Principles and Policies Podcast For Saturday 7/21/2018- Barry Sheets and Chuck Michaelis explain why it’s a bad idea to ignore God’s instructions on how to engage with others including non-believers and the consequences of not doing so that is so evident in modern society.
Principles and Policies Podcast For Saturday 2/24/2018- Barry Sheets and Chuck Michaelis interview Catherine Wood of Relationships Under Construction about the very difficult job they do very, very well in public schools. We also discuss the upcoming Relationships Under Construction banquet.
This author has been teaching an adult Sunday school class on God and Government (using Gary DeMar’s book of the same name as a guide) at his church. Class members (who are currently viewing David Barton’s The Keys to Good Government) are being convicted of the necessity to examine not just the public lives of those who want to be stewards in high office but to also examine their private lives, as well. They are seeing, some for the first time, that private character matters in the behavior of public officials.And some are awakening to the necessity of electing men who are not just Christian but actually apply their faith to all of their life, including their exercise of duty while in office.
You may think this means a position advocating hiring private detectives to look in bedroom windows and such. You would be wrong. What is being advocated is the examination of the fruit of the faith of candidates and office holders. Many are shocked to learn that the word that is translated as “minister” in some versions (“servant” in some others) is a title used for both civil authority and ecclesiastical authority strongly implying that the admonitions for office holders of Exodus 18 and 1Timothy 3 apply to both offices. The Timothy passages tell us to look to the way a man conducts his family business as an indicator for whether he is capable of handling higher office. That is because how a man manages his family is an indicator of how well a man disciplines himself and maintains his relationship to God. This follows from the idea that a man faithful to God is a man who applies his faith to the management of his family and will also do in the management of his duties that come with higher office, whether civil or ecclesiastical.
Sadly, a man’s faith in God is no longer a guarantee that his family, business or duties of higher office will be handled in a godly manner. Modern pietistic Christianity has bought into the secular humanist argument (made popular by Col. Robert Ingersoll a militantly anti-Christian crusader of the 19th century) that a man’s life can be compartmentalized into separate spiritual and worldly spheres of influence. Thus, a man can be a pillar of his church and completely corrupt in the conduct of his personal and business affairs and his duties of higher office.
If you have paid any attention to recent Supreme court justice confirmation hearings, you will have heard nominees questioned about their faith. To a man, these nominees have declared that they were men of faith and, astonishingly, that their faith would have absolutely no bearing on any decision they would make from the bench. Frankly, a man who can compartmentalize his faith to this degree is far more frightening than a man who applies his faith to all aspects of his life as the foundational operating philosophy. That man’s decisions will be predictable based on a knowledge of the law that emanates from his faith. A man who does not apply his faith as a governing philosophy will be like a philosophical nomad traveling from place to place in search of a temporarily green place to nurture his philosophical flock. This seems fine until one day everyone discovers that all of the ground the nomad traveled has been made barren through his abuse of it. Think in terms of modern Supreme court decisions where justices turn every which way, examining European law for example, searching for legal philosophy on which to base decisions when all they need do is apply biblical case law as courts have done since their inception here in the early 17th century.
As part of the Sunday school class, this author made the observation that not only was the average Christian compartmentalizing his faith when choosing candidates for higher office, but that so-called Christian leadership, who should, theoretically, know better, actively participate in making it more difficult to discern which candidates for civil office are worthy of the Christian vote. One of the things I had in mind (though not by a long-shot the only thing) were the things I saw and heard at the recent WRFD town hall meeting.
Several members of the Institute for Principled Policy’s governing board were audience participants at the town hall meeting and we were there from about 2:30 pm for the pre-show until about 5:00 pm. At the outset it should be made clear that the host of the program, Pastor Bob Burney, did his best to make the town hall meeting what he promised it would be; open and informative. How do I know this? The format of the meeting was that the participants would write questions out on a pre-printed form and submit them to one of the programs producers or one of the floor volunteers. They were reviewed for things like language and coherence (I presume) and then handed to Pastor Burney.
