Monday, March 5, 2012

We moved!


It's sunrise at The Ohio Republic as we move to our new location at www.ohrepublic.com.

The remodeled blog will continue to contain my opinions and state news as before,  but will also tie in more closely to my book (future tense, books) and speaking engagements. It has a fresh look that is easy on the eyes.


I will keep this site up indefinitely as an archive of the 1,232 posts I have already written.

Thank you for the support you have given me in the last 4½ years. I hope you will continue to enjoy my blog at the new location.

Photo Copyright © 2000 Kevin B. Coleman • Intrepid Heritage Services . Used by permission.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lots of changes going on

It's almost hard to know where to start.

My book, Governing Ourselves is now available online from my publisher, BookLocker.com (preferred -- higher royalty ;) ). On the BookLocker site, you can download an 18-page preview of my book in its final state. My book also appears in Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com; and can be ordered from your favorite bookstore. Price is $14.95 for paperback, and $8.95 for eBook.

On Monday, The Ohio Republic will move to its new location: www.ohrepublic.com. I will  keep this site up indefinitely so links to old posts will still work, but new posts will originate there. Also on Monday will be my official opening for my author's Facebook page. If you prefer your information that way, I invite you to Like me there.

You can also reach me through Twitter (@HaroldDThomas) and LinkedIn.

Now, I've got a lot of work to do! See you Monday.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

PC hit squad attacks The Ohio Republic

I have been advised by an anti-secessionist blogger in Vermont that The Ohio Republic is a "neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, Paleoconservative, Racist, White Separatist, anti-Government Sovereignty Activist," or at least one of "Their Enablers and Supporters." For several years, The Ohio Republic was listed in his ordinary Links section, but the writer, a pseudonymous "Thomas Rowley," has decided that it deserves to be classified as shown above because
On a more personally disappointing note, I've moving the Ohio Republic blog to [this category], not so much because its author, Harold Thomas, espouses the sort of virulent hatred that oozes from sites like [two Vermont secessionist websites and Rebellion, originating from the League of the South], but because of the open support he offers Tuggle's vile LOS website.
I cheerfully plead guilty to Paleoconservative and maybe even Anti-Government Sovereignty Activist, which I suppose is what he would call anyone who stands up for the Constitutional rights of the states. Neo-Confederate? The term is highly controversial and as the politically neutral site WordIQ notes, is frequently used as a pejorative ad hominem attack. I am the direct descendant of a Confederate soldier, and therefore can easily relate to Southerners wishing to honor their ancestry. Beyond that, how the South wants to decide its future is none of my business.

The League of the South really is a controversial organization, and does include some avowed white supremacists among its leadership. However, the League does not openly espouse racism in its policy statements (unless "Anglo-Celtic culture," which it desires to promote, is a code phrase for racism). Rebellion is the blog of the League of the South. I sometimes comment there, but I also disagree with it on racial issues. However, the blog covers many other subjects; and overall is well written, well researched, and certainly not "vile."

My own views should be clear from reading the posts in the Racism label on this blog. I have criticized in this space Rebellion's propensity for trivializing the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and for supporting disruptions to celebration of Dr. King's birthday. In addition, I have repeatedly highlighted the work of African-Americans who are outspoken in defense of liberty, not just for some, but for all of us.

Mr. "Rowley" enthusiastically supports the Southern Poverty Law Center, itself a controversial organization, which last May libeled former Ohio resident Jason Rink by putting him on their "Hatewatch" list for working with the Tenth Amendment Center to organize the Nullify Now rallies.

In fairness, he has done his fellow Vermonters a service by exposing white supremacist attitudes and general buffoonery among members of that state's secessionist movement.

So, to summarize Mr. "Rowley's" position, I am a "neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, Paleoconservative, Racist, White Separatist, anti-Government Sovereignty Activist" or fellow-traveler because I sometimes comment in a blog sponsored by an organization that is not avowedly white supremacist, but includes a few white supremacists among its leadership; despite the fact that I have criticized that same organization when I disagreed with it, particularly on racial issues, have always shown minority individuals the same respect I would show for anyone of my own race, and have publicly encouraged those who support liberty.

It seems reasonable to conclude that Mr. "Rowley's" real agenda is to shut down opinions contrary to his own by fixing emotionally charged labels on his political opponents. Those who insist on "political correctness" want to shut down discussion that seeks the truth, rather than engage its participants in a mutually respectful exchange of views. As long as this cancer continues to affix itself upon the American body politic, we will be unable to hold the honest and frank discussions that we need to solve our political problems in a way that will promote liberty and justice for all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Liberty is not a "conservative" issue

Contrary to a popular belief, liberty is not a "conservative" issue. To be sure, conservative pundits like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin would like us to believe that it is, so liberty lovers will support their neocon Republican candidates like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum; but in truth, small-l libertarianism transcends the conservative-liberal spectrum. Examples of liberal libertarianism include anti-war issues, ending the drug war, and ending discrimination against homosexuals. And, evidently, many in the left are waking up to the fact that restrictions on our Constitutional rights will affect them, as well.

