March 31, 2006

Well, Isn’t That Something: An MSM Blog Notes Bob McEwen’s Amway/Quixtar Affiliation. More People Need To.

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,OH-02 US House — Tom @ 12:41 pm

NOTE: This post will stay at the top for the remainder of Friday because of the importance of what it covers.
_________________________________

Who says there isn’t such a thing as serendipitous timing?

Having regained my voice, so to speak, because of the results of the matter discussed at this post, to comment on Second Congressional District happenings, particularly as they relate to the non-incumbents in the race (the situation with the incumbent is being “covered” and then some by more than a few others, and there are only so many hours in a day), I was all ready to dig in ….. when Stephen Koff at The Plain Dealer did a fair amount of it for me:

Now let’s get out there and sell — er, vote!

He’s quite an inspiration, that Bob McEwen. Not only is he a former Republican congressman, a government affairs adviser for a law firm and a current thorn in the side of Cincinnati’s Jean Schmidt, whom he hopes to beat in the congressional primary on May 2.

He also fires up the troops at Amway, a Michigan-based multilevel marketing company whose leaders, from the DeVos family, are major conservative political donors. McEwen has given inspirational and political talks to Amway distributors and written in Amway publications, according to web sites and blog postings cited by Schmidt supporters and others.

A McEwen spokesman has heard this, too, but says he has no other information. Critics aren’t satisfied with that answer, saying voters should know just how closely McEwen is linked to the powerful Amway army.

But McEwen’s audience goes beyond Amway. McEwen sells his own line of motivational products through the Internet. (Check them out here.)

There’s his two-DVD set on free enterprise, a single DVD on “God’s Plan of Salvation,” CDs on love, relationships, freedom and overcoming the “chokepoints” to success. McEwen even offers a companion book ($12) to go with a DVD/CD set ($25) that promises to tell you “everything you always wished you understood about politics, presented in a simple, logical manner showing timeless principles that can transfer to any election.” The name of the latter: “Politics: Easy as Pie.”

Let’s start by making sure everyone understands that “Amway” in the US is “Quixtar.” The company has been downplaying the Amway name in the US for many years because it had, and still has, a negative connotation with much of the general public, and not because there has been any fundamental change in the way the company has been doing business, except to adapt to the advent of e-commerce. This contention is not in meaningful dispute, whether you are an Amway “Independent Business Owner” (IBO), who is typically told to avoid telling new recruits about Amway’s relationship with Quixtar in the initial stages of recruiting, or a detractor. From this point on, I will be referring to the company as Amway/Quixtar or AQ.

Cutting to the chase: At one “extreme,” AQ believes it is the ultimate business that enables individuals and families to achieve the American Dream. At the other “extreme,” many former IBOs, people who have studied the business, consumer groups, and some current and former law-enforcement officials believe AQ is the most “successful” and technically illegal pyramid scheme in human history, enriching a very few and leaving the vast majority of its participants at best no better off, and at worst in impoverished delusion, chasing a dream that, because of how the AQ organization is formally and informally designed, will almost never come true.

What has always aggravated me about Bob McEwen’s association with AQ is this: He won’t talk about it. That posture continues. AQ is nowhere to be seen at his web site bio, though it could be his largest source of income (especially if you consider the money he receives from speaking at AQ events and selling tapes and CDs to AQ IBOs, as opposed to selling the AQ products themselves, as “AQ income”), and may be a major consumer of his time. He apparently doesn’t tell his closest publicly visible advisers much about it (from the blog entry: “A McEwen spokesman has heard this, too, but says he has no other information.”). Wouldn’t you think that an organization you have been affiliated with for perhaps 15 and maybe more years would be something to be proud of, and something to point to as a positive aspect of your life? Especially when you were living over 500 miles away from the District’s voters for 12 years, only to return about a year ago, wouldn’t your success with AQ be something you would WANT to talk about it?

Why, in the 2005 primary campaign, did the subject of AQ have to be brought up by one lowly blogger who happened to stumble onto Mr. McEwen’s involvement with the company in Google searches mere days before the election? Is Mr. McEwen ashamed of the affiliation? Is he afraid he’ll have to defend the business model and can’t? Has he been told by AQ higher-ups, many of whom he knows on a personal basis, to stay mum? Exactly what are we to think here?

