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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Education for Blacks

                A new study illustrates a variety of facts, among them is the fact that students do much better when their parents get involved in their education.  This particular study shows that Black students excel when their parents are involved in their education.   The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) released their study showing Black homeschool students get better scores on achievement tests than White students attending public schools.  The study is a “first of its kind” showing what happens when Black parents home school their children.

                Dr. Brian Ray, the researcher and president of NHERI studied Black families and their children who were homeschooled at least half of their school years.  As part of the study, the parents completed surveys about why they chose to homeschool their children, and their children took standardized academic achievement tests.

                “The Black homeschool children’s high achievement test scores were remarkable.  Parents without teaching certificates helping their children from a traditionally low-achieving minority group excel this way should cause all educators and social advocacy groups to take special note.”

                When comparing Black students who were homeschooled with Black students who attended public schools, the researchers found homeschooled Blacks excelled those attending public schools by the following percentile points:  reading (42), language (26), and math (23).  Researchers controlled for gender and family socioeconomic status.

                This study shows the great effects on students when their parents are involved.  Those parents who desire to “provide religious or moral instruction,” “transmit values, beliefs, and worldview to the child,” and “customize or individualize the education of each child,” as well as for their children to “accomplish more academically” can have great influence on how their children do academically.

                Antonio Buehler blogs about education; he also “works with homeschoolers to identify individual learning styles so parents can better tailor their homeschooling approach to their children’s capabilities and needs.  He also helps students who want to gain admission to a highly competitive college or university.” 

                Buehler wrote a guest post for Penelope Trunk about “why black kids should be homeschooled.”  “Homeschooling is by far the best alternative for most black children.  There are problems in public school for all children, but the institutional racism of traditional schools means that black children have the most to gain from homeschooling.
                “Today 15% of homeschoolers are minorities, but that percentage should escalate rapidly as parents begin to realize the benefits of homeschooling compared to the tremendous harm of public schooling.”

                Buehler listed the following reasons for why Blacks should be homeschooled:  (1) “Politicians sacrifice the black community over and over again.”  There are many government policies that harm Black families. 

                (2) “Public schools are still segregated” because “non-white students are disproportionately located in the worst schools in the country.” 

                (3) “Public schools expect less from black students.  A culture of low expectations surrounds black students on a daily basis…. While they are reminded that society has been extremely unkind to the black community, at the same time they are reminded that they must know their place in society, and that demanding equal treatment is disruptive, uncouth, and unacceptable.”

                (4) “Private schools are not a solution” because “stereotypes and biases exist in private schools as well.”

                (5) “Homeschooling solves a huge number of educational problems for black kids.”  Homeschooling “emphasizes their worth as individuals;” allows them to “learn to read … in a way that is relevant to them;” learn math from someone who expects them to do their best; study history and “learn about all the inspirational men and women who aren’t prioritized in the Euro-centric curriculum of public schools.  Instead of being told how stupid they are or how little is expected of them, they can be free to develop their unique talents to the best of their abilities."


                According to Jessica Huseman black parents are “increasingly taking their kids’ education into their own hands.”  She also discusses the fact that lower income families have a difficult time having one parent at home to do the schooling.  In other words, most families that homeschool their children have higher incomes and can afford to have a stay-at-home parent.  In spite of the difficulties, more black parents are opting to homeschool their children and they should be applauded for doing so. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

William Faulkner

                William Cuthbert Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi, to Murry Cuthbert Falkner (August 17, 1870-August 7, 1932) and Maud Butler (November 27, 1871-October 19, 1960).  The family later included three younger brothers:  Murry Charles “Jack” Falkner (June 26, 1899-December 24, 1975), author John Falkner (September 24, 1901-March 28, 1963), and Dean Swift Falkner (August 15, 1907-November 10, 1935).

                Soon after William turned one year old, Murry Cuthbert Falkner moved his family to Ripley, Mississippi, in order to work as the treasurer in the family-owned Gulf & Chicago Railroad Company.  Murry hoped to inherit the railroad from his father, John Wesley Thompson Falkner, but his father sold the railroad for $75,000. Murry was disappointed with his father’s lack of faith in his ability and planned to moved his family to Texas and become a rancher.  Maud did not agree with her husband’s decision, and the family moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where Murry could work in one of his father’s businesses there.  William was barely five years old when the Falkner family moved to Oxford, a place he would call home for the rest of his life.

