toledo (24) cleveland (14) ohio (14) columbus (5)

Friday, December 26, 2008

The State's animal cruelty

Not only is the State terrible at taking care of children, as we saw in our last post, it also can't manage animals. A Columbus Dispatch article from last week details the abusive conditions heaped on helpless animals by the Franklin County animal shelter. It should give pause to animal rights activists who clamor for more state control over animal issues. Anyone who is considering adopting an animal from a state operated shelter should think twice before making this decision. These shelters think nothing of pushing vicious and aggressive dogs on unsuspecting families.

Like many other types of activists, animal rights people often push for more state intervention. Clearly, the vast government incompetence demonstrated here is not suitable for them to achieve their goals. If only they realized what they are asking, they would stop immediately and use what funding and resources they have to set up their own private shelters and wildlife preserves. Not only would it be much better for their cause, they wouldn't be forcing others to fund their desires.

Personally, I think the large amount human suffering in the world deserves more attention than animal suffering. I have no problem if you want to spend your own money to help alleviate the suffering of helpless animals. That is your right. However, you don't have a right to shove your way into my wallet in support of your favorite causes. Especially if it results in even more animal cruelty.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

State fails, kids die

Whether you want to believe it or not, state failures are all over the place in our society. If there ever was a rallying cry for state action, it would be "won't somebody think of the children!" Normally, the person saying this implies that they think the state should act to make some law, and this would magically solve whatever problem they're discussing. If these people really knew how the state operates, they would be making this exclamation with the intent of getting the state out of the protection business entirely.

Even in cases of directly caring for children, the state doesn't live up to expectations, to say the least. In the latest harrowing example, The Columbus Dispatch examined the record of their county child services. They found that 87 out of 234 children who died of abuse did so under the protective care of the state. State workers regularly fail to act on complaints of child abuse when called. In one particularly bad case where a child died, there were 12 calls to county officials over 4 weeks where they did nothing. The basis of this report is that this death wasn't just an anomaly, nor will it be the last.

Contributing to the care of needy children isn't a bad thing. It only becomes a bad thing when the state is entrusted in their care and children end up dying on their watch. Naturally, the solution outlined in this article is to throw away even more resources on these failures (much like public education). There are some rumblings in state officials to create a statewide child care system, instead of relying on county governments. If only they had more resources, and took more moeny from the people, they could do better. Where have I heard that tripe before?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Update: Manna Storehouse wants Lorain county to return $10,000 worth of property

The Stowers family has enlisted the Buckeye Institute in their defense against the government, who raided them at gunpoint and stole their food just a couple weeks ago. I really hope it goes well for them, and I plan on contributing financially to their well being. Please follow that link and take a look. Apart from the video of their statements, you will also find a link to the text of their court filing. Their a detailed description of all the sordid deeds performed by these small men.

This should be a real eye opener to anyone who still believes the government protects the little guy. I'm glad there are people like the Buckeye Institute, who are willing to donate time and effort to help those in need. They are the real ones who are defending freedom today. Not soldiers, not politicians, not the police, and certainly not president Bush or the even the next guy (what's his name).

I can't tell you how wrong it is that people do this to others under the guise of "law". It's one thing for criminals who rob the poor, get caught, and serve time behind bars. It's something else entirely when the very people who claim to be elected to uphold the law are doing it. I wouldn't expect anything different though. They have fooled generations of us into believing that we need their "protection". I don't think they will always exist though. This chaos we call the government will only be around for so long, then it will fail. States always do, and there's no reason to believe America is special.

The Buckeye Institute will be mounting a consitution based defense. We have seen that constitutions don't really protect us from government abuse, but I read an opinion once that it's useful to point out the many ways in which the state violates its own laws. I can see the value in that, but I don't really see much value at all in Ohio's or America's constitutions. Except for the Bill of Rights.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wal-Mart gives $400,000 to Ohio food banks, heating aid

Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't criticize Wal-Mart, Ohio's largest private employer, for giving $400,000 to Ohio state food and heating programs. I guess you could if you think they're just grandstanding. Personally, I don't. Even if they are, the bottom line is that their contribution will have a positive affect on the people here. It's rather unfortunate that they gave it to government agencies, but in a more perfect world those wouldn't exist.

In the past, I have been criticized for saying that charities will help the poor if there was no government. I really don't think poor people would starve or suffer any more under no government than they do now. The government programs we have now hardly seem to do any good to the people who really need it, such as those in inner cities. You could even say that the government's drug policies create black market gang wars that keep inner cities in perpetual poverty.

In sharp contrast to government "help", private programs often seem to do much more good for the poverty stricken. Even if you insist on claiming that their aid programs actually do help the poor, it's not exactly for them to even apply for benefits. The massive red tape can be daunting, to say the least. Also, t's not like programs such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross would cease to exist if the government stopped what they were doing. There would probably even be more charities like them that don't yet exist, if it weren't for government busilly sapping and wasting everyone's money in their massive, hapless bureaucracy. Without having the feds around, people might even give more to charities once they realize how much more pleasant it makes society.

Private charity is much more efficient. So much that when Katrina struck New Orleans, Wal-Mart's emergency response team was there helping people way before FEMA bothered to show up with their mud-ridden trailers. The great industrialists of years past, "Captains of Industry" that are libeled in public school textbooks as "robber barons", actually gave away much of their wealth, from schools to libraries to great buildings like Carnegie Hall.

