Thursday, December 30, 2010
The Peon Wishes To Say Something Nice About Center Twp. Trustee Chuck Conover
I was pretty rough on Chuck Conover during the midterms. I supported Michael Essany, not only because he was a Democrat, but because he wanted to advance the Trustee's office into the 21st century by using technology. This idea was poo pooed by some who said that the poor don't use the Internet, and that this would be a useless, wasteful, ridiculous purpose.
My argument to that was that it is not necessarily those who have fallen on hard times who seek out the information regarding available assistance. Sometimes, maybe even most times, it is friends or family members who start looking into where to go.
My other argument was that just because people are not wealthy, it doesn't mean that they don't have access to the Internet. There is the library, access by way of friends and family, and cell phones.
That being said, I want to give kudos to Trustee Conover who as the election was heating up came to join us on Facebook, and whose Trustee page has been posting valuable and helpful information about services for those who need assistance. I don't know if what some have said that it is not helpful to those in need to have an online presence by the Trustee's office or not. I'm sure that Chuck will be the best one to gauge the value of what he is doing, but I am very pleased that he is giving it a try.
Thank you Trustee Conover. Thank you very much.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Now, I know what all of the union "brothers" are going to say right off the bat. "Oh, HERE we go. Travis is going to get up on his soap box to whine about the union that ALLOWS him to keep his job!"
Yes, and no.
The main basis of this post has little to do with my own thoughts on unions or anything to do with my piece from last year. What this post is about is freshman Sen. Jim Banks' impressive, aggressive, political moves right off the starting block. As you can read in the post below this one, Banks has already moved ahead with his effort to do away with the "death tax" here in Indiana. Now he is pushing for another very conservative ideal: the protection of union workers from...well...their union.
Excerpt borrowed from "Angry White Boy":
State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) recently
filed legislation seeking an amendment to the Indiana Constitution guaranteeing
an individual’s right to vote by secret ballot in any election where union
representation is at stake.
So what does your run of the mill, conservative union worker think of this legislation? I think it's wonderful news. I haven't ever been able to grasp the concept that so many Democrats have proposed that "secret ballots" are not needed. Of course they are needed! It's nobody's damn business how I vote, especially my union officials' business! There have been several instances at my own place of business where I have not been exactly...ecstatic about the cases that my union has fought for (and in some cases won) and the cases which they have not given the time of day (which I thought were valid arguments and cases where union representation could have been needed).
I know, I know, "union brothers", if you don't like it, be a union griever yourself. And I would, if I had even an extra minute a week that wasn't already filled. I'd do it in a heart beat. In fact, when helping secure an endorsement from my union for a candidate's campaign that I was managing, I was offered a job in the union where I would put up the information fliers at the different shops. I almost did it, too, until the ridiculous flier about "Why Obamacare is Good For Union Workers" flier was published the following week (not only was the flier flat out inaccurate about the information put forth, it didn't in any way mention that the union deal that was fan-dangled is only temporary). You see, it's not that I'm "anti-union", or even "pro-union", at least in the sense that each faction sees themselves. I'm a union worker, but I find the union to be almost unnecessary anymore, and in some cases, even a hindrance on those of us that think that because we work harder and do extra we should have the right to at least ASK for a raise. And perhaps, just perhaps, a fellow that has worked there for 35 years and can barely tie his own shoe shouldn't be operating certain pieces of equipment. And maybe, just maybe, during contract negotiations, they shouldn't have fought like Hell to stop random drug testing. But...I am but one "brother".
The idea of this "brotherhood" runs contrary to my thoughts on being an individual person. Heck, in a more recent post, even with my politics, I won't sign on to any persons "camp" (although Banks is quickly becoming my favorite State Senator). And so yes, even though I am in a union and recognize that, at one point in time, unions were extremely important (now a days, in some cases, important still, although not nearly as important as the days of zero safety gear, unlimited hours of forced work, and little dirty coal mining minors) I still think there are important boundaries that unions cross over on a daily basis, and I think in many senses union leaders can be hypocrites. Union bosses want to donate money (in many cases union dues) to political campaigns, but want restrictions on "big businesses" contributions and lobbying efforts. They want continued raises for employees, regardless of merit or circumstances, but then whine when the results are mass lay offs. There are a hundred other little things, from my own personal place of employment that I could rattle on about, but I'm pretty sure that isn't in my best interest as a person that wants to continue to...well...work. And besides that, it wouldn't be right for me to write about the people that I work with everyday, who are themselves nine times out ten hard working people who are just trying to put food on their families plates.
What will Banks' proposal stir up? Who knows. Maybe the unions won't balk (or at least won't lash out). One political insider closely related to this case had this to say.
"This won't see the light of day unless tea partiers and conservatives force their representatives to vote. Mitch doesn't care for issues like this, he prefers fiscal measures. Northwest Indiana legislators are scared to death of upsetting the labor monster."
