Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Great Christian Sites

Thanks to fellow bloggers RonMcK at Blessed Economist and Steve Scott at From the Pew for doing the heavy lifting on Christian issues, especially their research on biblical insights in the study of economics.

These two bloggers make it tough to write on Christian topics as they grab hold of their subjects with vigor and polish. Excellent writing. Check them out when you get the chance, you'll learn something and really enjoy yourself.

Note: In addition,
Blessed Economist has an excellent blogroll that links to many other interesting and informative sites. One site of note is KingdomWatcher's series on Christian Economics.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Worldview Weekend with Brannon Howse

We went to see Brannon Howse in Dayton last night. It was a very interesting evening. If you want to hear about the collision of worldviews, catch Howse at an upcoming conference (here). -- Jim

Note: And buy his book Grave Influences. It is an insightful read.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jealousy and Envy: The Christian and the State

A recent article of mine on LewRockwell.com -- the best-read libertarian website in the world:




Jealousy and Envy: The Christian and the State
Jim Fedako



My Fellow Christians:

I am a jealous father. As such, I will not allow the state to steal the hearts of my children. And I will not allow the state to raise them for its purposes. So I homeschool.

Am I wrong in my jealousy?

Our brother Paul was jealous, and so is our Father. I will let their words speak for them:

As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he is "jealous over you with godly jealousy." (2Cor. 11:2) [1]

As God spoke to Moses, "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Exo. 34:14)

But they were not envious – they despised (God still despises) envy. Again, letting their words speak for them:

"Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers" (Rom. 1:29)

"Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them" (Eze 35:11a )

While jealousy can be godly, we are to despise envy, always. [2]

Today we tend to use the terms jealousy and envy interchangeably. But the Bible sets those two words apart. So what is the difference between them?

According to Helmut Schoek, in his excellent book, Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour, "[T]he jealous man can never normally become a spontaneous, primary aggressor." The jealous man only seeks to protect that which he rightfully possesses from the hands of his rivals – those striving to obtain those very same assets. So the jealous man’s "mind is at rest once he knows that he is free of rivals."

The envious man expresses a more hostile set of emotions. Throughout his book, Schoek delves into the heart of the envious man. He clearly shows that set of emotions to be evil and destructive. Seductive, yes. But oh so vile.

According to Schoek, the envious man "usually knows exactly what provokes him." But the object of his envy "may actually be ignorant of his existence." The envious man wants something that is not rightfully his. And his heart is always filled with spite, as nothing, not even the destruction of the object of his envy, will set his mind to rest.

In simpler terms, the jealous man wants to keep his own possession while the envious man wants the possessions that someone else rightfully owns.

Paul and God expressed jealousy. Both sought (God still seeks) to protect hearts from their rivals – the gods of this earth. And both desired (God still desires) to see souls won for the Kingdom.

Therefore, jealousy is the favored set of emotions. It is not evil, nor is it vile. [3]

However, we are a people who have turned from jealousy toward envy. We have become the primary aggressors, using the power of the state to obtain possession of the rightful assets of others. And we many times we do this in the name of God.

So we advocate for the redistribution of wealth. We ask the state to tax those who possess more than we possess in order to fulfill (or so we think) our mission to help the poor. But, as James warns, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." (Jas. 3:16)

Is that not our world today?

Paul asked, "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?" (1Cor. 10:22)

We dare not provoke God to jealousy by turning away from Him. So why would we dare provoke jealousy in others by using the power of the gun to take from them that which is rightfully theirs And why would we invite the wrath of God on ourselves "according to thine envy?"

Many claim that stealing with a good intent (can that be possible?) is a godly action. But as Paul wrote, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? (Rom. 2:21)

Do we not also preach "thou shall not steal?" Turning around, do we then pull the lever on the ballot box, setting in motion various acts of theft? Do we advocate for state interventions that take from others? And do we really believe that one can only steal from those who are less fortunate than we are – as if those more fortunate can find no protection under the word of God?

When we embrace a system of envy, we also ignite the fires of sin that exist in hearts of all men. We end up pushing our fellow believers – and unbelievers – farther from the spirit of the Lord. In essence, we fan the flames of all those sins Paul noted above, including unrighteousness, wickedness, murder, deceit, etc.
Instead of winning heart for heaven, we condemn souls to our envious ways. Is this to be our epitaph?

