My Christian Brothers, Leave Government and Cleave Unto Liberty
My Christian Brothers:
I do not understand why you are now so concerned about government. Nothing has changed. The US is still a democracy, ruled by the will of the majority, under a nominal constitution. And the US continues to have an imperial president, overseas wars and conflicts, and a strong internal state. Plus, this country has shown, time and again, the ability to transition peacefully from one ruling elite to another. Remember, you proudly cheered as our soldiers were sent to foreign lands in order to fight and kill for the very same political system you now question.
Sure, your ideas are no longer in the majority, but democracies always have minority views. And, since you are now in the political minority, you can begin grassroots efforts to once again attain political power. It is possible that within two years, you can foist anew your agenda on the rest of the population – you can feed the Leviathan so that, when it is once again unchained by your enemies, it will turn on you with a vengeance.
For years, I’ve listened to you defend government. You play a game of verbal reasoning when you vote for government interventions and then wash your hands by stating, "We must follow the civil authorities." Conservative Christians are a significant portion of the electorate, not a majority, but a significant portion nonetheless. For years, you encouraged government to intervene in all aspects of life. Government agreed. And now, that very same power to intervene is being used against you. Did you really expect any other outcome?
In Romans, when Paul wrote about obeying the civil authorities, he meant obeying civil authorities with respect to issues within their purview. So, yes, Christians are not to engage in actions that violate property, etc., such as participating in food riots similar to those that were breaking out throughout Rome. But Paul never meant for Christians to act as Caesar in the polling station, or in political office, and then turn around and fall back on the cover of the civil authority.
As Christians, we believe that the family and marriage are godly institutions. But you encouraged government to intervene and disrupt those very same institutions. Where marriage and family exist under God, you fought the political fights to move them under the nominal authority of the state. A true apostasy. And now you are paying the wages of that sin.
I recently listened to a segment on American Family Radio that described waterboarding as nothing more than an effective method of interrogation. Torture? Absolutely not. No external marks and no blood, therefore no torture. That waterboarding was used in the Spanish Inquisition to punish and intimidate, and to force confessions, and that the psyche and mind are damaged or destroyed in the process, is of no concern, whatsoever.
The American myth of my youth was the image of the liberating American soldier handing chocolate to the children of our enemies. Torture was a tool of the totalitarian states. The great democracy – the US – lived under rules of law, with the same protections granted to all.
That myth is long gone; condensed into the stream of water that triggers a drowning reaction in the mind of the interrogated. Yet, my conservative Christians brothers, you do not even hesitate when distorting that myth. Where torture was a repulsive act of repression, it is now an essential duty in the home of the free – a Christian duty nonetheless.
My conservative Christian brothers, do you not recognize this: That very same technique will likely be used on you at some point in the future.
Ask yourselves this: While you deconstruct the act of waterboarding and stand behind it as just another means to the truth, will you be surprised when, during the next Inquisition, it’s you on a board, tilted slightly, with a government agent slowly opening the faucet? Will you be surprised?
Of course, you now cry a similar tune when lamenting the lost freedom of speech. You are in fear that the power you gave government will be turned against you. You fear – justifiably – that you will no longer be able to preach the Bible – as the Bible is no longer the truth of those in power – without facing legal threats, jail, or the waterboard.
But when you worship democracy – the golden calf of government – above God of the Bible, you should expect nothing else. You should not feign surprise as Aaron did when telling Moses that the calf just appeared out of the fire – that none of it was his creation, nor his handiwork.
Nevertheless, you still look to government as your solution. And you continue to choose the Republican Party as your unequally-yoked partner. Yet it was your Republicans who gladly arrogated more rights than you abrogated. They said that you would only be safe under a stronger state – and you believed.
So, you have exchanged freedom – such as the freedom to preach the Bible – for a false promise of security, much like our biblical forefathers exchanged the yoke of a king for the false promise of security from the neighboring nations.
Of course, they ended up trembling before Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, who said, "My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." Just as, in the very same manner, you tremble today before the scorpions of Obama, son of Bush.
The issue is more than security. Just like Israelites desiring a king in order to impress neighboring nations, you look to an imperial president and expansive military to impress the countries of the world. You relish in a government that can stomp the planet in boots and uniforms, while seeing enemies at every turn.
We sometimes ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" I must ask, "Would Jesus cheer waterboarding as a means to the truth? Would He partner with the Republican Party, or any political party for that matter, in order to achieve worldly power? Would He partner with the state to save lives and win souls? Would He?"
My Christian Brothers, we have to break free from the state. We must stop looking to the next election and the Republican Party as our salvation. And we must stop using the sword of government for our purposes. "For all who take the sword will perish by the sword."
Note: While the left seeks to desensitize us to moral perversity, the right seeks to desensitize us to violence. And both seek to desensitize us to the evils of power.
April 29, 2009
Jim Fedako is a homeschooling father of six who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.
Copyright © 2009 LewRockwell.com
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Fisher shills for the county library levy (on the May ballot). In doing so, he lists the direct benefits he will receive. Sure, he will get a local branch of the county library, but he wants to force his neighbors to pay.
Today, shilling for tax levies is considered the correct stance. As if putting your hand in your neighbor's wallet is now the right thing to do.
Don't buy the nonsense. Theft is theft, no matter how you package it. And that makes Fisher a thief.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Power intoxicates men. When a man is intoxicated by alcohol, he can recover, but when his is intoxicated by power, he seldom recovers.