"Senator Banks is leading the conservative charge and forcing legislators to make their true colors known. Looking forward to the 2012 Gubernatorial campaign this kind of legislation will separate the RINO's from the conservatives. Is Mike Pence this kind of Governor?"
Now, I hate the term RINO, only because it used to describe just about EVERY conservative that doesn't fit into one cookie cutter mold. BUT I agree that there are RINO's, and I think that allowing union members their private votes is a very good indicator of a RINO laying around in the tall, tall grass. As far as where Mitch stands on this issue, I'm not sure it's really in his best interest to play in this particular ball game much, other than giving a neutral statement about supporting his team, because he has already stirred up some union pots with his polarizing educational reforms and getting into fights with more unions is not going to help his Presidential run (I'll have to uncross my fingers now so I can continue typing). Mike Pence, on the other hand, could and should be vocal about support for legislation of this kind, especially if he wants to start creating a platform for a 2012 Gubernatorial run (which is very likely).
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
It's been said that the only things certain are death and taxes...but what about taxes AFTER death?! How unfair is that!? You work your entire life, you pay your income taxes, you pay your property taxes, your sales taxes, the embedded taxes in imports like sugar, where the cost is folded into the price but you, as the consumer, are still paying for that import tax...the taxes are endless.
So now, even after you have paid out the nose to fund a government that wants to hand it all out in the form of bailouts and welfare checks, you die. And what happens? You guessed it. You're assets, when passed on to a family member or friend, are TAXED.
But if State Senator Jim Banks has anything to do with it, this travesty will finally become righted (following quotes borrowed from the Senator Jim Banks press release).
""If passed, this bill would allow the state to responsibly phase out the inheritance tax over five years," Banks said. "By eliminating this burdensome tax, we are encouraging hardworking Hoosiers to retire in Indiana and pass along their wealth to family or friends without the fear of government intrusion."
Banks said by eliminating the inheritance income tax, the state could attract investments which could lead to economic growth. Banks filed the legislation in response to concerns from constituents in Senate District 17.
Taxes on state and federal inheritance income and estates will cost this generation of Hoosiers thousands of jobs, according to the American Family Business Foundation.
Banks' legislation will be assigned to a committee for further consideration.
Only six states levy an inheritance tax, with the rate depending on the relationship of the heir to the deceased, according to Banks."
Sen. Banks is absolutely right in his convictions. It is unfair, it is regressive to this state financially, and scares off people that want to settle down in one of our sleepy little towns here in this great state. I hope that everybody takes a moment and writes to Sen. Banks thanking him for pushing for the death of the death tax.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I just appeared before the Lake County, Indiana Board of Elections. My message was for them to reconsider their policy to not permit electronic copying of voter registration data via disk or tape and to now allow electronic copies to flow.
Electronic copies of voter registration data are one of those baseline issues that you never even think about until you run up against a situation where you don't have them. Then everything gets slow, more error prone, and expensive.
At that point you get knee-bone-connected-to-the-thigh-bone secondary effects and the end result is poorer, less effective oversight and a persistent suspicion that something funny's happening with the vote in Lake County. As a practical matter, until you can regularly check, there's no way to fix that distrust of the system.
Once electronic copies become available, a lot of secondary analysis becomes trivial. Accusations of Democrat suppression of the military vote are very common in GOP circles. So what was the comparative rejection rate of military vs. civilian ballot? A few FOI requests and you have the data you need to figure out if our military is being disenfranchised.
There's a mini scandal brewing over whether south county voters are having their vote suppressed because their precincts are so large that people just give up at the sight of the long lines that inevitably build up. It's a simple thing to rank 561 precincts by registered vote totals and convert that to minutes needed to process one voter across the critical path to identify the county's most vulnerable precincts for long lines and lowered turnout. It's simple to target early voting/absentee voting calls to those vulnerable precincts (in Lake they're all likely to be strong GOP areas) but only if you can get electronic copies of the records as the early vote comes in so you can adjust daily to trim down the vote you think is vulnerable to suppression due to inadequate voting machine provision.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Republicans ran and won with the benefit of the national movement against the Obama administrations stimulus spending and deficit ballooning borrowing. But in the meantime they will be tasked with putting together the budget for our own state, and the risks of forgetting why they won are high.
Recent economic prognostications suggest that the Indiana economy is improving, very slowly, but there will be a budget gap and the constitution requires that the legislature pass a balanced budget. This means spending cuts. Perhaps as much as $500 million in cuts from the previous bi-annual budget.
In the meantime conservatives are clamoring for a tax cut of some kind to show that we're serious about reducing the size of government taxation to help in recruiting businesses:
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Better list than I could come up with at Hoosier Pundit, Who Will Replace Murray Clark?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
My answer is always: none of the above.
