Monday, October 31, 2011

Message of the day

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

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

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

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

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

What does government defined insurance look like?

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

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

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

Vote YES on ISSUE 3!

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

"When did you stop beating your wife?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Recording of my appearance on Global Freedom Network released

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

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

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

Lobbyists too powerful because government is too powerful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is secession legal?

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Remind me why

From Judge Andrew Napolitano's Facebook page:

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

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

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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to approach the Occupy movement

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

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

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

Union bashing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Exposing Progressive Capitalism

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

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

Dreaming of independence

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

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

Iran, again

Several of my Facebook friends have been circulating this map of U.S. bases surrounding Iran, following Iran's threat last week to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States:

No wonder Iran feels threatened!

This map has been verified from various sources (best single source is the Canadian think tank Global Research, but I have checked others). I have verified all of these locations except Georgia and Azerbaijan (upper left on the map).

We are beginning to hear the same aggressive talk toward Iran that I heard a decade ago in the runup to the war in Iraq.

I am unalterably opposed to such a war. As I have repeatedly stated, a war with Iran will be a catastrophe from which the United States will never recover. Not financially. Not politically. Not militarily. Not economically. Not ever. I wrote this four years ago, and I stand by it today. Iran has never attacked us (whether it would like to do so is another story).

I can see only two reasons, both invalid, for even attempting such a thing: (1) To protect Israel (which is perfectly capable of protecting itself), or (2) because the establishment wants to prolong a state of continuous war for economic reasons. The Iranian desire for a nuclear bomb is a natural response to the threat it perceives from us. However, it would be too late for anyone to dissuade the Iranians from continuing, even if the US withdrew all of our troops from the region.

The United States has only one sustainable foreign policy -- to mind our own business. Unfortunately, we find it difficult to communicate that fact to our fellow Ohioans, let alone to Washington. The unsustainable foreign policy, along with the mounting deficit, coming hyperinflation, and accelerating loss of personal freedom, will contribute to the breakup of the United States in the near future, which could prove to be the best thing for all concerned.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

State employee still supports Issue 2

To hear and read the propaganda swirling around this issue, one would think my headline would appear in a newspaper -- because public employees appear to be a monolithic bloc standing against the issue to limit collective bargaining rights. The bill this issue seeks to repeal (SB 5) is not perfect, as I wrote March 31 when the General Assembly sent it to Governor Kasich, but I still favor its passage.

Both sides distort the truth. Proponents allegedly use actors and Republican Party operatives to portray public employees in support; but opponents are laying on the emotion very thickly when they argue, "SB 5 hurts us all."
Here are some of the Ohio County and State Employees Association's arguments against Issue 2, as documented in their Public Employee Quarterly for Fall 2011 (not online):
·       Issue 2 is unfair because "OCSEA members have sacrificed over $350 million in pay cuts and health care concessions, while politicians have taken a pass." The article notes that Gov. Kasich is paid $10,000 more than was Gov. Strickland, but Gov. Kasich could not have received that "hefty pay increase" without the approval of the prior legislature, one house of which was Democratic. The fact that elected officials and their immediate staffs are not covered by Issue 2 really means that Issue 2 does not go far enough.

·       State employees worked 20 days without pay in the last two years, paid more into their health care, and had steps and personal leave frozen. Also true. But it isn't as though private enterprise employees have had a free pass the last few years. And frankly, our health care is exceptionally good and exceptionally economical. Step increases make no rational sense from a business perspective. We also have much more vacation time than most private-sector employees, so I do not buy into the personal leave argument. This is a bill to help state and local governments balance their budgets. They will not balance as long as they are forced to pay exorbitant payroll costs, including for a lot of time that is not worked. It is also unfair to expect Ohio's working taxpayers to foot the bill for employees who are substantially more privileged than they are, even though we appear to be comparably paid.

·       Collective bargaining will be taken away. Partially true. Unions will still be able to negotiate wages and salaries, but not working conditions. This is a legitimate concern for safety workers, especially corrections guards – and is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

·       "Public employees deserve democracy and a voice in the workplace. This is exactly what we're fighting for overseas and why I am volunteering [in the campaign to oppose Issue 2]." I would like to see the private corporation (other than the few that are employee-owned) that gives its employees "democracy in the workplace." The reservist who made this comment needs a reality check. The best-run companies give their employees a voice in the workplace, but not a controlling one.

