Friday, October 21, 2016

Evan Bayh Failed to Stay at His Indiana "Home" During Last Year in Office

The Associated Press reports:

Evan Bayh says that his Indianapolis condominium has long been his home, and that he has spent “lots and lots” of time there since deciding to run for his old Senate seat. But a copy of his schedule shows Bayh did not stay overnight there once during his last year in office in 2010.
The schedule provided to The Associated Press shows the Democrat spent taxpayer money,
Former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh
campaign funds or let other people pay for him to stay in Indianapolis hotels on the relatively rare occasions he returned from Washington, D.C.
Since unexpectedly entering the race in July, Bayh, whose primary residence is in Washington, has struggled to explain whether Indiana is home. During an interview with WLFI-TV in August he tried to put the issue to rest, but gave the wrong address for his condo, which is listed on his drivers’ license and voter registration.
“I’ll always be a Hoosier,” Bayh said last week. “We own our condominium. Period. From time to time I would stay someplace else, but our condo has always been our home.”
Bayh stayed at Indianapolis hotels roughly a dozen times in 2010, though taxpayers paid only a few hundred dollars because campaign funds or other people helped pick up the tab.
When asked last month how often he has stayed at his condo during the campaign, Bayh said: “I haven’t kept track, but lots and lots and lots.” He also accused his opponent, Republican Rep. Todd Young, of “using this as a distraction.”
The Associated Press article also details how Bayh appears to have used taxpayer money to help fund his job hunting trips he took while planning to leave the Senate in 2010.

Of course, if the Indianapolis condo is not Bayh's residence, which does not  appear to be the case, he is committing a felony every time he uses that address from which to vote.   This has been a practice by many Indiana politicians, of both parties.  Republican Senator Richard Lugar voted using the address of a house he sold decades earlier.  (Lugar also stayed in Indianapolis hotels when he would come back to the Hoosier state.)  To this day, both Bayh, Lugar and their families continue to vote using Indianapolis addresses where they clearly do not reside, despite the fact they both left the Senate years ago.

It is reprehensible that Bayh and Lugar, and other politicians, routinely get a pass on the issue, while former Secretary of State Charlie White was prosecuted as part of a bipartisan witch hunt for on one occasion allegedly voting someplace other than his residence.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sen. Rubio: Republicans Need to Stop Using Russian Hacked Emails Against Democrats

American intelligence has confirmed that the hacker source of the Democrat emails published via Wikileaks is none other than Russia.  That should not be surprising.  Russian President Vladimir Putin desperately wants his buddy, Donald Trump, to win the election.  While Republicans are almost universal in condemning Russian interference with an American election, most in the GOP do not hesitate to use what is contained in the hacked emails for political purposes.

But shouldn't they hesitate?  Shouldn't Republicans be concerned that using the often embarrassing and revealing emails actually is aiding Russia in its efforts to influence an American election? And shouldn't Republicans be concerned that next time it might be their emails which are hacked and then
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl)
used in an election?

Apparently at least one Republican thinks so.   ABC News reports:
"As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process and I will not indulge it,” [Florida Senator Marco] Rubio tells ABC news. "Further, I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks. Today it is the Democrats, Tomorrow it could be us/
Rubio's stand puts him directly at odds with Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, which have been relentlessly hammering Hillary Clinton and her campaign over the contents of the hacked emails.
"Wikileaks has provided things that are unbelievable," he said at a rally in Colorado Tuesday, accusing the media of ignoring the ongoing leaks. "The media you have to remember is an extension of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It's an extension. And without that she would be nowhere.
But while Trump regularly taunts the news media for not paying enough attention to the stolen emails, Rubio argues that making an issue out of the Wikileaks disclosures plays into the hands of the Russian government.
Marco Rubio is exactly right. He should be applauded for showing leadership on the issue.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Indiana Nears Battleground Status As Polls Show Hoosier State 10th Most Competitive

Once a state is deemed to be a "battleground," a state might be close on Election Day, that status ensures numerous visits from presidential candidates and their surrogates.   Indiana hasn't been in that category for decades, despite Barack Obama's upset win in the state (predicted by yours truly) in 2008. It appears though that Indiana may have a close presidential election once again.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows the Trump lead in the Indiana as being only 4.5%. Compared to the polling averages in other states, Indiana is the 10th most competitive state. Here is the top 10 list and which candidate leads in that state:

1. Ohio  .7 (Trump lead)
2. Arizona 1 (Trump lead)
3.  Nevada 2.5 (Clinton lead)
4.  North Carolina 2.7 (Clinton lead)
5.  Alaska 3 (Trump lead)
6.  New Hampshire 3.6 (Clinton lead)
6.  Florida 3.6 (Clinton lead)
8.  Iowa 3.7 (Trump lead)
9.  Minnesota 4.3 (Clinton lead)
10. Indiana 4.5 (Trump lead)

I should note that polling in Alaska has been very limited.

Ohio and Iowa are two states that, although President Obama won them in 2012, Trump leads. Clinton though appears to be offsetting that by leading in North Carolina, a state Romney won in 2012.  Clinton has also taken out of contention several near battleground states that Trump had vowed he could win:

15. Wisconsin 6.7 (Clinton lead)
16. Pennsylvania 6.8 (Clinton lead)
21. Colorado 8 (Clinton lead)
23. Virginia 8.7 (Clinton lead)
27. Michigan 10.7 (Clinton lead)

Is "battleground" status on the Hoosier horizon?

