Monday, February 29, 2016

Trump Wins Big NASCAR Endorsements On Eve Of Super Tuesday Primary Elections

As Donald Trump is fond of saying, this is HUUUUGE. With several key southern states casting their votes tomorrow on the Super Tuesday presidential primary election schedule, Trump picked up some big endorsements from NASCAR at a large rally in Valdosta, Georgia this evening. NASCAR CEO Brian France joined Trump on stage to express his support for his campaign as did several current and retired drivers, including Bill Elliott, Chase Elliot, David Ragan and South Bend's Ryan Newman.

Federal Court Blocks Pence's Plan To Halt Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt rebuked Gov. Mike Pence in his efforts to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana until federal officials are able to assure state officials that they are capable of conducting background investigations of those seeking refugee status to protect against individuals with known terrorist ties from entering the country. Exodus Refugees, a nonprofit agency with whom the State Department contracts to provide resettlement services to refugees, brought suit against the Pence administration, contending the governor violated the equal protection rights of Syrian refugees by singling them out for discriminatory action. Judge Walton-Pratt's decision grants a preliminary injunction enjoining Gov. Pence from carrying out his executive action, having concluded the likelihood of the plaintiff succeeding on the merits of its claim against the state.

Judge Walton-Pratt concluded that Pence's policy directive unlawfully discriminated against Syrian refugees based on their national origin. Although Judge Walton-Pratt agreed that the state had a compelling interest in the enforcement of Gov. Pence's executive action--the safety of Indiana residents--the administration's plan to withhold federal funds from groups like Exodus Refugees to provide social services to Syrian refugees resettled in Indiana "in no way furthers the State's interest in the safety of Indiana residents."

State officials had relied upon a Supreme Court decision last year authored by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in support of its primary contention that the federal Refugee Act conferred no private right of action on Exodus Refugees as a service provider to sue Gov. Pence. A fair reading of the majority opinion in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc. would tend to support the state's contention that only the federal government had standing to compel Gov. Pence not to withhold federal grant money from refugee resettlement providers like Exodus Refugees. In Armstrong, a 5-4 majority found that Medicaid service providers in the state of Idaho had no private right of action to sue the state over the rate of reimbursement provided under a state Medicaid program. Scalia's untimely death could lead to a different outcome in future such cases. Judge Walton-Pratt dismissed the state's argument, distinguishing the case at hand from Armstrong as a straight-up anti-discrimination case.

Gov. Mike Pence has asked Attorney General Greg Zoeller to seek an immediate stay and appeal of today's decision. "As governor I have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of Indiana," Pence said in a statement released by his office. "During these uncertain times, we must always err on the side of caution. For that reason, following the terrorist attack in Paris and the acknowledgment by the Director of the FBI that there are gaps in the screening for Syrian refugees, I suspended participation by the State of Indiana in the Syrian refugee resettlement program and I stand by that decision." "So long as the Obama administration continues to refuse to address gaps in the screening of Syrian refugees acknowledged by the FBI and a bipartisan majority in Congress, Hoosiers can be assured that my administration will continue to use every legal means available to suspend this program in Indiana unless and until federal officials take steps to ensure the safety and security of our citizens."

The Indiana Law Blog has posted a copy of today's order online, which you can access here.

Kosciusko County Sheriff Indicted On Bribery, Intimidation And Official Misconduct Charges

A Kosciusko County grand jury has returned a sweeping indictment against Sheriff Aaron Rovenstine, a Republican, on charges he accepted bribes from a criminal while housed at the Kosciusko County Jail for special treatment and attempting to intimidate another law enforcement officer to hush him up and impede and investigation. The indictment includes: three felony counts of bribery; one felony count of intimidation; one felony count of assisting a criminal; and five counts of official misconduct. The jailed inmate, Kevin Bronson and an associate of Bronson's, Mark Soto, are also facing corrupt business influence and intimidating charges in connection with the grand jury investigation.

Sheriff Rovenstine is accused of accepting $40,000 in bribe payments from Bronson in exchange for granting special treatment to Bronson as a jail inmate and to Soto as a jail visitor of Bronson. Rovenstine allegedly threatened a law enforcement officer investigating Bronson's conduct while housed as a jail inmate. Rovenstine allegedly permitted Bronson to make unrecorded phone calls and allowed visits with Soto in an effort to hinder the investigation of Bronson. Bronson faces three counts of felony corrupt business influence and seven felony counts of intimidation. Soto faces three counts of felony corrupt business influence and intimidation.

Bronson and Soto are linked to the Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist organization. They are accused of using a business, Young Dragon Enterprises, LLC, to engage in racketeering activities. They are accused of threatening the life of an attorney, David Baker, unless he agreed to perform legal services for a movie or book contract on their behalf. They are also accused of threatening the life of Nate McLaurin and members of his family unless he provided information to them on a superior in the Aryan Brotherhood. The two allegedly used McLaurin to shake down Tyler Silveus for payments totaling more than $84,000. The men are also accused of threatening harm to Brian Hickerson and Corey Green if they didn't agree to perform certain acts, as well as breaking the legs of James King if he didn't cash a check for construction work completed and kick it back to Bronson. They're even accused of threatening a dentist, Dr. Steven Hollar, if he didn't agree to perform dental work on Bronson for free.

There's some pretty nasty charges laid out in the lengthy complaints against Sheriff Rovenstine, Bronson and Soto. I'm a bit surprised these matters are being tried in state court instead of being brought by the feds, considering the nature of the charges. These aren't exactly the kind of criminal charges you to typically expect to be seen brought in a county like Kosciusko. Times have changed. You can read the indictments in full by clicking here.

UPDATE: Advance Indiana has picked up some vibes about this case which may warrant a closer look. I noted earlier my surprise that this case was brought in a state court rather than by federal prosecutors. This case was brought by Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman in his capacity as a special prosecutor after Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton requested his appointment. Rovenstine has enjoyed a favorable reputation in his community from what we've been able to gather, and his friends are in disbelief of the allegations.

Some observers believe there is a turf war taking place among law enforcement, namely the sheriff's department and the Warsaw Police Department, that may have resulted in these unusual charges being made against the popular sheriff. The Warsaw Police Department chief was instrumental in getting the charges brought against Rovenstine. Rovenstine's supporters would point to the character of some of the witnesses relied upon to support these charges against the sheriff and argue that some of them had a real ax to grind against him. It might be wise to keep an open mind on this case until it is more fully developed and argued by prosecutors.

Advance Indiana has also learned that Mark Soto is a highly-respected theology professor at Grace College where students, faculty and administration are shocked by the allegations against him. According to some local news reports, Soto, a part-time minister, had served as a Christian mentor to Bronson and discussed with him a book and movie deal about his past association with the Aryan Brotherhood. Grace College's human resources director, Amanda Banks, told the media that Soto has been placed on administrative leave by the school.

You Never Know What You'll Find In The National Archives

Hillary Clinton and Vincent Foster were friends and business associates at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, and Foster followed the Clintons to the White House soon after Bill Clinton's election as president.
The death of close Clinton friend and White House counsel Vince Foster has been one of many unusual deaths of Clinton associates that has become the source of many conspiracy theories over the years. An independent counsel investigation assured the public Foster took his own life, but newly-discovered evidence in the National Archives by two independent investigative researchers casts doubt on the official conclusion that Foster took his own life after leaving his White House West Wing office early one afternoon in the summer of 1993, driving to Fort Marcy Park and shooting himself in the head because he was depressed.

Documents unearthed by Hugh Turley and Patrick Knowlton included a 31-page memo written by one of the independent counsel's lead prosecutors, Miguel Rodriguez, in which he claims a second gunshot wound to Foster's neck had been overlooked in the initial investigations for some unknown reason. Rodriguez made a compelling argument that the suicide conclusion had been made prematurely and not supported by the evidence. Rodriguez did not believe the evidence showed Foster had been suffering from depression. He found the conduct of several close Clinton associates at the time of his death highly suspicious, and he wondered why Foster had not used the personal firearm he brought with him to Washington to take his life, instead using a firearm of unknown origin with just two bullets. Rodriguez resigned from the independent counsel's office in protest after he had been subjected to an internal investigation and thwarted at every step in pursuing evidence of the second gunshot wound.

At the time of his death, Foster had been heavily involved in trying to contain the various scandals encircling Clinton's first term in office, including Whitewater, Travelgate and the misuse of confidential FBI records by Clinton associates at the White House. That latter investigation involved the Clintons obtaining personal FBI files on leading, major Republican figures and critics of his administration, indicating shades of Richard Nixon's infamous enemies list. According to Rodriguez, photographic evidence provided proof of a second overlooked injury on Foster's neck, which had the appearance of being a wound caused by a 22-caliber bullet.

