Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ohio RINOs

My friend and fellow SOB Alliance blogger, Tom Blumer, has an excellent column showing all the machinations going on with the Ohio Republican Party candidates.

In RINOs, RINOs everywhere, he takes a look at several states where the GOP party leaders are backing individuals who really don't represent the core Republican values, and its especially egregious in Ohio where Gang of 14 member Mike DeWine will probably be the endorsed candidate for Attorney General. (Blumer's updated article along with current links is posted here.) As Tom explains:

Until he decided he wanted to be Ohio’s next attorney general, (state GOP chairman) Kevin’s (DeWine) relative, former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine, was last seen being repudiated twice by Buckeye State voters in a 17-month span in 2005-2006. First, despite spending $1 million, his son Pat finished a distant fourth in a June 2005 GOP primary race to fill an open congressional seat. That thrashing was accurately seen as a proxy repudiation of Mike over his participation in the Gang of 14 and other conservative-betraying votes. After yet another vote in November 2005 to stop drilling for oil in Alaska and a 2006 GOP primary where two completely underfunded challengers blockaded by ORPINO nonetheless took 28% of the vote, Mike DeWine lost his U.S. Senate reelection race against far-left Cleveland-area Congressman Sherrod Brown by a stunning 12 points.

Second-cousin Kevin and the ORPINO gang decided that this awful track record justified clearing the AG field for Mike, even though DeWine’s primary opponent Dave Yost had already racked up a 5-0 record in December and January GOP county endorsement meetings and had earned an intense level of tea party and other grassroots enthusiasm.

Nobody seems to want to own up to what Kevin and ORPINO did next, but all of a sudden early this week Yost, whose campaign slogan was “A Prosecutor, Not a Politician,” decided that he wanted to run for state auditor instead. Not coincidentally, ORPINO was also unhappy with the not-beholden CPA who had just started his own auditor campaign after Kasich selected Taylor.

As Tom concludes:

"...I understand that there is serious thought being given to going the third-party route in certain of the down-ticket races. I suspect that similar third-party moves are under consideration in other states and in higher-profile races. ORPINO and its compadres in other states will only have themselves to blame if this comes about."

I agree!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

ICE BOATING!!!!

The starting line:


If you've never seen or been for a ride on an ice boat - today's the day! Starting around 11 a.m. there will be races of the DN class on Maumee Bay. The races are viewable from any street that deadends into the bay in Point Place. Once they get the race course set up, I will post specific streets that will have the best views.

best viewing point: The starting mark is in the middle of the bay at the end of 116th Street. There's also a rounded parking area the end of this street. 117th will also be good. 125th St. is where most of the boats put on the ice so it's a good point to watch from, but parking may be an issue. However, there is Friendship Park just up the street. 125th is accessible via 124th off Summit and then around Friendship Park...I know, it doesn't make sense, but this is the Point.

After the DNs race the Greiner Open, many of the ice boats will race from Maumee Bay, around the end of the Point and down the Ottawa River to end up at Ottawa River Yacht Club for the rest of the Toledo Ice Yacht Club/ORYC Winterfest Regatta.

Beginning around 1-ish and after the 'race around the horn,' the sailors will offer rides to any interested. Many of the boats seat multiple people. The winds today aren't going to be too strong so this is a perfect time to bring your kids (even the ones who are just kids at heart) and go for a ride.

I shouldn't have to tell you to dress warmly, but a ski-mask type of face covering would be very wise to bring...

Tonight there is a band and, I believe, the Captain Morgan Morganettes (because, as I was informed last night, 'wenches' is not a p.c. term)...

For more information, including a map of the sailing area, visit the TIYC website.

Riding in an iceboat is really a lot of fun...most of the smaller ones will go around 20-30 mph with good air...the larger ones can reach speeds of up to 70 mph.

If you're looking for something to do on a cold Saturday, this is it!

p.s. On the TIYC facebook page is a short video of ride over the ice, in case you're interested in a aerial view.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama tries to redefine 'tax cut'

As we all learned from George Orwell: if you can control the language, you can control the people.

President Barack Obama, in his state of the union address, said:

Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven’t raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.

These are NOT tax cuts. A tax cut is when the amount you have to pay is lowered - when you get to keep more of what you earned.

These are tax credits - and are called such in all the legislation. The government collects the tax from you and then disguises their handout as some sort of giveaway you're supposed to be grateful for - but only if you happen to be in the particular group whose votes their trying to purchase.

Under the tax credit concept, the amount you owe is set and then the loving politicians who just want to take care of you graciously allow you to deduct from the amount certain dollars as a reward for the behavior they want to encourage.

How magnanimous of them!

The Wall Street Journal recognized this during the 2008 campaign:

But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."

For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit."
(emphasis added)

If they'd actually cut taxes, you'd have more money to spend on the things you want rather than the things they want. If it was a true tax cut, it wouldn't matter how you spent the extra money, but with a 'credit' you're just following their dictates on how you should spend your limited dollars.

Then there is the little twist in the statement that few actually catch. Obama says he did this for "95% of working families." Here's the twist: 95% were eligible. He has no idea if 95% actually were able to take advantage of the credits because most of them haven't filed their taxes yet!

The only way the government will know how many families got their so-called 'tax cut' is when they analyze the tax returns to see the actual number who list the credits on their forms.

I'm pretty certain that 95% of those eligible didn't take advantage of all three 'cuts' he mentioned. In fact, I'd wager that less than 50% of 'working families' took advantage of the first-time home buyer credit - maybe even less than 25% because most people in that category already are in homes.

This is just another lie presented in the worst of ways to make you think you've gotten something you really haven't.

The problem is, though, that most people won't make the distinction between tax 'cut' and tax 'credit' and will never know the truth.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brief thoughts on SOTU

Full text of the 2010 State of the Union

* President Barack Obama touted all the jobs he's 'created' and listed the numbers:

“Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. 200,000 work in construction and clean energy. 300,000 are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, and first responders. And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.”

These are all government jobs. Even the construction jobs are for roads, highways, and other infrastructure and will be gone as soon as the government money is used up. They're not permanent.

As the 'clean energy' jobs are jobs that exist only because of government subsidies. Take a look at our own 'clean energy' companies in Toledo. They aren't able to get the private funding for their operations because the 'market' doesn't want to invest. So the government takes our tax dollars and decides which companies are going to survive. There wouldn't be much of a 'green energy' industry if government weren't subsidizing it so much. So what happens when those government funds run out? No jobs.

But that's not the worst of it. He then said:

“Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America’s businesses.”

If he really believed this, he wouldn't be taxing businesses and individuals in order to spend money 'creating jobs.'

* Then there's the bank tax, even though Obama calls it a fee:

So I supported the last administration's efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took that program over, we made it more transparent and more accountable. And as a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we've recovered most of the money we spent on the banks. Most but not all.

To recover the rest, I've proposed a fee on the biggest banks. Now, I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea. But if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.

Except it's not just on the banks that got bailout money - it's on ALL banks. Additionally, he used some of those funds for the car companies he bailed out.

So all the successful banks will be charge a fee (which they'll pass along to each of us) to cover the failures of their competitors, as well as the failures of companies in completely unrelated industries.

But that's not all. Instead of using the new tax they collect to help offset the debt (something else the President said must be addressed), he's going to spend it again!

So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. I'm also proposing a new small business tax credit -– one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. While we're at it, let's also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment.

Tax credits are nice, but lowering the overall tax rate is even better - and applies to everyone and not just a select few. Eliminating capital gains taxes is great, too, but why not just eliminate it completely? If it's bad for business, it's bad for business.

But this 'solution' presumes that the reason banks aren't lending is because they don't have the money. There's nothing to indicate this is the case. In fact, my husband and I, both small business owners, are barraged by offers from banks to loan us money for our companies. We don't take advantage of them because we don't have a need and because we're not sure what politicians in D.C. are going to do to us. Will accepting any government-backed loan for our company come with pay limits? That's what they're doing to the banks and everyone else they're loaning money to.

And why community banks? Is he interfering in the market trying to get people to switch from 'large' banks to 'community ones'? Larger banks have more capacity for loans, especially with the new regulations Congress passed requiring higher assets for banks.

