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.

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.

David Arredondo guest blog: About Ohio’s New Congressional Districts

Editor’s note:  David Arredondo is a Lorain resident, very involved in the Lorain community and a highly visible member of the Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues & Progress (CHIP).  He is the vice chair for the Lorain County Republican Party.  He’s often a featured guest on WEOL radio to discuss his work with international students at Lorain County Community College (LCCC) as well as sharing a center-right perspective on political issues.  He’s also appeared as a Republican pundit on Feagler & Friends, which airs on the PBS affiliate in Cleveland, WVIZ.  Professionally, David Arredondo is the Director of International Student Services at Lorain County Community College.

ABOUT OHIO’S NEW CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

Elections have consequences and it is clear that the GOP has had the upper hand on redistricting following the census in 1990, 2000, and 2010. Given this trend, it is entirely possible that we can expect more of the same in 2021. Our current law dictates that the state legislature is required to re-draw congressional district lines based on the census results and this census shows that Ohio has lost enough residents to warrant a loss of 2 seats. One of the requirements is that each district must be comprised of a similar number of residents. This time it is about 720,000 residents.

Another requirement is that the plan must provide for “majority-minority” districts which means that a significant number of black residents must be grouped together so as not to dilute their voting power. So the plan must adhere to this or risk being thrown out and re-drawn. Republicans have done as such the past three times and so first, Louis Stokes, then Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and now Marcia Fudge have the district seat in Cuyahoga County set aside for them.

This means that the plan is not democratic giving an equal opportunity for all candidates. Even if Republicans, or Democrats for that matter, wanted to create a fair, non-partisan plan giving all citizens equal opportunity to run for Congress or vote for a congressman in a 50-50 district, it is nearly impossible given the Voting Rights Act requirement providing for a Democratic Party set-aside seat.

The current Voting Rights Act is a relic of the last century and of a time that no longer exists. It is time for it to be abolished in so far as it perpetuates unnecessary practices such as congressional minority seat set-asides and provisions for bi-lingual ballots. It essentially sets-aside a Democratic seat based on race or ethnicity. The days of lasting institutional racism are long past.

If you want proof of how far we’ve come, just look at the faces of recently elected governors in New Mexico, Nevada, South Carolina, and Louisiana—all Asian-, or Hispanic-Americans and all Republicans. Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American Republican was elected senator from Florida. Here is substantial proof that so-called minorities can be elected state-wide without set aside districts. Six of the sixty-three new GOP congressmen elected in 2010 were Hispanic-Americans and two African-American. None was from a majority-minority district. One new Puerto Rican congressman was elected from Idaho. How many Puerto Rican voters might there be in Idaho?

And Republicans are supposed to be bigots?

For self-serving purposes, former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is spreading the word that Democrats dropped the ball last year by not offering a new law providing for a reform of the Ohio congressional redistricting process. She claims that Democrats’ hubris precluded them from working with Republicans, namely then-Senator Jon Husted. Nonsense, sheer nonsense. I have my doubts about the reality of such a scenario given that at least as early as summer 2010, polls showed that some state races would be toss-ups, the House could shift back to GOP majority and add seats in the Senate. I saw no speculation anywhere that Democrats would run the table and win the House, Senate and governorship. Even if Democrats wanted to pass a law for redistricting reform, GOP Senate leader Paul Harris would never have approved. He, not Jon Husted, would have been the decider on such a ploy.

Within the past few weeks more talk has surfaced, primarily from media pundits and aggrieved Democrats like Brunner, to change the current redistricting law, if need be, by a ballot referendum. It seems these days ballot initiatives are the only means that Democrats have to push their agenda. No doubt they believe that voters have forgotten that a few short years ago in 2005, Democrats and their Academic elite MSM allies proposed not one, but four initiatives to change the redistricting process, provide for Early Voting, and a reorganization of the Secretary of States office, among other things I recall. All four of these so-called “reform” initiatives” failed by no less than 2-1 margins, even in Cuyahoga County. I don’t agree that Ohio is a 50-50 state. Certainly over the past twenty years Republicans have largely had control of the state offices as well as the legislature. Democratic dominance is long in the past. The majority of “likely” Ohio voters are Republicans and Democrats, partisan voters. I can’t see how anything has changed to expect a different outcome for a redistrict initiative today or next year.

