Category Archives: Uncategorized

Political Prisoners – Jan 6?

we the people declaration and flag

The Gateway Pundit Announces: AMERICAN GULAG – The Informational Website on the Jan. 6 Political Prisoners

  • The Gateway Pundit is pleased to announce its unveiling of www.AmericanGULAG.org, an informational site about the more than six hundred and thirty (630) people Joe Biden continues to imprison and persecute, largely for entering a public building on January 6, 2021.  
  • The overwhelming majority of Biden’s January 6th political prisoners are peaceful patriots, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters and brothers whose crime was walking into a public building to protest.  The emerging totalitarian uniparty decided to weaponize the Department of Injustice and persecute Donald Trump/America First/anti-oligarchy supporters.

Introducing RealClearInvestigations’ Jan. 6-BLM Riots Dataset BThe Editors, RealClearInvestigations  September 09, 2021

  • The electorate itself is divided, but doesn’t necessarily view this issue as an either/or choice. Polling shows that a large majority of Americans support the idea of examining the causes of both the 2020 summer riots in America’s cities and the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
  • It is clear, then, that many Americans see two sides to this story. In keeping with its mission to fill gaps in press coverage, RealClearInvestigations is launching a running compendium of data, with hyperlinked sourcing, comparing the damage done on Jan. 6, and the subsequent treatment of those accused of perpetrating it, with two other recent events: the summer 2020 riots and – in some ways a closer analogy – the all-but-forgotten riot in Washington on Inauguration Day 2017, as protesters challenged Donald Trump’s election and legitimacy much as Jan. 6 rioters challenged Joe Biden’s.

A Left Right Divide within Brown County, Indiana

we the people declaration and flag

Updated: Sep 19, 2021.

Facebook Challenges.  Every now and then, we have one or more issues on Brown County Matters that generate controversy, criticism, hard feelings, and false allegations.  The recent posts on the Indiana election and the Governors non-support of the President’s Covid mandates reflect a Left vs Right political divide that is common throughout the country.

Brown County Matters is a private Facebook Group requiring members to live, work, or own property in the county.  Posts are intended to be of local (county) interests. It has general rules of expected behavior and the respective  rule (s) are cited when a post is removed.   Individuals are also blocked from the site when their  contributions tend to be more disingenuous than constructive.

My perspective on the differences derived from the posts on the Election and Covid policy topics are provided below. 

Left Perspective

From a  “Left” perspective, the integrity of the 2020 Indiana and Presidential election should not be questioned and the Covid policy is not debatable or questionable.  On Covid policy and vaccines, the conclusion from the Left is that its settled science, shut up, get the shot (s), do what your told, and don’t question who we identify as the “experts.”

The First Amendment allows individuals to express their opinions. Any sources of information not approved by the government, local gatekeepers, or the “fact/bias” checkers (that claim to be non-partisan and independent) represents misinformation.   It  is interesting when the word “harmful” is associated with some information posted inferring adults are not capable of determining the quality of the information provided.  And it begs the question:  Who determines what information should be disseminated and how?

All original posts must align with the rules but replies to posts can include an alternative point of view regarding the message.  Multiple sources of information are always helpful in validating information and identifying patterns.   And, individuals do criticize the quality of a post to include posting counter information as to what they believe to be  misinformation. 

For example, I posted a video by Dr. Dan Stock to the Mt. Vernon school board advising against masks.  This was considered “misinformation.”  Other members posted criticisms by other doctors of Dr. Stocks position – all good.  An online interview was then arranged by an independent party that allowed a discussion between Dr. Stock and one of his critics – very civil, professional, and informative.  This type of discussion should be encourage – not suppressed. I would like to see follow-on discussions where viewers could ask questions and more detail can be discussed on the various aspects of the issue.  For more info: Dr. Dan Stock addressed the Mt. Vernon School Board in Indiana.

Anyone (the messenger) questioning the Lefts narrative on many topics may be immediately attacked, cancelled, bullied, or labeled in a derogatory manner.  The “message” that challenges the prevailing narrative is rarely discussed by the critics and would require a little more thought and analysis. It’s much easier to just attack the messenger, claim fake news or bias, question motives or just avoid the subject and debate. Critics are also subject to projection –  projecting their own faults onto other people.

In addition to projection, another common attribute of the Left is “virtue signaling” defined as “the sharing of one’s point of view on a social or political issue, often on social media, in order to garner praise or acknowledgment of one’s righteousness from others who share that point of view, or to passively rebuke those who do not.”

On the integrity of the Indiana election issues, I included a link to an article that discussed similar issues on the national election – The big ‘known unknown’ of 2020 by J. E Dyer at Liberty Unyielding.  The author is a retired Naval Intelligence officer and offers a unique, objective, and broad perspective on many issues.   Liberty Unyielding and the author were labeled as representing the “right wing fringe.”   

