James Williamson guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm

Editor’s note: James Williamson is one of my younger brothers and is an Ohio native currently residing in Nevada.  He has written a number of guest blog posts for Buckeye RINO previously.  The topic he keeps revisiting is the tension between state governments and the federal government, and the phrase “Imminent Rebellion” is included in title of each blog post in the series, for he predicts that one day, several states may part ways with the federal government, which he believes might even lead to another civil war.  The other posts in the Imminent Rebellion Series are linked here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In this post, James tackles the topic of Jade Helm.  I have presented a competing viewpoint on Jade Helm here on my Buckeye RINO blog titled, “The Meaning of Jade Helm 15 for the Future of the United States of America.“–DJW

Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm

When I first started writing about the split between the Feds and the states it was not a common topic of discussion, nor did another civil war seem imminent to many besides me. Now with the many conspiracy theories surrounding Jade Helm 15 it seems to be a little more vogue. For those that don’t know, Jade Helm 15 is a series of military exercises that are to be held over the next two months in several states, with many of the exercises being conducted in populated areas. This has caused quite a stir in the states where the exercises are being conducted, most notably Texas. Even Chuck Norris felt the need to speak about it and called it “more than a military exercise”.

One of the reasons there are so many conspiracy theories is because the government is not saying what the purpose of the exercises are beyond training in urban environments . . . and they are prohibiting direct coverage by the press. That, of course, is just nectar for the bees (or wasps as the case may be…) and no one should be surprised that the bees are swarming. While there are many theories about the operation the most popular are that the federal government is either 1) preparing to fight ISIS insurgents (some saying on foreign, others on domestic soil) or 2) they are getting ready to declare martial law that would be triggered by riots or some other national crisis. I suppose that you could take a third road and say it’s both. If ISIS took hold here in the US, martial law might have to be declared to effectively counterattack especially if some of the ISIS fighters happen to be US citizens.

For more on the nationwide race riot conspiracy theory, you can read about an alleged race database that is being compiled by “Big Brother” here:  “Obama collecting personal data for a secret race database.”

If Jade Helm 15 is preparation for a foreign campaign, as the few public comments on it from the military indicate, then we have little to be concerned about, right? Well, it does’t fit the rhetoric. The administration has been consistently talking about reducing the number of troops in the Middle East, not increasing them. The administration has also stated that they don’t want to be involved on the ground in Syria. This could be just for Iraq to keep the hard fought gains there, but that doesn’t fit the rhetoric either. We are supposed to have a smaller footprint there, not a bigger one. There is not popular support for any more military invervention in the middle-east anyway so what would the exercise be for if not there? The Ukraine? That makes even less sense. Whose side would we even be on? Aren’t Obama and Putin striking a more conciliatory tone toward each other and calling for “cooperation”? There are reports that the administration is trying to get help from Russia in Syria again. It wouldn’t be prudent to help the Ukrainians put down the pro-Russian movement there if we are trying to get something from Russia. Then again, this administration has never made a lot of sense regarding foreign policy unless you are a cynic. Any other possibilities? China? Not likely. North Korea? Not worth our time. Iran? In the words of Jack Sparrow, “Why fight when you can negotiate?” The ink is not even dry on the agreement with Iran. Intervention on foreign soil just doesn’t make sense (unless you want to start making comparisons to the German/Soviet nonaggression pact…) so we come back to the domestic soil theory.

If Jade Helm 15 is indeed designed for a domestic operation then there is even more cause for concern. Regardless of the trigger, having live military operations on US soil means there is trouble in our own back yard. Many are saying that it’s not just coincidence that Texas, Utah, and the southern tip of California are listed as “hostile” territory for the drills and that they will be targeted first.  Maybe this is all just crazy talk, but why, after more than a decade of urban warfare in Iraq, do we suddenly need urban warfare training in populated areas within the United States? We didn’t need them when we invaded Baghdad. Why now? One thing is for certain: Uncle Sam is not giving answers, so we are left to ponder and let our imaginations run wild. That doesn’t seem like an effective way to run a public relations campaign.

If martial law were declared while President Obama is still in office it would put the liberal Democrats in a tough spot ideologically as they generally are the group that derides Abraham Lincoln for essentially imposing martial law by suspending habeus corpus after the start of the Civil War. On the other hand President Obama is a Lincoln admirer. He started his presidency by riding the train along the same route that Lincoln did on his way to Washington DC. Maybe President Obama wants to follow in Lincoln’s footsteps in more ways than one?

The Meaning of Jade Helm 15 for the Future of the United States of America

Editor’s note:  My brother, James Williamson, wrote a guest blog article also about Jade Helm, titled, “Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm,” in which he theorizes that the federal government may be conspiring to quash rebellious states and/or rioters by declaring martial law . . . or worse. Feel free to compare my post with his and post comments with your thoughts.–DJW

What is Operation Jade Helm 15?

Operation Jade Helm 15 is a joint military exercise currently underway in the southwestern United States of America that is due to wrap up on September 15, 2015. In addition to coordination between branches of the US Armed Forces, these exercises will also entail working hand-in-glove with other federal agencies not usually known for pairing with the military during combat missions—oh! . . . and I should clarify for you that these military exercises are, in fact, combat drills. Without that clarification, you might think that these are emergency preparedness drills for either civil defense or disaster relief, because several of the odd partners in these exercises are agencies within the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

In this simulation, some of the southwestern states will be designated as allied territory, i.e. staging grounds for combat missions. Other states will be designated as hostile territory, within which targets are designated for the missions launched from allied territory. Two states are considered neutral territory with one seemingly sympathetic toward the allies and the other seemingly sympathetic toward the enemy, but not otherwise actively engaged in the skirmishes between the two sides. In this scenario, California has been partitioned with the two counties that neighbor the Mexican border designated as hostile territory while the rest of California is in allied territory. The other hostile territories are Texas and Utah while the other allied territories are Nevada and Colorado. New Mexico is seen as sympathetic toward the enemy and Arizona is seen as sympathetic toward the allies.

Jade Helm 15 has become a popular topic among conspiracy theorists.

A number of skeptical individual citizens, as well as those in social circles (Tea Party?) and self-styled civilian militias who are distrustful of the federal government, are concerned that Operation Jade Helm 15 is a preparation for carrying out future military operations directed at muting government critics. They point to combat missions planned for Jade Helm wherein small special ops teams, prior to any battlefield engagement, are to quietly swoop in to capture or kill the leaders of the opposition. The FBI and the DEA, both of which are federal policing agencies that operate mostly within the United States rather than abroad, will be the ones detecting and tracking the opposition leaders in advance of the arrival of the special ops teams that will take those targets out.

Put more bluntly, the states designated as allied or hostile territory for the purposes of Operation Jade Helm 15 are not stand-ins for foreign nations, if the rumors of FBI and DEA cooperation with the military are true. The states are cast in the role of actual states of the United States. Thus, another conspiracy theory is that this is more than just eliminating self-styled civilian militias and anti-government propagandists. Instead, many of the conspiracy theorists interpret these special ops missions as preparation for the initial stages of another civil war.

The military has reached out to communities to refute conspiracy theorists.

These military exercises are mostly being conducted on private properties with permissions from property owners. Without some kind of advance public notice of these exercises, the military worried that civilians dwelling near these properties would become alarmed by the noises of helicopters and rifle fire, thereby unnecessarily swamping 911 operators with phone calls while drills were taking place. Communities near where these exercises are or will be taking place have been notified that these are only drills. No real emergencies are anticipated. In some communities, the military has held actual town hall meetings to offer reassurance that these exercises are merely tests of coordination between military branches and federal agencies to enhance military readiness for operations in other parts of the world.

Some conspiracy theorists have been in attendance at the community town hall meetings hosted by the military to confront the military officers with their suspicions of preparation for martial law and/or civil war. The military officers conducting the meetings repeatedly gave assurances that the federal government has not and is not planning for either the implementation of martial law or the onset of civil war.

The conspiracy theorists were not persuaded or placated by the assurances, and military officers privately conceded that nothing they could say would have changed the minds of the conspiracy theorists. The view of the military officers was that the conspiracy theorists would not put their minds at ease until September 16th arrived—the day after wrap-up—without the occurrence of any alarming incidents in the meantime.

In many cases, the conspiracy theorists in attendance were not local townsfolk. They traveled some distances to attend these town hall meetings. Overall, local townsfolk in the vicinity of the planned exercises were apt to believe the military officers, or at least give them the benefit of the doubt. Public support for our nation’s troops has characteristically been very strong since 9/11, and perhaps that is why the townsfolk responded to the military in a favorable way. Theories of conspiracy apparently failed to gain traction among locals.

I think Jade Helm is a trial balloon for a contingency, not confirmation of a full-fledged conspiracy.

Perhaps I am drawing a fine distinction, but I hope readers can discern my meaning. Let me first pose a hypothetical question: What if the federal government experienced a financial meltdown? I’m not talking about a Congressional debate that failed to yield enough votes for raising the debt ceiling and thus causing a government shutdown. No, I am talking about a much worse fiscal environment, as I blogged about four-and-a-half years ago, where the value of our money or the sources of our money just evaporate.

If there is a full-fledged conspiracy afoot in the federal government, it is a conspiracy to continue government “stimulus” spending and central bank (the Federal Reserve) quantitative easing that will surely bankrupt our government.

