Monday, November 30, 2009

History Sadly Repeating at West Point Today

President Obama, always the politician, never the leader has made an odd but rather fitting choice to deliver his speech on his plans for our military in Afghanistan by using West Point as his back drop. The normal location we are accustomed to seeing our Commander in Chief give such important military talks is the Oval Office. For some reason, Obama doesn't think it gives him enough "gravitas," and needs one of our most important military symbols behind his teleprompter.

The irony of this location I am sure escapes Obama, and all of his staff. It would be hard to imagine any American History majors working anywhere in his administration, so to them West Point is just another "great photo op." However the fact that just 230 years ago it was the sight of the single most treasonous act was attempted by an American military leader, General Benedict Arnold.

After Obama assumed command as president, he replaced General McKiernan with General Stanly McCrystal in May of 09 as his leader for the Afghanistan War. After three months on the ground, McCrystal sent in his report and request for 40,000 more troops on August 30th of 2009. With this dire warning;

“Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible,” General McChrystal writes.

Now after 102 days of dithering while Afghanistan was burning, Obama finally decides to take yet another road trip to grace us all with his decision. For someone who fancies himself Lincolnesque is anything but, one of Lincoln's rules for leadership was to make decisions quickly but be stubborn to change them once made.

What we hear leaked that will be in that speech is there are no references to winning, victory, or any achievement, just an exit strategy. It is as if Obama is flying to West Point the cradle of great military leadership to spit in the face of our military past and present.

Two hundred thirty years ago, General Benedict Arnold sought the command of West Point to get back at his country for what he believed were slights, and for his badly bruised ego. Arnold was one of George Washington's most able subordinates and skilled officers. An officer who had been responsible for victories at Ticonderoga, Quebec, and, in part, Saratoga. His ego was bruised under the apparent lack of recognition for his efforts as General Gates, and Ethan Allen both took the glory from the field even though the victory was actually Arnold's.

While commanding a garrison in Philadelphia, where he married Peggy Shippen, a wealthy Tory who encouraged his spending and speculation. In 1779 a committee charged him with misuse of official funds and ordered Washington to discipline Arnold. Instead, Washington, knowing that the Governor who was attacking Arnold was doing so out of jealousy of power. Washington praised his general's military record without mentioning the charge. Arnold took this as less than full support, not considering Washington's need to keep the governor placated as well.

Through his wife Arnold was convinced to get his revenge, and to clean up his finances, by turning over West Point to the British. His courier was caught and hanged, Washington and Hamilton were on their way to confront Arnold when he got word and ran. Arnold then fielded a command for the British against the Americans in Virginia. He later retired to England in 1781, where he died bankrupt and unhappy, his name forever equated to treason in America.

As colonial historian O.H. Chitwood observed, if Arnold "could have remained true to his first love for a year longer his name would probably now have a place next to that of Washington in the list of Revolutionary heroes."

Today, 230 years later, we have once again a military leader, this time Commander in Chief, choosing West Point as his location of choice to be a traitor to his command, and to his country. His name will one day also be spit out with vile as Arnold's is today.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Margaret Sanger Saint or Devil

After learning that the "scientists" who were the authorities on man made global warming were cooking the books to "prove" their agenda rather than doing anything resembling honest scientific research, we should question many of those "sure" things we are being sold by the left.

Is there any intellectual honesty, or integrity to be found on the political left in any arena, or just "doctored books" trying to trick us on climate, health care, the war on poverty, unions, ACORN, you name it? Where can we trust them? Why should we?

Let's look at one of the political left's icon's of "virtue," Planned Parenthood. Aren't we led to believe that they are doing all these wonderful things to help the poor? At least they are looking out for those less fortunate aren't they? Let's look at their beginning, and their founder's intent for starting them.

Who was Margaret Sanger, was she a friend to the poor, minorities and the helpless? Who was she really? What do know about this "champion" for women's rights? If you do a Wiki search you will see glowing reports , but a search of the Library of Congress will uncover a wealth of information in her own writings and letters to her contemporaries. Margaret Sanger's papers show a woman obsessed with restricting the birth rights of those she described as unfit. She wanted birth licenses to qualified couples and was willing to use "Negro" Doctors and Ministers to influence and control the "Negro" race.

There are also accusations that Margaret Sanger traveled to Germany and was instrumental in developing Hitler's "Final Solution." "How to get rid of the Jews was a question answered by Adolf Hitler. His answer was to murder Jews throughout Europe along with other races that were believed to be sub-humans. This answer was called the “Final Solution,” a solution that started in the summer of 1941 and was believed to answer the “Jewish Question” and create an end to the Jews."

Sanger created what she called her "Negro Project." It was a well thought out plan to use the Black communities' doctors and ministers to win over the support of the community. It reminds me of Dr. Joycelyn Elders obsession with condoms and abortions and dogmatic support of Planned Parenthood.

Margaret Sanger was a prolific writer and authored books and articles explaining her views. She also published the views of her associates and experts. Her "The Birth Control Review" stated in the July/August 1932 edition, "There are other more remote but equally important gains. One is the enhanced respect to be had from the dominant White race. That the Negro must acquire if he is to enjoy the rights and prerogatives he covets. But acquired it he cannot and will not so long as he remains the thriftless, childlike, irresponsible dependent that he is, for such behavior does not command respect." This was way over the top racism even in 1932.

Like most racists, Sanger probably convinced herself that she was helping the poor Negro. It sounds like liberals today. Treating those they look down on almost like pets or worse, believing that "they" know best for all of the rest.

From Margaret Sanger's "A Plan for Peace."

a. To raise the level and increase the general intelligence of population.
b. To increase the population slowly by keeping the birth rate at it's present level of fifteen per thousand, decreasing the death rate below it's present mark of 11 per thousand.
c. To keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feeble minded, idiots, morons, insane, syphilitic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class barred by the immigration laws of 1924.
d. To apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.
e. To insure the country against future burdens of maintenance for numerous offspring as may be born of feeble minded parents, by permitting all persons with transmissible disease who voluntarily consent to sterilization.
f. To give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.
g. To apportion farmlands and homesteads for those segregated persons where they would be taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives.

She goes on to outline the taking control over "morons, mental defectives, and epileptics." Her plan called for an inventory of "illiterate, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, dope-fiends, in order to better place them on the government run farms and homestead." These are her own words.

Her "American Weekly's" article seems to outline Planned Parenthood's plan to rid the world of inferior people.

Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code shall be to provide for a better distribution of babies, to assist couple who wish to prevent overpopulation of offspring and thus to reduce the burdens of charity and taxation for public relief, and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.

Article 2. Birth Control clinics shall be permitted to function as services of government health departments or under the support of charity, or as nonprofit, self-sustaining agencies, subject to inspection and control by public authorities.

Article 3. A marriage license shall in itself give the husband and wife only the right to a common household and not the right to parenthood.

Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, no man shall have the right to become a father without a permit for parenthood.

Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued by government authorities to married couples upon application, providing the parents are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and on the woman's part no indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.

Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.

Article 7. Every county shall be assisted administratively by the state in the effort to maintain a direct ration between the county birth rate and its index of child welfare. When the county records show and unfavorable variation from this ration the county shall be taxed by the State... the revenues thus obtained shall be expended by the State within the given county in giving financial support to birth control clinics.

Article 8. Feeble minded person, habitual congenital criminals, those affected with inheritable diseases, and others found biologically unfit should be sterilized or in cases of doubt be isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.

This is just a small sample of some of Margaret Sanger's writings. It would take books to cover the topic of her and her friends published works on this subject. You can learn much more on Planned Parenthood and Sanger from L.E.A.R.N. the Life Education And Research Network. P.O. Box 1949, South Road Branch, Poughkeepsie, New York, 12601.

On Dec. 10th, 1939 Sanger wrote a letter to Doctor Gamble. In it she reveals her plan to use ministers, but warns, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."

If you still have questions if Sanger was a devout racists who put Planned Parenthood clinics in poor neighborhoods to exterminate the African-American, and as she put it "other undesirables" just read her book "Woman and the New Race."

Once again one of those programs, or organizations that have long been embraced by the political left was founded for purely evil intent. What more can be said for ACORN, the ACLU, and the newly exposed fraud of Global Warming. Who can possibly believe that they are doing health care for "our own good" any more than the other evils of their long track record?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Happy Thanksgiving to You and your Family, and Loved ones.

Today, I just want to share with you the exact words of our first President, George Washington, as he dedicated Thanksgiving Day as one of our first National Holidays.