— James F. Byrnes
Monday, April 27, 2009
Playing with Quicksilver
Paul Craig Roberts has an article over at LewRockwell that sent my thoughts racing back to my childhood. In one scene that has replayed many a time, I remember my friends from across the street giving me a small sample of quicksilver left over from a broken thermometer. The method of transportation, my bare hand.
As a seven or eight year old, mercury was amazing stuff. I distinctly remember rolling it along my bedroom floor, watching beads split into smaller beads with each push of my hand. I also remember my mother's anger (the reason for the vivid memory, no doubt) when she found out. And I remember my subsequent clean up.
A dampened dust rag and some clumsy effort wiped most of the bigger beads from the floor. But the smaller beads and vapors only left with time.
In the Thursday edition of my local paper, there is a story about a small mercury spill in a thrift store that ended up closing the store for three weeks, costing $300,000 in cleanup and disposal costs.
The kicker: The article notes that anyone who bought clothes from the story is now safe since any mercury vapor in the clothes has long ago dissipated into the air. So, what was the point of the $300,000 loss?
Today, should I find one of my children excitedly playing with a small bead of quicksilver, I'm ruined -- that's if I admit to it, of course.
History is not always a line on the chart, upward and to the right.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Warning: Taxnesia is Hazardous to Your Financial Health
by Michael Cloud
In response to the April 15th TEA Parties, USA Today wrote an unsigned editorial that began:
"Quick now: How big a bite do federal income taxes take out of the average person's income? 30%? 40%? Even more?
"Nope. It's 9.1%."
What reaction is USA Today trying to evoke in those who did NOT go to a TEA rally? 'Why are those Tax Protestors getting riled up over a trivial, tiny 9.1% federal income tax? Aren't they just being petty?'
You've probably seen similar propaganda tactics used to raise your sales tax "a meager half a percent." Or to raise property taxes on your home "a mere 61 cents a day."
Big Government tax raisers have mastered techniques of making tax increases look tiny and trivial and cheap.
But each of these tax-minimizing illusions and tricks has a fatal flaw, a huge Achilles Heel: Taxnesia - taxpayers forgetting or ignoring all their other taxes.
You've heard of amnesia. It's a loss of memory. Amnesia can be general or specific. It can be total or partial. It can be permanent or temporary.
Amnesia can be caused by a number of things. Disease, injury, shock - or hypnosis. It can happen by accident. Or deliberately.
Taxnesia is almost always deliberately induced by tax-hikers. Through years of repetition in government-run public schools, colleges, and in newspapers written and edited by advocates of Big Government. By communication tactics, tricks, and techniques much like brainwashing and hypnosis.
When someone considers only one tax increase - in isolation from his total tax burden - he's under the influence of taxnesia.
When a person considers only one tax - separate from all other federal, state, and local taxes - she's in the grip of taxnesia.
When a taxpayer considers only federal taxes - while ignoring and forgetting state and local taxes - he's affected by taxnesia.
When an individual considers only direct taxes - while blanking out and missing indirect taxes and mandatory government fees - she's a victim of taxnesia.
Who uses taxnesia techniques? Lovers of Big Government.
What's the role and function of taxnesia? To lull you into passively accepting Big Government, to doing nothing to oppose tax increases, to stay on the sidelines when tax cuts are on the ballot.
Who benefits from taxnesia? Supporters and profiteers of Big Government. Tax spenders and tax consumers.
Who loses from taxnesia? Private sector businesses and workers. The self-employed. Taxpayers.
Back to the USA Today's 4/17 editorial - Tax rhetoric vs. reality. To give themselves an "out," they wrote:
"In fact, even if you add all the other federal levies people pay in addition to income taxes - such as payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare and excise taxes for gasoline, alcohol, tobacco and other items - the combined federal tax rate was 20.7% in 2006, the latest year for which figures are available."
What about indirect federal taxes - such as tariffs - that are added to and buried in the retail prices we pay for imported consumer goods?
What about the other mandatory federal "fees" and "charges" that are on our phone bills, cable bills, power bills, and numerous other monthly bills? (Taxes are mandatory government fees. And mandatory government fees are taxes - but are NOT listed as taxes.)
And there are more hidden federal taxes - and fees.
If we add indirect taxes, hidden taxes, and mandatory "fees" imposed on the "average taxpayer" by the federal government to the incomplete "combined federal tax rate of 20.7%" - we will probably arrive at a total federal tax rate of 27%. That's right, a federal tax total THREE TIMES THE PERCENTAGE THAT USA TODAY IS TRYING TO CONVINCE US OF.
Let's say you earn $60,000 a year. That actual combined 27% federal tax rate means the federal government is taxing you $16,200. Every year.
But wait, there's more.
To cure taxnesia, you need to total up your state and local taxes, too. You need to add them to your federal tax burden.
For example, here's a PARTIAL list of taxes in Massachusetts:
* 5.3% State Income Tax
* 5% Sales Tax
* Business and Corporate Taxes
* Death Taxes (Estate Taxes)
* Gasoline Taxes
* Turnpike, Bridge, and Tunnel Tolls
* Motor Vehicle Registration and License Fees
* Beer, Wine, and Liquor Taxes
* Cigarette Taxes
* Cable TV Taxes
* Electricity Taxes
* Internet Taxes
* Long-distance Telephone Taxes
* Water and Sewer Assessments
* Professional Licensure Fees
* Fishing, Hunting, and Gun License Fees
* Hotel Occupancy Taxes
* State Gambling Profits
* User Fees (e.g., court costs, parks, freedom of information, etc.)
But wait, there's more.
