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, October 21, 2014

Truth Eventually Comes Out

                The Obama Administration has given Americans lies and more lies.  I suppose they think they can hide the truth if they lie about it enough times.  They apparently believe as Adolph Hitler:  if you tell a big enough lie, people will be convinced.

                Years after the U.S. Government lost hundreds of guns in the Fast and Furious scandal, information continues to come out.  The first clue that the guns were being used by drug cartels was when one of the guns was found near the body of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was murdered on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Attorney General Eric Holder failed to reveal information about the operation to Congress and was held in contempt of Congress – the first Attorney General to receive this dubious honor.

                Apparently, another gun lost under Fast and Furious was involved in yet another crime.  House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently charged that the Justice Department is covering up this crime. 

                Issa and Grassley sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Eric Cole that Judicial Watch obtained public records showing “that law enforcement officials recovered a Fast and Furious gun last summer in connection with a shooting that left two individuals wounded.”  Their letter explained that Sean Steward bought 40 guns under the watchful eye of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  They reported that only eight of the guns were recovered by the ATF.  There seems to be evidence that one of the lost guns was used in the shooting.

                The two Congressmen wrote that they could confirm the assault rifle recovered on July 30, 2013, was purchased by Sean Christopher Steward because they have the serial number from the police report.  They added that the Justice Department did not reveal anything and failed to notify Congress.  Without the documents from Judicial Watch, none of the information would have come to light.

                “Unless the information becomes available some other way, the public would never know…. This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is still seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.”  

                The Congressmen asked the Justice Department for more information about Fast and Furious even though the DOJ has not presented the information asked for in 2012 and 2013.  They want to know if the rifle has been used in any other crimes as well as how many other weapons from Fast and Furious were used in other violent incidents.  Congress continues to ask questions without getting any answers from the DOJ.  No matter, the truth will eventually come out as long as we have leaders and other Americans who are willing to fight the fight.

                Truth continues to come out about several scandals involving officials from the Obama Administration and the Clinton Administration:  Benghazi, Whitewater, the IRS targeting conservatives, etc.  If we have enough time, we may get to the bottom of all the scandals!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Walt Disney

               Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois.  His parents, Elias Disney and Flora Call Disney, met and married in Florida and moved several times before Walt’s birth.  Walt had at least three brothers --- Roy Oliver Disney, Herbert Disney, and Ray Disney --- and one sister, Ruth.  He married Lillian Bounds on July 25, 1925, and the couple had two daughters, Diane Marie Disney and Sharon Mae Disney.  Disney also had at least one nephew, Roy Edward Disney.

                Disney had interesting ancestry.  Elias Disney was Irish-Canadian, and Flora Call Disney was German-English.  “His great-grandfather, Arundel Elias Disney, had emigrated from Gowran, County Kilkenny, Ireland, where he was born in 1801.  Arundel Disney was a descendant of Robert d’Isigny, a Frenchman who had travelled to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  With the d’Isigny name anglicized as `Disney’, the family settled in a village now known as Norton Disney, south of the city of Lincoln, in the county of Lincolnshire.”

                The Disney family moved numerous times during Walt’s childhood and youth but moved back to Chicago in 1917.  That fall Walt “began his freshman year at McKinley High School and took night courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts under the tutelage of artist and educator Louis Grell (1887-1960).  He became the cartoonist for the school newspaper, drawing patriotic topics on World War I.  With a hope to join the army, Disney dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen, but was rejected for being underage.  Afterwards, Disney and a friend joined the Red Cross.  He was soon sent to France for a year, where he drove an ambulance, but only after the armistice was signed on
November 11, 1918.

                “Hoping to find work …, Walt moved back to Kansas City in 1919 to begin his artistic career.  He considered becoming an actor, but decided to draw political caricatures or comic strips for a newspaper.  When nobody wanted to hire him as either an artist or as an ambulance driver, his brother Roy, then working in a local bank, got Walt a temporary job through a bank colleague at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio, where he created advertisements for newspaper, magazines, and movie theaters.  At Pesmen-Rubin he met cartoonist Ubbe Iwerks and, when their time at the studio expired, they decided to start their own commercial company together.

                “In January 1920, Disney and Iwerks formed a short-lived company called `Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists’.  However, following a rough start, Disney left temporarily to earn money at the Kansas City Film Ad Company.  He was soon joined by Iwerks, who was not able to run their business alone.  While working for the company, where he made commercials based on cutout animation, Disney became interested in animation and decided to become an animator….”

                Disney became a business magnate, cartoonist, filmmaker, philanthropist, and voice actor.  He became a prominent figure in the American animation industry; he became known for his influence and contributions to entertainment during the 20th century.  Disney and his brother Roy co-founded The Walt Disney Company.

