Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Indiana Senator Dick Lugar Has Not Lived in Indiana Since the Carter Administration

English: Official photo of Senator Dick Lugar ...
The Daily Caller: Indiana Senator Richard Lugar Doesn't Live Here Anymore:
Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar is running for re-election in a state he has not lived in for over 30 years.
That would seem to fly in the face of Article 1, Section 3 of the US Constitution:
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
So, Dick Lugar has not inhabited the state which he represents since the Carter Administration, which, in light of the US Constitution, would imply that he has not been eligible to run for the United States Senate since the Gerald Ford Administration. It's time to vote for Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate GOP primary.

Update: I forgot to mention. Props go to Greg Wright and Diana Vice for the research and reporting on this story. Great work!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Video: Social Security's Wealth Transfer from Young to Old

Reason Magazine: Why Geezers Are the True Enemy of the Occupy Movement:
"When you look at government policies, there's a massive transfer of wealth from the young and relatively poor members of society toward the old and relatively members of society," says Veronique de Rugy, a Reason magazine columnist and economist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Russ Carnahan: The Hatchet Man

Old and new windmills. Wind Capital Group. Photo credit: Paul Hamby
I recently blogged about the burgeoning crony capitalist business that is the Carnahan Family (Wind) Farm. That post concluded with the following quote from the MaryvilleDailyForum.com and then my own observations:
Should Wind Capital prevail [in their lawsuit against DeKalb county], the big losers in Nodaway and elsewhere would likely be rural school districts and small-town fire and rescue units.
While I certainly support smaller government, I do not think that the fat is to be found in rural schools or small-town fire and rescue, but it sure does make sense for the Carnahans to loot those generally Republican-leaning areas of the state to provide seed capital for the next revolution in their business cycle.
Sunday morning I remembered that Russ, Nancy Pelosi's lapdog, played a role last Spring in saving 30 St. Louis firefighter jobs. One wonders if Nodaway will enjoy the same largess from Washington if Tom Carnahan wins his lawsuit against DeKalb county. Will the residents of DeKalb be able to send the bill for their "rural school districts and small-town fire and rescue units" to their fellow Americans or is that a privilege reserved for cities like St. Louis?

St. Louis spends beyond its means and when it has to cut spending it's the teachers, firefighters, police, and other needed services that are put on the chopping block. Here's how the St. Louis Post Dispatch covered Russ Carnahan's "salvation" of those 30 union firefighter jobs:
ST. LOUIS • The city has won a federal grant worth $3.2 million, which will almost certainly spare 30 firefighter jobs from imminent layoffs. 
The Department of Homeland Security notified Rep. Russ Carnahan's office this morning via e-mail. 
"They've got the grant," said Sara Howard, Carnahan's communications director. "It means they've got the money for the jobs."
The St. Louis firefighters were so grateful that they gave Carnahan an "honorary hatchet":
At an ceremony planned for 11 a.m. today at Lafayette Fire Company No. 1, the St. Louis Fire Department will present Carnahan with an honorary hatchet, in thanks for his efforts that secured a federal grant earlier this year, preventing Fire Department layoffs following a bitter dispute over pensions.
This is the same Russ Carnahan that went to the shooting range and shot three bullets. Who shoots three bullets? And, knowing that, why are you giving him more weapons!?

Socialism: Gravest Threat to Freedom

English: GFDL picture of F.A. Hayek to replace...
zerohedge: F.A. Hayek On "The Great Utopia":
There can be no doubt that most of those in the democracies who demand a central direction of all economic activity still believe that socialism and individual freedom can be combined. Yet socialism was early recognized by many thinkers as the gravest threat to freedom.
Read the whole thing.

How to Grow your Crony Capitalist Business

Wind Capital Group's wind turbines. Photo credit: Paul Hamby

In 2009 the folks at 24thState reported on Tom Carnahan's Wind Capital Group expansion plan:
In light of the news that the Carnahan family wind farm business plans on using $90 million in stimulus and a quarter of billion in loans to build their new project, emails poured in from around the state complaining about the way the company does business.
And the way it does business is a text book examples of how crony capitalism works.

When we think about capitalism and markets we think about supply and demand. In the case of wind power, the Carnahans realized that they needed to manufacture demand. That was done when a November 2008 renewable energy ballot initiative passed in the Show Me State. Over the coming years, the amount of Missouri's energy which must be supplied by renewable sources will gradually climb to 15% in 2021.

With demand manufactured by state fiat and paid for by Missourians in the form of higher energy bills, the Carnahans now have the business justification for building their wind farms. They do not, however, have the capitalist drive to put their own money at risk, so they seek government assistance to finance their new venture.

