Friday, September 30, 2011

Judge Napolitano strikes again!

Judge Andrew Napolitano and Harold Thomas,
March 2010
Is freedom in America a myth or a reality? Judge Andrew Napolitano asks a series of questions, which seem to answer themselves as he goes on. The style of the article does not lend itself to quoting it here, but I encourage you to read it in

Virtual buckeye to Andy Myers.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The burning issue

We face many issues in national politics today. Building our economic base to employ our people, resolving our foreign wars, maintaining value in our currency, ensuring access to health care, and ensuring the stability of Social Security and Medicare, are just a few of them. We hear debates between candidates that offer many approaches to these and other issues.

However, all of these discussions boil down to one burning issue. Its resolution will determine how, and how well, the others will be addressed. It is this: Do we have the confidence to govern ourselves?
Those who have that confidence favor local solutions, personal responsibility, defense at home, and entrepreneurship. They share Thomas Jefferson's vision of a nation of farmers and artisans, living perhaps more modestly, but in harmonious and spiritually satisfying relationships with God and their neighbors. They want to enjoy the wealth that they have created through their own efforts. They want charity to come from the heart as they cheerfully give of their bounty. Jeffersonians seek impartial justice. They seek the highest expression of human creativity and service.  They are willing to accept the risks of financial insecurity in exchange for the blessings of liberty.

Those who lack that confidence favor top-down solutions, collectivism, empire-building and corporate investment. They share Alexander Hamilton's vision of a wealthy and powerful nation that builds on the sacrifices of its people.  They find that religion and tradition hinder progress. Their notion of charity is doling out money from the government as it confiscates the work of others. Hamiltonians seek a perversion of justice that favors their friends. They seek productivity and a strong bottom line above everything else, and condition the people to accept the loss of liberty in the name of personal security.

This burning issue has been with us since 1787. In the early years of the Republic, the clash between the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian visions provided a creative tension that helped build the nation. When Andrew Jackson shut down the Bank of the United States, the Jeffersonians prevailed, but only for a generation. Abraham Lincoln's crusade to "save the Union" supposedly resolved the issue for all time, as the Hamiltonians gained, and continue to hold, the upper hand.

Today, we see where Hamiltonian corporatism has taken us. The federal government has nearly destroyed the initiative of the people and the states to solve their own problems. It has confiscated the wealth of its people in taxes and destroyed the desire to create new business opportunities. American manufacturing has become a faint memory of the past, as its jobs and money have been exported to other lands. The Hamiltonians have built a "nanny state" that has even turned many of our adults into spoiled children living as its dependents; instead of the productive, contributing people God meant us to be. It has brought us to economic ruin. The near future is likely to bring poverty for the majority, hyperinflation, slavery to the state, mass frustration, and revolution.

The differences between Democrat and Republican, "conservative" and "liberal" are no longer relevant. Both Republicans and Democrats are Hamiltonians. The Jeffersonians have been relegated to minor parties, Tea Parties, media obscurity; and being informed by their self-appointed betters that they and their Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, are "wingnuts" unworthy of being reported in the media, let alone enjoying a place at the table.

The Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian visions are utterly incompatible. Those who would harmonize the two positions might as well try to make a compromise between good and evil. The only people who benefit from a powerful national government are bankers, the military-industrial and medical-insurance complexes, and the politicians they can buy in Washington. The rest of us not only suffer financially, we suffer from the wasteful loss of lives in wars that have nothing to do with defense, and everything to do with greed.

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. Every election in the last sixty years has replayed the same struggle. Yet, regardless of which party has been in power, the result has been the same: more power and more money to Washington, less freedom and less opportunity for us. We keep hoping against hope that things will be better after the next election. We should have learned by now that elections alone cannot fix a corrupt system.

Can we cure our own insanity? Right now, we can work with our state legislators to defend our interest through nullification and secession, but this opportunity will not last long. We can assert the self-confidence to rule ourselves and to cultivate the virtues we need to maintain a free society. Or we can settle for the tyrant who promises security, even after he begins to jail and murder us by the tens of thousands. Do not say it cannot happen here. We are human. We have known for thousands of years that our actions will eventually bring predictable consequences. The laws of human behavior do not respect "American exceptionalism."

This is the burning issue: do we have the confidence to rule ourselves? Its resolution will determine how, and how well, the others will be addressed.

Ford muzzled under White House pressure

The New York Post reports that White House pressure caused Ford to withdraw a television ad in which the owner of an F-150 pickup truck showed that he was not about to become the party to any bailout:
“I wasn’t gonna buy another car that was bailed out by our government,” says the Ford owner. “I was gonna buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on [its] own -- win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about, is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me.”
At least as long as the White House does not complain about the competition to "Government Motors."

I'M not laughing...

From the Raleigh News-Observer, via* North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue suggests that Congress suspend the 2012 elections to fix the economy. Her staffers later tried to dismiss it as a "joke" or sarcasm, but as Publius at wrote, "If that was a 'joke' then Gov. Perdue may have the worst sense of comic tone and timing in history."

I have heard on occasion that the President has ambitions of becoming a dictator. In a speech July 27 to the Latin-American group La Raza**, President Obama
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 whole scenario reminded Glenn [Beck] and Pat of (nerd alert) the scene in the Star Wars prequel where Palpatine grants himself emergency powers – effectively making him The Emperor – as the Senate cheers on. Pat even played audio from the scene where Natalie Portman’s character says, “This is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.”

