Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Legal Insurrection Endorses Mourdock in Indiana Senate Race

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: Retire Richard Lugar, Elect Richard Mourdock:
Not surprisingly, Lugar is using scare tactics, claiming the seat will be lost to Democrats if Lugar is not the nominee.  That’s nonsense. 
Indiana is a solid Republican state, and it was a historical fluke that it voted for Obama in 2008.  The likely Democratic nominee, Congressman Joe Donnelly, is a weak candidate who only is running for Senate because he was redistricted.  In my conversation with Mourdock, Mourdock pointed out that in the last election, when Mourdock was running for State Treasurer, Mourdock received more votes in Donnelly’s district than Donnelly received.
Richard Mourdock represents a real opportunity to move Indiana to the right in the US Senate. Mourdock has the boots on the ground as a press release the other day indicated. Among precinct committeemen in Indiana's Delaware and Henry Counties, Mourdock polled 88% to Lugar's 12%. While he doesn't have the funding that Lugar has, Mourdock does understand that the precinct committeeman is the most powerful office in the country.

Video: Ron Calzone on Ballot Initiatives in Missouri

At the last After Party a week and a half ago, Ron Calzone spoke to the crowd about American history and the importance of Missouri's ballot initiative and referendum (I&R) process. Here are some photos I took that evening:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Greece Downgraded to Selective Default

Wall Street Journal: S&P Downgrades Greece To Selective Default, Cites CACs:
Greece became the first euro-zone member to be officially rated in default Monday, 13 years after the single European currency was adopted in what supposed to a be project to strengthen the European Union. 
Standard & Poor's on Monday cut Greece's long-term credit rating to selective default from double-C. The move was expected, as S&P said earlier this month it would consider Greece in default if it retroactively added so-called collective-action clauses to its sovereign debt as part of an effort to force creditors to participate in a bond swap offering. Greece's parliament approved that measure late last week, giving S&P the ammunition it needed to cut the rating.
ZeroHedge has an important question about Greece's selective default:
Our question for former Goldmanite and current ECB head Mario Dragi: does the ECB allow defaulted bonds to be pledged as collateral within the Euro System?
Now's a good time to brush up on debt subordination as it applies to Greece.

Jessica Ehrlich to Run Against Bill Young in Florida

Roll Call: Florida: Democrat to Announce Against Bill Young Today:
Former Congressional aide and attorney Jessica Ehrlich (D) will announce a bid for Congress today against 21-term Rep. Bill Young (R) in Florida’s newly numbered 13th Congressional district. 
“It’s time for Washington to stop its petty arguing and get down to the serious business of creating jobs, investing in our future, and improving the lives of all Americans,” Ehrlich said in a statement. “Bill Young has represented Pinellas County honorably and admirably, but over his more than 40 years in Congress, he’s changed. Representative Young has lost touch with our values and our priorities and has become a symbol of what’s wrong with Washington.” 
But Ehrlich, who has worked for former Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.) and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), will have a steep and rocky road to unseating Young, who was first elected to Congress in 1970.
Bill Young has been representing Florida in the US House of Representatives since 1970--almost 42 years. The total accumulated debt of the United States when Young entered Congress was less than $392 billion. Today, it's nearly 42 times that at a whopping $15.4 trillion according to the US Debt Clock. With respect to the debt problem, Bill Young does not appear to be the solution.

Update: Corrected the total debt when Young began his Congressional career.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Video: Understanding the Public Pension Crisis

One of the many forms of public debt that threatens to overwhelm the United States are our public pension obligations. The video above is a good introduction to the problem. From the YouTube description:
Public pensions are facing a crisis:$6 Trillion in the red. 
Watch as Scott Beaulier from Troy University breaks down the situation with public pensions and explains why the current system of public pensions is unsustainable and needs reform.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Video: Understanding the European Debt Crisis

The video above is a good introduction to the European debt crisis.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Video: A Humorous Take on Quantitative Easing

Just watch it and enjoy!