Case in point: The Tenth Amendment Center issued a news release yesterday announcing a press briefing tomorrow in which speakers from both parties will be speaking out against the National Defense Authorization Act's detention provisions. Co-sponsored by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Tenth Amendment Center, and Demand Progress, the scheduled speakers are:
  • Naomi Wolf, author, journalist, former consultant to Vice President Al Gore
  • Bruce Fein, attorney and former Justice Department official under President Reagan
  • Missouri State Representative and former US Marine Paul Curtman (R)
  • North Carolina State Senator Ellie Kinnaird  (D)
  • Washington State Rep. Matt Shea (R)
  • Northampton, Mass. City Councilor  Bill Dwight (D)
  • El Paso, Colo. County Commissioner  Peggy Littleton  (R)
Americans are waking up to the dangers of the federal Leviathan, and are preparing to do what is necessary to either cut it down to size, or to break it up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Secession should never be taken casually

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes."

However, the Ottawa Citizen reports that Canadian Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau (son of the late Prime Minister) apparently did not get the memo.

On Sunday, Trudeau, a Montreal MP, told his Radio-Canada host: 
I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper — that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage, and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways — maybe I would think about making Quebec a country.
Naturally, this caused quite a furor north of Lake Erie. Commentators began describing Mr. Trudeau as immature and "narcissistic." One professor even stated that if he did not know that Mr. Trudeau had uttered those words, he would have thought it "the work of an adolescent."

Robert Asselin, a professor at the University of Ottawa specializing in Canada-Qu├ębec affairs, aptly restated what Thomas Jefferson wrote when he said, "Secession is a very grave action and you don’t even suggest it (as a possibility) because you don’t share certain beliefs or values of the government of the moment."

My willingness to consider secession is not because I disagree with President Obama and this Congress, or even because I also disagreed with President George W. Bush and the Congress at that time. My willingness to consider secession is the result of twenty years of frustration at the direction the United States government has taken under administrations and Congresses led by both parties. The system is fundamentally broken, but the liberty movement is not strong enough to turn it around at the national level. Thus, it becomes desirable, even prudent, to consider how our freedom can be restored at the state level -- within the Union if possible, outside the Union if necessary.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What is America about?

After getting into two highly acrimonious debates with individuals who are more interested in promoting political correctness than to listen to reasoned dissent, I have to ask myself what Americans think their country is about. 

The political division that currently exists suggests that there are three possible answers. The liberal would argue for economic, or redistributive “justice,” the neo-conservative would argue for power, and the libertarian for individual freedom. 

I have come to realize that constitutional and libertarian arguments will only make sense to those who value personal freedom – and it appears that for many Americans, that value is expendable. Those who see America in terms of economic equality or military power will support the notion that Ron Paul is an old crank who is off the rocker they think he should be seated on.  

"From each according to his gullibility,
to each according to his greed!"
The economic redistributionist rejects free enterprise, because it entails risk. Risk is unacceptable to the poor because they cannot, of course, accept financial loss; and is unacceptable for the rich because it creates wealth that (in their view) is not earned. Without risk, there is no opportunity, but for them that is a small price to pay. The end game, though, is to replace an elite based on wealth with one based on political correctness. For them, the goal is not really justice -- it is power for those who toe the party line. Their means is to write more extensive and tighter regulations to discourage anyone from taking any initiative that has not been blessed by their government.  

For such people, the charge of racism is a handy way to bully those who disagree with them. If you want to replace the welfare state, you are a racist. If you want an educational system that teaches young people how to find the truth, you are a racist. If you believe in the Anglo-American heritage of rule by law and would insist on using the English language so that everyone can fully understand that heritage, you are a racist. 

Those who see America’s purpose as being a military power see personal freedom as expendable to protect our “national security.” They cannot be persuaded by reasonable arguments that trade, diplomacy, and taking the moral high road can be effective levers to promote our national interest. They think applying the Golden Rule to international relations is ridiculous and perhaps even dangerous, and then they wonder why the Iraqis and the Afghans are intent on getting us out of their countries – after all, we came on a mission to build free and fair societies – according to our customs and standards. Ask the neocons about how they would feel if, for example, the Chinese invaded this country on the same basis, and they will mutter something about “American exceptionalism.” 

To a reasonable person, “American exceptionalism” is nothing more than arrogance, pure and simple. 

As I was recently reminded, those who see America in terms of power cannot understand any argument that undermines their almost religious belief that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest (or maybe second greatest) of Presidents. Yes, he preserved the Union, but was it really worth the cost: 660,000 battlefield casualties, the mass murder of Georgia’s civilians during Sherman’s March to the Sea, his blatant hypocrisy on slavery? The surrender at Appomattox began a process of consolidation into an all-powerful federal government that continues to this day. We had a Constitution to protect our rights. Why did he find it necessary to destroy it in order to save the Union? If the issue was slavery, he could have followed the lead of Britain and France (which Brazil later followed) and simply bought out the slaveowners, which would have been cheaper than going to war. If he valued freedom, he could have shown good faith to the Southerners who were willing to negotiate a settlement to prevent their secession.

When looking at mysteries of this kind, some wise people have said, “Follow the money.” Prior to the Civil War, wealth was fairly evenly spread across the land – North and South. Lincoln was backed heavily by New York bankers, who greatly benefitted from his rule. In the 1870s, wealth heavily concentrated in New York City, while the South was reduced to abject poverty, and would remain so for nearly a century.

Fergit, hell!
The evidence for each of my statements is easy enough to find in any standard history of the Civil War or Reconstruction; but of course, my bringing it up is “revisionist.” And, of course, the neocons join the liberals in promoting the notion that any white male whose family has resided in the South more than a generation or two is the absolute scum of the earth. That notion is completely contrary to reason if you believe that people are individuals who deserve to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin or the accent of their voice; but Lord, don’t let Martin Luther King, Jr.’s beliefs stand in the way of those who loudly sing his praises! And Christians should keep their religion to themselves if they aren’t willing to idolize the state, support foreign wars, and promote social conservatism!