Thanksgiving Proclamation
City of New York
October 3, 1789
by: George Washington

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their Joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the greatest degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executived and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

This is reprinted from George Washington: A Collection edited by W.B. Allen and published in 1988 by LibertyClassics.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The First Thanksgiving

America has long been the target of dreamers, dreaming for freedom and opportunity. History tells of of the Plymouth Rock Pilgrims, who after suffering vicious religious persecution by King James and the Church of England. Anyone who didn't recognize The Church of England and King James as the absolute civil and religious authority, and wanted to practice religious freedom, were hunted down,imprisoned, and often martyred for those beliefs.

There were a group who wouldn't bow to a belief that they didn't hold, and fled to Holland establishing a community there. After they lived in Holland for about eleven years there were around forty of them who agreed to take their chances on moving to the New World. This journey was a terrible risk, any journey at sea was perilous, they were sure to face incredible hardships throughout the journey and knowing that they would only be beginning upon their arrival if their trip was successful. However, they would be able to worship God as their beliefs led them, and by their own consciences.

On August 1st, 1620, they set sail on the Mayflower. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. While they traveled Bradford created a contract, The Mayflower Compact, that established what he believed would be fair and equal laws for all members of the new community, regardless of that member's religious beliefs. Bradford used the Bible and it's teachings as his inspiration for this compact.

The Pilgrims were completely educated and inculcated in the teachings from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Ancient Israel was their guide. The Pilgrims never doubted that their new community would work, because it's rules for governance were so familiar from their studies of their own Bibles throughout their entire lives.

On a cold, gray November day the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island. Can you imagine just finishing a long and punishing sea voyage to land on a cold New England November day, with no shelter in sight? There were no friends or family to greet them, for that matter no strangers, no baggage clerks, no warm shelters, no shelters out of the elements at all. This had to be a very sobering reminder that the sacrifices that they had made for freedom was just beginning.

That first winter was a brutal one, fully half of all the Pilgrims, including Bradford's own wife, died. They died of either starvation, illness, or exposure, some probably succumbed to the desperateness of their situation in this harsh strange forbidding land.

The first spring, as the sun warmed them, they had a chance to begin anew. Their new indigenous neighbors taught the settlers how to plant corn, how to fish for cod, and how to trap and skin wild animals for their coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims but they still struggled.

That fall, they held the first "Thanksgiving" celebrating the goodness that God had shown them. They shared this feast of thanks to God with their Indian neighbors. Too often are children are taught that Thanksgiving was to thank the Indians, that is not true, it was their devout expression of their gratitude to God for his deliverance and blessings. Remember, these people left behind their homes and all they knew to have the freedom to worship God, Thanksgiving, was to the very core of why they traveled in the first place.

To be able to afford to come to the New World, the Pilgrims has entered into a contract with merchant sponsors in London. This was common practice and how most settlements in America were first founded. Their contract with there sponsors called for everything that was produced to go into a common hold, and each member of the community would be entitled to one common share. This common ownership extended to all the land they cleared, the houses they built, everything would be held in common, a commune if you will.

After that first year Bradford realized that this communal living was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as their first brutal winter. He decided to make a courageous change. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage as they saw fit. He released the power of the free market, where each could work harder or smarter and could be rewarded accordingly.

William Bradford's own Journal tell us this story in his own words.

"The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and if they were wiser than God. For this community was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's' wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice."

This experiment with allowing the Free Market to work instead of the more Socialistic approach worked brilliantly. It worked over 100 years before Adam Smith taught the world about Free Market Capitalism. Socialism didn't work when tried over 200 years before Karl Marx introduced it to the world. By following their Biblical training the Pilgrims stumbled on the magic economic elixir. From then on they had an abundance. Their success allowed them to pay off their debts to their London merchant sponsors early. Word came back of their great successes starting more Europeans who began what came to be known as the "Great Puritan Migration" each seeking their own freedoms of both religion and of opportunity.

From the beginning America has been a land of dreams, a land of freedom, and most importantly and at the beginning of it and interwoven into every fabric of our national foundation, the worship of God.

This Thanksgiving, we all should truly be thankful for all of God's blessings in each of our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Founders Men of Faith?

As Christians today we find that we are constantly trying to be minimized, or discredited by the political elite. We are told, and our children are taught that our founders were deists, if not atheists in their beliefs. Look what happens when a politician speaks of their faith in God, and how Jesus is their Saviour, you get total all out attacks as you have seen on George W. Bush and now Sarah Palin.

Are they right, were we founded as a godless nation, or are we truly One Nation Under God?

Let's hear what history professor and author Michael Allen, from the
University of Washington has to say on the subject of our founders and our founding.

"It goes without saying, of course, that most of these men were steeped in
the traditions and teachings of Christianity - almost half the signers of
the Declaration of Independence had some form of seminary training or
degree. John Adams, certainly and somewhat derogatory viewed by his
contemporaries as the most pious of the early Revolutionaries, claimed that
the Revolution "connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil
government with the principles of Christianity." John's cousin Sam cited
passage of the Declaration as the day that the colonists "restored the
Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. John Witherspoon's
influence before and after the adoption of the Declaration was obvious, but
other well-known patriots such as John Hancock did not hesitate to echo the
reliance on God. In short, any reading of the American Revolution from a
purely secular viewpoint ignores a fundamentally Christian component of the
Revolutionary ideology."

"One can understand how scholars could be misled on the importance of
religion in daily life and political thought. Data on religious adherence
suggests that on the eve of the Revolution perhaps no more than 20% of the
American colonial population was "churched." That certainly did not mean
they were not God-fearing or religious. It did reflect, however, a dominance
of the three major denominations - Congregationalists, Presbyterian, and
Episcopal- that suddenly found themselves challenged by rapidly rising new
groups, the Baptists and Methodists. Competition from the new denominations
proved so intense that clergy in Connecticut appealed to the assembly for
protection against the intrusions of itinerant ministers.

Self-preservation also induced church authorities to lie about the presence
of other denominations, claiming that "places abounding in Baptists and
Methodists were unchurched." In short, while church membership rolls may
have indicated low levels of religiosity, a thriving competition for the
"religious market" had appeared, and contrary to the claims of many that the
late 1700s constituted an ebb in American Christianity, God was alive and
well, and fairly popular!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wisdom from John Adams

There is so little wisdom coming from today's political class, I thought we could all use a dose of wisdom from one of my favorite founders.

Here are a few quotes of Great Wisdom from one of the men who was most responsible for creating this Nation, and one of my favorite Presidents, John Adams.

“License of the press is no proof of liberty. When a people are corrupted, the press may be made an engine to complete their ruin; and it is now notorious, that the ministry are daily employing it, to increase and establish corruption, and to pluck up virtue by the roots. Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence, than the body can live and move without a soul.”

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which the beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that then I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system. I could, therefore, safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles. In favor of these general principles, in philosophy, religion, and government, I could fill sheets of quotations from Frederic of Prussia, from Hume, Gibbon, Bolingbroke, Rousseau, and Voltaire, as well as Newton and Locke; not to mention thousands of divines and philosophers of inferior fame.”

“Upon the whole, if we allow that two-thirds of the people to have been with us in the revolution, is not the allowance ample? Are not two-thirds of the nation now with the administration? Divided we ever have been, and ever must be. Two thirds always had and will have more difficulty to struggle with the one-third than with all our foreign enemies.”

“If I were to calculate the divisions among the people of America… I should say that full one-third were averse to the revolution. These, retaining that overweening fondness, in which they had been educated, for the English, could not cordially like the French; indeed, they most heartily detested them. An opposite third conceived a hatred for the English, and gave themselves up to an enthusiastic gratitude to France. The middle third, composed principally of the yeomanry, the soundest part of the nation, and always adverse to war, were rather lukewarm both to England and France; and sometimes stragglers from them, and sometimes the whole body, united with the first of the last third, according to circumstances.”

“As rest is rapture to the weary man, those who labor little will always be envied by those who labor much, though the latter in reality be probably the most enviable.”
“There are no people on earth so ambitious as the people of America. The reason is, because the lowest can aspire as freely as the highest.”

“That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has. This is indubitable as a moral government in the universe. But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal prosperity and advantages through life, is a gross fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people, as ever was practiced by the monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, by priests of the immortal Lama, or by self-styled philosophers of the French Revolution.”

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent it in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

“A popular government is the worst curse to which human nature can be devoted, when it is thoroughly corrupted. Despotism is better. A sober, conscientious habit of electing for the public good alone must be introduced, and every appearance of interest, favor, and partiality reprobated, or you will very soon make wise and honest men wish for monarchy again; nay, you will make them introduce it into America.”