I encourage you to go to last year’s BizzyBlog posts on AQ. Perhaps you can come up with reasons yourself as to why Mr. McEwen did not talk about AQ during last year’s campaign, and as far as I know has yet to talk about it so far in this one:

  • June 12, 2005 – Those “Self-Employed” Contributors
  • June 12 — The Amway-Quixtar (AQ) Business
  • June 13 — The McEwens and Amway Quixtar (AQ)
  • June 14 — A Question for Procter & Gamble Employees, Their Families, and P&G Shareholders

Please understand this: I have made every effort to be fair to AQ, its detractors, and Mr. McEwen, and to keep my personal opinions out of it. If it appears otherwise, please remember that one “side” is not talking. I am not in a position to say whether or not Mr. McEwen has personally done anything illegal, immoral, or unethical. But I will NOT ignore what is out there that is either demonstrably true, or that can reasonably be conjectured (when labeled as such).

I want to know why I had to be the first person to inform (some of) the Second District’s voters about the very existence of an integral aspect of Bob McEwen’s life resume last year (a resume voters who were considering hiring him to serve them in Washington deserved to receive in full detail — and still do), and why someone else besides Mr. McEwen had to pick up the AQ disclosure ball and run with it this year.

There is, as you might expect, more to come. I can’t imagine why anyone carefully considering who to vote for on May 2 would not consider the questions being raised here and at previous posts, and the persistent refusal by Mr. McEwen to address them, important.
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UPDATE: All of this has interesting potential parallels to the full-disclosure issues swirling around US Senate candidate David Smith during the past few weeks. Once inconsistencies, and worse, between Mr. Smith’s statements in various venues and information in his vague bio at his campaign web site and publicly available information became known, Mr. Smith attempted to head off the problem by posting something much closer to a resume. It turns out that Mr. Smith’s attempt at full disclosure has only compounded his problems. As Mr. Smith’s credibility has gone into free-fall, one has to wonder: What would full disclosure, if it were ever to occur, about AQ and several other matters I will cover in the coming weeks, do to Bob McEwen’s?

UPDATE 2: On the apparently safe assumption that the only ways to learn more about Mr. McEwen’s AQ involvement will be through independent research and reports from others, I am encouraging anyone who wishes to communicate their direct experience with Bob McEwen at AQ, preferably including audiovisual or other material relating to his presentations at AQ rallies, seminars, breakout sessions, and/or individual meetings, or with Mr. McEwen as a known attendee while AQ leaders are making other presentations, to contact me. I will assume you wish to be anonymous unless you say otherwise, but you will need to leave a valid e-mail address, and I will need to know who you are even if the rest of the world doesn’t.
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I will only accept trackback comments (moderated) at this post, though personal e-mails are welcome.

George Reisman on Contrasts between Collectivism and Capitalism

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:37 pm

The Pepperdine Professor Emeritus of Economics ought to be officially named a national treasure.

Here he compares how “individuals” who commit differing “crimes” get treated in a society with a collectivist mentality:

An individual kills someone—for money, out of jealousy, as an act of revenge, or because he doesn’t like his victim’s looks. A chorus of left-“liberals” rushes in to excuse his act, especially if he is poor. He is not responsible, they say. The real criminal is “Society,” for having allowed him to live in the conditions that led him to kill.

Another individual owns a refrigerator, an air conditioner, and an automobile or SUV. This time, a chorus of left-“liberals” rushes in and pronounces him guilty. He is allegedly guilty of causing “global warming,” by virtue of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by the burning of the fossil fuels required to produce and operate his goods.

The “innocent” killer is not to be punished but “rehabilitated.” The “guilty” owner of the appliances and automobile or SUV, however, is to be punished. He is to be prohibited from continuing with his evil ways. He is to be compelled by the force of law to do his part in reducing global carbon dioxide emissions, which means, he is ultimately to be deprived of his goods or, at best, to be made to accept radically smaller, less effective substitutes for them.

Clearly, there is something very wrong here. What is wrong is the influence of the philosophy of collectivism.

It’s long, but the article gets better from there.

John Kasich Won’t Go Where He Needs to Go in Criticizing Ohio’s GOP

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:35 am

Former Columbus-area congressman John Kasich’s OpinionJournal.com op-ed yesterday leveled a number of valid criticisms at the state GOP: corruption, cronyism, tax and spending increases, etc.