As the 24thState article at the top indicates, this was done in part by creating an Enhanced Enterprise Zone in Dekalb county. Fast forward to October of 2010 and we learn that the "business" is paying "dividends":
In 2005, Tom Carnahan was a lawyer, and his brother was just elected to Congress. In that time, the company Tom Carnahan formed has given over 100,000 to Democrats, including the campaigns of his brother and sister, as well as to Democratic Party PACS that also give to his brother and sister.
A few days ago, MaryvilleDailyForum.com reported that it was time to expand the supply of Carnahan political donations windmills:
It took about four months longer than predicted, but the Missouri Department of Economic Development has finally approved two Enhanced Enterprise Zones designed to attract wind turbine construction countywide as well as promote various other kinds of industrial growth in the Elmo-Clearmont-Burlington Junction area. 
Wind Capital Group of St. Louis currently operates the county's only wind farm, which consists of twenty-four 2.1-megawatt turbines near Conception. Those machines are not included in either EEZ and are currently assessed at the full tax rate for real property. 
As the MaryvilleDailyForum.com notes, the Enhanced Enterprise Zones reduces the property taxes that Wind Capital has to pay, that means that municipalities will have less tax revenue at their disposal. The article notes that there's a legal dispute between Wind Capital and the DeKalb County Board of Equalization about the market and assessed values of each wind turbine and concludes:

Should Wind Capital prevail, the big losers in Nodaway and elsewhere would likely be rural school districts and small-town fire and rescue units.
While I certainly support smaller government, I do not think that the fat is to be found in rural schools or small-town fire and rescue, but it sure does make sense for the Carnahans to loot those generally Republican-leaning areas of the state to provide seed capital for the next revolution in their business cycle.

h/t: POed Patriot

Friday, January 27, 2012

Reflections on Missouri's 2nd Congressional District

Ed Martin
Ed Martin has decided to run for Attorney General in Missouri. He's taking some flak for having previously announced his candidacy for US Senate against Claire McCaskill and then switching to Missouri's Second Congressional District against Ann Wagner. The fact of the matter is that candidates in Missouri do not file to run in Missouri until February 28th, so while Martin has flitted around a bit, the impending filing deadline assures me that he wont be switching again.

Last Fall when Ed's supporters (and some say Ed himself) were hoping that he would enter the Missouri Governor's race, I wrote about what it would take for him to make that switch and I believe this holds for his switch to the AG race:
Yes, Ed Martin has grassroots support, but it's his ties to the Republican Party that must provide momentum for the push. The grassroots are not going to raise the million plus dollars required to put force behind that push. Furthermore, Martin will not elbow Peter Kinder out of the way even if the grassroots want him to. In short, the only realistic path I see for Ed Martin to enter the Governor's race is for the heir apparent, Peter Kinder, to pass the baton to Martin. That would involve stepping aside and endorsing Martin as well as providing an infusion of cash to a Martin for Governor campaign committee.
A lot has changed since I wrote that. Having been dogged by scandals and a lack of campaign cash, Kinder is now running for Lt Governor. Speaker of the Missouri House Steve Tilley has bowed out of the Lt. Governor race for personal and family reasons. Tilley had amassed a considerable war chest which is no longer available for the 2012 fight.

More importantly, Ed Martin has already accomplished the first thing he had to do to make this switch: he got numerous endorsements from around the state from both establishment Republicans and grassroots activists. The entire Republican delegation to Congress has endorsed him, but it's the other endorsements that speak volumes. The Republican leadership in Missouri government including Lt. Gov Kinder and Speaker Tilley as well as President Pro Tem Rob Mayer and Senator Kevin Engler have endorsed Ed. Mayer and Engler were in a fiercely contested Missouri Senate leadership battle that was ultimately decided by a coin toss in 2010. The Mayer endorsement is important for another reason. With no one willing to step forward and run for AG until Martin's announcement earlier this week, Mayer's name was one of the few floated. Having endorsed Ed, it seems likely that the primary season will be one focused on Chris Koster instead of a partisan primary fight. Given the change in the political landscape and choosing the AG office over the Governor's job, I'd give him an A- on my endorsement assignment.

Ed still has to complete the second assignment that I gave him: an infusion of cash. I expect that will come in the coming weeks and months, so I will give him through the first quarter to demonstrate that he can raise the money needed to beat Koster. At this point, he's got an incomplete for his second assignment.

How this Changes Missouri's 2nd Congressional District Race

Ann Wagner is hoping for a lightly contested primary followed by a pro forma general election that seats her in a sinecure for the next thirty years.

I don't think that's going to happen.

When Todd Akin stepped up to run for US Senate, Ann announced her candidacy for his old US House seat in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District (MO2). Ed Martin also announced his candidacy for MO2 around that time because he did not want to compete against Akin in the Senate race. I wonder if that deference is at play again. I wonder if Todd Akin is considering abandoning his bid for Senate and returning to run in MO2.

Akin has struggled to raise the money required for a Senate bid. Additionally, his campaign infrastructure has not scaled up to a state-wide effort very well. It's strained. That's not to say that he hasn't worked hard to reach out to the state--I saw him in Joplin last July--but that he has not done as well as his two competitors. And, because of his fundraising constraints, Akin has been forced to rely on family to help staff his campaign.

I think that it's probable that Akin will switch his candidacy to Missouri's 2nd Congressional District. He's got a tremendous base there. In fact, there are some areas of the district that have given him 90+% of the vote in recent primaries. Could Martin be deferring again?

Had Akin not moved to the Senate race, he would've had trouble raising any campaign funds. Had he stayed in MO2, an R+7 district, he wouldn't have needed much money to retain his seat. Jumping into the Senate race allows him to raise money against the bogey monster Claire McCaskill, but those funds will be available even if he abandons his Senate bid and returns to run against Ann Wagner in MO2. In short, was Martin's deference last Spring part of a pre-planned bait-n-switch from an Akin-Martin tag team aimed at Ann Wagner?

Probably not. Politics is too messy a business for that much duplicity...