“After a generous contest for liberty, of twenty years’ continuance, Americans forgot wherein liberty consisted. After a bloody war in defense of property, they forgot that property was sacred. After an arduous struggle for the freedom of commerce, they voluntarily shackled it with arbitrary trammels. After fighting for justice as the end of government, they seemed determined to banish that virtue from the earth.”

“The numbers of men in all ages have preferred ease, slumber, and good cheer to liberty, when they have been in competition. We must not then depend alone upon the love of liberty in the soul of man for its preservation. Some political institutions must be prepared, to assist this love against its enemies. Without these, the struggle will ever end only in a change of impostors.”

“Such is the nature of the people, and such the construction of our government, that about once in a dozen years there will be an entire change in the administration. I lived twelve years as President and Vice-President; Jefferson may possibly last sixteen; but New York and Pennsylvania cannot remain longer than that period in their present unnatural attachment to the Southern States, nor will the natural inconstancy of the people allow them to persevere longer in their present career. Our government will be a game of leap frog, of factions leaping over one another’s backs about once in twelve years, according to my calculations.”

“I hope it will be no offense to say, that public opinion is often formed upon imperfect, partial, and false information from the press.”

“We shall very soon have parties formed; a court and country party, and these parties will have names given them. One party in the House of Representatives will support the President and his measures and ministers; the other will oppose them. A similar party will be in the Senate; these parties will study with all their arts, perhaps with intrigue, perhaps with corruption, at every election to increase their own friends and diminish their opposers. Suppose such parties formed in the Senate, and then consider what factious divisions we shall have there upon every nomination.” July 1789

“Borrowed eloquence, if it contains as good stuff, is as good as own eloquence.”
“Can you account for the apathy, the antipathy of this nation to their own history? While thousands of frivolous novels are read with eagerness and got by heart, the history of our own native country is not only neglected, but despised and abhorred.”

Wasn't that refreshing for a change? Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did putting it together.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Test Vote" What Does That Really Mean?

This Saturday Harry Reid has called a "Test" vote on the Health Care Bill. What does this mean? What is the true purpose? If the test vote passes is that it?

This is all about trickery, this is all about doing a sleight of hand or shell game with the American people. The overwhelming poll results show that the American people do not want this bill, yet Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the 100 most leftist of those in Congress and the Senate are going to try to ram it down our throats.

What they are trying to do is to allow those Senators who are either by conviction or for political considerations worrying about re-election, to get them to vote to send the bill to the floor for debate. Who can be against just debating this bill? Why would it be a problem? Because once it is on the floor being debated they can use the so called "Nuclear Option" and get it voted in with a simple 51-49 majority. This would let the so called blue dogs vote against it in the floor vote to tell their constituents that they voted against it. Even though they all know that in this case voting for the debate will be voting for the bill. They are just trying to hide if from you, they believe you are too ignorant to catch them.

The next step is a vote for Cloture or to move it to the final vote, with a maximum of 30 more hours of debate. Any bill in the Senate must pass these 60 vote tests and Clotures, as well as final votes, unless they invoke the "nuclear option" and cut off all by going to the chair or Vice President to call an immediate vote where a simple majority can preside. This has never been used but for emergency budget bills. It would be in effect changing the Constitutional rules of the Senate and totally unprecedented, but has already been promised by Reid and others in the Senate. They don't care about the rules, the Constitution, or The People's will, only about their power grab.

This is not about making health care, it is not about improving costs, or availability, it is about a government power grab and taking your tax dollars. There are 17 new taxes in this bill, and over 100 new government agencies.

On Saturday they are doing a "test" vote to allow the bill to go to the floor for debate. They need 60 votes to advance the bill. The Democrats hold a 60-40 seat advantage in the Senate so they can do this and the Republicans can not stop them unless someone of the Democrats defects and votes no.

Reid to try to keep that from happening is giving away your tax dollars to special interests of Senators who are concerned about voting for this. In other words he is offering them bribes and offerings of political capital to try to help these Senators shore up support at home.

Jonathon Karl of ABC gives us this case study:
"On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”

The section spends two pages defining which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”

I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.

In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)

Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.

How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million."

So 100 million of our tax dollars are given to JUST ONE Senator to buy that one vote on something that you don't want.

Saturday will be a day of sleight of hand, trickery, and deceit against the American people. Our only chance is to call them out on it, call your Senators that you not only know about these tricks, but will hold them accountable if they use them.

It is more than time that those elected representatives in D.C. once again realize that they work for us, not the other way around.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Health Care Bill is Too Important to Not Read

This week Harry Reid is promising to force a vote on the new 2070 page Health Care Bill. No one has seen it, no one has read it, including those Senators on both sides of the aisle who will be voting on it. Why the rush? Don't we have other issues that are maybe more important to focus on today?

In 1776 The Declaration of Independence was written was debated by committees and was presented to all the members on June 28th, it was left on the table for all to read until July 1st when it was debated by the full body, and with compromise was passed on July 2nd. This was the defining document of our nation, it was one page long.

In 1787 The United States Constitution was written, the Constitutional Convention began May 25th, the Constitution was written and approved to move forward September 17th. It wasn't fully ratified and put into action until September 13th 1788. This was a four page document, and it spelled out how we would run an entire country.

Why the rush to pass a 2,070 page bill that no one has seen? Why is this the single most important thing that we as a nation must focus upon. Are we not fighting two wars, and are teetering ever closer to a possible full blown World War with Iran moving into the mix? Do we not have, depending on whose numbers you study, between 10.2 and 22.6% unemployment with no relief in sight? Wouldn't it be better to focus on those issues rather than trying to completely dismantle and rebuild our health care system overnight when no one knows what the unintended consequences, no less the unintended consequences, will be?

These things we do know:

We learned yesterday what a government run health care will look like when we hear that women shouldn't get mammograms, or even do self-exams any more because the false results are "too costly" on our health care system and aren't worth the lives that those tests save. We will soon hear the same for prostate exams, and others.

We know that this bill will cost somewhere, depending upon whose math you see, between 900 billion and 3 trillion dollars.

We know that if you don't buy government "approved" health insurance that they project to cost a family around 15,000.00/year you will be fined, if you don't pay the fine, you will go to jail for up to five years.

Those things alone should give us pause and should make us demand that our legislators slow down, take their time, read it, digest it. Shouldn't they act like legislators are supposed to and fight it over line by line finding compromises, catching mistakes, coming up with something that will work, while cutting all the payoffs to special interests out?

I don't care if you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green, or whatever, you need to contact your Senator and ask them to please slow down. Take their time, this is far too important for our own health and lives, for that of our parents, and our children to rush through.

This is a list of some of the things that have been found in it so far:

What the government will require you to do:

• Sec. 202 (p. 91-92) of the bill requires you to enroll in a "qualified plan." If you get your insurance at work, your employer will have a "grace period" to switch you to a "qualified plan," meaning a plan designed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If you buy your own insurance, there's no grace period. You'll have to enroll in a qualified plan as soon as any term in your contract changes, such as the co-pay, deductible or benefit.

• Sec. 224 (p. 118) provides that 18 months after the bill becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what a "qualified plan" covers and how much you'll be legally required to pay for it. That's like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later.

On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer.

• Sec. 303 (pp. 167-168) makes it clear that, although the "qualified plan" is not yet designed, it will be of the "one size fits all" variety. The bill claims to offer choice—basic, enhanced and premium levels—but the benefits are the same. Only the co-pays and deductibles differ. You will have to enroll in the same plan, whether the government is paying for it or you and your employer are footing the bill.

• Sec. 59b (pp. 297-299) says that when you file your taxes, you must include proof that you are in a qualified plan. If not, you will be fined thousands of dollars. Illegal immigrants are exempt from this requirement.

• Sec. 412 (p. 272) says that employers must provide a "qualified plan" for their employees and pay 72.5% of the cost, and a smaller share of family coverage, or incur an 8% payroll tax. Small businesses, with payrolls from $500,000 to $750,000, are fined less.

Eviscerating Medicare:

In addition to reducing future Medicare funding by an estimated $500 billion, the bill fundamentally changes how Medicare pays doctors and hospitals, permitting the government to dictate treatment decisions.

• Sec. 1302 (pp. 672-692) moves Medicare from a fee-for-service payment system, in which patients choose which doctors to see and doctors are paid for each service they provide, toward what's called a "medical home."

The medical home is this decade's version of HMO-restrictions on care. A primary-care provider manages access to costly specialists and diagnostic tests for a flat monthly fee. The bill specifies that patients may have to settle for a nurse practitioner rather than a physician as the primary-care provider. Medical homes begin with demonstration projects, but the HHS secretary is authorized to "disseminate this approach rapidly on a national basis."