So yes, you can say I definitely think private charity does a much, much better job caring for the poor than the government. The government's policies actually help create more people than there would have been. I don't care how much you want to reform their huge public agencies. They will always fail to help you during emergencies when you really need it most. If you really want to be safe in a world without government, donate to private charity when you can afford to, buy insurance, and don't spend all the money you earn.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sex offender branding for teenagers - utterly ridiculous

If there is one thing that always gets people clamoring for more laws, it is when children get harmed. Mass hysteria ensues, people go crazy, and insist the government must "do something". Nobody ever bothers to think about how these laws will affect people in the future. These laws end up getting applied on a massive scale in ways that were never intended. Lots of people end up getting their life royally screwed up for no good reason. Such is the case when sex offender laws are applied to teenagers who engage in behavior that is normal when they begin reaching maturity.

Apparently there is an "epidemic" in high schools across the country where kids send nude photos of themselves. At least that is what one lawyer called it. In Cuyahoga county, some kids have been caught doing this and have received this dubious label for up to 10 years. All eight of the students involved in this particular case were from 14 to 16 years old. None of these kids had previous criminal records and will now be screwed up for a long time. This could have been dealt with a simple talking to from parents. Instead the state is stepping in and handing down the gauntlet.

Please understand that I'm not saying we should encourage kids to engage in this sort of behavior. Nor am I saying that it is good or that we shouldn't try to prevent it. What I do think is that the government's solution is not making things any better. These nude pictures are illegal for kids to send by federal laws, yet punishing them in this way is doing nothing to stop it. On top of that, these kids, who are not criminals by any step of the imagination, will have a very heavy burden to carry for the rest of their life.

I've also read about other cases around the country where a girl will tell a boy she is older than what she really is. The boy has sex with her, and then finds out she is 13 instead of 16 after the fact. The law still nails the poor bastard for a long time to come. This is one of them. I doubt this situation would exist if the girl was 17 and had sex with a 13 year old boy.

As usual, the government is way overstepping the bounds that any moral society should allow. They seem to think they should be doing the parenting for you, instead of allowing you to handle the situation. I guess most parents are lazy and don't want to teach their kids good morals, so they don't mind it when the government steps in and does this nasty work. On top of that, this exposes yet more reasons not to sent my children to public schools. By all means, let's teach our kids moral standards. But, please don't allow the social prudes in our government to dictate what these standards and punishments should be.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

City bulldozes Frank Giglio's house, jails him

I often read that local politics is what really matters the most in people's daily lives, and that is where the activism and involvement should be. I'm of the opinion that if you really wanted to help people's lives for the better, politics is the last thing you should get involved with. Your time would be so much better spent working for charity or entreprenuership. Politicians, even local ones, don't fight for the poor. They are nothing but parasites, feeding off their host, the people, until civilized society is destroyed.

This past week held many examples of stunning abuse from local governments, from city up to state. For one, in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, they bulldozed a man's house because they didn't think it was well kept enough. The man ended up going to jail for allegedly threatening demolition workers with a gun. I can't say I blame him for trying to protect his property. Maybe there is an argument somewhere in here for allowing people to own any means of protection they can get their hands on. Especially larger explosives and missiles. In cases like this, firearms or handguns are woefully inadequate to protect your property. Perhaps if this poor man had some heavier artillery they would have thought twice about razing his home.

It's astonishing that such a dysfunctional, wasteful, abusive city government can find the time and inclination to level some old man's house. Especially one in such an old and historic community. Where does it ever end? I wonder how much power will people give these locally organized criminals before they realize they made a terrible mistake.

There should be an important distinction here made between a city government and a homeowners association. When I bought my house in Ohio, I had to agree that I would follow certain rules and restrictions on the property. I knew this before hand, and voluntarilly signed the contract, allowing them to have that power over me. If people want to live in a community where standards like this are enforced, they should form homeowners associations like this. Frank Giglio lived a neighborhood that didn't have this type of voluntary enforcement rules. He was perfectly within his rights to have unkempt property. City government's job, incompetent though they are, is not to enforce cleanliness standards in privately owned homes. Screw you, Cleveland government. You should all quit your political jobs and work in private industry.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ohio government steals $10,000 worth of food and materials from private co-op

In yet another alarming police state action, the Ohio Department of Agriculture "seized food, electronic devices and documents from a Pittsfield Township organic and natural food cooperative believed to be unlicensed." Thank goodness we have the government to protect these idiots from themselves.

Who do these people think they are, trying to operate a food co-op without a license from the state? They are clearly incapable of feeding themselves without approval from the state. They need to be locked up by the government to teach them a lesson.

Other internet sources have reported that the faimily living at this residence was held for 9 hours at gunpoint by the friendly neighborhood SWAT team while their stuff was being carried away. They lost their whole supply of food for the year, essentially because they didn't purchase it from a government approved food conglomerate.

According to another story posted from the Plain Dealer regarding this incident (thanks to Matt for the link), the Lorain County Sheriff's Office disputes having a SWAT team there or holding the family at gunpoint. Well, Mr. Sheriff, if I thought the police were an honorable organization I might be inclined to believe you. Unfortunately, I don't. Also, even if they didn't have a SWAT team there, they didn't deny stealing these people's stuff. Either way, this incident is still a great example of why we shouldn't allow the government to have power over food inspections.

At what point did our society decide it is okay for the government to treat people like this? Does anyone seriously believe the government is only trying to protect these poor ignorant people from eating bad food? I hardly suspect that is the case.