Video: Adam Andrzejewski Praises Rodger Cook's Financial Transparency

Rodger Cook (cookforcongress.org) and Adam Andrzejewski (forthegoodofillinois.org) talk about the need for candidates for public office to release their income tax filings this past Tuesday, February 21st. Cook is running for Congress in IL-12 and released his income statements recently. Cook's opponent in the GOP primary, Jason Plummer, has so far refused to release his.

Andrzejewski spoke about the effectiveness of this policy for identifying corrupt politicians. He provided examples from Illinois as well as other states to illustrate the effectiveness of financial transparency among candidates for office.

Cook's campaign issued the following press release about Wednesday:

Andrzejewski Lauds Rodger Cook’s Reform Agenda
Says Cook will fight to clean up government; 
Asks why Plummer won’t release his
Contact: Ben Evans 573-268-2790 
Freeburg, IL….Government watchdog Adam Andrzejewski threw his support behind Rodger Cook’s efforts to bring transparency to government in the race for the Republican nomination in the 12 congressional district, citing Cook’s record as a government reformer and his release of his own personal taxes. Cook’s opponent, Jason Plummer, has evaded calls to release his taxes. 
“The people of Illinois deserve the truth. If you don’t have gold-standard ethics, you’re part of business-as-usual. Rodger Cook is the latest and most prominent candidate in this election cycle to lead on this transformational ethics policy,” said Adam Andrzejewski, former 2010 gubernatorial candidate. 
Rodger Cook released his taxes and has posted them on the internet at www.cookforcongress.org. Cook, a former cop and homicide detective, is a proven reformer who took on the machine in Belleville and cleaned up a system of patronage and back room deals. When Cook was mayor of Belleville he opened city council meetings to the public for the first time in the city’s history. That’s the kind of Representation we need in Washington. 
“Illinois’ number one manufactured product is corruption,” said Adam Andrzejewski. “Transparency of personal sources of income is critical ethics policy.” 
Top Republicans are especially concerned that millionaire candidate Jason Plummer’s refusal to release his taxes could cost Republicans a chance to pick up a seat held by Democrats for nearly 70 years. It was also a major issue in his failed campaign for lieutenant governor where he was dogged by questions about his taxes. It got so bad he didn’t even show up to the last debate. Many believe if Plummer was not on the ticket in 2010, Pat Quinn would have lost. 
“Since 2010, I’ve called on the leadership of both political parties to release their income tax returns. This is the single most important ethics policy that would challenge the culture of corruption in Illinois,” said Adam Andrzejewski. “Rodger Cook is leading on and issuing the clarion call on the best policy.” 
Paid for by Citizens for Cook 
707 N. State St. 
Freeburg, IL 62243 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ed Martin at Lincoln Days

As always, Ed Martin is very entertaining. You can find out more about Ed Martin's candidacy to be Missouri's next Attorney General at his campaign website or the links below.

Richard Mourdock Fights Back

The video above is Richard Mourdock's response to Dick Lugar's smear campaign. Mourdock talks about the mountains of debt accumulated during Lugar's tenure in Washington, DC. The US Debt Clock puts that total at about $15.3 trillion today. When Dick Lugar first went to DC in 1977, the total accumulated debt of the United States throughout its history was less than $700 billion. The US has added over 14.6 trillion in debt since sending Dick Lugar to Washington. Under Dick Lugar's watchful eye, the national debt is now about 21 times larger than when he first took office.

Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way!

Video: The Importance of Economic Freedom

The video above illustrates the costs associated with government debt and regulation. You can learn more at EconomicFreedom.org.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stock Market Chases Nominal Gains

zerohedge: Here Is Why The Dow Just Passed 13,000:
Wondering why the DJIA just passed 13K again? Wonder no more: as the chart below shows it is entirely due to the nearly $7 trillion pumped by global central banks into the world stock markets over the past 4 years. As Sean Corrigan from Diapason notes, the aggregate global central bank balance sheet has doubled in four years, and doubled in the 5 years before that. We would add that with the entire centrally planned ponzi scheme hell bent on preserving the illusion of nominal gains...
If our central planners/bankers understood Say's Law, I don't think they would be doing this.

