to make any payments whatsoever to any person or entity, whether private or governmental. Such coins shall be the exclusive medium which the state shall accept from any person or entity as payment of any obligation to the state including, without limitation, the payment of taxes; provided, however, that such coins and other forms of currency may be used in all other transactions within the state upon mutual consent of the parties of any such transaction
The result? Bill Greene sums it up best in a recent Tenth Amendment Center op-ed:
Over time, as residents of the State use both Federal Reserve Notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve Notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve Notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the State’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the State (as citizens residing in other States carry out their desire to bank with sound money), and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve Notes for any transactions.
You can download the Constitutional Tender Act template here:

Track Constitutional Tender legislation in the states at this link:

How decentralism works

This article in, by my friend Michael C. Tuggle ("Old Rebel" in the Rebellion blog) explains why dynamic relationships between smaller entities make for more efficient and effective government. He uses Switzerland as an example.

The article is nearly seven years old, but is more applicable now than ever.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why I will never be elected Governor...

The Columbus Dispatch has a budget simulator, which can help you decide where you would find the $8 billion Ohio needs to balance its fiscal 2012-13 budget. It consists of 34 multiple-choice questions. The selections you make generate the "headlines" shown. 
My values were:
  • Do not increase tax rates, but make existing taxes more consistent in their application.
  • Make cuts across the board to spread the pain as evenly as possible. (Note that I just proposed cutting my own salary by 3%) ...
  • Pay for everything now, not delaying it until later by infusion of one-time funds.
Of course, a budget simulator has its limitations -- in reality, I could have fine-tuned the surplus to a smaller amount by reducing tax increases or spending cuts by lesser amounts. The value of the simulator is to show just how politically and morally difficult it is to make these kinds of decisions. I particularly hated the "drug tax," but thought its economic impact would be less harmful than directly increasing the income or sales tax.

On the long run, I favor abolition of the income tax, a simpler property tax that taxes only the unimproved value of property, and working out a gradual program of reducing and redirecting state services and entitlements to minimize (but of course, not eliminate) the pain to individuals.

Tomorrow's "news," from The Columbus Dispatch budget simulator -- if I were Governor:

Governor's budget plan more than erases deficit
Thomas surplus called 'painful, needless burden'

The governor today gave the General Assembly a proposed state budget with a surplus of $43 million.

The plan brought immediate objections from lawmakers and a host of interest groups, especially those representing taxpayers, who excoriated the governor for seeking to raise a surplus 'during the worst recession in two generations.'

Tomorrow's headlines if Harold Thomas were governor:

  • Poor and sick decry 'drug tax' at huge Columbus rally
  • Lawmakers heed loud tax protests from Ohio families
  • Thomas ripped for 'robbing' local governments

    'Staggering' new local taxes predicted

  • Medicaid cuts called 'brutal' to Ohio's poor
  • Business tax hike will 'strangle' growth, critics claim
  • Homeowners vow to defeat Thomas
  • Disabled veterans brandish crutches, canes at Governor's Residence

Your choices

  • Property tax subsidy: Reduce subsidy by 5% (raises $170 million)
  • Commercial activities tax: End exemption for first $1 million in sales (raises $250 million)
  • Exemptions: End sales-tax break for packaging and packaging equipment (raises $460 million)
  • Exemptions: Apply sales tax to prescription drugs (raises $1.3 billion)
  • Exemptions: Cut income-tax deductions for spouse and children by half (raises $500 million)
  • Aid to K-12 education: Halve aid that makes up for elimination of tangible personal property tax (saves $1.1 billion)
  • Aid to colleges & universities: Cut aid by 10% (saves $340 million)
  • Aid to cities & towns: Halve aid that makes up for elimination of tangible personal property tax (saves $380 million)
  • Aid to libraries: Cut aid by 25% (saves $190 million)
  • Spending on adult and youth prisons: Cut spending by 25% (saves $900 million)
  • Medicaid: End optional coverage for dental, vision, podiatry and hospice (saves $1 billion)
  • Medicaid: Cut spending for nursing-home care by 5% (saves $260 million)
  • Medicaid: Cut spending for hospital care by 5% (saves $110 million)
  • State employees: Cut pay by 3% (saves $200 million)
  • Department of Mental Health: Cut by 20% (saves $180 million)
  • Close other state departments: Developmental Disabilities (saves $634 million)
  • Close other state departments: Veterans Services (saves $64 million)
    Sell or lease state assets
  • Allow oil and gas drilling on state land (raises $25 million)
To which can be added:
  • State employee unions excoriate governor for salary cuts
  • House Democrats call for impeachment proceedings against Libertarian Governor.

George Soros, in his own words

On Nov. 10, I published an article on billionaire financier George Soros, who is actively promoting the destruction of the United States dollar in favor of a global currency. (Followup article, Dec. 3).

In this article from The Economic Collapse, there is a video in which Mr. Soros explains his vision in greater detail. The article includes a textual summary of the video.

I do not advocate spending too much time reading about Mr. Soros, because his agenda is essentially the same as that of other backers of the "New World Order," but his statements do lend urgency to our need to be vigilant, and to make necessary reforms to protect our freedom, as suggested in my 2011 Legislative Program and the Platform of The Ohio Republic.

The 2011 Legislative Program

Last year, we set five goals for the 128th General Assembly:
  1.  Gradually repeal the Ohio income tax (HB 400).
  2.  Redirect federal tax funds to the Ohio Department of Taxation (on the drawing board, details).
  3. Enact an Honest Money initiative (on the drawing board).
  4. Enact a Constitutional amendment to nullify mandatory participation in a federal health care program (HJR 3, SJR 7, HB 489, SB 244).
  5. Nullify federal law for weapons manufactured in Ohio (HB 315).
The partisan division of the General Assembly between a Democratic House and a Republican Senate resulted in the smallest legislative output in many years. In addition, legislative research on the second goal has failed so far to produce a practical solution to the problem.

We are no longer advocating the state sovereignty resolutions. They were valuable two years ago as educational tools to help the legislators and the people understand the concept of state sovereignty; but they were symbolic in character. Largely spurred by the Tea Parties and the federal health care initiative, we have moved on to asserting that sovereignty through nullification bills.

Here are the goals we recommend for the 129th General Assembly:
  1. Gradually repeal the Ohio income tax.
  2. Enact an Honest Money act to facilitate the use of gold and silver in payment of taxes, thus encouraging their use in everyday transactions.
  3. Enact a Constitutional amendment to nullify mandatory participation in a federal health care program, which would accomplish the objective of the Ohio Project’s petition campaign.
  4. Nullify federal law for weapons manufactured in Ohio.
  5. Rebuild the organized state militia, to protect Ohioans from illegal immigration, terrorism, and egregious military actions against the people of Ohio by the federal government.
Items 1 and 3 will strengthen our state’s economy. The other items are necessary to protect the rights of our people, and are critical elements to making good a declaration of independence, if all else fails.
Additional information on pending liberty-related legislation is available in the Ohio Liberty Council site.