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Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021 12:17 PM

By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Schmuhl connects dots of hate

There’s a farmer near Macy who is flying a Nazi flag adjacent to the Nickel Plate Trail. Since 2015 and the emergence of Donald Trump, I’ve noticed an untick in crude, intolerant incidents at town board, city council and county commissioner meetings and now school boards across Indiana, as well as “F— Biden” flags flying in Hammond and Kokomo. Jerry Piotter told the Kokomo Tribune  the Nazi flag isn’t meant to threaten anyone, but as a reaction to President Biden. “They’re telling us what to do and when to do it and how you’re going to do it," Piotter said. "Everything Trump did to get this country straightened out, those silly bastards have gone against it. They might as well get used to seeing it now. It will be flying over the White House before it’s all over. Within a year, that will be the new American flag.”

Indiana Democratic Chairman Mike Schmuhl is calling on Indiana Republicans and leaders to denounce the flag. "With the election of Donald Trump, he sort of allowed this sort of behavior to run rampant. You connect the dots throughout his political career, from the time he decided to run for president until now, Charlottsville ... clearing a square of protesters to hold up a Bible, and the big one - Jan. 6 - the one that sort of pierced the heart of our democracy, trying to overturn the election results. You can kind of connect the dots between the time he announced for the presidency until now. He’s basically given agency, given permission for folks who normally been on the fringe or outcasts to occur. It’s dangerous and it poisons our democracy."

Schmuhl adds, "You look at previous Republican presidents and nominees - both Bushes, John McCain, Mitt Romney - they’ve all in one form or another denounced Donald Trump and the lines he has crossed. What I see here in Indiana now, over the past week or two, is you have a state senator who has been found to be a member of the Oath Keepers, which was part of Jan. 6, and you have a farmer out there in Macy flying a Nazi flag. When the Republican Party in our state and other leaders don’t come forward and denounce that, it allows it to continue. It allows it to be acceptable. Being a member of Oath Keepers, who attacked democracy, who attacked our Capitol Building on Jan. 6, to not be able to denounce that is unacceptable. To see the Nazi flag fly above farm land in Indiana is just unacceptable."

2. Wells County judge dismisses lawsuit

WANE-TV: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit issued by Yergy’s State Road Barbecue, a Bluffton-based restaurant that was shut down in August 2020 after failing to comply with the state’s mask mandate. In December, owner Matt Yergler filed suit against the Wells County Health Department, the state and Gov. Eric Holcomb. The lawsuit stated that the business was “aggrieved and adversely affected” when it shut down. Yergler argued it was a question of individual liberty. The mask mandate was downgraded to an advisory in April, and Yergy’s reopened after passing health inspections. A judge has dismissed a lawsuit arguing that the “subsequent actions by the Governor and the Indiana General Assembly have made issues presented in the complaint moot.” 

3. Holcomb releases police review

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb released the findings of a report assessing the curriculum, training standards, policies and practices of all state-level law enforcement agencies. “I made a commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment for all Hoosiers to take part in and that commitment meant taking a critical look at our state’s law enforcement,” Gov. Holcomb said. “By commissioning a third-party review, we have assessed what state law enforcement agencies are doing well and where we can improve. As the assessment progressed, the agencies initiated an implementation of some of the recommendations and are working toward reviewing and implementing the remaining items. I will continue to do my part to assure the citizens of Indiana that law enforcement officers are operating according to the highest standards.”

4. Sen. Young wonders where the workers are
 
U.S. Sen. Todd Young was in Ellettsville last Friday and said of the massive labor shortage: "We had 120,000 available jobs in August; we're up to 150,000 right now. I don't know where everyone is. What do they do with their time? So the health care workforce is burnt out. It's a pandemic. Go to rural communities, they barely keep these long-term care facilities open and hospitals open because of shortages."

5. Sen. Manchin 'out of sync' with Democrats

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.): “I’m totally out of sync with 48 other Democrats. I love them all. And I love all the Republicans. So I’m just trying to survive in a very, very, very divided Congress in a very divided country.”