Nancy keeps the spotlight on Newt

Fox News: Gingrich dismisses Pelosi claim she knows 'something':
Newt Gingrich challenged Nancy Pelosi to "bring it out" if she's got any damaging information about his past, after the House Democratic leader for the second time suggested she was sitting on information that could imperil his presidential candidacy.  
"I think if she knows something, she ought to say it, and if she doesn't know something, she ought to quit saying it," Gingrich told Fox News on Wednesday. "But this is baloney." 
Pelosi said earlier on CNN that Gingrich, who is surging in polls in Florida and nationally following his South Carolina primary win, will "never" be president.
Newt needs to stay in the news during the Republican presidential primary, so having Pelosi generate stories helps him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thoughts on Obama's SOTU Speech

Zerohedge: President Obama's State of the Union: Ten Skirted Issues:

Obama's speech was a compilation of highlights from his past ones. One part optimism, two parts repetition equals one total uninspiring. Maybe it’s so boring, because it matters so little at this point. Taking away popularity polls, our national threshold for belief in hope or change has been trampled, not just because of Obama or Romney, but of the whole political apparatus that thrives on deflection of reality and posturing. We don’t have the same energy to expend listening to politicians, the endless spin that renders fact obsolete, responsibility absent, and true accomplishment, unnecessary.

Overall, it was a disappointing speech.

Bay State Hockey and the White House

John Kerry with hockey injuries
The Post Game: Senator's Hockey Injuries Stand Out At NHL Champs' White House Visit:
NHL teams have visited the White House for years after winning the Stanley Cup, but it's a safe bet that never before has a Senator shown up more beaten and broken than the hockey players. 
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) was part of the ceremony honoring the Boston Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup win, appearing like he had just come from a knock-down, drag-out ruckus. 
Kerry, 68, suffered two black eyes and a broken nose during a "friendly game of hockey" with family and buddies over the Christmas break, according to TheHill.com. If that's the result of a friendly game, we don't want to be a part of an unfriendly one. 
"He must feel like Mitt Romney after South Carolina," Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith told the Boston Globe when confirming the injury.
In other Stanley Cup news from the White House, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas thumbed his nose at Obama administration. Thomas refused to appear with teammates :
"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. 
This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. 
Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.
Thomas is a Tea Partier so it's nice to see him use the President's photo op as a platform to condemn big government.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Video: Gerrymandering and the Courts

From the YouTube description:
In most states, the state legislature reconfigures its own map and the congressional map every ten years when the census numbers are finalized. Fifteen states have created redistricting commissions claiming that these commissions would be less politic cal. 
The fact is that even in the states that create district maps by special commissions with tie breaking voters are political. They don't start out that way. Everyone makes great speeches about "fairness" and "equity" but in the end, in every state that redistricts by commission, it is a political decision based on party politics. Diane Carman writing for the Denver Post ten years ago said, "Getting the partisanship out of politics is like trying to take the sex out of porn." 
Since the beginning of our nation, there was always gamesmanship. The most famous story comes to us from Massachusetts in 1812. Governor Eldbridge Gerry, a patriot who was outspoken in his support for Samuel Adams before the American Revolution, takes the rap for the redistricting practice known as "Gerrymandering." Gerry was the leader of the Democratic - Republican Party in Massachusetts. To prevent the Federalists from winning control of Massachusetts, Gerry supported a map that captured 29 legislative seats for his Democratic Republican party and only 11 seats for the Federalist Party even though the Democratic Republican party only had 50,164 votes while the Federalists had 51,766 votes in Massachusetts. The Gerrymandering of Massachusetts gave a more than 2 to one majority to a political party that represented less than half of the voting population. 
Even as the work of the state legislatures and commissions conclude their deliberations and recommend new voting maps over the next several months, redistricting will remain in the news for years. There will be new issues that the courts will be called upon to decide and the political gamesmanship between the political parties will inevitably work its way to the judicial branch of government as their referee.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

IL Republican Rodger Cook on the XL Pipeline

Roger Cook
Roger Cook
In response to President Obama's cancellation of the XL pipeline and the 20,000 American jobs that it would create, conservative Republican Rodger Cook sent out the following press release. Cook is running in Illinois's 12th Congressional District.

Cook to the President: “Stop putting politics before American jobs.”

Contact: Ben Evans 573-268-2790 
Belleville, IL….President Obama moved to block the Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport oil from tar sands in Canada to the US.  Underlying the Keystone Project are many political implications.  Rodger Cook, a candidate for the US House in the 12th Congressional District of Illinois, sees the project as a source of many much needed jobs in a struggling economy. 
“Once again President Obama and his administration have put politics ahead of what is best for this country and the American worker. Thousands of jobs and the opportunity to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil has been put aside to satisfy his left wing political base. Enough is enough!” replied Cook.  
Rodger Cook sees reviving the economy as a central issue in his campaign, and keeping the government from hindering job creation is important.  The US Chamber of Commerce determined that this project could create upwards of 250,000 jobs in the US.  Southwestern Illinois could benefit tremendously from similar projects related to coal mining.  Developing the mining industry in the Illinois 12th Congressional District, in addition to the Keystone Project, would help America become energy independent.  
Cook stated, “President Obama obviously has no interest in developing an energy independent America that does not rely on Middle Eastern oil.  We should be drilling and mining at home, and working closely with North American allies like Canada.”  
In addition to the economic and energy interests at stake, the Obama Administration’s decision to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline will have foreign policy implications.
“Stopping the Keystone Project affects job creation in our struggling economy, but it also has implications in foreign policy.  The last thing Americans want is for this oil to end up someplace like China, and this may hurt our ties with ally Canada,” said Cook. 
# # #  
Paid for by Rodger Cook for Congress
P.O. Box 397
St. Libory, IL 62282

Friday, January 20, 2012

After Party: Caucusing

Thanks to Wes Bradley for the photos above from last night's After Party which was about caucusing. The St. Louis Tea Party is working to raise awareness about Missouri's March county caucuses because the Show Me State will select our president through the caucus system. You may have heard about the February 7th primary; however, that primary is meaningless, since the March caucus will start the process of selecting Missouri's 52 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Make sure you get your county caucus, the district convention, and the state convention on your schedule.

