Friday, November 27, 2015

Indianapolis Council Plans To Boost Council Member's And Mayor's Salary By 32%

The lame duck City-County Council plans to push through an end-of-year Christmas present for incoming Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett and the 25 council members elected at this past municipal election in the form of a pay raise. Under the proposal, the salary of the mayor and council members would increase by more than 32%. The mayor's salary would go from $95,000 to $125,000. The part-time council members would be paid a base salary of $16,500, $4,000 more than the current $12,500 they are paid to attend a couple of council meetings per month. Council members are also paid an additional $112 per diem for each committee meeting and council meeting they attend, which would easily boost their annual pay to over $20,000.

"We believe that it’s important that we do look at those salaries because we want to ensure that we have the best and the brightest that are responsible for running our city," City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said. It's funny because I don't remember hearing any candidates in this past election mention while they were campaigning for office that they believed the jobs to which they were seeking election paid too little. "Obviously, I did not run for this position because I was concerned about the salary," Hogsett said. "So I’ll defer to the judgement of the leadership that’s currently in power." To translate Hogsett's words, "I asked Lewis to make sure she got my salary increased to a six-figure salary I'm accustomed to earning by the time I take office on January 1."

There, of course, are plenty of perks with the office. They get free health care benefits with the job.The mayor and council members can attend Colts and Pacers games and concerts for free and eat and drink for free in the suites at Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Life Fieldhouse. They're all offered free tickets to the Indianapolis 500 every year. They frequently get wined and dined at upscale restaurants. Mayor Greg Ballard managed to take at least 10 overseas junkets while he was mayor, accompanied by his wife and campaign contributors, while pretending the purpose of his trips was to promote trade with other countries. Some council members finagle free trips as well. The mayor gets a taxpayer-financed car and driver, along with his 24x7 security, and Mayor Ballard accepted free membership to several country clubs. Hogsett says he won't accept those extra perks that comes with the office.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

American Missiles Given To ISIS Used Against Russia

ISIS rebels uploaded video to the Internet showing their glee in shooting down a Russian jet fighter in Syria near the border with Turkey, shooting and killing one of the pilots of the aircraft as he parachuted down to the ground and then using a U.S. Tow missile launcher to blow up a Russian rescue helicopter sent in to retrieve the downed pilots. At least one Russian marine died during the attack on the Russian rescue helicopter. The American people need to awaken to the fact that ISIS is the creation of the United States and ask why our government is creating, funding and arming these terrorists to wreak havoc throughout the world.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Presidential Medal Of Freedom For What?

President Barack Obama bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton when he awarded him, along with another fellow Hoosier. William Ruckelshaus, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A White House press release credited Hamilton with being one of the "most influential voices on international relations and American national security over the course of his more than 40 year career," including chairmanship of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Iran-Contra Select Committee. He was also credited for his roles chairing the Iraq Study Group and serving as Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission since leaving Congress.

Frankly, it is an insult to all Americans and his fellow Hoosiers that this high civilian honor was bestowed on Hamilton by the President. All of the reasons cited for awarding Hamilton this award are the very reasons he is not deserving of this honor. The fact is that Hamilton never served the role of watch dog over the nation's growing military/industrial complex; rather, he served as their favorite go-to Democrat to cover up their most insidious creations. The list of his treachery is so long it's difficult to no where to start.

Hamilton should be ashamed of his role in helping cover up the cause of the death of 909 Americans in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, which included dozens of his fellow Hoosiers and a congressional colleague and leading critic of the CIA, U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA). If Rep. Ryan had not been assassinated at the People's Temple compound run by former Indianapolis resident, Rev. Jim Jones, he would have been able to tell the American people about how the CIA employed Jones in a sick and twisted mind control program at Jonestown that equated to a Nazi-like human concentration camp. Hamilton and his fellow Committee on Foreign Affairs members, including two other Indiana congressman, Dan Quayle and Floyd Fithian, covered up the CIA's role in Jonestown during its investigation of Ryan's assassination, one of the only sitting members of Congress ever to be assassinated in the performance of his duties. Hamilton and his colleagues even heaped praise on Richard Dwyer, the CIA station chief who was present during the massacre that took place on November 18, 1978.