As we clearly see here, even granting the government power over something seemingly harmless like food inspection ultimately results in this kind of tyranny and opression. Statists make fun of libertarians when they compare the government to mafia and organized crime. It seriously makes me wonder what they think of actions like this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

True heroes refuse to fight in government wars. Why I don't support the troops.

I was very impressed that a soldier from Cleveland deserted the army rather than going back to Iraq. However, I was less than impressed with the 70+ comments that followed the story. It comes as no surprise that most people in this country believe you should "support the troops" even if you don't "support the war". The number of troops I can actually support is few and far between. This guy from Cleveland is one of them. Bravo, Andre, bravo. I can only hope more soldiers follow your lead and refuse to take part in this senseless, state sponsored campaign of murder and mayhem.

One of the common complaints people have in that thread is that the guy signed a contract with the army and he should follow through with it even if he disagrees with the war. Well, first of all, everyone should know by now that the Iraw war was started under completely false pretenses. I don't understand how anyone could possibly believe American troops are there legitimately. If you join up with the army believing that they are defending America and later discover they are not, you should not be obligated to follow through on your commitment.

Secondly, contracts to commit murder are not valid or enforcable. If someone in the mafia hired an assassin to knock off a rival and they failed to do their job, that contractural agreement cannot be enforced under the law. I don't see any difference between soldiers in the military who falsely believe they are doing the right thing by killing innocent people. It's no different than murder in my book. Even if the government approves of this type of killing.

These troops have made a choice to follow through with the government's plan. They know full well their actions result in the death of innocent women and children who never did anything wrong. They know the difference between right and wrong. If the government came to my house and told me that I should kill my neighbor because he is a threat to America, I sure as hell wouldn't do it. Even if they threatened me with physical harm (which governments are prone to do).

There are moral reasons I do not support the troops. They are the ones making war possible. They support a corrupt government who goes to war for the profit of their buddies in the military industry. I hope that eventually, the rest of the government's troops would stand up and refuse to kill. Then they would be someone I could support.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The poor performance of county courts

The Plain Dealer has a piece up detailing the many failures of government administered justice in Cuyahoga County. As in the failure of the government to provide the basic right to a speedy trial as outlined in the 6th amendment. They are so incompetent that the average disposition time for criminal cases under this jurisdiction is 173 days, longer for the more serious crimes. Even under an expedited system they are trying out in some areas, the time averages at least 80 days. Of course, they can't seem to find the money to make even this faster time widely available to everyone.

The administration of justice is one of the areas which even many libertarians claim is a rightful perogative of the government. However, the economic arguments against government intervention in other areas of the economy apply just as easily to criminal justice. The claim that free markets can't effectively do this essentially rests on the same assumptions as everything else. Just because the government does it now doesn't mean that markets are incapable.

Libertarian economist David D. Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism provides a very interesting framework for how this could be done. Some of the text is available for free on his website, including chapter 29: Police, Courts, and Laws--on the Market. Essentially, his argument rests on protection from coercion being an economic good. Another book I also plan on reading by the same author is "Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matter". Which I will eventually get to... if I'm not so busy with writing blogs, family, and other things.

Friday, November 28, 2008

City budgets vs. services

Here we go again, with the question of who will provide services if not the government. I always say that private groups of individuals acting together can provide services better than the government. Now that city budgets are having such a hard time in this economic downturn, it's easy to see how shortsighted and inefficient they are.

We all know what happens to city services when times are bad. They end up cutting services, from public swimming pools to police and fire. Either that or raise taxes. Governments know they don't have to provide efficient services because they can just take more money from the people with the excuse that they need it to function better.

The cold reality of it is that extra money might as well go into a sinkhole. The excuse is used time and time again for public schools. We need to keep throwing more money at the problem and it will somehow be fixed. Then they take the liberty of putting the same taxes on their ballots over and over until people finally give up and pass it.

They even screw up things as simple as trash collection. They have to resort to alternating trash and recycling days in order to make ends meet. Toledo already has a trash fee, $7 for people who recycle and less for people who do. It will eventually be raised to $10 in the year 2010. I'm not saying you wouldn't have to pay fees for trash collection in a free market. Just they they would be much more efficient and cost effective.

From what I can tell, history has shown that as products and services get more and more efficient, prices for them will gradually drop. This happened with Standard Oil's prices, until the free market for energy was taken away. It happens with the relatively unregulated markets of computer and electronics today. Not so with governments, holds true right down to the smallest of city services.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spying on the people in downtown Cleveland

There's a rather short news report from the Associated Press making the rounds in all of the area's news media. So far, four cameras are now up and there will be nine more coming on soon. According to Cleveland's Public Safety Director Martin Flask:

The cameras have blue strobe lights attached to them so people can see them and feel safe.
Damn, if blue lights are all we need to feel safe I guess we no longer have anything to worry about. We can finally walk around Public Square safely, knowing that these flashing lights will be there to protect us. Maybe they could also quit sending cops to patrol the area as well... assuming they actually did useful crime fighting work to begin with.

Somebody unaware of the huge privacy issues associated with government surveillance might not understand what the big deal is. To see why we people might be concerned about privacy, this would be a decent starting point. There is further discussion about government related privacy issues in chapter 5 of David D. Friedman's latest book "Future Imperfect." If you're still in doubt, read George Orwell's 1984.