The feedback that I've gotten about last night's Caucusing After Party has been positive with the exception that the venue was too small for the crowd which made it hard to hear the speakers at times. I think the structure of the training worked well. Ruth Carlson of Life is Political, ran a mock caucus which followed the caucus agenda provided by the Missouri GOP. At each agenda item, Ruth would take questions from the audience and provide an explanation of what was to come.

If you've never participated in a caucus, it's hard to understand how they work. The rules of the caucus are defined during each county caucus, so simply coming with a slate of candidates that back your favorite Republican presidential candidate is insufficient, but planning is also difficult since the rules aren't known in advance. With that in mind, here are some pre-caucus planning steps that you can take:
  1. If supporters of a particular candidate control 50% + 1 votes at a given caucus then they will (probably) get all of the delegates and alternates from that county caucus
  2. If no particular candidate's supporters have 50% + 1 votes at a given county caucus then there will (probably) be a more proportional assignment of delegates and alternates from that county caucus
  3. You should invite your like-minded friends and neighbors--the people you know support the candidate you support or at least share your principals--to the caucus and make sure that they plan to be there. Maybe you could car pool with them to the caucus location.
  4. Figure out your county GOP chair from the MOGOP website. In early March, call them and confirm a) the date, b) time, and c) location of the caucus. Ask to be updated if that changes and leave your name and phone number.
Numbers 1 and 2 drive whether or not your county caucus will be "winner take all" or proportional. I see two main factions developing before March: 1) GOP establishment probably behind Romney and 2) Ron Paul. Maybe Gingrich or Santorum will hold on until Missouri's March caucuses. In my opinion, Tea Partiers should form a third, perhaps uncommitted, faction and reach out to these factions now. I think Ron Paul's supporters may be easier to work with here. In 2008 they were shafted by the state GOP (here are some examples: example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5, example 6, example 7, example 8, example 9, example 10, example 11, example 12, example 13, example 14, example 15, example 16, example 17, example 18, example 19, example 20, and example 21), so this year is a grudge match for Ron Paul's Missouri team. They may be willing to put some Tea Partiers on their caucus slate if that will push their caucus representation over that 50% + 1 threshold. If you're one of those Tea Partiers, it does not mean that you have to support Ron Paul at the District and State conventions. This is merely a strategy for driving Tea Party representation at those conventions by compromising at the March county caucus.

Now, as per #4, contact your county GOP chair and let them know that you'd like to attend the caucus! They may not have a location for their caucus yet, so leave your phone number and email address so they can follow up with you later.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Texas: Romney Up for Prez, Cruz is Closing for Senate

Public Policy Polling: Romney, Dewhurst lead in Texas:
Rick Perry's Presidential campaign is doing about as bad in Texas now as it is everywhere else in the country. When PPP last polled the state in September he was at 49%, leading Mitt Romney by 39 points.  Now Perry's support has declined by 31 points, leaving him in 3rd place at 18%. Mitt Romney at 24% and Newt Gingrich at 23% lead the way with Rick Santorum at 15%, Ron Paul at 12%, and Buddy Roemer at 0% rounding out the field behind Perry.
What might be most shocking on this poll is that Romney edges Perry 46-45 if Republican voters had to pick just between the two of them. When we asked that identical question four months ago Perry led Romney 72-18.  There's been a 55 point shift in Romney's direction.
It's surprising to me that Romney beats Perry in his home state face-to-face. It's within the margin of error, though. The polling on the US Senate race in Texas is getting interesting, too. While there's still a sizable gap, Tea Party conservative Ted Cruz is closing in on his establishment adversary David Dewhurst:
Things are getting a little bit more interesting in the Republican primary for Senate. David Dewhurst still holds a large lead over Ted Cruz, but it's down from 29 points in September to now just 18. Dewhurst is at 36% to 18% for Cruz, 7% for Tom Leppert, 4% for Craig James, 2% for Joe Agris, 1% each for Glenn Addison and Lela Pittenger, and 0% for Charles Holcomb.
At this point, Cruz has to consolidate votes from the other conservatives while building his name recognition and whittling away at Dewhurst's establishment base. The primary is coming up fast. Texas votes on March 6th April 4th (see first comment below; more here), Super Tuesday, for both president and US Senate as well as other primary contests.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Video: Richard Mourdock: It's Time

