Issues or Values? Either Way, It’s Romney-Ryan Over Obama-Biden

I have been telling young adults that this is my 10th presidential election and the likely ramifications of its outcome exceed all others in my experience. This is from analysis, not a product of the drama inherent with endless, spinning political ads.

There are always policy differences between two presidential candidates. It is critical to examine the philosophies underlying the policies. If a candidate will not protect the right to life, the most fundamental of all inalienable rights, then his social agenda is merely to win favor among the masses and to keep them in check.

“Civil rights, equal rights, etc.” spring from the right to life.  Societies have been bamboozled throughout history repeatedly. For all of the vaccines developed, we do not have one to immunize us against being deceived.  The right to life must be paramount.

A number of people, including a few friends, have taken issue with me on this position.  Looking at the long-term viability of our country makes loyalty to my children and grandchildren-to-come take priority over other relationships.

It’s not about my having insurance which would cover pre-existing conditions, which
I need, right now and at all costs (moral or financial).  Whether a free market insurance system with modifications will provide what I “deserve” better than Obamacare can is not yet determined.  However, I CANNOT be a participant in any program which provides for the killing of the most innocent of human beings, either by inhumane dismemberment or by medication (“the morning after pill”).

It’s not about my receiving assurance that the money my employers and I have
put into Social Security for almost 40 years will all come back to me (which I need and is rightfully mine).  As FICA payroll tax revenue continues to be spent elsewhere and Congress will not agree to permit workers to be responsible for investing their contributions (as opposed to their employer’s half of taxed amounts), there is only so much a president can change.  Of the two candidates, Romney could work with Congress.  He has the proven track record in government, the President does not.

Nor is it about a job commensurate with my abilities.  The paper mill in which I was employed for 23 years was closed in 2001, partly due to an increase in lower priced foreign imports.  I’m sure that the companies Romney has worked for may have been a party to foreign out-sourcing of jobs in some industries— just as the President’s 401(k)’s have enjoyed growth from similar investments.  The difference is that Romney understands the harm of past business practices and is also willing to hold China accountable for being a currency manipulator.  Obama is hesitant to do anything which will anger the largest socialist country, the kind of government-reliant society he envisions for our future.  His position is evident in his lack of concern for the $1.15 trillion of our national debt which China owns.  (And, like China does, he also puts the state over the Church with his useless religious exemption to the HHS mandate, but that is a topic for a separate article.)

It IS about ensuring that our descendants’ future is one where they understand
that life is a gift, to which we are stewards, not owners. My fervent hope is that they will be “other-centered” instead of self-centered because they have been fooled into thinking that there is no hope except a reliance on Big Brother. Being respectful of our inevitable Judgement Day and being “other-centered” places us in the best position to solve problems.

The Romney-Ryan ticket “gets it.”  I sincerely hope they get your vote!

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READ “Permissions” Before Downloading Phone Applications

Today’s phones may not be your dad’s phones, but a little old-fashioned wisdom can go a long way to making your high-tech life more secure.  The world of easy, automatic downloads has become an electronic Pandora’s box which can have the same “no going back” results.  Even seemingly harmless programs like those for mapping, bar-code reading and games are not immune to trouble and have been found to have surprisingly intrusive impacts on your information.  You might be giving permission to programming that:  1) invades your personal files and result in loss or manipulation of data  2) uses the data in ways that can harm you  3) wastes battery power, etc.

The bottom line is this: try to avoid the convenience of automatic downloads.  Take the time to read the tedious information available with each upgrade.  The information with initial downloads is important, too.  You could very well decide the potential benefits are outweighed by the dangers your device will be exposed to.

“No” on 4-Year Terms For Cincinnati City Council

One of the local issues asks Cincinnatians to change the term of office for city council members from two to four years.  This benefits the incumbents, but not the citizens they serve.

Main Argument Presented “For” the change: Less Campaigning. Yes, there was a comment somewhere that having four-year terms would relieve the council members from having to campaign for a little more than nine months after serving for just fourteen months.  The current philosophy may “inconvenience” current office holders, but not new blood attempting to help the city.  (enough reason to keep two-year terms!)   By having to campaign just every four years, it would cut down on the amount of time available to bombard our lives with ads.  That may be enticing, but not sufficient to change to a “yes” vote.

