Press release: U.S. Rep. Latta to host U.S. Rep Bachmann at 5th Congressional District Lincoln Day Dinner

Editor’s note: This press release was issued 3/30/2011. Rep. Bob Latta’s campaign website includes a page where you can enter your email address to have information about the event sent directly to your inbox. The Lincoln Day Dinner video announcement on his website can also be found on YouTube. Rep. Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. It seems that the mainstream media has been openly wondering whether Rep. Bachmann will, at some point in time, be making a high-profile announcement having something to do with a very ambitious 2012 campaign for some sort of national elected office. Have you been hearing such chatter, too?

REP. BACHMANN TO HEADLINE 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT LINCOLN DAY DINNER

BOWLING GREEN – Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) welcomes potential presidential contender Congresswoman Michele Bachmann as the featured speaker at his 2011 Lincoln Day Dinner scheduled for Friday, May 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at Sauder Village, Founder’s Hall located at 22611 State Route 2 Archbold, Ohio 43502.

Congresswoman Bachmann is a 3rd term Republican from Minnesota’s 6th District. She is the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota. She currently sits on the House Financial Services Committee and chairs the Tea Party Caucus.

Tickets are $25 per person and are now available on a first-come, first-served basis. To purchase tickets, contact a county Republican Party chairperson.

County>>Chairperson

Ashland>>Bill Harris

Crawford>>Matt Crall

Defiance>>Ted Penner

Fulton>>Sandy Barber

Henry>>Ron Behm

Huron>>Rob Duncan

Lucas>>Jon Stainbrook

Mercer>>Matt Gilmore

Paulding>>Fred Pieper

Putnam>>Lyle McKanna

Sandusky>>Justin Smith

Seneca>>David Koehl

Van Wert>>Martin Burchfield

Williams>>Brian Davis

Wood>>John Miller

Wyandot>>Sherman Stansbery

For more information, please visit www.lattaforcongress.com. To view a welcome message from Congresswoman Bachmann and Congressman Latta, please watch this video.

Forget Vegas! This is all about VCU! VCU’s got to do what VCU’s got to do!

In men’s hoops, the NCAA Final Four is not comprised of teams that most sports fans were expecting: A 3rd-seeded Connecticut, a 4th-seeded Kentucky, an 8th-seeded Butler, and an 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth (which I will abbreviate as VCU).  Picking this Final Four field was as easy as posting the names of the 68 tournament teams on a dartboard, putting a blindfold on, throwing four darts, taking the blindfold off, and reading the names of the universities where the darts landed.  You didn’t need to know much about men’s college basketball to figure this out.  In fact, the more you knew about men’s hoops, the more likely you were to predict the wrong Final Four.

Two Associated Press stories about the NCAA tourney caught my eye that I’d like to share with readers.

A story written by AP’s Paul J. Weber recaps VCU’s stunning upset victory against a 1st-seeded Kansas squad.  Kansas was so heavily favored to win, not just this game, but the entire tournament, that even President Obama predicted that Kansas would win it all.

VCU’s coach, Shaka Smart, has an Ohio connection.  A history major, he graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College, where he also played men’s basketball at the Division III level of the NCAA.

As if the pre-game taunts from Kansas players weren’t enough, as if the arena chock-full of Kansas fans weren’t enough, as if the naysaying sports reporters and pundits weren’t enough to get under the skin of Shaka Smart, VCU’s coach plainly saw that the game’s referees weren’t going to call the game the way Smart saw it.  Adversity reared its head anywhere the coach cared to look.  There was no friend to be found anywhere outside the VCU camp.  Every last one of those converging on the VCU contingent were foes.

And then Coach Smart was whistled for a technical foul.  That’s it.  That’s the last straw.  Enough.  To seek redress for these grievances, there was only one option left open to VCU: WIN!

Here’s an excerpt from the story, and I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting the most salient quote from the coach in bold print:

Smart, the 33-year-old whose enigmatic personality has made him a breakout star, was so animated shuffling in front of his bench that officials shooed him back. Another official later served Smart his first technical all season.

