Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"I always intended to pay my legal fees once the lawyers send me a bill"

Ahhh, the perpetually prevaricating Congressman Jean Schmidt is back in the news this afternoon.

COASTers may recall that for three and a half years, Jean Schmidt accepted a total of $550,000 in legal fees associated with her legal attacks on David Krikorian.  This was not the provision of pro bono legal services by the attorneys involved, but a D.C. non-profit was actually writing checks every month to her attorneys from three law firms.

These payments were a violation of House Rules, and intentionally mis-reporting the same on her financial disclosure forms (and she did repeatedly mis-report it) is a felony.

Thus, when caught red-handed, Schmidt's excuse was that she had no idea the Turkish Coalition of America was paying her legal fees, that she never had received an invoice for the services, and that when an invoice was rendered, she fully intended promptly to pay the same.

Well, one year ago, the House Ethics Committee ruled that Schmidt had accepted an illegal gift from the TCA, and that she had to pay it back.  Thus, she finally, a year ago, "received her bill."

Ummm, but she has not paid it back.  Indeed, since ordered to do so by the House Ethics Committee, she has raised and paid back a total of $5,010 in her legal expenses fund, and the Enquirer reports today that in the second quarter of 2012 she raised precisely....nothing.

So, we are reminded each quarter of the truth of Jean Schmidt's promise to pay her fees just as soon as an invoice is issued to her, just like so much else that she has told us over the years.

Oh yeah.
The 2nd Quarter report is here.

Kudos to Prosecutor Deters: "Dissolve Arlington Heights"

Calling it "nothing more than a speed trap," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is calling for the dissolution of the Village of Arlington Heights.

Read it here.

Just fantastic backbone for standing up to these thugs who run nothing more than a legalized extortion racket!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Join us for Ted Cruz Watch/Victory Party Tuesday night

COASTers will gather Tuesday night at 8:15 PM for some (hopefully) celebration and libations in watching the Texas election returns at El Coyote in Anderson Township.  We might also catch a few innings of the Reds game.

Like Richard Mourdock in Indiana, we are hopeful that this victory by Ted Cruz in Texas will be a "shot heard 'round the world" as conservatives demanding real change in D.C. make their voice heard in yet another state.

Join us if you can!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Game

GOP primary elections the last two years have become enthralling events, in greatest part because the present dynamic at least gives quality non-incumbents a fighting chance.  In the past, they would not have stood a chance.

Disgust and distrust of establishment-oriented, big-government, big-spending Republicans by an increasingly principled and well-informed electorate, has led to the ouster of incumbent after incumbent, especially in the U.S. Senate, where the entrenched once thrived.

But, of course, the big-monied, status-quo interests get a second bite at the apple, once the insurgents are elected, when they begin to work their magic in D.C., and wear down the resolve of the most thick skinned conservative.

Thus, the primary elections have become a challenge for the voters, who want conservative action, not words, to discern who is telling the truth and who is lying about their willingness to move conservatism into action.  We saw it in Indiana (insurgents won with Richard Mourdock), Utah (establishment won with Orrin Hatch), and now Texas.

In Texas, each of David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz will be measurably more conservative than Kay Baily Hutchison.  Both claim hard-right conservative credentials.  But the voters must ascertain who will deliver -- over the long haul -- for the conservative cause.

Dewhurst, using deep pockets of personal wealth, claims the mantle of the "true conservative" in the race, and points to the Ivy League education of Cruz, and some positions he took as Solicitor General of the State.   Cruz for his part attacks the voting record of Dewhurst (in favor of tax hikes) and promotes his conservative endorsements, including Tea Parties, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jim DeMint (R-SC).

But all of these things are just hints, clues as to which way these candidates will vote when in D.C.  With a 6-year term, virtually guaranteed re-election and monied interests working on them to buckle from their first day in office, no one knows for sure if Mourdock, and now Cruz, will deliver.

And they have right to be skeptical, for over decades, candidate after candidate has promised to shrink the size of government, only to vote for the Americans with Disabilities Act, TARP, raising the deficit cap, and refusing to cut food stamps.

So, historically it has appeared to be nothing more than a big game.  COAST believes the 2012 election, like the 2010 election, will be different.  We are finally electing candidates we believe will actually vote, consistently, to shrink the size of government -- and dramatically.  And if they don't we will work to dispatch them just as completely.

And thus, what has always been a game -- a game of lying to the electorate that has been pretty consistent in wanting smaller, less expensive, less intrusive government -- may no longer be.

It's up to use to discern the right candidate, and then to hold them to their promises throughout their entire tenure in office.

Ladies and gentlemen, The Game is over.

Why America will survive Obama

There are a multitude of commentators, all of them conservatives, who have explored the topic of "American exceptionalism." And in some ways it sounds nationalistic, even myopic and conceited to suggest that somehow Americans are better than citizens of other nations in that we are somehow innately superior to other human beings.  But that mis-characterization of the concept should not dissuade us from exploring, promoting and enjoying the things that made America great and continue to distinguish us from the rest of the world.

And it is those things that will enable America to survive four years -- even eight years -- of President Obama.

America is a center-right nation, meaning we value free enterprise, the rule of law, and political freedom.  And it is those three values, together, that make America what it is. 