Right Perspective

From what is being labeled as a “Right” perspective, our system of government enables citizens to work together to achieve a more perfect Union. This can be achieved by developing more perfect (better) policies. This requires an open forum and ground rules to discuss all relevant information and perspectives. 

In the case of Covid, medical professionals locally as well as throughout the word have diverse and often opposing points of view regarding causes, prevention, treatments and policies.  Another subject of disagreement is on natural and herd immunity.

Many medical professionals that question the approved narrative are “canceled” and/or censored and accused of providing misleading information. What has been missing is an open forum that addresses questions, acknowledges the differences, identifies area of agreement and disagreement, and then identifies the information needed to continually develop and improve upon the best solutions.  This process builds trust, confidence in leadership, and leads to the better solutions.

When working towards a solution, leaders can opt for a process where everyone can benefit, or choose a win/lose (zero-sum) approach which unfortunately, is the more common approach. 

The position regarding national polices is often inferred by the Left as “We won the election and we’re doing things our way , go along or else.”  This approach leads to opposition and suboptimal outcomes.

Conservative positions on elections raise issues on the capability of the respective systems and processes to ensure citizen that elections are fair and all legal votes are counted. This has led to the demand for forensic audits and legislative changes with the intent to improve the system for future elections

Brown County Leader Network

In America by law, We the People are top management and are responsible for expecting and supporting changes  that result in outcomes where everyone benefits or at least are not any worse off in the long-term.  Unfortunately, this knowledge may not be commonly acknowledged due to the influence of the two-party system, lack of knowledge of history and civic education in the schools.

Thankfully, Brown County Schools do support civic education and student teams have won national competitions on their knowledge of Constitutional issues.  More info: We the People – Brown County Schools.

In contrast, the Board of the Brown County League of Women Voters (LoWV) endorsed a position from the National League that supports a position that leads to  divisiveness and sustains racism: 

  • Whereas, the League acknowledges painfully that America is a nation founded on racism. We must end white privilege and the myth of white supremacy if we are to become the nation we pledge to be … 

You want to know how to end racism in America?
Stop Talking about it” – Morgan Freeman

On the banner image for Matters, there is a link to the Brown County Leader Network (BCLN). This site offers some principles, methods and tools in developing assessments and supporting improvements. In developing solutions that can lead to better outcomes, the stakeholder matrix is a useful tool. The matrix is used to  identify everyone (stakeholders) effected by a change, the information or services they expect and the feedback they need and will use to assess results.  This concept applied at a local or national level offers an alternative way of acknowledging differences and helping to develop support for solutions.

The BCLN site also provides an outline of a problem and decision-making process.  This process aligns with the Justice system in helping to discover the truth and identify the best decisions.  Facts and evidence used to help identify a problem.  The pros (prosecution), cons (defense) and risks are identified.  Transparency along with the supporting documentation help develop support for the respective changes.

Regarding the ideologies of the Left and Right, Dennis Prager captures what he believes to be  key attributes. “A Guide to Basic Differences Between Left and Right”  Prager was also labeled as being part of the right wing fringe.

Context: Moral Authority – The Right Thing

An underlying basis for discussions is recognizing the moral authority that motivates  ideology.  What is the right thing, how is it determined, and by whom?   

The secular design of the U.S.  system of government was influenced by Judeo-Christian  principles which accepts God as the moral authority. The Christian philosophy includes a belief that actions motivated by love lead to outcomes where everyone gains, or at least, are not any worse off in the long-term. The premise being that as more needs are met, there is less harm on people of needs that are not being met.

Governments also  represents a “moral authority” in determining the right things where “Man” defines the moral code.  For the U.S system of government, the intent of the founders was that  the Power to identify the right things in working towards a more perfect Union, was to be managed on behalf of the citizens through a balance  between the three branch of government, the federal government and the states.   The length of the terms of office were staggered to help balance short term and long-term interests. Presidents are elected to 4 years, Senate 6, Congressman 2 and supreme court  justices have lifetime appointments.

The Declaration of Independence identifies the  commitment to the “self-evident truths”  that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …

 In contrast, political systems influenced by Marxist theory lead to a centralization of power inherent in socialist  and communist based systems.   Marx ‘s Communist Manifesto reinforced the strategy to divide people, exploit divisions and leverage their hate and rage to inspire revolutions that will lead to the Marx version of utopia – divide, conquer, terrorize,  subjugate and control.  Marx was  raised in a Christian home but later abandoned God and associated with Satan. Marx declared: “I long to take vengeance on the One Who rules from above … We make war against all prevailing ideas of religion, of the state, of county, of patriotism.”   

Another popular treatise of the Left for revolutionary change  is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer – the “original radical that gained his own kingdom” – Hell.

