If you have any news tips, gossip or rumors you would like to share or any ideas for future post. Please send an email to: 6vwts@notsharingmy.info or contact us on Twitter: @IndyRepublicanX

You do not have to leave your name. We appreciate greatly your support.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cowardly Indiana Supreme Court Claims They Cannot order Indiana Department of Child Services to Obey the Law Time for a real investigation into DCS w/update

Yesterday the Indiana State Supreme Court continued their sad history of abrogating there duties to Hoosiers. And proceeded to allow the Department of Child Services (DCS) to violate the law and to shirk there responsibilities to make sure children are not horribly murdered as Tajanay Bailey was back in 2007.

Marisa Kwiatkowski wrote in this mornings issue of the Indianapolis Star about yesterday's decision by the State Supreme Court. In her article Ms. Kwiatkowski writes

The Indiana Supreme Court said it cannot force the Indiana Department of Child Services to comply with caseload limits — even though those limits are required by law.

The decision stems from a suit brought by a DCS family case manager, who argued she and other workers were handling heavy workloads that put children at risk.

The lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, sought to force DCS to reduce the caseloads handled by its workers, who investigate allegations of abuse and neglect and manage ongoing child welfare cases.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court said the issue can't be resolved by a judicial mandate. The justices said that while Indiana law requires a specific outcome — limits on the number of cases each family case manager must handle — the law does not specify the particular action DCS must take to reach that outcome.

The ACLU sued DCS and its director in 2015 on behalf of Mary Price and all other family case managers employed by the state agency.

Price was handling 43 ongoing cases when the lawsuit was filed. Indiana law requires family case managers to handle no more than 17 ongoing cases or 12 initial assessments.

DCS its family case managers as the "backbone" of efforts to protect Indiana youth.

As of state fiscal year 2016, only one of the 19 DCS regions — the agency’s central office — was in compliance with the caseload standard, state records show.

Ken Falk, legal director of ACLU Indiana, said Price and the ACLU of Indiana are "obviously very disappointed" by the Supreme Court's decision. More importantly, he said, family case managers still have too many children to manage.

"This is something everyone in the state of Indiana should be concerned about," Falk said. "There's a problem here that still hasn't been solved, and we'll need to see if there's other ways to resolve it."

INDY REPUBLICAN has read the court decision and it just seems as to be another example of the Court resorting to mental gymnastics to justify a bullshit decision. The justices on the court are certainly aware that DCS has been involved in questionable activities over the last decade. Ms. Kwiatkowski has written a fine article. As many of you know DCS has a long and troubled history. You may remember we previously noted former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi's backing away from investigating the tragic death of  three year old Tajanay Bailey in 2007

Woman holding a photo of the murdered Tajanay Bailey

Both Paul Ogden and the late Gary Welsh have both written about Carl Brizzi's unusual handling of Tajanay Bailey's murder, and the questionable by DCS in this matter.  The Indiana Systemic Thinking blog has also written extensively on Tajanay Bailey click here for that blogs posts on the matter . Writing in 2010 in his article "Carl Brizzi and the Tajanay Bailey Case". Gary Welsh suggested a that Brizxi may have decided to drop his investigation into Tajanay's murder in exchange for ownership in a building being leased by DCS. Gary Welsh wrote at the time

Many of you will recall the tragic killing of 3-year-old Tajanay Bailey in November, 2007. She was beaten to death by her mother's live-in boyfriend at the troubled Phoenix Apartments where she and her mother lived. Subsequent new stories told a troubling tale of how case workers for the Indiana Department of Child Services had badly failed in their mission to protect children like Tajanay. According to a story in the Indianapolis Star, Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi expressed deep concern about DCS's handling of the case and promised a complete and full investigation. Specifically, Brizzi wanted to know why DCS officials had failed to notify police after they learned Tajanay had been physically abused in the home in 2006 and why she had been returned to that same home. At the time Brizzi made those comments, Tajanay's tragic killing was all over the news. As time passed, we never heard from Brizzi again about DCS.

We now know that DCS entered into a lease agreement with L&BAB LLC in 2008 to lease a 13,000 square foot building for $248,500 a year that the business had acquired in Elkhart, Indiana only five months after the company purchased the building in February, 2008 and just three months after Brizzi said he planned to investigate DCS' handling of the Tajanay Bailey case. According to the IBJ, the 50-50 owners of L&BAB are Carl Brizzi and Paul Page. Brizzi was not required to pay anything to L&BAB for his 50 percent stake in the company. The deal raised eyebrows of many people in the legal community, largely because Page represented a number of criminal defense clients adverse to Brizzi's office at the time and other questions have been raised about whether Brizzi cut favors for Page's clients. Did the investigation of DCS' handling of the Tajanay Bailey case suffer because of the business deal Brizzi and his partner struck with the agency? It's a fair question to ask in light of recent disclosures about decisions his office has made.