But he missed the boat on the ideological divide in the party, especially when he discussed the situation of Mike DeWine:

Some conservatives are angry at Sen. DeWine, and are threatening to withhold support, largely because he joined forces with the “gang of 14″ to end the judicial filibuster spat last spring. Ironically, two of Mr. Bush’s most conservative nominees to the federal bench, Priscilla Owens and Janice Rogers Brown, would not have been confirmed without this agreement, and arguably Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito would have faced filibusters from Senate liberals opposed to their nominations. Nonetheless, his relationship with some conservatives has worsened.

Well of course it has.

First of all, almost from his first day in office, Mr. DeWine has never been acceptably right of center, and he’s gone steadily downhill from there.

The Gang of 14 “compromise” that is supposedly his saving grace will make it that much harder to enforce the perfectly constitutional up-or-down vote option when (not if) the Democrats betray their promise regarding what constitutes “extraordinary circumstances.” It also leaves an unacceptable number of appeals and other court nominations (17, I believe) in an unacceptable limbo.

But to pretend it’s all about the Gang of 14 is delusional. As Black Swamp Conservative said after Mr. DeWine’s Fulton County endorsement meeting humiliation Tuesday night: “I am proud of this committee for having had the clarity to understand that having “voted with the President 92% of the time” means that he voted with the Democrats on the most crucial 8%.” That means preserving the current tax structure (known to most as “making the tax cuts permanent”), drilling in ANWR, controlling spending, and getting a handle on immigration instead of say “ole” and letting anyone who can figure out how to sneak in have a clear path to citizenship instead of sending them back and insisting on upholding the legal process.

Mike DeWine is against all these, Mr. Kasich, and his relationship with almost all conservatives has worsened. The only question is whether it has worsened to the point where he can lose in the GOP primary.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (033106)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:03 am

Free Links:

  • The final Fourth Quarter 2005 GDP growth result was 1.7%, up from the original esimate of 1.1%.
  • Initial jobless claims were down 10,000 last week — hard to complain about that.
  • Former pizza entrepreneur and now columnist Herman Cain notes that federal receipts are up over 10% during the first five months of the fiscal year. Repeat after me: Appropriately designed tax cuts raise revenue.
  • Insider trading is rampant in Congress, the Senate, and with their staffs, in both parties. It’s a disgrace, and the laws that apply to everyone else don’t apply to them. This must stop.
  • Non-surprise of the Week — Iranian Bloggers are facing more censorship, and worse.

Positivity: Randal McCloy Returns Home

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

A remarkable and inspiring recovery about the only survivor of the Sago Mine disaster — a man who has the same characteristics:

Sago Mine Survivor Returns Home Early
By APRIL VITELLO
The Associated Press
SIMPSON, W.Va.

It wasn’t a fancy homecoming, just some red balloons, handmade signs, a lot of hugs and his wife’s homemade lasagna. But it was everything the only survivor of the Sago Mine disaster wanted after a three-month recovery that continues to amaze doctors.

He is thin and still a bit unsteady on his feet, but Randal McCloy Jr. was strong enough Thursday to leave the Morgantown rehabilitation hospital where he has spent two months in intensive therapy, recovering from a severe brain injury and regaining his physical strength.

The scene would have been hard to imagine Jan. 4, when a critically injured McCloy was carried out of the mine 41 hours after an explosion that left 12 fellow miners dead.

“I’d just like to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers,” he said softly at a news conference with his wife, Anna.

He paused, then added, “I believe that’s it.”

An hour later, when he arrived at his white trailer in Simpson, relatives shouted out greetings and small children blew noisemakers.

Missy McGee, Anna McCloy’s sister, said she knew he would enjoy the fuss.

“He used to be the quiet type, but since this has happened, he’s been very, very verbal,” said McGee, whose husband has been with the McCloys nonstop since the 26-year-old miner was rescued.

“If he saw a crowd before, he would walk around it. But it’s not the same now. It’s good to see him this way,” she said. “Before, he didn’t think anybody liked him. He didn’t think I liked him, and I’m his sister-in-law.”

McCloy has also asked Anna to remarry him, she said, perhaps in a bigger ceremony than the one they had June 30, 2001.

“He has a new lease on life,” McGee said.

McCloy is considered a medical miracle because he survived being exposed to carbon monoxide for so long. Doctors cannot fully explain why he lived and 12 others died. They also had expected him to spend about six months in therapy, but released him in half that time.