·         "If we do not repeal SB 5 by voting NO on Issue 2, who's to stop state government from reverting back to the days of cronyism when merit was based on skin color, sex, political affiliation, and everything in between." Or on loyalty to the unions or bribery? To some extent, these concerns are addressed by civil rights laws. Beyond that, the best way to ensure fairness is to build a free and open market for labor and to encourage entrepreneurship for minorities and women. If we consider it human nature for like to employ like, then spreading around the opportunity to create new business will ensure that more of us will have a fair opportunity to get jobs and promotions.
An investigation by the Columbus Dispatch into Issue 2 reveals very little about the likely impact the bill will have on state employees or the taxpayers. There simply are too many variables.
However, we cannot go on the way we have. State government without reform is not sustainable on the long run, even if we increase taxes to pay for what we have. There are legitimate concerns about Issue 2, as I expressed last March, to which I would add one expressed recently that teachers' merit pay would be tied to academic test scores, which would make one of public education's most glaring flaws even worse. Again, the bill needs amendment.
However, at the end of the day, I continue to support Issue 2 for the same reasons that the Cleveland Plain Dealer did when the newspaper endorsed it yesterday:*
.. Ohio desperately needs to control the costs of government at all levels. It needs to send a clear message that the old, familiar ways of doing the public's business have to change.

In schools, the emphasis has to be on the progress of children, not the comfort of adults. In city halls and county offices, the impact on those who pay the bills -- and the sheer magnitude of those bills -- must be paramount…

Imperfect though it may be, Issue 2 will give local governments and school districts more tools to control labor costs and protect taxpayers. It requires public employees to make the same kind of contributions toward their health and pension benefits that most private-sector workers do. It ends state-mandated wage step-ups, requires performance-based pay and permits layoffs based on more than seniority. Those factors are especially important to school districts such as Cleveland that need to transform themselves in the face of outmoded state rules that force them to toss aside newer -- and perhaps better -- teachers when money is tight…

Polls consistently show that Ohioans like many aspects of Senate Bill 5, but not the nasty tone behind it. When this campaign ends, Kasich has a chance to be a healer. He must not pass it up.

Nor should Ohio pass up this opportunity to break with an unsustainable status quo. Yes, change is scary. But look around: Not changing is even scarier.

When they mark their ballots, Ohioans cannot worry about what is best for any political party or interest group -- on either side of this debate. They need to consider what's best for the future of their children, their communities, their state.

They need to pass Issue 2.

Update Oct. 18: The Columbus Dispatch reports on the concessions that public employee unions have made to state government since 2008. In my experience, the facts reported are correct; but reciting them misses the point -- it is still unfair to expect taxpayers, many of whom are un- or underemployed, to support public employees to a greater extent than other working Ohioans are supported by private enterprise.
* The Columbus Dispatch endorsed Issue 2 on Monday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Now the truth is out

... for anyone who still had doubt that the Occupiers were preaching Socialism. Note the Ché Guevara graphic...

Capitalism isn't the problem. Corporate cronyism with government is.

I wonder how the young lady will feel if she gets her way -- and then discovers that she will not be allowed to protest the new régime.

Virtual buckeye to Terri Lynn Dewell.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Leftist intellectual" now an oxymoron

And I'm tempted to take the "oxy" off of that last word.

Years ago, during the Vietnam protests, the socialist intellectual was a force to be reckoned with. You had to be sharp to come up with good conservative arguments to counter their positions.

Forty years later, having mostly gotten their way, the left has gotten soft in the head, as evidenced by these "Occupiers" of Wall Street, as reported in Rebellion.

Exhibit A: 
Inteviewer: "Why should I pay your college tuition?"
Occupier: "I can say what I want!"
Uh, I need a stronger case than that, kid.Obviously you don't have the smarts to get a scholarship...

Exhibit B:

This dude was probably motivated by that childish retort to an insult, "It takes one to know one."

Exhibit C:
I'll have to quote Old Rebel himself on this one:

Gee, who said the Occupy "Fill in the blank" protesters were a little fuzzy about their goals? Oh, yeah, I said that.

Well, this should clear things up. First, this group of Occupiers protests the banks and their influence in the central government.

But this leader of the Occupiers goes ballistic when he sees an "End the Fed" sign and rips it up. (Warning: Language.) Um, the Federal Reserve is the mother of all banks -- it's a privately owned megabank that controls the money supply. Sounds like a whole lotta unaccountable power to me.
To summarize in three words: Dumb and Dumberer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Earth to Herman Cain: The third "9" in your plan is unconstitutional

Most of us have heard by now of Herman Cain's infamous 9-9-9 tax plan, where he would favor a 9% federal income tax, 9% federal corporate tax, and a 9% federal sales tax. It's bad enough that he wants to give the feds a new tax source*, but he needs to know that a federal sales tax is unconstitutional!
Here is the evidence:

Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution:
No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
That clause was amended by the Sixteenth Amendment (which itself ought to be repealed):
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Note that the power granted to Congress is limited to income taxes. For any other direct tax, Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 still applies.

