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Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Wednesday, November 27, 2019 11:39 AM

“The coup has started.” I put these words in quotations because they were actually tweeted out by someone in the know. No, this wasn’t one of President Trump’s ubiquitous tweets. This tweet belongs to Mark Zaid. Who is Mark Zaid you ask? He is none other than the Trump whistleblower’s attorney. Most importantly, this tweet was launched in January 2017. Zaid even followed up that tweet with, “Impeachment will follow immediately.”

  • KOKOMO – If there was a just God of Politics, all that newly elected speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Todd Huston, would have to worry about at this time would be how he and his leadership team will craft a budget for the state after a year of upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   But the God of Politics is a fickle feller and Speaker Huston has been thrown into the fire on his first time at bat. Mixed metaphors aside, Huston will not only be forced to match income and expenses for a biennial budget in a time where incomes are uncertain and expenses are in unchartered waters, but he will also have to deal with the incredibly sticky wicket of reapportionment, the drawing of legislative districts. Making Huston’s job a potentially more difficult one is the current uncertain state of affairs on the election front. Currently, Indiana Republicans control 67 of the 100 seats in the Indiana House. The number of Republicans is critical in order to head off some of the potential legislative games that historically came to be the hallmark of Indiana Democrats under Pat Bauer during the bad old days.  It seems like just a quaint memory now, but close your eyes and you can remember February, 2011, when Democrat Minority Leader Bauer led his wayward band of merry men and women out of the friendly confines of Indiana into their luxury escape at the Comfort Suites Hotel of Urbana, Illinois. 
  • KOKOMO –  Last week I bumped into one of my Ball State University classmates, Charles L. DePew, while I was having a Mt. Olympus, ultra-liberal, hops-infused IPA down at the local Brew and Books on Main Street. Charles, who we all called “Stinky” in the frat house, was quick to expound on why he can’t wait for Thanksgiving this year because he has a long list of people and organizations to thank for President Trump’s reelection.  When I questioned Stinky if he was referring to people like Sen. Lyndsey Graham and the NRA, he replied that those people were helpful but the gift of reelection was given by a group of people who you never would have expected, out-of-control Democrats and their sympathizers from coast to coast. I tend to live in a world of common sense and reason so I was taken aback by Stinky’s assertion that the Democrats would contribute the most to undoing of Joe Biden’s slipshod, cobbled-together lovefest campaign in a basement. I asked Stinky to expand on his theory. Mr. DePew said he was simply giving credit where credit is due. “What better way is there to scare the bejeebers out of the average American voter than to give the Democrats a fair audition. We have and what a whopper of a failure. Let’s start west and work our way east.” “In California, you have a completely Democrat state bankrupted by a flood of illegal immigration and a laundry list of government-supplied freebies given to the non-productive class."
  • KOKOMO – There might not be more than three people in 10,000 who would proudly tell you that statistics was one of the three things they most enjoyed about college. I’m sure that parties, spring breaks, home football weekends, fraternities, sororities, dating, drinking, no in loco parentis and cruising through life for four to six years would probably consistently outrank statistics class in their “these were a few of my favorite things” song salute to higher education. What made a traditionally difficult and boring class move to the top of my personal list of things that I most enjoyed about college? For me, the answer was simple, Dr. Lou Mattola, who made statistics come alive and rendered order out of the chaos of randomly arranged numbers and mathematical equations. In short, he put the story in story problems. His secret was to reduce a seemingly complex subject like statistics into real life scenarios such as casino betting odds, coin toss probabilities, batting averages and the likelihood of outcomes. Just think of him as the kind of guy who could explain the movie “Moneyball” to you over a beer and you’d sit listening to him all night. As someone who struggled with trigonometry and calculus, I appreciated Dr. Mottola’s ability as a professor. I wish I had told him at the time what I thought of his teaching.