This 'solution' doesn't make sense from a financial perspective...but Congress applauded when he said he was going to do it. And I'll bet lots of people did as well.

* Obama's plan for college loans will make the cost of college skyrocket.

To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. And it’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs – because they too have a responsibility to help solve this problem.

So now a college education is a right? If no one should have to pay the full price for their education, then it becomes an entitlement and people will think of it as a right. "...no one should go broke because they chose to go to college"??? They won't go broke if they make good decisions to begin with. Perhaps they go part-time while working. Perhaps they live at home instead of borrowing money to live in a dorm. Perhaps they go to a community or 2-year college first where rates are usually lower. Perhaps they work and save up money instead of borrowing everything and expecting the loans to cover all costs. No wonder kids are graduating with huge debt. They've begun to believe that they shouldn't have to work while going to school.

And now, here comes the President, telling them that the should go ahead and borrow as much as they want. Don't be responsible for supporting yourself - just borrow. And if, when you graduate, you have no work experience and can't get a good-paying job, we'll let you skate on how much you repay each month and then forgive anything still owed after 20 years.

Under this plan, there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for the student to ever repay the loan. So kids will borrow more and owe more. The government, which has taken over the student loan industry will not have the resources, absence the full repayments, to continue. They'll have to tax all of us more in order to continue what by then will become an entitlement program, so you and I will end up paying for everyone else's college education. With this situation, there will be no incentive for students or colleges to control costs, and the price of a college education will go through the roof. Basic economics 101, people.

* Then there was the lies about lobbyists. The President said:

To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.

That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

But Erick Erickson at RedState.com proves the words are lies:

Maybe this explains why his national security policies are so weak. He put William Lynn in the Pentagon as Deputy Defense Secretary. Mr. Lynn was a lobbyist for Defense Contractor Ratheon. I guess the Deputy Defense Secretary is not a policy-making job.

But it is not just Lynn.

- Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm [now confirmed].
- Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.
- William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.
- William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.
- David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.
- Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.
- Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.
- Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.
- Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
- Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.
- Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.
- Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

So much for excluding lobbyists!

* He wants to freeze discretionary government spending - but not until 2011???

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.

I'm all in favor of freezing spending and am glad he's doing it, but I believe it's a be disingenuous after he's spent so much already. But why wait until 2011? Could it be because it's an election year in 2010???

If you're going to freeze spending, do it now. Don't wait. To wait makes it look as if you're not really serious. And comparing a future government spending freeze to the budget cuts families are making today just adds insult to injury.

* He wants Congress to post earmark requests on line. That's fine - but let's go a step further and eliminate earmarks altogether. As the President says, "a novel concept!"

***

Overall, I thought this sounded more like a campaign speech, still blaming problems on the previous administration, still making promises he has no power to control, criticizing others for being in perpetual campaign mode when he's doing the exact same thing, and still trying to sound above it all while offering programs and policies that, in the past, have proven to be failures.

As my Facebook friend, Greg Kinney said:

"It was a speech filled with contradiction. The President said job creation is his top priority, then went on to advocate for a Cap & Trade bill that will wreak havoc on the economy. He spoke of lowering health costs, then advocated for bills in Congress that independent experts have said will not lower costs. He spoke of cutting the debt, then advocated for more spending."


I did not expect much from Pres. Obama's first state of the union speech, and I wasn't disappointed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SOTU preview

From James Taranto's column in the Wall Street Journal:

Obama to Take Responsibility
Wait, wasn't he supposed to have done that a year ago?


...Obama has faced some political adversity of late, and the New York Times reports on how he plans to respond:

When Mr. Obama presents his first State of the Union address on Wednesday evening, aides said he would accept responsibility, though not necessarily blame, for failing to deliver swiftly on some of the changes he promised a year ago. But he will not, aides said, accede to criticism that his priorities are out of step with the nation's.

So according to his aides, the president of the United States will not say, "I am to blame. My priorities are out of step with the nation's." We're going to go out on a limb and predict that no U.S. president will ever utter these words. That his aides feel compelled to say so, however, is evidence that the words are true.

Quote of the Day

"This is precisely the purpose of censorship – not only to block unwanted views, but to keep people who are unhappy from knowing how many millions of others share their unhappiness; to keep the dormant opposition from awakening to its own developing strength." ~ Hedrick Smith

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another 'I told you so'

Remember back when Toledo decided to issue a license to convenience stores? According to the politicians, those evil convenience stores were the source of all kinds of illegal and unsavory goings-on and needed to be controlled.

My point, then and now, was that a business owner shouldn't be responsible for the illegal acts of others. The entire problem was the lack of law enforcement in the neighborhoods that allowed such illegal activity in the first place.

As I said in my first post on the subject:

But understand this: if you've got crime in the neighborhoods, it's not because you have a store down the street. The solution to crime in the neighborhoods is increased police patrols to deter such activity and swift response when a crime does occur. It also means a commitment to the criminal justice system to fully prosecute and hold accountable those who commit crimes - and that may mean spending money for more jail space and prosecutors - and not flowers, lights on trees, nature education or secret shoppers.

But in Toledo, it's so much easier to regulate business than it is to address the true problems in the neighborhoods and city as a whole. And it gets better headlines, too.

And now, as a result of the lawsuit filed over the law, guess what? More police patrols. Except in this case, it's not being provided by the city. No, the convenience store owners are having to pay off-duty officers to do what they should be doing when on-duty.

So the solution, as I said all along, is to increase police patrols. As I wrote in my last post on the subject:

I still have a problem, though, with the city's dereliction of duty when it comes to safety. The agreement requires that the stores "develop a plan for a coordinated security patrol of member stores consisting of off-duty and laid-off police officers."

First of all, why must it be off-duty or laid-off police officers? Many companies use private security personnel for such purposes, so this can only be construed as the unnecessary interference of the city in operational aspects of a private business. Or perhaps this has more to do with helping the police unions and/or covering the city because they've so overspent in almost every other area that they had to lay off police. Regardless, this is wrong and I wish the settlement would have contained more generic language to be able to give the store owners as much flexibility as possible.

Secondly, this particular requirement is a bad precedent for the city to set. The reason this is needed - and the reason 'community development groups' and politicians wanted the law in the first place - is because of a lack of enforcement of existing laws. The original problem wasn't the stores, but the illegal activities that police were unable to address, either because of lack of numbers or low priority.

Rather than address the lack of policing, politicians did what they normally do - created a new problem in an attempt to 'solve' an old one, enacting a law for every single store of this type, despite the fact that only some of the stores were having a problem. What they should have done was increase the enforcement in and around those particular problem areas - but they didn't.

Now, the solution is not for the city to assume its chartered responsibility, but for store owners to pay additionally for that same service. And if the city can do it with one, it can do it will all.

This is what passes for logic in Toledo.

Previous posts on the convenience store licensing law in chronological order:

'Not business friendly - post #5'

Eye On Toledo interview with Rob Ludeman

Cheers and boos to Toledo City Council

'Not business friendly' - post #6

Convenience stores fight licensing law (thank goodness!)

FOIA Friday

Faulty logic???

'Not business friendly' Post #9 - convenience stores, again

Emergency injunction requested on Convenience Store Licensing Law

Convenience stores get injunction

City law applies to more than just convenience stores

'Not business friendly' Post #10 - if you don't like the law, close your business

Midwest Retailers lawsuit against Toledo continues

City ordered to pay attorney fees in convenience store licensing suit

Toledo to repeal convenience store licensing law

Cell phones for the poor - it's a 'right'!

The Heritage Foundation has a very 'enlightening' article about how you and I pay for cell phones for the poor.

It's called the Universal Service Fund and it gets money by taxing phone companies. We all know that the phone companies pass along those taxes to each of us. You see it on your home and cell phone bills as the Universal Service Charge which, according to my January home phone bill, increased as of 1/1/2010. From my bill:

"This fee supports telecommunication needs of low-income households, consumers living in high-cost areas, schools, libraries and rural hospitals."

Why am I paying a phone tax to support libraries and schools, not to mention hospitals????

Originally, the tax was supposed to "provide affordable rates for those living in less densely populated areas where phone service was more costly."

However, in 1996, Congress voted to extend the use of this fund to subsidize low-income households and subsequently expanded the list of those required to pay into the fund to include: local telephone companies, wireless companies, paging services, and payphone providers. (Naturally, the cost for this fund is passed to the customer.) In 2008, the Federal Communications Commission began subsidizing cell phones for low-income households.

