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Fire officials say two adults died in an early morning blaze at a southern Ohio home
|Sanders heading to Southeast Ohio - Youngstown VindicatorGoogle News / 6 h. 19 min. ago more|
Sanders heading to Southeast OhioYoungstown VindicatorVermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is heading deep into Trump country today with a morning rally planned in southern Ohio. The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate will talk about the economy and health care in Portsmouth. Republican Donald Trump ...and more »
|Retrial for scalded boy's dad begins; defense seeks mistrialABCNews.com / 7 h. 1 min. ago more|
A retrial for the father of a 4-year-old boy who died after the boy's stepmother put him in a scalding bath has begun with defense attorneys seeking a third mistrial in Ohio
|Ohio Senate Republicans return to consider override - Toledo BladeGoogle News / 7 h. 9 min. ago more|
Toledo BladeOhio Senate Republicans return to consider overrideToledo BladeCOLUMBUS — Senate Republicans will return to the Statehouse on Tuesday to consider whether to override their governor's vetoes of budget provisions nearly two months ago that he saw as restricting Ohio's expansion of Medicaid that he has fought to ...Ohio Senate to consider overriding Governor Kasich's budget bill vetoesNBC4i.comOhio Senate prepares to override some Kasich vetoesThe Columbus Dispatchall 191 news articles »
|Ohio lawyer to head Northern District - Toledo BladeGoogle News / 7 h. 12 min. ago more|
Toledo BladeOhio lawyer to head Northern DistrictToledo BladeA Chagrin Falls, Ohio, lawyer has been named U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and will supervise the prosecution of federal crimes in the district that includes the Toledo area. Justin E. Herdman, a partner at Jones Day, was nominated by ...and more »
|Classic Lotto winning numbers for 08/21/2017; Ohio Lottery results - cleveland.comGoogle News / 7 h. 46 min. ago more|
cleveland.comClassic Lotto winning numbers for 08/21/2017; Ohio Lottery resultscleveland.comCLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Classic Lotto jackpot has increased to $18.2 million for Wednesday's drawing after no tickets matched the winning numbers from Monday's drawing. The Classic Lotto numbers are 8-10-26-37-43-46 Kicker 665724. The Lucky for Life ...and more »
|At Falls of the Ohio in Clarksville, solar eclipse a unifying experience - NewsandtribuneGoogle News / 10 h. 18 min. ago more|
NewsandtribuneAt Falls of the Ohio in Clarksville, solar eclipse a unifying experienceNewsandtribuneOn Monday, almost 240 years later, people hailing from all over the region stopped at the Falls of the Ohio — near the same spot where Clark and his soldiers embarked — to watch the most complete solar eclipse visible in North America since the late ...and more »
|Haupt: Why traditional media segued to the leftWatchdog.org / 10 h. 38 min. ago more|
“Edmund Burk designated the Fourth Estate as watchdogs of government; the press.” – Albert Clogen The media has long been regarded as the most important force in government. It is considered the heart and soul of democratic egalitarianism. Thomas Carlyle is a legendary writer and considered the most conspicuous social commentator of his time. He saw the press as instrumental to the birth of democracy, spreading facts and opinions and sparking revolution against tyranny. Carlyle was the first luminary who recognized the importance of the press during the French Revolution. He said, “A Fourth Estate, of able editors, springs up, increases and multiplies; irrepressible, incalculable.” It is a simple fact that a functioning democracy requires informed citizens. Since our coordination of jurisprudence is a government of “we the people,” rule by the people entails that the people should be informed. And no governing body can operate without knowledge of the issues on which it is to rule. In a representative democracy, the role of the media is a key ingredient to the success of this ability to rule. It not only has an obligation to inform the citizens, it is responsible for bridging the communications gap between the government and voters. It is their duty to indubitably elucidate complex national policy, and … “Write to be understood, and speak to be heard.” – Lawrence Powell Singer Jim Morrison told us, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” It is the media’s responsibility to make the actions of the government known to the public. They have a duty to give equal representation to all opinions as a source of public information. Without media, the loop between the government and the public welfare no longer exists. This makes media indispensable in a functional representative democracy. Without an unbiased media, a utilitarian democracy has little chance of surviving. Regardless of public opinion, the media’s obligation is to report and inform not to trade appeasement for approval. “Ratings don’t last. Good journalism does.” – Dan Rather Today the Fourth Estate has taken a back seat from professionalism. The evolution of the liberal media since the 1950s clearly validates how they have dishonored their once-esteemed vocation. The great “sell out” started after WWII. Media was used to promote the war effort and the networks took notice. And now with national TV in every home, our media outlets realized they had a captive audience. For most all national networks, this was a financial blessing, but for the public it was a curse as they traded ethics for dollars. “Money often costs too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson But why did they choose the Left and not the Right? After WWII, there was a tremendous focus on higher education. And since many of our universities converged on teaching liberal ideology, they received grant money to promote the liberal model of the economy and its benefits to our society. As a result, new journalists, reporters and news anchors were indoctrinated by liberal professors about the evils of capitalism and the damage done by the free market. This played right into the hand of the left as these reporters became liberal robots. “When yellow journalism replaced real reporting, it forever displaced the Fourth Estate in Parliament’s reporter’s galley.” – Sir Walter Ebson By the late 1950s, far left politics dominated most major national newspaper media organizations. And once television became popular, liberals saw how Americans could be influenced by it. This is when they made their move to gain control of the networks. With predominance over them, they controlled all prime time TV and used this valuable air time to sway a gullible public into believing the liberal ideologues would save them. And since news media and political parties share crucial geographic boundaries, this was an obviously beneficial marriage of influential entities. And because all “media markets” and “voting districts” share the same characteristics, they were collectively able to buy predominant market shares. It is with these combined resources they have been manipulating elections for decades: “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” – Edmund Burke The media also realized since the larger U.S. cities are controlled by the far left, the vast majority of newspaper readers and TV news-watchers in these cities must be Democrats. Since the media did not want to alienate their markets’ voters, they bought into the leftist agenda. Yet this is actually a bit of an oxymoron. What came first, the chicken or the egg? While both the media and Democrats are ultimately dependent on their demographics for survival, the Democratic Party is the one that controls the populations of the major cities; not the media. The media simply nurses from its udder, which keeps it nourished. The left must remain diehard bedfellows with the media to maintain their politically-social dominance. “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” – Rob Heinlein Plutarch stated, “In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.” Instead of liberating voters from perjury-emanating spin-hacks, the right of center depends on new age media to defy them. But this only reaches their base while the left sustains inclusive exposure. Traditional media is firmly entrenched in progressive ideology and willingly espouses this while the right-of-centers call talk radio hosts and vent about this bias. When the right has had occasions to retort, they failed to sway public opinion with mundane repartee. Liberal media continues to control markets by demagoguing half-truth opinionated news, claiming this aggrandizement is reporting. “Truth does not sell nearly as well as a cleverly contrived disingenuous fairy tail.” – Chadwick Black The left keeps the wheels of deception running with well-oiled spin. They feed the media unlimited agitprop to enhance their rhetoric of helping the poor, punishing the rich, and chastening those who contribute most to our nation. The media in turn pontificates this re-branded federalism with gallant enthusiasm that helps them expand federal programs and bring federal dollars into urban markets that support their patronage. Now, reporters espouse more hyperbole than a science fiction writer. They’ve been trained liberalism is synonymous with journalism by federalist professors. CNN’s Jeff Zucker’s nose grew greater than Pinocchio’s when he said, “If it’s of real news value, we’ll cover it”. In establishing our independence, the pen and the press had a merit equal to that of the sharpest sword. Newspapers were pivotal in the making of America. As the only mass media of the time, they fanned the flames of rebellion, which sustained loyalty and ultimately brought independence. Without the contributions of Ben Franklin, Tommy Paine and some of our lesser known writers, we would still be begging Parliament for tax relief so we could buy tea and crumpets! “What motivated the British to colonize much of the world was they were looking for a decent meal.” – Max Harrison The progressive media has catechized our nation into divide. The last eight years of reporting was abhorrent. We had an administration that ruined free markets, the job market, ravaged national and international security, and was praised for it. Americans have been dumbed down by spoiled brats with typewriters. Anyone who has not discovered the many new sources for altruistic journalism is an obvious candidate to buy a 1985 Yugoslavian Yugo. Dr. King told us “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Republicanism can’t survive without a candidly ingenuous Fourth Estate. “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.” – Vladimir Lenin
|Dad of HS Football Player Convicted of Rape Shot and Killed After Shooting JudgeOhio News / 10 h. 54 min. ago more|
An Ohio judge was shot outside his courthouse Monday in an ambush-style attack, and the suspect is the father of a AnneClaire Stapleton, Shachar Peled and Ellie Kaufman of CNN, Richmond was killed when authorities returned fire after what was identified as a deliberate act to kill the judge. Ma'Lik Richmond, and teammate Trent Mays were found guilty of the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl.