Gov. Perdue's remark, then, might actually be a trial balloon for suggesting a suspension on a national level.

I'm not sure whether this makes it scarier or more comforting -- we've heard this before in rumors prior to 2008 that Homeland Security (during the Republican Bush Administration) might suspend that election in the event of a terrorist attack (see article by Michel Chossudovsky in the Canadian Global Research site for details)

This is close enough to my Trigger #1 to justify Ohio independence. Once a suspension is put into place,  there is no assurance that it will ever be lifted.

* And many other places. This is one video that has "gone viral" on the Internet.
** German translation: Das Volk. Choice of language intentional.

Cartoon of the day


Virtual buckeye to Teri Cain Owens.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quotation of the day

Dwight D. Eisenhower
President of the United States 1953-1961
By one of the most underrated Presidents in U.S. history, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. ... Is there no other way the world may live?
Virtual buckeye to William Golden.

What a concept!

From Farmer's Pal via Robert Owens:

Eating locally-grown produce, even if not (strictly speaking) organic, would be a vast improvement over the white tomatoes that get shipped in from California. Home canning preserves food through the winter with most of its original flavor, and none of the chemicals that preserve what we get from Argentina and Chile. Some think this is a step backward. I beg to differ.

Update on the IHOP raids

I posted a report from the Toledo Blade Sept. 20 of a raid by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security on several International House of Pancakes restaurants in northwestern Ohio and Indiana, in which many boxes of records were seized.

The franchisees owning the restaurants are Jordanian-Americans. While the FBI has refused to provide any information, there appears to be some suspicion of terrorist activity within subsequent stories published by the Blade. Here is the latest, from Sept. 22.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Outsider take on Ohio's "Heartbeat bill"

Russell Longcore, of DumpDC, who is often quoted in this space, gave an interesting take on Ohio's HB125, a bill to outlaw abortion once a heartbeat is detected in the fetus:

Politics meet religion in Ohio – The Ohio legislature [House] recently passed the so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” named because it outlaws abortion at the first detectable heartbeat of a human fetus. Now the bill must be passed by the Ohio Senate before it can be signed into law. It will be the most restrictive abortion law in the nation if passed. Remember folks…this is not about reproductive rights. You have all the reproductive rights you deserve…right up to the instant you get pregnant. Then your rights properly morph into responsibility…which is what REAL rights always do anyway. This is about whether or not it’s OK to kill another human being because its existence is inconvenient. Natural law bestows the right to life and NONE of us get here without some help. Good luck, Ohio. Godspeed. About 50 million lives have been snuffed out since Roe v. Wade in 1973. The oldest of them would be nearly 40 years old now…paying into Social Security and Medicare. OOOPS. Unintended consequences suck, don’t they?
The Constitution leaves decisions on these matters up to the states. They are not federal responsibilities. If Ohio wants to outlaw abortion entirely, and another state wants to allow it up to birth; that is up to the people and legislatures of the respective states; and is no one else's business.

Down on government? You are not alone

The Gallup Poll has released a series of measures of public confidence in the federal government. Nearly all of them are at or near record lows, including 81% dissatisfied with the way the nation is governed, 15% approval of the way Congress is doing its job, and 49% who now feel that the federal government poses "an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens."

Gallup's bottom line: 
Americans' various ratings of political leadership in Washington add up to a profoundly negative review of government -- something that would seem unhealthy for the country to endure for an extended period. Nevertheless, with another budget showdown looking inevitable and a contentious presidential election year getting underway, it appears the ratings reviewed here could get worse before they improve.

So it appears that I am not the only "gloom and doomer" around here...

... and I am NOT a "conservative" ... or am I?

My Nolan Chart
According to the Nolan Chart (based on the "World's Smallest Political Quiz"), I definitely am not "conservative" in the sense that I generally favor social restrictions with my economic liberty. In fact, I appear to be just a bit left of center, a fact that never ceases to amaze me.

However, in 2007, Harrison Bergeron gave a rigorous definition of conservatism in Conservative Heritage Times that also appeals to me, even down to the defense of marriage (though we probably disagree as to whether government should bolster that defense).

In Mr. Bergeron's view, conservatism essentially takes three political positions: to favor limited, decentralized government, preservation of traditional culture, and a rejection of intervention "at home and abroad." What he means by the last is that conservatives are opposed to social re-engineering projects, taking of property to effect equality of outcome instead of equality of opportunity; and of course, military adventures abroad.

By contrast, neoconservatives favor big centralized government, universalism ("local culture at home and abroad are impediments to their globalist agenda"), and global interventionism.