Paul Ogden's 2011 article "Was Brizzi's Decision to Drop Investigation of DCS Following Infant's Death Connected to His Becoming DCS's Landlord Months Later?" over at Ogden On Politics.com covers the possibility of a corrupt bargain to get Carl Brizzi to back away from looking into DCS:

According to my sources, Prosecutor Brizzi's decision to investigate DCS was met with fierce resistance by officials in state government, including Governor Daniels himself who reportedly was furious with Brizzi's public announcement that the intended to investigate DCS and its head, former Marion County Judge Jim Payne.  The planned investigation went nowhere.

Three months later, in February of 2008, Brizzi became a 50% silent owner of a building in Elkhart, an ownership acquired without putting any money up for purchase.  Five months later, Brizzi and Attorney Paul Page became landlord of DCS as the agency rented the Elkhart space for an office.  Issues behind that deal has led Page, another attorney, and real estate developer John Bales to be indicted last week by a federal jury.

Was there a connection between the decision by Brizzi to drop the investigation of DCS and his later becoming the landlord for tenant DCS in a deal in which he did not have to put up any ownership of the building?   If so, the people involved could well be charged with obstruction of justice.

It is possible that Brizzi decided to not press forward with the investigation because of a lack of evidence DCS did anything wrong, at least criminally.  However, a later investigation by the Indianapolis Star, reported in May of 2010, suggests DCS almost certainly failed in its responsibility to protect Bailey:

The Indianapolis Star has obtained documents that reveal the Department of Child Services placed 11-week-old Destiny Linden with a foster family even after an advocate warned the agency about the care and safety of other foster children in the home. 
A week later, Destiny was dead.
She was placed with the family in April, five months after DCS was accused of ignoring warnings prior to the death of TaJanay Bailey -- a 3-year-old fatally beaten in November after DCS returned the toddler to her mother and the woman's boyfriend.
In both cases, it was an advocate who watches out for the best interests of children in state care who raised the red flags.
According to a report written by the advocate, Destiny's foster parents, Everett and Kimberly Coleman, did little to supervise children in their care, including leaving them to prepare their own meals and failing to treat a child burned while ironing clothes. The advocate specifically recommended that all children be removed from the home. But DCS continued placing children, including Destiny, in the foster home and even increased the number of children the couple were licensed to care for in early April.
The advocate who raised concerns about the Colemans -- just like the advocate in TaJanay's case -- was so unsatisfied with DCS' response that she turned to the courts in hopes of persuading a judge to order the removal of the children.
In both cases, the child died before the courts could act -- and in each instance, DCS workers insisted after the children's deaths that they were not made aware of the full extent of the advocates' concerns. 
One other fact the cases share: There has been no independent investigation of the agency's actions.
Was that "independent investigation" of DCS that Brizzi promised diverted by the Elkhart lease deal with DCS?

"Quid Pro Quo" Carl Brizzi?

The former head of DCS Judge Jim Payne was later implicated in a scandal dealing with DCS's handling of a case involving Judge Payne's grandchildren in 2012. Paul Ogden and Gary Welsh have both written about this. Click here and here for their articles.

Judge Jim "I Should be Locked Up" Payne

The time has long since come for DCS's reign of terror to end! Justice is calling. The Tajanay Bailey case needs to be solved, and Carl Brizzi and James Payne need to be driven out of town if not thrown in prison! 

UPDATE: A fan of the blog had this to say about the State Supreme Courts decision: "It's utterly ridiculous. You have a law that specifically requires certain caseloads to be below a certain level. And the Supreme Court says there's no way to enforce that law. Makes you scratch your head why the legislature would pass it to begin with if there was no way to enforce it."

So once again we here will place our faith in the INDY REPUBLICAN mailbag.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Fake Republican Governor Eric "Taxman" Holcomb Strikes Again

Governor Eric Holcomb RINO-Ninth Circle of Hell

Pray as we all do that Governor "Bagman" Holcomb will decide to stop being a traitor to the historic principles of Republicanism. Mad Old Eric just can't resist trying to squeeze citizens and voters for more money. Holly Hayes over at the Indianapolis Star with contributions from Kaitlin Lange reports that Governor Holcomb wants to get the United States Supreme Court to overturn a 1992 SCOTUS decision so that he can force out of state businesses to pay tribute to collect and give sales taxes to the State of Indiana.

Ms. Hayes has the story:

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state Monday asking a court to find one of Indiana's newest laws constitutional. 

House Enrolled Act 1129, which went into effect July 1, would require out-of-state businesses to collect and remit the same sales taxes as Indiana-based businesses, according to a news release.

The lawsuit "seeks to level the playing field" between Indiana businesses and out-of-state businesses conducting business online.

In a statement released Monday night, Gov. Eric Holcomb called for the United States Supreme Court to overturn its 1992 ruling that out-of-state retails not collect and remit sales and use taxes.

"In light of the rapid evolution and capabilities of software and technology, the incredible growth of online sales in recent years and other factors, it’s time for the Supreme Court to revisit and overturn this ruling," Holcomb said. "Hoosier-based businesses need the ability to compete on a level playing field as soon as possible."

Holcomb signed the law with full knowledge of SCOTUS' prior decision. The law includes a provision that the state legally challenge that ruling.