According to Heritage:

Welfare recipients in approximately 20 states – with more to follow – are currently eligible to receive a free cell phone with a limited number of monthly minutes. All individuals that qualify for state or federal welfare–food stamps, Medicaid, etc.–and have an income at or below 135% of the poverty level, are eligible. According to a Fox News report, the cell phone service is currently the fastest growing welfare program in the country.

In 2008, the fund that foots the bill for this program contributed $819 million to subsidize low-income telephone services. The fund is projected to grow to over $1 billion this year. That’s $1 billion of over $800 billion the United States will spend on welfare in 2010.

According to the Fox News Report linked in the quote:

And in some markets, the number receiving this benefit is exploding, up 600 percent in New Hampshire and up 900 percent in New Jersey in just two months, according to government figures.
...
"If they would give us free phones, that would be fantastic," said Lester Frasier, outside a welfare center in Los Angeles. "It will free up more money for me, that's one less bill for me."

Isn't that nice? Lester would have one less bill to pay, but I'd be paying more just so he doesn't have to????

Didn't you know that cell phone ownership is a 'right'?

What?

Yep! One of the contracted providers for the government program is SafeLink Wireless (TracFone) which states on their website:

TracFone Wireless believes that cell phone ownership is a right and an important tool for individual success in today's world. Everyone should have a cell phone without the need for a contract or a high credit rating. People should have the right to always know what their cell phone service will cost and no one should have to pay more than they want or can afford. (emphasis added)

But a huge problem with the program is the lack of monitoring. If the cell phones are supposed to be for quick emergency calls or to aid in a job search, why aren't the recipients required to show that the majority of calls on the phone are for those purposes?

And what happens if the recipient gets a job and is no longer eligible for the free phone? Nothing! There is no one checking continued eligibility.

So you and I continue to pay our bills and meet our financial obligations in these difficult economic times while being taxed to provide giveaways to 'poor' people who then are absolved from all responsibility to provide for themselves.

Think about it...how many government aid recipients would make different decisions if they didn't have food, housing, cash, transportation, cell phones, insulation, etc... paid for by someone else?

Even Jesus recognized that the 'poor' will always be with us, but I bet a large majority of government recipients would find a way to meet their personal needs if they didn't have our tax dollars to support them.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

And some people believe our founding fathers couldn't possible imagine what challenges the future would hold:

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be to-morrow." ~ Federalist No. 62

Saturday, January 23, 2010

This is what we're up against

I'm currently on a list-serve for the topic of Ohio Watersheds. I originally got on the list when serving on the Coastal Resource Advisory Council for the ODNR and stayed on the list after leaving CRAC because of my interest in Lake Erie.

This is an extremely diverse group of people and every now and then, individuals on the list forward something they've received. Such is the case with this email:


>>> "FairClimateProject" 1/21/2010 9:31 PM >>>
** High Priority **

Fellow leaders,

We recently sent you a note telling you about another fly-in that we're hosting in early February. Like the one we hosted last year, we are bringing together leaders from underserved communities to meet with their members of Congress and urge them to forge ahead with passing a clean energy and climate bill.

This fly-in is extremely important and we hope you will have the time to come to Washington, DC, during this last major push to get the bill moving in the Senate. Every week over the next two months, different constituents are coming to Washington, DC, all sending a consistent message to the U.S. Senate that we can't delay action.

We can't ease up on our pressure now, and so we need your help.

We're trying to collect registrations by Monday, January 25th.

Remember, all expenses are paid. The fly-in starts mid-day on the 8th of February and goes through the afternoon of the 9th.

If you're from one of the following states, your participation is even more urgent: AK, AR, FL, IN, LA, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, OH, SC, VA, WV.

Let us know ASAP if you're able to join us by emailing fairclimateproject@nwf.org, calling me directly at the number below, or registering for the event at www.liaisonsreg.com/nwffeb8

Very best for all the work you do,

Felice

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Felice Stadler
Associate Director, Global Warming Solutions Program
National Wildlife Federation

I have to tell you - it's very rare that any center-right group sends out an offer to fly people to D.C. just to lobby congress. Most of the center-right groups send out emails and urge people to call, write or email, but they don't offer to pay all expenses so you can meet with your congressional reps in person....in D.C.

And did you note that this is a coordinated effort? "Every week over the next two months, different constituents are coming to Washington, DC, all sending a consistent message ..."

And to make matters worse, this is all about 'climate change' which is facing regular revelations that the data indicating man is responsible for global warming is manipulated and, therefore, highly suspect - perhaps completely false.

Just this week the UN climate change panel admitted to more "errors" in their report after having to retract a prediction that certain glaciers would be gone in 25 years.

The IPCC’s 2007 report, which won it the Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high”.

But it emerged last week that the forecast was based not on a consensus among climate change experts, but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999.

The IPCC admitted on Thursday that the prediction was “poorly substantiated” in the latest of a series of blows to the panel’s credibility.

It's no wonder 'believers' are ramping up their efforts. Growing skepticism and climategate investigations may end what many thought would be lucrative paths to pursue.

At stake here is millions, or even billions, of dollars in government contracts, handouts and scams - most of which would end up going to the exact same organizations pushing for the legislation.

What's also at stake is higher energy prices for everyone up to and including taxes on the carbon dioxide, CO2, that you exhale.

But this is a sobering look at what common sense people, center-right groups and everyday Americans are up against. How are we supposed to compete with coordinated, all-expense-paid trips to DC to lobby congress for something we know to be completely beyond our control - power over he earth's climate?

Absent the huge amounts of funds being spent by those who stand to benefit financially, we have only our personal communications and our votes on election day.

And sometimes that's just not enough.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Will Ohio eliminate the state income tax?

This in via email:

Adams Takes Steps to Terminate State Income Tax

House Bill 400: A Long-Term Solution for Ohio’s Future


Columbus—House Republican Whip John Adams (R-Sidney) today offered sponsor testimony on House Bill 400, a legislative measure that will phase out the state income tax over a ten-year period. According to the ALEC-Laffer 2009 State Economic Competitiveness Index, Ohio’s income taxes are among the 10 highest in the country and have rendered Ohio the second worst overall economy.

“As a small business owner, I can speak to the effects of Ohio’s poor economic climate and how high taxes hinder investment and growth,” Adams said. “The financial train wreck that is on our heels is avoidable, but Ohio’s Democrats continue to tax jobs right out of our state.”

Nine states currently do not levy an income tax, five of which rank among the top ten economies and four of which are among the top ten for population influx. Conversely, California and New York have the highest income taxes and experienced the most serious revenue deficits in 2009, as tax receipts failed to outweigh the loss of businesses. Ohio is not far behind these high-tax states with the eighth highest income tax in the nation.

“It is my hope that by eliminating job-killing taxes, Ohio will attract new businesses to our state,” Adams said. “We need to convey to the rest of the nation that our doors are open to business growth and investment.”

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, a national organization that educates taxpayers about sound tax policy, Ohio’s burdensome taxes and poor business climate have driven people out of the state for years, which has shrunk the economy and the tax base. At the same time, state government spending has continued to increase, resulting in an oppressive tax burden on the state’s remaining citizens.

“Businesses and families back home are making sacrifices and cutting spending, and leaders in Columbus should not only follow suit but lead by example,” Adams said. “The case has been made, and it is long overdue that the Ohio Legislature finally commits to improving the tax code and aligns it with competitive states.”

- 30 -

It wasn't just Democrats that raised taxes, Republicans in Columbus have gone along with that effort for a number of years. But Adams is correct that high taxes are ruining all of us - businesses and individuals - and driving both out of the state.

As for a phase-out, well....

We've seen that when the state gets into financial difficulty, those 'phase-out' plans are on the chopping block. Republicans joined with Democrats to retroactively 'delay' the planned phased-in tax cuts - all because that was easier than actually cutting the budget. And Republicans, who presented a reorganization plan to reduce the size of state government early last year, were strangely silent about the plan by November and December when they had the political upper hand in negotiations over addressing the state's huge budget deficit.

