Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Searches and Seizures

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:  “The right of the people to be secure … against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….”  This provision guarantees that Americans will be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

                W. Cleon Skousen explained that “legalized searches and seizures connected with the regulatory and taxing laws has seriously strained the protection intended by this provision.  There has also been a serious invasion of privacy through the use of telephone wiretaps, electronic listening devices installed in offices and homes, and tampering with the mail.

                “It should be noted that this provision protects a person only in cases where the invasion of privacy is `unreasonable.’  Consider, for example, these situations:  (1) It is not considered unreasonable for the police to check an offender’s car or immediate premises at the time of his arrest and pick up any property belonging to the offender that is considered to be `evidence.’  (2) It is not considered unreasonable for the police to pursue a suspected criminal across private property in order to apprehend him.  (3) It is not considered unreasonable for a person to check out a vacationing neighbor’s premises under suspicious circumstances.

                “Obviously, however, it would be unreasonable to open the mail, tap the telephone wire, or put another citizen under electronic surveillance.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 702.)

                Skousen published his book in 1985.  I am sure he would have included data gathering on our telephones by the NSA and drones flying around our homes on his list of “unreasonable” searches and seizures.

                Gerald V. Bradley of The Heritage Foundation explained the “primary mechanism for enforcing the Searches and Seizures Clause is the exclusionary rule:  evidence seized illegally may not be used against the one whose privacy was invaded, at least where there is a criminal trial against him, and there only in the prosecutor’s case-in-chief.  Apart perhaps from the required Miranda warning … the exclusionary rule is the most criticized Warren Court criminal justice innovation….

                “Did the Framers intend the exclusionary rule?  Even the rule’s most ardent supporters admit that they did not.  Virtually no one doubts that, until the twentieth century, criminals did not go free, as Judge (later Justice) Benjamin N. Cardozo put it, `because the constable blundered.’  … The criminal would have been convicted, and the offending constable would have been liable as a tort-feasor for trespassing upon a person’s privacy without proper authority or cause.

                “The central argument in favor of exclusion is that it is necessary to give the Fourth Amendment real, as opposed to theoretical, meaning.  If police officers were allowed to offend the Constitution with impunity (which, it is alleged, they would if a defendant could be convicted on tainted evidence), the Fourth Amendment would be a `mere form of words.’  This argument presupposes that illegal searches and seizures are deterred by the prospect of exclusion.  If the evidence cannot be used at trial, what is the point of seizing it?”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 325.)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

He Is Risen!

                It is Easter once again.  All of Christendom rejoices at this Easter season as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  A miracle took place on that first Easter morning more than two thousand years ago in Jerusalem.  It was a miracle so magnificent that words cannot fully describe its magnitude.  This day was long foretold by prophets and looked forward to by Saints of God on earth, and spirits waiting in spiritual prison on the other side of the veil.  Yet His disciples were in despair.

                Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles recently described the “crushing sense of defeat and despair [that] enveloped His disciples as Jesus suffered and died on the cross and His body was placed lifeless in the tomb.  Despite what the Savior had repeatedly said of His death and subsequent rising again, they had not understood.  The dark afternoon of His Crucifixion, however, was soon followed by the joyous morning of His Resurrection.  But that joy came only as the disciples became eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, for even the declaration of angels that He had risen was at first incomprehensible – it was something so totally unprecedented.

                “Mary Magdalene and a few other faithful women came early to the Savior’s tomb that Sunday morning, bringing spices and ointments to complete the anointing begun when the Lord’s body was hastily laid in the sepulcher before the approaching Sabbath.  On this morning of mornings, they were greeted by an open sepulcher, the covering stone having been rolled away, and two angels who declared:

                “`Why seek ye the living among the dead?
                “`He is not here, but is risen:  remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
                “`Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again’ (Luke 24:5-7).
                “`Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
                “`And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:6-7).