There's not a single politician that I don't have SOME kind of qualm with. There's not one person that has emerged on the scene where I've been taken by surprised and have said, "Wow! This guy/girl really represents me, Travis Gearhart!" Sure, I have my preferences, and my reasons behind those preferences, which you have all had the pleasure to read over the years, but there's not a one "camp" that I belong too, because I prefer to think of the Republican party as a team effort.
To me, building a sound, stable party, is a lot like putting together a great football team.
You have your star "receivers", like Mike Pence and John Thune. They are almost universally liked in the Republican party, because they have a strong conservative message and aren't negative to fellow conservatives if they disagree (at least that I've ever heard of, if they are privately that's another thing). They aren't used all the time by the party, they aren't always out there getting the ball, but when they are, they are good at what they do and don't drop too many passes.
There are the front lineman, like John McCain and Scott Brown, the more moderate of the Republicans. I consider them to fall into this category because the "hold the line" against those critics that paint the GOP in a light that is not conduit of a "big tent", and because they are the Republicans that, when they throw their weight behind an important issue, even independents perk their ears up. For example, with McCain being a moderate, there were many independent friends of mine who admitted that they really liked McCain, but got caught up in the Obama-mania. So when McCain spoke out against the health care bill, his opinion carried a lot of weight and helped changed the minds of a lot of independents. The moderates create a great defense to help keep the party from being painted as a bunch of "wing nuts".
Then we have the "rushers". They are the ones who represent one faction or another of the party and are constantly running the agenda forward. Huckabee and Paul would probably fit this category. They are pretty vocal about what faction that they represent, and can be seen in interviews constantly giving their opinions on one matter or another. These aren't used very often, for practical reasons, because while they are good rushers and have a burst of speed forward, they don't gain that much ground. Only a couple yards at a time. This doesn't mean these aspects of the party aren't important, just that they shouldn't be the primary play makers. They work better if they are mixed with the receivers, so as to keep the Democrats guessing which play is being made.
Finally, we have the quarterbacks of the party. Reagan was a quarterback, G.W. Bush was a quarterback, and I believe that Mitch Daniels is a quarterback. That isn't to say that any of these people weren't, at one point in time, a different player in the party, or that other players couldn't fit into this category in the future (Mike Pence, for one, will one day be an excellent quarterback) just that these people are the ones that have shown and continue to show the kind of leadership and decision making abilities that a quarterback has to have.
There are obviously plenty of other politicians that have different roles and fit into different categories, both named and not named, but I think I've outlined pretty well my thoughts on the factions and how each one can and should work, as a team, to move that football into the end zone. We have been playing some tough D, and we've forced the Democrats into a fourth down scenario. How we move the ball from here on out, and who we have in what position on the field, will decide if we can keep throwing up points on the scoreboard or if we're going to walk off the field and let the Democrats have the ball back. There's no two minute warning is this game, either. So we have to act fast and play well.
Link to story
We are trying to get confirmation, and then the posturing begins. First, who will step up to replace Murray? Next, why have all the staff and leaders recently resigned?
Third, is Murray Clark then putting his name forward for Secretary of State should Charlie White be sworn in and then resign due to legal issues.
Lots to wonder about.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Ok, so I didn't think of this, but this is certainly the best way to explain the tax code to the average person. To give credit where credit is due, I found this at www.dalesdesigns.net/beer-tax.htm , I although I've heard this example used other times in the past on several different sites, so I don't think this explanation is exclusive to that site. Enjoy!
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this;
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7
The eighth would pay $12
The ninth would pay $18
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59
So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.
"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20". Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.
So the first four men were unaffected.
They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers?
How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33.
But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using,
and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.
And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man.
He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works.
The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction..
Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.
In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
If there is one issue concerning the future of America's youths that must be addressed, and soon, it is the financial state of our country. Nothing else is as pressing an issue then this country's apparent need to spend beyond its means.
Right now, the U.S. national debt is nearly $14 trillion. The debt per citizen stands at about $44,000. The debt per actual taxpayer stands at more than $125,000 (which is a revealing figure when one thinks about how many people in this country don't actually pay any taxes). Our federal budget deficit is around $1.3 trillion.
These are scary numbers, even scarier when one considers the Federal Reserve will print out boatloads of money, in effect making our dollar worth that much less, at the drop of a hat.
We owe China more money than we'll probably ever be able to pay, let alone the other countries we owe. We have a growing base of Social Security recipients in the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8 percent for social security, compared to 20.5 percent for discretionary defense and 20.1 percent for Medicare/Medicaid.
So when Republicans in Congress started to talk about tackling these issues, my ears perked up and I listened inquisitively.
The biggest issue that has been brought up, and debated back and forth as of late, even within the Republican Party itself, has been earmark reform. Earmarks, commonly known also as "pork," are legislative provisions that direct approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees.
In Congress lately, these earmarks have grown significantly in number and have become a problem because enough earmarks in a bill for a particular state can result in a "buying" of a vote. This is fine and dandy for that particular state, but bad for the country as a whole.