Update:  An alert reader caught that I flipped Minnesota.  Clinton leads in that state, not Trump.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The "Bradley Effect" and Why Polls Measuring Trump Support May Actually Overstate His Election Performance

Much has been written about the well-known, at least to political scientists, "Bradley Effect" and the role that a similar phenomenon could play in this election. Ballotpedia explains:
The Bradley effect, sometimes called the Wilder effect, is a concept that attempts to explain discrepancies between voter opinion polls and outcomes in elections where white candidates campaign against minority candidates. Adherents of the Bradley effect believe that some voters will tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a minority candidate but will vote against the minority candidate on Election Day. It was named for [former Los Angeles Mayor]Tom Bradley, an African-American candidate who lost the 1982 California gubernatorial race despite having a lead in the polls going into the election.
Of course, this presidential election doesn't involve a black candidate versus a white one. But could
Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley
something similar be going on, namely that people are lying to pollsters as to which candidate they will support on Election Day?  Breitbart reported on the theory back in August, including a quote from an Emerson College Professor Gregory Payne:

“I think with Trump .... [m]any people are saying to maybe their friends while they’re having a sip of Chardonnay in Washington or Boston, ‘Oh, I would never vote for him, he’s so – not politically correct,’ or whatever, but then they’re going to go and vote for him. Because he’s saying things that they would like to say, but they’re not politically courageous enough to say it and I think that’s the real question in this election.”
Prof. Payne is right to consider the theory, but he offers no evidence to back up his analysis.  Certainly we have had numerous examples of polls v. election results during the nomination phase of this presidential election.  If the secret Trump support were a real thing, wouldn't Trump have outperformed his polls consistently in those state GOP contests?  Not only did that not occur the exact opposite happened, i.e. Trump consistently underperformed the polls in the primaries.  I wrote about that phenomenon back in March:
Twenty state contests had a Real Clear Politics poll average before the election, or if no RCP average, a recent poll that RCP deemed credible enough to publish the result.  I looked at Trump's margin of victory compared to those poll results, or if he lost the state, the margin between Trump and the winner,   I found that when it came to the margin, Trump underperformed his poll numbers in 15 of 20 elections, by an average of -7.84%.  It has also increased over time. In the fourteen contests March 1st or earlier, Trump's underperformance was -4.47%.  In the 6 contests since then, the underperformance was -15.7%
Only in the late primaries did Trump's performance at the polls finally begin to match or exceed his poll numbers.

In addition to that primary history of Trump underperforming the polls, I would also point to general election polling which consistently show people view Trump as unqualified to be president.  In the latest Fox News poll, 56% of respondents viewed Trump as unqualified.  A September Quinnipiac poll pegged that number at 62%, while 61% thought Hillary Clinton was qualified to be President.

Obviously many people who are telling pollsters that Trump is unqualified to be President are also expressing support for him over Hillary Clinton.  But could it be that those anti-Clinton people are, in fact, lying to pollsters, using the opportunity to vent their extreme displeasure regarding the Democratic nominee to pollsters without the real life consequences of casting a ballot?  When those same poll respondents enter the voting booth, are they going to vote for someone they see as unfit for office over someone they might view as qualified but who they for, good reason, do not like?

I am guessing that many of them will not.  On Election Day, I believe Trump will considerably underperform the polls, especially the state polls.  My crystal ball says Trump will fall short of 200 electoral votes and it will be the worst GOP presidential election loss since 1996 when former GOP Kansas Senator Bob Dole only received 159 electoral votes. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

New Monmouth Poll Shows Indiana Republican Candidates Trailing in Statewide Races

The Evansville Courier Press reports:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg has a double-digit lead over Republican Eric Holcomb in the race for Indiana governor, according to a new poll released Friday by Monmouth University.
John Gregg
The same poll shows GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Indiana is down to four points.
The poll was conducted on Oct. 10-13, surveying more than 400 likely Hoosier voters. The margin of error is 4.9 percentage points. A similar poll conducted by Monmouth University in August showed the governor's race as a virtual tie, with Holcomb actually enjoying a one-point lead. Now, just a month later, Gregg is up 12 points, 50 to 38. Libertarian Rex Bell was favored by 5 percent of the respondents. Seven percent were undecided.

The news doesn't get much better for Hoosier Republicans in the other two, big ticket races either. In August, Monmouth showed Trump with an 11-point lead in the presidential race. That margin is now down to four points, inside the margin of error, with Trump leading 45 to 41.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Evan Bayh holds a six-point lead over Republican Todd Young, 48 to 42. That lead remains virtually unchanged from August's poll which had Bayh up 48 to 41.
What is most significant though is movement from the first Monmouth poll to the most recent one. Trump's support in the state declined by 7% while Holcomb's fell by 13%.  Young, whose support against former Governor Bayh actually increased by 1%, appears to be running an outstanding campaign but may be the victim of bad timing - being on the ballot during a Democratic year.

Trump Protests Media Bias While Overlooking Their Role in Elevating Him to the Nomination

Trump and his blindly loyal followers, the Trumpkins, have declared war on the mainstream media. They claim the media has a liberal bias.  That is not exactly a shocker.  Surveys of journalists for decades have shown that they overwhelmingly prefer Democrats when it comes to Presidential elections.   It is not a reach to conclude that many want Trump to fail and that desire, even if only subconsciously, affects their coverage.

But philosophical bias is not the only bias media has.  The media has a bias for action, for conflict, for good stories that will entice their audience.  At the end, they are a for profit enterprise. They want to sell newspapers, to reel in viewers.

Trump rode these other media biases to the nomination. Even when Trump was far down in the polls and hadn't raised much money, the evening news were filled with extensive live coverage of his rallies. Other candidates were never able to get the same (free) media coverage of their campaigns, leaving their candidacies dead in the water.

Back in June, the Washington Post reported  on a Harvard study on the news media coverage Trump received during the primary stage:
[A]new study by Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University ... documents not only the outsized coverage Trump received — from TV and digital media — in the early days of his campaign but also how overwhelmingly positive that coverage was.

First, it notes that Trump received considerable media coverage during 2015 despite the fact that he was neither a leader in polls or in the fundraising chase — two indicators of uneven media coverage of candidates in past races, according to the Shorenstein study. As the study reports:   
"When his news coverage began to shoot up, [Trump] was not high in the trial-heat polls and had raised almost no money. Upon entering the race, he stood much taller in the news than he stood in the polls. By the end of the invisible primary, he was high enough in the polls to get the coverage expected of a frontrunner. But he was lifted to that height by an unprecedented amount of free media. "
The study then goes on to place a price on that free media Trump received. Of course, Trump and his merry band of followers will insist that much of that primary coverage was negative. But in fact it wasn't.  Trump received an inordinate amount of positive coverage during the primary stage:

Now though the tables are reversed. Weeks away from the general election the news is filled with negative Trump stories detailing the candidate's character flaws and disqualifying history. Those were stories that could have easily been investigated and reported on during the primary stage. If that happened the Republicans might have nominated a candidate who is actually qualified to be President, someone who would be 10 points ahead of Hillary Clinton instead of nearly 10 points behind.