                “As bidden by the angels, Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb, but it seems that all that registered in her mind was that the body of the Lord was gone.  She hurried to report to the Apostles and, finding Peter and John, said to them, `They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcre, and we know not where they have laid him’ (John 20:2).

                “Peter and John ran to the place and verified that indeed the tomb was empty, seeing `the linen clothes lying … and the napkin, that was about his head, … wrapped together in a place by itself” (John 20:5, 7).  John apparently was the first to comprehend the magnificent message of resurrection.  He writes that `he saw, and believed,’ whereas the others to that point `knew not the scripture, that [Jesus] must rise again from the dead’ (John 20:8-9).

                “Peter and John left, but Mary remained behind, still in mourning.  In the meantime the angels had returned and tenderly asked her, `Woman, why weepest thou?  She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (John 20:13).  At that moment the resurrected Savior, now standing behind her, spoke, `Woman, why weepest thou?  Whom sleekest thou?  She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away” (John 20:15).

                “Elder James E. Talmage wrote:  `It was Jesus to whom she spake, her beloved Lord, though she knew it not.  One word from His living lips changed her agonized grief into ecstatic joy.  “Jesus said unto her, Mary.”  The voice, the tone, the tender accent she had heard and loved in the earlier days lifted her from the despairing depths into which she had sunk.  She turned, and saw the Lord.  In a transport of joy she reached out her arms to embrace Him, uttering only the endearing and worshipful word, “Rabboni,” meaning My beloved Master’ (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 681).
                “Elder Christofferson continued, “And so this blessed woman became the first mortal to see and speak to the resurrected Christ.  Later that same day He appeared to Peter in or near Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5); to two disciples on the road to Emmaus’ (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-35), and in the evening to ten of the Apostles and others, appearing suddenly in their midst, saying, `Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself:  handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have’ (Luke 24:39).  Then to further convince them `while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered’ (Luke 24:41), He ate broiled fish and honeycomb before them (Luke 24:42-43).  Later He instructed them, `Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).”

                The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explained that the Resurrection of the Lord “completed the process of the Atonement that included His sinless life, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His death on the cross.  The Resurrection assured immortality for all, and the blessed Atonement provided a pathway to exaltation for those who will adhere to His gospel principles.
                “At this sacred season, we solemnly testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of all the world.  We know that He lives!  We know that because He lives, we too shall live again….”

                I too testify that Jesus Christ is our resurrected Lord and Redeemer.  Because He overcame both death and sin, we can live again too and walk back into the presence of Heavenly Father.  We must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end of our lives.  He is risen!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Follow the Prophet

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we teach the rising generation to follow the counsel of the living prophet.  The prophet of the Lord on earth today is Thomas S. Monson.  He is the mouthpiece of the Lord, and we will be blessed as we follow his counsel.

                Elder William R. Walker of the Quorum of the Seventy suggested five ways to follow the example of President Monson.

                “We can be positive, and we can be happy.  On one occasion President Monson said:  `We … can choose to have a positive attitude.  We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.  In other words, we can choose to be happy and positive, regardless of what comes our way.’ (See “Messages of Inspiration from President Monson,” Church News, Sept. 2, 2012, p. 2.)”

                Elder Walker described an experience of being invited to attend a meeting in the First Presidency boardroom.  He was waiting quietly outside the room waiting to be invited in when he heard whistling in the hall and thought it was inappropriate behavior for the place.  “A moment later the whistler walked around the corner – it was President Monson.  He was happy, and he was positive.  He greeted me warmly….  Even with the weight of the whole Church on his shoulders, he is an example of happiness and he always has a positive attitude.  We should be that way.”

                “We can be kind and loving toward children.  Jesus spoke often of children.  His prophet, President Monson, speaks often of children as well.  I’ve seen, particularly at temple dedications, how he loves children and, by his example, teaches us how to treat them.  At every temple dedication he focuses on the children.  He loves to include them in the cornerstone ceremony and always invites a few of them to put some mortar in the cornerstone to participate in the symbolic completion of the temple.  He makes it fun for them.  He makes it memorable for them.  He always has a big smile for them.  He encourages and commends them.  It is a wonderful thing to see.”