If we're going to eliminate the state income tax, then do so. Phased-in tax cut promises aren't worth the paper they're written on. If Columbus politicians really want to 'jump-start the economy' and 'help small business,' why 'phase in' anything? Just do it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New council committees and the politics behind the appointments

Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle has the complete list of old Toledo City Council assignments versus the new ones under the reduced number of committees.

Interestingly, Phil Copeland has ended up as the Vice-Chairman of the new Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance Committee. Why is this so interesting? Because, as I understand it, D. Michael Collins was promised that position.

I've been told that Wilma Brown, the new council president, reneged on her promise to slot Collins there so she could gain Copeland's support for the council president vote.

Remember all the outrage when Lindsay Webb changed her mind and didn't vote for Mike Ashford as president of council? Something tells me that type of 'offense' won't be given for this broken promise between Collins, Copeland and Brown.

Lisa Renee, in her post, urges readers to call Wilma Brown and object to placing Copeland in the vice-chair role. Lisa believes, as do I, that the vice chair should at least have some experience on the Finance Committee before being put in charge of that vital assignment, especially considering the budget fiasco that faces the city. This is especially true since council also changed the rules about who could chair a committee's meeting. The vice-chair is now authorized to call and chair a committee meeting if the named chair doesn't do so within 24 hours of a request by the vice chair.

I can see all sorts of difficulties coming out of this rule change, especially with the friction we've seen on council between the various Democrat teams, but perhaps that's the point of the new rule: to allow one faction to upstage the other?

Some other interesting aspects of the new committee assignments include the ones given to Joe McNamara. He's vice chair of Economic Development and will serve on HR, IT & Finance; Intergovernmental Relations and Environment; Neighborhoods, Community Development & Health; and Utilities and Public Service. Of course, he's 'considering' (as in I formed a committee to start raising money and getting support but haven't officially announced) a run for state senate. Until he decides whether or not he's going to stay on council, I'd just appoint him to serve on committees and not put him as the chair or vice chair of any. Why 'reward' someone with a leadership position who's expressed an interest in leaving and will be rather busy running for another position?

Then there is brand new councilman Adam Martinez. As a new councilman, he's garnered some rather key positions: Chair of Neighborhoods, Community Development & Health; Vice Chair of Zoning and Planning; member of Economic Development; member of Youth Parks, Recreation & Community Relations; and an alternate on HR, IT & Finance.

Other than his political connections, what, exactly, qualifies him to be put in leadership positions as a novice council member? Every council person who has served says that the first six months (or so) are spent just learning where to go to get information. But Brown has put a 'newbie' (with respects to my favorite TV show NCIS) in charge of critical committees?

My district rep, Lindsay Webb, previously chaired the Youth, Parks and Recreation committee. Now she's the vice chair Utilities and Public Service. She also serves on three other committees, including the one she used to chair. No chairmanship for her.

Surprisingly, Tom Waniewski, District 5, ended up with the fewest assignments: Chair of Intergovernmental Relations & Environment and member of Economic Development and
Utilities & Public Service.

UPDATE: As Lisa Renee writes in the comments below, and which I forgot when doing the original post, Waniewski is also considering a run for the same senate seat as McNamara, so the comments about giving any leadership position to people who would rather have another position apply to Waniewski as well.
***

I do not know if Webb's and Waniewski's assignments are by choice or part of some other political reasoning.

I understand both the logic of the appointments and the philosophy of 'to the victor go the spoils' when it comes to committee assignments within a political body. Understanding, however, does not equate to approval and it's sad when such assignments are used for the good of the individual making the appointments rather than for the good of the constituents council is supposed to be representing.

Remember, members of city council are your employees. You are their boss. If you have opinions about this, you have an obligation to call Council President Wilma Brown and instruct her accordingly.

wilma.brown@toledo.oh.gov
419-245-1050

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quotes of the Day

"It is better to be in chains with friends , than to be in a garden with strangers." ~ Persian Proverb

"Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant." ~ Socrates

"Misfortune shows those who are not really friends." ~ Aristotle

"The friendship that can cease has never been real." ~ Saint Jerome

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The impact of the 10th and 17th Amendments

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

A 1931 Supreme Court Case (United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716, 733) stated:

"The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or to the people. It added nothing to the instrument as originally ratified.”

Today, the federal government exceeds this restriction, or basically ignores it (along with many other facets of the Constitution) on a regular basis - in fact and in philosophy.

Over the years, the feds have used what is called 'greenmail' in this effort.

Originally, according to Wikipedia, the term meant the "practice of purchasing enough shares in a firm to threaten a takeover and thereby forcing the target firm to buy those shares back at a premium in order to suspend the takeover."

Today the term is also used to describe the process whereby the federal government uses the distribution of tax dollars - or the withholding of those dollars - to force states to adhere to certain rules, laws or actions in order to 'earn' the funds.

Basically, it's the thought that if I'm giving you money, then I get to make the rules. If I (that is the federal government) give you (the state) money for roads, I can put conditions on those funds (like what your maximum speed limit in the state will be). If you don't like the conditions, you don't have to take the money.

But, you say, it was my money to begin with that you took from me under penalty of imprisonment! Well, that's a minor point, the feds say, "we need the money more than you do."

But, you continue, if you didn't take my money to begin with, I wouldn't 'need' it back to fund all these things you're paying for...

Aye, there's the rub.

Which brings me back to the 10th Amendment. Our founding fathers believed that decisions were best made in the states - the 'local experiments' where policies, programs, and even laws, could be tried before being adopted nation-wide by other states (never by the federal government). They believed - and rightly so - that a limited federal government was the best thing for the future prosperity and freedom of the country and the individuals in it. They'd lived under strong centralized governments and knew their failures. That's why they consciously and purposefully set up our country the way they did.

James Madison said:

Whenever power may be necessary for the national government, a certain portion must be necessarily left with the states, it is impossible for one power to pervade the extreme parts of the United States so as to carry equal justice to them. The state legislatures also ought to have some means of defending themselves against the encroachments of the national government. In every other department we have studiously endeavored to provide for its self-defense. Shall we leave the states alone un-provided with the means for this purpose? And what better means can be provided than by giving them some share in, or rather make them a constituent part of, the national government?

The 10th Amendment was important not because it changed anything in the Constitution, but because it reinforced the positions and discussions that led to the organization described in the Constitution. It's there as further evidence - and promise - that the federal government would remain limited and small and that the states would continue to have not only an equal part in the national government but also the larger role in the lives of their residents.

Sadly, we're too far gone from those original intents and the limitations on the federal government are ignored, while questions to those sworn to uphold those limitations are dismissed as being 'not serious.'

And that's where the 17th Amendment comes into play.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 1, of the Constitution states:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

While the House of Representatives were elected directly by the people - and thus 'loyal' to the interests of their districts, the Senate was to be selected by the state legislatures and 'loyal' to the states.

This ensured that the interests of both the individual and the states, an equal partner in the governance of the nation as Madison described, were balanced. It also provided a check against the penchant for the federal government to expand beyond its scope.

It the senators had, as their first priority, the overall interests of the states that sent them to Washington, they would not (hopefully) allow the federal government to exceed its limited powers and overrun the concept of the 10th Amendment.

However, with the passage of the 17th Amendment, all that changed.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

How often has a state senator asked your opinion about a measure pending before them? I know you've probably offered such opinions on a regular basis. But it doesn't make sense for Ohio's two senators to try and get feedback from the nearly 11.5 million people who live in this state (according to July 2008 Census figures).

It does make sense, however, for them to consult with our state house and senate about the impact of bills that come before them for a vote.

Think about it. Right now, they're more likely to confer with lobbyists and special interests than they are with their constituents or their state legislators. As a result, the interests of the state no longer provide a balance to the power of the federal government and the federal government commonly issues mandates to the states requiring all sorts of things our founders would find egregious.

The direct election of senators eliminated the check and balance designed to restrict the federal government from exactly such action.

An examination of the health insurance mandate currently before Congress is a prime example. Sen. Ben Nelson, responding, he said, to concerns about the mandates against states included in the bill, got an exemption from paying for those mandates for the state of Nebraska. It was even labeled the 'cornhusker kick-back,' though now he's saying he never intended for Nebraska to be singled out - that all states should have the same consideration.

Consider this: how successful do you think the Senate health care bill would have been if every senator said 'no' to the federal government's dictate - or insisted that any mandate enforced upon them be funded by the feds?