Video: MOPP Caucus Training and Voter Fraud Discussion

Earlier this month I blogged about the Missouri Precinct Project's Caucus Training and Voter Fraud Discussion held at Pillar in the Valley. Two videos from that presentation are now available on YouTube and embedded below. Additionally, I've embedded the MOPP Caucus Training Manual at the bottom of this post.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Paul Curtman Endorses Ron Paul

State Rep. Paul Curtman
Sun Herald: Ron Paul Endorsed by Missouri State Rep. Paul Curtman:
2012 Republican Presidential candidate was endorsed today by Missouri State Representative Paul Curtman of the 105th Legislative District, comprising parts of Franklin, Jefferson, and St. Louis counties.
That's huge.

Missouri held a meaningless Presidential Preference Primary earlier this month. In March caucuses will be held around the state and those caucuses will determine who Missouri supports at the Republican National Convention (caucus primer).

State Rep. Paul Curtman is widely known among Tea Party groups across Missouri because of a two minute speech he delivered at one of a summer of 2009 townhall meeting. Curtman simply demanded an apology from Senator Claire McCaskill for her support of the unconstitutional healthcare bill:

That speech went viral. As a result, Curtman was invited to speak to Tea Party groups around the Show Me State. He was also recruited to run for the Missouri state house. He did so successfully in a district that leans Democrat.

Curtman's endorsement certainly helps Ron Paul. The question is: to what extent will it help Ron Paul in Missouri's March caucuses?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Video: Simple Rules for a Complex World with Richard Epstein

Libertarianism.org: Simple Rules for a Complex World:
In this Exploring Liberty lecture, Richard Epstein gives a quick outline of his “simple rules”— six conditions that he says provide the groundwork for the emergence of a civilized society.
Epstein's book, Simple Rules for a Complex World, is available from Amazon.

Video: Petition to Investigate Lugar's Residency Delivered to Gov Mitch Daniels

Wrap Your Head Around: Lugar’s residency called into question:
[Yesterday afternoon] Greg Fetig of Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate, addressed a group in the atruim of the Indiana Statehouse before presenting a petition to the Governor, demanding that he order the election commission to investigate Senator Lugar’s residency. This is a bit of a messy subject once you delve into it, as Indiana law and National law seem to come into conflict. I could certainly debate that topic all day long, but if the election commission takes a look at this, I’m sure there will be lawyers coming out of the woodwork with various arguments.
You might think that lawyers would be all over this, and the ones in Missouri that I've spoken with all find the Constitutional question fascinating. I've written that the Constitution's supremacy clause makes Indiana's state Constitution and statutes secondary. The issues is also complicated by Art 1, Sec 5 which empowers each branch of Congress to judge the qualifications of its own members. Has anyone in the Indiana media actually brought on a Constitutional Law professor or lawyer to discuss this question?

Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate originally filed a complaint last November with the State Election Commission. They turned to Gov. Mitch Daniels after discovering a possible conflict of interest between the chairman of the commission, Daniel Dumezich, and Senator Lugar:
Monica Boyer, co-founder of Hoosiers for Conservative senate stated “We are deeply concerned that this complaint is not receiving its due process, and we are asking that the Governor hold the appropriate hearing concerning Senator Richard Lugar using a false address to register to vote. In the wake of the Charlie White case, we must ensure that Indiana does not maintain a double standard and that all public officials are held to the same standards.”“After viewing the FEC reports, Boyer added, “we are concerned with a possible conflict of interest as Chairman Daniel Dumezich has given thousands of dollars to Senator Lugar. We ask the Governor to listen to Hoosiers, and give this complaint a hearing.”
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported on Gov. Mitch Daniels's response to the request for an investigation into Lugar's residency:
“No, we’re not doing that,” said Daniels, a former Lugar aide who has endorsed the senator’s re-election bid. “I’ve talked to lawyers, and both the constitution and statute are clear. He’s qualified as he has been for all his previous elections.” 
Keep in mind that there are two issues: 1) Lugar's eligibility to vote and 2) his qualification to be a US Senator. Daniels has taken #1 off of the table. That's a state issue and I think that's right decision, though I understand why many others feel differently.