Crony capitalism and government intervention in the private sector is at the heart of the problem, just as it was during the Wall Street bailouts of 2008. Please do not misconstrue my disdain for crony capitalism as disdain for capitalism as a whole. I very much favor free-market capitalism. For more talking points about crony capitalism—what it is and what it brings about—beyond what I share here, perhaps you should follow the 2016 presidential campaign messages of Carly Fiorina, as she has been outspoken on the matter. Big businesses within a myriad of industries have lobbied successfully over the course of decades for federal laws that provide them with distinct marketplace advantages. Incumbent politicians of both major political parties crave campaign donations to retain power. The corporate PACs have been rewarding members of Congress for favorable laws by filling campaign coffers. The Wall Street bailouts of 2008 were not only motivated by a concern that a disastrous nationwide economic meltdown would occur, but also by a concern that politicians would be biting the hands that feed them had they not approved the bailouts. Bailouts only constitute a portion of “stimulus” spending designed to lengthen the careers of professional politicians via rewards to big business political benefactors. Growth of government, for example, leads to growth of private-sector government contractors, thus providing economic “stimulus.” As the government grows, so also does the power of the politicians that run it. The government has intruded on our private economy, and even our private lives, at an ever-accelerating rate. Considering government intrusion, it is no wonder that conspiracy theories abound. The conspiracy theory that I fully subscribe to is avarice. The government and the politicians that run it want money and power in the worst way.

The government’s greed for money and power is unsustainable. When the fiscal system collapses, when the government defaults on debt payments, when the government can only pay its employees with IOUs, when the government can no longer reimburse doctors for Medicare and Medicaid, when no more monthly Social Security benefits can be paid out, when no more unemployment checks can be issued, when no more Temporary Assistance to Needy Families can be provided, when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can no longer protect your bank deposits if your bank fails, when there is no longer any ability to bail out well-connected political benefactors, when U.S. Treasury bonds can no longer be redeemed (and when no one with any common sense will buy them), I predict the government will shift into confiscatory mode. Do you think the day will never come that the government is starved for money? I think we’ve already passed the point of no return. That day is coming. I’m convinced of it.

As the federal government becomes insolvent, forget about debt ceiling debates, the government will repeal or ignore any such ceiling in a desperate attempt to retain some kind of purchasing power. Woe unto all who may have cheated on federal taxes, owe federal loans, or otherwise committed offenses wherein laws allow for asset seizure, for private assets will be seized—forcefully, if necessary. Expect that more laws will be passed that allow for more private property forfeiture to the government. Expect the federal government to try to commandeer the resources of the states. Expect tax exemptions to evaporate. Expect federal taxes to be levied on assets that were never taxed before in American history. Does it sound far-fetched to you? If so, have you been paying attention to Greece and some of the measures the government has resorted to there? Greece hasn’t resorted to all of these measures, because they still are milking the European Union for as much as they can get, but, if you’ve paid attention, Greece has already resorted to some of these measures. Have you noticed what the Greek government has done to the banks?

Okay, I will concede that the government has not yet conspired to resort to any such measures. The conspiracy for money and power still rings true to me. So, if you, dear readers, will at least humor me by assuming that the federal government conspires to accumulate more money and power, what might the fallout be if the government cannot sustain its efforts to do so? You don’t know? You can’t be sure? You have some vague ideas of what might happen, but no crystal ball to show you exactly how it all plays out? If you are not sure what might happen in such a scenario, I think you are in good company. I think the federal government, though it has some vague ideas, doesn’t know exactly how such a situation plays out, either. I think they are mulling over the multitude of possible ramifications and seeing what options they can put on the table to mitigate against any negative ramifications that may arise. In other words, they are beginning to examine contingencies.

This is the distinction I am drawing. In my mind, Jade Helm is not a government conspiracy. The government has not committed itself to implementing martial law. It has not pledged to engage in civil war. It has not fully formulated plans for either of these actions. These are not the unspoken intentions behind the conception of Operation Jade Helm 15. Instead, the federal government is just brainstorming—throwing things at the wall, so to speak, and seeing what sticks—in case all hell breaks loose. The government does not yet know if they would put martial law, let alone civil war, on the table if the people and/or states revolt. Maybe there will be no revolt. Maybe citizens will pull together, help each other out, and keep the peace, giving the federal government time to regroup and conceive of a new way forward. Jade Helm, to me, is an exploratory mission to see what may be feasible in planning for the contingencies that may arise in an uncertain future.

In my opinion, the future will bring revolt and the U.S. government will act with hostility toward the people and the states.

The revolt I foresee will not be premeditated and the harsh actions of the government will not have arisen from conspiracy. It will unfold spontaneously. The federal government’s unsustainable avarice for money and power will be the underlying cause of the actions that follow. People desperate for basic essentials will riot and plunder. States will want to insulate themselves from the chaos to the degree that they will assert their autonomy and move toward secession.

The United States, to my knowledge, has not set up internment camps since they forced Americans of Japanese heritage to live in such camps during World War II. It was a mistake to set up the camps in the first place. The threat posed by those detained was minor to negligible. Their constitutional rights were suspended for the purpose of security, but in my mind, civil liberty trumps the small risks to security that a few individuals may pose. Jade Helm, from my understanding (but I hope I’m wrong), includes exercises in setting up and maintaining internment camps for government dissidents. I believe that if such exercises are conducted, that it may embolden the federal government to put internment camps on the table as an option should widespread popular revolt materialize.

The supposed joint exercises involving special ops, the FBI, and the DEA may encourage the government to put another option on the table to neutralize dissidents. I believe the DEA will be active, anyway, even without revolt, because the greedy government will act aggressively to seize property in connection with suspected drug crimes. We can only hope, in such desperate times, that the actions of the DEA will be directed only at legitimate drug criminals rather than impacting innocent civilians via dragnets too broad in scope. But, if things get out of hand and there is an uprising, particularly among self-styled militias, I can easily conceive of the FBI sniffing out the leading dissidents and special ops, in turn, snuffing them out.

Secession would first be attempted by states that have already passed measures in their legislatures asserting their sovereignty over their own territory. Many states have done so. Some of these states, like South Carolina, Utah, and Texas, have planned for contingencies that anticipate the possibility of the collapse of our national currency. South Carolina has reserved for itself the right to mint coins. Utah has reserved for its people the right of the people to mint their own coins. The Texas treasury’s investments include gold, held in a New York vault. The Texas legislature has garnered media attention for its call to relocate that gold to a yet-to-be-built vault on Texas’ own soil. Not only would these states be among the first to move toward secession, they would also be the first targets of federal military power, were the situation to escalate, in efforts to both block secession and commandeer states’ resources. Civil war may materialize. South Carolina—the last holdout in banishing the Confederate flag (not only a detestable symbol of slavery but a symbol of secession) and the first to engage in combat at the start of the Civil War, could conceivably be the starting point of a new civil war. This time, if such a scenario were to arise, instead of South Carolina’s troops assaulting a federal military installation, it will be the federal government that initiates an assault against South Carolina.

Seizing state assets in Texas and Utah before those states can secure them will serve as prime motivation for the federal government to strike preemptively in those states as well. I point to Operation Jade Helm 15 as evidence of the federal government’s conspiracy to obtain more wealth and power, for the whole states of Texas and Utah are designated as hostile territory in Jade Helm. You decide. Is this coincidence, or not? Is this a way to explore a contingency, or not?

As further evidence that designating Texas and Utah as hostile territory for the purposes of Jade Helm may not be coincidental, the neutrality of New Mexico and Arizona along with their supposed political leanings make little sense unless viewed through the eyes of federal avarice. After all, Arizona has had several high-profile squabbles with the federal government, so sympathizing with the federal government, as conceived of in Operation Jade Helm 15, doesn’t ring true. Meanwhile, the blue-leaning state of New Mexico has very different political leanings than Texas or Utah, so why would New Mexico, though sitting on the sidelines, be leaning away from the feds? In my travel through New Mexico, the bilingual nature of the state is evident. Spanish is spoken nearly everywhere, and a large proportion of New Mexico’s population speaks Spanish as its first language (which, in my mind, is not a bad thing). I am assuming that while the U.S. is reaching a point of meltdown, the nation of Mexico is still intact. I think New Mexico may seek to strengthen economic ties with Mexico as an economic stopgap measure, and though the New Mexico legislature may make no movement toward formal secession, the U.S. government may look upon New Mexico’s commerce with envy and have to make a decision whether to take action against New Mexico or look the other way. Meanwhile, Arizona has already burned its bridges with the Mexican government, so expanding commerce in that direction is not an option. Could the California counties bordering Mexico take even bolder action than New Mexico in engaging commercially with Mexico by going a step further and adopting a political stance defiant of the federal government? If the designations of hostile and friendly territory for the purposes of Jade Helm are totally innocent and random, so be it. But if the federal government has an appetite for plunder, doesn’t the map of Jade Helm finally make sense?

Putin is an opportunist, and Russia will swing into action if the U.S. is in disarray.

In the 2012 presidential campaign, the Obama campaign ridiculed Republican rival Mitt Romney for stating that Russia is the USA’s number one geopolitical foe. Now, even President Obama’s new appointee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admits the ill will and great danger the US faces from Russia. We knew Romney was right before the POTUS and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did. That ridiculous Russian relationship reset button is reason enough for me to dismiss support for Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid out of hand.