                “As an animator and entrepreneur, Disney was particularly noted as a filmmaker and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design.  He and his staff created various fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy.  Disney himself was the original voice for Mickey.  During his lifetime, he received four honorary Academy Awards and won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record of four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history.  Disney also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the U.S., as well as the international resorts, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.”

                “Walt Disney was a chain smoker his entire adult life, although he made sure he was not seen smoking around children.  In 1966, Disney was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair an old neck injury….  On November 2, during pre-operative X-rays, doctors … discovered a tumor in his left lung.  Five days later a biopsy showed the tumor to be malignant and to have spread through the entire left lung.  After removing the lung on November 11, the surgeons informed Disney that his life expectancy was six months to two years.  After several cobalt therapy sessions, Disney and his wife spent a short time in Palm Springs, California.  On November 30, Disney collapsed at his home….”

                Disney was rushed to the hospital in Burbank, California, where he passed away on December 15, 1966, at 9:30 a.m., ten days after his 65th birthday.  He died of acute circulatory collapse, caused by lung cancer.   His body was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

House Votes

                The topic of discussion for the Constitution Monday comes from the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “… if no person [obtains a] majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding here on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.  But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum  for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice....”

                If none of the candidates receives a majority of the electoral votes, the right and responsibility to choose the next President of the United States goes to the House of Representatives.

                W. Cleon Skousen stated, “… so long as there are only two political parties, one of the candidates will receive a majority of the electoral votes.  However, if there were several parties, the House of Representatives might select the President most of the time.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 716.)

                Charles Fried of The Heritage Foundation explained, “Most presidential elections have not generated Twelfth Amendment controversy.  However, the provisions of the Amendment have surfaced from time to time, most commonly when a third-party candidate threatens to take a substantial percentage of the vote….” (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 378.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Becoming More Like Christ

                When Jesus Christ lived on the earth and walked with His disciples, Thomas asked the Christ how to know the way to go.  Jesus Christ answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  We can learn to follow Christ by learning and teaching the gospel as the Savior did.  We can become better gospel learners by developing Christlike attributes; we can become better teachers by learning how Jesus Christ taught his gospel and seek to become like Him.

                We can learn to teach as the Master Teacher taught by using the scriptures to help other people become more Christlike.  Jesus Christ used the scriptures to teach His gospel.  Prophets in these latter-days counsel us to use the scriptures and the words of the living prophets when we teach the gospel.  Before we can teach the scriptures, we must first study them.  We can learn the stories and examples from the scriptures and liken the scriptures to ourselves.

                The Savior used the scriptures to teach the people of Nazareth:  “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias.  And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
                “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
                “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
                “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down.  And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
                “And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
                “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.  And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
                “And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself:  whatsoever we have heard in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
                “And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
                “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
                “But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
                “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:17-27).

                In these verses the Savior referred to several Old Testament scriptures, teachings that were familiar to the listeners.  The Savior also
used the scriptures to teach the Nephites on the American continent.  “And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things.  Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
                “For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles. 
                “And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.
                “Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.
                “And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved.  Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.
                “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them:  Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Christ, 3 Nephi 23:1-6).

                The presiding Brethren of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put a high priority on the subject of teaching and learning.  In fact this was the topic of the worldwide leadership training broadcast just a few years ago.  The Brethren realize that our success in sharing the gospel message depends on it being taught, understood, and lived in a way that happiness and salvation can be realized.

                Just prior to the Ascension of Christ into heaven, He gave His final instructions to His disciples:  “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
                “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20; emphasis added).

                Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles quoted the above scripture and explained it by paraphrasing a statement made by President Gordon B. Hinckley:  “What the Savior stresses in that passage is that however much there is to do in living the gospel --- and there is much we are to do to live it --- none of that can be accomplished until we have been taught those truths and have learned the way of the gospel.  For several years now, President Hinckley has been counseling us to hold our people close to the Church, especially the youth and the new converts.  He said we all need a friend, a responsibility, and nourishing `by the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4; see also Gordon B. Hinckley, in … Ensign, May j1997, 47).
                “Inspired instruction in the home and in the Church helps provide this crucial element of nourishing by the good word of God.  And the opportunity to magnify that call exists everywhere --- fathers, mothers, siblings, friends, missionaries, priesthood and auxiliary leaders and teachers, classroom instructors, including our wonderful seminary and institute teachers, who join us today.  Well, the list goes on and on.  In fact, in this Church, it is virtually impossible to find anyone who is not a teacher….”