One of many interesting notes in Rodriguez' memo made reference to a social invitation extended by President Bill Clinton to Foster to join him at the White House the evening prior to Foster's suicide, along with fellow Arkansas and Clinton crony, Webster Hubbell, who would eventually go to prison for Whitewater-related crimes, to watch "Line of Fire," a movie starring Clint Eastwood in which a Secret Service agent, who had been assigned to protect President John F. Kennedy, was attempting to save the current president from a would-be assassin as his loyalty to the president was put to its greatest test.

One fault I would find with Rodriguez' 31-page memorandum was the lengthy discussion in it of personal work Foster was doing on behalf of the Clintons, including the preparation of the Clintons' tax returns, which was clearly personal work that no White House counsel should be performing on the taxpayers' dime. As a prosecutor, I would have thought it would have caught his attention that it was illegal for publicly-paid attorneys to be performing private legal work for any public official, including the president of the United States. His memo made clear that several of the attorneys in the White House counsel's office spent most of their time dealing with evidence of business and personal wrongdoing the Clintons had committed during Bill's long tenure as Arkansas governor and her tenure at the prestigious Rose Law Firm where Hillary worked as a partner with Foster and Hubbell.

Gannett Takes On Red Line Opponents

It's a foregone conclusion that the Gannett-owned Indianapolis Star will support anything identified with the New World Order, which includes propagating the global warming myth and replacing a motorist-driven commuting society with government-run mass transit. The Star has made up its mind that an electric rapid bus system must be built in Indianapolis, and it must begin with a north-south Red Line, better known as the Palladium to the Stadium route.

The Indiana Policy Review recently published the results of a study questioning whether the costly Red Line would improve mobility and provide more sustainable transportation. To replicate the benefits of a much more costly light rail system, the Red Line will feature dedicated bus lanes that will allow the buses to move faster with fewer stops. IndyGo estimates the buses will run a little more than 18 mph on average, while the average speed of cars is 34 mph. The study suggests that the dedicated bus lanes will sit empty 90% of the time and create traffic congestion elsewhere along the line, particularly the narrow College Avenue corridor planned for the route.

The Cato Institute study noted that IndyGo's buses carry an average of just 5.7 passengers over the course of a day (i.e., passenger miles divided by vehicle revenue miles). The Red Line is expected to carry on average about 15 passenger (two-thirds of whom would already be riding a bus under the existing system). The Red Line 60-foot buses would hold up to 120 passengers. The study questions the clean energy advantage since the electricity fueling the buses is generally coming from fossil-fueled electric power plants, resulting in more, not less green house emissions. Of course, if Obama gets his way, there will be no more power plants fueled by the mislabeled fossil fuels. The study also questions whether Indianapolis has the density and number of jobs in the inner core of the city required to sustain ridership of the bus rapid transit system.

A story in today's Star by John Tuohy, who is extremely hostile to anyone who questions the proposed mass transit proposal, attempts to discredit the Cato Institute study. Tuohy refers to the Cato Institute as "a libertarian think tank." He must think "libertarian" is a dirtier word because its critics typically just call it "a right wing pressure group." Tuohy cites other experts, who question the 74,000 figure used by the Cato Institute as the number of persons working downtown, who claim the study defined downtown too narrowly. Proponents contend the figure is closer to 134,000 and an additional 137,000 jobs exist nearby.

The proponents of the Red Line contend ridership will expand considerably above current ridership levels because of dependability and speed. They also contend people and businesses will relocate to be closer to the bus lines. The author of the Cato Institute is an "anti-planner" who has previously testified against mass transit proposals before the General Assembly on behalf of Americans for Prosperity, a Super PAC funded by the evil Koch brothers Tuohy informs us. Tuohy throws in some bogus study of a bus rapid transit system that credits a similar system in Cleveland as creating $6 billion in economic development activity. Cleveland is still a dump, and the economic activity credited to the rapid bus transit system had nothing to do with it, but that study serves the purposes here so The Star will go with it.

Several people have noted the biggest demand for public transit services is crosstown traffic, not north-south traffic. That's the part of the debate so far that's missing. A bus rapid transit system would help connect far more lower-income workers to their employment by building the first line along Washington Street to accommodate those who would benefit the most. Like I've said before, the Red Line isn't about connecting workers to their jobs. It's all about providing a party bus that Carmelites can occasionally use to come downtown to a Colts or Pacers game and drink as much as they want while there without consequences. The College Avenue instead of the better Keystone Avenue route is necessary to provide an additional party stop in Broad Ripple Village. These so-called planners are so transparent.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Direct Flights To London, Anybody?

Indianapolis has to be home to some of the most ignorant economic development planners in the world. Thanks to the ample supply of capital our corrupt politicians feed them, they stay busy scheming up ideas to spend the money that yields zero benefits for the general public but always manage to funnel public dollars into the pockets of whoever's turn it is to feed at the public trough.

The latest scheme revolves around the abysmal failure of the very costly airport terminal at Indianapolis International Airport to attract more flights. Much to their chagrin, flight traffic in and out of the airport declined after the new terminal opened, which I'm sure had nothing to do with the higher costs airline carriers had to pay to cover the costs of the new terminal.

You may recall these geniuses came up with the idea of subsidizing a direct flight from Indianapolis to San Francisco, ostensibly for the convenience of a handful of people who got very rich off the spam e-mail business known as Exact Target. Airlines were unwilling to commit to a direct flight because the numbers just weren't there to support one. State economic development officials agreed to guarantee $1.5 million in annual revenues to United just for making the direct flight option available.

Now the IBJ tells us these economic developer wonders have "their eyes laser-focused across the pond in a quest to land a new international nonstop flight across the pond." It's difficult enough to find a direct flight for a Florida vacation, but these fellows believe a direct daily flight to London would be the "boon" the airport needs to succeed. Naturally, the plan involves yet another plan to subsidize British airways to the tune of some untold sum to make daily non-stop flights to London available. "It would be incredibly beneficial," the airport's CEO tells the IBJ. "We can demonstrate a need. I think the chances are very good."

The head of the IEDC, Vic Smith, claims the idea for a subsidized, non-stop flight to London came from businesses like Eli Lilly and Rolls-Royce, as he complained from Sydney about the roundabout way he was required to fly first to Chicago and then San Francisco before flying on to Australia. Smith says his travel experience was "a perfect example of why we need international connectivity." A spokesman for Rolls-Royce says the direct flight to London would be beneficial to the company's employees as long as long as it's "competitively-priced." What's that mean? All of these companies have private corporate jets they fly around their executives all the time. Costs couldn't be a concern or they wouldn't spend so much of their shareholders' money avoiding commercial airline carriers. The IBJ should understand that. It ran a story a couple of years ago talking about how much competition there was among Indianapolis area airports to provide flight service for all of these corporate-owned jets.

I don't think this has anything to do with what local businesses are requesting; rather, it's all about these eggheads wanting more convenient flight connections for their pleasure travel and has nothing to do with business. Smith had one-stop options for his flight from Indianapolis to Sydney. He chose a 2-stop flight for personal convenience. Indianapolis is not an airport hub. You can't expect direct flights to every destination, but because the airport isn't a hub, you're probably able to get cheaper airfare when you travel, if less convenient. It's too bad that the people who populate these economic development agencies don't believe in free markets. I sometimes think they would be happier living in China based on the government command and control they insist upon in the name of economic development.

Bill Maher And Guests Can't Hide Their Glee Over Scalia's Death

You definitely have to hold a certain political perspective to find humor in Bill Maher's comedic style. Maher and his guests Friday night on his HBO show couldn't hide their glee over his death. To Maher, Scalia's death was God's punishment for scuttling Obama's new EPA regulations, which exceeded his executive authority in the eyes of anyone who believes in the rule of law as opposed to dictatorial rule by decree. A true liberal, which I believe Maher considers himself, would oppose executive overreach, even if he likes the substance of its aims, out of pure principal. Maher hopes that Scalia died after becoming angered while watching that very night he died what he said about the order he signed with the Court's four other conservative justices, staying enforcement of those regulations.

Maher didn't stop there. He suggested that Scalia was "put on Earth to remind poor people the law is not your friend." Obviously, Maher never read many of Scalia's opinions or he would know that there was hardly a stronger jurist when it came to protecting the rights of the accused. He blamed him for giving us Bush, clinging to the liberal fable that George W. Bush  only became president because of the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, ignoring independent news organizations recount votes that proved the outcome of the race would not have changed had the Florida recount continued. He complained that he found a constitutional right to bear arms, which Maher opines is "so not in the constitution." And one of his guests complained that he believed in the devil, which according to her is a religious belief that should disqualify anyone from serving on the Supreme Court.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

At Least 1,818 Classified E-Mails On Clinton Server At Last Count

The ease with which the Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton lies to the American public is quite remarkable. Nowhere is her pathological tendencies more apparent than her repeated insistence that her private e-mail server, which she used as her official e-mail account while serving in the highly-sensitive position as Secretary of State, contained no classified e-mails. She looked the family members of the Americans killed in Benghazi in the eyes and lied to them about what happened to their loved ones. When called on the carpet for those lies, she never flinches in defending her actions, which by all appearances were calculated to make sure the indefensible covert operations of the Americans based there remained just that no matter how many lies she has to tell.

