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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Monday, October 3, 2022 10:40 AM
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND - Those scary statements by Hoosiers duped into joining the Oath Keepers are disturbing. But now they know the Oath Keepers really are Oath Deniers, rejecting rather than supporting and defending the Constitution.

Or do they know?

A substantial percentage of the nearly 700 Indiana residents listed as dues-paying members of the Oath Keepers, the extremist militia group whose leaders face seditious conspiracy charges in storming the Capitol, could still be dupes. That’s even more disturbing than mistakenly signing up for something with a nice name.

The long list of quotes from Hoosier members of the group, compiled by the Indianapolis Star and run in The Tribune last week, showed misguided faith in the militia’s claim of supporting the Constitution and even willingness to use military or law enforcement experience in action with the militia.

In their own words on entries for membership, they bragged of skills with military firearms, explosives, mine warfare, stalking, mission planning and infantry tactics.

How would they use those skills? Well, we saw examples in the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.   

Most of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys and others leading the violent attack actually believed they were defending not just Donald Trump, to whom they pledged allegiance, but the Constitution as well.
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    INDIANAPOLIS – I ran into Mark Souder at the Fort Wayne City-County Building just days before the 1994 Republican 4th CD primary. I didn’t know Candidate Souder very well. I asked him about his prospects. What followed was about a seven-minute instant analysis, going down to a granular, precinct level to the point where he was talking about how well he expected to do among Notre Dame graduates in Adams County. On Election Night, Souder won a crowded primary, and as I monitored returns, it became quite evident that Mark Souder really did know what he was talking about. He would join the “Gingrich Revolution” class of 1994 that ended a 40-year Democratic majority. But his ascension to Congress wasn’t an easy path. Indiana Republican Chairman Al Hubbard fumed following the June 30 FEC reports that revealed Souder, David McIntosh in the 2nd and John Hostettler in the Bloody 8th had a combined $30,000 cash on hand. By the end of September, Souder had a money lead over U.S. Rep. Jill Long. When analyst Stu Rothenberg said the 1994 mid-terms had been nationalized, Souder said of Long, “If she wants to make it Clinton versus Reagan, I’ll take it.” Long used a TV ad to portray Souder as a “tax evader,” and Souder responded with an ad featuring his mother, Erma, who said in Bob Dole-like fashion, “Quit lying about my family.” He won 55-45%. Mark Souder died on Monday at age 72 after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer.


    WASHINGTON – When I started contributing to the Howey Political Report in 1997, it launched my journey from Capitol Hill to journalism. One of my most reliable sources was Mark Souder. I wasn’t sure how well I would be received by the Indiana congressional delegation as I moved from being Sen. Richard Lugar’s press secretary to reporting for what is now Howey Politics Indiana.  Of course, Lugar was deeply respected by his Washington colleagues. But I was concerned that that feeling of good will wouldn’t necessarily transfer to one of his former aides who was now calling Hoosier lawmakers pursuing stories that weren’t always flattering to them. It wasn’t the potential occasional awkwardness of the revolving door that gave me the most worry. It was the concern that Hoosier members of Congress and their staffers simply would ignore me. When I joined HPI, there were several Indiana regional reporters who covered the D.C. delegation aggressively and daily, led by the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette’s Sylvia Smith. Why would someone like Souder deal with me when he talked to Sylvia all the time and also was sometimes quoted in the Indianapolis Star as well as other Hoosier media outlets? Souder didn’t lack for media coverage.