Just before I wrote this, I asked myself how anyone could believe in personal freedom and not let those who feel they have been wronged to form their own nation; especially when they respected law enough to follow due process as it was understood prior to 1865.

I thought I didn’t get it. Unfortunately, I do now. The way the Republican Presidential primary is shaping up, it is becoming clear that America is not about personal freedom. If President Obama is defeated in November, we will establish that America probably is not about redistribution of wealth, at least not the way the Democratic and Socialist idealists look at it. So I guess it's about power. We will continue to be ruled by those who have the most to gain from holding power.
It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

I’m finished ranting now. Please return to your regularly-scheduled programming.


Quotation of the day

The most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit to it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
 — J.R.R. Tolkien

Particularly fitting for Mordor-on-the-Potomac (as talk show host Mike Church refers to Washington).

Virtual buckeye to Gabe McGranahan.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Tiberi Tragedy

Bill Yarbrough
Bill Yarbrough is a nice guy. If you met him in person, you would think he was too nice a guy to run for public office. But he has a problem. People hate Congress but adore their Congressman. Bill is running against incumbent Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-Westerville). How to run a hard-hitting campaign while sticking to the issues? Bill answers that question brilliantly, even with a touch of humor, in The Tiberi Tragedy.

After you look at it, you will see that Congressman Tiberi is barely Republican (a certain large African beast with a single horn in front comes to mind), no conservative, and certainly no libertarian.

Bill certainly is a libertarian Republican. I know him personally. He has the right values and will know how to replace the Tiberi Tragedy with a strong and consistent defense of freedom in Congress.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why the military likes Ron Paul

Ron Paul is anti-war because he knows what war is like:


    Santorum           Obama                      Paul                Romney        Gingrich


Virtual buckeye to Aaron Alghawi via Blue Republican.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Can Americans be locked up on mere suspicion?

Yes! writes Constitutional expert Rob Natelson, author of The Original Constitution, writing for the blog at the Tenth Amendment Center. Commenting on the National Defense Appropriations Act, he carefully spells out what is appropriate to military law, and what the Framers intended when writing the provision for habeas corpus in the United States Constitution. He concludes that the much-discussed Sections 1021 and 1022 would indeed permit American citizens to be held on mere suspicion of terrorism.
To a section that the spin doctors are trying to persuade us was written to protect ordinary Americans, Mr. Natelson writes:
(e) . . . Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.Comment: This provision is sometimes touted as protecting citizens because it preserves existing Supreme Court decisions. The problem is that, as yet, there are no Supreme Court decisions that squarely provide the full measure of habeas corpus protection to citizens or legal aliens accused within our borders. This is true because neither the Bush nor the Obama administration has had the audacity to round up U.S. citizens without our borders and hold them indefinitely without trial.
He then goes on to cite four Supreme Court decisions, and explains why none of them get to the heart of the matter. Then there is this, also ballyhooed as protection for the rights of Americans:

§ 1022: (b) (1) . . . The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) . . . The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
Comment: This section says that the administration is not REQUIRED to keep a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien in indefinite mCilitary custody. But it does not prevent the administration from doing so.

As we warned Nov. 29 and Dec. 16, vigorous application of this act against Americans will turn skeptics into secessionists. But you don't have to take my word for it. Rob Natelson said it and backed it up.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Political WWJD

I have often written that my rule is "WWJD?" In spiritual matters, what would Jesus do, and in political what would Jefferson do. Here is an excellent example of an issue where I stand with Thomas Jefferson:


Here is the context:
It should be our endeavour to cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation, even of that which has injured us most, when we shall have carried our point against her. Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent of whatever they may chuse to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs. Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war. Were the money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town, or a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to catch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier and happier. This I hope will be our wisdom. --- Notes on the State of Virginia (1784), chapter 22.


Virtual buckeye to Paul Attridge in Facebook, and to Kevin Puffer, his commentor, who supplied the context above.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The anarchists have a point...

You do not have to be an anarchist to appreciate this critique of socialism:


Disclaimer: I am not an anarchist, and will explain in some detail why in my book Governing Ourselves: How Americans Can Restore Their Freedom, to be published February 29.

(Don't worry, the "buy me" link is under construction!)


Virtual buckeye to Gabe McGranahan.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ohio for Ohioans Amendment: Good idea, but needs work

Yesterday, I introduced the proposed "Ohio for Ohioans" Amendment to the Ohio Constitution to provide a means to effectively enforce nullification of federal statutes in violation of the U.S. Constitution and state statutes in violation of the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions.

This proposal presents several constitutional and legal problems.  Foremost among them is its rather gross violation of the separation of powers principle. The proposed amendment allows the Governor and Attorney General to "collectively" form a Constitutional Review Committee to "compel" the Supreme Court to rule on legislation deemed unconstitutional within 30 days (of what?). It also allows the Governor and Attorney General to "compel" the Ohio General Assembly to invoke impeachment proceedings against public officials who violate their oaths of office. These provisions suggest that their author is not well educated in constitutional law; because one of its most fundamental principles is that the Executive (Governor and statewide elected officials), the General Assembly, and the courts cannot "compel" each other to do anything. The General Assembly initiates impeachment proceedings on its own volition. The Ohio Supreme Court rules on cases that originate in Ohio's trial courts.


