A "Man of God and Country" he is Not

The collusion between Ted Cruz and John Kasich to deny the will of the voters in Indiana is the final straw.  For the life of me, I do not understand why anyone would support Cruz for President. Senator Ted Cruz is seriously character flawed. He is dishonest. Cruz supporters have gone blind to the facts. Let’s review them.
To begin, Ted Cruz duped Texas voters when he ran for the Senate. Right out of the gate he did not tell anyone he held dual citizenship in Canada and the United States. Then a requirement to make that run was to disclose certain financial facts. He did not. He wanted voters to think he was against Wall Street, so he did not disclose a nearly million dollar loan from Goldman Sachs, one of the worst of the Wall Street offenders. How was that loan possible? Seems that Heidi Cruz, Ted’s wife, is a long time investment banker with guess who: Goldman Sachs. Additionally, Cruz secured a line of credit from Citibank, another Wall Street giant. But he told none of this to the voters. He claimed he and Heidi had liquidated their personal savings to fund his campaign. He did not. He lied.
Cruz calls himself a lifetime evangelical Christian. This paints a picture of a person generous with donations to a church and charity. Not true. For a many year period, Cruz and wife donated less than one percent to charity and NONE to churches. Looks phony to me.
Cruz calls himself honest. Then came the dirty tricks pulled on Dr. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio. Politics as usual.
Cruz paints himself as an outsider when the question of Washington insiders is raised. More false stories are told. Cruz was educated at Princeton and Harvard, two of the most “insider” schools in the country. He clerked at the Supreme Court and  practiced law — all East Coast. He worked for President George W. Bush as a domestic policy adviser and in the Department of Justice. He has never created one job nor managed a darned thing — including a hot dog stand. He is about as Washington an insider as they come; but he does not want you to know that.  To win this election, with his self-professed “golden tongue”, he wants to fool you into believing he is an “outsider”.
Cruz is very similar to our current President when he, Obama, ran for President. Cruz has less than one term as a United States Senator, yet he declares he is the ideal, experienced candidate for the Presidency. And by the way, his colleagues in the US Senate do not like him at all. They know him well.
So, be duped if you are among the gullible. Ted Cruz refuses to bow to the will of the people. Millions of voters have already spoken, but like all other insider politicians, their voices fall on deaf ears. The most recent dishonest act: collusion. He reminds me of the Joker in the movie, Batman.   A “man of God and country” Cruz is not.

Pigs VS Produce

The smell. That is the big one between rural residents and pig factory production facilities claiming to be farms. Those facilities are also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, CAFOs, where thousands of pigs or hogs are crowed together in high numbers, by the thousands, in buildings where they are fed out for eventual sending to slaughter to such as the Indiana Packers Corporation plant in Delphi.
Carson Gerber, Kokomo Tribune reporter, had it right in his April 23rd KT article: it is a battle between pigs and produce. Hog CAFOs are anything but farming in the traditional sense. The concentration of hogs in one location produces huge amounts of urine and feces (that’s bowel waste or “crap”) that must be stored in lagoons or tanks until pumped out and taken elsewhere for disposal. In the meanwhile, the operation stinks.
It would be one thing if the stink stayed on the site where it originated. The problem is that it does not. The stink travels miles subject only to the whims of the wind. And it is offensive. Ray Reichard is worried about his flower and vegetable operation that is near where new hog CAFOs are proposed. He worries about people being offended by the odor from hog waste wafting into his greenhouse or lingering on the produce and flowers he takes to farmers markets. He should be worried.
There is a fact that most people do not get. If you can smell something, it means that molecules or “pieces” of whatever is causing the stink are in the air and that these molecules are being drawn into your nose and lungs. Crap and urine in. Reichard worries about his produce carrying the stink to market. What he is really saying is that feces and urine molecules from hogs will have landed on the food and flowers he has produced and have stuck there. Somehow, I do not think people want to be eating this produce or having these flowers in their homes.
Have you ever driven behind a semi-truck hauling hogs? It stinks. Waste and bacterial molecules are being blown off of the truck and hogs into the air and into the air intakes of your car. If you do not want these molecules in your lungs, you need to back off and put your car air system on interior air only, not take air in from the outside.
Hog operations are not what they once were. In the old days, farmers (not animal factory operators) raised hogs, cattle, chickens and other livestock in balance with land that was cropped with a variety of corn, soybeans, and more. Crops were rotated. The waste from animals became fertilizer for fields. All in balance.
If you have not noticed, there is movement toward more local production of healthy food. Farmers markets are more and more popular. People want farms to be healthier with use of fewer chemicals and antibiotics. CAFOs are not compatible with this trend. CAFOs stink.