                “We can follow the promptings of the Spirit.  President Monson beautifully stated his devotion to the Lord and his commitment to following the promptings of the Spirit with these words:  `The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need.  And I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.”  (See On the Lord’s Errand, DVD, 2008.)

                “We can love the temple.  President Monson will go down in history as one of the great temple builders in the history of the Church.  Since becoming President of the Church in February 2008, he has continued the great work of building temples.  In the six years he has been the prophet, President Monson has announced plans to build 33 new temples.

                “President Monson has said, `May each of us live worthy lives, with clean hands and pure hearts, so that the temple may touch our lives and our families.’  (See “Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010, p. 19.)

                “He has also given this wonderful promise:  `As we love the temple, touch the temple, and attend the temple, our lives will reflect our faith.  As we come to these holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we shall be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation.”  (See Be Your Best Self (1979), p. 56; emphasis added.)

                “We can be kind, considerate, and loving.  President Monson is a wonderful example of loving others.  His entire ministry has been filled with making visits to homes, placing his hands on heads and giving blessings; making unexpected phone calls to comfort and encourage; sending letters of encouragement, commendation, and appreciation; visiting hospitals and care centers; and find time to go to funerals and viewings despite a very busy schedule.

                “Just as the Savior would do, Thomas Monson has gone about doing good (see Acts 10:38) and blessing and loving others; this has been the driving force in his life.”

                As an example – one of many – Elder Walker described meeting with the First Presidency to discuss plans for the dedication of the Brigham City Utah Temple located about an hour north of Salt Lake City.  Even though President Monson could easily travel to Brigham City to dedicate the temple, he assigned President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to do the dedication.  “Brigham City is the hometown of President … Packer, this great Apostle who has sat beside me for so many years in the Twelve.  I want him to have the honor and blessing of dedicating the temple in his hometown….  I want it to be his day.”

                I attended a broadcast of the dedication and sensed the gratitude that President Packer felt for this honor.  He and his wife both grew up in Brigham City and spent a wonderful in the temple there.  Elder Walker stated, “I was very touched by President Monson’s kind and magnanimous gesture to his fellow Apostle.  We can all be that way.  We can share and be kind and think more of those around us.”

                President Monson has taught us in words and example how to live as true followers of Jesus Christ.  We will be blessed as we follow the pattern he has provided for us.  As we do so we will strengthen our capacity to be even more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Freedom of Marriage

                Have you considered the possibility that Americans could lose the right to associate with whom we choose?  Do you realize that the loss of association would also take the freedom to marry whom we choose?  Traditional marriage has been around since God performed the marriage ceremony for Adam and Eve.  It has been the “backbone” of societies for thousands of years.  Now there is a very real possibility that the very institution of marriage will be destroyed in the name of “marriage equality!”

                Traditional marriage has been under attack for a long time, but the speed of the destruction of marriage has increased in recent years.  This has happened particularly under the direction of the Obama Administration but federal judges assisted.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was introduced in Congress in May 1996 and passed by “both houses of Congress by large, veto-proof majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.  By defining `spouse’ and its related terms to signify a heterosexual couple in a recognized marriage, Section 3 codified non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, social security survivors’ benefits, immigration, bankruptcy, and the filing of joint tax returns, as well as excluding same-sex spouses from the scope of laws protecting families of federal officers …, laws evaluating financial aid eligibility, and federal ethics laws applicable to opposite-sex spouses.

                Under DOMA states could “refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states….  DOMA, in conjunction with other statutes, had barred same-sex married couples from being recognized as `spouses’ for purposes of federal laws, effectively barring them from receiving federal marriage benefits.  DOMA’s passage did not prevent individual states from recognizing same-sex marriage, but it imposed constraints on the benefits received by all legally married same-sex couples.”