Close observers of Putin say that he looks at adversarial situations through the lens of a judo martial artist.  (On that note, I really like this article by Matthew Hedrick at Fortune magazine.)  Martial arts are comprised of more than just rehearsed moves and strategies, for, at the highest level, they are accompanied by a mindset, a way of perceiving interactions between external entities, a way of perceiving self in society, a way of perceiving one’s place in the world, a way of perceiving one’s internal thoughts and emotions, and a way of perceiving the spiritual and supernatural. Putin has achieved a black belt in judo. His instinct is not to be the aggressor when his adversary is most wary and least vulnerable. His instinct is to throw his adversary to the ground when his opponent exposes a vulnerability. Often, the force of the throw is not just determined by how much muscle Putin puts into it, for it is also significantly determined by how much momentum carried the adversary in the direction of the throw. With the United States already moving in a military direction against its own states in a civil war, a direction that could potentially result in the demise of the federal government, Russia may make a grab at the opportunity and finish the job—throwing the United States government to the ground.

The Russian propagandists have been bragging to their own nation that they have refined the abilities of their nuclear arsenal through advanced technology while the U.S. has stood pat with weaponry based on the designs of yesteryears. The Russian public loves this propaganda, and recent public opinion polls show that Russians have a very dim view of America. The Russian government propagandists have gone so far as to say that it can win . . . WIN . . . a nuclear war with the United States. If Russia indeed possesses this capability, we should look upon that nation with dread, for the Russian people have the political will to see it through.

I think that while the casualties mount in the United States, Russia will choose a time and place to strike with nuclear weapons that will break the back of the federal government as we know it. For those of us old enough to remember the Reagan Administration, the U.S. military proposed the development of a neutron bomb. I believe the Russians possess such bombs. The bombs are intended to leave buildings and infrastructure largely intact while killing off all inhabitants within the blast area. The radioactive fallout decays more rapidly than the nukes in our arsenal so that, in a short number of years (maybe less), the blast area can be occupied by the victors. Instead of blasting the planet to oblivion and radioactively poisoning the planet’s remains forever, Russia’s nukes can allow for surgical strikes that take out the populations of much smaller targets with little worry about incurring many casualties from radioactive fallout drifting over the Russian homeland. They win and we lose.

I do not believe Russian troops will be deployed to occupy American territory (with maybe exceptions for Alaska and the very strategically placed Hawaii). I believe Russia may use proxies for that purpose. Much as we won’t put boots on the ground to beat ISIS, but instead use airstrikes to enable allies such as the Kurds to occupy liberated territory, I think Russia will do likewise with their long-range military strikes while enabling an occupying invasion from elsewhere in the Americas. I believe Canada will not be able to maintain its territorial integrity as the invaders will not respect Canada’s borders and the Russians, coveting the whole of the Arctic Ocean basin, will strike our ally to the north, as well. The Russians will then turn toward reaching military objectives in their own hemisphere without any worry of intervention emanating from the United States.

If Jade Helm convinces the federal government that resorting to civil war is an option to put on the table as a response to widespread revolt over the government’s strong arm tactics in the wake of a fiscal emergency, then woe to the United States as we know it, for Russia will strike a crippling blow and America will be overthrown.

I believe there will be a rebirth of the nation, but it will take perhaps a decade for it to happen.

The new occupants of this region of North America will have swept in seeking the riches and the abundant life that was characteristic of the United States in its heyday and will not find it. Feeble regional governments will dot the landscape. They will totter until they find the right formula for governance. At some point, one of those governments will adopt principles contained in the U.S. Constitution and enjoy some prosperity as a result. Peoples of other regions will discover that the prosperity of the United States of the past proceeded not from an abundance of natural resources, but from the checks and balances upon government that the Constitution affords a sovereign people. Other regions will then seek to participate in a republic governed by that Constitution and will seek to have their territory annexed to that republic. In time, even peoples in distant parts of the Americas will seek the advantages of governance according to the principles of the Constitution. After all the destruction and chaos, a new American power will arise and immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere will start to swell.

If these events unfold, I project the onset to be quite soon, but I’ve been wrong before.

As mentioned in a blog post written in December 2010, I projected an utter economic collapse far worse than the one experienced in the fall of 2008. I said at that time that I could not envision, with our government’s fiscal condition so out of order, that the smoke and mirrors supporting the illusion of a strong fiat currency could be maintained for more than four years into the future. I was wrong. I am glad to be wrong. I hope to continue to be wrong. I hope our national debt turns out to be a mirage. I hope crony capitalism yields to free markets. I hope Americans can find meaningful employment that allows them to support their families. I hope that American prosperity leads to diminished demand upon government resources for family survival. I hope that economic growth yields sufficient growth in the tax base that we can trim tax rates. I hope that the working population grows so much and makes so much money that the money paid into Social Security and Medicare will help provide for the nation’s retirees and disabled. But I cannot see a turning point in our future that allows us to merrily proceed toward that utopia.

The crumbling of Greece may very well cause the European Union to crumble. Japan has never really recovered from its economic crisis dating back to the mid 1990’s. China has overextended itself with massive infrastructure projects, a number of which are underutilized even after completion. The Middle East has discovered that oil is becoming a common commodity. Russia sees the economic writing on the wall and is working feverishly to insulate themselves from the coming crisis as best they can. At least Russia has a jump on attempts to stay on its feet in relation to the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. South America is likely to escape the full brunt of the coming crisis, though Venezuela is already deluged in its own crisis. Much of this I rehearsed in that 2010 blog post. I see no reason to retreat from this falling domino scenario. The United States will not be able to withstand the economic blows reverberating around the world.

From what I can piece together, first shoe falls this fall. It is summer, already. I believe Jade Helm will wrap up on September the 15th without incident. It will be in the weeks after that during which the foundation shakes. I think many of us will still be leading normal lives through the end of this year, but we will no longer be so naïve about what might transpire. Perhaps Social Security payments will be suspended sometime in 2016 and the federal government finally shows its desperation for all to see.

I think that we might not have a federal election in November 2016. I think that is how calamitous the turn of events may turn out to be and how soon things might become unraveled. We will still exist in the fall of 2016, I think, but be too dysfunctional to carry through with the election. Or perhaps the elections take place, but quickly deteriorate in the aftermath so that the transition to a new Congress and POTUS is rocky and highly disputed, with states perhaps not sending their full delegations to Congress in a show of real intent to assert their own sovereignty. I think the majority of the states will be embroiled in violence in 2017, with an invading force from elsewhere in the Americas already mustering. I think the Russians will strike by 2018, the invasion will ensue, and we will hit the nadir and stay there for two or three years. I think worldwide recognition of a renewed America does not occur until 2025. I think it may take until 2030 before the renewed America encompasses as much territory as it does now (though I think the borders are not likely to be located where they are now).

The rapid onset of these events, I believe, will cause the federal government to revert to the playbook scripted for Jade Helm. Following the Jade Helm script will not be directly due to a conspiracy, but will merely unfold that way because the federal government will have little time to formulate a better response to an uprising that the government will feel it cannot ignore.

Blast from the past: A 2009 Michael Spencer article featured in a 2010 Buckeye RINO post due for revisitation in the wake of SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage

At Buckeye RINO in 2010, I ruminated on an op-ed article titled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse” that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor that was penned by Michael Spencer.  In his article, he predicted that in the next ten years, the following conditions would materialize that would threaten evangelical Christianity:

The promotion of social causes in the political realm by evangelicals not well versed in the Gospel would boomerang.

1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

The youngest generation of adults would have little understanding of the Gospel, let alone its importance.

2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.

Evangelism will wither.

3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.

The educational institutions sponsored by evangelical churches will not have adequately prepared their students.

4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

Churches’ intent to do good will be characterized as bad.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to “do good” is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

The Bible Belt will not be immune.

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

Churches will become financially unsustainable.

7. The money will dry up.

Though Bible Belt states have had the rug pulled out from underneath them by the Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage, the evangelical churches in the Bible Belt still exhibit signs of strength.  But, does anyone doubt that the youngest generation of adults have proven to be quite susceptible to secular reasoning?  Does that bode well for church attendance down the road?

Churches’ intent to do good has already been characterized as bad.  Though I think churches did the right thing by taking a stand on moral issues of the day, the inability to spread a well-articulated message throughout all of the American public in support of church stances has boomeranged, and now media censorship will further curtail the churches’ abilities to spread such messages.  Consider this new post, “What Actually Comes Next,” at Erick Erickson’s Red State blog.  In his post he predicts that opposition to same-sex marriage will be portrayed by the media as bigotry and that public pushback to the media position (in such forms as letters to the editor, for example) will be denied expression in the media.  The justification from the media will be that they are taking a principled stand against widespread dissemination of hate speech.   If this imposed silence materializes, the churches will find their efforts to evangelize hampered by a lower profile in American society.  If there is a renewed focus on in-depth schooling of the Gospel as the churches struggle to grow, will it have as much impact as it could have had if that focus had existed at the height of evangelism?

Though Michael Spencer had not articulated a specific source of the coming onslaught against Christianity other than amorphous secularism, in my own ruminations on this blog back in 2010, I did, in fact, predict that opposition to Christianity would very conceivably arise from the LGBT movement.  Consider this article, posted just this week, titled “Does Your Church Ban Gay Marriage? Then It Should Start Paying Taxes,” penned by Felix Salmon at Fusion.  Even moreso than the imposition of income taxes, Felix Salmon looks forward to the day when churches pay property taxes.  I would venture to say that facilities ancillary to the churches, such as church-sponsored universities, would be the first dominos to fall if this scenario were to materialize.  The churches, themselves, would survive a short time longer, I believe, before becoming subject to such a regime.  Also appearing this week, the online edition of Time magazine posted an article by Mark Oppenheimer titled “Now’s the time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.”  As with Felix Salmon’s article, Mark Oppenheimer’s argument is couched in terms of the LGBT movement’s success at the Supreme Court.  Will these voices swell to a chorus of voices that call for the same?  If so, is it not easy to see that, as Michael Spencer predicted, the money would, in fact, dry up?