Furthermore, from Wikipedia,
There is little evidence that CCTV deters crime.[8] According to a Liberal Democrat analysis, in London "Police are no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any." [9] A 2008 Report by UK Police Chiefs concluded that only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. [10]

As usual, the state throws away our money and resources on solutions that don't work while criminals literally get away with hurting real people. At this point, I am certain that public officials really don't care whether the measures they take are effective. They have to give people the idea that they are "doing something" about these problems or they will get thrown out of office. Meanwhile, stuff that would actually work remains untouched.

Property owners in the area might as well be allowed to keep their own money and use it to take private security measures on their own. People continue to claim that we must have a government in order to fight crime. Yet it is increasingly known that their actions do next to nothing to improve the situation. Inner cities continue to be a haven for gangsters, while the government spends more money on areas that don't need as much protection.

I wouldn't claim that getting the state out of the crime prevention business would magically make everyone safe. Of course there would still be criminals. The question is whether the government does a decent job, or whether private individuals and companies could do it better. This is just more evidence of the latter.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

now just northern ohio

So I already had one going for the cleveland area, but I recently moved out of town. Still in northern Ohio though, so now I am starting this one in an attempt to be more inclusive of my new region. I'm sure some Cleveland stuff will still make it in here since I will still be over there fairly often.

If anyone is wondering, "the 'shoe" is a reference to the Ohio State Buckeye football stadium down in Columbus, the horseshoe. Even though the school and football team are wrongfully subsidized by the government with taxpayer money, I still root for them. Cuz hey, college football is great and they are one of the best.

Thankfully, my alma mater is a completely private school, not beholden to government money - at least directly. I would rather deal with Mormons than the government any day. It's actually a pretty decent school too, a testament to the success of privately funded education. Anyone who insists that society must have the state must fund universities through funds confiscated from the people needs only to look there. An alternative is always available, and it's almost always better than political force.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why is our power so crappy?

Last week, thousands of locals lost power after the remnants of Hurricane Ike passed through, bringing very strong winds and rain. Probably a million people in this state over all. Many still don't have it back on yet. I was fortunate that my power remained on, but many of my friends and coworkers weren't so lucky. West of Cleveland and south towards Columbus seem to have been hit pretty hard.

It's puzzling that we don't have a stronger, better system in place after 100+ years of operation. We are paying through the nose for barely adequate service. Who is the culprit in this problematic industry? Is it the nature of for-profit business is to provide shoddy service at the highest possible cost? Or maybe our utilities are deemed a natural monopoly by the government and then given rights over wide areas. I whole-heartedly agree with the latter.

If you look at the different sectors of the economy today, the ones that are thriving all seem to be competitive industries. Technology and retail are perfect examples. My question is why on earth can there be successful businesses in one industry and not in another. We probably could have gotten better electricity service if the government hadn't screwed it up so badly back when it was all nationalized and regulated.

Don't try to tell me that utilities are a natural monopoly. There's no such thing as a natural monopoly unless it is created by the government. We all know that monopolies are bad for the economy, and states are always the worst offender when it comes to monopolies. Just look at the history of Ohio Edison. This is a company that was formed from the forced consolidation of 200 electric companies. Can you even imagine 200 electric companies being in this service area?

I would be willing to bet good money that those companies back in 1930 had good service before they were all brought together. They would have had to in order to stay in business. If you have easily disrupted power lines, you can bet your ass you won't stay in business, because customers will take their money elsewhere. And if there's a storm, their crews would be out servicing their limited area and have you back up in no time. At least, that's what it would look like without government regulation.

If you have any doubts about this please read The Myth of the Natural Monopoly by Thomas J. DiLorenzo. One interesting excerpt follows:

The theory of natural monopoly is a-historical. There is no evidence of the "natural monopoly" story ever having been carried out of one producer achieving lower long-run average total costs than everyone else in the industry and thereby establishing a permanent monopoly. As discussed below, in many of the so-called public utility industries of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, there were often literally dozens of competitors.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

State budget cuts

Ohio's democratic governor is cutting the state budget for the second time this year. Cuts this year will be a total of $1.27 billion. At least they can't run on perennial deficits like the feds. How bad is the government's money management skills? Well, this page is one telling source. As of 2008, the total debt was $8,631,565,254, or $753 per person. Ridiculous. If they came and nicely asked each person to give them that much money, there's no way in hell I would comply.

How is it that the state's debt continues to rise while the population falls? One would think that they wouldn't need as much money to service the fewer people who are left. It's obviously not just a Democrat or Republican issue. Both parties are involved in the budgets. Both have to approve what is going on. It's absurd to think they need so much more money each year to govern me effectively.

There are some interesting tidbits about ohio's tax burden at the The Tax Foundation. Here we can see that Ohio's tax burden has been rising pretty much across the board.

Ohio taxpayers have gone from some of the least taxed in the 1970s to some of the most heavily taxed today, climbing 38 places from 45th highest in 1977 to 7th highest in 2008.
Our state's population growth can be seen here. Ohio's growth is 47th in percentage change. So we can begin to see Ohio's recipe for success. Relentlessly raise taxes while the population steadily declines. Kind of makes me wonder why I even choose to live in this state anymore.