A December 2008 Congressional Budget Office report noted that "medical homes" were likely to resemble the unpopular gatekeepers of 20 years ago if cost control was a priority.

• Sec. 1114 (pp. 391-393) replaces physicians with physician assistants in overseeing care for hospice patients.

• Secs. 1158-1160 (pp. 499-520) initiates programs to reduce payments for patient care to what it costs in the lowest cost regions of the country. This will reduce payments for care (and by implication the standard of care) for hospital patients in higher cost areas such as New York and Florida.

• Sec. 1161 (pp. 520-545) cuts payments to Medicare Advantage plans (used by 20% of seniors). Advantage plans have warned this will result in reductions in optional benefits such as vision and dental care.

• Sec. 1402 (p. 756) says that the results of comparative effectiveness research conducted by the government will be delivered to doctors electronically to guide their use of "medical items and services."

Questionable Priorities:

While the bill will slash Medicare funding, it will also direct billions of dollars to numerous inner-city social work and diversity programs with vague standards of accountability.

• Sec. 399V (p. 1422) provides for grants to community "entities" with no required qualifications except having "documented community activity and experience with community health care workers" to "educate, guide, and provide experiential learning opportunities" aimed at drug abuse, poor nutrition, smoking and obesity. "Each community health worker program receiving funds under the grant will provide services in the cultural context most appropriate for the individual served by the program."

These programs will "enhance the capacity of individuals to utilize health services and health related social services under Federal, State and local programs by assisting individuals in establishing eligibility . . . and in receiving services and other benefits" including transportation and translation services.

• Sec. 222 (p. 617) provides reimbursement for culturally and linguistically appropriate services. This program will train health-care workers to inform Medicare beneficiaries of their "right" to have an interpreter at all times and with no co-pays for language services.

• Secs. 2521 and 2533 (pp. 1379 and 1437) establishes racial and ethnic preferences in awarding grants for training nurses and creating secondary-school health science programs. For example, grants for nursing schools should "give preference to programs that provide for improving the diversity of new nurse graduates to reflect changes in the demographics of the patient population." And secondary-school grants should go to schools "graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds including racial and ethnic minorities."

• Sec. 305 (p. 189) Provides for automatic Medicaid enrollment of newborns who do not otherwise have insurance.

For the text of the bill with page numbers, see

How Do We Win The Middle?

One of my all time favorite presidents and founding fathers, John Adams, told us that in any war the battle would be fought on three fronts. Of course the enemy and that 1/3 of Americans would support the war, 1/3 would be strongly against any war, and the true battlefield would be for the hearts and minds of the middle 1/3 who could go either way. I believe that same thing could be said in any political debate as well. George Bush never lost his 1/3 who supported him, could never win over the 1/3 who would never agree with anything he said, but he also lost the majority of those all important middle. We are now seeing the very same phenomenon happening to Obama, just at break neck speed. His popularity with that middle is dropping in months instead of years as those in the middle see how he is governing.

This is the question I have long pondered, how do you reach the hearts and minds of those in the middle? By their very nature they are not partisan, and in most cases are apolitical, not particularly interested most of the time. Before this last election I was preaching who Obama was, who he surrounded himself with, what his views would cause if implemented, and it was unwelcome information. "He seemed like a nice guy, he seemed like he just wants to get along, he even promises to give me a tax break, surely I am in that 95% aren't I?" "You're just a Republican, of course you're not going to like him." Those were things I heard.

Today, a year later, things are changing. I was talking with an Obama voter who used to be a co-worker of mine. Today she has a very different attitude, actually called me today to ask what was going on, why things were happening as they are. She said "you predicted all of this, what is going to happen next?" She has been only able to find part time work since this time last year, as have a full 25% of those who worked in our office before the company shut down. There is one way punish someone financially and they will come to realize that elections have consequences. However, how can we reach them with the carrot instead of the stick?

Sunday morning a friend called, he like I, are hard core right wingers. His call was to ask me to figure out how to temper my political remarks to reach the middle. He was telling me that he and a friend had been talking about my political comments from blogs, emails, and facebook links and posts. Their comments were that there was a lot of great information but it was going over the heads of most readers.

I understand this, however, am still trying to decide what role I want to take. Do I want to figure out a way to make political pablum interesting for the uninitiated, or to feed meat to the passionate. Today I had another call from a friend who is afraid of where we are going, and wanted some understanding of what is going on, but she told me that reading most of political rants makes her more confused than anything. Her comments is one I have heard far too often, she said she simply doesn't understand how politics work, doesn't know anything about history, or economics and just hearing those topics her eyes glaze over and she panics. We need to reach her, and all of those who are not understanding what is going on, but know that something isn't right. How do we do it?

If anyone has any suggestions I am open to listen. How do we sell policy politics to those who don't follow politics, or have any educational background to understand those policies? We are competing with a party that is great with slogans, with promises that hold no weight in reality, that simply can't be done as promised.

However, when someone doesn't know and understand that they are being lied to, it can be effective politically at least short term. When you are dealing with a president who simply is willing to manipulate the populace with his charisma it is difficult to overcome. Obama knows that if he is able to get his Health Care bill passed he will be able to preach about all the wonderful things it is going to do, and how much he has given to the American people through 2012. He Could get away with this because he will be selling the dream of what this bill will do while it won't go into effect until 2013. If he loses in 2012 the Republican will get the blame when the economy sinks further into the abyss because of how that bill will kill millions of jobs and small businesses.

People won't blame Obama and the Democrats but the new president who is taking the heat for the horrible policy Obama left him with. In this bill, Obama is taking the page directly from Professor Harold Hill from the "Music Man." He will be on that last train out of town when the bill arrives.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A History Lesson to Serve as a Warning.

What can we learn from history? Can we see a percursor to the future, or at least a warning? Many people remember their history lessons on what things happened after Hitler's dictatorship became violent. Let's look at the beggining together, that which we all understand we can stand together against it ever happening again.

In Germany democracy eventually lapsed in the early 1930s, leading to the ascent of the NSDAP and Adolf Hitler in 1933. Although the constitution of 1919 was never officially repealed, the legal measures taken by the Nazi government in February and March 1933, commonly known as Gleichschaltung ("coordination") meant that the government could legislate contrary to the constitution. The constitution became irrelevant, therefore 1933 is usually seen as the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Hitler's "Third Reich".

Let's look at the Weimar Republic that preceded the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. From November 1918 through January 1919, Germany was governed by the Council of People's Commissioners. It issued a large number of decrees which were confined to certain spheres: the eight-hour workday, domestic labour reform, agricultural labour reform, right of civil-service associations, local municipality social welfare relief (split between Reich and States) and important national health insurance, re-instatement of demobilised workers, protection from arbitrary dismissal with appeal as a right, regulated wage agreement, and universal suffrage from 20 years of age in all types of elections—local and national.

To ensure that his fledgling government was able to maintain control over the country, Friedrich Ebert, President of the Weimar Republic, made an agreement with the OHL (supreme army command), now led by General Wilhelm Groener. The 'Ebert-Groener pact' stipulated that the government would not attempt to reform the army so long as the army swore to protect the state. On the one hand, this agreement symbolised the acceptance of the new government by the military, assuaging concern among the middle classes; on the other hand, it was thought contrary to working-class interests by left wing social democrats and communists, and was also opposed by the far right who believed democracy would make Germany weaker. The new Reichswehr armed forces, limited by the Treaty of Versailles to 100,000 army soldiers and 15,000 sailors, remained fully under the control of the German officer class despite its nominal re-organisation. Today we are hearing of a National Police force as well trained and well equiped as the U.S. Military.

In January, the Spartacist League and others in the streets of Berlin made more armed attempts to establish communism, known as the Spartacist uprising. Those attempts were put down by paramilitary Freikorps units consisting of volunteer soldiers. Bloody street fights culminated in the beating and shooting deaths of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht after their arrests on 15 January. With the affirmation of Ebert, those responsible were not tried before a court martial, leading to lenient sentences, which made Ebert unpopular among radical leftists.

The National Assembly elections took place 19 January 1919. In this time, the radical left-wing parties, including the USPD and KPD, were barely able to get themselves organized, leading to a solid majority of seats for the MSPD moderate forces. To avoid the ongoing fights in Berlin, the National Assembly convened in the city of Weimar, giving the future Republic its unofficial name. The Weimar Constitution created a republic under a semi-presidential system with the Reichstag elected by proportional representation. The democratic parties obtained a solid 80% of the vote.