“It’s still amazing, still astonishing,” said Dr. Russell Biundo, medical director at HealthSouth Mountainview Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “It’s basically almost like he was resurrected.”

McCloy thanks God for his survival. “Because of him, I am here,” he said, sitting on a living-room sofa.

Anna McCloy said her family was happy to be going home, but remembers the families of the miners who died. “There are 12 families who are in our thoughts and prayers today and every day,” she said.

In recognition of McCloy’s recovery, Gov. Joe Manchin announced the rural road where the McCloys live will be renamed “Miracle Road.” He gave green-and-white signs to McCloy and his three key physicians.

“We didn’t get the 13 miracles we hoped for,” Manchin said. “We did get one.”

Another story about McCloy and the mystery of his miraculous survival is here. That story’s reporter, Vickie Smith of The Associated Press, also shares her personal thoughts on meeting Randal McCloy and his remarkable recovery here.

March 30, 2006

Quote of the Day: England’s Theodore Dalrymple

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:03 pm

From Theodore Dalrymple at UK’s Times Online (HT OpinionJournal.com’s Best of the Web):

The Striking Idiocy of Youth

The sight of millions of Frenchmen, predominantly young, demonstrating in deep sympathy and solidarity with themselves, is one that will cause amusement and satisfaction on the English side of the Channel. Everyone enjoys the troubles of his neighbours.

….. Whether they know it or not, the people on the streets in France were demonstrating to keep the [predominantly Muslim] youth of the banlieues — who recently so amused the world for an entire fortnight with their arsonist antics — exactly where they are, namely hopeless, unemployed and feeling betrayed. For unless the French labor market is liberalized, they will never find employment and therefore integration into French society. You have only to speak to a few small businessmen or artisans in France — the petits bourgeois so vehemently despised by the snobbish intellectuals — to find out why this should be so. The French labor regulations make employment of untried persons completely uneconomic for them.”

Of course. It’s always the lowest people on the economic ladder who get hurt the most by artificial labor-market restrictions. Seen properly from Dalrymple’s perspective, the French marchers are engaging in selfish racism, “whether they know it or not.”

New York Times Embarrassed by Phony Katrina Victim

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Scams — Tom @ 4:50 pm

The ghost of Jayson Blair must still be haunting the Old Grey Lady

This is a week old, but too good to ignore, and it didn’t get wide notice. The link requires free registration at The Times (HT Larry Kudlow):

Editors’ Note: March 23, 2006, Thursday An article in The Metro Section on March 8 profiled Donna Fenton, identifying her as a 37-year-old victim of Hurricane Katrina who had fled Biloxi, Miss., and who was frustrated in efforts to get federal aid as she and her children remained as emergency residents of a hotel in Queens.

Yesterday, the New York police arrested Ms. Fenton, charging her with several counts of welfare fraud and grand larceny. Prosecutors in Brooklyn say she was not a Katrina victim, never lived in Biloxi and had improperly received thousands of dollars in government aid. Ms. Fenton has pleaded not guilty.

For its profile, The Times did not conduct adequate interviews or public record checks to verify Ms. Fenton’s account, including her claim that she had lived in Biloxi. Such checks would have uncovered a fraud conviction and raised serious questions about the truthfulness of her account.

Jaw, hits, floor.

David Smith: NOW He Tells Us (Utah “Busted” Edition)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:50 pm

Here is the substance of a conversation David Smith had with Bill Sloat that Bill blogged on March 13 (bold is mine):

Smith, who is en route to the Lake County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner tonight, confirmed during a cell-phone conversation that he ran in Tennessee in 2004. He said he never appeared on the ballot in Utah in 2002, but did flirt with running for Congress in that state.

”He’s got a lot of venom towards us,” Smith said of Pierce. ”He’s upset and he’s started taking shots at us.”

Um, let’s refresh from the previous post: This is a picture of the results of the first 7 BALLOTS at the Utah GOP Convention on May 11, 2002 for the 2nd Congressional District in Utah:

SmithUT2002

I guess “the truth” looks like “venom” to people who aren’t used to dealing in the truth.

The fact is, obviously, that David Smith was involved in three BALLOTS before he was eliminated, after amassing the remarkable total of 16 votes.

Going to a state nominating convention, getting on the ballot and receiving nomination votes was no “flirtation,” and you, David Smith, are sooooo busted.

