Small Talk About Big Issues

Touching Base with Common Sense

An Olive Branch with Thorns?

Symbol of Peace

The Olive Branch has long been a symbol of peace.  Some suggest the symbolism began in the Bible when a Dove returned to the Ark with an Olive Branch in its mouth.  Others set forth the proposition that the Olive Branch as a symbol of peace finds its beginnings in Greek Mythology.  Regardless of its symbolic genesis, today the Olive Branch represents to the human heart a gesture of peace. 

Earlier this month, Speaker Elect Brian Bosma made Hoosier history by appointing Representative Steve Stemler (D-Jeffersonville) and Representative Chet Dobbs (D-Merrillville) to head important state committees.  Rep. Stemler will Chair the committee on Commerce, Small Business, and Economic Development, and Rep. Dobbs will Chair the committee to Reduce Government Regulations and Laws.

 While history is confused over the origin of the Olive Branch as a symbol of peace, there is no such confusion as to what Indiana Speaker of the House B. Patrick Bauer meant when he said the appointment of two Democrats to key positions by Speaker Elect Brian Bosma was an “olive branch with thorns”.

 By appointing minority party members to key roles, Speaker Elect Bosma incurred the wrath of Rep. Bauer who accused the new Speaker of the House with extending an “olive branch with thorns”.  According to Rep. Bauer, the appointments are an effort on the part of the Republicans to insure the Democrats “share blame on politically charged bills that might become election liabilities”.  Rep. Bauer tries to stir further the political pot by suggesting to Republicans that Speaker Elect Bosma does not believe there are any Republicans capable of handling the appointments.

As for Speaker Elect Bosma’s position, he is quoted in the Courier-Journal today (Nov. 29, 2010) as saying, “It’s important to me to raise up a new generation of legislative leaders that are prepared for today’s problems and will leave yesterday’s petty battles behind”.

I like the idea of a “new generation” of leaders that will “leave yesterday’s petty battles behind”.  Not only do I like the idea, it is imperative to our State that such a political climate is fostered.  Too long have “petty battles” hindered our State’s progress.

Majority Speaker of the House's picture hanging higher than the Minority Leader's

A closer look at our State Capitol clearly demonstrates the “petty battles” Rep. Bosma references.  Let me mention just two very stupid examples of pure pettiness on the part of our Indiana Legislators.  First, the Majority party sits in better chairs than does the Minority.  Second, the Majority party pictures are placed higher on the wall than those of the Minority.  While these two things are nauseatingly simple and seem harmless at first glance, they are evidence of a greater, far more sinister, issue: division.

People who serve in government, our legislators, are elected to serve the people.  I understand that during the election process it is most certainly about parties and power.  After the election, however, it should be about the good of the people, the business of the State, and petty politics should be left at the door.

Admittedly, some reading this blog will think I am living and sleeping in a dream world of fiction and fantasy.  Maybe I am.  However, I do not want reality if believing that grown men and women should work together to further the prosperity of my State.  I do not want reality if believing that my tax dollars are wasted hanging pictures higher than others are and insuring some chairs are not as nice as others are.  I do not want reality if believing there are more important things for my legislators to do than bicker over petty political power-games.  I do not want reality if believing my government should be united to provide the greater good for me.

I am ready for that “new generation” of legislators of which Mr. Bosma speaks.

I close this blog with three questions, one for Mr. Bauer, one for Mr. Bosma, and one for all our legislators:

Mr. Bauer.  Can you learn to govern with the greater good of the people more paramount in your mind than party politics and power?

Mr. Bosma.  You have started down an unprecedented road, how far will you extend your Olive Branch of Peace?

Legislators.  Can you work together like good boys and girls or do you need to visit the “time-out” corner?

November 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

It is my hope and prayer that you are enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and that the food is great.  Don’t eat too much.

Next up on the blog…Hoosier History!  Just how far will an “olive branch” go, with or without “thorns”?

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time For Report Cards

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a teacher and our government is your student.  Let’s also pretend it is time to send report cards home.  You must evaluate your student and assign a specific grade to his or her progress, or lack thereof.  Your grading scale is the traditional scale: A, B, C, D, and F.  In this case, however, A=Never happens, B=Seldom happens, C=Happens, D=Happens some of the time, and F=Happens all of the time.  The standard criteria by which you must grade your student is the same one used by our Founding Fathers when grading the King of England.  By the way, our Founding Fathers gave the King all F’s. 