Let's take a closer look at #2: Lugar's qualification to be a US Senator. While noting that a political science professor is not an expert on Constitutional law, Advance Indiana makes the same argument that I've made:
...King articulates accurately the fact that the U.S. Constitution determines whether a person is eligible to be a senator and the fact that the Senate is the final judge of a person's qualifications. He notes the three requirements: a person must be 30 years of age, a U.S. citizen and be an inhabitant of his or her state when elected. A state election official, when considering a challenge at this point, could only make a determination as to whether a person meets the age and citizenship requirement. Whether the person is an inhabitant is determined on the date of the general election at which the person is elected. In other words, the Indiana Election Commission is without authority to determine that Lugar is ineligible because he is not an inhabitant of the state, or even ascertain that fact until after this year's election. If you followed Mourdock's press conference yesterday, he asked Sen. Lugar to re-establish a residence within the state to remove this as an issue; he did not say he should be removed from the ballot. Regardless of what a state official or judge says about a person's qualifications, the Senate is the final judge under the U.S. Constitution. 
Listen carefully to how the media cover Mourdock's request that Lugar re-establish a home in Indiana. They may spin it to suggest that Mourdock is trying to get Lugar struck from the ballot. That's not the case and Gary at Advance Indiana explains why in the context of a 2006 Fifth Circuit opinion that suggests Lugar is currently not qualified to be elected to the US Senate:
In its analysis, the court noted that the framers of our constitution had specifically rejected imposing a minimum residency requirement for house and senate members, having "specifically rejected seven-year, three-year and one-year requirements." The Fifth Circuit cited an 1808 case in which the House of Representatives had declared a representative elected from Maryland, who had only moved to the state "a mere two weeks before his election" constitutionally eligible to hold the office "because he was an inhabitant of that state as of election day." 
Because Lugar had no residence in Indiana at any of the five elections at which he was elected subsequent to his initial 1976 election, it is arguable that Lugar was ineligible to serve Indiana in the Senate because he was not an inhabitant of the state. If someone challenged his eligibility this year, Lugar could remedy the problem by simply renting a home within the state by the date of this year's general election, which is November 6, 2012.
I maintain that Art 1, Sec 5 of the US Constitution, which allows the Senate to determine the qualifications of its own members, could be used to impose a one-year residency requirement that would make Lugar ineligible next November. Would the Democrat-controlled Senate be that brazen?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Record Ratio of Incomplete Houses

ZeroHedge: "Lost In Construction" - Relative Difference Between Housing Starts And Completions Hits Record:
While one can discuss seasonal factors, such as abnormally warm weather, as a driver of today's beat in Housing Starts, a far less noted number for headline purposes is the other side of the equation - Housing Completions. Because after all, every house that is started has to be completed at some point. One look at the chart below, shows why completions is quietly ignored, as it presents a far less optimistic picture about the housing market. Indeed, printing at 530k seasonally adjusted annualized units, the completions number was just the second lowest in decades, better only than the 509K from January 2011. And where this becomes rather glaring is when looking at the relative, or percentage, spread between Starts and Completions: at 31.9%, this was the highest in, well, as far as our data series goes back to.
I wonder if there are government funds available for starting construction that do not require the builder to complete the project. Somehow, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the government is squandering tax dollars like that to pad the housing starts stats.

Claire McCaskill: Liberal Lemming

The radio ad above was produced by Crossroads GPS which issued the following press release along with it:
WASHINGTON – Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) today released a new issue ad on statewide radio targeting Claire McCaskill for “following the President over a cliff” to support a number of his policies which hurt Missourians. The ad specifically highlights her recent support of President Obama’s decision to have the government control what services must be provided by religious hospitals and charities. 
The new ad, titled “Lemmings and Liberals,” will air through Tuesday for a total buy of $65,000. The spot can be listened to here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy5eBX7t6XM 
“Time and time again Claire McCaskill has followed Barack Obama over a cliff to champion policies that hurt Missouri families from Obamacare to wasteful stimulus spending to special-interest bailouts. Now, she’s joining him to insert government into our private lives,” said Nate Hodson, Crossroads GPS Director of State and Regional Media Relations. “This issue ad urges Missourians to contact Claire about her government-knows best mandates which are destroying our freedoms.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Steelman Picks up Tea Party Senator's Endorsement