In 1986, Hamilton and fellow U.S. Rep. Dick Cheney were very quick to dismiss media reports that Lt. Col. Oliver North was involved in an arms-running operation for the Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government with money raised by selling arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American-held hostages. When one of the American planes funding the Contras was shot down in October, 1986, the truth could no longer be denied. To the law-breakers good fortune, Hamilton was put in charge of the congressional investigation, which covered up Vice President Bush's role in leading the illegal operation, as well as the drug-running operation that utilized an air strip owned in Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua owned by one of Hamilton's constituents, John Hull. It was Hamilton who decided to allow Oliver North to testify under a grant of immunity, making it impossible for the independent counsel investigating the crimes to bring those responsible to justice. It wasn't until after Hamilton left Congress that the House Intelligence Committee was finally able to conclude in 2000 the CIA's role in protecting drug traffickers, which Hamilton had always dismissed as the stuff of conspiracy theorists.

Hamilton's crowning achievement came when he and other members of the 911 Commission, including fellow Hoosier and former U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer (D), whitewashed the key role the Saudi government played in financing the hijackers accused of committing the 911 terrorist acts. Hamilton has remained mum while a fellow Democrat, former Florida U.S. Senator Bob Graham has publicly demanded the U.S. government release information the 911 Commission concealed about the role the Saudis played in 911. That should come as no surprise since Hamilton now openly admits who his true servant has been throughout his career--the CIA, where he serves in an official role as one of its "outside" advisory members.

In contrast to Hamilton's career role serving as a cover up artist for the military/industrial complex, fellow Hoosier Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, William Ruckelshaus, is recognized for his decision to resign as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, along with his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, rather than carry out President Richard Nixon's order to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate-related crimes, which reminds me how little interest Hamilton has shown through the years in the fact that so many CIA operatives were involved in the Watergate crimes. Only someone with the treacherous, treasonous mind of Allen Dulles would ever pin a medal on Lee Hamilton.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Matt Drudge Sees The Light

The American people should be asking why President Barack Obama has been deliberately setting the stage for World War III. A bit ironic that the man awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before he stepped foot in the White House has turned out to be the most evil, cold-blooded man to occupy the presidency besides Andrew Jackson or Lyndon Johnson.

Chicago Officials On Edge As Dash Cam Video Of Controversial Police Action Shooting Is Released

Dash cam video of a black ,17-year old male high on PCP being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer has finally been released after city officials fought for the past year to block its release. Faced with no other choice after a judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release video of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald that occurred more than a year ago, Cook Co. State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today she was charging Officer Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who shot McDonald, with first degree murder ahead of the release of this evening's release of the video. A Chicago judge ordered Van Dyke held in the Cook Co. Jail without bail. Prosecutors said Van Dyke began firing at McDonald within six seconds of exiting his car, emptying all the bullets in his gun's chamber even after McDonald fell to the ground. Prosecutors say Van Dyke was starting to re-load his gun when another officer ordered him to stop. City officials agreed this past spring to pay McDonald's family $5 million to settle a threatened wrongful death claim against the city. Eighteen citizen complaints had been filed against Van Dyke during his 14-year career with the police department, including eight for using excessive force, but he had never faced discipline by the department. City officials are on edge tonight, worried the release of the video might spark rioting.

ACLU And Refugee Group Sue Pence Over Syrian Refugees

A supposed plan by the nonprofit group Exodus Refugee Immigration to resettle a Syrian family in Indianapolis next month until Gov. Mike Pence joined more than half of the nation's governors in calling for a halt of all refugees from the civil war-torn country has now led the group to join the ACLU of Indiana in filing a lawsuit against the state of Indiana, which accuses Gov. Pence of violating the refugees' right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution because Gov. Pence didn't call for a halt of refugees from other countries. The lawsuit is perplexing for no other reason than Gov. Pence lacked any real authority to block Exodus from resettling Syrian immigrants.