It looks a lot like Holcomb is just grandstanding and praying that the Supreme Court will overturn their earlier decision from 1992. IR wonders if Governor Holcomb is aware that the Supreme Court hears less than 1% of the cases sent to it each year. And even should they hear the case and rule in the states favor. That will take years. For a "fiscal conservative" Eric Holcomb certainly loves tax money! After all he signed over 45 tax and user fee hikes into law earlier this year! Tell us all again. Why is Eric Holcomb a Republican? If he is going to raise taxes all the time he and the Daniels-Oesterle-RINO wing of the Indiana Republican Party needs to take a hike!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Todd Rokita as the boss from hell!

Rep. Todd Rokita

Hope all of you out there have had a good August. And the IR gang hopes all of you have a good Labor Day weekend next week. Now let's get down to business. Previously INDY REPUBLICAN has written about the nasty GOP Senate Primary battle between Congressmen Luke Messer and Todd Rokita. Click here and here for our previous posts on this. 

Recently some facts have come to light that show a less then flattering view of Congressman Todd Rokita (affectionately referred to by the IR staff as "dipshit"). A very special and gifted INDY REPUBLICAN reader alerted all of us to an article published on August 18th, 2017  at POLITICO.COM written by John Bresnahan and Rachel Bade entitled "The agonizing, 8-page memo on how to chauffeur a congressman".  Mr. Bresnahan and Ms. Bade relay to their readers just what all being a driver for Congressman Rokita entails. IR has included our commentary in parentheses alongside the article by POLITICO. Bresnahan and Bade write:

Empty his trash. Always have hand sanitizer and gum at the ready. And don’t bother with “unnecessary conversation” — the congressman doesn’t have time for your chitchat. (Simply put the Congressman is above you. And as a lowly driver you are not worthy of speaking to him)

Demanding, high-maintenance bosses are notorious on Capitol Hill. The late Sen. Ted Kennedy's staff had to walk his dog, poop pick-up and all. Former Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison made her male aides carry her purse.

The latest addition to the list: Rep. Todd Rokita, an Indiana Republican running in one of next year's most competitive Senate races.

Who knew it could take eight pages of instructions on how to properly escort a member of Congress around his district? Yet there it is, laid out in mind-blowing detail, in a memo obtained by POLITICO that's sure to make any young, eager-beaver political aide shudder.

Tasks listed in the document, entitled “Instructions on Staffing and Driving — District Version,” include handing Rokita a cup of black coffee upon picking him up at his home, acting as a physical barrier between him and trackers looking to capture embarrassing footage of the congressman, and “avoid[ing] sudden acceleration or braking” while driving. (Congressman Rokita is still struggling at 47 years of age to accept the fact that while driving a car sudden speeding up and slowing down may occur. So please don't scare him to much while driving him. He cannot afford to strain his mind that much)

“The goal is to provide as smooth a ride as possible,” reads the instruction manual, co-authored by a former chief of staff to the congressman and Tim Edson, Rokita’s ex-communications director-turned-campaign spokesman.

Drivers are expected to transport not only Rokita’s toothbrush and toothpaste but also stock and tote around the district a nearly 20-item supply box that Rokita’s staffers call “the football.” The contents include gum, hand sanitizer, business cards, bottled water, napkins and Kleenex, lozenges, a stapler and stapler remover, Post-it notes and Shout wipes, among other items. 

Rokita needs a hanger in the car for his jacket. Never allow him to be photographed with a drink in his hand. And never forget, the memo states multiple times in boldface, underlined letters, to remind the 47-year-old to bring the essentials. (Todd is so overwhelmed with his vast awesomeness to remember things that most school children remember with ease. So he needs to be coddled.)

Picking up Rokita from his home is a chore, to say the least. Drivers are asked to “please have a cup of black coffee available for him” and to “empty the trash bin if there’s anything in it.” They’re also instructed to “back the vehicle out of the garage and turn it around so you can exit the driveway when Representative Rokita gets in the car.”

“Make sure you pull the car far enough forward that exhaust fumes won’t get in the garage,” the memo adds. (Todd needs plenty of coffee to stay awake and he has subpar skills at avoiding negligible amounts of exhaust fumes. So please spare him the exhaust fumes so that he doesn't suffocate walking 12 feet to his car)

Rokita should be informed of any turns and sudden stops while driving, according to the manual. The less talking, the better, it says: “He often uses the travel time to make phone calls, catch up on email, read and prepare for the day’s meetings and events. Please do not interrupt his prep time with unnecessary conversation.” (Translation: Congressman Rokita doesn't view you the driver as a person. So don't annoy his holiness by speaking to him)

Staffing Rokita's events seems to be a task made for Superman. Drivers are expected to collect contact information from “as many people as possible” and ensure the information is “quickly entered in to the relevant databases.” At the same time, they're supposed to be taking pictures for social media, “notes of all interactions” Rokita has with constituents, identifying reporters and sending Rokita’s communications director a summary of exchanges he has with the press. (Shouldn't Rokita's press aides and other congressional staff have already taken care of this? Why is the driver responsible for also being his secretary? Can Todd not delegate roles at all?)

Another must-do: Keep Rokita hydrated.