There is another reason that we should oppose the 9-9-9 plan. Can there be anything good for the middle class to have the feds tax money going in and going out.** Herman Cain's plan taxes individuals twice, income and sales tax, and it taxes corporations twice, corporate and sales tax.
I think Michelle Bachmann had the right idea. Turn the numbers upside down and you get 6-6-6 -- the devil is in the details.
* Fox News says that we are still paying taxes based on a bill to finance the Spanish-American War!
** Of course, Ohio has been doing this to us since the income tax was adopted in 1973, but we could still repeal it if we so desired. Getting the feds to repeal a tax is almost impossible.

The mainstream media are doing their part

Mitt Romney
I have always said that Democratic candidates for President are nominated, but the Republicans are anointed. Clearly, Republican liberal Mitt Romney is the "anointed one," but there is unrest within the ranks. Will the Republicans break the hold of their handlers the way they did in 1980 with Ronald Reagan? We shall see. Those who love freedom can find at least three better alternatives in the field (my opinion: Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann, and Herman Cain, in that order).

End the Fed

We are beginning to understand it, and yes, we are probably going to have a revolution soon...

If you don't understand how the Federal Reserve is robbing us all, read G. Edward Griffin's The Creature from Jekyll Island. A good and fairly objective introduction (despite the OccupyWhatever sidebar) appears in with the title "Who Actually Owns the Fed and Why That Must End."

Update Oct. 14: If you do not have time to read Creature from Jekyll Island, you can download a one-hour audio version on eBay for 99¢.

Virtual buckeye to Andy Myers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The United States is NOT the "freest nation on earth"

In fact, according to the Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, the United States -- barely -- ranks ninth among the 179 countries surveyed. The top six in order are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Canada -- we sit between Denmark and Bahrain.  And we are not "free", we are "mostly free." We have lost our freedoms so gradually, we do not realize just how much has been lost. Chuck Baldwin gives a recap in .

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who's behind the campaign against Issue 2?

As the Ohio Liberty Council has observed, We Are Ohio (the anti-Issue 2 movement) clearly is not "a bipartisan, grassroots movement speaking for Ohio’s middle class." The truth is reflected in the campaign finance figures submitted to Secretary of State Jon Husted in July, displayed on a graph at the Ohio Liberty Council site that I was unable to reproduce here. Note how the contributions are grouped: $3.7 million from international unions, $2 million from Ohio unions, and less than $40,000 from individual donors. As an objector in a union shop myself, I know that much of that money was forced in union dues from employees who disagree with the leadership's politics. Follow the links at the bottom of the post, then decide for yourself whether We are Ohio is looking out for the public interest.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Choosing our friends

When I was a child, my mother told me that "you are known by the friends you keep." That advice has served me well, particularly since I have started publicly stating my political views through this blog. I have made many friends, most of them good; a few I have had to defriend or put some distance between myself and them, because I do not want to be associated with their approach to change.

I bring this up because I found some of my libertarian friends being seduced by the Occupy Wall Street movement, its sister movement Occupy Together, and the latter's affiliates in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown (links on the Occupy Together home page).

Since the stated purpose of Occupy Together is to show solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, it is reasonable to assume that they share the same vision. So what is the vision of this movement that has held a continuous protest in New York City since Sept. 18?

"We are the 99%," says Occupy Wall Street (Oct. 1):
We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent.
As members of the 99 percent, we occupy Wall Street as a symbolic gesture of our discontent with the current economic and political climate and as an example of a better world to come.
The previous day, they posted this message: stands in solidarity without brothers and sisters in Boston who are marching on Bank of America.
The language and rhetoric is redolent of union activism and leftist protest organizations.

Their symbol is a clenched fist, the historic symbol of the socialist movement. While they agree with us that the Federal Reserve Bank should be abolished, there is nothing in their demands, their rhetoric, or the way they operate that suggests that they are libertarian in any way. Rather, they mirror the leftist approach used in the protests against the Vietnam War and against Wisconsin's collective bargaining bill last winter. Their message is heavily laced with class envy.

They idolize President Obama, but think he does not go far enough.  

Those who are familiar with George Orwell's novel 1984 might suspect that this is a case of Big Brother setting up his own Emmanuel Goldstein (the straw man representing the opposition, but who believed essentially the same thing).

At first blush, Occupy Wall Street really does appear to represent the "99%," but once you peel off the outer layers, you see that it fosters the same kind of socialism that President Obama wants to foist upon us.

We may soon experience revolution. Some of our people may even be desperate enough to want one. But if Occupy Wall Street and its friends are the vanguard of the revolution to come, we will get a dictatorship of the proletariat, and "dictatorship" is likely to be putting it gently.

We just abolished the rule of law

Eric Peters at demonstrates how, in the execution of Anwar al-Auluqi, an American citizen, we have just allowed our President to execute any of us -- at will.

America has not been a “country of laws, not men” for many years but now it’s official. The state’s fangs have been bared. Within living memory, presidents and congresscretins were at least nominally bound by law. They paid lip service to it and if caught transgressing, there was usually embarrassment if not punishment – and for awhile, the abuse would stop or at least be dialed back a little bit.