When Exodus announced last week that it was sending the Syrian family to Connecticut instead of Indiana in response to Gov. Pence's announcement last week, Connecticut's liberal Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy quickly called a press conference at which he hurled personal insults at Gov. Pence, accusing him of being a bigot and re-stirring the debate over the enactment of Indiana's RFRA law, not unlike one Malloy's own state had enacted years earlier, by claiming Pence had signed the legislation into law because he was homophobic. Exodus, under federal law, could have proceeded with the resettlement of the Syrian family in Indianapolis as it claims it planned to do, but it chose to politicize the event and make an example of only Indiana and its governor.

Neighboring Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is Jewish and Republican, was not targeted by the group after he joined Pence and other governors in calling for a temporary halt on Syrian refugees due to concerns some terrorists tied to ISIS were using refugee resettlement programs as a gateway into the United States. Exodus has ignored Gov. Rauner and continued resettling Syrian immigrants in the Chicago area without filing a lawsuit against him or the state of Illinois. "Exodus continues to welcome refugees, including Syrians arriving in Chicago, because we trust the secure vetting process the U.S. government, the federal government has put in place," Julie Carsen, a senior director of programs at Exodus told the Chicago Sun-Times. Similarly, the Jewish Federation of Chicago, which like Exodus contracts with the State Department to resettle refugees, told the Sun-Times it was proceeding as if nothing had changed following Gov. Rauner's announcement.

So let there be no doubt that Indiana is once again ground zero for yet another psyop being waged against this state by people seeking to radically transform this nation. Also, never forget that the ACLU was behind the very RFRA law Gov. Pence signed into law earlier this year. The ACLU helped draft the original federal law passed by Congress more than two decades ago with near unanimous support and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The ACLU of Indiana had nothing but words of condemnation when the Indiana General Assembly passed and Gov. Pence signed RFRA into law here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Making Sense Of The Amanda Blackburn Killing Timeline

Larry Taylor (left) and Jalen Watson (right)
When news reports first announced early this morning that IMPD had arrested the young black men they believe were responsible for the home invasion and killing of Amanda Blackburn, wife of the local pastor of Resonate Church, Davey Blackburn, questions about the timeline of events recounted by police and prosecutors became a central concern of skeptics. Police said three men, Larry Taylor, Amanda's 18-year old accused killer, and two accomplices, Jalen Watson (21) and Diano Gordon (24), broke into two other homes in opposite parts of town prior to the Blackburn home invasion. That created a problem since the first break-in on San Clemente Drive had been reported to have occurred at 5:30 a.m. on the morning of November 10, about the same time police believed the trio had broken into one of the Blackburns' nearby neighbor's home. A probable cause affidavit filed in connection with today's announced charges against Taylor and Watson alters that timeline by close to an hour to account for the earlier timeline discrepancy.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the first break-in of an apartment at the Cottages of Fall Creek on the City's northeast side in Lawrence occurred earlier than 5:30 a.m. The apartment's owner says she awoke to discover the robbery of her apartment while she and her two daughters slept at 4:30 a.m. That's when she noticed her cell phone was missing and her patio door was left open with plants knocked over. Upon further search of her apartment, she realized she was missing a computer, along with her purse and keys and her Chrysler Sebring in the parking lot. The burglarized apartment owner waited almost an hour until 5:23 a.m. to report the break-in according to the police affidavit. The victim had a security system in her apartment that was motion-activated, and upon review by police, three men were captured by still images rummaging through her apartment. The burglars disabled the camera after their images had already been recorded.

