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Boustany does best, but Kennedy still Senate favorite

While the first U.S. Senate debate for Louisiana’s open seat presented the chance for the major candidates to put themselves on the paths they believed best to make for winning coalitions, the second would show well they could progress given the constraints inherent to those choices. Last night the consequences of those choices became clear, leading on the whole between both debates a performance most convincing to voters.

Starting with the least effective, that only could be the one contestant who did not inflict himself upon the viewing audience at the first one, invited just to the second. David Duke showed himself a joke on multiple occasions. The Republican, who has lived most of his life off of other people’s donations, made some valid general remarks, concerning government’s propensity to accumulate power to favor certain interests, but some of the details showed he has no connection to reality, such as his insisting a cabal of Jewish bankers wield too much political power in the world.

A quarter of a century ago, when running for senator and governor and racking up significant numbers of votes, he stuck with the generalities and understandably fooled many into supporting him on those occasions. But with time, his history since then, and an environment that provides far fuller information on candidates today, he probably thought he had nothing to lose by taking off his mask to reveal the beliefs that expose his general unfitness for elective office.


Floundering Jones CD 4 candidacy helps Guillory

For now, a popular game among those interested in politics around northwest Louisiana is “Where’s Marshall?” – but an amusement that looks unlikely to last much longer.

Drive around the Shreveport area or watch television emanating from it and you’ll occasionally see the visage of Democrat candidate for the Fourth Congressional District lawyer Marshall Jones touting “experience” (even though he’s never held elective office as opposed to three of his Republican opponents) and that he believes in God and guns. But unless you congregate among those he thinks likely to vote for him, you can be forgiven for thinking he exists only as a media creation.

So while he may show up at the Martin Luther King forum or at a brewery with other candidates, you’ll never see him at candidate gatherings where he can get asked tough questions such as at forums at Bossier Parish Community College or for the South Bossier Citizens Assembly. Questions like whether he will vote for Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, or her proposals to scrap the Keystone XL pipeline and increase gun control, whether he supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, whether he will raise taxes to fulfill his desire to balance the budget, etc.


Events add more controversy to fall LA amendments

Matters have gotten interesting regarding two of the six constitutional amendments with which Louisiana voters must struggle next week.

One has generated controversy because its impact appears indeterminate. Amendment 3 would remove the deduction for federal taxes now enjoyed by corporations, but because of two statutory changes that go into effect only if the amendment passes, it also would eliminate the several brackets of income tax rates applied to corporations and collapse them into just a 6.5 percent tax, below the current highest category at 8 percent.

As experts point out, the federal income tax deduction artificially inflates rates, to some degree takes state tax policy out of its own hands (because federal tax changes happen independently), and does not guard against double taxation of equity investments. Optimal tax policy emphasizes simplicity, and the removal of the deduction plus the added-on flat rate accomplishes this.


LA Supreme Court wisely advances religious freedom

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled correctly on a case pitting religious freedom against laws requiring reporting of a crime against minors, finding a way to permit attainment of both objections.

This issue involved the confession a female minor made to Rev. Jeff Bayhi in 2008, where she allegedly told him of abuse at the hands of a now-deceased male member of the congregation. The family had sued Bayhi and the Diocese of Baton Rouge, saying he should have alerted authorities. But canon law unambiguously states that for a priest to violate ministrations under the confessional seal, even if the penitent reveals the content of it, would lead to his excommunication.

The Court had ruled over two years ago that if the penitent voluntarily revealed the information then courts could compel the priest to testify, in an attempt to clarify ambiguity in statutes. The Children’s Code maintained that mandatory reporters, defined as to include clergy, had to report potential endangerment regardless of privilege, while the Code of Evidence made privileged communications under confession. The defendants brought the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.