“When you arrive at the event, get Todd a non-alcoholic drink that he can carry with him as he visits (water, diet soda, and coffee are best),” the manual reads. (Because left to his own devices Todd will forget to drink any liquids and die of thirst. Either that or on his own he goes straight for alcohol because he can't tell the difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages)

Tips of the trade in the instruction manual include faking it — “The best way to make a good first impression is to look like we know what we are doing” — and ensuring that Rokita doesn’t talk to too many reporters. (Or better yet the best way to make a good impression is to know what you are doing! And since Todd is scared of his own shadow he has to be protected from speaking to reporters, lest they breathe fire on him)

As for dealing with reporters, “Generally less is more,” the document reads, later adding: “TER should not be allowed to talk to any reporters for more than the allotted time.” (Because after the allotted time Todd will immediately suffer a panic attack and make a fool of himself)

Drivers are also expected to protect Rokita from any attendees who they suspect are there only to gather opposition footage of him. The instruction manual warns that trackers could try to catch him in an awkward or embarrassing moment.

The driver is told to “maintain a physical position between TER and the tracker” but warned “do not touch, bump, punch, choke or verbally attack the tracker.” (We feel it is important that you know we don't want the Congressman's drivers to physically assault people. We see how telling you to keep a physical distance between Todd and the tracker might be misconstrued to mean "get medieval on the tracker". Because chauffeurs also double as bodyguards. At least they do working for Todd Rokita)

“This is the type of behavior they are hoping to provoke,” the manual reads.

Drivers are also responsible for keeping Rokita on schedule — but there are guidelines even for that.

“Do NOT say to TER, ‘Todd we have to go,’ or ‘You have an appointment with XYZ,’” the manual reads. “Instead, politely tell the person/people TER is speaking with that you need to get TER on the road.”

The day ends for a Rokita driver much as it began: with the "football" and the trash.

“When you arrive at TER’s house at the end of the day … empty the trash bin … and go over the football checklist and make sure all items are there,” the instructions read. “If anything needs [to be] replenished, report those to the next day’s driver ASAP.”

If anyone is interested you can read the whole 8 page memo here: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3933393-Scan.html#document/p3/a368852

INDY REPUBLICAN would like to thank our wonderful reader who sent us this article. You know who you are!

We all will be writing more about our good buddy Todd "The Clod" Rokita more in the near future. If this memo is any indication of what kind of "man" Todd Rokita is then let's all pray he gets his ass whipped in next years primary!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Workforce Development Commissioner Steve Braun Resigns Expected to run for Todd Rokita's Congress Seat

Workforce Development Commissioner Steve Braun

Hayleigh Colombo over at the Indianapolis Business Journal has reported that the Commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Steve Braun has resigned his post. Hayleigh Colombo reports in her article:

Steve Braun, the state’s Department of Workforce Development commissioner, plans to resign from his post at the end of August.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s spokeswoman confirmed the news Wednesday to IBJ but declined to say why he was leaving.

"You'll know soon," said Stephanie Wilson, the governor's press secretary.

Braun, a former state legislator, was hired to lead the agency in late 2014 by former Gov. Mike Pence and retained by Holcomb earlier this year.

Braun's resignation will be effective Aug. 30, Wilson said.

She said she did not have a resignation letter she could immediately provide and said it was up to Braun to explain his reasons for leaving. Braun’s spokesman did not immediately reply to IBJ’s request for comment.

Colombo also notes that Braun's brother Mike Braun is also a candidate in next years republican senate primary.

Word on the street is that Braun is going to announce soon that he intends to run for Todd Rokita's seat in congress. Steve Braun before he was made DWD Commissioner was state representative for former DWD Commissioner Scott Sanders. Scott Sanders is now the Executive Director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA). How Sanders ever got his current job after totally bungling DWD is a mystery to many. While Sanders was at DWD the states project to modernize its unemployment insurance system was completed in 2013. Over five years after it's original deadline for completion and at double the original cost.

Readers of Advance Indiana and Ogden on Politics may recall the story of whistleblowers who reported how mismanagement at DWD caused the state's unemployment insurance trust fund to go broke. Which necessitated the state having to borrow upwards of $2 Billion from the federal government to keep paying unemployment benefits. Indiana was one of the first states to borrow from the federal government and had to borrow from the feds from 2008 to 2015. Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden's accounts of the mismanagement of DWD can be read here, and here.

IR thinks that Steve Braun is simply another party hack who should be kept out of any public office.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

State Senator Mike Crider to run for Luke Messer's Congressional Seat

State Senator Mike Crider

Hello fellow truth seekers! You may remember back in June we blogged about the possibility that Vice President Mike Pence's brother Greg might run for Luke Messer's seat. Well today State Senator Mike Crider has announced that he will run for Messer's seat. So if Greg Pence is going to jump into the ring he is going to have some competition.

WSVX-FM reports the news of Crider's announcement here:

Today Republican State Senator Mike Crider formally announced his campaign for election to Indiana’s 6th District in the US House of Representatives. Crider, who represents Senate District 28, is seeking to replace incumbent Rep. Luke Messer (R-Shelbyville) who is running for US Senate.