Or go a step further and consider if the state legislatures told 'their' representatives in Congress to stop taking so much money from the state in the first place? With states in financial troubles, I'm sure the state legislators think they can spend the limited dollars much better than bureaucrats in Washington - much like the average American thinks.

If the senators were accountable directly to the state legislatures, think about how different their positions and votes might be.

And it's not just the health care bill. The No Child Left Behind Act - in fact the entire Department of Education - is a direct violation of a state's right to control education.

The 2010 budget for the U.S. Department of Education is nearly $47 billion. Just for discussion purposes, if you divide that by the 50 states, each one would get $940 million. How much better than the federal government do you think Ohio would do at spending $94 million on education?

Would we even have a federal department of education if we hadn't passed the 17th Amendment?

How much different would our federal government - and state governments - be if we hadn't eliminated the check and balance on the federal government? And how much more adherence do you think there would be to the 10th Amendment?

***
For more information on the 10th Amendment and efforts to exert authority under it, please visit the 10th Amendment Center.

For more information on the impact of the 17th Amendment, please visit The Campaign to Restore Federalism.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What has $100 billion bought us?

Apparently, very little according to Cato's Andrew Coulson and his review of an HHS study on the impact of Head Start.

HHS has finally released the second installment of its series of studies on the persistence of Head Start effects. Its finding (see page xiv): virtually all academic effects disappear by the end of 1st grade. There is only one positive statistically significant finding out of eleven academic outcomes measured, the size of that effect is minuscule by recognized standards (it’s half way between zero and what most social scientists consider “small”), and the confidence in the finding is low by recognized standards. (Many authors would categorize it as “insignificant” rather than “significant” — it’s only significant at a 90% confidence interval, not the more common 95% confidence interval).

We have spent more than $100 billion on the program to date (ballpark estimate from Table 375 here) and HHS’s own research shows that its results diminish to essentially nothing by the end of the first grade.
(emphasis added)

read more...

Quote of the Day

"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 14, 2010

LCRP update

The Blade is reporting that the Republican state central committee has agreed to delay any action on deciding which group is the 'official' Lucas County Republican Party until January 26, the next court date for a preliminary injunction hearing on a legal challenge to the certification of committee lists by the Board of Elections.

Megan Gallagher filed the lawsuit, including a request for a temporary restraining order, against the BOE and the state central committee. The Lucas County Prosecutor, representing the BOE, agreed to the delay as well.

This makes sense as it resulted in the withdrawal of the request for a temporary restraining order.

On a separate note, I've been told by numerous individuals that the Stainbrook-led executive committee, at their last meeting, authorized the expenditure of up to $50,000 to cover legal fees.

The party doesn't have $50,000 and if it did, wouldn't that money be better spent electing Republicans?

But the bigger issue might be the 'what if' questions:

What if...Stainbrook is not selected by the state central committee to be chairman? Does that mean Stainbrook left the new group with a huge debt? If the ruling goes to Simpson, would any such action be legally binding since it happened after Stainbrook was voted out of office?

What if...Stainbrook wins at the state central committee? Will the party still be obligated for that expense or will it be donated as an in-kind because it's for Stainbrook's lawsuits while it would have to be paid if Stainbrook loses?

In checking the LCRP finance reports on file with the BOE, there is no mention of payment for legal expense or any in-kind contributions for legal services since Stainbrook took over as chairman.

So who has been paying for these attorneys up to this point? And why would the payment arrangement change now?

Some who've told me of this decision by Stainbrook's executive committee have speculated that it's one last way Stainbrook will 'get even' if he fails to maintain the leadership of the party. Sadly for the LCRP, there are many who would find this speculation ... sound.

Yarbough announces campaign for 6th District Court of Appeals

This in via email:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2010

Long-time judge and public servant, Steve Yarbrough, announces candidacy for Sixth District Court of Appeals

Sylvania resident, Steve Yarbrough, has announced his candidacy for the Sixth District Court of Appeals – serving eight counties in northwest Ohio. Yarbrough, who has served as a judge in numerous courts for nearly 20 years, has experience in each of the eight counties of the district, including cases involving juvenile, domestic relations, divorce, child custody, domestic violence and criminal law.

The Sixth District Court of Appeals hears cases from the municipal, county, and Common Pleas courts located in Lucas, Erie, Fulton, Huron, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties.

In his time on the bench, Yarbrough has presided over more than 1,000 cases in northwest Ohio and across the state. He has most recently served as a mediator and trial judge for civil and domestic disputes and as an assigned judge by appointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

“I have spent virtually my entire professional life in public service and I believe that my experience as a judge, legislator and teacher will assist in meeting the needs of the court,” said Yarbrough. “Having served in every county in the sixth district, I feel that I can provide the experience and diversity needed for such a position.”

As a judge, Yarbrough said that his experience with family and juvenile matters and criminal and civil jury trials will serve the court well with cases that come before the court. “Our region has experienced some difficult economic times over the past several years – including the judiciary – and I feel that our area needs the steady hand of experience.”

Yarbrough is a graduate of the University of Toledo, receiving his bachelors, masters and law degree from the school.

A former assistant attorney general, he has also served on Toledo City Council and as a member of the Ohio Senate. He currently resides in Sylvania, Ohio.

I wonder....

With Jon Stainbrook's penchant for suing anyone for just about anything, can he be designated a vexatious litigator?

2323.52 Civil action to declare person vexatious litigator.
(A) As used in this section:

(1) “Conduct” has the same meaning as in section 2323.51 of the Revised Code.

(2) “Vexatious conduct” means conduct of a party in a civil action that satisfies any of the following:

(a) The conduct obviously serves merely to harass or maliciously injure another party to the civil action.

(b) The conduct is not warranted under existing law and cannot be supported by a good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.

(c) The conduct is imposed solely for delay.

(3) “Vexatious litigator” means any person who has habitually, persistently, and without reasonable grounds engaged in vexatious conduct in a civil action or actions, whether in the court of claims or in a court of appeals, court of common pleas, municipal court, or county court, whether the person or another person instituted the civil action or actions, and whether the vexatious conduct was against the same party or against different parties in the civil action or actions. “Vexatious litigator” does not include a person who is authorized to practice law in the courts of this state under the Ohio Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio unless that person is representing or has represented self pro se in the civil action or actions.

UPDATED: Fallen Timbers and Oregon Republican Clubs support Simpson as LCRP chairman

UPDATE:

The Oregon Republican Club has added their support to Jeff Simpson as chair of the LCRP, per this email:

For Immediate Release



Motion of Support Chairman Jeff Simpson
January 13, 2010

The Oregon Republican Club would like to formally recognize and congratulate the recently elected Chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, Jeff Simpson. We look forward to working with you to promote and elect quality Republican candidates throughout Lucas County.

"The vote to support Chairman Simpson was unanimous and we are thrilled with the LCRP Central Committee's choice" said Marvin Belknap, Club President. " The LCRP was in need of new leadership and Chairman Simpson is someone we can all agree on."

###

ORIGINAL POST:
This just in via email:


For Immediate Release to the Press
January 14th, 2010
Fallen Timbers Republican Club
PO BOX 2851, Whitehouse, OH 43571

Press Release

The Fallen Timbers Republican Club members at their regularly scheduled meeting, January 13th, 2010 voted unanimously to recognize Chairman Jeff Simpson as the newly elected Lucas County Republican Chairman.

The Fallen Timbers Republican Club is excited at what Chairman Simpson brings to the position. Chairman Simpson has been a leader in the community for years now and has taken recognizable stances to uphold the core values of the Republican Party. The Fallen Timbers Republican Club has full confidence that with Chairman Simpson at the helm he will bring new life to the soul of Republican Party promoting conservative values and principles.

FTRC President and Lucas County Republican Party Executive Member Christine Seles stated that she was “appalled at the recent desperate acts and non-factual accounts that have streamed from Former Chairman regarding the December 21st, 2009 Central Committee Meeting”. She further stated that “It reflects negatively on the Republican Party and I would expect that a Chairman or Former Chairman would not put the party’s reputation in question just to further their own personal gain”. The officers and membership body of the Fallen Timbers Republican Club have restored hope that under the direction and leadership of Chairman Jeff Simpson the Lucas County Republican Party will become a respectable and viable force in local politics.

