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Completely Pointless and Utterly Absurd

Completely Pointless and Utterly Absurd

First, some chemistry; iodine turns black when exposed to starch. So, a lighter ink which contains iodine will turn black when it comes into contact with starch, which is included in the manufacturing process of standard copy paper. When the ink is used on paper that doesn’t contain starch (such as most paper made with cotton fiber instead of wood pulp) the ink will maintain a sort of brownish-yellow color.

If you pay for gasoline with a fifty dollar bill, chances are the cashier will make a mark on it with a counterfeit detector pen. American currency, made of cotton fiber and not including starch, will leave the ink that lighter color. Counterfeit currency printed on regular paper will make the ink turn black.

Interestingly enough, counterfeit currency made with cotton fiber parchment paper, available at every stationary supply store in the country, will pass as genuine under the ink test. The Secret Service, which investigates counterfeiting, doesn’t include the detector pens in their list of recommendations for examining currency.

So, a counterfeit bill passes the test and is accepted by a cashier. Later, the bank where the money is deposited is able to detect that it is fake. The incident makes headlines, and every store in town attempts to take precautions – by buying counterfeit detector pens, which will give a passing grade to upscale resume stationary. A completely pointless test creates a new vulnerability and becomes utterly absurd.

It appears to me that just about everything sold as urgently necessary is, upon closer examination, completely pointless and utterly absurd.

Prairie Meadows Casino was billed as a way to revitalize the economy. It is owned by Polk County, and the revenue was supposed to fund education, roads, and economic development.

Much of the money is used to pay the interest on the tax-exempt bonds issued to build the Iowa Events Center – which, although a lovely facility, employs only a handful of people and isn’t exactly the urban goldmine that developers always claim to have in their hip pocket.

I haven’t been to a casino in years and don’t intend to go back. Gambling used to be a risqué vice; now it is nothing more than another way to feed the voracious wolves.

Speed cameras should go in this category as well because they don‘t stop speeding nor do they protect the public. I was on the interstate in Cedar Rapids a while back, and everyone around me was driving above the speed limit. Upon approaching the sign indicating a traffic camera, they all slammed on the brakes very hard. After passing the camera, they sped up again.

Furthermore, I could drive down that stretch of highway drunk, while sending a text message, and using hallucinogenic drugs- but as long as I am not speeding, the camera is useless.

Government at all levels promises to build roads and develop your economy.  What actually happens is that they tax you, fine you, and monitor you – and the roads are still terrible. Infrastructure projects have become the best Trojan Horse to sneak in a tax increase- actually go and take a look at the budget of your local government. How much of your tax money goes to bond interest for infrastructure projects?

Iowa Title Guaranty, a part of the Iowa Finance Authority, was created in 2001. You see, in Iowa, when you buy a house it is traditional to have a lawyer review a title abstract and write an opinion about it. In every other state, you just buy title insurance, and when the big investment banks started jamming mortgages together into mortgage-backed securities they got used to having a standardized title insurance policy along with their mortgages.

They simply didn’t know how to deal with an attorney’s title opinion letter. Pity. It looked like Iowans might be denied the joy of subprime mortgages, and would have to make do with conforming loans.

But, not to worry! Here comes the state legislature with Iowa Title Guaranty, offering what the big investment banks were used to seeing. Oh, the joy of it; Iowans would have access after all to mortgages with bad terms, adjustable rates, and given without regard to lending standards. Being suckered into bad loans is practically a human right, after all. Title Guaranty – Completely pointless, and utterly absurd.

Even jobs can be completely pointless and utterly absurd. Anything involving the “green economy” springs to mind. Being paid by the government to build solar panels that will never be installed, for instance. Sure, a few people earned a few paychecks before Solyndra folded, but they produced absolutely nothing of value for the economy as a whole.

The Federal Reserve was billed as a way to avoid economic crises and facilitate greater wealth. In the end, it facilitated the largest fiscal and trade deficits in human history. Since 1990, we have run aggregate trade deficits in excess of eight trillion dollars, which is interesting because back in 1990 the M2 supply was only three trillion dollars. Either we ran out of currency (three times) or we were paying for imports with inflation.

When the Byzantines wanted to buy Chinese silk, they had to sell glass and other wares, or else they would have run out of gold. (They ended up stealing silk worms and producing it themselves). We can buy foreign goods by doing nothing more complicated than printing money.