What I find further chilling about the Supreme Court decision is Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion that the 14th Amendment morphed the Constitution into a living document that can can be altered for the sake of compliance with contemporary public viewpoints.  Where is the rule of law?  Will we no longer be a republic?  Will governance be determined by ever-changing whim?  It is clear that such a stance can easily ignore precedents.  Furthermore, it is clear that the 14th Amendment will be used to interpret the Constitution anew even to the point that the 14th Amendment will prevail whenever Constitutional provisions collide with it.  The 10th Amendment was clearly a casualty in this case.  The 1st Amendment appears to be the next Constitutional provision that the LGBT community wants to have the courts reconsider.  If such an effort were to succeed, what else might be endangered?  I’ll leave you to chew on that thought for awhile.

Large campaigns (like Presidential ones) need skilled technical communicators

Editor’s note: What you’ll find in this post below this editor’s note are pages that do not exactly fit the mold of my previous postings on this blog, for they are dressed up a little.  While I have been in graduate school working toward a degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), I have come to the realization that I know little about the genres within the field of technical communication, yet I’ve noticed that the foreign demand to learn more about the tech comm realm in English is really high.  I have taken about three technical communication courses in an attempt to shore up my deficit, even though the courses were not required for my degree.  The text that appears below is my first attempt to write a “white paper,” a genre that may or may not be familiar to those in marketing.  Specifically, my classmates and I were told to write a paper about working with large amounts of text with fairly recently developed content management tools, namely XML, DITA, and single-sourcing.  The basic idea behind content management, beyond mere storage and retrieval, is that much communication in a workplace contains a lot of repeated text with some variations according to specific circumstances.  In other words, we are talking about form letters on steroids.  While technical communicators are employed as grantwriters, editors, and D-I-Y handbook authors, they are most closely associated with high-tech industry where they take the highly specialized jargon of engineers and translate it into plain English so that we can, hopefully, learn the ins and outs of using the most modern cutting edge gadgets at least as well as our pre-adolescent children do.  Their well-honed writing and editing skills document the work of engineers, for engineers have more specialized and important matters to attend to rather than get bogged down in writing.  Technical communicators not only document what the engineers do, but they strive to keep the whole company in the loop on what is coming through the pipleline, gathering feedback from all of them in the process, plus reaching out to users of the new technologies in progress, both internal and external, to focus the company on what users need.  They funnel this feedback back to the administrators and engineers so that improving product design becomes a continuous collaborative process.  In fact, technical communicators will often manage engineering projects, rather than business persons with MBAs or even the engineers themselves, because technical communicators are better equipped to facilitate collaboration between all stakeholders.  This, in a nutshell, is the world of information development.  As I approached this “white paper” assignment, I reflected on the nature of politics and the parallels between crafting new policies to meet citizens’ needs and inventing new products to meet user’s needs.  Small campaigns, of course, cannot afford to hire a team of technical communicators, but they do not need to as the task of communicating amongst staff, the media, and constituents is not so cumbersome.  However, by the time one runs for U.S. President, one must communicate with millions, so the need for collaboration, the need for a consistent message, the need for information development, and the need for handling textual content reuse–form letters on steroids–means that these big campaigns need technical communicators at the core of their communications.  Campaigns should assemble tech comm teams made from workers who have specialized skills that complement each other rather than a collection of generalists.  Already, 10 Republicans have formally announced their candidacies for U.S. President.  How can they possibly break through from single-digit voter support?  They are fooling themselves if they think they can successfully go from no name recognition all the way to gaining the lead and separating themselves from the rest of the pack without the help of skillful technical communicators.  Tech comm is about much more than developing a campaign website.  I recommend reading the works of JoAnn T. Hackos for further insight on information development and technical communication.  By updating the way a campaign communicates, a candidate can be more persuasive about fixing what’s broken in Washington, DC, when they assemble a juggernaut team that bowls over politics as usual.  Americans are innovators . . . at least in technology and industry.  We need political leaders that are also adept innovators.  The “white paper” is written as if to technical communicators working on a campaign, so the pronoun “you” in the text that follows means “you, the technical communicator working for a presidential campaign.”  Most of the “white paper” appears below the fold, so you’ll have to click the mouse again if you want to keep reading.–DJW

ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TRAIL WITH XML, DITA, CONTENT REUSE, AND SINGLE-SOURCING: TIME TO SHOW THE BOSS WHAT TECHNICAL COMMUNICATORS CAN DO

BY DANIEL JACK WILLIAMSON

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Information development can easily be extended beyond engineering firms as single-sourcing, XML, and DITA have heightened the capacity for content reuse of textual data by any organization that generates wide varieties of documents on a massive scale disseminated in both print and online formats. U.S. Presidential campaigns generate wide varieties of documents on a massive scale that are disseminated in both print and online formats. One feature of political communication is repetitive text, thus a technical communicator’s tools for content reuse are ideal for streamlined campaigns to reinforce the candidate’s brand through consistent and disciplined messaging. Though the early adoption phase of these tools is past (Dayton & Hopper, 2010), the tools are still far from universally used, and technical communicators need to not only familiarize themselves with these tools, but advocate for their use in planning the pivotal work of the technical communication team. Summaries of the workings of these tools are presented herein, and the relevance of technical communicators to the operations of very large political campaigns set forth.

TECHNICAL COMMUNICATORS ARE THE ANTIDOTE WASHINGTON NEEDS

You are viewed as much more relevant to answering the documentation and information development needs in Silicon Valley than you are to the same types of tasks in Washington, DC. This is unfortunate, for the average U.S. citizen views Washington as dysfunctional while the same citizen may be constantly amazed by what emerges from the technology pipeline. Remember the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act enrollment website? It is an example of what Washington botched that the Silicon Valley would have gotten right. Your skills are transferable. What you can do to revolutionize campaigns might go a long way toward convincing voters that the candidate you work for may be able to transcend Washington, for what you have to offer is not politics as usual. Read the rest of this entry »

RPCC press release: Judge Sara Harper, one of Cleveland’s own, to be honored by the Republican National Committee in DC

Editor’s note:  This event, the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon, is to be held today, Feb. 4th, in Washington DC.  I just received this press release yesterday, Feb. 3rd, from Doug Magill, doug@magillmedia.net or (216) 536-1564, of the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County (RPCC).  Despite the lateness of the press release in relation to the timing of the event, I thought this recognition was important enough to announce to as wide an audience as possible.–DJW

Judge Sara Harper to be Honored at the Black Republican
Trailblazer Award Luncheon
 

CLEVELAND – The Republican National Committee (RNC) is pleased to announce that Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame member Judge Sara Harper is to be honored at the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon.

Growing up in public housing on Cleveland’s East Side, she was the first black woman to graduate from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  Judge Harper subsequently became Cleveland city prosecutor under Mayor Carl B. Stokes, and later a Municipal Court Judge as well as President of the Cleveland NAACP. One of the first black women to serve on the Ohio Court of Appeals, she also was the first black woman to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Judge Harper was the first woman to serve on the judiciary of the Marine Corps Reserve, and was a co-founder of the first victims’ rights organization in the country. A staunch believer in childhood education, she founded the Sara J. Harper Children’s Library on Cleveland’s East Side, in the housing project where she grew up.

The theme of this year’s award ceremony is “Honoring Our Past and Building the Future.”  The event will also honor Dr. Louis Sullivan of Georgia, and Michigan businessman William “Bill” Brooks.  Honorees are chosen for their significant contributions to the Party, their communities, and the country.  It will be hosted by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, and will be held on Tuesday, February 4th at the historic Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

For further information on the event please contact Brian Barnes with the Ohio Republican Party, bbarnes@ohiogop.org.

James Williamson guest blog: Federal shutdown? Who cares?

Editor’s note: James Williamson is a former Ohio resident (currently residing in Nevada) who has written other guest blog pieces for Buckeye RINO. I am grateful for his contribution, especially as I am desperately trying to finish writing a thesis to obtain a masters degree. (Once I complete my degree, I hope to blog frequently.)

Guest bloggers at Buckeye RINO express their own opinions which may or may not represent my own opinions. That being said, I take issue with the following assertion that appears within this article: “Remember the Wisconsin fight over collective bargaining rights? Um, neither does anyone else.” I think Ohioans remember that fight, for they fought over public union collective bargaining rights, too, and the outcome of that fight in Ohio was markedly different than the outcome in Wisconsin.–DJW

Federal shutdown? Who cares?

With everything that has been going on for the last few months it’s hard to even pin down a topic to blog about. White house scandals, Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner, unrest in Egypt, our (non) involvement in Syria, the list goes on. With this smorgasbord of juicy discussion topics I am going to pick something that is not getting much press…. yet….

The government’s fiscal year ends September 30th which means there are a little more than 60 days for Congress to pass some sort of budget or continuing resolutions to fund the government starting October 1st. Already liberal pundits are salivating over the possibility because of what happened in 1995-1996. This idea that things turned out badly for the Republicans in 1995 so it will be turn out the same again is a fallacy of logic. While I’m not sure what the fallout would be if a shutdown does take place I can be certain of a few things:

1. Economic growth was much higher in 1995.
2. None of the sticking points of the budget (education, environment, Medicare, etc.) were as unpopular as Obamacare is.
3. John Boehner is not Newt Gingrich.
4. The senate was not controlled by Democrats in 1995.
5. Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton.
6. There is not a presidential election in 2014.
7. Unemployment was much lower in 1995.
8. Unemployment was much lower in 1995.
9. Unemployment was much lower in 1995…

Obviously, I think the unemployment rate will have an outsized impact on public reaction. I believe (based on personal observations) that there is much less sympathy (if there ever was any) for federal workers now than there was in 1995. Not only are private sector workers envious of the near impossibility of getting fired or laid off if you work for the federal government, the wages and benefits have now eclipsed that of the private sector. The Government will quickly discover that there is as much or more voter apathy toward their worker’s plight as there is toward the unions. Remember the Wisconsin fight over collective bargaining rights? Um, neither does anyone else.

