At first glance, Senator Romney’s plan may trigger support if one only focuses on dollar amounts. But what has to be discussed is his desire to eliminate Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) which was previously called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Note the crucial word “families” in each version. Romney’s plan would also eliminate a number of income tax credits in order to make the plan deficit neutral.

TANF is a block grant program established by Title IV of the Social Security Act and managed by states. Title IV-A is the block grant program. Title IV-B is Child and Family Services. Title IV-C has been repealed. Title IV-D is the crucial section that provides child support enforcement and establishment of paternity. When I managed the small child support division in Whitley County, AFDC (as it was known then) was a much-needed program. Its purpose was to assist families where a non-custodial parent had abandoned the family and wasn’t paying child support.

The program worked in tandem with the above mentioned Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, which mandates all states provide child support enforcement services through a prosecutor’s office or a suitable alternative entity. A custodial parent can apply for TANF, and, if approved for funds, is expected to cooperate by providing information as to the whereabouts (if known) of the missing parent. Jurisdiction is obtained over the absent parent through an existing divorce or paternity proceeding. The parent is brought into court so the court can enforce the child support order set out in the divorce or paternity proceedings.

Regardless of the name (AFDC or TANF), the funds were and are in lieu of the non-custodial parent’s obligation. The state enforces the child support order and is allowed to recover funds to replace those used to support the family during lack of child support payment by the non-custodial parent.Romney’s plan would eliminate this block grant program; however, the Title IV-D program should still be available to enforce child support and establish paternity with only Part A repealed.

The plan is not to stimulate anything; it is a structural change that would be ongoing. As a structural change, this should not be included in any stimulus package. It must be fully debated outside the parameters of Covid -19 and the pandemic.



Allow me to expound on the latest vendetta by the Trumpsters and Hillary Haters to “get Hillary” – the allegations of pay-for-play.

Hillary had no signed agreement – it was between the Clinton Foundation and President Obama. Any efforts to place a violation on her shoulders are simply downright misleading. I have read the media take on the agreement. I also saw just this morning that at least 2,000 meetings with many individuals were held, so it will be interesting to see how the media deals with this and retools its facts to show that very few in percentage were held with non-government officials. I doubt they will bother.

I also located the much-touted MOU that Judicial Watch, Trump, and other Clinton detractors are using to argue corruption, pay-for-play, etc. I am also linking to her letter dated January 5, 2009, outlining her intended actions if she becomes Secretary of State. Nowhere in the MOU or her letter based on federal law does it require her to give up all contact with foreign and domestic individuals who might have some form of tie with the Clinton Foundation.

The MOU was between the Clinton Foundation signed by Bruce Lindsey CEO and Valerie Jarrett of the Presidential Transition Team. The MOU and her letter clearly detail the conditions under which she can still maintain the necessary global contacts that would be a part of any secretary of state’s duties. The Hillary Haters are trying their best to throw anything they can at Hillary to see what sticks. It is a vendetta and sickness that has been waged ever since Bill Clinton was president.

The problem is that the bulk of the public does not care about accuracy and facts. I am providing the links, and I hope you will read the information. Two of the three critical documents are located on the Judicial Watch site, which most of us know is in the business of destroying the Clintons through any means necessary.

But, I would like to give a summary of the 501(c)(3) and NGO roles that the Clinton Foundation (CF) plays in our global interrelationships and interactions with those less fortunate.

1. The umbrella – or parent non-profit – is the Clinton Foundation. President Clinton is the President and Chelsea is the Vice Chair.

2. Under the umbrella of the CF, seven various organizations work on different global issues to help those less fortunate:

a. Clinton HIV-AIDS Initiative (CHAI)
b. Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
c. Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI)
d. Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI)
e. Clinton Hunter Development Initiative (CHDI)
f. Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative (CEOI)
g. Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG)

Each of these separate entities works on a different aspect of global need.

Finally, I have included the link to the page on the Clinton Foundation site where one can see the contributors – as agreed to in the MOU.

I am at a point of numbness and despair at what has happened to this country. I have driven and traveled from coast to coast and border to border. I love this country, but I can no longer accept the hatred of those like Trump and his followers. I waver between removing myself from involvement of any kind to thinking that I have to do more.

I am going on 69 years old, and every year it gets harder to find the energy to tolerate the -isms that are still rampant in this country.

The Clinton Foundation does good work, and those who hate the Clintons to the point of fanaticism would have that global work stopped simply because it is a Clinton initiative. How shameful and what a continuing sadness for our country.…/clinton-inc-december-3…/…/hillary-clinton…/…/6eb70baa-696e-11e6…/4426618-clinton-obama


When reviewing and studying any Sanders’ plan for a “freebie”, you must ask who pays – to put it another way – where does the transfer of funds occur? And, it will occur.