Not all earmarks are bad -- this usually depends on whether yours is the state receiving the funding -- and I don't think anyone seriously believes the elimination of all earmarks is possible, or even practical, but earmarks are as good a place as any to start down that road of fiscal solvency.
Earmarks are also, from a political standpoint, a safe place to start this journey, since it covers all congressmen, all the time.
It's not as though the new Congress is picking on a strictly liberal ideal, nor are they focusing their attention on different demographics, like picking apart Social Security (although eventually that must be reformed as well).
They are starting out by finding that middle line, and working out in either way to trim as much fat as can be trimmed, and I hope that this initiative can resonate throughout the next couple of years, not just for the sake of the party, or for myself and my family, but because the nation can't survive with this kind of monetary chokehold.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
For the 6-10 people posting on this site, we might as well exchange email addresses and converse amongst ourselves. I can save the money I spend on this site, and give MORE to the candidates I think will make a difference in Indiana, and in the White House.
Oh, thank you, Faith, for confirming this for me. 10-12 has been the size of the NWIP's recent rallies. Yeah, sure your supporters are claiming the number is closer to 30-50, but the people counting are probably the same people who do Mark Leyva's secret polling.
There are many reasons why there are only this small hand full of people left, but you illustrated one of them with this e-mail. You're a jerk. Seriously, this was a demeaning e-mail. Allow me to make an observation. Kind of like Leyva, you're a jerk to politicians and politicians (except outgoing Democrat Commissioner Bob Harper) want nothing to do with either of you. When people send you constructive criticism in private, you respond by calling them racist, sexist, corrupt, or whatever else you think you can get away with. Coincidentally, anyone who wants to offer advice wants nothing to do with you.
I'm writing this for the public, in part, because I want everyone to be able to see what it is I wrote before you e-mail your six friends and tell them to call the Wizard irrelevant names.
"I" pay for this site. I have to question my own "fiscal responsibility/" What's the purpose of this site if not to post what you have learned about "business as usual" I was thinking I would come to this site to LEARN more from "YOU", the "concerned citizens" and thought I would come to this site to see everyone was "MAD AS HELL" about this bill!!
Except that when members post things that others disagree with, they are called a bigot, homophone, idiot, spammer, troll, or corrupt insider by other members. In other words, more jerky behavior. I actually wrote about this! Why in the world would anyone want to be a member of this group when its members act more immature than a group of stereotypical high school cheer leaders?
T-I-N-F-O-I-L ... TINFOIL! HATS! Yay! Go us!
Speaking of which, what happened to that young man who gave that "Mad As Hell" speech at one of your early events? Oh yeah, you ran him out of town, too! Perhaps this is a little petty but "run-on" "sentence."
Have you questioned your elected officials why this extension wasn't permanent? Have you questioned them on "what's their plan" for tax reform? Have you asked them why a "SINGLE ISSUE" bill wasn't voted on? A straight up or down vote on JUST one issue?Considering how many hours you've spent at your "day job" surfing the internet, I'm kind of surprised you don't appreciate wasteful spending. It pays your salary. I'm also kind of surprised that you haven't found the answer to this yet. There are a lot of members of Congress. A lot of them are Democrats. They would probably like the extensions to continue for lower and middle class families. For the upper-class, they would like the rates to go back up. If you ask, they will explain their point of view in detail. The problem is that you don't "ask" anything. You tell them what you want and don't care about anything else. Standard jerk behavior. Granted, I think the tax cuts should be made permanent across the board, but that's irrelevant. My point is that NOTHING can be made permanent because there are so many different points of view that any and all legislation must be done through compromise. The time table is one way to get a few more crucial votes to at least extend the tax cuts. Without it, the bill will fail. As a result, even people who want the bill to be permanent will vote to limit it to two years because two more years of tax cuts is better than it abruptly ending. The same goes for all the pork that's attached to it.
Besides that, as such an outspoken advocate of the Constitution, I'm surprised you're even taking the word "permanent" seriously. It's a gimmick word to get people like you riled up. The only way to make the tax code permanent is with a Constitutional Amendment, and even that's not permanent because another Amendment could overturn it. It's even easier with normal legislation, which is what is used to determine our tax code.
If you could stop talking and start listening for a few minutes, you might be able to figure this stuff out for yourself.
What have you done to keep your fellow neighbors informed? This site is not a social club!! We are to be "Pro-active" citizens.
Again, talking and not listening. Faith, why not try practicing what you preach? Let people be what they want to be or let them stand where they want to stand? There are 300+ people on your list. Guess what - you ticked off most of them a long time ago. People who would have once attended one of your rallies in the pouring rain would now rather stay at home and watch Fox News. Whenever you talk to people, you talk down to them as though they're not doing enough. The truth of the matter is that you should be happy if they simply go out and vote.