Massachusetts state government also rakes in money from other taxpayer-funded sources:
* Tax Bond Proceeds
* Lawsuit Settlements (e.g., from cigarette manufacturers)
* Investment Earnings (on over $30 billion in government financial assets)
* Federal Grants and Subsidies (paid out of your Federal Taxes)
But there's even more. Local taxes.
Your local taxes need to be added to your federal taxes and state taxes.
Remember your property taxes on your home, subsidized housing tax, auto excise taxes, room taxes, rental car taxes, building permits, dog licenses, and more.
Your state and local taxes may have a combined total of an additional 15% to 20% of your income. Say it's 17%. Another $10,200 in state and local taxes and fees. On top of your $16,200 in total federal taxes and fees.
$26,400 in total federal, state, and local taxes on your $60,000 income. 32% to 47% of your earnings taken in taxes!
Those are the real numbers. The real percentages.
That's what we see when we shake off, speak out, and fight against taxnesia. When we honestly count and weigh the true tax burden on you - and the rest of America's taxpayers.
We must cure taxnesia in ourselves, our community, our state, and all across the United States of America.
We must roll back taxes, borrowing, and spending at all levels of government.
How to Clear Up Murky, Muddy
Government "Transparency" Web Sites
by Carla Howell
The U.S. Government and several states - Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington state - have put up "transparency" web sites that claim to shed light on government spending.
Before you celebrate, beware! Far from transparent, these web sites are superficial. Perhaps any attempt at "transparency" is better than nothing - and should be encouraged. But don't expect them to be of much use - and don't believe for a second that government finance has seen the light of day.
As of this writing, only one of the "transparency" web sites - Missouri's - discloses expenditures at the level of the individual transactions. All of them omit whole areas of government spending. Most of them focus on government contracts, leaving out government employee expenditures, other operating expenses and a host of government programs - the costs of which remain undisclosed and unreported to you, the taxpayer.
What's worse, it is safe to assume (but difficult to verify, for obvious reasons) that none of these "transparency" web sites disclose the massive "off budget" spending that goes on today at all levels of government in the United States. Perhaps as much as one third of total government spending is hidden in special "off budget" accounts, which politicians have decreed are not necessary to disclose to the public.
We know that in Massachusetts, for example, about $30 billion out of $70 billion in total state and local spending is "off-budget."
Can you say, "The fox is watching the hen house?"
Real government financial transparency demands that politicians disclose all government spending. No existing government "transparency" web site comes close.
While politicians refuse to fully expose government finance, they do a superb job of nailing you down to report yours.
There is no justification for this double standard. If anything, those who forcibly extract tax dollars should be the first to reveal their finances - not the taxpayer! We need to level the playing field!
When the IRS audits you, they demand a fully transparent view of your personal and business finances:
They'll look at every dollar that goes into and out of your financial accounts to establish how much you took in, where it came from, and how you spent every dollar that you claim qualifies for a deduction or exclusion.
They demand receipts, or proof of purchase.
Those receipts must show that each deduction or exclusion is "allowable."
The IRS can bust into your house and swipe your computer or subpoena your bank, the phone company, your Internet provider, and other vendors with whom you do business to verify your claims.
If you don't disclose your finances, or if you are found to have filed a fraudulent report, the IRS will hit you up for the what they say is due, plus steep interest and penalties, plus possible fines and imprisonment.
If you own a business and your bookkeeper files a late or fraudulent report, you are considered responsible and could be on the hook for penalties as well.
Isn't it high time politicians play by the same rules?
True government financial transparency would require the following:
Government budgets are always posted on time, completely and accurately. No "off budget" spending.
From summary budgets, you can "drill down" and get any level of detail you want about any transactions - similar to schedules and supporting data you must produce in an IRS audit.
If there are multiple versions of a government budget, they are reconciled with each other (there are now four versions of the Massachusetts state budget - which politicians refuse to reconcile).
Documented proof of every transaction is on file and accessible to citizens with the full cooperation of government officials. No stonewalling.
Each expenditure of every budget is linked to enabling legislation and approved budgets. Ideally, each expenditure would additionally link to a list of the politicians who voted in favor of the spending and a description of its alleged purpose.
Government officials - all the way up the chain to the politicians who run the show - are held civilly and criminally liable for fraud, for failing to file complete and accurate reports on time, or for stonewalling or obstructing a citizen audit.
Enacting all of these measures holds both taxpayers and the politicians who spend tax dollars to the same reporting standards.
Next time a politician suggests that more transparency is too difficult or costly to achieve, or that it is not necessary because government finances are already reported, or some other excuse, then say, "Fine. Let's make a deal."
Here's the deal you offer them: No Double Standard! Politicians must play by the same rules as taxpayers.
Tell them that if reporting government finances is too inconvenient for them, it should be optional for taxpayers as well. We should therefore make the payment of the income tax an honor system.
Taxpayers would simply send in whatever amount of money they believe is "due" according to their own best judgment of what is legal - just as politicians do. At their option, they could declare large portions of their income "off budget" and not count it as taxable, similar to the way politicians spend tax dollars "off budget."
Like politicians, taxpayers would bear no liability for penalties of any kind. All tax enforcement measures would be immediately repealed. Anyone incarcerated for a tax violation would be freed from prison with their records wiped clean.
This approach offers several key benefits. We could pink slip a few hundred thousand bureaucrats, including every IRS auditor. No longer needed. You could throw out those boxes of otherwise useless tax records and receipts - and free up space in your office, basement, or attic. You could save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars you now spend every year on tax accountants.
Sound like a good deal to you?
