Friday, August 26, 2011

Elizabeth Wright: A tribute

It is with sadness that I report the death of 2011 Champion of Liberty Elizabeth D. Wright, which became publicly known August 19. A resident of Brooklyn, New York, Mrs. Wright was an outspoken opponent of political correctness in racial issues. She expressed those opinions through a newsletter known as Issues and Views. She began the newsletter in 1985 and converted it to a blog about ten years ago.

She particularly opposed the view that African-Americans were a victim of their race.  Instead, Mrs. Wright stressed the importance of personal responsibility and entrepreneurship as ways of creating economic opportunity; having been rooted in the political and economic philosophy of Booker T. Washington. She also saw that "political correctness" was hindering legitimate academic inquiries into the problems that affect the African-American community.

Mrs. Wright was a private person, almost to the point of being mysterious. The exact date of her death is currently unknown, and no one knows whether she had a family. I was under the impression that in age she was in her mid-seventies. She wrote a touching farewell post in Issues and Views June 20 that indicated that she was going into hospice for cancer.

While her contrarian views on racial issues were reflected in the work of 2010 Champions of Liberty Walter E. Williams and Thomas Sowell, she also became, unfortunately, a darling to white supremacists (very mild example). This may be in part because of statements like her piece "Racism is not sin." I only learned of her death because The Ohio Republic enjoyed a record hit count from one such organization accessing my 2011 Champions of Liberty citation. Perhaps this should not matter, but at a time when liberals are fond of charging people with "racism by association" (even when they are using your work, and not the other way around), it is disconcerting and a bit embarrassing to me. It is also an injustice to a woman who respected the truth so much that she was willing to be ostracized by others in her community.

This is how Elizabeth D. Wright should be remembered. She respected the truth more than anything else, and had the courage to proclaim it. May she rest in a well-deserved peace.

Update Sept. 7: Here is a longer obituary by Samuel Newhouse in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. It should go without saying that I take very strong exception to the remark by One People's Project founder Daryle Lamont Jenkins that “The only blogs that are paying tributes to her ... are all white supremacists,” but then judging from this blog post, One People's Project appears to be the Southern Poverty Law Center in wolf's clothing...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rasmussen Reports: President Obama has a 1 point lead over Ron Paul

According to a Rasmussen Report poll released on Tuesday, Ron Paul is running only one point behind President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 matchup (39%-38% of likely voters). However, the same source states that among likely Republican voters, Dr. Paul is favored by only 9%, behind Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Michelle Bachmann. Dr. Paul enjoys a ten-point lead among independent voters.

This suggests that the Republican primary will be a bigger hurdle for Dr. Paul than the election itself.

I cite these figures as a strong indicator that the libertarian message is beginning to reach the American people. However, I am not confident that, if Ron Paul be elected, that he would be able to effect significant change, because I cannot envision a Congress that would cooperate with him.

In my opinion, independence would be much easier and more effective as a means for restoring liberty in Ohio than to turn around the Leviathan in Washington.

However, both ideas are non-starters until we can persuade the Republican loyalists and neoconservatives that militarism is against our national interest.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Too many Christians are hypocrites about war

I have argued this for some time, but Laurence M. Vance argues it effectively at considerable length in The following paragraphs summarize his (and my) position nicely:

I believe the two greatest reasons religious people have gotten things so wrong are American exceptionalism and American militarism.

Many Christians are guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry. They have bought into a variety of American nationalism that has been called the myth of American exceptionalism. This is the idea that the government of the United States is morally and politically superior to all other governments, that American leaders are exempt from the bad characteristics of the leaders of other countries, that the U.S. government should be trusted even as the governments of other countries should be distrusted, that the United States is the indispensable nation responsible for the peace and prosperity of the world, that the motives of the United States are always benevolent and paternalistic, that foreign governments should conform to the policies of the U.S. government, that most other nations are potential enemies that threaten U.S. safety and security, and that the United States is morally justified in imposing sanctions or launching military attacks against any country that refuses to conform to our dictates. These are the tenets of American exceptionalism.

