Thursday, June 20, 2013

ICYMI - links from around the web

There's been so much going on this week that I thought an ICYMI (in case you missed it) column was in order ... so here we go:

* Did you know that school officials have an "obligation" to ensure that property taxes that fund schools are "fair"??? Nope, I didn't realize that was in their job description either. But that's exactly what a representative of school administrators and boards told an Ohio senate committee this week.

The premise is that they *must* challenge the values of properties in order to ensure that fairness, but is that really the case? As Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez says, if that were true, wouldn't they also challenge property values that are too high? Turns out, they don't.

Read the whole thing at Ohio Watchdog

* If you were asked to describe a political action committee, would you include a group of people who get together to talk about politics? How about if one of the people in the group was a blogger? Probably not your idea of a PAC - but that's exactly what Ohio thinks is a PAC and they want a Cleveland-area blogger to register and follow all the rules associated with being a PAC - and pay the fines/fees for not already doing so.

This could have ramifications for any group in the state that discusses politics, regardless of political perspective. So the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review what it calls the "nation's strictest PAC regulations."

Read more at Ohio Watchdog

* The Farm Bill - though since it's really 80% food stamps so the name is quite misleading - is pending before Congress. Here's some really interesting information you need to know, especially since the bogus 'food stamp challenge' is back. Funny that this ridiculous challenge seems to be a regular event every time the bill is up for vote...but I digress.

Take a look at this chart. Do you really think we should borrow even more money to fund a 56% increase in spending for the Farm Bill?

* If you think George Orwell got it right in his book 1984, you should read this article about Herbert Spencer who wrote The Man Versus The State - in 1884.

There are some really terrific quotes from him and his book like:

Regulations have been made in yearly growing numbers, restraining the citizen in directions where his actions were previously unchecked, and compelling actions which previously he might perform or not as he liked; and at the same time heavier public burdens … have further restricted his freedom, by lessening that portion of his earnings which he can spend as he pleases, and augmenting the portion taken from him to be spent as public agents please.

The more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them, and nothing by them. Every generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies.

and in a nod to the 'you didn't build that' meme:

It is not to the State that we owe the multitudinous useful inventions from the spade to the telephone; it is not the State which made possible extended navigation by a developed astronomy; it was not the State which made the discoveries in physics, chemistry, and the rest, which guide modern manufacturers; it was not the State which devised the machinery for producing fabrics of every kind, for transferring men and things from place to place, and for ministering in a thousand ways to our comforts. The worldwide transactions conducted in merchants' offices, the rush of traffic filling our streets, the retail distributing system which brings everything within easy reach and delivers the necessaries of life daily at our doors, are not of governmental origin. All these are results of the spontaneous activities of citizens, separate or grouped.

You might not have time to read the whole book, but this article about it will give you a good overview - and might surprise you at how predictable the move to tyranny is.

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