Mark Levin in his book American Marxism, makes the case that “the core elements of Marxist ideology are now pervasive in American society and culture” which includes critical race theory, and “escalation of repression and and censorship to silence opposing forces and enforce conformity.”  Mathew Lohmeier, who recently resigned from the Air Force as a result of the fall-out from his book “Irresistible Revolutions – Marxism’s Goal of Conquest and the Unmaking of the American Military” also reinforces the threats from Marxist inspired ideology  in the military and in American society. 

The polarity between the left and the right is exacerbated by a lack of knowledge of history and civics.  A counter to the belief that America’s founding started in 1619 vs 1776  is provided at the  following: American Civics. 

  • The American republic rests upon the foundation of “E Pluribus Unum” — out of many, one. Although the Founders knew from their own experience that a vast diversity in outlooks and opinions would be present among the country’s citizens, they understood that such diversity must rest upon principles and practices we hold in common. It is up to each generation to make sure that this foundational unity remains intact. This project on American Civics seeks to contribute to that worthy cause.
  • 1776 Unites Curriculum Highlights the American Character

In summary, within Brown County, we have the same Left vs Right political divide that is prevalent throughout the country.  We can choose the better approaches while acknowledging competing ideologies and philosophies in a respectful manner.

Additional Information

Covid – Strengthening the Immune System and Treatments

IFR Dr. Ioannidis Stanford Infection Survival Rate IFR covid

  • Right now, the medical establishment is doing the equivalent of a doctor who, when he concludes that you are in the early stages of a sinus infection, sends you home without any antibiotics and, instead, tells you to return when you’re septic.  When it comes to COVID, we’re all told to go home and get back to the doctor when we’re on the verge of dying and interventional medicines will no longer work.  Meanwhile, almost the entire American establishment (Democrats, doctors, Hollywood stars) hectors everyone to get vaccinated.

TREATMENT GUIDES (PROTOCOLS) AND MEDICAL SUPPORT

 

Directory

State of Florida – Department of Health

Zelenko Covid-19 Prophylaxis Protocol.  Website: Vladimirzelenkomd.com.  In March 2020, Dr. Zelenko’s team was one of the first in the country to successfully treat thousands of Covid-19 patients in the prehospital setting. Dr. Zelenko developed his now famous “Zelenko Protocol,” which has saved countless lives worldwideIn March 2020, Dr. Zelenko’s team was one of the first in the country to successfully treat thousands of Covid-19 patients in the prehospital setting. Dr. Zelenko developed his now famous “Zelenko Protocol,” which has saved countless lives worldwide

  • – Zelenko Protocol innovator: 99% survival of high risk Covid-19 patients
  • – Nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • – Recognized as a hero at U.S. Senate Homeland Security committee hearing
  • – Published in top peer reviewed journals with world renowned physicians
  • – Provided counsel to White House personnel, multiple governments, hospitals, physicians, public figures
  • – Board Certified Family Physician with over 20 years experience

The Great Barrington Declaration.   Over 850,000 infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists recommended an approach referred to as  Focused Protection. “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection. “

  • Sep 1, 2021. Au Naturel: Israel’s Immunity Study. It turns out natural immunity is better than what men could produce and profit from.

    • … new scientific study out of Israel last week, the largest of its kind, compared natural immunity in individuals who were previously infected with Covid-19 against immunity in individuals who had received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

      Those who had been vaccinated were 13 times more likely to be infected with the Delta variant (what has been called a “breakthrough” infection) than those with natural immunity, the study found

    • The study authors conclude: “This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer-lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant.”
  • Sep 6, 2021. Harvard epidemiologist says the case for COVID vaccine passports was just demolished. New research found that natural immunity offers exponentially more protection than COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Sep 10, 2021 Fauci can’t give a ‘really firm answer’ on why Americans with natural immunity need vaccines
    • And now the (Israeli) study says maybe even more protected than the vaccine alone. Should they also get the vaccine? How do you make the case to them?” Gupta asked.  … “You know, that’s a really good point, Sanjay. I don’t have a really firm answer for you on that,” Fauci replied.

Military Servicemembers file a Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of the 220,000 members that have natural immunity. They are challenging the forced mandate for all. The lawsuit identifies the process that was used for approval of the vaccines and its deviation from the norm. Army Regulation 40-562 (“AR 40-562) “provides documented survivors of an infection a presumptive exemption from vaccination due to the natural immunity acquired as a result of having survived the infection. “   Lawsuit

Additional Information

Sept 18, 2021. Brown County contracts with IU for ambulance service.  “125 Staff Part Ways With Indiana’s Biggest Hospital System After Refusing Vaccine By Tom Ozimek

FDA Hearing: Doctors and Experts Testify Government Data Demonstrates COVID Shots are Dangerous and May Kill More Than They Save (VIDEO) By Jim Hoft

  • Dr. Joseph Fraiman, MD told the FDA on Friday that government does not have data to show the vaccine was more beneficial than it is harmful for teenage boys.
  • Steve Kirsch, the Executive Director of the COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund was up next to testify before the FDA.  Kirsch argued the vaccines kill more people than they save. … Kirsh pointed out that there patients were 71 times more likely to suffer a heart attack after taking the vaccine than those taking other vaccines. 20 died from the drug, 14 from the placebo. … Kirsh argued that the vaccine killed more people than saved lives.