Clinton has stood by the "no classified material" on her e-mail server lie even as the total count of classified e-mails found on her server have reached 1,818 in number to date of the 30,000 e-mails under review by the State Department. At least 22 of those classified e-mails have been categorized as "top secret." Under court order obtained through a public records lawsuit, the State Department has been releasing e-mail not considered classified in drips and drabs for months now. The mainstream media acts as if this is no big deal, and certainly no impediment to her becoming president of the United States.

As a practicing attorney, I have absolutely no respect for the Justice Department run by Barack Obama's administration. Never before in the history of our country have people so filthy and corrupt been put in charge of the Justice Department. Yes, Eric Holder was/is much more corrupt than John Mitchell was during the Nixon administration. This is the guy who was in charge of selling pardons at the end of Bill Clinton's presidency. He became a very wealthy attorney at a big Washington law firm for all of the dirty dealing he did in the Clinton Justice Department, which would have landed any ordinary attorney in prison and led to his disbarment from the practice of law for the rest of their life. Republican senators committed an unforgivable act when they went along with the confirmation of Holder, who populated the department with people who are unfit to practice law.

I have no reason at this point to believe Loretta Lynch is any more honest than Holder. She quite obviously is blocking an indictment of Hillary Clinton for political reasons over the objections of the FBI's top investigators on the case. This administration has aggressively prosecuted others for mishandling classified information, but the laws that apply to everyone else never seem to apply to the Clinton criminal syndicate. which is what it is. Not only should Hillary be indicted, but Bill Clinton and other persons involved in the racketeering activities of the Clinton Foundation facilitated by Hillary and her top aides while she was at the Department also should be indicted. That's to say nothing of Bill escaping punishment for being a serial rapist, having sex with underage girls at billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's private island resort in the Caribbean and just overall being a sadist towards any females with whom engages in sexual relationships while living a lie that he and Hillary are a happily married couple. Democratic leaders are only bothered by the sexual abuse of women and children when it's being committed by one of their political opponents. In a perverted way, they've always admired Bill's ability to engage in criminal sex acts with impunity.

I understand that a lot of establishment Republicans are upset about the prospects of a Donald Trump becoming the party's nominee, but I'm more bothered by their lack of outrage that Democrats are going to nominate someone so thoroughly corrupt and dishonest as Clinton as their nominee. The clear indication I'm getting from Republican establishment figures is that they will gladly support Clinton over Trump, and I can't accept that. If we aren't approaching the end times of this nation, I don't know how worse of a country we could possibly become before God unleashes his fury on us. It used to be said that the greatness of America is the goodness of America. I'm not seeing a whole lot of goodness left among the people we've entrusted to run our nation. I am, however, seeing a whole lot of evil and it's more than I can tolerate.

Daley Nephew And Obama's Former Law Partner Pal Lost $68 Million In Chicago Pension Fund Investments

Robert Vanecko (left) and Allison Davis (right) (Sun-Times Photo)
A Chicago real estate firm established by the nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley, Robert Vanecko, and Allison Davis, the managing partner of the law firm where Barack Obama once worked, squandered $68 million in pension funds they were given to invest on behalf of Chicago teachers, cops, city employees and transit workers according to a Chicago Sun-Times watchdog report. The five public pension funds haven't made a dime from the money they invested with DV Urban Realty Partners, but the firm managed to collect $9 million in management fees from the pension systems despite their failed investments.

Don't laugh, but DV Urban Realty Partners received its pro rata share of pension investments based on it being a minority-owned business enterprise. "Since Davis is African-American, DV Urban qualified as a minority-owned business, helping the pension funds meet their diversity goals," the Sun-Times reported. He may not look like it in the photo above, but Davis apparently claims he's African-American. The pair of novice real estate investors purchased risky real estate properties, primarily in neglected neighborhoods. Most of the eight real estate deals in which they invested pension funds had gone belly-up by the time their contract expired in December, 2015. The pair would have gotten more pension money to invest had pension officials not got a court order blocking them from receiving further funds.

Vanecko tells the Sun-Times he bailed out of DV Urban Realty Partners after federal investigators subpoenaed all of the firm's records in 2009. David and Vanecko are being sued for $700,000 they borrowed from New City Bank to invest in the firm. The pair was supposed to invest $7 million of their own money in the firm when they were awarded pension fund investments, but they later got that amount reduced to $3.5 million. Former Mayor Daley denies he had any part in lining up investments from the pension funds for his nephew and Davis, and it's unclear whatever became of the investigation federal law enforcement conducted of the firm's activities several years ago. Obviously the Obama Justice Department took care of his old Chicago political cronies.

One of the crimes prosecuted against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich involved trading state pension fund investments for campaign contributions. It's no secret that Barack Obama played a key role as a state senator, working with his close pal Tony Rezko, in stacking the state pension boards with political appointees who would award  pension fund investments to their political cronies who contributed money to Obama's and other Democratic Party candidates campaigns. Although the evidence uncovered by the Chicago U.S. Attorney's Office clearly proved that Obama was engaged in worse criminal activity than Gov. Blagojevich, including taking cash bribes from Rezko, federal prosecutors gave him a complete pass for his crimes so America could have its first black president, or at least bi-racial president. Obama's former law partner boss, Allison Davis, knows where all of the bodies are buried, literally.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Another IPS Employee Arrested For Child Seduction

Local news reports indicate that another IPS employee has been arrested for having sex with a student. Shana Taylor, who works as a counselor at Phoenix Academy, has been charged with four counts of child seduction. IPS released the following statement:
“Indianapolis Public Schools has zero-tolerance when it comes to inappropriate employee behaviors. Immediately upon learning of the alleged misconduct between an employee and student, administrators swiftly launched an internal investigation and instantly took steps to ensure the accused had no further contact with students. Our team is cooperating fully in the active external investigation of this situation. The safety of our students is paramount. This is not a situation we take lightly, and our administration is working diligently to take the strongest possible action to ensure our schools are safe places for students.”
IPS just paid $490,000 to settle a lawsuit brought against by a former student who was sexually exploited by a former assistant principal for the school system.

Dr. Ferebee Gets His Huge Pay Raise For A Job Not Well Done

The contempt the education profiteers who populate the Indianapolis Public School board have for the taxpayers and the parents of the school district has no bounds. Over strong objections from the public, the IPS board approved a gigantic pay raise for the school district's superintendent, Dr. Louis, Ferebee, that could allow him to earn up to $287,000 a year, or about $64,000 more than he's currently eligible to receive. Board member Gayle Cosby was the lone dissenting vote on the pay raise. The school is bleeding students, thanks in large part to the education profiteers who now control IPS' board and support the diversion of public education dollars to create more and more charter schools in Indianapolis because it makes their masters wealthier.

"He’s doing a good job," said board member Kelly Bentley. "He’s doing what we’ve asked him to do." That's right, Kelly. He is. Bentley, by the way, is a paid consultant for GreatSchools, a San Francisco-based nonprofit funded by billionaires who seek to monetize public education like any other business opportunity they exploit. It's a bit ironic when you consider that Bentley is the step-daughter of Sheila Kennedy, who spends a great deal of time railing against privatization at her blog when she's not race-baiting her political opponents in typical, hypocritical liberal form.

The IPS board also approved a $490,000 payout to settle a lawsuit brought by a former student who was sexually abused by a long-time employee of the school district that officials knew was abusing kids. According to the lawsuit, Corey Greenwood, a former IPS teacher, began having inappropriate relationships with students more than a decade ago. The lawsuit claimed school administrators knew of Greenwood's predatory history but kept him employed, even promoting him to an assistant principal position.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Former Mexican President Helps Win Votes For Trump

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox decided to unload on Donald Trump today. He told a reporter, "I'm not going to pay for that f _ _ _ ing wall. He should pay for it." He went on to assail Hispanic-Americans who are backing Trump as "followers of a false prophet." I'm guessing Trump's poll numbers will rise even higher. How many millions of dollars worth of free advertising does Fox's tirade against Trump translate into?