Politicians offer to solve this problem with government action – either stimulus spending or trade wars – but never with stable currency policy, making any of their efforts completely pointless and utterly absurd.

I believe that our future as a nation will come down to whether or not we can successfully identify the completely pointless and utterly absurd things swirling around in our government, our economy, our businesses, and our culture. This will involve a great deal of complaining, which fortunately is the only real talent I possess. Now, to find a way to earn tons of money while doing it.

 

First Presidential Debate, October 3, 2012

First Presidential Debate, October 3, 2012

Debate, Podium, President, Discorse, PoliticsThe most impressive thing about Wednesday night’s Presidential Debate is what it was not: a contentious barrage of angry epitaths like those being thrown throughout the blogosphere or even in some of the Republican Primary Debates. Both men were smiling, civil, and even appeared to be listening as the other spoke. President Obama carried on the same criticisms of Romney’s plans, and the Governor politely said that the President’s information was wrong. They both agreed with each other regarding areas of common ground. We suspect that the rules holding applause had a positive impact on the cordial nature of the debate, although it certainly didn’t hurt that Moderator Jim Lehrer’s folksy demeaner and attempts to steer the conversation helped keep the discourse on an even keel.

The debate format was such that Lehrer, the sole quiz master, provided the questions, each candidate got 2 minutes to answer, and multiple guided opportunities to respond to each other. The program was to be divided into six 15 minute segments, 3 related to the Economy, 1 Health Care, 1 The Role of Government, and 1 on Governing. Neither candidate was able to keep within the time limits, and Lehrer was generally unable to interrupt them as they spoke. Frankly, we would also find it difficult to interrupt the President of The United States while he is speaking simply out of respect, and although on this stage he is Candidate Obama, one cannot escape the simple power of the office. As a result, the very first 15 minute segment lasted 25 minutes, and at the end of the debate, the final segment on Governing was dropped.

Although quite a few of the comments from the candidates were answers to the questions they wanted to hear or attempts to simply reiterate the prior opposing points, overall we did hear some clear messages of positions on each candidate’s part. Tiresome after a while was the continued return to the question of Governor Romney’s tax plan, both in the President’s criticism and the Governor’s response.

President Barack Obama [Justin Arnold]

My assignment is to critique the performance of President Obama in around 500 words…challenge accepted.  To do so we will cover two main areas, 1) his stylistic performance, and 2) the themes he chose to create through repetition.

In terms of his “theatrical”, as usual he was calm, smooth, and steady.  He made no direct gaffes, never lost his train of thought or focus, and came across as charming and competent.  This should surprise no one, as he has consistently scored high in this area and this rare ability is by far his greatest gift.

When it comes to the themes he chose to develop throughout the evening, identifying them is important for two central reasons.  The first is that this particular debate played out in such a way that there were really no instantly memorable big moments, whether positive or negative, for either candidate.  Unlike some debates that can be bookmarked by a few great lines or retorts, this one had a steady flow and a real seamless conversional back and forth from beginning to end.  I think there is little question that the Romney camp was thrilled this style of debate is what unfolded.  The reason for this being that the audience really has no choice but to judge the men more on the basis of substance and less on who scored the most clever gotcha points—which is a battle Romney will lose to Obama every time.

The second reason themes are important is because they are pre-chosen for a reason.  They represent the narrative that each candidate strongly believes increases there chance of winning both the debate and the election.  For this reason, it is critical that they are the “right” ones, and that they drive them home effectively.

Obama’s Themes and 2 Best Lines Of The Night

Without question there were three major assertions that the President wanted the viewer to take away from the debate and two that were more minor.  The major themes were each repeated at least three times and the minor ones at least twice.

  1. That Romney (and Paul Ryan) have plenty of plans but no specifics.  Cultivating this idea is an effort to take away the “election of big ideas” that Romney has desired ever since announcing Paul Ryan as his VP.  Besides the claim having some truth to it, for Obama it is brilliant politics and I believe he scored some points with it.
  2. That Mitt Romney’s plan includes $5 trillion in tax cuts and a $2 trillion increase in military spending.  This was repeated no less than four times and Romney adamantly denied the tax claim each time. (Next week we will look at this claim and bring you the boring facts).
  3. Insurance companies are villains.  In three different topic segments the President managed to work in examples of how insurance companies are taking it to the American people, and he did so using vivid language like “jerking people around” and that seniors are “at their mercy at the very time they are most vulnerable”.