Leon Trotsky
Mr. Bergeron then goes on to show how neoconservatives have even admitted that their philosophy is based on that of Soviet Communist Leon Trotsky. Here are two examples:

President George Bush follows the Neocon/Trotskyite agenda of global liberation in his second inaugural address:
Because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts we have lit a fire as well, a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power; it burns those who fight its progress. And one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
And here is a confession from Stephen Schwartz in 2003 published in National Review, long thought to be a "conservative" publication:
“And the fact is that many of the original generation of neoconservatives had a background of association with Trotskyism in its Shachtmanite iteration; that is, they belonged to or sympathized with a trend in radical leftism that followed the principle of opposition to the Soviet betrayal of the revolution to its logical end. The Shachtmanites, in the 1960s, joined the AFL-CIO in its best Cold War period, and many became staunch Reaganites.
This path had been pioneered much earlier by two Trotskyists: James Burnham, who became a founder of National Review, and Irving Kristol, who worked on Encounter magazine.”
And how does that author feel about Trotsky today?
“To my last breath I will defend the Trotsky who alone, and pursued from country to country, and finally laid low in his own blood in a hideously hot little house in Mexico City.”
Click to enlarge
Trotsky appropriately depicted at lower left
Both liberals and neocons have this agenda, as observed by the Chicago Tribune April 21, 1934 (cartoon at left -- the link explains the roles of the men riding the donkey and the cart).

In other words, neoconservatives are liberals in sheep's clothing. Keep this in mind the next time that Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or even David Webb try to confuse you or your friends into thinking that neocons are "conservative." And for my part, I will consider the possibility that I am.

Virtual buckeye to Rebellion.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rick Perry is NOT a secessionist

Let's get the record straight. Rick Perry is not a secessionist. That he is even associated with Texas secessionism is more the result of careless speaking, bad reporting, and the desire of the neoconservatives to see him out of the Presidential race.

What really happened (supported by news reports at the time) was that he was speaking to a Tea Party in Austin April 15, 2009, when someone in the crowd yelled "Secede!" He answered the remark this way, as reported at the time by the Houston Chronicle:
Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,” Perry said. “My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that.”
He suggested, in a thickly veiled way, that he could imagine a situation in which secession might become necessary, but he never supported the notion.

To one who does support secession from his state, Gov. Perry's remark sounded like an attempt to laugh the idea off.

Anyway, it is self-contradictory and politically suicidal for a U.S. Presidential candidate to favor the right of secession.

When states begin exiting from the Union, Washington will do everything it can to resist; but it may not have the support and the resources Lincoln had to quash it.

My impression of Gov. Perry is that he is trying to walk a tightrope between the paleoconservative and neoconservative wings of the Republican Party. If I were a betting man, I would wager that he is going to fall off.

Update Sept. 26: Brent Budowsky at The Hill submits a concurring opinion, observing that the race for the Republican Presidential nomination is not, and never has been, a "two man race." Rather, it is like "the Wild West."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why healthcare is too important to be left to the state

Doug Stewart at shows wonder at all the marvelous machinery and devices that occupy the rooms and halls of the modern hospital -- especially considering the risks taken by those who developed them that they might not succeed in the marketplace.
He warns that those who favor state-managed health care might kill off the desire to build new solutions to medical problems:
Despite the marvels of the marketplace advancement in health industry, there are two morally attractive but wholly dubious arguments regarding health care that we ought to guard against. The first is that health care is too important to be left up to the free market. Seriously? Take a stroll down the hallways of a local hospital and try to convince yourself that all this stuff can be produced through central planning, even if only for a single industry. If universal health care were indeed possible, its advocates take for granted that the marketplace itself provided the myriad luxuries provided in the medical industry. Universal health care is a direct result of the wealth created by the entrepreneurial spirit in the medical industry. Nobody was crying for “universal health care” 500 years ago.

A second but related complaint is that some people shouldn’t get rich off of other people’s ailments. Never mind the obviousness that whatever wealth is acquired it is in the solving of those ailments! What troubles the anti-market health care enthusiast can be sufficiently blamed on the word “care” in “health care.” The additional word introduces concepts such as intentionality or purposefulness or planning. The patient (who is a type of consumer, by definition, regardless of our sentimental objections to the term) must be cared for by her doctors and nurses. Yet if we consider the economics of the doctor-patient relationship, we realize that the success of the doctor depends on the quality of care they provide, both medically and emotionally. It’s an enormous asset to have a genuinely caring physician. What’s more important is competence and honesty, something a market is equipped to facilitate?
Free markets in health care and health care insiurance (which would require the government to bug out -- including Medicare and Medicaid) will hold costs down and will facilitate a higher quality of care for everyone. I found it to be true years ago, and I have no doubt that it would be true now -- if we will just let the free market system work.

Triggers to Ohio independence

Yesterday, I suggested that the likely result of an Article V Constitutional Convention should be a trigger to Ohio independence. Here is a more complete list:
  1. Replacement of the U.S. Constitution, or any amendment thereto that reduces the rights enumerated in the first ten amendments (Bill of Rights).
  2. Establishing martial law or a state of emergency within any state without the consent of the legislature of that state;
  3. Requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a military draft, for anyone of any age, except in punishment of crime (13th Amendment).
  4. Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to a corporation or a foreign government.
  5. Federal Reserve Bank policy that induces a hyperinflation (a depreciation of the U.S. dollar at an annual rate of 20% or more).
This list is based on a state sovereignty resolution introduced in South Carolina in March 2009.

Update Sept. 24: Russell Longcore at DumpDC offers a concurring opinion. He believes that it will take a trigger like the ones listed above to enable a state to secede successfully. The one he considers most likely is #5.

Friday, September 23, 2011

School choice bill passes Ohio House

From Weapons of Mass Discussion, via Brian Duffy:
The Ohio House Education Committee has passed (Thursday) legislation that reforms and expands school choice within the state of Ohio. When enacted, House Bill 136 will add private schools as an option for some families, along with open enrollment, charter/community schools, special education scholarships and joint-vocational schools.