If politicians find this option unacceptable, then they can quit making excuses and start reporting their finances - on time, accurately, and completely. We need true transparency web sites for every government in the United States.
The hypocrisy and the double standards must end. Full government financial transparency - now!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Posted by William Grigg at April 24, 2009 02:02 PM
In August of last year, Brad Krause of West Allis, Wisconsin was planting a tree in his own backyard when he was ambushed by police.
Krause's next-door neighbor, the type of timorous busy-body upon whom the Homeland Security State's snitching apparatus depends, had called the police to complain that Krause was wearing a sidearm. Krause is a law-abiding and inoffensive person, but the mere sight of a private citizen carrying a gun made his neighbor suspicious.
So the cops arrived, Krause was disarmed, and -- there being no law in Wisconsin against the open carrying of a handgun -- Krauss was charged with "disorderly conduct." That spurious charge was eventually dismissed. But the police, who didn't provide Krause with a receipt for his gun, refused to return it to him.
On April 20, Wisconsin state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a memorandum intended to clarify whether "a person has the right to openly carry a firearm" without being subject to a charge of disorderly conduct.
While Wisconsin state law forbids citizens to exercise their right to carry concealed weapons, there is no statute banning them from carrying them openly, a fact grudgingly admitted in Van Hollen's memorandum: "The Department believes that mere open carry of a firearm, absent additional facts and circumstances, should not result in a disorderly conduct charge."
That ruling prompted a remarkably arrogant response from Milwaukee police Chief Edward Flynn: “My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it.” (Emphasis added.)
Note well how Flynn referred to his police personnel as "my troops," an ironically appropriate designation in light of the fact that he clearly considers himself to be the dictator of a military occupation force, rather than the director of a civilian police agency.
Flynn invokes the fact that Milwaukee has witnessed nearly 200 homicides over the past two years as justification for the defiant orders given to "his troops."
That fact underscores the need for citizens to retain the ability to defend themselves against lawless assaults immediately, rather than waiting for the police to arrive -- by which time they have little left to do other than draw chalk outlines and string up crime scene tape.
Chief Flynn, it should be noted, has mingled with the elite. Before being tapped to head the scandal-plagued Milwaukee PD in January 2008, he had been police commissioner in Springfield, Massachusetts and served stints as Chief of Police in Braintree and Chelsea, as well as Arlington, Virginia. He also served as Mitt Romney's Homeland Security adviser.
Flynn is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, the National Executive Institute, and a former fellow at the Harvard School of Government. He sits on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Board of Directors of the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
Friday, April 24, 2009
After reading your column in Thursday edition of The Columbus Dispatch, I am left wondering whether you truly do not understand psychometrics or were simply being a sophist. My reasoning: No one with any understanding of the subject would claim that “around 35 percent of students’ scores are related to factors other than teaching, such as family income, student mobility, school readiness and parent involvement.” (my emphasis)
If, instead, you had written that “around 35 percent of the difference between students’ scores is related to factors other than teaching,” I would not be writing you.
Because of my uncertainty, I am in a quandary as to how to respond to you. Do I assume that you really do not understand your subject? Or do I assume that you were obfuscating the truth in order to make a claim that is false.
Let me know.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
From the sounds of Marianne Gabel's latest article in the Olentangy Valley News, "Earth Day to-do list," environmental fascism cannot come soon enough. Of course, none of us will enjoy the Gabelian utopia as we are all counted among the "human numbers" she so laments.
Now, when I use the term environmental fascism, some reader are going to ask, "A little over the top, don't ya think?" Not at all. Simply read her agenda of government planning and control, including: climate control legislation; government funded and directed energy programs; community planning; and voluntary family planning -- to be followed by, I'm certain, forced family planning.
But, isn't fascism a pejorative term? Sure, it can be. But it is also a technical term, and that is how I use it.
The one difference between the environmental fascist and your run-of-the-mill type is this: While your run-of-the-mill fascist has a place for mankind (think Italy of the 1920's and '30's), the environmental fascist sees mankind as the ill that must be eradicated.
To that end, Gabel tacitly encourages the ending of lives that will jam her future world. And this is her "hope?"
I ask Gabel, which of my children, and which of your neighbors' children, have no place in your utopian environment? Which of these young souls are overpopulating your world?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
While surveys claim to be about receiving information -- understanding the thoughts of those called, many surveys are really about conveying information. To that end, here is one of the questions (as I remember it) that really offended me:
Survey question: Which response best describes your position: 1. The district must remain one of the top disricts in the state, even if that requires additional taxes; 2. The district must not seek additional taxes, even if, by doing so, the district can no longer be one of the top districts in the state.
Anyone catch the logical fallacy?
The district employed the false dilemma fallacy. The responder is only given two possible responses where other valid responses exist.
Of course, the district is only around the top 100 while its demographics should place it top 15. So I would never categorize the district as a top performer. But I digress.
Keep in mind that the point of this survey is to convey information. To that end, the responder is led to believe that without additional taxes, the district fails to remain one of the top in the state.
But, what about this response? Don't raise my taxes and achieve more? That response is not offered since the district is using its survey to create a mindset with voters. It is using subtle propaganda to further its cause. I find that reprehensible.
The rest of the survey was similar nonsense.
The real question remains: I have to pay for their waste via my tax bill, so what makes them think they can disturb me at dinnertime?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Copies of all documents (including correspondences, emails or otherwise) that pertain to the questions on this survey.
This is a public records request. I want the
- Copy of the script used in the latest district phone survey.
I want these documents in electronic format.