David Smith: NOW He Tells Us

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:09 am

NOTE: This was originally posted at 1AM, but was moved to the top for most of the business day Thursday because of the importance of the topic.
_________________________________

All county endorsement processes in Ohio’s US Senate race, at least the open and fair ones, ended Tuesday night with the Fulton County shocker, where incumbent Senator Mike DeWine was defeated by his two challengers, both of whom earned a “qualified” designation.

So NOW, one of those challengers, David Smith, releases this “fact sheet” at his web site. I believe its content was posted sometime in the Tuesday-Wednesday overnight period (anyone with info to the contrary, please e-mail me).

How convenient. After forcing us to rely on this vague, platitude-laden bio for four months, NOW David Smith tells the world that:

  • He’s lived in Ohio for no more than 19 months (not that you couldn’t find it, but from real estate records I’d rather not link to, the last purchase date listed at their residential address is August 24, 2005; however, since he ran in the June 2005 Second District Primary, you would think he had to have moved here sometime between August 2004 and March 2005).
  • He ran for Congress in Utah in 2002.
  • He ran for Congress in Tennessee in the GOP Primary on August 5, 2004.
  • He ran for Congress in Ohio in the Second District GOP Primary that took place on June 14, 2005.

I think you’ll see shortly why Mr. Smith waited until now to let everyone know about those previous races.

Mr. Smith-Has-No-Chance-of-Going-to-Washington went to the Utah State GOP convention as a congressional candidate in May of 2002. The convention used what is known as Instant Runoff Voting:

In 2001, the Utah Republican Party adopted instant runoff voting (IRV) for elections that take place at its state conventions. Several counties also use IRV at their county conventions. The party uses IRV to elect officers and to nominate candidates — candidates can win outright at the convention or, if neither of the final two candidates has 60% support, advance to a runoff primary.

IRV was used to nominate congressional candidates in 2002.

Utah’s 2nd District began its IRV with twelve candidates. On each ballot, the last place finisher was eliminated. David Smith was ousted after the third ballot (the entire process of 11 ballots it took to get to the two primary opponents Bridgewater and Swallow is not shown for space reasons):

SmithUT2002

Apparently buoyed by the stunning success of getting sixteen (count ‘em) people to vote for him, Smith achieved the following result in August 2004′s First District Primary in Tennessee (available in a PDF that can be found at this link; click on “County Totals” under “U.S. House Republican Primary”):

SmithTN2004

And here is how he did, with the results of all other candidates listed, in the 2005 Second District Primary in Ohio:

Smith2ndOH2005

Going from a bit over 10% of the vote in 2004 to less than 1% in 2005 is not something one would ordinarily define as “progress.”

Now let’s ask a few serious questions:

  • Did David Smith disclose his complete residency history and electoral record to the endorsers listed at his web site before obtaining their endorsements?
  • Would Smith have obtained their endorsements if he had disclosed them?
  • How many members of county endorsement committees who voted for Smith, especially in Miami County (where he received 118 votes, or roughly 27% of the total) and Fulton County (where he garnered somewhere between 10-18 votes out of 28, and received a rating of “qualified”) would have voted differently if they had known his full residency history and electoral record? (I have one answer already from one of the two counties I just mentioned, which I will keep anonymous for the time being: “I DO think it would have made a difference.”)

More is coming, or as they say, “developing …..”

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (033006)

Free Links:

  • Apple Releases Maximum Volume Controls for iPods — This appears to be a fear-of-lawsuits response. I expect Eric Clapton and Ted Nugent to sue whatever company is involved any day now for failing to put maximum volume controls on Marshall amplifiers in the 1960s and 1970s. Zheesh.
  • Talk about having a long way to go — German unemployment drops, to 12%. The economy has been so weak in Germany for so long that similar “improvements” have led to the highest level of optimism in 15 years, going all the way back to the early years of East and West German reunification.
  • The optimism about the US economy, especially in tech, inherent in the pre-emptive venture capital phenomenon, is clearly making its way into the broader markets, as the NASDAQ hit a 5-year high yesterday.
  • Speaking of 5-year highsJapan’s Nikkei hit its highest level since August 2000 Thursday.
  • It seems to me that if it takes expansion of H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000 a year, which still seems a pretty modest level, and which The Heritage Foundation supports, to keep the tech boom going because there aren’t enough tech-savvy US workers, I’m all for it. Contrary arguments are welcome.
  • Fine, y’all can check it out and tell me about it — “Use of Pilotless Planes May Be on the Rise.” If you’re able to report back to me after trying it, I’ll consider that a positive first step.