Another example of sloppy legal language lies in the statement that
All Ohio Citizens shall have legal standing in all Ohio courts and jurisdictions to challenge the constitutionality of any Ohio law, federal Law, and all government imposed rules, regulations, and mandates that directly affect them on the behalf of all Ohio Citizens.
No. The existing legal procedure is established to maintain an orderly process. This paragraph should omit "in all Ohio courts and jurisdictions."  To apply this clause as stated would make mincemeat of the Ohio judicial system. The amendment should enable all Ohio citizens to challenge constitutionality by filing suit in the county Court of Common Pleas or in a special state trial court established for this purpose. Even so, who will be the trial lawyer to defend the federal government? I cannot imagine any federal attorney deigning to follow a state procedure in what the feds are sure to consider a gross violation of the Supremacy Clause.


I would favor a well-written amendment to assert Ohio's sovereignty, and this one comes closer; but it needs the hand of an attorney who is skilled in constitutional law.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State sovereignty amendment introduced

Steve Kraus is a candidate for Congress in Ohio's 9th District (a district that is, tentatively, a string bean following the Lake Erie shore between Toledo and the eastern edge of Lorain County (between Lorain and Cleveland). In his "Hope for Ohio" website, he endorses the "Ohioans for Ohio" amendment to the Ohio Constitution, the text of which is at the end of this post.

The Ohioans for Ohio amendment is intended to assert Ohio's state sovereignty and right to nullify unconstitutional federal laws; and to hold Ohio's elected officials accountable for enforcing Ohio's sovereignty. It is sure to be controversial, because for many Ohioans (and probably, the U.S. Supreme Court), it will appear to be a challenge to the Supremacy Clause in the U. S. Constitution, Article VI, Clause 2, which reads:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The legal basis for the Ohioans for Ohio amendment lies in the phrase "which shall be made in Pursuance thereof." A reasonably literal interpretation of that phrase strongly suggests that any laws that are patently unconstitutional (not being made "in Pursuance thereof") are null, void, and no law. This then brings up the central issue of nullification. Do the states have the right, as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison* asserted in 1797, to provide a check on the Supreme Court by nullifying unconstitutional federal laws within state boundaries? The Ohioans for Ohio amendment is careful to state that it does not apply to "any law, rule regulation, or mandate... not in contention with the prescribed authority granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States of America."

This proposal is much more concise than the amendment proposed in 2009 by the People's Constitutional Coalition, and actually comes close to the improvements I suggested to that amendment; but it still needs work. Tomorrow, I shall explain why.

Here is the text:
Be it resolved by the people of the state of Ohio,

(A) Declaration of State Sovereignty
The State of Ohio hereby claims its sovereignty, pursuant to the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America and shall exercise self-determination and self-rule over its government, commerce, education, environment, and energy resources within its domain and within the interests of Ohio citizens and according to law, unconstrained of all foreign authorities, and not in contention with the prescribed authority granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States of America. Any law, rule, regulation, or mandate which is not compliant to the Ohio Constitution or the Constitution of the United States of America shall be deemed unconstitutional, null and void and without legal force or effect within Ohio.

(B) Enforcement of Constitutions
The Governor or Attorney General are hereby vested with the power to compel the Supreme Court of Ohio to submit a decision within thirty (30) days regarding the constitutionality of any Ohio law, rule, regulation, or mandate or any federal law, rule, regulation, or mandate, whenever it appears that said law rule, regulation, or mandate may not conform or be in compliance to the Ohio Constitution or the Constitution of the United States of America, respectively. The Governor and Attorney General, collectively have the authority to form a Constitutional Review Committee and to vest this committee with the power to compel the Supreme Court of Ohio for said decisions. All Ohio Citizens shall have legal standing in all Ohio courts and jurisdictions to challenge the constitutionality of any Ohio law, federal Law, and all government imposed rules, regulations, and mandates that directly affect them on the behalf of all Ohio Citizens. The Supreme Court of Ohio shall provide a process for such challenges which demonstrate viable Constitutional merit.

(C) Violation of Oath or Oaths
It shall be unlawful for any elected public officeholder to violate their oath or oaths in accordance with Section 7 of Article XV of the Ohio constitution. The Governor and Attorney General, collectively or individually, are hereby vested with the power to compel the Ohio General Assembly to invoke impeachment proceedings against such alleged offenders, in accordance with Section 23 of Article II of the Ohio constitution.

* Keep in mind that James Madison is known to history as the "Father of the Constitution" and one of its most fervent supporters in the ratification debates. He surely would have considered the intent of the Framers when writing it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Newt Gingrich for smaller government? His record says otherwise

Newt Gingrich
The Opinion Blog from the Myrtle Beach (SC) Sun-News cites chapter and verse about Newt Gingrich's voting record and activities since leaving the House of Representatives. His social conservative positions are fairly sound, if social conservatives are willing to accept his serial marriages; but he certainly is no libertarian. Among his questionable decisions:
[H]e has partnered with Hillary Clinton to advocate health-care IT legislation, with Al Sharpton and Arne Duncan to promote President Barack Obama's education reforms, and with Nancy Pelosi in an ad stressing the importance of taking action on climate change . Gingrich angered Republicans by criticizing Paul Ryan's plan to reform Medicare.
The writer, Braden Goyette, also notes that Mr. Gingrich pressed President Clinton to balance the budget, but agreed to do so (in part) by increasing tax revenues. He also notes that last year, Mr. Gingrich's consulting firm accepted between $1.6 and $1.8 million for his consulting services to Freddie Mac, in an effort to help the firm more effectively market to political conservatives.