Please note that if this request is not fulfilled per Ohio law, I intend to seek action.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The Rise and Fall of Society: A live blog
Chapter 2: From God or the Sword?
"Is THE STATE ordered in the nature of things?."
With this question, Chodorov opens his investigation into the founding of the state. And it is in this chapter that I struggle with him the most.
To get to the bitter taproot of the state, Chodorov considers the view that the state is the product of God. He then turns to the question of whether man is good or bad. To this end, he provides brief summaries of the ideas of three great thinkers: Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Neither accepting these views, nor refuting them, Chodorov moves onto a few other views of the state.
This chapter is relatively short, with few conclusions from the writer, yet it is the last few paragraphs that cause my struggle.
"But the colonists were themselves the product of an exploitative economy, had become inured to it in their respective homelands, had imported and incorporated it in their new organization. Many of them came to their new land bearing the yoke of bondage. All had come from institutional environments that had emerged from conquest; they knew nothing else, and when they set up institutions of their own they simply transplanted these environments. They brought the predatory State with them."
I have come to believe that man desires the state. Not all men, of course, but the greater mass desires control, security, and regimentation. Not only do these folks like to lord over their neighbors, they also like to be lorded over by others as well. And, like an animal of the herd, man is fearful of sounds and smells that are not familiar. He would rather turn with the herd and race to the cliff at the rustle of leaves than to be caught alone, even when the man knows that no real threat exists.
You see this in the Bible where the nation of Israel desired a king, even though the king would yolk the nation in servitude. You also see this during the Tea Party events where the sword is worshipped as the ultimate protector. Yes, lower my taxes, but increase the military. The far off noise may be the snap of a twig, but the cause is as likely the wind as it is the boots of my enemy, or so I fear.
Team sports are considered essential childhood experiences. Why? The regimentation -- the belief that regimented participation in the collective is the way to maturity. And it is this regimentation that delivers for the masses that which their own will cannot -- think of the boot camp style fitness classes where folks pay to be harassed and harangued.
Thankfully, there is the remnant -- whether you consider the biblical remnant or today's philosophical remnant. While it is true that the masses -- like a stubborn mule -- will throw off its yoke every now and again, it will do so only after a great burden has strained its shoulders. And only with the remnant yelling, "Liberty!" in its ears.
Note: To learn more about the remnant, read "Isaiah's Job," Nock's powerful essay.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Note: Also available in HTML format. And, Russel Roberts provides an up-to-date version, I, Pepsi.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Paul's claims that he is trying to teach the taxpayers all the esoteric nuances of school funding. Why? Because -- he claims -- educated voters will challenge the district status quo. So he sets out pronouncing nonsense, most of which support the spending habits of the district.
Here's a telling comment from Paul relative to the Olentangy school district. From this Olentangy flyer, Paul calls out this comment: Point #5: "… the school taxes from a typical home cover only a fraction of the cost to educate just one student." WRONG!
It's one of the big lies coming from the Olentangy school district. I challenged Paul with this note (a comment he refused to post):
Paul,For a guy who claims he is all about truth, he certainly doesn't like to be challenged by it.
In Olentangy, a new home only brings (on average) one-half student. Therefore it takes two new homes to generate an additional student. So, you have two properties that hit the SF3, adding to both the charge-off and the per-pupil funding.
So, assuming that new homes go for (on average) $325,000, the district gets $8000 in new tax revenue (including the state’s property tax allocation). The district also gets $5732 based on per pupil funding, plus other per pupil funding (including building blocks, federal funding, etc), less the charge-off of $5,200.
The final result shows revenue that is over 90% of the district average expenditure ($9200 for FY08).
Capital costs are handled by bonds, but your “fact” was relative to operations.
I use average costs since I do not know the marginal costs on a per student basis. But that is a correct use of an average value.
Again, this does not account for other properties, such as condos and commercial development.
The key is the whole argument begs the question: Why is $9200 per pupil considered the standard to judge sufficient revenue. Until you look at things differently, you are always arguing the district’s point of view.
Growing districts love to blame growth for all of their financial woes. That makes sense because it is an easy lie to accept. Growth costs. Hmmm. That sounds right. Yet growth in Olentangy is not the reason for new levies.
The reason is simple: Employee costs continue to rise fast, incredibly fast. Where folks in other sectors of the economy are happy to have jobs this year, Olentangy district employees continue to receive great raises at taxpayer expense (note the recent administrative raises of close to 4.5%, all said and done).
Paul doesn't accept the truth about growth since it challenges his desire to see growth in Hilliard stopped. Paul needs something to attack in order to halt new homes that disturb the view from his back door. So, he joins the district and blames new levies on growth.
And it goes beyond that. Paul states he is the outsider challenging the district. Yet, at levy time, Paul posts this:
Why We Need to Vote FOR the LevyPaul's certainly not a change agent. Subsequent to the passage of the Hilliard levy, Paul made this statement:
Please also read this proposal I've made to the school leadership.
>> NEW: KJ says 'Make you voice heard!'
The reason is simply this:
The cuts that will take place if the levy fails – the cuts which the Administration recommended and the School Board unanimously approved – will severely wound the school district yet do nothing to solve the fundamental problems.
I don't think there's anything more important to be said before then.
Now is the time to honor the commitment many of us made to support the levy, yet demand change. Our support of this levy was in no way an endorsement of the current mode of operations, but our words are empty unless we now act.That team has since come and gone -- proven to be ineffective at even organizing, let alone challenging. So, yes, those were empty words.
The first meeting of our team is now being planned. If you want to be a participant in change, and not just a Monday morning quarterback, send me an email and you'll be added to our distribution list.