Again, Mark Leyva has the same problem. He, like you, is convinced that other people need to do more than what they are willing to do. When they don't do what the two of you want, you throw temper tantrums. Unfortunately, you've been voting Democrat for so long that you must not be able to understand that the conservatives you're dealing with aren't the kind of people who will sit down with, let alone cave in to, an elderly woman behaving like a three year old. They owe you NOTHING and if you're going to continue behaving like this, NOTHING is all you're going to get.
Thank you to the concerned citizens that are posting. To all the others...I ask: Are you watching Monday night football? I absolutely see no reason to pay for this site if we aren't here to educate one another and "WAKE THE PEOPLE UP".
If someone tells Faith Jones or any of the 6 people who are still posting that they aren't allowed to smoke because it's a disgusting habit, they become enraged. But when their incompetent leader belittles people because they're watching Monday Night Football, nothing. Faith Jones, we're not all liberal, European-loving pansies. We're Americans, damn it and we love American football! If you had one, microscopic shred of credibility left with anyone, you lost it if they saw this.
Here's an idea. You are prepared to pull money from the site and donate it to the Democr - oops- I mean candidates you want to win. Why not pull your time away from Northwest Indiana Patriots all together and give that to the candidate of your choice, too? Assuming there's anyone foolish enough to want you in their corner. Your failures as an organizer over the past year are proven by the failures and resulting irrelevance of the Northwest Indiana Patriots today.
If you step away now, there's a chance someone might step up, rename the group, fix your mistakes, and salvage something that's actually useful to the conservative movement in Northwest Indiana rather than being another embarrassment to that movement. Don't worry, it's not going to be me. I'm too old, too busy with my family, and it would probably require me to stop watching high school, college, and pro football. I do know this. Even if nobody takes it over, it will be better for conservatives up here than if this failing group continues to humiliate conservatives in all levels of involvement in the process.
You wouldn't even have to apologize to all the conservatives you've helped double cross, stab in the back, or otherwise attack over the past year and a half. I think I can safely say that stepping down would be enough of an apology for most of us.
But you don't lose the habit of over-compromising built up over 70+ years in just a few years. The institutional habits are deeply ingrained, some of them almost invisible to the participants. But there's no effective politics without compromise. A balance must be maintained that has us sticking to our principles and engaging in good compromises only.
As a new organization, the Lake County Indiana Republican Liberty Caucus has few ingrained habits. Its leadership's involvement in Lake County politics generally does not predate John Curley's chairmanship. The natural impulse is to compromise much less than has been the long habit in the Lake County GOP.
That's naturally going to strike sparks with those who have a longer track record. That doesn't mean we have to constantly be fighting.
The LC-INRLC is constitutionally primed to be an attack agent. The responsibility of leadership within the LC-INRLC is to get those attacks pointed in the right direction, against the Democrats who have done so much to tear down this county. Friendly fire will occasionally happen, sometimes justified, sometimes less so. But there are ways to make lemonade out of these sorts of situations.
One of the great rabble rousers on the other side said "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." Those receiving attacks have a choice. They can demand a constructive alternative, or they can get into an intrasquad fight. We have all seen the negative consequences of the intrasquad fight.
I strongly suggest the demand for a constructive alternative. It may take you out of your comfort zone. It may cause a scramble within my own organization as we build and help implement that constructive alternative. None of that is going to harm the GOP one bit and could well help.
This road is the best chance to end up advancing our common goal of a stronger GOP if you respond this way to the RLC instead of creating durable hard feelings and one more round of factionalization. We've all seen enough factionalization to last a lifetime.
Kim Krull – Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairwoman
Two Cedar Lake Elected Officials Turn Republican
Crown Point, IND, December 9, 2010 – The Lake County Republican Party is proud to announce that two Cedar Lake elected officials have decided to become Republicans. Cedar Lake Clerk Treasurer Amy Sund and Cedar Lake Town Councilman of Ward 2 John Foreman have both declared they are joining the Republican Party.
Lake County GOP Chairwoman Kim Krull stated, “I am always pleased to have more people join our party. I am sure they have seen what we are doing for Lake County and how we are taking a stand on making Lake County a better community. With the huge wins we had last month and the organization we are putting together, I am sure we will see more people interested in joining the Republican Party.”
From the Indy Star:
U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh will not seek a return engagement as Indiana’s governor in 2012.
“It was a very hard decision,” said Bayh, who served two terms as the state’s top executive from 1989 to 1997. “A big part of me wants to.”
But, he told The Indianapolis Star (read Bayh's statement), he decided that not disrupting his twin sons’ lives, now that they are freshmen in high school, took precedence over political ambition.
Yesterday Indiana’s Republican National Committeewoman Dee Dee Benkie announced her candidacy for Republican National Committee Secretary. A former Chairman, Co-Chairman, and Treasurer of the Young Republican National Federation and also a Special Assistant in the Bush 43 White House, Dee Dee knows communications and technology and could very well take the RNC to the next level.