In spite of these cuts in Ohio's two-year $52 billion budget mentioned above, governor Strickland insists that his pet programs will still be paid for. Well, hallelujah. As long as the state continues to pay for children's health and college tuition, everything will be alright. I would be in favor of cutting those too. It's not like it does a very good job in health or education. It's funny when people act as if the sky is falling when the state has to cut its budget. I couldn't be happer. Let those people work in gainful employment rather than consume our tax dollars.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More city waste - on traffic lights

I can't count the number of times I've been stopped at a city light when there's no traffic waiting at the other direction. I've wondered before how much money they spend keeping up this waste of electricity. At least now I know how much they cost over all: Cleveland paid FirstEnergy $4 million for this dubious traffic control.

I'll readily admit that I am no traffic flow expert. But in my admittedly uneducated opinion, this represents pure waste on the city's part. I can't stand driving in the city because of the number of times I have to stop for no reason. If nobody's coming for the next mile, and you can clearly see that there is no other traffic around, you shouldn't have to sit at a traffic light for nothing. Lee road south of shaker is one of the offenders. I would say at least half the lights on Carnegie never have cars waiting when I am stopped.

Even stop signs are an issue. Although they don't waste electricity like lights do, they still waste gas when you have to stop and go so much, thus increasing wear on your car and reducing your gas mileage. On the road I take to get to the highway, Valley View, there are at least two or three completely pointless stop signs. One of them is there only because it's a sharp curve in the road. Given the amount of traffic I see on the road, I simply cannot justify having four way stop signs there. The least they could do is have stop signs in one direction and remove them in the other. Traffic could then flow smoothly on the busier road.

Why do they do this, if there's really no need? I would guess money. I've been pulled over two or three times for running stop signs. I was driving the speed limit, I slowed down and make sure nobody was coming for a long time, and just went. I did absolutely nothing wrong, yet I still ended up having to pay several hundred dollars directly to the state. Not to mention the increased cost on my insurance, even though I am actually a pretty careful driver nowadays. I never speed anymore or drive recklessly.

The state needs to feel like it is doing something important, so they heap all sorts of regulations on us that do absolutely nothing to improve safety. In fact, there are an alarming number of accidents despite all of the state's vain attempts at traffic control. They are even stepping up control with red light cameras at some intersections.

There have been studies that these cameras actually increase collisions. Use google if you're interested in that. It's all about the money and control to these people. They take our money to use in enforcing and implementing these pointless regulations. Then they take it again when we violate them. Perhaps private ownership of roads would bring some sanity back to driving.

I can understand having traffic lights at some busy intersections, like Euclid and East 9th. That's not the issue here. The issue as far as I'm concerned is excessive traffic control and congestion on city streets. A clear majority of lights I see in the city where there's no traffic, even at busy hours, could be downgraded to stop signs. Many four-way stop signs could easily be downgraded to two-way stop signs on side streets only.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cuyahoga County: Housing market falls, but property taxes won't

Cuyahoga's county auditor promised to work 12 to 15 hours a day to make sure everyone in has a chance to appeal their property taxes. Why would they need to do this? Because he decided to freeze 500,000 home values. The government knows they won't be getting as much property taxes with home values falling as they are. They just can't afford to let people pay fair taxes. Poor guys!

Thank goodness Russo is there to take this extraordinary step to serve the people! If it weren't for him, people might not have a chance to make this appeal and get lower taxes. Oh wait, he's the reason they're not being lowered in the first place. FAIL.

People in this state are suffering. They can't make their home payments as it is. Now the government is making it that much harder. It's no wonder Cleveland's main county is losing population so quickly. Home foreclosures are high, and this is supposed to help the state how? Let's make it harder for people to pay for their homes. Then, when they can no longer afford it, they will have to walk away and give it back to the bank. More banks will be burdened with getting rid of homes at a steep discount. Rinse and repeat.

As always, government actions will make the situation worse. They will end up losing more money with less homeowners than before. Homes will sit vacant with property taxes being more than it's worth. Nobody in their right mind will want to buy. Less home buyers, less home owners, less taxes for the government. Maybe we should all be thankful they're digging such a big hole for themselves.

We call this a democracy, yet our taxes are repeatedly raised without representation. One of the most fervent battle cries of the American revolution has been turned around on itself. Maybe some day people will finally wise up to this charade and put an end to these shenanigans. I think a good start would be an amendment requiring a public vote on every single proposed tax increase anywhere in the state. And each time it fails, make them wait at least two years before trying again. State and county legislatures and appointed officials are clearly abusing this privilege. We need to take it away from them now.

Ideally though, taxes need to be abolished, not lowered. Taxes only by voting sounds better than what we have now, but even that is not really a solution. Only a start to a good solution. Imagine if Ohio had no city, state or county taxes. People would flock here to take advantage of freedom rarely seen elsewhere in the country. New businesses would flourish, enough jobs for everyone. No regional states would be able to compete with Ohio. How would necessary government services be funded in this state without them? Same way as all the other necessary services we depend on - voluntary trade.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dear Gov Strickland, please leave my economy alone.

We're saved! Ohio's government now has a super awesome, totally strategic plan for economic development. The veritable magic wand - all they have to do is wave it and jobs will be created, people will be richer, and we can finally start living the good life. If only the state came out with this before, things could have been so much better.

Their plan has three goals: growing our income, creating jobs, and expanding productivity through innovation. All great things for sure. One of the most laughable parts of the executive summary is their goal to "operate government at the speed of business". For this, all they have to do is check off a list of initiatives and their goal will be accomplished. Good for them!

The unfortunate part of the plan is that it will never work. How can I know this without even trying out the plan first? Because governments simply do not create jobs. They don't increase our income in any way, shape or form. The best they can possibly do is take one person's income and give it to someone else who wasn't quite as productive.

