Saturday, March 11, 2006

Campaign Finance Reform, Eh?

Fascinating to look at today's Washington Post and see an article predicting the financing that will be required of a presidential candidate in 2008. From the Post article:
Michael E. Toner, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, has some friendly advice for presidential candidates who plan to be taken seriously by the time nominating contests start in early 2008: Bring your wallet.

"There is a growing sense that there is going to be a $100 million entry fee at the end of 2007 to be considered a serious candidate," Toner said in a recent interview.

And who's picture is there to accompany the article? Why, it's John McCain, co-author of McCain-Feingold, one of the badly misnamed campaign finance 'reform' laws. The reason?
One of the least known but most important dimensions of the early competition to raise cash is securing the support of men and women who have proven effective in the past at raising large sums -- usually from a well-tended network of business associates, corporate subordinates and clients.

The 2004 Bush campaign designated these people as "Pioneers" (raised $100,000), "Rangers" ($200,000) and "Super Rangers" ($300,000).

Texas lawyer Thomas G. Loeffler, a Bush Ranger in 2004, has already signed on to help Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008; Northern Virginia real estate developer Dwight C. Schar, a Ranger in 2004, was on the host committee for a Super Bowl fundraiser to benefit Sen. George Allen (R-Va.). A senior GOP strategist said these Bush backers undoubtedly are "being swarmed over" by the president's would-be successors.

McCain plays the populist, but is no such thing. Drafting the laws regarding campaign finance and then running for President is very clever. It certainly gives you an inside track.

Thanks for 'taking the money out of elections', John!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Annie Update

It happened that work took me to Greenfield, so I stopped for a minute to visit Ann Tomie, owner of Annie's Restaurant. I knew that the smoking bans affecting her business had been in effect for nine days, and I wanted to see how business was in this new climate.

The smoking bans are killing her business. This was forseeable by Ann. She knows her customers better than anyone. This is why Ann spoke up at Greenfield City Council meetings in opposition to the bans. She knew it would hurt her.

I stood with Ann Tomey outside her restaurant in October. I stand with her today.

What I didn't know was that Ann had appeared again before the City Council, yesterday, to report to them just how badly it was hurting her. From the Greenfield Reporter article:
Tomey approached the council saying she knows it is tired of seeing her and she is tired of coming to meetings, but she wanted the council to know one thing: The new ban on smoking in public is destroying her business.

“This might be the last thing I ask you to do, but talk to the workers,” Tomey said.

She then read a letter from a waitress at her downtown restaurant. The letter said the waitress cannot survive on the income she makes without tips due the lack of business she blamed on the new ordinance. Tomey said many people have been affected by the smoking ban and she had asked them to come to the meeting, but they didn’t show up.

The council listened, but members didn’t budge when they were again asked to change the law.

There was no sign of the tears that would later cause Tomey to leave the meeting when she told the council that this year she has made only $28,000 from her business, or about $500 to $600 of business daily. Since the smoking ordinance took effect March 1, she has had days where she only makes $125 from her business before expenses.
The Greenfield City Council is comprised of six Republicans and one Democrat. These officials did not consult Ann or any other restaurant owner prior to introducing the legislation. They remain unconcerned that her business is suffering. They have never been interested in defending her property rights. They have only been interested in passing feel-good legislation.

I can tell you this, from looking in Ann's face this morning- she doesn't feel good at all.

When I left the restaurant at 11:30 this morning, two diners occupied one table.

The Libertarian Party is the defender of small business owners like Ann Tomey. The Republicans and Democrats work together to crush small business, through their indifference and their unwillingness to consider secondary outcomes. Annie is the proof.

It's a tremendous shame that the people who believe in property rights have not been willing to appear in numbers at Town Council meetings. Without the numbers of citizens to confront government officials, and to run for office against them, they can safely surmise that there really isn't an opinion against them, and they need not change their ways.

People often ask me, "Mike, what can I do?" It's simple.

Be seen. Be heard. Sign your name to letters. Put signs in your front yard. Be enormously visible.

Take stock in John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence. He knew that signing was an act of treason against the British, so he signed with a flourish.

The issues that confront us today and assault our freedoms are significant, but the risk we bear today is miniscule compared to what Hancock signed on for.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Isabel at Nine Months

It's incredible how the time has flown. Isabel is nine months old today. Here are some of Proud Papa's pictures from earlier this evening.

Trust Me!

The Indy Star has an interesting report this evening, with the CEO of the Spanish-Australian company making the pitch for the toll road deal. From the Star article:
At a Statehouse news conference, Stephen Allen, chief executive officer for Macquarie Infrastructure Group of Sydney, sought to ease resistance among some lawmakers and the public to overseas ownership. Macquarie, along with Cintra, a Madrid-based firm, has offered the state an immediate payment of $3.85 billion for the right to take control of Toll Road operations, maintenance and revenues for 75 years.

"What I'm actually doing is proposing to invest in Indiana," Allen said. "I'm actually talking about creating jobs here."
That's true, but he's also talking about minimizing potential, squandering opportunity.