On the economic front, we are not Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, or heaven forbid, Greece.  This is best illustrated by protestors in America demanding limited government and lower taxes (the most recent example is here), a phenomenon that is unique in all the world.

The rule of law is important.  Except for Chicago, Detroit and Washington, D.C., Americans have limited tolerance for corruption.  With notable exceptions, our courts apply the law fairly, if not strictly.  We have a healthy contempt for the power of government, and constraints on its reach under the U.S. and state constitutions (this is critical to our success) .  By and large, the citizenry respects the rule of law and adheres to it independent of enforcement. 

And we cherish our political freedoms, starting with the First Amendment into largely (except in Chicago) free and fair elections.

The concern is that we are undermining these important values, slowly, over time.

And that is true.  From the wealthiest to the poorest, we have become accustomed to nanny government, from TARP, to Stimulus, to auto bailouts, to ObamaCare, the role of government in our economic livess is growing exponentially.  But, the GOP despite all of its failings, is slowly moving to the right, and we hope to in short order re-claim some of this territory for the free market again.

On the issue of rule of law, the point our leaders seem to miss in the immigration debate is that by allowing a system of illegal conduct to persist, and grow, we are developing a culture where disrespect for the law is tolerated.  This is far more pernicious to our nation than the presence of immigrants themselves and must stop.  The law must be drawn to be enforceable, and then be enforced consistently and fairly. 

And we will always have scoundrels like Virginia Rhodes at Cincinnati Public Schools who want to push the envelope of free and fair elections (with the votes-for-ice cream scandal) to becoming fixed and unfair, but we have the tools to force compliance at each stage.  We must vigorously use these tools.

So, COAST remains optimistic that we can survive President Obama, we can survive liberal Congresses, we can survive a back-stabbing GOP establishment.  We can survive and endure, but the price of liberty is, indeed, eternal vigilance, and the unending sacrifice of every liberty-minded citizen in America.

Together, we can keep America great, and make her even greater.

Friday, July 27, 2012

"The scary part is that half the Country is still supportive of this guy!"

This morning, COAST was greeted with an e-mail from a very successful businessman who shared that perspective with us.

He was referring to this headline from the Wall Street Journal: "The president has taken a hatchet to welfare reform, the immigration laws, and 'No Child Left Behind."

But it could just have well referred to the GDP numbers released by the Commerce Department this morning.

The point is: Hope and change aren't working.  The kind of change President Obama pushes is from a anti-capitalist, "you didn't build that" mentality that affirmatively supresses investment and entrepreneurship that grew the American economic engine that is the marvel of the world, and all of history.

We must get rid not of just President Obama, but the entire mentality of GOPers and democrats that businessmen and wage earners are cows to be milked for their social programs, cronies and pet projects. 

November is coming.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Out of context? We don't think so.

Last week, President Obama betrayed his socialist philosophy -- and the socialist philosophy of the entire democrat party -- with this speech.

The outcry was swift and brutal -- with Obama taking it on the chin for being honest about his worldview.

In response, he insists that his critics have taken the comments out of context.  So, we encourage you to watch the entire video, and get outraged as much of working American has become, in response to the most out of touch speech of his Presidency.

And by out of touch, we don't mean "so 2011," we mean completely failing to understand the American dream, and American promise, the American reality, what makes America different than any country in the world.

And if our President can't understand that, he should not be our President.  In context.

City is hopelessly adrift under Mallory/Dohoney leadership

A funny thing happened on the way to socialist Nirvana in Cincinnati -- nothing at all.

Mark Mallory first won the Mayorship in 2005, and since that time he has slowly consolidated his hold on City Hall, culminating with a crowning victory for his last two years as Mayor (before term-limited), with the election of a 7-person Council majority completely subservient to his whims -- what we call the Batshit Crazy Council.

And then reality set in -- they ran out of other people's money.

Last month, Council choked on the Mallory/Dohoney demand for a massive property tax increase (giving him a significantly smaller one) and rescinded the vote to give the City Manager his $4.4 million crystal cathedral at City Hall.

Then, Laure Quinlivan got sidetracked into a drive to change the nickname of Cincinnati (as if Council is in charge of nicknames, what a fool!) and the new police chief is sidetracked into a prolonged fight over whether he has to take the Peace Officer's test that every Ohio cop must take.

And in the meantime, the Streetcar is stalled, some six months after groundbreaking (more on that shortly).

Yes, with 15 months left in his Mayorship, the ship of state for Cincinnati is adrift and rudderless, and the power appears to have been cut to the engines.

Cincinnati voters, as we have said, are so hopelessly screwed it is not funny, except that they richly deserve what they have -- they voted for it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Who is this Twerp?

The Hamilton County Health Department has a twitter fee.  Fair enough.  They inform residents of various health-related issues such as vaccines, heat alerts, etc.  Sort of what you would expect from the nanny state.

But COAST noted this morning that they were tweeting about the Colorado theater shooting:

"Why on earth would you bring a 3-mo-old to a midnight showing of Batman?!”

And as we explored their tweets, most were on their health-related mission, but they seemed to stray into areas far from their mission, responding "wow, surprising" to WCPO's comment that "Google+ users are more satisfied than Facebook users" and "good dog" in response to a WLWT feed "Assault leads to chase, dog bite ."  And a number of tweets regarding the World Choir Games and Good Morning America.