Have a great day, folks, and thanks for reading. It's The Atomic!
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS –  Sen. Todd Young seems to have it all these days. He raised a record $1.6 million for his first Senate reelection campaign this past quarter, sitting on a lofty $5.6 million cash. He doesn’t have a primary opponent. The three Democratic candidates have raised a combined $100,000. But Todd Young is lacking what may count most: The endorsement of former president Donald J. Trump in a state where he won twice with 57%. According to Politico, Sen. Young’s campaign made inquiries for a Trump endorsement last winter, not long after the Jan. 6 insurrection and then Trump’s second impeachment trial, when Young voted to acquit the former president. Politico: “Trump’s revulsion to even minor instances of disloyalty only intensified. As an example, they noted that Trump is currently withholding an endorsement of Indiana Sen. Todd Young after Young called Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘an embarrassment’ to the Republican party last month.” On Jan. 6 in a statement, Young said, “As Congress meets to formally receive the votes of the Electoral College, I will uphold my Constitutional duty and certify the will of the states as presented. I will not violate that oath.” In normal times, such statements wouldn’t be a problem. But over the past year, Trump has only amplified claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen” despite little evidence and pushback from Republicans like Attorney General Bill Barr, Vice President Mike Pence, former veep Dan Quayle and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • By DAVE KITCHELL
    LOGANSPORT – When former Gov. Evan Bayh took office in 1989, one of the first things he did was combine agencies under the umbrella of a new title, the Indiana Department of Transportation. The move made sense from a state coordination standpoint. For a state that bills itself as the Crossroads of America, it made perfect sense. Intermodal facilities need to be located at the nexus of highways and railroads. Ports on the Ohio and Lake Michigan have to have access. A growing reliance on small airports to transport executives was burgeoning. Now more than 30 years later, it’s hard to believe there was a time before INDOT. But if we turned back the clock and magically asked Hoosiers in 1989 if they thought there would be fewer passenger trains today and no high-speed rail at this point in history, they’d probably scoff at the notion. But that is what has happened.
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND - How do you defend the Big Lie without lying? That’s a problem for many Republicans in Washington. They know, after all the failed court challenges, recounts, audits and lack of any suspicious traces of bamboo on Arizona ballots, that Donald Trump lost the presidential election. They also know that Trump continues to promote the Big Lie that he actually won. And he demands obedience in furtherance of that delusion from Republicans in the House and Senate and other elected offices around the nation. Trump stresses that his base won’t support Republicans who reject harping about a stolen election. Woe to any admitting that fraud allegations have been thoroughly and conclusively disproven. Trump warned bluntly in a recent statement: “If we don’t solve the presidential election fraud of 2020 - which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented - Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND – Former Sen. Joe Donnelly appears to be a perfect choice for U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Perfect for representing President Biden, described by Donnelly during the presidential campaign as someone he knows to be sincere in faith “because I know Joe Biden, and I come from the same Irish Catholic faith tradition.” Perfect for Pope Francis, who can express church concerns for moral issues from climate change to world hunger to an ambassador who knows the president and knows the faith. Perfect for Senate confirmation prospects, with quick bipartisan support from Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young, who said: “Joe is a devout Catholic and longtime public servant, and I know he will serve the nation well and represent the best of our Hoosier values.”
  • By LEE HAMILTON
    BLOOMINGTON – As Americans, we tend—understandably—to focus on the Constitution as the source for our representative democracy. It is, after all, our basic operating document, the blueprint for the system we’ve been shepherding for the last 234 years. But the Constitution did not arise out of thin air; our forebears marked key steps along the way with other documents as well. Here’s a quick tour of some of them. The first was the Mayflower Compact, signed in 1620 by 41 of the male colonists, including two indentured servants, aboard the Mayflower after it made land in Massachusetts. There is no historical certainty about who actually wrote it, though it’s often attributed to William Brewster, one of the leaders of the community. It’s not long, and it essentially says that the colonists – who at the time were divided between the Pilgrims, who had intended to settle in Virginia, and the merchants, craftsmen, servants, and others who’d gone along for the ride –would work together to establish the colony and enact the “laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices” the colony needed.
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  • Atomic! GOP protects Leninist Bannon; Banks & Cheney clash; Rep. Pence abstains; Mike Pence cashes in; Trump's 'Truth Social'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Bannon and Congress: In the old days, before Donald Trump's assault on an array of American institutions, if you were called to testify before Congress on an act that might land you in jail, you just took the 5th. But in today's Congress, we find 202 Republicans voting against holding Steve Bannon in contempt for snubbing a House Jan. 6 insurrection panel subpoena.  Bannon claims "executive privilege" even though he had exited the Trump administration years ago and was a podcaster. In a Jan. 5 podcast, Bannon said this: "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. So many people said, 'Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.' Well, this is your time in history." That fit his Leninist "burn the establishment to the ground" mantra. House Republicans are willing to pervert congressional subpoena power for . . .  Steve Bannon. If Bannon isn't compelled to testify, why in the world would anyone else? U.S. Rep. Jim Banks made a spectacle of himself, complaining on the House floor that Speaker Nancy Pelosi prevented him from serving on the House committee. CNN: And yet, Banks sent a letter to at least one government agency falsely claiming that he is ranking member of the committee in his signature. Fellow Republican Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair of the committee, called Banks out for his actions. "He noted that the Speaker had determined that he wouldn't be on the committee" Cheney said. "So I would like to introduce for the record a number of letters the gentleman of Indiana has been sending to federal agencies."