So in 2010, the GOP won 13 Ohio districts, Democrats 5. It would appear that the Republican redistrict map was an exercise in ensuring re-election for most incumbents, both Democrat and Republican save for three. Republicans were more than generous in giving up one seat and creating a possibly new minority seat in Columbus for a Democrat while the Democrats only lost one seat.

Those on the bubble are: Democrats Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich and Betty Sutton from Northern Ohio and Republicans Steve Austria and Mike Turner from the Dayton area. Two have no seat and one has a chance for a seat in an adjacent district in which she’s have to beat the Republican incumbent.

Right now a “death match” is shaping up between Kucinich and Kaptur in the 9th District. Since this includes much of Lorain County which is Sutton’s district, I wouldn’t discount the possibility that she takes on Kaptur and Kucinich rather than run against Renacci in the 16th.

Last but not least a change needs to be made whereby college students are allowed to register and vote in districts where they attend school: Columbus, Oberlin etc. as well as their home districts. Our system does not have portable registration such that you only have one residence to register and vote. College students do. Whether or not some or all vote multiple times at school and at home is unknown but the possibility exists that some do. That is fraudulent and needs to be fixed along with other measures. It is my understanding that currently the Cuyahoga voting rolls show more than one million registered voters with an eligible voting population of fewer than 800,000. The city of Oberlin has more registered voters than residents. The current electoral system leaves a lot to be desired.

James Williamson guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: The Demise of the Dollar and Economic Armageddon

Editor’s note:  I thank my brother for providing content for my blog when I’m not able to sit still long enough to create my own blog content.  The other guest blog articles he’s written in the Imminent Rebellion series are linked here, here, here, here, and here.

IMMINENT REBELLION: THE DEMISE OF THE DOLLAR AND ECONOMIC ARMAGEDDON

I’ve wanted to address the financial aspect of our current situation for quite some time but have not been able to articulate my thoughts sufficiently to make a coherent argument.  I hope I am able to do so now.  Fair warning though:  I am about to contradict all of the conventional wisdom of modern economists.  Here we go…

To begin with I am going to make a distinction between money and wealth.  These are not dictionary definitions and certainly not endorsed by most economists or financial advisors.  They are my definitions.  Money is whatever is used as currency.   At various times and places in the world it has generally been gold and/or silver but, in some areas of the world, even stones have served as currency.  In our case it is the US dollar.  Wealth is something of value that can be produced or consumed.  Food, clothing, shelter are the most basic forms.  Vehicles, electronics, furniture, weapons, boats, anything that is somewhat durable and useful would qualify under my definition.  Generally goods would qualify as wealth but services would not since there is no durability.  Land wouldn’t really qualify as wealth since it isn’t really something you produce or consume but it is the source of the raw materials that generate wealth.  The closest term that we commonly use to my definition of wealth would be assets, but it’s not a perfect fit either since cash is considered an asset but I don’t really count it as a measure of wealth.  It would be more of a potential for wealth.  I certainly don’t count the book value of your portfolio as wealth.

Money is accepted by the general populous because it is a lot easier to make value judgments in terms of money than it is in goods and services.  When the majority of the people in a society agree that the money is worth something it circulates and becomes currency.  Currency is then used to exchange goods, services, real estate, etc.

Wealth on the other hand, is something that is of use or fulfills a need, the most basic of which are food, clothing, and shelter.  Wealth (remember this is my definition) must be built up through utilization of resources to produce something that people need or want.  By my definition you would need the same three essentials for creating wealth that you need for running a business:  resources, labor, and capital.

They key word in all of this is produce.  Wealth is created by production and destroyed by consumption.  If I grow a bushel of apples I have created wealth.  If I eat a bushel of apples I have consumed wealth.  (I know this does not fit any definition you learned in economics class but I warned you of that at the beginning, didn’t I?)  The relative value of that wealth is decided by the individuals in a market and is usually quantified in terms of money.  The rules of supply and demand are probably familiar to you so I won’t go any further than to say supply and demand for money and wealth together determine the price or quantity of money required to purchase something of value which may or may contribute to your personal wealth.