                Elder Holland cited a few lines from a Primary hymn “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301): 
                Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
                Help me find the way.
                Teach me all that I must do
                To live with him someday.
                “That is our common task in this Church.  That is our shared responsibility. We are all children of God, and we must teach each other; we must help each other “find the way.”  That is what we are going to try to do today” (“Teaching and Learning in the Church,” Liahona, June 2007).

                “Latter-day prophets have instructed us to use the scriptures to teach the doctrines of the taught the importance of teaching with the scriptures.  President Ezra Taft Benson said:  `Always remembers, there is no satisfactory substitute for the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.  These should be your original sources.  Read and ponder more what the Lord has said, and less about what others have written concerning what the Lord has said’ (The Gospel Teacher and His Message [address to religious educators, 17 Sept. 1976], 6).

                “President Gordon B. Hinckley said:  `The truest source of divine wisdom is the word of the Lord in these sacred volumes, the standard works of the Church.  Here is found the doctrine to which we must hold fast if this work is to roll forth to its divinely charted destiny” (in … Ensign, May 1982, 45).  

                We can become more like Christ when we know more about Him and come to know Him.  We can hear the word of God when we study the scriptures.  We can receive assistance from God in applying the scriptures in our lives when we sincerely ask Him in prayer.  I know that Jesus Christ lived and walked the earth.  I also know that He was resurrected and lives again.  He is a real Personage who loves each of us and desires us to become more like Him.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Prompt Attendance at Church

                Homes, communities, and nations are strengthened when families regularly attend Sunday meetings together.  Families who share the same beliefs are usually stronger than those who belong to different religions.  Families who are punctual in their attendance have greater feelings of security and are better prepared spiritually to be taught.

                Families with several little children or teenagers sometimes have a difficult time arriving at the meetinghouse before the Sunday meetings began.  Wise parents will teach their children that punctuality is an important character trait and then show the importance of it by personal example.  When children do not learn to be punctual as children and/or teenagers, their tardiness as adults can have more serious results. I know a man who arrives late almost every place he goes.  He leaves his home long after he should have been on the road and then has to speed to try and make up the time.  His tendency to be late is a point of contention in his marriage and family.  Tardiness is a bad habit that should be nipped in the bud.

                Susan Elzey posted an article at LDS Living in which she shares several excellent ideas to help families arrive at their Sunday meetings promptly.  In “How to Never Be Late to Church Againthe author quotes Shirley Klein, Associate director of the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University:  “The structure and order of a Sunday morning routine provides a sense of security and stability that promotes the well-being of individuals and family.”  That is a powerful statement.  It says that simply being organized on Sunday morning helps children feel more secure and stable.
                 How do our children feel when we are rushing around looking for shoes or waiting for someone to get out of the bathroom so they can comb their hair – with everyone yelling about something?  I am fairly certain that they do not feel secure or stable – let alone feeling the Holy Ghost.

                Ms. Elzey suggested that we can begin to have some structure by setting an alarm clock on Sunday just as we do on work and school days. Other suggestions include:  (1) have a schedule, (2) use Saturday to make as many preparations as possible, simplify meals – both breakfast and dinner, and (3) prepare for talks and lessons early in the week rather than at the last minute.  The author’s article gives further explanations and suggestions in the various categories.

                I hate being late to appointments, meetings, etc. and try very hard to get out of the house early.  I prefer to be anyplace early rather than late.  I like to arrive composed rather than flustered.  I like to have my choice of seats rather than sitting in the only available chairs.  I believe this need for punctuality comes from my childhood.  Those school mornings when we got up late or moved slower in doing our morning chores were always rushed, disorganized experiences that ended with us running to catch the school bus.  The experiences were so traumatic to me that I was still having nightmares about missing the bus twenty or thirty years after graduating from high school!  I have never had a nightmare about being late to church, probably because my family was usually on time or even early to our meetings.

                Parents have a great responsibility to provide a stable environment for their family and to help their children feel secure.  They also have a great influence on whether or not their children learn punctuality.  Parents can teach their children to be punctual to their Sunday meetings by organizing themselves and their homes and preparing during the week for a less hectic Sunday morning.  Of course, crises can still happen, but they are more easily handled when we are not stressed.  Children will receive more from the sacrament meeting talks or Primary lessons when they arrive on time and in good mental, emotional, and spiritual condition.  When parents regularly take their children to church, they strengthen their family as well as their community and nation.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Economic Freedom

                The 2014 Economic Index is out, and it does not look good for us.  The index has the United States ranked as number 12 out of the 152 countries measured.  This means that we have dropped 10 places since 2000 since we stopped following the rule of law.  According to the index, the United States is on the level of the United Kingdom and ranks lower than Canada and Australia.  The index has measured economic freedom since 1996. 