  • Steve Kirsch also pointed out that early treatments are more successful than boosters, noting that cases in Israel are at an all-time high and cases in Uttar Pradesh, India where they administer Ivermectin, the cases are nearly non-existent today.

 

 
 
 

 

Common Fallacies – Excerpts

american thinker uncle sam

Excerpts: Reference: LOGOS: CRITICAL THINKING, ARGUMENTS, AND FALLACIES Heather Wilburn

Additional Information.  Critical Thinking – Arguments, Fallacies, Rhetoric – Independent Voters of Brown County IN

Fallacies:

Some arguments are faulty, not necessarily because of the truth or falsity of the premises, but because they rely on psychological and emotional ploys. These are bad arguments because people shouldn’t accept your conclusion if you are using scare tactics or distracting and manipulating reasoning. Arguments that have this issue are called fallacies. There are a lot of fallacies, so, again, if you want to know more a web search will be useful. We are going to look at several that seem to be the most relevant for our day-to-day experiences.

  1. Inappropriate Appeal to Authority: We are definitely going to use authority figures in our lives (e.g. doctors, lawyers, mechanics, financial advisors, etc.), but we need to make sure that the authority figure is a reliable one.

Things to look for here might include: reputation in the field, not holding widely controversial views, experience, education, and the like. So, if we take an authority figure’s word and they’re not legit, we’ve committed the fallacy of appeal to authority.

Example 5: I think I am going to take my investments to Voya. After all, Steven Adams advocates for Voya in an advertisement I recently saw.

If we look at the criteria for evaluating arguments that appeal to authority figures, it is pretty easy to see that Adams is not an expert in the finance field. Thus, this is an inappropropriate appeal to authority.

  1. Slippery Slope Arguments: Slippery slope arguments are found everywhere it seems. The essential characteristic of a slippery slope argument is that it uses problematic premises to argue that doing ‘x’ will ultimately lead to other actions that are extreme, unlikely, and disastrous. You can think of this type of argument as a faulty chain of events or domino effect type of argument.

Example 6: If you don’t study for your philosophy exam you will not do well on the exam. This will lead to you failing the class. The next thing you know you will have lost your scholarship, dropped out of school, and will be living on the streets without any chance of getting a job.

While you should certainly study for your philosophy exam, if you don’t it is unlikely that this will lead to your full economic demise.

One challenge to evaluating slippery slope arguments is that they are predictions, so we cannot be certain about what will or will not actually happen. But this chain of events type of argument should be assessed in terms of whether the outcome will likely follow if action ‘x” is pursued.

  1. Faulty Analogy: We often make arguments based on analogy and these can be good arguments. But we often use faulty reasoning with analogies and this is what we want to learn how to avoid.

When evaluating an argument that is based on an analogy here are a few things to keep in mind: you want to look at the relevant similarities and the relevant differences between the things that are being compared. As a general rule, if there are more differences than similarities the argument is likely weak.

Example 7: Alcohol is legal. Therefore, we should legalize marijuana too.

So, the first step here is to identify the two things being compared, which are alcohol and marijuana. Next, note relevant similarities and differences. These might include effects on health, community safety, economic factors, criminal justice factors, and the like.

This is probably not the best argument in support for marijuana legalization. It would seem that one could just as easily conclude that since marijuana is illegal, alcohol should be too. In fact, one might find that alcohol is an often abused and highly problematic drug for many people, so it is too risky to legalize marijuana if it is similar to alcohol.

  1. Appeal to Emotion: Arguments should be based on reason and evidence, not emotional tactics. When we use an emotional tactic, we are essentially trying to manipulate someone into accepting our position by evoking pity or fear, when our positions should actually be backed by reasonable and justifiable evidence.

Example 8: Officer please don’t give me a speeding ticket. My girlfriend broke up with me last night, my alarm didn’t go off this morning, and I’m late for class.

While this is a really horrible start to one’s day, being broken up with and an alarm malfunctioning is not a justifiable reason for speeding.

Example 9: Professor, I’d like you to remember that my mother is a dean here at TCC. I’m sure that she will be very disappointed if I don’t receive an A in your class.

This is a scare tactic and is not a good way to make an argument. Scare tactics can come in the form of psychological or physical threats; both forms are to be avoided.

  1. Appeal to Ignorance: This fallacy occurs when our argument relies on lack of evidence when evidence is actually needed to support a position.

Example 10: No one has proven that sasquatch doesn’t exist; therefore it does exist.

Example 11: No one has proven God exists; therefore God doesn’t exist.

The key here is that lack of evidence against something cannot be an argument for something. Lack of evidence can only show that we are ignorant of the facts.