Of course, the media is liberal. Of course, most reporters do not want a Republican in the White House, even a faux conservative like Trump.  The question that should be asked is why the media give Trump so much free coverage leading up to his nomination? Why did the media sat on their collective hands, failing to report the negative stories about Trump when there was time for the GOP to get a new nominee? Was there a coordinated effort by liberal reporters to ensure the GOP was stuck with an unelectable nominee who would embarrass the party and rip it apart?  While I don't buy that the media coordinated their efforts to obtain that result, that is in fact the result of the media elevating Trump to the GOP nomination.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Look for Democrats to Switch Focus to Red States, Down Ballot Races

Recent statewide polls show that the door is quickly closing on the possibility that Donald Trump can get to 270 electoral votes in order to win the election next month.  Blue collar states that Trump had bragged he could flip - Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin - appear to have slipped away.  Polling averages in those states show Trump trailing 8.6%, 10.7% and 6.7%.

Virginia was also a state Trump thought he could flip to the Republican column.  He trails in that state by 7.5%.  In all the aforementioned states, save Wisconsin, Trump is actually running worse that Republican Mitt Romney finished in 2012.  Even in Wisconsin, Trump is only running .24% ahead of Romney and, given polling trends, will soon be underwater in that state as well.

Trump has also fallen behind in the critical states of Florida (-2.7%) and Ohio (-.5%).

The notion that Trump was going to hold Romney red states while flipping blue states to the Republican column appears to be gone.  In only Iowa (6 electoral votes) is Trump winning a previous blue state.

Instead Trump is in danger of losing traditional Republican states.  He leads narrowly in Arizona and Georgia, and is losing North Carolina, which Romney won in 2012.  A very recent poll showed Trump tied in Utah, a state Romney won by 48%.  Slipping under the radar thus far is Republican Alaska, where Trump leads by only 3 points.   Even states like Texas (6.7%) and Indiana (8% average, but only 5% Trump lead in the last poll) are slipping into the competitive column.

Trump's chances to win the election are all but gone.  The Democrats are shifting their focus to a new target, control of Congress. Thus far though, polling shows Republican Senate candidates running outstanding campaigns.  In virtually every state the GOP Senate candidate is running well ahead of Trump. But given the race for President is what generally drives turnout, one must conclude at some point a landslide electoral loss by Trump will cost Republicans control of the Senate and quite possibly the House as well.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

American Senior Community Execs Arrested in Alleged Medicare Fraud Scheme

The late, great Gary Welsh wrote tirelessly about what he (and I) believed to be a fraudulent scheme by American Senior Communities, working with the Marion County Health and Hospital Corporation, to obtain excessive Medicaid repayments from the government.  That scheme helped fund the building of the new Wishard (now named Eskanazi) hospital without a tax increase.  The feds though appear to deny that today's arrests are related to that scheme, instead focusing on Medicare not Medicaid fraud. The Indianapolis Star reports:

Four former American Senior Communities executives were taken into custody early
James G. Burkhart
Wednesday following a year-long federal investigation.
The four, including former CEO James G. Burkhart, face several federal charges including Medicare fraud, Fox59 reports.
In September 2015, federal agents raided Burkhart's Carmel home and the the Southside headquarters of American Senior Communities at 6900 Gray Road.
While the government has yet to comment on why FBI agents searched Burkhart's home, an internal ASC review concluded that the federal investigation "does not touch upon the operation of any nursing home serviced by ASC," according to statement issued at the time of the September raid.
American Senior Communities manages nearly 100 senior care facilities and is one of the largest nursing home management companies in Indiana. Among those are 60 sites, including skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities throughout the state, that the company manages under a contract with Marion County’s public health agency.

Monday, October 10, 2016

No, Trump Did Not Win the Second Debate

Some thoughts on Trump v. Clinton II, a t featuring the two major party's candidates in a town hall type debate.

Donald Trump was better than he was in Trump v. Clinton I, but he was still awful.  Hillary Clinton clearly looked more presidential, had a better command of the facts, and connected with the audience (both at home and the event) better than did Trump.  Clinton certainly had her weak moments.  When given a chance to talk about the Supreme Court, she made a critical mistake of citing as its importance
protecting Roe v.  Wade. That comment gets her not a single additional vote, but it reminds many evangelical and other pro-life voters who might be inclined to turn against Trump after the release of the video, why they should cast a vote for the New York businessman instead of Clinton.  (Not that I for a second believe Donald "I Support Partial Birth Abortion" Trump has had a real conversion to the pro-life cause. 

Clinton also dropped the ball on the final question.  When asked to say something nice about Trump, she started out great talking about Trump's family. But then she quickly veered off into self-serving comments about herself.   She should have stopped after praising Trump for her family, leaving viewers with a positive view of her..  On the other hand, Trump stopped on the positive note praising Clinton for her tenacity and determination.

On the issues, I believe the only place Trump bested Clinton was in discussion of energy policy.   It is one of the few subjects on which Trump appears to have actual knowledge.  Trump could have done even better with the subject by talking about Clinton's (new) opposition to the Keystone pipeline, and how not building the pipeline costs American jobs.  

On the other side of the coin, Trump's first 20 minutes or so, when he had to answer questions about the newly released Billy Bush video, was borderline disastrous.  Instead of sincerely apologizing for his comments, he reverted back to the nonsense that it was just "locker room" banter, as if we mentalk about non-consensual sexual assault of women when we get together.  Uh, no we don't.

Stylistically neither candidate came across as likable.  Hillary Clinton's smile often came across as more of a smirk. Trump never smiled.  Both candidates seem completely incapable of connecting with real people when they talk...or even understanding that they need to do that as candidates.  Hillary Clinton is clearly not Bill Clinton when it comes to the ability to connect with an audience.