Now, Paul wants to run for a Hilliard board seat. Amazingly, he has some of his readers convinced that he will support the taxpayer. Not likely. Paul's challenges are all talk.
What really offends me about Paul is the game he plays. He tries to convince his readers that he has their best interests in mind. I'll educate you, you'll vote for me, and then I'll look out for you. Huh. Paul is simply politics as usual.
Paul fancies himself another Jennifer Smith (the Olentangy board member who takes the heat -- real heat -- for standing up for the taxpayer), yet Paul will fold in with the fold on signal from the hungry pack of wolves.
Note: Taxpayers do not have to know every aspect of school funding to know they are getting a raw deal. Paul will claim to educate in the interim, and then rob at levy time, just like a mugger who explains what he is about to do right before the pipe hits your head.
Friday, April 17, 2009
It's amazing what you can get with the right public records request. Note the email exhange between Feasel and Jennifer Smith (below). It certainly appears that Feasel is skirting Ohio's sunshine laws by conducting a serial meeting -- you know, polling votes with a nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more.
Feasel is president of a board that has already been in hot water for violating sunshine laws, so she should know better. Maybe she does and doesn't care. You know, power and corruption.
1. At least one board member (Smith) follows the law, the rest just hold the public in contempt.2. OFK, How can you still support Feasel in the face of all this? Hmmm.
To: "Julie Wagner Feasel"
From: "Jennifer Smith"
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="--=_--0291526e.0291429d.c60a67a8"
I have not returned your phone calls soliciting my opinion regarding an upcoming work session, because you made it clear in voicemails that you were - and now have- contacted every other board member and polled them as to whether or not Kathy LaSota should be hired to facilitate a future work session. It is improper to discuss board business outside of public view (properly notified public meetings). This "round robin" voting and discussion is highly improper and there is case law that substantiates that this activity is a violation of ORC 121.22. I will not be party to violating the law.
Julie Wagner Feasel writes:
I didn't get to make any board calls on Saturday because we spent the day doing graduation and prom stuff so I made my board calls tonight. What I've been asking the other board members is there thoughts on hiring Kathy Lasota for at least one more work session to help us finalize the items we didn't finish on Thursday. So please let me know your thoughts as I would like our next work session to be sooner rather than later and everyone's (sic) schedules will have to be coordinated. Also, I was talking to the other board members about their thoughts and opinions on Thursday's session so I'd like to talk to you about that as well. Finally, I never got to talk to you about your thoughts on the budget subcommittee meeting. I've spoken to Sue, Teri, Mr. Lidle and Becky on their thoughts and I'd like to talk to you as well, specifically about making the budgeting process better next year.
Let me know when a good time to call you will be. I don't have anything on Monday night so I'm open. Or I can call you during my lunch hour noon-1 on Monday.
Julie Wagner Feasel, member
Olentangy School Board
Please note that all e-mail communication to elected officials is public record and maybe viewed by anyone who requests it.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
2. When the feds calculate cost of living, they use the rental equivalent for the cost of housing. Based on that, my property tax as a percentage of the rental value of my home is %25. Did you catch that? 25%.
How do you define theft?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
This evening, I took my family to the Statehouse lawn to see the affair. On stage were all the usual suspects. In fact, our former congressman (Kasich) spent the evening clowning for the cameras.
The whole event reminded me of the scene from Pumping Iron where Arnold and the other politicians -- er, bodybuilders -- subtly push and shove to get center stage. Very disappointing.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Nuclear Winter as the solution
While Mary Shelley conceived of a mad scientist with powers limited by his personal resources, our current Dr. Strangelove has the ear of the president and, hence, a hand on the dollar machine. Nuclear winter, anyone?
Monday, April 13, 2009
An uptick in the housing market
Zillow.com is a neat website that bills itself as "a free online real estate site where you can search for homes for sale, find home prices, see home values, view recently sold homes, and check mortgage rates." I occasionally go to Zillow to see how home prices have fallen throughout the US. While the nation in general is experiencing falling prices, Washington, DC experienced a noticeable uptick since the inauguration. What's odd is this: How is the seat of our altruistic public service generating all that wealth? Hmmm.
note: Click image to enlarge.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I want to thank Dispatch assistant editor, Mark D. Somerson, for allowing two OSU scientists to clearly indict the Theory of Evolution ("Chicken vs. Egg," The Columbus Dispatch, April 12, 2009). I agree with each scientist in their refutation of the other's logic -- neither theory makes any sense whatsoever. What is proposed as science sounds more like science fiction
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Printing paper and buying drinks
It's the end of the growing season and farmer Bob has some big debts coming due. As he loads newly reaped grain onto his wagon, he feels his burdens lift with each emptied bushel. Bob is certain that, by the end of the day, his accounts will be cleared and his farm back in black.
Bob finishes loading, climbs onto the wagon, and whips his old mule. The wagon lurches and slowly heads toward the market. With each step, the tired mule increases its pace. The increase is imperceptible to Bob, but he begins to sense a burden lifting from the mule. "Maybe," he thinks, "this old mule is as relieved as I am that the farm will be debt free."
Just inside of town, Bob, thirsty from his long ride, halts his mule before the city tavern. He glances back to view the pride of his year's labor. He stops. Where there once was a packed wagon of grain, a half load remains.
"What." Bob jumps off the wagon and races toward the rear gate. He finds the gate slightly ajar, with a faint trail of grain extending into the distance. Bob crumbles to the ground -- his work for naught and his farm soon to be foreclosed.