Since the federal government does not provide services that affect everyday lives of average Americans immediately (like utility services, vehicle licensing, education) I doubt many people would be upset over the government shutting down for a few months. In fact, after the IRS scandal they may even cheer. Unfortunately this means that the people that would be the most upset by a shutdown would be government employees and federal contractors. So who will this constituency blame? The party that controls 1/2 of congress or the party that controls 1/2 of congress and the white house? Will that affect Senate and House elections in 2014?

Personally I think as long as the department of defense doesn’t shut down the majority of the public won’t miss much. They certainly won’t miss having the IRS pester them. They probably won’t miss the Department of Energy, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, TSA, GSA, or any other of the myriads of federal bureaucracies. Oh and the entitlement programs that liberal constituencies love so much? They don’t stop if there is a shutdown. They won’t get roused one way or another and this won’t be a major draw for them to go to the ballot box next November. Remember that last time the Democrats failed to gain control of the House of Representatives and lost two seats in the Senate. This time there is no presidential election in 2014 and in 2016 the incumbent is ineligible to run.

Government shutdown imminent? I say, “Bring it on!”

James Williamson guest blog: Imminent rebellion: Rhetoric or forewarning?

Editor’s note:  Ohio native (and current Nevada resident) James Williamson (one of my younger brothers) is back with another in his “Imminent Rebellion” series, which exams the power struggle between states and the U.S. federal government.  This blog article zeros in on the secession petitions forewarded from several states to the U.S. government, but James has been writing about the alienation between states and the federal government for quite some time.  The other guest blog articles in the “Imminent Rebellion” series, starting with the oldest one and progressing to the one just prior to this, can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.–DJW

Imminent Rebellion:  Rhetoric or Forewarning?

There has been a surge of news regarding the secession petitions filed on the White House’s We the People website.  Since I was talking about it over a year ago (you can see my previous blogs on the subject) I’m going to weigh in on the action now that it is coming much closer to front and center.

The latest information that I have is that someone has filed a petition for secession in all 50 states.  I will be the first to admit that many of these petitions have insignificant amounts of support and probably do not reflect popular opinion.  But is it all just talk?  So far.  Talk always precedes actions in the political world.  Is there enough talk that we should be worried?  Worried? Not yet. Concerned? Yes.

There are a few signs that this is no longer just chatter from the fringe elements of society.  One of the signs is the fact that the media is responding to it.  Another is that there are counter petitions being signed.  Another is the fact that several of the states have exceeded the 25,000 signers required to trigger a response from the White House.  As of this writing Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Louisiana all exceeded the 25,000 signature threshold.  Texas, of course, is leading the way with just over 105,000 signers and Louisiana a distant second with just under 35,000 petitioners.  What is also significant is that the Texas secession petition has more support than any other issue on the “We the People” site.  Perhaps the most significant signal that this idea is not as laughable as the pundits would have you believe is the fact that both the governor of Texas and the governor of Alabama have made statements about secession (not in favor of) already.

Support for secession will only grow with time, and it’s not really about Obama.  Obama (along with congress) is the symptom not the disease.  The cankerous disease that will rip this country in half is the lust for entitlements.  What do I mean by that? Everyone wants something without having to pay for it.  It can’t continue.  When a business gets bloated and can’t pay its bills what does it do?  It contracts, gets back to its core lines of business, and sheds unprofitable business activity.  When a government gets bloated and can’t pay its bills, what does it do?   It spends even more of course.  That’s because entitlements are more addicting than drugs.  If you don’t believe me look at the news coming out of Greece, Spain, and Italy.  Once you are hooked on them you can’t stop . . . mostly because you forget how to get things like food, clothing, and shelter on your own.  It spreads like the plague too because once your neighbor figures out you are getting stuff for free they want some too.  Eventually the consumers outnumber the producers and the producers get crushed.  It’s happened many times already, just not here in the United States.  Most people who argue against me on this point out that we haven’t gone bankrupt after nearly 100 years of ever increasing entitlement spending.  Study your history.  It took hundreds of years for Rome to collapse financially.  Rome had “progressed” nearly as far as we have.  They didn’t recognize gay marriage but homosexuality was commonplace and so were abortions.  Toward the end of the Roman period nearly 1/3 of the empire was on the government payroll and the regulations were so plentiful, they regulated how much weight you could pack on a horse.  I wish I could resurrect a few of the Romans from that time so they could warn us.  Would we listen?

I digress.  Secession:  Most of the pundits in the media point out that there is no legal mechanism for secession.  Some suggest and some directly say that secession is illegal.  That, in and of itself, is a pretty silly observation to make.  Of course it’s not legal!  Why would the government allow itself to be dissolved? That’s committing suicide.  Government will always protect itself. Challenging the authority of any government is the fastest way to get persecuted by it.  I would also point out that our declaring independence from Great Britain was not legal either. Secession and revolution are not a matter of law.  They are highly extra-legal activities by nature, so declaring them illegal and therefore insisting that such won’t happen is about as naive as it gets.

I don’t know what will happen.  I don’t know if Texas will secede.  What I do know is this:  We don’t live in 1860.  Just because it turned out one way the last time doesn’t mean it will end the same a second time.

No Monday morning quarterbacking here . . . GOP candidates did well

The projections are in, and, aside from good news for the GOP in the U.S. House of Representatives, much of the rest of the news for the GOP was not good.  However, I think Ohio’s GOP candidates did a good job, and so did the Romney/Ryan ticket.

I know that pundits will say that the race for the presidency was winnable (and it was), thus Romney should have been able to cross the finish line with a different strategy.  I am comfortable with the job he did.  I think Josh Mandel ran well, too.  Therefore, I will not be playing a blame game that finds fault with the candidates.  In fact, I will not even place blame on Obama and the opposing camp.

I think voters had enough information given to them to make their own decisions.  I didn’t like the eventual election outcomes, but I do believe that the responsibility for these outcomes rests with the voters.  If I had thought that the candidates had not done enough to inform the electorate about the choices involved in this election, then, yes, I might be looking to cast blame upon candidates.  Even above and beyond the call of duty, both Republicans and Democrats had excellent GOTV ground games.  Therefore, I commend the candidates for doing anything and everything that could reasonably be asked of them.

I foresee unpleasantries ahead as I see a White House on a collision course with the Congress.  These consequences are the responsibility of the voters.  The voters were forewarned.  The voters decided.  Now a word to the voters:  Fasten your seat belts, because we’re in for a very rough ride.

Vote for love of your country

The time has come.  Vote.  Vote for love of your country.

To the MSM: A primer on voting in legislative and executive branch elections

To the mainstream media:  I have been very unhappy with how the MSM is always asking the wrong questions.  Of course, there is freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution, so you have carte blanche to keep asking the wrong questions.  I might note, though, that, for those of us who aren’t gullible enough to believe everything you try to spoonfeed us, such persistence has not only shred your credibility a long time ago, but it also prompts people like me to run to my blog to publicly call attention to your lapses in credibility.

The MSM has been making much ado about polls that ask questions like:

“Who is more in touch with the middle class?”

“Which candidate has more in common with you?”

“Which candidate is more like you?”

Etc.

The problem with these questions is that they are being posed in the context of the race for POTUS.  The more appropriate context for such polling would be in legislative races, such as Ohio’s U.S. Senate race between Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown.  For the Presidential race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, a more appropriate question would be something like, “Which candidate has the better track record and resume as a leader and administrator?”

The U.S. Constitution not only separated our federal government into three separate branches, (executive, legislative, and judicial), but it also inserted a system of checks and balances to make certain that one branch of government would not be able to overstep its bounds because the other two branches were designed to rein in such abuses of power.  The executive branch carries out and enforces the laws; the legislative branch writes the laws; and the judicial branch interprets the laws and ensures their fidelity to the Constitution.

In addition to the checks and balances exercised between branches, there are checks and balances between the people and government, between the amateur and the professional, between the lay person and the politician. 

In the judicial branch, when a defendant is on trial, a judge presides.  The judge is a professional.  A federal judge is appointed primarily on the basis of his/her resume.  Prosecutors and defenders, also professionals, play a large role in how a trial plays out.  The case, however, is not decided by any of the professionals.  Conviction or acquittal rests in the hands of the twelve amateurs that constitute the jury.

The executive branch should be led by a professional.  A track record or resume should clearly indicate an executive’s leadership and administrative acumen.  The professional exective carries out the laws.