I actually found the post-debate comments to be the most telling...and troubling.  Trumpkins are absolutely convinced their guy won.  They seem to think throwing out one liners about Clinton "lying" that "she should be in jail" is a substitute for actually prosecuting a case against her. (Since when is it acceptable for candidates to campaign on putting their opponents in jail as Trump suggested he would do with Hillary?)  It's not.  Hillary Clinton has no credible answer for deleting those personal emails and ordering the servers be scrubbed.  That her aides took the 5th and the FBI allowed the destruction of evidence, is damning proof of the GOP case against her.  

FYI, a new (scientific) CNN poll shows Clinton won the second debate, 57-34.   That is down from a 62-27 victory in the first debate.  But it is still a solid win.  No, Trumpkins, the Donald lost the debatet badly.

Unfortunately, the Republicans simply don't have a candidate who is capable of making the intellectual case against Hillary Clinton.  Add to that the fact that these debates further demonstrate that Donald Trump lacks the depth, intelligence and temperament to be President.  Republicans are represented by the only candidate who could is so bad that he could lose to the worst presidential candidate the Democrats have fielded in at least half a century, if not longer.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Will Pence Leave the Trump Ticket?

In the aftermath of the Access Hollywood video in which Donald Trump talks about his regularly sexually assaulting women in pursuit of sex, and his attempt, newly married, to commit adultery speculation abounds whether Trump will step down as the Presidential nominee.  In a Wall Street Journal interview, Trump responded that there was "zero chance" he would leave the ticket.

Probably a better question though is whether the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, Mike Pence
will remain on the ticket.  Pence, a devout Christian, has been placed in many difficult situations defending Trump during the campaign.  He, by virtually all accounts, has done extremely well presenting the traditional conservative Republican message while at the same time not straying too far from the Trump message of change.  But now, with the Access Hollywood video, Pence is being asked to defend the indefensible.  The Hill reports:
Mike Pence and his wife were reportedly floored on Friday when they heard about the lewd remarks about women Donald Trump made in 2005 in a leaked recording.  
Trump’s running mate said he was “beside himself” and his wife Karen was "furious" when he found out about audio tape, a source told the Associated Press
More videos showing Trump to be the reprehensible human being he is are coming.  Things are not going to get better.

If Pence stays on the ticket, he risks being tarnished with those videos.  If he exits now, he will be a front-runner candidate in 2020.   He will be seen as a man who stood up for principle.

Alas, I am not the only one engaging in the Pence speculation.  But I am one of the first.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

2016 Trump v. Clinton: Top 14 Competitive States

As of present, there are 14 states in which the presidential candidates are less than 7 points of each other, states that can plausibly be considered as competitive.  Here they are starting with the most competitive, using the Real Clear Politics polling averages:

1.  North Carolina (15 electoral votes)

Hillary Clinton currently enjoys a narrow 1.3% lead in the Tar Heel State.  In 2012, Romney won the state by 2.04% in 2012..  This would be a huge victory for the Democrats, causing Donald Trump to try to make up ground elsewhere

1.  Arizona (11 electoral votes)

Romney won Arizona in 2012 by 9.06%, but this year Democrat Clinton is polling much closer to her Republican rival, only trailing by 1.3%.   The state is being overlooked right now by the campaigns, undoubtedly because it is assumed to be leaning strongly Republican. But polls show it is tied for being the most competitive state.

3.  Nevada (6 electoral votes)

Trump is doing surprisingly well in the state, leading in several recent polls.  President Obama
defeated Romney by 6.68% last year, but now Clinton leads by only 1.4%.

4.  Colorado (9 electoral votes)

Colorado is another western state in which Trump is exceeding expectations.  Recent polls though show momentum in the state swinging back to Clinton. She leads by 1.8%.  Obama won the state in 2012 by 5.36% of the vote.

5.  Ohio (18 electoral votes)

Ohio went to President Obama in 2012 by 2.98%. The RCP poll average shows Trump ahead in the Buckeye State by 2.4%

5.  Florida (29 electoral votes)

Florida ties with Ohio in closeness at 2.4%.  But in this state, very important for Trump's chances, Hillary Clinton leads. Obama narrowly won the Sunshine State in 2012 by .88%.

7.  Minnesota (10 electoral votes)

There is nearly a 2 point gap between the top 6 competitive states and those below.  Although Obama won the state by a whopping 17.69% in 2012, Democrat Clinton only leads by 4.3% in Minnesota Unlike neighboring Wisconsin, Minnesota is not yet on the candidates' radar, but perhaps it should be.

8.  Georgia (16 electoral votes)  

Georgia checks in as the next most competitive state, with Trump having a lead of only 4.4% in a state that went to Romney in 2012 by 7.72%.

9.  Wisconsin (10 electoral votes)

Returning to the Midwest, Wisconsin polls as the 9th most competitive state with a margin of 5% in favor of Hillary Clinton.  Obama won the state in 2012 by a 6.94% margin.

9.  Iowa (6 electoral votes)

Staying in the Midwest, Iowa ties Wisconsin as the 9th most competitive state.  Although Obama won the state by 5.81% in 2012, Trump leads in the Badger State by 5%.

9.  New Hampshire (16 electoral votes)

Obama won New Hampshire in 2012 by 5.58%.  The Granite State is proving to be equally competitive this time around with Hillary Clinton leading by 5%.

12.  Maine (Statewide) (2 electoral votes)

Maine is one of two states which awards an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district in the state.  Trump is solidly ahead in the more rural Maine CD #2  while Clinton has a large margin in the more populous Maine CD #1.  Statewide though the situation is more competitive, with Clinton leading by 5.5%.  In 2012, Obama won the state by 15.29% of the vote.    Nonetheless, there are not enough electoral votes in Maine to make it a high priority for the campaigns.

13.  Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes)

In contrast, the campaigns have put in an inordinate amount of effort to win Pennsylvania.  But polling shows Trump trailing by 6%, and, thus, actually doing worse in the Keystone State than Romney did in 2012 when the former Massachusetts Governor lost the state by 5.38%.

14.  Texas (38 electoral votes)

A state which enjoyed some initial attention for being surprisingly close, continues to poll as being marginally competitive. Trump has a lead of 6.7% in Texas.    By contrast, Romney won the Lone Star State in 2012 by 15.79%.  While Trump will likely keep Texas in the Republican column, the declining GOP fortunes in the state have to worry Republicans as they ponder the electoral college map in 2020 and beyond.