Read through the following items listed in the Declaration of Independence and see how your student, our government, measures up against the King of Great Britian.  Place your grade in the blank provided. 

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

_____  He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

_____  He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

_____  He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

_____  He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

_____  He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

_____  He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

_____  He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

_____  He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

_____  He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

_____  He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

_____  He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

_____  He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

_____  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

_____  For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

_____  For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

_____  For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

_____  For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

_____  For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

_____  For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

 

_____  For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

_____  For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

_____  For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

_____  He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

_____  He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

_____  He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

_____  He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

_____  He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

_____  In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

_____  Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

Now…if you gave our government all F’s, you are not being honest with yourself because there are things on this list that are not happening.  On the other hand, if you gave our government all A’s you are not being honest either. 

If you have been honest in giving these grades, and if our government were our student, then we would be compelled to hold them back a year because they are not progressing as they should.  In fact, they have become playground bullies trying to press their Will on the Will of the People. 

We have to be as honest in dealing with our government as we expect them to be with us.

November 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Elected Officials: Arrogant or Representative

When we elect government officials, do we appoint them to represent our hopes, dreams, and desires?  Do we expect them to keep in touch with the Will of the People and act accordingly?  Or, alternatively, do we just cast our vote for the person we believe has the education, experience, and understanding necessary to make decisions for us regardless of our feelings? 

No doubt many honest politicians (I know, such a statement seems oxymoronic.) have struggled deeply with the above questions.  In fact, I have talked with several elected officials who truly grapple with balancing their personal feelings and the feelings of the people they represent with their own feelings of what is best for We the People

There seems to be a great divide between many Americans on this issue as is well evidenced in the October 10, 2010, issue of The Evening News in Jeffersonville, IN. 

On page A6 of that edition, Lisa Morris, of Sellersburg, IN, writes of “attending the Clark County Commissioners’ special meeting Oct. 28” and the Commission’s denying her access to information concerning county health coverage.  In fact, she states that Ed Meyer, president of the commissioners, spoke rudely to her stating that information the commissioners received was only for them.  She writes of her feelings after being talked to that way by stating, “Last time I checked, I thought you worked for us.”  Lisa Morris’ letter exemplifies with crystal clarity that she feels our elected officials should listen to the Will of the People and act accordingly.  http://newsandtribune.com/letters/x2127018507/EVENING-NEWS-LETTERS-Nov-10-2010  

Conversely, on page A8 of that edition, Morton Marcus, an acclaimed economist, writes an article titled: “Best Hoosier jobs are out of state”.  In his article, Marcus writes of a fictional conversation between himself and “Indiana’s third U.S. senator, the Honorable Phineas Fogghorn”.  In paragraph 16, Marcus writes, “In my numerous years as a public servant…too often I have represented the views of my constituents rather than their best interests.”  Wow…there it is as plain as day.  Marcus, with his great education and experience, believes elected officials should act not as representatives of the Will of the People, but as decision makers for the People.  In his scenario, the Will of the People has no bearing on the decisions made because they are, evidently, not smart enough to know what they want and need.  http://www.indianaeconomicdigest.net/main.asp?SectionID=31&SubSectionID=135&ArticleID=56896 

The voice of Lisa Morris represents the growing distrust and disillusionment of We the People toward our nation’s elected elite.  Morton Marcus’ voice, on the other hand, represents the pure and unmitigated arrogance of the people of power.  Apparently, Morris believes that millions of adult Americans should be able to decide for themselves what is best, and Marcus believes the average American does not have the wherewithal to make sound decisions in their best interest. 

Furthermore, Morris’ letter describes the way our government officials should act, and Marcus’ article describes the way their arrogance causes them to act. 

Which is the right way?  Let’s let our Founding Fathers answer this question.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.”

  The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776  (emphasis mine, JLM)

November 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Election 2010: Who is the Real Winner?

Reading something of genuine value on the 2010 Election seems near impossible.  The media is replete with massive explanations of why voters voted as they did.  Typically, both the Republicans and the Democrats are spinning the election.  The Democrats are using intellectuals to dissect the demographics and write lengthy studies about why the vote was sexist or racist or some other term of disillusionment.  The Republicans, on the other hand, are strutting around like proud Roosters claiming a massive Victory over the Democrats. 

However, what is the reality?  Were the American people sexist or racist in their vote?  Is this Election some massive victory for which the Republicans can be proud?  No, not really.  The reality is the Victory goes to the American People. 