The point is that we are paying for this twerp to be tweeting all sorts of inane things from his computer on government time, all the while we are told that Hamilton County does not have enough tax dollars to do the jobs that are their statutory duty to perform.

Then, when COAST tweeted a question about the questionable use of our tax dollars, the twerp "blocked" us, a taxpaying citizen in Hamilton County from their twitter feed.  Imagine!

We are now informed that the original Batman tweet was deleted.

Seems to us that the Hamilton County Health Department needs to tighten up their management a bit. 

Below is a sample of some of the more questionable tweets from the Hamilton County Health Department.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CQ highlights Chabot's (and others') "reverse earmarks"

It's actually kind of funny seeing the bureaucrats, the media and the feeders at the trough gnash their teeth at a new breed of politician and a new era of public policy -- cutting the pigs off from their feed.

They are stunned that instead of using the legislative process to in any way possible "bring home the bacon," lawmakers are instilling fiscal discipline starting at home.

Read it here in CQ, praise this bold direction of our legislators, and thank Steve Chabot for his vision.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The power of an idea

Ideas, especially simple ideas, can be tremendously powerful.

Such is the case with Grover Norquist's pledge.

Since time immoral, politicians, Democrat and Republican, "conservative" and liberal, black and white, male and female, have declared they were "against big government," and "for low taxes," and yet voted year after year for higher taxes, and ever more irresponsible spending.

Thus, how in this environment do we the voters turn back the juggernaut of big -- and ever bigger -- government.

In came Americans for Tax Reform and Grover Norquist.  He made one single document a short paragraph in length -- the pledge against raising taxes -- the litmus test for voters look to in deciding for whom to vote.  That one document has been the margin of victory in hundreds of races, across the nation -- and has influenced dozens of others.

As a result politicians of all stripes have taken the pledge, even politicians (especially politicians) who would otherwise vote to raise taxes.  As a result, they are obligated, or at least persuaded, to refrain from raising taxes having made that promise.

This is, of course, how it's supposed to work.  Either (a) politicians are so principled that they will do what they think is the right thing regardless of the electoral consequences or (b) they properly fear an informed electorate.  Since there are so few of the former (and they would not be concerned about the pledge anyway), then we require the latter.  A healthy fear of the electorate is a very good thing. 

Thus in one short, sweet, powerful document, Grover Norquist distilled all of the prevarication and equivocation down to a black or white choice -- either you think you can fix our nation's, our state's, problems without higher taxes, or you cannot.

We were reminded of this this evening with the NYT's headline: Democrats Propose Plan to Sidestep G.O.P. Tax Pledge.  They are still trying to do a workaround of Grover's pledge.  We expect he will prevent that from happening.

Communism still doesn't work

Today's NYT explores Cuba's tepid venture into capitalism, while desiring to preserve the control economy.  The two just are not compatible.

It's nice that thug Fidel will go to his grave knowing that his ideas, and those of Engel, Marx and Trotsky were an abysmal failure.

Cincinnati City Council, with its weak attempts at crony capitalism, might take note.

COAST Chapter in Paris??

It is an old saw that you get less of what you tax.  Thus, when Tsarist Russia placed a tax on beards, Russians shaved off their beards.  So it is with wealth.

To wit, as France's Socialist government pursues higher taxes on the wealthy, France's wealthy flee to "'wealth-friendly' nations like Britain and Switzerland."  France plans to tax incomes over 1 Million Euros at 75%!  An increase from the current 41% rate!  Wealthy Frenchmen and women won't be taking a pay cut to avoid the tax, rather they will be severing their ties with the sovereign imposing the excessive taxes.

And how is England responding to the potential for France's wealthy to relocate there?
Prime minister David Cameron angered the French last month when he said he would "roll out the red carpet" to wealthy French citizens and firms who wanted move out and pay their taxes in Britain. 
He told the B20 business summit in Mexico in June: "I think it's wrong to have a completely uncompetitive top rate of tax.
"If the French go ahead with a 75 per cent top rate of tax we will roll out the red carpet and welcome more French businesses to Britain and they can pay tax in Britain and pay for our health service and schools and everything else."
We can't help but notice that the American COAST Chapters fight higher taxes while the French Chapters simply flee.  They are French after all!

The point stands though, when you want less of something, you tax it.   And now France stands out as yet another shining example of what happens when you tax wealth, you get less of it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Harry Reid: In 1776, was it 56 angry white men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Angry white men.  That's what Harry Reid accuses opponents of President Barack Obama of being.  We are not sure what part of that is bad.

 The color of our skin.  As The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King asked some 49 years ago, we would like to be judged on the content of our character rather than the color of our skin.  Fair enough.  Further, not all conservatives are white, although we long for greater diversity in the conservative cause.

Male.  Again, this is an immutable characteristic that was given to us before birth and there are plenty of females in the conservative cause.  Again, we can't change who we are, and have no desire to do so or apologize for our genetic makeup. 

Angry:  Not sure what this means.  Does this mean motivated enough about national affairs to get our of our lounge chair and do something about it? Does that mean being sufficiently upset about the state of national affairs to spend hard-earned money, and precious time electing someone we believe in?

Were those 56 men who risked life, liberty and property angry when they signed the Declaration of Independence -- angry?  We suppose that picking up a musket, leaving your family and risking one's life is a display of anger.  But more likely it was a carefully considered decision to take great risks in exchange for the great reward of freedom.