As Bob sits in the road, tears falling onto the dust, Ben and Tim take notice from a window of the corner diner. Ben looks at Tim and smiles. They both recognize another hardship case awaiting their help. As they pick up their belongings, Tim flips a crisp twenty onto the table. The two exit the diner and quickly head toward Bob.
Moments later, Tim, looking down at a despondent Bob, asks, "What's the matter, my good man?"
Bob explains his story: the sowing, the reaping, and the loss. Ben says without hesitation, "We can help. You see, Tim and I love to assist those in need. I will buy your half-wagon load and pay you the full-wagon price."
Bob is taken back. "You will? You will buy my half-wagon and pay the full-wagon price? But you will suffer the loss. Won't you?"
"Oh, no," says Ben, "I will simply hold onto your half-wagon of grain until its value returns to the full-wagon price. It really is that easy. And likely, I will profit in the end. Well, it's my backers - the forgotten men and women - who will profit. But there will be money to go around."
Tim continues, "You see, your loss is the result of current market conditions. Once Bob and I clear those conditions, the traders in the market down the street will regain their confidence and your grain will miraculously reappear."
"But the grain is lost on the road. It has no value. It's gone for good," replies Bob.
"No, no, no," explains Tim, "It's not gone. It's simply leaked from the system."
Bob, eyebrows raised, says, "This isn't making sense."
"Oh, I don't know about that," Ben continues, "Tim and I have been working a scheme for years. He gives me an IOU and I print some paper notes in exchange. It's been working this whole time. How else do you think he could buy my lunch everyday, leave some pretty big tips, and never hold a real job? Since this deal has worked so well, I've decided to extend my assistance to others in need. So, now, amongst other things, I'm buying half-wagons to help folks like you."
"But your paper is worthless," a confused Bob replies, "It's backed by a lie."
"Sure, my paper is worthless," answers Ben, "But before anyone notices, the market will improve, and the traders will once again value your wagon as a full load. I'll then quickly exchange your half-wagon, and the other half-wagons I've bought and stored, for all of the paper I've printed. It will unwind nicely. But I won't bore you with the economics of it all."
Tim offers the farmer a hand and the three head toward Ben's printing shop.
Just moments after Ben starts the printing press, his wife enters the shop. "Ben," she shouts over the din, "What are you doing? You're not printing paper notes again? Are you?"
A sheepish Ben hits the stop button, waits until the presses halts, and then stammers, "Yes, but this dear farmer is in need. And if he fails, his creditors fail, the town fails, and we are all out of house and home. I must help."
"But, Ben, you simply cannot keep this up," cries his wife, "My friends are beginning to question your constant printing. They are no longer so trusting of your notes. When the trust ends, then what?"
"Honey, the trust won't end," replies Ben, "I am going to buy back my notes with the wagons of grain. It's so simple, it almost magic."
Ben hits the start button again and the paper notes begin rolling off the back of the printing press.
Cut to a few months later. Bob is struggling to find folks to accept Ben's paper. His creditors are demanding payment in the form of real goods.
And what of Ben and Tim? They are sitting at the bar in the tavern with another man, buying rounds for the town's traders. Ben turns to the third man and asks, "So, Alan, do you really think this plan will work?"
"Certainly. A few more rounds and these folks will be irrationally exuberant once again," Alan replies with a coy smile, "I've done it before."
Alan turns and shouts, "Bartender, another round for these thirsty traders. It's on Ben's tab this time around."
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Ways to stimulate the economy
The financial writers over at AOL have their list of 13 "innovative" ideas . My favorite: The government should hold a nightly lottery and give away $1M each to 10 Americans. A million? Make it a billion. Or a trillion. Now is the time for big ideas.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
It is an established fact that alcoholism, cocainism, and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health, and of the capacity for work and enjoyment; and a utilitarian must therefore consider them as vices. But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions, nor is it by any means evident that such intervention on the part of the government is really capable of suppressing them or that, even if this end could be attained, it might not therewith open up a Pandora's box of other dangers, no less mischievous than alcoholism and morphinism.
— Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism 
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Or how I applied a squirrelly back-of-the-envelope calculation to Green hysterics
I recently joined Angie's List in order to learn more about local contractors and service providers. As a customer-driven list, it works well. For example, I was able to read comments left by those who used an auto repair shop I was considering. But, then ...
I just received my first copy of the Angie's List Magazine -- The Green Issue. The magazine is filled with pages of Green propaganda, mainly around the forthcoming end to our supply of fresh water (Will we run out of water? is the subtitle). One section focuses on the virtual water cost of common goods, such as a slice of bread requiring 11 gallons of virtual water and a pound of beef requiring 1,917 gallons of virtual water. Another section lists per-capita water consumption throughout the world.
Is this stuff true? Likely. Will it cause me to phone my congressman in order to demand action? Nope. What offended me was the over-the-top fear mongering. To understand more about the numbers, I Googled around and performed a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Instead of focusing on man, I turned to one of nature's own: the squirrel.
The squirrel is a cute, bushy-tailed rodent. A squirrel can be fun to spot in the wild or a total nuisance in your attic. Regardless, the squirrel is a consumer of water. Yet, what is the virtual water consumption per squirrel?
Squirrels eat acorns, approximately 825 per year. And, amazingly, each acorn requires 48 gallons of virtual water. That means a squirrel consumes close to 40,000 gallons of virtual water per year, or 110 gallons per day. Since squirrels do not rely exclusively on acorns, I assumed that a squirrel consumes a total amount of virtual water that is four times the amount for acorns alone, or 440 gallons per day. 