How do the people make sure that the laws are fair to them?  People elect legislative representatives from amongst themselves to convene together for the making of laws.  Our nation’s founders envisioned these as amateurs.  They weren’t intended to stay in office for very long.  They weren’t intended to become life-long professional politicians, especially not in the U.S. House of Representatives, where terms only last two years.  It was thought that ordinary citizens would run for election to Congress, would spend a short season there, if elected, and would return to their place in the private sector after spending that short season in office representing the citizens of their districts.  In Ohio, there are only three basic criteria for eligibility to be elected to Congress: eligibility to vote (a citizen in good standing); residence (Ohio is the state of residence); and age (at least 25 for the U.S. House of Representatives and at least 30 for the U.S. Senate).  The MSM is often guilty of promoting additional criteria to be considered in selecting legislators (such as citing “experience,” or “familiarity with the law”) that are at cross-purposes with those of the framers of the Constitution.  Because the MSM puts too much premium on “experience,” we have too many career politicians who have become insiders more beholden to special interests than to constituents.  Regular legislative turnover would better ensure that lawmakers are in touch with the people, as they have not been too far removed in time and space from the mainstream population of their districts.  The longer a lawmaker serves, the more time lapses since he or she had circulated in the mainstream, and the more the Beltway insulates them and isolates them from the pressing everyday concerns of voters.  Because the MSM puts too much premium on “familiarity with the law,” we have too many lawyers in the legislative branch who have created too many perks and opportunities for their own professions at the expense of others.  Ideally, our legislature would look like a cross-section of our population. 

That’s why I think the pollsters asking questions about a candidate’s compatibility with the voters are among the best questions to ask in legislative races.

I endorse Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate.

In the race for President, though, the bar is set much higher.  I reject high unemployment as the new normal.  I reject a $16 trillion debt as the new normal.  I reject a nuclear Iran as the new normal.  I reject redistribution of wealth as the new normal.  I reject dead diplomats and embassies ablaze as the new normal.  I reject identity politics (us vs. them) as the new normal.  For these reasons, I must reject President Obama’s bid for a second term.

It does not matter to me that Mitt Romney is far higher up the income scale from me than Barack Obama is.  It does not matter to me that I don’t follow equestrian sporting events, like Romney does.  It does not matter to me that I do fill out March Madness brackets, like Barack Obama does.  I don’t need a POTUS who is just like me.  I want a professional, not an amateur.  I need a leader.  I want an American turnaround.  Show me the candidate that has the strongest resume as a turnaround artist.  Show me who has a track record of success as a leader.  At the RNC, Ann Romney, someone who should know, promised me, “This man [Mitt Romney] will not fail.”  Obama already has failed.  The choice could not be more clear.  Mitt Romney is the candidate I want to be POTUS next January.

James Williamson guest blog: Somber thoughts

Editor’s note: James Williamson, an Ohio native, currently resides in Nevada.  He has written several other guest blogs for Buckeye RINO, for which I thank him–DJW

SOMBER THOUGHTS

I am an outspoken person.  Everyone that works with me knows that I am not afraid to talk politics.  That’s because I often do.  With the recent attacks on the American embassies in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen there has been much to talk about and yet many seem reluctant to say much.  There is something ominous about what is happening.  I think the general populous now senses what they least want is about to come to pass:  Peace is quickly fleeing the world.

The day after Mitt Romney spoke in Israel and re-affirmed their right to defend themselves I heard two people at work say they were having second thoughts about Romney for fear he would invade Iran and start another war.  I’m not sure why they came to that conclusion from Romney’s remarks but that was enough for them to talk about voting for Obama.   One of them will probably vote for Obama regardless, but the other is the one that concerns me.  He was favoring Romney, mostly on the grounds that he would have more fiscal discipline.   As time goes on I get the feeling that this sentiment is more and more prevalent.  This makes me uneasier than ever about this election.

First, let me start by saying that war is inevitable.  I am now convinced of that.  It is not a matter of if but when.  Unfortunately everyone who remembers a time like we are going through right now is in his or her late 80’s.

We may not want to face up to what is about the happen.  We may not want to be involved.  We may not want to rise to the occasion, but what is about to happen will come whether or not we are ready and whether or not we want it.

Those who know me well know that I have often said that no one will make any serious attempts at world conquest until the United States is too weak to fight–militarily, economically, or politically, does not matter much (although I believe they are inter-related).  The end result is the same:  freedom to conquer without fear of repercussions.    I think that day has almost arrived.

Already the Obama administration has sent signals to the Middle East that the US will not fight back nor will they leave.  The warships and marines being sent are just a token gesture.  I don’t think the president is serious about protecting our embassies.  (I don’t think he is serious about anything except getting re-elected right now…)  This will happen again.  I will say it now before it’s even abated.  This will happen again, only next time there will be more casualties.

Those who study history will be able to draw many, many parallels between what is happening now and the period before WWI and the period before WWII.  I will not take the time to explore them all here.  I will say however that we do have a choice.

This is not really about the election for president, although it is an indicator of the will of the voting public.  This is about whether we are ready to defend our country when it is attacked.  I don’t know anyone who wants war.  I don’t.  I especially don’t want war in my neighborhood where my children would be exposed to it.  That is what the United States military is all about.  Taking the fight to the enemy so that such things never happen on our soil.  The irony of that is that our current administration seems to think that the Department of Defense is the only expendable government agency there is.

The constitution delegated very specific powers to the federal government.  One of the most important was the ability to provide for the common defense.  There is no constitutional mandate to provide health care to everyone, much less free contraception.  There is a mandate to protect the American public from foreign invasion.  So why are we gutting the military budget so we can offer everyone something they should have the responsibility of securing themselves?

With freedom comes responsibility.  With freedom also comes the ability to succeed or fail.  With liberty comes the responsibility of constant vigil to preserve that liberty, otherwise it will be lost.  Ease and comfort are not guaranteed, nor are they even to be expected in a free society.  When the Israelites left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, many of them complained about the difficulty of the journey and yearned for the “flesh-pots” of Egypt.  If we as a nation yearn for those “flesh-pots” to the point we are derelict in our duty to protect and defend our rights and liberty, we will lose them.

Who gets elected in November may affect the timing of the outbreak but regardless of who is in the White House this nation will face a test.  Will we make the sacrifices necessary to prepare for the worst?  Or will we bury our heads in the sand, ignore the signs of what is coming, and clamor for more entitlements?

I hope we all choose the former.

Hypocrisy of Ted Strickland at the DNC

At the DNC on 9/4/2012, Ted Strickland said President Obama is “a president who stands up for average working people.”  What would Ted Strickland know about that? Strickland never stood up for average working people as governor of Ohio.  His policies increased the number of unemployed people of Ohio.

If Strickland was concerned about the survivability of the auto industry, why were Ohio Democrat politicians around the state, from people like Joe Koziura to people like Jimmy Dimora, empowered to shake down companies via fines or kickbacks in ways that cannibalized free enterprise in Ohio for decades without being held accountable?  Strickland could have improved the business climate for the auto industry in Ohio, but he did not.

Strickland has a problem with Americans who offshore money?  Really?  Strickland single-handedly handed over Ohio to the gambling industry, the ultimate predatory industry that targets the working class and sends its fraudulent ill-gotten gains offshore.  On top of that, organized crime, that also preys upon the working class, now has a permit to launder their money inside Ohio’s state lines now that casinos are opening for business.

The Republicans lie about waiving welfare’s work requirement?  The President’s executive order on the matter is not written in plain English, so parsing the words themselves is not exactly illuminating. Therefore, we need to look at the function of the executive order.  If the executive order did not change the work requirement, then why does it exist?  If there’s no change, why not rescind it?  It still stands, so evidently it represents a change of the requirement.  It functions as a waiver.  Therefore, it is a waiver.  This is a problem because the statute specifically forbids the exercise of presidential power to alter that requirement.  The Democrats lie.

But as far as calling out someone for lying, let me take the opportunity, once more, to call Strickland out as a liar of the Nth degree.  Prior to his gubernatorial election, he postured against the gambling industry.  During his term as governor, he ushered those wolves into the fold so they could glut themselves upon the sheep.  Turncoat.  What a whopper of a lie.

Strickland, who worsened the labor market in Ohio, eventually fed Ohio to the wolves.  He could easily conjure up a fiction of Santa Clause laying off reindeer and outsourcing elves because, in reality, he, himself, has actually done something many times worse.

James Williamson guest blog: Mitt Romney, Hispanics, and the Vice Presidential nominee

Editor’s note:  I am grateful to one of my younger brothers, James Williamson, for contributing another guest op/ed to Buckeye RINO.  In the interest of disclosure, James is a native Ohioan who currently resides with his wife and four children in another swing state: Nevada. Nevada, of course, has a much larger Hispanic population than Ohio does. James has attended several GOP functions while residing in Nevada, including attending the presidential caucuses earlier in the year and serving as a delegate to Nevada’s Clark County Republican Party Convention.  James has a couple of things in common with Mitt Romney.  First of all, James is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormon) like Romney.  That being said, Romney was not James’ first pick for the nomination.  When Rick Perry first announced his candidacy (before it imploded), James was on board for Perry.  By the time the Nevada caucuses were held, the field had been winnowed down to Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul.  James caucused for Paul and went to the county convention as a Paul delegate.  Now that it is clear that Romney is the party nominee, James supports Romney against Obama.  The second thing James has in common with Romney is that he served a Mormon mission in a foreign country.  Romney was a missionary in France.  My brother, James, was a missionary in Ecuador.  James is fluent in Spanish (as is the rest of his family), and circulates among those in Las Vegas’ Spanish-speaking community.  Therefore, though he’s a gringo, I tend to lend some credence to James’ viewpoint on this topic. –DJW

MITT ROMNEY, HISPANICS, AND THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE

There is much talk about the Hispanic or Latino votes this election and whom they will vote for.  Many experts believe that it is a crucial swing group that may decide the presidential election.  I believe that may be true. Having now become the largest minority group, they certainly have sufficient numbers to have a significant political voice.  Perhaps more importantly they are not loyal to either party and will vote for whomever they believe has more to offer them.

