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, February 21, 2017

Everything Has a Reason

            I read a post on Facebook today that I have been pondering for several hours. Its title was something like “Everything that Happens Does Not Have a Reason.” My first thought was to refute what was said, but I did not follow through on the thought. You see, the poster and many people that I know are recoiling from a terrible tragedy in our community yesterday. I knew there was already enough pain in our midst, and I did not desire to cause any more. The post was not about the misfortune, but apparently it was supposed to give comfort about it.

            Tonight I decided to share some of my thoughts with the little knowledge I have about the calamity. I believe that there are no coincidences in life. I also believe there is a reason for all things even though we may not understand it.  I believe that God is in charge of the universe and individual lives and that He allows things to happen as they do. I may not understand why things happen, but I trust that God has His reasons.

            The tragedy happened to dear friends, who are members of our local church group. They are almost kin to my family because my daughter married into that clan. There was a carbon monoxide leak caused by a faulty furnace repair two weeks ago, and the family was exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning. They had been experiencing flu-like symptoms, but they thought it was just the flu. Yesterday morning the parents found one of their eighteen-year-old sons dead and a second one very ill. The entire family of two parents and five remaining teenagers were sent to the hospital for treatment. All but one went home last night (to a different house), and the last one will most likely be released tomorrow. They are apparently all okay.

            People are questioning why things like this happen to good people – and all members of the family are good people. Friends and loved ones are having difficulty coming to terms with the results. Yet, I asked a few questions, and I believe the answers are reasons why things happened the way they did. The two young men were sleeping in separate bedrooms in the mother-in-law apartment over the garage, just above where the furnace is located. The carbon monoxide went through the garage ceiling and into the bedrooms. One son was sleeping with his window open, and the other was not.

            Three reasons explain why one fine young man is dead and another one is a very ill survivor. The first reason is that the furnace was not put back together correctly. The second reason is that the family did not recognize the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning (would you?). The third reason is the fresh air coming into one room and not the other.

            These reasons are fairly obvious ones, but they are not satisfactory to mourning parents, siblings, other loved ones, and friends. The only answer that brings peace to our souls is to put our trust in God, which is often a difficult thing to do.  I suppose that only God really knows the answer to why things happened the way they did. I know that He is in control of all things, but I do not claim to understand why God allowed this experience to play out as it did. I do not know why He saves one person and not another. I do, however, know that He has His own reasons, and I believe that He will show us the big picture at some time in the future. In the meantime, I join my family and friends in mourning the loss of a wonderful young man.       

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents Day

            The United States commemorates Presidents Day today as a day to honor all Presidents of the United States. This is a fairly new federal holiday that supposedly replaced Washington’s Birthday, which is February 22. This change does not set well with many people because some of our Presidents have been much greater than others. Why should George Washington share this honor with the likes of Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, and others too numerous to mention?

            In his article titled “Why We Should Celebrate Washington’s Birthday, Not Presidents Day,” Arthur Milikh at The Heritage Foundation argues the federal holiday should still be known as Washington’s Birthday because “America’s greatest statesmen did not think that national holidays were merely about family dinners, watching fireworks, or getting a three-day weekend.”

            Milikh uses the holidays of Thanksgiving and Independence Day to show why he believes the Founders would never have accepted the change to Presidents Day. He explains that George Washington wrote his Thanksgiving Day proclamation about how the day should be about gratitude for the blessings of God and particularly for those of this great nation. He suggested that Americans should offer up their thanksgiving to God. Milikh contrasts the day of gratitude with a day of rejoicing by explaining that Independence Day is a day to celebrate the “courage and manliness” that went into defeating Great Britain and establishing the United States. His explanation put my feelings about the day into words.

            Continuing his article, Milikh writes, “What we today call `Presidents Day’ is in fact Washington’s birthday. Just like a republican people must on occasion be reminded of the need for manly assertiveness and modest gratitude, so too must they be reminded of examples of human greatness.” He states that “presidents” is just “an abstraction” with “no real content, being viewed as merely another day off work.” He continues.