The minor themes were that he gave a $3,600 tax cut to the middle class (which I sure don’t remember seeing), and twice harkening back to the economy and tax rates of Bill Clinton.

Interestingly, Obama’s two best lines were both open ended questions—On Dodd-Frank -“Does anyone out there think our problem was too much regulation on Wall Street?”, and on the lack of Romney specifics- “People have got to be asking, is the reason Mitt Romney is keeping these plans so secret because they are so good?”

Governor Mitt Romney [Art Smith]

One may wonder if Mitt Romney is running as hopeless a race as John McCain did in 2008, and whether these debates would be opportunities for him to swing the battle-ax in hopes of stimulating more people to rise up and vote against the current President in the midst of intellectual carnage.  Thankfully, this was not the case.  The Governor was poised, calm, smiling, even engaging with both the audience and the President.  And he was prepared.  I’ll cover his weakest point, his key theme, and of course his two best lines.

The Governor’s weakest point in the debate was not anything he said but the elephant he left standing in the room.  The entire evening the President Obama harped on Romney’s plan to add $2 Trillion in military spending despite the lack of such a request from the Joint Chiefs.  There is no question that Romney has put this on the table (although his website is oddly silent on this or any topic not specifically focused on jobs), but he never directly responds or provides justification for such a plan.  The closest he came was to addressing this question was in the final segment when addressing the question of the role of government, he talked about the government’s responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of its people, in which he said “… that means military that is second to none … I believe in maintaining the strength of America’s military.”  I’m not surprised that he let that question fall to the floor, and I’m sure it was a pre-debate decision not to respond to that criticism because it would have likely had the effect of simply reinforcing the public’s awareness of this spending increase plan by a candidate that is trying to cut everything else in the budget.

Romney’s Themes and 2 Best Lines Of The Night

  1. Mitt Romney will do what the President could not: bring more jobs to America.  Frankly, this appears to be the Governor’s entire campaign strategy, to remind people that there are millions of people without jobs, that the President promised that his plans would reduce the jobless rate to 5.7% by June of this year, and that he failed (by 2½%, which is big).  Almost every item he discussed came back to jobs.
  2. Mitt Romney will do what needs to be done to fix the economy.   He referred to the mounting ($1 Trillion per year) debt as “immoral”, pointed out a few things that he would cut, emphasized how energy independence was critical to America’s economic success, and repeatedly struck the need to reduce the tax burden on small business.
  3. Mitt Romney will close the Great Divide(my term for the political disparity regarding Entitlements).
    1. On Social Security: multiple generations have been put in the position that they need to depend on the government and we cannot break that promise.  However, for future generations will need to talk.
    2. On MediCare, MediCaid, and Education: We need to look at giving the states more control in order to ensure that services and resources are better managed.
    3. On ObamaCare: repeal and replace it with something that doesn’t kill the economy and jobs.

Governor Romney provided a good amount of careful explanations about his policies, but his two best lines were: 1) “Adding $1 trillion per year to the debt is simply immoral.”  That is probably the best way to characterize everything going wrong in Washington right now and  2) “The role of Government is to Promote and Protect the principles of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.”  The fact that large sections of both documents made up part of the backdrop for the stage was a huge connection.

Conclusion

For the non-intuitive undecided voter who is judging on quips and zingers this debate may not have a big impact, but for those out there thoughtfully processing each candidate’s arguments and philosophy, tonight could really move the needle for Romney.  He also likely scored big with the voter who had only heard negative second-hand opinions of Romney and pictured him as some cartoonish stooge.  On this evening he was anything but, and he delivered a truly fantastic performance from front to back.

Links:

President Barack Obama’s Web Site

Governor Mitt Romney’s Web Site

The post First Presidential Debate, October 3, 2012 appeared first on The Conservative Reader.


Polk County Sheriffs Forum Controversy: Trying To Make Sense Of Sheriff McCarthy’s Senseless Display (Part 2 of 2)

Polk County Sheriffs Forum Controversy: Trying To Make Sense Of Sheriff McCarthy’s Senseless Display (Part 2 of 2)

With Part 1 of this story covering the entire forum minus the last five minutes, lets dig right into the controversy that marked the conclusion of Monday’s forum and went on to engulf the local media in the following days.