Like most neoconservatives, Mr. Gingrich has supported an aggressive foreign policy, and, if sources like this one are to be believed (and I am not vouching for them), a domestic police state as well. Among Mr. Gingrich's positions cited were a large increase in federal education spending, support for curtailing First and Fourth Amendment rights to fight terrorism, Singapore-style drug testing for Americans, support for the Fairness Doctrine in communications policy, and the USA PATRIOT Act. The same source says that he wants to revise the Geneva Convention to exempt terrorists from its prisoner of war protections. And many more items.

All the loose talk about Mr. Gingrich's marriages obscures one essential fact. He is, at best, an unreliable advocate for liberty in America. He is inconsistent in his positions on fiscal responsibility. He is not the man we need in 2012 to reverse President Obama's policies -- if indeed, he has any desire to do so.

Update 1/24: Here is a concurring opinion from The Daily Caller, which shows why the Tea Party, in particular, should avoid Mr. Gingrich.

Monday, January 23, 2012

State Sovereignty News from Arizona and Ohio

Two items of interest:

The Washington Times reports that the Arizona House is launching an investigation to determine whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms violated state law by running Operation Fast and Furious. As you may recall that operation consisted of smuggling firearms out of the United States for the purpose of tracing drug dealers. However, the firearms were lost. Some of them were found in the investigation into the killing of border guard Brian Terry at a crossing in Arizona. This is a courageous example of a state exercising its sovereign right to prevent the federal government from harming its people. The investigative committee is scheduled to produce a report by March 30.

Here in Ohio, two State Senators, Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Keith Faber (R-Celina) have introduced a State Sovereignty Resolution (SCR 24), similar to HCR 11 and SCR 13 in the previous session. These were introduced in early 2010 as part of a widespread movement to let Washington know that the states are sovereign, and to demand that the Constitutional limitations on federal power be observed. HCR 11 died in committee, largely because Democratic Speaker Armond Budish did not want to allow any resolution to challenge the federal government. Its Senate companion, SCR 13, passed the Senate, but also died in House Committee. As longtime readers of this blog know, I strongly supported such resolutions two years ago. I agree with the spirit of the resolution, and have no objections to it passing to add Ohio to the states standing up for itself; but I suggest that the legislature's time would be better spent passing an Honest Money bill and resisting specific federal encroachments on our state's rights.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Copyright law and me ... and you

As many of you know, I am in the process of publishing my book Governing Ourselves. Respecting the copyrights of others has been one of the most challenging tasks I have faced as part of that process, because I have used several brief quotations from copyrighted sources.

Being a first time author, I am learning what is, and is not reasonable. One author and one publisher have been very gracious, and state that my use falls within "fair use" under the Copyright Act, thus no royalty is due them. On the other hand, I requested permission to use a brief quotation from a 1972 interview with Richard Nixon that was published in a newspaper that has been defunct since the 1980s. Another newspaper owns the copyright and wants a $390 royalty for the first 25,000 copies printed. If I knew that I would sell 25,000 copies of the book, that would seem reasonable, but if I only sell a few hundred...! (I have since removed that quotation and replaced it with a story that was posted in this blog about two years ago -- which turned out to be an improvement in content).


Existing copyright law is intended to protect artists and writers from those who would simply copy the work and sell it for themselves. It relies on what I call "passive regulation" (a concept on which I will elaborate in my book) -- you find that someone is stealing your work, you can sue for damages. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) relies on "active regulation," meaning that a corporation can ask the federal government to shut down sites that use copyrighted material. In other words, certain major content providers (such as New York publishers and Hollywood film companies) want to shut down all competition by taking control of the Internet. To give you an idea just how far-reaching this bill is, it seems that the Congressman who introduced the bill was himself a violator by illegally using a copyright image as background on his site (since removed).

In about a month, I will be adding a commercial element to The Ohio Republic (to sell my book, of course). In so doing, I will have to take much greater care about my use of copyrighted material on my site, because it then will be considered "for profit." I understand that, and am preparing for it. However, under SOPA, The Ohio Republic would be strictly limited to the content I generate myself. I could not even link to a copyrighted source, lest that source put me at risk by infringing on someone else's copyright.

My primary purpose in writing Governing Ourselves is to share with the public insights that I have gained over the last twenty years. I admit that I would also like the book to be profitable enough to substantially increase my retirement fund; and appreciate now, more than ever, the importance of protecting the rights of the author. However, I feel that existing law does that well enough. I have no desire to go against the blogger who quotes a couple of paragraphs of my book, as long as that blogger gives me credit for it (and a link to a site that sells it would be nice, too :) ).

Government has an obligation to protect the people from force and fraud. Reasonable copyright protection is a necessary function of our legal system. However, it should not be used to encourage the greedy to trample on the rights of everyone else.

In yesterday's post, I suggested an easy way to contact your Congressman and Senators in opposition to SOPA. If you have not registered your opposition to SOPA yet, please do so now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We're back -- but keep up the fight


If you did not do so yesterday, please let your Congressmen and Senators know that you oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). An easy way to do this, and comment on other legislation, is to join DownsizeDC (www.downsizedc.org), managed by Jim Babka, a resident of Cuyahoga Falls. The site includes an automated e-mail generator that will direct your message to your federal legislators. Membership is free, and with membership, you will receive e-mail alerts of legislation that affects your liberties, on which you can comment. With each alert, DownsizeDC provides some background information, and suggestions on how you can write your own personalized e-mail message tailored to the issue.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

War fever is building again

... judging from last night's Republican candidate debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I am specifically referring to audience reaction to the exchange about war policy, at 10:17 in the New York Times live blog:
The question was familiar -- virtually the same one that was famously asked of Democratic candidates for president in 2008: If there was actionable intelligence about Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader, in Pakistan, would you go in?