In their efforts to help reboot congress, the Mourdock campaign has begun airing their first TV spot. From the press release accompanying the video above:
Indianapolis, IN (December 16, 2012) Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, U.S. Senate Candidate in 2012 Republican Primary against six-term incumbent Dick Lugar, announced the airing of the campaign’s first television ad this week on statewide cable during the Republican Presidential debates on Fox News and CNN. 
The ad contrasts Lugar’s support for gun control, bailouts, amnesty for illegal aliens, wasteful government spending and liberal judges with Richard Mourdock’s record as a consistent conservative. In addition, the ad highlights Lugar’s close relationship with President Obama and his status as “Obama’s Favorite Republican.” 
Since declaring his candidacy on February 22, 2011, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock has traveled across Indiana listening to Hoosiers who are concerned about the direction of our country. 
“It’s time we stop kicking the ‘tin can of responsibility’ down the road regarding the federal budget. We must rollback federal spending, eliminate wasteful government earmarks and repeal ObamaCare, which is nothing more than a takeover of private healthcare by Washington. It’s time to elect a true conservative to the U.S. Senate, starting with the May 8th Republican Primary,” explained Treasurer Mourdock. 
It’s Time: 30 TV Spot
VO: Since 1976, Dick Lugar has voted for... 
The Brady Bill

“H.R. 1025: Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act Federal Firearms License Reform Act of 1993: Roll Call Vote No. 394.” Congressional Record. 11/20/1993.
The Bridge to Nowhere“H.R. 3058: Roll Call Vote No. 264.” Congressional Record. 10/20/2005.
The Dream Act“H.R. 5281: Roll Call Vote No. 625.” Congressional Record. 12/18/2010.
The TARP Bailout

"H.R.: 1424: Emergency Economic Stablization Act of 2008: Roll Call Vote No. 213." Congressional Record 10/2/2008.
Sonia Sotomayor“PN506: Roll Call Vote No. 262.” Congressional Record. 8/06/2009.
Elena Kagan“PN67: Roll Call Vote No. 107.” Congressional Record. 03/19/2009.
Raising The Debt Ceiling
“S. 365: Budget Control Act of 2011: Roll Call Vote No. 123.” Congressional Record. 8/2/2011.
Dick Lugar…no wonder he’s called, “Obama’s Favorite Republican.”MSNBC (10/17/2008).
Richard Mourdock…
Balance the Budget.
End Earmarks.
Repeal ObamaCare
Richard Mourdock
It's Time
Richard Mourdock: I'm Richard Mourdock, and I approve this message          

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dissembling Dick Lugar and his Green Dream: EnerDel

Real Clear Politics and CBS News: 11 More Solyndras In Obama Energy Program:
CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson takes a look at 11 more Solyndras that were part of Obama's Energy program. Attkisson was one of the original reporters that uncovered the Solyndra scandal.  
CBS News counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for more than $6.5 billion in federal assistance. Five have filed for bankruptcy: The junk bond-rated Beacon, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, AES' subsidiary Eastern Energy and Solyndra. 
According to CBS News, Beacon Power, a "green energy storage company," recieved $43 million from the government. Standard and Poor's had given the project a rating of "CCC-plus."
No mention of EnerDel or its parent company, Ener1, which was de-listed from the NASDAQ last October:
New York-based Ener1 received a $118.5 million grant to expand its manufacturing operations in Indianapolis, Ind., run by a subsidiary EnerDel, which received a visit from Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year. 
But NASDAQ pulled the firm from trading Friday for failing to file its most recent quarterly report on time. Ener1 also let go of its chairman, Charles Gassenheimer, late last month.

Last November, Richard Mourdock noted that EnerDel was supported by federal stimulus funding:
INDIANAPOLIS (November 3, 2011) – Electric car battery manufacturer EnerDel, which received a $118.5 million federal stimulus grant, was placed on a “watch list” by the DOE earlier this week for being the latest company in serious financial trouble aided by the department. Last Friday, EnerDel’s parent company Ener1 was delisted from the NASDAQ exchange for failing to file a June 30th quarterly report.  Ener1 is controlled by Russian millionaire and timber magnate Boris Zingarevich.  Senator Dick Lugar supported securing the taxpayer-backed loan for the failing battery manufacturer in 2009.
Lugar responded the next day in a manner reminiscent of his Senate colleague John I-was-for-the-war-before-I-was-against-it Kerry:
Lugar opposed the Obama stimulus bill that funded the grant. But Lugar pointed out that once funds were appropriated and the Department of Energy was going to spend the funds, and he was determined that Indiana should not be left out of the competition for creating private sector jobs.
I point that out because Lugar's Senate office press release about the award to EnerDel dissembles--some might even say "lies"--about the source of the funding for this green boondoggle:
The projects, being funded by annual federal appropriations, will focus on improving battery material performance, developing manufacturing processes to increase performance, and decreasing the cost of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) batteries. 
The phrase "annual federal appropriations" implies that the funding EnerDel received was from the annual budget. In fact, EnerDel's funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka: "the stimulus bill"). It's not exactly news when a politician distorts the truth, but it's time to retire Dick Lugar and elect Richard Mourdock in his place.

Update: Thanks to Smitty at the OtherMcCain for the link!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dick Lugar: A Wilsonian Internationalist funded by George Soros

On Thursday I got an email from Richard Mourdock's Indiana Senate campaign about Dick Lugar's ties to George Soros. Mourdock is calling on Lugar to return the $1000 contribution made in April of 1994 by the leftist financier:
Indianapolis, IN (January 12, 2012) Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, U.S. Senate Candidate in 2012 Republican Primary, called on Senator Dick Lugar to divest himself of a $1,000 campaign contribution from billionaire investor and leading financier of liberal causes George Soros.

