The Repeal Point of View

I’ve asked Dave Bond of STOP IN to explain their effort to repeal property taxes, as well as bond debt:

Repeal:  The real dealProperty taxes are a feudal holdover from old Europe (barons, serfs, Bayou Tapestry, Battle of Hastiness, imperial crap), in diametric conflict with free market economics, due to the absence of any transactional standard.  There is no market value system other than the market itself.  Buyers and sellers are the only legitimate arbiters of value, which is a transactional reality (an actual sale) and not the guess work of any illegitimately imposed, non-risk bearing, disinterested party (government).

Municipal bonds are a debt instrument or funding mechanism, frequently used to collateralize public development or expansion projects, like sewers, libraries, schools, etc.  Indiana law has established caps on the amount of bond indebtedness, to protect tax payers from an undue burden.  However, niche law, banking and development, routinely work around these protections; by creating essentially fictional but related entities (school building corporations, etc.), engaged in funky lease arrangements to elude the spirit and purpose of these caps (law).  In Marion County for example, an estimated 10% of the bond debt is leveraged directly against the cap, while 90% is lease related.  Ain’t that some shift !?!  It’s bull shift if you ask me.

It’s also useful to do a search of: Indiana bond debt limit, case law and you’ll find several articles that illuminate the problem.

This Site is Changing Focus

The WXNT website is about to change a lot. We are upgrading a lot of stuff, mostly the blogs. So as a result, my WXNT blog protest is over, and I will now post most of my political writings at the WXNT website. I will post the link soon. I may still post the truly disgraceful political coverage and analysis you’ve come to expect, but I want to get back to the focus of this site. Some stuff I can’t write on the work blog, if you know what I mean. I can’t say shit or anything on there!

As for this blog, I am going to start writing more of my personal thoughts here. And if it sounds like a 24 year old complaining about life, so be it. This blog may not be written for you.

My Interview with MLK III

This is an interview I did in November with the son of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott-King. He looks just like MLK, and it was like speaking to Dr. King himself. (He is the one speaking in the clip where Clinton is sleeping.)

It was one of the coolest things I’ve been able to do in my short life.

Bhutto was a Crook

I found an interesting article at The Atlantic that is definitely worth a look while we canonize Benazir Bhutto. A couple paragraphs are pasted, then the links below:

“Clearly, political assassinations are a bad thing. Equally clearly, political assassinations in a place like Pakistan seem to herald instability, and instability in Pakistan is frightening. That said, I think it’s worth being clear about something — from the perspective of someone who’s never spoken to Benazir Bhutto or any members of her inner circle, it seems like she was a really bad person and a terrible political leader. The main thing she did when in office was steal. A lot. Of money. From her extremely poor country. You have, basically, tens of millions of incredibly poor people in Pakistan. You have shitty infrastructure. You have a shitty school system. And you’re the Prime Minister. What do you do about it? You steal an incredible sum of money, while helping your associates likewise steal an incredible sum of money.

I’m not aware of anything changing for the better in Pakistan when she was running things. And as far as her credentials as a democratic opposition leader, it’s worth noting that she’s not the democratically elected leader who was deposed in Musharraf’s coup — her rival Nawaz Sharif was. Her plan was to use her strong base of support in the US to cajole Musharraf into some kind of power-sharing agreement with her. And if she’d gotten a bigger share of the power, she would have used it to steal more money.”

http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/12/dont_cry_for_me_pakistan.php

http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/12/in_perspective_2.php

I was IndyU?

A local blogger, the Scribe, has named me as a contributor to IndyU. Alas, no. I wish I were that connected. I am truly honored to be mentioned. I am just not that discreet. Trust me, If I had done something as effective as Indy Undercover, I’d be giving myself credit for it. That goes for some others I know, lol.

On Checks and Balances

One of the most wise elements of the American system is the concept of Checks and Balances. Most people only apply this theory to the three branches of government.

But let’s look at it through the paradigm of yesterday’s post:

(Please strip yourself of prejudicial thoughts on the words lobbyist and special interest.) Every person has a special interest. Every person in the United States is currently enjoying a benefit of the United States Government. And most likely a lobbyist, or a representative of a special interest, helped bring you this benefit of the collective passing of the hat. One man’s special interest is another man’s pork barrel spending.

Lobbying is a lucrative business for corporations, guilds, unions, and lawyers. Sometimes, a lot of times, the people get saddled with A LOT of stuff they don’t need to be paying for.

