Thursday, June 25, 2015


by Doug Martin at Hoosier School Heist TV
When word broke recently that Indiana Republican state representative Bill Fine’s daughter–a Mitch Daniels-pick and Mike Pence-reinstated state board of ed. member–may become the new co-chair of the state board to share powers with supt. of public instruction Glenda Ritz, many were outraged.  Bill Fine had, in fact, “backed the bill to create the position of vice chairwoman” to the state board of education, and his daughter seldom agrees with Ritz.
As I expose in my book Hoosier School Heist, the whole so-called school reform movement in Indiana (and elsewhere) is a billionaire’s playground to buy legislators to privatize public schools.   And crony capitalism and conflicts of interest are the rule and NOT the exception.
And Bill Fine has money from those involved in the takeover of Indiana public education.
In October 2012, Fine received $5,000 from the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC detailed in Hoosier School Heist (see page 5 in this PDF).  For years, this PAC has been backed by Walmart, Amway, hedge fund managers, and several wealthy Indiana businesspeople, among others in and out of Indiana.
Since the PAC changed its name to Hoosiers for Quality Education recently, it has given over $400,000 to Indiana Republican candidates and committees since 2014.  One of these is the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee, Fine’s chief funder.
Out of the $275,000 the Walmart-Amway front-group American Federation for Children handed the Hoosiers for Quality Education PAC in 2014, $50,000 came on October 10 and $100,000 in September (seepage 4).
On October 22, 2014, the Hoosiers for Quality Education PAC gave the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee $25,000 and another$25,000 on October 24, 2014.
The Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee handed Fine $7,100on October 24, 2014 and $13,500 on October 17, 2014.
Yes, it is obvious, Bill Fine is doing his best to do what the extremely wealthy want so that he can open up that campaign chest and sing.
Doug Martin is the author of Hoosier School Heist : How Corporations and Theocrats Stole Democracy From Public Education, a book being read in over 130 cities and towns and 78 Indiana counties, 23 states, and the District of Columbia.  A regular guest on national and Indiana radio talk shows such as Justin Oakley’s Just Let Me Teach and Amos Brown’s Afternoons with Amos, Dr. Martin’s research has been or will soon be featured in the Washington Post Answer Sheet , ABC’sNightline, and the Associated Press

Friday, June 5, 2015

Is a contested primary a problem in a democracy?

I'm intrigued by the widely held notion that a contested primary is a bad thing. Yet this is what we hear from many - particularly supporters of  John Gregg's candidacy, in race the for Indiana Governor.

I would suggest the opposite.  I can't imagine another scenario more likely to reinvigorate the Indiana Democratic Party.

With Scott Pelath opting out of the race, primary voters will have three very decent people representing arguably three distinct points of view.

In Gregg, we have a conservative, business friendly downstater.  In Karen Tallien, we have a NW Indiana progressive.  And in Glenda Ritz, we have a moderate Republican turned moderate Democrat with particular expertise in arguably the most significant responsibility the state has.

All three candidates have their ardent supporters, and I expect a very civil campaign season.  In the end, it should not be hard for supporters of the two who that don't make it to support the one that does.

I think we saw what happened the last time around - when the nominee was essentially anointed: The Dems had a lackluster candidate and a fairly disengaged electorate.  The result was a loss.

Contrast that with a highly engaged electorate in the Superintendent of Public Instruction race - which was a huge upset win.

Like in that race, the Republicans will field a highly damaged incumbent this time around.  And it's hard to see a better strategy for the Democrats than to pick the best of three good people to face him.

What do you think it symbolizes?