The real problem with this argument could stem from the likelihood that city council members are confusing the breadth of their responsibilities and geographic area they serve with those of statewide officials who are elected every four years.  State office holders affect many more people and achieving name recognition with their constituents takes more time.  It would be inefficient for them to spend roughly 40% of their time campaigning instead of doing the job the taxpayers are paying for.

Individuals elected to the U.S. House of Representatives have to cover more area and people than city council members do.  Yet, they are able to execute the duties of their position and campaign an appropriate amount of time with two-year terms.  City council members are at no disadvantage with the current two-year arrangement.  Going to four years is an accommodation to them and is further unjustified by the next reason.

Accountability is more critical than Continuity on the local level.  As previously mentioned, statewide elected officials are accountable for a much greater area.  Getting the job done is a more difficult undertaking than handling issues of the individual cities.  Projects take more planning and time to execute.  Continuity is essential for steering the “aircraft carrier” of the state.  The typical city, being a smaller entity akin to a boat (or a yacht as some treat it), is more maneuverable.  A city can and must be more flexible than a state.  Things can happen quicker in a city and the citizens deserve being able to hold council members accountable on a two-year basis.  Bad decisions can be implemented faster on the city level and the voters need the protection of being able to “get the bums out” sooner.

Finally, lengthy campaigns are not necessary to run for city council.  Name recognition is much easier to obtain in a much smaller jurisdiction.  To campaign for 9+ months every two-year cycle for a small area is absurd and a waste of tax revenue.  If anything, the issue before the voters should not concern four-year terms, but rather a limit on time spent campaign.  The Fourth of July or perhaps even Labor Day should be the start of the campaign season for these officials!

Presidential Debate #2: Crowley Saves Obama From Consequences of Exposed “Spin” on Benghazi Attack….. For Now!

Last night’s debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York brought an uncharacteristic display of verbal fireworks as well as an unexpected intervention by a jobless NFL replacement referee disguised as the moderator.  To be sure, Candy Crowley was doing a creditable job in a difficult position; that is until the issue of the Administration’s description of the September 11 attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi surfaced.

Governor Romney sternly asked the President why he spent two weeks promoting the improbable claim that the four murders were part of a protest against the anti-Islamic video posted on the internet.  Obama countered that he stated the attack was an act of terrorism the day after it happened.  He pointedly challenged Romney to review the transcript of his statement.  At that point, Candy Crowley inappropriately intervened.   She supported the President’s claim that on the afternoon of September 12 he had indeed expressed the idea that it had been a terrorist attack, much to the delight of the uninformed members of the audience.  While the transcript shows the President asserting that the U.S. will not be deterred by acts of terrorism, he did not connect such acts to the events in Benghazi.  He had been speaking about his part in the annual 9/11 memorial services, and terrorist attacks in general, when he mentioned the attack of the previous day.  In addition, his comments over the next two weeks showed no desire to label the Benghazi attack as coming from terrorists, either when being questioned directly or being given an opportunity to confirm what other governmental officials had said.

So what is the real chronology of the statements following the murders and fire which destroyed our diplomatic post?  On September 20, Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, posted the following on their web site, referring to statements made September 14, or three days after the attack:

1) “Last week, White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted that ‘these protests, were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region.’ On Friday, he claimed:  ‘This is a fairly volatile situation, and it is in response not to US policy, not to, obviously, the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video – a film – that we have judged to be reprehensive and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it. But this is not a case of protests directed at the United States, writ large, or at US policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive and – to Muslims.'”

Greenwald included this quote from September 16:

2) “On Sunday, UN ambassador Susan Rice, when asked about the impetus for the attack, said that ‘this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,’ and added: ‘In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.’ In other interviews, she insisted that the Benghazi violence was a “spontaneous” reaction to the film.”

Yet, CNN had stated the following in an article posted the evening of September 12:

3) “The Benghazi consulate was one of several American diplomatic missions that faced protests after the online release of a film that ridiculed Muslims and depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a child molester, womanizer and ruthless killer.”

“But U.S. sources said Wednesday the four-hour assault in Benghazi had been planned, with the attackers using the protest as a diversion.”