   During Washington’s life, he deservedly became one of the most famous men in the world. His remarkable courage and prudence had, despite great odds and at great peril, carried to victory our 13 colonies against the most powerful empire on earth. The weight of this task fell upon his shoulders.           
   In times of peace, moreover, Washington’s self-possession and equanimity – by contrast to the brilliant but somewhat impulsive advisers surrounding him – meant that the country’s fate could be responsibly entrusted to him. The example of his control over his passions, his judgement, and devotion to the common good made him the new model of republican greatness, which until recently filled the American imagination for generations.
   Indeed, so clear were his virtues that both Federalists and Anti-Federalists reached unanimous agreement about Washington’s worthiness to be president, despite their immense disagreements on almost everything else.

            George Washington was raised up by God to lead this nation. He was aware of his
great calling and responsibility, and he lived worthy of the Lord’s blessings upon him. He is worthy to be honored by his own special day.

            The Patriot Post today was also about Washington’s Birthday vs. President’s Day. The author of the post quoted Matthew Spalding, a Heritage Foundation scholar. Spalding noted that Washington’s Birthday was celebrated as early as 1778 and “was second only to the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday” by earth in the next century. He also noted that Congress recognized the day as Washington’s Birthday in 1870. He explained the connection between Washington’s Birthday and Presidents Day.

   The Monday Holiday Law in 1968 – applied to executive branch departments and agencies by Richard Nixon’s Executive Order 11582 in 1971 – moved the holiday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates that legal federal holiday as `Washington’s Birthday.’ Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed `Washington’s Birthday’ to `Presidents’ Day.’
   Furthermore, to call the day “Presidents’ Day” not only diminishes George Washington but elevates presidents like Barack Obama. Whereas Washington sought to keep his oath to “support and defend” the Constitution, Obama undermined it at every turn.

            I learned something today as I wrote about this topic. I did not know that the holiday had not been officially changed from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day. The knowledge that Congress has not changed the name of the holiday makes me feel much better. Maybe someday a President will use an executive order to again honor President George Washington.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Constitutional Rights

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the “rights” that are not in the Constitution. Liberals tried to convince everyone in their fight against President Trump that people who had never been in America had a Constitutional “right” to come here. There is no such right listed in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

            Nate Madden at Conservative Review explains another right that is not a real “right.” In a 2001 case before the Supreme Court – Zadvydas v. Davis – concerned how long an illegal alien can be detained. The Court ruled 5-4 that undocumented immigrants could not be held more than 90 days. This sort of created a “right” for the alien to be released back into the general population. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissent the vote, and Scalia wrote the following dissent.

    Insofar as a claimed legal right to release into this country is concerned.
    An alien under final order of removal stands on an equal footing with an inadmissible alien at the threshold of entry: He has no such right.
    We are offered no justification why an alien under a valid and final order of removal – which has totally extinguished whatever right to presence in this country he possessed – has any greater due process right to be released into the country than an alien at the border seeking entry.
   [A]n inadmissible alien at the border has no right to be in the United States.

            Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Frankfurter, used a dissent from Justice Robert Jackson in Shaughnessy v. United States in 1953: “Due process does not invest any alien with a right to enter the United States nor confer on those admitted the right to remain against the national will.
Nothing in the Constitution requires admission or sufferance of aliens hostile to our scheme of government.”

            All people have the right to be treated with respect as human beings, but they have no fundamental or Constitutional right to enter America or to stay here without permission.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Records on Metal Plates

            Many people have heard of the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Most of those people have heard that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith from a record kept on metal plates.

            Joseph Smith writes in his history about his experience of obtaining the record and translating it. A heavenly messenger by the name of Moroni visited the young man and told him about some gold plates with a message on them. He showed the plates to Smith and explained the importance of them, but he did not deliver the plates. These are Smith’s words about his experience.

He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source form whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants.

            Smith continues with his explanation that Moroni visited him every year for four years, and then he delivered the plates to him. Smith translated the record using an Urim and Thummin that was found with the records. He had a third-grade education, yet he was able to translate the record in a period of approximately two months. The only way he could have accomplished this task was with the help of God. When he finished the translation, he returned the plates to Moroni. The resulting translation is known as the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

            In 2015 a team of archaeologists from Brigham Young University reported that they found some plates buried in the Hill Cumorah, which is located in the western part of the state of New York. They noticed a small cave-like cavity while they were searching the area with “advanced metal detectors, lasers and other ground-penetrating imaging technology. They dug through about twelve feet of rocks and dirt. The scientists found signs of ancient use of the cave, a flat stone that looked like an altar, and “a book made of metal plates” made from a copper-gold alloy. There were twelve pages in the book.