Mike Pence Appoints Rick Hite As Executive Director Of Indiana Civil Rights Commission

For many Republicans, the first term of Gov. Mike Pence has been one continuous series of letdowns. Today's announcement from his office that he has appointed former IMPD Chief Rick Hite as the executive director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission has to rank pretty high in his list of bad appointments. "Rick Hite is a man of integrity and a dedicated public servant, and I am proud to announce that he will serve an integral part of my administration as Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission," said Governor Pence. "Rick’s proven track record of upholding the law and building consensus will serve Hoosiers well, and I’m honored to welcome him as a member of my Cabinet." Words couldn't possibly do justice to what I think of this appointment so I will just leave it right there.

IPS Enrollment Continues To Decline Just As Its Bought Board Members Intended

When you turn over control of your public school system to a group of board members whose financial livelihood is dependent upon shifting public education dollars into the pockets of the education profiteers who employ them, it should come as no surprise that the public school under their leadership continues to bleed students. IPS' enrollment is expected to fall close to a 1,000 students next year. "If we continue to drop down 1,000 students a year, somebody is not going to have a job," the Indianapolis Star quotes IPS board member Sam Odle opining. Odle is a lobbyist for Bose Public Affairs Group, and he's just doing the job his true masters hired him to do.

IPS' enrollment is already down 22% from where it was a decade ago from 37,890 students to 29,377. What students aren't lost from families fleeing to the suburbs are siphoned off to attend all of the charter schools the education profiteers have gotten your bought and paid for politicians to fund. Those charter schools perform no better than IPS schools on average, but they do succeed in making their financial backers very rich, which is their only purpose. It's funny that Odle would mention somebody being out of a job. He and his fellow board members are giving a generous salary increase to Dr. Louis Ferebee, the school's superintendent the board imported from North Carolina to do its bidding.

Bad Body Cam Bill Intended To Block Public Disclosure Is Still Bad

The Hoosier State Press Association may have signed off on HB 1019, but this bill remains what it always been all about: a legal means of shielding from public disclosure bad behavior of police police officers. If a member of the public wants footage taken by a body or dash cam of a police officers made public, he or she will still have to go to court to obtain a copy of it at their expense.

The original bill placed the burden on the person burden seeking disclosure of the video footage to justify its disclosure. The amended version puts the burden of proof on the police to convince a court the video footage should be kept private, which they can establish simply by saying its release would be prejudicial to an ongoing investigation or civil case. That's always going to be the case in a police action shooting. The Hoosier State Press Association is okay with it because its corporate giants have a wallet to pay to go to court when they so choose to attempt to get video footage released, the rest of the public be damned.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Scalia Died While Attending Gathering Of Elite Secret Society

Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter, front and center at the Order's 2013 Investiture in Madrid
The conspiracies swirling the death of Justice Antonin Scalia are now going to go nuclear with a bombshell revelation by the Washington Post that the late justice was attending a gathering of a very elite secret society at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in Presidio County, Texas when he supposedly died in his sleep. It's called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an order of elite hunters originally founded in 1695 by Count Franz Anton von Sporck in the former Kingdom of Bohemia, which was then part of the Habsburg Empire and current day Czech Republic.

John Poindexter, the Texas billionaire who owns the 30,000-acre Cibolo Creek Ranch holds one of the highest ranks in this international secretive hunting society of the rich and powerful and was hosting a select group of its members at his ranch when Justice Scalia was allegedly found dead in the presidential suite where he was staying during the weekend hunting trip. The Post also reveals that the previously-undisclosed friend who accompanied Scalia to the ranch was a prominent Washington lawyer, C. Allen Foster, who is also a high-ranking member of St. Hubertus. Foster, a Republican, has argued voting rights cases before the Supreme Court. It is unclear whether Scalia held membership in the highly-secretive order, although Poindexter denied any knowledge of Scalia belonging to the order.
After Scalia’s death Feb. 13, the names of the 35 other guests at the remote resort, along with details about Scalia’s connection to the hunters, have remained largely unknown. A review of public records shows that some of the men who were with Scalia at the ranch are connected through the International Order of St. Hubertus, whose members gathered at least once before at the same ranch for a celebratory weekend.
Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures,” according to the group’s website. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. The Order’s name is in honor of Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen.
Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private plane, hold leadership positions within the Order. It is unclear what, if any, official association Scalia had with the group.
“There is nothing I can add to your observation that among my many guests at Cibolo Creek Ranch over the years some members of the International Order of St. Hubertus have been numbered,” Poindexter said in an email. “I am aware of no connection between that organization and Justice Scalia.”
An attorney for the Scalia family did not respond to requests for comment for this article. 
The story couldn't get any creepier. St. Hubertus' American chapter was launched at the infamous Bohemian Club in 1966. The Bohemian Club is an elite all-male club of the nation's most powerful in government and business that meets at Bohemian Grove, a remote wooded area outside of San Francisco, where members frolic in the nude, network and worship a large, carved wooden owl, which former President Richard Nixon railed against on one of his Oval Office recordings as being "the most faggy Goddamn thing you could ever imagine." Many of our recent presidents have attended the club's secret, closed-door summer conclaves.

The Post was able to confirm by showing a copy of a photo of C. Allen Foster to Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez that he was the friend of Scalia who had accompanied him to Cibolo Creek Ranch. Foster flew with Scalia and U.S. Marshals, who provide security to Supreme Court justices, to Houston, where the two boarded a private jet without the U.S. marshals that flew them to a private airport owned by Poindexter. Foster, incidentally, is a former spokesman for the elite big game hunting club, Safari Club International, which includes among its members former President George H.W. Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Evansville businessman Steven Chancellor, a close friend of the Bush family who does contract work for the CIA, is also a member of the elite big game hunting group.

According to The Post, private jets owned by Wallace "Happy" Rogers III and A.J. Lewis III, flew from San Antonio and arrived at the Cibolo Creek Ranch just after noon on February 12 and departed the ranch on February 14 just 30 minutes apart. Rogers owns the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum in San Antonio according to The Post. Lewis owns a restaurant supply company based in San Antonio. Both men are contributors to Republican candidates, unlike Poindexter, who is a major giver to Democratic candidates. Rogers and Lewis have also both held leadership positions in the Texas chapter of St. Hubertus.

Controversy arose shortly after news of Scalia's death became public when it was learned that his body lay in his bed many hours before officials in Presidio County responded to the death scene. Two justices of the peace, whose job it is to conduct death investigations, both turned down requests to go to the ranch, although neither was informed the deceased was Justice Scalia. A county judge and former justice of the peace, Cinderela Guevara, was then contacted, who declared Justice Scalia had died of natural causes over the telephone without visiting the death scene after talking to U.S. marshals and Sheriff Dominguez. No autopsy was performed on Justice Scalia's body, a decision defended by Judge Guevara based on the Scalia family's wishes. Scalia's doctor later released a statement indicating he suffered from heart disease and diabetes, among other health issues, which were attributed to the 79-year old's death.
Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter (Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
The wooden owl worshiped by Bohemian Grove members
President Obama awarding Poindexter a special citation for service in Vietnam in Rose Garden ceremony
The speech President John F. Kennedy delivered to newspaper editors railing against the conspiracy of secret societies, which some believe led to his eventual assassination by rogue elements that secretly-control our U.S. government.

And these types of stories in the tabloids come as no surprise.
Antonin Scalia Murdered ENQ thumbnail
And then there was that time a few years ago when "Family Guy" predicted Scalia's death in a hunting accident.

Mitt Romney Is Playing Harry Reid

We have a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Mitt Romney is slamming Donald Trump because he has not yet released any tax returns. Talking to Fox News earlier today, Romney suggested that Trump is not releasing his tax returns because they contain a "bombshell." "We’re gonna select our nominee. We really ought to see from all three of these fellas what their taxes look like to see if there’s an issue there," Romney said. "I think in Donald Trump’s case, it’s likely to be a bombshell."

Romney's hypocrisy on this issue couldn't be greater. In 2012, he procrastinated until long after he received the Republican nomination for president to release his 2011 tax return, which revealed that he paid a much lower federal income tax rate than average Americans. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), a fellow Mormon, repeatedly claimed Romney was withholding his tax returns because he had paid no federal income taxes in a decade.

Romney waited until September 21, 2012, less than 60 days before the November election, to reveal his 2011 tax returns. Those returns showed he had paid $1.94 million in taxes on $13.7 million he earned primarily from his investments, an effective tax rate of 14.1 %. Those returns also showed he had claimed $2.25 million in charitable contributions. He also released a memo in which he claimed he had paid at an average effective tax rate of 20.2% over the past 20 years and gave an average of 13.45 % of his income to charity over that same period.

Last July, Trump filed a 92-page financial disclosure statement with the FEC in which he claimed assets worth at least $1.4 billion, generating income of $431 million over the most recent 18-month period and liabilities of at least $265 million. Forbes pegs Trump's net worth at $4 billion. He has claimed a much higher net worth in excess of $10 billion.