If the Victory of 2010 goes to any party, it must go to the Tea Party Movement who facilitated a massive influx of voters by awakening the silent majority.  Long considered a sleeping giant…the silent majority made it to the polls.  It was the Tea Party Movement’s consistent hammering of their simple platform (limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets) that motivated Americans to vote. 

Silent no longer, “we the people” felt the empowerment of a united voice.  From Corporate Executive to Housewife to Farmer to Dishwasher, the populous of our nation realized the need to let the sound of their voices ring out to all.  Rich and poor alike flooded the polling places and cast their ballot. 

Some have said the 2010 Election results were not so much for Republicans as against President Obama.  Perhaps, but I honestly do not think personalities had as much to do with it as policies.  Unconscionable political agenda fell victim to honorable powerful principles.  Had President Obama sought a legacy of fiscal responsibility instead of massive spending increases, his job would not be in jeopardy right now.  Had President Obama sought a legacy of limited, less intrusive government instead of pushing the Health Care Bill down our throats, then his administration would find far less resistance.  Had President Obama sought a legacy of free markets instead of trying to regulate all trade under the rule of the White House, the Election could have been much different.  The American People spoke out against this administration’s policies.  Had President Obama set a different course two years ago, he could be the wildly popular president that he so wants to be. 

The sleeping giant…we the people…the average American…has always been out there lurking in the shadows of every election.  For centuries, political parties have tried to find the secret word(s) that would bring the sleeping giant out of the cave of apathy.  The Tea Party Movement finally found the right combination of values that lured the giant from the depths of apathy.  The Tea Party, like so long ago, revitalized and rejuvenated a people oppressed by the politically elite and gave hope again to a majestic, free society. 

I do not see the Election of 2010 as a humiliating defeat for Democrats, or a monumental victory for the Republicans.  This Election will forever stand as the Day in History when the American people finally came out to vote.  This election is an epic victory for the Tea Party Movement who mobilized the people not only physically to the polls, but mentally as well.  We the people finally see what representative government is supposed to look like. 

It is, therefore, inherently incumbent on the Tea Party Movement to keep pressing the issues and upholding its simple platform.  The Tea Party Movement must continue to be vigilant in guarding the Constitution and our American way of life from enemies, deserters, and overly zealous freshmen officials. 

It is funny though, because just behind a very thin veil lies the Tea Party’s sleeping giant’s ever-present warning: “We are watching.  We care.  And, what we did this year, we can change two years from now.”  May the power of government be always in the hands of “we the people”!

November 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

If Not Today…When?

If Not Today…When? 

If not today…when will Americans raise their voices against BIG, INTRUSIVE GOVERNMENT?  We must stop any government that creeps into our private lives and spies on our very thoughts.  Just curious.  By a show of hands, how many of you believe the GOOGLE EARTH CAR collected account numbers and passwords by accident?

If not today…when will Americans stop politicians from telling us how much to pay in taxes and start telling our Government how much it can spend?  Aren’t you tired of higher taxes and smaller paychecks?  Aren’t you tired of piling more and more debt on your great-grandchildren?  Aren’t you tired of our increased dependence on foriegn money to operate our country?  Politicians will spend all of your money…and then some…if you let them.  When did “we the people” lose control over our government?  WE are the power givers, not them. 

If not today…when will Americans unite against the self-serving ideas of the power mongers and stand for the Will of the People?  When will we establish for ourselves the fortitude to stand for that which is right?  The longer we allow the current pork-barrel-what’s-in-it-for-me-Popeye politics to continue, the harder it will be to reverse its damage.

If not today…when will Americans stop being passive about how government offices are run and start demanding that our elected officials run their offices by our standards?  They are, in fact, our (we the people) offices.  We own every office in America, and we fill them with good employees or we fire the bad employees.  How polluted and disillusioned does any elected official have to be to misunderstand that simply truth?  We the people DO tell you how to run your political office. 

If not today…when?  If not through our votes…how? 

Early this morning, just after the polls opened, I cast my vote.  I voted for Democrats, Republicans, an Independent, and a Libertarian.  I voted to end oppression.  I voted to whittle our government down to size.  I voted to stop excessive spending and debt building.  I voted for free markets.  I voted for individual accomplishment and collective compassion.  I voted for America…the country in which I live, the people for which I fought, and the ideals which made us great in the past and will make us great in the future. 

Take charge America!  If not today…when?