                Mr. Clinton and some legislators began speaking about repealing DOMA.  Then “the Obama administration announced in 2011 that it had concluded Section 3 was unconstitutional and that although the administration would continue to enforce the law while it existed, it would no longer defend the law in court.”  In United States v. Windsor in 2013 “the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”  Since the Supremes made their decision, judge after judge has struck down laws defining traditional marriage as a man and a woman. 

                I have often wondered at the speed of the destruction of traditional marriage.  I found answers to numerous questions in an article by Stella Morabito entitled “Bait And Switch:  How Same Sex Marriage Ends Family Autonomy” with a second line stating “The goal isn’t equality – it’s abolishing an institution.”  Ms. Morabito began her article:  “Abolishing all civil marriage is the primary goal of the elites who have been pushing same sex marriage.  The scheme called `marriage equality’ is not an end in itself, and never really has been.  The LGBT agenda has spawned too many other disparate agendas hostile to the existence of marriage, making marriage `unsustainable,’ if you will.  By now we should be able to hear the growing drumbeat to abolish civil marriage, as well as to legalize polygamy and all manner of reproductive technologies.

                “Consider also the breakneck speed at which the push for same sex marriage has been happening recently.  The agenda’s advocates have been very methodical in their organization, disciplined in their timing, flush with money, in control of all information outlets, including media, Hollywood, and academia.  And perhaps most telling is the smearing of any dissenter in the public square, a stigma made de rigueur by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his animus-soaked opinion that repealed the Defense of Marriage Act.

                “We’ve seen also how the Obama Administration’s push for same sex marriage has occurred in lockstep with policies that are hostile to marriage, such as the severe marriage penalty written into Obamacare.

                “Activist judges have taken their cues from Attorney General Eric Holder who used the DOMA repeal to proclaim open season on any state that recognizes marriage as an organic (i.e., heterosexual) union of one man and one woman.  In their crosshairs are state constitutions, businesses, students, communities, churches, and all of those bogus `conscience clauses’ that were written into same sex marriage legislation in order to sway wavering state legislators to vote `aye.’

                “The tipping point came soon after certain big name conservatives and pundits swallowed the bait on same sex marriage.  Folks like Michael Barone, John Bolton, George Will, S.E. Cupp, and David Blankenhorn have played a huge role in building momentum for this movement, which, as we will see, is blazing a trail to the abolition of state recognized marriage.  And whether they know it or not, advocacy for same sex marriage is putting a lot of statist machinery into motion.  Because once the state no longer has to recognize your marriage and family, the state no longer has to respect the existence of your marriage and family.

                “Without civil marriage, the family can no longer exist autonomously and serve as a wall of separation between the individual and the state.  This has huge implications for the survival of freedom of association.

                “The notion of marriage equality was never about marriage or about equality.  It’s all about the wrapping paper.  It’s been packaged as an end in itself, but it is principally just a means to a deeper end.  It is the means by which marriage extinction – the true target – can be achieved.  If marriage and family are permitted to exist autonomously, power can be de-centralized in society.  So the family has always been a thorn in the side of central planners and totalitarians.  The connection between its abolition and the limitless growth of the state should be crystal clear.  So anyone who has bought into this movement, or is tempted to do so, would want to step back and take a harder look.”

                This is only the beginning the article.  A large portion of it contains a discussion about “six indicators we’re headed directly for abolishing civil marriage.”  After thoroughly discussing these indicators, Ms. Morabito declares, “The hard push for marriage equality was never about marriage.  Neither was it about equality.  It’s a convenient vehicle to abolish civil marriage, whether to rid the world of paternalism, evade responsibility for children, `privatize’ relationships, or whatever.  Abolishing marriage strips the family of its autonomy by placing it much more directly under the regulating control of the state.