It is time that Christians turn away from envy and embrace jealousy. We should actively keep watch over that which we hold dear – whether it is our property or the hearts of our children. And we should despise a system of government that seeks to take from one and give to another – a system of government that is both based on envy and controlled by the envious. There is nothing godly about such a system.

Notes:
1. All Bible quotes are from the King James Version, available at BibleGateWay.com – a wonderful resource.
2. In addition, the envious man may simply want the object of his envy to not be allowed to possess some asset that that man currently possesses. In essence, the envious man is willing to be harm himself as long as the object of his envy is harmed also. Ludwig von Mises called this the Fourier complex.
3. Due to his sinful nature, man can take jealousy too far and desire to hold onto his worldly possessions in lieu of his heavenly ones. But it does not follow that the state must thieve his earthly possession – it is a matter of the heart, not the possessions, that is the issue. And theft is always theft, regardless of the rationale behind it.
March 15, 2010



Jim Fedako is a homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog:
Anti-Positivist.

Copyright © 2010 LewRockwell.com




Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Republicans to the rescue

Supposedly, the Republicans are going to repeal Obamacare. And I assume that they will also repeal Obamawars, ObamaPatriotAct and NoObamaChildLeftBehind.

The Republicans will do the very same as the Democrats when back in power -- they will turn their backs on liberty and continue building the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent state.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Democracy at work

As the dramatic tragedy that is socialized health care continues to be played out before our eyes, remember that this is democracy at work.

This is the reason soldiers are dying in foreign lands -- to force democracy on the rest of the world. And what has this vaunted democracy gotten us? Socialism.

We used to be a republic based on a constrained state. But we have changed into an empire based on an ever-increasing state.

Here is what I say to all those Republicans who supported Bush's wars: Do not question the outcome of a democratic vote on health care. Because if you do, you will be turning your backs on the soldiers fighting for your beloved democracy -- the unconstrained tyranny of the majority.

For those who desire supposedly free health care: Don't come crying to me when your beloved state denies you the same.

Is this the end of the experiment in liberty that began some 235 years ago?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The healthcare junta hits Cleveland

David Zanotti of American Policy Roundtable asks, "What were you doing when America died?" That's a soul-searching question, if ever there was one.

Zanotti is referring to the day that Obama came to speak in Cleveland. In a scene reminiscent of elections in Jamaica (where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 90's), the president and his armed guard and gangs of union thugs hit the town for a scripted event.

To think there was a time when anyone could knock on the door of the White House and expect to receive a welcoming response. Of course, that was early in our Republic, before we became an empire -- an empire that is now following Rome's road to ruin.

Read Zanotti's article (below) and join him in Polaris this Tuesday (RSVP with American Policy Roundtable beforehand).



What were you doing when America died?

"As a man lives, so shall he die. As a nation falls so shall it lie…"

The motorcade sped by, a symbol of the nation at war. Instead of a single limousine with a smiling politician waving from inside, there were three identical cars. Three “Presidential Cadillacs” speeding across town surrounded by a convoy of armor. Black trucks with open windows revealed gunmen in body armor pointing weapons at the crowd. Police cars were everywhere, ambulances and emergency vehicles following close behind. Along the streets a thousand protesters shouted out as the military convoy sped by. Everywhere police were pressing the crowds into a single strip of pavement. Government cameras filmed the protestors. Union thugs walked the crowd looking to intimidate, provoke and attack.