Pesky Things

[Post written by Marcia Blacklidge]
Primary candidates have dominated news cycles since last June. Voters are fired up and turning out in record numbers. On May 3rd Hoosiers will finally get their chance to vote. There’s only one problem. Both parties would prefer to act untethered by those pesky things called votes.
Mainstream media have cashed in on voter involvement and eagerly promote the myth that votes count. Despite voting irregularities, dirty tricks, Super PACS, and those pesky things called votes; each party will nominate the candidate of its choice this summer.
Both party establishments still face a few hurdles. The Democrats have to quench the unexpected fire created by party regulars “feeling the burn.”
The Republican establishment is determined to “stop Trump.” Many want to do this even if it costs them the election or destroys the party. None of them like to discuss those pesky things that keep piling up for Trump called votes.
The “burn” and Hillary’s “security review” have disturbed many Democrats but Trump has driven establishment Republicans into hysteria. Rove and others are boldly calling for a “fresh face.” Ryan protests too much of his disinterest in the nomination while Romney’s just plain desperate to get it. To heck with those pesky things called votes!
Indiana’s Republican primary has grabbed the attention of the National Media, but for all the wrong reasons.
Indiana has 54 delegates. Becoming a Republican delegate is a steep climb. One must have filled out an application by March 15th and pledged to provide $2000 to participate. All Republican delegates will be selected before a single primary vote is cast.
Politico interviewed numerous party leaders and officials involved in the delegate selection process. Those interviewed displayed openly hostile anti-Trump attitudes.
“One of my criteria for filtering out candidates was whether or not they supported Trump,” said one district GOP leader.
“If Satan had the lead on him and was one delegate away from being nominated as our candidate, and Donald Trump was the alternative, I might vote for Donald Trump,” said Craig Dunn, a Kokomo resident and GOP leader hoping to represent Indiana’s 4th district. “I’ve always wanted to own a casino, but he couldn’t give me a casino and have me vote for him.”
Thank God for delegates who can’t be bribed.
“Donald Trump doesn’t represent what I want my party to represent,” said Tom John, chairman of Indiana’s 7th Congressional District. John is running for one of the 27 at large delegate slots. He declared the three delegates selected to represent the 7th Congressional District were unlikely to be Trump supporters.
John further reported that a grass roots effort had been launched to get Trump supporters to become 7th District delegates. Their effort produced a handful of applicants, but all were rejected.
The Indiana Republican Party claims to be the party working for Indiana. However, the fervor displayed against Trump by each of the party officials interviewed was shocking. Not a single official mentioned concern for those pesky things that will be tallied on May 3rd.
Clearly, the Indiana Republican Delegation is determined to vote for the candidate of their choice at the convention.
The citizens of Indiana shouldn’t have to pay for a primary negated by such blatant self-absorption. Let the delegates pick up the cost of collecting those pesky things called votes.

