Governor Pence is Full of Contradictions

Muncie, Indiana NEWS– Over the last several months, Governor Pence has been on a whirlwind tour trying to increase his street credibility for a presidential run in 2016, and since his friend Mike Delph’s bill was killed day one, our governor will have to decide – run for reelection as our governor or line up with other presidential hopefuls. If we were feeling charitable, we might assume that all this running around has caused our governor to simply be tired. However, our gut reaction is this is a man who has lost touch with Hoosiers. His Indiana State of the State address last night was full of contradictions between what he claims and reality. It was rhetoric. We’re not sure who he was pandering to since his own party struggled to applaud for his bold statements.

Another explanation is delusional – someone who holds a false belief despite strong evidence against it; self-deception.

The governor spoke about his commitment to public education – even about his support for Pre-k, despite all the evidence to the contrary over the past three years. He left Glenda Ritz nearly speechless for rejecting $80 million in grant money from the federal government to build the much-needed infrastructure for Indiana’s Pre-k program. The reason we qualified for such a large dollar amount is we are so far behind all the other states.

His comments on energy policy were thick with contradictions – while preaching his love for coal, and his plans to keep producing and burning it, he also stated we embrace “all the above” energy strategies. With 90% of our energy coming from coal, we are not a diversified energy user. We use coal because he’s on the payroll with Koch and Duke Energy. In fact, he’s the second highest paid governor by Duke Energy. We hope Hoosiers love choking on smokestacks, because with Pence, we can expect further obstruction with EPA pollution controls.

He is oblivious to the pain being inflicted on teachers across the state, even though he bragged about his wife being the best one in the state. His policy decisions have caused the teaching profession to wane in Indiana as Ball State is experiencing a 25% in education majors. This is not a good sign.

In the documentary we hosted, Rise Above the Mark, the teachers were crying as they tried to make sense of what Mitch Daniels and now, Mike Pence, has done to education in this state. Yet, Mike stood up and actually talked about all the great things he was doing for public education. Delusional is the only possibility. We’d hate to think he’s a sociopath, but it would make sense.

Hoosiers are hurting. As we discussed in Middletown Knows Trickle-Down Economics is Voodoo, the United Way ALICE reports show nearly 40% of all Hoosiers are either in poverty or barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. It would explain why Payday lenders have grown in communities all across Indiana. While our communities are facing these challenges, the governor stated last night, “Indiana has never been stronger”…it’s just delusional.

All the facts and evidence conclude that it’s never been worse to be a Hoosier. It was bad prior to the Great Recession in 2008, and most, if not all the recovery gains have gone to the top 2% of Americans. There has been no rebound in Middletown.

Governor Mike Pence’s Speech in Israel

While we heard plenty from our Indiana newspapers about Pence traveling to Israel, we didn’t read many details about the trip, so we were curious about the specifics. We were able to gain access to one of his speeches online made during the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce luncheon. His comments helped us understand his mindset better. He told the crowd:

Freedom has enabled your entrepreneurs to apply groundbreaking advances in technology and innovation to fields ranging from agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, communications and civilian defense. Israel has shown the world how to turn scarcity into plenty, sickness into health and how to “make her wastelands like a garden.”

Hoosiers are made of the same stuff.

Our governor isn’t listening to the United Way, nor our teachers, parents, social workers, healthcare professionals, public health agents or mental health professionals who live in our state. He’s not grounded. Who is he listening to?

According to his speech, he tells us outright:

  • Indiana ranks best in the Midwest…in Area Development magazine’s Top States for Doing Business survey.
  • Indiana’s business climate ranks best in the Midwest…in Business Facilities’ State Rankings Report.
  • Indiana ranks 1st in the Midwest…in Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States survey.
  • Indiana ranks 1st in the Midwest…in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index

This certainly explains why he feels so good about the job he is doing. His policies benefit corporations, and they in turn, give him high rankings. Bravo.

The problem Pence and other conservatives refuse to grasp, is the past 40 years of high rankings in business magazines and trade journals, isn’t translating into better lives for Hoosiers. In fact, it’s been the opposite. The past several decades have crippled Middletown USA. Stagnant wages coupled with rising costs of living, no health insurance, depressed home market, and lower paying service related jobs, are causing Hoosiers to fall behind the economic prosperity others are seeming to enjoy. More contradictions.