Smart said he used that moment as a motivator – though he had to clean up his language first.

“It was basically forget the refs, forget Kansas, this is all about us,” Smart said. “We got to do what we got to do.”

Among the field of Kentucky, Connecticut, Butler, and VCU, I was feeling mixed emotions about whether I’d like to see Kentucky win it all or Butler win it all.

Butler, located in Indianapolis, is another giant-killer small school, just like VCU, but I tend to favor teams from the Midwest.  Butler competes in the Horizon League, against schools such as Cleveland State, Wright State, and Youngstown State.

Kentucky is the team that ousted Ohio State by just a smidgeon in a game that went down to the wire.  If Ohio State can’t win it all, then a consolation would be that OSU lost to the eventual champion.  Kentucky is legendary in the annals of men’s basketball lore, so it’s no great shame for Ohio State to lose to such a highly-vaunted hoops program.

Kentucky?  Butler?  Kentucky?  Butler?  Kentucky?  Butler?  Kentucky?  Butler?

Which brings me to the other AP story, penned by Oskar Garcia, about who the Las Vegas oddsmakers favor for the men’s NCAA championship.

You’re not a regular long-time reader of Buckeye RINO if you are unaware of the fact that I have always vehemently opposed gambling.  Let’s see . . . there are at least . . . let me count (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, . . .) at least 22 blog posts chiefly about my anti-gambling views.  There are additional blog posts in which some other issue is more prominent, yet my opposition to gambling still gets expressed.  So, to the casual, infrequent Buckeye RINO readers or those who are just recently coming into regular contact with my blog, let me just say, “Hi!  My name is Daniel Jack Williamson, and I’m opposed to gambling.”

As I contemplated whether I wanted Butler or Kentucky to win it all, I had an epiphany.  I ought to be rooting for VCU, and the Oskar Garcia article explains why.  Here’s the opening paragraph:

Las Vegas casinos have tabbed Kentucky the latest favorite in an NCAA tournament full of upsets, and are hoping that Virginia Commonwealth ends its improbable run without a title.

Now here’s the clincher.  It’s a quote from Mike Colbert, an insider in the sports betting industry in Las Vegas.

“VCU is the one team that we don’t want to win,” he said. “Every other team is good for the house.”

Right now, VCU is the underdog among the four with 7 to 1 odds.  Back when VCU reached the round of 16, however, the odds of them winning it all were 80 to 1 , so, to say the odds have improved dramatically since VCU has advanced through two more tourney rounds is perhaps an understatement.  Apparently, some big wagers were placed on VCU last week at the 80 to 1 odds.  If a VCU championship materializes, it’s going to sting the sports gambling apparatus.

My antennas are up.  My radar is beeping.  The trajectory of whatever is out there faintly portends that Vegas might take a direct hit.  Bwahahahahahaha! I’m rubbing my hands together with cocked eyebrows and a mischievous grin on my face as my imagination plays out the complete annihilation of the gambling industry of Vegas in my mind’s eye.  I cackle some more and dance a little jig.

I do realize that, in the grand scheme of things, a VCU championship would be just a tiny setback for an industry that wins day in and day out.  Sporting events are strewn throughout the calendar, so the pipeline of $$$$ flowing to the industry won’t really be interrupted, as the house will win 99.99999999% of the time no matter which contestants win or which ones lose.  The industry almost always has all bases covered, but apparently VCU is one of those very rare exceptions.

Just the same, I derive some perverse delight from any event that causes the gambling industry to flinch because of pain, however fleeting the hurt may be, so VCU is my team leading up to this year’s Final Four match-ups.

I hope that Coach Smart takes offense against Las Vegas for not just disrespecting VCU, but for openly spouting its venomous contempt of VCU.  This is disrespect beyond opposing players, opponents’ fans, the media, or even the refs, for they might not want you to win, but they wouldn’t want actual harm to come to you.  Vegas would probably break the legs of every VCU player if they figured they could get away with it.  I hope that becomes bulletin board material in the VCU locker room.