What Was Said

For those who have not heard or read it yet, here is the transcript of the most controversial remarks from Sheriff McCarthy’s closing statement:

“…Then the other day I opened his website and he’s got a reference on there to the Oath Keepers.  The Oath Keepers!  It’s a group that affiliated with this (holds up book), but they are the big boys.   These are people on a Patriots list from the National Poverty Law Center, a watch list for extreme radicalism.  (Timothy) McVeigh died going to his grave saying that he was that kind of patriot.  This guy that runs the Oath Keepers movement, who says he’s a Constitutionalist, has now come out on his website and said it’s time to arm because we think Obama might win.  It’s time to arm, and it’s also time to store food for the war that’s coming (crowd starts booing).  This is the kind of garbage you’re going to get if he (points to Charleston) is elected.  It’s really about as radical as it gets.”

Contributing Factors

Though utterly indefensible and unjustified, there are two factors that should at least be understood when thinking about McCarthy’s attitude and conduct on this night.

I believe it fair to realize that for the last year or so Sheriff McCarthy has been listening to and watching Dan Charleston run for his job by basically saying that his department is a poorly run outfit plagued by low morale that needs whole-sale changes to better serve and protect the people of Polk County.  I am not for a moment saying that these things are untrue, but I am saying that very few of us, if any, have experienced this situation—and clearly it would be extremely tough and frustrating.  To continually hear on the radio strong criticism that you are failing in a job you are personally invested in and passionate about is no small thing, and certainly would wear on anybody.  Secondly, and unknown to me until after the fact, apparently Sheriff McCarthy’s own brother was killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing carried out by Timothy McVeigh.

The Bottom Line

The above information is presented solely to give some context to an allegation and line of logic that is nothing short of disgraceful and bizarre—there is just no getting around that.  While the whole closing statement was overboard, the last sentence elevated the charge to a different level.

It’s one thing to raise questions about a quote on Dan Charleston’s website from some group who you view to be extremist in order to cast doubt about where your opponent is coming from—some may even define this as “hard ball” politics (I would use the word “dirty”).  It is yet another step-up to imply that all this groups’ beliefs and actions can be attributed to Charleston.  Rather unfortunately Sheriff McCarthy didn’t even stop here.

Though it was hard to hear in the auditorium at the time due to the crowds audible gasp and objections, the last sentence that McCarthy uttered that night was, “And this is the kind of garbage you are going to get if he is elected, it’s really about as radical as you can get.”  Beyond being baseless, irrational, and reckless—this is legal slander that demands, in the least, a public apology.

Impact On This Race

In my view this stands as the second most bizarre episode in Iowa politics this year—bested only by Republican Senate candidate Randi Shannon’s break from reality—and will certainly hurt his chances in the November election.  Besides being a huge public relations misstep, McCarthy’s conduct and slander was a head-scratcher politically, as it runs counter to the broader-themed case he has been making against Charleston from the beginning.

Besides saying that Charleston is wrong on the issues, McCarthy’s general assertion to voters is that he is more professional and well-mannered while Charleston’s temperament and straight-talking boldness are the wrong traits to have heading the Sheriff’s Department.  It is beyond ironic that the man making this case, even saying himself during the forum that you can’t “bare your soul on every social issue”, would himself make a reckless and bizarre allegation by publically “baring” his own outlandish and paranoid beliefs about Dan Charleston.  It is truly as unbelievable and nonsensical as it is hypocritical.

The fact that these two candidates have opposite beliefs on nearly every issue already presented a clear choice for the citizens of Polk County.   Sheriff McCarthy’s outlandish display in the waning moments of Monday’s forum have made this picture’s contrast even sharper…and made the prospect of him keeping his job far less likely.

 

 

 

Polk County Sheriff Candidate Forum:  A Tense Night Concludes with Bill McCarthy Outrageously Going “Timothy McVeigh” on Dan Charleston (Part 1 of 2)

Polk County Sheriff Candidate Forum: A Tense Night Concludes with Bill McCarthy Outrageously Going “Timothy McVeigh” on Dan Charleston (Part 1 of 2)

Much of the story from Monday night’s forum between current Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy and Sheriff Candidate Dan Charleston occurred in the final minutes where, by any reasonable standard, Bill McCarthy crossed the line from aggressively campaigning to keep his job—to down-right personal slander.  We will get to that in due time, but first here is a quick re-cap of the event and the many defining differences between these two men that are at the core of this simmering race.