“While true conservatives were fighting to regain control of Congress from the Democrats during the ‘Republican Revolution’ of 1994, Dick Lugar was taking campaign money from George Soros. Now that this has been brought to light, he should divest himself of this money with interest,” said Treasurer Mourdock.
Mourdock, the Tea Party candidate in Indiana's GOP primary, is trying to unseat 35 year incumbent Dick Lugar who doesn't even live in Indiana and hasn't since the Carter administration.

As I looked at a few other Indiana blogs tonight, I was surprised to also learn that Wendell Willkie's great-grandson, David W. Willkie, is working on Lugar's campaign. Apparently, Lugar is quite fond of international progressivism and one-world government. As Diana of Welcome to My Tea Party writes:
Willkie's great-grandson, David W. Willkie, heads Lugar's re-election efforts. A former Senate Foreign Relations staffer, Mr. David Willkie, like his great-grandfather and Senator Lugar, is a Wilsonian Internationalist. He is a very proud of his great-grandfather. 
If you subscribe to world government, Progressivism and prefer left-leaning Republicans, these facts may not be troubling. If you are a Constitutional conservative, loyal to the ideals of our founders, you might feel otherwise.
Wendell Willkie was one of several moderate Republican candidates for US President that conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly railed against in her 1964 book A Choice Not an Echo. Schlafly explained the tactics used by the mostly New York-based "kingmakers" to thwart conservative candidates and install cronies of big-business and Wall Street. In 2012, we're seeing something similar to what Schlafly warned against only this time, instead of the moneyed interests just vying for control of Republican Presidential candidates, we see the hands of the kingmakers in US House races like the one between Ed Martin and Enterprise Rent-a-Car Ann Wagner and Senate races like the one in Indiana.

Indiana has many thriving Tea Parties and they've done exactly what Phyllis Schlafly said needed to be done back in 1964: take over the Republican Party. That is evidenced by the fact that Mourdock has received the endorsements of over 70% of Indiana's GOP county chairmen and over 90 Tea Parties in the state--all but one. Mourdock needs money to win his May primary. If you want to help retire Dick Lugar, a Wilsonian internationalist funded by George Soros, then you should send a some money to Richard Moudock's campaign. I did.

Questioning Ann Wagner and Enterprise

Enterprise says "no company resources have been used or will be used on behalf" of Wagner's campaign.
Wagman notes that Ray Wagner is not a lobbyist; however, Ray Wagner, is the Government & Public Affairs Vice President for Enterprise. I touched on that last December:
...Ray Wagner is not a registered lobbyist. However, Ray Wagner is Government & Public Affairs Vice-President for Enterprise. In that capacity, he stewards Enterprise's lobbying activities, so focusing on the fact that he personally is not a lobbyist obscures the point that all of Enterprise's lobbyist are his subordinates.
I think people read that Ray isn't a lobbyist, breath a sigh of relief, and then miss the fact that he hires, fires, promotes, compensates, and directs the daily activities of Enterprise's fleet of lobbyists. As the head of government affairs he directs their lobbying efforts including which candidates and issues Enterprise supports. He provides the strategic vision for their corporate lobbying efforts while others typically implement that vision on the ground.

My question is whether or not Ann Wagner or Enterprise have violated FEC regulations. As Wagman wrote in the Post Dispatch: "Even using company stationery on a fundraising plea could be a potential violation."

In Federal elections most donations to a new candidate for public office come from individuals. And donations from individuals to a Federal campaign are limited to $2,500. In Missouri state races, there are no limits and you tend to see a greater percentage of PAC money go to candidates. As the Government & Public Affairs Vice President, Ray Wagner would oversee those donations from Enterprise's PAC to Missouri state house races.

Candidates for office use a lot of different tactics to drive fundraising. In the St. Louis area, trivia night competitions are one popular fundraiser. A trivia night will involve a number of topic categories (history, sports, entertainment, etc.) from which questions will be asked. The individual or table that gets the most correct answers will win a nominal, often donated, prize while the money raised will go to the candidate's campaign. While you can buy a seat at a trivia night, it is much more common to get a group of friends together and buy a table. Corporate PACs often buy tables at these fundraisers.

Late last September, Missouri State Representative Sue Allen held a trivia night fundraiser. Sue's a solid conservative who's district has significantly changed in Missouri's recent redistricting. She needs to raise funds to increase her name recognition because of those new boundries--find out more about Sue Allen and donate to her campaign. To encourage donors to purchase tables at her September trivia night, any donor who bought a table would be allowed to read the trivia questions for one round.

On September 14th, Enterprise Holdings Inc. PAC donated $1,000 to Missouri State Rep Sue Allen. That's documented on page ten of Sue Allen's October Missouri Ethics Commission disclosure report embedded below. No one with the name "Wagner" is mentioned in that disclosure report.