                William Faulkner was greatly influenced by “his mother Maud, his maternal grandmother Lelia Butler, and Caroline Barr (the black woman who raised him from infancy)” in developing his artistic imagination.  “Both his mother and grandmother were great readers and also painters and photographers, educating him in visual language.  While Murry enjoyed the outdoors and taught his sons to hunt, track, and fish.  Maud valued education and took pleasure in reading and going to church.  She taught her sons to read before sending them to public school and exposed them to classics such as Charles Dickens and Grimm’s’ Fairy Tales.  Faulkner’s lifelong education by Callie Barr is central to his novels’ preoccupations with the politics of sexuality and race.”

                Faulkner had early success in school, “excelled in the first grade, skipped the second, and continued doing well through the third and fourth grades.  However, beginning somewhere in the fourth and fifth grades of his schooling, Faulkner became a much more quiet and withdrawn child.  He began to play hooky occasionally and became somewhat indifferent to his schoolwork, even though he began to study the history of Mississippi on his own time in the seventh grade.  The decline of his performance in school continued and Faulkner wound up repeating the eleventh, and then final grade, and never graduating from high school.”

                Faulkner listened to the stories told by the old men of Oxford as well as stories from Mammy Callie.  The stories were of the Civil War and the Ku Klux Klan as well as family stories; they included the exploits of William’s great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner (after whom he was named).  Great-grandfather Falkner had been a successful businessman, writer, and a hero of the Civil War; he was called “Old Colonel” and had “been enshrined long since as a household deity” by the time William was born.

                Faulkner began writing poetry in his teenage years but did not write his first novel until his late twenties.  He enrolled at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford in 1919 and “attended three semesters before dropping out in November 1920.”  His father worked at the university as a business manager, which allowed William to attend classes.  Even though he often skipped classes and got a “D” in English, “some of his poems were published in campus journals.”

                Seventeen-year-old Faulkner met Philip Stone, who “came from one of Oxford’s older families” and had “already earned bachelor’s degrees from Yale and the University of Mississippi.” Even though only four years older than Faulkner, Stone was “an important early influence on Faulkner’s writing” and introduced him to writers such as James Joyce who also influenced Faulkner.  Faulkner was “greatly influenced by the history of his family and the region in which he lived … his sense of humor, his sense of the tragic position of Black and White Americans, his characterization of Southern characters, and his timeless themes…”

                Faulkner changed his surname from “Falkner” to “Faulkner” in 1918, probably because of a “careless typesetter.”  In 1929 Faulkner married Estelle Oldham (1897-1972), who brought two children from a previous marriage.  He worked night shifts in the University of Mississippi’s boiler room in 1929, sold a novel entitled As I Lay Dying in 1930 and began to send out short stories to national magazines the same year.  He used the income to purchase an antebellum home in Oxford and renamed it “Rowan Oak.”  Estelle lived there with their daughter, Jill, until her death in 1972.  “The house and furnishings are maintained much as they were in Faulkner’s day.  Faulkner’s scribblings are still preserved on the wall there, including the day-by-day outline covering an entire week that he wrote out on the walls of his small study to help him keep track of the plot twists in the novel A Fable.

                In 1932 Faulkner accepted an offer from MGM Studios to be a screenwriter in Hollywood and continued to find work there in the 1930s and 1940s.  “Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature generally and Southern literature specifically.  Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, for which he became the only Mississippi-born Nobel laureate.  Two of his works, A Fable (1954) and his last novel The Reivers (1962), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  In 1998, the  Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century; also on the list were As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August (1932).  Absalom, Absalom! (1936) is often included on similar lists.”

                In 1959 William Faulkner was seriously injured in a horse-riding accident; he died of myocardial infarction at age 64 on July 6, 1962, at Wright’s Sanatorium in Byhalia, Mississippi.  He is buried in a family plot in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Prohibition

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.” 

                Section 2 of this amendment gave Congress and the States power to enforce this article.  Section 3 was a condition under which the amendment would become inoperative:  It needed to be ratified within seven years from the date the Congress submitted it to the States for ratification – the first amendment to have a time limit.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “Notice that this amendment did not give the federal government the authority to merely regulate the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic liquor, but made it an absolute prohibition.  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 748.)