Surprisingly Not Competitive:  Virginia (13 electoral votes) and Michigan (16 electoral votes) fail to make the sub 7% cut for competitiveness.  Both states show Clinton with a 7% lead.  Obama won the states by 3.88% and 9.5% respectively in 2012.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Former President Bill Clinton Speaks the Truth About Obamacare

CNN reports:
Bill Clinton criticized President Barack Obama's signature policy reform Monday while on the stump for his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, calling Obamacare "the craziest thing in the world." ...
Speaking at a Democratic rally in Flint, Michigan, the former president ripped into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for flooding the health care insurance market and causing premiums to rise for middle-class Americans who do not qualify for subsidies.  
"So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health
care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world," Clinton said.  
"But there is a group of people -- mostly small business owners and employees -- who make just a little too much money to qualify for Medicaid expansion or for the tax incentives who can't get affordable health insurance premiums in a lot of places. And the reason is they're not in big pools," Clinton said. 
"So they have no bargaining power." 
Yesterday, Clinton tried to temper his criticism with comments yesterday focusing on what he said were the good parts of the law. 
Donald Trump immediately seized on the former President's comments. The trouble, once again, is that Trump is the wrong messenger.  While Trump touts on the stump he wants to "repeal and replace" the ACA, aka Obamacare, the fact is Trump is on record saying he favors a program (universal health care paid for by "the government") that would be an expansion of the ACA.

Clinton tempered his criticism of the ACA yesterday, pointing to what he believes are the positive aspect of the laws.  Nonetheless, kudos to President Bill Clinton for having the guts to point out the failures of the ACA.  Clinton appears to understand that rising premiums and cuts in coverage are a result of forcing people to get coverage in an environment in which insurance companies do not have to compete for customers.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016

    Indiana State Police Raid Offices of Liberal Organization in Voter Fraud Investigation

    This Indianapolis Star is reporting today that the Indianapolis State Police have raided the offices of voter registration organization that officials have accused of fraud:

    Indiana State Police investigators on Tuesday searched a north side voter registration agency as they look into a voter fraud case that spans nine counties:
    According to a news release, the investigation began in late August when police learned of the filing of fraudulent voter registration forms in Marion and Hendricks counties. 
    "Information has expanded from the original involved counties of Hendricks and Marion to also include the counties of Allen, Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Lake and Madison," said a statement from the Indiana State Police.
    As part of the expanded investigation, state police detectives served a search warrant for
    the business offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project in the 2400 block of North Meridian Street.
    Officials said a representative sample of voter registration applications received by county voter registration offices suspected of being fraudulent have been copied and provided to investigators. The original applications are maintained by the appropriate voter registration office. 
    The growing number of involved counties leads investigators to believe that the number of fraudulent records may be in the hundreds, police said. 
    The possible fraudulent information is a combination of fake names, addresses and dates of birth with real information.
    A mid-September Indianapolis Star story gives a few more details about the voter fraud investigation.  But even that story leaves important questions unanswered, including most importantly who was behind the voter registration effort.  A critical piece in the New Republic though answers many of those questions, albeit with a nefarious spin that questions the actions of Indiana officials:
    On September 15, elections officials across Indiana received an alarming note from Connie Lawson, the state’s Republican secretary of state. “Unfortunately, it has recently come to my attention that nefarious actors are operating here in Indiana,” warned Lawson’s letter, which was sent to election administrators in each of the state’s 92 counties. “A group by the name of the Indiana Voter Registration Project has forged voter registrations. ... If you receive one of these applications, please contact the Indiana State Police Special Investigations.”

    For weeks, the state had been quietly pursuing an investigation into the Indiana Voter Registration Project, a get-out-the-vote group backed by the liberal-leaning Patriot Majority. Its mission is to resuscitate voter participation in Indiana from a record low in 2014. In cooperation with Secretary Lawson’s office, state police placed six detectives on the case, interrogated members of the voting group, and performed forensics on registration documents. After determining that a handful of the group’s registration applications were forged, the state notified numerous officials, as well as local news media, that a shady organization was undermining democratic elections across Indiana. 
    The Patriot Majority expresses bewilderment at Lawson’s allegations and counters that the state’s investigative tactics—and Lawson’s public portrayal of the group as villainous—amount to a partisan effort to suppress voter registration in the state. The group points to the small number of flawed applications: Although the IVRP has submitted tens of thousands of voter registration forms in the Hoosier state this year, the state had only identified ten applications that were allegedly forged. (A news report released Thursday said that state police removed 250 suspicious IVRP registrations this week from a county elections office in central Indiana.)
    I've written numerous times countering the very false assertion repeated in the New Republic article, that Indiana has a low voter participation rate.  What is going on is that voter registration rates in Indiana have spiked since the adoption of the National Voter Registration Act (commonly referred to as the Motor Voter Law) in 1993 that makes automatic purging of non-voters illegal.  Indiana is one of the worst states in using the more complex and expensive process mandated by the federal government to clean up the voters rolls.  (In fact, Indiana has been sued for failing to clean up its voter registration rolls.)  As a result, many Hoosier voters who have died are still listed on the rolls as are voters who have moved and are registered in multiple counties.

    Because of the failure to clean up the rolls, voter registration in Indiana has soared from 69% before Motor Voter to nearly 93% today.  Some counties, including Marion County, have at times had voter registration of over 100%.  Voter turnout is compared to these voter registration numbers.  Thus, when voter registration rolls are inflated with deceased voters and those who have moved, voter turnout in Indiana appears to be worse than it actually is.  When you compare voter turnout to the adult age population, turnout is not down in most elections.  Further, as I've also written about before, the voter ID requirement Indiana later adopted has made no difference in turnout in Indiana.

    Democrats are wrong to fight every effort at providing ballot security and are wrong in claiming that requiring photo ID at the polls is a huge burden to voting. We can discuss what photo ID should be acceptable, and the possible need for an affidavit type system for those who fail to bring an ID to the polls, but the Democrats' assertion by implication that Indiana should return to a system in which people could just sign their name to vote is beyond absurdity.