  • KOKOMO – At this point in the 2020 United States presidential election, it is beginning to look like the mountains of abuse heaped on President Trump by the national media, the leftist social media, every anarchist group known to mankind and even a few Republicans just might be successful in defeating him and sending a third-rate Democrat to the White House. If I were the type of person to sit around wearing a tinfoil hat and seeing multiple gunmen on the grassy knoll, I might just be a little cynical about the timing of a pandemic hitting when the United States’ economy was the best that it had been in history, with record low unemployment across all demographics, increasing personal incomes and unheard of stock market valuations. Further, the attention paid to the coronavirus seemed to grow as the Democrat trumped-up impeachment fell apart in a dismal partisan failure.  No, I’m not going to be one of those people who see conspiracies wherever you turn. I merely want to ask the question, win or lose in November, where does the Republican Party go from here? Should Donald Trump defy the current odds and big poll deficits and win a second term, what would the future hold for the Republican Party?  
  • KOKOMO – If you could see an existential threat to the United States standing right before your eyes, would you personally take action to deal with it? I ask this question for two reasons. First, I believe that there is an existential threat to our country standing in plain view for all Americans and the world to see.  Second, this isn’t a threat that can only be dealt with by our national intelligence apparatus or our military. The threat which we face does not require risking world war or nuclear annihilation. It is true that direct confrontation may be required to check our opponent, but each of us, as individuals, can do our part to defeat the plans of our enemy. And make no mistake about it, this opponent is our enemy. The worst enemy that we face today is the government of Communist China. China has made no secret of its goal to become the world’s largest economy, to build a modern military that is both larger and more technologically superior to the United States, to expand its boundaries by bullying weaker neighbors and to dominate the world through a combination of economic, political and military coercion. China is well on its way to accomplishing its goals.
  • KOKOMO – The most precious sentence in existence is the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution. There is a reason that it is the first amendment contained in the Bill of Rights. For those of you who need a refresher course: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Our forefathers recognized these holy rights and made sure that they were enshrined for all eternity. Today, there are significant elements in our society who would deny us these rights and even those who would practice the worst form of abuse, which is self-censorship. By now it should be painfully evident to nearly everyone that the mass uprising upon the murder of George Floyd has been hijacked by a sinister group of anarchists who are bent on the destruction of every form of sane existence. The move to abolish the police, the creation of no-police zones in some major American cities, the wanton destruction of monuments and memorials, and the attempt to erase much of our American history is clearly not because a bad police officer used excessive force and killed a black man.  
  • KOKOMO — There was a brief moment following the death of George Floyd when people of all races, creeds and colors shared the shock, horror and revulsion about his wanton murder at the hands of an out-of-control law enforcement officer. Virtually no one who saw the video of police officer Derek Chauvin snuffing the life out of a human being by jamming his knee down on the throat of Floyd could find a single excuse for taking this human life.  
    No excuse could be remotely acceptable for this death. It was an excellent opportunity for our society to take a much needed look at race relations and to discuss the difficult duty that the police have of balancing the enforcement of laws and the use of appropriate force. And then the opportunity died. Somewhere along the way, the legitimate expressions of grief and anger of the citizenry of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, were replaced by those who were bent on dishonoring the life and death of George Floyd by common lawlessness, theft, looting, burning, assault and general mayhem. The sympathetic views of much of our population were replaced by disgust and anger at those who would use the death of Floyd to launch anarchic campaigns against the public peace and its institutions.To put it simply, George Floyd did not die at the hands of a police officer only to be memorialized by a looter carrying off a big screen television from your local Target store.  
  • KOKOMO – I’ve been a life-long Republican and I’ve been politically active for the majority of my life. My first overt Republican act was to send a fan letter to Presidential candidate Senator Barry Goldwater way back in 1964.  Funny, even Hillary Clinton was a Republican back then. The first Republican State Convention I attended was in 1972. As an 18-year-old brash young teenager, I bucked the demands of my county chairman to vote for William Sharp for governor and instead I voted for Otis Bowen. This early experience in observing the impotence of a county chairman should have deterred me from ever being a county chairman, but one day I would eventually be dragged into the maelstrom. Over my 58 years in Republican Party politics I have met and interacted with a wide variety of those who identify as Republicans. While the national media is quick to try and persuade you that all Republicans are Bible-toting, gun-slinging, fat-cat bigots, the truth is far different.