Newt Gingrich took a while to get to the answer, but it was unmistakable.

"Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America's enemies," he said. "Kill them." *
Audience reaction: "USA! USA! USA!"
Mr. Romney had a pretty clear answer as well.
"We go anywhere they are, and we kill 'em," Mr. Romney said.
Same reaction.
That, of course, was not Mr. Paul's answer. His answer prompted loud boos from the audience.
"Maybe we ought to consider a golden rule," Mr. Paul said. "Don't do to other nations what we don't want them to do to us." [Emphasis added.]
Ron Paul later drew a distinction between defense spending and military spending. He argued that spending what we do on defense spending would ensure that our borders and our people are well protected (concurring opinion); but that military spending on "nation building" is, in fact, waste

Hearing this exchange on the radio frankly made me sick to my stomach. Following my post Dec. 1 drawing parallels between the Reichstag fire and 9-11, the audience reactions to Messrs. Gingrich and Romney, on the one hand, and Dr. Paul, on the other, reminded me of the hysteria the Nazis whipped up among the Germans during the Third Reich, with the help of the party song Horst Wessel Lied, the lyrics to which are: 
The banner high! The ranks are tightly closed!
The SA march with calm, firm step.
Comrades shot by the Reds and reactionaries
March in spirit within our ranks.
Clear the streets for the brown battalions,
Clear the streets for the stormtrooper!
Millions are inspired when they see the swastika,
The day of freedom and of bread dawns!
For the last time, the call to arms is sounded!
For the fight, we all stand prepared!
Soon Hitler's banners will fly over all streets.
Our time of bondage is nearly over!
Substitute our troops for the SA, Jihadists and terrorists for Reds and reactionaries, and the U.S. flag for swastika and Hitler's banners, and you get a pretty good picture of the pro-war, any war, mindset; one that apparently has taken over one audience in South Carolina against the teachings of the Christ many of them would so proudly proclaim (Matthew 7:12), and against the warnings of Washington and Eisenhower.

* It should be noted that when Andrew Jackson said that, he was referring to the British invasions of the United States during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Champion of Liberty


This is the third year that I have awarded the Champion of Liberty designation on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday to honor African-Americans who have outspokenly supported liberty (2010 winners, 2011 winners). This support tends to run against the grain of those who claim to carry on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but who in my opinion distort his message. The award is nothing more than recognition in this space. There are no certificates, no medals, no public ceremony. Only the recognition that the black community includes men and women who have intelligently and courageously bucked the notion that individual freedom is somehow "racist."

David Webb

This year, there is only one honoree. I have long admired his courageous commitment to liberty, expressed on his radio talk show Saturdays 10 am-1 pm on Sirius/XM Patriot Channel 125. He knows his Constitution, and he articulately speaks out on behalf of free enterprise. He has a deep admiration for the military, which to me unfortunately seems to cloud his judgment where national security is concerned. He is by far the most civilized talk show host I have ever heard. He eschews namecalling, treats everyone, including his opponents, with respect, and researches his positions carefully. He does not wear his race on his sleeve -- in fact, I have listened to him for over a year, and did not know he was black until I recently visited his site "on the wwwebb."

David Webb is in a class by himself, and therefore stands alone as the 2012 Champion of Liberty.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Now on the front burner: Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment

It takes courage -- even chutzpah, in the wake of Issue 2's defeat, to introduce a Right to Work amendment in one of America's most heavily unionized states. But that is exactly what the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and a group being organized as the Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment. The group is presenting language to the Ohio Attorney General for an amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would become Article I, Section 22 (full text here).
As the American Thinker argued in its call for a national Right to Work Act, the right to associate must logically include the right not to associate. Americans have the inherent right to form a union whenever they may deem it necessary -- and the right not to join one. The economic benefits of Right to Work are obvious. The states with growing economies have it. The states with stagnant economies generally do not.
What happens when a state enacts a Right to Work law? Employees of businesses still have the right to form a union, providing that no one is forced to join or compelled to pay dues. Members of the union can still strike, but they cannot prevent other employees from still working. The union can still negotiate contract terms for their own members, but they cannot bind employees who do not belong to the union.

So unions do not vanish in states with Right to Work laws. In Alabama, which has Right to Work, more than 10% of the workforce belongs voluntarily to unions. What Right to Work does do is place unionized labor in the free market, competing with non-unionized labor. Free labor, like free business [or free enterprise], is good in the long run for everyone.
I have written earlier about the convoluted procedure that unions put those of us through who object to paying the political portion of union dues. State employees have no choice, but to pay the collective bargaining portion. Forced unionism benefits one political party and philosophy against the interest of many of its members, and leads to leadership that is not accountable to its members, as I wrote October 20.


In the same post, I answered the usual union objection that without "fair share" fees (which are anything but fair to those who have to pay them), nonmembers would become "freeloaders" benefitting from collective bargaining without sharing its cost. This is bunk. The objection can easily be answered by placing nonmembers outside the protection of the union. This means that non-union employees may end up with the same arrangements as managers, or even contract for work as individuals. In other words, Right to Work enables labor to function as a free market -- just what the labor bosses abhor. Just what we need to empower individuals to achieve all they can without facing artificial barriers erected by socialist ideology.