    See also:

    Saturday, August 29, 2015, Bloated Voter Rolls Propel Indiana to Third Highest Registration Rate in the Country

    Monday, June 8, 2015, Hillary Clinton Proposes Worthless Voting Measures to Appease Democratic Partisans

    Monday, February 23, 2015, Analysis Shows Indiana's Declining Voter Turnout Due Not to Restrictions But To Inflated Voter Registration Rolls 

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Indiana's Restrictions on Voters Worse than 1965 Alabama? It's Not Even Close

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012, Turnout Figures Since Indiana Adopted Photo ID Requirement Does Not Show "Voter Suppression" as Claimed by Democrats 

    Saturday, June 2, 2012, 90% of Hoosier Adults are Registered to Vote

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008, Vote Early & Often? -- 105% of Indianapolis Residents Now Registered to Vote

    Monday, October 3, 2016

    Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard's Budget Requests Nearly 40% Increase in Pay

    At a time when families are struggling and local politicians are continually asking for higher taxes on those families, it is appalling to see politicians raising their own pay.  The Current in Carmel reports:
    Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has submitted his budget for 2017, along with a salary ordinance that includes a $50,000 pay raise for himself, which is a 40 percent increase. 
    The mayor’s salary is proposed to increase from $127,946 a year to $179,344 a year. It
    Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard
    will be introduced at the City Council meeting on Oct. 3 but will likely not be passed on first reading to allow the public time to comment.
    Prior to the ordinance being released, Brainard told Current in Carmel that his salary was going up, “around $35,000 or $40,000 or something.” 
    “City manager salaries can be way above that,” he said. “In some cities they make $200,000 or $300,000.” 
    Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett makes $99,000 a year. When asked about the discrepancy, Brainard said, “They don’t have money to get their roads paved.” 
    “It’s a ridiculously low salary for someone representing a city of that size,” he said. “It’s a billion-dollar business.” 
    If passed, the salary increase would make Brainard the highest paid mayor in the state. 
    Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is currently the state’s highest paid mayor at $142,096. 
    “We don’t really look at Indiana when we do salary comparisons,” Brainard said.The mayor said the salary increase is necessary. 
    “It’s important to attract qualified people to run for office,” he said. “Many of the mayors we look at (for comparison) can make seven or eight times that in the private sector.”
    Then leave office Mayor Brainard.  Contrary to your claim, there would be quality people lining up the door to take your place when you leave.  I get so sick of that ridiculous argument.  I hear it all the time from judges wanting to be paid more.  Like there is a shortage of excellent attorneys out there who who wouldn't jump at the chance to be a judge.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    Trump Angry That Allies Admit He Lost the Debate

    You don't have to be in the Clinton camp to recognize the obvious, i.e. that Donald Trump tanked badly in the first debate.  Even Trump allies admit that the New York businessman was trounced badly by the much better prepared Hillary Clinton.  Admitting the (obvious) truth though makes the Donald very mad.  CNN reports:  
    Donald Trump is angry that his aides and advisers have conceded to reporters -- largely without attribution -- that the Republican nominee struggled in his first presidential debate.
    In a conference call with surrogates Wednesday afternoon, Trump aides made clear the Republican nominee is upset that his allies publicly acknowledged they pushed him to change his preparation and tactics before his next bout with Hillary Clinton. And he wants them to stop it immediately.
    The message was "not subtle," a source familiar with the call said.  
    Trump wants his supporters to make an energetic defense of his performance and refuse to concede that he didn't nail it.
    As if his bungled debate effort wasn't enough, Trump went on Fox and Friends the next day and criticized Miss Universe Alicia Machado for gaining weight during her reign:
    During Monday night's presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton referenced Miss Universe Alicia Machado's claim that Republican nominee Donald Trump called her "Miss Piggy" when she gained weight. Trump revisited the topic on Tuesday morning when he spoke in depth about the 1996 Miss Universe on "Fox and Friends."  
    In the debate, Trump repeatedly challenged Clinton over where she had heard that, then dismissed Clinton's comment that Machado would vote for her with "OK, good."
    Trump told "Fox and Friends" it was a "real problem" when Machado gained significant weight after winning the pageant he then owned. He added that Machado was "the worst we ever had. The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible."  
    "She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem... not only that, her attitude," Trump said. "And Hillary went back into the years and... found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa, and it wasn't quite that way, but that's OK. Hillary has to do what she has to do."
    I'm no expert on women, but I'm pretty sure that criticizing a woman for her weight gain is not a way to win female supporters.

    Monday, September 26, 2016

    Trump v. Clinton: What to Expect from the Debate

    As the national polls suggest that the Trump-Clinton race is deadlocked, and Clinton has only a narrow lead in several key battleground states, the candidates enter into the first of three debates tonight.  It may be the most watched political event ever.  NBC anchor Lester Holt is the moderator. The one certain thing in this debate is that Holt is unlikely to make either candidate happy regardless of how he handles his duties.

    What is the debate advice being parceled out to the candidates?  The common advice to most candidates  is to "loosen up and just be yourself." This may be the one time that advice doesn't apply.
     The American public despises these two candidates.  Polling shows that they are the two most unpopular candidates the major parties have ever nominated, by a wide, wide margin.  The one consistent metric in picking presidential winners for over half a century is that the candidate who is best liked, wins.

    Trump and Clinton have a mission.  They first and foremost need to come across as likable, someone for whom the 15% of the voters on the fence in this election would feel comfortable voting for.  Clinton and Trump need to show a graciousness and humility neither have demonstrated thus far.

    A commentator on one of the Sunday morning political shows suggested that Trump needs to show depth on the issues.  That ship long ago left the dock.  Knowing details about policy is Clinton's strong suit and Trump would be foolish to sail into those water.  If Trump is smart, which I've seen no evidence of thus far, he will focus on the big picture, change themes which are winners in this election cycle. If Clinton is smart, which I've occasionally seen evidence of, she will bait Trump and get him to go off message and attack her.

    Trump has an additional challenge - he needs to look presidential, like someone people (at least those few undecided voters left) would be comfortable with in the White House.

    On paper, this debate should be no contest.  Hillary Clinton is an experienced debater and excelled in that forum against Senator Bernie Sanders.  Trump, on the hand, turned in very lackluster debate performances during the Republican primaries often appearing like a wallflower who never gets asked to dance.   Several times Trump was booed by the GOP audiences when he said outrageous things that  seemed to be more about gaining attention than serious policy proposals.  No one seriously viewed Trump as a "winner" of any of the GOP debates.  The best that was often said was that he exceeded expectations.