Indiana Court Of Appeals Declares Covanta Contract Void

Remember that contract the Ballard administration entered into with Covanta to build a $45 million waste recycling facility without any public bidding requirement? The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a decision of the Marion Superior Court dismissing a public interest lawsuit contesting its legality. The Court of Appeals found the contract failed to comply with public bidding requirements set out in Indiana law and exceeded the 40-year length of duration set out in state law for contracts, rendering it void.

Mayor Joe Hogsett recently announced he was suspending the contract, more than likely because Covanta figured out the contract wasn't financially viable for its continued operations. Unfortunately, Mayor Hogsett is making no effort to have the illegal and corrupt contracts entered into with Vision Fleet and Blue Indy declared void, both of which royally screw over Indianapolis taxpayers. You can read the Court of Appeals decision by clicking here.

Hollingsworth Files Financial Disclosure Statement

The Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives just posted on its website today a financial disclosure statement for 9th District Republican congressional candidate Trey Hollingsworth that is file-stamped on February 18, 2016 at 3:43 p.m. indicating that it was hand-delivered to their office, the date it was due after he was granted a 90-day extension to file his report. The report indicates what had been assumed: The 32-year old businessman is an extremely wealthy individual.

Hollingsworth's father is the founder of The Hollingsworth Companies. According to Trey Hollingsorth's financial disclosure statement, he owns an interest in a variety of companies related to his and his father's investments that could be worth in excess of $60 million dollars. The disclosure statements require candidates to provide a range of the value of their assets and liabilities.

Hollingsworth's largest asset is an ownership interest he holds in Hollingsworth Capital Partners Real Estate LLC's covering real estate holdings across the country that are worth more than $50 million. Those real estate investments are generating anywhere from $1.5 million to $5 million in annual income for him. Those assets are owned in multiple cities, including: Jeffersonville, OH, Petersburg, VA, Greenville, SC, Fort Worth, Louisville, Sterling, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Norcross, GA, McDonough, GA, Charleston, SC, Greensboro, NC, Lowell, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, Kettering, OH, Duncan, OH, Columbus, OH, Elizabethtown, TN, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Fairfield, OH, Gordonsville, TN, Simpsonville, SC, Winston-Salem, NC, Fulton, GA, Memphis, TN, Montgomery, AL, St. Louis, Decatur, GA and Camden, NJ.

Hollingworth earns a relatively small annual salary of $34,655 from Hollingsworth G.P. He serves as a managing partner of Hollingsworth Capital Partners and various HGI entities. Remarkably, Hollingsworth claims no liabilities. How does one acquire that much in assets by the time he reaches the age of 32 without going into debt? Am I missing something here? Hollingsworth, who was born and raised in Clinton, Tennessee, only recently moved his voting residence to Jeffersonville, Indiana last fall so he could run for the 9th District congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Todd Young, who is seeking the Senate seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Coats.

Texas Appeals Court Dismisses Criminal Charges Against Rick Perry

A vicious, politically-vindictive attempt by a special prosecutor to criminalize efforts by former Texas Gov. Rich Perry to force the resignation of Travis County Prosecutor Rosemary Lehmberg following her drunk driving arrest and conviction has been blocked by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Criminal charges were filed against Perry after he first threatened to veto funds for her office's public integrity unit if Lehmberg didn't resign, followed by the elimination of the unit's funding from the state when she refused to resign.

Perry was charged with abuse of public office, a felony carrying a sentence of up to life in prison, and coercion of a public official. A trial court judge refused to toss the charges as did a court of appeals. Today's decision throwing out both charges was made by the state's highest court for appealing criminal cases. Gov. Perry maintained he had only been criminally charged because of his efforts to enforce the rule of law. Lehmberg became belligerent with police following her arrest and at one point had to be physically restrained. She threatened jailers and demanded they call the sheriff to come to her assistance. She was ultimately sentenced to 45 days in jail for her crime, but she refused to give up her job as the Travis County Prosecutor. Incredibly, Lehmberg was not disciplined by Texas bar authorities for her outrageous conduct and criminal conviction.

Trump On A Roll: Can He Be Stopped?

AP Photo/John Locher
Donald Trump made it three in a row last night, winning the Nevada GOP Caucus by his largest margin to date. Trump won 46% of the vote, while Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz trailed much further behind with 24% and 21% of the vote, respectively. Ben Carson and John Kasich collected fewer than 10% of the vote together. In the important delegate race, Trump captured 12 delegates to five delegates each for Rubio and Cruz.

The establishment consensus told us that Trump has a ceiling on the support he could win in future votes and would become easier to beat as the crowded GOP field winnowed. Yet his winning margin pushed new heights in Nevada, inching closer to the 50% threshold as his two prime contenders, Rubio and Cruz, struggle to capture a quarter of the Republican vote.

The news for his opponents in upcoming races looks even more bleak. Trump leads in polls taken in virtually every upcoming vote with the exception of Texas where Cruz holds a single-digit lead over Trump. Polls released this week show Trump leading in Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Illinois and Michigan. Trump is even leading in Ohio over favorite son John Kasich. Cruz is in a dead heat with Trump in New Mexico, and Rubio has a slight lead in Utah. Trump could vanquish his remaining rivals in the race in the upcoming weeks. The Drudge Report declared him the nominee after last night's vote.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Indianapolis Parking Meters Targeted By Credit Card Skimmers

Advance Indiana learned today that at least one of the electronic parking meters operated by Park Indy on Mass Avenue in downtown Indianapolis was compromised after someone placed a credit card skimmer on the meter. The victim, son of City-County Councilor Christine Scales, parked his car at Space No. 1327 in the 300 block. Within a short time after Joseph Scales swiped his credit card to purchase time on the meter, the person who placed the skimmer on the electronic parking meter charged about $400 to the credit card he used. DPW Director Lori Miser has been apprised of the incident by Councilor Scales, but I've not seen any public warning to alert motorists to be on the look-out if they are using credit cards to make purchases on the City's parking meters. Be aware of this problem if you're using credit cards to buy time on the parking meters. Gasoline station pumps all over town have been similarly victimized by this same scam.

UPDATE: DPW Director Lori Miser tells WRTV that the meters in this area were checked yesterday evening and no skimming devices were found on them. Miser claims it would be very difficult for someone to place a skimming device on Park Indy's meters. According to Scales, a $200 charge was made to her son's card within minutes of him swiping his card at the meter for a Game Stop purchase at 86th & Michigan. When a second $200 charge was attempted a short time later, Fifth Third fraud detectors alerted her son and declined the charge. The bank is 99% certain the information obtained to make the charges on the account resulted from a skimmer placed on the meter according to Scales. Fifth Third told Scales this type of fraud has been frequently occurring.

HSBC Bank Sued As Terrorist-Supporting Organization For Laundering Billions In Mexican Drug Cartel Money

HSBC is the world's fifth largest bank. It's also the go-to bank for Mexican drug cartels to launder their money to provide legitimacy to their otherwise illegal crime syndicates according to a new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. That lawsuit seeks to recover damages from the bank on behalf of families whose loved ones have become victims of Mexican drug cartels. The lawsuit accuses HSBC of having lax anti-money laundering policies in its Mexican operations described by the lawsuit as "a culture of recklessness and corruption."
“Despite repeated warnings from authorities that drug proceeds were being laundered through HSBC-Mexico in USD accounts and that HSBC was, according to one drug lord, ‘the place to launder money,’ HSBC Mexico continued to accepted billions of USD deposits each year, which it then exported to HSBC US.”
WhoWhatWhy notes that HSBC is no stranger to money laundering accusations. It paid a $1.9 billion fine to the U.S. government in 2012 and admitted it failed to establish an effective anti-money laundering program. HSBC hired now-FBI Director James Comey to help get its house in order following that investigation. WhoWhatWhy notes the uniqueness of the lawsuit in that it characterizes the activities of drug cartels as terrorist organizations and seeks redress under a law enacted post 9/11 that allows victims to recover from organizations that support the perpetrators of terrorism.  To support its contentions, the lawsuit reads:
“Beheadings, torture, public hangings of mutilated corpses, military-style assaults, grenade attacks, car bombings, and kidnappings are daily occurrences in many Mexican cities, and the cartels ensure that these acts are publicly displayed as a mechanism to intimidate and control the civilian population and the government.”
The suit alleges that HSBC’s actions, or inactions, amounted to knowingly providing “continuous and systematic material support to the cartels and their acts of terrorism by laundering billions of dollars for them. As a proximate result of HSBC’s material support to the Mexican drug cartels, numerous lives, including those of the plaintiffs, have been destroyed.”
You can read the full text of the lawsuit by clicking here.