Purchasing may increase your wealth (you buy land with a house on it) or decrease it (you throw a big party and purchase lots of food to be consumed). Merely conducting trade does not necessarily increase or decrease your wealth.  You may be amassing wealth or depleting it depending on what you are spending your money on.

Until recently, money was nearly always something that had intrinsic value.  The supply of money was limited by the amount of the substance that was available for use.  If you wanted to increase the supply of money you had to expend time and resources to extract it (i.e. mine more gold).  Societies were limited to the finite quantities of extracted material for their money supply.

This loosely tied money and wealth together.  In order to increase the money supply you had to produce something that people needed or wanted (i.e. gold).  This also creates a condition that allows for both inflation and deflation.  When the money supply increases faster than wealth does, inflation occurs.  When wealth increases faster than the money supply, then deflation occurs.  The market always seeks equilibrium so that the value of money accurately reflects the amount of wealth in a market. (Many of you will argue with me but remember this is NOT Economics 101.  This is economics according to James Williamson.)

Inflation is a condition where the money supply grows faster than wealth does.  More money to purchase the same amount of wealth leads to higher prices. You could also say that less wealth purchased with the same quantity of money will lead to higher prices. (In the macro.)  Dealing with inflation is much easier than dealing with deflation if you are wealthy or if you are in debt.  If prices rise, you can sell your goods and services at ever higher prices and therefore increase your wealth or consumption (whichever you prefer) with relative ease.  Since the goods you produced yesterday are worth more today it is rather simple to turn a profit on what you have either produced or traded for.  If you have a debt to pay it will become easier and easier to pay the debt because (presumably) the money supply is increasing and therefore your income (in terms of money not necessarily wealth) is also increasing.  To keep runaway inflation in check, society simply needs to produce enough to keep up with the money supply.

Deflation is a condition where the wealth supply grows faster than the money does or the money supply shrinks faster than wealth does.  Less money to purchase the same amount of wealth leads to lower prices and the same amount of money to purchase more wealth will also lead to lower prices.  Deflation is a generally a result of overproduction and much more difficult issue to deal with than inflation.  If you have surplus wealth you will get ever lower prices for your goods and services which in turn makes it ever more difficult to profit from production or trade.  This makes amassing wealth–or excessive consumption–ever more difficult.  If you have money reserves (not wealth by my definition) you may benefit from the lower prices for a short while and temporarily increase your wealth or consumption but eventually your income will get caught up in the downward spiral as well.  If you are in debt your situation is especially pernicious because, while your payment is fixed, your income is falling, making it ever more difficult to pay.  The real difficulty of getting out of this cycle is that increasing production or wealth does not cure the problem.  What you produced or traded for yesterday is worth less today than what you paid for it.  The only thing you can do is reduce your consumption until either the money supply increases or the production of wealth slows sufficiently to restore the inflationary market.

In the past (before 1900) periods of inflation were always followed by brief periods of deflation.  The markets would seek equilibrium and those who were prepared would weather the deflation storms (or even amass wealth at discounted prices) and those who were not would suffer.  After the correction, inflation would then provide market conditions for those who were not prepared to get ready for the next correction.

All of this changed with the introduction of fiat money.  Fiat money is money produced by governments with no intrinsic value.  It only has value because everyone agrees that it does.  It is created and destroyed at will by the government that issues it.  There is no limit to how much can be produced.  It doesn’t matter how much gold is in circulation any more.  Nor does it matter how much gold could potentially be extracted.  Since money is no longer produced (the treasury doesn’t even bother to print all the money that is available in financial markets, they just produce enough for circulation), the ties that connected money and wealth have now been completely severed and each one grows and shrinks independently of each other.  When the government wants less money in the market, they remove it.  When they want more money in the market, they insert it.