The Event

The forum was held in the North High School auditorium, where a large crowd left only the back few rows of seats empty, and was put on by a consortium of neighborhood groups called the “Des Moines Neighbors”.  The forum was very well run and to say interest in this Sheriffs race around Polk County is high would be an understatement—I have attended several high-profile legislative forums and debates which had a fraction of the crowd that Monday’s event had.

The mood of the audience and the two candidates onstage throughout the evening could be best described as “tense”—before exploding in the final minutes during Sheriff McCarthy’s closing statement.  While Dan Charleston kept his tone firm and relatively respectful, Bill McCarthy was repeatedly and openly condescending, dismissive, and at times insulting.  While obviously there is no love lost between the two, McCarthy’s conduct and attitude from the beginning stood out as being unprofessional and wholly unnecessary.  Now that the scene is set and you have an idea of the atmosphere—let’s move onto the substance.

Disagreements Abound

These two candidates see eye-to eye on very little, and the disagreements fit into two clear categories—1) internal department policy, and 2) what essentially amounts to political issues.

The internal department issues at hand concern promotion practices, the size and distribution of the force, and the additional $5 charge that Sheriff McCarthy has added on to the cost of receiving gun permits.  Since these issues are mainly known only to department employees and their friends and family we will not cover them in detail.  A brief summation is that Dan Charleston strongly believes the department is too top-heavy, that the promotion policy is being dealt with unfairly, and that the additional charge on gun permits should be removed.  In terms of the department’s staff allocation, Charleston has made it clear he would remove several supervisory positions and replace them with more patrols and more “boots on the ground”.  Obviously, since he is in charge of the department currently, McCarthy largely supports these things as they are.

The Political Issues

Lacking the time to reasonably go into each in detail, what follows is a surface level look–largely in their own word–at the top three hot-button issues the two candidates sparred over on this evening.

1) Illegal Immigration

Sheriff McCarthy – After being coy by saying he would “like to see some changes” in this area, though failing to mention any, he summarized his position by saying, “Local law enforcement, despite the lies you hear on the radio month after month, are not empowered to arrest people who are undocumented—or what you would call “illegal”.”  He then went on to make the case that if illegal aliens are arrested we would only “fill our jails”.

Dan Charleston—Clearly Charleston would be tougher on enforcement and he referenced the oath he took both in the military and in the Sheriff’s Department to “protect and serve”.  He went on to say, “When the coyotes bring these guys over here in two days for $1,500 it doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to it and let everything they want to do with the cartels and the gangs we have right here in Des Moines just happen.  It means you have a duty to protect and serve the citizens you were elected by.”

2)  Traffic Cameras

Sheriff McCarthy—Supports both the concept and the expansion of Automated Traffic Enforcement, and made the point that it costs the department nothing up front for the companies to come in and set the systems up.  He called the Constitutional arguments against them misleading and summarized his position by saying, “I want to give these (the cameras) a shot, and I hope they save some lives.”

Dan Charleston—Strongly opposes the concept and practice mainly on 6th Amendment “face your accuser” grounds, and also for the fact he believes it is a ploy to generate more revenue.  He concluded his answer with, “If it was a safety issue why do they let you go 11 mph over the speed limit?…I’m sure people would rather have a patrolman out there than a camera taking pictures of them.”

3)  Stand Your Ground

Sheriff McCarthy—Does not support the legislation largely because it takes discretion away from the officers and gives it to the County Attorney.  He then added, “It’s not good legislation, on the surface it looks good…but let’s not give people a free hand to be violent and mean-spirited to others.”

Dan Charleston– When asked, “Would you support Stand Your Ground legislation?”, Charleston simply answered, “Yes I would.”

(((To go straight to Part 2 of this piece Click Here)))

 

*****To read more from Dan Charleston checkout his “3 Questions with The Conservative Reader:Iowa” from earlier this year*****

 

 

 

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 42)

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 42)

(For a complete overview of all the Iowa Senate races click here)

The Candidates

Larry Kruse (R) vs. Rich Taylor (D)

Larry Kruse has been on the Lee County Board of Supervisors since 2002, and Rich Taylor is a retired HVAC Technician for Fort Madison Iowa State Penitentiary and a former Union Steward and Treasurer

The District

Senate District 42 sits in the very Southeastern corner of Iowa.  It includes all of Lee, most of Henry, and small parts of Jefferson and Washington counties.  The Democrats start with a registration advantage of 2,408, with the breakdown being: (D- 13,344) (R- 10,936) and (NP-13,501).