Thanks to Greg Kelver and the LaPorte Libertarians for the sign that says it all.

When the CEO of the company feels compelled to try to sell the deal through the media, my nonsense detector starts beeping. When any salesman works too hard to tell you what a great deal he's bringing to you, it's time to run for the door. When the Governor tells you you're for this deal or against the future, you know there is a lack of confidence in the strength of the deal.

Take this together with the fact that the Daniels Administration gave the store away to the Colts on the naming rights deal, and there is every reason to believe this is a Major Mishap waiting to occur.

  • 75 years is too long. Get the $3.75 billion for 10 years, and then you're talking a good deal.
  • Cut new terrain I-69 from the deal. The people of Perry Township, Morgan County, Monroe County, and on down south don't want new terrain I-69.
  • Keep the money in the area that generates it- the northern counties. Otherwise, you're just talking socialism, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Let's see if House Bill 1008 isn't rightly seen as an anchor around the necks of our legislators who face the voters this November. Libertarians are keeping score.

Legislative Review on WXNT

The "Abdul In The Morning" show continues its series of periodic roundtables, with representatives of each of Indiana's three balloted political parties on to discuss and debate.

Libertarian Party of Indiana Executive Director Dan Drexler will join Mike Edmonson of the Democrats and a top official from the Republicans to discuss this year's nearly completed legislative session.

I love the Libertarian role in these roundtables. While the Ds and Rs claim everything their legislators introduced was great and everything the other side introduced was bunk, Libertarians end up as the voice of reason by agreeing with both parties on some items, and disagreeing on some others, rather than being merely contrarian.

You may recall that I represented the Libertarian Party after the President's State of the Union Address, a few weeks back.

Listen to Newstalk 1430-am Friday morning. If you are outside of reception range, you can stream the signal. Go to
Indianapolis Libertarian Meet-Up Info

This Meet-up group has been very successful to date, with about 20 or so participants each time I've visited. Very spirited conversations!

The next Indianapolis Libertarian Meet-up takes place next Wednesday, March 22nd, at 8pm, at the Border's Bookstore at Keystone at the Crossing. Here's a link to the Meet-up group.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Polls So Far

The latest polls at the right are surprising to me. Mainly, most visitors here wouldn't change their 2004 gubernatorial vote. Then again, the majority who voted in the polls are Libertarians, so I'm not surprised about them.

The number of poll-takers is way below the number of daily visitors, so I'm adding a third poll. It caters to out-of-state visitors on their 2004 gubernatorial and/or presidential votes. In light of Tom Delay's easy primary victory in Texas, perhaps I should expect little difference.
Data Mining

As many Libertarian leaders check this site, I'd like to direct them to an excellent Washington Post article that highlights the interest of a Democratic Party faction in developing better data mining techniques.

Why are they interested? For the same reasons we should be. From the Post article:
The pressure on Democrats to begin more aggressive "data mining" in the hunt for votes began after the 2002 midterm elections and intensified after the 2004 presidential contest, when the GOP harnessed data technology to powerful effect.

In 2002, for the first time in recent memory, Republicans ran better get-out-the-vote programs than Democrats. When well done, such drives typically raise a candidate's Election Day performance by two to four percentage points. Democrats have become increasingly fearful that the GOP is capitalizing on high-speed computers and the growing volume of data available from government files and consumer marketing firms -- as well as the party's own surveys -- to better target potential supporters.

The Republican database has allowed the party and its candidates to
tailor messages to individual voters and households
, using information
about the kind of magazines they receive, whether they own guns, the churches they attend, their incomes, their charitable contributions and their voting histories.

This makes it possible to specifically address the issues of voters who, in the case of many GOP supporters, may oppose abortion, support gun rights or be angry about government use of eminent domain to take private property. A personalized pitch can be made during door-knocking, through direct mail and e-mail, and via phone banks.

(Emphasis is mine.)

This is an area where Libertarians could capitalize. The GOP is targeting eminent domain angered voters? Republican officials instigate as many eminent domain grabs as do Democrats. Mitch Daniels and NK Hurst, anyone? Republicans curtail 2nd Amendment rights as fast as Democrats. Etc.

I am pleased that the Libertarian Party of Indiana is taking this seriously, as shown in our recent County Chairs Convention. A 2% or 4% bump could make a huge difference for us county to county in the SoS race, where ballot ranking and other status issues are resolved.

I hope other LP state affiliates also get deeply involved with database development- especially those states that struggle to earn and keep ballot access

Monday, March 06, 2006

Frost Illustrated Carries Column

Periodically, I contribute a column to the Libertarian Writers' Bureau. My most recent item was picked up by Fort Wayne's Frost Illustrated.

The column ties the gerrymandering of districts and the relative responsive of elected officials together, citing several examples, including Major Moves:
The I-80 toll road is likely to be leased to foreign investors, with the strong possibility of increased tolls. Those who live in the region and use the toll road weren't consulted— not even as an afterthought. After all, leasing the toll road is an attempt to solve problems away from the road itself.