|Ohio State football | OSU names school-record nine captains - The Columbus DispatchGoogle News / 10 h. 59 min. ago more|
The Columbus DispatchOhio State football | OSU names school-record nine captainsThe Columbus DispatchUrban Meyer is not ready to anoint his 2017 team as a great one, but the Ohio State coach has consistently heaped praise on the Buckeyes' veteran leadership. “I like our team,” he said Monday in his weekly news conference. “I hate to be redundant — my ...The No. 2 post might be perfect starting gate for Ohio StateLandof10.comOhio State football: Freshman running back JK Dobbins has earned right to play this yearNCAA.comJT Barrett among nine Ohio State captains for 2017 seasoncleveland.comOSU - The Lantern -Eleven Warriors -10TVall 80 news articles »
|Shootout at an Ohio courthouseABCNews.com / 11 h. 4 min. ago more|
The gunman died at the scene after a judge was ambushed and returned fire with his own weapon.
|Man who shot judge was father of player convicted of rapeABCNews.com / 12 h. ago more|
Officials say a man who shot and wounded a judge outside an Ohio county courthouse before being gunned down by a probation officer was the father of a high school football player who was convicted of rape in 2013
|Judge Hospitalized After Ambush Shooting in Steubenville, Ohio - NBCNews.comGoogle News / 12 h. 9 min. ago more|
NBCNews.comJudge Hospitalized After Ambush Shooting in Steubenville, OhioNBCNews.comJudge Hospitalized After Ambush Shooting in Steubenville, Ohio. Mon, Aug 21. The suspected shooter is the father of one of the two players found guilty in the 2012 rape case involving the local football team, though police say the shooter's motive is ...
|Don't pitch your eclipse glasses: Ohio is the heart of 2024 solar event - Cincinnati.comGoogle News / 12 h. 20 min. ago more|
Cincinnati.comDon't pitch your eclipse glasses: Ohio is the heart of 2024 solar eventCincinnati.comThe 2024 eclipse, projected to stretch from Texas to Maine, will sweep through much of the Buckeye State, the path of totality stretching from just north of Cincinnati up through Cleveland, covering much of northern Ohio as it passes up into the East ...Path of next solar eclipse hits Ohio in 2024WKYC-TVOhio a hot spot for next solar eclipse in 2024WLWT CincinnatiPath Of Next Solar Eclipse Hits Western Pennsylvania, OhioCBS Pittsburgh / KDKAall 4,758 news articles »
|The Latest: Wounded Ohio judge oversaw suspect's lawsuitABCNews.com / 12 h. 41 min. ago more|
Records show an Ohio judge shot and wounded outside his courthouse was overseeing a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the man suspected of shooting him
|Judge shot outside Ohio courthouse returns fire; suspect killed - CNNGoogle News / 13 h. 44 min. ago more|
CNNJudge shot outside Ohio courthouse returns fire; suspect killedCNN(CNN) A man who shot a judge in an "ambush-style" attack outside an Ohio courthouse was killed when the judge and a probation officer returned fire, authorities said Monday. Common Pleas Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. was shot about 8 a.m. outside the ...Ohio Judge Returns Fire After He Is Ambushed on Way to CourtNew York TimesOhio judge shot in 'ambush' carried out by father of man convicted in Steubenville rape case, officials sayWashington PostOhio Judge Returns Fire After 'Ambush' Outside CourthouseNPRNBCNews.com -Chicago Tribune -TIME -WTOV Steubenvilleall 190 news articles »
|Ohio judge shot in ambush attack outside courthouse in stable conditionABCNews.com / 14 h. 4 min. ago|
|China, North Korea fume at U.S.-South Korea military drill Big News Network.com / 14 h. 39 min. ago more|
BEIJING, China - As the U.S. and South Korea began their joint military drills on the Korean peninsula, China renewed calls for the two nations to suspend the drills. The war games that
|Authorities: Man who shot judge near Ohio courthouse was father of Steubenville football player convicted of 2012 rapeABCNews.com / 14 h. 42 min. ago more|
Authorities: Man who shot judge near Ohio courthouse was father of Steubenville football player convicted of 2012 rape
|Kasich not backing bailout for Ohio nuclear plants - Fremont News MessengerGoogle News / 14 h. 49 min. ago more|
Fremont News MessengerKasich not backing bailout for Ohio nuclear plantsFremont News MessengerOREGON, Ohio - Gov. John Kasich said Monday that he can't see supporting a proposed financial rescue that FirstEnergy Corp. maintains is needed to keep alive the state's two aging nuclear plants. He said it's up to the utility to figure out how to keep ...and more »
|Judge shot, wounded near Ohio courthouse; gunman killedABCNews.com / 14 h. 52 min. ago more|
Officials say an Ohio judge walking from his car to the county courthouse was shot by a gunman but managed to fire back before a probation officer stepped in and ultimately killed the suspect
|Russia mocks America’s non-immigrant visa freeze Big News Network.com / 15 h. 25 min. ago more|
MOSCOW, Russia - After the U.S. Embassy in Russia announced on Monday that it would implement a visa freeze for Russian citizens - Russian officials have said that it wouldn’t respond to the
|Meyer: Freshman RB J.K. Dobbins earned right to playABCNews.com / 15 h. 51 min. ago more|
Ohio State true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins expected to make splash in debut
|Officials consult near the crime scene at the Huntington Bank, next to the Courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, Monday Aug. 21, 2017, after Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. was ambushed and ...ABCNews.com / 16 h. 22 min. ago more|
Officials consult near the crime scene at the Huntington Bank, next to the Courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, Monday Aug. 21, 2017, after Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. was ambushed and shot while walking to work early Monday morning. (Dar
|Secret Service out of funds: Trump’s frequent travel blamed Big News Network.com / 16 h. 40 min. ago more|
WASHINGTON, U.S. - In a shocking expose, the Secret Service is believed to no longer be able to pay its agents to carry out its protective mission. The expose, by USA Today revealed tha
|The Latest: Sheriff: Judge fired back at gunman, killing himOhio News / 17 h. 19 min. ago more|
This undated still image from video provided by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, shows Jefferson County, Ohio Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. Bruzzese was shot and wounded Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, as he walked toward his county's courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, and a suspect was killed after a probation officer returned fire, officials said.
|Ohio judge shot in 'ambush' outside courthouse returns fire and kills attackerOhio News / 17 h. 19 min. ago more|
This undated still image from video provided by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, shows Jefferson County, Ohio, Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. Bruzzese was shot and wounded Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, as he walked toward his county's courthouse in Steubenville and a suspect was killed after a probation officer returned fire, officials said. This undated still image from video provided by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, shows Jefferson County, Ohio, Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. Bruzzese was shot and wounded Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, as he walked toward his county's courthouse in Steubenville and a suspect was killed after a probation officer returned fire, officials said.
|U.S. Navy probes destroyer collision, operations paused Big News Network.com / 17 h. 49 min. ago more|
WASHINGTON, U.S. - In what became the second time in two months that a Navy destroyer based at the 7th Fleet’s home port of Yokosuka, Japan, has been involved in a collision at sea - the USS
|Judge shot, wounded near Ohio courthouse; suspect killedOhio News / 19 h. 35 min. ago more|
U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators are pledging to work quickly to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 23-year-old pact that President Donald Trump has called the worst trade deal in history. U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators are pledging to work quickly to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 23-year-old pact that President Donald Trump has called the worst trade deal in history.
|Ohio militia leaders deny neo-Nazi linkOhio News / 1 d. 0 h. 4 min. ago more|
John Addy saw the many images from last weekend's deadly demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia - those that prominently featured camouflage-wearing men in tactical gear carrying military-style weapons while standing guard over the feuding factions - and expected he soon would field some phone calls. The group was part of the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, and its leader, Christian Yingling, told reporters he and his men had gone to Virginia as a neutral party, one there to defend the First Amendment and to provide security if necessary.
|Hard to Breathe: How Northeast Ohio's Climate Leads to Increased Risk for Respiratory ProblemsOhio News / 1 d. 4 h. 13 min. ago more|
Opponents say they're a financial burden; supporters say they help cut down on air pollution, which then improves respiratory health. There is one part of Ohio where the risk for experiencing breathing problems is one of the highest in the country.