There was recently a great article about this very subject. Claiming that governments create jobs and wealth is nothing more than a simple exercise in Frédéric Bastiat's parable of the broken window. The money they would use to create these jobs and wealth only comes from others who would be spending it more efficiently on the same goods on the open market. It's the equivalent of paying someone to move a pile of dirt across the field. The person you pay to move it will have a job and get more money. But it does absolutely nothing to increase the wealth of society. It's still just a pile of dirt in a different location.

This isn't just a party issue, either. People from both political parties, left and right, from all economic classes still believe this. They say that if the candidates from their own party were elected, there would be more jobs created. I think they're all wrong.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Selling sexual services for cash

Last week, several local media outlets reported on the shutdown of a massage parlor in Geauga County. After a six-month investigation, three of the women involved were charged with "engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity". Whatever the hell that means. One more was charged with prostitution.

This leaves me to wonder why so many people think that prostitution is wrong. Having been raised in a very conservative religious household, I can understand if you do. However, it's one thing to think it's wrong and completely another to try and use the force of government to outlaw it. Those who would do so presume ownership over the bodies of these women.

Who owns our bodies? The only possible answer that I can see is that I am the sole owner of my body. The implications of that are profound and far-reaching. It includes the issue we are discussing here. If we do in fact own our bodies, than there's no possible way that consensual selling of the use of our body can be considered a crime.

If the government and our neighbors pretend that they have the moral and legal authority to outlaw this act, then they are actually professing to own our body. That is no different than slavery. Ownership of other human beings has been illegal for a long time.

I can understand if you think prostitution is immoral, but making illegal will do nothing to stop it. You cannot prevent people from selling use of their bodies any more than you can prevent them from using drugs. The government has enough problems with violent crime. Selling sex is not a violent crime. I would much rather the state use my money to investigate murder and theft than prostitution and drugs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Democracy - leads to bankruptcy?

This is something I've been meaning to write about. I've thought before that democracy, if it works at all, would be best for very small communities. To me it's pretty straight forward where democratic government goes wrong on a federal level. It's easy to spot corruption and mismanagement when you're watching such a large empire. For many people it's not as easy when they're looking at small municipalities.

The federal government is bankrupt, and has run up a massive debt. We know this. But democracy can also be just as hopeless locally as well, as is the case in North Randall, OH. The Plain Dealer reported that the government of North Randall, OH is on the verge of collapse. This village, home to the largest mall in the Cleveland area, used to be booming. As many as 40% of the voters there are now petitioning to dissolve the city.

Perhaps they could get back to fiscal solvency by getting rid of the mayor's $50,000 part time salary and the two officer patrols that cost $100,000 a year. Or they could even just dissolve the government and let everyone keep their hard earned money. It could serve as a new model. If you can't be fiscally solvent, you'll need to go back to private industry and stop feeding off the public. I sincerely hope they would remain government free, rather than falling back in with Warrensville Heights, which surrounds it on three sides. Probably a small chance, but I would love to see that happen.

I also wish they would stop referring to the whole village as being near collapse. There are 850 residents living there who are not collapsing. The village government is what's collapsing. That is a very important distinction. The responsible villagers vs. their parasitic government is what it's really about. Let the villagers voluntarily contract for security and city services.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why do some companies get so big?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the unholy union between state and corporation. Of particular interest in this post is $7.3 million from Summit County to fund Bridgestone Firestone's new research and development center. The county is forcefully taking money out of my pocket, under the threat of violence, and giving it to this multi billion dollar multinational corporation.

As if that isn't bad enough, the county is borrowing money for the project, according to county lawyer Jason Dodson. Which means that my fellow citizens and I will be paying for this plus interest out of our future paychecks. All together, the city of Akron, summit county, and the state of Ohio are contributing $68 million in public financing.

What kind of company is this that feels entitled to taxpayer money? Apparently all they have to do to get more funding from the state is threaten to relocate their facilities to Tennessee. Personally, I couldn't give a rat's ass if they packed up and left. I don't see any possible justification to take money from citizens and give it to these people. This is what we commonly refer to as "corporate welfare".

The least they could do is give me some free tires or something. Alas, no... what will they give me in return for this? Nothing. I will be forced to finance their expansion so state officials won't lose any corporate tax dollars.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Add gambling to the list of things the State does which we can't do. Ohio enjoys tremendous profits from their lottery games. Now Keno is on their laundry list of legal gaming. It started this last Monday, and made revenues for the state of $257,000. Total payout for the game was $163,474 - 64% of the wagers placed.

State officials say Keno is expected to bring Ohio $73 million a year. They need the money to offset general revenue funding cuts. Good thing they have this as an option. It sure would be terrible if they didn't have that extra money to waste on their failed programs.

What if I decided I need some more cash to make up my budget shortfall this year? Hmm, maybe I'll install some gambling machines in my house and invite my neighbors over for a night of fun. Oh wait, normal citizens can't do that if they need to make ends meet. We pay them taxes to use force on us to stop us from voluntarily placing bets with our own money. Sounds more like bizarro world to me.

Gambling: yet another Victimless Crime outlawed by the State to take all the profits for themselves. I don't gamble much, and even if I could I probably wouldn't. Poker is my game of choice, which of course I can't do. I wouldn't start my own gaming business either. That doesn't mean other people shouldn't be able to.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ohio's public school situation

WCPN reported on a new study from the Center for Education Policy, a group that advocates public education. It includes a report on school restructuring in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. There is a link to the report on their website, but it was down and I couldn't get to it so I'll have to wait till later on that.