“At a time when our nation is facing serious threats to our national security, the national debt has reached staggering proportions – saddling future generations with trillions of dollars in debt, federal government spending is far out-pacing revenues, and Congress is mired in gridlock and partisan bickering, I feel called to use my experience as a law-enforcement professional and my track record of passing tax cuts and pro-growth policies to help lead our country out of this crisis,” Crider said.

“Hoosiers, like all Americans, want our federal government to get down to business and solve the problems at hand. During my tenure in the Indiana Senate, our state’s unemployment rate has declined to 3.1 percent, below the national average. During last year alone, our unemployment rate experienced the largest decline (1.4 percent) in the nation, and during the first half of 2017, the Indiana Economic Development Commission has secured commitments of $5.4 billion in investments with plans to create nearly 18,000 new jobs with an average wage of $28.60 per hour. These are the kind of results folks are demanding from Washington, and I want to be part of the solution.”

WSVX gives some background information on Mr. Crider's life before he decided to run for congress:

Before being elected to the Indiana State Senate, Crider spent 30 years at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). During that time, he was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to serve as director of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement. He retired with the rank of Colonel.  Crider graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 1981 and the FBI National Academy in 2003. He now chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Transportation, and is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Military.

INDY REPUBLICAN must confess that Mr. Crider's having been appointed to any position by the traitor former Godfather Governor Mitch Daniels makes us uneasy about him. But we will evaluate him on his merits.

The article goes onto give more details on Crider's campaign:

His campaign Chairwoman is former State Senator Beverly Gard, also of Greenfield, whom he replaced in the Senate after her retirement in 2012.

“Sen. Mike Crider will be an outstanding Congressman,” Gard said. “His very successful service in our State Senate is invaluable. I had my eye on Mike for some time and recruited him to replace me when I retired in 2012. His integrity, work ethic, experience, and remarkable ability to bring people together to make good public policy are exactly what we need in our next Congressman.”

According to Dana Caldwell, Crider’s Campaign Finance Chairman, the campaign already has more than $100,000 in committed contributions. Caldwell is a Shelbyville businessman.

“I am excited to be on Mike’s team because I trust him, and I am certain Indiana will trust him too, Caldwell said.  “Mike and I have known each other for most of our lives. We played sports against each other for many years growing up. Mike has always been one to do his ‘homework’ no matter what the task he is facing. He is a rock with a solid foundation. If elected, Mike will be one of the best Congressmen we have ever had. “

The rest of the article gives the following information about Crider's family life, where he lives and a rough outline of the congressional district he is running in:

Crider served as a member of Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse for 20 years, and was president for seven of those years. He and his wife Sherri live in Greenfield and have two sons and four grandchildren.

District 28(Mike Crider's State Senate District) includes all of Hancock County and portions of Marion and Shelby counties.

Indiana’s 6th Congressional District is composed of Bartholomew, Dearborn, Decatur, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Henry, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Shelby, Switzerland, Union, and Wayne counties and a portion of Scott County.

Nobody here at IR seems to have heard much about Mike Crider. He is referred to in a Ogden on Politics blog post from 2013. Click here to read that post.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Senator Rand Paul nails it on Afghanistan

Senator Rand Paul R-Kentucky 

Like the late great Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden we at IR oppose nation-building and most of us backed Senator Rand Paul for President last year. In fact most of us wrote in Rand Paul, Paul Ogden, or Ronald Reagan for President last year. Last night President Donald Trump issued a call to send more soldiers into Afghanistan in order to continue our decade long war. This is a reversal from then candidate Trumps promise to withdraw from Afghanistan he made while running for President. What concerns INDY REPUBLICAN greatly is the continued push by many in Washington to centralize more power into the executive branch and to further dilute Congresses responsibility as a separate and equal branch of government. 

Fortunately there are some in congress who understand this. And foremost of them is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The Senator has written the following opinion piece which masterfully outlines the issues with President Trumps Afghanistan policy. Senator Paul also outlines the true conservative republican view of the separation of powers. 

Here is Senator Paul's counterpoint to President Trumps Afghanistan speech tilted "Sixteen years on, it's past time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan":

The Trump administration is increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan and, by doing so, keeping us involved even longer in a 16-year-old war that has long since gone past its time.

The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose, and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war. It's time to come home now.

Our war in Afghanistan began in a proper fashion. We were attacked on 9/11. The Taliban, who then controlled Afghanistan, were harboring al Qaeda, and after being warned, and after an authorization from Congress, our military executed a plan to strike back. Had I been in Congress then, I would have voted to authorize this military action.

But as is typical, there was significant mission creep in Afghanistan. We went from striking back against those who attacked us, to regime change, to nation-building, to policing their country for them. And we do it all now with an authorization that is flimsy at best, with the reason blurred, and the costs now known. We do it with an authorization that was debated and passed before some of our newest military personnel were out of diapers. This isn't fair to them, to the American people, or to a rational foreign policy.

The Afghanistan war going beyond its original mission has an enormous cost. First and most important is the cost to our troops. Deaths, injuries and unnecessary deployments causing harm to families are certainly the most important reason as to why you don't go to wars that aren't necessary.