Beech Grove Police Officer Plays System By Calling In Sick 115 Straight Days

WRTV's Call 6 reports on a Beech Grove police officer who earned $71,000 in 2015 has called in sick every day since October 30. Instead of showing up to his taxpayer-paid job, Capt. David Heiniger has been working a second job as a hospital security officer. The 25-year veteran has been using sick days and accumulated vacation time to get paid for sick days which now total 115 days.

Capt. Heiniger needs to stay employed with the police department until July 6 in order to max out his retirement benefit. If he had retired on October 30, he could have only claimed half of his accumulated sick days in one lump sum payment. By remaining on the payroll and just calling in sick, Capt. Heiniger can get paid in full for all of his accumulated six days. Heiniger declined Call 6's invitation to comment for the story. It's just another example of exploitative public employees taken taxpayers for a ride.

UPDATE: A day after this report first aired, Capt. Heiniger has tendered his resignation. Additionally, the City's attorney says the City's policy will likely be amended to clarify that an employee may not work a second job while claiming sick days.

NFL's Hypocritical Substance Abuse Policy

Another Colts player is released following his arrest for possession of marijuana. According to the Indianapolis Star, Zionsville Police were called to Newsome's apartment on two separate recent occasions on noise complaints. On both occasions, police found Newsome in possession of marijuana after they obtained search warrants to search his apartment.

"Newsome could be facing league discipline after the arrest, and the stakes could be higher if he already is enrolled in the NFL’s substance-abuse program," The Star reports. "Names of players enrolled in the program are kept confidential until they’re suspended." Have you ever wondered why the NFL's policy on substance abuse doesn't apply to the team's owners? If it did, Colts owner Jim Irsay would have long ago been banned from the league.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Red-Light, Speed Camera Court Ruling Could Cost Chicago Hundreds Of Millions

A Cook County circuit court judge has found that Chicago officials violated motorists' constitutional rights when it issued tickets for running red lights and exceeding posted speed limits recorded on cameras operated by a private vendor. Chicago officials ignored requirements set out in the law allowing the use of cameras to issue red light and speeding violations to motorists, causing them to be denied their fundamental right to due process. Attorneys for the plaintiffs are now seeking class action status, which if successful, could force Chicago officials to return hundreds of millions of dollars it has collected to date in fines from the use of the cameras.

The statute in question required city officials to provide a second notice of violation to ticketed motorists before issuing a determination of liability against them. Notices given to motorists also failed to specify the make of the vehicle subject to the citation as required by the law. The notices even misstated the grace period that applied before late penalties would apply as 21 days instead of the 25 days provided for in the statute. Today's decision comes on the heels of the conviction of a former City Hall employee, who was accused of taking bribes from a red light vendor in exchange for the lucrative, exclusive contract to provide the cameras to the city. If class action status is granted to other motorists, Chicago's problems with balancing its budget have just gotten much more complicated.

Cruz Caught Lying Again

Sen. Ted Cruz has been forced to throw his campaign's communications director under the bus after his campaign peddled a video of Sen. Marco Rubio, misrepresenting his words. In the video, Sen Rubio clearly pointed to a Bible held by one of Cruz's campaign aides and stated: "You've got a good book there. All the answers are in there." Cruz's communications director posted the video on Facebook, implying that Rubio actually said "not many answers" in the Bible, a cheap shot clearly designed to sour Christian voters on Rubio. Cruz fired Rick Taylor this afternoon, calling his actions "a grave error in judgment" and that he's conducting his campaign "with the very highest standards of integrity."

This is part of a pattern of dirty tricks on the Cruz campaign's part to completely misrepresent his opponents' views in an effort to woo votes. Most of his false attacks have been leveled against Rubio and Trump, although his campaign falsely spread a rumor at the Iowa Caucuses that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race right before the votes were cast in an effort to siphon off votes from his campaign. Caucus elections are quite different from primary elections. They're conducted by the respective political parties, not the state. Voters show up at caucus venues where everyone votes at the same time, making it easier for voters to react spontaneously to rumors.

We saw a similar tactic like this used by Richard Mourdock's campaign for secretary of state a number of years ago at the state GOP convention. Mourdock's campaign falsely spread a rumor that Mike Delph had endorsed his candidacy after he was eliminated in an early round of voting. In that case, it backfired and probably contributed to Mourdock losing that race. In the case of the Iowa Caucus, Carson complained that he believed he lost support on caucus night because of the false rumor put out by Cruz's campaign, contributing to his narrow victory over Trump.

During both the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, Trump and Rubio have both complained about robo-calls made by the Cruz campaign disseminating blatantly false information. Cruz can blame others associated with his campaign, but the evidence is accumulating that he implicitly supports these tactics as long as his hands aren't directly on them. This latest incident intentionally misconstruing Rubio's words is beyond the pale and a sign of desperation on the Cruz campaign's part, which obviously fears that as other candidates leave the field their supporters are turning to Rubio as an alternative to the clear front-runner, Donald Trump.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Where Is Trey Hollingsworth's Financial Disclosure Statement?

Trey Hollingsworth is self-financing his campaign as a candidate for the 9th District congressional seat to replace U.S. Rep. Todd Young, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Senate this year to fill the seat currently held by Sen. Dan Coats. Hollingsworth did not become a resident of the 9th District until he registered to vote in Jeffersonville last fall. He's a Tennessee native, born and raised in Clinton, Tennessee where his father, Joe Hollingsworth, is a multi-millionaire businessman and founder and owner of The Hollingsworth Companies.

According to his initial filing with the Federal Election Commission, Hollingsworth donated $91,077 to his own campaign and loaned it an additional $594,500. That combined amount of $685,578 he's either contributed or loaned to his campaign represented all but $8,400 of his reported contributions. All but one of the five individual contributors to his campaign were from out-of-state, including three from his home state of Tennessee and one from Texas.

All candidates for Congress are required to file with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives a financial disclosure statement listing a candidate's debts, assets, sources of income and potential conflicts of interests. Those reports are due within thirty (30) days of the candidate launching his or her campaign; however, a candidate can request an extension of up to 90 days to file the report. Hollingsworth's original filing deadline was November 20, 2015. He requested a 90-day extension to file his report, which made it due on February 18, 2016. According to the publicly-accessible database at the House Clerk's website, Hollingsworth has not filed his report.

Perhaps this is an oversight. Hollingsworth can still file the report if he pays a late filing fee of $200. The Ethics in Government Act permits fines of up to $11,000 to be imposed on individuals who fail to file required reports. Given Hollingsworth's recent arrival in Indiana, this should be of some concern to 9th District voters. Hollingsworth's father is obviously an independently wealthy man, but we know very little about the 32-year old Trey Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth's website says he started Hollingsworth Capital Partners, a company based in Clinton, Tennessee that rehabilitates warehouses and manufacturing sites in Indiana and across the country. HCP operates Alexin, LLC, an aluminium re-manufacturing plant in Bluffton that employs about a hundred workers. He may well be a very successful businessman, but it's rather disturbing that someone can just move into the state a few months before an election and buy a seat representing Hoosiers in Congress. Hollingsworth has several opponents in the May primary election, including State Sen. Erin Houchin, State Sen. Brent Waltz and Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Who encouraged Hollingsworth to move his residency to Indiana and jump into this congressional race?
Trey Hollingsworth (left) with his sister Nicci and his father, Joe

Advance Indiana isn't just singling out Hollingsworth in this race. We previously told you about how Attorney General Greg Zoeller's financial disclosure statement omitted key information. Zoeller quickly filed an amended report within days of our initial report. We also discussed Houchin's and Waltz's disclosure statements, which by all appearances were transparent. Once upon a time, the Indiana mainstream media was much more vigilant in holding a candidate's feet to the fire on such matters. Once a Gannett newspaper becomes the leading media source in the state, such matters tend to go unreported.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Trump Gets Big Win In South Carolina

Donald Trump has easily out-bested the still-crowded GOP race for president to take honors in South Carolina tonight. He's capturing close to 35% of the vote as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz battle it out for second place with close to 21% each. Jeb Bush is a distant fourth with only about 10% of the vote, leaving little doubt he will exit the race after three successive poor showings. John Kasich, who wasn't expected to do well here, is getting about 7% of the vote compared to Ben Carson's 6%. Every Republican presidential candidate in modern times went on to win the party's nomination after winning both New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Trump's win is particularly impressive in that he's winning in all regions of the diverse Palmetto State. Trump is racking up a big lead in areas heavily populated with military retirees. He's easily leading in the coastal, urban regions and even in the Bible Belt western parts of the state. Rubio is doing better than expected and could claim a victory of sorts if he manages to beat Cruz out for second place, which is well within his reach. Trump is the guy with the momentum on his side, and he's the only candidate to pick up those all important delegates. His victory gives him all of South Carolina's 50 delegates.