Cleveland's schools are consistently failing state and national standards for achievement. "The number of schools that have to be restructured, which is the last stage of change among schools that haven’t been doing well, has doubled in the last year - and the state is grappling with how to try improving so many schools." This amounts to 130 schools in 2007-08.

Eric Gordon, an administrator in the school district, was quick to tout the improvement of three of Cleveland's schools. Improvement to what, he does not say. I guess as long as they keep making small gains it's alright with them.... it's not alright with me, though.

I don't think any amount of improvement in the public school system will convince me to give up my kids education to the state. The education of my children is way too important to be left to faceless bureaucrats in Columbus and DC.

What's my alternative? Home school. I plan on living modestly so my wife and I can have the time and resources to teach my children. The number one argument I hear in favor of public schools is that your children need to be properly social with their peers. When you realize how many opportunities there still are for that, outside of the public school system, that argument seems to fall flat.

One of the brightest parts was that the week these interviews were given, virtually every school tax on ballots across Ohio failed. The sooner we stop paying for schools with more taxes, the better. Throwing more money at the problem won't fix it. As always, strictly private education is the answer.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The State gets away with murder

The vast hypocracy of the state is nowhere more evident than in the crime of murder. Government agents routinely get away with it, where any normal citizen would be severely punished. Take, for example, today's court ruling for Lima, OH officer Joseph Chavalia. He was acquitted of all charges in the death of a poor black woman during a SWAT team drug raid.

The all-white jury found Sgt. Joseph Chavalia not guilty on misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and negligent assault. He had faced up to eight months in jail if convicted of both counts.
The first travesty is that the two charges against him were only misdemeanors. Where else but the State could someone guily of murder be charged so lightly? I guess I should be happy that they at least brought some kind of charges against the cop. Most of the time they would actually get a raise for this kind of behavior. Or at the very least a medal for bravery, as was recently the case for those cops in Minnesota.

Secondly, it is commonly recognized among libertarians that the state's prohibition of drugs is what causes this type of violence in the first place. Where else could a victimless crime such as getting high be prosecuted to such a heavy extent?

Chavalia said he saw a shadow coming out from behind a partially open bedroom door and heard gunshots that he thought were aimed at him. It turned out that gunfire he heard was coming from downstairs, where other officers shot two charging pit bulls.
I guess it seems plausible that he could have felt threatened by an unarmed black woman. At least, it does until you begin to question why he was even there in the first place. Let alone shooting up the house's inhabitants. That officer had a choice of whether or not to pull the trigger. If anything, he had a choice of whether or not to enforce the state's drug laws. If the officer deemed them to be inappropriate, as well he should, he could have quit and gotten a productive job in the private sector.

The gangland wars of 1920s Chicago, starring Al Capone, were directly created by the government's prohibition of alcohol. So it is with today's perpetual drug war. Black market gang warlords thrive under the state. Heavy handed measures taken by the state to combat this drug related gang violence only result in the murder of innocent victims like Tarika Wilson. The only thing that will stop drug related violence is to end drug prohibition completely. Not just for marijuana, but ALL drugs.

The state routinely violates human nature by committing the very acts that it deems illegal for normal citizens. This can all stop only when people finally recognize the government for what it is, and refuse to enact its ridiculous provisions. No amount of enforced drug prohibition will ever eliminate drug use. Cheap, plentiful, high quality drugs available at the local corner pharmacy will end the violence.

I am not a drug user by any means. I just don't see anything wrong with other people who want to use them. It's not that scary when you realize that the same exact thing holds true for alcohol. Maybe there would be more people driving under the influence of cocaine. If someone did that and caused an accident, let that be prosecuted as the crime. Just as in alcohol. Everyday drug use in one's own home should not be illegal.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who will build the roads?

When I speak out against government, this is one of the inevitable responses I get. Hopefully this will finally put that erroneous line of thought to rest.

Fixing all of Ohio's bridges could cost more than $4 billion, according to a national study. It's a bill the state says it can't foot alone without additional investment from the federal government.
I honestly don't know why people continue to think that only the state can build roads. States are barely able maintain what they have, despite onerous gasoline taxes and monopoly of toll roads. The economic impact almost seems like a no brainer: high prices, poor service. The forgone conclusion is that costs for this public good will continue to go up relentlessly. Same as all the other government "services" that nobody can seem to do without.

But hey, they claim they're working to keep bridges safe through annual inspections and a "fix-it-first" philosophy. Too bad they can't afford the $4 billion it will take. And that's just an estimate. Chances are 100% certain the true cost will be higher after all the no-bid contracts are handed out to relatives of state administrators.

You probably still don't believe that private enterprise can build roads. I would highly recommend this classic essay by Walter Block on free market transportation. Sure, there are a lot more terrible things that the government does besides build roads. But still, it's a very simple illustration of how incompetent the state is at handling just about anything. If most people aren't convinced by this, I don't know what it would possibly take.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Corruption in county government. No way!

I'm absolutely shocked. Shocked I tell you! All over the news today is the story of a huge FBI raid of two major Cuyahoga county government officials. County Commissioner Jimmy DiMora and County Auditor Frank Russo had their offices and homes searched. Party finger pointing has already ensued. Some forum posters, obviously democrats, are even blaming this on Bush. Now I'm not one to disbelieve that political reasons are often in play when corruption is investigated. But saying that one party is more corrupt than the other is just too funny.