The desire to capture the Hispanic voting community has many suggesting that Mitt Romney should pick a Hispanic running mate to improve his chances with that group.  While I think that the Hispanic vote is still in play I don’t think that simply picking a Hispanic running mate will be enough to tip the scales in Romney’s favor.

I’d like to weigh in on both issues:  1) the Hispanic vote and 2) the VP selection.

The Hispanic Vote

While some may believe that Obama has the Hispanic vote locked up I have some first-hand evidence that he does not.  I was recently riding in a vehicle with two Hispanic women that were discussing the election.  While the women both reside in Henderson, Nevada (hardly a bastion of liberalism…) I’m sure that their views are not unique among the voting (and, yes, both are voting citizens) Hispanic community.  Both women had voted for Obama and expressed disappointment in his performance.  Both indicated that they would probably not vote for him again.  Unfortunately both women had some reservations about voting for Romney.  They said that Romney did not inspire them.  Moral to the story:  the Hispanic vote is still in play but Romney better get moving if he wants it.

So how do you get the Hispanic vote if you are Mitt Romney?  If I were running this is what I would do:

1.              Remind the Hispanic community that Obama has only put a temporary measure in place regarding immigration and is only a partial solution.  A permanent solution requires the cooperation of Congress.  Obama is not going to get that cooperation if he is re-elected.  Hispanics that are paying attention know this.  Even if Obama is re-elected, the work permits that the White House plans to issue to immigrants who came as minors will only be good for 10 years.  They will not have full residency status and will have no path to citizenship unless Congress acts.   After 10 years (or less, if someone else is elected, or someone takes the case to the Supreme Court), the “dreamers” will wake up to reality that they do not have permanent legal status.  This is not a solution this is political pandering.  The pandering is only necessary because of argument #2.

2.              Point out that Obama spent his time, energy, and political will urging congress to pass the Affordable Care Act instead of immigration reform.  Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time and political capital on a bill that is not only unpopular, but also unconstitutional (Chief Justice Roberts overlooked the fact that by defining the penalty as a tax, the bill became an appropriations bill . . . that originated in the . . . Senate!  If I’m right, and Obamacare, by way of Roberts’ ruling, is an appropriation, then it needed to be originated by the House! However, I’m completely open to the possibility that Roberts was wrong on ruling that it was a tax, hence the bill is unconstitutional, by a 5-4 decision, in that the Commerce Clause does not uphold it!), the president should have lobbied for comprehensive immigration reform. Yes, it is a difficult issue, and can be divisive, but it is an enumerated power in the Constitution and clearly a responsibility of the federal government, a responsibility that the democratic Congress and White House abdicated during the 2009-2010 session.  That, of course, needs to be followed with assurances that immigration will be addressed during the first year in office.  Bush promised immigration reform, received the Hispanic vote, and then failed to deliver after three attempts.  Obama promised immigration reform, received the Hispanic vote, and then didn’t even try to deliver until it was too late.  Romney has to convince the Hispanic community that he can do better.

3.              Hispanic issues are everyone’s issues.  When I was attending a town hall meeting here in Nevada I managed to get on the Spanish news that night even though I am not Hispanic and Spanish is my second language.  The reason is because the town hall was about e-verify and several of the attendees complained about being stopped by police that asked them for their social security numbers.  I stood up and said that this was not just an issue for Hispanics.  I was stopped by a BLM officer who demanded my social security number and even threatened to broadcast it over his radio if I didn’t provide it willingly. (This is why I really don’t like the BLM.)  These issues affect everyone.  If the police can demand proof of residency or a social security card from a Hispanic they can also demand it from an Asian, African, or Caucasian.  I personally don’t want to carry my passport everywhere I go.

There are many other messages that will get the attention of the Hispanics but I believe these three are the key to opening up the dialogue.

The Vice Presidential Selection

While I don’t think that the VP pick will greatly influence the Hispanic vote I do think it will impact the election if it garners media attention.  Contrary to popular opinion, I think Sarah Palin helped the McCain campaign.  It wasn’t enough, but it brought media attention to a campaign that desperately needed it.  This time the Republican still desperately needs media attention but one other factor is very different:  A Democrat is the incumbent.  In today’s world of anti-incumbent fervor, the challenger has a much better chance of winning than 8 years ago.

The biggest challenge that Romney faces is that people are not excited about him being president.  Many of them will vote for Romney just to vote against Obama.  Romney needs people to vote for him and I think the right VP candidate will help that if it is coupled with a higher-energy campaign.  Romney is sending the right messages, but his delivery is not energizing the voters who are wary after being burnt by Obama.

Voters like Romney’s business aptitude.  We need it right now.  They also like the idea of American exceptionalism and, with that, generally like Romney’s foreign policy.  What they don’t like is Romney’s perceived vanilla flavoring.  He is viewed by many as just another politician who won’t be able to control the beauracracy or slow the entitlement tsunami.

How can the VP help that perception?  Pick a high-energy, relatively unknown conservative that does not live or work in Washington DC, preferably a resident of a swing state.  Someone like Palin with one difference:  Don’t pick a first term governor.

I don’t know exactly who that person is.  I wouldn’t pick any of the other Republican candidates for president.  (Although I might pick Ron Paul as Secretary of the Treasury.)  Mitch Daniels has taken another job.  Marco Rubio is already working in Washington.  Susana Martinez and Scott Walker are still in their first term.  Donald Trump would be viewed as a corporate crony.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is not eligible for the office.

Who does that leave?  Ken Blackwell? Wayne Allen Root?  Joe the Plumber?

Who would you pick?

James Williamson guest blog: Marriage: Right or Privilege?

Editor’s note:  James Williamson, one of my younger brothers, an Ohio native, currently resides in Nevada.  I’m thankful that he wants to contribute material to the blog when I’ve been too busy with grad school to keep the site updated. –DJW
Marriage: Right or Privilege?
Recently the President of the United States of America “evolved” in his views on same sex marriage (some would say “flopped”…) While the announcement was not entirely unexpected the timing of it (shortly after the North Carolina vote on the marriage amendment) seems rather odd.  For a campaign that supposedly is transitioning into general election mode the President seems to be spending a lot of time trying to rally his base still.  While this subject would be sufficient for a lengthy blog in and of itself I’d like to focus on something very specific that the President said in his “evolved” (flopped) position:  the President referred to marriage as a “civil right” and implied that same sex couples should be extended that right.
This is of particular interest to the states because, as the President noted, it is an issue that the states have been deciding.  The President (for now) has said he will leave that to the states.  There are two things that president has done that lead me to believe that this is only a temporary situation.  The first is the refusal to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) the second is the declaration that it is a “civil right” to marry.
First let’s define a right.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Declaration of Independence)
Thomas Jefferson would probably curdle modern liberals blood if he were alive today.  The audacity of declaring that rights are given by our “Creator” and not by government!  The only thing that could make that statement more offensive in the eyes of the secular would be the use of the word “God”…  But there it is in plain English.  A right is given by God, not by government.  (I said it… are you offended now?)  It is something that governments cannot take away, because when they do they set themselves up for failure as Thomas Jefferson points out in the next phrases of the Declaration of Independence:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
 