                “The foundations of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets.  As Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, and Friedrich Hayek have stressed, freedom of exchange and market coordination provide the fuel for economic progress.  Without exchange and entrepreneurial activity coordinated through markets, modern living standards would be impossible.
                “Potentially advantageous exchanges do not always occur.  Their realization is dependent on the presence of sound money, rule of law, and security of property rights, among other factors.  Economic Freedom of the World seeks to measure the consistency of the institutions and policies of various countries with voluntary exchange and the other dimensions of economic freedom.  The report is co-published by the Cato Institute,  the Fraser Institute in Canada, and more than 70 think tanks around the world.”

                Breitbart reported:  “The index, built on decades of research by Nobel laureates and dozens of leading scholars, measure 5 broad factors that impact the economy:  1. Size of government; 2. Legal structure and security of property rights; 3. Access to sound money; 4. Freedom to trade internationally, and (5) Regulation of Credit, Labor and Business.  Countries where citizens are freer to engage in business and trade and property and legal rights are protected by the rule of law will score higher on the index.  According to economic research, though, these countries will also do better economically and create and generate more wealth.
                “The 10 freest economies in the world are:  Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Jordan, and Chile and Finland tied for 10th.
                “America’s descent down the ladder of economic freedom is unsettling, in itself.  More troubling, however, is the chief factor behind the US decline.  The biggest drop in US economic freedom has been in the country’s legal structure.  The report notes that, `increased use of eminent domain to transfer property to powerful political interests, the ramifications of the wars on terrorism and drugs, and the violation of the property rights of bondholders in the auto-bailout case have weakened the traditions of strong adherence to the rule of law in United States.’
                “The rule of law has long been the foundation of America’s economic prosperity and liberty.  The US ranking in this area has plummeted to a terrible 36th place in the world.  This, combined with increased regulation is stifling US economic growth.  The report observes, `[t]o a large degree, the United States has experienced a significant move away from rule of law and toward a highly regulated, politicized, and heavily policed state.’
                “The report estimates the cost of the decline of economic freedom in the US.  On current trends, future economic growth will be half the historic average of a 3% yearly gain.  The past few years have schooled us on the impact low growth has on the labor market and economic outlook.
                “This latest report is a sobering look at the scale of challenges facing the US.  Curtailing government’s leviathan isn’t simply solving a math problem, i.e. getting revenue and spending figures for government to balance.  A far larger threat is the accumulation of thousands of rules and regulations that not only stifle innovation but also undermine our personal and property rights.
                “A balanced federal budget is insignificant and meaningless if the rule of law has been subverted.  No single election ore administration can repair that damage.  That is a task that must be tackled by a generation.”

                The index confirms everything thinking Americans have known.  It shows that there is no “recovery” in the United States.  We are losing freedom every year until we start doing something to stop the decline.  The first thing we can do is to elect Republicans and put some binders on Barack Obama!  Vote Republican on November 4, 2014!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ebola Election

                A second health care worker in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola.  Not only does she have it, but she traveled with a low-grade fever – with CDC permission – from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas.  All the passengers on her flight are now susceptible to Ebola as are the passengers on the five flights the aircraft took afterwards.  The numbers of passengers and air crews on those flights are all added to the numbers of health care workers, neighbors, etc. in Texas as possibly needing to be isolated for three weeks.

                Politicians  have ceased Ebola as an election issue.  Democrats and Republicans are campaigning on everything concerned with Ebola including travel restrictions and the disposal of bodies and body fluids.  The fatality rate for infected patients in West Africa is now reported to be 70 percent.   Now that three cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the United States, fear of the virus is increasing among the American public.  This increasing fear has focused the politicians’ attention on Ebola.

                Democrats are blaming Republicans for cutting the budget so much that there was no money to prepare to battle Ebola.  Republicans are connecting Democrat candidates to Barack Obama’s falling popularity and lack of capability in so many areas.  Americans in increasing numbers are learning that we cannot trust our government leaders – including the President of the United States – to be honest with us.  Loss of trust usually causes lack of support.

                My concern about Ebola and the election is also caused by lack of faith in the present administration.  Quite frankly, I would not be surprised to have the federal government shut down the election using the spread of Ebola as an excuse.  It may be just the excuse the ruthless tyrant-in-chief needs to cease control of the nation.  Now more than ever we need to pray for America.  The prayers of righteous Americans as well as righteous people everywhere may be enough to protect this great nation and the freedom of the world.  Meanwhile, I am considering the possibility of voting early to make sure my vote gets counted.