            This is not the only “book” found on metal plates in recent years. “This ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire, could unlock some of the secrets of the earliest days of Christianity. Academics are divided as to their authenticity but say that if verified, they could prove as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.”

            Another set of plates was reportedly found in 2008. This “ancient set of lead tablets showing the earliest portrait of Jesus Christ have proved to be around 2,000 years old, according to experts. The metal `pages,’ held together like a ring binder … [and] make reference to Christ and his disciples.

            There are other reports of metal plates being found, but these three sets prove that ancient people made records on metal plates. Even though the plates translated by Joseph Smith are no longer available to see and handle, there is still a way to determine if they contain the word of God. The last chapter of the record, chapter 10, contains Moroni’s instructions on how to know if the Book of Mormon is true.

4. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

            Anyone who desires to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God can learn for themselves if they will only read the book and pray sincerely about it. I have studied the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ many times. In fact, I read from the book every day. I put the promise of Moroni to the test, and I learned for myself that Moroni’s promise works. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I also know that it supports the Bible in its witness of Jesus Christ.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Faith in Jesus Christ

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened as individuals exercise faith in Jesus Christ. This is the second in a series on the Young Women values. The first post in the series can be found here. It discusses the Young Women values and the Personal Progress program that assists women of all ages to develop these attributes. Each value is represented by a specific color.

            The first Young Women value is faith in Jesus Christ, and it is represented by the color white, which symbolizes purity or pure faith. An ancient American prophet by the name of Alma taught that faith is “not to have a perfect knowledge” but to have a “hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Alma 32:21).

            We read of many miracles performed by Jesus Christ as He walked the roads of Palestine. One of those miracles was the healing of the daughter of Jairus as well as the story of a woman who was healed. These stories are found in Mark 5:22-43. Jesus was approached by “one of the rulers of the synagogue” by the name of Jairus. He fell at the feet of Jesus and begged Him to return to his home to heal his “little daughter” who was near death.

            Jesus went with Jairus, but His travel was hindered by the many people who thronged around Him. One of those people was a woman who was healed of a long-time health issue because she believed she would be healed if she only touched His robe. She accomplished her goal of touching Him and was immediately healed. He felt the virtue go out of Him and demanded to know who had touched Him. She came to Him and told Him the truth. He said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (v. 34).

            While Christ was thus delayed, a servant of Jairus arrived with the news that the daughter had died. Jesus told Jairus, “Be not afraid, only believe” (v. 36). Jesus took Peter, James, and John and went to the home of Jairus, which was surrounded by people weeping and wailing. Jesus asked them, “Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth” (v. 39). The people laughed with scorn at His words.

            Jesus took the father, mother, and His apostles and went into the room where the damsel was lying. He took her by the hand and told her to “arise” (v. 41). The twelve-year-old girl immediately “arose and walked” (v. 42); she was given some food and ate it (v. 43).

            The woman with the health issue was healed because she had faith that Christ could heal her with only a touch. The young maiden was healed because her father had faith in Jesus Christ and His power to heal. There are many other examples in the scriptures and in life where people are healed because they have enough faith to be healed or others exercise their faith in behalf of the ill person. There are other times when people exercise faith in Jesus Christ, but it is not the Lord’s will for them to be healed. Faith in Jesus Christ means faith in His ability to know what is right in each circumstance and a willingness to accept His will. Just as Christ has the power to heal people physically, He also has the power to heal spiritually. He has the power to heal individuals, families, communities, and nations.

            Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin while a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Faith is not so much something we believe; faith is something we live.” In other words, more is required that simply belief. Faith is an action word. The woman with the health issue did more than simply believe in Christ; she reached out to touch His robe. The ruler Jairus did not simply believe in Christ. He found Jesus and asked Him to come to his home to heal his daughter.

            Faith can be exercised in many different areas of life. It takes faith for a young couple to start their family while still obtaining their education. It takes more faith than money to pay tithing. It takes faith to establish and continue a pattern of prayer and scripture study. It takes faith to move to a new area simply because one feels it is the right thing to do.