Nobody’s looking out for the best interests of VCU in Vegas.

If it enraged Coach Smart that he could find no one outside the VCU camp who possessed even an ounce of goodwill toward his team at the Kansas game, then it has now been confirmed that the coach is not the least bit paranoid as VCU heads into the last two games. Vegas is truly out to get him and the team.  Winning it all is the only way to turn the tables on Vegas.

Forget those hateful conspirators!  This is not about what the haters want.  It’s all about VCU and what its players actually do on the basketball court at the appointed hour.  When play commences, the haters will have no power to determine the outcome.  Only the team that steps out onto that floor has that power.

Forget Las Vegas!  This is all about you, VCU!  Do what you gotta do!

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BYU did the right thing

March Madness.  Aside from birthdays of two of my brothers, March Madness is what makes the month of March worthwhile.

I’m not all that fond of March.  March temperatures are very fickle in Ohio.  It could be balmy, but more likely its snowy.  If it’s above freezing, March in Ohio can be very muddy.  Mud is probably my number one gripe about March.  Melting snows sometimes close roads because of too much standing water, and those in flood plains should be wary.  March is quite windy, and I don’t much care for really windy conditions.  The leaves are not back on the trees yet, so the landscape looks rather stark and inhospitable.  Not too long ago, March was made even worse by moving the start date of Daylight Savings Time from April.  I’d like to remain on Standard Time year-round.

I have plenty of similar gripes about April, too, but at least the Cleveland Indians baseball season gets underway.

Ohio gets really pretty in May.  I think the lush green beauty of Ohio reaches the peak of its perfection around Memorial Day weekend.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  I love college basketball, men’s or women’s teams. I love it far more than I do NBA basketball.  I graduated from Ohio State.  I’ve always been a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes.  I bleed Scarlet and Gray.

The Buckeyes are expected to do well this year.  I won’t hold my breath, because I’ve seen them lose so many NCAA tourney games that they weren’t supposed to lose, but I’m not feeling nervous–on edge–apprehensive–like I usually do at this time of year.  For some reason, I feel calm.  Maybe that’s a good omen.  Maybe that means that this year, finally, OSU, a number 1 seed in the men’s tournament, triumphs.  Or, if the men stumble, perhaps the OSU women, a lower seed (4), will surprise everyone in their tournament.

I have a brother and a sister who graduated from Brigham Young University, so I keep tab on their sports teams, too.  Both the men’s and women’s teams seemed to be on autopilot, in control of their destiny, both of them dominating the Mountain West Conference, and the men’s program getting a lot of national buzz with the nation’s leading scorer, Jimmer Fredette.  There was even some anticipation that the BYU men would even receive a number 1 seed in the tournament.

Then there was a bump in the road.

The BYU women did not win the post-season tourney of the conference they dominated all season long.  They didn’t even receive an invite to the women’s NCAA tournament.  They had to settle for the WNIT, instead.

Jimmer Fredette, though wowing spectators across the nation with his stellar on-court achievements, cannot do all of the work of the men’s team by himself.  There are five men on the court for each team at all times, and Jimmer needs those four other men or Jimmermania isn’t even possible.  BYU usually has 5 solid players on the floor, but many of the players coming off the bench are unproven.  It is widely acknowledged that BYU is not a deep team.

Then, the unthinkable happened.  Brandon Davies, the team’s leading rebounder, was kicked off the team and out of school for the rest of the season.  He’d committed no crime, nor had he violated any NCAA rules, yet the decision by the university’s administration to dismiss him was final.  There was no going back on the decision.  There was no further appeal that would receive consideration.

All of a sudden, one of the nation’s premier men’s basketball teams was an also-ran, Jimmer Fredette notwithstanding.  The team was not the same team as it used to be.  Over the course of the bulk of the season, BYU had only suffered two losses.  During the very brief stretch of the season after Davies was dismissed, BYU went down to defeat two more times.

Instead of a number 1 seed, BYU received a number 3 seed.  Many sports pundits believe a number 3 seed, for a BYU team without Brandon Davies, is way too generous.  BYU was blessed with a number 3 seed as a congratulatory hat-tip for the success they’d had over the course of the season, not because anyone believes them to be that good now that Davies is gone.

BYU won its first tourney game yesterday, against Wofford.  The win was expected, but it wasn’t stellar.  The game wasn’t particularly intense, as college basketball games go.  BYU’s win would’ve been lopsided with Davies on the court, but without him, BYU never amassed much of a lead.

Even before tourney play began yesterday, the talking heads were saying that the number 11 seed, Gonzaga, would be the one to win the first two rounds and advance to the Sweet 16.  Gonzaga has fulfilled half of that expectation, already, having beaten the number 6 seed, St. John’s, last night.  Tomorrow, BYU and Gonzaga will be facing off against each other.  Is BYU really all washed up?  Maybe.  We’ll find out more about that tomorrow, I suppose.

What was the reason for Davies dismissal in the first place that caused this trainwreck and possibly have even cost the BYU Cougars a first-ever national championship? He’d violated the student honor code, a pledge of high ethical standards that all BYU students must promise to abide by prior to enrollment.

Almost all students are privately screened by Mormon pastors (there are small variations in the screening process for non-Mormon applicants, but the promise to follow the student honor code is required of all BYU applicants) to assure that the applicants already conform to the standards of the honor code prior to admission and re-enrollment.  The nature of Davies’ violation wasn’t discussed by the university, but Davies, himself, acknowledged the nature of it to his teammates, and physical intimacy (consensual) with his girlfriend was apparently at the heart of the matter.  I can’t imagine that any other NCAA Division 1 university in the U.S.A. would have dismissed Davies on these grounds.  BYU’s expectations of students are incredibly high, and, quite frankly, most late teens and 20-somethings wouldn’t put up with such stringent rules.

I think BYU did the right thing.

Brandon Davies is a much more positive role model than me.  My conduct over the course of my adult life is far more checkered than Davies’ is.  I assure everyone that I approve of Davies’ dismissal knowing full well that, by no means, am I holier than he is.  For me, it boils down to this:  Does BYU excuse a violation by a prominent student-athlete just because they want to win a national championship?  Or, instead, is BYU fair to every student because no student is excused from fulfilling the pledge, not even a star athlete whose name is famous among all die-hard men’s college hoops fans throughout the nation?  The university administration had no doubt in its mind that being fair by holding every single student to the same standard was far more important than a championship.  I think they’re right.

What about second chances?  Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance?  Sure they do, and life will provide Brandon Davies’ with second, third, fourth, fifth (and so on) chances over the decades to come.  In my own life, I’ve been given many chances for redemption, too.  I don’t know if Davies feels as if his world has crumpled around him or not, but I know that it truly hasn’t.  The world keeps spinning.  The sun keeps rising.  The calendar keeps advancing.  Life’s journey for Brandon Davies can be a very rewarding one, and this moment of his life can become just a blip on the radar.

He just can’t play basketball for BYU right now.

Though he’ll get second chances, the immediate consequences for the violation cannot be circumvented or else the university would be entirely unfair to its whole student body.  The second chances will have to materialize in some other form.  Playing this tournament with BYU is out of the question.

Fairness to the student body, harumph!  What about fairness to the team?  Why should the team be penalized for one person’s infraction that wouldn’t count as an infraction at any other university in the nation?  Is it fair that the BYU team has to adhere to a very different standard than that of all the teams they play against?  So why is it fair to dismiss a player and hurt a whole team because of something that doesn’t matter anywhere else?

This is where it gets political, as it reminds me of one of the reasons I’m not a Libertarian.

The Libertarians I’ve known have repeatedly decried nanny-state governance.  Why should the government tell us not to grow marijuana, or even smoke it?  Why should the government restrict gambling?  Why forbid prostitution when adult participants willingly consent to it?  Why must I wear a seat belt while driving my automobile?  Why should I allow government to make decisions for me and take away my personal liberty just because they believe their decisions are for my own good?  If I make a decision that isn’t for my own good, I could create some trouble for myself, but isn’t that my concern and no one else’s?

Libertarians also decry the tyranny of the majority.  Why should a portion of revenues from a county sales tax be set aside for public transit that so few people actually use?  Why pay property tax to a school district when none of those students are my own children?  Why does city hall, against my own wishes, install speed bumps on our street just because most of my neighbors want them?  And why do zoning ordinances restrict what I can do on my own property just because those ordinances are deemed to be for the benefit of all?  If I don’t agree with the majority opinion, why can’t I opt out?

My response to all these questions is that no human being is an island.

The consequences of what we do does not stop with us.  It ripples far beyond us.  If I create trouble for myself because of my own bad decision, it IS of concern to others, because others are linked to me, and therefore are impacted.

If you choose to be an alcoholic, you might cause the rest of us to have higher insurance premiums. You might collide with me while you’re driving. You might use your money on alcohol rather than the mortgage payments and the resulting foreclosure lower my property’s value.  You might not maintain your property well and and the rest of us neighbors have to contend with the vermin that migrate from your property.  You might get in violent fights with your spouse and disturb the peace in the neighborhood.  You might act inappropriately in front of my children.  You are not the only one who would suffer from your incorrect choices, therefore the law limits your personal liberties regarding alcohol consumption.  The government isn’t just protecting you from yourself.  It’s protecting the rest of us, too.

When laws are enacted in accordance with the will of the majority, opting out would decrease cooperation, which would increase friction, which would disrupt order, which could disintegrate our society into a lawless one.  A disordered, lawless society would only increase individual liberty if one had hegemonic power over others who might stand in the way.  Somalia is a disordered lawless place, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no system of governance.  Government exists wherever people interact together.  If there isn’t a system of laws to govern those interactions, and if persuasion fails to govern those interactions, then force governs those interactions.  That’s why warlords tussle with each other in lawless regions such as Somalia, because governance of interactions is determined by successful physical aggression and cunning.  Opting out can easily lead to a far more malignant tyranny than the “tyranny of the majority” that exists in the U.S.A.

The spillover effects of Brandon Davies’ dismissal from the men’s basketball team at BYU illustrates that the impact of one person’s actions, the exercise of one person’s liberties, for good or ill, ripples beyond self.  Opting out of Davies’ obligations separated him from the community he was once a part of.  Both Davies and that BYU community suffer because of the breakdown of order.

Libertarianism, even in a nation far less ordered than the BYU community, yields these very same consequences, and at several levels of magnitude greater.

A link to 2011 Cuyahoga County GOP calendar

Considering all the blog visitors looking for Lincoln Day Dinner information across Ohio, I should have posted this notice about Cuyahoga County’s Lincoln Day Dinner already.  Sorry about the delay.

19th Annual Republican Party of Cuyahoga County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:30 pm VIP reception and 6:30 pm dinner
  • Downtown Renaissance Hotel Ballroom, 24 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113
  • Cost: $50/person for dinner and $250/person for VIP reception
  • Contact: Matt Clever at 216-621-5418 or mclever@cuyahogacountygop.com
  • Guest Speakers: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel

For other events on the RPCC calendar, please follow this link: http://www.cuyahogacountygop.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=21.

Americans for Prosperity-Ohio press release: Former state rep Seth Morgan is the new Director of Policy for AFP-Ohio

Editor’s note: Perhaps you remember last year’s GOP primary in which Seth Morgan, a CPA, vied for nomination to the office of Ohio Auditor. This press release from Americans for Prosperity-Ohio was issued on 3/17/2011.

FORMER STATE REPRESENTATIVE SETH MORGAN JOINS AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY OF OHIO AS DIRECTOR OF POLICY

DAYTON – Grassroots free-market group Americans for Prosperity is pleased to welcome aboard former State Representative Seth Morgan as Ohio Director of Policy.

Morgan is recognized as a leader in advocating for free markets, fiscal responsibility in government, and limiting government’s intrusion into Ohioans’ liberties and pocketbooks. He entered politics as a young man, seeking to make a difference for the Community by putting to use his passion for public policy, philosophy of a responsible government, and love for the City of Huber Heights and the surrounding region.

In 2001, Morgan ran and was elected to the position of Huber Heights City Council, representing Ward 3. He won this first race by a mere three votes. He first took office in January 2002 and, at the age of 23, became the youngest Council member ever to represent the citizens of Huber Heights. In 2004 he was selected by his peers to serve as the city’s youngest ever Vice-Mayor. Morgan was reelected in 2005 to the Huber Heights City Council.

Morgan was elected in 2008 to serve as the Ohio State Representative for the 36th District, serving northern and western portions of Montgomery County. With his aggressive but resolute and consistent leadership style, Morgan “hit the ground running” and was most active leading in his role as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education. His effort for Ohio’s children lead him to take Governor Ted Strickland to the Ohio Supreme Court in his effort to force transparency and accountability for some of Ohio’s most important and far-reaching policies.

“The heart of American politics is not about Republican or Democrat or which ‘team’ one belongs to. Rather it is about helping individuals learn to love the liberty they’ve been given and the policies that best preserve that liberty. AFP is playing an important role in that effort in Ohio and for that I’m grateful to be assisting in their efforts,” said Seth Morgan.

Morgan accepts this position alongside his continued commitments as a Certified Public Accountant and President of MLA Management Systems, Inc. Morgan serves small to medium sized organizations with business consulting and part-time CFO services. He is also a Member of Morgan Troutwine & Associates, CPAs, LLC. Morgan and his wife Debra have three children.

Halfway agreeing with Kucinich on Libya

The rest of the world is wondering when the United States will officially make up its mind on the appeal put to it to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.  I suppose the rest of the world appeals to the U.S. to perform this task because they know full well that we are capable of this task in a way that no other nation is capable of doing.

The Obama Administration has dithered on the issue as time passes and dissenters get crushed by tanks.  The Obama Administration has said that it will not act unilaterally, so it is sending out feelers to see whether the U.S. has a mandate from the international community to take action on the request for the no-fly zone.  The Obama Administration dithers because the international community is divided on the issue.  For some strange reason, the President can’t decide which nations’ opinions count and which ones don’t.  If one were to base a decision upon what other nations think, one would suppose that the opinions of the Arab League, France, and the U.K.  would be more persuasive than the opinions of Russia and Germany, don’t you think?

Umm . . . I think, in one sense, it is OK for the U.S. to act unilaterally.  We don’t  need to ask the international community what the U.S. ought to do.  We never did need to.  Our nation makes up its own mind and then acts accordingly.  The international community is not the entity that is entitled to mandate what the U.S. does.

In another sense, the President should not act unilaterally.  It is the people of the United States of America who are sovereign.  We are the ones who issue mandates, and in the case of war, we do that through our representatives in Congress.  The U.S. Constitution even says so.

Congress moves as slowly as molasses running uphill in January.  Waiting for an act of Congress would cost precious time.  I’m of the opinion, however, that the President has wasted precious time already consulting the international community when he should have been using that time to appeal directly to Congress to affirm, one way or the other, what action is to be taken.  He might have to take a whip to Congress to swiftly draft a resolution and vote upon it, but Congress, as the representatives of We, the People, are the ones who make the binding decision, not the international community.

Legislatures prescribe what the executive branch is to do.  The executive branch is to carry out the directives of the legislative branch.

Some would argue that it is the prerogative of the President to make an executive decision on the matter in his role as Commander-in-Chief.  He does command the armed forces of the United States, true.  He’s directed some armed forces to assist Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.  Assisting Japan, though, is not an act of war.

The President could reasonably take immediate action against Libya if Libya were engaged in an assault upon the U.S., its citizens, or its diplomatic or military institutions abroad.  Libya is not carrying out an assault against the United States.

Under these circumstances, military intervention against the government of Libya, such as imposing a no-fly zone upon it, would require a Declaration of War from the United States Congress.  Upon that point, I readily agree with Dennis Kucinich, who has posted his position on his website.

My question is:  Where is the resolution at?  What I mean is, where is the bill before Congress that would officially declare war if it won passage?

Senator Kerry and Senator McCain have talked about resolutions to authorize implementation of a no-fly zone, but I agree with Dennis Kucinich that such authorization is insufficient because it is not in keeping with the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has vowed to introduce a resolution that stipulates that the President cannot take part in any action in Libya without first being approved by Congress.  Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy, . . . and redundant.  That’s not the resolution that’s needed, since it only repeats the Constitution.  When it comes to foreign policy, when has Ron Paul ever exhibited signs of leadership?  That’s why I can never vote for him in GOP presidential primary elections.  Do you, Ron Paul, want to demonstrate leadership?  Put a war resolution before Congress, even though you’ll obviously vote against it.  Get the matter decided right now and put an end to Obama’s dithering.  Do whatever you want within the rules of Congress to ensure that your side prevails and wins the day, but cease the inaction.

Likewise to Dennis Kucinich.  Urge the Congress to vote on a war resolution, nothing less.  Put the matter to rest once and for all.

Some have said that our Congress should never vote in favor of a declaration of war when it is taking sides in some other nation’s civil war.  They say that a declaration of war should only win passage if the United States is under attack.  I don’t agree with that assessment, and neither does history.  During our Revolutionary War (a civil war within the territory ruled by the British crown) the American army did, in fact, receive valuable assistance from abroad.  Likewise, during our Civil War, some foreign influences aided the North and some foreign influences aided the South.  We did not waive off foreign involvement.  We accepted whatever foreign aid we could lay hold of to support our war efforts.  This precedent was set from the very founding era of our nation, so I reject the notion that we must automatically vote against going to war amidst some other nation’s civil war.  We can consider each proposed war resolution without being bound by such constraints.  I’m not saying we should be hawkish.  I’m not saying we should be dovish, either.  I’m saying we can make such decisions on a case-by-case basis, and whatever decision the Congress makes, yes or no, carries the full weight and force of the Constitution with it.

Having said that, I’d like to review a few specific sentences within Kucinich’s statement.

“A no-fly zone begins with an attack on the air defenses of Libya.  It is an act of war that can only be approved by Congressional action, not by any international body.  There is a civil war in Libya, which must be resolved by Libya.”

Instead of underscoring the words “It is an act of war” as Kucinich did on his webpage, I have highlighted those words in italics and bold print, since I think, on my blog page, the contrast with the rest of the text stands out more.  I do need to disclose, though, that Kucinich underscored it.

I agree with the first sentence.  It is an attack on Libya.

I would take the second sentence a bit further:  Not only is it an act of war that can only be approved by Congress, I would add that the approval from Congress (should it decide to do so) must come in the form of a declaration of war.  Authorizing a no-fly zone, I believe, would not pass muster.  The Congress declares war, then the Commander-in-Chief determines how to execute the war, whether to include a no-fly zone as part of the strategy, or not.  The chief purpose of the war would be to vanquish the forces of the government of Libya.  If that is accomplished, then a treaty is drafted, then ratified by the Senate, and the war is concluded.

The third sentence jumps to a conclusion.  That conclusion is that it is a civil war that must be resolved by Libya.  Instead, I wouldn’t speak for the rest of the nations of the world whether they are content to let Libya resolve this on its own or not.  Other nations might decide to involve themselves in the war and shape how it is resolved.  We might disagree with the actions of other nations who choose to involve themselves, but even if we disagree with the interference of any and all nations on the principle that Libya, itself, settle the matter as an internal concern, the word “should” needs to replace the word “must.”  We can have an opinion on what should happen, pertaining to the resolution of the Libyan civil war, but we aren’t able to decree what must happen.  In addition to not speaking for the rest of the nations, I don’t believe that Kucinich can speak for our own nation until the votes are tallied on the war resolution.  The Libyan civil war is not a matter that the U.S. should try to resolve if the Congress says “no” to a war resolution.  However, the U.S. will not leave the matter to be resolved by Libya, alone, if the U.S. Congress declares war on Libya.