It is this writer’s opinion that Pastor Burney is a Christian who is not afraid to ask tough questions of political candidates to ferret out their positions on issues. This is because he read a question that this writer had submitted to find where John Kasich, candidate for Governor, stood on the second amendment. He didn’t change the wording, or soften the question in any way. Why so sure? This writer wrote the question. It read approximately like this-
Keeping the phrase from the 2nd amendment…”shall not be infringed…” in mind- how can a law that prohibits the ownership of a gun on the basis of caliber, firing rate, magazine size or stock configuration not be an infringement? If you agree that it is an infringement then please explain your vote to restrict my ownership of guns on this basis as a congressman
Sad to say, this question was read during a news break and so the radio audience never heard it. But the studio audience did. And they also heard the 2-3 minute long answer which completely failed to address the specifics of the question. The audience present heard Kasich declaim using phrases taken directly from the politician’s rhetorical cliche handbook. Things like “I agree with the NRA (National Rifle Assoc.) more than I do my wife” and “I own a gun.” They also heard Kasich imply that he the had NRA’s endorsement. He doesn’t.
Why does all of this matter? Why should a Christian care one way or another about a candidate’s votes in Congress? After all, Kasich has a “conservative” reputation and his wife and children were there with him, he has his kids in Christian school, doesn’t he? That’s a great question because it aims right at the heart of the issue of how Christians are supposed to evaluate candidates for office. And the sad fact is that Christians have been misled by those in leadership to think about candidate evaluation in completely the wrong context.
Look again at the rationalizations listed above. In every instance they are based on outward appearances. Yes, Kasich is nominally “conservative.” But that word can be defined in many ways by many different people and groups who award that title. One group’s conservative vote might be another’s progressive vote in Congress. The standards are variable. In fact, by a constitutionalist’s (defined as someone who subscribes to a strict literal interpretation of the meaning of the US Constitution) standard Kasich is conservative to moderate on economics (OK on taxes, flawed on spending) with a moderate progressive streak on social issues. In short he is a so-called “big government” conservative. That’s why the second amendment question quoted above is of vital importance.
How so? In order to understand we must look at what it means to be a representative. All government structures of God have certain characteristics. They are both representative and covenantal. Governments of all jurisdictions self, family, civil, church) are representative in two directions. The chosen representative represents the authority of God to those within his jurisdiction and those people in his jurisdiction back to God. With that in mind, it is easy to see that a people who despise God will seek poor representation who also despises God. In return as a judgment God will give them the poor representation of and to Himself that they ask for and deserve.
So what is the covenant aspect and why does it matter to civil government? A covenant is a contract. According to a biblical view of government, it is a contract in which God is a party to the contract as both the initiator and arbiter of the contract. God gives the parties to the covenant a choice. Obey the stipulations of the covenant and see earthly and eternal rewards or disobey them and receive earthly and eternal punishment. There is no negotiating the terms of such a contract and neither is there an opt-out. Believers or not, human beings are subject to the terms of the covenant. The covenant applies to all aspects of life including the political.
You might be thinking “I thought there was a separation of church and state, so how can God be involved in government?” Yes, indeed there is a separation of church and state in terms of jurisdictions (spheres of authority). The state is forbidden by God from engaging in or interfering with the jurisdiction reserved to His church. Likewise the church’s jurisdiction is to act in an advisory capacity to government secondarily. Primarily, the church’s responsibility is to teach the tenets of the Christian faith and how to apply those principles to every facet of their lives to believers . That includes the choosing of and acting as good godly representatives as described above. Hence, the secondary responsibility to act as an advisor to godly representatives in a teaching capacity.
Now to why the second amendment question is so important. When John Kasich and Ted Strickland were elected to Congress, and this goes for all Federal representatives, they swore an oath before God to “…uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America…” Kasich violated that oath when he voted to give the federal government an authority that the highest law of the land denied to it. The authority to ban the sale of guns for any reason or in other words infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms. That makes him a willful covenant breaker.
Now, Kasich could have made an effort to repair his reputation as a covenant breaker by explaining that his bad votes had been mistakes and that he now regretted them on the basis of principles that he did not understand at the time. He made no effort to do so and instead chose to attempt to defend his votes and when it became clear that none of his attempts to side step the question were satisfactory he said simply “It is what it is.” That spoke volumes. He broke his covenant without remorse. To a Christian who has a consistent worldview, this made him someone who could not be eligible to be a representative in civil authority.
While Pastor Burney was as faithful to his promise as possible there were other participants that were not so faithful. The questioning noted above took place before the late arrival of Chris Long of Ohio Christian Alliance. This author had submitted several questions of a similar nature to the one above. All of them designed to determine where the candidate answering the question stood as regards the keeping of his or her oaths before God to “…uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America…” All of them were very specific questions about parts of the Constitution very relevant to issues of the day.