If he read our last two articles, he’d know that progressive leaders and economists are dispelling the myths associated with trickle-down economics. We now have proof that “trickle-down economics” was/is an epic fraud on the American people. It hasn’t worked for Americans or Hoosiers. It’s voodoo economics. Giving more money and benefits to the rich, only makes them richer. For the working class, the results show we get poorer.

He goes on to tell the crowd:

No matter where a student wants to start in life – whether at college or in a career – we (Indiana) are ensuring that our schools work for all our kids. We’ve increased funding for our schools and expanded educational choice, and now we have the largest voucher program in America.

No, he’s actually cut funding to public education just like his predecessor, Mitch Daniels. In fact, Mitch lost $330 million which was earmarked for education. It was later discovered, but conveniently went toward creating a $2 billion surplus in tax revenues. Even more money has been stripped from public education as money is now diverted to private schools and corporate owned public charter schools which play by different rules. More contradictions.

How does our governor wrap up his speech to the crowd of Israeli businessmen:

The truth is, America and Israel are bound together by the common foundation: a belief in faith, family, democracy and liberty. This belief is grounded in the timeless truths of the Bible.

And on that foundation, I can assure you that millions across Indiana and America pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that those who love her ‘be secure and seek her prosperity.’

For as Israel and America prosper, so prospers freedom.

Outside Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, we visited the shepherds’ field where my faith teaches that angels appeared to shepherds to herald the birth of Jesus. As I stood beneath the stars, I heard in my mind the anthem of that night, and I thought of the immense contribution that the people of Israel have made to the world both before and after that holy night.

Very touching, but he conveniently left out justice. Wonder why he didn’t include justice? What makes the above comments so interesting, are his words preceding this eloquent touch of religion or faith with peace and prosperity.

Yes, before his closing statement about our common bond of God and Jesus with the Israeli people is the greatest contradiction – the contradiction having many people around the world shaking their heads at both the United States and Israel. These two countries, who share this common bond of Jesus and God, both Old and New Testaments, also share the most puzzling contradiction of all:

First, America must continue providing foreign assistance to Israel, with full military financing and funding for research and development of anti-rocket and missile defense systems which supports Israel’s security and jobs across America.

Second, as our nation is faced with complex security challenges of the present day, I believe America should renew production of our most advanced aircraft and consider making it available to our most cherished ally. This too would promote the security and prosperity of the United States and Israel.

Production of the F-22 ceased in 2012 after only 187 of the world’s most advanced fighter/bombers were produced. Resuming production of the F-22 would give a needed jolt to our economy, supporting up to 95,000 highly paid and skilled jobs in 44 states, and send a decisive message to the world about America’s commitment to national defense.

And since the Raptor is the best plane capable of evading the advanced radar in the surface-to-air missile defense system Russia says it will provide to Iran to guard its nuclear weapons facilities, following renewed U.S. production, the United States should consider making this aircraft available to Israel to ensure that you have the most advanced capability to defend your country and your freedom, now and in the future.

The F-22 Raptor has been grounded since 2012. Its first mission was last year when it was used on a stationary ISIS target in Syria. There was no dogfighting, but that didn’t stop Fox News from trumpeting its success.

But according to Michael Peck with National Interest:

That led Fox News to trumpet the F-22’s baptism of fire, quoting defense experts who thought the aircraft had lived up to its $412 million per copy price tag. They credited the F-22 with a unique capability to stealthily penetrate Syria’s air defenses, and then precisely drop a guided bomb on a target in the middle of a city without causing collateral damage or casualties…a more likely reason for unleashing the Raptor was to prove that the F-22, repeatedly grounded for oxygen problems blamed for at least one death, is fit to fly. Since no F-22 pilots apparently passed out over Syria, at least the Air Force can claim the problem has been temporarily fixed.

With an individual price tag of $412 million, the 187 warplanes cost taxpayers a whopping $77 billion and they’ve been on the ground. They’ve done nothing for our defense. These war planes first and only mission was bombing a single command building in Syria. Surely, we could have found a less costlier plane for that mission.

The point being, how can a person be inspired by the birthplace of Jesus during the Christmas season and then pitch building more warplanes and shipping them to Israel to use against Iran? Our infrastructure is crumbling in this state and across this country, but the republicans refuse to spend the money on it. Yet, they won’t even flinch when talking about spending billions on grounded planes.

Personally, I’ll never be able to justify this thought process. It truly is the greatest contradiction.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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