The permanent economic crisis was a result of lost pre-war industrial exports, the loss of supplies in raw materials and foodstuffs from Alsace-Lorraine, Polish districts and the colonies, along with worsening debt balances and reparations payments. Military-industrial activity had almost ceased, although controlled demobilisation kept unemployment at around one million.

German workers were exhausted, physically impaired and discouraged. Millions were disenchanted and hoping for a new era. Meanwhile the currency depreciated
By 1923, the Republic claimed it could no longer afford the reparations payments required by the Versailles Treaty, and the government defaulted on some payments.

Since striking workers, striking the mines they worked, were paid benefits by the state, much additional currency was printed, fueling a period of hyperinflation. The 1920s German inflation started when Germany had no goods with which to trade. The government printed money to deal with the crisis; this allowed Germany to pay war loans and reparations with worthless marks, and helped formerly great industrialists to pay back their own loans. This also led to pay raises for workers and for businessmen who wanted to profit from it. Circulation of money rocketed, and soon the Germans discovered their money was worthless. The value of the Papiermark had declined from 4.2 per US dollar at the outbreak of World War I to 1 million per dollar by August 1923. In October of 1923 they started printing and distributing 1 Million Mark notes. This gave the Republic's opponents something else to criticise it for. On 15 November 1923, a new currency, the Rentenmark, was introduced at the rate of 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) Papiermark for 1 Rentenmark, an action known as a monetary reset. At that time, 1 U.S. dollar was equal to 4.2 Rentenmark. Reparation payments resumed, and the Ruhr was returned to Germany under the Locarno Pact, which defined a border between Germany, France and Belgium.

The last years of the Weimar Republic were stamped by even more political instability than in the previous years. The administrations of Chancellors Brüning, Papen, Schleicher and Hitler (from 30 January to 23 March 1933) governed not through parliament but through presidential decree. This meant that they used the President's power to rule without consulting the Reichstag (the German parliament). The finance expert Heinrich Brüning was appointed as successor of Chancellor Müller by Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg on 29 March 1930, after months of political lobbying by General Kurt von Schleicher on behalf of the military. The new government was expected to lead a political shift towards conservatism, based on the emergency powers granted to the Reichspräsident by the constitution, since it had no majority support in the Reichstag. Does this sound familiar to anyone???

The bulk of German capitalists and land-owners originally supported the conservative experiment: not from any personal liking for Brüning, but believing the conservatives would best serve their interests. But as the mass of the working class and middle classes turned against Brüning, more of the great capitalists and landowners declared themselves in favour of his opponents - Hitler and Hugenberg. By late 1931, conservatism as a movement was dead, and the time was coming when Hindenburg and the Reichswehr would drop Brüning and come to terms with Hugenberg and Hitler. Hindenburg himself was no less a supporter of an anti-democratic counter-revolution represented by Hugenberg and Hitler.

On 30 May 1932, Brüning resigned after no longer having Hindenburg's support. Five weeks earlier, Hindenburg had been re-elected Reichspräsident with Brüning's active support, running against Hitler (the president was directly elected by the people while the Reichskanzler was not).

Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor on the morning of 30 January 1933 in what some observers later described as a brief and indifferent ceremony. By early February, a mere week after Hitler's assumption of the chancellorship, the government had begun to clamp down on the opposition. Meetings of the opposition parties were banned and even some of the moderate parties found their members threatened and assaulted. Measures with an appearance of legality suppressed the Communist Party in mid-February and included the plainly illegal arrests of Reichstag deputies.
The Reichstag Fire on 27 February was blamed by Hitler's government on the Communists. Hitler used the ensuing state of emergency to obtain the assent of President von Hindenburg to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree the following day. The decree invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution and "indefinitely suspended" a number of constitutional protections of civil liberties, allowing the Nazi government to take swift action against political meetings, arresting and killing the Communists. Have you heard that our own White House now has a defined "enemies list" and the Dept. of Homeland Security has classifide those who believe in the Bill of Rights are now to be considered a higher level threat to the State than any Muslim Terrorist?

Hitler and the Nazis exploited the German state's broadcasting and aviation facilities in a massive attempt to sway the electorate, but this election yielded a scant majority of 16 seats for the coalition. At the Reichstag elections, which took place on 5 March, the NSDAP obtained 17 million votes. The Communist, Social Democrat and Catholic Centre votes stood firm. This was the last multi-party election until the end of the Third Reich twelve years later and the last all-German election for fifty-seven years. Our new Diversity Czar is citing his desire to replicate Chavez's crack down on any media outlets that offer conservative broadcasting. If any news media outlet doesn't go with the "party line" they are punished and lose access in our current White House.

Hitler addressed disparate interest groups, stressing the necessity for a definitive solution to the perpetual instability of the Weimar Republic. He now blamed Germany's problems on the Communists, even threatening their lives on 3 March. Former Chancellor Heinrich Brüning proclaimed that his Centre Party would resist any constitutional change and appealed to the President for an investigation of the Reichstag fire. Hitler's successful plan was to induce what remained of the now Communist-depleted Reichstag to grant him, and the Government, the authority to issue decrees with the force of law. The hitherto Presidential Dictatorship hereby was to give itself a new legal form. Of course our president would never blame past administrations for current problems.... would he?

On 15 March the first cabinet meeting was attended by the two coalition parties, representing a minority in the Reichstag: The Nazis and the DNVP led by Alfred Hugenberg (196 + 52 seats). According to the Nuremberg Trials this cabinet meeting's first order of business was how at last to achieve the complete counter-revolution by means of the constitutionally-allowed Enabling Act, requiring two-thirds parliamentary majority. This Act would, and did, lead Hitler and the NSDAP toward his goal of unfettered dictatorial powers.

Hitler abandoned earlier pretence at calm statesmanship and delivered a characteristic screaming diatribe, promising to exterminate all Communists in Germany and threatening the Social Democrats as well. He did not even want their support for the bill. "Germany will become free, but not through you," he shouted. Almost sounds like we don't want to "hear from those who caused the mess." Didn't I just hear that about a month ago?

Meanwhile Hitler's promised written guarantee to Monsignor Kaas was being typed up, it was asserted to Kaas, and thereby Kaas was persuaded to silently deliver the Centre bloc's votes for the Enabling Act anyway. The Act—formally and rather pretentiously titled the "Act for the Removal of Distress from People and Reich" -- was passed by a vote of 441 to 94. Only the SPD had voted against the Act. Every other member of the Reichstag, whether from the largest or the smallest party, voted in favor of the Act. It went into effect the following day, March 2.

In the German Weimar Republic, an Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz in German) was a law passed by the Reichstag with a two-thirds majority, by which the government was authorized to legislate without the consent of the Reichstag. These special powers would remain in effect for the specified time. This is to be distinguished from the provisions of Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which allowed the President to legislate by decree in times of emergency, subject to the veto of the Reichstag. An Enabling Act was supposed to be used only in times of extreme emergency. Are we not hearing a lot about special emergency powers wanted for the White House to restrict Internet access, preemptive arrest without Miranda, without charges, without trails, and with indefinite lengths of imprisonment. I saw on Rachel Maddow's show Obama standing in front of the Constitution making this request.

Only two Enabling Acts were ever passed:

.The first Enabling Act was in force in 1923-24, when the government used an Enabling Act to combat hyperinflation.

.The second Enabling Act, passed on March 23, 1933, was the second stepping-stone after the Reichstag Fire Decree through which Adolf Hitler obtained dictatorial powers using largely legal means. The formal name of the Enabling Act was Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich ("Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the State").

It carried a four-year sunset clause (and would also have lost force should another government have been appointed) but was renewed in 1937, 1941 and 1944.

In contrast to the Enabling Act of 1923, this Act covered changes to the constitution, excepting only the existence of the Reichstag, the Reichsrat and the office of President.

I am not accusing the Obama administration of repeating this history. However, there are so many parallels that We the People need to at least keep our eyes wide open, and be at the ready to protest the possible loss of our liberties and freedoms.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lincoln's Faith

Recently there was a poll as to who was the most popular, most important of all the American presidents, the winner once again was Abraham Lincoln. There are many who ascribe a non-belief in God to Lincoln, I thought it might be wise to consider what this, most popular of all President had to say on this subject, so with malice toward none, and charity toward all, let me begin.

Abraham Lincoln was a voracious reader, and passionately educated himself, reading Robinson Crusoe, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Franklin’s Autobiography, and law books when he could get them. He memorized the Illinois Statutes. Lincoln took reading seriously, making notes of the literary style, syncopation, and rhythm. Though often portrayed as a Deist, Lincoln read the Bible as studiously as he had the classics. His speeches resound with scriptural metaphors and biblical phrases, rightly applied; revealing he fully understood the context. Unlike a more recent president from the great state of Illinois.

