Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vintage 1787...

Today is Constitution Day. It was this day in 1787 when the delegates appointed by the Several States to attend the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution and the resolution to submit it to the states for ratification.

Some have called it -- even those who support constitutionally limited government -- "just a piece of paper."

But it is far more than that. It is the embodiment of the principles of self-governance, shared authority and responsibility, distribution of powers, and accountability to the people.

It also represents the culmination of centuries of humanity's growth in understanding how to move ourselves forward as a society. The Constitution and its construct of a democratic republic designed to safeguard human liberty stand as the pinnacle of intellectual achievement.

The vast majority of the major philosophical and intellectual developments since the Constitution's drafting and ratification have been aimed at eroding or tearing down the institutions it was written to preserve. Yet, despite the tortured interpretations of its language in the 224 years since it was signed, the Constitution -- and its intended principles -- has endured as the centerpiece of our nation. This is a testament to the wisdom which went into the drafting of it.

I will be observing Constitution Day in my own, quiet manner, by finishing the book "The Road To Serfdom" and if time permits starting "Atlas Shrugged" -- two books written during a time when the push to subvert constitutionally limited government and the Rule of Law was picking-up steam and which warned heavily against doing so.

It is through the Constitution we remain free to read and discuss such literature.

It is through the Constitution we are free to dance in celebration of America's greatest philosopher, Thomas Jefferson.

It is through the Constitution we are free to challenge those who hold seats of power as well as thwart their attempts to enjoy them in perpetuity.

And, it is because of the Constitution that America remains unique on the world's stage.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are my eyes going bad or are we seeing a bait-and-switch?

Here's a brainteaser for you:

What's the difference between an Ohio Republican and an Illinois Democrat?

Well, once congressional redistricting is done, the honest answer will be, "Not a heck of a lot!"

As we get a sneak-peak at the proposed new districts for Ohio's U.S. representatives, we see a map displaying odd shapes and districts growing tendrils -- reminiscent typically of Illinois' Blue State tradition of shameless gerrymandering. It's drawn in a manner that would make Salvador Dali whistle in appreciation.

It looks downright ridiculous. For those who agree, let us remember which party holds four out of the five seats on the state's 2011 apportionment board. Curiously enough, it's the same party which pledged last year a departure from business as usual.

What should be especially alarming to Allen County voters is that our two General Assemblymen, Rep. Matt Huffman and Sen. Keith Faber, were major players in the process. Announcing his promise to fast-track the new map to a vote on the Ohio House floor is Speaker William Batchelder.

I'll go out on a limb and surmise these three gentleman were not very good at Geometry in high school.

Some of you are probably lamenting this is no joking matter. You are most likely staunch Democrats.

Some of you have taken offense to my observations. You are most likely staunch Republicans.

For the rest of you, there are 14 months left to decide how best to alert the two major parties you have had enough of the games.

You have 14 months to ponder how best to do the right thing on Election Day. I am more than happy to help.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years later...

Milestone anniversaries – no matter what the event – invariably lead to greater than usual reflection as to why we remember those dates on the calendar.

For me, September 11 is a day which drives home the inevitability of our mortality.

Ten years ago, it was a day that stunned me into silence.

It was a day of ominous signs such as cable television channels preempting their entire day’s schedule to display a screen with the message, “In light of today’s events, all programming has been cancelled so staff may be with family.”

It was a day I sought the company of friends I hadn’t seen in a few months.

It was a day when I had one of the longest phone conversations with my mom we have ever shared.

It was a day I prayed for people I had never known – especially those whom I would never have the opportunity to know.

It was a day I feared not for my country necessarily but for the price that would be paid by our men and women in uniform.

While the vast majority of you who read my essays, columns, rants, and rare short notes have come to know me principally as one of a growing hoard of politicos, I find myself thoroughly unwilling to politicize 9-11.

There have been no lack of posts and discussions surrounding what has and what has not been included in various 9-11 commemoration ceremonies.

If you believe you can do better, then do it.

I went to the prayer sessions and candlelight vigils that were held that evening. People didn’t stand around waiting for someone to organize anything: they just came together.

If the ceremony plans of public officials don’t sit well with you, ignore them in favor of your own…

…And witness the power of the individual.

The brave men on United Flight 93 showed us that.

What will you show America?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Federal judge rules in favor of LPO in ballot access fight

Below is a press release authored by Libertarian Party of Ohio Deputy Communication Director Kalin Stipe.