After Mr. Long’s arrival the facilitation of the meeting was immediately transferred to his control and its nature instantly changed. Instead of allowing tough questions which were designed to get at the core principles of the candidates it became obvious that questions were being screened to protect candidates from hard ball questions. In fact, this writer watched from the front row just in front of the podium where the hosts and guests were seated as Mr. Long sorted audience questions, removing those presumably deemed inappropriate and handing the remaining soft ball questions to Pastor Burney to use.
You might be asking why this would be in light of what has been explained above. But if you think about this for just a minute you might see what’s happening here. It has already been discussed earlier in this posting. It is the habit Christians have allowed themselves to fall into of considering only the outward appearances of faith in looking for a candidate. And many Christian leaders have allowed themselves to be co-opted by a political party. This is nothing new. The Democratic Party co-opted liberal churches and leaders very early in the twentieth century. Conservative evangelicals, on the other hand, tended to avoid politics altogether during the period from about 1925 until the presidential election of 1976 when many of the were persuaded by Christian leaders to vote for a self-proclaimed “born-again Christian-” Jimmy Carter. Most conservative evangelicals found the policies of the Carter administration completely unpalatable, not to mention decidedly un-Christian and this disaffected new voting bloc was easily convinced to join the Reagan coalition inside the Republican Party. Christian leaders became aware that they had been the deciding factor in the Republican party in both keeping George Bush from getting the Republican nomination (something they had obviously forgotten by 1988 and a fact that was a harbinger of future events with unpleasant consequences) and in delivering the White House to Reagan in 1980. They then began to try to leverage their power inside the Republican party to get some of the social and economic legislation that they believed the nation needed. In the process, many Christian leaders became Republicans first and Christians second. This culminated in the disastrous first and second Bush administrations.
With this short history in mind we have to ask ourselves why Christians continue to allow themselves to be used and, yes, seduced into supporting nominal and pseudo-Christian candidates by a political party which ignores, insults and does their level best to make sure that Christians stay home for primaries but insists they show their loyalty to the party and vote for candidates whose policies are repugnant to them in general elections. We also have to wonder how Christian leaders have come to the conclusion that they must either support and even work to protect exclusively Republican candidates who are openly covenant breakers.
The answer lies in simply denying that they are indeed covenant breakers. The best way to do that is by maintaining a state of plausible deniability. If you never ask the tough questions you can easily deny knowledge that the candidate in question’s policies are in conflict with his oath of office. Sadly, this doesn’t often stop Christians from defending these candidates when their shortcomings are made public. Many will stop at almost nothing to protect their chosen candidates because they are nominally Christian (outwardly) and have the added ability to win elections. Winning with a nominal Christian candidate who may be an oath breaker has become more important than providing a candidate with a consistent Christian worldview who could be a true oath honoring representative. Earthly power beats godly covenant. Not hardly.
With this now completed election it is time to reflect on who the biggest winners and biggest losers in Ohio were. By this we do not want you to rant and rave but to put forth a reasoned perspective on who you believe gained the most and who lost the most on November 3. Try to remain focused on Ohio issues and politicians, including your own local issues, and away from national politics in this discussion. Don’t just regurgitate the talking heads who are proclaiming the Republicans won and Obama lost. For example, let me proceed first with my opinions.
I believe the biggest winner in Ohio was Dan Gilbert and his associates. Gilbert, who amassed a fortune through his quick loans operation and who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers professional basketball team, fronted the Ohio Casino initiative which narrowly won. Gilbert and his associates will now have a legally constituted monopoly on casino gambling in Ohio. The fact that the citizens of Ohio endorsed this idea of granting a few people control over this industry boggles my mind. My reaction has nothing to do with the morality or immorality with gaming but with the control, opportunity, and money granted by Ohioans to a select few through a constitutional amendment. This is outrageous and deplorable. Quite obviously the biggest winner in Ohio was Dan Gilbert, the billionaire who will now along with his associates be able to reap additional billions each year from the willing naïve sacrificial citizens of Ohio.
But who lost the most? There were many losers: the public school systems, the governor of Ohio, those opposing state issues 2 or 3, but who lost the most? Many lost opportunities; many lost money; and some even lost their seats of power. But did anyone lose more than any of these? Let me put forward my opinion and we want to hear yours.