  • KOKOMO  — Flip on any television channel and they will be staring you in the face, United States Senators, Republican and Democrat alike, who apparently have nothing better to do with their time than pontificate on the absurd and engage in political bickering. It is enough to make you sick, but with Covid-19, we’re sick enough already.  Not all Senators have crawled into the mud for the daily wallowing about in front of the cameras. One in particular, Indiana Sen. Todd Young, has been devoting his entire time in public service to thinking about the big picture. Perhaps it is because of his former work as an intelligence officer in the United States Marines Corps that Sen. Young has taken a thoughtful and forward thinking approach to the nearly out-of-control menace of China.  Analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is the hallmark of intelligence work and Young has excelled at bringing those skills to his career in government. While some of his Senate colleagues spend endless hours trying to reverse the 2016 Presidential Election, Young is squarely focused on the future. To Todd Young, China should dominate our national groupthink.
  • KOKOMO  — A person’s memory can be a strange thing. Long ago experiences may be repressed for many years before some event triggers their remembrance. Just the other night I woke in the early morning hours and the following thought crossed my mind, “Journal of the Plague Year.” I know I read something like this. Who was the author? Who was the evil teacher who forced me to read it? What in the world was it about? All that I could remember was that some old English author wrote a boring book about a plague in London. Who was tormenting me like this? The next morning I took my cup of coffee and headed for my computer. I was curious whether there had been anything in that book that even vaguely resembled the experience that we are all having at this time in history.  Much to my shock and amazement, life in 1665 London, England, held much in common with our modern day version of the plague. As I began to reread Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the “Plague Year,” it dawned on me that perhaps it wasn’t that bad an idea to make the book required reading in an English Literature course. I wish I could tell my late teacher, Mrs. Heaton, that she was a pretty good teacher. Daniel Defoe’s book was published in 1722. He had been only five years old at the time of the great 1665 London Plague.
  • KOKOMO  — If I’ve acquired anything in my 38 years as a financial consultant, it has been the experience of witnessing significant world events and their effect on the American economy and its financial markets. My experience has taught me a few things over the years. First and foremost, I’ve learned that things are rarely as bad or as good as they appear. Just as financial markets are a titanic struggle between the forces of greed and fear, the media, government and public opinion are all prone to shelving dispassionate analysis for hype and hysteria. I’ve seen this propensity to overstate both the good and the bad too many times to count. The shrill cacophony of media-driven public opinion has made many rational and clear-thinking people fold like a cheap tent and pushes them to do the exact opposite of what was in their best self-interest.

  • KOKOMO  — “What’s a granny worth?” My next door neighbor correctly judged that I was baiting him with the question. This discussion occurred while several neighbors were having a safe social distance happy hour outside of our homes. I’m sure it was an interesting sight as neighbors sat in lawn chairs spread out on both sides of our neighborhood street drinking a glass of wine or a bottle of beer.  After much discussion over the issue of toilet paper and sanitizer stockpiles, the talk gradually turned to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the virtual shutdown of our economy. I turned to my next door neighbor and asked the question about how much we were willing to spend to save a granny, when my neighbor across the street yelled out, “Hey, watch it, I’m a granny too!” The truth be known, we were all of the age to be either grannies or grandpas. Before we could hash out a consensus answer, the heavens opened up on us and drowned out our little neighborhood attempt at maintaining some normalcy. The question still hangs in the air. With the staggering loss of incomes, jobs, market valuations and $2 trillion stimulus bills, just what is the dollar value of a higher risk person?
  • KOKOMO – This column is dedicated to my Facebook friends and their friends. I’m writing it in response to the many ridiculous, clueless, heartless and just plain stupid posts that many of my friends have written over the past week. I call them Facebook friends, but in a real sense, they are merely acquaintances or friends of friends of friends. I have nearly 1,600 “friends” on Facebook but in reality, I’ve never met most of them.  Because of my political work and work as a columnist on HoweyPolitics.com, I receive a lot of friend requests. Normally, these “friends” are a good source for stories and scoops in the making. They are always interesting for entertainment purposes. They have great memes and funny jokes. But then along came the COVID-19 virus. I’m now giving strong consideration to pruning my Facebook tree way back because many of these people have turned just downright loony. The number of wild and wacky conspiracy theories, attacks on government officials and callous disregard for their fellow man has moved from just irritating to alarming. 