Trump Trump

If it was up to the GOP District Chairman from Howard County, Satan would make a better choice for the Republican nominee for President of the United States of America over Donald Trump. This is what Craig Dunn, the Chairman, told Politico in an interview. According to Politico, Dunn said, “If Satan had the lead on him (Trump) and was one delegate away from being nominated as our candidate and Donald Trump was the alternative, I MIGHT vote for Donald Trump. I have always wanted to own a casino, but he couldn’t give me a casino and have me vote for him”.
If it were just Dunn, this might be dismissed, but it is not. The GOP in Indiana has it totally backwards. Most of the 57 delegates, three from each Congressional District and 27 at-large, that will represent Indiana and its citizens at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland have already been chosen. If you wanted to be considered for a spot in the delegation, an application had to be filed by March 15th; long before the citizens of Indiana will vote on May 3rd. One requirement for eligibility to be selected as a delegate is a promise to provide $2000 to participate. This selects out people of limited means. One GOP district leader who is involved in delegate selection also says, “One of my criteria for filtering out folks was whether or not they supported Donald Trump. I didn’t care whether they supported Ted Cruz or John Kasich”.
The final choice of delegates is made by Party insiders. Delegates have one obligation and that is to vote on the first Convention ballot for the Presidential candidate chosen by the people of Indiana. Beyond that, they have no obligation or loyalty. They can vote for whomever they choose. Politico says that according to interviews with a dozen party leaders and officials in the delegate selection process, an anti-Trump sentiment runs “hot” among the GOP leadership in Indiana. This means that if Donald Trump does not secure the nomination for President on the first ballot, they will be free to “vote their conscience” regardless of the outcome of the vote by the citizens of Indiana.
In other words, the dice are loaded. Your vote may come to mean nothing, particularly if it was for Donald Trump and even if the majority of voters in Indiana voted for Donald Trump. The only vote that would matter would be those of Republican Party insiders; the system as usual.
People in the United States are angry. They are fed up with politics as usual. They are fed up with party insiders and politicians who for decades have feathered their own nests. They are fed up with the loss of millions of jobs and the decline of the middle class. They are fed up with political manipulation and skulduggery. They want America back.
If the Indiana GOP engages in back room politics as usual, which it appears is happening, there will be consequences. The voters of Indiana, regardless of who wins the vote in our state, should be represented by delegates loyal to the will of the voters; not their personal whims and interests. They should stand fast for the voters regardless of the outcome of the first Convention ballot.

Rural and Urban Indiana

[letter to Dr. Michael Hicks in response to his Kokomo Tribune column of April 3rd in which he encourages more investment in urban development in Indiana. He believes rural places are at risk and that the best chance for the future is in solid connection to labor markets in “healthy, vibrant and growing regional cities”. I think he missed some things.]
Dr. Hicks:
I am writing in response to your recent column about the decline in rural, small-town Indiana and your position that more investment is needed in urban centers. I have a couple of observations to make.
First, about the decline of rural, small-towns in Indiana: I believe this has largely come about due to the adoption of what has turned out to be devastating agriculture policy following World War II. One of the leaders in this movement was Dr. Earl Butz, former Secretary of Agriculture and Dean of the School of Agriculture at Purdue. He told farmers to “get big or get out” and to produce chickens and pigs like “Fords and Chevys”. This was at the beginning of large, corporate owned agriculture in what has come to be dominated by the giant chemical/seed companies. Today, I believe for several reasons we have a train wreck waiting to happen.
Steve Daily, former mayor of Kokomo, and his family are a prime example of what has resulted. He has told me that at one time there were 13 members of his family involved in agriculture as a way to make a living. After his retirement from Ivy Tech recently, he has gone back to farming; now organic farming. He says that only one other member of his family remains in agriculture. If the Daily family is typical, and I believe it is, it is clear how this would impact small, rural communities.
I believe there is growing recognition of the damage done by ill-advised agriculture policy. We see now that genetically engineered foods will be labeled; one positive step toward recognition of the risks of biotechnology for both people and the environment and of the toxins typically involved that follow food to the dinner table. We see the growth of local farmers’ markets and the increase in demand for “organic” or chemical-free foods. We see the growth of demand for foods produced closer to home; not shipped all over the country or from other countries. I believe we will see a gradual growth of the number of people involved in agriculture and, perhaps, even a reversal in population trends in rural areas.
You suggest we need more investment in urban areas. I suggest as well we need more encouragement in growing healthy food in Indiana. What a difference this would make. Both you and I live in areas dominated by wall-to-wall corn and soy beans, most of which has been genetically modified to withstand massive doses of glyphosate (Roundup) that has now been determined to be carcinogenic. And we wonder why the cancer rate in our nation is the highest in the world.
Finally, an over-arching question: when is enough, enough? Everyone talks about “growth and development” when they really mean more population and more jobs. When is it time to stabilize population and work on increasing standard of living only. I, for one, do not want Kokomo (a regional center) to become an “Indianapolis” or anything even close. Except for the impact of immigration, most of the developed nations of the world are at near zero population growth, but that is a whole other subject for discussion.
Regards, Kent Blacklidge