COASTers are passionate about local, state and national affairs, so much so that we protect, petition, blog, do research, write, make press releases, engage in grass roots organizing and vote.  Angry?  What is the point of ascribing emotion -- perhaps accusing us of irrational emotion.

The point is that conservatives, Republicans (not always the same thing), independents and many democrats are extraordinarily motivated to take back America from forces that advance a set of values alien to those we hold dear.

Angry?  White?  Males?

For what should we apologize?  Not only is the claimed demographic of those who want change in this Country wrong, it is also deeply offensive.

It's not that we oppose democrat churches getting involved in politics

It's that we oppose the discriminatory enforcement of IRS regulations. They at whim decide which non-profits are engaging in impermissible partisan activities, and which ones are not, thus rigging the system to favor those they want to favor.

Read about it at the Gateway Pundit here.

And ask yourselves two questions: (i) does anyone, anyone, think the IRS will enforce its regulations in this instance and (ii) if a Tea Party group or right wing church did this kind of thing, how fast would the IRS swoop down upon them.

Knowing the answers to both questions, what fair-minded person would want more government in our lives?

States grab for on-line revenue, COAST opposes

The very idea behind COAST, and we would hope the GOP, is to reduce the size and scope of government where ever possible. 

Just like the liberals who "never waste a good crisis," conservatives, libertarians should move with the waves of the political ocean and the dynamism of the marketplace, accepting and seizing opportunities for advances when they arise.

One of those opportunities is the quirk of federal jurisprudence that allows avoidance of sales taxes on internet purchases.  By not closing this "loophole," we slowly reduce the percentage of purchases subject to sales tax, and thus "starve the beast" a little more, year after year.  And it requires of us ... to do nothing at all.

So, we oppose legislation making it easier for states to tax internet sales. 

Today's Washington Post sees it differently.  Read it here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The mindset of a liberal: "If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."

For those of us who work hard, innovate, and follow the rules, this is hard to believe.

For liberals, it is how they think.

It is unbelievable, truly unbelievable.  Read, watch and listen.  Here.

Britons tire of EU meddling

They are the most regulated continent on planet earth, and then they added another regulatory body to layer on more regulations -- the European Union.

The WaPo here discusses the brewing British revolt against the EU.

Friday, July 13, 2012

This is precisely why we are glad Jean Schmidt is gone in less than 6 months

She has always talked a good line.  "I'm a conservative," "I favor a balanced budget," "cowards cut and run," the rhetoric of Jean Schmidt tends to appeal to the more primal instincts of conservatives, consistently underestimating the intelligence of her constituents.

But when the chips are down, and in those few instances where her vote actually could make a difference, Jean Schmidt is AWOL in the fight against bigger government, higher taxes, and higher debt.

Yesterday's agriculture committee vote on cutting funding for food stamps is the most recent in a long string of examples where Schmidt's votes have failed to match her words.  She talks the talk, but refuses to walk the walk.

Dierdre Shesgreen of the Enquirer's Washington bureau writes a really good story explaining Schmidt's treachery to the effort to bring federal spending udner control:
Schmidt broke with conservatives on the committee who were pushing to slash that nutrition program by billions more – joining with Democrats and a handful of other Republicans in voting against an amendment that would have doubled the SNAP reductions to about $33 billion. Schmidt reportedly made an emotional plea to her GOP colleagues to vote against the cuts.
You can read the full story here.

This vote is especially ironic in light of this story from earlier this week from BizzyBlog's Tom Blumer, a long-time Schmidt apologist who is continuing to wail and gnash his teeth over Schmidt's resounding defeat in March.  Tom, dude, we assure you that Lt. Col. Dr. Brad Wenstrup will not get weak knees like Schmidt when his vote really counts.
(Tom, as a side note, there are four key differences between Schmidt and Wenstrup: [a] Schmidt's ethics are among the lowest in Congress and American society, [b] Schmidt has no real life experiences to bring to the table, [c] Schmidt chokes when the votes really matter and [d] Schmidt is prone to saying and doing foolish, embarrassing things [i.e., she ain't too bright].)
You can read the full article here.

This vote, of course, follows repeated Schmidt votes selling out the conservative agenda when push came to shove in D.C., the other most notable and recent was the debt limit increase.  Further, Schmidt was a slavish vote in favor of the Larry Householder/Bob Taft agenda while in the Ohio legislature.  This food stamp vote is one more in a long string of fiscal disappointments.

And celebrate that we have ended her run at stabbing her constituents in the back once and for all 1/3/13 (that's got a nice ring to it)!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Fed: High unemployment for 5-6 more years!

This NY Times story of this afternoon is more telling in terms how casually they break the news of suppressed employment numbers until almost 2020 than the actual headline.

See what a fine mess you have made, Ollie!

The stimuli are not working.  Let market forces handle the problem!

Corruption in Arlington Heights -- Speed trap

Throughout Ohio, a number of communities have elected to be "speed traps," locales where through aggressive traffic enforcement, confusing speed limit signs, and downright sneaky behavior, they fill their local coffers with revenue from motorists.

Thus, it is not unexpected that someone would want to pilfer these ill-gotten gains.  That's exactly what happened in the village of Arlington Heights.