The result of this American exceptionalism is a foreign policy that is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. This is why U.S. foreign policy results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States. We would never tolerate another country engaging in an American-style foreign policy. How many countries are allowed to build military bases and station troops in the United States? It is the height of arrogance to insist that the United States alone has the right to garrison the planet with bases, station troops wherever it wants, intervene in the affairs of other countries, and be the world’s policeman, fireman, social worker, security guard, mediator, and babysitter.

The other reason religious people have gotten things so wrong is American militarism. Americans love the military, and American Christians are no exception. There is an unseemly alliance that exists between certain sectors of Christianity and the military. Even Christians who are otherwise sound in the faith, who treasure the Constitution, who don’t support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who oppose an aggressive U.S. foreign policy get indignant when you question the institution of the military. 

It doesn’t seem to matter the reason for each war or intrusion into the affairs of another country. It doesn’t seem to matter how long U.S. troops remain after the initial intervention. It doesn’t seem to matter how many foreign civilians are killed or injured. It doesn’t seem to matter how many billions of dollars are spent by the military. It doesn’t even seem to matter what the troops are actually doing – Americans in general, and American Christians in particular, believe in supporting the troops no matter what. Americans are repulsed by the serial killer who, to satisfy the most basest of desires, dismembers his victims; but revere the bomber pilot in the stratosphere who, flying above the clouds, never hears the screams of his victims or sees the flesh torn from their bones. Killing women and children from five feet is viewed as an atrocity, but from five thousand feet it is a heroic act. It is sometimes suspicious when a soldier kills up close, but never when he launches a missile from afar.

Christians of all branches and denominations have a love affair with the military. To question the military in any way – its size, its budget, its efficiency, its bureaucracy, its contractors, its weaponry, its mission, its effectiveness, its foreign interventions – is to question America itself. One can condemn the size of government, but never the size of the military. One can criticize federal spending, but never military spending. One can denounce government bureaucrats, but never military brass. One can depreciate the welfare state, but never the warfare state. One can expose government abuses, but never military abuses. One can label domestic policy as socialistic, but never foreign policy as imperialistic.

Quotation of the day

From Ohio Constitution Party Chairman Robert Owens* on his Facebook page, about yesterday's earthquake in Virginia:
It wasn't an earthquake, it was the Founding Fathers turning over in their graves.

* A good friend and strong defender of liberty, despite his party affiliation ;-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Iran? Forget it.

I understand Rick Santorum and some of the other Republican neocons are rumbling about attacking Iran. I have two words for them: forget it.

Where is "Jamal al-Madison"?

That is the question Mike Church asked this morning upon learning about the draft Constitution being proposed for Libya. As reported on his show, also on FoxNews, the draft appears to establish a Western-style democracy for the North African nation.

Except for one thing:

Everything else in Libyan law will be influenced by Sharia under this Constitution.

(The draft document is available on Scribd at the Heritage Foundation site.)

So President Obama illegally spent $896 million of our taxpayer dollars and risked the lives of our troops to put more women into burqas?

And people wonder why I support Ohio independence...! We would have the sense to mind our own business, and be true to our values as a nation!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Black columnist attacks President Obama -- for all the right reasons

Star Parker, writing at has unknowingly submitted an early nomination for The Ohio Republic's 2012 Champions of Liberty award, given to African-Americans who are outspoken in defense of freedom. This is the first article I have read by her, but it is clear, to the point, and pulls no punches:

It is not hard to understand why black Americans were happy that a black man was elected president of the United States. It was kind of a final and most grand announcement that racism has finally been purged from America.

But for the highly politicized parts of black America this was certainly not the only message. Because for the highly politicized parts of black America, the point has always been to keep race in American politics.

For black political culture that dominated after the civil rights movement, the point was not just equal treatment under the law, but special treatment under the law. Plus the assumption that more black political power -- defined by more blacks holding office -- would mean that blacks would be better off.

In other words, post-civil rights movement black political culture embraced an agenda exactly the opposite of what the civil rights movement was about. Its agenda was to get laws and policies that were not neutral but racially slanted and to put individuals in power based on their race and not on their character and capability.

So, according to the script of this political culture, election of a black man as president meant more than an end to racism. The conclusion had to be that if the man holding the highest political office in the nation was black, it must follow that blacks would be better off.