In addition to the comments offered by Michael Johnston, LPO Vice Chair and director of the party's Political Division, I would like to state that this development — first and foremost — is welcome news and speaks volumes of the Libertarian Party's comprehension of the Constitution of the United States. As I have been telling our members and supporters locally, how can we expect the public to believe we are prepared to fight for their constitutional rights if we are unable or unwilling to fight for our own?

Given the LPO's track record of successful litigation when this issue arose both in 2006 and 2008, the likelihood of prevailing in court never was in doubt. Unfortunately, Ohio lawmakers were fully aware of this but moved forward with the contested components contained in the bill despite knowing it would incur legal expenses on the taxpayers' dime.

With the Ohio Republican Party in control of the Governor's Mansion as well as enjoying substantial majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, this was undeniably a partisan attempt to perpetuate the ongoing disenfranchisement of Ohio's registered voters — who have grown increasingly weary of the failed manner in which government at all levels has operated over the years.

Furthermore, that our state legislators would bury the key clauses designed to deny ballot access for minor political parties within a routine housekeeping bill (the update to Ohio's election laws) demonstrates a clear intent by the ORP to obstruct competition within the political system. As LPO Chair Kevin Knedler rightly pointed-out during a statewide party function in June, if what Ohio Republicans attempted with ballot access laws was perpetrated in private industry those companies would face federal investigation for violating U.S. antitrust laws.

While this plays-out in court, we in the Allen County Libertarian Party look forward to providing area voters with fresh options in the political arena as well as the opportunity to pursue a government that respects the individual and is less intrusive in our economic and personal concerns.

Together in Liberty,

Don Kissick
Allen County Libertarian Party Chair


Read the text of Judge Marbley's injunction.


Federal judge rules in favor of LPO in ballot access fight

COLUMBUS — A U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday against the state of Ohio in a lawsuit brought by the Libertarian Party of Ohio to preserve its right to be on the ballot.

Judge Algenon Marbley granted the Libertarian Party of Ohio’s request for a preliminary injunction that protects ballot access for the party through 2012, including for Libertarian candidates already on the November 2011 ballot in Akron and Troy.

The ruling is part of ongoing litigation, LPO v. Husted, which the LPO filed in response to the passage of HB 194 by the General Assembly earlier this year, a measure that made several changes to Ohio’s voting system.

“This ruling is not just a victory for the Libertarian Party of Ohio, but for the majority of Ohioans, including Republicans and Democrats, who are looking for a viable alternative to our current, dysfunctional two-party system,” said Michael Johnston, LPO vice chair. “With this ruling, Judge Marbley has guaranteed that our soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan will be able to participate in an open electoral process, not unlike the one they laid their lives down to create in the Middle East. We look forward to engaging all political opponents in a vibrant debate in the upcoming Presidential election cycle.”

Marbley noted that the General Assembly had “failed to respond” to previous federal court rulings in favor of the LPO’s ballot access rights in 2006 and 2008. Marbley’s decision recaps LPO v. Brunner, noting that the court found that the requirements set forth by then-Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner were a “severe, unconstitutional burden.” The decision also agreed with the LPO that the new requirements contained in HB 194 limit the ability of the LPO to participate in the democratic process, a fundamental requirement for a group such as the Libertarian Party that seeks to govern.

“Women fought for the right to vote 100 years ago, minorities fought the same fight 50 years ago, and here we are in the 21st century doing the same thing,” said LPO Chair Kevin Knedler. “At a time when the United States is trying to spread freedom and liberty around the world, it is unfortunate that we have to fight in courtrooms, right here in Ohio, for a basic freedom: the right to have more than just one or two choices on a ballot and the right to privately express ourselves when voting. The fight for our freedoms is not over, but after three federal court wins in five years, we are much closer.”

Several recent public opinion polls have demonstrated growing interest in political alternatives to the two major parties that routinely drive our nation and state to the brink of disaster. The Libertarian Party is that alternative, supporting balanced budgets, common sense laws, and promoting candidates who recognize that the United States Constitution is our nation’s primary source of law.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Ohio. Founded in 1971, the LP supports fiscal responsibility and social acceptance. LPO candidates espousing common-sense, middle class values in 2010 collectively earned enough voter trust to garner more than 1,000,000 votes statewide and earned an average of more than five percent for their respective races. The LPO was the only minor party to run a full statewide executive slate in 2010 — the first minor party to do so since 1934 — and had the only gubernatorial candidate bold and honest enough to release a budget plan for Ohio before the General Election.