                Skousen continue by explaining that the prohibition movement started before the Civil War but was actually adopted by only five states by 1900.  “Many states compromised by passing local option laws which allowed individual counties to decide whether or not the manufacture and sale of liquor would be permitted.”  Women got involved and by 1916 nineteen states were totally dry with other dry under the local option.  Congress made prohibition a statute in 1917 as “a war-time food-control measure” and submitted it as the Eighteenth Amendment to the States on December 18, 1917. 
                “The spirit of reform and crusading engendered by the war psychology resulted in speedy ratification by the states so that Prohibition became part of the constitution on January 29, 1919” (p. 749).

                I do not drink alcoholic beverages and never have.  I strongly believe that alcohol is bad for the person drinking as well as for society. I will never think otherwise.   Yet I wondered who would think prohibiting alcohol for an entire nation was a good idea and why.  Skousen gave me some background, but David Wagner of The Heritage Foundation fleshed out the real problem.

                Wagner explained, “The Eighteenth Amendment, enacted in 1919, was one of four `Progressive’ Amendments passed and ratified in quick succession. Although the American involvement with alcohol and with temperance movements had been resent from the beginning of the country’s history, Prohibition rode to easy victory in an alliance with other elements of the Progressive Movement in the early twentieth century.  The Sixteenth Amendment, permitting the income tax, freed the government from dependence on the tax on liquor.  The direct election of Senators, through the Seventeenth Amendment, made the Senate more amenable to electoral pressure for temperance.  Although the Nineteenth Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified in 1920, it reflected a general acceptance of woman suffrage (and temperance support) already present in the states, many of which allowed women to vote even before the Nineteenth Amendment came into effect.
                “Businesses supported the amendment to ensure a more reliable workforce, while prejudice against German-Americans and their breweries during World War I helped make Prohibition a patriotic cause….” (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 416.)

                The Eighteenth Amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment about fourteen years later in 1933.  Being a non-drinker, I do not really care if alcohol is prohibited or not because it does not change my life at all.  I am however affected by the destruction of liberty and freedom.  Why would anyone think it was a good idea to prohibit alcohol beverages to an entire nation?  Now we know it was just another one of the many “great” progressive ideas!

                I like the idea that alcohol consumption is controlled by the local governments.  There are many villages in the far-flung reaches of Alaska; some of them are “dry” and some of them are “wet” with still others being considered semi-dry.  Each of these conditions has its own statutes and procedures.

                “When Alaska became a state in 1959, state laws removed control of alcohol regulation from the federal government and Native communities.  In 1981, however, the state legislature changed alcohol laws to give residents broad powers to regulate how alcohol comes into their communities via a local option referendum.  By mid-1999, 112 small communities had held 197 alcohol control elections under the state law….  Most communities passing local option restrictions chose to ban sale and importation….”  

                Elections continue to be held in the villages.  Some “wet” communities decide to go “dry” while some “dry” villages decide to take a chance on becoming “wet.”  Usually, the movement is from “wet” to “dry” because alcohol use causes so much trouble in the villages.  At any rate, the decision should and must be made at the local level – and definitely not on a national level!
               


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Preparing for Easter

                We have eight days until Easter.  As that sacred day approaches I find myself seeking ways to draw nearer to the Lord and to feel more deeply the miracle of the Resurrection of our Savior, even Jesus Christ.  I feel a definite need to prepare myself.  I decided to go to the scriptures to study again the final week of the life of Jesus Christ and to share my study with you.

                On Saturday eight days before the first Easter morning, Jesus Christ and His disciples arrived at the home of His friends, Mary and Martha in Bethany.  They had come to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem.  His friends prepared dinner, and Jesus sat at the table with Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. Mary used a pound of a very expensive ointment to anoint Jesus’s feet; then she wiped His feet with her hair.  Judas Iscariot criticized her for using the expensive ointment on the Savior’s feet instead of selling it and using the money to help the poor.  Jesus said, “let her alone; against the day of my burying hath she kept this.  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always” (John 12:1-8).

