Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why do we 'fight' and who are we fighting with?

I was reading about Governor Ted Strickland's "Fight for Ohio Bus Tour" and it struck me - why do political campaigns and candidates use the term 'fight'?

I don't recall if the term was used in any of my campaign commercials, but my impression is that the use of the term is on the rise:

"fight for you"
"fight for my district"
"fight for Ohio"
"fight the special interests"
"fight the spending"

and on and on and on.

Do you think that the use of the word is indicative of the more polarized political environment? Or has it spurred more polarization?

Not to pick on Gov. Strickland, but since it was his bus tour that started me down this road, I cannot help but wonder who he is fighting against? And why must he fight? Aren't we supposed to be trying to get along with our enemies and 'understand' them? Aren't we supposed to reject violence in favor of talk and mediation and compromise? Don't we teach our children not to fight and to find other means to resolve our differences?

Don't these political messages contradict other messages the politicians are sending?

I realize this post is full of questions and not many answers, but I admit that I don't know the answers.

What I do know is that 'fighting' for me or for my state is supposed to evoke an emotional response to make you want to trust, or agree or have confidence in the person promising to do so. It's supposed to make you feel as if the politician is on your side. But I don't make decisions about voting based upon emotion, though I know others do. So is this supposed to appeal to baser instincts in hopes of overcoming logic, reason and evaluation of records?

Again, I don't know. But I cannot help but think this approach is part of an overall problem and not a solution in and of itself.

Quote of the Day

"There is no crime more infamous than the violation of truth. It is apparent that men can be social beings no longer than they believe each other. When speech is employed only as the vehicle of falsehood, every man must disunite himself from others, inhabit his own cave and seek prey only for himself." ~ Dr. Samuel Johnson

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ohio stimulus dollars

I received a press release the other day from the Ohio Republican Party talking about how Ohio has spent its so-called 'stimulus dollars.'

From the release:

As a follow-up to Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Dayton on Monday, we thought it would be helpful to look at where Ohio's "stimulus" dollars are being spent:

* $1 million on road signs to tell Ohioans which highway projects were funded by federal stimulus dollars. (The Plain Dealer, 9/9/09)

* $11 million to outsource an appliance rebate program to a Texas company, which then hired workers in El Salvador. (The Plain Dealer, 7/29/10)

* $145,000 to rent "marble-clad" banquet halls, high-end hotels and conference centers for teacher workshops in Columbus. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/6/09)

* $1.4 million to pay speakers at a Columbus City Schools workshop, including thousands of dollars to a company owned by the former school board president. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/6/09)

* $800,000 for "quiet zones" in North Ridgeville, OH, where the mayor admits the project is "a long way from the top priority." (The Chronicle Telegram, 5/22/09)

* $63,000 for the Ohio Department of Agriculture to buy fish food. (CNN, 1/25/10)

* $4.5 million for Cleveland City Schools to provide "family liaisons" that help parents "find their way through the school district bureaucracy." (The Plain Dealer, 11/06/09)

* Unknown amount of funds to fix curbs on Gov. Strickland's street, which a local TV station calls "one of the most prestigious areas of Central Ohio where million-dollar mansions sit secluded behind well manicured landscaping." (WCMH-Columbus, 8/27/10)

* $500,000 for a consultant to design a recycling campaign for new trash cans in Dayton that use "microchips to track citizen participation." (Dayton Daily News, 2/11/10)

* $300,000 to open and operate a city-owned pool in Youngstown. (Vindicator, 6/12/10)

* $200,000 for a Toledo ship museum to remove asbestos from a 1911 ship. (Fox Toledo, 7/22/10)

* $336,000 to collect and document flowers and plants in Ohio. (WCMH-Columbus, 8/5/10)

* $267 million for home weatherization projects in Ohio, 40 percent of which later failed state inspection. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/14/10)

* $1.5 million to install fencing on an Akron bridge to keep people from jumping. (Akron Beacon Journal, 3/27/09)

Now, I understand how some people might think that government spending creates jobs - but every historical, empirical, objective evaluation of such spending shows it can only 'create' temporary jobs - not the kind of economic growth that is necessary to sustain a turn-around.

And if having the government pay people to work actually was such a good thing, we could employ half the unemployed by giving them a spoon and telling them to dig a whole while employing the other half to fill it. There's no economic growth in doing that.

And many of these types of projects are similar. They take money from the people actually paying taxes and spend it on 'make work' projects or on things that the federal government shouldn't be paying for.

What a warped system we have. We 'rejoice' and politicians 'brag' about getting this money only to find that it ends up costing us more in the long run. How much additional money would I have in my pocket if I wasn't helping to pay for pools in Youngstown, recycling advertising programs in Dayton (not to mention in addition to the huge trash tax I'm paying in Toledo), liaisons at Cleveland schools, curbs at the governor's mansion or fish food. And how much money would I have for weatherizing my home if I weren't helping to pay for everyone else to do the same?