Sarah Steelman in 2008. Photo credit: AP
Politico's Dave Catanese on Mike Lee's endorsement of Sarah Steelman:
Utah Sen. Mike Lee endorsed Missouri Senate candidate Sarah Steelman at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday morning. 
Lee said he believes Steelman is the strongest conservative in the three-way primary field vying to take on first-term Democrat Claire McCaskill.
That's significant because Mike Lee is a Tea Partier. Later in the article Catanese also notes:
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who Steelman has also been courting, told POLITICO he's still keeping his options open but name-dropped the former state treasurer without being prompted.
I'm still not sold on Steelman, but her trip to CPAC last week was obviously successful.

Tom Carnahan Departs Taxpayer-financed Wind "Business"


MOScout's political speculation yesterday caught my eye (subscription required):
The War Time Consigliore?...the Post-Dispatch [reported] that Tom Carnahan was stepping down of his Wind Capital Group (Read it Here) could only be read one way by St. Louis Democrats: the brother of Congressman Russ Carnahan is clearing his plate for the impending clash with Congressman Lacy Clay.
While the national political press and even the candidates themselves have been chattering about Russ Carnahan running in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District, MOScout has maintained for over a year that Carnahan would run in Missouri's 1st against incumbent Lacy Clay. That could setup something of a race war in the Democrat primary there. To mitigate the racial strife in that contest, I suspect that Aldermanic President and Carnahan crony Lewis Reed will support Russ while Mayor Slay sides with Lacy. We will see.

Let's get back to Tom Carnahan's departure from Wind Capital. I think Tom sees the writing on the wall that a nation drowning in debt can't afford to incur more on behalf of his economically unviable green energy boondoggle. Therefore, the marginal utility of Tom's political connections for raising capital is diminished in the eyes of his cronies and it's time for him to leave.

The real question is: does Tom Carnahan really believe in green energy? If so, he'll hold on to his minority stake as he anticipates greater future dividends than cynics like me forecast. If not, then you can bet that he'll flip that equity position as he launders that taxpayer-financed capital into cold hard cash that he can then donate to the politicians that will finance his next crony capitalist business endeavor.

Additional Debt Under Obama: $17,000 per Person

Weekly Standard: The Cost of Obama:
...deficit spending during Obama’s four years in the White House (based on his own figures) will be an estimated $5.170 trillion — or $5,170,000,000,000.00. 
To help put that colossal sum of money into perspective, if you take our deficit spending under Obama and divide it evenly among the roughly 300 million American citizens, that works out to just over $17,000 per person — or about $70,000 for a family of four.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Randy Jotte Takes Exception to Ann Wagner's Press Release

Dr. Randy Jotte is running for Congress in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District against Ann Wagner. His campaign issued a press release in response to an Ann Wagner press release both of which appear in full below (h/t: MOScout, subscription required). Jotte, took exception to this line in the Wagner release:
ANN is running for the Todd Akin open-seat and has NO primary opposition.
Jotte's campaign highlight's that fact that he is her primary opposition as well as Wagner's ties to inside-the-beltway special interests:
Sacrificing principles for political gain, Ann Wagner’s campaign team distributed an email last week that misleads Washington, D.C., special interest donors. 
“Deception should never be accepted or tolerated, and the Wagner campaign has been caught in the act,” said congressional candidate Dr. Randy Jotte. 
The fund-raising email sent by Wagner’s campaign on February 8th to lobbyists in Washington, D.C. erroneously states, “ANN is running for the Todd Akin open-seat and has NO primary opposition. This is a GREAT race to get in on early!”
Both releases:

Private Employment by Company Size

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their new "experimental class employment, hours, and earnings series" just a little while ago. The graph above is from that new series and is interesting because it illustrates changes in small, medium, and large businesses over the past twenty years or so.