It wasn’t a third world dictatorship. It wasn’t North Korea or Iran. This motorcade carried a man who was to make a speech in Strongsville, Ohio in the United States of America on March 15th, 2010. A man who is the President of a nation that was once free.
The speech he made that day was a symbol. He stood before an artificial crowd, bussed in to play the role of “citizens.” In reality they were political partisans summoned to support their leader. The crowd was not many more than those protesting outside in the freezing rain, far fewer than the thousands of cars that passed that line of flag waving protesters and shouted their support.
Inside the security sanctum the President pumped up the crowd. He told them a terrible story of a woman nearby who was beaten and left for dead by the horrible insurance industry and the careless doctors and hospitals of America. He spoke in a thundering voice and hushed tones working the crowd like a televangelist or talk show host. He was there because the sick woman could no longer stand to defend herself and so he summoned the partisans to attack the evil empire of America’s health care providers, insurance companies and all those foolish people standing outside in the rain. As he spoke of the need for courage to win this final battle, back in Washington D.C., his allies in the Congress began marking up another 2,500 page health care takeover bill. Their goal was to pass the bill into law in 100 hours and steamroll anyone who dared stand in their way.
Of course no one had time to read the bill. There would be no hearings, no citizen input, no chance for the evil insurance companies or doctors or hospitals to defend themselves. The President’s Crusade would suffer no resistance from those too foolish to understand. Poor women were suffering and dying and he and the Congress would now end this tragedy once and for all.
And so in a matter of days, they finished their task and broke the spine of a once honest Republic anchored in the rule of law. They trashed the Constitution and burned down the legislative barriers of common sense and protocol. They not only passed a massive restructuring of the American economy, but they did so with a bill that was never read, fully debated, or even honestly scored for economic impact. None of those things mattered. A poor woman was dying and the President had to save her and the millions like her who were suffering.
By the time the sun would set that fatal day, the truth about that poor woman would actually leak out from Northeast Ohio. She was diagnosed with cancer and cured over ten years ago. She was self-employed by choice and paying about $6000 per year for insurance premiums. When her premium costs went up over several years she chose to stop paying her premiums altogether and lost her coverage. Recently her cancer returned, she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital where she was NOT denied care. She was in the good hands of the Cleveland Clinic who assured the world they would never force her into bankruptcy or put a lien on her home. In fact, the Clinic was trying to get her into a federal medicare program and qualify her to get full support from their medical charity network as well.
No matter. The President was speeding by the protesters and the facts as well. No matter. The Democrat drones in Congress all had their talking points and votes in order. No matter about the Constitution, the rule of law, the rights of the minority, or the proper role of a limited government. No matter for the truth. The Administration had their story and they were sticking with it. The puppet Congress was doomed to follow or forfeit their career positions.
And the media, America’s “fourth estate,” followed the regime. They ignored the moms and dads and kids and veterans and grandparents standing in the freezing rain, waving their patriotic flags and begging the President and his Congressional clones to come back to the truth. They stood there on their ribbon of sidewalk, the last island of their liberty, surrounded by police. If they stepped on the grass they would be arrested. If they stepped off the curb they could get shot.
Where were you that day? That day the U.S. Congress decided to abdicate its legal authority and its conscience to a regime hell-bent to break the back of the Constitution and make an example of the once proud health care industry? Did you come to the aid of your doctor? Did you stop and pray for those evil insurance companies who were about to be impaled and dismembered by the partisans on Capitol Hill? Or did you just wait for the armored motorcade to pass by and go about your everyday life? Where were you that day? Did you even bother to watch the news?
The saddest part of this tale is that it didn’t have to be this way. The vast majority of Americans do not want a federal takeover of their health care. Sadly, that’s all they offer in this conflict- just an opinion. For the most part, Americans are just too busy doing something else to care about the fact their once great nation is dying. They are so busy doing other things they just don’t realize their liberties are evaporating. Today it is the evil doctors, insurance companies and hospitals. Tomorrow it will be the protestors. And the next day it will be all the people who were just too busy to care.
How did this happen? There are causes that go back hundreds of years to be sure. In the end, however, the people in that motorcade on March 15th represent a tiny fraction of Americans who decided a few years ago that they could dominate the American political process. They realized the rest of us had grown so comfortable and ignorant that the radical left could take over the Congress and the Courts and the White House in one generation. By the time we woke up, they would snap the Constitution to pieces and shut the books on any opposition. They layed down their lives and their incomes for their cause and they took over the nation while the vast majority of the Americans chased other things more important than good government and liberty.
Can we talk? Can I tell you the stories of the man who was too busy this year to make a contribution to the Roundtable because he was on his way to the Superbowl? How about the church whose members wanted to do a class on the American Mission® but their pastors just couldn’t find a way to fit the Roundtable project into their class schedule? How about the radio station managers who refuse to carry The Public Square® broadcast because they are afraid of potential controversy? Dare we discuss how many people have chosen to cut back their giving because “times are tough,” but still travel the world in style?
Please understand, we are not anti-prosperity or profits or lifestyle. But somewhere, somebody has to hit the wake-up button on reality. This nation is dying. Our Congress is beating the Constitution to death in the full light of day while “conservative” and “Christian” Americans are simply looking the other way as if there are no real consequences to our civil government being destroyed.
When are we going to wake up? It is NOT ENOUGH to simply TALK about the problem or listen to those who do. When was the last time you actually did something that was a sacrifice for your nation? When was the last time you spent an hour praying for America? When was the last time you gave up something you didn’t really need to invest in for the gift of Liberty? If you were one standing in the freezing rain on March 15th, we thank you. If you have given all you can, this letter should encourage you in that we are urging others to follow your lead. But if you are like most of us – we have a debt to pay.
Here is the great irony. People have no idea HOW LITTLE it actually takes to turn a nation around. We have a terrific plan now in place, called iVoters.com. We are beginning to launch this project across America this month. iVoters.com can help train and galvanize MILLIONS of Americans who care in this critical election year.
iVoters.com is a communications project utilizing radio, TV, Internet, print and major events to help Americans who care, get off the couch and into this battle. iVoters.com, fully funded in key battle ground states, will make a terrific difference and help raise up new leaders in 2010.
The entire iVoters.com project for 2010, reaching all our battleground states, carries a price tag of only 2.4 million dollars. That’s it. If every person receiving this letter today wrote a sacrificial check – we would have that money raised in a single month. Will you?
You will find the first piece of the iVoters.com strategy waiting for you online at aproundtable.org. When you log onto our home page you will find the new book, Free Agents, right there for you to read online, free of charge. If everyone reading this letter today just ordered and shared 10 COPIES of this book, we would raise $250,000 for iVoters.com TODAY!
Will you join us in spending one hour this week praying for America? We dare you to try. And when you done praying, do the right thing. There is still time – but precious little time is left. The clock is ticking, and the armored motorcade is heading to a town near you. WE NEED YOUR HELP TODAY.