This is a failed logic and I hope the majority of voters are going to vote against such programs and politicians who support such programs. And that non-voters realize what's going on and begin to vote.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The proper role of government

There's a lot of discussion today about whether or not the federal government 'should' do some of the things it is doing. Part of that discussion revolves around what would happen if the government didn't continue to do all sorts of things it was never intended by our Founders to address.

In light of those thoughts and topics, I'd like to share these three quotes from Liberty Tree.

The first is from President Franklin D. Roosevelt who, at a 1935 press conference, responded to a Supreme Court decision that defined the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution narrowly enough to interfere with his regulation of farm products. He said:

"Are we going to take the hands of the federal government completely off any effort to adjust the growing of national crops, and go right straight back to the old principle that every farmer is a lord of his own farm and can do anything he wants, raise anything, any old time, in any quantity, and sell any time he wants?" ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Can you imagine? The farmer being able to plant, grow and sell whatever he wanted in whatever quantity he might desire? What would the Founders say about this massive intrusion of the federal government in a person's right to liberty?

Then there is this contrasting position from President Franklin Pierce, who, in vetoing a bill in 1854, said:

"The constitutionality and propriety of the Federal Government assuming to enter into a novel and vast field of legislation, namely, that of providing for the care and support of all those … who by any form of calamity become fit objects of public philanthropy. ... I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for making the Federal Government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States. To do so would, in my judgment, be contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and subversive of the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded." ~ Franklin Pierce

Apparently, the perspective of the proper role of government changed dramatically in only 100 years.

It was a tortured logic that FDR used to give us the New Deal and the semi-socialistic attitude that continues to permeate the federal government today. It was a belief by elitists that people couldn't take care of themselves and that their family, friends and neighbors - or even good Samaritans - were unreliable, that led to a large expansion of the federal government. And it hasn't stopped.

Even Rexford Tugwell, an American agricultural economist, who served in FDR's administration and was one of the chief intellectual contributors to the New Deal, recognized the error of their actions. He said:

"To the extent that these [New Deal policies] developed, they were tortured interpretations of a document [the Constitution] intended to prevent them." ~ Rexford Tugwell

I guess the question now is: what have we learned?

Is the growth of the tea party movement a reaction to the way the federal government has so strayed from the American path? I believe so.

I believe that the vast majority of Americans might like the sound of what President Barack Obama and his Democrat majority in the House and Senate promised. But when people actually see what the words are like in practice, Americans will reject it as contrary to the common tenets upon which this nation is based and which continue to draw immigrants from across the globe.

The vast majority of Americans do not want to be taken care of - they want to be left alone to run their own lives.

Yes, there are some who may find it easier to be wards of the government, but when you ask them if they actually 'like' being told where to live, what food they can purchase or what actions they must perform to continue to get their handouts, they will tell you it is not their preference.

Sadly, the welfare/entitlement system is designed to perpetuate itself, growing a dependency class that, as we were warned, will continue to vote for largesse.

How far we've come from the dream of liberty, independence, self-sufficiency of only 100 years ago...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Principles vs. electability: the future of the Republican Party

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" ~ Mark 8:36 (King James Version)

I couldn't help but think of this verse yesterday as I filled in for Brian Wilson on WSPD and we talked about the recent flap over supporting conservatives or the best conservative who could win.

I understand that the role of a political party is to elect its candidates. But what we've seen over the past years is a tendency to look first at electability and only peripherally at the principles of a candidate.

I believe that's wrong - and it's part of the reason that the GOP has lost is 'brand' as the party of limited government, low spending, low taxation and personal responsibility.

There are many we can blame for this state of affairs, but blame is not as important as understanding why and how it happened and preventing it in the future.

In the aftermath of Christine O'Donnell's win in Delaware, individuals considered leaders in the party blasted her and her record. What they failed to understand is that the people - the Republicans - in her district (the state of Delaware) made it clear who their choice of a representative was. It is, therefore, the proper role of the party structure to accept that choice and support it.

But when the party structure and other 'leaders' assume to know better than the people voting, they are no better than the liberals we criticize for assuming the same thing.

So how did we get to this point?

We decided that winning in the short-term (an election here or there) was more important than standing on principles.

In deciding that a 'battle' at a polling booth was more important than a 'war' of ideals, the Republican Party has sacrificed the core truths on which we have stood for decades. And what we got in return was only a temporary success at the ballot box.

That temporary success was seen as a step toward control, a majority, more power. But it was really more like a toxic drug, giving us a high while destroying the body. So while we were 'gaining the world,' we were 'losing our soul.'

As a result, many people cannot identify what our party stands for and too many think there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. Today, voters will look at RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and decide that if they're going to vote for someone who believes in large government, supports raising taxes and thinks government is the first solution instead of the last resort, they might as well vote for the Democrat and get the 'real thing.'

In fact, as conservatives increasingly became disillusioned with the lack of adherence to the conservative principles of the GOP, they either stayed home (as seen in the 2008 elections) or sought out others who still shared their values (as seen in the rise of tea-party and patriot groups). The rise of the tea-party groups didn't just appeal to conservatives, but to Democrats and Independents who also shared similar concerns about the overall direction of the country.