  1. Straw Man: A straw man argument is a specific type of argument that is intended to weaken an opponent’s position so that it is easier to refute. So, we create a weaker version of the original argument (i.e. a straw man argument), so when we present it everyone will agree with us and denounce the original position.

Example 12: Women are crazy arguing for equal treatment. No one wants women hanging around men’s locker rooms or saunas.

This is a misrepresentation of arguments for equal treatment. Women (and others arguing for equal treatment) are not trying to obtain equal access to men’s locker rooms or saunas.

The best way to avoid this fallacy is to make sure that you are not oversimplifying or misrepresenting others’ positions. Even if we don’t agree with a position, we want to make the strongest case against it and this can only be accomplished if we can refute the actual argument, not a weakened version of it. So, let’s all bring the strongest arguments we have to the table!

  1. Red Herring: A red herring is a distraction or a change in subject matter. Sometimes this is subtle, but if you find yourself feeling lost in the argument, take a close look and make sure there is not an attempt to distract you.

Example 13: Can you believe that so many people are concerned with global warming? The real threat to our country is terrorism.

It could be the case that both global warming and terrorism are concerns for us. But the red herring fallacy is committed when someone tries to distract you from the argument at hand by bringing up another issue or side-stepping a question. Politicians are masters at this, by the way.

  1. Appeal to the Person: This fallacy is also referred to as the ad hominem fallacy. We commit this fallacy when we dismiss someone’s argument or position by attacking them instead of refuting the premises or support for their argument.

Example 14: I am not going to listen to what Professor ‘X’ has to say about the history of religion. He told one of his previous classes he wasn’t religious.

The problem here is that the student is dismissing course material based on the professor’s religious views and not evaluating the course content on its own ground.

To avoid this fallacy, make sure that you target the argument or their claims and not the person making the argument in your rebuttal.

  1. Hasty Generalization: We make and use generalizations on a regular basis and in all types of decisions. We rely on generalizations when trying to decide which schools to apply to, which phone is the best for us, which neighborhood we want to live in, what type of job we want, and so on. Generalizations can be strong and reliable, but they can also be fallacious. There are three main ways in which a generalization can commit a fallacy: your sample size is too small, your sample size is not representative of the group you are making a generalization about, or your data could be outdated.

Example 15: I had horrible customer service at the last Starbucks I was at. It is clear that Starbucks employees do not care about their customers. I will never visit another Starbucks again.

The problem with this generalization is that the claim made about all Starbucks is based on one experience. While it is tempting to not spend your money where people are rude to their customers, this is only one employee and presumably doesn’t reflect all employees or the company as a whole. So, to make this a stronger generalization we would want to have a larger sample size (multiple horrible experiences) to support the claim. Let’s look at a second hasty generalization:

Example 16: I had horrible customer service at the Starbucks on 81st street. It is clear that Starbucks employees do not care about their customers. I will never visit another Starbucks again.

The problem with this generalization mirrors the previous problem in that the claim is based on only one experience. But there’s an additional issue here as well, which is that the claim is based off of an experience at one location. To make a claim about the whole company, our sample group needs to be larger than one and it needs to come from a variety of locations.

  1. Begging the Question: An argument begs the question when the argument’s premises assume the conclusion, instead of providing support for the conclusion. One common form of begging the question is referred to as circular reasoning.

Example 17: Of course, everyone wants to see the new Marvel movie is because it is the most popular movie right now!

The conclusion here is that everyone wants to see the new Marvel movie, but the premise simply assumes that is the case by claiming it is the most popular movie. Remember the premise should give reasons for the conclusion, not merely assume it to be true.

  1. Equivocation: In the English language there are many words that have different meanings (e.g. bank, good, right, steal, etc.). When we use the same word but shift the meaning without explaining this move to your audience, we equivocate the word and this is a fallacy. So, if you must use the same word more than once and with more than one meaning you need to explain that you’re shifting the meaning you intend. Although, most of the time it is just easier to use a different word.

Example 18: Yes, philosophy helps people argue better, but should we really encourage people to argue? There is enough hostility in the world.

Here, argue is used in two different senses. The meaning of the first refers to the philosophical meaning of argument (i.e. premises and a conclusion), whereas the second sense is in line with the common use of argument (i.e. yelling between two or more people, etc.).

 

BCMC Management and Oversight

bcmc

Brown County Music Center (BCMC)

History of the BCMC and Current Events

Citizen Requirements

  • Commissioners, Council and BCMC management group pledged that NO county tax dollars would be used to subsidize this venue.  if the venue was not successful, it would be sold and/or returned to the bank.
    • A $239K subsidy including some rent payments was provided to the BCMC by the county.  Details associated with the transaction:
      • Feb 17, 2021. Letter: BCD. GUEST OPINION: What’s been happening with your county’s finances by Kevin Fleming.  Includes the details regarding the lack of transparency and oversight of Commissioner Biddle’s actions regarding the $239,000 “Rent” payment to the BCMC.  Commissioner Biddle also serves on the Music Center’s management group.