So a right is something that is given by God, meant to be protected (not abrogated) by government, and extended to everyone.  Notice that Thomas Jefferson does not attempt to make a complete list.  He even implies that there are more by using the phrase “among these…”
Typically civil (or even individual) rights are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.  The first ten amendments almost entirely dealt with such rights (hence the name “bill of rights”). James Madison is often called the father of the Constitution, being the principal author of it.  James Madison was a federalist and believed that the bill of rights was not necessary because the Constitution itself (un-amended) implied such rights.  Furthermore, he believed that if you enumerated those rights that the government would limit recognition to only those rights.  In other words, if you create a list then you are limited to that list.  John Jay, an anti-federalist and a promoter of the bill of rights, argued that if you didn’t enumerate rights the government would not recognize any of them and the public would eventually be forced to cede those rights.  In other words, if there isn’t a list then they don’t exist.  As a compromise between the two parties the anti-federalists agreed to support the ratification of the Constitution and the federalists agreed to support the passage of the bill of rights.  Both parties kept their end of the bargain and the marriage (pardon the pun…) was complete.  (Hardly comparable to “compromise” in today’s government…)
So does marriage fall into this category?  Do people have a right to marry?  Thomas Jefferson (and I will agree) said that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are rights.  Some may argue that marriage essential to all three of these.  I am going to take the opposite approach.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are essential to the institution of marriage.
Before we go further I would like to differentiate between a religious wedding and a civil wedding.  The terms are not interchangeable.  Here in the United States the government allows religious authorities to perform marriages.  This is not so in many other countries.  In many other countries of the world you must be married by a justice of the peace or some sort of civil officer for the government to recognize your marriage and give you legal standing.  By the same token many churches do not recognize a civil marriage as binding before God.  Today I am discussing civil marriages and will limit my arguments to it.
No other creature in the animal kingdom formalizes the union of mates the way man does.  (OK so not being able to speak or write poses something of a barrier…)  Why did society decide that this was necessary when all other animals simply initiate their courtship and consummate it in their own way?  Some animals mate for life (most notably birds) and others mate at will with multiple partners (dogs, cats, etc.).  Some fathers stay with the family to protect their young (amazon river otters), some leave the young to the mothers (cats), and some don’t have much involvement at all from either parent (sea turtles).  Regardless of the method of caring for their young all members of the animal kingdom perpetuate the species and have done so successfully for thousands (millions, billions, whatever your belief is) of years.
Why is this observation important?  It is important because marriage is about perpetuating the species.  It always has been and always will be.  Society has always been concerned about the welfare of children because they are the future of the species.  If you do not care for and properly prepare children to be productive members of society then society suffers maladies that are difficult to cure.  Civil law concerning marriage and family relationships if examined closely is much more concerned with the children than the spouses.  Even in cases where alimony is paid, the presumption is that the wife has dedicated her time to rearing children and therefore not able to provide her own sustenance because those skills require time and effort to develop and are often precluded by child rearing.
I have heard the argument that marriage has been historically about economic union rather than love and affection.  I can partially agree with that.  What was the goal of the economic union though?  It was not self-fulfillment, it was to provide for the children with a hope for a better life for them than the parents enjoyed.
Now we live in a time when people are confused as to what marriage is all about.  Since child rearing has become much easier with modern inventions like washing machines, gas/electric cook stoves, electric light, indoor plumbing, etc. it is possible for one parent to provide for the physical needs of a child.  This was infinitely more difficult to do for a person who was not wealthy 150 years ago.  This has led some to advocate that a father and a mother are no longer necessary to raise a child.  (This is another topic that could spawn many more blogs…)  Consequently, some erroneously conclude that marriage is about couples that love and care for each other and that two people of the same gender should be able to enjoy the same legal privileges granted to opposite gender couples.  The problem with that is that marriage is not about the couples: it’s about the children.  Society has not been concerned with same sex relationships because they cannot produce children.
Well, what about all the couples in the world that never had children?  There are always going to be exceptions.  Some couples don’t want or cannot have children, but most heterosexual couples can and do have children.  Same-sex couples cannot.  Same sex parents are a modern phenomenon and an artificial creation of society.  At least one parent must relinquish custody of a child for such families to exist. Short of cloning (I won’t get into this topic here) it requires a man and a woman to produce a child.  It requires heterosexual relationships of some form or another to perpetuate the species.  We now have technology today that confuses that fact because we can fertilize a human egg cell in a test tube or in vitro.  That does not change the fact that a female (egg) and a male (sperm) donor are required to produce offspring.  Heterosexual intercourse is the natural method of reproducing.  It is the method that has been used for the entire history of civilization until the late 20th century.  Even in societies where same-sex intercourse was popular prior to the 20th century (Greece, Rome) those who wanted children married someone of the opposite sex to form a family.
So to recap, marriage is about life (perpetuating the species), liberty (the choice to reproduce or not), and the pursuit of happiness (the joy of raising children).  The proper relationship, though, is that these rights underpin the institution of marriage, not the other way around.  No, Mr. President marriage is not a right.  It is a legal institution that affords privileges for those that perpetuate (or have the potential to perpetuate) the species.  I personally would rather see civil marriages abolished altogether than to watch its intended purpose twisted beyond recognition.

James Williamson guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: Restoring the Balance of Power (without the fighting…)

Editor’s note:  I have been swamped with grad school for lo these many months.  I would love to be posting more content right now, but I have other commitments.  My brother, James Williamson, an Ohio native but current Nevada resident, has submitted this addition to his “Imminent Rebellion” series of guest blog articles at Buckeye RINO.  The other guest blog articles he’s written in the Imminent Rebellion series are linked here, here, here, here, here, and here. –DJW

Throughout this series I have addressed the subject of the growing imbalance of power between the states and the federal government.  Until this installment I have mostly focused on causes and not spent much time on solutions.  Not wanting to be an all-problems-and-no-solutions guy I am now going to set forth my plan for restoring the balance.  (Readers beware!  Some of these ideas may be considered radical!)

Before I get started I want to clarify that “states’ rights” is a misnomer.  States don’t have rights.  Individuals have rights. States have sovereignty.  Their sovereignty is limited but they do have sovereignty that is delegated to them by the people.  The federal government also has sovereignty but it is delegated to it by the states.  (I have elaborated on this subject in greater detail in a previous blog.)

The curious part about all of this is that even though I have argued that the states, collectively, are superior to the federal government, federal laws supersede state laws and even state constitutions. This is clearly stated in the US Constitution itself:

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. (Article VI)

So if federal laws are superior to state laws then how is it that the states are collectively superior to the federal government?  There are essentially two parts to the answer.

1.  The federal governments power was instituted by the states and is limited by the US Constitution, which reserves all non-enumerated powers to the states (see Amendment X).  This is of particular interest now since the US Supreme Court has recently heard oral arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” and the Arizona SB 1070.  The Supreme Court’s decisions on these two cases may help stem the tide on the expansion of federal power and reassert the sovereignty of the states and the people.  However, this is highly dependent on a very small group of people appointed by the President.  For a more robust solution less dependent on the capriciousness of a group of nine people appointed to their positions for life by the President we must look further abroad.

2. The US Constitution can be amended by the states independent of any federal action.

What!!??  The states can change the Constitution without Congress!!??  Say it isn’t so!

It is so.  Not only can they amend the Constitution, they could also repeal it if they wished.  There are some that may call this claim ridiculous and that the Civil War has proven that the Union cannot be dissolved and that the federal power is superior to the states.  Not so.  The Constitution itself says otherwise:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate. (Article V)

Note that there are two methods of proposing amendments:  one that involves Congress and one that does not.  The several states can call a “Convention for proposing Amendments…” which become binding “when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof…”  So there is a path by which the states can alter (or even abolish, should they so choose) the US Constitution without any Congressional involvement.  Since we are talking about limiting federal power, this method must be used because Congress is not really interested in relinquishing their own power and would never propose an amendment that would further restrict the federal government’s power.  After all this is their livelihood we are talking about here…

So what would we propose in these state conventions that would curtail the ever expanding federal power?  Besides repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments I would propose the following four amendments:

The repeal amendment.  This has already been proposed in the state of Virginia. The proposed text reads:

“Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed.”

This would be a very effective tool for states to eliminate statutes or executive orders that are not in the best interest of the states.  If this amendment were effective now the several states could have already repealed “Obamacare”.  In theory they could have done so the next day.  Opponents say that this would create chaos by allowing the states to effectively nullify federal legislation.  On the surface it would appear to be so but garnering a 2/3 vote from the state, while less stringent than the ¾ needed for amendment, would not be an easy task and any law would have to be deeply unpopular with the state legislatures to be put in danger.

The recall amendment.  Almost all states in the union have a method for recalling their representatives.  That includes state legislators, executives, and judiciary.  Many states even have provisions for recalling their US legislators.  There is, however, no provision for recalling any US official in either the executive or judicial branches.  I would propose something like this:

“Any officer of the United States including the President of the United States may be removed from office by the several states for failure to uphold their oath to support this constitution, and such removal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose.  All vacancies shall be filled in accordance with this constitution and federal laws”

Note that I would apply a less stringent standard than that of impeachment.  An officer (including the President) of the United States can only be impeached for “Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.  (Article II, Section 4).  The reason is that failing to support the Constitution is not necessarily a criminal matter but in large part a political one.  An officer may not be guilty of any high crimes or misdemeanors and yet not support the Constitution, which they have taken an oath to do.  By removing those who are derelict in their duty, the states would have more direct control over the destiny of the Union as a whole.

This particular amendment is one that I would say may be the most urgent.  We now have a President of the United States who has ramrodded a law through that will bankrupt the states (Obamacare), sued a state to get it to change its laws (Arizona), and refused to enforce a law duly enacted by Congress and signed by a previous president because he disagrees with it (Defense of Marriage Act).  Today he is saying that the states should decide the issue and the federal government should stay out.  Who knows what he will be saying tomorrow?  One thing is for certain; our current president does not play nice when he disagrees with someone or some organization.  A lot of damage can be done in four years.  More can be done in eight.  If someone has no fear of retribution a lot can be done in say… three months?

The Congressional compensation amendment.  While Congress determining the compensation of the executive and judiciary may not be a conflict of interest, dictating their own pay certainly is.  Why a congressman or senator can retire after only five years of service and receive a pension for life is painfully obvious….  And shameful.  I would propose something like this:

“Compensation for legislators representing the several states shall be determined by the legislatures of the respective states.  All compensation shall be paid out of the treasuries of the respective states according to the laws of that state.”

Now we are getting radical.  Since we no longer have direct election of senators the states have lost control of their legislators.  By taking control of the purse strings of the legislators each state can decide how lucrative the compensation for their representation should be.  This would restore some (but not all) of a state’s voice regarding its representatives.

The land ownership preemption amendment.  The last amendment that I would propose would prohibit the federal government from owning any land within state boundaries.

“The United States may not own any land located within any state boundary.  A state may allow the United States to own real property exclusive of land for the use of the executive or judiciary provided that the state grants the United States ownership thereof.  Any state that prohibits ownership of real property by the United States shall provide the United States facilities adequate to perform the functions required by the legislature, executive, or judiciary.   All real improvements required by the United States shall be funded by the United States and may be contracted by the same.”

OK, so this one may need some more work on the wording but the idea is fairly simple.  Don’t let the federal government own any land within state boundaries.  Why?  Remember the Civil War?  The federal government had military bases on land they owned in some of the southern states.  Not only that, I really don’t like the BLM.

I realize that amending the constitution is not something to take lightly but it is the only way to restore the balance of power between the states and the federal government without revolution or total economic collapse.  At least, it is the only way that I know of.  If there are any better solutions out there I am open to them but if we do not restore it soon the states could lose what little sovereignty they have left.  Once that happens, it is a small matter to take the remaining vestiges of sovereignty left to the people.