In a statement from Thursday, Benkie cites her extensive resume in her candidacy and hopes to make great contributions as RNC Secretary
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Transparency is the old, “new” buzzword. During the '08 Presidential cycle, that word was floated and used as a pawn by more than our current President. In many respects, transparency could be considered a center piece of the Tea Party movement. However and undoubtedly, transparency is the corner stone in the foundation of a free society, such as ours, that respects the freedom of speech. In fact, freedom of speech was considered so important that the founding generation enshrined that right as Number One in the totem pole of Liberty.
In a free society and as soon as a little one can understand, it should be taught in a civics course that Liberty is a two sided coin:
On front side of the coin is freedom and on the back side is responsibility.
A society only remains free so long as it chooses to accept the responsibility that is inherent in freedom and the consequences that go along with accepting responsibility and failing to deliver. Liberty demands structure, such as their must be a cause/acceptance of responsibility and an effect/consequence for failure. Liberty is a means of providing proper structure or order to a society that would otherwise be in chaos. Anarchy provides for survival of the fittest. Liberty minded free thinkers are often misunderstood and accused of being anarchists. This should not be the case, for they should respect a society that embraces responsibility and the order and structure that comes with it. As such, transparency is a two sided coin.
The very face of journalism is changing and what is considered the New Media is playing an ever more increasing role in how the events of our society unfold. The 1st Amendment secures the rights of a free-press. As our society advances and the faster information travels, we all could be considered “citizen journalists" and part of the New Media. Professional journalist learn for years to to acquire the skills of their profession. However, one of the very first lessons they are taught is one in ethics. They understand that their right to free speech and freedom of the press, their right to create government transparency, also comes with great responsibility. This is where Julian Assange went wrong and why he must accept the consequences. Ethics or responsibility is the corner stone of great journalism. By creating the site wikkileaks, Assange becomes a citizen journalist and by doing so accepts the inherent responsibilities. What Assange seeks is noble, freedom of the press to create transparency. It is a just and worthy cause. Whether you are from the left, center or right, transparency in government is a goal we all should endear.
Julian Assange went wrong, not by releasing the information, but by the manner in which he chose to release it. Fox News, The NY Times and many other respectable Main Stream Media (MSN) sources had, in the past, addressed some of what Wikkileaks had just released. However, the difference in the manor chosen is what is at issue. Journalists understand the need and responsibility to protect assets or what is more commonly referred to as sources. The same due diligence should be applied when journalism creates government transparency. The people of the United States intelligence community and their assets deserve a certain and clear amount of anonymity. The names of intelligence operatives and their assets should only be released when it is absolutely imperative to understanding the story, which would be rare. The only other acceptable instance of releasing the names is by issue of subpoena by an impartial judge. The way Assange chose to release the information puts the intelligence operatives and their assets at risk, including their family and extended family. Essentially, and where Assange went wrong, is that he painted a virtual bullseye on specific backs of the intelligence community. This impairs their ability to execute their core mission, which is to defend the United States of America.
I think the message for the New Media is clear, act responsibly. There is always a way to tell the story without endangering lives, specific or otherwise.
State Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The Post Tribune's Jerry Davich sat down at the home of our repeatedly failed Republican congressional candidate for a one-on-one interview.
Will (or should) Mark Leyva run again against powerhouse Pete?
In the article, Davich tells us that he contacted Levya before the election and Leyva told him: "The polling numbers show me just under six points down and a nine-point undecided spread."
At least now we know it was Leyva himself spreading this lie.
When asked why he lost, Leyva responded that the lack of voting machines in the southern part of Lake County, a clueless local media, and the lack of support from the disorganized Republican Party in the region.
It's not the media that's clueless in this equation. Mark Leyva has been running for Congress, not making any ground, for a decade. During that time, Leyva has failed to learn some fundamentals to winning a campaign. First, whose support do you need to win any election - especially as an underdog? The local media and your political party. Who did Leyva blame for his loss? The local media and the political party.
Is the region's GOP really disorganized? Well, Republicans had a relatively good election night here. As the Chairwoman of the Lake County GOP is going to be quick to point out, Lake County elected it's first Republican to county-wide office in a long time. In addition to that, Lake County Democrats are beginning to jump ship and come into the Republican fold. This doesn't happen for disorganized parties.
In fact, the reason why Leyva blames them is because the chairs of the five county Republican Parties in IN-01 rejected a DEMAND for funding from Mark Leyva that came in the form of a threatening and insulting e-mail directlyy from the congressional candidate. I'm not exactly the most tactful Wizard in the world, but even I know not to bite the hand that feeds me... or at least would feed me if I wasn't a fatheaded, good-for-nothing jerk of a politician.