  • KOKOMO  — I rarely find myself giving unsolicited advice to the Democrat Party, but this may be the time to offer some based on my real life experience. After all, if you don’t gain wisdom as you age and gather experiences, both good and bad, what the heck are you doing? The advice that I have to give is in regard to the current effort by Democrat Party insiders to nuke Bernie Sanders as a threat to win the nomination to be their party’s standard bearer in the 2020 presidential election. Here is my advice for those actively pursuing the “Never Bernie” strategy: Don’t even think about it! It sends shivers down the spine of every insider Democrat to imagine what President Trump might do to Sanders and down ballot candidates in a head-to-head campaign. They see not only another loss to Donald Trump, but also the loss of their House majority and a potential strengthening of the Republican majority in the United States Senate. Yes, a Sanders candidacy even potentially spreads disaster down to state and local election levels. After all, how would you like to be a reasonably moderate candidate for state representative in Moose Heel, Minnesota, and have your election jeopardized by political ads focusing on the Sanders/Castro lovefest?
  • KOKOMO  — Indiana is now a gambling mecca. We can play scratch offs, play the numbers, indulge ourselves playing Willy Wonka for money, bet on the ponies and now we can wager on sports. The next expansion of gaming that I’d like to see is political bookmaking. After all, if we can bet on whether the Colts will score on their next drive (bet against it), get a kick blocked (bet on it) or whether we’ll win the Super Bowl next year (called a sucker bet in Vegas), then why can’t we bet on politics? Imagine going to the sports book right now and making a wager on who will emerge as the 5th Congressional District Republican candidate or on how badly Gov. Holcomb will trounce his Democrat opponent. Maybe drop a fiver on whether or not Attorney General Curtis Hill will survive his ethics complaint and be the Republican candidate for AG in 2020. Now that might spark my interest in gambling.

  • Ain’t God good to Indiana? Folks, a feller never knows; Just how close he is to Eden; Till, sometime, he ups an’ goes; Seekin’ fairer, greener pastures; Than he has right here at home.

    KOKOMO —  Reporter William Herschell wrote these words in 1919, but they are just as true today as they were then. What prompted me to recall these lines written so long ago, that became so famous that they grace a bronze plaque in the Indiana Statehouse? Why, Illinois, of course! Illinois, home of incarcerated former governors, middling sports teams and mountains upon mountains of budgetary red ink in Chicago and in the state capitol, Springfield.  Illinois, the state that is called home by more than 200,000 fewer residents than five years ago. Illinois, the tax-and-spend state that has become the poster child for Democratic government mismanagement.

  • KOKOMO  –  The casual observer of the recent “Red for Ed” teacher action day probably believes that it was very successful. A massive teacher turnout blanketed the Statehouse and let legislators and the governor know that teachers were fed up with the status quo and weren’t going to take it anymore. The event received the intended publicity across the state.  Newspapers skewered Republicans. Everyone in power felt the heat.  The last bit of good news regarding “Red for Ed” came on Dec. 10, when Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his 2020 Next Level agenda. Holcomb summed up his priorities by stating that “he will put Hoosier students, teachers and parents first. That means listening to our teachers and giving our students the best education possible.” Furthermore, Holcomb committed to: • Retaining and bringing the very best educators to teach in Indiana; • Changing career-related teacher professional growth points from required to optional; • Supporting the Teacher Compensation Commission and making Indiana a leader in the Midwest for teacher pay; • Working with educators to identify unfunded mandates and unnecessary requirements in K-12 education; • Holding schools and teachers harmless for 2018-2019 ILEARN scores. To most folks this looks like the governor and teachers are moving in symphony and that, soon, all will be right. This probably is not the case. There are deeply ingrained, philosophical issues that will not be resolved anytime soon. If you think that “Red for Ed” was about teacher pay and the educational success of little Johnny and little Mary, then you are living in the land of unicorns.