Now, we are not advocating for people speeding, and we certainly think the law should be evenly enforced, but when a community is disproportionately reaping revenues from speeders, as opposed to taking other actions -- like better signage -- to stop the dangerous behavior, we draw the line.

In Clermont County, it has always been the Village of Amelia, and in Hamilton County, it's Arlington Heights.  There, they fleece the citizenry of this small burb both on their own streets, and on I-75 where it runs through the town. 

Channel 9 uncovered a scandal there where the local bureaucrats were pocketing the cash payments for the tickets -- to the tune of $250,000!  Now, the village has suspended radar tracking of speeders until they get a handle on things.

Certainly the criminal bureaucrats should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but we would ask whether the folks creating the official speed traps in Arlington Heights are to blame as well.

Sheer insanity in CA

There have been four major fiscal headlines out of California over the last ten days.

First, three major CA cities, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino, have declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Second, the California legislature, approved the construction of a first phase of a high-speed rail line, a $69 billion project (before cost overruns).   The first phase is only (only) $8 billion, but it runs simply into the desert.  It will take the full allocation of funds to actually connect urban areas, and at present there is no funding plan even identified to pay for that.

The projected proceeded without a vote to spare.  And the Senators who had most closely studied the project were unanimously against it.  From the article:

In a dramatic monologue four years in the making, the key oversight senator on high-speed rail, Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, silenced the floor by finally announcing he was against the plan.
In fact, not one Democrat from the Senate's unofficial bullet train oversight group -- including Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach -- supported the project. Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, was the fourth Democrat who voted no.
I suppose it is possible that the hey days of California will soon return, and irresponsible fiscal decisions will just be papered over as income outstrips the debt incurred.  Even more likely in a state in tremendous fiscal straits, with a pension system underfunded to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, this seals the coffin of California as a fiscal basket case.  Back to the article:

"I believe this is a colossal fiscal train wreck for California," Strickland said. "This is spending money we don't have. We always tell our children, you can't spend more than you take in."
So, like Cincinnati that's up to hip boots in fiscal problems, including its own massive hole in the City pension plan, California's die is now cast for massive tax hikes and service cuts to pay for the excesses of their legislators.

COAST encourages Senator Portman to assist in stripping future Cincinnati Streetcar funding

Congressman Steve Chabot is a hero for his amendment to the House Transportation to prevent the further expenditures by the federal government on the Cincinnati Streetcar project.  Now, that provision needs to be included in the Senate transportation bill, and signed by the President.

COAST yesterday wrote to Senator Rob Portman asking that he include similar language in the Senate bill.  That letter is here.

This will not prevent the $37 million the federal government already has committed to this project from being squandered, but will stop new monies from being added to that total in the coming biennium.

This is important, because Streetcar boosters have said that the initial Second Street-to-Findlay Market line is the first leg in what they hope to be a City-wide boondoggle.  Since Senator Shannon Jones's amendment last year has cut off all funding from the State of Ohio, the only place Cincinnati has to fund their rail dream is local debt or federal funds (borrowed, of course, from the Chinese). 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jean Schmidt Airbrushing History?

Today BuzzFeed.com reports that someone using the Congressional Office IP address edited Jean Schmidt's wikipedia entry to remove embarrassing content, including the Armenian Genocide Denial issue section.  Deirdre Shesgreen has the story at the Enquirer.

Over the years she's been caught lying about her education; lying about endorsements; plagiarizing guest editorials; not reporting illegal gifts*; and now her wikipedia page is being altered to remove an embarrassing chapter from her sordid career.

The edits made were not minor "corrections."  These edits were full scale attempts to throw Jean's most embarrassing moments down the Memory Hole!

The top image is of the table of contents before the edits, and the bottom image is the table of contents after the edits.

The US Capitol was being treated as the Ministry of Truth.

Here is a quick sampling of what was removed:  All reference to Armenian Genocide Denial Controversy, All reference to her lies about her education and endorsements, the famed "Cowards cut and run" remark, her statement that she agreed with a "birther."

All of her Controversies were replaced with a section regarding the Ohio Election Commission finding against David Krikorian.

Let me repeat, Jean Schmidt's Wikipedia Entry was edited by someone using the Congressional Office IP Address.  That means government resources were used in the furtherance of Jean Schmidt's political career!

This woman is truly Shameless.

Words alone will never express the depth of our appreciation to the voters of the Second District for removing her from Office.  January 3, 2013 can't come soon enough!

*And by the way, just how much of that $600,000 has she paid back?

On money and politics

Everyone in this nation from fourth graders on up seem to understand the First Amendment.  That is, until people get elected to office, then they decide to make participating in electoral politics one of the most regulated areas of the American economy.  They dream up all sorts of rationales for all sorts of exceptions to the fundamental principle of free speech.

And the leading rationale is "too much money in politics."  If we just had less money in politics, the system would be more fair, they say.  But it is already difficult enough to defeat incumbent office holders, with more than 94% of members of Congress regularly winning re-election.  Less money would mean even less chance to get out the word about the scoundrels in office.

But it is interesting to see the contrast among the "more regulation" of free speech types, those who want to "undo" Citizens United by legislation or constitutional amendment this year versus 2008.  In 2008, President Obama was the hottest ticket in the nation, and he raised gobs of money for his election campaign, far more than John McCain.  In that year, the liberals were not shrieking about money in politics, because they were largely winning that battle.  And they celebrated their free speech rights in that year.