Sanders consistently compares us to Germany and other European countries that provide “free” higher education. If there is one thing we all should understand, it is that nothing is free. This is a good article about how Germany provides free college – and it is done by higher income taxes among other things. The article also explains the difference in the demographics of Germany and the US.

I have included a link to Sanders’ recent “College for All” Act filed in the Senate May 19, 2015, not quite three weeks after April 30, 2015, when he filed as a Democrat to run for president. What a coincidence!

Sanders college

The Act applies to PUBLIC institutions – not private.  Indiana has seven public colleges and universities with 39 campuses.  The Act would not cover institutions such as Notre Dame, Valpo, St. Francis, etc.  Good luck if you think you will get into a private college or university for free.

The plan is to provide billions to the states in the form of grants – something that most Republicans love and hate at the same time. Grants allow control by the state, but grants also come with strings. 

The Act would require the Federal government to pick up 67% of the tab – to be generated by what Sanders calls the “Robin Hood” tax on specific securities transactions – the states would be required to pay the other 33%.  Given the fact that we have 31 states controlled by Republican governors and a number of legislatures under Republican control, how would that work? Remember, the federal government cannot force states to comply without using its purse strings.

That control comes from tying requirements to federal dispensation of funds. For example, remember when the speed limit was dropped to 55? That was done by the federal government tying release of federal funds for highways and transportation. Another example was raising the drinking age. That was accomplished, again, by tying release of federal highway funds to state compliance. Recall recently that Pence rejected $80,000,000 in federal funds for Early Childhood Education because he did not want to be tied to federal requirements.

Thus, the result behind the Act would probably increase public higher education enrollment, which, in turn would increase the 33% required for state contributions. That 33% increase would require Indiana to find the funds – possibly by increasing personal income taxes, property taxes, etc. Again, nothing is free.

I don’t pay income taxes anymore since I am retired. I do still pay sales tax and property tax, so my concerns don’t go to what I might see as an increase but where will the lower income and middle income workers get hit?

The next time Sanders touts a free anything, ask just who is he trying to fool with his “smoke and mirrors”  promises!



The higher Trump moves in the polls, the more insane he gets. Now he wants to take away the birthright guarantee found in the U.S. Constitution. But, wait! Holy Heavenly Happy Hour! Now Scott Walker has decided to velcro himself to Trump’s insanity.

Since most citizens have minimal or no understanding of what the “birthright” and “natural born” issues are, I bet this sounds really great! The birth issue is expressed constitutionally in two separate ways and is found in two locations in our U.S. Constitution. The first is Article II, Section I, Clause 5, and, requires that a president must be natural born (or in the case of our early presidents, be a citizen at the time of the ratification of the Constitution). Unless you were pulling a Rip Van Winkle, you should be familiar with the birther hysteria that was attendant to President Obama’s candidacy – and still exists.

The second location is the 14th Amendment, Section I. It is a statement that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

This is the “birthright” provision that the Republican candidates have now, once again, become so fond of discussing.  The birthright provision gives rise to “anchor babies” – those babies who automatically gain citizenship due to their birth in our country – even if their parents are undocumented.

Given the wording of the 14th Amendment, you can see the angst that is created in the hearts and minds of the Republican candidates who are intent on defending our borders. You know, let’s get all those undocumented mamas that come across the border to give birth. We can’t have thousands of those “anchor babies” being dropped here on our soil. The best way to ensure against this is to scrap that pesky sentence in Section I of the 14th Amendment.

But, wow, think about it. Do we make the requirement retroactive? Or will it be prospective? I think we should make it retroactive – that way we can at least go way back to the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868. Why not make sure that every parent has to find his or her birth certificate and show that he or she was a citizen when the child is born.

Of course, how many generations do we traipse back into our ancestry? Do we propose a cutoff similar to one that exists for a real property “chain of title” search – say 50 years? Each child can ask his or her parent if they were “documented” when born – were their parents legitimate. If they weren’t, it would be a domino effect. We could “uncitizenize” millions of citizens! What fun! People all over this great land would need to hit the genealogy sections of libraries (sure would be good for our Allen County Library since we have one of the best sections in the country).

I mean, I don’t have to worry. I have done my genealogy, and my ancestors arrived on these shores between 1680-1700 – God bless their little pea pickin’ immigrant hearts. I am good to go – let others worry about their own problems.