                “Once the state no longer has to recognize the marriage relationship and its presumption of privilege and privacy, we all become atomized individuals in the eyes of the state, officially strangers to one another.  We lose the space – the buffer zone – that the institution of the natural, organic family previously gave us and that forced the state to keep its distance….”

                The entire article is very thought-provoking.  I can now see more clearly why progressives are pushing same-sex marriage on us and why the push has been so rapid.  I believe it is part of the plan to destroy society as we know it.  I hope you will read the article and then spend some time pondering the implications of the same-sex marriage movement and what would be the outcome in the United States and the world if traditional marriage is destroyed.  I too believe the institution of traditional marriage is a wall of separation that protects our freedom of association guaranteed by the Constitution.  Do you agree?  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nevada Range War

                Good news came about the standoff in Nevada between the Bureau of Land Management and the Bundy Ranch.  An announcement was made that the federal officers would pull out because the situation had become too dangerous for their employees and the public.
The decision was apparently made after information came out that a company backed by Communist China wanted the land for a renewable energy farm.

                I was seriously wondering if the U.S. Government was moving towards another disastrous showdown with American citizens.  It did not sound good to me to hear that more than 200 federal officers converged near a ranch located in Buckerville, Nevada.  The federal officers were there to enforce a mandate that Cliven Bundy remove his cattle from federal lands; they began to round up his cattle to sell them.  The forced cattle roundup was causing concern for many people besides the Bundy family.  Elected officials in several states weighed in, and militia members began to mobilize in support of their fellow Americans. 

                I could not help thinking about what happened at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, when the Government used power against American citizens.  Randy Weaver and his family, plus his friend Kevin Harris, were living at Ruby Ridge in northern Idaho.  Federal officers laid siege to the property and caused a deadly confrontation in 1992.  The confrontation ended with the death of Weaver’s wife Vicki, their son Sammy, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Francis Degan.

                “At the subsequent federal criminal trial of Weaver and Harris, Weaver’s attorney Gerry Spence made accusations of `criminal wrongdoing’ against every agency involved in the incident:  the FBI, USMS, the Bureau of Alcohol, tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for Idaho.  At the completion of the trial, the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility formed a Ruby Ridge Task Force to investigate Spence’s charges.  The 1994 Task Force report was released in redacted form by Lexis Counsel Connect and raised questions about the conduct and policy of all the agencies.

                “Public outcry over Ruby Ridge and the subsequent Waco siege involving many of the same agencies and even the same personnel fueled the widening of the militia movement.  To answer public questions about Ruby Ridge, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information held a total of 14 days of hearings between September 6 and October 19, 1995, and subsequently issued a report calling for reforms in federal law enforcement to prevent a repeat of Ruby Ridge and to restore public confidence in federal law enforcement.”

                The Waco, Texas, siege or massacre took place at a compound owned by the religious group Branch Davidians.  Federal and Texas state law enforcement and military officers laid siege at the compound from February 28 until April 19, 1993.  The Branch Davidians sect separated from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1955 and was led by David Koresh  They lived at Mount Carmel Center ranch in Elk, Texas, about nine miles east-northeast of Waco. 

                “The group was suspected of weapons violations and a search and arrest warrant was obtained by the U.S. federal agency Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch.  An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four agents and six Branch Davidians.  Upon the ATF’s failure to raid the compound, a siege was initiated by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the standoff lasting 51 days.  Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out.  During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center, and 76 men, women, and children, including David Koresh, died.

                “Much dispute remains as to the actual events of the siege.  A particular controversy ensued over the origin of the fire; a government investigation concluded in 2000 that sect members themselves had started the fire.  The events at Waco were cited as the primary motivation for the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing that took place exactly two years later in 1995.”