For the Light of Liberty we remain,

David Zanotti
President & CEO
The American Policy Roundtable

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stealing from their neighbors

The folks over at Save Olentangy Strings are spending money to lift more of your money. Why don't they save the consultant fees and fund their own strings program?

Best of all is this Jim Hofstetter. As an employee at the Loft Violin Shop in Powell, ol' Jim stands to lose some big cash now that the district has reduced its strings program. So Jim is working to steal our money ... and he is open about it.

Jim, have you no shame?

Some real pieces of work, these SOS folks.

Amazing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Julie Feasel: Her only ethic is your tax dollars

According to the latest Board Business, Feasel doesn't care what the state and its schools do to your kids ... as long as she gets your tax dollars. Some ethic? -- Jim

Note: I assume Galloway was still licking his wounds from the thrashing his party gave him. How can he even show his face anymore?


The pertinent section:
Finally, Feasel shared an update related to Ohio Senate Bill (SB) 210 and House Bill (HB) 373, also known as the Childhood Obesity Bill. Feasel is anticipating amendments to the bills next week that would require school districts to increase their daily requirements for rigorous activity for all high school students to 30 minutes per day. In addition, the bills would require school districts to track their students’ body mass index (BMI) and report the results to the Ohio Department of Health. The results would also be included in the Ohio Department of Education’s annual academic report card for each district. Feasel said she is not against gym classes, but does not want another state requirement that does not provide appropriate funding for the district. (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Exhibitionists for the State

A recent article of mine on LewRockwell.com -- the best-read libertarian website in the world:




Exhibitionists for the State
Jim Fedako



On Monday night, I took two of my children to the Judge Napolitano/Ron Paul evening at the Ohio State University (a fantastic evening, by the way). During one of the segments, Napolitano asked a panel of young folks how they would respond to this common defense of the ever-more intrusive state:

Judge (paraphrased): What would you say to someone who says, "What do I care, I have nothing to hide?"

After mulling this over, if ever asked that very same question, my response is now: I do have stuff to hide. That's why I close bathroom doors, pull bedroom blinds and wear clothes. And no one (save my wife) has any business in any area I declare to be private (including my property and areas where I have contracted with others to keep my private stuff private). The state and its agents included.