Now blacks have a dilemma. We have a black president and blacks are worse off. Not just a little, but a lot worse off.

She finds only two possible conclusions: Either President Obama is a "traitor to his race," or he is incompetent, or in Ms. Parker's words, "Bad policies hurt the weakest the most."

She is hoping that 
Maybe blacks will realize that they should blame Barack Obama. Not because he is black, but because he is a liberal. And because he has grown government to the point where the oxygen necessary for freedom and prosperity is being squeezed out of our nation.

Now she has hope for change we could all believe in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why do we have to go to the Brits to get the good stuff?

Case in point: this piece from The (London) Telegraph, which documents an exchange between an Iowa Tea Party activist and President Obama, in which both agree on one (and only one) thing -- we need to civilize our rhetoric.

The art of the impossible

Many readers of this space believe that independence is impossible in our time. I never said it would be easy, and I agree the hurdles are, at the moment, high. However, I would quote the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski (1927-2009):

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.

-- Quoted by Kirkpatrick Sale in Human Scale (1980), p. 519.

The Tea Parties sounded the alarm

Jeff Jacoby at likens the Tea Parties to a small-town fire siren -- loud, irritating, and absolutely necessary to summon the volunteer firemen (something I remember very well from my childhood in Greentown, Ohio). Now we hear the Left complaining that the Tea Parties are loud, irritating, and relentless. Sen. John Kerry wants them silenced by the mass media. But what about the fire?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wall Street banks fleece Alabama county government

... and this probably is not an isolated incident, from Rolling Stone (April 15, 2010). The story is intricately detailed, but well worth reading. In fine, it tells the story of how JP Morgan bribed (literally!) and temporarily bankrupted a county government paying interest and other charges for a capital improvement that got dubbed the "Taj Mahal of sewage treatment plants." And in the end, what the county employees and taxpayers got was the, uh, sludge.

I just thought I would throw this in as another example of the Eastern Establishment looting Main Street...

Ohio is still a donor state

The Economist is a British publication that many business people and I have long respected. One other virtue of The Economist is that it is not an American mainstream medium that would therefore subject itself to self-censorship. Therefore, I sit up and take notice when it issues a statistical table of the fiscal money flows between Washington and the states. In The Economist's Daily Chart blog (Aug. 1), the cumulative flows during the 1990-2009 period are documented for each state and Puerto Rico.

Ohio, the state that supposedly decides the course of Presidential elections, finished 7th worst on the list, sending more than $300 billion to Washington in that 20-year period that never came back. Here are the numbers (all figures are in billions)

What Ohio paid in federal taxes 1990-2009:     $1,569.3
What the feds sent back to Ohio 1990-2009:    $1,265.8
Taxes minus spending:                                   $   303.5

Ohio Gross Domestic Product, 2009:                $   462.0
Taxes minus spending as a percentage of
Ohio Gross Domestic Product:                                66%

Ohio has lagged the nation in economic recovery for many years, but has sent the equivalent of its entire output of goods and services for 8 months to DC for no other purpose than to support the federal government and other states.

Let's take this one step further. Assume Ohio's GDP has been essentially flat since 2009. The Fiscal Year 2012 state budget is $26.9 billion, which is 5.8% of the 2009 state GDP. Let's apply that 5.8% to one-twentieth of the $303.5 billion (average annual outflow, $15.1 billion): Do you think that if the State of Ohio had $873 million more per year in the last three or four years, the state budget crisis would have been easier to resolve?

Now, please explain to me again how remaining in the Union is in Ohio's interest? Especially if the purpose of government is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of its people?

Virtual buckeye to John Stewart.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ron Paul needs a debate coach

I only heard a little of the Republican Presidential candidate debate in Ames, Iowa, last night -- and only one answer from Ron Paul. I passionately support his ideas, but he needs work on his delivery, so that average American voters can understand what he is talking about. Fortunately, historian Tom Woods is more than willing to help, and offers some great suggestions.