Perhaps no aspect of Abraham Lincoln’s character is less understood that his religion. Like many young men, he was a skeptic early in life. He viewed the “good old maxims of the Bible” as little different from the Farmers Almanac, admitting in the 1830s, I’ve never been to church yet, nor probably shall not be soon.” An often misunderstood phrase Lincoln uttered-purportedly that he was a Deist-was, in fact, “Because I belonged to no church, I was suspected of being a Deist,” and absurdity he put on the same plane as having “talked about fighting a dual.” Quite the contrary, to dispute and 1846 handbill that he was “an open scoffer at Christianity,” Lincoln produced his own handbill in which he admitted, “I am not a member of and Christian Church…but I have never denied the truths of the Scriptures.” Some Lincoln biographers dismiss this as campaign propaganda, but Lincoln’s religious journey accelerated the closer he got to greatness, or perhaps propelled him to it.

A profound change in Lincoln’s faith occurred from 1858 to 1863. Mary had brought home a Bible, which Lincoln read, and after the death of Eddie at age four, he attended a Presbyterian church intermittently, paying rent for a pew for his wife. He never joined the church, but by 1851 was already preaching, in letters, to his father: “Remember to call upon, and confide in, our great, and good, and merciful Maker…He will not forget the dying man, who puts his trust in Him.” After 1860 Lincoln himself told associates of a “change,” a “true religious experience,” a “change of heart.” Toward what? Lincoln prayed every day and read his Bible regularly. He followed Micah 6:8 to a tee..”to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God,” When a lifelong friend, Joshua Speed, commented that he remained skeptical of matters of faith, Lincoln said,
“You are wrong, Speed; take all of this book (the Bible) upon reason you can, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a happier better man.”

What kept Lincoln from formal church association was what he viewed as overly long and complicated confessions of faith, or what might be called denominationalism. “When any church will inscribe over it’s alter the Saviour’s condensed statement of law and gospel, “Thou shalt love thy God with all thy heart and with all they soul and with all thy mind, and love thy neighbor as thyself, that church I will join with all my heart.” In fact, he thought it beneficial that numerous denominations and sects existed, telling a friend, “The more sects the better. They are all getting somebody into Heaven that others would not.” To Lincoln, and important separation of politics and religion existed during his campaign: “I will not discuss the character and religion of Jesus Christ on the stump! That is no place for it.” It was Gettysburg, however where Lincoln was born again. His own pastor, Phineas Gurley, noted the change after Gettysburg: “With tears in his eyes,” Gurley wrote, Lincoln “now believed his heart was changed and that he loved the Saviour, and, if he was not deceived in himself, it was his intention soon to make a profession of religion.” Did he actually make such a profession? An Illinois clergyman asked Lincoln before his death, “Do you love Jesus?” to which Lincoln gave a straight answer:

“When I left Springfield I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I love Jesus.”

During the war Lincoln saw God’s hand in numerous events, although in 1862 he wrote, “The will of God prevails. In great contests, each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God can not be for, or against, the same thing at the same time.” Significantly, at Gettysburg, he again referred to God’s purposes, noting that the nation was “dedicated to the proposition” that “all men are created equal.” Would God validate hat proposition? It remained, in Lincoln’s spirit, to be determined. He puzzled why God allowed the war to continue, which reflected his fatalistic side that discounted human will in perpetuating evil. Lincoln called numerous days of national prayer, and unusual step for a supposed unbeliever. The evidence that Lincoln was a spiritual, even devout, man and toward the end of his life a committed Christian, is abundant.

The job of President of the United States is difficult, I know that I feel better knowing that the Leader of the Free World is looking to a higher intelligence for guidance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

Today we are seeing many people who are, maybe for the first time in their lives, dealing with real financial adversity, and great uncertainty. For those 62% of Americans who in the most recent poll know that the Obama administration and Congress are taking America in the wrong economic direction there is real fear trying to figure out just how bad it may soon be. It must be nice to be part of the 38% living in denial or confusion. Is it scary? Yes. Is is upsetting? Yes. Can we personally do anything about it? Not really, we can only do something about us. Sure we can complain, we can campaign, but ultimately we have to look out for ourselves and our families no matter what vacuous headed programs Washington shoves down our throats.

Viktor Frankl, who survived a Nazi concentration camp, learned that it wasn't the strength or health of the prisoners that determined who lived and who died, but their attitudes. He told us;

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to chose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

It would be hard to imagine life more dire and hopeless than being in one of those Nazi Concentration camps, the torture, the starvation, the total degradation. Frankl spoke of how the captures can starve you, beat you, take everything from you including your life and you could do nothing about it, however, they couldn't take your attitude without you giving it up yourself. What a powerful statement.

No matter what your personal battles may be, you have the option of controlling your own attitude. You may well need to find a strength that you may not know you have to do it, but you can. It doesn't matter if you are dealing with financial hardships, marital difficulties, and those often go together. It doesn't matter if your job, or business is failing, your kids are making poor choices and paying the consequences of them, no matter what you are dealing with, you can and must take control of your attitude.

If you would take all of your cares that are weighing you down, that feel like they are sucking the air out of you, and lay them in the middle of the room. If there were a roomful of people in this magic room doing the same, and you could do a blind trade, their problems for yours. You might want yours back, they may not seem so bad after seeing those others are dealing with. One more reason to always try to be kind in our dealings with others, we never know what they are carrying around.

This last week I have had several acquaintances and friends have tragedy strike their lives. One was simply having lunch with a friend and suddenly died of a heart attack in the restaurant at sixty. Another was an old high school girl friend, whose family were long time neighbors of our family who died suddenly, I don't know the cause, at fifty it was too soon and far too sudden. Then yesterday we learn that a past client of mine was found in his car dealer office dead by suicide at forty three, leaving behind a wife and four children. Who knows what drove him there, who knows what caused the hopelessness to feel that only a permanent solution could solve his temporary situations. One more shocking event, a friend and past co-worker's husband was playing with their children climbing a tree and fell breaking his back. We are told that they are unsure of his chances of walking again, another young man with a young family. Thank God he is alive and from what I am hearing is holding a great attitude through it. Upon hearing these stories, do your problems really sound that bad, do they really seem insurmountable, would you ask to trade back for your own in that magic room?

There are some things that work for me. One of them is actually captured in one of my favorite songs by Bing Crosby in White Christmas.

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep.
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all,
and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

I think of a nursery and I picture curly heads
and one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds.
If your worried and you can't sleep
just count your blessings instead of sheep
and you'll go to sleep counting your blessings."

When I am under pressure, when things are weighing me down, those nights when ledger sheets and daily, unresolved problems keep rolling in my head. I find that Counting my blessings is exactly what the doctor ordered. I simply pray a prayer of Thanksgiving. I start Thanking God for ALL of my many blessings. I start with His gift of Salvation, then my wife who is as much of a blessing and as much undeserved as that salvation. Each child, family member, health, the love we all share, the friendships, the home we live in, cars we drive, food we eat, on and on. I very rarely finish the prayer before I have drifted off to a very sweet sleep. I don't think God minds that I fall asleep in the middle of our talk, at least He never said so. I have often told my kids if your worried or upset, tell God, He is going to be up all night anyway.

Another area that I find great comfort is reading Psalms. In Psalms you will find such wonderful encouragement, many were written during the darkest days David ever went through while his best friend's father, King Saul, was trying to have David killed. David was hiding and on the run, but spoke of his joy in the Lord. If you are a Christian there is a huge difference between being happy and being filled with Joy. Happy is unsustainable and comes and goes with events in your life, Joy is constant and can carry you through those ups and downs. This is a talk for another blog post, but in short Happiness is conditional on what is going on in your life, Joy is knowing where you are going.

Listen to Viktor Frankl, know that no matter what happens to you, you can and must be in charge of how you choose to deal with it. I have always heard that God will not give you more than He thinks you can handle. There have been many times in my life I wish He didn't believe in me so much. But in the end, He was always right. He will be for you as well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How do we fill the void of Leadership?

Today was a day of contrasts. Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This draws us to memories of one of the great leaders in our nation's history, Ronald Reagan, who through his will, character, and integrity changed the world for the better. His own team of advisers told him not to do this speech, however, Reagan knew it was his responsibility to stand in the gap no matter what slings and arrows may come his way. Courage, integrity, confidence, and accountability are all keys to leadership.