Napolitano’s question is an important one. The "I have nothing to hide" response is used time and again by folks who I now see as exhibitionists – exhibitionists for the state. These folks see nothing wrong with opening their private lives to the state – they have nothing to hide.

So the very same folks who pull their blinds to keep the leering eyes of their neighbors out of their bedrooms open those very same blinds to those very same neighbors when they (their neighbors) act as agents of the state. And those folks do so as if a state badge transforms their neighbors into something other than voyeurs – as if the badge makes it all OK.

But the badge is only a sign that the power of force is standing behind the one wearing it, and leering. It should be a point of real concern, not security.

Look, if I left my bathroom door open, you would certainly think me odd. Wouldn’t you wonder why I want to expose my private matters to the world?

I could say, "Since I am not committing a crime, I have nothing to hide."

Would you buy that line? Would you simply shrug off my actions? Would you feel safer in the presence of someone so open about his peaceful intentions? Would you?

I wear clothes for a number of reasons, with protecting my privacy at the top of the list. Yet I am forced to virtual strip before ogling TSA agents as if I have nothing to hide. But that is the very reason I dressed to begin with.

I desire to hide from my neighbors acting as neighbors, as well as my neighbors acting as agents of the state. I desire to hide.

There are inane responses to questions regarding state interventions. But the "I have nothing to hide" response is the most inane of them all. You have something to hide. We all do. And what we hide is our own business – it is personal.

The next time some exhibitionist for the state claims they have nothing to hide, call them on it. And hopefully they will learn a little lesson.

March 11, 2010

Jim Fedako is a homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

Copyright © 2010 LewRockwell.com




Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is everything a matter of public safety?

Orange Township taxpayers is getting hit with the bill to remodel the kitchen at the fire station on S. Old State. And it is considered a matter of public safety. Maybe they should upgrade to flatscreens as a matter of public health. -- Jim

From the township trustees' agenda for Monday March 15, 2010

Regular Meeting (excerpt)

8) Public Safety Report
d) P.O’s:

5) Republic Builders LLC. $10,993.00: Kitchen Remodel at Station 362

Friday, March 12, 2010

Open Letter to Bill Harris and John Husted

Bill Harris is the president of the Ohio Senate. John Husted is a new state senator who was the previous Speaker of the House. -- Jim


Bill,

Since you believe the state has the right to perform Body Mass Index calculations on students and then badger their parents (S. B. No. 210), I figure you would gladly share your BMI with your constituents.

Please reply with your BMI so that I may see if you are fit enough to continue as the senate's chief nanny do-gooder (you do appear a little pudgy in your photo).

Keep in mind that the only waist you should be poking is your own.

Thanks.

Note: John, send your BMI also. It appears that your need for power is expanding with your beltline. By the way, how do you differ from the Progressives on the Left? Remind me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interventions upon interventions

William M. Briggs nails the nonsense of state regulations:
Now for the The Law of Unintended Consequences. Just like salmon, sea lions come in different models. Two of which are California sea lions and Stellar sea lions. California sea lions are a dime a dozen, but the Stellar sea lions, just like the chinook salmon, are blessed with the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and they are just as hungry as their cousins.

What to do? One Endangered Species is eating another Endangered Species. You can’t shoot the sea lions, and you also can’t not let them eat the salmon, but then you can’t let the salmon be eaten.

What a predicament!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Destroying the Constitution

Dear Editor:

Why limit the reach of your editorial to just the Second Amendment when there are nine more to rewrite("Rule wisely," March 7, 2010)?

To help you along, I'll write the next editorial for you (tongue in cheek).

"Anytown sits next to a troublesome suburb and absorbs their words of liberty and freedom. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court appears unlikely to step away from its activist interpretation of the First Amendment as a right held by the individual. And a ruling against Anytown repeats the idea that the right of speech applies nationwide.

A group of government officials urging the court to prevent such a travesty wisely noted that 'the First Amendment was written to protect the states from redress of its citizens' and that 'it makes no sense to incorporate the right of speech against the states.'

What is particularly disturbing are the accidental effects of free speech, especially with regard to children.

How do the justices of the nation's highest court presume to know what local speech ordinances are best for maintaining law and order on the streets of America's highly diverse cities?"

There you are. Two down and eight to go.