So why is Workplace Freedom being introduced now? I suggest it is because Ohioans strongly objected to certain provisions of Issue 2 that clearly were designed to strip public employee unions of their legitimate functions to protect their members. However, it is also clear that Ohioans did not buy the entire package that the unions wanted to sell. Since workplace freedom does not interfere with the legitimate functioning of unions with respect to their own members, it should win the support of a majority of Ohioans in this November's election.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mitt Romney for smaller government? His record says otherwise

Mitt Romney
Carla Howell is Executive Director of the national Libertarian Party. She also happens to know a thing or two about Mitt Romney, having opposed him for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002. In her weekly message to Libertarians, Ms. Howell lays out the case against Mr. Romney:
  • He ran in 2002 as a "no new taxes" governor; but even during the campaign, he proposed three new taxes (on vehicles, on campaign donations, and on building construction). Ms. Howell's comment: "They didn't get much fanfare in the media and were quickly forgotten."
  • He raised taxes each of the four years he was Governor by calling them "fees." He also enabled collection of an Internet sales tax, approved legislation to allow local governments to raise business property taxes, and approved a new tax penalty that raised income taxes on both individuals and small businesses.
  • In 2008, Mr. Romney boasted that he was the first candidate to sign a "taxpayer protection pledge." Ms. Howell's comment:
So he’ll call his tax increases “government fees” or “closing loopholes” or “penalties” or something else. But if Romney is president, the IRS will collect this money from you, your family, your friends, and millions of Americans just like you.
  • So, okay, how about spending?  
The Massachusetts state budget was $22.7 billion a year when he took office in January of 2003.
When he left office four years later, it was over $25.7 billion – plus another $2.2 billion in spending that the legislature took “off budget.” (Romney never reminds us of this fact.) 
  • As Governor, Mr. Romney claimed that his hands were tied by the Democrat legislature. But each of the four years he served as Governor, he started budget negotiations by proposing a $1 billion increase. Before the legislature had said anything.
  • Then there is "RomneyCare," said to be the model for Obamacare. Who was the biggest fan of RomneyCare? Ted Kennedy. He and Mitt Romney had an alliance going to get this bill passed. And, participation is mandatory. Those who refuse face stiff fines and income tax penalties.
Carla Howell knows what she is talking about, so when Mitt Romney, supported by a compliant media, tries to pull the wool over your eyes, or those of someone you know, you have some facts. Any other Republican Presidential candidate would be more fiscally conservative than Mitt Romney.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pre-Constitutional Rights

Jim Babka is a Cuyahoga Falls resident who runs the DownsizeDC Foundation, which runs DownsizeDC.org, a site which helps individuals generate e-mails to members of the Congress. He has come up with an idea that deserves being spread.

There is no such thing as "Constitutional" rights.

Why? Because our Founding Fathers made it clear that our human rights come from God (or if you prefer, "the state of nature."). The Constitution does not; and as the Ninth and Tenth Amendments make clear, cannot enumerate our rights. It does, however, list all of the powers of the federal government.

If our rights were based on the Constitution, they could be erased by court decisions or by replacement of this Constitution with something else. The same rights, by the way, apply to everyone else who sets foot in this country. Everyone else, including alleged jihadists -- because they are rights applicable to all humanity. It has to be this way, because we do not want to punish innocent people, and the only way we can avoid punishing innocent people is to ensure that all people receive due process of law.

With this in mind, we need to talk about pre-Constitutional, or natural rights. Mr. Babka concludes:

Pre-constitutional rights are necessary to a natural law viewpoint; the philosophy held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the framers of the Constitution, the ratifiers of the Bill of Rights, AND Downsize DC. We shout it loud and proud -- "Pre-constitutional rights precede and are superior to Constitutional rights."

Obviously, we're still grateful that our pre-Constitutional rights are acknowledged in the Constitution. It's important that the requirement for The State to protect these rights is the law of the land, because those who covet State power constantly seek to harm humanity. But . . . 

If we're depending on the whims of the employees of The State to protect us, simply because we're all Americans, then our faith is misplaced. The Constitution cannot protect a people who fail to vigilantly understand from where it is their rights derive. Neither can the protection of those rights be honestly maintained if we're unwilling to acknowledge that everyone else has these rights too, NOT JUST CITIZENS. Remember the Golden Rule!

To deny that human rights are inalienable in any one case, it to deny them in every case, including your own. 

If you are not registered with DownsizeDC.org, I encourage you to join.


And I will encourage all of my readers henceforth to act in support of our pre-Constitutional rights!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Ohio stands for

I was in the Ohio Statehouse yesterday, when I encountered the following quotation, which to me represents the high political ideals that Ohioans have represented through the ages. We would all do well to remember them as we work to rebuild our state and our society:

Let Ohio speak for human rights, for universal manhood suffrage, for fair and honest elections, for economy and purity in public affairs, for honest money and stable government.


Mr. Williams was the first African-American to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing Cincinnati 1880-1881. In his brief life (he died at 41), he was a veteran of the War between the States (having enlisted at 14!), and was a minister, historian, and diplomat. He wrote the first history of African-Americans, and at the end of his life, launched an investigation of the mistreatment of the people of the Congo at the hands of agents of King Leopold II of Belgium. He contracted tuberculosis and pleurisy, and died in England returning from Africa. He is buried in England.

