Friday, June 10, 2005

Impeach Taft

The Constitution of the State of Ohio, Article 2, Sections 23 and 24 provide:

The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment, but a majority of the members elected must concur therein. Impeachments shall be tried by the senate; and the senators, when sitting for that purpose, shall be upon oath or affirmation to do justice according to law and evidence. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators.

The Governor, judges, and all state officers, may be impeached for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office under the authority of this state. The party impeached, whether convicted or not, shall be liable to indictment, trial, and judgment, according to law.

The question of whether Governor Taft's actions might rise to the level of an impeachable offense is an important one. Right now, the Governor is swearing up and down that he wasn't told of the losses to the state workers' compensation fund. Meanwhile, there seems to be mounting evidence to the contrary, as reported here yesterday. If it is true that Taft was told of the losses to the fund, and he is lying in an attempt to cover his ever-more exposed rear end, then he can easily be accused of dereliction of the office of Governor and abuse of power. Abuse of power would certainly rise to the level of an impeachable offense under the Federal Constitution. However, as far as Ohio's Constitution is concerned, there is a big legal loophole because the Ohio Constitution specifically uses the word "misdemeanor" by itself instead of "high crimes and misdemeanors," as the Federal Constitution does. The term "high crimes" is left entirely open for Congress to decide what a "high crime" is. The Ohio Constitution does not use the term "high crimes," which leaves only the meaning of the word "misdemeanor."

Does "misdemeanor" in this context actually mean that the Governor must have committed a misdemeanor crime? If so, it is possible he can be convicted in the State Senate (which would sit as a Court of Impeachment) and found innocent of the same crime in a Court of Law. What shall happen then? An impeached Governor becomes ineligible to hold office under public trust in Ohio, even, it would seem, if a Court of Law clears his name. Considering that this is the case, it may mean that it is up to the General Assembly to define "misdemeanor" according to the circumstances of the case. If this is the case, the General Assembly may be free to consider dereliction and abuse of power "misdemeanors."

Bob Taft has been a popular Governor as far as elections go, but many of those who voted for him (myself included) readily concede that he has been an ineffective and poor Governor. Many Republicans, including many members of the legislature, think that he is not only a bad executive, but that he is not well-informed about the inner-workings of state government. He has managed to win elections largely because this state is conservative enough to laugh any liberal (mostly Northern Ohio) political offerings the Democrats have back to Toledo or Cleveland or Akron. If the Dems offered any real candidates, such as a Frank Lausche-type figure, Taft would no longer be Governor. Taft, a native Cincinnatian, was the first member of his family to be booed by a friendly crowd at a Republican political rally in Cincinnati that I can remember. If any Republican deserved impeachment, it would be Bob Taft. It might even do the Republicans some good if they moved to impeach him, and then have Blackwell elected next year.

As it is, this finally gives the Democrats in Ohio the opening they have been waiting for. For years they've been in the political wilderness, but this scandal has breathed new life into Darth Party.

The legal implications of impeachment are unclear in the Constitution of 1851, and the circumstances under which impeachment can be initiated are unclear. Hence this is one of the many reasons why I would love to scrap Ohio's current bloated Constitution and return to Ohio's original Constitution of 1802. The Constitution of 1802 leaves the question of "impeaching" solely up to the General Assembly, and leaves with the General Assembly the decision of what constitutes an impeachable offense (Article I, Section 23).

Governor Bob Taft: Is it possible for him to be impeached?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Timeline on the Ohio Workers' Compensation Fund coin investment scandal

The Ohio News Network has published a timeline of the scandal involving lost workers' compensation money to coin dealer Tom Noe. As it turns out, Noe was also a member of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, a position he later resigned. It seems Noe's seat on the Turnpike Commission was also a return on his personal political investment in Bob Taft.

This raises other questions: From what I can see, Mr. Noe seems to have begun his illustrious career during the Governorship of George Voinovich. How many favors did Gypsy George give Noe? What else was Noe involved in viz. a viz. the State of Ohio?

Georgie Porgie: Did he initiate the process that allowed rare coin dealer Tom Noe to rob millions from the Ohio Workers' Compensation Fund?

Benedict XVI wants to restore Holy Roman Empire?

The anti-Catholic Seventh Day Adventist rag The Trumpet has alleged that Pope Benedict XVI has a secret agenda: The recontruction of the Holy Roman Empire. Part of their assertion, of course, is based on some false historical assumptions, and the false notion that Sunday is a pagan day of worship to most of Christendom.

However, if the Holy Father has real genuine designs to restore the great Holy Roman (Catholic) Empire, I'm all for it. In fact, if such a plan were to actually take shape, I'd want to go over and help bring it all into being.

Long Live the Pope.