I have always been a supporter of law enforcement. I address police officers as “sir” and taught my children to do so as well. When law enforcement supporters have called or written for donations or were selling tickets for fund-raisers, I willingly forked forth the bucks realizing I could never do enough or support them enough. To me law enforcement officials have been the least appreciated and the most under-respected servants in society. But no more! From my vantage point the biggest loser in Ohio was the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police). They lost their integrity and my respect. Time after time I was bombarded on the TV by Tipton’s endorsement of the state amendment for legalized casinos. How much money did the FOP pay for this plethora of commercials? What are they receiving in return? The law enforcement agencies are receiving a great deal of money from the profits of the gaming industry and this appears like a pay-off to me.
More disappointing to me than the passage of issue 3 and the amending of the Ohio Constitution to permit a legal monopoly on casinos is the support of this monopoly by a law enforcement agency that should understand the value of the Constitution, the seriousness of a Constitutional Amendment, and the essential philosophical danger of endorsing a monopoly. The one virtue that those in law must possess is impartiality. The support of this amendment by the FOP demonstrates partiality to me. Formal support of this amendment by the FOP seemingly places the gambling industry and the law enforcement agencies into the same bed together. Does this disturb any of you?
As close as the vote was on Issue 3, it is quite possible that the endorsement by the FOP and the extent of the publicity generated by the FOP was just enough to get this amendment passed. This will make it difficult for me to ever address an officer of the law as “sir” and to teach my grandchildren that they should respect these officers since I now know the truth…they can be bought off like anyone else. The FOP won, but from my vantage point they lost their soul and their integrity and what loss could be greater?
IPP invites you to enter into this discussion on Ohio’s biggest winners and biggest losers. If you are not registered, then please do so by registering and commenting in our Forum.
Unlike many others who are discussing the pros and cons of the language of Issue 3, the Institute for Principled Policy believes there are larger underlying reasons for advocating a NO vote on this Ohio ballot initiative. We have shared these concerns before as a general position on the question of gambling expansion, but they are just as relevant in the current debate as in any other debate over gambling, state sponsored or privately owned.
“Does the Bible specifically speak to gambling as being not only a sin but something which the civil authority, bearing the sword under Romans 13 authority, can make a determination upon relative to the legality of such activity?
First, there must be some clarity in the choices of words we are using. Gambling, as defined by Webster’s 1828 dictionary, is as follows: “Gaming for money.” Let’s assume that this definition is agreed upon for purposes of usage of the word. Please notice that this definition would exclude the gathering of friends coming together to play a card game without money changing hands, but would not exclude organized gambling (casinos, lotteries, bingo parlors, monte carlo nights, etc.)
Given that gambling, defined correctly as “gaming for money”, is a clear violation of the 10th Commandment (thou shalt not covet) in that it is desiring something of value which you have not been given by God nor earned by your labor, then we need to look at how the Bible describes coveting or covetousness.
Colossians 3:5-6–”Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, the inordinant affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness which is idolatry. For the which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” (1599 Geneva)
Ephesians 5:5–”For this ye know, that no whoremonger, neither unclean person, nor covetous person, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, and of God.” (1599 Geneva)
Covetousness is the root of evil before the act. Given that the Bible equates coveting with idolatry, and that gambling is the act of gaming for money as a result of coveting more than you have been given or earned from your labor, it is a violation of the command against coveting, then bythe clear testimony of Scripture and logical inference , it is also a violation against creating a idol (2nd Commandment).
Additionally, engaging in gambling involves relying on “chance”, “luck” or other metaphysical crutches (rabbit’s feet, lucky charms, lucky numbers, etc), thus denying the sovereignty of God and His Law-Word. This is a violation of the First Commandment against having other gods. Matthew 6:24 is clear that one cannot serve both God and mammon (”No man can serve two masters: for either he shall hate the one, and love the other, or else he shall lean to the one, anddespise the other. Ye cannot serve God and riches.”) Only one God can be served, and engaging in gambling is worship of a false god.
As for the 8th Commandment against theft, the first person violated is God Himself. God has a first ownership claim over all resources, and requires it be used in specific ways (tithe, legitimate tax, gifts, provide for own and own home, church, provide for widows and orphans, etc). We have a stewardship responsibility of all God provides, and failure of that disqualifies a man from oversight of the church (Titus 1:5-8) and the state (Exodus 18:21).