These same three men traveled west at least 10 miles to the opposite side of town after leaving the apartment in the 5700 block of San Clemente Drive to the subdivision where the Blackburns home was located on Sunnyfield Court. The three men first entered the home at 2830 Sunnyfield Court, a few doors down from the Blackburns' home. A security camera inside that home was disabled at 5:36 a.m. The homeowner called police at 8:17 a.m. to report her home had been burglarized. They entered the 2830 home by tearing through a patio screen window and unlocking a dead bolt lock on the sliding door. The three men stole three TVs, a computer, a bag of oranges, bed sheets and a pink sweater from the home. The suspects took time to drink beer and wine while in the home, leaving behind the empty bottles. The men left though the front door, which the homeowner discovered was unlocked when she returned home shortly after 8:00 a.m.

Davey Blackburn would call 911 to report that his wife had been found shot and laying on the floor of their living room only minutes after his neighbor telephoned police. His 911 call was placed at 8:22 a.m. Here's where it gets really interesting. Blackburn told police he left for the gym at around 6:00 a.m. through the front door of his home a few doors down from his neighbor's home on the dead-end, cul-de-sac. The front door, which he left unlocked, would be the same door the suspects used to enter the home. Medics were dispatched to the home at 8:30 a.m, who called police for back-up due to the nature of Amanda's injuries. Medics were carting Amanda away at about 8:44 a.m. just as Officers Richard Crosby and Larry Crowe were arriving. Amanda was transported to Methodist Hospital where she would die the following day.

Detective Pete Perkins was dispatched to Methodist Hospital to question Davey Blackburn at 9:01 a.m. He learned Amanda had suffered three gunshot wounds, one to the head, one to the lower arm and one in her upper left back. Davey told the detective he left the LA Fitness gym about 7:10 a.m. and was talking on his cell phone to a friend (name redacted) as he was leaving and during his drive home. Davey says he pulled into his driveway at about 7:30 a.m.; however, he said he remained in his car talking on the phone to his friend for almost another 40 minutes. When Davey entered the front door of his home at 8:20 a.m., he discovered Amanda lying face down in a pool of blood on the living room floor. Amanda's panties had been removed and were lying next to her. Amanda's shirt had been pulled up as if someone had attempted to take it off. The report says it's unclear whether she had been sexually assaulted. Blackburn also noticed Amanda's credit cards and wallet lying on the floor. Davey noticed Amanda's purse on the kitchen counter, along with a Swisher Sweet cigar package, which he said should not have been in the house. A decorative ladder and lamp were also found knocked over in the living room next to Amanda. Her cell phone was found in her bedroom, which had a message on it from Chase Bank at 7:53 a.m. indicating possible unauthorized use of her ATM card. A laptop computer was discovered missing from the Blackburn home.

Neighborhood witnesses say they saw the young black man captured on a neighbor's surveillance camera heading away from the Blackburns' home at approximately 7:10 a.m. Another neighbor saw this man wearing a hoodie get in a Chrysler Sebring on a nearby street, which appeared to match the description of the car stolen from the apartment on the northeast side on San Clemente Drive. An ATM receipt requesting a withdrawal of $500 using Amanda's ATM card at a bank location on N. Michigan Road, which was denied, was found in the car. It was time-stamped 6:36 a.m. The men were able to successfully withdraw $400 from her account at a location on W 86th Street at 6:54 a.m. A pink sweater belonging to the neighbor whose home had also been robbed was found on the car's floorboard. Police also found bed sheets, a bag of oranges and an AT&T U-Verse remote in the trunk.

Another neighbor near the Blackburn home told police she heard what sounded like gunshots around 6:45 a.m. The stolen Sebring was found on Rockwood Avenue the following day around 10:30 p.m. In addition to the three gunshot wounds, an autopsy report noted that one of Blackburns' lower front teeth had been knocked out, and that she had scratches on her left cheek and a split lip. Surveillance camera images at the ATM machines and DNA testing helped tie the accomplices to the murder and burglaries Taylor is accused of committing. Police used cell phone pings to tie the suspects' cell phones to the various crime scenes at the times they were believed committed.