Quotation of the day

"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess.  They always run out of other people's money."
-- Dame Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The deficit that should really concern us

Lawrence W. Reed suggests that the deficit in Washington really reflects a deficit in ourselves -- a deficit of character. In this opinion piece for the Christian Science Monitor, he shows how failure of personal character has translated into failure of public policy, and offers a few practical steps we can take to correct the problem.

Virtual buckeye to Andy Myers in Facebook.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Federal Reserve: "A rogue elephant"

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, international business editor for The (London) Telegraph, believes that the Federal Reserve Board is engaging in "a dangerous form of social engineering," which unreasonably punishes savers and rewards profligate borrowers. Mr. Evans-Pritchard found QE1 an appropriate response to a collapsing money supply.

He concludes:
An intellectual case can be made that inflation should be raised to 4pc to 6pc in the western world to lift us out of our debt trap. EX-IMF chief economist Ken Rogoff and others have made exactly that argument. Fine. Let debate be joined.

But if so, the Fed needs to state this openly and not carry out a social revolution by subterfuge. Any such decision should be subject to democratic endorsement by elected parliaments.

How can we bring these the central bankers to heel?
We could start by ending the Fed and going to a silver-based currency.

Prophecy of the day

From Herman E. Daly, in his book Steady State Economics (1977):

Human institutions should not be allowed to grow beyond the human scale in size and complexity. Otherwise, the economic machine becomes too heavy a burden  on the shoulders of the citizen, who must continually grind and re-grind himself to fit the imperatives of the overall system, and who becomes ever more vulnerable to the failure of other interdependent pieces that are beyond his control and even beyond his awareness. Lack of control by the individual over institutions and technologies that not only affect his life but determine his livelihood is hardly democratic and is, in fact, an excellent training in the acceptance of totalitarianism. (Emphasis added). 
Quoted in Kirkpatrick Sale, Human Scale (1980), p. 293.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Tea Party is racist

Uh huh.

Then how do you explain this article from The Root, a blog devoted to African-American news and commentary?

And this, a video in which Congressman Allen West defends Tea Party Republicans?

The best and the brightest...

... ain't so good or bright. President Obama (a product of, and supporter of, the Eastern braint trust) gave a speech at 2 pm yesterday, and the stock market continued its fall -- almost 6% in one day. And overnight, in the Far East markets, the Dow equivalent fell another 300 points.

Victor Davis Hanson explains in National Review how this dependence on academic elites has damaged the country, not least of all academia itself.

I was reminded this morning of how our situation today resembles the Wizard of Oz. We see this impressive behemoth government in Washington trying to control anything and everything, but behind the curtain are a few weak men using smoke, mirrors, and loudspeakers to intimidate the rest of us.

The people of Ohio are like the cowardly lion. When will we get the courage to use our common sense? Washington cannot help us -- Standard & Poor's downgraded their credit rating for a reason, you know. We must start helping ourselves. We could make it easier if we stopped trying to swim with barbells on our backs -- by declaring independence.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The debt crisis with numbers we can understand

David Ramsey explains:
If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year. They spend $75,000 a year and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt, reduced to a level that we can understand.
I don't think even could save the breadwinner of that family from waiting tables or becoming a troubadour wearing green tights.

I just ran a few additional numbers. If that family reduced its spending by only 4% (to that $72,000) per year, their credit card debt, assuming 4% interest (a realistic long-term rate for Treasuries) would continue to increase to $369,800 in just four years.

If that family were serious enough to reduce spending to pay off their credit-card debt in 20 years, they would have to cut spending by 40%, to $35,100 per year.

No wonder the Chinese are selling off Treasuries and Standard & Poor's is rethinking the U. S. Government credit rating. Obviously, the Congress and the President are not serious about reducing the debt.

Virtual buckeye to Teri Cain Owens on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The truth about the debt settlement

This one is worth quoting in full, from Mike Tuggle at Rebellion:

We're over $14 trillion in debt. (Hey, anyone out there know who got us into that mess?) Anyway, the best and the brightest convened in DC, where they squabbled, haggled, and hectored to find a way out of this crisis. Finally, they hammered out a solution, one that I must confess I would never have thought of:

Add another $7 trillion to our debt.


Yes, you read that right. Already drowning in debt, the DC Empire just passed "the largest increase in the debt limit in U.S. history."