Sincerely,

The Executive Board of the Fallen Timbers Republican Club,

Christine Seles, FTRC President
Larry Romaine, Vice President
Diane Haupricht, Treasurer
Kristin Blochowski, Secretary
Joanna Shaw, Sgt. at Arms

Copy of Motion Below:

Motion of Support Chairman Jeff Simpson
January 13, 2010

The Fallen Timbers Republican Club recognizes that December 21st, 2009 a meeting was called for the Lucas County Republican Party’s Central Committee. Furthermore it is recognized that the aforementioned meeting was not started on time and that after over a forty minute delay there was a movement to begin the meeting without the Central Committee Chairman.

The Fallen Timbers Republican Club membership and officers fully support the majority decision of the Lucas County Republican Party’s Central Committee to appoint a temporary Central Committee Chairman in the absence of the currently elected Central Committee Chairman Meghan Gallagher.

The Fallen Timbers Republican Club membership and officers fully support the majority decision of the Lucas County Republican Party’s Central Committee, under the leadership of Temporary Lucas County republican Party Central Committee Chairman Chris Myers, to remove Lucas County Republican Party Central Committee Chairman Meghan Gallagher and furthermore supports the majority vote which took place to replace Ms. Gallagher with Paul Hoag.

The Fallen Timbers Republican Club membership and officers fully support the majority decision of the Lucas County Republican Party’s Central Committee, under the leadership of the Lucas County Republican Party’s Central Committee Chairman Paul Hoag, to remove Jon Stainbrook as Lucas County Republican Party Chairman at the aforementioned Lucas County Republican Party Central Committee meeting which took place on December 21st, 2009.

Furthermore the Fallen Timbers Republican Club hereby recognizes and supports Chairman Jeff Simpson as the newly elected Lucas County Republican Party Chairman. The membership body is encouraged and inspired by the positive changes that his leadership will undoubtedly bring to the county. His election brings hope and unity to a party divided and distracted by personal goals, rather than for the greater good of the Lucas County Republican Party. The Fallen Timbers Republican Club membership and officers have full confidence that Chairman Simpson’s leadership will foster support and spread the core beliefs of the Republican Party, and that he will work diligently to help republican candidates county, state and nationwide.

Therefore, I respectfully submit this motion to be voted upon by the membership body and forwarded to Ohio Republican Party chairman Kevin DeWine and to the Ohio Republican Party’s State Central Committee for its consideration
.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More competition for Kaptur

Former Toledo Police Chief Jack Smith is going to run against Marcy Kaptur for the 9th Congressional District. He's running as a 'tea party' Republican.

He was interviewed today on WSPD and I'm certain the interview will be podcast later this morning.

If you'd like a taste of what he has to offer, he was a speaker at the Toledo Tax Day Tea Party - and was definitely the favorite of the crowd.

Here's his speech from that day (he begins at 4:00 in the first one and continues in the second one):

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another lawsuit and request for TRO in the quest for power in the LCRP

I've just learned that Megan Gallagher, the Jon Stainbrook-group central committee chairman, has filed suit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court against the Lucas County Board of Elections and the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee.

Her lawsuit makes claims similar to those already made by Stainbrook - that the only time a chairman of the LCRP can be selected is at an organizational meeting following the election of central committee members in a partisan primary election.

Of course, none of the filings address the party bylaws that say the chairmen of the executive committee and the central committee can be removed by a majority vote of the central committee. Obviously, if these individuals can be removed from office at any time, the party must be able to elect new chairmen other than once every two years.

Gallagher also claims that BOE members Pat Kriner and Lynn Olman are using their positions on the board for their own personal vendetta.

Of course, this completely misses the fact that Stainbrook and Gallagher are using their positions of leadership in the party for their own vendettas... I guess they believe it's okay if they do it.

Gallagher's suit claims that all the ruckus going on in the party is so that Kriner and Olman can keep their seats on the BOE. She's also claiming that any decision by the BOE to certify lists of committee members from both groups is fraudulent and means that the BOE is interfering in the intra-party struggles of the LCRP.

This, too, completely misses a point about the law that states the BOE is supposed to do just that: certify lists to the state central committee whenever two groups are vying for leadership of a county party.

An interesting tact this lawsuit takes is to claim that until a court of law rules on the issue, Gallagher and Stainbrook remain the chairmen.

I knew this was going to happen.

On January 9th, in my blog post, "Adding perspective to the LCRP power struggle," I wrote:

But then this sentence pops up:

"So far, no legal body has evaluated whether the meeting met the legal guidelines of the party and parliamentary rules."

What is the purpose of raising the issue of a 'legal body' to do any evaluation whatsoever? According to state law, and The Blade's own reporting, the proper 'legal body' is the party's state central committee. That body is charged with deciding which group to recognize.

And how are they to perform such a task? Well, they'll examine the proceedings, look at both sides' report of what happened and when, and then determine which group is 'legitimate.' They'll have to examine the parliamentary procedures that were/were not followed. They'll have to examine the bylaws of the party. They might even interview participants or have each side present to them.

So if that is the legal process, what is the purpose of this sentence in the story? Is it to promote Stainbrook's claim that the actions taken by the Simpson group are not legitimate if a court of law doesn't decide them to be so? Is it to cast doubt in the reader's mind about the legitimacy of the 'rebels' actions? Or could it be to set the stage for Stainbrook to claim that, absence such a court ruling, nothing the state central committee does is legitimate? You can decide on your own now that you know what to question.

Now you know the answer to that question, as this is exactly what Gallagher's suit claims in the request for Temporary Restraining Order.

Gallagher also states that Kriner and Olman have a conflict of interest in calling a meeting of the BOE because they're involved in voting as members of the central and/or executive committee.

This is one of the most ridiculous points I've ever heard. Here's the thing: let's suppose that Kriner and Olman do have a conflict of interest. The only way for them to announce such a conflict and recuse themselves from voting would be to call a meeting so they could then announce their conflict and recuse themselves.

So how can calling a meeting be a conflict???? It can't.

My personal opinion is that they do not have a conflict in certifying lists to the state central committee. All the BOE is doing is kicking the issue down to Columbus per the Ohio Revised Code. The BOE certified lists from both factions. Obviously, Kriner and Olman are not being partial in the matter if both factions got their lists certified.

However, Gallagher's suit claims this is all in an attempt to keep their jobs on the BOE. Since that's all Gallagher and Stainbrook are interested in doing (acquiring those same positions), I think this is more projection of their own interests than reality.

The filings also seek to prevent the state central committee from acting on any of this until after the court adjudicates the lawsuit, so a temporary restraining order against the state central committee is requested.

Unfortunately for Gallagher and Stainbrook, the BOE acted this morning prior to the judge ruling on a TRO against the BOE, so the lists have been certified and state law requires the central committee to act within 30 days.

Oh - and the suit claims Gallagher has suffered 'damages' of $25,000 so it asks for that amount and attorneys fees to be awarded.

LCRP Simpson group files complaints against Stainbrook

It appears Jon Stainbrook is getting a taste of his own medicine, so to speak.

Yesterday, the Simpson-led faction of the Lucas County Republican Party filed several complaints against Jon Stainbrook for multiple offenses, including violating the LCRP bylaws.

It starts with the lists each faction needs to submit to the local Board of Elections when there are two groups claiming to be the 'official' party. Ohio law determines the process by which the local BOE certifies the officers/members submitted by each group to the state central committee which then makes a determination as to which group to recognize.

While Stainbrook and his attorney have made a filing against the Simpson lists, the Simpson group has done the same - only they've got a lot more details than Stainbrook as to why the Stainbrook lists are invalid.

Apparently, 15 individuals have been 'appointed' to serve as precinct committeemen. That is certainly allowable under LCRP bylaws when there is no one elected to serve in a particular precinct or when the precinct has become vacant for some reason. However, those appointees must be voted upon and approved at a meeting of the central committee. According to the complaint, no vote was ever taken to appoint these 15 people.

Additionally, all central committee members must be members of the Republican Party - that is, registered Republicans. The complaint points out that four of the individuals are NOT registered Republicans and, therefore, ineligible to serve on the central committee.