UPDATE: Jeb Bush has officially quit the race. Who would have thought just six months ago that Bush could possibly lose this nomination, let alone perform this badly. Ben Carson is staying in the race as is John Kasich so there will continue to be five men contending for the nomination. He does now appear that Rubio is going to finish second, a big blow to Cruz who missed out on winning a state that should have been tailor-made for him.

Clinton Wins Narrow Victory In Low Voter Turnout Nevada Caucus

Hillary Clinton has narrowly won today's Nevada Caucuses with by a 52-48% margin. What struck me is how few people actually participate in this state's process for electing a party's candidate for president. Nevada has a population of more than 2.8 million people. With over 80% of the vote counted, there were fewer than 10,000 votes tabulated, although it looks like the total participants will exceed the turnout in 2008 when Clinton and Obama were in a close contest. CNN isn't even bothering to show the raw vote total since the numbers are so embarrassingly low. At one point, Clinton was expected to win this vote easily. A win is still a win, and Clinton is owed her due.

Nevada sends 43 delegates to the National Democratic Convention, eight of which are super delegates held by party leaders. Current projections show Clinton winning 18 delegates to Sanders' 14-vote count, although she will likely wind up capturing all of those eight super delegates. In 2008, she beat Obama by about 5 percentage points, but he wound up having more of the state's delegates by the time the convention rolled around. I really think caucus elections are no way to conduct presidential elections. They're poorly-attended and the results are so easily manipulated to thwart the will of even the majority of the partisan voters who bother to show up at them.

The Republicans conduct their caucus election in Nevada on Tuesday where 30 delegates are at stake. Trump is expected to win there where the delegates are allocated on a proportional basis. The South Carolina Republican primary conducted today will pick 50 delegates. It's a winner-take-all state with Trump favored to win based on the latest polling data.

Academic Fraud May Have Been Alleged In Redacted Manning Court Documents

Much has been written in recent days about an old court case between a former University of Tennessee athletic trainer and Peyton Manning in which Jaimie Naughwright accused Manning of sexually assaulting her in 1994 while she was examining a potential stress fracture on his foot. Manning, although initially denying the incident took place, later admitted he had mooned a fellow teammate in Naughwright's presence. She insisted he dropped his pants and pressed his butt against her head and rested his scrotum and penis on her head.

A 74-page court document filed by Wainwright's attorney in a case later settled out-of-court stated facts in support of his client's case, but a number of pages were redacted from that document by the court at Manning's attorney's insistence. The New York Daily News' Shaun King, who has written extensively about the events from Manning's college years, has promised to publish information about the redacted pages but has so far failed to do so. NBC Sports, by connecting a few dots, suggests the redacted information may have alleged academic fraud against Manning:
Via Hobson, an October 2002 deposition of former Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey contains an exchange in which Naughright’s lawyer asked whether Naughright had spoken to associate A.D. Carmen Tegano “about the possibility of Peyton Manning having committed academic fraud” in a 1994 course taught by Tegano, which featured Naughright as a guest lecturer.
That question appears at page 63 of Dickey’s deposition transcript. However, at no point during or after the question or before or during the answer does Manning’s lawyer request that the matter be treated as confidential. At page 77, after Naughright’s lawyer presents to Dickey two documents for inspection and questioning, Manning’s lawyer requests that the questions and answers regarding the documents be placed in the “confidential record” of the case.
While it’s possible that, only 14 pages before asserting confidentiality regarding documents relating to the secret 1994 incident, Manning’s lawyers failed to make the same request regarding questions on the same topic, most lawyers don’t allow such matters to slip through the legal equivalent of the five hole. The two documents that triggered the confidentiality request at page 77 of the Dickey deposition had been introduced only one week earlier during the deposition of Jamie Naughright. Thus, Manning’s lawyer was well aware of the sensitivity of the 1994 allegation — and the lawyers undoubtedly were ready to ensure that any sensitive information would be kept out of the public record of the case.
That said, it’s one thing for the lawyers to have asked general questions about possible academic fraud; it’s quite another for the lawyers to have produced a pair of documents that arguably (or actually) substantiated it.
Until someone discloses the details of the 1994 incident that was removed from the 74-page document published last week by the Daily News, it will remain exactly what it has been for the last six days: A mystery.

What's Really Motivating Grab For More Metered Spaces In Downtown Residential Neighborhoods

Residents of Chatham Arch awakened one day recently to see parking meter poles being installed in residential areas where parking was previously unrestricted. This was not unlike the manner in which city officials went about taking dozens of parking spaces in downtown business and residential areas for the exclusive use of Blue Indy, the electric car sharing company from France that somehow got our corrupt former mayor to enter into an illegal, one-sided 15-year agreement that our City-County Council members like to wring their hands about but do nothing to change.

Residents of Chatham Arch showed up at this past week's meeting of the Public Works Committee, which is chaired by my councilor, Zach Adamson. Those in attendance were treated to the feigned outrage of committee members, including my councilor, over the City's actions, that the city would convert unrestricted parking spaces in a residential neighborhood without any prior discussion with neighborhood associations. I say feigned because these same members earlier in the meeting tripped all over each other to heap praise on Lori Miser, an extremely condescending person in her dealings with the public who has built her household's wealth through the revolving door between key jobs she's held in our city government and city contractors with whom she has conducted business, supposedly on the public's behalf. Her husband holds a job in Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard's administration.

According to Ms. Miser, the City did have discussions with one organization. That would be the Mass Avenue Merchants Association, which is chaired by Cassie Stockamp, the president of the Atheneum Foundation and an unapologetic booster of Blue Indy. If it was left up to Stockamp, the City would pass an ordinance mandating that all Indianapolis residents  be required to give up their personal cars and ride the bus or use Blue Indy's car sharing service. Notice again the complete disconnect from council members feigned outrage at the deals entered into with Blue Indy and Vision Fleet, both of which Miser shared responsibility for saddling us with during her previous service as DPW director for Mayor Greg Ballard.

Now that we have a new mayor, all talk of undoing the Blue Indy and Vision Fleet deals, both of which were clearly entered into in violation of multiple state and local laws, has ceased and Miser is back in charge of the city department that gave birth to those deals. Instead, my councilor assures me the council is working with the city and these vendors to improve those two leases. Again, a reminder that it is all feigned outrage. On the surface, the reason the City is now reaching into residential neighborhoods and creating new metered spaces is to address growing parking problems that have arisen in the Mass Avenue corridor due to the expanding number of businesses operating there and the glut of cheaply-built apartment buildings the City approved to be built without considering the short-term, let alone the long-term problems that will haunt this area in future years and turn it from a thriving area to one that will be avoided at all costs. The serious crime wave problem is coming. Just give it time.

The immediate and real reason the City is gobbling up more parking spaces in residential areas in the downtown area for metered spaces is to address the revenue issue created by all of those metered spaces it lost when it made that corrupt and illegal deal with Blue Indy. Because our metered assets are now owned by Park Indy, a private metering consortium consisting of Xerox, Denison Parking and Even Times, Indianapolis is required under the terms of their 50-year lease to either replace or reimburse the company for lost revenues from any metered spaces taken out of use. As a consequence, the City's small share of parking meter revenues under that 50-year lease agreement will dwindle considerably unless the City finds new metered spaces to make up for all of those parking spaces consumed by Blue Indy. These are the facts your elected officials won't talk to you about because they really don't give a damn what you think. They only care about who is greasing their palms.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bernie Really Needed This One

Protesting school segregation in 1963
How often in American politics does a politician want for there to be just one photo of him from the 1960s getting arrested?  Bernie Sanders got his wish. The Chicago Tribune searched its archives and finally found that one photo Sanders needed to prove his street cred as a true civil rights warrior of the 1960s while a student on the University of Chicago campus. Sanders has been struggling to gain traction among black voters who doubt his sincerity to their cause. Now he has it.
The black-and-white photo shows a 21-year-old Sanders, then a University of Chicago student, being taken by Chicago police toward a police wagon. An acetate negative of the photo was found in the Tribune's archives, said Marianne Mather, a Chicago Tribune photo editor.
"Bernie identified it himself," said Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the campaign, adding that Sanders looked at a digital image of the photo. "He looked at it — he actually has his student ID from the University of Chicago in his wallet — and he said, 'Yes, that indeed is (me).'" Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, was traveling Friday near Reno, Nev., on the eve of the state's Democratic presidential caucuses . . .
Sanders was arrested Aug. 12, 1963, and charged with resisting arrest. He was found guilty and fined $25, according to a Tribune story about the protests.
Now if he can just explain to voters why it took until his 40th birthday before he found a real job he'll be ready for the White House.

