Iowans all across the state were shocked and saddened this morning by the news that Senator Pat Ward had passed away after losing her battle with breast cancer.Â She had servedÂ as a Republican in the Iowa Senate since 2004 and was an extremely respectedÂ womanÂ and legislator.Â The following are statements released by Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, and Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J Spiker, and TCR Publisher Art Smith.
All of us at The Conservative Reader pass on our sincere condolences to the Ward family. Â She will be missed.
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â€œI was with shock and sadness that learned of my friend Pat Wardâ€™s passing. She had a wonderful career in public service, and was such a caring and passionate person. As a senator, she was a champion for her district, took the time to get to know the issues, and worked in a bipartisan manner to enact meaningful legislation on behalf of her constituents. She always had a positive outlook on life, even in illness, and her smile would brighten each room she entered. The thoughts and prayers of Chris and I are extended to her large network of family, friends and constituents.â€
Lt. Governor Reynolds
â€œHaving served with Pat in the Senate, I witnessed firsthand her dedication to the state of Iowa, and her incredible work every day on behalf of her constituents. Pat Ward was a dear friend, and the news of her passing is incredibly difficult and painful to hear. I hope all Iowans will look at her example, the way she cared for others and worked to make the world a better place, and remember her significant life and achievements. Our administration will miss her as a policy maker, and we all will personally miss her as a friend.â€
RPI Chairman A.J Spiker
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Iowa State Senator Pat Ward. Public service and dedication to the people of Iowa were hallmarks of her career. On behalf of all Iowa Republicans, I would like to express our gratitude for Pat’s service to the people of Iowa. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat’s friends and family during this difficult time.”
TCR Publisher Art Smith
“Pat was a kind and dedicated woman who was always interested in hearing the opinions of others, especially her constituents. Â During my brief opportunities in speaking with Pat, I found her to be charming and very well informed on the issues. Â As my senator, I was surprised that she not only remembered me whenever we crossed paths, but on our first acquaintance quickly connected me to a single letter I had written her in the past. Â I sincerely admired herÂ person-ability.”
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 doesnâ€™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, doesnâ€™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 isnâ€™t exactly the urban goldmine that developers always claim to have in their hip pocket.
I havenâ€™t been to a casino in years and donâ€™t intend to go back. Gambling used to be a risquÃ© 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 donâ€˜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.Â 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 didnâ€™t know how to deal with an attorneyâ€™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 â€œgreen economyâ€ 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.
In 1975, Iowaâ€™s elected so-and-soâ€™s felt inclined to establish the Iowa Finance Authority, giving it the mission of assisting the people of Iowa in acquiring affordable housing.Â I guess Iowans tended to live in mud shacks prior to 1975, but no matter, the government is here to help.
Except, it doesnâ€™t help. The Iowa Finance Authorityâ€™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. Â 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; thatâ€˜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 â€œeconomic development.â€
Considering that we donâ€™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 â€œEconomic Development,â€ we can get the clear picture:
â€œThe Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) issues tax-exempt bonds for a wide range of projects.â€
Well, there you have it. Not content with helping to arrange mortgages for people who canâ€™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 isnâ€™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 userâ€™s fees towards providing tax-exempt income to rich people in the process.
The Authorityâ€™s defenders will say that it is self-sufficient. Thereâ€™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 isnâ€™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 Authorityâ€™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 Iowaâ€™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.
(Click for The Conservative Reader:Iowa’s complete overview of the 2012 Legislative Races)
Pat Ward (R) vs. Desmund Adams (D)
Pat Ward is an incumbent SenatorÂ from aÂ different district, while Desmund Adams is an attorney who currently runs a executive search andÂ public relationsÂ firm.
Senate District 22 is comprised ofÂ both Polk and DallasÂ Counties.Â Â The cities that make the district are Clive, Waukee, and the Western part of West Des Moines.Â Â As you could likely guess this is pretty heavy Republican territory, though the actual registration advantage is smaller than one would think.Â Registrations=Â R 15,374 – D 10,564 – Â NP – 12,464 (R + 4,810).
Instead of staying put and running against Matt McCoy after map day, Ward chose to move west and was greeted by a challenge from the right by Waukee pastor Jeff Mullen.Â The primary that unfolded between these two got truly out of hand, with MullenÂ crossing the line multiple times from tough attacks toÂ outrageous defamation.Â This forced Ward to respond heavy with radio advertising and deplete far more funds than I am sure she was hoping to.Â The end result was that Mullen’s conduct backfired andÂ he was defeated by 16 points.