Fast forward to 2012.  Mitt Romney is, at least at present, crushing Obama in the fundraising arena.  And Super PACs, and related committees for Republicans are dominating the democrats.  So, predictably, the democrats will cry foul, demand more regulation, and insist on changing the rules one more time to their favor.

COAST believes that free speech means free speech, and the answer to speech you disagree with, is more speech of your own.  We do not need more campaign finance regulation; we need less.

Chabot stands tall against rail to nowhere, and Don Young pushes Alaska rail to nowhere

A COASTer wrote us this morning and pointed out the difficulties of stopping wasteful spending.

On the one hand, the Enquirer has decided that Chabot is a toad for trying to save the U.S.A. tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars for 2 miles train track, for a 12 mph train from downtown to Findlay Market, a route virtually no one needs to travel for work, shopping, worship or to get to a doctor.  Further, Chabot's proposal will save taxpayers in his hometown five times the federal subsidy in additional capital dollars and operating monies.

On the other hand, corrupt Don Young from Alaska is pushing a train to nowhere in Alaska at a cost to the federal government of $62 million per year.  And the media is properly bashing him for the excessive spending.

We certainly are proud of Chabot for standing tall against the Cincinnati rail boondoggle.  But we know how politics works, and are dismayed that a hero like Chabot is not properly recognized by his hometown newspaper for his good work on this issue, saving the federal government and local taxpayers tens if not hundreds of millions of otherwise squandered dollars.

It's one thing for the voters to have vacillating and inconsistent priorities.  They are known to be fickle.  But for the hometown newspaper to act so recklessly with their opinions is most unfortunate.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jailing someone for a Tweet? It could have been Cincinnati's Mark Miller

Today's Drudge Report prominently features  a headline and a link: "Bahrain Jails Rights Activist for Tweet" and, of course, the typical American's reaction is: "what an oppressive regime!"

Surely, we in the United States are so advanced and enlightened, we would never jail someone for the content of a Tweet.  However, in Ohio, we actually live under the same sort of oppressive regime as is featured in this story in the New York Times

Last fall, COAST Treasurer Mark Miller, using COAST's Twitter account, made entirely truthful statements about the City budget and the Streetcar project.  As a result, Cincinnatians for Progress Chairman Robert Richardson brought a frivolous Complaint before the Ohio Elections Commission under its false claims statute, a statute whose penalties include criminal prosecution.  He wanted Mark Miller and COAST punished for having the temerity to speak out about the terribly wasteful Streetcar project.

COAST has filed suit, actually two suits, seeking to have Ohio's false claims statute thrown out as unconstitutional to end this intimidation and bullying once and for all.  One of those suits was dismissed by Judge Black and is on appeal to the 6th Circuit and the other (the Tweets Complaint) is pending before Federal Judge Michael R. Barrett.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court released an important decision striking down another "false claims" statute and denounced the notion that America would have an "Oceania Ministry of Truth" to judge the claimed truth and falsity of statements.  You may read about that in the Miami Herald here.

COAST will keep you updated on the two cases as they progress through the Courts.  Someday soon, Ohioans may enjoy freedom of speech better than the subjects of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Bad news roundup

A few items of bad news:
  •  Moderate Republicans are ganging up on Ted Cruz in Texas.  Friday, Cruz announced he had opened up a 9-point lead on establishment Republican candidate Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.  Gena Bell from Chris Monzel's County Commission office, who helped Richard Mourdock to victory in Indiana's hotly contested Senate race, is headed to Texas at the end of the month to help Cruz. 
  • President Obama is making another grab at a tax increase on "wealthy" Americans. Give it a rest, dude.  It ain't happening, not with John Boehner as Speaker.
Let's hope tomorrow brings better news.

New study confirms: Taxes on wealthy drive wealth away

If you want more of something, subsidize it.  If you want less of something, tax it.  It's a pretty simple concept in both principle and practice.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that when you tax "the rich," especially in a punitive and disproportionate fashion, you get fewer of them.  "Progressives" (liberals) want to deny this -- and pretend there is no dynamic consequence to their tax decisions.

Thus, COAST welcomes a new study from an anti-tax group in Maryland, Change Maryland, that says wealthy Maryland residents fled the state following a 2007 6.25% surtax on incomes in excess of $1 million.

Hey, there aren't more than a few COASTers with incomes in excess of $1 million per year, so as a matter of pure self-interest, we have no qualms with "sticking it to the man."  The problem is "the man" has a plane, a boat, a car and a moving van, and can much more easily leave the state than us ordinary working schleps.

The tax cost the state 31,000 residents and $1.7 billion in lost tax revenues.  The wealthiest counties had the most residents leave.

Read about the study here at CNBC.  And, to those who think that our solutions lie in taxing the rich, get a clue!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It's not that Obama's policies are not working; its that they are hurting

Yesterday's devastating 8.2% jobless numbers brought more bad news to the nation.  The spin of the Obama administration and democrats in Congress on those figures is that their policies are working, but they just are not working fast enough. 

That, of course, is not true. 

It's not that the President's policies are not working fast enough, or that they are not working at all.  The issue, as far as COAST is concerned, is that they are actually doing affirmative damage, and long-term damage to the American economy daily.