Additionally, we are complicit in the theft of resources from others through the legalization of gambling (and there is no such thing as a purely “private” gambling operation; just legal and illegal–government has some part to play in any operation through enabling legislation, tax policy, police and safety efforts, etc). Redistribution of wealth under any circumstances, whether through confiscatory taxation or through state-endorsed gambling is theft.
Overall, as mentioned, supporting gambling is supporting multiple violations of God’s Law, whether or not man has said it is legal.”
In light of the above, the Institute for Principled Policy requests that you vote “NO” on Ohio State Issue 3 on the November 3rd ballot.
Most grassroots movements have the same fundamental parts to them, with the tea party movement being a notable exception. Understanding those parts will help activists and candidates to generate and sustain momentum and support for your issue.
Chris Faulkner from Faulkner Strategies discussed the keys to a grassroots movement. You have to have ‘The “IT”‘, ie. the key root basis of your movement: the idea, issue or value(s) that define your movement, identified clearly and succintly. Think abortion for the pro-life movement, war opposition for both the Dean campaigns and the Paul campaigns, etc.
You also have to have “The ‘Host'”, the person or group that becomes the avatar and carries the “IT”. Most “hosts” have been too weak to carry the “It” effectively (think Howard Dean) but sometimes a “host” is strong enough to carry the “It” (think Barack Obama carrying the “Move ON” idea).
The “Host” can’t do it alone; in come the “Evangelists”: those who are opinionated, well-informed, and more interested in the “It” than in the “Host”. These folks are the ones who really drive and make the movement happen and catch fire. Sometimes they may be “sneezers” who push information out (think bloggers, talk radio, etc.). Next you need the “medium” of how the message is going to be delivered. In our Founding era, it was Committees of Correspondence and the Federalist Papers; today it is the Internet and social media.
All of this is focused on getting the message, and the momentum, to the “Crowd”, ie. everyone else. The Tea Parties seem to have found a way to effectively do this and also bypass the need for a “Host”, thus decreasing the likelihood of a personality eclipsing the message or turning off those who otherwise could and should be part of the movement.
Maybe the conservative movement can learn some lessons. The time is now, and the resources are available.
It has been so long since I have posted something here, but Ohio is at a critical juncture. For years, we have fought efforts to legalize gambling. It appears as if today we may finally fail. Governor Strickland, who has previously held a position against gambling, has now bent to the gambling interests. In fact, the governor has been working on a state budgetary crisis and has been working with the legislature to balance the budget. Well known fact: governor wants to be re-elected in 2010 and does not want to tax citizens. Therefore, this is his only answer for state revenue to increase, allow slot machines in for the very first time!
My friends, if you are an Ohioan, please call your state senator and tell him or her today to vote NO on the state budget, since it allows a provision for the governor to write an Executive Order to allow slots into Ohio. In fact, tell both your state senator and House Member to vote NO. Some will listen!
I already spoke with my state senator’s office and the response was that the senator felt like he had no choice other than to let the governor have his way. I told him that was bologna and the senator absolutely has a choice to go against the governor. I don’t care what agencies cease to get funding for the day! Stand for principle, or be a big coward and incur the wrath of the conservatives in Ohio. Have some guts and stand like a man, for crying out loud! Pulezzze!!!!
Below is an alert that was sent out on Sunday. Pay attention as this unfolds!
Life Comes At You Fast!!!
Legislative Alert – Vote Expected Monday
Governor Strickland is expected to sign an executive order on Monday (today) to authorize the state lottery to use casino style slot machines (VLT’s) at Ohio’s racetrack locations – a casino scheme previously rejected by Ohio voters. He has convinced the Democratic leadership in the House and the Republican leadership in the Senate to cooperate by changing state laws on gambling in the budget bill.
Elected legislators in BOTH the Ohio House and Ohio Senate need to hear from their constituents by this morning.
The Ohio Constitution was am ended on May 8, 1973 to permissively grant the Ohio General Assembly the authority to authorize a state agency to conduct lotteries and award lottery prizes based on a common understanding of the lottery game as one which utilizes the sale of tickets as the means of play.
Ohio citizens in 1973 did not amend the Ohio Constitution to give a state agency OR any governor the power to authorize casinos.
* Casino games have been rejected by Ohio voters four times since the Lottery’s inception, including twice in the past three years.