                On Sunday the Savior and His group walked from Bethany to Jerusalem.  The Savior sent two of His disciples to get an ass and her colt and bring them to Him.  The disciples brought the animals to Jesus and put their clothes on them and sat Jesus thereon.  There was “a very great multitude” crying before Him, “Hosanna to the Son of David:  Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”  Christ went into the temple and cast all the money changers and animals out.  “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  He healed the blind and lame who came to Him in the temple.  The priests were angry with Him.  He and His group went back to Bethany for the night (Matthew 21:1-17).

                On Monday Jesus returned to Jerusalem hungry.  He saw a fig tree with leaves; when He found no figs on the tree, He cursed the tree for pretending to have fruit.  He went into the temple and started to teach the people.  The chief priests and the elders of the people questioned Him, “By what authority doest thou these things?  And who gave thee this authority?”  He told them that He would answer their questions if they would first answer His.  He asked them about the baptism of John, was it “from heaven, or of men.”  They immediately realized that they could not answer His question “for fear of the people” and answered, “We cannot tell.”  He told them, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”  He then began to teach them by parables, and they realized He was talking about them.  They “sought to lay hands on him” but “feared the multitude” (Matthew 21:18-47).  The Sadducees came to question Him about the next life, and He confounded them (Matthew 22:23).  The Pharisees saw how the Sadducees had been silenced and decided to try their luck by asking Him about the “great commandments in the law.  He told them the two great commandments – love God and love our neighbors – and then asked, “What think ye of Christ?  Whose son is he?” and “no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions” (Matthew 22:34-46).

                On Tuesday Jesus again taught the people in the temple and on nearby Mount of Olives.  The chief priests, scribes and elders plot how to kill Jesus but did not want it to happen on the “feast day” (Matthew 26:1-5).  Jesus told His disciples that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Matthew 26:1-5).  Jesus returned to Bethany.

                Sometime while in Bethany (Tuesday evening through Wednesday) Jesus was at the home of Simon the leper for dinner.  A woman poured “very precious ointment” out of an “alabaster box” upon His head.  Again the disciples murmured that the ointment could have been sold and used to help the poor.  Again, the Savior said to leave the woman alone because they would always have the poor among them.  “… she hath wrought a good work upon me…. For in that she hath poured this ointment on mu body, she did it for my burial” (Matthew 26:6-13). Also during this time Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and plotted with them how to betray Jesus in exchange for 30 silver coins (Matthew 26:14-16).

                On Thursday the disciples of Christ prepared for the Passover meal.  Sometime during the meal Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him.  Judas Iscariot went out.  Jesus gave His disciples the sacrament for the first time to help them remember Him.  After dinner the group sang some hymns, and then Jesus and His Apostles went out to the Garden of Gethsemane.  There He asked Peter, James, and John to accompany Him as He went further into the garden.  He told them to wait for Him and He went even further and prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:  nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).  There He suffered greatly and took upon himself the sins for all mankind.  He described His suffering to be so great that He “tremble[d] because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit….” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18).  Judas and soldiers with swords came, and Judas betrayed Christ into their hands.   Most of the disciples ran away in fear, but Peter followed at a distance (Matthew 26:47-58).

                Late Thursday night or early Friday morning Jesus was taken to the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas, where the scribes and elders were gathered.  They questioned Jesus.  In answer to their question, are you “the Christ, the Son of God,” He answered, “Thou hast said:  nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:63-64).  They accused Him of blasphemy and sentenced Him to death.  Peter denied three times that he knew Jesus.

                At sunrise Friday morning the priests delivered Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who sent Him to King Herod, who sent Him back to Pilate.  Pilate’s wife had a dream, and she delivered the warning to Pilate to have nothing to do with Jesus.  He released Barabbas and sentenced Jesus to death.  Pilate washed His hands of the mess.  Judas hanged himself.

                Jesus was mocked and spit upon; He was stripped and forced to wear a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns.  He was scourged, and crucified.  When He knew He had completed the Atonement, He died.  His body was taken down from the cross and laid in the tomb of a rich man named Joseph Arimathaea.  His disciples, His mother Mary, and Mary Magdalene visited the tomb (Mathew 27:1-61).