The bill creates the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings (PACT) scholarships, which gives scholarships to middle-income families based on need, similar to the federal Pell grant...

State Representative Matt Huffman (R-Lima), sponsored the bill...

The PACT scholarship is $4,600 at its maximum and will be paid from state funding, not local tax dollars. This amount represents at least 20 percent less than the amount paid for charter schools, open enrollment and other school choice programs. Recipients will be counted in the local district’s average daily count, which will bring additional state dollars to the district.

“This program will result in substantial savings to the taxpayer, while giving parents another option for their child,” said Huffman.

House Bill 136 received eight hearings in the House Education Committee and now awaits a vote by the full House.
This will be a giant step toward allowing parents to provide children with the kind of education they (not the state) find appropriate.

The Pledge of Allegiance, translated

This video was brought to my attention by two of Ohio's most outspoken secessionists. To those who think we owe allegiance to the flag, it will be very offensive --- but I thought it was hilarious and spoke the truth.

Secession is preferable to the Con-Con con

Suggested Ohio independence flag (no stars)
American Thinker reports that there is a nationwide effort to set up an Article V Constitutional Convention to create a "National Debt Relief Amendment." Accordingly, State Sen. Coley (R-Lebanon) introduced SJR2 Sept. 1 for this very purpose.

This subject has been extensively discussed in this space, and nothing I have heard to date has persuaded me that a Constitutional Convention would not be extremely dangerous to liberty in America. I would therefore urge readers to contact their state senators to oppose this resolution.

In fact, I suggest that the likely result of such a convention should trigger Ohio independence. The events of the last year, particularly the inflation of the U.S. dollar, have radicalized me more in favor of secession than I have previously stated (not that I have been completely quiet on the subject, as these links will attest:) 
Video primer on secession
Draft Ohio Declaration of Independence (July 2009)
The case for Ohio independence (Jan. 2008)

Tomorrow, I shall present the other triggers that should prompt Ohioans to seek independence from the United States.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sound familiar?

From the British blog Autonomous Mind, entitled "Revolution Time"
If you take a couple of minutes to read this op-ed in the Irish Independent by Eamon Keane, one can quickly identify a number of parallels with our own Westminster Parliament and self serving politicians.
Some of the sentiments that stand out include: ‘Power no longer rests with our impotent national parliament’… ‘Truth be told, it’s been finished for a long time, made redundant by the actions of our politicians’…  and ”Our Dail* is also doomed because it is based on a political system where getting re-elected takes precedence over the national interest’.  Keane may be writing about Ireland, but it all has a very familiar ring to it.
But the greatest resonance can be found in the most thought provoking part of the piece:
We are in the worst crisis in our history and our parliament is impotent.
Is there any hope for democracy? Yes. While the Dail may be dead a new parliament is emerging. It is to be found in ordinary people, community and support groups who come together to discuss a way forward. A second wave is already there though social networks.

One commenter to the post suggested that the most effective uprising would be through organizations similar to the Tea Parties.

* Gaelic name for the Irish Parliament

Quotation of the day

Common sense, actually (via Robert Owens, restating what I said Sept. 15):

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Something for Issue 2 opponents to think about

I am a public employee who supports Issue 2 (SB5). Some of my colleagues think I am out of my mind; but my purpose in doing so is to ensure that state and local governments can remain on a sound financial basis -- a goal that is by its nature opposed to those of collective bargaining. In support of my position, I cite none other than that union hero, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his Letter on the Resolution of Federation of Federal Employees Against Strikes in Federal Service, August 16, 1937:
The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that "under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government."

Public employees are comparably paid (to the extent jobs are comparable) to those in the private sector, and in many instances are better paid when medical benefits and pensions are taken into account. While we have had long periods of stagnant wages, we are not suffering compared to the population at large. 

Keep in mind also, that Issue 2 limits the scope of collective bargaining, principally to wages. It does not abolish it. With a few exceptions, it has nothing to do with public pensions. Its purpose is simply to ensure that state government has the freedom to keep the budget in balance with respect to employee wages and benefits. An overview of Issue 2 appears in Ballotopedia.

A Yes vote on Issue 2 upholds the limitations on collective bargaining provided in SB5, a No vote repeals them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Pledge of Allegiance ... again

I've been around this bend several times before, but controversy about the Pledge of Allegiance seems to be a gift that keeps on giving. Here, NPR reports that Martin Rosenthal, in Brookline, Massachusetts, wants to get the pledge out of the public schools, in the belief that it creates social pressure to recite a loyalty oath against their conscience. Not surprisingly, he has attracted hate calls and hate mail for taking this stand.

Here is the simplest way I can put it: In a free republic no one owes allegiance to the government. Government earns its allegiance from the people by preserving their liberty.

Breaking news: Federal agents raid pancake restaurants

The Toledo Blade reports today (it is a developing story) that the FBI, the Customs Enforcement agency, and local police have raided six International House of Pancakes restaurants in Ohio for suspected terrorist activity. Agents closed each restaurant to the public and loaded white boxes into unmarked vans for investigation. I will report more as it becomes apparent unless it prominently appears in the mainstream media.

Virtual buckeyes to Gabe McGranahan and the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

O-H-... N-O!!!