Police obtained confessions to the crimes from Watson and Gordon during subsequent interrogations, who implicated Taylor in the killing of Amanda. They were planning to leave Taylor behind in the subdivision after they left it with Amanda's ATM card, which Taylor had told them he retrieved from the Blackburn home after busting Amanda in the home. He later threatened to kill Amanda if the two didn't return to the subdivision to pick him up after going to ATM machines to get cash using her ATM card. The two claimed Taylor later told them he had shot Amanda before he left the home. All three men have had numerous run-ins with the law as their rap sheets can attest. Some people have wondered what the Blackburns' dog was doing during the home invasion. There no mention of it in the probable cause affidavit. One would think the dog would have been barking and trying to defend Amanda. Neighbors don't mention hearing a barking dog. A police detective did mention during an earlier press conference that the dog was present at the home and greeted them when they arrived to investigate on the morning of the shooting.

The Indianapolis Star has posted the full probable cause affidavit here.

IPS' Hiring Of Former Ballard Top Advisor Raising Concerns Of Political Cronyism

David Rosenberg
Downtown insiders could barely hide their glee when long-time black radio talk show host Amos Brown, one of the city's biggest critics of recent changes at the Indianapolis Public Schools, dropped dead of an apparent heart attack on November 6. No topic got Brown more exercised than the so-called education reforms and innovations being initiated by IPS school board members elected during the last two election cycles whose campaigns were bankrolled by private interests seeking to cash in on those reforms and innovations. Brown had also questioned recent hiring decisions by IPS, including the hiring of a former top Ballard adviser, David Rosenberg, as the school district's new operations officer. From what Advance Indiana has been able to learn, Brown's concerns were well-founded.

When IPS officials advertised the position for operations officer earlier this year, it called for a person with a bachelor's degree in architecture or engineering and a minimum of four years of related training and experience. It got neither when the IPS board voted in September to hire Mayor Greg Ballard's former Director of Enterprise Development at an annual salary of $142,000, more than double what Rosenberg had earned in his former city job, the only prior job he held after graduating from law school in 2011. The position advertised by IPS sought someone with knowledge of HVAC systems, plumbing, computer network wiring and lighting, the ability to oversee construction projects for compliance and oversee equipment installation, facilities repair and preventive maintenance, among other job responsibilities, none of which Rosenberg's law degree or undergraduate degrees in history and political science prepared him to do.

According to Rosenberg's biographical narrative, he was hired by Mayor Greg Ballard's former chief of staff, Chris Cotterill, as an intern straight out of law school in May of 2011. Following his internship, Mayor Ballard named Rosenberg as his Director of Enterprise Development where he was involved in the most controversial projects undertaken by Ballard during his second term including: the costly, one-sided agreement for the Regional Operations Center with a political crony of Mayor Ballard, which is costing taxpayers more than $20 million; the failed attempt to privatize the development of a new criminal justice center rejected earlier this year by the City-County Council, which cost taxpayers more than $18 million to unwind to pay for illegal, no-bid contracts awarded to political cronies of Mayor Ballard; the illegal and one-sided contract the City entered into with Vision Fleet, a newly-formed company with no experience, to lease a fleet of electric cars at a cost to city taxpayers of more than $27 million; and the illegal and one-sided agreement with Blue Indy, allowing a French-owned company, Bollore', to seize hundreds of the City's most valuable public parking spaces at no charge to the company, along with an additional $6 million cash subsidy, to operate its electric car sharing business.

Sources tell Advance Indiana that political insiders with close ties to a number of the IPS board members engineered the hiring of Rosenberg for their personal benefit. Political insiders are particularly interested in IPS' plans to sell its valuable Coca-Cola property in the booming Mass Ave business district, which just recently got underway, and Rosenberg's new job places him right in the middle of that real estate project. Developers are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to acquire what is considered one of the most highly-sought after parcels of property in downtown Indianapolis.