            A wonderful family home evening lesson about faith in Jesus Christ can be found at this site. I encourage you to consider your own faith in Jesus Christ. What can you do to strengthen your faith and, in return, strengthen your family, community and nation?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Economic Freedom

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the economic freedom of the United States.   The 2017 Index of Economic Freedom was recently released, and it did not have good news for the United States. It ranks the United States in 17th place and says the U.S. is among the “mostly free” nations. This ranking is the lowest for the nation in the 20 year history.

            The Index has been measuring economic freedom for the past twenty years and giving clear and concise analysis. The information is available on their web site for both research and education. The Index covers 10 freedoms in 186 countries. This site describes economic freedom as follows. 

Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital, and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.

            Anthony B. Kim at The Heritage Foundation is the research manager of the Index of Economic Freedom, which is produced by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Kim’s article titled “US Economic Freedom Has Hit a Historic Low.What Happened?” explains the why this new ranking is a problem. He says that the Index “compares countries’ entrepreneurial environments” and “highlights the urgent need for the U.S. to change course. For the ninth time since 2008, America has lost ground.”

            Kim writes that the U.S. is now in “the second-tier economic freedom status” and has been there since 2010. The U.S. ranks behind Switzerland (fourth), Australia (fifth), Canada (seventh, and the United Kingdom (twelfth). He says that the Index measures the commitment of a nation to “limited government and free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100.” It evaluates “four critical policy pillars, including rule of law and regulatory efficiency.”

These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity, and social progress. Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment, and deteriorating social conditions.

            Kim indicates that the ranking of the United States steadily declined during the eight years of the Obama administration because of “increased government spending, regulations, and a failed stimulus program.” There is much more in his article to explain this dismal ranking, but Americans should be relieved that Donald Trump became the President of the United States instead of Hillary Clinton. He has been in office for less than a month, and the American economy is already improving. In fact, it began to improve soon after the election was over.     

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sanctuary Cities

            Sanctuary cities have been much in the news lately, particularly after President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to defund them. Local law enforcement in sanctuary cities decline to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests and claim that their resistance makes their communities safer. Some cities have seen the light and agreed to cooperate with ICE. Other cities as well as states continue to protect illegal immigrants who are, by way of definition, in the United States illegally and have committed crimes.

            The Executive Order is titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and is posted on the official White House website. 

Section 9. Sanctuary Jurisdictions. It is the policy of the executive branch to ensure, to the fullest extent of the law, that a State, or a political subdivision of a State, shall comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373.
            (a) In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.

            Scott G. Erickson, president of Americans in Support of  Law Enforcement, recently published an article at The Daily Signal titled “The Truth about Sanctuary Cities and Crime Rates.” Erickson gave some results from a 2014 draft study about the impact of sanctuary cities have on crime that was conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

            The study found that during the observation time frame (January 2014 to August 2014), 8,145 individuals were released from jail after arrest due to their respective jurisdictions declining an immigration detainer request from ICE.
            Of the 8,145 individuals released, 1,867 were subsequently re-arrested a total of 4,298 times and accumulated a staggering 7,491 charges.
            So much for the argument that sanctuary cities have no impact on crime.

            Representative Lou Barletta (R-Pa) has taken the fight against sanctuary cities a step further than the President did. According to James Rogers at The Daily Signal, Barletta introduced a bill known as the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act in the House of Representatives in early January a few weeks before the Executive Order was issued. Rogers explains that Barletta claimed in his press release that his bill is tougher than the Executive Order and would block federal funding to any designated sanctuary jurisdiction for a minimum of one year. He says that it “directs the attorney general to compile an annual list of such cities and issue a report on any particular state or locality upon request from a member of Congress.” Barletta made the following statement in his press release.

I view the president’s executive action as just a starting point, however, as I will be pushing my own legislation that would remove all federal funding – not just certain grants – from sanctuary cities who refuse to obey the law.

            Why is it important to do away with sanctuary cities? The quick answer is that sanctuary cities make the work of ICE officials more difficult in that they will not cooperate with the federal officers. Instead of holding criminal illegal immigrants until ICE can pick them up and deport them, the cities are releasing them into the general public to commit more crimes against Americans. It is obvious that the officials in sanctuary jurisdictions believe that the rights of people who come to the United States illegally have precedence over the rights, freedoms, and even lives of American citizens.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What Happened to Michael Flynn?

            Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor, resigned his office yesterday. The reasons and comments given for his resignation are questionable. Is it a problem of his not telling the whole truth to Vice President Mike Pence, or did he actually do something wrong? In any event it appears that he was just assassinated politically.

            Are minions of Barack Obama in the CIA working behind the scenes to destroy the Trump Administration? Where are the leaks coming out of the White House coming from?

            Rush Limbaugh seems to think that the leaks have something to do with Obama supporters. He asks, “What did Obama know, and when did he know it?” He also said that the “drive-by media smells blood.” 

            The liberal progressive supporters of Barack Obama forced Flynn to resign. Their attacks on Donald Trump and his administration will now increase. They will not be satisfied until Trump is out of the White House. Yet, they do not seem to understand that Trump is a fighter. He likes to win, and he fights until he does win. He has been in office less than a month, and he will learn how to deal with all sorts of problems.

            What do you think? Do you trust President Trump more than the lame stream media? Are you a secret supporter for the shadow government being set up by Barack Obama? I personally trust Trump much more than Obama or the media. I hope he comes out swinging and hits hard!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Who Is Betsy DeVos?

            Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, took a beating in the approval process in the Senate. The Senators tied at 50-50, and Vice President Mike Pence made the deciding vote in favor of Devos. She is the only cabinet nominee in U.S. history to need the Vice President’s participation. Why was there such a problem?

            Elisabeth Dee “Betsy” Prince DeVos was born January 8, 1958, to Edgar Prince and Elsa Zwiep Prince (later, Broekhuizen), both of Dutch ancestry. DeVos was reared in Holland, Michigan. Her father was a billionaire industrialist and founder of an automobile parts supplier known as Prince Corporation.

            DeVos attended a private school in Holland, Michigan, and she received a degree in business management and political science from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was reared in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. She married Richard Marvin “Dick” DeVos Jr. who is a multi-billionaire heir to the Amway fortune. The couple has four grown children, two sons and two daughters: Rick, Alissa, Andrea, and Ryan.

            Dick DeVos is a big donor to conservative political campaigns and social causes. His father, Richard Marvin DeVos Sr. co-founded Amway and owns the Orlando Magic NBA basketball team. A brother of Betsy DeVos, Erick Prince, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and the founder of Blackwater USA, a private military services contractor.

            As far as I can determine from the debate about her, those against DeVos becoming Secretary of Education are public school teachers, teachers’ unions, and their minions. Apparently, they were fighting to preserve their hold on the education system because DeVos is open about her desire to improve the educational opportunities for all children and youth. She believes that the decision about education should be up to the parents and their children, not the government.

            I know that most parents want their children to receive the best education that they can possibly receive. I believe that families have the right to seek education outside the public education system, especially when the public school system is failing them and/or indoctrinating them with anti-American ideas. I wish Secretary DeVos good luck in her endeavors. It appears that she has many enemies.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Ginsburg and the Electoral College

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the Electoral College – again. Donald Trump won the election in November, and he was confirmed to be the president-elect on December 19. Yet, some liberals continue throwing temper tantrums in an attempt to stop Trump from doing his job as President of the United States.  Others are still trying to change the Electoral College.

            One of those liberals calling for change in the Electoral College is none other than Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Some students at Stanford University asked Ginsburg what she would like to change in the American way of life. Ginsburg answered that she would like to change the Electoral College, but she allowed that this task would be “powerfully hard to do.” She was not clear about how she would like to fix the Electoral College; she just wants it fixed.

            Jarrett Stepman at The Daily Signal writes that the most common fix wanted by liberals “has been to move toward a national popular vote selection process.” He says that this “proposal would completely undermine the carefully constructed electoral process the Founding Fathers created at the Constitutional Convention and would further erode the essential concept of federalism that lies at the heart of the republic.”

            Stepman continues his explanation by reminding his readers that the “Founders had a deep understanding of history. They knew that an unclear process of succession from one leader to another has often destroyed countries – it most certainly contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire.”

            The Framers of the Constitution were intelligent men who had studied various nations and governments. They set about their task of establishing the United States of America knowing full well the dangers the new nation would face. They discussed and debated many different ideas before they arrived with the finished U.S. Constitution. When they finished their task, they had established a completely new kind of government – a democratic republic.