Brutus Buckeye after the scandal
Normally, I defer to people who are more knowledgeable about sports than I am; but there are a few things that need to be said about Ohio State football that have broader implications.

I live in Columbus. It is a clean, cosmopolitan, and remarkably nice city to live in. Living anywhere comes at a price -- and the price for living in Columbus is three to four months of living with "Buckeye Fever," including the mandatory Hate Michigan Week in November. Fanatical support for Ohio State is considered a civic duty at this time of year, even if you have no connection to the university.

Being a life-long Ohioan, I do wear scarlet and gray with appropriate symbolism on occasion, and want Ohio State to have a successful season. However, this season begins with a pall over it in the wake of the firing resignation of coach Jim Tressel, and the suspensions of several of the players for accepting gifts and selling items. There is considerable doubt that Ohio State will even mount a winning season this year, having a new coach and barely defeating the University of Toledo Sept. 10.

The problem with college football is not Jim Tressel or Terrelle Pryor, or any of the players. The problem is that the system itself is fundamentally hypocritical and corrupt. On the one hand, the National Collegiate Athletic Association trumpets that it stands for the "amateurism" of the college athlete (supported by television ads showing the academic prowess of those who play sports other than football). On the other, there is no question that there is a great deal of money involved in TV contracts, gate receipts, and product placement.

Taylor Branch, at The Atlantic, likens this system to colonialism:

But after an inquiry that took me into locker rooms and ivory towers across the country, I have come to believe that sentiment blinds us to what’s before our eyes. Big-time college sports are fully commercialized. Billions of dollars flow through them each year. The NCAA makes money, and enables universities and corporations to make money, from the unpaid labor of young athletes.

Slavery analogies should be used carefully. College athletes are not slaves. Yet to survey the scene—corporations and universities enriching themselves on the backs of uncompensated young men, whose status as “student-athletes” deprives them of the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution—is to catch an unmistakable whiff of the plantation. Perhaps a more apt metaphor is colonialism: college sports, as overseen by the NCAA, is a system imposed by well-meaning paternalists and rationalized with hoary sentiments about caring for the well-being of the colonized. But it is, nonetheless, unjust. The NCAA, in its zealous defense of bogus principles, sometimes destroys the dreams of innocent young athletes. 
Money is unquestionably a corrupting influence in college athletics; but I am not sure that the problem is best solved simply by giving the players a stipend. If handled in the same way as payments made to graduate students for serving as teaching assistants, I have no real objection to giving a stipend to college athletes; but the problem really runs much deeper than that.

We (and yes, I mean we, the spectators, alumni, and taxpayers) have allowed the athletic* tail to wag the education dog. The purpose of colleges and universities is to provide an advanced education. When athletics distracts from that mission (as it clearly has at Ohio State and many other Division I schools), it is the duty of the faculty and trustees to reassert control, as the faculty did in a rather bizarre way in 1961, when they refused permission for the Buckeyes to play in the January 1, 1962, Rose Bowl:
Within faculty circles, the question of whether Ohio State should participate in the Rose Bowl had been festering for several years. Faculty members questioned the commercial aspects of big-time football. They were concerned that OSU football overshadowed the university’s reputation as a center of learning.  To many, the Rose Bowl contributed to an overemphasis in athletics. Ohio State utilized the quarter system, making it difficult for Rose Bowl-bound students to attend classes by January 2. ...

Those opposed to the trip to California were uneasy about the public image OSU portrayed as an “athletic factory”; academic disruptions were prominent in the 1958 Rose Bowl excursion; there was concern that Buckeye boosters were really in control of athletic policy; and favoritism toward football players would occur.**
Fifty years later, the faculty's concerns are still valid; though their remedy in this instance caused more trouble than it was worth.

The solution is to impose strict academic standards on college athletes; at minimum, the same standards that apply to other students, including minimum course loads and grade point averages. Professors enforcing those standards on players in their classes should receive the complete support of the faculty, administration, and trustees. Students who can stand up academically can play. They can receive scholarships, and maybe a stipend; but academics will be first and foremost.

Do not tell me it cannot be done. Division III schools (including my alma mater, #9 Ohio Northern) have done this successfully for years -- and the football is just as exciting without the glitz.***

* In many schools, basketball is just as culpable.
** James E. Odenkirk, "The Eighth Wonder of the World: Ohio State's Rejection of a Rose Bowl Bid in 1961," Journal of Sport History 34 (Fall 2007), 389-395.
*** And just to rub salt into the wound, I can go to Ohio Northern and pay the same price for a football ticket as I did when I was a student 40 years ago ... $4.00.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quotation of the day

Andy Myers shares a quote that expresses the libertarian view of charity:
We are obliged to love God and love our neighbors. How we satisfy that commandment is up to us. It is not the place of anyone else or any organization to do our loving for us; coerced charity is not charity. Nor does the end of alleviating poverty, desirable though that end may be, justify another in confiscating my resources from me for that end, even if those resources would in fact be devoted to that cause and not, as is often the case, simply wasted.
-Gerard Casey

A governmental "redistribution of wealth" is nothing but legalized theft.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Decentralism: even in Russia?

Arutz Sheva, an Israeli network, reports that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev may oppose the powerful Vladimir Putin for the Presidency. It appears that Mr. Medvedev is positioning himself as one who supports the inviolability of private property:

"We tried to create a society without the rich in the past. That experiment led to stagnation, poverty and disintegration of the country," he said.

