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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mike Pence Made a Deal with the Devil, and the Devil Won

Earlier today our good friend that lovable gadfly Paul Ogden wrote a great, great post about how Indianapolis gambled taxpayers money on the past and we all got hosed. By a remarkable coincidence this post spurned us on to right about another exercise in gambling stupidity. As our readers are well aware INDY REPUBLICAN like the late great Gary Welsh, loathes and despises the milquetoast, obsequious, toady that is Vice President Mike Pence. Unlike some in the Never Trump band of conservatives and republicans, we are as much Never Pence as we are Never Trump. Whether it’s old Mikey being less than honest on his voter registration, using his political pull to get his less than qualified nephew John Pence a cushy political job, or putting on his best imitation of a Christian. Vice President Mike Pence has never failed to exceed our already low expectations of his worthless butt.

Back on April 15th, 2020 Adam Wren a writer for Politico and Indianapolis Monthly wrote “Four Years Ago, Mike Pence Hated Presidential Overeach”. When recounts how Mike Pence looked uncomfortable at President Trump’s April 13th, 2020, when the President said that his authority was “total”. 

Wren reports Pence’s response to his master Trump’s proclamation of supreme power. According to Wren, Pence said: 

“Make no mistake about it,” a stone-faced Pence replied. “In the long history of this country, the authority of this country, the authority of the president of the United States during national emergencies is unquestionably plenary.”

There’s a governor who spent his time in office arguing exactly the opposite: that the states had the right to refuse Washington’s dictates, that state autonomy was a constitutional bulwark against overarching presidential power. His name was Mike Pence.

Wren makes reference to a 2011 Washington Times Op-Ed then Congressman Mike Pence wrote, defending states against the overeach of federal power. Here are a few excerpts from that op-ed, back when Pence still pretended to be a conservative:

 To ensure a lasting victory for limited government, it will not be enough simply to cut government spending. We must permanently reduce the size and scope of the federal government by restoring to the states and the people those responsibilities and resources that are rightfully theirs under the Constitution of the United States.”

“In 1982, Mr. Reagan came to Indiana to address the issue of federalism before a joint session of our state General Assembly. He used that Hoosier setting as a backdrop to announce a new presidential commission on federalism, which he called the “new phase” of the “great American experiment.” As a start, he offered to return 40 federal programs and the revenues associated with them back to the states. The commission and its work fell flat, but Mr. Reagan was right 30 years ago, and he is more right today.

Sounds light years away from his role serving in and defending an administration that has worked to undermine Congress’s oversight of the federal governmentpushed for taxpayer bailout of private businesses, and has sought to bailout American farmers after his insane tariffs have damaged them. While we believe that it is true that Pence sold his soul to Trump in the hopes of becoming president. We happen to believe that his so called Christian faith, and belief in limited government have long been a fraud that Pence has peddled in his quest for significance. In congress Pence never passed anything of any importance. It’s true he now and then pretended to support government whistleblowers. But as a congressman, governor, and now Vice President he has done less than nothing to protect whistleblowers. 

Some have attempted to defend Pence by saying he has pushed behind the scenes to reign in Trump, or that he has no choice but to obey Trump. Our response to this is “Bullshit”! The belief that Pence has tried in ANY way at all to undermine Trump, is as flimsy as the evidence for Scientology’s belief in invisible space aliens infesting our bodies. Or in other words there is NO proof of either, because like Scientology’s body thetans, the legend of Pence having a spine is a complete fabrication. As to the argument that Pence has to do as he is told by Trump. Let’s quote from the Constitution that Pence swore on a Bible to uphold:

Article I, Section III, Clause I: The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

That is pretty much all the Constitution says about the Vice President. He cannot be fired by Trump. At the very least he could take stands against the President when he oversteps his bounds. Sure Trump would rage tweet at him, and he may not get elected to another office. But he will get a government pension, and any TRUE Christian would stand against the blasphemies uttered by the mouth of Donald Trump. 

For a more in depth view of Pence selling his soul, checkout yesterday’s episode of Joe Walsh’s podcast “Fuck Silence”:

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Repost about Governor Eric Holcomb’s Corporatism and Dictatorial Ways

    Yesterday a group of citizen activists gathered outside Furher Governor Eric “Mad King” Holcomb to protest what they saw as unlawful executive overreach by the overrated flunky of former “Godfather Governor” Mitch Daniels. Now although it is no secret that the IR Gang are ardent and avowed Never Trump Conservative Republicans, and despite our disagreements with the protesters on some issues, on balance the protesters are absolutely right in asserting that Holcomb is guilty of abusing his office as Governor. Our readers may recall back in December we published a post about how Holcomb decided to try and infringe on two media outlets freedom of speech, merely because they published a story that he disagreed with. The stories involved allegations that the Holcomb administration waived safety fines against Amazon that had been levied due to a 2017 incident involving the death of an Amazon employee. These fines were lifted it is alleged because Holcomb was hoping to lure a new Amazon facility to Indiana. Amazon declined to move the facility to Indiana. In light of the recent protests against Governor Holcomb, we felt that revisiting our earlier post about him was in order. We have reprinted our December 12th, 2019 post below and hope you would all find it enlightening:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Did Governor Eric Holcomb’s Administration Improperly Waive Safety Fines for Amazon?

Governor “Mad” Eric Holcomb 

Lindsey Erdody of the Indianapolis Business Journal wrote an article about the 2017 death of 59 year old Phillip Lee Terry at the Plainfield, Indiana Amazon warehouse.  Terry’s death by itself might just sound like a tragic accident on the job. But as Erdody reports there appears to be much more to this than an unfortunate accident.