Buckeye chickens come home to roost

For a couple of years now, I have warned that the Republican Party's unfettered power in the State of Ohio could prove to be a future problem. GOP control of State, and in most places, county governments is so complete that even the most conservative political analysts have called Ohio effectively a one-party state. In many places, the winner of Republican primaries becomes the winner of an election automatically. Over the last 11 years, the Ohio Republican Party has managed to successfully isolate the Democrats to insure that they can't get a reasonable chance to compete to regain the legislative power they lost in the 1994 landslide. They have done so by getting and managing to maintain control of the state commission charged with drawing up the district boundaries for both federal and state legislative districts in Ohio. In doing so, they have insured that the Dems are perpetually drawn out of power, guaranteeing the Republicans a total hold on state government with no way to change the political scenario.

For those of us who happen to be members of the Republican Party, such an arrangement sounds as if it would be paradise on earth. With a complete hold on power and no foreseeable change in that situation, the GOP should be able to ram its agenda right through the Ohio House and Senate, send it all right on to the Governor, and the whole thing just becomes one great conservative love fest. The problem arises when the opposition becomes a defenseless, wounded cripple...You can't shoot an unarmed man without it being called murder, and the GOP is not "shooting" at the Ohio Democratic Party because the Democrats are politically unarmed. Their numbers in the legislature actually shrunk even more in the last election. Thus, without an opposition, Ohio Republicans have turned on each other. The more conservative faction in state government is actually being led by Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. The Blackwell Party is essentially functioning as the opposition in the legislature and in the executive ranks to the faction led by Governor Bob Taft, and his chief political hit-man (and, it would seem, hand-picked choice for successor) Attorney-General Jim Petro. With an impending primary next year, intra-party fighting is already turning dirty and foul, especially since it appears the two major candidates for the Republican Gubernatorial nomination will be Blackwell and Petro.

The other great problem with such a comfortable hold on power is that Ohio Republicans can get too secure in that power, and can allow anything to happen under their noses. That mentality has led to a major scandal involving the investment of Ohio Workers' Compensation money with a rare coin broker, a broker who has also given large sums of money to Ohio Republican candidates, as well as to President Bush. It would appear that coin dealer Tom Noe is not the only such rare coin broker doing business with the state that helped finance Republican campaigns in Ohio. National Democrats see the scandal, and they are seeing red, or perhaps blue, for Ohio in 2008. Even though Taft denied knowing about the heavy losses to the Ohio Workers' Compensation Fund due to these investments, the evidence now suggests otherwise, and it would appear that Taft knew all along that one of his campaign donors lost the state huge sums of money.

We must be wary when a state becomes virtually all Republican or all Democrat. Not only will such an arrangement be guaranteed to produce an unsavory political climate, but it is almost certain to generate laxity and carelessness in government. After all, it is hard to argue to an angry citizen that they should not vote Democrat when their Republican governor entrusts large sums of Ohio's patrimony to someone merely because they contributed to Republican campaigns-and the money was lost.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Lord is faithful

The goodness and mercy of the Lord continues to astound me. The pressing financial difficulty I spoke of yesterday was resolved today, and with as little pain as you could possibly imagine.

To give thanks for the Lord's great goodness, I attended the 11:30 Mass today at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati. I don't really know who the gentleman was immediately behind me, but I believe he was mentally ill. He was responding about 5-10 seconds behind the priest, and was talking to himself out loud-loud enough for the entire chapel to hear him. (Daily Masses are held in the Cathedral's side chapel.) Between responses, he was muttering things about the Holy Spirit and the world being filled with nothing but liars.

Nicole and I praise the Lord for his faithfulness. Once again, he has come through for us. Thank you all for your prayers. Tomorrow, things will be back to normal with regular news of the world.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Baptism and a prayer request.

I realize it has been a day longer than expected since my last blog entry, however, Nicole and I did not return from Tennessee until yesterday. One positive development that came out of Nicole's cousin's wedding is that the groom made a last-minute, life-altering decision: He chose to be baptized. In this case, Timmy chose to be baptized by the very minister who would perform the wedding ceremony the following day, a Methodist who I am told has been the minister to the family for years until he was transferred to Johnson City. It is my prayer that now that he is baptized, he and Charlene (everyone calls her Charlie, and she goes by that name herself) will now live out their baptisms and raise their daughter up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It was quite an experience to witness the baptism of a young man who seems to have had little, if any Christian upbringing or training. From the expression on Tim's face, it was obvious that baptism had a real and tangible effect on him.

I am asking for the prayers of all my readers who truly believe in prayer. Nicole and I have had a very sudden and unexpected financial difficulty befall us. Although I don't think it will affect our ultimate plans to move, it is possible that it may affect the timing of that move. Perhaps more importantly, however, it is quite possible that until the situation is resolved, we will be "raking and scraping" to get by financially. This is a situation that may be possible to resolve in a way that would be to our benefit. For now, I am asking for prayer that this is indeed what happens, because if it does not occur that way, I am not sure what we will do. In faith and confidence in the Lord and His abundant mercy, pray for us.

I may be able to post an entry tomorrow, although if I do it may be later in the day. I have some pressing business to attend to in the morning.

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