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Ronald Reagan
Two years later that wall came down, and freedom was won for millions who had been enslaved for over 70 years.

Today was a reminder of this leadership, Reagan along with his partner in making history for the free world, Margaret Thatcher showed us levels of leadership we hadn't seen since W.W.II. Unfortunately we saw the contrast with the potentially weakest leader, maybe in American history, who couldn't be inconvenienced to attend.

This very day a strong example of leadership was shown by Carrie Prejean who upon the press getting out that she had done a "sex" tape. She was strong enough to come out and tell her story, accept responsibility of poor choices, and was accountable. She is going to be a wonderful example to young girls all over who she will be able to talk to with the authority of someone who has been there, and can warn them about how choices can and will come back to haunt you. She showed great courage and strength in this and earned my respect. Who hasn't done something that they wouldn't want broadcast to the world. She understands that as a Christian, she isn't perfect, just forgiven. It is refreshing to see someone step and take what comes without blaming others or claiming victimhood.

Every day in all parts of our country, and at all levels of our daily lives, we see a lack of quality leadership. We see people who point fingers, assign blame, and act like children who are caught doing wrong but want to use the "not me" defense. Passing the buck, avoiding criticism and making ourselves "look good" seems to be in vogue. Our society today, maybe more than ever, has created a void of leadership by not valuing the character traits that are used in the leadership recipe.

We are so lacking examples of true leadership that I find when I see someone who displays the character of a leader, I find my eyes nearly ready to weep. How starved for those who stand on their own feet, who take responsibility, who are accountable, that it feels like rain on the desert when seen.

A leader can give up anything except final responsibility. When accepting a task, the question that must be answered is "What is required of me?" In other words, what do I have to do that no one but e can do? Whatever those things are we need to put them high on our priority list. Failure to do them will cause you to fail, not only yourself, but your team. There will be many responsibilities of the levels under your position, but only a few that require you to be the one and only one who can do them. Distinguish between what you have to do and what can be delegated to someone else.

What can we learn from some of the great leaders of the past? There are hundreds of outstanding examples of leadership, but I will stay with the most famous for now.

George Washington, one of the great leaders of all time, the corner stone that this nation was built upon. Washington was anything but a good military strategist, but was a great leader. Men wanted to do whatever they could to follow him. They believed in him, and would follow. Washington, though he had a huge ego, was always willing to listen to his subordinates. He had some outstanding generals in Knox and Green and Washington would listen to them and would implement their ideas, sometimes when they went against what he wanted to do. His ego was driving him to attack, his generals convinced him that a war of attrition was their best ploy and they were right, and he was right to lead against his ego. No one could question his courage, integrity, and his commitment.

Abraham Lincoln, led our nation through one of her darkest hours, as it was coming apart at the seams. The longstanding internal battle over the sin of slavery that our founders knew would have to be remedied or would tear America apart but passed the torch down for another generation to solve, that bill came due under Lincoln. Lincoln knew that he needed the very best and brightest around him and had the courage and strength to fill his cabinet with his more fervent political competitors, four were also candidates for President against him in the 1860 election. He wasn't looking for yes men, he wasn't looking for those who would support him, but those who would support America, and would be able to do their jobs at the highest level. Not many politicians would be so courageous, it was rewarded by the best cabinet since Washington's first. Lincoln's honesty, strength, integrity, courage, and resolve won each of these harsh rivals into his greatest friends and supporters. He saved America, and freed millions.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, though his economic policies led us deeper and longer into the Great Depression, he led by lifting the spirits of Americans. His legacy would have been quite different if not for W.W.II that saved the economy. History tells us that his programs did, however, there is no evidence of that. Unemployment was still 14% going into the war in 1941. However, he was a brilliant war time President. He was the leader who galvanized the American people to fight the Nazi's and the Axis of Italy and Japan. We were blessed with many great leaders during the war, soldiers, generals, but one of the great leaders of all time Winston Churchill as well. If you want to study leaders any of these names mentioned so far are great sources.

John F. Kennedy once again was a leader who could get America to come together for a goal. His vision and setting the date of the goal for a man on the moon, made the impossible a reality. Without his building that dream and setting that goal, we may not have ever achieved that amazing feat.

George W. Bush, if you like him or not, was a leader. He put what he believed was right above popularity, he sacrificed himself for his military. The courage for a politician to do the unpopular when he believed it best for America and world is not common throughout history. He did what he said, he was accountable and showed responsibility when things didn't go well. He always gave the credit to his military when things succeeded and deflected it from himself.

Today there seems to be a void of leadership, there is more of a culture of popularity and focus on celebrity than accountability and responsibility. This is most evident in the current White House, but it seen throughout American life. We see coaches, business managers, presidents, and owners, celebrities, all aspects of life ducking personal responsibility, hiding from being accountable. Where is their integrity, where is their simple pride? Where is their shame?

We see some leaders shining example rising, Benjamin Netanyahu from Israel, is possibly this generation's Winston Churchill. Their stories parallel frighteningly, hopefully Netanyahu will not have to be a war time leader as was Churchill, but it is very close right now. Mike Pence is showing that courage of leadership, when I watched him single handily stop a spending bill last fall fighting even his own party's president, I started paying a lot more attention to this rising star. There are others, there is hope. However, what we need is for you to consider taking the challenge.

We need examples of leadership all across our society, at civic organizations, churches, scouts, 4-H, schools, sports teams, local, State, and National politics. As Uncle Sam's posters always said, "We Need You!"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where Have the Leaders Gone

Where have all the Leaders gone? There seems to be such a shortage today. Too often we are teaching our kids the exact opposite of what it takes to be a leader. Too often we see examples of our "leaders" on the national stage who lie, cheat, steal, and self-aggrandize to where that is the image leadership seems to be imprinted on our national conscience. That isn't being a leader, there are so few today that most Americans probably couldn't point one out in the crowd. Real leadership isn't always flashy, it is about hard choices made for the good of the people not for the good of the leader. We don't see much of that. I am thinking of a couple who are giving us signs that they may be. I look forward to watching them rise.

My first goal for this blog tonight was to give a quick overview of what a leader was, and then compare some well known figures from today and from the past. However giving the overview became longer than I planned, but I believe to have a substantive talk on leadership we must know what one is. We can continue this discussion another time on who and what. However, a teaser for future posts. I am FED UP, with the gross lack of leadership I see daily in business, in politics, in public. People we can do better, I am tired of watching people not stand up and lead when they are in position to. I am tired of people not showing character and integrity, no matter if it is in a local club, business, or politician, or even with those in the White House. I don't care if I agree with their ideology or not, I would respect them if they showed ANY integrity and character.

Tonight we are going to look at what it takes to be a leader. Later I will deal with those who are pretending, but not leading.

What is a leader? How can they be defined? How does one become one? One of the great teachers of Leadership skills today is John Maxwell.

Leadership is influence, however sociologists tell us that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand people during his or her lifetime. We never know who or how much we influence. Yet influence is a skill that can be developed. The three components of this triangle are communication, recognition, and influence. You start to communicate effectively. This leads to recognition and recognition in turn leads to influence.

There are four levels of leadership.

1. Position: This is the basic entry level of leadership. The only influence you have is your title. Your boss makes you a "manager" and your subordinates have to do what you tell them for fear of their jobs, however your influence is only as far as you can see them. Your only influence here is your authority over them. Those who stay at this level, and frankly most managers you meet do, get into things like territorial rights, protocol, tradition, and organizational charts. These things may not be negative, unless they become substitutes for leadership skills. Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow. A real leader knows the difference between being the boss and being a leader, as illustrated below.

The boss drives his workers; the leader coaches them.
The boss depends upon authority; the leader on goodwill.
The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
The boss says "I"; the leader, "We."
The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown;the leader fixes the breakdown.
The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.
The boss says "go"; the leader says "let's go!"

These appointed positional leaders have more difficulty working with volunteers, white collar workers, and younger people.

I have often suggested to those who want to become leaders to get into volunteer organizations. I learned more leading volunteers running wrestling tournaments than nearly anything else I have done. It is wonderful experience leading those who simply do not have to listen to anything you say, you don't hold anything over them, not a paycheck, nothing. When you learn to lead a team that is having to work harder than they ever would at work, under more pressure, and as volunteers you will see what I mean.

2. Permission.

Fred Smith of FedEx says, "Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated." That will only happen when you climb to the second level of influence. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Leadership begins with the heart, not the head. It flourishes with a meaningful relationship, not more regulations. The leader who is on the "permission" level will lead by interrelationships. The agenda isn't the pecking order but people development.