|Dimitrov downs Kyrgios for biggest career crown Big News Network.com / 1 d. 4 h. 36 min. ago more|
Cincinnati - Grigor Dimitrov captured his seventh and biggest career title Sunday, defeating Australias Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 to win the ATP Cincinnati Masters and boost his confidence for the US Ope
|Dimitrov, Muguruza lift maiden Cincinnati Masters title Big News Network.com / 1 d. 6 h. 18 min. ago more|
Cincinnati [U.S.A], August 21 (ANI): Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov continued to perform at his menacing best as he trounced Australian player Nick Kyrgios in straight sets to lift his maiden 2
|US warship collides with tanker near Singapore; 10 missing Big News Network.com / 1 d. 6 h. 36 min. ago more|
Singapore - A US Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with a tanker early on Monday in waters east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca. At least 10 sailors are missing. The Navy said five others
|Ohio defends Wright Bros.Ohio News / 1 d. 8 h. 37 min. ago more|
An Ohio lawmaker has given a framed copy of his resolution rejecting Connecticut's claim that another aviator beat the Wright brothers as first in flight to an aviation history organization. State Rep. Rick Perales of Beavercreek presented the National Aviation Heritage Alliance with the gift Friday.
|Kasich to Trump: Staff chaos hurting agendaOhio News / 1 d. 13 h. 2 min. ago more|
Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich urged President Donald Trump on Sunday to stop the staff chaos at the White House and "settle it down." Strategist Steve Bannon last week became the latest top White House official to be shown the door.
|Grim week at the White House concludes, but problems remain Big News Network.com / 1 d. 13 h. 39 min. ago more|
WASHINGTON, U.S. - The week that ends today, is set to feature as one of the most controversial ones in the new president’s tenure, and there have been many such weeks when the West Wing has
|North Korea returns to making startling nuclear war threats Big News Network.com / 1 d. 14 h. 46 min. ago more|
PYONGYANG, North Korea - Responding to the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises set to start on the Korean peninsula on Monday - North Korea has fired another warning at America.In an
|Ousted Bannon warns the GOP to get in line with Trump’s plan Big News Network.com / 1 d. 16 h. 20 min. ago more|
WASHINGTON, U.S. - Following his high-profile departure from the White House, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has issued a warning to GOP leadership, asking the party to unite behind President Donald
|Amazona s debuts Instant Pickup at UCLA: Order and get goods in minutesOhio News / 1 d. 17 h. 23 min. ago more|
Amazon on Tuesday debuted Instant Pickup, a service aimed at college students who need basic items fast. A Prime member can order select items online and have it in two minutes, the online retailer said.
|Trump's central Ohio supporters prefer his tough talk to his rantsOhio News / 1 d. 19 h. 42 min. ago more|
Some wonder what is really going on when President Donald Trump saber-rattles with a nuclear-armed North Korea or does not forcefully take sides when white nationalists clash with anti-racism protesters. "Trump can't be that stupid.
|Digging up DaliOhio News / 1 d. 23 h. 59 min. ago more|
Last month, famed artist Salvador DalA made the news again, and he's been dead for 28 years. He made a brief appearance aboveground July 20, and you will be interested to know that his famous mustache is still intact and is still in "its classic shape of ten past ten."
|Congressman: Repealing death tax would be ‘nirvana’Watchdog.org / 6 d. 15 h. 21 min. ago more|
It was Founding Father Benjamin Franklin who said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” One Illinois congressman wants to disconnect the two by eliminating the so-called death tax. Tax reform is one of the major issues being pushed by the administration of President Donald Trump. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois, recently shared what’s been concerning his constituents the most. “Less government,” Shimkus said. “Individual responsibility, lower taxes, more personal freedoms and liberties.” While tax reform has been elusive so far in Washington, Shimkus said one issue he hopes to get right is eliminating the federal estate tax, also known as the death tax. “We don’t want triple taxation,” Shimkus said. “We want a simple code that says, ‘You’ve got income, you’re gonna be taxed on income. You’re not going to be taxed on assets evaluations over families, over generations and force people to sell farms.’” Tax reform is going to happen, Shimkus said, it’s just a matter of what reforms and when. “So now it’s a matter of how you get lower rates,” Shimkus said. “To get lower rates you have to reduce what we call the loopholes, or the exemptions and all that stuff, and that’s what the fight is going to be.” As for the estate tax, Shimkus said it doesn’t just hit family farms with triple taxation. “It could be the automobile repair shop down the street now,” Shimkus said, “with that much assets and just a building and equipment.” Shimkus said repealing the estate tax would “be nirvana.” Even if Congress abolishes the federal estate tax, Illinois still levies levels the tax at the state level.
|Haupt: Abandoning the gold standard created legalized theftWatchdog.org / 7 d. 10 h. 33 min. ago more|
“The gold standard kept us honest and forced us to control out of control spending.” – Lane Brody Alan Greenspan told us, “Gold is a good place to put money, given its value as a currency outside of the policies conducted by governments.” This basic truism certifies that money has emerged by evolution from the market process. It was not invented by governments. For centuries, economic forces contributed to the evolution of world monetary systems. The security of nations has always been judged by how they manage their money. Those with stable economies have fewer social and political conflicts. Nations that don’t practice credible guardianship of their currency continually fight for survival. There is nothing more destructive to any society than a government that cannot manage their finances competently. Although we’ve been told “Money can’t buy happiness,” that wise comic Groucho Marx reminded us that, “It certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” Centralized banking systems have been around for centuries. Dutch merchant Johan Palmstruch formed Stockholms Banco in Sweden 1657. But this bank ended in disaster when the value of the paper currency exceeded the amount of dalers backing it. When customers learned this, there was a run on his bank and it collapsed. In France 50 years later, John Law, a Scottish womanizer and gambler once convicted of murder and exiled by England, talked the French into helping him open a central bank, the Banque Générale backed by government IOUs. His inept blundering caused the bank and the economy to collapse. Law was banned from France forever. Palmstruch and Law both forgot: “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No.1.” – Warren Buffett The first legitimate paper currency issued by European governments was distributed by colonial governments in North America. The shipment of goods between Europe and the colonies took so long, the colonists often ran out of cash. To pay for luxury items, due to a shortage of currency, the colonial governments used IOUs. This practice of “trading paper for goods” started in Canada, a French colony, in 1685. Military personnel were issued denominated playing cards signed by the governor to pay for goods instead of French coinage. Although primitive, this system of bartering worked well for their colonies: As Plato told us in 390 BC: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” By the mid 1800s, most countries adopted the gold standard. This guaranteed paper money could be redeemed for its value in gold. This also facilitated trade since it no longer had to be done with heavy gold bullion. It increased trust in world currencies since paper currency had value tied to a precious commodity, gold. And in 1913, America created the Federal Reserve to stabilize gold and currency values. Since printing money not backed by gold created hyperinflation, their goal was to keep inflation low and guarantee the health of the dollar. But that did not last. We soon would learn that: “Governments lie; bankers lie; even auditors sometimes lie: gold tells the truth.” – Lord Mogg In 1900, The Gold Standard Act officially placed the U.S. on the gold standard. America remained on the gold standard until President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Congress passed the Gold Reserve Act in 1933. It required all gold and gold certificates held by the Federal Reserve to be surrendered to the U.S. Treasury. All contracts and currency that required redemption in gold were declared null and void. He justified this claiming we wanted to stop the run on banks. But contrary to his populist propaganda, his real motive was simply to gain control of our money supply. He was planning massive, expensive socio-economic programs that required capital. Controlling the gold supply would give him money to do this. He knew: “He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation.” – James Garfield Before 1934, the government was allowed to print $20.67 in paper money for each ounce of gold. After FDR did his damage, it increased to $35; a difference of $14.33. By doing this, the value of the gold held by the government increased by over $3 billion! This enabled FDR to create $3 billion in new money out of nothing. He then used it to fund his expansion of government. In doing so, FDR flooded the market with currency, which initially helped the economy. However, this cost us dearly. FDR devalued U.S. paper money by 41 percent to finance his “Bad Deal.” This brought more uncertainty to industry and discouraged investment. Like our former president, he was totally unpredictable? As author Ivan Panin commented, “Of the future, man knows least; yet, about this, he worries most.” Reaction by the rest of the world to FDR’s actions was immediate. When they heard the U.S. pulled off of the gold standard, it stunned world leaders and seriously damaged world monetary markets. It also locked in pestiferous worldwide economic nationalism. Skyrocketing tariffs, trade subsidies, manipulated fiat currencies became universal and global leaders lost faith in the U.S. economy. Sweden, Holland, and France shortly abandoned the gold standard. This fiasco left international financial markets demoralized. FDR’s idea of a one size fits all economy failed the international litmus test. Author Dean Koonts reminded us that, “One man’s idea of perfect order is another man’s chaos.” Removing us from the gold standard caused irrevocable damage. And the passage of FDR’s next Bad Deal made matters worse. He spent like a junkie on a money fix. When the Treasury tightened its grip on currency, this economic uncertainly prolonged the Depression until WWII. FDR went too far. His credibility suffered ineluctable damage and the spell he cast over his Congress vanished quicker than Genie can go back into her bottle. Most of his legislation to expand government was rejected en masses by Congress. They knew we were headed to the “eve of destruction.” As Milton Freeman said, “The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus.” Four decades later, in 1971, the remaining U.S. ties to the gold standard were severed by President Richard Nixon. Desperately in need of money to pay for the Vietnam War he dubiously inherited from former President Lyndon B. Johnson, he unilaterally canceled the direct convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold. And we have had wafting free floating fiat currencies since. Later, he told critics: “Well, I screwed it up real good, didn’t I?” Since we’ve been divorced from the gold standard, we have suffered three atrocious recessions. Unemployment has been as high as 11 percent. These are horrendous numbers compared to the post WWII era, from 1947 to 1970, when we averaged less than 5 percent. Since government has the power to manipulate the quantity and value of our money, it controls the economy but not our free markets. U.S. Keynesianism has usurped the role of free enterprise and it has created a new era of austerity at the expense of prosperity. “We pay dearly each day for the cost of free money.” – Chadwell Black It’s impossible to return to the gold standard now. But we can resurrect the “classical school” of economics. The health of our economy is dependent upon its valued-real money supply and our free markets must adapt to the changes in equilibrium necessary for “laissez faire” government to work. This is the only responsible way for us to remain independent and maintain individual liberty. Every country that has taken control of their economies also found it necessary to restrain freedom and re-engineer society. “A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” – Milton Friedman