                On Saturday, the body of Jesus lay in the tomb.  The chief priests and Pharisees were concerned that the followers of Jesus would take His body and claim He was resurrected.  Pilate sent soldiers to stand outside the tomb and to make sure no one went inside.  They sealed the entrance to the tomb with a large stone.  (Matthew 27:62-66).

                On Easter Sunday, two angels descended from heaven and rolled away the stone.  Jesus was resurrected.  He was first seen by Mary Magdalene, then by all the Apostles, and later by more than 500 hundred other people.  Jesus told His disciples to teach His gospel to others and to baptize them.  He promised to always be with His followers (Mathew 28).


                I always feel closer to God after spending time in the scriptures.  I am grateful to have a written record of the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus Christ.  I am truly grateful to know that He atoned for my sins and for the sins of all mankind who believes in Him.  I am grateful to know that the Savior lives and that we may live after death because He overcame death that we might live with Him and our Heavenly Father for all eternity.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Easter Bunny vs. Jesus Christ

                Many parents struggle with how to deal with the Easter bunny when the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the real reason we celebrate Easter.  I discovered a way to color eggs, have Easter basket fun and family dinners as well as celebrate the real purpose of this special day.  My family was strengthened by our separation of the secular from the spiritual experiences of Easter.

                I love spring and always have.  I remember running and playing in the fields of our farm as soon as the snow had melted.  I remember the March winds being quite chilly and the comfort of a warm coat or jacket as my siblings and I played outside.  I remember building huts in the wood pile and other places to get shelter from the wind.  I thoroughly enjoyed being outside after long winters inside.

                One of my favorite memories of spring is coloring eggs and then participating in at least one Easter egg hunt.  We used boiled eggs for our hunts as we had many hens; then we ate boiled eggs for days after Easter.  My family observed the Sabbath Day on Easter Sunday just we did every week.  We attended Sunday School in the morning and then returned to the building after evening chores for Sacrament Meeting.  In between the two meetings we colored Easter eggs and maybe ate our lunch outside.  I do not remember any particular lesson, but I learned about Jesus Christ.  I learned of His life and ministry as well as His teachings and example.  I learned about His betrayal by a “friend” and His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Golgotha.  I understood that His Resurrection was the most important part of Easter.

                When I became a mother I continued to celebrate Easter with my family, but I separated the secular from the spiritual.  The Easter bunny came on Friday night instead of Saturday night; he always hid the children’s Easter baskets and the children loved to look for them.  We colored a few Easter eggs on Saturday, but we kept them in the refrigerator and used plastic eggs for our egg hunts.  I remember only one outside Easter egg hunt in all the years.  Since there was deep snow on the grow on most Easters, our egg hunts took place in our living-dining area – in an animal’s mouth, behind the leg of the couch, under the center section of the dining room table, etc.  Of course, as the children grew older, the egg hunts ended; in fact, we barely had time to color eggs between running to games and practices or other activities.  We always went to our Sunday meetings and enjoyed an Easter dinner together.

                I was pleased when I learned that my children were continuing to separate the secular celebration of Easter with the spiritual celebration of the atoning sacrifice of the Savior.  Even little children know the difference between the fun stuff like Easter eggs and baskets and the resurrection of the Lord.  The children seem to understand that Sunday for the Savior.


                I do not know where I got the idea to have the Easter bunny come on Friday night instead of Saturday.  I do know that my children were surprised when they first learned that the Easter bunny visited other families on Saturday night.  I was pleased to read a recent article about another mother who decided to separate the secular side of Easter with the spiritual one.  The author too has found that it is possible to have the fun of Easter and the spiritual feast of commemorating the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Freedom to Live

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that life is one of the three pillars named in the 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….”  Life itself is “endowed” by God; therefore, no one has the right to deprive anyone of life, even if it is one’s own life.  Only God has the right to take life because He it is that gives life.

                Since Brittany Maynard moved to Oregon for the sole purpose of being allowed to take her own life, physician-assisted suicide has been more in the news.  Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have passed statutes legalizing physician-assisted suicide, and eighteen more states are considering doing so, including Alaska and my home state.

                Ryan T. Anderson of The Heritage Foundation published an article discussing why “legalizing physician-assisted suicide would be a grave mistake.”  He first discussed the position of the physicians, who have taken the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm and ease the pain of those who suffer….”