* Putting VLT’s at Ohio’s existing racetracks was rejected by voters in 82 out of 88 counties.
* Less that one year ago almost 3.4 million Ohioans refused to accept an expansion of gambling.
* In the counties which host 5 of the 7 racetracks, voters flatly rejected the placement of video lottery terminals at these facilities near their homes and neighborhoods.
* Governor Strickland ESTIMATES that VLT revenues will generate $933 million, but Ohioans would have to LOSE more than twice that amount for the state to get its share. This means an estimated $2 BILLION would be sucked out of the consumer economy. (Once the money is lost in a slot machine, you can’t get it back to spend it on clothing, food, appliances, cars, or other consumer products. Ohio’s economy cannot afford it in the middle of this recession!)
Other points to consider:
* To override the vote of the people shows a significant disrespect for the “consent of the governed” which is foundational to our system of government.
* To balance a multibillion dollar budget on what Ohioans would choose to lose at a slot machine is extremely irresponsible.
Please contact your state senator and state representative IMMEDIATELY (today). Ask him/her to vote NO on the budget. Any support of this budget will be considered a support for bringing in casinos which have specifically been rejected by the majority of Ohio voters.
The final vote on the budget could take place by Monday afternoon.
Find your legislator at http://www.principledpolicy.com/?page_id=4
Please CALL today (leave a voicemail; if voicemail is full – call back in the morning). Emails will not be as effective this time.
Please take the time to read the blog on the “rule of law” at http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.aproundtable.org
Four times. November 4 will mark four times in the last 18 years that gambling advocates have tried to persuade Ohio citizens to allow them to set up to play in the Buckeye state. Normally, in a ballgame, three strikes is an “out”. Three swings of the electoral bat, and the gamblers have a perfect average: .000. That’s three “NO” votes, by resounding margins, one each in 1990, 1996 and 2006. Now they are swinging again.
This time the bat (or should I say bait?) is a single “resort destination” casino which, if approved, would be located right in the middle of southwestern Ohio farm country: Chester Township in Clinton County. Why there? Easy access to I-71, and within 50 miles of three major population centers (Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati).
The team this time trying to break out and be the winners of the Gambling World (Ohio) Series is MyOhioNow, a collaboration of a retired podiatrist and a business liquidator from Cleveland, and a professional gambler from Minnesota with a history of taking the money and running. With tens of millions of dollars invested in this initiative, mainly in advertising, from television to drop mailers, they seek to assure the suckers (er, citizens) of Ohio that the odds are stacked in their favor and not the House’s.
Promises of jobs, jobs, jobs and money, money, money have flowed as freely as cheap alcohol to a high roller at the blackjack table. When one reads the material supporting their claims, one reads the words “up to” before each promise of money and jobs…”up to” meaning “we won’t be held to any hard numbers, but we will be using them to fool you into supporting this con job.”
The Institute for Principled Policy has already posted a position paper on the Biblical admonitions against gambling, which can be found here. Focus on the Family has an excellent brochure about the social costs of legalized gambling here.
Additionally, a study conducted by the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions shows that the license for this casino is worth $1 billion on the open market, but that MyOhioNow will get it for a mere $15 million, all of which is reimbursed to them upon startup by the state. Additionally, there is nothing, either in law or in the proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution, to keep this license from being immediately sold to another interest (think Eastern Shawnee tribe).
If Ohio voters fall for this bluff, then Ohio will become, for purposes of federal gambling laws, what is known as a Class III state. This is one of the three pieces of the puzzle that the Eastern Shawnee tribe need to open a casino in the state. One other piece is the recognition of a land claim to establish a reservation (and this tribe already has or is in process of having intergovernmental agreements with numerous cities in Ohio, such as Monroe, Botkins, and Lordstown). The last piece is two signatures: one from the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, and one from Ohio’s Governor. All of these have a realistic possibility of being obtained by the tribe in the near future.
A peculiarity about Indian tribal casinos is their immunity from taxation, at the federal, state and local levels. As a sovereign nation, they cannot be taxed by another government. That makes a tribal casino’s tax rate ZERO. Accidentally, according to MyOhioNow, language was written into the amendment proposal of Issue 6 to set the tax rate for their casino at the lesser rate of either 25% or equal to any other casino that would operate in Ohio. Should voters approve Issue 6, and a tribal casino be authorized, long gone will be the promised “estimated” annual payday for all of Ohio’s 88 counties: Zero divided by 88 is still Zero.