No more.

Now, not even a letter d’ cachet is required. All that is required is for the eye of Obama (or that of his successor to the purple) to fall upon you. Improbable, you say? Idiot, sez me.
Idiot, because you – if you believe you’re safe – believe that the laws of human nature do not apply to our Great Leaders, merely to Great Leaders of other countries, who are not spayshull like us. Idiot, because – if you believe you are secure – you believe that precedents don’t set policy. That once established they are always and inevitably expanded upon. That once any individual is subject to arbitrary state terror any of us may be subjected to arbitrary state terror – and the only thing holding it back (for the moment) is that the eye of Obama has not (yet) fallen upon you and yours.

No more is there the restraint of procedure, of the submission of evidence to a jury in open proceedings, to weigh against the charges leveled. Indeed, charges are no longer required – let alone a finding of guilt based upon evidence. Merely:

Ah ahm the decider! And ah have deecided!

Oh, surely, it is now enunciated in a more polished and highbrow manner by the current Don. But it is the same thing, essentially. I decide. From Lincoln to Hitler to Bush II to The Constitutional Scholar: Fuhrerprinzip. Power flows from on high, incarnated in the person of the leader.

I am being hysterical you say?

Yes, I am. Because I see where this is headed and what it will come to mean for all of us, eventually – or for any of us, that is, who might find ourselves described as “domestic extremists” for disbelieving in the principles of IngSoc and expressing criticism of the same.
In one of my early posts (January 2008), I listed ten steps to fascism. This act has completed Step 7 (Target key individuals). The Establishment already controls the press (Step 8), which leaves only Steps 9 and 10: to assert that dissent is the same as treason, and to suspend the rule of law.

Mr. Peters and I then quote the dissident German pastor Martin Niemöller's famous comment about how Germans allowed the Third Reich to be established. It is worth reproducing here:
First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Perhaps the more contemporary version will be:

First they came for the Arabs, and I did not speak out because I was not an Arab.
Then they came for the gun owners, and I did not speak out because I did not own a gun..
Then they came for the Tea Partiers, and I did not speak out because I was not a Tea Partier.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Let me make one final comment that will surely offend some people, but I am sure it is the truth: Anyone who thinks that we will change course by electing anyone other than Ron Paul as President or by electing a Republican Congress is a fool. And I am not totally convinced that electing Ron Paul will do anything except slow it down a bit, since he would still have to contend with that Congress.

There is no hope, if we do not take responsibility ourselves. We must build up our state government to resist the tyranny to come, first by passing measures like Issue 3 against forced health care; then honest money, and if necessary, secession.

Virtual buckeye to Charles Earl.

Update 10/3: Paul Craig Roberts gives a concurring opinion at In his article, "The Day America Died," he shows how the federal government and the military have been brutalized, with the support of many "patriotic" Americans who fear terrorism so much that they are willing to trash the very document that protects them. His conclusion:
Readers ask me what they can do. Americans not only feel powerless, they are powerless. They cannot do anything. The highly concentrated, corporate-owned, government-subservient print and TV media are useless and no longer capable of performing the historic role of protecting our rights and holding government accountable. Even many antiwar Internet sites shield the government from 9/11 skepticism, and most defend the government’s "righteous intent" in its war on terror. Acceptable criticism has to be couched in words such as "it doesn’t serve our interests." 
Voting has no effect. President "Change" is worse than Bush/Cheney. As Jonathan Turley suggests, Obama is "the most disastrous president in our history." Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who stands up for the Constitution, but the majority of Americans are too unconcerned with the Constitution to appreciate him.

To expect salvation from an election is delusional. All you can do, if you are young enough, is to leave the country. The only future for Americans is a nightmare.
As I expressed above, I remain a bit more hopeful than he is that the situation can be changed. But not much. I could leave -- Canada is not that far away -- but emigration does nothing to weaken the tyrant.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Federal judge rules Patriot Act unconstitutional

MS-NBC, not usually noted for being a "wingnut right-wing" news source, reports that a provision of the USA PATRIOT Act has been ruled unconstitutional by District Court Judge Ann Aiken. The Foreign Surveillance Act allowed searches without warrant in cases where the FBI was gathering intelligence on foreign citizens. The USA PATRIOT Act extended the FBI's ability to conduct secret searches in terrorism investigations on U.S. citizens.

In this case, Portland, Oregon, attorney Brandon Mayfield's fingerprints were found on an object in a blown up subway car in the 2004 Madrid bombing. The evidence was insufficient to establish probable cause, but prosecution was permitted under the provisions of the act.


It goes without saying that the federal government will appeal, but this, at least is another small victory for the Constitution at a time when it appears to be under siege.

Virtual buckeye to Bill Yarbrough.