The second complaint deals with the number of appointed members of the party's executive committee. As I've explained in previous posts, certain individuals are automatically members of the party executive committee: past party chairmen, ward chairmen, presidents of GOP clubs with more than 25 members, state central committee members and elected officials. The chairmen of the party can make appointments equal to the total of these mandatory members combined.

Apparently, some of the individuals named in the mandatory categories do not actually hold those positions. Stainbrook listed the wrong president of the Greater Toledo Republican Club, listed ward chairmen who either do not live in the ward they represent (which is required) or are not the individuals duly elected by the ward to serve as their ward chair (noting that no elections have taken place to elect some of the named individuals), and one of them isn't even a Republican.

When those ineligible individuals are removed, it reduces the membership of the executive committee and reduces the number of 'equal' appointments the chairman can make. The complaint alleges that this is a 'flagrant' violation of the party bylaws in an attempt to "stack the Executive Committee with his consorts."

The third complaint states that Stainbrook is in violation of the party bylaws by not providing written reports of party business and finances at the executive committee meetings. It states:

Article VII Section C 4, clearly states “The Party Chairman shall make available reports, filings, bank and financial statements, contracts and candidate profiles to Executive Committee members for review at the office of the LCRP.” Mr. Stainbrook has never provided and of the above documentation. Furthermore, when pressed for this information Mr. Stainbrook has called the member “Out of Order”.


The fourth complaint deals with party finances. It asks the BOE to investigate hotel in-kind contributions from 2008 that have not been reported on any of the campaign finance reports filed by the party.

It also questions the lack of reporting of cash contributions:

It has also come to our attention that former LCRP Chairman Jon Stainbrook and his associates were accepting cash contributions during the 2008 McCain Campaign by way of a wooden cash box screwed onto the wall near the entryway by Jon Stainbrook’s office and also by selling McCain/Palin yard signs. There is a glaring absence of ANY cash contributions in any of the 2008 campaign finance reports. We would also like to request a full investigation into this matter.


The fifth complaint deals with an old issue. When Stainbrook decided to file suit to overturn the original appointment of Patrick Kriner to the BOE, he had himself nominated to fill that position. That nomination by the executive committee has never been rescinded, even though it was denied by the Secretary of State who makes the appointment. However, Stainbrook also had himself nominated to serve in the position Lynn Olman currently holds on the BOE. You cannot nominate a person to serve in both these positions. While this is a technical matter, without rescinding the the first Stainbrook recommendation (which is currently pending in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and has not been resolved), Stainbrook cannot be recommended for another seat on the BOE.

It's sloppy, I admit, but it's a technicality which renders his appointment for the term expiring at the end of February moot without further action from the executive committee.

The sixth complaint deals with the endorsement of Kevin Haddad for Sylvania Township Trustee. It states that the LCRP exists to elect Republicans and that Haddad is not a registered Republican, even though he was endorsed over the two Republican incumbents for the Trustee positions. The complaint reads:

Receiving endorsement from the LCRP should not be given via a test of loyalty to the Chairman but rather loyalty to the Republican Party.


The last complaint states that Stainbrook is also in violation of the bylaws by not establishing the required standing committees of the party.

Now, I have no idea what the local BOE is supposed to do with some of these complaints about violations of the bylaws. I really don't believe they have any authority to enforce local party bylaws, though such allegations and questions certainly would be pertinent to any central committee making a decision about removing or appointment a chairman.

But the BOE does have jurisdiction over the party's financial reports and knowing that cash donations were solicited and accepted but no cash donations are reported on the reports is clearly something they should investigate.

That the party was 'selling' McCain yard signs was well known. Several of my friends mentioned to me that they made donations for them, which they thought unusual, but didn't really mind. Those donations/collections certainly need to be reported. Even if the party took the cash and used it to pay other expenses, the receipt of the funds needs to be included on the reports and the expenditures, showing they were paid in cash, needs to be there as well.

So while the BOE may not even consider many of these complaints, it doesn't mean Stainbrook will be able to ignore them. However, the state central committee may find these complaints pertinent to their decision on which group to certify as the 'official' LCRP.

My guess is that the Simpson faction just got tired of all the allegations being thrown at them and decided to play by Stainbrook's own rules.

And from The Blade, the BOE did certify both the factions lists to the state central committee earlier today.

As I predicted in prior posts, I think this is finally the end of Stainbrook's time as party chairman.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stainbrook 'deems' Kriner and Olman resigned from BOE

Well, I think the latest maneuvering by Jon Stainbrook in his effort to maintain control of the Lucas County Republican Party is just delusional. I really have no other word for it.

To recap, a group of central committee members voted to suspend the rules at a duly-called meeting, voted to remove Stainbrook and central committee chair Megan Gallagher from their positions, and then elected new chairmen with Paul Hoag in charge of the central committee and Jeff Simpson as the chairman of the party.

First Stainbrook denied that any such meeting and removal had taken place.

Then Stainbrook filed suit in federal court to keep the new group from meeting and from identifying themselves as the LCRP. The judge did not grant that request, determining that Stainbrook did not present a likelihood of succeeding in his suit.

Of course, The Blade weighed in with their own version of events and reporting.

And then Stainbrook got his supporters to recommend him for appointment to the Board of Elections position currently held by Lynn Olman.

But the latest communication from Stainbrook takes the cake. Here are copies of the letters he sent to Patrick Kriner and Lynn Olman (click for larger image):


As you can see, Stainbrook asserts that Kriner and Olman, in exercising their rights as elected members of the LCRP central committee to vote on business at a meeting, have somehow "caused constructive or implied resignations" of their positions "in the LCRP its central committee, and executive committee."

Um...right. Did he send this letter to everyone who voted for Simpson or just the two whose jobs he's trying to get for himself?

Stainbrook must be delusional to think that any central committee member who voted on business before that body had "implied" their resignations from the LCRP. Certainly, none of them expected to be presumed to have resigned from their elected positions on the central committee as a result of voting at a meeting. Furthermore, membership on the executive committee is based upon the bylaws of the party. The party chairman cannot 'assume' any member has resigned simply because they exercise their right to vote as a member of the central committee. The only members of the executive committee Stainbrook can 'remove' are the ones he appoints - and Kriner and Olman certainly are not in that group.

Stainbrook goes on to "accept and ratify" the imaginary resignations and to order them to "cease and desist in any further representations that you are in any way affiliated with the LCRP."

That Kriner and Olman are registered Republicans, former elected officials, and Kriner is a past party chairman obviously slipped Stainbrook's mind. They can't simply stop any representation that they are affiliated with the LCRP - they're Republicans, for goodness sake!

I think Stainbrook has lost it. His plans for complete control have fallen apart and I think he's falling apart as well. How else do you explain these desperate attempts?

And did you note Stainbrook's signature? I can't help but wonder what a handwriting analyst would say about that!

I'm sure there is more to come. I'm currently reviewing a 15-page letter Stainbrook's attorney sent to the BOE in anticipation of tomorrow's meeting.

Strangely, the letter states:

For the reasons set forth below you are required by law to cancel your proposed Saturday meeting.

The BOE doesn't have a meeting scheduled for Saturday morning...it's Tuesday morning. Apparently the attorney isn't very good at keeping track of which meeting he wants the BOE to cancel....

Stay tuned!

Rich Iott to run against Kaptur as independent candidate

This just in via email:

Friends,

Someone once described the experience of being catapulted from an aircraft carrier as similar to "making love and being in a car accident at the same time." That is pretty much how I am feeling at this moment.

Those of you who know me well know that this was never an ambition of mine. In fact, I have stayed as far away from the political arena as I possibly could without walking off the edge of the planet. But I can no longer sit back and watch the systematic disassembly of our form of government and freedom. I certainly don't think that I can save America alone and I didn't want to put my life on hold for a few years while I do this. But I would never be able to look in the mirror again if I didn't try to help those that are doing it.

This thing called the United States, under the charter of one of the most brilliantly conceived documents known to man (the Constitution), has been the most successful social experiment in the history of human civilization. We cannot let it be destroyed by those who apologize for our success and our strengths, or those who would take the earned rewards from the honest worker and give it to those who break our laws and those who could work but are not so "inclined" or those that think the government "stash" ought to support them 'cause they 'deserve' it!