            Stepman writes that the Constitution “constructed a system that produced over two centuries of peaceful transfers of power from one administration to the next – a near miraculous feat in human history littered with civil strife and broken political systems.
            “It would be foolish to abandon this remarkably stable process without first understanding why it was created.

            The Framers did not want the presidential elections to turn into a mere popularity context. They established a democratic republic and not a mere democracy. They had good reasons to do so. I encourage you to read the rest of Stepman’s article. Then you will be prepared to defend the Constitution.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Love of an Older Brother

            In my scripture study this week I found the following principle: I can be free from physical and spiritual death because Jesus Christ chose to suffer and die for me. I found this principle in John 10:17-18, which states:

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

            Heavenly Father chose to send His Beloved Son to earth to complete the Atonement. As a parent, I can understand why this choice could have been very difficult for Him. No earthly parent that I know would deliberately send their child into a situation where they would be abused and killed. Yet, Heavenly Father chose to send His Beloved Son into that situation. Why did He do it? He made His choice because He loves all of His children and desires all of them to return to His presence.

            Jesus Christ also made a big choice. He did not have to die! No one could kill Him because He had the power to live forever. He chose to give His life on the cross. Why did He do it? He completed the Atonement because He loves His Father and because He loves each of us. By completing the Atonement, He gave all of us the opportunity to choose eternal life with Heavenly Father or to choose everlasting death.

            All mankind has power over physical death because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every person who came to earth will eventually be resurrected and have their physical body for all eternity. Because Christ atoned for the sins of all mankind, we can be exalted and live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ forever if we repent of our sins. This is known as overcoming spiritual death.

            I have a difficult time understanding how either Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ could make the decisions that they did. I simply cannot comprehend it. However, I have a better understanding of the love that my Elder Brother has for me because I have an older mortal brother. When my father became older and unable to handle his own affairs, he delegated everything to my brother Lynn. 

           Upon Dad’s death, Lynn assumed the position of patriarch in our family and acted in Dad’s place in dispersing his worldly good and in all other ways. Lynn treats his siblings as he knows our father would, and his actions help me to comprehend a little better the great love that Jesus Christ has for me. Lynn continues to serve the family as much as he is physically capable of doing. He is now elderly and ill, but he continues to be a great example of a loving older brother. My love for Lynn and for Jesus Christ continues to grow because I know that they love me.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Young Women's Values

                Parents, grandparents, and other leaders can strengthen our families by studying the Young Women values. These standards are part of program known as Personal Progress. The eight values or standards in the program are faith in Jesus Christ, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue.

                The Personal Progress program was instituted for young women ages 12-18. Even though the program was started for young women, it is now open to mothers, grandmothers, and all adult women. I started the program a few years ago with my daughter, who was a Young Women leader. Now, I am slowly working my way through it with my two oldest granddaughters.

                I appreciate the introduction to the Personal Progress program that is found inside the front cover of the pamphlet. The statement is as follows.

                You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose. You have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good. Your loving Heavenly Father has blessed you with talents and abilities that will help you fulfill your divine mission. As you learn to accept and act upon the Young Women values in your life, you will form personal habits of prayer, scripture study, obedience to the commandments, and service to others. These daily personal habits will strengthen your faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ. They will also allow you to recognize and develop your unique gifts.
                Always use your influence to lift and bless your family, other young women, and the young men with whom you associate. Honor womanhood, support the priesthood, and cherish faithful motherhood and fatherhood.
                As you participate in Personal Progress, you join with thousands of other young women who are striving to come unto Christ and “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9). Counsel with your parents, and prayerfully choose goals that will help you cultivate feminine attributes, strengthen your testimony, and reach your divine potential. Take advantage of your time in Young Women by preparing to receive the sacred ordinances of the temple, to become a faithful wife and mother, and to strengthen your home and family.

                The Personal Progress program is not just for young women because it can help women of all ages to set goals and become better people. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Personal Progress program. Even though I do some of the challenges as my regular personal chores, I find that completing the requirements makes me think about what I do and why I do it.

                I recommend that all young women participate in the Personal Progress program. I also encourage women who did not have the opportunity at a previous time to set a goal of completing the program. I know that as we work and set goals in the program, we will strengthen not only ourselves but also our families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Freedom from Hitler

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the need to study and learn from history. I am particularly concerned about the many comparisons of U.S. leaders to Adolf Hitler. There were people on the right that compared Barack Obama to Hitler; now there are liberals on the left who are comparing Donald Trump to Hitler. Both groups show their dismal lack of historical knowledge.