Positivity: Deep-Brain Simulation Therapy Working

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:08 am

It has apparently made significant headway against a woman’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and was featured on “The Miracle Workers” on Monday night (the article below was written before the program aired):

(more…)

March 29, 2006

DeWine Fulton County Debacle Reax

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:44 pm

Last night, in a humiliation the likes of which I don’t believe has occurred in the three decades-plus I have followed Ohio politics, incumbent Senator Mike Dewine was bounced out of Fulton County’s US Senate endorsement vote on the first ballot, finishing behind both Bill Pierce and David Smith. Pierce and Smith ultimately both won ratings as “Qualified,” as neither candidate could muster the necessary two-thirds majority on the second ballot.

Reaction and reporting from a few Ohio blogs has been interesting:

  • Bill Sloat at Cleveland Openers“Barber, who has headed the Northwest Ohio county’s Republican organization since the early 1980s, said DeWine looks to be in trouble with the party’s conservative base. She said she didn’t realize how deep the senator’s problems are until his defeat.” Now we do.
  • Right on the Right has endorsed Pierce“He obviously does not support illegal immigration, he believes in the 10th amendment, and he believes in the right to life. These are only the start of his Conservative stances. This is the type of man Conservatives can rally behind and be proud in ….. I support Bill Pierce for Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate representing Ohio.” You go, guy.
  • S.O.B. Alliance member NewshoundThe conservatives are roaring from Archbold to Metamora and Fayette to Delta this morning after last night’s Republican endorsement meeting in Wauseon. Roar on.

Mama Said There Would Be Days Like This

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:48 pm

….. and this was one of them.

She also said “Don’t count your chickens ’til they’re hatched,” which is why you haven’t seen end-zone dances or pouting at BizzyBlog over the ups, downs, highs, and lows of the matters brought before the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC). To reduce the amount of crow in my diet, I learned a long time ago not to predict the results of legal and similar proceedings, even ones that look like clear winners. That lesson comes in handy right now, and I can stick to hot dogs and hamburgers.

Today, in a single vote (shades of Hamilton County’s endorsement process), the Commission voted 3-1 that there was not sufficient probable cause to proceed to a full-committee hearing on the four items I brought before the Commission.

Taking the items involved in order:

  1. The Commission decided, even after issuing their Reprimand Letter last week admonishing Mr. McEwen “not (to) engage in such activities in future campaigns,” namely the practice of calling himself Congressman McEwen again, did not find probable cause that he had done so again, even though, to name just one of many examples, Mr. McEwen’s web site Endorsements Page called him “Congressman McEwen” for 58 days from January 18 until March 16 or 17.
  2. The Commission decided that there wasn’t enough tangible evidence to demonstrate that Mr. McEwen does not “appear frequently” on programs such as Larry King Live, Crossfire, Good Morning America, and The Today Show. The level of evidence the Commission expected would have required audits of records at those four shows going back 15 or so years, and affidavits from everyone involved, which would certainly have cost thousands of dollars.
    No one has the money for that. So if you’re going to make a false resume claim, make sure it’s one that will be cost-prohibitive to disprove, as Mr. McEwen did. Yes, I’m saying the claim is false on its face. Mr. McEwen is welcome to deliver tangible evidence to the contrary; if he tries, I would suggest skipping Larry King Live, as a CNN rep who investigated the matter e-mailed me and said she could find no evidence that Mr. McEwen EVER appeared on LKL (but for the OEC, that’s not good enough as evidence). And I’d suggest skipping Crossfire too, as I have the transcripts from Mr. McEwen’s last three appearances on the program from 1991 and 1992, and a printout from a search performed by that CNN rep with no evidence of a McEwen appearance after 1992 (that’s not good enough for the OEC either). GMA is a waste of time too, as a rep with many, many years of experience there told me she had never heard of him and would certainly remember a name like McEwen (usable as evidence, even though I’m under oath? For get about it.) So that leaves The Today Show. Good luck.
  3. The Commission decided that Mr. McEwen’s web site characterization of what you, I, and the rest of the literate world know as The “House Bank (or Banking) Scandal” as the “Democratic (or Democrat) Bank Scandal” is not deceptive, because Tom Delay uttered the term in one article written in April 1992. This is the only known published instance where a human being has called The House Bank Scandal the Democratic Bank Scandal. Google, New York Times, and comprehensive multi-newspaper searches, all covering 1989 through 2006, have shown no other uses of the term. Accordingly, I plan to refer to the scandal the “Pickle Relish Scandal” a couple of times here at BizzyBlog, because after the McEwen campaign finds that someone else is using that term, they can start calling the scandal by that name at their web site, and make it even more deceptive (yet, “of course,” legal).
  4. The Commission decided that none of the eight clear endorsement misrepresentations that occurred on the web site were supported by clear-and-convincing-enough evidence, despite Jean Schmidt’s newspaper-covered endorsement by John Willke, the later appearance of two early McEwen “endorsers” as legitimate endorsers at Jean Schmidt’s web site, and the statement of Anthony Munoz’s personal secretary, based on her representation that she spoke with Mr. Munoz about the matter, that Mr. Munoz could not endorse Bob McEwen in the 2006 primary.