But with the future of the country at stake, these individuals are no longer sitting on the sidelines and they are seeking out ways to get involved. Sadly, because of the loss of the Republican brand, it wasn't the GOP where they found a home.

So what are we to do now? We have a choice: we can follow the misguided direction of so-called party leaders to 'trust' them as to the electability of candidates or we can vote for the individuals who represent our values.

Will we win every race in supporting Republicans who adhere to the core principles of our Party? Probably not. But we will win some - and then we will win many.

Conservatives can run on conservative principles and win. I've proven four times that can be done and there are numerous other examples. Voters appreciate candidates who stand on principles in their campaigns and in their votes once elected. While they may not always agree on the decisions, they will not find fault in an elected officials who says what they mean and does what they say when it comes to those principles.

In the long run, adherence to principles is what defines the individual - and the party.

The choice - and the obligation - is ours.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Filling in on WSPD

In case you'd like to tune in, I'll be filling in for Brian tomorrow on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD from 3-6 p.m.

It's a 'fishing line Friday' so we'll cover a myriad of topics, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quotes of the Day

"The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

"In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant." ~ Charles de Gaulle

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another budget deficit for Toledo?

This headline shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. I heard a news clip this morning that said the City of Toledo is looking at another budget deficit for 2011.

Part of that deficit is due to spending obligations carried over from 2010. As I wrote in May in "New TPPA agreement just postpones the inevitable," any money 'saved' in 2010 wasn't really 'saved' if it had to still be paid in 2011 - especially if the cost would be higher next year. From that commentary:

In fact, deferring the overtime payments to 2011 and then paying it at the 2011 increased pay rates means that this little deal will actually cost the taxpayers 3.5% more than it would cost us if we just went ahead and paid it when earned!

That's not a savings!

So now we're hearing comments that we could have a budget deficit in 2011 because of this agreement that was supposed to save us money.

Common sense should have told everyone that there would be no savings when you defer compensation and then pay it at a higher hourly rate. But city council members voted to do just that.

I can only wonder how much the trash tax will be next year.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2010

As we remember the events of nine years ago, let us also remember the cost of our freedom and the price each of us must pay to ensure its continuation:

"Posterity -- you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." ~ John Quincy Adams

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve." ~ Henry George

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Rally for the Troops Wednesday

Wednesday is the 6th Annual Citywide Support the Troops Rally at Friendship Park in Point Place. The event begins at 6 p.m. Friendship Park is on 131st Street.

Jerry Anderson is the Master of Ceremonies and there will be various speakers, including Veterans. Other participants include Eddie Boggs, Central Catholic HS Choir, Calvary Kids Ensemble, Armed Forces Honor Guard, Patriot Guard Riders, Sea Cadets/Young Marines, Springfield Junior ROTC and a bagpiper. There will also be the traditional Rifle Salute.

The Friendship Community Center will be selling hot dogs and apple pie beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Come out and show your support for those who voluntarily offer their lives for our protection.

Oh - and be sure to bring your own lawn chair/blanket and bug spray!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day 2010

Happy Labor Day to everyone! As you take a day off work to celebrate the fruits of your labor, here's something to remember:

"The Original Sin which brought us to the brink of bankruptcy and dictatorship was the Federal Income Tax Amendment and its illegitimate child, Federal Aid." ~ Tom Anderson

Also, I highly recommend "Positivity: Labor Day, Its History, and Its Meaning," from my friend and fellow blogger, Tom Blumer. It reminds us why we have the day off.

Tom has two other posts on politicizing Labor Day, which are must-reads as well:

* Politicizing Labor Day, Part 1: DOL Scrubs Samuel Gompers Quote from Its ‘History of Labor Day’ Page

In this post, Blumer explains that many unions used to believe in the power of bargaining - not the power of government regulation - to affect the change they wanted to see in the workplace. And Samuel Gompers, the subject of the post, was an opponent of governmental welfare programs:

"...Gompers believed that “social insurance cannot remove or prevent poverty.” Moreover, he maintained that welfare is “undemocratic” because it tends “to fix the citizens of the country into two classes, and a long established system would tend to make these classes rigid.”

He then contasts that history and perspective with how Labor Day is viewed today:

* Politicizing Labor Day, Part 2: DOL’s Solis Uses Holiday Address As Propaganda and Attack Vehicle

Enjoy your Labor Day.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Quote of the Day

"We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury, and the English common law, find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence." ~ Winston Churchill

Quote of the Day

"The biggest threat to the American people today lies with the United States government. ... [T]he long-term solution is to dismantle, not reform, the iron fist of the welfare state and the controlled economy. This includes the end (not the reform) of the IRS, the DEA, the BATF, the SEC, the FDA, HUD, the departments of HHS, Labor, Agriculture, and energy, and every other agency that takes money from some and gives it to others or interferes with peaceful behavior." ~ Jacob G. Hornberger, American author, journalist, politician, founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation
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