The Race

Both candidates won primaries to gain their parties nomination, but the path each took was very different.  Democrat Rich Taylor somewhat surprisingly won by 15 points, while Larry Kruse demolished his opponent by more than doubling him up.

I have this seat leaning Democrat–but just barely.  Of all the 8 leaners I see this seat as most likely to go the other way.  Taylor has the advantage in registrations– and he will need every bit of it.  Kruse holds the advantage in experience and cash on hand as of July 19th ($5,402 to $3,193), and could very well pull out the victory.

Noteworthy here is that Rich Taylor is yet another Democratic Union member candidate vying for a seat in the legislature.  The amount of Union candidates representing the Democrat Party on the ballot this year is truly staggering and points to the fact they believe it may be a down year for Democrats, thus needing the Union get out the vote push more than ever, and that a collective bargaining showdown with Governor Branstad is on the horizon.

Also worth a mention, as you can see yourself by clicking the link below, is that Rich Taylor is yet another Democrat candidate whose campaign website makes absolutely no mention of issues, positions, platform, or legislative priorities.  In my book this approach is both unsettling and unacceptable, and begs the question…if you are not going to be open and accountable to your potential constituents when you are seeking their support–how in the world can you be expected to be open and accountable to them once you are in office?

Further Information

Larry Kruse – Kruse4Senate.org

Rich Taylor – RichTaylor4StateSenate.com

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 8)

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 8)

(For a complete overview of the Iowa Senate races click here)

The Candidates

Mike Gronstal (D) vs.  Al Ringgenberg (R)

Mike Gronstal is the longtime incumbent, and Al Riggenberg is a retired Air Force Colonel and former prosecutor.

The District

Senate District 8 is on the Southwestern border of Iowa and is essentially made up of the city of Council Bluffs.  Incumbent Mike Gronstal was first elected to the Iowa House in 1982.  After serving one term there he moved up to the Senate in 1986, and has been the Democratic Leader in that body for the last 15 years.  In short, he is the definition of an entrenched Democrat legis-saur (legislator+dinosaur).  The registered voter breakdown for SD 8 is (D-10,606) (R-10,020) (NP-10,720), leaving a D+586 advantage.

The Race

At the beginning of campaign season Republicans rightfully believed this year was the best shot they have had to unseat their biggest political enemy.  What has transpired since is nothing short of depressing for the Iowa GOP, and the word I hear from insiders is the chances of flipping this seat are now very low.  The reasons for the initial Republican optimism were (1) the district was almost dead even, with Independents sure to be ruffled up by Gronstal’s numerous high-profile legislative blockades, and (2) they managed to field a great candidate on paper in retired Colonel Al Ringgenberg.

To this point in the campaign, for whatever reason, Ringgenberg has failed to gain much traction.  Perhaps more importantly he has failed to generate the kind of money it would take to compete with Gronstal’s massive war-chest.  No matter how much Ringgenberg raised he was not going to be in the ballpark of Gronstal’s unbelievable $547,158.00, but there is no getting around his disappointing cash on hand number of $6,987.00 (which includes a $2,000 loan to himself).

There is still plenty of time, but the Ringgenberg campaign really needs to catch fire and take the fight to Gronstal.  If he is unable to bank some more money soon he will have a difficult time doing so with $7,000 (as of July 19th).  At the moment I unfortunately have this seat leaning strongly Democrat.  You will see by following the link below that Gronstal is yet another Iowa Democrat who has chosen to disclose absolutely nothing on where he stands on current issues or his future political goals on his website. This practice is especially shameful for a longtime Majority leader who is personally responsible for blocking Iowans from having a voice on countless issues (including tax reform and gay marriage).

Further Information

Al Ringgenberg – ColonelAl.com

Mike Gronstal – MikeGronstal.com

 

 

First Presidential Debate, October 3, 2012

Latino Heritage Festival: A Time of Celebration & Time to Consider Who Best Serves Latinos

(The following piece is a guest writer contribution from Chad Brown)

Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and has grown into the largest cultural event in our state.  This is a family event that offers something for everyone.  It is a time of celebration.  I also feel it is time to engage in an honest conversation.  I want to present my argument for why the Republican Party is the best Party to advance the best interests of Latinos in our city, state and country.