With regards to the voting machine problem, the southern part of the county is sparsely populated enough not to need the machines. If there was corruption, I assure you that one of Indiana's Secretaries of State over the last decade would have stepped in and tackled the problem. Believe me, if a Secretary of State could expose corruption, he would do it in a heartbeat to bolster his own political stock. The image of a corruption fighter is a lot more valuable than anything Pete Visclosky and Lake County Democrats could offer a state-wide politician, especially a Republican.
And the media? How can anyone be so stupid as to insult the media for not giving you enough time when you're sitting down with the top political reporter for the most widely distributed newspaper in the area to talk about the potential of your next campaign?
Leyva has one person to blame for his political failures. Himself.
Then again, I'm sure some of you will say this was a victory for Leyva. He only lost by 22% this time.
Hopefully this agreement is an indication of how he plans to work.
The agreement struck up isn't too bad, either. "Besides holding current tax rates in place for all, the proposal would extend unemployment benefits and reduce payroll taxes for a year, which would help many lower-income Americans" (taken from AP line).
"The emerging agreement includes tax breaks for businesses that the president said would contribute to the economy's recovery from the worst recession in eight decades.
The proposed Social Security tax cut would apply to virtually every working American. For one year they would pay 4.2 percent of their income, instead of 6.2 percent, to the government retirement program, fattening U.S. paychecks by $120 billion in 2011.
Someone earning $40,000 a year would receive a $800 benefit, and a $70,000 earner would save $1,400, officials said. More than three-fourths of all Americans pay more in these so-called payroll taxes than in federal income taxes.
The White House said money from other sources would be shifted so the Social Security trust fund loses no revenue.
Obama said he reluctantly made another concession to Republicans, concerning the estate tax. It would tax estates worth more than $5 million at a rate of 35 percent, a GOP goal. Democrats favored a $3.5 million threshold, with a 45 percent tax on anything higher."
Considering that the alternative plan, which House and Senate Democrats wanted, was to let all the tax cuts except the ones that affected the middle and lower class expire, this isn't too bad. I would prefer, of course, either the Fair Tax or a flat tax, but I suppose at this point in the game beggars can't be choosers.
The only thing that worries me is that the President has said the Social Security trust would lose no revenue through these plans because they would get it from other places. What other places? I have no problem with government cuts, but it's pretty pointless to cut one thing and add on to another. It's not really a cut, then, it's a shift of funds.
Regardless, while the problem of reducing our deficit and saving our nation economically is a very important one, it is not nearly as important as keeping the life support on right now. Unemployment is at 9.8%, and these continuations of tax rates will hopefully help to keep that number growing even higher. Once that is fixed, then it will be time to redouble the efforts to get our books in the black (or at least away from the DOOMSDAY levels).
I actually wrote a piece that will be in the Times next week or the week after, that focuses on reducing the deficit, and while doing research I looked up the numbers online. I implore you to check out the clock for yourself. It's a very scary image, to visually see the numbers roll like that. It makes you wonder when all of the numbers will just hit a bunch of bright red zero and the screen will blow up. That clock helps to really bring it on home, at least it did for me.
But I'm getting off track. The point is, these tax cuts are definitely needed, and the fact that the President is willing to reach across that aisle, even if it is reluctantly and not very often, is a something to cheer. And perhaps we can have a little hope and change from the President who preaches it?
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Well! Indiana is thinking about stopping the ban on alcohol sales on Sunday this year! That is great!
And no, not because I'm an alcoholic (which I'm not), but because it makes sense. One has to wonder exactly how much tax revenue is lost for the state of Indiana each year, particularly in our own little corner here in Northwest Indiana, by those that want to buy beer on a Sunday and can't, and so they jump state lines. The same reason that people in Lansing, Illinois and other neighboring towns jump over and buy cigarettes: because Illinois taxes on cigarettes are so steep they would rather drive the extra way. I know it's certainly an inconvenience for somebody who works shift work, like I do, and forgets sometimes (or is unable to do so) to pick up beer on Saturday. What's funny is where the opposition is coming from on this: the liquor stores.
You would think that having an extra day to sell product would make them happy, but alas, that is not so. The liquor stores are vocal about the opposition to this law change, because they say that by having their stores open on that day, the small number of people that buy the alcohol wouldn't outweigh the costs of keeping the doors open for that day.
My opinion on this: then don't open your doors! It's your store, if you want to be open, be open. If you don't, more power to you, we can get beer at another store. This is selfish on their part, and a typical disappointment for people who don't believe in catering to one or the other, but to catering to ALL. The law doesn't make sense, has never made sense, and if the liquor stores that are lobbying against this win, I'm going to find out which ones were vocal about it and make sure they never get my business again. This is actually a piece very much related to the last one that I had written, about the anti-smokers minding their own privacy and leaving our businesses to theirs. So the liquor stores want essentially the same thing, then. If they can't manage to be open on Sunday, nobody should. Ridiculous. I hope that this law is changed, and changed swiftly, because if we can't get something like this taken care of, then there is no hope for bigger, more politically charged and debatable bills and law changes. It would be a very bleak future.