On this level, time, energy, and focus are placed on the individuals needs and desires. People who are unable to build solid, lasting relationships will soon discover that they are unable to sustain long, effective leadership. Needless to say, you can love people without leading them, but you can't lead people without loving them. Relationships involve a process that provides the glue and much of the staying power for long-term, consistent production.

Please don't try to skip a level. The most often skipped level is #2, Permission. For example, a husband goes from level #1, position, a wedding day title, to level #3, Production. He becomes a great provider for the family, but in the process he neglects the essential relationships that hold the family together. The family disintegrates and so does the husband's business.

3. Production; On this level good things begin to happen. Profit increases, moral is high, turnover is low, needs are being met, goals realized. Accompanying this growth is momentum. Leading and influencing is fun, problems are being solved easily. Everyone is results-oriented, in fact results are the main reason for such great activity.

This is a major difference between levels 2 and 3. On the "relationship" level, people get together just to get together. There is no objective. On the results level people come to get together to accomplish something. They like to get together to get together, but they love to accomplish. In this level your team will follow you because things are happening, they believe in your vision and are starting to share it. They want to be a part of it, they are no longer following just because they have to, or even that they like you, they like themselves better as they are realizing goals and seeing success.

4. People Development; How do you spot a leader? They come in all shapes and sizes, and personalities. Here is a clue: Since some people are mediocre, the true leader can be recognized because somehow his people consistently demonstrate superior performances. A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others. Success without a successor is failure. A worker's main responsibility is doing the work himself, a leader's main responsibility if developing others to do the work.

Loyalty to the leader reaches its highest peak when the follower has personally grown through the mentorship of the leader. At level 2, the follower loves the leader; at level 3, the follower admires the leader; at level 4, the follower is loyal to the leader. Why? You win people's hearts by helping them grow personally.

This is the level that most of us aspire to. This is where you are building new generations of leaders under you, replacing, duplicating, and improving on yourself with your team. The core of leaders who surround you should all be people you have personally touched or helped to develop in some way. When that happens, love and loyalty will be exhibited by those closest to you and by those who are touched by your key leaders.

Keep in mind that as you move up the levels of influence and leadership in a growing organization, you will always have people who see you in each of the levels. Those who are new may just see you from your title, others who have begun to get to know and like you who are in that relationship permission level, and those who are starting to see success through their association with you in the production level.

5. Personhood; this is a level few of us ever see. It is that rare air where you have developed legions of level four leaders who are leading their organizations, but still see you as their mentor and guide. Few of us are fortunate enough to know anyone here, I have been blessed to know one well, and have been through him, with a couple others for extended periods of time. These are people who leaders seek for guidance.

Some people who you will know who would fall into this category that are well known are from the sports world. One is John Wooden, another Dean Smith. Let's consider Dean Smith, not only was he a legend as a basketball coach, his legacy of great basketball coaches who learned their trade working under Smith is long and a whose who of the sport both in college and professional ball. These men still get together with Coach Smith once a year at a retreat to learn from him. None will make a move professionally without consulting him. His influence on the game is still powerful though he is personally retired.

The higher you go in the leadership scale, the higher the level of commitment you must give. There are times in leadership that are the loneliest and most heartbreaking you can imagine. There will be times when what you are doing, and where you are leading won't be initially understood. One of those level 5 leaders once told me, "Whenever you have to make a tough decision that one way favors you personally and the other way more your people, even if it is not good for you, always do what is in your people's best interest."

As a leader you must develop the ability to juggle three of four high priority projects successfully. Your people must always see you as consistent, your attitude must be predictable, positive, and inspiring. You don't have the luxury of being down. A leader can give up anything except final responsibility.

Ultimately the mark of a great leader is character. The secret to rising and not falling is integrity.

"In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence, the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man's associates find him guilty of being phony, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose." Dwight Eisenhower.

"If my people understand me, I'll get their attention. If my people trust me, I'll get their action." Cavett Roberts
For a leader to have the authority to lead, he needs more than the title on his door. He has to have the trust of those who are following him.

"Every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man. His character determines the character of the organization." Emerson

"People's minds are changed through observation and not argument." Will Rogers.

Leaders must live by higher standards than their followers. this insight is exactly the opposite of ost people's thoughts concerning leadership. In a world of perks and privileges that accompany the climb to success, little thought is given to the responsibilities of the upward journey. Leaders can give up anything except responsibility, either for themselves or their organization. John D. Rockefeller, Jr, said, "I believe that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity, and obligation; every possession, a duty."

"It is priceless to find a person who will take responsibility, who will finish and follow through to the final detail- to know when someone has accepted an assignment that it will be effectively, conscientiously completed. But when half-finished assignments keep coming back- to check on, to verify, o edit, to interrupt thought, and to take repeated attention- obviously someone has failed to follow the doctrine of completed work." Richard L. Evans

"Don't let yourself be victimized by the age you live in. It's not the times that will bring us down, any more than it' society. There's a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance. You buy that and you pay with your soul. What limits people is character." Tony Robbins.

When the character of leaders is low, so are their standards. Image is what people think we are, Integrity is what we really are.

"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he would never be found out." Thomas Macauley

Life is like a vice' at times it will squeeze us. At those moments of pressure, whatever is inside us will be found out. We cannot give what we do no have. Image promises much but produces little. Integrity never disappoints. We cannot lead anyone else further that we have been ourselves. Too many times we are so concerned about the product we try to shortcut the process. There are no shortcuts when integrity is involved. Eventually truth will always be exposed.

"People of integrity expect to be believed. They also know time will prove them right and are willing to wait."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Deck Prism or Dead Sea?

My mother-in-law is always buying very interesting gifts for me at Christmas, I have this funky four foot long battle axe type thing that I had to hide from my boys for years. It now rests behind my bedroom door, real bad idea for burgle to enter. Most of these caused head scratching, but one that we found cleaning out her home that she had forgotten to give me I really like. At first I had no idea what it was, but upon reading about it I became fascinated. It is a large greenish glass paperweight that is a replica of one of the deck prisms from the old whaling ship the Charles W. Morgan. I am a look it up kind of guy, I always want to know more, so after researching this I was quite taken by the lessons this prism can teach.

This prism went to my office to sit on my desk, because I knew I would write a motivational talk about it and what we can learn from it. I also left it on my desk to be a conversation piece looking forward to people asking questions about what it might be. I have to admit that I was greatly disappointed that no one asked. Several would pick it up and look at it, play with it, set it back down, but never ask. The only person in over a year of sitting on my desk to ask was my oldest son. He seems to have inherited curiosity.

A little history, the Charles W. Morgan was built in 1841. She and her 36 crew members made thirty seven three to five year voyages to collect the fifty plus whales needed to fill her hull with barrels of whale oil. After her eighty years of active whaling she was retired, today she has been restored and is a floating museum. You can learn more about her by googling her, she is a very pretty ship, no matter what her function was.

In her deck there were these small hexagon shaped prisms were embedded flush with the floor of the deck. They worked as overhead lighting for the rooms below. The sun would hit the top of the prism and then disperse throughout the rooms below. The prism sides directed the light all over those rooms, so not only did light come in through these small holes, but expanded and spread to light the entire room.

What should we learn from this? Shouldn't we too be a way to spread light about us? To amplify and share with others that which we are blessed with, as the phrase says to pay forward. The Bible warns us not to hoard our blessings that if they only flow into us and not through us we would be like the Dead Sea. Jesus warns us not to take all our blessings and build a big barn and try to rest on our blessings in his parable with the rich man dying when he decided to miser his wealth.

When we are learn something that can help others, shouldn't we pass this information on? I love to study and gain new knowledge and understanding on many different topics. However, the real joy is then passing that information or new skill onto someone else. When you go to a seminar and learn a new idea do you just take it for yourself, or do you teach it to someone else? The irony is that by teaching it you will really learn it much better for yourself. There is no better way to learn about something than to teach it. I used to work with a team that are brilliant at human development. When you reached a level of leadership and became part of the speaking circuit you could always tell what the top leadership thought were your biggest weaknesses because that would be the topic you were sent out to teach. It works like magic!

Be like that deck prism, shine your light around you. It matters not if that light is spiritual, business, relationship, or any type of learning that you can pay forward to someone else. Even if it is as simple as reading something that you feel you learned something from on a link from a social networking sight like Facebook or Twitter. If you learned or gained from it, re-post it share it. If you take a class share it, if you hear a great sermon that touches you, pass it along to others. Don't be the Dead Sea be that deck prism. Your life will be greatly blessed as you bless others. Don't be a depository, rather be a conduit. Be curious and be generous.