Until the U.S.A. elects another President, and puts an end to the failed Obama era, damage will be inflicted on the economy, hindering job growth, and galloping debt will be accumulated in such a manner that it will be a drag on generations to come.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Women, blacks, hispanics hurt most by Obama economic policies

We hear the defense all the time to COASTers are mostly wealthy, white, suburban and male, as if somehow this is a disqualifer to participating in the great national debate we are having as to the size and scope of government.

As of the 2008 election, those advocating for limited government and lower taxes were left in the dust, and liberals, or "progressive" as, as they want to call themselves, were firmly in charge.  Thus, we had TARP, Stimulus I, Stimulus II, Bailouts, Quantitative Easing, Quantitative Easing II, Quantitative Easing III, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and on and on and on. 

In other words, the 8.2% unemployment rate we are seeing today is the result of the choices President Obama and the democrats have made with the national fisc, and other policies.

How's that going?  And in particular, how are minorities (the very ones democrats claim to want to help) faring under the current regime?  Not really well.
So, the point COAST makes about lower taxes and spending, that these policies are not just beneficial for rich white males, but for everyone, is made more valid with today's news.

President Obama and the Congressional Democrats are manufacturing misery for all Americans, but especially those they claim so vociferously to want to help and protect.  And that's what makes their cries so completely hallow, so incredibly cynical and so terribly unfortunate.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Enquirer tries again to manipulate voters on Streetcar issue

Margaret Buchanan has skillfully manipulated voters during her tenure as Enquirer Publisher, and today's story: "Is other mass transit in jeopardy?" is yet another example of this cynical contortion.  Our favorite example is here.

In there, now for a third time, Buchanan tells readers that an attempt to eliminate funding for the streetcar will have broad and unintended consequences, and thus must be defeated.

And the Enquirer, which criticizing all attempts at cutting Streetcar funding refuses to expressly take a position on the project.

The problem is that the "unintended consequences" line is overblown and entirely unrealistic.  If the Congress wants to fund busways or riverways, it can amend the transportation or some other bill to allow for that.  Further, the reporter well knows that there is no such project that realistically will materialize during the two years the Chabot amendment is in effect.

So, Margaret, knock it off.  People resent being lied to and manipulated.

Even with budget success, Governor Kasich is still tightening the belt

Today's Marietta Times discusses the budgetary successes of Governor Kasich and the GOP legislature and, more importantly, where they intend to take things from here.

Further, today's PD has a feature on the importance of the State's rainy day fund under the new tax on the state of Ohio from ObamaCare.

Finally, Governor Kasich's team has released this video telling us just how they pulled it off.

Ohio has a very long way to go.  Indeed, COAST posits that until we join Indiana as a Right-to-Work state (a workplace freedom state), we will not be "made right" and not be competitive in the world economy.  Thus, we have high hopes for the lame duck session of the legislature recently scheduled.  There is very much work yet to do.
Still, its impressive how far we have come from the dark days of Governors Taft and Strickland.

That's a nice headline

"From Uhrichsville: We Need Less Government"

Read it here from today's Enquirer.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Compare the success of Ohio to the disaster of Illinois

Both states faced the same budget problem: rapidly declining revenues in the midst of a dramatic economic downturn.

The solution in Illinois: Raise taxes.  The result? Declining revenues, and lost residents and jobs.

The solution in Ohio under Republican Governor Kasich, get spending under control.

The result?  Tax growth, under-spending in Medicaid yields a state surplus.

Market-based, limited government solutions are the best.  It is established.

Du' oh! Of course the Banks subsidy is hurting the Aronoff Center Entertainment District

As COAST has warned repeatedly, City meddling in the marketplace is not just a wasteful use of our tax dollars, it has market-warping effects that are not easy to control or predict.

This week's closing of Jeff Ruby's Walnut Street Grill is Exhibit A of why crony capitalism does not work.

We know it is hard for our elected leaders to see, but Cincinnati and Hamilton County families are hurting.  They are having a hard time making their mortgage payments; they are driving that old car longer than they used to; they are buying fewer new clothes.  Thus, they are limiting severely their spending for dining and entertainment.

The tens of millions of dollars in subsidies to numerous restaurants on the Banks are certainly helping open these shiny new establishments, but they are chasing a limited number of dollars spent on the luxury of an evening out.  And while some new visitors are enjoying what Cincinnati has to offer, that's not nearly enough to offset the competition created by these subsidies.

Imagine you opened a new restaurant yourself, at your own expense, with private dollars on Main Street near Sixth.  There, you employ a maitre de, chefs, waiters, and janitorial staff.  With your own dollars, you took the significant risk of opening and operating a restaurant.  And of course, you are paying property taxes, sales taxes and earnings taxes on all that economic activity.

Then, months later, six blocks away, the City decides to create a hip new neighborhood, with brand spanking new, shiny restaurants.  The entire neighborhood is subsidized with tax dollars from the community, and the new restaurants specifically are given in excess of $1 million each to open their doors.  Most of this is not loans, but outright grants.

How do you compete with a restaurant receiving massive subsidies, in a neighborhood receiving massive subsidies only blocks away?

The answer is you don't.  You lose your private investment in favor of the crony capitalism going on just blocks away, and for which you are paying taxes to create and subsidize. 