Then comes the taxpayer. We have spent over $1 trillion in Afghanistan, and nearly $5 trillion on Middle East wars in the past 15 years. Would we not be better off with $5 trillion less in debt or using these funds in other, more productive ways?

Nation-building should not be our job, and it has consistently been a fool's errand for us, particularly in this region. There is no reason to believe we can do it in Afghanistan, and certainly no reason to believe we can do it without a permanent, costly presence in the country.

So I strongly disagree with the administration's actions here. I've spoken to the president, and I know he wants to end this war. We've all heard him say it. But talk won't get it done. Although I've been informed that the president rejected larger expansions of troops than the one announced this week, that's not good enough. He should have rejected this one and stuck to his principles. He knows this war is over, and he - unlike the last two presidents - should have the guts to end it for real, on his watch.

Regardless of the argument over the number of troops, I also will insist my colleagues take up a larger argument over the power to declare war. I believe we have allowed the executive to exercise far too much power in recent years.

This is one of the reasons I objected just before the recess when the Senate moved to consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I have an amendment that I will insist be considered that would repeal the 2001 AUMF on Afghanistan. That AUMF is outdated, overcome by events, and provides a feeble bit of cover for people who still want to be there.

If the president and my colleagues want to continue the war in Afghanistan, then at the very least Congress should vote on it. I'll insist they do this fall, and I'll be leading the charge for "no."

Paul is the junior senator from Kentucky.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eric Holcomb Day tomorrow at the Indiana State Fair. Can the GOP sink any lower?

An alert reader sent Indy Republican an email from the Indiana GOP. The email mentions that it is Eric Holcomb Day at the Indiana Republican Party booth at the Indiana State Fair tomorrow. Here is a flyer for Eric Holcomb Day:

We have seen plenty of egotism in politics over the years. But a sitting governor having his own day is just insane! Obviously being in office has done nothing to remove Holcomb's demonically dark eye circles. If anything his singing into law over 40 tax hikes has made him appear even more evil.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Goodbye to the Rhinestone Cowboy

Indy Republican is sorry to report that the great singer Glen Campbell the writer of the great classic "Rhinestone Cowboy" passed away at age 81. In tribute to him we are posting a video of Rhinestone Cowboy. RIP Glen Campbell!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Former Democratic State Senator Jim Arnold considering challenge to Congresswoman Jackie Walorski

Former State Senator Jim Arnold-D Laporte

Today Dan Carden of the Northwest Indiana Times reported that 2nd District Congresswoman Jackie Walorski-R may find herself challenged for reelection next year. Dan Carden reports

The veteran Hoosier lawmaker, former LaPorte County sheriff and current member of the LaPorte Community School Board said Monday that he's been approached by influential Democrats who urged him to think about the race.

"I have been asked to consider it. I don't know how many others have been asked," Arnold said. "I have to say the encouragement has been overwhelming from what few people I've spoken to."

Arnold said it's only in the past few days that he's begun discussing with his family, and reaching out to local party leaders, about whether he should run.

"There's a lot of variables that I have to take into consideration," he said. "I'm still thinking about all the pros and cons."

He expects to make a final decision around Labor Day.

IR knows very little about Jim Arnold beyond what is mentioned in Dan Carden's article. We all here remember that Walorski was a state representative before she was elected to congress in 2012. She narrowly won reelection to her state house seat in 2006 after voting for Mitch Daniels "Major Moves" program. Word on the street was is that she felt slighted by Daniels because he seemed unwilling to help her out after she voted for "Major Moves" as it was unpopular in her district. Also our sources tell us that Congresswoman Walorski was sometimes called "Chewbaca". IR is not sure why so we will put a photo of the Congresswoman and a photo of Chewbacca below and see what all of you think!

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski-R

Chewbacca the Wookie 

Will someone finally blame Mitch Daniels for his foul ups with FSSA's Welfare Privatization?

Mitch Daniels after his lobotomy 

You would think after the better part of a decade we the taxpayers would finally be able to put former Governor Mitch Daniels now infamous welfare privatization scheme behind us! But if today's story in the Indianapolis Star is to be believed we maybe nowhere near the finish line on this.

Earlier today Fatima Hussein and Tim Evans wrote "IBM owes $128M in welfare privatization". Mr. Evans and Miss Hussein give some background on the ongoing pissing match between IBM and the State of Indiana:

The state of Indiana has won a judgment for $128 million in damages in a lawsuit against alleging IBM breached its 2006 contract to modernize delivery of welfare services by the Family and Social Services Administration.

Marion Superior Court Judge Heather Welch awarded the damages in an order today, according to a statement issued by Barnes & Thornburg, which represented the state in the lawsuit. The suit has been going on since the state terminated IBM's contract in 2009 claiming the company's performance was poor.

IBM intends to appeal the latest ruling "which is contradicted by the facts and the law," says Clint Roswell, an IBM representative in an emailed statement to IndyStar.

"IBM worked diligently and invested significant resources in its partnership with FSSA to help turn around a welfare system described at the time by Indiana’s governor as one of the worst in the nation," Roswell said.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in 2016, according to the statement, "that IBM was owed around $50 million for certain unpaid fees and equipment charges, but rejected over $53 million of IBM’s other claims, and held that IBM had breached its contract with the State as a matter of law." 