As you can see in the picture below, Ann Wagner's reading questions at Sue Allen's trivia night. Reports from attendees at that fundraiser indicate that she read questions for four rounds. Is this the strategic vision of Ray Wagner: to buy a speaking platform in front of a room full of donors for his wife, a candidate for Congress, and finance that platform with Enterprise PAC money? I don't know if that rises to the level of using Enterprise stationary for Ann Wagner campaign solicitations, but it is an advantage other candidates around the country do not enjoy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ron Paul calls on Losers to Surrender


BuzzFeed: Ron Paul To Everyone But Mitt: Drop Out:
Rep. Ron Paul's campaign called on the rest of the Republican field to drop out of the race and unite behind him in order to defeat Mitt Romney. 
“We urge Ron Paul’s opponents who have been unsuccessfully trying to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney to unite by getting out of the race and uniting behind Paul’s candidacy,” campaign chair Jesse Benton said in a statement.
I wonder if they have internal polling that shows Ron Paul beating Mitt Romney head-to-head.

Ed Martin speaks at the Consent of the Governed Rally

When the new legislative session began earlier this month in Jefferson City, Tea Partiers from around Missouri gathered in the capitol building for the Consent of the Governed Rally. Ed Martin spoke to the crowd about state sovereignty.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mia Love for Congress in Utah's new 4th CD

Mia Love is running for Congress in Utah:
In November 2011, Mia Love filed to run for Utah’s newly formed 4th Congressional District based on her demonstrated leadership on conservative principles. She credits her parents with providing the foundation for her ideals. After many years of living in the unstable, regime-torn socialist island country of Haiti, her parents immigrated legally to the United States with $10 in their pockets in hopes of achieving the American Dream. 
Mia was born in Brooklyn, New York and eventually moved to Connecticut. Mia recalls both parents working hard to earn a living, her father at times taking on second jobs cleaning toilets to pay for school for their three children. On the day of Mia’s college orientation, her father said something to her that would become the ethos for her life: 
“Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.” 
Mia graduated from the University of Hartford with a degree in fine arts. She found faith. Then she found Jason. And then she found herself in Utah ready to give back. Mia served two terms on the city council of Saratoga Springs, one of Utah’s fastest growing cities. As City Councilwoman and eventually Mayor, Mia led the city through a period of 1700% population growth in a decade. Under her leadership, the city was able to successfully navigate the drastic transition from agricultural fields to a booming residential community. When the citizen growth necessitated fire and police services, Mia fought to make sure the city’s first ever residential tax implementation would only pay for those essential services, and she structured it in such a way that the tax decreased as a percentage of property value.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rolling out Dave Spence for Governor

Dave Spence

David Spence introducing himself to Missouri Republicans:
ST. LOUIS • Months after he first discussed the goal of seeking the Republican nomination for governor, St. Louis businessman Dave Spence remains a virtual unknown to most party activists across Missouri.
Thus begins Jake Wagman's coverage of Dave Spence in the Post Dispatch this past Saturday. Spence is a political newcomer, so I expect him to make some mistakes along the way. I think he could have announced his candidacy better, but I also appreciate the fact that he was willing to engage a grassroots organization like the St. Louis Tea Party. The photo above was from the Tea Party's Christmas Party last December. Since my initial criticism was about the fact that he didn't engage grassroots for his announcement, I see his willingness to meet with Tea Partiers in December as a course correction. Hopefully, he remains on his new heading.

The Post Dispatch provides a good introduction to Spence, so read the whole thing. Below, I will focus on what I think Spence's strategy should be to earn grassroots support.

In addition to Spence, Bill Randles has announced that he's running for governor. Randles has already begun to build a base of grassroots conservative support; however, Randles hasn't been able to raise much money. This race looks to be one between Randles grassroots boots on the ground and Spence's TV and radio driven air war. Ultimately, one of these two men will face Gov. Jay Nixon next November. Nixon raised over $17M in his 2008 campaign and has a reputation as a moderate Democrat. He will be hard to beat.

Because of his money advantage, I believe that Spence will win the primary unless Randles rapidly raises a lot more money. Basically, Spence will be able to buy the name id that Randles can't afford and that's what will win the primary for him. However, Spence has to be careful not to alienate Randles's supporters because Spence needs them to join him in the Fall for the fight against Nixon.

To do that, Spence needs to be accessible. He could host get togethers around the state like Ed Martin's "Ask Ed Anything" events. Speaking engagements will also help. He has to make a point of engaging the people who've come to see him. Often those people have come because they have a question for the candidate, so he needs to allow time at the end of those speeches to mingle.

I think there need to be several debates between Spence and Randles and they need to be held around the state so voters have an opportunity to see these candidates. At least a couple of debates should occur during the legislative session so that these men can comment on the Republican controlled General Assembly and their own legislative priorities. Spence should expect to be attacked by Randles (which isn't to say that Randles will attack him, merely that Spence should be prepared), but Spence needs to be gracious in his self-defense if he wants Randles supporters to help him in the Fall.

Ultimately, I would like to see Jay Nixon defeated in November. If Spence plays his cards right during the primary he could gain additional grassroots support in the Fall. The primary fight in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District between Ed Martin and Ann Wagner is also shaping up to be one between Ed's ground game and Ann's air campaign; however, that district is solidly conservative, so many grassroots activists will be looking for something else to do once the primary is over. Spence (and Randles) should build bridges to those activists during the primary so they can leverage those grassroots against Nixon in the Fall.

Ann Wagner Opens Campaign Office

Ann Wagner is running against Tea Party conservative Ed Martin in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District. She begins speaking in the video above at the one minute mark.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Comparing the Employment-Population Ratio to the Unemployment Rate

Employment-Population Ratio versus the Unemployment Rate
Earlier today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their monthly Employment Situation Summary for December of 2011. The top line numbers are 200k new jobs and the unemployment rate of 8.5%. Those are good, but not great numbers.