Not only does he oppose the top down approach so endemic in Russian politics and government, he actually favors decentralism:

"A sophisticated society with many groups and centers of influence requires further decentralization on our part, transferring certain governance functions to social organizations and responsibilities at the highest level to the regional and municipal levels."

The Russians may be proving that decentralism is indeed our zeitgeist (spirit of the age).

Republican Presidential candidates talk about "dismantling Washington".

CNN had its Republican Presidential debate, and according to the Huffington Post, that grande dame of leftist bloggery, the contest was between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and "the field." As Howard Fineman reports it:

The man who made the federal government's role the center of the campaign is also the man who was the center of attention in the debate: Rick Perry.

He has his story about the 10th Amendment and he is sticking to it. An all-but-forgotten part of the Bill of Rights until recently, it has become the organizing principle of the GOP race this year. When Perry mentioned the federal government during the debate, he used the word "they." It was "they" -- the feds -- who were disregarding their duty to protect the border with Mexico.

Think about it: the federal government is "they."

Is that the way most Americans regard it?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Unless of course you are part of the establishment that considers the federal government as "we".

It will be up to President Obama not only to make the case for his own re-election, but for the role of the federal government itself.

It has been a long time -- since the 1920s -- that anyone has really had to do that. Perry threw down the challenge.

And while you're at it, Mr. Fineman, you might take a look at the economic success of the 1920s, and its relationship to a small federal government in that period. And don't throw at me the crash of 1929 until you have examined the role of fiscal and monetary policy at the time.

And, one more thing. Why did you completely ignore Ron Paul -- the candidate who is the most serious about reducing the role of the federal government? Fear, perhaps, or are you falling for the groupthink that he is a wacko fringe candidate? Just asking...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quotation of the Day

From Charlie Earl (again!):
The most predictable behavioral aspect of American voters, self-identified conservatives and progressive-leftists alike, is their predictability. They continually select lesser candidates in order to avoid losing to a worse candidate while sacrificing principles for short-term political gain. Clearly, our elitist statist leadership is exactly what we deserve because we appear steadfastly committed to handing them the reins of power. We are engaged in a march toward national suicide because we continue to promote and elect career politicians whose lack of political courage places their fingers on the trigger of our demise.

As we have both said, the lesser of two evils is still evil! We must get the backbone to vote our convictions, without making the calculations about whether or not the candidate is "winnable."

The truth will make us free

... but facing it can be extremely painful. After World War II, many Germans realized that they could not move on until they accepted responsibility for having made possible the Nazi regime. They made a special effort to educate themselves on the truth of what happened, and became a strong nation again -- this time a positive force for freedom in Europe. This is not a common accomplishment. The Japanese continue to struggle with the same war; and Americans remain in denial about atrocities committed by our own troops in any war.

One of the truths about the War between the States that is particularly painful for me as an Ohioan is the character of Gen. William Tecumsah Sherman, a native of Lancaster who, by embracing the concept of "total war" made himself a mass murderer -- not only of Southerners, but also of Plains Indians after the war. He was ably aided in this effort by another Ohio-born general, Philip Sheridan (from Somerset in Perry County), who wrought vast destruction in the Shendandoah Valley of Virginia, and in the West. To justify these acts as "military necessity" is to say that the end justifies the means, a position that is never morally defensible.

"These are My Jewels," The lady on top is Cornelia, representing Ohio

Evidence that we are in denial? Statues of both men appear in the monument "These Are My Jewels" in the Ohio Statehouse lawn, along with that of Edwin Stanton (from Steubenville), who acted as a virtual dictator of the United States with Congressional support. President Andrew Johnson was little more than a figurehead. [The other four figures on the statue are Gens. Ulysses S. Grant (from Point Pleasant and Georgetown), Rutherford B. Hayes (native of Delaware, Ohio, later of Fremont) and James A. Garfield (from Mentor), all later to become President of the United States; and Ohio Governor, Secretary of the Treasury, and later Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, a resident of Cincinnati prior to entering Lincoln's cabinet.]

Detail. Left to right: Gens. William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, and Philip Sheridan

No one wants to face the shameful acts of one's own people; but until we do, we will not embrace truth. As long as we choose to live in lies, we will find ourselves enslaved by them.


Today is the fourth anniversary of The Ohio Republic. In my first post (of 1,130 so far), I stated the purpose of this blog:

The purpose of this blog is to advocate the peaceful, legal independence of Ohio from the United States of America. This will be done by discussing the philosophy that will underlie the new political system; the emotional, legal, and practical issues involved in achieving independence; and highlighting news of differences between the State of Ohio and the United States Government.

This, I trust I have done, even though at times I have been circumspect in promoting independence. I do believe that ultimately (and soon), independence will be necessary to preserve our freedoms; but I am willing to entertain the idea that nullification might prove sufficient, and to ensure that all lesser measures to prevent tyranny have failed before pressing secession in earnest.

On January 1 of this year, I summarized at greater length the platform of The Ohio Republic. The essential points of that platform are commitments to individual freedom, decentralist government, using practical approaches to problem-solving. rejection of anarchism, pressing the Ohio General Assembly to resist the federal government when necessary by preventing the enforcement of unconstitutional federal laws (nullification), advocating preparations for independence and declaration of same when all else has failed, and placing our faith in our Judaeo-Christian heritage.