My comment:  Who were these sources, were their suspicions disregarded, and if so, for what purpose?

From Glenn Kessler, five quotes from his “The Fact Checker” article in the September 27 site of the Washington Post show a gradual shift in the opinions of those in Washington (other than the President) and after Libya had already understood what had happened:

4) “The way these perpetrators acted and moved, and their choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”  — Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, president of Libya’s General National Congress, Sept. 16

5) “I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy….The best information we have now, the facts that we have now indicate that this was an opportunistic attack on our embassy. The attack began and evolved and escalated over several hours at our embassy — our diplomatic post in Benghazi. It evolved and escalated over several hours.— Mathew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, testimony before Congress, Sept. 19, after being asked a direct question.

6)  “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self- evident.
“He also made clear that at this point, based on the information he has — and he is briefing the Hill on the most up-to-date intelligence — we have no information at this point that suggests that this was a significantly preplanned attack, but this was the result of opportunism, taking advantage of and exploiting what was happening as a result of reaction to the video that was found to be offensive.” Carney, news briefing, Sept. 20

7)  “Witnesses tell CBS News that there was never an anti-American protest outside of the consulate. Instead they say it came under planned attack. That is in direct contradiction to the administration’s account.”   Margaret Brennan CBS News correspondent, CBS News report aired Sept. 20

 “What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans.”   Hillary Clinton, statement at a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Sept. 21, 2012

Yet, President Obama still continued to resist calling it a terrorist attack, as of two weeks after it had occurred:

9)  “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.” Obama, speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Sept. 25

Next Monday October 22, the third and final presidential debate will be held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.  The topic—– Foreign Policy!

Mr. President, I join a few million of my fellow U.S. citizens who are curious as to how you will try to spin your way out of this latest, shall we call it, “misrepresentation?”

“Yes” on Ohio Issue 1, A Constitutional Convention: After 100 Years, It’s Time!

The last time Ohio held a constitutional convention was in 1912.  According to an article posted 10/1/2012 by the Ohio Liberty Coalition, 34 of its 42 proposed amendments were accepted by the voters.  Among these was a requirement that the citizens of the state shall have the opportunity to call for a constitutional convention every twenty years.   While the voters rejected the four succeeding opportunities, it’s time to call for a review of this document.  Voters must be assured that all proposed amendments, whether fixing simple “legal absurdities” or fundamentally new items, must be approved with a statewide ballot.

Those who oppose the call for such a convention focus on these objections:  the concern over contentious issues, the existence of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, a lack of public interest in a convention and the expense of such a gathering.

#1)  Contentious issues:  The Ohio Liberty Coalition cited a 2006 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer which listed the pros and cons of calling a convention.  The article stated the topics of “abortion, civil unions, gambling, gun control, home rule, judicial selection, school funding, tax reform, term limits and tort reform” as current issues which are “deeply divisive.”  That these unresolved issues are contentious was seen as a reason to avoid them by not calling for a convention!  Anyone experienced in making relationships work knows that avoidance solves nothing.  Only with respectful discussion will problems be resolved.

#2)  Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission:   The Ohio General Assembly created this group which will offer its recommendations after the elections.  This commission may very well suggest some good changes to the state’s constitution.  However, those supporting Issue 2 (the flawed redistricting proposal) are likely to hamper the commission’s effectiveness because of their conviction that “politicians sit in back rooms and draw (district) lines that guarantee jobs for themselves and their friends” (Ellis Jacobs, attorney with the Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition).  Instead, recommendations from this commission could be presented to the constitutional convention as a helpful starting point.

#3)  Lack of Public Interest, or Awareness?:  The Plain Dealer article also claimed that “a strong consensus in favor (of) a constitutional reform is a condition for a successful constitutional convention— there is no such existing popular consensus.”  I contend that the lack of consensus for this convention is not from the absence of very real necessity, but from a general lack of public awareness in most things governmental.  Apathy caused by the distasteful aspects of politics plus the abundance of fun diversions is the real problem.  The decline of basic current events knowledge is evident in random television news media interviews of the public.  A once-in-a-century event like a constitutional convention would increase public awareness and spark civic involvement; thus, protecting rights for ourselves and for future generations.