                Anderson quoted the oath that every physician makes before receiving the credentials to practice medicine:  “I will keep [the sick] from harm and injustice.  I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”  He claims that this statement “is an essential precept for a flourishing civil society.  No one, especially a doctor, should be permitted to kill intentionally, or assist in killing intentionally, an innocent neighbor.

                “Human life doesn’t need to be extended by every medical means possible, but a person should never be intentionally killed.  Doctors may help their patients to die a dignified death from natural causes, but they should not kill their patients or help them to kill themselves.  This is the reality that such euphemisms as `death with dignity’ and `aid in dying’ seek to conceal.”

                Anderson quoted from a new report from The Heritage Foundation, which explains further why making physician-assisted suicide legal would be “a grave mistake.  The report explains that it would:  (1) endanger the weak and vulnerable, (2) corrupt the practice of medicine and the doctor-patient relationship, (3) compromise the family and the relationships between family generations and (4) betray human dignity and equality before the law.  These four concepts are explained further in Anderson’s article.

                Anderson defined physician-assisted suicide:  “With physician-assisted suicide, a doctor prescribes the deadly drug, but the patient must take the drug himself.  While most activists in the United States publicly call only for physician-assisted suicide, they have historically advocated not only physician-assisted suicide, but also euthanasia:  the intentional killing of the patient by a doctor.
                “The Supreme Court has ruled in two unanimous decisions that there is no constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide….

                “The logic of assisted suicide leads to euthanasia because if `compassion’ demands that some patients be helped to kill themselves, it makes little sense to claim that only those who are capable of self-administering the deadly drugs be given this option.  Should not those who are too disabled to kill themselves have their suffering ended by a lethal injection?

                “And what of those who are too disabled to request that their suffering be ended, such as infants or the demented?  Why should they be denied the `benefit’ of a hastened death?  Does not `compassion’ provide an even more compelling reason for a doctor to provide this release from suffering and indignity?”

                Brittany Maynard killed herself after writing her goodbye note on Facebook:  “Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more.”

                Fifty-one year old Maggie Karner received the same diagnosis that was given to Maynard – terminal brain cancer.  She made a video and put it on YouTube in an effort to convince Maynard from continuing with her plans for suicide.  Karner, with the same disease, chose to live as long as possible.

                Thirty-eight year old Kara Tippetts is the mother of four children and has terminal breast cancer.  She wrote to Maynard in an effort to convince her to change her plans.

                One of my daughter’s dear friends recently lost his fight with cancer, but he did not kill himself.  He fought it for as long as he could and then spent his last days with his wife, child, parents, siblings, and friends.  He died with dignity surrounded by loved ones.

                My own daughter-in-law has brain cancer.  Nearly five years ago a baseball-size tumor was discovered in her brain; the tumor has been removed but cancer cells remain in her brain.  She was told to go home and make sure her spouse knew how to do everything necessary.  She lived with the idea that her death was imminent but committed to fight it to the end.  Because of her commitment to fight and her willingness to do difficult things, she has enjoyed more than four years with her husband and child and will probably enjoy many more years with them.


                We have the freedom to live and should not take that freedom lightly.  Instead of seeking legal ways to end life, we should be spending our time and money seeking ways to cure cancer and extend life.  Life is a gift from God.  We have the right to live until God deems our lives are finished.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why Iran?

                Why was Iran and Hezbollah removed from the National Intelligence terror list?  Why remove them?  Why now?

                Daniel Greenfield reported, “An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports.  

                In describing Iran’s regional role, the report noted the Islamic Republic’s `intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and de-escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia,’ but cautioned that `Iranian leaders – particularly within the security services – are pursuing policies with negative secondary consequences for regional stability and potentially for Iran.”

                Paul Bedard reported,    “American officials have confirmed that Iranian military brass have endorsed a nuclear electromagnetic pulse explosion that would attack the country’s power system.

                “American defense experts made the discovery while translating a secret Iranian military handbook, raising new concerns about Tehran’s recent nuclear talks with the administration….
                “A knowledgeable source said that the textbook discusses an EMP attack on America in 20 different places.”

                Could planning to set off a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) over another nation be considered terrorism?  I guess not, at least according to the U.S. National Intelligence!