Go figure.

What’s really galling was that one Commissioner (before voting AGAINST probable cause!) strongly criticized Mr. McEwen before his counsel as the type of candidate who is always skirting at the edge of the law, and who almost seems to get pleasure out of doing so. This Commissioner (a Republican) practically pleaded with Mr. McEwen’s counsel to tell Mr. McEwen to clean up his act. It was as if he was unburdening his guilty feelings over how he was about to vote. Of course, counsel said okey-dokey. Zheesh.

And to top off this Murphy’s Law day, the people who brought the OEC complaint against Jean Schmidt for misunderstood, and quickly corrected, endorsements that were present on her web site for all of two or three days — won. That full-committee hearing is in late April, exact date and time to be determined.

Is this a great country or what? And if you’re wondering, I don’t think Ted Olson could have gotten a different result.

What remains from all of this, despite the lack of a probable cause finding, is a congressional candidate who:

  • Can’t get over the loss of his title 13 years ago, and insists on using it whenever and wherever he can get away with it;
  • Laughably (though not “provably”) claims current and frequent TV appearances he hasn’t made (if you’ve got proof I’m wrong, McEwen & Co., bring it on);
  • Has never faced up to the fact that he was involved in a scandal where he wrote 166 checks during a 39-month period against balances he didn’t have in his House Bank account (notice I didn’t say “bounced”), offenses which at minimum would have cost you and me $2,500 or more in overdraft fees at 1992 rates (because, unlike the checks written at the House Bank, our checks WOULD have bounced), and at a maximum might have cost you and me the ability to even have a checking account, or time in jail;
  • Represented in the opening weeks of his campaign that he had locked up for 2006 the endorsements of everyone who had endorsed him in 2005, even though he did little or none of the work to confirm those endorsements.
  • On balance, has no business running for Congress, especially as someone pretending to be “respected” and who intends to “restore dignity.” The fact that the offensive things described here occurred, and that some of them are still occurring, communicates the exact opposite of dignity and respect. I’d call it disgrace.

If there is a silver lining, it is this: I have no remaining reason not to reveal the results of various investigations done by myself and others into the one question Bob McEwen won’t discuss in any degree of detail: “What have you been up to during the thirteen years after you left Congress?” Mr. McEwen was (and to some extent still is) a busy man. Stay tuned.

Voting with Their Feet: Vermont, Iowa, New Jersey, and California Editions

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:12 pm

Steve Forbes, in an unfortunately subscription-only item, notes that there are consequences of taxaholism.

Four examples can be seen in Iowa, Vermont, New Jersey (coming soon), and California. And of course, as Forbes notes, The New York Times dares not recognize the real problem:

Two recent newspaper stories underscored a problem several states are experiencing–stagnant or falling populations. The New York Times ran a piece about young people fleeing the Green Mountain State of Vermont for greener pastures, citing the lack of job opportunities. Around the same time, the Des Moines Register ran a special section on Iowa’s population problem. A century ago the Hawkeye State was home to 3% of the U.S. population; today it’s home to just 1%. Young people have been leaving in droves for decades. Both stories cited experts and politicians who offered up various solutions to stem the tide, yet both papers ignored the proverbial elephant in the room: taxes. These two states are punishers when it comes to laying levies on income. In Iowa the top income tax rate is nearly 9%, one of the highest in the country. In Vermont it’s even worse, 9.5%.