The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the trial court to determine the amount of the state’s damages.

The net result of today’s ruling, the statement said, is that IBM now owes the state more than $78 million, plus interest at 8 percent from the date of the judgment.

Evans and Hussein provide a condensed account of the events leading up to today's ruling:

The case stems from a $1.37 billion,10-year contract that IBM and Indiana entered in 2006. It was hailed at the time as the solution for fixing one of the nation’s most-troubled welfare systems.

The state, though, canceled the contract three years later after a flood of complaints about the system from clients, their advocates and federal officials. At the time, the state had paid $437 million to IBM.

The two sides sued each other for damages. In 2012, a Marion Superior Court judge awarded $52 million to IBM.

In 2014, though, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the ruling and ordered a determination of damages suffered by the state. Indiana was seeking $177 million in a breach-of-contract countersuit against IBM. The Indiana Supreme Court then took up the case.

John Maley and Peter Rusthoven of Barnes & Thornburg, issued a joint statement saying they were gratified by the latest decision. “We are very pleased the court awarded $128 million in damages for IBM’s failure to keep the important promises it made to the State of Indiana,” the statement said.

“This has been a long, tough battle with a big corporation that refused all along to take responsibility for its poor performance," the statement said. "This hurt Hoosier families most in need, who depend upon the help of the Family and Social Services Administration. Today’s ruling is another victory for those families, for our State, and for all our citizens and taxpayers. It also vindicates the consistent determination of former Governors Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence and now Governor Eric Holcomb that IBM must be held responsible for not doing what it promised.”

As frequent readers of the late Gary Welsh's Advance Indiana blog and Paul Ogden's Ogden on Politics blog will note. The state bears at least as much and probably more of the blame for screwing up Indiana's welfare programs! John Marley and Peter Rusthoven might want to avoid pointing fingers. According to rumor the biggest reason why Mitch Daniels did not run for President in 2012 is because the Obama administration would have had the US Attorneys Office in Indianapolis investigate and possibly prosecute many key players in the whole IBM-FSSA-ACS debacle. The fact that IBM is going to appeal the most recent decision in this case should give former Indiana Governor now Vice President Mike Pence pause about ever running for another office! This problem won't go away even if IBM loses. Also Marley and Rusthoven are probably hoping nobody will ever ask them about their law firms representing the state, while having a non waivable conflict of interest in doing so since they also represent ACS as well. Click here to read more about the conflict of interest. 

The late Carl Moldthan who worked for Mitch Daniels and argued against the privatization of welfare services warned of problems that would emerge back in 2005. But Mitch Roob was hell bent on privatization. And as Gary Welsh pointed out IBM was most likely a placeholder put on so that they could be later fired and Roob's former employer ACS could step in.

Here are some extracts from both Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden's work documenting the whole FSSA nightmare:

Carl Moldthan's time at FSSA:

"When Moldthan arrived at his his new job, Mitch Roob wasn't quite sure how to best utilize him. Because there had been so much talk about privatizing the services administered by the county welfare agencies, Moldthan suggested he be tasked to visit all of the offices, learn better what they were or were not doing right and make recommendations to Roob and his management team. Roob thought that sounded like a fantastic idea so off Moldthan went to visit every single county welfare agency--all 105 of them--over the next several months. During the course of his visits, Moldthan would make no fewer than 70 suggestions to Roob and his superiors on ways of improving the agency's operations, changes if implemented, he claims would have resulted in hundreds of millions in savings. Little did Moldthan know at the time that his common sense ideas would be met with scorn, laughter or otherwise summarily rejected by his superiors and would culminate in earning him a trip to Roob's office where he would be undressed for being the most disloyal person Roob had ever met."

"What Moldthan came to learn was that Roob was going to privatize the work done by those county welfare agencies come hell or high water. Anyone who didn't believe in privatization should leave, an offer Moldthan gladly accepted after less than a year on the job. Moldthan also learned that Roob had no intention of saving money from privatization. After all, the county welfare agencies comprised only $180 million of FSSA's multi-billion dollar budget, representing just 7% of the agency's entire budget. Surely there were other more effective ways of findings savings at the agency than getting rid of your front-line workers."

Moldthan's warnings to Mitch Roob:

"Moldthan found a broken system. Moldthan pleaded the case for an alternative solution to privatization recommended by the consulting firm hired by Roob, but Roob and others rebuffed him."

Gary Welsh explains Mitch Daniels and Mitch Roob's real plans for FSSA:

I have always steadfastly maintained that it was never the intention of the Daniels administration to put IBM in charge of this major undertaking. I've contended that IBM's role was that merely as a placeholder to provide cover to Mitch Roob from criticism that he was steering the state's largest contract in Indiana history to his former employer (ACS). 