|New health care plan would make smaller, bipartisan reformsWatchdog.org / 12 d. 23 h. 54 min. ago more|
A number of Congressional members have begun working on a new alternative health-care plan after the last effort to replace Obamacare stalled. But a healthcare expert says it’s likely too late. The Problem Solvers’ Caucus, consisting of a bipartisan group of 43 House members, introduced a plan to try and combat the coming spike in health-care costs. Companies have until Aug. 16 to lock in their rates and decide whether they’ll participate in a county’s marketplace. Reps. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat, and Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, both from Illinois, are members of the 43-member Problem Solvers Caucus. The caucus unveiled a health-care plan last week that wouldn’t be as far-reaching as Obamacare or the American Healthcare Act, which stalled last month in the Senate. The new plan would make small reforms that have been largely agreed to by both parties. Republicans persuaded Democrats to go along with raising the small business exemption from 50 employees to 500. Democrats pushed to maintain levels of Medicaid expansion. The centerpiece is funding for the cost-sharing reduction program designed to keep premiums low. Without that, insurance companies have indicated that rates would skyrocket for high-risk or low income patients. President Donald Trump has hinted that he may pull that funding, but the bipartisan plan would appropriate it. The plan also includes coverage for chronic and pre-existing conditions, repealing the medical device tax, and giving states the ability to do business with companies across state lines. Kinzinger said there are still ways to improve health care for people over what’s out there now. “Unless the Senate can somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat this month, there is going to be a failing of the health-care system,” he said. “Let’s explore areas of common ground between Republicans and Democrats to try to help give people a better health-care system.” In a release, Lipinski said their plan will likely see detractors looking to blame the other side of the aisle for a collapse of the health-care industry. “Some partisans in both parties may even believe that if the ACA fails, the other side will get blamed in the next election,” Lipinski said. “Others will oppose it because they want the ACA to collapse.” Naomi Lopez Bauman, director of Healthcare Policy for the Goldwater Institute, thinks the failure to repeal Obamacare has killed momentum on more health-care votes in D.C. She thinks that any more action this year will be to simply subsidize providers to keep them offering plans. “Anything that they’re going to do this late in the game is going to basically involve throwing money at the exchanges,” she said. “After the debacle that was repeal and replace, there’s just not much appetite for the heavy lifting on major health-care reform this year.” She says that Trump could force the issue of reform by making lawmakers subject to the Obamacare exchanges. Insurance companies must submit whether they will participate in a county’s exchange by Aug. 16. ###
|Haupt: America and the Roman Empire’s political downfallWatchdog.org / 14 d. 11 h. 59 min. ago more|
“At the height of its mastery, Rome was the pulsing heart of the earth. The day the empire fell the world learned even the most stalwart empires can fail if avarice replaces prudence.” – Solon Greco There is not a continent on this planet where one cannot unearth the fallen ruins and silent stories of forgotten great civilizations. Tales of their broken past lay buried deep within the earth under the canopy of the bustling industry, imposing skyscrapers and apartment duplexes of a modern world. These fallen empires that once stood mighty among the most prodigious and influential societies of their respective era, all met their eventual demise for various reasons. There is a salient consensus on one collective attribution for failure; delusive management of finances and excessive taxation. “The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.” – Plato The overarching criterion for determining the collapse of these governments lays in their inability to deliver political goods and services coerced by their citizens. When supply doesn’t meet demand, it is impossible to sustain security and preserve law to regulate and supply blood to the arteries of its legislative body. This strangles their ability to officiate, and severely limits their functional capacity. It eventually cuts off their oxygen and they self-suffocate. There’s no timeline for failure. Some self-implode, with a total collapse of all institutions. Others fall without a whimper. There are no violent revolutions, or catastrophic natural disasters. Instead, they quietly fall victim to collapse unable to manage the central population. This is a consequence of man. “In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed defeats disorganized democracy.” – Matt Taibbi The Roman Empire reached its zenith in the 2nd century. At that time, there was unprecedented stability and prosperity. This powerful kingdom was an example of good stewardship. The Empire was ruled with authority and obedient restraint. Rome was a pillar of strength no man challenged. As their economy blossomed they became the world leader in the arts, education, and commerce. Their institutions and culture had a lasting influence on language, religion, architecture, and law. The value this brought to expansionism throughout the modern world was more significant than anyone will ever fathom. “Rome was great in arms, in government, and in law.” – Goldwin Smith But the decline of Rome became inevitable due to its immoderate and unmanageable greatness. Once all foe had been conquered, prosperity ended. Its aftermath was moral decay. Rudimentary principles of governing the lives of citizens became irrelevant. Incompetent leaders led to political necrosis, corruption and instability. The Senate and the Emperors were sullied with power, and thought themselves as cardinal gods. Inordinate spending led to economic decline, skyrocketing debt, oppressive taxation, inflation, and a devalued currency. Class warfare and cuts in the military further burdened the republic. Increasing dependence on municipal gratuities stifled incentive in favor of support from the treasury. “Rome was great as long as she had enemies who forced her to a vision of unity and heroism. When she had overcome them, she then began to die.” – Webb Dante Rome’s fall from grace as the epitome of world powers was less unpredictable than the weather in Tennessee. Who would ever think the mightiest of all mighty empires in the history of man would stumble into oblivious demise, without taking up arms to maintain its dignity? Although their future was clearly written on the Coliseum walls, they refused to remove the blinders that sheltered them from indulgent sins of omission. The magistrates frolicked in fruition, while intellectual mediocrity, over-population of the urban areas, disease ridden streets, prostitution, homosexuality, alcohol and drug abuse all led to social and legal putrefaction. This ultimately caused Rome’s collapse. This is what ended Classical Antiquity along with the fall of the great Roman Empire. “Today, Rome has not seen a modern building in more than half a century. It is a city frozen in time.” – Richard Meier The history of this once great republic was omnipresent in the minds of America’s founders as they created our republic centuries later. As a consequence of their deliberations and obvious reliance on divine providence, our founders shaped the United States, fashioned as the modern equivalent of the Roman Republic. And the similarities are illusory and uncanny. The Roman Republic was established in 509 BC by the overthrow of Roman King Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and expulsion of the Etruscan theocrats by the Latin Italic tribes from the south. And America is a prime example that history repeats itself. The Republic of the United States was birthed in a bloody revolution against the British King George over 2,000 years later. “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience?” – George Bernard Shaw Despite the efforts of our founders to set a different course than that experienced by our Roman predecessors, an analysis of these two great republics is inevitable. There are stark congruencies between them. Both societies were the pre-eminent entities in military might and economic power. They were leaders in culture, commerce, technology and ideas. Today, the world turns to America for guidance and leadership. In the heyday of the empire, Publius Cornelius Tacitus claimed even “things atrocious and shameless flock from all parts to Rome.” Thus today, as Romans claimed “all roads lead to Rome,” America projects the same image: All roads lead to the U.S. “America, just as Rome envisioned, considers the U.S. unequaled in national character and strength.” – Tibius Culens Roman politicians had difficulty disjoining public and private liabilities. As a consequence, public services declined while pet projects of the public officials and their patrician sponsors grew at the expense of their citizens. Multitudinous failed reforms were resisted by the patricians that parrot the partisan battles in America today. Middle class Romans were cowed by slave labor much as rising technological change and the transfer of entry level jobs overseas threaten our middle class. The inability of the opposing political parties of the Republic, the Optimates and Populares focused on political gain rather than tasking the people’s work. America too faces a political system transfixed in political party idealism; too shamelessly egomaniacal to govern. “To run an effective political party you need a degree of tribalism, it’s the glue that holds everyone together.” – Charles Kennedy Roman Senator Tacitus said, “Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” The Roman Republic survived 500 years and the American Republic has weathered around 250 years. America lingers on facing major challenges that could negatively affect its future. We lack the ability to satisfy the economic demands of too many at the expense of a few. Our social divisions over priorities and growing unrest caused by a negative political environment heighten the likelihood we could parallel the final stages of Rome. Let’s hope we heed this atrophy before we garner the fate of Rome. The power to do this lies in our hands, not in the politicians. A republican government belongs to we the people, not politicians. We can only hope we have the courage to stop history from repeating itself. Thomas Sowell said, “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.” If we lose sight of culpable governing, future civilizations will be walking on our memories. “Our Republic has chartered a path similar to Rome. If we don’t change course, America will end, as a replay of Rome.” – Tiberius King
