Tag Archives: Todd Young

If You Can’t Laugh…

Credit where credit is due: Trump and his sorry crew have been an absolute boon to satirists and other creative folks. (If you haven’t seen Melissa McCarthy channeling Sean Spicer on SNL, it’s worth a few minutes of your time. But it isn’t just SNL, Colbert, The Daily Show, et al–Andy Borowitz and other print comics have also been on a roll.)

Even Facebook friends have shared great one-liners. My current favorite is a comment about Trump’s cabinet picks: “I’ve seen better cabinets at IKEA.”

Fundraisers and protests have also become more creative. There were the ubiquitous “pussy hats” of the women’s march, of course, but the snark extends to a recent fundraiser invitation I received.

The fundraiser will benefit the Tri-State Alliance, an LGBTQ/AIDs organization in southern Indiana. (I’ve known the Executive Director for many years, and I can attest that it is a wonderful organization.) The organization’s webpage describes its mission.

The Tri-State Alliance (TSA) is the primary social service and educational organization that serves the diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities of Southwestern Indiana, Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois. TSA works to educate our own community through a monthly newsletter and guest speakers, engages the media on relevant LGBT issues, and trains other public/social service organizations through a speakers bureau and diversity education.

TSA coordinates the regional LGBT Youth Group, HIV prevention targeting the gay community, and Lesbian Health Project services. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight-supporting allies who volunteer for TSA continue to serve the region’s LGBT community and its changing needs.

The fundraising “hook” for this event is its invitation to “Buy Todd Young’s Vote”–a play on the obvious quid pro quo of Young’s expected vote for confirmation that Betsy DeVos’ “bought” with her donations to Young. As the very clever invitation puts it,

Betsy DeVos and her family have donated $72,900 to the campaign of United States Senator Todd Young.

Incidentally, despite all evidence to the contrary, Senator Young thinks that Betsy DeVos would be a great choice to lead the Department of Education.

Betsy DeVos has never set foot in a classroom, did not send her children to public school, cannot distinguish between proficiency and growth, and thinks that guns should be allowed in schools in the event of grizzly attacks. That fictitious grizzly is about as qualified as Ms. DeVos to run the Department of Education.

If Betsy DeVos can buy Senator Young’s vote, we should be allowed to do the same.

If, of course, Senator Young does not wish to accept any funds raised*, all money will be donated to the Tri-State Alliance Youth Group, an LGBTQ Youth Group based in Evansville Indiana.

*or if this tongue-in-cheek fundraising page somehow constitutes a bribe, despite being eerily identical to the actions of Ms. DeVos.

Of course, if Senator Young had any sense of propriety–or shame–he would recuse himself from a vote on DeVos, whose display of profound ignorance during her Senate hearing was both revealing and embarrassing.

Since a sudden eruption of  integrity from Senator Young seems unlikely, I think it would be fitting if the Tri-State Alliance raised an equal or greater amount for young LGBTQ Hoosiers.

You can send contributions here.

 

Meanwhile, Back at the Constitutional Crisis….

Checks and balances. Impartial justice. The rule of law. These are considered to be bedrocks of American government–or at least, they have been. Yet a full-throated attack on those principles has been inexplicably downplayed if not ignored by the media: the inexcusable refusal of Republicans in the Senate to fill vacancies on the federal bench.

This effort to subvert a co-equal branch of the United States government did not begin with Senate Republicans’ unprecedented refusal to “advise and consent” to President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. For the past several years, the Senate GOP has stubbornly resisted acting on most of Obama’s judicial nominees.

Note that this refusal is entirely unconnected to the bona fides of the individuals nominated. The Senate has declined to confirm them because they are Obama’s nominees.

According to the Federal Bar Association, vacancies in the district courts, where most federal judicial work gets done, are reaching crisis proportions: 65 seats on the federal district court bench and at least 90 vacancies throughout the Article III courts. That’s more than 10 percent of the federal judiciary.

When court dockets are slowed to a crawl, when there simply aren’t enough judges to move litigation at a reasonable pace, people with legal grievances are the ones who bear the consequences. They face unpalatable choices: they can settle for less than they are entitled to or wait an extra couple of years for their day in court.

When neanderthal Tea Party types throw tantrums and completely shut down government, everyone notices–and the polls reflect widespread disapproval. Refusing to fill positions that are needed if government is to function properly is far less public, so it doesn’t engender the same level of public opprobrium, but the result—while slower—is the same.

Recent vows by Senators Cruz and McCain to block Supreme Court nominees through an entire Clinton Presidency, and reports that Senate Republicans are already meeting to plan how they will block her nominees should remove any doubt about the motivation for the GOP’s behavior.

In North Carolina, Senator Richard Burr was recorded stating that if Clinton is elected, he will do everything possible to “make sure that four years from now, we’re still going to have an opening on the Supreme Court.”  Here in Indiana, GOP Senate candidate Todd Young has enthusiastically thrown his lot in with those promising to block Merrick Garland, or anyone else nominated by Obama–or, presumably, Clinton. His website has featured a prominent “petition” encouraging signatories to “stand with Todd” against filling the vacancy.

This is what it has come to: Candidates for the United States Senate are asking Americans for their votes; in return, they promise to throw sand in the gears of the government they are being elected to manage.

Vote for me, and I’ll work to dismantle our Constitutional system!

Todd Young, a candidate for the United States Senate, is proudly telling voters that when the interests of the nation—their interests—come into conflict with the prospects of his political party, he will ignore his obligations to them and to the Constitution if doing so will benefit his party.

We are getting used to politicians placing partisanship over country, but the predictability of this behavior doesn’t make it any less reprehensible.

Our local sorry excuse for a newspaper reported Todd Young’s position on the courts as  “he will work for judges in the mold of Justice Scalia.” It didn’t reference his “petition” or contain any indication that anyone had bothered to ask him about his pledge to deny confirmation to qualified jurists simply because the other party nominated them.

The lack of media attention to this intentional crippling of the federal court system, an issue that affects all Americans, is frustrating. Why isn’t every candidate for U.S. Senate being asked “If elected, will you do your job? Will you provide your honest advice and consent to nominees for the federal bench? And if not, why not?”

I for one would like to hear Todd Young’s response.

Addendum: If you are as frustrated as I am about what has passed for reporting during this election, the ACLU is hosting a discussion tonight, at 5:30, at Emmis Broadcasting. The title is “Election 2016 & the Media: A Free Press or a Free-for-All?” Details are here.

 

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Ethics

CNN recently ran an illuminating article about Indiana Congressman Todd Young. 

In 2012, Young, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, claimed a house in Bloomington was his primary residence and deducted more than $200,000 from his property taxes – saving himself almost $5,000. Turns out, Young was renting the property, not living in it, according to documents obtained by CNN.

Young apologized for what he insisted was a “mistake”–although knowing whether you rent a property ought not be too complicated for a Congressman who sits on a committee writing tax laws. The County Treasurer disputes the “mistake” excuse:

Monroe County Treasurer Catherine Smith said that when Young was in her office in 2012 (paying $4,000 for 2011’s back taxes), she gave him the opportunity to update his records and remove the homestead deduction from the property, but he didn’t.

“It’s homestead fraud. He knew the state law,” the Democratic treasurer said. “A man that makes (a salary) from tax money should be held accountable for his own taxes.”

Smith was already frustrated that the check Young used to pay the $4,000 in back taxes bounced.

Well, yes, I can see how that might be frustrating…

Can we please start electing people who aren’t a complete and total embarrassment?