What's more interesting to me is that while the Unemployment Rate is continuing to trend downward, the Employment-Population Ratio is holding steady (the BLS will break that link in a month):
The civilian labor force participation rate (64.0 percent) and the employment- population ratio (58.5 percent) were both unchanged over the month. (See table A-1.)
How can the unemployment rate decline while the ratio of employed people to the total population remains constant? This has to do with the formula used to calculate the unemployment rate. That rate is figured based on the number of people who are working versus the number of people looking for work. Those are the people who are considered employed or looking for work. But someone who's been looking for work for a long enough time is no longer considered "in the labor force." They are re-categorized as "marginally attached to the labor force" and, if their search for employment is unsuccessful for a long enough period, they will be re-categorized again as "discouraged workers."

There were 2.5M people listed as marginally attached to the labor force. Of those, 945k were discouraged workers.

Analyzing Iowa

The Weekly Standard: Morning Jay: What Iowa Tells Us About the State of the Race:
Mitt Romney received eight more votes in the Iowa caucuses than Rick Santorum. The media is spinning this as if it matters who actually receives more votes. It really doesn't. This is a battle for delegates -- a long one. It's not a winner take all election to serve as Iowa governor, senator, or whatever. Thus, it's fair to conclude that both Romney and Santorum won; Bachmann, Gingrich, and Perry lost; and Paul remains a libertarian insurgent who cannot win the GOP nomination because he is too far out of step with the modern GOP.
As always, Jay Cost provides an excellent review of the numbers. He concludes: "[Romney's] advantage is due primarily to the weakness of his opposition." It certainly looks that way.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Satire: Emmis Communications and Enterprise Rent a Car Exchange Gifts

Ann Wagner (left) presents John (right) and wife Lori Beck (center) with the flag from the Enterprise Corporate Headquarters
St. Louis -- In a symbolic gesture to mark the winter holidays, Ann Wagner, a Republican candidate in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District, presented John and Lori Beck with the flag that used to fly over Enterprise Rent a Car's corporate headquarters. John Beck, Senior Vice President of Emmis Communications, and his wife Lori returned the favor by holding a fundraiser at their home for undecided supporters of Wagner's Congressional campaign. John Beck emphasized that they held the fundraiser to show their impartiality in the hotly contested 2nd Congressional District. Beck also noted that his on-air staff at 97.1FM Talk would continue to emphasize that they are undecided in the race between Ann Wagner and Tea Party conservative Ed Martin. Radio personalities Jamie Allman and Dana Loesch reaffirmed their indifference to Ann Wagner while also demonstrating their commitment to neutrality in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District.

Claire's Eminent Domain

Mass Appeal News: KC Race track draws ire:
Loud noise or racing history? That’s the dilemma facing Kansas City public officials and supporters of the Kansas City International Raceway, a popular drag racing strip on the brink on demolition. On Wednesday (Nov 2), the Planning and Zoning Committee gave clearance to the park board to purchase the race track, which consists of 93 acres along Noland Road near 350 Highway in the southeast part of Kansas City.
“It has been a long time coming,” said 5th District at-large Councilwoman Cindy Circo. “It was a priority, and there was money available for it.”
On May 26, a condemnation notice was sent out by Capital Projects Development to NP3 Racing Incorporated, the rightful owner of KCIR.
Word on the street claims NP3 and other property owners in the vicinity were given ultimatums to either sell their lots or risk condemnation.
Some believe Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is one of the parties primarily responsible for what many believe is a forced sale. She reportedly owns several acres in the immediate area that she has been trying to sell for years. The aforementioned Circo is a known fundraiser for McCaskill. See the correlation?
Like McCaskill (pictured left), Christine Kemper of the Kansas City Sports Commission owns a property near the track. She is also a long-time adversary of KCIR. And, although Kemper has been successful in levying fees and operational restrictions against the drag racing strip, she couldn’t muster enough momentum to shut the track down.

Let me start out by saying that the "sale" of the track is not a decision that the owners want to make. They are not sell-outs, nor are they willingly abandoning the racing community. They are as deeply tied to racing, if not more, than anyone here.

In a nutshell, this was a political move. It may be one person, it may be a combination of people, but there are only 3 major players who have the kind of clout around KC to force the sale of the track.

1. Claire McCaskill. She owns approximately 27 acres (I believe) in the immediate vicinity of the track. My understanding is that she has been unable to market or sell her property for a significant profit because of the proximity of her property to the race track. That might make a good motive to lean on the city to force the track out of operation. And you can't forget councilwoman Circo...who also happens to be a fundraiser for Claire McCaskill. Interesting how that works out, isn't it?


Next, while what the city may try to claim is that this is a voluntary sale, nothing could be further from the truth. The city had been trying to buy the track for a while, but could never come up with any money. So the track entered into negotiations with another buyer (who would actually keep the track there, but would result in an infusion of cash for the track). After finding out that the current owners had found a buyer that would keep the track where it is, the city sent a letter threatening the condemnation of the land. Guess what that did to the sale of the property.

Tony's Kansas City (while this link is fine, some Tony's KC posts are NSFW) does a good job deconstructing the ordinance fact sheet in these three docs:
Did Claire McCaskill pull Cindy Circo's strings for the eminent domain threat? Will McCaskill profit from putting a small business, the Kansas City International Raceway, out of business?