He spoke for human rights, which are enshrined in our Ohio Constitution, adopted in 1851. The Bill of Rights has expanded since then, most recently last year with the adoption of Issue 3, nullifying mandatory health care.

He spoke for universal manhood suffrage, which Ohio, unfortunately, was slow to embrace -- but finally did so with our ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. However, Ohio redeemed itself in 1919 by becoming the sixth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, extending suffrage to women.

He spoke for fair and honest elections. For most of Ohio's history, particularly during the service of Secretary of State Ted W. Brown (in office 1950-1978) and his successor Anthony J. Celebrezze, Jr (1979-1983), Ohio has had an exemplary elections process. More recently, it has been tainted by scandals involving a Secretary of State (Ken Blackwell) who actively participated in the 2004 Presidential campaign while in office, and with problems involving voting machines made by Diebold.  However, his successors Jennifer Brunner and Jon Husted have gradually restored credibility to the office.

He spoke for economy and purity in public affairs. For most of Ohio's history, the state was run economically. As recently as 1991, Ohio ranked very near the bottom of the 50 states in state tax burden. While the continuing recession has resulted in much higher taxes (to maintain steady revenues), efforts of Gov. Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly are managing the budget without further tax increases. When their efforts bear fruit, Ohio will again be working toward economy in public office. Purity in public affairs, however, is one of those ideals that can never be attained, but must always be striven for.

He spoke for honest money. In our history, Ohio has been a leader for a currency that represents value. In 1819, State Auditor Ralph Osborn attempted to enforce a tax on the Bank of the United States, in part because that bank issued currency without backing. "Sound money" is the issue that propelled Ohio's William McKinley to the Presidency. Today, many in the Ohio freedom movement are pressing for a way to protect Ohioans from a future hyperinflation by facilitating the use of gold and silver in payment of taxes and as a currency.

Finally, he spoke for stable government. To me, stable government should be boring. It consistently, day after day, enforces a small number of easily-understood laws to protect the lives, liberties, and property of Ohioans. All things considered, and particularly in comparison to other industrialized states, Ohio has done this reasonably well; but like purity in public affairs, it is a continuing struggle to maintain.

George Washington Williams's ideals are a statement of the fundamental principles of political life in Ohio, principles which we have generally applied well; but of which we must continually remind ourselves as we move forward.

Monday, January 9, 2012

So Presidents don't need to know the Constitution now?

I heard this exchange Saturday during the Republican candidate debate in New Hampshire (Los Angeles Times report):
George Stephanopoulos: Governor Romney, so you think that states have the right to ban contraception or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?

Mitt Romney: George, this is an unusual topic that you're raising... states have a right to ban contraception, could it constitutionally be done? We could ask our Constitutionalist here, (motioning over to Ron Paul) uh...

George Stephanopoulos: I'm sure Paul could answer the question, but I'm asking you, do the states have that right or not?

Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Romney went back and forth for several minutes. Mr. Romney eventually made a grudging admission that yes, the states do have that right, but of course, no state is considering it.

So what kind of President do you want? One that is attractive and says what you want to hear (with the risk that he will make a contrary statement that someone else will want to hear), or a President who will obey his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution?

Virtual buckeye to Sherry Mann.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Is the Tea Party dead?

Kevin McCullough at Townhall thinks so. He compares the energy and enthusiasm of the Tea Parties going into the 2010 Congressional elections with the apparent willingness of Tea Partiers (at least the ones he knows) to accept non-conservative Mitt Romney as the Presidential candidate.

We all know that the Tea Party is not a monolithic national movement. It is divided between three major organizations, in which thousands of local Tea Parties enjoy considerable autonomy. It is difficult to get such a diverse movement to coalesce nationally around a single platform or candidate (though it is possible at the state level, as Ohio's Tea Parties, through the Ohio Liberty Council, demonstrated with Issue 3's nullification of mandatory health insurance last November).

Two years ago, I warned the Tea Party movement about getting into bed with the Republican Party. In the first post, I asserted that the Tennessee Tea Party was committing suicide by inviting Sarah Palin to be a keynote speaker. In the second, I quoted Chuck Baldwin, whose warning has proven to be prophetic, right down to the personalities:
You are being infiltrated. You are being compromised. You are being neutered. Stick to your principles. Stick with the Constitution. Keep opposing unconstitutional, preemptive wars. Keep calling for the abolition of the Federal Reserve. Keep fighting for less taxes, reduced federal spending, and states' rights...

Be wary of people such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. You don't need "big name" celebrities to give you credibility. As Samson's strength depended on keeping his hair uncut, your strength lies in keeping your principles intact. And unless you want to wind up like the Republican freshmen in 1994, avoid Newt Gingrich like the plague!
At the time, people worried about Tea Parties being too narrow and ideological. They proclaimed that their basic issue was restoring a federal government that obeyed the Constitution. Constitutional government can allow a wide diversity of opinion on policy issues. But no movement can survive a compromise of principle.

From the beginning the Tea Parties have been divided on the issue of American military involvement abroad. Given the militaristic spirit that pervades our country, it is possible that a strong antiwar position, following the examples of George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower, would greatly marginalize the Tea Parties. However as the Jesus said (long before Abraham Lincoln), "A house divided against itself cannot stand." (Mark 3:25)

It is hypocritical to support limited federal government while calling for military adventures around the world. If the Tea Parties cannot reconcile this conflict, they will not have any impact in this year's elections.