Conveniently, Lakes Entertainment, one of the MyOhioNow partners, specializes in managing Indian tribal casinos in other states. This sounds less like a coincidence or an accident and more like a plan being executed by a savvy operator who is looking to fleece a mark who can’t read the cards.
Time to fold MyOhioNow’s hand and vote a resounding, resonating, reverberating “NO” on State Issue 6 on November 4th.
Then, on November 5th, let’s get to working on an initiative to make sure that Ohio voters don’t have to say “NO” again.
The “Burning Man” website proclaims that the “Burning Man” Festival is a place that encourages “radical self reliance” and “radical self-expression,” though it does claim that it also claims to encourage “civic responsibility.” We know these things because the Burning Man group has posted, in the place of ten commandments, ten principles, a short perusal of which yields at least ten contradictions.
For instance, under the first principle we find that “[n]o prerequisites exist for participation in our community.” But under the third we see that “[i]n order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation.” In other words, vendors and businessmen, people who know an opportunity to make money when they see one, are excluded. Or how about Principle No. 7 which states “We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws” compared to principles No. 4&5 which state “Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources” and “Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.”
After having invited absolutely everyone except, of course entrepreneurs, to participate no matter what personal philosophies they might harbor regarding radical redistribution or confiscation of personal or community property by personal fiat, the Burning Man encourages the rabble to discover its talents in this area, then radically express them, without violating any laws, of course. Pardon us for believing the “organizers” of Burning Man are trying to achieve some kind of oxymoronic zen state of controlled anarchy.
Suddenly from the smoking pile of self-contradictory ash that was the Burning Man Festival of 2007 comes the story of one Paul Addis, a “performance artist” from San Francisco (where else?). It seems that Mr. Addis took the principles of radical self-reliance and self-expression to heart and exercised and relied on his previously discovered “inner resources” for arson and radically expressed those resources in the form of setting the giant Burning Man effigy on fire 4 days before the scheduled torching. Mr. Addis apparently had no difficulty reconciling his radical self-reliance and self-expression with the civic responsibility principle of the Burning Man. After all, they were going to burn the thing anyway. And according to a story on the Bakersfield NOW website run by KBAK/KBFX in Bakersfield CA, the “organizers” were able to build another 40-foot burning man and burn it on the scheduled day.
Mr. addis was unable to convince a Nevada judge that the encouragement by the organizers of his radical self-reliance and self-expression meant that he could actually express himself freely. He was equally unsuccessful in convincing the judge that principles 9 and 10 (“Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart” and “Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.”) actually meant anything. He was ordered to pay $30,000 for his “radically participatory ethic,” his “deeply personal participation” and his “immediate experience that stood in the way of the recognition of his inner self.”
No word from the organizers of the Burning Man on how they plan to reconcile the glaring inconsistencies between what they say they want and what their actions in having Mr. Addis tried for radically expressing his deepest inner self show that their own true inner selves want.
And wow! What a time to go out of town! The AG, Marc Dann, is revealed as a grafter! Well, no one here was shocked as anyone who has read any of our blog entries on Dann’s very suspicious “Tic-Tac-Fruit” tap dance knows (look under the archives under the “gambling” category). How long has the Governor known that there was a problem in the AG’s office or, even more importantly, the Dann campaign?
And isn’t it interesting that the Ohio Republican Party continues to do its best to commit political suicide, in a presidential election year where the national party stands poised to nominate a candidate that is sure to cause a significant percentage of the so-called “values voter” block to shrug its collective shoulders and stay home in the fall? For instance, what’s up with Republican State Senator David Goodman pushing a bill that would force places like Christian schools and day care centers to hire open homosexuals, cross-dressers, “trans-genders” (still don’t know how an XY can change to a XX or vice-versa; can someone explain it to this degreed biochemist?)? And what about Republicans working double-overtime to kill a human cloning ban bill? And how about the Republicans being so accommodating in the Governor’s plan to take advantage of the lack of inhibition of those who have over-imbibed by expanding gambling with keno slots in bars? I thought Ohioans had said “NO” repeatedly to these moves by private industry. Apparently, the constitutional restriction on gambling only counts for private industry, not government.
Yes, indeed, a bad time to go on vacation.
Watch this space.