But can you blame a business or person for protecting their interest? Can you blame blame a person or business for trying to get as much “free money” as they can to further their cause? Maybe, Maybe not. You’d probably do the same. You probably benefit in some way from this cycle of grants, loans, and pork barrel spending.

So what benefits do you take away from the Government? What are your special interests? Global Warming? AIDS? Abortion? Gay Marrige? Student Loans? Please comment.

So this brings us to checks and balances. How do the citizenry protect themselves from being forced to pay for other people’s special interest?

PAY ATTENTION! You are the checks and the balance to special interest and the politicians they love.

Start at the smallest level of government. Go to City-Council meetings. Watch Channel 16. Call your local politicians. Figure out the basics of your local city or town. Then move up to the General Assembly and Governor. Then move on the the Senate and Congress.

It’s complicated. It shouldn’t be that way. It should be easy. But it isn’t. They’ve done it to keep the average person from figuring out the scams. But if you ask questions, and if you get to know your representative, you can make a difference.

On Ballard and his Dance Card

I know you’ll be surprised to learn that there is tension this morning between (possibly) Jen Wagner, Communications Director of the State’s Democratic party, and activist Melyssa Donaghy of the Hoosiers for Fair Taxation. Melyssa is disappointed that she and some others have not been given some credit that they probably deserve. Un-returned phone calls, un-answered emails, and un-requited requests are making the tax protesters lonely.

You can read Melyssa’s comments here:
http://hoosiersforfairtaxation.blogspot.com/

And Gary Welsh’s analysis here:
http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2007/12/jen-wagners-latest-project.html

And a new website, http://www.accidentalmayor.com/. It gives Melyssa and the Tax Protesters a dig. This is rumored to be Jenn Wagner, but I don’t know that for sure.

My Analysis:
I was at the party that Melyssa is referring to. In fact, other than Tully, I was the only member of the media that was there. (You can listen to the podcast of these speeches on the WXNT podcast feed.) It was about 1,000 Republicans gathered to hear the Governor and John Kasich. This was a fund raiser for the GOP.It wasn’t a cozy party with people in gaudy holiday sweaters. It was a thousand people at a big catered dinner to raise money for the GOP.
Ballard was the darling of the ball. And he wasn’t kissing butt, asking people to support him. He was there being chased, and wasn’t having to chase others. I would tend to agree that a lot of the State Party’s donors, those that spent Monday evening schmoozing Ballard, denied him before November 5th… And his speech from that night is a MUST LISTEN. He mentions several times that he did not have any money for his campaign. There were telling looks at every table. I think if Melyssa and other activists heard this, they’d cheer at his comments.
But, he is the leader of a Billion dollar corporation now, and must make some new contacts and friends. Powerful friends. To bring about the change that Indianapolis needs, you have to know those who have wielded power. Lobbyists, King Makers, and business donors are not a bad thing for politics as long as the person elected understands that he is there to represent the people who elected him. He isn’t there to make new campaign donors.

A fundamental truth in politics and life is that more money equals more access and power. BUT, Imagine Ballard as Eve in the garden. While some serpents may crawl near and whisper enticing propositions in his ear over the next few years, those serpents are only as powerful as Ballard’s choices.

Ballard will never forget having to go to the smallest neighborhood meetings to let ANYONE know that he existed. Relax. The average person doesn’t need a seat at the table because of who Ballard is and where he comes from. When you’ve been scorned by someone, you don’t forget, even if you forgive.

New Media and How We Communicate.

Thanksgiving Day at my house was a perfect commentary on modern life and technology. We gathered around the turkey and stuffing for a couple of hours, finished the dishes and spread out. I waddled downstairs to sit at my computer desk, logged on to Instant Messenger, Facebook, and my blog and began writing and looking at various things. After a bit, I walked into the family room, where my sister sat alone on her laptop on AIM, facebook, and her school website working on homework. I walked upstairs to get a piece of pie, and my mom was on the internet checking her email. My aunt had sent pictures from the party they had earlier that morning. A party held across town that we did not go to. So here we were… Three family members on a holiday where you are thrown together to communicate. One of three days out of the year you might see each other, and we spent it online, away from each other.

It’s not like I wasn’t communicating with people. I was IMing friends, writing on facebook walls, and blogging on my personal blog.