The reasons for this seat landing in the leaner category instead of solid Republican are that (1) Ward just moved into the district, (2) she went through a bruising primary with a popular pastor, (3) at the last filing she had about $7,000 less than Adams, (4) the registration advantage is technically surmountable, and last but not least, (5) Adams is flat out a great candidate.Â If he were running in an even district, I would bet money on Adams being able to win over voters and prevail.
I do think this seat will go Republican in the end.Â The reasoning here is, (1)Â the math and the political leanings of the district , (2) if the Party thinks the seat is endangered they will spend big to keep it, (3) Ward will be able to kill Adams on his support of “stimulus” as a general governing tactic to deal with economic issues, and (4) AdamsÂ support of liberal social policyÂ will hurt him badly in the Western part of the district (Mullen’s home base).
Though he is wisley making the pitch that “moderation needs a voice”,Â Adam’s positions do not seem to suggest that he is a moderate Democrat at all.Â The reason I say “suggest” is that he only lists “beliefs” on his website (which include pro-choice and pro-gay marriage positions), andÂ nothingÂ specific on individual pieces of legislation or votes he would make.
What strikes me most about this race is that Desmund Adams, even in defeat, will be a major player for Democrats going forward–you have not heard the last of him.
Pat Ward – wardforiowa.com
Desmund Adams – desmundadams.com
The news last week thatÂ recentlyÂ hired Yahoo News Washington DC Bureau Chief David Chalian was fired for a truly unbelievable â€œhot micâ€ moment was bad enoughâ€“but digging into his background re-enforces the mess thatÂ likely awaits Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan come debate time.
Chalian was fired for yucking it up with fellow reporters by saying that â€œThey (Republicans)Â are not concerned at all.Â They are happy to be having a party while black people are drowning (Hurricane Isaac).â€Â You can hear the â€œhot micâ€ comment hereÂ along with the, almost as disturbing,Â huge laughs this got from the reporters he was talking to.
In an earlier piece, I made the point that the folksÂ selected to moderate the three Presidential debates and the one VP debate were very concerningâ€“and possibly incapable of approaching this crucial role objectively.Â This revelation regarding David Chalian should win overÂ any ofÂ those who thought I was making too much of this storyâ€“here is why.
David Chalianâ€™s Background
As noted by Tucker Carlson, Chalian was not a mere media foot soldier.Â He had risen through the ranks to become Political Director at ABC news (2007-2010), Political Editor for PBS NewsHour (2010-2012), and had just been hired as the Washington DC Bureau Chief for Yahoo News (November 14, 2011-last week).Â Not too shockingly,Â his professional accomplishmentsÂ include an Emmy nomination for producing Charlie Gibsonâ€™s infamous Alaska interview with Sarah Palin in 2008.Â There is simply no chance that his personal hyper-partisan and crass political viewpoint did not come up in the private job interviews he had with theÂ network brass that eventually hired him.
Worse yet is that, recalling the four news organizations who are supplying the moderators, two of Mr. Chalianâ€™s former employers will be controlling the conversation in what will be the most watched debates in political history.
First, you have the PBS NewsHour.Â Â This is both where Chalian had worked until last November as Political Editor and the home of Jim Lehrer who will moderate the first debate.Â Second, you have ABC News, where Chilian served as Political Director for three years.Â This newsÂ room is providing Martha RadditzÂ as the moderator for the Paul Ryan vs. Joe Biden debate.
This is not to say that these moderatorsÂ share the same despicable viewÂ of Republicans that Chalian was revealed to have, but what it does point to is the internal cultureÂ that thrives in these organizations.Â Simply putâ€“there is a great chance that this bias not only exists in the other â€œjournalistsâ€ who have climbed theÂ totem pole at these networks, but that it will shine through one way orÂ another in the upcoming debates.
Upon being hired by Yahoo News last year, ChilainÂ did an interviewÂ in which he said working with Yahoo would provide, â€œan unparalleledÂ opportunity to deliver high impact, high quality storytelling in what is shaping up to be a really consequential presidential election.â€Â Huhâ€¦I wonder what he meantÂ by â€œhigh impactâ€ storytelling?
((To read original story click hereâ€“ â€œThe 2012 Presidential Debates: When Moderators Arenâ€™t Moderateâ€ ))
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