I want to help to take this country back from the career politicians and the irresponsible spending which is so prevalent. It isn't really rocket science... it is common, fiscal sense. The Founding Fathers meant for this country to be managed by citizen-statesmen, not professional politicians. By the People; not by the Government. That is why they gave only the House of Representatives the power to introduce laws and to lay taxes... along with short, two year terms so that they could go back to their farms and shops and livelihoods.

That concept has been prostituted. We need to fix it. We cannot survive as a country which has the second highest business taxes in the world and where people are paid - for months and months - not to work. Or a country where over half of what you have earned and saved in your entire life - after taxes - can be taken away from you just because you happened to have died.

We have a lot of work to do and I am going to need your help; physically, mentally, verbally, and financially (you knew I'd have to throw that one in...). If you are interested in helping, please contact us at iottforcongress@aol.com. There is a huge need for volunteers. We will also have an online donations site set up shortly.

Best Regards,

Rich



PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10 January 2010

Iott Launches Bid for U.S. Congress

Monclova resident and well known Toledo area businessman Rich Iott has thrown his hat into the ring to run for the 9th Congressional District’s seat in the United States House of Representatives. That seat is presently held by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur who was first elected in 1982. Iott has registered with the Lucas County Board of Elections as an Independent candidate.

Mr. Iott was the President and CEO of Seaway Food Town, Inc., a regional chain of 75 supermarkets and drugstores based in Maumee until that company merged with Spartan Stores in 2000. He said the focus of his campaign will be on sound fiscal policy, limiting federal reach into the lives of citizens and the activities of businesses, and a common sense approach to government. “I feel there is a great deal of resentment among the people these days about how this country is being run,” he said.

Iott continued, “Legislators are routinely passing legislation which a large majority of their constituents oppose either because they think they ‘know better’ than their constituents or to satisfy some particular political agenda. Representatives are elected to ‘represent’ the citizens; that’s not happening much anymore.” Iott said that he is also greatly concerned about the “irresponsible” amount of debt being run up by the present administration without any consideration for cost reductions. Iott said “we are bankrupting the future of our children and grandchildren with a burden of debt that they can never repay.”

Iott, 58, has never held an elected office before. When asked what qualified him for the job, he replied, “that is exactly my qualification: I am not a politician, never have been, and don’t intend to become one.” He indicated that among other things he intends to introduce is term limit legislation. He said that he believes long term positions in the same seat or the same house in government can encourage “obligations and cronyism” which is counter to the best interests of the people.

Iott feels that his experience in running large businesses and small businesses, in both union and non-union environments, will greatly assist him in helping manage what he describes as “the biggest economic enterprise in the world.” “Many of the people in the legislature have never run a business; many have never even had free-market jobs. They are not in tune with the real world in which their constituents live”, he stated.

But his first challenge will simply be getting on the ballot. In the State of Ohio, Republican or Democrat candidates can enter the primary election based on a petition signed by 50 voters. Unaffiliated, or independent, candidates are not a part of the primary process so instead are required to provide a much larger number of signatures based on a percentage of the number of votes cast for governor in the district in the last election. That means Mr. Iott needs to submit 2,098 certified voter signatures by May 3rd, the day before the primary.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT:

Iott for Congress 2010

419-878-2170

IottforCongress2010.com

Pols answers to generic questions often provide great insight

I don't normally read political articles in the Toledo City Paper - for a variety of reasons - but Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle had a post that caught my attention:

Curious as to what community members like University of Toledo President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs or Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur or Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz or several others have to say about the future of Toledo? Are we there yet? in the Toledo City Paper will tell you.

My first reaction was rather cynical: Why would I care what Kaptur and Kapszukiewicz have to say about our future? They're part of the thinking that put us into the economic morass we're in today.

But the inclusion of Dr. Jacobs had me curious. So I headed over to the linked article to see who was asked to participate and what they had to say.

I hope you'll take the time to read all the commentary, though you could predict that Dr. Jacobs and other educators focus on education, the MetroParks director focuses on the MetroParks, the Arts Commission director focuses on art, etc... While their subject matter is predictable, they highlight various programs you may not be aware of.

However, the political perspectives had some surprises, particularly, Kaptur's.

Our challenge in manufacturing is to remain innovative in the auto sector. Frankly, I’d like to produce a Toledo truck or car. When our people created Jeep half a century ago, it became a world symbol. We didn’t import it. We built it. Our generation must remember our roots and build forward.

She'd like to produce a Toledo truck or car? Well, with the government ownership of the company that produces Jeep, I guess she can now say this.

"When our people created Jeep..." Does she mean Toledoans? Union members? Who are 'our people'? And I know that the Jeep was built here, but I would have thought it was 'created' in the engineering and design offices in Detroit.

The company, responding to market demand, created a vehicle whose success is world-reknown. That isn't possible today when this very same company is busy creating cars that conform to political wants and wishes, subsidized by tax dollars in order to ensure the political views. If Kaptur really wants 'our generation' to remember our roots, she needs to educate herself on the success of the free market and stop interfering in that process. That is what will help us 'build forward.'

But that's not all she's got to say:

The Southwyck area might be ideal for an indoor, modern equestrian show ring, drawing competitions from near and far. Lucas County alone has 5,000 horse owners. With Turnpike access, that location can accommodate traffic from across the Midwest and attract dollars to our region.

I couldn't help but immediately recall a person I met during my 2002 campaign for county commissioner. This gentlemen was frustrated over the lack of attention Northtowne Mall was getting versus Southwyck. His anger was clear in our discussion and then he said (paraphrased):

I've got an idea - with all the strip clubs and bars around here, why don't we make Northtowne into a red-light zone or district? We can move all the city's strip clubs and bars and other such establishments into this empty building. We'll build a wall around the perimeter and charge an entrance fee to fund the maintenance of the wall and the security. That way, the mall would at least be producing income and other taxes and we wouldn't have to look at it any more. Plus, tons of neighborhoods will be happy to have 'undesirable' businesses away from them.

Both this man and Kaptur have ideas for other people's property based upon their own interests. But the whole part about it being 'other people's property' seems to be missed by so many politicians in this area.

And while there may actually be some fraction of merit to turning Northtowne into a red-light zone - at least in terms of the economic input to the city and other government tax coffers, the profitability of an equestrian show ring is questionable, at best.

Just because Toledo has 5,000 horse owners doesn't mean that those 5,000 people will compete in equestrian shows - or that they will forgo whatever arrangements they currently have to suddenly utilize Marcy's horse center.

What market research has she done on the profitability of such centers? Has she analyzed this site and any potential center or compared it to the competition that exists across the state line - in rural areas more suitable to housing horses?

When the Lucas County Fair has its one week of activities, neighbors complain about the smell of the animals. While Kaptur is suggesting an indoor facility, does she not realize that smells travel whenever doors are opened and especially in the summer? How will the businesses and residents react to boarding stables across the street?

And don't think that boarding stables won't be needed. Most equestrian centers use the boarding of the horses as a primary source of income. They can't just be a place where people come to compete.

Lest you think this was just a whim, or Marcy talking about remote ideas, she suggested a horse farm in May when the demolition of the old Southwyck buildings began.

She then talks about one of her usual topics - locally grown produce - and says:

Let’s urge local restaraunteurs to turn some of their fantastic ethnic recipes into shelf/freezer ready products. If Betty’s Dressing and the peanut butter blossoms (cookies topped with a Hershey Kiss) were created in our area, what else is possible now?

Yes, you see, because if government doesn't encourage any of these "restaurateurs" (correct spelling), they won't come up with the idea on their own, even though Betty obviously did so without a politician instructing her.

Marcy is correct that there is potential here. But most of that potential is hampered by government through burdensome taxation, over-regulation and a myriad of complicated forms, rules and red-tape. If she really wants to help in this regard, maybe she could start by addressing the bureaucracies that apply to all instead of handing out other people's money as 'tax incentives' to just a few, favored supporters.

I'm glad the City Paper asked this question as it gives us some insight into what our politicians think. In Kaptur's case, she obviously thinks a horse farm and center in the middle of the city is not only a valid idea, but a good one as well. It just goes to show how out of touch she is with the free market, the interests of her constituents and the realities of what it takes to run a successful business under her form of governance.

Just remember this when it comes to voting in November.
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