  • KOKOMO — When Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders canceled appearances and left the campaign trail last week because of a heart ailment, I was moved to reach down into the old bag of amazing but true historical incidents to find a relative parallel. I didn’t have to look too far. Normally, when I want to be dazzled by presidential heroics, I usually turn to either Theodore Roosevelt or Andrew Jackson for my fodder. I had Mr. Peabody turn back the time machine to Oct. 14, 1912, to the final month of the heated presidential election between Democrat Woodrow Wilson, Republican William Howard Taft, and former president and Bull Moose Party candidate Theodore Roosevelt.  Roosevelt had served out the term of office of assassinated President William McKinley and had then been elected to a term on his own. During his time in office Roosevelt had been a hurricane of activity on just about every front imaginable. He combined his vision with enormous energy and a remarkable capacity for salesmanship.
  • KOKOMO – As a fan of the television series “Stranger Things,” I’ve enjoyed seeing the program’s vision of the “Upside Down” alternate dimension existing parallel to the human world. It’s scary and dangerous and can be found pretty near to where you are standing. Of course, growing up, I closely followed the comic book adventures of Superman and its occasional tale of Bizarro World, a world where everything is pretty much backward from how it should be. If President Trump gets his way, the United States will soon join the “Upside Down” and Bizarro World with the introduction of negative interest rates.  Before we go charging off into the negative interest great unknown, we should all get a thorough education about what negative interest rates might mean. Let’s start with the situation of Bargersville, Indiana, retiree Elmer Toadsnuggle. Elmer has a small pension and Social Security. He scraped and saved $100,000 prior to retirement and he’s now shopping for a bank where he can buy one of those high interest certificates of deposit. 
  • KOKOMO – Lately the Zen Master has encouraged me to open up my sensory powers and observe more of the world around me. I’ve embraced my Zen Master’s suggestion, and I have to say that much of what I’ve seen is disturbing. So, for lack of a better title for this column, I’ll call it things that make you go “Hmmm.” By now I’m sure that you’ve noticed that you can’t turn on the television, peruse the internet, read the newspaper or go anywhere without being bombarded with the not-so-subtle message that a climate crisis is upon us, sea levels are rising, baby polar bears are dying by the thousands and you better buy your electric auto soon to save the planet. No less than our all-knowing former President Barack Obama warned us way back in 2009 that global warming and a rise in sea levels threaten our existence.  Surely, President Obama, a major supporter of the Paris Climate Accord, would lead by example and show the average Bible-toting, gun-loving dim-bulb American how to live. Well, guess again! Just last month former President Obama purchased his second home, a 7,000-square-foot beauty on Martha’s Vineyard for a whopping $14.85 million. Added to his 8,200-square-foot home in Washington, D.C., one can see that the Obamas are going to leave a monstrous carbon footprint.
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  • Coats calls for bipartisan election oversight commission
    "The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond. The most important part of an effective response is to finally, at long last, forge a genuinely bipartisan effort to save our democracy, rejecting the vicious partisanship that has disabled and destabilized government for too long. If we cannot find common ground now, on this core issue at the very heart of our endangered system, we never will. Our key goal should be reassurance. We must firmly, unambiguously reassure all Americans that their vote will be counted, that it will matter, that the people’s will expressed through their votes will not be questioned and will be respected and accepted. I propose that Congress creates a new mechanism to help accomplish this purpose. It should create a supremely high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election." - Former national intelligence director and Indiana senator Dan Coats, in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday morning. 
     
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  • Woodward on why Coats didn't speak out on Trump
    Bob Woodward, the author of the new book “Rage” discussed the way in which President Trump diminished former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and former DNI Dan Coats and why he thinks Mattis and Coats have not publicly spoken about the president. “It’s almost a book in itself,” Woodward said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday. “This was a man who was a senator from Indiana. He was retiring and he was offered this job from Mike Pence, and felt he could not say no. He went in with these Republican values and was stunned, shocked and, in a way, just ground down from Trump’s refusal to accept reality.” Woodward said that at one point Mattis and Coats talked after a National Security Council meeting. “Mattis says that Trump has no moral compass. And Coats says, ‘Donald Trump,’ their leader, ‘does not know the difference between a lie and the truth.’ They were in the latter phase of their lives. (Trump) pulled all of these stunts in a way that led them to the point where, in Coats’s case, his wife Marsha said to him, ‘Look, Dan, God put you in this job. You’re not just failing the country, yourself and your family, but God and you need to get organized.’ Trump expelled him when it did not serve Trump’s purposes.”  - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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