Young Stays On Senate Ballot After Election Commission Casts Tie Vote

The name of Todd Young will appear on the Indian Republican primary vote despite the fact that the evidence presented to the Indiana Election Commission today clearly established that he was at least two signatures short of what Indiana law required for him to make the primary ballot. The vote was straight down party lines.

The two Democratic members of the Commission, Tony Long and Suzannah Overholt, voted to sustain the challenge made to Todd Young's ballot petitions because he failed to attain the signatures of at least 500 registered voters in the First District. The two Republican members of the Indiana Election Commission, Bryce Bennett and Zachary Klutz, decided to error on the side of not disenfranchising Young's supporters by denying him a place on the ballot because he came up two or three signatures short. A tie vote means Todd Young stays on the ballot, just as I predicted.

Indiana election laws are a complete joke. They're a moving target that reflect the subjective wishes of the partisan hacks who control the system as opposed to objective standards of law. The Indiana Election Commission members, all attorneys, are a complete joke and embarrassment to the legal profession of this state. It is pure torture to ask anyone to watch how this corrupt body operates. And why carry on the pretense that the Secretary of State has anything at all to do with elections in this state. She clearly has no role at all in elections other than to greet candidates as they file petitions and smile for the cameras..

Judicial Nominating Commission Picks 15 Semi-Finalists For Supreme Court

After a grueling schedule this week of interviewing 29 applicants for the vacancy on the Indiana Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice Brent Dickson, the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission has narrowed the candidates to 15 semi-finalists, which includes the following:

Hon. James R. Ahler
Hon. Vicki L. Carmichael
Hon. Paul R. Cherry
Hon. Darrin M. Dolehanty
Hon. Thomas J. Felts
Mr. Thomas M. Fisher
Hon Frances C. Gull
Hon. Steven L. Hostetler
Hon. Matthew C. Kincaid
Mr. Mark A. Lienhoop
Hon. Steven R. Nation
Mr. Peter J. Rusthoven
Mr. Geoffrey G. Slaughter
Rep. Thomas W. Washburne
Mr. Thomas E. Wheeler, II

These 15 semi-finalists will be interviewed again on March 2-3, at which time the Commission will decide upon which three candidates it will send to Gov. Mike Pence for consideration. The Commission had some really tough choices to make with so many outstanding and well-qualified candidates to consider this time around. If Peter Rusthoven makes the final three cut, look for Gov. Pence to appoint him as the next Indiana Supreme Court justice.

Supreme Court Justices Travel On Other People's Dime

The Washington Post has an interesting story on how many trips Supreme Court justices are taking on someone else's dime in the wake of the discovery that the late Justice Scalia's fateful hunting trip to Cibolo Creek Ranch in Presidio County, Texas was paid by someone else, namely the owner of the ranch whose business had a case before the Supreme Court last year. As it turns out, Scalia was by far the most frequent traveler on other people's money, nearly 100 times since 2011. "There's no indication of wrongdoing or ethical impropriety here," The Post assures us.

Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, who has been reporting from Marfa, Texas this week, has more on this angle of the Scalia death story. He notes that Scalia sided with the Cibolo Creek Ranch owner's case before the Supreme Court last year. "Scalia was one of the judges who found in favor of Poindexter by refusing to hear the age discrimination case (Hinga, James V. Mic Group) and it appears that Scalia’s “quail hunting” trip to Poindexter’s Cibolo Creek Ranch was a payback for the Supreme Court’s legal largesse," Madsen writes. "Poindexter admitted the free trip was a 'gift' to Scalia." Poindexter claims that while he didn't pay for Scalia's air travel on a private chartered jet, he did provide free room, food and drinks to the late justice during the trip.

Madsen disputes Poindexter's claim on the air travel. "However, Cibolo Creek Airport is owned by Southwestern Holdings, Inc. of Houston, which is owned by Poindexter and other reports indicated that Scalia’s air travel was also provided gratis by Poindexter," Madsen writes. "The Cibolo airport has been served by Cibolo Air’s fleet of two propeller-driven King Air 65-C90s (tail numbers N80TB and N690JP)," he adds. "At the very least, Scalia’s apparent conflict-of-interest in accepting a free trip from a Supreme Court litigant demands a federal law enforcement investigation," he continued. "Perhaps it was Scalia’s possible violation of ethics and the law that created the kerfuffle surrounding the lid being placed on details concerning his sudden death."

Election Commission Will Hear Complaints Over Eligibility Issues Of Ted Cruz And Marco Rubio

The Indiana media is scoffing at eligibility challenges made to the presidential candidacies of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio which will be heard by the Indiana Election Commission. I should point out that no properly-briefed formal challenge has been filed with the Commission. There's just a one-page letter filed by an 85-year old Madison man and one filed by perennial gadfly candidate Bob Kern. "Most legal scholars agree that Cruz and Rubio meet the U.S. Constitution’s eligibility requirement," the Indianapolis Star writes.

Regardless of what these so-called legal scholars are now saying, constitutional law was very clear when I was growing up that persons born abroad, particularly a person like Ted Cruz whose father is not a U.S. citizen, would never have been considered a natural born citizen. Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada to a U.S. citizen mother and a Cuban father. He was a natural born Canadian citizen, who was completely unaware of the fact he held Canadian citizenship until it was brought to his attention more than a year ago, at which point he formally renounced his Canadian citizenship. If you doubt me when I contend there are serious legal concerns about Cruz's eligibility, check out this fact pattern recently shared by an attorney about a Canadian-born person who went through life mistakenly believing he was a U.S. citizen until told otherwise by federal authorities:
I have a client whose dad was born in the US and mom born in Alberta Canada. Client was born in 1951 in Canada and moved to Indiana in March of 1956 when he was 5. Of course he has nothing from crossing the border as this wasn't needed at the time. Client has been here his whole life since age 5. Mom and dad divorced a few years later and he believes she naturalized at that time but lost contact with his mom and knows very little about her. Both parents are now deceased. 
Client went to replace his SS card a few years ago and was told no because he was not a citizen. Client wants to retire. He tried to file for a birth abroad but would have had to do that before he turned 18 he was told (years before the new law made this an issue with Canadian citizens) and he was denied a passport.
Here's what you should understand that our lying news media will never explain to you. The U.S. Constitution confers no natural born citizenship status on Cruz. The only persons clearly conferred that status at birth are those born within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Some argue an additional requirement that your parents also be U.S. citizens to make you a natural born citizen. Marco Rubio was born in Miami; however, both of his parents were Cuban citizens holding permanent U.S. resident status at the time of his birth, both of whom later became naturalized citizens. The 14th Amendment confers citizenship on Rubio at birth. Whether that also means he's a natural born citizen is up for debate. The 14th Amendment by its express words makes him only a citizen, not a natural born citizen.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, could only be considered a citizen if his mother had resided for a minimum period of 10 years following her 14th birthday in the U.S. before giving birth to him in Canada. If Cruz' mother could establish proof of her U.S. citizenship and the 10-year residency requirement, a statute enacted by Congress permitted her to register with the State Department the birth of her son born abroad, allowing him to be statutorily-conferred naturalized citizenship status by the act of recording that notice. If she had failed to do so, the U.S. government presumes under this country's laws that his parents intended him to be a Canadian citizen only. In Cruz's case, his mother timely recorded his birth born abroad and allowed him to become a citizen. As you can see from the fact pattern shown above, a Canadian-born person who had one U.S. citizen parent and one Canadian parent did not become a naturalized citizen because his parents' failed to record his birth born abroad in a timely fashion, notwithstanding the fact he's lived in the U.S. since he was five years of age.

Nobody argues the fact that Ted Cruz was a dual citizen at birth. It is my belief that a person born owing allegiance to two different countries cannot under any circumstances be considered a natural born citizen of both countries. The Indiana Election Commission will turn down both of these pointless challenges filed against Cruz and Rubio today. Neither are properly briefed or being argued by persons learned in the law, but that probably wouldn't matter anyway. Like so many other provisions of the U.S. Constitution, because it's too difficult to amend, those charged with interpreting it simply read it to mean what they want it to mean, regardless of the framers' original intent. At that point, the Constitution becomes meaningless. We're now ruled by decree as the late Justice Antonin Scalia lamented in one of his more recent dissenting opinions. The rule of law mandated by our U.S. Constitution has become meaningless.

UPDATE: The Commission voted 4-0 to deny the challenge made against Rubio and 3-1 in the challenge made against Cruz. The longest-serving commission member, Tony Long, said he was sure based on his legal training that Cruz wasn't a natural born citizen, but he inexplicably voted to deny the challenge after moments before claiming it was the most difficult decision he faced in his many years on the Commission.