                Monica Morrell wrote an article suggesting that the Nevada problem could be about water rights.  Her article sheds even more light on why the government went after Bundy’s cattle. 
                “Bunkerville in Nevada is ensconced between the Virgin River and the main road, Riverside Road.  The Virgin River is a tributary to Lake Mead.  The river, along with other sources, discharges into Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States.  Both the Virgin River and Lake Mead are part of the Colorado River Basin.  In fact, Lake Mead is considered to be the largest surface water collection for the Colorado River.  Whoever controls the water controls the vast wealth that is distributed to a network of states at a crucial time during a water shortage?

                Doug Hagmann was so concerned about what might happen at the Bundy ranch that he called for the governor to send out the National Guard to protect the people.  “The current critical nature of the crisis cannot be understated.  In alleged response to a 20-year-old battle over `illegal cattle grazing,’ along with a more recent claim related to ostensibly protecting the allegedly endangered desert tortoise, the federal Bureau of Land Management has been dispatched to the Bundy ranch.  Do not be fooled by the innocuous sounding name of this federal agency, however, as the deployment now consists of some 200 heavily armed federal troops, transported by military troop carriers and equipped with sniper rifles and other military armaments.  It is an army by any other name.  [Obama’s civilian army?]

                “Meanwhile, in response to this show of force, armed members of patriotic militias are rallying around the Bundy ranch en masse to protect the rights of a rancher and his family.  Clearly, the lines of battle are being drawn.  Patriots and militias appear to be preparing to square off against this federal army who are present in numbers undeniably disproportionate to any perceived or actual threat.

                “As the scene of the battle begins to take form, the situation is needlessly and recklessly being permitted to escalate in words and deeds.  Today, Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins threatened the patriotic militia members rallying around the Bundys by publicly stating that those planning to travel to Nevada in their support `better have funeral plans.’  Clearly, these are fighting words and an obvious escalation to an already volatile situation.

                “As those words were being spoken, snipers equipped with high powered rifles with scopes continued to train their weapons on American citizens.  As that threat now begins to reverberate throughout the nation, federal troops are getting into position to launch whatever offensive that is being planned by federal bureaucrats, merely waiting for the `go’ signal.  The situation is deadly and deadly serious.”

                Judi McLeod shared information about other ranchers in Nevada and how the federal government treated them.  It sounds to me like the Bundy family has a right to believe the government is coming after them!

                Americans remember the results of force at Ruby Ridge and Waco.  I thought the range war might be the “crisis” the Obama Administration has been waiting for, the one they have been planning for, and preparing for with all their regulations.  Americans are fed up with their power grabs and are stressed by the economic situation of the nation.  I thought the fuse might be lit in Nevada but am relieved to hear the Government has backed off – for now.  Was this a test to see if Americans would stand up to their Government in spite of the odds against them? 

                There are still many questions about what happened in Nevada and why.  The Blaze did a story about seven questions people are asking.  There are probably many more.  The big question in my mind is whether or not the U.S. Government was right in using force in Nevada or are we just getting paranoid because of the many strange happenings in our nation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Harry Reid and the Koch Brothers

                Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared war on the Koch brothers and continues to attack them.  In fact, Senator Reid and other Democrats have been attacking the Koch brothers for more than four years with lies, lies, and more lies.  One of the lies Senator Reid told about the Koch brothers is that they do not pay any corporate taxes.  Senator Reid’s lie may sound somewhat familiar to you because he falsely accused Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes.  It appears that the Senator does not know the truth from a lie!

                What would cause the esteemed Senator Reid to hate the Koch brothers so much?  It appears that the Koch brothers, who have been involved in many charitable organizations, have decided to get involved with politics.  They are not only donating their considerable wealth to politics, but they are supporting conservative and libertarian causes!  Thus, they have incurred the wrath of Senator Reid.

                Here are a few important facts about these terrible Koch brothers.  The Koch family has made donations to “conservative and libertarian policy and advocacy groups in the United States, including think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, and more recently Americans for Prosperity.  Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works are organizations with links to both the Kochs and the Tea Party movement.”