The My Fox Cleveland site separately reported last year about this contract was given out to remove asbestos from a building. Taxpayers ended up paying over a million dollars more than the lowest bid. The people who performed the service weren't qualified, even though they had a county permit to do so.

What, exactly, is the difference between this and the mob? I fail to see it. Sure, you could try to argue that the people voted for the country government. So they must be legitimate, right? I would say that voting simply means one criminal pandered to the lowest common denominator of society more effectively than the other.

The amazing thing is people vote for these crooks over and over again. People will support the government tooth and nail, no matter how inept they are. They are falsely taught, through the public education system, that this is the best we can ever hope for. I tend to think people will eventually outgrow the need for government. All they need to do is realize they don't have to put up with this kind of behavior, and institutional support will vanish. Whether it will be sooner rather than later is another matter entirely.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A cop down

The law and order crowd is all up in arms about Twinsburg officer Joshua Miktarian's death. Ashford Thompson claimed he shot the policeman in self defense, and most people don't believe it. In fact a large number of them simply assume the cop must be innocent because he wore a shiny badge. These people are completely unable to comprehend how someone might be a bad cop.

Some of the of the more choice comments make me fear for society. They are assuming he is guilty before he even had a chance to defend himself in court. These are the kind of people we expect to make an informed decision on election day? It's no wonder democracy works so well...

upsetwoman: "You've got to be kidding me. There is no way that this was self defense. Please just save the taxpayers money and just fry him!!!

OldManGrump: "I hope he gets the needle for shooting Josh Miktarian in the head 4 times. There is no defense in this world that could have justified this shooting."

tommoy: "self-defense doesnt give you free reign to just kill someone, even if self-defense is warranted. self-defense only allows you to take action as necessary to prevent the harm that is being done to you - it is not a license to kill no matter what."

cleveland78: "You either think he is guilty (for altruistic reasons or otherwise) or think he is not guilty (because you are delusional)"

Funkadelic: "I will anxiously await the needle to be inserted in Thomspon's arm as they begin the slow drip of justice!!!"

Swank: "I can't really think of any situation other than confronting a rogue cop who has lost his mind and is about to douse you with acid that would justify shooting a cop. And that only happens in comic books."

wantitall: "Fry sizzle sizzle sizzle............................Fry sizzle sizzle sizzle...........that's what would be nice to hear"

bootscoot524: "Self defense, my butt! You don't shoot a cop in the head 4 times because he was a threat to this idiot. That young, buck Thompson had a reason to be detained and instead of cooperating, he snuffed out the life of a wonderful cop"

Irishguy26: "I hope I get on the jury.... If it's up to me, this mutant will be swinging on a rope from the highest tree on Public Square!"

So there's no reason to ever kill someone in self defense? Not even if you feel your life is threatened? Bull. These posts make me sick.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Officer Simone and his gun do not make us safer

To Phillip Morris:

I read your July 15 column in the Plain Dealer titled "Officer Simone and his gun are making Cleveland Safer". Yes, I do indeed wonder why Officer Simone is being hailed as a hero. Your answer that "because he is a hero" is little more than self-fulfillment. You admit that Simone is a dangerous social statement, but I very much disagree that his actions are necessary.

The extreme version of law and order you advocate, in practice, amounts to thugs with badges that end up harassing innocent people. It is disappointing that a mainstream, respectable newspaper would publish such dreck. The police state you imagine is more damaging to our social fabric than the criminals you seek to prosecute.

Officers who speak of Simone as being "fair" don't walk in the shoes of the people he shot to death. I wonder if they would think of Simone as fair if they were the ones he murdered. I'm sure they would be singing a different tune if that was the case. The many traffic tickets Officer Simone dishes out are another great cause of concern for liberty and freedom. The vast majority of traffic stops and fines amount to little more than theft of citizens' hard earned money. Because of this, people (if they so choose) would be justified in resisting police officers in traffic stops - with force if necessary.

The penalty for robbing a bank clearly isn't death in this country. Where do you think we live, Iran? There is something called due process, which is supposed to protect us from police abuse. Simone has absolutely no authority to become judge, jury, and executioner as you foolishly conclude. Our police officers steal more money from people than all bank robbers combined. They are the ones who can go to hell. I don't advocate violence unless it is in self-defense. In my opinion, the crazed state of excessive law enforcement in this country warrants defensive resistance against police aggression.

If you doubt my statement about police abuse, you only need visit There is no evidence whatsoever that Cleveland is safer after Simone murdered those people.

cleveland blog

Lately I've been thinking about what a terrible site is. Anyone else ever post on there? I wonder if they ever did any usability tests on it. It's pretty much unusable from a web 2.0 perspective. I'm surprised if they think this is really an adequate design for their customers. Every time I go there, it makes me not want to go back. I guess the only reason I do is because they have the content, along with a decent user base.

Once you comment on a story, it's pretty hard to find again if it goes off the front page. There is no way of knowing if someone responded to one of your comments. You can't see any of your old posts when you log in. They routinely censor posts... mine have been removed several times. The layout is arranged in such a haphazard manner as to make navigation difficult.

I noticed a lot of other city papers use this same software for their online presence. Newspapers are dying, and thus far they have been unable to compete with advertising dollars online. It's no wonder when they have such pathetic sites like this. Someone really should design some decent interactive software for local news sites. Hmm...