Sincerely,

Jim Fedako

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Todd Hanks: The evidence speaks for itself

From the Delaware Gazette -- one paper that still prints the news. -- Jim



Hanks employer communicated with firms with county ties
By ANDREW TOBIAS
Staff Writer

A local engineering firm that formerly employed Delaware County commissioner Todd Hanks communicated with two businesses with ties to the Delaware County government while Hanks worked for them as a marketing consultant, e-mails obtained through a public records request show.

One e-mail shows local engineering firm Civil and Environmental Consultants knew about a controversial proposed waste-to-energy project before the public or all the members of the board of commissioners say they did.

On June 1, CEC geologist John DiNunzio e-mailed information about a proposed federal legislation to fund waste-to-energy projects to three executives with Viridis Waste Control Inc., DiNunzio’s e-mail contains little else, other than the subject line “The wheels are starting to turn” and the phrase “FYI.” Hanks was copied at his CEC address on the e-mail.

CEC employed Hanks as a marketing consultant from January 2009 to October 2009. He received a $1,900 biweekly salary plus a potential commission to refer business to CEC.

At the time DiNunzio sent the e-mail, the county was in negotiations to hire Viridis, and Hanks later introduced a motion to award the Dublin-based company a $3.13 million no-bid contract facility in Delaware County.

Hours after the e-mail was sent, county commissioners met in a closed-door session with the same Viridis executives to discuss as a board the potential of hiring the company for the first time.

Commissioner Ken O’Brien has said that meeting was the first he’d heard of the project.

Hours after the commissioners meeting, Hanks forwarded the e-mail to county economic development director Gus Comstock, making it a public record.

The project was not discussed publicly until more than two weeks later, when Hanks introduced the contract, under which Viridis would have independently hired subcontractors to perform engineering work and other services pertaining to the study.

Later that month, Hanks and commissioner Tommy Thompson voted to award the contract, with O’Brien voting against. However, county auditor George Kaitsa refused to certify the contract because the county didn’t have enough money to pay for it. Hanks switched his vote three days later, killing the project.

Hanks and Thompson have since said the contract was intended to be paid for through a federal grant. CEC has expertise in the waste-to-energy field; the company is included on a federal Environmental Protection Agency Web site listing potential vendors for projects like the one detailed in the $3.13 million contract. Viridis is also on the same list.

When asked about the email, Hanks said he didn’t remember if he had talked to CEC about the waste-to-energy project or Viridis. He also said he couldn’t speculate why he would have been copied on DiNunzio’s e-mail, or how they knew about the project.

DiNunzio did not return messages seeking comment.

Another e-mail shows that Hanks attempted to bring a CEC representative with him to a meeting with a Delaware County business that had an open county contract.

A June 11 e-mail from Hanks shows he, Comstock, and a CEC employee were to meet with two executives with manufacturer Sky Climber to discuss potential locations of wind turbines, an industry Sky Climber and CEC are both involved with. The meeting fell through, however, after Hanks dropped out over a scheduling conflict.

At the time, Sky Climber had an outstanding county contract for $7,500, awarded in 2008 by the previous board of commissioners, to provide services through a work development program for the county’s department of jobs and family services.

No county money was awarded to Sky Climber through the contract. Hanks and other county commissioners voted to de-fund the contract in September and October.

When asked about the proposed meeting with Sky Climber, Hanks said he “couldn’t speculate about a meeting that never happened.”

The Ohio Ethics Commission has said Hanks’ former employment with CEC was theoretically legal as long as he observed ethics laws.

The commission didn’t address specific actions Hanks may have taken. Public officials are allowed to hold private sector jobs, but they are required under Ohio ethics laws to clearly separate their private work from their public office.

When asked, the OEC said they can’t comment on any information for this story or any specific situation. But, OEC chairman David Freel said: “Ethics law prohibits representatives a public official from taking action or using the resources of their authority on behalf of their employer or someone with whom they have an ongoing business relationship.”

Sources have told the Gazette that another meeting that Hanks, Comstock and CEC representatives attended may have created the potential for a conflict of interest.

Geoffrey Mearns, dean of the Cleveland State University Marshall College of Law and a formal federal prosecutor, has previously told the Gazette Hanks’ actions at the meeting made it confusing about whether he was representing the county or CEC.

As previously reported, Hanks invited two CEC representatives to a pair of May 2009 meetings between county officials and other area government officials to
redevelop the former Nestle plant in Sunbury.