  • Revenue from the innkeeper’s tax was used as collateral for the loan to build the venue and can be used for operating expenses. 

Questions:

  • What is the management relationship (roles and responsibilities) between the commissioners, council, BCMC management group, and the BCMC Building Corp?
  • What are the requirement for reporting revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities associated with the venue?
  • In addition to the Convention Visitors Commission (CVC) budget, what information does the council need to consider in reviewing the CVC budget  as well as the efficient and effective use of the revenue from the innkeepers tax?
    • Balance Sheet?
    • Profit and Loss Statements?
    • Income Statements?
    • Cash Flow Analysis? 
    • Budget Approved by Council?
    • Addendum to the loan agreement with the bank?
  • What are the policies and internal controls for ensuring the effective and efficient use of revenue from the innkeepers tax ?  How often are these reviewed?
  • Are the BCMC Financial statements audited by an independent and objective company? 

Additional Information

2011 Indiana Code TITLE 6. TAXATION ARTICLE 9. INNKEEPER’S TAXES; OTHER LOCAL TAXES
CHAPTER 14. BROWN COUNTY INNKEEPER’S TAX

  • IC 6-9-14-4
    Payment of expenses; budget; expenditures
    Sec. 4. All expenses of the commission shall be paid from the fund required by section 7 of this chapter. The commission shall annually prepare a budget taking into consideration the recommendations made by a not-for-profit corporation qualifying under section 3 of this chapter and shall submit it to the county council for its review and approval. No expenditure shall be made unless it is pursuant to an appropriation made by the county council in the manner provided by law.
    As added by Acts 1981, P.L.100, SEC.1.

School Board – Vouchers

The State Budget – Schools. School funding increased to include teacher compensation. This may prevent the need to pass another referendum. Vouchers were expanded and the policy was made a local issue.

The last two Brown County Superintendents (David Shaffer, Laura Hammack) publically came out against voucher expansion as did the School Board.

Every Democrat in the House voted for the budget and all but three Democrats voted for it in the Senate.

Apr 23, 2021. Indiana expands school voucher program to include most middle-class families By Margaret Menge | The Center Square

  • The move was hailed by Republicans, who have supermajorities in both chambers, and assailed by Democrats, who were unable to stop it as it sailed through the House and then the Senate tucked inside the budget bill that will fund the state government for the next two years.

April 8, 2021. SUPERINTENDENT’S CORNER: Why local school leaders oppose more voucher funding,  By LAURA HAMMACK, guest columnist One of our recent school board meetings realized the passing of a resolution authored by both our Brown County Schools…

April 6, 2021School board formally opposes voucher expansion, education savings accounts by Suzannah Couch – The Brown County Schools Board of Trustees has joined more than 170 other public school boards in Indiana in opposing legislation that expands funding…

Apr 6, 2021. Letter: The case against expanding the school voucher program by Terry Spradlin, executive director, Indiana School Boards Association (submitted by Adam VanOsdol, ISBA communications specialist/content strategist)

Mar 10, 2021. School boards push back against Indiana voucher expansions  INDIANAPOLIS — Local school leaders across Indiana are lining up against a Republican-backed school funding plan over concerns it would give private schools a…

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Dr. Dan Stock addressed the Mt. Vernon School Board in Indiana

Dr Stock

On Friday, August 7th Dr. Dan Stock addressed the Mt. Vernon School Board in Indiana over the futility of mask mandates and Covid-19 protocols in most schools. In his presentation, he references a flash drive he gave the school board members to review with all of the scientific literature he referenced.

Criticisms:

Aug 10, 2021. WND News Center.  Actually contrary to all rules of science’: Watch doctor destroy CDC’s messaging

Aug 7, 2021. Daily Reporter.  Mt. Vernon mulling COVID-19 protocols after feedback

  • Dr. Dan Stock, a McCordsville resident and family medicine physician, said the measures Mt. Vernon has implemented and is considering adding are not useful. He added Indiana Department of Health and CDC recommendations are “contrary to the rules of science.” Coronavirus and other respiratory virus particles are small enough to go through masks, Stock continued, adding vaccines will not be effective against COVID-19. He noted the virus is on the rise in the middle of summer, a time when respiratory viral syndromes are typically at their lowest. Stock also pointed to the COVID-19 outbreak last month in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the majority of which included vaccinated individuals. Vaccines don’t prevent infection, just symptoms, Stock said. “So you cannot stop spread, you cannot make these numbers that you’ve planned on get better by doing any of the things that you’re doing,” he said. “Because that is the nature of viral respiratory pathogens. And you can’t prevent it with a vaccine because they don’t do the very thing you’re wanting them to do. And you will be chasing this through the remainder of your life until you recognize the Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana State Board of Health are giving you very bad scientific guidance.”
  • “Mt. Vernon schools officials tabled a proposed update to its health and safety protocols and will contemplate other parts of the existing plan after receiving feedback from parents and a physician.”  
  • The next Mt. Vernon School Board meeting is Monday, August 16th at 7:00pm.