Rodger Cook Draws Local Support in IL-12

Roger Cook
Roger Cook
Rodger Cook's campaign for Congress over in IL-12 sent out the following press release highlighting his roots in the district and especially his local financial support. Some key quotes:
Cook raised more money from voters in the district than the other GOP candidates combined, garnering 57% of all individual contributions from IL-12. 
“Residents of the 12th Congressional District want a candidate who has loved living here and isn’t a political opportunist. They want someone who has a lifetime of commitment to the area,” said Cook. “I’ve lived and worked in the 12th district all of my life, growing up here, working here, raising a family here, and serving as a police officer and Mayor of Belleville.” 
According to the FEC reports, failed Lt. Gubernatorial [candidate] Jason Plummer, who recently moved into the district and signed a 6-month lease, raised nearly 90 percent from outsiders. In contrast, Cook’s in-district funds constitute 85 percent of his total individual contributions. Cook raised $16,700 from constituents, while Plummer only raised $12,450 from constituents.
While carpetbagger Plummer is raising money from outside interests, Cook is building a network of supporters based on his lifetime commitment and public service in Illinois's 12th Congressional District.

Full press release:

Obama's Debt-defying Budget

zerohedge: 4 Charts Summarizing Obama's 2013 Budget:
Obama formally proposed his 2013 budget (link) which sees a $1.33 trn budget deficit in the 2013 fiscal year - more than the $1.296 trillion 2011 budget deficit, which unfortunately indicates that even with rather rosy assumptions, the deficit hole continues to grow, which also means that the debt plug will be higher in the next year compared to the prior, which in turn lends even more credibility to the US debt clock analysis which assumes a nearly 140% debt/GDP ratio by the end of a potential second Obama term.
Look at that chart again. The White House is projecting income tax receipts of $1.36 trillion and Medicare and Medicaid outlays that exceed that figure by more than $110 billion, coming in around $1.47 trillion. That is unsustainable.

As zerohedge points out, Republicans wasted no time in criticizing the plan. From the WSJ: Obama Seeks New Taxes on Rich:
The budget underscores the White House's bet that it can convince voters in November that increased spending in the short term is needed to jolt the economy before steps are taken to shrink the federal deficit in the long term. "At a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster clip, we've got to do everything in our power to keep this recovery on track," Mr. Obama said at a community college in northern Virginia.
That's the pure Keynsian claptrap that is all about boosting aggregate demand with debt financed crony capitalism that will ultimately have to be paid off by generations of Americans who have yet to be born.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Richard Mourdock Speaks at CPAC

Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R) spoke at last week's CPAC conference in Washington, DC.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MOPP Caucus Training and Voter Fraud Discussion

The Missouri Precinct Project (MOPP) held a meeting at Pillar in the Valley this past Saturday. They discussed caucusing and voter fraud issues. MOPP President Frieda Keough MC'd the event which was attended by about 80 people. John Putnam from Jasper County talked about caucusing. Linda Boyd Smith spoke about voter fraud in St. Louis and St. Louis county.

Remember, Missouri will pick its delegation to the Republican National Convention by caucus in March! The primary election really didn't mean anything.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dick Lugar: "Defending" Indiana from Virginia

Dave Catanese notes the weakness of Senator Dick Lugar's "in defense" of country argument. First, here's the argument as articulated by Lugar spokesman, David Willkie:
It's just like the United States military. If you're a military personnel and you're in defense of this country and service to this country and you're overseas, you keep your last place of residence," said Lugar spokesman David Willkie to WISH-TV.
Catanese adds this:
This is a terrible news clip for Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar even without his campaign's head-scratching comment. 
But if the six-term Republican Senator ends up being knocked off in the May primary, journalists and political observers will undoubtedly point back to this explanation about Lugar's Virginia residency as one of the reasons why.
That's true, but Catanese never really explains why this is problematic. Sure, equating a plum job in DC with active duty military service is obviously bad messaging. And it's embarrassing that Senator Lugar sold his Indiana residence in 1977 and moved to the DC area, but the issue is far more serious than either of those problems suggest.

The US Constitution is pretty clear about who can become a Senator: "No person shall be a Senator... who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen." Notably, there's no residency requirement for members of the military in the US Constitution. The fact that multiple Indiana Attorney Generals have said that Lugar retains his Indiana residence ignores the fact that the US Constitution and not state AGs are the supreme law of the land. That fact is established in the Constitution's supremacy clause. In short, Indiana's AG can't override the Constitutional requirement set forth in Article 1, Section 3 by issuing a permission slip.