                Admiral James “Ace” Lyons,former commander of the US Pacific Fleet, must be braver than National Intelligence.  In a discussion on a recent radio talk show, Admiral Lyons said, “Iran has been at war with the United States for over 35 years.  They have cost the lives of thousands of American’s and your listeners should never forget that Iran provided the key military and training support to the 9/11 hijackers.  Without that support, that 9/11 tragedy could never have happened and 3000 innocent American’s wouldn’t have lost their lives.  Iran has been at the center of the world’s leading states of terrorism.  They have an apocalyptic mindset that they believe a holy war, a catastrophic holy war, will bring back their leader.  Their mentality is a 7th century mentality and it is an evil regime that cannot be trusted.  We’ve seen this time and time again.”

                Admiral Lyons listed several terrorist activities and said that he could “trace it back to the Muslim Brotherhood and their penetration which has gone on for years, starting even before the Clinton administration, but it’s been greatly accelerated under the Obama administration where they’ve now been able to penetrate every single one of our national security agencies and intelligence agencies….  I would consider them a de facto cabinet member….

                “You know, actually, your listeners should understand that there’s no difference between the Muslim brotherhood, Al-Qaida and the Islamic state.  They all have the same objective, and that’s to take America down and replace our Constitution with the draconian, 7th century Sharia Law.  And the Muslim brotherhood creed, which has been verified by the FBI, is to destroy America from within by our own miserable hands, and to replace our Constitution with Sharia Law.  This has been verified by the FBI.  This was exposed at the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, TX, which was the largest terrorist funding trial in our history.  The unindicted co-conspirators at that trial were the Muslim Brotherhood front groups and the Islamic Society of North America and all these really should be taken down from the United States….

                “Well they’ve been working on this for 34 years and certainly I can trace back to even under the Bush – it started every penetration in the Clinton years.  In fact, Clinton’s Islamic advisor was a guy by [the name of] Al-Amoudi.  And Al-Amoudi, for your listener’s information, is a guy who personally chose the first 13 Muslim clerics to go into our military chaplain corp.  Al-Amoudi happens to be serving 30 years in federal prison for terrorist financing.  And as far as I know, we’ve never been able to vet those 13 original chaplains and [it is] unconscionable what they’ve been able to do.  In fact, some of the restricted rules of engagement, in my view, have their genesis coming out of the Muslim Brotherhood; unnecessarily exposed our wonderful military personnel to these draconian restricted rules.  In fact, our enemy, the Taliban, knew the rules better than we did.  If you saw an enemy implanting an IED and he was walking away, you couldn’t shoot him.  This is nonsense…

                “Absolutely, and since you mentioned Khobar Towers, as you recall in ’96, we had a truck bomb go off outside Khobar Towers, killing 19 US Air Force personnel and wounding almost 500; the ones who were behind that was Iran and that was proven in court.  And also, I should tell you, Judge Daniels, in 2011 in NY district court found Iran guilty in the 9/11 terrorist attack.”

                When asked why there was no retaliation with all this proof, and even negotiations with Iran to have the capacity to produce nuclear weapons, the Admiral replied, “It’s mind boggling.  Because let me just tell you, you know there was this school of thought by the Washington-Iranian lobby who keeps trying to promote the view that since we were able to deter the Soviets we can do the same thing with Iran.  That’s pure hogwash.  Even great scholars like Bernard Lewis have come to the reluctant conclusion that Iran cannot be deterred.  And other scholars like Matthew Koneg in his recent book – and this is a scholar who worked in the office of the Secretary of Defense in 2011 and 2012 – have not come to the conclusion that the only way for us to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is for us to conduct a military strike.  It’s all there.”


                I gave you only part of the interview, but I believe I gave you enough to illustrate the absurdity of the Obama administration in negotiating with Iran and in taking them off the terror list.  I believe Iran and Hezbollah were removed from the terrorist list because it just would not look right for the Obama administration to be negotiating with terrorists.  The Obama administration does not appear to have a desire to stop the Iranians but is supporting them in their efforts to have a nuclear ability.  Iran must be stopped, but the United States probably will not do it.  It looks more and more like Israel will be the nation to stop them, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the man to lead that nation.  May God bless Israel, and may God bless the USA!