July 13, 2021. Daily Reporter. Parents pressure school boards to do away with COVID restrictions  (Greenfield-Central School Board)

  • Dr. Dan Stock, owner of PureHealth Functional Medicine in Noblesville, told the board that masks don’t work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a claim that contradicts the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments.

Click on the links below to access the following studies referenced by Dr. Stock:

1. SARS-CoV2-Transmission Among Marine Recruits during Quarantine.

2. Longitudinal analysis shows durable and broad immune memory after SARS-CoV-2 infection with persisting antibody responses and memory B and T cells.

3. Vitamin D for prevention of respiratory tract infections: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

4. Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis

5. CDC assessment of non-pharmaceutical influenza methods.

6. Federalist cases/mortality mask comparison

7. Heritage Foundation Study – In fact, mask use during the pandemic has been recommended by The Heritage Foundation’s Coronavirus Commission guidelines. However, our findings do suggest that public health strategies relying predominantly on mask mandates are inadequate, and thus other initiatives, in addition to mask wearing, should have been a component of policies aimed to limit the spread of the disease.

8. Declaration of Great Barrington– The Great Barrington Declaration- As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection. Over 60,000 medical experts have signed this declaration.

9. Covid-19 Breakthrough Infections in Vaccinated Health Care Workers.

10. Calcifediol Treatment and Hospital Mortality Due to COVID-19: A Cohort Study

11. Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children.

12. Calcifediol treatment and COVID-19-related outcomes

13. “Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study.

14. Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers

15. Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US

16. Face-Masks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis

17. Infection Fatality Ratios for COVID-19 Among Non-Institutionalized Persons 12 and Older: Results of a Random-Sample Prevalence Study

18. Open Schools, COVID-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden.

19. Face-Masks to prevent transmission of influenza virus: a systematic review

20. Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, Including COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, Associated with Large Public Gathering- Barnstable County, Massachusetts, July 2021

21. Short term, high-dose vitamin D supplementation for COVID-19 disease: a randomized, placebo-controlled, study

22. Rapid Expert Consultation on the Effectiveness of Fabric Masks for the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 8, 2020)

Who benefits? County decision-making

decision making The Challenge.  Brown County has one-party monopoly (Republican) on political power.  This results in decisions that can benefit  the few with little to no consideration on the best interests of ALL county residents.  In essence, less than a dozen people can make decisions that effect everyone.  Little chance of repercussions at the ballot box for poor decisions. Good Things. County has sustained development of a County Comprehensive Financial Plan. It It appears the new ambulance contract is less expensive with less risk than the previous contract.  There is more interest expressed by the Commissioners for development and maintenance of a Capital Improvement Plan to better manage infrastructure related costs. Road Paving can also be considered a positive but the lack of a published plan is frustrating for citizens. Tax Policy.  Given the influx of retirees and people that could work from home, or chose to live in the county but commute to other counties for the better paying jobs, the decision was made by the county council to rely on income tax increases (vice property) to fund spending. The income tax rate doubled in 10 years and the county recently shifted to relying on increases in property taxes.  (The county is primarily funded by income and property taxes).
  • Brown County has the 4th highest debt per capita in the State (See Debt Comparison Report, Indiana Gateway).
  • On the income tax rate, Brown County among the highest.
  • Brown County does have one of the lowest property tax rates that is expected to continually increase.
Music Center. A $12.5 million+ expense for a  government owned and operated music venue. This project was driven by less than a dozen people.  Commissioner Biddle recently provided a $239K subsidy for “rent” — no details on what exactly county taxpayers received in services.  The Council approved the payment but were caught by surprise by the last minute request. No public meetings held to discuss the subsidy. Indiana Hill Road. Commissioners approved closing the crossing without notifying ANY of the residents effected and allowing for public input.   Hard to believe that negotiation with the Railroad would not have resulted in mitigating needed risks.  What were the alternatives considered? Overlook – Clear-Cut.  Commissioner Biddle led the effort to conduct minor logging on the western side of the Overlook on 135 to allow for better views.  A project that was well received by the community.  She provided no oversight on the project to clear the view on the eastern side of the overlook that resulted in a devastation.  Salt Creek Trail.  The commitment by the commissioners at the time for this project was no county tax money would be used nor would eminent domain. Commissioner Biddle was a commissioner when the commissioners voted to accept state money for this project. This granted the “State” the right to acquire property through the threat of eminent domain.  Commissioner Biddle also led efforts to acquire “free bridges” without involving the community on how well these bridges fit within the historical culture and aesthetics of the county.  The bridges were not “free” – state taxpayer money used to repair, paint and re-locate. Perpetual loans.  County renews a 2-3 million dollar loan ever 2-3 years to fund infrastructure projects and overspending that serves as a relatively expensive line of credit. Why not just make the tax increase (used to payoff the loan) permanent?
  • The state has limits on tax increases.  Does a loan supplement the budget when we have reached our spending limit?
Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) and Bean Blossom Sewer Project.  The BCRSD has spent $220,000 of the $270K provided by the county council to support a new plant in Bean Blossom.  The project started in June 2018. No land has been acquired and less expensive options have been identified. Septic Ordinance.  A lack of justification for supporting county unique requirements. The two commissioners that voted for this ordinance (Biddle, Braden) refused to address citizens comments and questions.  commissioner Pittman wrote two Letters in the Democrat opposing the ordinance. Bigoted and racist post on Facebook by the local Republican Party.  This issued was covered in the Brown County Democrat  — “Post on GOP Facebook page prompts questions” by Sara Clifford.  Community reaction in Letters to the Editor. Health Insurance.  County Health insurance is self-insured and has resulted in higher costs and risks. Despite attempts to improve, costs have  continually exceeded budget. In contrast, Brown County Schools adopted a different model that results in savings and less risk. The county recently approved a three year contract for the high risk and cost option. Ambulance Contract. After years of increasing costs, a new contract resulted in lowering cost without a loss of service.  Time will tell if costs continue to be stable. READI Grant. Stay tuned. 60% of funding for “projects” from the private sector, 20% from the county, 20% from the State (READI).