That said, because Article 1, Section 5 allows each house of Congress to judge the qualifications of its members, it's possible that the US Senate could decide Lugar's eligibility:
That quandary in itself could lead to a protracted legal fight, but probably will not. I suspect that one would have to have legal standing in order to bring suit. Richard Mourdock, Lugar's opponent in the GOP primary would have standing, but Mourdock would have to decide whether or not he has the political capital to try to strike Lugar from the ballot. That's not an easy decision, though it certainly would raise Mourdock's name recognition. 
After Indiana's May primary, the Democrat candidate for US Senate would have two paths available to them to strike Lugar's name from the November ballot if Lugar wins the primary. First, they could go to the courts just as Mourdock could. Second, since Article 1, Section 5 empowers each house of Congress to judge the qualifications of its members, Indiana's Democrat nominee could ask the Democrat controlled Senate for an assist. In short, Harry Reid could pick Indiana's next Senator by having the US Senate rule that Dick Lugar is not an inhabitant of Indiana.
Dick Lugar's Indiana "residency" is a problem because it could get him struck from the May 8th primary and/or the November general election.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Senator Lugar's Ties to Bankrupt Ener1

About two weeks before Ener1 declared bankruptcy, I blogged about Indiana Senator Dick Lugar's ties to the Indianapolis-based EnerDel. EnerDel, a subsidiary of the bankrupt Ener1, was awarded $118 million in stimulus funding. Lugar's Senate office issued a press release about a smaller DOE grant awarded to EnerDel in June of 2009:
U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar announced that EnerDel has been selected to receive one of seven cost-shared research awards from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Awardees will use the funds for the development of advanced batteries for electric drive vehicles. The total DOE investment for these projects is up to $10.96 million over three years, subject to annual appropriations.
In February of 2008, Lugar, the former mayor of Indianapolis and erstwhile inhabitant of Indiana, delivered a speech and toured the EnerDel factory. I was a little surprised that Lugar's connections to government subsidized green and alternative energy went largely un-remarked upon when the Ener1 bankruptcy was announced. Perhaps those connections deserve more scrutiny as Indiana's May 8th primary approaches.

Lugar's primary opponent, Richard Mourdock, understands that the federal government needs to stop spending tax payer dollars on frivolous projects EnerDel.

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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Books: A Nation of Moochers

Glenn Reynolds: It's takers versus makers and these days the takers are winning:
The problem, Sykes points out, is that you can’t run an economy like that. If you tried to hold a series of potluck dinners where a majority brought nothing to the table, but felt entitled to eat their fill, it would probably work out badly. Yet that’s essentially what we’re doing.
It's a strong argument for small government.

In the Fight: Episode 59

The Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System produced Episode 59 of In The Fight. Here's their description of this half-hour show:
On this episode, a personal security detachment team transports high level personnel throughout Afghanistan, Afghan forces prepare for a transition of authority on the Afghan/Pakistan border, troops continue to help improve the lives of Afghan families, Airmen deliver more than just supplies to troops outside the wire, and sports returns to Libya in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Indiana Voter Fraud Threatens to Envelop Senator Dick Lugar

This June 8, 2011, file photo shows Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White in Indianapolis. (Darron Cummings, File/Associated Press)

The Washington Post: Indiana election chief found guilty of voter fraud, other charges; faces removal from office:
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s top elections official could lose his job and his freedom after jurors convicted him of multiple voter fraud-related charges on Saturday, leaving in flux the fate of one of the state’s most powerful positions.

Republican Secretary of State Charlie White has held on to his office for more than a year despite being accused of lying about his address on voter registration forms.
White was convicted of six felony counts stemming from the fact that he used the address of his ex-wife while they were going through divorce. Gary of Advance Indiana thinks the White conviction is wrong and that it should never have gone to trial. Gary makes some very good points about the miscarriage of justice against Charlie White, so go read the whole thing.