We are witnessing the progressive growth of Latino businesses in Iowa. They generate millions in sales every year and create thousands of jobs for Iowans.  Latino businesses are among the fastest growing   segments of the small-business-community in our state.  In a time of economic doldrums, we wish success on all business.

The health of the Latino business community depends on the risks taken by everyday people who want to take a chance and build something out of nothing.  This is how business has always operated in the United States.  This is the American Dream.  Small business embodies the hope of this nation to build a better life for ourselves and our children.  The Latino community has much to celebrate during the Latino Festival.

Republicans encourage the Latino community to continue their pursuit of the American Dream. We disagree with Obama that business owners don’t build their businesses.  We have countless examples in the family-owned small businesses that now face unprecedented government regulations. Republicans sympathize with the individuals who struggle day and night to make ends meet and keep their workers employed.  We share the worries of the workers who are concerned they will find themselves unemployed due to a stagnant economy.

Republicans, like Myself, are optimists. We believe this century can be a time of incredible prosperity for every single person in our country who is willing to try – if we create an environment where entrepreneurs, both in the Latino community and in all communities, can flourish.  This growth in the Latino community can be sustained by low taxes and energized by new technologies.  Prosperity for small business and workers can be reached if their businesses are unleashed through lighter regulation.  We can expand our growth through free trade with our neighbors.  We have an opportunity beyond all our expectations that is within our grasp.

The Latino community, along with all other communities, can reach unprecedented levels of success through allying the Republican Party. Every group owes itself the ability to flourish in the United States. The Republican Party has candidates who know how to encourage the growth of both large and small businesses.  Together, we can accomplish goals beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.

 

The post Latino Heritage Festival: A Time of Celebration & Time to Consider Who Best Serves Latinos appeared first on The Conservative Reader.


Iowa Senate News: Edwards plans 2 events, Stogdill wins 2 endorsements

Iowa Senate News: Edwards plans 2 events, Stogdill wins 2 endorsements

Below are links to flyers for two upcoming events for Senate candidate Dave Edwards.  If you are in his district and want to learn more about him and his positions, these are perfect oppurtunitiues to talk to him in person.

Family Fun Fest & Chili Supper!          (Adobe Acrobat required)

Fall Freedom Fest Motorcycle rally!   (Adobe Acrobat required)

Below are the official endorsements Senate candidate Vicki Stogdill has earned this week:

Iowa Family PAC endorsement           (Adobe Acrobat required)

National Federation of Independent Business Endorsement

Time to End the Iowa Finance Authority

Time to End the Iowa Finance Authority

In 1975, Iowa’s elected so-and-so’s felt inclined to establish the Iowa Finance Authority, giving it the mission of assisting the people of Iowa in acquiring affordable housing.  I guess Iowans tended to live in mud shacks prior to 1975, but no matter, the government is here to help.

Except, it doesn’t help. The Iowa Finance Authority’s own website (http://www.iowafinanceauthority.gov/) tells the tale, and affordability is not the goal of our state-level state corporatists. According to the talking points, IFA helps low-income Iowans, the disabled, and the otherwise strained in the task of obtaining affordable housing, which is simply not true. Nothing the IFA does is aimed at helping citizens afford anything, all they do is encourage easy credit.

Getting easy credit is not the same as being able to afford something. What IFA is doing is helping people borrow too much money for assets that are priced too highly for them to otherwise afford, thus allowing more people to overspend on housing. With more people able to arrange the credit for higher priced assets, the prices of the assets (in this case, housing) are able to stay higher than they otherwise would. They even provide direct cash subsidies for down payments.   Imagine the housing market as a giant auction. If the bidders are on a budget, the winning bids will trend downwards. If the bidders are flush with cash and anxious to buy, bids will trend upwards.

Thus, IFA is working to make housing expensive, not affordable. So, pat yourselves on the back, IFA, for making it easier for the disadvantaged to borrow too much to purchase assets that are overpriced; that‘s compassion in action.

There has also been some mission creep at IFA over the past thirty seven years, with the agency taking on financing of apartment blocks, renovations, and a shadowy, ill-defined activity called “economic development.”

Considering that we don’t have one any more, efforts to develop an economy are uniquely popular among voters, and this popularity allows government to push any issue it wishes under the guise of being an economic development initiative. Economic development, then, is anything politicians say it is, period.