Elections.

Jun 5, 2020. BREAKING: 122 local ballots won’t count; they are evidence  By  –

Sep 25, 2018. Special prosecutor to investigate election complaints By Sara Clifford

  • A special prosecutor from Jackson County has been appointed to investigate allegations that a county commissioner candidate and a member of the Brown County Election Board violated an election law during the May primary.
  • Biddle told the election board that the inspector had car trouble and she was making sure he had a way back to the courthouse that night. She also said that she had entered the polling place from the side and she didn’t see the first set of prohibition signs that were further from the building. If she had seen them, she wouldn’t have crossed them, she told the board.

Brown County RDC Community Invest Corp (Landbank) – For the Record

 

community investment home 2

BC Community Investment (Landbank) Charter (Draft)

RDC Website – Choose Brown County – Link to Google Docs and Zoom Meetings

July 27 2021.  One down, one up’: New entity proposed to reuse vacant home sites By Sara Clifford 

  

July 22, 2021. RDC Meeting.

  • The RDC will meet at Brown County Middle School (formerly known as the junior high) at 6 p.m.  Available on Zoom

Jul 21, 2021,  Mechanism for reusing vacant home sites to be discussed this week By  

  • BCM Facebook Post of the Article and Comments
    • Justin Schwenk …  The idea is not so much to create a specific size but rather a specific price of home that is attainable by first-time homebuyers, younger families, and residents looking to move upward. The problem with the market is that over the last thirty years, the market has driven home prices up so dramatically that a specific and needed demographic (20-40 yr olds) is priced well out of the market. This plan would kill a few birds with one stone. Using properties that the market has largely left behind, we can mitigate distressed homes and support attainably priced homes without disturbing the natural market trends. The only people who stand to benefit financially are local business owners who would be doing the maintenance, demolition, and rebuilding of the homes on properties–largely after they have been resold back to private ownership.
    • QUESTIONS:
      • What would the the needed income level for the respective 20-40 year demographic?
      • Potential buyers cannot would have to include all age groups.  

Feb 9, 2021. GUEST OPINION: Survey process starting to address housing challenges by Sara Clifford 

  •  The Building Community Initiative is focused on the redevelopment and rehabilitation of underutilized areas of the county. 
  • The Building Community Initiative is a three-phase project designed by the redevelopment commission to be a community-driven effort to identify vacant and abandoned homes, rehabilitate them, and return them to productive use — specifically as affordable starter homes that will be accessible to a greater number of people interested in locating to Brown County.

Sep 20, 2020.  Redevelopment commission planning land survey by Sara Clifford 

  • When the leaves drop, the Brown County Redevelopment Commission wants to be ready to load up and go for a drive with a specific purpose. …. Members are planning to survey all the land parcels they can see from public roads, recording certain details about them in a cellphone-based app. … The RDC discussed this concept at length during several public meetings in 2019. 

2022 County Budget

Aug 31, 2021. More cuts to come to 2022 county budget: Hiring freeze, restructuring benefits among changes council considering By Suzannah Couch

Schedule – Budget Hearings 2022 Budget Schedule

  • Aug 17-19, 5:00 pm to 7:00 p.m.

Aug 9, 2021. County Council meeting – Baker-Tilley Report. Assumptions and projections of revenues and costs.  These will be adjusted after the 2022 budget is complete.

Aug 2, 2021. Joint Meeting – 6:00 p.m. Council and Commissioners – Loan Approval

July 27, 2021 Council, residents debate need, planning for another loan By  –