Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Next steps

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

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

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

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

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

In these times, you cannot be a patriot and a coward at the same time.So choose wisely, dear reader. Remember from history the Nazi concentration camps, which housed not only Jews, but many others, including "Aryan" dissidents. Remember the Soviet gulags. Remember the "tiger cages" of Vietnam. Remember how men disappeared and died in Argentina in the days of Juan PerĂ³n. We have heard rumors of Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) concentration camps* being erected for those who commit so-called "domestic terrorism." Sen. Rand Paul yesterday noted that people who could be suspected for "domestic terrorism" under existing law include those with missing fingers, those who store guns and ammunition, and those with more than a seven-day food supply in their homes. If the FBI and the military are given free rein to pick up American citizens on the slightest suspicion, those concentration camps (some built by Halliburton, Dick Cheney's company, by the way) will become reality.

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

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The last straw

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

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

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

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

This was the design all along.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtual buckeyes to Charlie Earl and Jason Rink.

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gestapo tactics

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

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

The slippery slope toward tyranny is getting icy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The wall of silence is cracking

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

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Prophecy of the day

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

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

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

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

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

Virtual buckeye to Erin Baker Platt.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our troops know what is going on

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

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

My meditation today is a paraphrase of Winston Churchill:

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

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The importance of Issue 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The state issues summarized

I plan to vote Yes on all three issues:

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Question for the anti-Issue 2 crowd

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

Quotation of the day

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