I just wasn’t communicating with my family face to face. Now, most people reading this probably think that that is crazy and a little wrong. But I guarantee that people do the same thing. We are better connected to those we love (and those we don’t even really care about) then any generation has ever been. Yet we still feel a little disconnected and lonely.

Let me float a theory. We are the greatest informed generation ever. One New York Times paper contains the same amount of information that the average person in the Middle Ages learned in one lifetime. We can go to sites like Joost, Vuze, You Tube, Hulu, Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, and hundreds of other websites to waste time. We go to these sites, and we fill our lives with little glimpses of other peoples lives so we don’t have to go out and meet new friends in person. In some cases, we don’t have to live our own. There is all the benefit of new friends and fun without any of the rejection. Before you meet someone in person, you can check their interests to make sure they match up with your own.

Is there something wrong with this? Is my generation wrong for pushing the creative envelope online? Or are we missing something that other generations have had?

Hmmmmmmm…

My philosophy as a state legislator is based on something said by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: ‘Cowardice asks, “Is it safe?” Vanity asks, “Is it popular?” Expedience asks, “Is it politic?” But conscience asks, “Is it right?” There comes a time when a person must do something, not because it is safe or popular or politic: they must do it because it is right.’” — State Rep. Bill Crawford

“I will say categorically, and your audience can do whatever they choose to do, That I defend Aaron’s right to call you Willie Lynch. I do not defend your right to use the “N-word” on your airwaves, or to defend anyone who uses the C word. And anyone that equates [those two], is a small minded person in my mind.” — State Rep. Bill Crawford

Representative Crawford, Abdul has not used to “N-word” on these airwaves in a derogatory manner. He has not defended Rishawn’s use of the phrase “Zip Coon.”

So ask your conscience, “Is it Right” for you to defend Aaron Haith and his racially insensitive statement that Abdul is Willie Lynch’s Grandson?

You ask for our audience to have a reaction. Ok. You may contact State Representative Bill Crawford via the Indiana House Democratic Caucus at (317) 232-9600.

http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_democrats/repsites/r98/

Feel free to call the Marion County Democratic Party at (317) 637-3366.

Also, give your city-councilor a call, and ask what their opinion of these comments are.

And for God-sakes…. VOTE ON TUESDAY!

(If you are still confused about who Willie Lynch is, check it out here: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_2167.shtml)

A C-O-N-Spiracy?!

We’ve been hearing rumors over the last few days regarding the Concerned Clergy, the Marion County Democrats, and Abdul’s fairness.

At a recent Democratic Council Candidate Caucus meeting, a few Democrats were trying to convince another Democrat that they should not appear on Abdul in the Morning. They stated that Abdul is not fair. It is Republican Radio in sheep’s clothing. Some felt their interview on AIM was unfair, and that Monroe Gray dominted the conversation.

AIM maintains that Monroe Gray has made himself the subject of questions. Abdul has not created these stories. He is simply the light peering through the bushell. That the Democrats have not effectively policed themselves begs us to ask the question to Council Candidates: “Will you do better?”

Let me break down the numbers: Over the last three weeks, we’ve had 11 Democratic Council Candidates, 13 Republicans, and 2 Libertarian. All of these candidates, with the exception of Democrat Sherron Franklin, were on with members of the opposite party. This allowed the Democrats to respond immediately to Republican claims.

Then today, a press conference was held to discuss Rishawn Biddle’s recent column where he used inappropriate racial language. http://blogs.indystar.com/expresso/archives/2007/10/coons_for_power.html

Rishawn was let go by the Star yesterday due to this blog. And today, the Concerned Clergy and the Marion County Democrats held a press conference. If Rishawn had not been fired, then this press conference certainly would have been Monroe Gray’s shinining example of Al Sharptonism. He, and the members of the Concerned Clergy, would have called for Rishawn’s firing in Imus fashion.

Today, we received some inside tips that there are some in this town who are now looking to turn this Imus-like circus towards Abdul in the Morning. Because Abdul’s point is usually the same as Rishawn’s (that African-Americans, Democrats, and Hoosiers deserve better leadership), the heat is now on this show. Many of the “ruling class” feel that this show is threatening their personal “Democracy.”

What could be less democratic then trying to shut down a talk show that discusses political corruption? What could be less democratic then targeting someone who diasagrees with a certain mindset, and doesn’t turn a blind eye to public burglary?

Stay Tuned. There are more baskets that need examination.