Here are two more sentences from Kucinich that I want to examine:

“It is time for the Administration to stop looking for someone else to make the decision.  The U.S. must make a firm declaration that it will not intervene in Libya by means of enforcing a no-fly zone or any other aggressive military means.”

Kucinich hits the nail on the head with that first sentence, as the “someone else” refers to someone beyond Congress, and that especially applies to looking for other nations to make our decision.  Congress makes the decision.  Obama has no authority to look to someone else.

As to the second sentence, I would have to say, “Has the Congressional vote been held and tallied already?”  Only if the Congress has already voted against a declaration of war on Libya can the second sentence be binding upon the United States.  As much as Kucinich would like to dictate how all other members of Congress should vote, he can’t tell them how to vote.  If the other side prevails, then Kucinich ought to acknowledge that the United States really is at war with Libya.  The Constitution does not constrain the Congress from voting one way or the other.  What does the Constitution do?  It requires the United States to act upon the will of Congress, whether the vote is yes or no.  Much as Kucinich doesn’t like it, nothing bars a colleague from voting “yes.”

The bottom line here is that the Congress should render a decision on the matter so that President Obama knows what the mandate is.  Don’t tell him he can’t act without a mandate from Congress and then withhold a Congressional decision on what the mandate is, which is what Ron Paul’s proposed resolution amounts to.  Once Congress acts decisively, then Obama can act decisively.  Got it?  Do it!

Japanese store shelves tell the tale: The time to hoard is long before the calamity strikes

I’m hopping back up on my soapbox again.  I’ve been blogging about preparing your family for catastrophes since 2008.  I’ve racked my brain to pinpoint of a number of ways in which your family can prepare, and put those thoughts on my blog, too.  I’m blogging again to remind everyone that the time to prepare for catastrophe is sooner rather than later.

AP business writer Yuri Kageyama produced this report about consumers throughout Japan, not just in the earthquake/tsunami ravaged zone of northeast Honshu island, descending on stores to buy up all products with any shelf life that could have some use in an emergency. (Hint: Just click on the above link and read the AP article. You need to take a look at it. Got that?)

The scarcity of these consumer goods throughout Japan is hampering the humanitarian relief efforts.  How do you ship survival goods, such as food, water, blankets, batteries, flashlights, tents, sleeping bags, etc., to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami when the unaffected population throughout the rest of the nation has siphoned away all those supplies?  Government officials are urging the public not to hoard, but the public is panicked.

Don’t feel vulnerable in a crisis.  You should have what you need for an emergency now.  If you don’t have it now, when will you have it?  In your hour of need?  And if a natural disaster, such as a house fire or tornado, wipes out your own emergency supplies, won’t you be grateful to your neighbors if they’ve got emergency supplies on hand that they can share with you?  Wouldn’t you be glad you could help out a neighbor if the roles are reversed?  And then, when widespread disasters wipe out the emergency supplies of everyone in the community, wouldn’t you be thankful that humanitarian relief efforts aren’t starved of resources because the population beyond the disaster zone has no reason to panic, since they’re already prepared?

One more thing to keep in mind:  The world economy is fragile.  This earthquake/tsunami disaster has sent seismic waves rippling out into the rest of the world.  If our nation’s economy collapsed (and there’s so much that’s straining our economy and threatening our currency right now), what you already have on hand might be all that you can obtain . . . until an economic recovery ensues.  How long would it take before you can rely on economic recovery to lift you out of your emergency?  Who knows?

No community is immune from disaster.  Don’t bet that it won’t be your family that is calamity-stricken next.  If you haven’t already, get your family ready for emergencies ASAP.