"Underscoring my view, Judge Dreyer noted evidence in the record that ACS's lobbyist, Joe Loftus, was lobbying state officials behind IBM's back to have it assume control of the contract and to oust IBM despite ample evidence that many problems with the implementation involved tasks performed by ACS. He cited testimony that Loftus "used his political contacts with the administration to help his clients, ACS and Arbor, with respect to Modernization" and "Anne Murphy relied on Joe Loftus as a source of information in her dealings with IBM." Judge Dreyer found that ACS was interfering with IBM's contract "by directly lobbying the Governor, and the State was unable or unwilling to redirect the revenue necessary to adequately fund Modernization with IBM." Judge Dreyer found that Loftus' lobbying actions were creating distrust among the contract partners. He cited an e-mail exchange Loftus had with Roob in which he said, "I expect to get a lecture today from IBM reminding me that they are the Prime." Loftus added, "They just don't get it." Dreyer found that Loftus' communication behind IBM's back "presumably violated its contract with IBM and the state was in violation of the terms of the MSA, which provided that IBM was the sole point of contact with regard to contractual matters." Loftus' communications included conversations directly with Gov. Daniels and one of his top staffers, Betsy Burdick, who is the sister of Brian Burdick, the Barnes & Thornburg attorney who signed the contract on behalf of the firm to represent the state in its lawsuit against IBM despite its obvious conflict of interests. Loftus' actions were that of a snake in the grass, completely stabbing IBM in the back to win the contract for his client. Dreyer noted that ACS officials testified that Loftus' communications behind IBM's back "were contractually prohibited." As Dreyer put it, "The Court is unable to find that IBM breached the contract by failing to adequately manage ACS at the same time ACS and the State were talking behind IBM's back."

For the life of me, I do not understand why a criminal investigation has not been launched by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office. This has got to be one of the most corrupt deals in the history of Indiana state government. Hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars were being misspent simply so big campaign contributors of Gov. Mitch Daniels could make a lot of money with no concern at all to the services being provided using those tax dollars. One of the administration's biggest critics in the state legislature is a Republican lawmaker, State Sen. Vaneeta Becker (R-Evansville). “The whole thing could have been avoided if the state from the beginning had just provided new computers and additional training to caseworkers,” she told the Star's Mary Beth Schneider. “A lot of this could have been avoided and a lot of costs.” Gov. Daniels, for his part, was totally unapologetic about the outcome and says he expects the decision will be overturned on appeal. Even if the state loses on appeal, he told Schneider that the more than $52 million the state will be required to pay IBM was irrelevant because they "are so tiny compared to the savings we’re achieving.” The state has spent more than a half billion dollars to date on the privatization effort. What do you expect from a guy who told Congress when he was OMB Director that the Iraq war would only cost taxpayers $50 billion? Oh, and did I mention that Gov. Daniels put a former paid consultant for ACS, Mike Gargano, in charge of FSSA after Roob's successor, Anne Murphy, left the agency after a short stint running the agency?

There were lots of hiccups along the way, some of them IBM's fault, some of them the fault of subcontractors like ACS, some of them the fault of FSSA and some due to circumstances beyond both parties' control attributed to the explosion in claims caused by the Great Recession. The undisputed facts show the state devised metrics for measuring IBM's performance and an overwhelming number of those metrics were on target. What few were under-performing were moving in the right direction when Gov. Daniels abruptly terminated IBM's contract and handed its work over to ACS entirely to fulfill, which I believe was the objective all along. Roob just needed IBM as a placeholder not to make it so obvious he had steered one of the most lucrative contracts in the state's history to his previous employer, although everyone knew that was his objective all along beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Gary Welsh predicted Indiana would try to screw over IBM:

Sometimes justice works, and sometimes justice works in mysterious ways. This is one of the most corrupt and sad chapters in recent Indiana government history. There should have been criminal prosecutions for what took place involving this contract in the Daniels administration and what continues to take place to this day. Unfortunately, I don't see much upside for IBM finding justice in this state, and its attorneys would probably be well-advised to pick up its marbles and go home without being stripped too bare of its clothing before leaving the state by the wheels of justice in Indiana, which can work in very mysterious ways. IBM should have realized it was lying down with dogs when it got involved in this taxpayer feeding frenzy years ago and the inevitable result of waking up with fleas.

Paul Ogden on FSSA debacle and Barnes and Thornburg's conflict of interest representing the state and ACS:

The State, i.e. FSSA, ended up suing IBM to recover under the contract.  IBM countersued, claiming that the State breached the contact through its termination.  But who does the Daniels' administration insist the State hire to represent the State?  None other than Barnes & Thornburg the very law firm that represented ACS in lobbying to get the contract and still represents ACS to this day. 

Let me summarize what appears to have happened. ACS lobbies state officials to oust IBM so ACS can have the lucrative Medicaid privatization contract to itself.  ACS eventually succeeds.  The State sues IBM, perhaps to counter the inevitable breach of suit IBM was about to file.  After, IBM sues, the State hires Barnes & Thornburg, ACS's attorney to represent the state.

The State appears to be nothing more than a proxy for ACS. This case is essentially ACS v. IBM, yet we taxpayers are on the hook to pay Barnes & Thornburg, ACS' attorneys, $9.6 million.  That is uttterly outrageous.

Given that federal money here is involved, I too wonder why there has not been a federal investigation opened up by the FBI into this matter.  There certainly should be now that the facts here expose troubling, if not illegal, conduct by government officials and private lobbyists.