Hanks told the Gazette at the time he brought the CEC employees to make business introductions, in accordance with his private job description.

The plant’s landowner has since told Sunbury officials he has hired CEC to work on the project. Comstock has also helped with the redevelopment process and has discussed the possibility of awarding the project revolving loan funds, which are administered by the county commissioners.

Mearns has previously told the Gazette he could not comment on what the law says about Hanks’ actions at the meeting.

But, Mearns said: “We should hold our public officials to a higher ethical standard than “Is this conduct illegal?”

Hanks recently announced he would not seek his first elected term. In a written statement, he said his wife and three young children had been “attacked” on the Internet.

atobias@delgazette.com

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

And then there were six

Olentangy local schools are celebrating their meager six National Merit Semifinalists. Forgotten is the number of semifinalists the district used to have 12 years ago -- then a much smaller district (roughly one quarter the size) with the same number of semifinalists.

Your tax dollars at work.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Romans 13 and Anarcho-Capitalism

My latest article on LewRockwell.com -- the best-read libertarian website in the world:




Romans 13 and Anarcho-Capitalism
Jim Fedako



Consider this situation: You saved for years to go on a cruise of the Caribbean. It is not just the sights and sounds or the fun and food, it is the chance to sail the open seas. You have dreamed a sailor’s dream: to face the dare and danger of a storm racing across the open deck. And you want to hear the wind in the wires make that tattletale sound as the waves break over the railing. Yes, you want an Edmund Fitzgerald experience of sorts, but with buffets and entertainment, a warm shower and soft bed, and a happy and safe return to port.

OK. You really want to feel a slight storm blow across the deck. Nothing too scary. Just a little excitement to breakup the doldrums of suburban life.

On the evening of your second night, a storm approaches. The crew begins asking passengers to head inside for the safety of shelter. You hesitate. This is your once-in-a-lifetime cruise and your only chance to feel the power and bite of the wind and rain coming from that storm which is now creating a tiny tempest in an otherwise calm sea. You know you could easily slip past the crewmembers without detection and live that dream by the edge of the windward railing. But you are a Christian. So what should you do?

If I were in that situation, I would simply head inside. As a Christian, I am to follow the governing authorities – I am to place my obedience to God over my desires to witness the storm firsthand. The captain and his designees are responsible for protecting the lives of all onboard. I am not to resist them. They are not to be feared, nor are they a terror to good conduct. And even if I can evade their authority, for the sake of my conscience, I am to obey their instructions.

This is significant. Why? It shows that the instructions given by Paul in Romans 13 extend beyond a Christian’s interactions with the state. And it shows that the existence of government is not required to fulfill the intent of the chapter. More importantly, it shows that Christianity and anarcho-capitalism can coexist.

When I am in a store and I see a door with a sign that reads, "Employees only," I do not enter. Not because entering would break some law. I do not enter because the governing authority of that store has said that I am not to enter. And I am called to obey and not resist the authority of the store owner. Just as I am called to obey the rules of my neighbor when I am on his property or in his house.

A world without the state would never be a world without authority. Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome during the Roman Empire, the reign of the Caesars. However, since the Bible is truth through eternity, Paul’s instructions are true regardless the form of governing authority. We are to obey those who govern our various situations: my neighbor on his property, the security guard at the mall, and the shopkeeper in his store. And as God has arranged all, he has arranged matters so that each ruler is to be a minister of God, within his individual realm.

However, as Christians, no earthly law can exceed the word of God. When the two clash, God always wins. And when the governing authority extends its reach beyond its defined role, it has become an enemy of God. This is true whether the ruler is Caesar or a group of neighbors acting as the local junta that is democracy. And it is even true when the ruler is the captain of the ship or the owner of the store, or your neighbor in his backyard.

We are to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. This will also be true under anarcho-capitalism as we will have to render unto the property owner that which he is due. But we will only have to render as we see fit, based on where we chose to go.

As Christians, we are to obey the legitimate governing authority, but it does not follow that the authority must be the state. Paul’s instructions are the same no matter who is in charge. And in an anarcho-capitalist world, we would only be forced to obey the governing authorities whose properties we chose to enter.

A better world, indeed.



Jim Fedako is a homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

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