So, in the process of wasting tax dollars on a neighborhood and on businesses that may or may not succeed, we kill the very businesses that are paying the taxes to make all this possible.  Freaking brilliant!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kevin O'Brien, resign now!

Until now, COAST has refrained from calling for the resignation of Anderson Township Trustee Kevin O'Brien.  We were hoping both that Kevin O'Brien would do the right thing, and that the Ohio legislature would empower voters to recall Mr. O'Brien.  Unfortunately, neither solution has materialized.

Thus, we ask that Kevin O'Brien resign immediately, and spare us any further embarrassment as Anderson Township Trustee.

Shortly after O'Brien was elected in November of 2009, voters and the media learned that O'Brien had surrendered his securities license permanently and gave up his job with Baird Securities due to the questionable, and seemingly illegal, handling of the monies of a client.  Later, that client committed suicide, seemingly at least in part as a result of O'Brien's breach of trust with him.

Then, today O'Brien was arrested for engaging in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature with one of his constituents in Anderson Township.  It's really too icky to get into the details on this blog.

O'Brien's problems have become a lot like the Jean Schmidt situation, wherein O'Brien's behavior has become repeatedly so boorish, so unethical, and apparently illegal, that it has become obvious that he is not qualified to serve.

Ever since the 2009 revelations, Anderson Township citizens have asked the Ohio legislature to add a recall provision for Township Trustees, a power that would allow them by a vote of the people to remove O'Brien from office.  Peter Stautberg, the east side's representative in the legislature, has refused to sponsor that legislation.  When he ran against him in the primary election in March, COAST founder Tom Brinkman made this one of his platforms.  Stautberg still refuses to act on this common sense initiative. This is one of the many reasons COAST endorsed Brinkman over Stautberg.

Thus, because Mr. O'Brien apparently can't come to the correct conclusion of what he must do on his own, and because our State Representative refuses to work to empower the people to remove O'Brien from office before the end of his term, COAST asks -- and does so publicly -- that Kevin O'Brien resign from office immediately.

Gosh, we're going to miss this girl

GQ Magazine features the "Squeal of Fortune" here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Election: Vote GOP to repeal ObamaCare; Vote Democrat to retain it

COAST will get to its endorsements later this year.  And anyone who knows us, knows we are beyond partisan in our endorsements.  That's not to say we don't have a preference for Republicans, but we maintain our independence pretty solidly.

With that as background, we note that there is really one issue defining the 2012 election: ObamaCare.

ObamaCare was created by democrats and passed into law by democrats without a single Republican vote.

The GOP, despite all its failings, has firmly committed to a "tear it out by the roots" repeal of ObamaCare. 

We have the issues of (i) Romney's adoption of the "mandate" in Massachusetts and (ii) a lack of commitment from John Boehner as to what will replace ObamaCare clouding the debate, but in this election we are pleased to have a single, galvanizing national issue that defines the bigger-versus-smaller government debate this nation desperately needs.

Mark Quarry of Board of Realtors deserves the credit!

City Council Backs Off of Property Tax Increase

Mark Quarry of Board of Realtors deserves the credit!

-by Charles Tassell

The issue of property tax increases in Cincinnati has evolved into an almost annual three ring circus.  The Administration’s ‘pondering elephants’ demand more money, and the Council performs a dangerous political dance on the trapezes over the issue as tax payers, and the City’s best unpaid marketers, the Realtors©, fight off the Lions of Increase.  That team of Lion Fighters is led, motivated and directed by Mark Quarry, the Government Affairs Director for the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.

This year the request was to increase from 4.6 mils to 6.1 mils on the operational levy and from 5.9 to 6.15 on the capital levy.  After significant lobbying and no small amount of press, yes even the Enquirer came out with the common sense approach of “cutting the budget before increasing spending,” the operation levy was left alone, and the capital levy increased by .2 mils.

The unique nature of this fight stems from the fact that council must provide the Auditor with the millage rate by July, but doesn’t take up any other budget considerations until the end of the year; by then the millage is set, thus determining roughly a quarter of the budget that cannot be changed (increased) during budget deliberations.  The failure of City Council to begin budget discussions earlier results in this annual game of chicken.  In addition, the Administration’s 1st quarter dire budget predictions have become passé and are no longer considered legitimate as revenues are typically upgraded by October, not to mention the number of unexpended funds and emergency funds that always come to light.

In the spirit of fairness, we should also consider that during the past couple of years the millage set at 4.6 mils brought in roughly $28 million dollars.  Due to the recession, foreclosures and the resulting decreases in housing values, the same 4.6 mils now only brings in about $20 million dollars.  The increase would have pushed it back up to around $27 million.  The problem, of course, is that increase would be on those still paying taxes as compared to all the properties that have been foreclosed and are no longer contributing to the City coffers.  A common sense approach would have been to reduce cost and overhead by the decrease in tax receipts, as citizens and businesses across the tri-state and nation have been doing for the past several years…

Which leads us back to the Circus that occurs annually at the City Hall Big Tent over property taxes:  Evidently, it took a main stage appearance of the Realtors’ Mark Quarry to organize and speak out for homeowners across the City over almost a 2 month period to tame this Tax Lion, saving remaining residents approximately $56 per $100K of value – each year.  And for that, Mark Quarry is our COAST Hero of the Month!