    Indeed, that is Trump's ace-in-the-hole in his confrontation with Hillary Clinton.  In politics a debater's performance is never measured against the opponent, but rather against what the expectations are for that debater.  Everyone expects Trump to fail short on policy and not look presidential and to say outrageous things.  So if he doesn't fail as badly as is expected, suddenly he will be viewed as a winner.

    Finally, the key to success in the debate might not be what happens at the debate, but what transpires afterward. Watch for the campaigns use the traditional media and social media to convince the talking heads and the public that their their candidate won.  In the first debate President Obama had with Mitt Romney in 2012, the Romney people outmaneuvered post-debate the Obama team and turned a win on points performance into a knockout.

    Saturday, September 24, 2016

    Et tu, Ted?; Senator Cruz Gives Away His Political Soul to Endorse Trump

    Yesterday, the unthinkable happened. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the so-called principled conservative, a man who bravely stood up to the Trumpkins who wish to forever destroy the conservative movement, decided to give away his political soul and endorse for president the wholly unqualified, liberal New Yorker, Donald Trump.

    I can't say Cruz "sold" his soul because, unlike Judas Iscariot, the Texas Senator did not even bother to get 30 pieces of silver for his betrayal of the conservative cause.
    Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
    Gee, let's recall what happened during the campaign

    Trump suggested Ted's wife ugly, retweeting an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz juxtaposed next to a flattering picture of Trump's own wife.  Trump threatened to "spill the beans" on Heidi Cruz.  Trump suggested that Cruz's father was involved in the Kennedy assassination.   Trump's buddies at the National Enquirer published an expose of Cruz's supposed extra-marital affairs that appear to have been completely made up.  Of course, Trump immediately intimated the story was true, saying the tabloid publication has a good reputation for factual reporting.

    Cruz, on the other hand called Trump a "pathological liar," someone who is "utterly amoral" and a "serial philanderer"  Unlike with Trump's sordid attacks, Cruz's observations about Trump were backed by solid evidence.  So too is the conclusion of Cruz and other Republicans that Trump is a con man who is completely unqualified and unfit to be President.

    Caleb Howe, writing for the RedState blog, nails the problem with the Cruz endorsement (though I don't endorse the shot at the candidates' ages or their looks): 
    But first, we should dispense with some of the reasons fans of this decision have been offering. They, and by they I generally mean Trump voters, say he is choosing the good of the country over the good of the conservative movement. Impossible. Conservative values and policy ideas are good for the country. Trump's ideas are bad for the country. Dumping the former in favor of the latter isn't doing something good for your country.
    Stopping Hillary is an admirable cause. In the abstract. But that's primary season talk. That ship has sailed. There are now and instead two Hillarys running; they both have dumb hair, they are both older than dirt, they are both pathologically incapable of honesty, and they are both big government liberals determined to destroy the conservative movement forever. If you believe, as some do, that she's even MORE destroy-happy than Trump is, then try to stop her. Many good people have made that choice.
    But don't try to turn it into a virtue. That's what the monsters do. In a classic case of projection, they cast upon #NeverTrump that which they are the most guilty of. Namely, they accuse the #NeverTrumpers of sanctimony or condescension. A laughable complaint from the people who never stop piously bragging about how they are putting country first or how they are stopping the real threat, and in this Cruz is no different. Say you want to stop Hillary. Don't martyr yourself as making some big sacrifice for your country. It's gauche.
    The Stop Hillary At All Cost movement is, frankly, stupid.  Donald Trump is the male version of Hillary Clinton.  He is a big government liberal, and has been a big government liberal his entire life.   The major difference between the two is not the policies they would pursue in office or their (lack of) honesty, but their competence.  I loathe Hillary Clinton, but at least she is qualified, intelligent, and has the temperament to be President.  Trump, a simpleton of a man who can be baited with a Tweet, has no business being anywhere near the White House.  I don't even want him to be allowed to visit.
    I was never a big fan of Ted Cruz.  I think his caustic, take-no-prisoners approach to politics is harmful to the conservative cause.  But at least he stood consistently for conservative priinciples (though he abandoned some of them in response to Trump during the campaign).  Now he has abandoned the conservative movement all together.
    Who would have thought when the going got tough for American political conservativism that the the real heroes would be people like John Kasich, Mitt Romney, and the Bushes?  

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Ogden on Politics is Back in Business; Don't Buy Your Domain Through Google!

    My blog has returned.  Sometime during the past year, I got a new credit card and my blog's domain didn't renew automatically.  I didn't get any email on the subject, even though Google Blogger has two of my email addresses.   The domain expired on 9/20.  The company which was listed as the new owner of until 9/20/2017 is apparently some sort of holding company for the website host.

    My blog is hosted through Enom which contracts with Google.  I can't go through Enom to renew though.  I have to go through Google.  And I can't go through Google Domains either. You can talk to Google Domains and Enom people via phone, but it turn out my website is hosted via Google Apps.  To communicate via phone or email with the Google Apps people you need a special code from your administrator page.  You can only get to the administrator page by entering your administrator name and password, which I never have to use for any other reason.  In frustration, I finally started guessing at the admin name and password and, eventually, guessed right.  That got me to billing and let me update the credit card information.

    This reminds me a few years ago when my blog had picked up as primary email an email I rarely ever use.  I tried to change the primary email back to the one I use most often and my doing so actually deleted my website! To get my deleted website back, I had to obtain information from several years old emails that were sent to me when I first set up the blog. Fortunately, I had not deleted them.

    Some advice.   Anyone who is thinking about starting a blog, and paying for a domain, do NOT do it through Google. Choose some other company, such as GoDaddy, that has representatives you can pick up the phone and talk to when you have a problem.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    Trump Used Charitable Contributions to Pay His Private Businesses' Legal Expenses

    The Republicans have, rightly, hammered Hillary Clinton over the Clinton Foundation raising funds from foreign leaders at the same time she was Secretary of State. That is at the very least an appearance of impropriety that should have been avoided.