#4)   Expense:  The cost of a convention with 99 members must certainly be recognized.  However, we can view this undertaking positively using a practical perspective.  We have gone a century without incurring any expense for a full review of our state’s constitution.  If approved, this project amounts to nothing more than paying for one convention member for each year since the last in-depth look at our state’s most important document.

Conclusion:  Vote “Yes” on Issue 1 because the time for a thorough review of Ohio’s constitution is overdue. Piecemeal revisions over the last ten decades have contributed to the vitality of this critical document.  Nevertheless, 100 years between “physicals” is too long to ensure that it continues to be a cohesive foundation for a just society.

“No” on Ohio Issue 2: Redistricting Proposal

There is agreement from nearly everyone that Ohio’s current system to periodically redraw district lines is flawed.  The key question is, “Is the proposed amendment to Ohio’s constitution an improvement?”

“Why change Congressional district lines?”  Redistricting is a state’s required task more annoying than spring cleaning even though it, fortunately, takes place only once every ten years instead of annually.  Populations between states and within a state will literally move over time so that redistricting is necessary.  After each Census, each state’s number of House representatives is set for the next decade.  Even if that number is unchanged, each state must adjust districts within the state to ensure similar population between the districts.  Historically, the party in power dominates the map-drawing, usually to the displeasure of the minority party.  Such has been the case in Ohio as the Republicans have had the upper hand for the last three redistricting processes.  Nine states have gone to a form of appointed citizens commissions to redraw the lines according to the Springfield Sun-News on 10/6/2012.  Ohio is looking to pass its version on November 6.

“No politicians on the commission”… not true.  The proponents of Issue 2 say that it will remove politics from the process by creating a commission of twelve (four Democrats, four Republicans and four Independents), none of whom are “politicians,” to redraw the boundaries.  This is a very noble start.  How will this be accomplished?  An article by Ellis Jacobs, attorney with the Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition, printed in the Hamilton JournalNews (9/30/2012) said Issue 2 was “a proposal that would take the power to draw district boundaries away from the politicians and put it in the hands of the people of Ohio.”  However, Brad Smith (a law professor at Capital University) with an article in the same issue, countered with “…, but this is misleading.  State and federal politicians are banned from the commission, but local politicians and their families are welcome to apply.”  There would be an ample supply of local politicians to become involved, Mr. Smith reminds us, because Ohio has “88 counties, 1,308 townships, 247 cities, 691 villages and 718 school boards.”  The Springfield Sun-News reported on 10/6/2012: “Jim Slagle, an attorney for the Campaign for Accountable Redistricting said those officials would likely be cut during the selection process that grants party leaders the opportunity to eliminate candidates.”  In actuality, there is no guarantee that politicians will be excluded, especially since party leaders are involved in the selection process which includes local office holders as candidates for the commission.  It creates a “foxes will not be guarding the hen house, but they will help to choose who will” scenario.  Guess who wins there.

Ohio State Bar Association and Ohio Judicial Conference Oppose:  The Wheeling Intelligencer News Register described on 10/9/2012 how the selection process would work.  “Applicants for the panel would be narrowed down by a panel of judges, then shaved even more by Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly.”  Not only is the direct involvement of incumbent politicians reaffirmed, but the paper goes on to state “neither the state Bar Association nor the Ohio Judicial Conference like the Issue 2 proposal in part because of its complexity and the likelihood it would be challenged in court.”  Brad Smith quotes the Bar Association which stated “by directly involving the judicial branch of our Ohio government in the most political of activities, that is, redistricting, the proposed amendment attacks a most fundamental of Constitutional safeguards, the separation of powers.”

In other words, the judiciary must not  participate in the political mechanics of government.  The problem of this inappropriate involvement would be compounded further if the state’s Supreme Court had to rule on the constitutionality of a process it participated in!

“Real Issues or an Agenda?” That the current system is flawed is without dispute.  Still, one can gain an insight to possible ulterior motives when reviewing other reasons listed by proponents for the amendment.  Ellis Jacobs wrote, “The passage of Issue 2 is vital to the future of our state.  The biggest issues that we face—jobs, taking care of senior citizens, women’s health, poverty and rebuilding our crumbling public infrastructure—will not simply solve themselves.”  His view is that the current General Assembly will not work together, claiming “gridlock” in Ohio.