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Find Out Where to Vote at This Website

    Here is a very helpful website to find out if and where you can vote.

    http://www.canivote.org/

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Say Ye, America?

What Say Ye, America?

For many Americans, the Election process is a wearisome process.  Take John Lucas, for instance.  I have no knowledge of Mr. Lucas whatsoever.  I have never met him.  I do not know if he has a wife or children.  I do not know his educational background.  All I know of Mr. Lucas is what he wrote today in the Evansville Courier & Press (http://www.courierpress.com/news/2010/nov/01/another-most-important-election-nearly-behind-us/). 

I learned three things about Mr. Lucas from his writing.  First, Mr. Lucas is tired of the deceptions, half-truths, and outright lies told during the campaigning process of an Election.  He states, “Electioneering always has been an egregious process”.  He talks of feeling “assaulted” by candidates knocking on his door “begging” for votes.  In fact, the only value Mr. Lucas sees in campaigning are the colorful yard signs placed by candidates or their supporters.  He said,

“But if tomorrow’s election has a bright side, it is that it has brought a touch of color to an otherwise fairly drab fall season.  The plentitude of signs along the roads has been a fairly good substitute for the oranges, reds and purples of the maples and gums.  And if history is any indicator, they’ll continue to show their colors long after leaves are in the compost pile.” 

Second, I learned Mr. Lucas, intelligent though he may be, has lost all knowledge of, or has absolutely no understanding of, the political process in America.  Listen as he says, “What we must do after tomorrow is demand that whoever is elected governs — that they work to keep the ship of state from sinking”.  Mr. Lucas, how can we demand anything after the election?  The election is the precise time in which we make our demands of those elected that they govern us appropriately.  After the election, it is too late.  It is during the election that “we the people” voice our powerful opinions.  It is by our vote that we send those elected officials with a poor performance record home and appoint someone else to “keep the ship of state from sinking”. 

Third, I learned that Mr. Lucas does not understand that EVERY ELECTION is the most important ever.  He stated, “And I’m tired of hearing that tomorrow’s election is the “most important one in the history of our country.  The people saying that about tomorrow also said it about Election Day two years ago and the one four years before that and so on.”  Now to be fair, following this statement Mr. Lucas immediately says, “Every Election Day is an important one.”  Mr. Lucas, Every Election Day is not only an important one, but it is the most important one ever.  Election Days have occurred since nearly the inception and independence of the Thirteen Colonies, but a long history does not negate the importance of EACH Election Day.  We cannot change the past, and if truth be told, we have only a minimum effect on the present.  We can only change the future. 

Sadly, I am afraid there are many Americans that feel exactly the way Mr. Lucas feels…and in many respects, I am one of those people. 

I am tired of the sophistry so evident in today’s politics.  I am weary of those seeking elected offices being power mongers instead of public servants.  I am worn out of those that seek to divide us as Americans instead of uniting us.  Why do we even talk of the black, gay, poor, rich, middle-class, or senior votes?  We are Americans…one and all.  When will we stop allowing those who rule over us to use this tactic to divide us?

 So.  What say ye, America?  Will you actively participate in the American Dream and vote tomorrow?  Will you exercise your right to let your voice be heard, or will you join Mr. Lucas on a sightseeing tour of all the pretty colored political signs that dot our landscape?  Will you tell the power-mongers they are fired and to take a hike, or will you wait until Wednesday and complain while you are watching TV “get back to their real business of selling personal hygiene products”? 

I hope you will join me at the polls.  I hope you will cast an informed vote.  I hope you will exercise your freedom as faithful American Patriots.  Remember, true freedom is spelled V-O-T-E!

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Parasites and Politics

Parasitic Worms Taken from a Human Body

As gross as it may seem, Frank’s description of our current political condition is shockingly accurate.  Be thinking about this tomorrow when you cast your vote.

“John,

You are right on track with you comments. The people in congress have devolved into parasites. They survive by feeding off of the host who happens to be the American People. They are incompetent in serving the american people and they ironically are incompetent as parasites. A successful parasite learns to feed off but not destroy its host. These idiots are sucking the life from the american people and when we are at our weakest they still want to take more. Well the host is aware of the parasites feeding off of it now. On Nov. 2 we can all take a dose of our freedom to vote and kill the bugs.

Power to the Tea Party!”

Comment by Frank Mingione | November 1, 2010 <!– @ 1:04 pm –>|

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment