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Monday, May 29, 2017
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Lt. Col. John Van Valkenburg (left) and Indiana Gov. Oliver P. Morton.
Lt. Col. John Van Valkenburg (left) and Indiana Gov. Oliver P. Morton.
Sunday, May 28, 2017 10:11 AM
By CRAIG DUNN
    
KOKOMO – Working up my best Andy Rooney imitation I ask, “Ever wonder why there are no Van Valkenburgs in Peru, Indiana, and there’s a plethora of them in Huntsville, Alabama?  It all comes down to an offhanded remark, a letter, a screwup by the United States Post Office, a misunderstanding, nasty politics and a vengeful Indiana governor. As episodes of history go, this tale seems insignificant in the long march of time. It does illustrate that many little events over time add up to big history. So as you go about your day, remember that every little thing said, every email sent, and every social media item posted just may alter the course of history.
    
Our story begins in June, 1861, in the beginning months of the Civil War. Governors throughout the Union were scrambling to fill regiments to comply with President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers. Indiana’s response was overwhelming, and the 6,000 men called for from the Hoosier State flocked to Indianapolis to enlist, along with several thousand superfluous volunteers who all vied to enlist for 90 days or the end of the Rebellion, whichever came first.
    
William Lyon Brown, of Logansport, a politically connected ally of Gov. Oliver P. Morton, was tentatively appointed colonel of the 20th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.  When Brown’s men, along with those of Cols. Solomon Meredith and James McMillan, were turned away because they weren’t needed, the three colonels, with permission from Gov. Morton, made their way to Washington, D.C., to visit President Lincoln in a quest to get his authorization for their additional regiments. Lincoln bowed to the request by the three officers, greatly influenced by Gov. Morton’s letter of introduction. With Lincoln’s approval, the men returned to Indiana to form their regiments.
    
At the beginning of the Civil War, senior officers were appointed by the governor and, generally, appointments to high rank went to political allies, influential newspaper publishers, community leaders and others who might prove of benefit to a politically savvy governor. Lower ranks of captain on down were usually filled by an election conducted by the hundred-plus men who made up a company. While popularity was an important attribute to win an election, partisan politics took a side seat when it came to voting. Newly minted soldiers were more apt to vote for an honest cattle broker than for the local town politico.
    
Such was the case when John B. Van Valkenburg, of Peru, was elected captain of his company of soldiers that were to become Company A, 20th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.  Van Valkenburg was a purveyor of agricultural implements and in that capacity knew just about every farmer in Miami County. Van Valkenburg was strong Jacksonian Democrat. He grew up in Cleveland and as a young man volunteered to join the army heading out to fight Indians in the upper Midwest.
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS - O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive! That was Scottish novelist Walter Scott with his 1808 poem “Marmion,” not to be mistaken for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz who, on the morning of the 2016 Indiana presidential primary, fumed at an Evansville press conference, “I’m gonna tell you what I really think of Donald Trump: This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth, and in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.” Now, why would Sen. Cruz say such a thing about the future president of the United States? Because earlier that morning on Fox News, citing a discredited National Enquirer report, candidate Trump had linked the senator’s father, Rev. Rafael, to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I’ll let Trump tell it: “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being – you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said on Fox News early election morning. “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.”

  • BY: MARK SOUDER
    FORT WAYNE – In 1998, our accompanying Navy doctor and I skipped out on our CODEL’s evening dinner and bowling alley excursion in St. Petersburg, Russia, so we could explore the area around our hotel. We had spent several days in Moscow in scheduled meetings with the Russian Duma, as well as other government leaders there. We ventured out a hotel side entrance and quickly realized that it wasn’t like the reasonably well-lit thoroughfare. There were lots of crowded homes, with men sitting or standing on the stoops underneath an occasional dim streetlight. Furthermore, it was snowing. Meeting with the family of a local Duma member, Galina Starovoitova, who had been gunned down on her doorstep because of her government criticisms just weeks before, had enhanced our self-preservation concerns. We agreed to a hasty retreat. It seemed far too much like a scene out of “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  In fact, looking at a map the next day, we were but a few steps from Dostoyevsky’s former house. Which explains why it felt like a scene out of his book. Over the years not only did I return to Russia, but had several delegations of Russian leaders visit northeastern Indiana and had meetings with various Russian groups in Washington. While Russian history, like the novels produced by its legendary writers, is dense and complicated, it nevertheless is fascinating. However, like other hopeful glimpses of freedom in nations with totalitarian histories, one can easily mistake temporary openings for substantive change.
  • By RICH JAMES
    MERRILLVILLE – The Mike Pence tax and the Eric Holcomb tax are colliding on the streets of Valparaiso. And the same is likely to happen in some other Northwest Indiana communities. A year ago, then-Gov. Mike Pence approved a wheel tax package that promised state matching funds for local road repairs if towns and cities raised their share of the money. And, in Valparaiso, the local source of the money is a $25-per-car wheel tax. The maximum the state will kick in is $2.7 million annually. That was then and this is now. Valparaiso Councilwoman Debra Porter, D-at large, has suggested that the city eliminate the tax, given what the Legislature approved this year. Initially, the Valparaiso council approved the wheel tax with the caveat that it would be eliminated if the county imposed its own wheel tax. Although the county did nothing, Porter said the state road funding plan approved this year has changed the situation. Ironically, the new state plan was sponsored by Rep. Ed Soliday, a Valparaiso Republican.
  • By LEE HAMILTON
    BLOOMINGTON – Politics can be messy, but not because it’s tainted or morally bankrupt. It’s messy because it often reflects deep-seated disagreements that are hard to resolve, with merit on both sides. I’ve had a number of conversations recently that convince me our country is divided into two political camps separated by a deep and uncomfortably wide gap. No, I’m not talking about liberals and conservatives, or pro- and anti-Trump voters. I’m talking about people who believe in politics and our political system, and people who don’t. I’ve found this latter view expressed most frequently among young people. In lecture halls and in informal conversations, I’ve spent some uncomfortable hours serving as a human pincushion for their pointed barbs about the system they’ve grown up in. Many are uninterested in politics. They do not see politics as a worthy pursuit or even as an honorable vocation. They doubt our political institutions can be made to work, are suspicious of elected officials in general, and don’t believe that our democratic institutions are capable either of solving the problems faced by the country or of helping them as individuals.
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS - In the eyes of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the emerging scandal of Russian collusion with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the sprawling investigations peeling off in its wake are as much of a wakeup call as, perhaps, the Russian Revolution that transpired a century ago. “If there has ever been a clarion call for vigilance and action against a threat to the very foundation of our democratic political system, this episode is it,” Clapper testified before Congress on May 8. In President Trump’s view, the probes are “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Trump’s outrage at the Russia probe, which challenges the legitimacy of his stunning upset last November, prompted him to impulsively fire FBI Director James Comey last week. Trump told NBC: "When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said 'you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won'."

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  • HPI Analysis: The coming 'impeachment election'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Singer David Byrne, appropriately a real Talking Head, asks rhetorically in song, “How did we get here?” in an era of scandals engulfing the White House and inertia gripping a polarized Congress. Look no further than the morning of May 3, 2016, with Donald Trump poised to win the Indiana Republican presidential primary that night, and thus the party’s nomination. But Trump wasn’t optimistic, upbeat or sanguine. Instead, he went on Fox News and cited a National Enquirer story tying Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being – you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said on Fox News early election morning.
  • Horse Race: AG Hill, Braun eye Senate race; Delph decision coming
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The early rounds of the Republican 2018 U.S. Senate race has centered on a potential showdown between U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita. But there are several new names surfacing. Informed and reliable GOP sources say that Attorney General Curtis Hill is making phone calls gauging support for a potential run. He is also staffing up his campaign side, with Suzie Jaworowski coming on board. She was a key player in President Trump’s Indiana campaign. Another name reportedly making calls is State Rep. Mike Braun, R-Jasper. Currently Atlanta businessman Terry Henderson, Kokomo attorney Mark Hurt and New Albany educator Andrew Takami have officially entered or have formed exploratory committees. State Sen. Mike Delph told HPI on Wednesday that his oldest daughter Abby is getting married on June 25. “I will address 2018 after we get through this very important family event,” Delph advised.
  • Atomic: Coats on Trump pressure; DeVos in Indy; Pence to Hill

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Coats pressed on Trump pressure, terror threat: Get ready for your Tuesday power lunch with these talking points: A day after the Washington Post broke yet another sensational story that President Trump had approached him about pushing back on the FBI’s Russian collusion probe, and an ISIS sanctioned terror attack in Manchester, England, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and was asked about the story. The Post reported: “Trump made separate appeals to … Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president. “The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official told the Post of the request to Coats.


  • Vice President Pence cites 'integrity' and 'values' at Notre Dame
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Vice President Mike Pence journeyed back home to Indiana on Sunday, preaching “integrity and values” at the Notre Dame commencement from an administration that is already mired in scandal, investigation while running roughshod over truth. Pence told the graduates "to be men and women of integrity and values,” adding, “This university is a vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas at a time, sadly, when free speech and civility are waning on campuses across America. While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness — all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech,”

  • Atomic: State drug strategy; Trump abroad; Pence under fire
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Indiana’s drug strategy lacks big idea: Your Friday power lunch talking points: Indiana drug czar Jim McClelland released 19 pages of strategy to combat the opiate epidemic that killed 619 Hoosiers in 2016, up from 262 in 2008. Key principles include: Data will inform all systems and programs created for government, individuals, families and providers, evolving as learning increases and as Indiana’s drug crisis changes; Comprehensive and Holistic: Indiana’s approach will be multi-faceted and focused on substance abuse prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery and enforcement; Collaborative: The state will align and focus the efforts of multiple state agencies that currently provide substance abuse services and resources. Further, Indiana’s approach makes clear that local communities, state officials, and the federal government must all have a stake in helping overcoming the drug crisis.

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  • Vice President Pence returns for Indy 500
    “Very humbled by the warm and enthusiastic response as Karen and I took a lap around the historic @IMS. #Indy500.” - Vice President Mike Pence, returning to Indiana for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. Pence and his wife Karen traveled to his hometown of Columbus prior to heading to Indy. Some 300,000 people are expected to attend the race.
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  • Rest in Peace Gregg Allman
    My sons and I had a long time saying: "And on the Seventh Day, God created the Allman Brothers." It amazed me that my sons, some 35 years younger than I, gravitated to some of my most beloved rock n' roll and that included the Allman Brothers. Founder Gregg Allman passed away on Saturday at age 69. The New York Times observed that Gregg Allman was the "principal architects of a taut, improvisatory fusion of blues, jazz, country and rock that — streamlined by inheritors like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band — became the Southern rock of the 1970s." I remember the Allman Brothers playing the night before the 1979 Indianapolis 500 at Market Square Arena (Dickie Betts got mad during the show, slammed the mic on the stage and stormed off). My simple eulogy is that Gregg Allman and his landmark band consistently stirred my soul. Rest In Peace. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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Trump taxes

Should Donald Trump release recent tax returns, like every major party nominee has done over the past 40 years?


 




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