                The Koch brothers are sons of Fred C. Koch (1900-1967) and Mary Robinson Koch (1907-1990). Fred was a “chemical engineer and entrepreneur who founded the oil refinery firm that later became Koch Industries”; he was also a founding member of the John Birch Society.  The couple had four sons:  Frederick R. Koch (born in 1933; collector), Charles G. Koch (born 1935; Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Koch Industries), David H. Koch (born 1940; Executive Vice President of Koch Industries), and William Koch (born 1940; businessman, sailor, and collector). 

                The Koch family controls Koch Industries, “the second largest privately owned company in the United States.”  The company was started by Fred C. Koch who “developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy oil into gasoline.  Koch Industries annual revenues have been `estimated to be one hundred billion dollars.’  Charles and David, the two brothers still with Koch Industries, are affiliated with the Koch family foundations.

                “The Koch family foundations are a related group of non-profit organizations that began with the establishment of the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation in 1953, and now include the Charles Koch Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Koch Cultural Trust.  The organizations collectively have a stated goal of `advancing liberty and freedom’ through the support of various causes which `further social progress and sustainable prosperity.’”

                Doug Ross posted a comic-book-type article entitled “The Koch Ness Monsterillustrated by Biff Spackle.  This article explains in pictures and words that numerous wealthy people are donating to Democrats – just as the Koch brothers donate to Republicans.  The article is done in such a way that any “low information voter can understand.”  

                Apparently, the Koch brothers and/or Koch Industries grew tired of being demonized by Democrats because Charles Koch wrote an op-ed piece to those who are attacking his character.  He began his article:  “I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives.  It is those principles – the principles of a free society – that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

                “Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government.  That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles.  I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through education efforts.  It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.

                “A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value.  In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so.  The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens.  The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you.  This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

                “More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen.  `The natural progress of things,’ Jefferson wrote, `is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.’  He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better.  The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle.  Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell.  For them, the promised end justifies the means.

                “Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents.  They engage in character assassination.  (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.)  This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced.  Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society – and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.

                “Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re `un-American’ and trying to `rig the system,’ that we’re against `environmental protection’ or eager to `end workplace safety standards.’  These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, `Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.’  Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company….”

                The second half of Mr. Koch’s piece details the number of employees working for his company, the number of products they make, the number of jobs they create elsewhere, their business practices, etc.  The entire article is very interesting and informative.  I recommend that you read it IF you are really interested in knowing more about Koch Industries.

                I am grateful that Mr. Koch spoke out against the bullying tactics of Senator Reid and other Democrats.  I am grateful that he took the fight to them.  I hope that more conservatives and Republicans will stand up to the bullies who are using such awful tactics for political gain.  I am grateful that the Koch brothers are willing and able to use their vast wealth to spread the conservative/libertarian side of the debate.  I hope they will continue to fund the fight against the progressives who currently have control of our government.

Monday, April 14, 2014

William Tecumseh Sherman

                William Tecumseh Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on February 8, 1820.  Twenty years later he graduated from West Point and began his service in the U.S. Army. 

                We know of Sherman because of his service during the Civil War.  He was appointed in May 1861 as a colonel of the 13th Infantry; as such, he led a brigade at the Battle of Bull Run.  He was promoted to brigadier general and took part in the capture of Vicksburg.  Sherman became commander of the Division of the Mississippi in March 1864. 

                Commanding about one hundred thousand troops, General Sherman swept through Georgia.  He captured Atlanta and continued on to Savannah.  He commanded his troops to destroy everything of military value in their path; his strategy proved very effective even though it caused much bitterness.  He and his troops then turned northward on their way through North and South Carolina; they forced Confederate General Joseph Johnston to surrender in April 1865.

                Sherman became the commanding General of the Army in 1869 and served in that position until 1883.  When proposed as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 1884, Sherman declared:  “If nominated I will not accept.  If elected, I will not serve.”

                When General Sherman retired from the Army, he became the manager of a banking house in San Francisco.  He passed away on February 14, 1891.