Yes, that’s the ticket! Let’s focus on taking away the birthright provision instead of coming up with solutions to the myriad of other problems we have in this country: infrastructure, wealth inequality, jobs, corporate welfare, voter suppression, free trade agreements robbing our workers of jobs, racial injustice and discrimination, and continued destruction of our environment – just to name a few.…/scott-walker-echoes-trump-end-b…/…/ending-birthright-citizensh…/


Can we say musical “chairs?” Good grief, how about some new blood in the administration instead of recyclables. Mark Becker has now been named to the Redevelopment Commission.  I am sure Becker is knowledgeable, but it sure looks like he plays hop scotch a lot.

1. deputy mayor
2. director of community development,
3. director of economic development for the City of Fort Wayne;
4. executive director of the Northeast Indiana Fund; and
5. president and CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Becker currently serves as a consultant for Parkview Health – wonder if that will cause any conflicts of interest? When do the “people” get to be represented on these commissions?

And, in his place? Why, none other than Eric Doden – a previous mayoral candidate on the Republican ticket, a Pence devotee, and previous director of the Indiana Economic Development Commission (IDEC). Oh, and he was and is involved in the new CityScapes project.

I wonder if the hiring process is now to play musical chairs to see which previous or current administration official – or other “insider” – will be the fastest at grabbing a seat.



The words “progressive” and “populist” are bandied about on a daily basis, but I wonder if those who use the terms understand what they mean.  Knowing the difference can – well – make a difference.

Populism can be defined as follows:

  • any of various, often anti-establishment or anti-intellectual political movements or philosophies that offer unorthodox solutions or policies and appeal to the common person rather than according with traditional party or partisan ideologies.
  • grass-roots democracy; working-class activism; egalitarianism.
  • representation or extolling of the common person, the working class, the underdog, etc.

A populist is a person who follows the populist philosophy.

Progressivism can be defined as follows:

  • a broad philosophy based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition.
  • the principles and practices of progressives.

A progressive is a person who follows the progressive philosophy.

Can one be both?  Perhaps, but doing so requires walking a thin line or embracing  changes in the traditional definitions which have resulted in a third option – that of “progressive populist.” 


Populism tends to be anti-establishment and anti-intellectual while progressivism tends to rely on the establishment, the educated intellectuals, and existing political structures to implement its goals. 

Populism is older than Progressivism and was a response by the agrarian establishment to the rise of industrialization.  During the 1870s, farmers began to chafe against the high cost of money and the low price of crops.  Angered by what they saw as unresponsiveness by the political parties, populist leaders called on the people to rise up and seize the control of the government.  Populists exalted farmers and laborers as the true producers of wealth.  The original populist movement was short-lived with its most intense impact from 1889-1896.

The Progressive Movement – the Era of Reform – began as a response in the 1890s to problems created by the seismic shift from an agrarian society to an industrialized urban society.  Corporations and trusts controlled more and more of the country’s finances, immigrants arrived in large numbers competing for jobs and moving into slum tenements, and party bosses and political machines sprang up to control the new arrivals. In the eyes of many, the country was falling apart and action needed to be taken to restore a semblance of democracy to the nation.  That philosophy gave rise to the Progressive Movement.

Progressives typically lived in cities, were college educated, believed that government could be used as a tool to better the human condition, and rejected social Darwinism.  Many were “privileged” members of society and believed they had a duty to the poor and those in need.  The Progressive, middle-class reformers attempted to restore what they saw as a loss of democracy by limiting big business.  Immigrants were to be “Americanized”, and political machines were to be curbed.  The Progressive Movement was in its prime from 1901-1918; Theodore Roosevelt was a proponent of progressive ideas.

A final conundrum is the increasing philosophy of a “progressive populist.”  While this new formation uses both terms, it is not the populist or progressive movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  It is, instead, built on a foundation of the majoritarian “submerged agenda” – an economic agenda that the majority of Americans support – increasing the minimum wage, restoring workers’ ability to bargain with employers, and taxing millionaires and giant corporations at levels that reflect how much of the country’s wealth and income they now have. 

The submerged majoritarian agenda is unable to gain support in Washington, D.C. because it reflects goals and philosophies that work against the very entities and contributors who maintain the power structure in D.C.

As yet another cycle of campaigning rolls around, the words “Populist”,”Progressive”, and “Progressive Populist” will continue to crop up in debates and conversations as candidates and the public attempt to pigeon-hole their ideas and philosophies.  Regardless of viewpoints,  understanding the nature of these movements is key to how we debate and how we ultimately resolve issues.

Populists v Progressives


The Sign! Sometimes we take things for granted. We drive by this sign on a regular basis, and it has been a part of our West Central “family” for so long, it is hard to imagine what that area will look like if the complex is torn down and the sign shipped to some other location to live out its life. Or worse yet, be destroyed.