    SOUTH BEND – We laughed at the QAnon crazies. At their wacky predictions of a storm coming, with military force to restore Donald Trump’s presidency and publicly execute Satanic pedophiles now cannibalizing kids and controlling the nation. We laughed when Q believers waited in the rain in Dallas for the predicted appearance of John F. Kennedy Jr. He would become vice president upon Trump’s return. Kennedy couldn’t make it, perhaps because he died in a 1999 plane crash. Some believers hung around for weeks, figuring Kennedy was just delayed for some reason. We laughed at predictions of the storm coming on Inauguration Day to prevent Joe Biden from taking the oath. He and other leaders of the Satanic cabal – in government, business, entertainment and news media – would face capital punishment. Trump would stay. But then Trump left. So, QAnon believers said the storm would come instead at a later date when inauguration was observed in decades past. Nothing on that date either. We laughed when QAnon first came to national attention. Pizzagate! 
    ANDERSON – Maybe the politicians talking about the border crisis ought to meet Albeleis Arteaga. He traveled for nearly two months with his wife and 4-month-old child just to get to the United States. “If I had any money right now, I wouldn’t be out here putting my family through this,” the 29-year-old told reporter Uriel J. García of The Texas Tribune. “My head throbs not knowing what to do next or how to get out of here.” Arteaga is among thousands of Venezuelans pouring across the southern border. He, his wife and child arrived in El Paso, a Texas border community that is already overwhelmed. Many of the migrants are returned to Mexico under an emergency health order known as Title 42, but that’s not an option for Venezuelans. They’re on a list of nationalities Mexico won’t accept, and they can’t be sent back to Venezuela because the United States severed diplomatic ties with that country in 2019. So, the immigrants wind up in shelters – or on the street.
    MUNCIE – The Russo-Ukrainian conflict is now firmly in a new phase. The Russians lost the strategic element of the war long ago, but now they have managed to lose operationally and tactically. There are two important economic lessons to be learned from this war – one is about public spending on services, the other about free trade. In its desire to befriend Western Europe, Ukraine agreed to participate with the NATO forces in Afghanistan. To do so, they needed training to reform their Soviet-style army into a modern, western army. Thus, in 2007, they began training a new style army. The Soviet-style army, which Ukraine inherited, is wholly unsuited to the modern battlefield. These armies have virtually no sergeants, or non-commissioned officers. Junior leaders are not promoted from the ranks; that would be too politically dangerous. Instead, leaders are appointed from among a politically reliable officer corps. Technical competence takes a back seat to political reliability. In contrast, western armies reward talented leadership, technical expertise and innovative problem solving by promoting soldiers to the ranks of non-commissioned officers. It is these people who train new soldiers and young officers. Ukraine’s government fully embraced this new army, and spent a decade and a half restructuring their forces.
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  • Morales denies sexual harassment allegations; Wells comments

    Howey Politics Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS - Republican secretary of state nominee Diego Morales denied sexual harassment allegations made by two former co-workers. "As a husband and father, I understand sexual harassment is deplorable and can leave devastating scars. The claims being made against me are false and I unequivocally deny all of them," Morales said. "The women, who will not reveal their identity, cannot corroborate their stories. They have neither documentation nor sources to substantiate their defaming comments. The falsities stem from 15 years ago and were not brought forward until now. The timing is clearly politically motivated, especially considering one of the women mentions that she is now volunteering for my opponent's campaign. The claims were printed in a publication that uses a disclaimer stating, 'This is a compiliation of pure gossip, rumor and blatant innuendo'. I am appalled to be included in this publication (and) I was not provided an opportunity to respond to these falsehoods before they were printed." Morales was responding to allegations published by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz at IndyPolitics that he had harrassed two women in 2007 and 2009.

  • HPI Analysis: Hupfer, Schmuhl survey the mid-term election homestretch

    INDIANAPOLIS – In the view of Indiana Democratic Chairman Mike Schmuhl, the secretary of state’s race is a pure tossup. To Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer, the GOP has a good shot at picking off 1st CD freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan. For the Democrat, the key issues are abortion rights and the threat to American democracy. For the Republican, it’s the economy, inflation and crime. The question of whether a surge in female voters will be the key to both races is shrouded in mystery. “I haven’t seen anything I would call a surge,” Hupfer said in a phone interview Tuesday morning. “We’re a pretty heavily registered state because we have motor voter. I guess I haven’t even paid attention to it; haven’t even looked at it.  We’re in the field enough regularly, to see where things are at and I feel real good about where this state sits right now.” Neither chairman had much data to offer. The Capital Chronicle reported last week that 52% of new registrations were female, suggesting a nominal edge for the Democratic party, but perhaps not enough to impact many General Assembly races, the 1st CD or the secretary of state race. INGOP spokesman Luke Thomas said according to internal party files, the 40,000 new registrations are evenly split and less than the 2018 cycle.
  • Horse Race: All quiet on the legislative front