|Congressman pushes for federal tax reform to help offset state income tax hikeWatchdog.org / 18 d. 0 h. 3 min. ago more|
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., is embarking on a tour to talk federal tax reform, and he’s getting an earful from constituents. One of the participants in the roundtable discussion in Springfield Aug. 1, Merrill Lynch financial adviser Gary Seitz, told Davis to be bold, throw out the current tax code, and start from scratch. “I’m a believer that as the government grows, the economy slows,” Seitz said. “Take less money from the individual so they can use it for themselves to buy houses, buy cars, invest, buy a pizza.” Seitz said the economy works best when people spend or save their money as they see fit. Davis, who hails from Taylorville, is pushing for tax reforms that will help middle-income families, who, Davis said, are too often forgotten by Washington. Materials from Davis’ office explain that the plan is to simplify the tax code so that 9 out of 10 Americans will be able to file their taxes on a simple post card. Davis also wants to lower rates for Americans across the board, preserve important middle-income deductions to help Americans buy homes, pay for college, or donate to charity, and allow more savings by cutting in half the tax rates on personal savings and investment. Davis said simplifying the tax code and reducing rates across the board would save taxpayers a lot of money. “The average middle-class family in Illinois,” Davis said, “would get an extra $5,200 dollars in their pocket to be able to pay for a house, to be able to send their kids to college, and to be able to save up for a rainy day.” Davis said getting federal tax relief will help alleviate part of the newfound burden Illinois residents have with an increased state income tax. The state income tax went up 32 percent to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent after Democrats and some Republicans overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the tax hike. The state corporate income tax also went up to 7 percent from 5.25 percent. Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said federal tax reform will also help Illinois’ small and midsized businesses. “Illinois definitely needs to get its act together and have its own policy changes,” Maisch said, “but Illinois will definitely benefit if there is federal action.” For businesses, Davis’ office said the tax reforms discussed so far would help create more than 70,000 jobs in Illinois by no longer taxing small-business income at an individual rate, which his office said can be as high as 44.6 percent. The plan would also end the federal estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” which would allow family farms and businesses to pass property down to future generations without a large tax bill. Davis said it’s up to constituents to help cut through the partisan divide in D.C. “It’s going to be their responsibility to talk to all policymakers to find bipartisan solutions.” Davis said it’s unfortunate the Senate didn’t act on health care reform, which he said goes hand-in-hand with tax reform.
|Ohio policy group joins federal legal fight against forced union duesWatchdog.org / 18 d. 22 h. 4 min. ago more|
Illinois workers whose fight against being forced to pay dues to a union they don’t want to join have an ally in an Ohio policy group. The Buckeye Institute last month filed what’s called an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of state of Illinois employee Mark Janus, who filed a federal lawsuit claiming his free speech rights were being violated by being forced to pay dues to a public employee union that he has no interest in being a part of. “Forcing employees to pay for speech with which they disagree is a violation of their First Amendment rights,” Robert Alt, president and CEO of The Buckeye Institute, said in a news release announcing the filing. “Neither Mr. Janus, nor anyone else, should ever be forced to pay fees to a union just to keep their jobs. Such compulsion is fundamentally unjust and unconstitutional.” National Right To Work Foundation represents the plaintiffs. Their case was struck down by the Illinois 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in March. They filed a petition in July asking the Supreme Court to hear the case. Foundation President Mark Mix said this is about compelled speech vs. free speech. Mix said what’s happened is there’s “a private institution in between taxpayers and elected officials and [the union] is able to speak for government employees that, heretofore, never asked for, never wanted, and in fact stand back and say, ‘I don’t want you to speak for me,’ as [plaintiffs] have said in this case,” Mix said. Janus is a child support specialist with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and, because of Illinois law, is forced to pay fees to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a government union, to keep his job. “I went into this line of work because I care about kids. But just because I care about kids doesn’t mean I also want to support a government union,” Janus told the Chicago Tribune. “Unfortunately, I have no choice. To keep my job at the state, I have to pay monthly fees to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, a public employee union that claims to ‘represent’ me… “The union voice is not my voice. The union’s fight is not my fight. But a piece of my paycheck every week still goes to the union. I am not anti-union. Unions have their place. And some people like them. But unions aren’t a fit for everyone. And I shouldn’t be forced to pay money to a union if I don’t think it does a good job representing my interests.”
|Krug: President Trump disrupting news consumption, bringing in more womenWatchdog.org / 19 d. 15 h. 18 min. ago more|
This just in: President Donald Trump is polarizing. Some love him. Some hate him. Hate is a strong word, but they hate him. There are probably some who are too busy watching “The Price Is Right” or rainbow-vomiting cat videos to care. But they still might make time to check in on Trump. Regardless of your thoughts on his presidency, Trump’s effect on media has been fascinating to witness. No presidential candidate more masterfully usurped the mainstream media’s system to create his own narrative. Unquestionably, this disruption – primarily through the 140-characters-or-less social feed Twitter – is a byproduct of Trump’s ability to demean the mainstream media and leverage social media to allow for direct communication with the citizenry. The so-called Trump effect has been stunning with regard to a renewed interest in national news. What audience segment is growing the fastest? A recent Pew Research Center study says that American women represent the largest-growing demographic of national news consumers. Trump has stimulated a wave of new interest in media and current events among women, despite his past comments about women that have drawn the ire of the left (and, frankly, some on the right). The study suggests that 58 percent of American women say they are paying more attention to politics since Trump was elected. That same research showed that 63 percent of women who identify as Democrats have increased their interest in U.S. political news. Interest in domestic political news among women who identify themselves as Republicans is up 54 percent. Overall, Trump’s presidency has increased U.S. interest in political news by 52 percent. Former President Barack Obama compares in numbers, but not in impact. Obama has about 93 million Twitter followers – nearly 55 million more than Trump. Together, they are the two most followed politicians in the world, but the winner on impact is decidedly lopsided – and there is nobody in politics who’s even close to Trump. Trump’s Twitter feed is hyperactive, rarely boring and often the root of stories that aren’t reported exactly the same elsewhere. He’s randomly on Twitter, occasionally around the clock. This began well ahead of the past election cycle, and hasn’t slowed down. Trump vowed nobody would take away his phone. Nobody has. In a completely unscientific polling of people I know who are dialed into social media, there seems to be equal measures of left- and right-leaning followers who mind his feed. And people from all walks of life seem to speak of Trump with corresponding degrees of disgust and curiosity. Set aside the messaging for a moment and purely consider the impact to media: He’s demonstrated that news can be a business-to-consumer proposition for politicians, following the path of entertainers Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. Trump is cutting a new path in that regard – utilizing direct-to-market bursts of commentary to prompt behavior and create news narratives that the media is only too willing to follow. At its purest, it’s business-to-business communication. He has, effectively, bypassed the permission of the press. He stays in the news by creating the news and discounts the media’s account of his story. Take a step back, and it’s difficult to argue that he isn’t setting the news agenda masterfully. When you have the same tools as multi-billion-dollar media companies that could cloud your message, why bother offering the stories to them when you could skip the distributor and sell to the customer? Question Trump’s business acumen if you will, but his ability to promote and draw attention are changing the way that we think of presidential communication. Since his election, which seemingly came against every legacy media prediction or poll, Trump has continued to be a boon to coverage of national affairs. If people didn’t care about national news in the smooth-jazz presidency of his predecessor, they care now. And they are following. Amid the otherwise awful news of decline of the mainstream press, New York Times CEO Mark Thompson told MSNBC in May that the company had added 308,000 digital subscribers in the first quarter (the company reports that is most in its history in a given quarter), and another 93,000 net subscribers in the second quarter. That was after the company reported that it increased by 276,000 digital readers in the fourth quarter of 2016. Newsonomics author Ken Doctor reported in a May article for The Street that, “The Washington Post said that January generated more subscription starts than any other month, beating what had been a record-setting November, with the Post overall seeing ‘doubled digital subscription revenue in the past 12 months, with a 75 [percent] increase in new subscribers.’ “ The news will always matter. Where you get it, how you get it, and from whom you get it, though, may matter substantially more. Chris Krug is President of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.