Considering the vague nature of economic development programs, the Iowa Finance Authority is surprisingly straightforward with its role in the economic development process. On the IFA website, by clicking a tab marked “Economic Development,” we can get the clear picture:

“The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) issues tax-exempt bonds for a wide range of projects.”

Well, there you have it. Not content with helping to arrange mortgages for people who can’t afford them, IFA has branched into the tax-exempt bond market. They also arrange revenue bonds for private projects, and although the State of Iowa isn’t legally on the hook if the project fails, any default would affect the credit ratings of future revenue bonds, and it is a virtual certainty that the state would opt to pay in the end.

So, IFA arranges bonds for economic development projects, diverting your taxes and user’s fees towards providing tax-exempt income to rich people in the process.

The Authority’s defenders will say that it is self-sufficient. There’s a reason to keep an odious program. Might I suggest the immediate establishment of the Iowa Cocaine Authority; that will be financially self-sufficient.

IFA isn’t really a line-item on the state budget, but the state is the ultimate guarantor of the debts being incurred by this program, and while perhaps not legally obligated to make good, the state will do so in a pinch, lest the ratings of future bonds be damaged. Thus, there is potential downside risk which the Authority’s champions in the legislature have not bothered to consider.

The Iowa Finance Authority is a detrimental, utterly unnecessary political boondoggle and economic white elephant. Its rhetoric and its effects do not match up, and its only redeeming feature – financial self-sufficiency – belies potential risks that have not been properly explored. It is an agent of expanding municipal bond debt, and Iowa’s own contribution to the ongoing assault on thrift that is being conducted by governments at all levels.

Therefore, the time has come that we do away with this middle-aged, miniature HUD. Iowa did without it for better than one hundred years, and we can do so again.

 

3 Questions With Iowa House Candidate Jim Givant

3 Questions With Iowa House Candidate Jim Givant

After talking to a number of Des Moines based candidates in the last few weeks, we head out to Northeastern Iowa to touch base with the Republican candidate for Iowa House District 64, Jim Givant.

The republican side of the ledger in this district was pretty chaotic leading up to the filing deadline, as incumbent Republican Dan Rasmussen opted not to run at the last minute.  Oelwein Republican Jim Givant stepped up to the plate and set up a showdown with Democrat Oelwein City Council member Bruce Bearinger.  After getting a late start, Givant now has the campaign on schedule and already has sent 4,000 mailers and has signs and banners on the way.  For further info on his campaign and positions head to his website at www.givantforiowa.com.

House District 64 is composed of the Southern half of Fayette County and all but the Southeast corner of Buchanan County, with the biggest population centers by far being the cities of Oelwein and Independence.  HD 64 firmly qualifies as a swing district with a Democrat registration advantage of 1,355, and 8,553 Non-Party registered voters.  A win by Mr. Givant in November would go a long way in strengthening the Republican majority in the Iowa House.

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#1.  What is the feeling on the ground in your district concerning all the races on your ballot this November (presidential included), and give us a brief summary of how your campaign has been going so far?

It is going to be a tough race. Both Romney and Obama visited Iowa recently, both to large crowds of supporters. The current polls show Obama ahead by 2 percent but Iowa is listed as a tossup state.  In my county/district local races will also be close.  Republicans will need to get involved to turn this election around.

My campaign has had a slow start. I will be getting some signs out and building name recognition. I have a new website at www.givantforiowa.com . In the June primary I received 99.2 percent of the Republican vote which is a good sign. In my district there are a greater number of registered Democrats over Republicans.

 

#2.  As you call on voters in your district, what are the two or three state-level issues that are concerning them the most? 

A) Property Taxes – There have been many discussions about raising both business and personal property taxes.  House speaker Kraig Paulsen stated, that with a 60-40 split in the house, we will need to pick up two seats in the senate to gain a majority to push though the tax reforms that are needed.

B) Education – I believe in honoring good teachers, providing them with a competitive salary and the tools they need to teach the students. To serve as an example for the rest. There is also much discussion of leaving the no child left behind mandates and putting more control of Iowa education at state and local levels.

C) Gas Taxes – These need to be regulated, when gas prices go up all prices for goods and services go up accordingly. This is one of the major issues that affect our economy.

 

#3.  Assuming you win in November and enter the Iowa House, what are the three votes that you most look forward to casting and why?

A)  DOMA – I believe in the bible that it states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

B)   Agriculture issues – Legislation to protect family farmers.

C)  Education Reform – As stated previously.

 

 

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