What is the total virtual cost of all products consumed in the US? 1200 gallons per capita per day. Therefore, the tiny rodent consumes approximately one third of the virtual water of the average American. Hmmm.
Is modern society really that hard on the environment?  Maybe we need to rid the country of those thirsty rodents. Wouldn't that make the Greens happy?
 Virtual water includes every drop of water used in the process of creating a product, even evapotranspiration.
 Calculated using the data provided. Yes, and not all squirrels eat acorns.
 It's all back-of-the-envelope, with some pretty big assumptions. It's more fun than science, yet it's all based on info from the web (so, it must be true).
 There is vastly more potable water in Ohio today than existed 150 years ago.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Technically, Froma Harrop is correct ("Charge of socialism is so much baloney," Dispatch, April 4, 2009): Obama is not a socialist.
Obama does not seek to nationalize private property. Instead, he desires to move this country toward a highly-regulated partnership of government and industry.
So, then, what is he? Well, he's a fascist, just like McCain and Bush before him -- as well as at least 95% of the legislative branch (Democrat and Republican).
While it is true that the term fascist can be a pejorative label, given Obama's agenda, it is technically correct.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Do not trust governments more than governments trust their own people.
— Andrei Sakharov
Saturday, April 04, 2009
- Public school employees believe they know better than parents.
- Many of these employees are parents themselves. I can't even imagine how their children act.
- Wade Lucas of Olentangy is likely thinking the idea is great. His only suggestion would be to pay each student per vulgar word.
Tiberi served during the period the federal government dug this nation's financial hole. And he still believes he knows more than you and I.
Next time you see Tiberi, ask him what his pension will be when he retires. He will be taking from your wallet for decades to come. Amazing.
Note: Wanna bet that Tiberi's right hand is in that gentleman's wallet. Why else the smug smile on Tiberi's face?
Friday, April 03, 2009
A philosophical divide between classic liberalism and the political forms now in vogue is manifest in the phrase, "Let's agree to disagree." To the classical liberal, this means we agree to end our discussion, debate, or argument and go about our separate ways. The phrase is the end as such. Certainly the classical liberal may engage the next person in a similar discourse and attempt to sway a new opinion, whether in person or by letter, handbill, pamphlet, etc., or through the more current versions of email, blog, or website. Additionally, the classical liberal assumes that his verbal opponent will also engage others in the marketplace of ideas. The understanding is that one is attempting to sway an opinion by the use of knowledge and logic.
Contrast that with the current use of "let's agree to disagree."
The statist version indicates that the statist will end the discourse and use whatever power and influence he has in order to have government -- the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion -- codify his views into law. What the statist is saying is, "Since your opinion holds no power, let's agree to end this pointless debate. I am wasting my time trying to convince you when I can use government to force you." You see it all the time as individuals lobby and pressure government to enforce their opinions and beliefs.
CS Lewis wrote that we need to fear those who claim to have our best interests in mind. Unlike the tyrant who will sleep every now and again, the do-gooder will work without rest in order to enslave you while claiming to protect you. I think that if Lewis were alive today he would have to extend that observation to include the do-gooder employed by government, no matter the level. Not only do they not sleep as they invade your rights, your taxes pay them to do it.
You can debate them and agree to disagree, but remember, as you sleep, they are drafting laws, rules, and regulations in order to control your life.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Hot off the District-controlled presses:
"Olentangy School Board holds emergency session to discuss cutting costs and eliminating wasteful spending. Treasurer Becky Jenkins agrees to work 40.5 hours weekly until budget is brought down to 2008 levels.
In the spirit of the districts adoption of financial discipline the superintendent and board have voted to change the district motto to "Maximum Fiscally Sound Education For Every Student", Andy Kerr has begun to brown bag his lunches, and teachers have turned in their Smartboards, red iPod Shuffles and vowed to stop gabbing with each other during recess so as to actually prevent suicide attempts.
So moved with the shared sentiment of saving taxpayer money, Jeff Brown conceded that his recent cost cutting measures 'were just a goof' and began to compile a serious 'for real--really!' list of job consolidations and headcount reductions. Principals and other administrators also vowed to reimburse mileage to the tune of only 3 times around the world instead of the 5 times around the world they claimed to have travelled on district business in 2008.
Board President Pro Tempore Scott Galloway said, 'This is the dawn of a bold, brand new era in Olentangy. One that balances being fiscally sound while also being egregiously--er--excellent in every way. And let me repeat that Dimon McFerson is the bravest leader I know and he's the wind beneath my wings'.
Acting Board President Julie Feasel nodded in agreement."
You see, I've done some additional research and asked a few more questions. In the end, I have reached a conclusion that is opposite my initial view. Though it is likely hard to believe, this is how I see things today: Wade is the superintendent best suited to guide the Olentangy Schools toward a bright future. And, this is also a key point; a dissenting voice has no place on the board.
Look, folks, Wade just received his Ed.D., and he has decades of experience. He is innovative (witness his dissertation, etc.) and energetic. He is just what the district needs. It's high time we support Wade and his agenda.
And it's high time that we begin working to return experienced leadership to the board.
Likely, there will be folks running in November claiming the need for change. However, just look to the White House to see the results of change.
We need sensible, experienced leadership -- leaders who will stand behind the superintendent and his staff, no matter the issue, no matter the expense. That is the sole means to the district's sought after ends.
Wade, Best of luck. Keep up the good work. And more power to you!
Here's the team of winners (with the bad apple removed):
|About Mrs. Feasel||About Mrs. Meider||About Mr. Galloway||About Mr. McFerson|