|Haupt: No confidence in the political classWatchdog.org / 20 d. 23 h. 38 min. ago more|
“There is no act of treachery, infidelity, or avarice of which a politician is not capable; for in politics it’s every man for himself to remain in the graces of the political party.” – Marty Blunt The Articles of Confederation was a noble attempt at creating a central government in the colonies. But it was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing that is established order but it was a curse since it did not provide provisions for the government to govern with authority. It was a determent that crippled governing during the Revolutionary War. Since the Articles were designed to recognize a division of powers similar to the British, it was flawed from the beginning. There was no king in the colonies nor was there a parliament. Although it served as a war-time confederation to help direct the colonies, it lacked central leadership. As the war moved on it was obvious this divisive chaos had to end for our nation to survive. And we needed “change we could believe in” to make it better before it got worse. “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill Once the Convention commenced, it was clear this would not be a walk in the park. The only thing they agreed on was the necessity to create a government that was not subject to the vagaries of regional influence or majority dictatorship. This opened the doors of republicanism. Considering the political mobocracy that took place with each changing of the guard in past republics, they sought to avoid entrapment by creating buffers between the government and the people. With a House elected by the populous, a Senate by state legislatures, and a president by a convocation of elders, they figured they had enough detours to insure no political force or roguish group could usurp the people’s will. “Sometimes, simple things turn out to be the most complex of all.” – Harold Butler The core idea of the Constitution was to restrain ambition and force competing powers to make legitimate attempts at compromise and keep the integrity of the republic in check. The delegates felt the brand of federalism they created was bullet proof during those patriotic times. But they were to find out during the 1st Congress their failure to make constitutional provisions to hold politicians accountable to one another or us was a serious omission. They were forgivingly naive, putting such amatory faith in politics. They never envisioned two antipodal opposing political parties hijacking the people’s government. One that would control it and citizen influence would be subservient to their parties. A lesson learned the hard way. “Hindsight is always 20/20.” – Billy Wilder Our founders set fourth to develop a perfect government. Since most came from across The Pond, they were gun-shy about mimicking the King’s government in our constitution. Therefore, there was no provision made to hold politicians within the legislature accountable if they proved incapable to govern. Unlike England, where all government ministers, and the Prime Minister, are accountable to all branches of the legislature with de facto power vested in the House of Commons. Motions of no confidence are key components in the Westminster government that requires an executive to retain the impudence of the House of Commons. It is a fundamental principle that their government must retain the confidence of the legislature to operate effectively with majority support of the legislature. “Reporters who brandish parliament would have a field day if they covered Congress.” – Litton Sidle Since the 1st Congress when Jefferson and Hamilton reignited the fuse of vexation, politicians have scurried to parties. Unfortunately, our Constitution makes no provisions for a political structure of political accountability. So Congress formed a way to control government with seniority rewarding through the committee system. We continued to develop an awkward self-policing system within the system to make a legitimate effort to legitimize the party system. By 1830, the party system had festered like a bad splinter. Politics was run by well-oiled machines. They seemed harmless since they helped to maintain order between competing factions and greased the wheels to control in-party turmoil. They vetted candidates while picking the pockets of donors to fill their political war chests. They formed voter groups to bring others to the party and forged policy to promote party propaganda. This sustained the illusion that they were doing what was best for the populous. “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt Hierarchical political bosses like Boss Tweed, Huey Long, Jefferson Randolph, Soapy Smith, E. H. Crump, Richard J. Daley, Frank Hague, Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John around the nation took control of local and national politics. They held the keys to the doors of government. They hand-picked political hacks whose feet they held to the fire through incentives, promotions, financial contributions, pet-project spending and other perks. The “outsiders” were banished into the Land of Oz with the Tin Man. And this became the DNA of American politics. “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government.” – Donald Trump For decades our branches of government have worked against each other and against us. It is a fundamental principle in parliament that government must retain confidence to function or they can be replaced with a no confidence vote. Unlike Westminster that requires legislative confidence to operate effectively, we’ve mastered the art of ineffectiveness. We have no authority like parliament to cast a no confidence vote. The only confidence we have is tremendous confidence nothing will get done each session in our congressional houses. British politicians are always looking over their shoulder for ways to appease each other to insure public and legislative confidence. On this side of the pond, our politicians are looking over their shoulders to make sure their party bosses are happy. In America: ‘We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” – Aesop In America, the only way we can rid ourselves from non-achieving politicians is by impeachment. And charges against them must be substantial. It’s a complex and complicated process purposely devised to insure it was not abused. But what happens when a whole Congress is deadlocked in incompetence? By law, the British can put an entire body of government or individual on notice, shaming them from office with a no confidence vote. When Congress continues to demonstrate no power to govern, voters publicly denounce them and the media chastises them, expressing that they have no confidence in them. But this falls on deaf ears except at election time and everyone sings ‘Kumbaya’. Then they have little or no recourse except to vote for another hand-picked party hack. “Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” – John Galbraith Thomas Sowel wrote, “There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs” in American politics. Our political system was an afterthought, invented as it went along without planning or conviction. Our founders had great faith in their fellow Americans and the future generations to follow. They were obviously blinded by the greatness of their patriotism and belief. Giving us a government of free men controlled by free men, it would be self-policing with no need to protect us from artless party politics. Although we have no law that grants us or other branches of government to issue “a no confidence vote,” we have that opportunity each Election Day. If we don’t judge a candidate by his character instead of his party, we have not used our “no confidence vote” wisely. Little confidence is as bad as no confidence. “No matter what name we give it or how we judge it, a candidate’s character is central to political reporting because it is central to a citizen’s decision in voting.” – Roger Mudd
|VP Pence breaks tie to open debate in Senate on Obamacare replacementWatchdog.org / 27 d. 0 h. 11 min. ago more|
Both parties in Washington D.C. know Obamacare is flawed and getting worse, but no Democrats and two Republicans voted Tuesday against opening debate to change things. That meant it took Vice President Mike Pence to break a 50-50 tie just to open up debate on reforming the country’s controversial health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Goldwater Institute Director of Health Policy Naomi Lopez Bauman said there needs to be radical reforms to focus on access and affordability. “Congress, lawmakers, really need to clean up this mess,” a mess Bauman said federal lawmakers created. “It’s the people in the states that are suffering as a result of these very misguided policies.” Opponents of reform, such as U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said they hope Republican efforts fail. “You cannot take helpless people, some who are working hard in jobs, two and three jobs at a time, that have no health-care benefits and say to them, ‘Sorry, our system won’t take care of you’,” Durbin said. Bauman said people already are losing out because of high prices and lack of insurance and care options. She said two main reforms should be a priority. “Return the regulation of insurance back to the states where it was before the Affordable Care Act and where it rightfully belongs,” Bauman said. “And what that would do is that would make it legal to sell insurance policies that better meets individuals’ needs and preferences.” Bauman also said Medicaid should be a real safety net, not expanded to assist able-bodied people. “What has happened under the Affordable Care Act,” Bauman said, “is that the federal government is basically providing a lot more money to states to provide benefits and coverage under the Medicaid program for able-bodied adults above the poverty level.” That means tax dollars to provide services to the most vulnerable will get squeezed out even more, Bauman said, adding that the promises of many individuals keeping insurance, doctors and lower premiums fell apart, as she’s predicted for several years. Even New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer acknowledged on the Senate floor the current law is flawed and needs to be fixed. Despite revelations he’d been diagnosed with brain cancer, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain appeared on the floor and said ACA needs to be changed. He voted to allow debate but said he’s not promising to vote in favor of what ultimately comes out. He wants there to be bipartisan efforts to change the bill. Durbin and others blasted leading Republicans for allowing for debate on reforms without unveiling what reforms were going to be on the table. “The bottom line is that lawmakers in Washington created this mess,” Bauman said. “They knew from the beginning that the promises from the Affordable Care Act were not going to be delivered. We’ve seen, year after year, more failures.” Any reform measures will now have to go through a process known as conference with the House before advancing to President Donald Trump’s desk.
|Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin score well in manufacturing report; Illinois not so muchWatchdog.org / 28 d. 0 h. 29 min. ago more|
The Midwest as a whole received relatively high grades in an annual rating of states’ manufacturing industries, but Illinois’ manufacturing sector is still struggling due to an unpredictable economic climate and unfunded public liabilities. The 2017 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card gave Illinois a “C+” for the overall health of its manufacturing industries, but the state earned a “D” in the “Tax Climate” category and an “F” in “Expected Fiscal Liability Gap.” That latter estimates the state’s ability – or inability – to fund bond obligations and pension costs. Illinois also received an average grade – “C+” – in “Human Capital,” which measures the education level of the state’s workforce in an effort to gauge how well it is serving manufacturers. The study gave Michigan an “A” for the health of its manufacturing sector, while Ohio and Wisconsin both received “B” grades. Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, echoed some of the points made in the Ball University study. “Manufacturing is alive in Illinois,” Denzler told Illinois News Network, noting that manufacturers in the state employ about 570,000 people. “However, it is struggling.” The state’s strengths include good colleges and universities and a great transit system, according to Denzler. “Seventy-five percent of the nation’s freight comes through Illinois,” he said. But an out-migration of jobs to other states and workers compensation costs that are the highest in the Midwest and eighth highest in the country continue to add to the state’s economic uncertainties, Denzler said. Although Denzler said today’s manufacturing workforce in Illinois is second to none, the employers continue to deal with a skills gap as they try to hire new workers. Manufacturers need to hire 20,000 to 25,000 production workers and 5,000 engineers every year just to remain at a constant level, he said. “The governor has put a focus on vocational education and trying to provide workers with the skills needed,” Denzler said, but lately there has been no money for job-training programs. Manufacturers have some advantages in the near future, including a growing advanced-manufacturing industry around the Chicago area, he said. But the state needs major structural reforms and begin to live within its means, according to Denzler. “Quite frankly, Illinois needs to change its focus moving forward,” he said. Illinois did end it’s more than two-year-long budget stalemate last week, but it came at a high cost to both businesses and workers, who will both see tax increases. “[Last week’s] action by the Illinois legislature will speed up the loss of manufacturing jobs and will further decimate our economy,” Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, said shortly after the state House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of the tax hikes and budget bills. Those knowledgeable about the manufacturing industries in other Midwest states questioned some of the conclusions in the Ball State University study. Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, took issue with the state’s “C-” grade in the “Tax Climate” category. “I don’t think the Ball State report recognizes that Wisconsin’s Manufacturers and Agricultural Production Tax Credit reduces the corporate tax liability for qualifying companies from 7.9 percent to 0.4 percent,” Bauer said in an email to Illinois News Network. “Combine that with our right-to-work status and our recent regulatory and litigation reforms, and Wisconsin is clearly one of the most attractive states for manufacturing in the U.S.” All of Illinois’ neighbors are right-to-work states – meaning employees can opt out of joining a union if they choose – which is another competitive disadvantage. Professor Edward Hill, a faculty member at the Ohio Manufacturing Institute, took issue with some of the variables the study used to give Ohio a “C-” in “Human Capital.” The six states receiving “A” grades in this category were Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Washington. “There are good manufacturers in many of these states, but none, with the exception of Washington and possibly Minnesota, can be claimed as centers of exceptionally skilled pools of manufacturing workers,” Hill said. Still, Ohio is not doing particularly well in providing the type of skilled workers manufacturers need, he said, but all states likely have this problem. “Manufacturers themselves are just waking up and taking ownership of the problem … and reinventing secondary and community college manufacturing training programs,” Hill said. In Ohio, major employers such as Honda, Minster Machine, Lincoln Electric and Yaskawa Motoman are working hand-in-hand with educators to turn out a more skilled workforce, he said. “We will see progress over the coming year,” Hill said. Though Michigan was rated a top performer in manufacturing, it received “D” grades in both “Human Capital” and “Sector Diversification” in the Ball State study. “It’s all tuned to just transportation,” Devaraj said, adding that the lack of diversification in Michigan’s manufacturing economy means that if any shocks hit that industry, the impact for the state as a whole will be major. Recently released economic forecasts for Michigan have been positive. A University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, study said that the state recorded 28 straight quarters of payroll growth through the first quarter of 2017. But job growth should moderate through 2018, the report said. “Manufacturing employment declines modestly over the forecast, reflecting the slowdown in the light vehicle sector,” the University of Michigan forecast said. Devaraj stressed that manufacturing remains a key player in the U.S. economy, even as productivity gains have held down employment growth. Increased skill attainment by workers will help lower the risk of them being replaced by automation, he said. “In reality, things are going really well in terms of manufacturing,” Devaraj said. Back in Illinois, the state earned an “A” for the health of its logistics industries. That was due to a number of Illinois’ assets, including its central location, the value of shipped goods in the state and an efficient transportation system. “Chicago is leading the pack in terms of the commodities flows,” Devaraj told Illinois News Network.
|Haupt: America needs group of Tom Paines to take government back from elitesWatchdog.org / 28 d. 12 h. 47 min. ago more|
“Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense, January 10, 1776 The year was 1776 and the time had come for Americans to assert their independence from the British. This was the topic of contentious debate throughout the colonies in the summer of 1776. Though locked in a bloody struggle with British troops, the talk was not about battles won or lost. People gathered, in townships, villages, taverns and churches, to talk about one thing: Common Sense. This was the title of a scholarly pamphlet on the rights of man which captivated a country caught between war and peace. Its powerful arguments against empirical rule were both revered and questioned, which provoked oracular thought throughout the anxious colonies between loyalists and patriots. “The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe.” – Paine At the time, few knew who the author of this work was. Yet this enlightenment text was dramatically changing the attitude of many Americans toward their conflict with the English. At one time or the other, one of the political or intellectual elites was credited with the prodigious work of Paine since he never stepped forward to claim it. Paine knew a true leader remains anonymous so the people will believe they were the ones responsible for this new breed of insurgent thinking. He was keenly aware after watching revolutionaries across Europe; nobody can plan revolutionary change. It is a spontaneous combustion that is ignited by thought-provoking idealism. And Paine was so gifted to plant those seedlings that could be cultivated in the minds, hearts and souls of many others. “One encourages intercourse, and promotes our happiness by uniting our affections.” –Paine Despite his humble beginning, Paine was admired and respected by founders such as George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Yet, his workingman’s perspective threatened the elites who wanted to design a government primarily to benefit aristocrats. To some, Tom Paine was the most hated man in America, and others, a light in the wilderness for those who sought direction, courage and leadership. Those who loved him for his benefaction of guidance saw Paine as the patriot that he was. And those who hated him thought of him as a trouble maker stroking his eccentric ego for indulgent narcissistic causes. And much of the legacy of that apprehensive animosity lives on by activist groups for one who thinks sovereign from them. They chasten those like Tom Paine who fail to court their compatriots. “Character is much easier kept than recovered.” – Paine Paine had an unselfish ability to keep fellow patriots aligned for the common cause. Many feel his greatest contribution to our liberty was Common Sense, which demeaned the authority of the British and the royal monarchy. It was that pamphlet that brought the breath of freedom to the embers of independence. But few comprehend the significance of Paine’s The American Crisis. Paine wrote these articles during the Revolutionary War. His unrelenting inspiration for American patriots during this inexorable crisis kept the blood of liberty flowing freely in their veins. George Washington was so moved he recited The Crisis word for word to his sullen troops at Valley Forge. “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.” – Paine Paine rallied troops at The Battle of Saratoga, which is considered the turning point for America in the War. They stopped the southern advance of the British, which brought them French support. Although this was a cardinal victory, their problems remained incessant. By 1781, the Continental Congress was bankrupt. Citizen support was dwindling faster than the English could enact a new tax. Army desertions were common place. The army was indigent and no longer united because the generals blamed others for this chaos. And once again Paine stepped forward and galvanized the troops. In 1781 at Yorktown, Paine motivated them to fight their best fight and they answered with their greatest victory. The colonies beheaded the great British Goliath to end the war. “The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance.” – Paine Throughout the decades, America has faced insurmountable crisis. But in those darkest of hours, a Thomas Paine stepped up to find a way to reignite the founding flames of republicanism. Many felt The Civil War would forever dis-unify our country once the last cannons fired at Palmito Ranch in 1865. Yet the day word reached the south that Lincoln had been assassinated, one southern telegraph operator saw this as a signal to begin the healing. And the entire south joined him. As word spread from the plains of Texas to the farms of Virginia that Lincoln had died, church bells rang for their fallen enemy. “An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.” – Paine Again, America is in crisis. It’s a crisis planted in American polity with the election of Barack Obama and his socialization of the republic. When voters rebelled and elected Donald Trump, the left cried he was unfit for the presidency; just as the right had claimed about Obama. Each party can make a case but that isn’t the crisis, only a symptom of it. This won’t be resolved until the elitists are removed from party politics. Leftist elitists supported Obama whose agenda few ever wanted. And cynical voters then choose a man who ran against party elites. That signals to both parties, elites are the real problem. “It’s the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.” – Paine The elitists have always moved policy, yet the average voter doesn’t realize this. In the past, party elites imposed their authority to benefit their pocketbooks. In a capitalist society, as long as voters benefit from the profits of industry they go along to get along. But party elites went too far under Obama. Leftist elites crossed over the path and those on the right counter-reacted. When far left elites endorsed social engineering to romance the progressives, party politics replaced the will of the people in government. With each invented crisis to gain support from his flock, Obama drove a wedge between the two parties and true republicanism that even Tom Paine would find difficult to close. “Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness.” – Paine After Obama’s reign, the two parties took sides and refused to back down. There’s a learning curve for every president and its far steeper without political experience. Obama had political experience, so one would think he could learn the job competently. But that never happened. From the day he took office, he acted like the bully in the school yard who cries “it’s my ball so we play my game or you can go home.” On the other hand, Trump had no political experience and is learning the art of governing the hard way; yet from day one the left has been bashing his inexperience inexorably. Elitists in his party excoriate him the worst. “He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” – Paine The elitists have painted us into a corner. To them, the only way to end this one crisis is to remove Trump from office with no constitutional justification or collective voter consent to appease the left. To subject the right to this punishment will not only acerbate the crisis in American polarity, it will prove that our democratic republic has lost all legitimacy. We need a group of Tom Paines to step forward and take back our government from the elites to end this crisis forever. “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Paine