While my all-time hit count (a little over 83,000 last week) won't knock anybody's socks off, I have found loyal readers who respect my writing and occasionally have quoted my posts elsewhere. I appreciate all of my readers, and thank you for passing on whatever you have found worthy. In addition to this site, The Ohio Republic appears on my Facebook page, in the Libertarian section of Before It's News, and was recently added to Ohio's Top Blogs.

We have clearly lost a great deal of freedom just in the last four years, so the work clearly needs to continue.

Please feel free to comment or e-mail me your feedback on what you like about The Ohio Republic, and your suggestions for improvement.

And for my part, I promise, God willing and the Internet able, to be here when the time comes to celebrate The Ohio Republic's fifth anniversary.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today marks the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

There is only so much one can say on 9-11, so this will probably be my last post on the subject, unless something new emerges that calls for comment.

The most appropriate way to observe 9-11 is to make it a day:
  • To remember the 3,100 people who died in the attacks.
  • To thank the first responders in New York and Washington for risking their lives to save so many others, and to bring closure to the families of those who perished.
  • To remind ourselves of the threat of terrorism, at least as long as we maintain a military presence in the far reaches of the globe. Many people scoff at the idea of "Fortress America" -- keeping our troops entirely (or almost entirely) within our own borders; but no military presence abroad can really respect the sovereignty of other nations. Those who doubt this should consider how we would react if foreign troops were stationed on our soil. Justifying our presence abroad in the face of the Golden Rule (for example, by justifying it as "American exceptionalism") is nothing more than pure arrogance on our part. Our presence abroad provides terrorists with the motivation to attack us. We have no moral obligation to protect any country except our own. Europe is (or should be) perfectly capable of defending Europe. Israel and South Korea can likewise defend themselves against any likely attackers. The simplest and most effective antidote to terrorism is to remove their motivation to attack us.
  • To mourn for the lost liberty that we allowed to occur, in the false belief that it was necessary to preserve our national security. Americans need to remember that the Fourth Amendment (against unreasonable searches and seizures), the rest of the Bill of Rights, and the Constitutional protections of habeas corpus*, and against bills of attainder and ex post facto laws** are absolutes. The best security for Americans is to jealously guard our liberties from our own governments, which by their nature will attack personal liberties for their convenience, or to protect favored interests.
As in past years, I refuse to be drawn into the "truther" arguments. I am not saying that the truthers are wrong -- I am saying that evidence to prove the truth either does not exist, or will remain hidden until this country experiences a revoluton, or years after most of us are dead.

Two of our Founding Fathers have given us the admonitions we most need to heed whenever we remember 9-11:

"Eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty"
-- Thomas Jefferson

"The man who would exchange essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Americans lost their liberty because the people were not vigilant; and the experience of the last ten years should show us why we are today neither free nor safe.

* Habeas corpus is the legal principle that one should not be detained by the state, except according to law -- specifically, pursuant to a court order.
** Definitions and examples of bills of attainder and ex post facto laws (scroll down just past the sentence in bold).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Images of Ohio

Looking for interesting photographs of our state? Try Visual Ohio. It is a small site, but the photography is stunning, and it deserves our encouragement. It has also been added to the Links page.

Virtual buckeye to Ron Wilinski

Forbes says it all

Forbes is a business magazine that delivers its news and opinion with style and wit. A good example is today's opinion piece by Joel Kotkin. The title should invite you to read the article: "Obama's Economic Trifecta: How the President Helped Kill, Progressivism, Capitalism, and Moderation."

Which wouldn't be so bad, except that the GOP is so inept that their contribution may well be to re-elect the President, so he can, in Mr. Kotkin's words, "screw up even worse."

Memo to the General Assembly: Get it right this time

For the third time in five years, the Libertarian Party of Ohio has won a lawsuit to gain ballot access.

Judge Algernon Marbley granted the Libertarian Party of Ohio’s request for a preliminary injunction in Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Husted that protects ballot access for the party through 2012, including for Libertarian candidates already on the November 2011 ballot in Akron and Troy. (The previous cases are Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Blackwell [2006] and Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Brunner [2008, case merged with Moore v. Brunner]).

The opinion states that Ohio's ballot access laws (Ohio Revised Code sections 3501.01 and 3517.01) cannot be justified on constitutional grounds, but rather operate to protect the Democrats and Republicans from competing ideas and candidates. In particular, Judge Marbley states that requiring a minor party filing deadline 90 days before the primary, coupled with a signature requirement of 1% of the voters in the last gubernatorial or presidential election forces minor parties to recruit candidates and circulate petitions at a time when people are not interested in politics. The opinion is 12 pages long and very easy to read. It gives an interesting history of ballot access in Ohio, with a few references to the same struggle in other states. In Judge Marbley's view, Ohio has a long history of suppressing minor party ballot access, and among the larger states, has the least diversity in political party options.

The injunction was specifically addressed to the Libertarian Party of Ohio. It is not clear how much it will help the Constitution, Green, and Socialist Parties. (Click on the Alternative Parties tab under the masthead for additional information on all four parties).

To her credit, former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner got the message, and granted ballot access to six parties in 2010; but the Republicans in the General Assembly tried earlier this year to trim it back with HB 194. (Applicable text is incorporated in the Ohio Revised Code references above).