    Leading the attacks on the Clinton Foundation has been GOP nominee Donald Trump.  Not surprisingly, as he is on so many subjects, Donald Trump is a hypocrite. Turns out the Trump didn't just engage in an appearance of impropriety with his foundation, he apparently brazenly engaged in outright impropriety. The Washington Post today reports that Trump used foundation money, i.e. other people's charitable contributions, to pay settlements of lawsuits involving his for profit businesses:
    Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.
    Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly
    Donald Trump
    documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.
    In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the size of a flagpole.
    In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.
    In another case, court papers say one of Trump’s golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff’s chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.
    The other expenditures involved smaller amounts. In 2013, Trump used $5,000 from the foundation to buy advertisements touting his chain of hotels in programs for three events organized by a D.C. preservation group. And in 2014, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation’s money for a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.
    Or, rather, another portrait of himself.
    Several years earlier, Trump had used $20,000 from the Trump Foundation to buy a different, six foot-tall portrait.
    If the Internal Revenue Service were to find that Trump violated self-dealing rules, the agency could require him to pay penalty taxes or to reimburse the foundation for all the money it spent on his behalf. Trump is also facing scrutiny from the office of the New York attorney general, which is examining whether the foundation broke state charity laws.
    More broadly, these cases also provide new evidence that Trump ran his charity in a way that may have violated U.S. tax law and gone against the moral conventions of philanthropy.
    “I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities at the Venable law firm in Washington. After The Post described the details of these Trump Foundation gifts, Tenenbaum described them as “really shocking.”
    “If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in a while,” Tenenbaum said.
    Rosemary E. Fei, a lawyer in San Francisco who advises nonprofits, said both cases clearly fit the definition of self-dealing.    
     “Yes, Trump pledged as part of the settlement to make a payment to a charity, and yes, the foundation is writing a check to a charity,” Fei said. “But the obligation was Trump’s. And you can’t have a charitable foundation paying off Trump’s personal obligations. That would be classic self-dealing.”
    The article includes copies of checks and other documents.  It also goes on to tell the story about one of of the legal settlements of a lawsuit filed by a golfer playing in a Trump charity tournament that promised a $1 million prize for a hole-in-one during the tournament.  The golfer got the hole-in-one. But it turns out the prize's rules required the shot to go 150 yards and the Trump course was designed so the hole would only be 147 yards.  

    Using a charity funded by other people to pay his private legal bills... yes that sounds like Donald Trump.  Promising to pay $1 million for a hole-in-one while designing the course so that the hole is 3 yards short to qualify for a payout, yep that is exactly the sort of stunt Donald Trump would pull.  Is there any wonder why Trump would be audited by the IRS?  Why anyone would consider voting for such a fraud, a man who thinks he is above laws that the rest of us have to follow, is a mystery to me.

    Indianapolis' Two Tax Increases to Hire More Police Officers Actually Resulted in Fewer Officers

    Two times during the past several years, local politicians from both parties argued that Indianapolis should raise its local income tax to hire more police officers.  Duly alarmed by the growing murder rate and convinced of the need for more officers, residents reluctantly supported those tax increases. But as some local bloggers and other critics have argued that those tax increases would not be used to hire more police officers.  Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. In a lengthy investigative report, the Indianapolis Star reports:
    Since 2007, the city of Indianapolis has raised income taxes twice in order to hire new police officers. 
    The first time, city leaders promised to add 100. The next, as many as 150.
    But on Sept. 1, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had 59 fewer officers than it did before the first tax hike took effect. And yet, the city is spending 33 percent more on police — an estimated $259 million this year, including retiree pensions — than it did in 2007.
    Over the years, city officials and City-County Council members have blamed troubles growing the police force on a number of factors: the recession and property tax caps, the rising costs of health care and equipment and challenges associated with attrition. And all have played a role. 
    IMPD's 1,600 or so officers get paid upwards of 25 percent more today than they did nine years ago. 
    Nonunion city employee pay went up around 5 percent in the same period; that's essentially a pay cut when you account for 16 percent inflation. Meanwhile, the typical Marion County household — in short, the people paying for the raises — lost even more ground. The median income here dropped 5 percent from 2007 to 2014, according to the latest Census estimates. 
    When you add it all up — the rising personnel costs, inflation and the city's plummeting revenues — the 2007 tax hike wasn't even enough to pay for the officers the city already had, much less add 100 more. So when the council voted in 2014 to raise taxes again — again, promising the money would hire more officers — some of the $16 million a year it generated for IMPD is still paying the bill for nine years of contractual pay raises that the city hasn't been able to afford. 
    Meanwhile, murders continue to rise. Indianapolis already has recorded 100 criminal homicides this year, putting it on pace to break 2014's record-setting 144. Nonfatal shootings are up more than 20 percent.
    The Star article goes on to look at the two tax increases in particular and looks more specifically how the money has been spent.  

    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    My Email Response to GOP Chairman Reince Preibus

    Dear Mr. Priebus: 
    Reince Priebus
    I wanted to respond to your email asking Republican grass roots leaders like me to support Donald Trump. It is not going to happen. I love my country too much to back a nominee who is completely lacking in qualifications to be President and has repeatedly demonstrated zero temperament for the position. Trump is a big government liberal who has no appreciation of limited government or federalism. His comments reflect that he has no understanding or respect for our Constitution. Trump has also expressed affection for brutal dictators and indicated Americans have too much freedom to criticize public figures, like him. Those are not Republican principles. Those are not American principles.  
    Mr. Priebus, you are lowering yourself and MY party with your enthusiastic backing of Donald Trump.  I would encourage you to instead focus on holding on to GOP majorities in the House and the Senate and not divert precious resources in a quixotic effort to elect such a repugnant character to the Office of the Presidency.  
    On Election Day, I will NOT pass out any literature that has the name “Trump” on it. I will not lift a finger to help that embarrassment get elected. I am sure there will be hundreds of GOP grass roots workers like me. We conservatives,and those who believe in Republican values, lost the election the day Trump was nominated. Donald Trump is a stain on the grand legacy of the Republican Party and I will not support him. Ever. 
    Paul K. Ogden 
    Elected Republican Precinct Committeeman