  1. Regarding jobs, Ohio’s unemployment rate is below the national average.  The seasonally adjusted rate for August was 7.2%, which was lower than other states which also benefitted from the automotive bailout.  Something must be going right with the current arrangement in Ohio led by Governor Kasich.  Redistricting cannot alter the effects of a national economy dragged down by the other thirty states with higher unemployment rates.
  2. If senior citizens and the problem of poverty are not receiving the funds we feel they deserve, we should look again to the slumping national economy (impacting employment and pay rates across state boundaries) which reduces tax revenue.  It’s easy to forget that Governor Kasich was also hired by the voters to reduce the state’s budget deficits which had gathered steam under the last two governors, one Republican and one Democrat.  He has done that.
  3. Crumbling infrastructure is a third “mom and apple pie” issue which is neither unique to Ohio nor dependent on more “competitive congressional and legislative districts” as Mr. Jacobs contends.  We have only recently understood the magnitude of this severe danger nationwide.  Playing catch-up will be fiscally difficult in view of other worthy social programs (see #2) also competing for scarce funds.
  4. As far as “women’s health” is concerned, let us recognize it for the euphemism that it primarily is (i.e. abortions and abortion-causing drugs).  Planned Parenthood is for Issue 2, Right to Life (which promotes health and life for ALL individuals) is opposed.

Speaking of agendas, Robert Brems, Sr. of the Coshocton Tribune editorial board and a supporter of Issue 2, conceded on 10/7/2012 what we all probably suspected, “Make no mistake: The Democrats would have done the same thing if they had won state control in the 2010 elections. In fact, they sabotaged an attempt to bring more reason to the redistricting process before the 2010 elections, hoping they would win and redistrict to their advantage.”  Being the current minority party is encouraging them to try more creative thinking for getting their way.

Other Opportunities for Reform:  The Columbus Dispatch reported on 5/21/2012 that the Redistricting Task Force, created by the Ohio legislature has a 12/15/2012 deadline to file its report on recommended changes.  If the voters feel this will likely produce more self-serving ideas from the legislators, Issue 1 is another alternative.  As prescribed by Ohio’s state constitution, the voters are being asked if they want a constitutional convention to perform a top-to-bottom review of the entire document.  Pros and cons for this will follow soon in a posting on this blog.

My suggestion:  I propose a plan of my own.  Individuals interested in serving on this commission would submit a given number of petitions, signed by registered voters, to place their names on a statewide ballot.  The main requirement would be that all potential candidates would not have registered for any political party primary in at least the last eight years.  Contributions to each candidate for the petition process and campaign must come evenly from individual registered voters of each party.  If one receives more donations from those in a particular party, this would be permissible only if the amount received from independents is greater.  The twelve receiving the most votes in a statewide election would be on the commission.  The group would be required to submit a redistricting proposal to the state’s Supreme Court for approval of constitutionality.  Time restraints for initial and subsequent proposals, if necessary, would be the same as those for when the General Assembly performed the same redistricting duties.  The budget for the commission would be established in advance by the General Assembly based on its typical time and expense for the same process.  The commission would request the Assembly for additional funds if needed.

Conclusion: a “NO” vote for Ohio Issue 2 on the 2012 general election ballot.  It doesn’t take redistricting out of the politicians’ hand as it claims.  By involving judges in the commission selection process, it casts aside the critical separation of powers within the government.  The list of issues voiced by some proponents of Issue 2 remains unresolved, not because of complacent incumbents in a rigged system, but primarily because of statewide financial limitations.  The urgency for this ballot item is overstated as there is a legislative task force in session (with recommendations due soon) and the periodic opportunity for calling a constitutional convention is on the same November 6 ballot.

A Political Ad Worth Seeing

“When the cable company never fixes your problem, you feel put down.”

“When you feel put down, you run for President even though you have no qualifications.”

“When you win the presidency with no qualifications, you accomplish nothing in office.”

“When you accomplish nothing in office, you try to divert attention from your poor record by talking about Big Bird. Don’t talk about Big Bird, resign from office and go work for the cable company.”