The Libertarian Party is 40 years old and appears on the ballot in 31 states. While it currently has only 7,000 voters in Ohio, that number is growing. There are several local officials elected as Libertarians, and voters will elect more this year. We are not going away. Get over it, and get it right.

Virtual buckeye to Bill Yarbrough

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New look, same great blog!

As my eyes get older, I find that the white on blue is getting harder to read. Thinking this might also be true for some of my readers, I decided to increase the type size and contrast for easier reading. I hope you will like the change.

My dream ticket

I still believe that trying to elect a President and Congress that will reverse the trend toward bigger government is an exercise in futility; but at the same time, it is unchristian to completely lose hope. So with that attitude, I propose the dream ticket for the Republican and Libertarian Parties:

Ron Paul and Karen Kwiatkowski

Rep. Ron Paul
Ron Paul does not need much introduction. He is the gadfly Congressman who opposes the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya; is a stickler for the feds obeying the Constitution, and wants the Federal Reserve Bank to be audited. No better man can be found for reversing the destructive trend we are facing in America.

But you may be thinking, Karen who?  Karen U. Kwiatkowski (SourceWatch biography, Wikipedia biography*) is a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force. She is very knowledgeable about military matters and understands strategic issues. With this background and experience, she can reassure fearful Americans that demilitarization will not leave us as vulnerable to the terrorists and Chinese as they might think. Her knowledge is not limited to military matters. She can speak articulately to the needs of families and education (and why they are not the business of the federal government!). She is a regular contributor to the libertarian website, and has appeared twice in The Ohio Republic (via LewRockwell, of course). At the same time, she is relatively young (50), energetic, and provides a nice counterpoint to Ron Paul's sometimes dry, academic style. And I have no doubt that, if it became necessary, that she would make an effective President in her own right. She is also a registered Libertarian and a candidate for Congress in Virginia's Sixth District.
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (Ret.)

I do not propose Ms. Kwiatkowski because she is a woman, but let's face it, we need a woman as President or Vice President. We need someone to counteract the excessive hubris that pervades the District of Coercion. Those who are impressed with Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin need to think about their weaknesses, as well as their strengths.

Pairing the wise, grandfatherly Ron Paul with the vigorous Karen Kwiatkowski is a winning strategy for regaining our freedom in 2012.

* Minor correction to the biographies. The article that got her started politically was in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Communists endorse President Obama for re-election

If I had just made this statement, true as it is, I would have opened myself up to charges of McCarthyism. But here it is, from the Sam Webb at the Communist Party USA's People's World itself:
Neither party is anti-capitalist, but they aren't identical either. Differences exist at the levels of policy and social composition. And despite the many frustrations of the past two years, the election of Barack Obama was historic and gave space to struggle for a people's agenda.

If, on the other hand, the Republicans had been victorious in 2008 the character of class and democratic struggles would have unfolded very differently. Our movement would have been on the defensive from Day One, the Democrats would be running for cover, and the Republicans would have an unfettered hand in their efforts to liquidate the welfare state, roll back the rights revolution of the 1930s and 1960s, and crush the people's movement - labor in the first place.

As for the wisdom of a third party, we have always advocated the formation of an independent people's party at the core of which are the working class and labor, racially and nationally oppressed people, women, youth, immigrants, seniors, gay and straight, etc. It is essential for any deep-going social change. But its realization depends on more than our desire, more than our political-ideological attitude. Millions who have to be at the core of this party still operate under the umbrella of the Democratic Party, albeit increasingly in an independent fashion.

Moreover, to separate ourselves at this moment from these forces would be contrary to our strategic policy of building maximum unity against right-wing extremism now and in next year's elections.
Remember this when the President changes tactics and tries to look like a moderate.

Waters over the damn

Mohandas Gandhi, one of the wisest men of the last century, once said, "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

Evidently threatened by President Obama's plummeting approval ratings, and utterly unwilling to read the 6" high printing on the wall, the Congressional Black Caucus leadership has decided to start the attack phase against Tea Parties and other libertarian Americans.

Being one of those allegedly "racist" crackers myself, there isn't much I can say that would help, so I will defer to Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Allen West (R-Florida), as reported in The Hill:

Rep. West

"When you start using words such as lynching ... that's a reprehensible word and I think we should we should move away from that language." West said on "Fox & Friends."

"One of the things I'm starting to think about is reconsidering my membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, because I don't think they are moving in the right manner toward solving the problems in not just the black community, but all of America."

After making his comments, West sent a letter to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), chairman of the CBC, demanding that he denounce comments by Carson and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California), At a town-hall meeting earlier this month, Waters said the Tea Party "can go straight to hell."

"I believe it is incumbent on you to both condemn these types of hate-filled ocmments, and to disassociate the Congressional Black Caucus from these types of remarks," West wrote. "Otherwise, I will have to seriously reconsider my membership within the organization."

West went on to argue that Carson's charges against the Tea Party were "racist."
"Congressman Carson's desire to generally criticize a large grassroots group as racist is baseless and desperate," West wrote. "When individuals believe they are defeated in a political disagreement, they normally resort to race-baiting, which in my opinion is itself racist."

Since Rep. Waters represents a district in Southern California, she might want to think about this.

Not to mention the contempt they are heaping on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom they profess to idolize.

I can only imagine what the late Elizabeth Wright would have said about all this...