Among the firms said to be interested in the property is Shiel-Sexton, which has been involved in numerous high-profile public construction projects in Indianapolis, including the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center, Eskenazi Hospital and the construction of fire stations for the City of Indianapolis. It has also been involved in a number of school construction projects locally, including construction of the Christel House Academy Charter School and Cathedral High School. Shiel-Sexton's managing partner is Brian Sullivan, the husband of Mary Ann Sullivan, an education consultant and former Democratic state lawmaker who was elected to the board last year after education profiteers poured tens of thousands of dollars to bankroll her unprecedented, high-spending campaign to win a seat on the IPS board. Sullivan has reportedly announced she will recuse herself from voting on real estate/construction-related matters as an IPS board member, presumably because of her husband's interest in pursuing those deals.

Advance Indiana hears the insiders are up to their old tricks of figuring out how to make an extremely valuable piece of property in the downtown area look less attractive to justify an acquisition of the property on the most favorable terms for the developer. This has included raising the tried and true method of devaluing the property by claiming it has environmental contamination issues in need of remediation, which seems to be a problem with every downtown parcel if you believe these greedy developers who pretend they are only able to undertake the risk of developing downtown if they're given the property for free with tens of millions in public subsidies thrown in to spice up the deal.

IPS' outside legal counsel is Faegre Baker Daniels, the same law firm that has represented the school district for many years. When Rosenberg's former boss, Chris Cotterrill, left his job at the city, he joined the law firm as a partner, specializing in public-private partnership agreements. Cotterill left Faegre Baker Daniels earlier this year to become Executive Vice-President and Corporation Counsel for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the state agency that doles out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to private companies for economic development. Kelly Bentley, another IPS board member who makes a living as an education consultant and whose campaign was bankrolled by the education profiteers last year, is the half-brother of David Suess, a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels.

Advance Indiana will be watching very closely how IPS handles the sale of the Coca-Cola property, which knowledgeable sources believe will be tied to a hefty public subsidy to the "buyer" from the City of Indianapolis' downtown TIF district. The City has already doled out public subsidies to favored downtown developers reaching into the billions of dollars since the TIF district was first created more than three decades ago. Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett ran for mayor this year promising to put an end to the downtown insiders who he says "cheat the system" and "steal our tax dollars." But because Hogsett relied on those same downtown insiders to finance his $4 million campaign for mayor and turned away whistle blowers who repeatedly sought his assistance in prosecuting these corrupt insiders throughout his tenure as federal prosecutor, Advance Indiana believes it will be business as usual under his administration and Hogsett has already secretly-agreed to secure a pot of money for the development of the Coca-Cola property.

It's not just the Coca-Cola deal that has people concerned. IPS earlier this year entered into a one-sided deal with the Phalen Leadership Academy to operate a charter school within the IPS district at the former School 103 property known as the Francis Scott Key School. Under its agreement with Phalen Leadership Academy, the private, for-profit charter school company is getting free use of the School 103 property, while IPS picks up the tab for all of its costs, including building maintenance, salaries, student transportation costs and even snow removal. The lone board member to vote against that deal was Gayle Cosby, the only IPS board member not bought and paid for by the education profiteers. The Mind Trust was instrumental in brokering the deal through a fellowship agreement. That's the same non-profit with whom another IPS board member, Caitlin Hannon, recently accepted employment after supporting the deal with Phalen Academy. Hannon's job responsibility at The Mind Trust includes launching a shared enrollment system for IPS, which she championed before leaving the IPS board.

The Mind Trust is behind plans to launch yet another similar charter school within IPS' district, Global Preparatory Academy, which is scheduled to open next August. Mariama Carson, the wife of U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D), has been hired to launch that new charter school, which will target Hispanic students as a dual-language school. The Mind Trust is paying Carson's $90,000 a year salary, plus benefits and a $20,000 stipend. Global Preparatory Academy, plans to utilize one of IPS' under-utilized properties to operate this new charter school near the Lafayette Square area.