Why would governments do such a thing?  The answer is simple: They don’t like deflation.  Or, stated another way, they hate, loathe, and despise deflation.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that most governments would rather deal with foreign invasion than deflation.  Deflation is the four letter word of the financial sector.  Why?  Because governments and many of the businesses that support the government financially all benefit from inflation but are hurt by deflation.  As long as there is steady inflation it will become easier as time goes on to pay old debts.  Prices rise, incomes rise, tax revenue increases, debt remains the same.  Fabulous, right?  Well, with deflation prices fall, incomes fall, tax revenues fall, debt remains the same.  So if you like to live beyond your means, then you want continual inflation.  You don’t ever want to experience deflation because that would decrease your wealth in a real way.  As long as you have continued inflation, you can always sell higher than you bought, which, if you borrowed money to buy in the first place, is very, very important.  That means you never have to give up real wealth even if you are living on other people’s money.

With fiat money you can create a virtual inflation machine.  You can artificially create inflation even when the market would normally deflate simply by issuing more money.  More wealth + even more money = inflation.  Leveraged businesses and traders are benefited by perpetual inflation just as much as governments, so they support the practice.  Businesses never get punished for overproducing and governments never get punished for overspending.  Perfect isn’t it?  Now government can spend without any restraint and the bill never really comes due because when it does, there is always plenty of (albeit fake) money to pay.

This is the real reason we have fiat money and the real reason the Federal Reserve exists.  Don’t let them kid you about the mission to maintain full employment.  That’s just so the electorate will keep voting in incumbents. But given the choice, maintaining positive inflation always takes precedence over full employment.

So now we are in a market that really wants to deflate.  It hasn’t deflated in over a hundred years.  We overproduced homes and instead of treating them like wealth (something useful, i.e. a place to live) we treated them as a source of money.  Now the market pressures are so great that notwithstanding the injection of over $3 trillion in cash over the last three years, home prices are still declining.  Wages are following.  Well, private sector wages are falling.  Public sector wages continue to rise.  I’m not sure what is keeping inflation positive.  Are rising food and oil prices enough to counteract the deflation of wages and real estate?  Is public sector wage inflation enough to negate the private sector wage deflation?  What happens if oil & food prices begin to decline?  Is that the reason the White House doesn’t want to increase oil production?  For fear falling oil prices will cause everything to deflate?  The disconnect between wealth and money serves as a giant smoke screen that hides the true market behavior, but eventually the truth comes out.

What we are witnessing here is the fleecing of the American populace by the political and business elites.  This is why the gap between the rich and the poor has become so great.  The rich have cheated the system with the help of the government.  Don’t let Obama fool you into thinking the rich will pay.  They may write checks but they don’t ever pay.  The government only consumes wealth and produces only money.  The consumption, like it or not, comes at the expense of the producers.  Who are the producers?  You and I.

Many speculate that our currency will become worthless.  Generally they argue that hyperinflation a la Weimar Republic will destroy faith in it.  While I agree that when the faith in the currency is destroyed, the currency will be worthless.  I disagree that hyperinflation will be the real culprit.  The Fed is ready to combat hyperinflation.  When it starts, they will do everything they can to fight it.  Since they can destroy money at will, they will probably succeed.  No, hyperinflation will not be the real culprit if our currency becomes worthless.

What will destroy our currency is the market itself.  The Fed has pitted its will against the market.  The market wants to deflate and the Fed wants to inflate.  Eventually the market will win.  When it does, the eulogy for the dollar has already been written…  by John the Revelator!  (See Revelation 18:11-15)

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

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

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

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

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

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

County>>Chairperson

Ashland>>Bill Harris

Crawford>>Matt Crall

Defiance>>Ted Penner

Fulton>>Sandy Barber

Henry>>Ron Behm

Huron>>Rob Duncan

Lucas>>Jon Stainbrook

Mercer>>Matt Gilmore

Paulding>>Fred Pieper

Putnam>>Lyle McKanna

Sandusky>>Justin Smith

Seneca>>David Koehl

Van Wert>>Martin Burchfield

Williams>>Brian Davis

Wood>>John Miller

Wyandot>>Sherman Stansbery

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

Halfway agreeing with Kucinich on Libya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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