|Ohio grants property tax relief to farmers, but some fear homeowners will pay a priceWatchdog.org / 31 d. 23 h. 47 min. ago more|
Ohio just modified how it calculates property taxes for agricultural lands in order to rescue farmers from soaring tax bills, but some fear the fix will eventually burden homeowners and provide less funding for some school districts. The state’s operating budget, which was signed June 30 by Gov. John Kasich, alters a complex formula used to calculate the value of agriculture lands. The original goal of the Ohio tax program was to give farmers a property tax break and encourage the preservation of farmland by valuing such property according to its agricultural value, rather than its market value. But a “perfect storm of circumstances” upended the formula in recent years, according to Jenna Beadle, director of state policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau. Farmers were hit with 300 percent spikes in their property tax bills at a time when farm income dropped by 50 percent, Beadle said. “Nonfarm factors were inflating the CAUV values,” Beadle told Watchdog.org, referring to what is known as the Current Agricultural Use Value formula. The CAUV reforms that passed Ohio’s Senate altered the formula in terms of appreciation of farmland values and equity buildup, which the author of the legislation, state Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, said was inflating the valuation of agricultural lands. The state’s Farm Bureau reports that the average savings for farmers’ land reassessments in 2017 will be about 30 percent. The changes will be phased in over six years so that the funding effects on school districts and local governments are not felt too abruptly, according to Beadle. But Dr. Howard Fleeter, a consultant with the Ohio Education Policy Institute, sees the farmland tax reforms cultivating problems in the future. There’s little dispute about farmers suffering tax spikes in recent years, Fleeter said, but since 2014, the CAUV valuations have been trending downward in a way that would have eventually provided some relief without a major formula change. “The problem is that not all farmers are getting the benefit of that formula yet …” Fleeter told Watchdog.org. “There’s a three-year lag for CAUV values taking effect.” The idea of having farmland reappraised annually to help stabilize fluctuations has been proposed , but that hasn’t happened, he said. In turn, Fleeter is concerned that the approved CAUV reforms – which he says over time will result in a $60 million property tax shift from agriculture lands to residential areas – will overly burden homeowners and reduce funding to school districts. “The pendulum swung from one end of the spectrum to the other,” he said, noting that the CAUV formula placed relatively low values on farmland in 2005, providing an 85 percent tax break to farmers, prior to reaching a peak in 2014. Although Fleeter said the goal of encouraging farmers to keep their lands in production is sound, he sees the latest reform as a blunt instrument that may cause unintended consequences. “It is possible there may be a legal challenge to this,” Fleeter said. Jim Rowan, the executive director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, echoed some of Fleeter’s concerns. If homeowners come away with a perception that they are being overly burdened due to the CAUV reforms, school districts may have a tougher time getting residents to approve tax increases in the future, Rowan said. But John Fortney, spokesman for Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, defended lawmakers’ votes on the CAUV reforms as appropriate because Ohio farmers’ taxes had been doubling every three years. “We’re not in the business of putting family farms out of business,” Fortney told Watchdog.org. Lawmakers have also included language in the two-year budget blueprint to set aside funds – $10 million in fiscal year 2018 and $7 million in fiscal year 2019 – to help school districts whose school funding formulas are affected by the CAUV changes, he said. “The legislature was aware of the potential impact on districts that are in more rural areas and addressed that as part of the budget,” Fortney said. Overall, effects on nonagricultural properties should be minimal, he said, adding that the tax spikes farmers had faced needed to be addressed head-on to ensure fairness and sustainability. “But it is true that as the formula is adjusted on agriculture use values, there will be some type of change on the residential values,” Fortney said. Another benefit for farmers in the newly passed budget is that farmlands placed in year-round conservation to protect water quality will no longer be taxed as if they are in production, according to the Ohio Farm Bureau. Ohio’s policy to encourage farmers to preserve their lands for agriculture dates back to the 1970s. The tax program is classified as a “differential assessment,” a system used for agriculture in several other states, but agriculture officials in Ohio describe the details of the state’s program as “unique.”
|Proposed legislation would open up records on federal pension recipientsWatchdog.org / 33 d. 23 h. 23 min. ago more|
A Florida congressman and an open-government organization have launched a campaign to make key information on federal pension recipients subject to public disclosure. The legislation, which is being sponsored by Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, would make information about pension recipients subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act. The information subject to public review would include the retiree’s name, monthly annuity amount, the retiree’s total contribution to the annuity, total wages earned and retirement date, according to a draft of the bill. Federal employee pensions are currently hand-calculated inside a Cold War-era facility deep inside a Pennsylvania mountain using 28,000 filing cabinets, according to Adam Andrzejewski, the chief executive officer for OpenTheBooks.com, a watchdog group that works on behalf of government transparency issues. “This legislation has the potential to pass with huge majorities in both houses and go straight to the president’s desk,” Andrzejewski told Watchdog.org. Similar transparency laws on state public pension systems in states such as Illinois, California, New York and Oregon have resulted in the uncovering of abuses and corruption, he said. A federal law would allow citizens to engage in a robust debate over federal retirement payouts and also shed light on the system’s liabilities, according to Andrzejewski. It remains uncertain just how serious the effort is, however. DeSantis’ office did not respond to requests for comment about the legislation, dubbed the Taxpayer-Funded Pension Disclosure Act, and there is no mention of it on a list of legislative priorities on the congressman’s website. DeSantis did co-author an opinion article with Andrzejewski about this issue. That article said that in states with pension transparency, waste and mismanagement have been identified, including how two union officials in Illinois taught as substitutes in public schools for a single day and then retired to collect pensions with lifetime values of $1 million. “Pulling this data out of the government’s underground pension cave and into the light will protect taxpayers, retirees and near-retirees who have a right to ensure these taxpayer dollars are well-spent,” DeSantis and Andrzejewski said in the co-authored 0p-ed. Many observers have pointed to the debt-ridden federal retirement system as a source of concern, including Moody’s Investors Service. “The unfunded liabilities of the various federal employee pensions systems, covering civilian and military employee benefits, amount to about $3.5 trillion, or 20 percent of the U.S. GDP,” or gross domestic product, Moody’s said in a statement last year. Another nonprofit group that advocates for government transparency, the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, D.C., takes a more nuanced view of making the federal pension system subject to public disclosure. While there is a presumption of openness in the Freedom of Information Act, government also has an interest in protecting people’s privacy, according to the foundation’s deputy director, Alex Howard. “It is conceivable that you could rank individual pensioners to expose them to public incrimination,” Howard told Watchdog.org. In addition, disclosures of personal information require a thoughtful, ethical review, and certain data would always have to be redacted, such as certain medical information or personal financial identifiers, he said. And the test of whether disclosing pension information is in the public interest might vary based on whether the retiree is a public figure or not, according to Howard. But the proposed pension transparency legislation does call for the exclusion of medical conditions and any data that identifies the retiree’s beneficiary, according to OpenTheBooks.com. “We’re aware of absolutely no instances where this information can possibly be used to create identity theft,” Andrzejewski said. His group’s website has published the salaries of 15 million federal, state and local public employees and has never run into a privacy concern, according to Andrzejewski. “Not one single time did we run across any case of stolen identities or anything else,” he said. Andrzejewski expects the campaign to attract bipartisan support in the same way that former Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma teamed up with then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2006 to author legislation that placed federal “checkbook” payments on a public website. Howard acknowledged that pensions can be used as vectors for corruption and that bringing more public scrutiny on how pension dollars are spent can help identify abuses of the system. “It’s reasonable for the public to want to ask, ‘Who made those decisions and at what time?’” he said. But Howard also stressed that government has to take care to be good stewards of such financial data and respect civil liberties of the parties involved. “These are public records,” he said. “They are not our deepest, darkest secrets.” Andrzejewski remains upbeat about the prospects of passing the pension transparency bill, saying that public employee unions might oppose the bill but would likely not win. “I definitely think [President] Trump would sign it,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”