Erdody writes:

An article, published Monday by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, details the death of 59-year-old Phillip Lee Terry and the state’s investigation into whether Amazon was liable. Terry died on the job at the Amazon warehouse in Plainfield in late September 2017 after a 1,200-pound piece of equipment dropped and crushed him.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration was sent to investigate the death, and safety inspector John Stallone concluded a forklift had not been propped up as it should have been when Terry was working under it, according to the Reveal article.

Stallone asked Amazon for proof that Terry had been trained on how to properly work on the equipment, but the company did not provide adequate proof, so Stallone issued four safety citations for a total fine of $28,000, according to the story.

That same month, Holcomb directed state officials to try to lure Amazon into locating its second headquarters in the state. The Seattle-based company announced it was in the market for another location and had promised a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs to the winning region.

In November 2017, while the public bidding war for Amazon’s HQ2 was still playing out, Stallone and his boss, Indiana OSHA Director Julie Alexander, called Amazon officials to talk about the citations and fine related to Terry’s death, according to the article. Stallone recorded the call, and Alexander can be heard telling Amazon officials how to reduce the fines and shift the blame to “employee misconduct,” according to Reveal.

In a podcast posted by Reveal that included some of the audio from that conversation, Alexander is heard telling Stallone “I hope you don’t take it personally if we have to manipulate your citations.”

Stallone told Reveal that a few days after that call, he was called into a meeting with Indiana Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble and Holcomb, who allegedly brought up the Amazon deal and said it would mean a lot to the state to land the headquarters.

Ruble then told Stallone to either back off the Amazon case or resign, according to the story. Stallone told Reveal that he quit soon afterward.

Holcomb’s office denied that meeting ever happened.

“The claim against the governor is absolutely untrue,” Holcomb spokeswoman Rachel Hoffmeyer said.

Ms. Erdody points out that the Indiana Department of Labor on September 14, 2018 waived all proposed fines against Amazon. Click here to read the IDOL’s settlement with Amazon. Click here for the story by Reveal News which sparked interest in this case. Also check out Reveal’s podcast “Amazon: Behind The Smiles”. 

Our story doesn’t end here though. Governor Eric Holcomb and has responded in a most interesting way to media inquiries into their alleged conduct surrounding Amazon and the death of Phillip Lee Terry. In a follow up article on December 4th, 2019 Lindsey Erdody wrote:

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Labor insist that the investigation into an Amazon employee’s death in 2017 was handled appropriately, even though the safety violations that were initially issued were eventually dismissed.

Reveal, part of the not-for-profit Center for Investigative Reporting, recently highlighted the investigation as part of a report on working conditions in Amazon facilities across the country. The Indianapolis Star also published the Indiana-specific section of the Reveal article, which alleges Holcomb was involved in getting Amazon’s fines eliminated after the September 2017 death of a maintenance employee in Plainfield as part of a strategy to win Amazon’s coveted HQ2 project.

Holcomb has repeatedly denied the allegations, even taking the unusual step of issuing cease-and-desist letters to Reveal and the IndyStar. On Tuesday, he said he believes the Department of Labor and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration handled the case correctly.

Let’s stop and think for just a minute here. The Indianapolis Star and Reveal publish a story alleging that Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Labor Commissioner sought to avoid making Amazon pay a fine in the death of one of it’s employees. All so that the state could hope to lure Amazon into placing a distribution center in Indiana. But rather than logically refute the story. Mad King Eric AKA High Tax Holcomb decides to do his best  imitation of a Soviet apparatchik and send cease and desist letters to Reveal and The Indianapolis Star merely for exercising their free speech rights, and for upsetting Governor Cry Baby. Such behavior from former Governor Mitch Daniels personal slave is not surprising. Indiana deserves better than Eric Holcomb. This is clearly the age of the second rater as far as Indiana government goes. 

Click here to read the text of Governor Holcomb’s childish cease and desist demand letters.

Fortunately several Indiana journalists have decided they are not going to bend over and let Holcomb slap them into submission. Neither Reveal or The Indianapolis Star have backed down or retracted there stories regarding Holcomb and Amazon. 

The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel published an editorial denouncing Holcomb’s antics. The Indiana Society of Professional Journalists also wrote an open letter to Eric Holcomb criticizing his attempts to quell free speech. We will end this post by reproducing the SPJ’s letter in full:

Dec. 3, 2019

Honorable Eric J. Holcomb
Governor of Indiana
200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Gov. Holcomb:

The Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists takes exception to your call for the Indianapolis Star and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting to cease and desist reporting stories about your administration’s handling of worker safety investigations at Amazon facilities in Indiana.

Our organization, which represents professional journalists throughout Indiana, feels this move is a threat to press freedom.

According to Article I, section 9 of the Indiana Constitution: “No law shall be passed restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print, freely, on any subject whatever: but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible.”

In our view, your cease-and-desist letters, issued on Nov. 29, are designed to intimidate reporters and journalists looking into your administration. The letters also add to the overall climate in the nation that looks to undermine the credibility of journalists and media outlets.

Although you might not agree with the contents or conclusions of the report in Reveal and the Indianapolis Star, an unusual call by your office for a cease-and-desist order against the media could chill efforts to report an ongoing story.

Indiana Pro SPJ stands behind the efforts of local and national journalism outlets to report issues of public importance and hold leaders accountable. If there are disputes over accuracy, there are ways to address those concerns without issuing a cease-and-desist order.

Indiana should set an example for the rest of the nation to follow when it comes to press freedom. Our officers would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss this issue further.


The Board of Directors
Indiana Professional Chapter
Society of Professional Journalists

For more information, please contact:

John Russell, chapter president
(317) 250-6261

Michael Puente, chapter vice president
(312) 342-0056

UPDATE: An alert reader directed us to an op-ed and a report over at IndyStar you should all see about Holcomb’s dirty deeds. Click here and here for more information.