As I've said before, trying to survive in the 21st century without a huge central government would be like trying to swim the English Channel without your barbells. (Emphasis added)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Smoke pot. Carry a firearm. Take your pick.

That is an inelegant way of stating a decision by the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals in Dayton in the case of State v. Stone (2011 Ohio 3617). As reported in The Blaze, it seems that Paul Stone legally purchased a firearm and has violated no laws governing its use. However, in 2007, he smoked a marijuana cigarette.

In Ohio, possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor, punishable by a $150 fine and/or community service.  However, because of the way Ohio Revised Code section 2923.13 is written, he was arrested for committing a felony. The section is quoted in pertinent part:
(A) Unless relieved from disability as provided in section 2923.14 of the Revised Code, no person shall knowingly acquire, have, carry, or use any firearm or dangerous ordnance, if any of the following apply: ...

(3) The person is under indictment for or has been convicted of any offense involving the illegal possession, use, sale, administration, distribution, or trafficking in any drug of abuse or has been adjudicated a delinquent child for the commission of an offense that, if committed by an adult, would have been an offense involving the illegal possession, use, sale, administration, distribution, or trafficking in any drug of abuse...

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of having weapons while under disability, a felony of the third degree.
I understand and sympathize with the intent of the law -- it was intended to keep dangerous weapons out of dangerous hands. However, this case should make clear that this law was badly written. How can it be considered just for a person to be locked up for a felony based on a disability caused by a misdemeanor?  I note from the law that an individual can apply to the common pleas court for removal of the disability (sec. 2923.14), but that begs the question. What does this say about our Constitutional rights, both U.S. (Second Amendment) and Ohio (Article I, Section 4)? I wrote last week that I am not passionate about gun rights. More of this kind of thing just might stir up passion I didn't know I had...

Judge Napolitano: "Secession is not an anti-American objective"

Judge Andrew Napolitano discussing secession
with Harold Thomas in Columbus, March 2010
(Photo by Jason Rink)
I just read a remarkable interview of one of my favorite people, Judge Andrew Napolitano (Fox Business Freedom Watch), by blogger Robert Ringer. This is his view of the near future:
“Well, there’s a couple ways it could go. The country could break apart into different countries. There are serious movements on the part of some [states] to secede. The notion that secession is un-American is absurd. The whole country was founded when it seceded from Great Britain, and the act of joining the Union is merely a legislative act, and any legislative act can be undone by a legislature.

“The states formed the federal government, not the other way around, and the powers they gave to the federal government they can take back. So I could see liberty-loving people flocking to different parts of the country. New Hampshire, Texas come to mind. Things go on in those states and in the government that I don’t always agree with, but they’re not as heavily regulated as, say, the People’s Republic of California or Massachusetts or New Jersey.

“We could also devolve into a revolution, where blood is actually shed over the rights of human beings. Now, it’s difficult to talk about that, but if you look at the very first act of Congress, it was the Declaration of Independence. It’s still the law of the land, and it basically says when the government takes away your rights, it is your duty to abolish the government.

“And if you can’t abolish the government by elections — because no matter who gets elected, they just keep stealing our property and our freedom — then you have to abolish the government by some other means. It’s lawful to discuss this at this time in our history. It is certainly not lawful to fire guns. But when you strike at the king, you must kill him. If you don’t, you get executed.”
The right to secession -- and if absolutely necessary, even revolution -- is guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and Article I, Section 2 of the Ohio Constitution.

How Ohio's Congressmen voted on the so-called "debt-reduction" package (S 365)

From The Washington Post:

The Congress voted to pass it 269-161. Republicans voted 174-66 in favor, Democrats tied 95-95.
The Ohio delegation voted 11-7 in favor.

Republicans in favor: Stephen Austria, John Boehner, Steve Chabot, Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Stephen LaTourette, Robert Latta, Jim Renacci, Jean Schmidt, Steve Stivers, Patrick Tiberi. (11)

Republicans against: Jim Jordan, Michael Turner. (2)

Democrats in favor: None.

Democrats against: Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Timothy Ryan, Betty Sutton. (5)