Iowa and Vermont should be experiencing population booms. Thanks to high tech, folks today literally have the world at their fingertips, no matter where their feet are planted.

….. New Jersey is in the process of emulating Vermont and New York in crushing its citizens with onerous exactions. The state’s property taxes are about the highest in the country, and new governor and wannabe President Jon Corzine is poised to make the burden heavier.

Whoever thought the day would come that California–highly taxed and antibusiness–would start seeing tens of thousands of native-born Americans moving out of the state instead of moving in. For the first time since becoming a state 155 years ago, California will not gain, and may actually lose, congressional representation after the 2010 census.

Bottom line: Taxes matter, not only on the federal level but also on the state and local levels.

UPDATE: OpinionJournal.com rips into Corzine’s broken promises, and asks a legitimate question, after providing examples, which is why any Democrat who promises tax reductions should be believed. Based on sad experience in Ohio, I would expand the scope of that question to “almost all politicians.”

For One Night, the 33 28 Most Powerful People in Ohio Were in Fulton County

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:04 am

March 29, 9AM update: I have learned that there were 28 members in attendance and revised the post accordingly. Its substance hasn’t changed.

This post was originally done at 11 PM last night, but has been moved to the top for the remainder of the work day Wednesday because of its importance.
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The 28 were Republicans meeting in Wauseon, voting on who to endorse in statewide races.

There were three contested races. I am told that in two of them, Betty Montgomery and Ken Blackwell won endorsement for Attorney General and Governor, respectively. I am awaiting media confirmation of those results from somewhere.

That leaves the US Senate race — Brace yourself.

Three candidates were in the fray: incumbent Mike DeWine and challengers Bill Pierce and David Smith.

The ground rules were as follows:

  • A candidate must get two-thirds of the votes party members to be officially endorsed.
  • If, after the first ballot, none of the three received the required two-thirds, whoever finished third would be eliminated, and there would be another vote with only the remaining two candidates eligible.
  • On the second ballot, if neither candidate received two-thirds of the votes, no candidate would be endorsed.
  • The actual vote counts would not be revealed for either the first or second ballots.

I am told each candidate was allowed to speak for a few minutes, and that there was no time allotted for questioning the candidates before the voting occurred.

So what happened?

No one got two-thirds of the votes on the first ballot. The candidate who finished third and was eliminated was ….. was ….. Mike DeWine.

You read that right. This is a stunning and I believe unprecedented rebuke in an Ohio GOP county endorsement meeting.

On the second ballot, neither Bill Pierce nor David Smith received two-thirds of the votes. Therefore, no candidate received a US Senate endorsement in Fulton County, but both Bill Pierce and David Smith were, according to an e-mailer, deemed “qualified candidates.”

I know there’s more than a little wailing and gnashing of teeth tonight that no one emerged with an endorsement, and yes, I share that disappointment.

But the big message from tonight is this, and don’t forget it: Emperor Mike has no clothes. Tonight he was deemed NOT qualified. He has been soundly beaten throughout the state, and has managed by one lonely win in five fair and open county endorsement meetings spread over eight weeks.

Mike DeWine has only two remaining allies: apathy and inertia. I’m beginning to think that DeWine can lose this election even if both challengers remain. If there’s only one declared challenger on May 2, the odds could actually be against him.
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UPDATE: Black Swamp Conservative noted that DeWine’s on-hand surrogate played the fear card, and was not impressed:

I am so proud of this committee for not falling for the DeWine surrogate’s request that “Republicans must work together as never before” – as if DeWine had that in mind when he brasenly declared the President’s Social Security reform efforts dead last year.

I am proud of this committee for having had the clarity to understand that having “voted with the President more than 90% of the time” means that he voted with the Democrats on the most crucial 10%.

I am so proud of this committee for having shirked the DeWine surrogate’s warnings of a Democrat takeover in the Senate. Clearly the committee can’t imagine it would mean much of a difference in terms of representation from our Senator.

UPDATE 2: Wrong-way DeWine continues to amaze with his tin ear. He opposes Ken Blackwell’s Tax Expenditure Limitation (TEL) initiative, as does our other alleged Republican Senator George Voinovich. I wonder how loud the booes will be when his name is announced at the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day game next Monday?