GE has a long history in Fort Wayne – at one time employing over 10,000 workers.  Now, it has gone the way of International Harvester, shutting down its operation and demolishing various buildings that compose its 1,000,000 square foot “imprint” located on the east and west sides of Broadway.

As GE abandons its former bustling campus and Fort Wayne officials seem lax in taking up the goal to save the campus and its buildings, now is the time to take action to ensure that this campus and its historic buildings survive.  GE has over a century of history invested in Fort Wayne – the company may be gone, but its historic impact on Fort Wayne should never be forgotten.

GE Sign - Scott

Photo credit – Scott Spaulding



Purdue “President” Mitch Daniels has decided to move the office of public records just a stone’s throw from his office.   He has also hired new legal counsel to oversee those pesky requests from journalists, private citizens, and lawyers.

Of course, there is a legal component to public records requests but strange isn’t it that Purdue managed for years without this step – Daniels comes in and changes it.

Could this be as a result of his “foot in the mouth” incidences in the past that were uncovered with public records requests?  Remember the Howard Zinn flap and tell-tale email information uncovered involving Tony Bennett?

public records



The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is about to become a hot topic again for those on social security – regular and disability. And President Obama appears to be in support of the plan. Gird for battle if you don’t want your social security benefits, veterans benefits, or federal benefits to be impacted and decreased.

The CPI takes a virtual “basket” of consumer goods, including groceries, housing, gasoline, transportation, healthcare, and clothing, and tracks the average prices of the basket’s components over time. When the cost of the “basket” rises, we have inflation albeit sometimes not too noticeable. Our yearly Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to social security benefits are based on the CPI.

Market Basket

Now, throw in the concept of chained CPI. The premise behind the chained CPI is that, instead of using the CPI’s rise based on inflation, it looks at anticipated consumer behavior and a practice known as “substitution bias.” The theory is that if prices go up, consumers will substitute – or buy – a lower priced item. Since lower priced items lead to a savings, the price of the “basket” will be less, thus reducing the amount of increase in social security payments because the COLA will be less.

For example, if a can of Del Monte green beans costs $1.09, a consumer may opt for the store brand at $.89 – a savings of $.20. If substitution bias is possible for many items, then the expectation is that those of us on a limited income will do what is necessary to get by, not complain, and buy the cheaper product.

This might work for groceries or items that have alternate products for a lesser price, but what about healthcare and transportation? What about the price of gasoline?

To date, social security has not been chained, but the discussion is rearing its ugly head again. Now, I am not opposed to buying store brand products – I have done so for quite some time, and I see little difference – but what about those items about which we have little alternative choice? Gasoline, transportation, and healthcare have few or no alternatives.

It is time to educate the public on on the reality of what chained CPI means. And, frankly, it means recipients of social security benefits, veterans benefits, and federal benefits are expected to live more frugally and do without simply because we are in classes that are receiving EARNED BENEFITS.


The constitutional amendment on many minds is the amendment banning same-sex marriage.  Another amendment, however, is also set to drastically change our lives and environment – by enshrining protection of industrial farming in the state constitution. Republicans just can’t seem to get enough of misusing the amendment process for their own agenda.

Republicans are anticipating that the attention on the marriage “inequality” amendment will allow SJR 7 – the Right to Hunt and Fish – to sail by the voters in November 2014 with little notice.

SJR 7 is an innocuous sounding Trojan horse being used as a means for those who want to see Indiana become the “land of CAFOs.” Its goal is to amend Article 1, Section 39 of the state Constitution by constitutionally protecting industrial farming over all other occupations and professions. The amendment is worded as follows:

Constitutional right to hunt and fish. The people have a right to hunt, fish, harvest game, or engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products, which is a valued part of our heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good, subject only to laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly. Hunting and fishing shall be the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to limit the application of any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights.

Hunting and fishing may be a part of our “heritage”, but industrial farming is not.  The Republicans know full well by captioning the amendment with the “Right to Hunt and Fish” that it will draw little opposition.  I mean, really, how un-American could one be to oppose hunting and fishing and the oft-cited patriotic reference to our “heritage.”

The amendment not only enshrines industrial farming in the Constitution but also rips away local control and places it with the state.  Local control using zoning and other regulations is a much-needed check on the explosion of factory farms that have been linked to health hazards and to environmental pollution through decreased air quality and manure runoffs into rivers. That control will be abolished and handed over to the state.

Manure pits filled with waste from the nearby CAFO

Manure pits filled with waste from the nearby CAFO

Industrial farming does not deserve constitutional protection, and, our local officials and citizens certainly do not deserve to lose even more control over local issues to the state legislature.