  • HPI Analysis: Sen. Young has it all (except Donald Trump's endorsement)
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Sen. Todd Young seems to have it all these days. He raised a record $1.6 million for his first Senate reelection campaign this past quarter, sitting on a lofty $5.6 million cash. He doesn’t have a primary opponent. The three Democratic candidates have raised a combined $100,000. But Todd Young is lacking what may count most: The endorsement of former president Donald J. Trump in a state where he won twice with 57%. According to Politico, Sen. Young’s campaign made inquiries for a Trump endorsement last winter not long after the Jan. 6 insurrection and then Trump’s second impeachment trial, when Young voted to acquit the former president. Politico: “Trump’s revulsion to even minor instances of disloyalty only intensified. As an example, they noted that Trump is currently withholding an endorsement of Indiana Sen. Todd Young after Young called Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘an embarrassment’ to the Republican party last month. Young’s comments came shortly after Greene claimed she received Trump’s ‘full support’ during a phone call with the former president. Trump’s ‘money and his endorsement and engagements [are] very valuable. It’s political currency to a lot of these candidates and he plans to keep tighter reins on that,’ said a former senior Trump administration official.”

  • Horse Race: Biden swoons, ports clog, IRS snoops and Pete stays home
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS –  The dog days of August have dissolved into autumnal discontent with the Biden administration. A Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday gave President Biden a 37% approval as his legislative agenda faltered in Congress, container ships stacked up off the U.S. coasts and illegal immigrants flooded across the Mexican border. There are three distinct red lights flashing for Democrats. One is the Treasury Department’s proposal for the IRS to collect additional data on every bank account that sees more than $600 in annual transactions. The other is the empty grocery store shelves and prospects 0f a turkeyless Thanksgiving, and no presents under a phantom Christmas tree in December. In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday, 62% of American voters say the administration’s policies are either somewhat or very responsible for increasing inflation, including 41% of Democrats, 61% of independent voters and 85% of Republicans.
  • Horse Race: Sen. Baldwin listed as Oath Keeper

    Howey Politics Indiana

    NOBLESVILLE - State Sen. Scott Baldwin has been identified in a ProPublica article as a member of the Oath Keepers. Dozens of Oath Keepers have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, some of them looking like a paramilitary group, wearing camo helmets and flak vests. But a list of more than 35,000 members of the Oath Keepers — obtained by an anonymous hacker and shared with ProPublica by the whistleblower group Distributed Denial of Secrets — underscores how the organization is evolving into a force within the Republican Party.

  • HPI Horse Race: With Joe in Rome, who runs for INGov Democrats in 2024?
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Three years is the proverbial “eternity” in politics, but in modern Indiana political history, many gubernatorial campaigns take root 24 to 18 months out from election. So while it’s early to begin assessing the open seat 2024 gubernatorial field, Indiana Democrats had their first big jolt of the cycle last Friday. That’s when the White House announced that President Biden was nominating former senator Joe Donnelly to be U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. It’s a plum gig for Donnelly, a devout Catholic and Notre Dame graduate. He told Howey Politics Indiana that he wouldn’t be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2022, but seemed to leave the door open for further cycles. “It was a great honor to serve our state in the U.S. House and Senate,” Donnelly said last March. “During the last two years, I have had the chance to teach U.S. national security at Notre Dame, to practice law, to work on Hoosier renewable energy issues, and to work with Indiana businesses to create more jobs. I remain open to being involved in public service again, but I will not be a candidate for public office in 2022.” With Donnelly at the Vatican, the 2024 gubernatorial field could take shape.
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  • Mayor McDermott won't hire unvaccinated Chicago cops
    "This mayor is not interested in the head cases from Chicago coming to the Hammond Police Department. Officers willing to throw their career away over a political issue? I just don't want that. The number one killer of police officers across the country right now is COVID-19. If you're willing to throw all that away over a shot, during a pandemic; if you're that rigid, I don't really want you in the Hammond Police Department, I'll be honest with you. Because I imagine you're going to be a pain in my ass a couple years down the road also and you're going to be a pain in the chief's ass. You can't be a police officer and not take orders from the mayor." - Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., on his Left of Center podcast, reacting to U.S. Sen. Mike Braun's call to welcome unvaccinated Chicago cops to Indiana police forces. McDermott is seeking the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2022, seeking to challenge U.S. Sen. Todd Young.
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