Regardless of Charlie White's guilt or innocence, his guilty conviction threatens to envelop US Senator Dick Lugar. Research done by certified fraud examiner Greg Wright suggests that Senator Lugar and his wife may have committed fraud by using the address of a house they sold in 1977 as their residence while living in the Washington, DC, area. When the Daily Caller raised questions about Lugar's Indiana residency, the Lugar campaign responded:
According to Willkie, Lugar is “an owner” of the “604-acre family corn, soybean, and tree farm in Marion County, Indiana.” Moreover, Willkie said, the 79-year-old Lugar “actively manages” and pays property taxes on the farm.

“Lugar’s time spent managing his farm keeps him grounded in the work that he does for the Senate Agricultural Committee and for the people in Indiana,” Willkie said. “People that tell you differently, never grew up on a farm in Indiana.”

Willkie also said, however, that Lugar does not stay at the farm when he is in Indiana.

“There’s no house at the farm that you would stay in, so far as a physical residence,” Willkie said. “There’s a multitude of places where he stays.”
When a sitting US Senator asserts his co-ownership of an uninhabitable farm as the basis for his residency in the state he represents you can be sure that his campaign staff are making plans for their next gig after his May 8th defeat. Senator Lugar is symbolic of the elite, entitled aristocracy of Washington, DC. Hoosiers can change that by voting for Richard Mourdock in the primary.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Added 243k Jobs or Lost 3 Million?

BLS: Employment Situation Summary:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Government employment changed little over the month.
zerohedge: TrimTabs Explains Why Today's "Very, Very Suspicious" NFP Number Is Really Down 2.9 Million In Past 2 Months:
Charles Biderman notes that "Either there is something massively changed in the income tax collection world, or there is something very, very suspicious about today’s BLS hugely positive number," adding, "Actual jobs, not seasonally adjusted, are down 2.9 million over the past two months. It is only after seasonal adjustments – made at the sole discretion of the Bureau of Labor Statistics economists – that 2.9 million fewer jobs gets translated into 446,000 new seasonally adjusted jobs." A 3.3 million "adjustment" solely at the discretion of the BLS?
 Something's not right. Political gamesmanship with the employment numbers is as good a guess as any.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is Senator Lugar Constitutionally Qualified to Run for US Senate in Indiana?

Earlier this week I noted that the Daily Caller had picked up the story that Dick Lugar has not lived in Indiana--the state he represents in the United States Senate--since the late 1970s. That's interesting because Article 1, Section 3 of the US Constitution reads in part: "No person shall be a Senator... who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen." From there, I concluded:
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.
There have been a couple of developments since I posted that. Lugar shrugs off the issue claiming that he has a 1982 permission slip from the Indiana attorney general stating that he need not live in Indiana because he is "on business of this state or of the United States."

That argument falls apart because of the Constitution's supremacy clause
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
A state's AG can not override a requirement of the US Constitution; therefore, permission from a state attorney general does not allow a candidate for US Senate to dodge the requirement that they "be an Inhabitant of that state..."

I described this all to Dave Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri. The Freedom Center specializes in constitutional law and Roland is their Director of Litigation. He agreed with me on the points as I relayed them that a candidate for office should maintain a home in the state they wish to represent. However, he added:
...the big question is who ultimately gets to decide if a candidate for Congress meets this requirement.  Article I, section 5, states that each house of Congress is responsible for judging the qualifications of its own members - it is very possible that courts might take this as meaning that they have no jurisdiction to address this matter.
That quandary in itself could lead to a protracted legal fight, but probably will not. I suspect that one would have to have legal standing in order to bring suit. Richard Mourdock, Lugar's opponent in the GOP primary would have standing, but Mourdock would have to decide whether or not he has the political capital to try to strike Lugar from the ballot. That's not an easy decision, though it certainly would raise Mourdock's name recognition.

After Indiana's May primary, the Democrat candidate for US Senate would have two paths available to them to strike Lugar's name from the November ballot if Lugar wins the primary. First, they could go to the courts just as Mourdock could. Second, since Article 1, Section 5 empowers each house of Congress to judge the qualifications of its members, Indiana's Democrat nominee could ask the Democrat controlled Senate for an assist. In short, Harry Reid could pick Indiana's next Senator by having the US Senate rule that Dick Lugar is not an inhabitant of Indiana.

Don't take chances. If you live in Indiana, please remember to vote for Richard Mourdock on May 8th.