So, it was very refreshing to see State Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) pick up the Libertarian Party's top issue in the 2002 Secretary of State race, and introduce HB 1099, which would eliminate the gerrymandering of districts to suit the parties, and would instead draw districts that are balanced in population, yet geographically sensible.

Torr's introduction of the bill is courageous in light of the major parties' interest in preserving the status quo. The bill's passage might lead to a more responsive, more representative government that asks citizens what is important, and then actually carries out their wishes.

Frost Illustrated serves Fort Wayne's black community as its target audience. Recently, it has been consistently including Libertarian commentary on its pages and website. I am grateful for this. Check out Frost Illustrated.

Thanks to Mike Sylvester for the tip!

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New Polls

I have heard much discussion about Mitch Daniels and his approval ratings. Many of the grumblings actually come from my Republican friends, who are feeling they aren't getting what they bargained for in Daniels.

In particular, I have cause to encounter many elected Republican township officials. They are angry that he would eliminate their livelihood and effectively destroy the GOP grassroots. Actually, I'm kind of amused by their grassroots being mowed down by one of their own. Fire up the Lawn Boy, Mitch!

Mr. Daniels is fond of reminding folks that he doesn't much care what people think of his work, that he does what he thinks is right. I find that admirable, but of course I don't agree with him on everything with regards to right and wrong. See socialized football stadiums and 75-year toll road leases for my prime examples.

Many of my Republican friends tell me that they wish they had voted for Daniels' primary challenger Eric Miller, or Libertarian Kenn Gividen. I've even had a few tell me they would sooner vote for Kernan if they had it to do all over again.

So, let's have it to do all over again here. It obviously doesn't count, but it's a fun exercise.

I voted Gividen in '04, and would happily do so again. What about you?

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Poll Results In

The last poll question posted on Kole Hard Facts asked, What is the best single issue for a Libertarian to run on? Here are the results:

38% None- Libertarian philosophy as a whole
19% Making government less intrusive
14% Lower taxes
14% Libertarians aren't Democrats or Republicans
10% Implementing the Fair Tax
5% Ending eminent domain abuse
0% Opposing forced annexation
0% Daylight Savings Time (for or against)

The correct answer is- none of the above. It depends on the office being sought, and what matters to the people within the jurisdiction as related to the office being sought.

Even though a majority of respondents cited Libertarian philosophy as a whole, that doesn't work so well, because while libertarians eat it up, the public isn't able to get their arms around the whole of it, and besides, they may embrace 2/3rds of it while rejecting 1/3rd. In sum, if you're running for Dog Catcher, you really have little to gain in talking about the Federal Reserve System.

Clearly, forced annexation is a regional issue. It may not affect the reader in Kokomo, or Florida. Ditto, DST... although both may be contained in "Making government less intrusive".

As I've said, these polls are less than scientific, but fun!
Maybe I'm Just Not Finding Them

Articles, that is. Articles that point out that allowing the Colts to take all of the naming rights money, and that this is a big dropped ball on the part of the State of Indiana. Articles that link this dropped ball to the Major Moves plan because if the state could give away the store to the Colts, they could most certainly do it again on a toll road.

Please forward links if I am simply not finding these articles on my own. It would surprise me, because I have been checking the statewide media every morning.

There is little time left in the session, and this track record should be brought to light by the media, prior to the final votes in the Statehouse.

The track record is of shoddy negotiation on behalf of the taxpayers of Indiana. There is no good reason to trust the negotiators in the Daniels Administration, based on this track record.

What I am fearing here is the Indy Star treatment given the Colts stadium project last year. The Star remained largely silent or hinted that the project was okay, but then after it was finalized, their columnists started offering the opinion that the deal wasn't so great. A lot of good that did. Likewise, there will be little benefit in making this linkage after the deal is signed.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Gaping Holes

I was astonished to scan the myriad Sunday news sources throughout our state and to not find commentary linking the Lucas Oil-Colts stadium naming rights deal to the Major Moves toll road deal proposed by the State.

The Daniels Administration oversees the stadium via the Stadium Authority. Thus, the Daniels Administration somehow allowed the deal to permit the Colts to collect 100% of the naming rights money, to the tune of $122 million. Naming rights deals are major components of stadium packages. Can the Daniels Administration and the Stadium Authority be so oblivious as to give away that plum? Apparently so.

So, it follows that if the Daniels Administration can give away the store to the Colts, it most certainly can do the same thing with the toll road. Governor Daniels can say all he likes about the benefits of the deal with the Australian/Spanish outfit, but his other major deal has resulted mainly in benefits for the party sitting across the table. That's a fact.

There are gaping holes in the coverage, just as there are gaping holes in the deals. With two weeks left in the session, it will be interesting to observe the votes by our State Representatives, and see if the media points out this glaring, obvious hole in the naming rights deal.

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