Friday, December 03, 2010
I pretty well quit smoking almost a year ago. Sure, the occasional filter to my lips happens from time to time, but for the better part, I have been cigarette free for a while now. Yeah, I started chewing in order to supplement the nicotine, and that in itself is a pretty nasty habit, but the beginning of January next year I think I may try that prescription stuff to quite the nicotine all together. We'll see, though...the point is, I know what it's like to be a smoker, and I know what it's like to be a non-smoker. Look up Dennis Leary's bit on anti-smokers...I've "become one of you".
So yes, the smell of cigarette smoke at bars is not always that pleasant. And yes, I do go home and have to shower for a while, because the smell of smoke seems to be being worn like a cancer suit. And, yes, if I'm going to a restaurant with my pregnant wife and year and a half year old child, I'm going to prefer the one that doesn't have any kind of smoking section.
However, every year Charlie Brown makes his appeal for a statewide smoking ban, and every year different people all over the newspapers hold up their fists and yell "Yeah!" (the worst thing that ever happened to the Post-Trib was the creation of the Quickly's. My God.) and every year it doesn't pass because it is a stupid idea and inhibits property rights. Nothing against the idea of being against smoking. I've known a lot of people who have had a lot family members who have died from lung cancer or emphysema, and I know it's a horrible way to go, but at the end of the day Charlie Brown's bill are still pulled out like the proverbial football (get it? Charlie Brown? Football pulled away? Insert drums: buda cha!) because property rights still prevail.
Private businesses have the right to decide whether or not their establishments should be smoking establishments or not. Period. I've seen different people write their piece on different points of view regarding this point, and one guy actually wrote that "Most businesses want the bill passed to establish an even playing field." EVEN PLAYING FIELD?! These must not be too successful businesses if they want things to be even on this matter. After all, if EVERYBODY wants to abolish smoking in public places, then why aren't more restaurants catering to this? If this is the "big thing", then how come there isn't a no smoking sign on every door to every restaurant or bar I go to? The reason for this is very simple: it ISN'T the "big thing". There are a scant minority who are hell bent on abolishing smoking in public areas, a scant few who are fighting like hell to keep smoking in public areas, and a whole bunch who are like me or just don't care about the smoke (or aren't bothered by it enough to get all up in arms).
The biggest argument heard, or at least that I have heard, against the smoking in private establishments focused primarily on waitresses and the work place hazards.
My thoughts on this? They may seem harsh, so brace yourself...get a new job!!! Waitress jobs are a dime a dozen. Get one in Valpo or Crown Point or Lowell, if you're so concerned about working in a smoking environment. This especially ticks me off because of all the people in this part of Indiana that have ACTUAL dangerous jobs. We have iron workers that hang off of scaffolding every day, steel workers that work around molten steel, etc., etc., etc.,...this is an area where blue collar workers prevail. The average time span of living after somebody retires from the mill is what, ten years? Usually less? These jobs are dangerous because that is the nature of the work. Farmers risk the possibility of getting hurt with their own equipment. Welders risk losing their eye sight if they aren't careful welding. A job is NOT a right, and everybody has risks, be it fiscal or physical, that are taken when they are working a job. Don't like being around smoke? Ask to work only the non smoking section. I'm sure your boss won't mind. If he does? Find another waitress job.
Once property rights and the rights to do to oneself what one pleases are breached, where does it stop? Should we be like New York soon, here in Northwest Indiana, and start limiting how much salt we can use on our fries? This is ridiculous. I'm amazed I even have to spend 800 words ranting about this.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Then up pops a new site: Dave Woodson for Michigan City Mayor
Is this serious? Is social media evangelist and public speaker Dave Woodson, who incidentally does live in Michigan City, really going to run for Mayor and use social media to run the campaign? So far no website, public announcement, or quote from Dave. I did call him yesterday but he gave a little bit of a safe answer "... there are quite a few leaders looking at the possibility, exploring the situation, I feel privileged to be included in that group ..."
I understand Dave will be on the radio tomorrow nite ... more on this tomorrow or Saturday.
Your Liberalish friend,
NOT A CROSS-POST NOT A CROSS-POST NOT A CROSS-POST NOT A CROSS-POST NOT A CROSS-POST
According to the article, The Indiana Judicial Conference has proposed a new system whereby superior, circuit, and town courts would not function on a county-by-county basis, but on a district system, to allow judges to more evenly distribute caseloads among the 92 counties. For instance, the judges in more rural areas who have lower caseloads would have cases from overburdened courts, and/or travel to the respective counties where the suits originated. This change would create little to no extra cost, while increasing efficiency and productivity.
The system would have to be formally approved by the Indiana Supreme Court, and then proceed to the floor of the Indiana General Assembly. Is this truly as efficient as lawmakers such as Shewmaker claim?