    INDIANAPOLIS – In terms of legislative races, it’s quiet. Almost too quiet. We know Democrats probably don’t have a lot of resources so targeted Republicans are bracing for a last minute barrage of mail and/or cable, likely on abortion. 
    Targeted legislators who voted for the law have two problems:  1. It’s hard to pre-empt the issue. Most incumbents don’t want to talk about it. 2. It’s hard to defend the vote once the Dem attacks begin. The GOP legislators/candidates we have identified as vulnerable and who voted for or have supported the abortion ban include the Hamilton County ring of House seats: Reps. Jerry Torr, Donna Schaibley and the GOP candidates in open House seats 25 (Becky Cash) and 32 (Fred Glynn).

  • HPI Interview: Nunn on the Putin Doctrine

    INDIANAPOLIS –  U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn was at a conference in Hungary when a coup d’etat toppled Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the summer of 1991. A Soviet contact called him. “You’ve got to get over here,” Nunn was told. “Big things are happening; great opportunities and huge dangers.” Once in Moscow, Nunn would spend half a day milling around the Russian White House where Boris Yeltsin had made his stand. In the Duma, Nunn sat for two days in the gallery and watched the debate which would bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union, a stunning turn of events that, literally, no one saw coming. “I combined that with having been so involved with the Vietnam War and knowing what happened when a country lost a war,” Nunn explained to Howey Politics Indiana during a 2007 interview in Yekaterinburg during a codel with Sen. Richard Lugar. “I saw that Russia was unraveling and multiplied it by a hundred because we lost one conflict that was devastating to our psyche and military.” Today, Nunn is co-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a private organization working to reduce nuclear and biological threats. He partnered with the late Sen. Richard Lugar to create the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which would eventually secure and eliminate thousands of Russian nuclear, chemical and biological weapons at a cost of less than $20 billion. Lugar told me in 2007, “We had spent $6 trillion trying to contain the Soviet Union and now it’s all going to come loose.” On Monday, HPI interviewed Nunn in the week after Russian forces were in retreat in northeastern Ukraine, a nation Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded on Feb. 24. Not only did Putin strike out in Kiev, he’s been through a series of military, economic and political humiliations. Not only was his enfeebled army in retreat in Ukraine, he failed to get full backing from Chinese President Xi. Indian President Modi lectured him on ending the war.

  • Judge issues preliminary injunction for Indiana's SEA1 abortion law
    “The public will continue to be subject to the previous abortion regulation regime that was significantly influenced by the United States Supreme Court juris prudence that identified and expressly reaffirmed privacy right that included abortion for nearly 50 years.” - Owen County Circuit Judge Kelsey Blake Hanlon wrote in her motion of a preliminary injunction to SEA1, Indiana's new abortion restriction law. She added that a temporary pause on enforcement of the ban will last “long enough for the court to address the issue on the merits.” The new law went into effect on Sept. 15. The court challenge up for debate was filed in Monroe County Circuit Court last month by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana on behalf of health care providers and a pregnancy resource center. Indiana Right to Life CEO Mike Fichter reacted, “Today’s blockage of Indiana’s new law means over 161 unborn children will continue to lose their lives to abortion every week this injunction stays in effect. We are encouraged by the judge’s acknowledgement of the state’s legitimate interest in protecting unborn babies and are hopeful the blockage will be brief."
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  • Sen. Todd Young's father passes away
    “My dad Bruce has passed away following recent health challenges. He was an incredible Dad who loved his family, modeled hard work, always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and never lost his amazing sense of humor. I will always be grateful for his impact and example.” U.S. Sen. Todd Young, in a Twitter post on Monday.
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