                Since the left has a “popular talking point” about Donald Trump having “things in common with Hitler,”
The Independent Journal Review decided to visit with a woman who lived in Nazi Germany about the comparison. Justen Charters spoke with Inga Andrews, who was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, during the time that Hitler led Germany. Instead of the normal activities of children, “Andrews was hiding in air raid shelters and helping to clean up the rubble from destroyed buildings to rebuild her city.” This is what Andrews had to say.

What is going on in this country is giving me chills. Trump is not like Hitler. Just because a leader wants order doesn’t mean they’re like a dictator.
What reminds me more of Hitler than anything else isn’t Trump, it’s the destruction of freedom of speech on the college campuses – the agendas fueled by the professors.
That’s how Hitler started, he pulled in the youth to miseducate them, to brainwash them, it’s happening today.
It saddens me that we are teaching garbage in the schools and in the college. We don’t teach history anymore. History repeats itself over and over.

                You will have to go to Charters’ post here to read the rest of the conversation, but I will share Andrew’s parting counsel to America, particularly those who are protesting in the streets and destroying public and private property. “America needs to grow up. The young people who are rioting and destroying property, who have no respect for elders and freedom of speech, I was so proud to become a citizen of this country.”

                Maybe the protesters and rioters need to see life in other countries to realize the blessings of living in America. They need to understand that millions of people realize that America is better than where they live. That is the reason why they are coming to America in hordes, legally or illegally. America is the Promised Land of our day, a land of blessings and opportunities. Everyone in the world seems to comprehend except liberals and progressives.

                We endured eight years of living under the direction of Barack Obama who did everything in his power to destroy law and order. Those who were breaking the law had more protection under President Obama than the law abiding citizens and police officers. Now we have a President who is trying to restore law and order to our country, but the liberals are throwing temper tantrums because they are no longer getting what they want. I too hope that Americans grow up real soon!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ninth Circuit Court

                I find it interesting that the Ninth Circuit Court is in the news today for two separate reasons. The first, of course, is the emergency appeal of the restraining order against President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order. The second reason is that Alaska’s junior Senator Dan Sullivan is trying to split up the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. 

                This is not the first time that Republicans have tried to split this particular court as numerous attempts have been made over the years and annually during the administration of President George W. Bush. The attempt to do so has been going on for decades. Even though the court is “overloaded and overly liberal,” Democrats vote against splitting it.

                Senator Sullivan and Senator Steve Daines (R-Montana) “have introduced two bills.” The first bill “establishes a commission to study the appeals court system and find a quick and effective way to divide up the 9th Circuit’s caseload.” The second bill “would split the court into two: the 9th Circuit and a newly created 12th Circuit. The 9th Circuit would include California, Guam, Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands. The new circuit would include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.”

                Senator Sullivan claims, “The population of the Ninth Circuit is nearly 85 percent bigger than the next largest circuit and covers 40 percent of our country’s land mass.” In addition, “It is simply too large, its scope is too wide, and it has long passed its ability to provide equal access to justice under the law.” It also has a lot of cases concerning immigration, endangered species, and public land.

                The Senator once clerked for the Ninth Circuit, so he knows from first-hand knowledge the difficulties of working with the overload. Even though either bill has a slim chance of passing the Senate, President Donald Trump can still change the makeup of the court by nominating conservatives to fill the four vacancies on the court.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Two Judges, Two Decisions

                Numerous lawsuits were filed against President Donald Trump’s executive order to stop immigration from seven Middle East countries. Two different judges issued decisions about the order with two different outcomes.

                Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on various issues including immigration. He is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He compares the two outcomes in his article titled “Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration Is Both Legal and Constitutional.” He writes the following.

If you want to see the difference between a federal judge who follows the rule of law and a federal judge who ignores laws he doesn’t like in order to reach a preferred public policy outcome, just compare the two district court decisions issued in Washington state and Massachusetts over President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order.
Contrary to the “travel ban’ label, the executive order temporarily suspended the granting of visas from seven failed and failing countries that are supplying many of the terrorists plaguing the world.

                Von Spakovsky gives the following explanation: “Trump acted fully within the statutory authority granted to him by Congress.” He also states that the restraining order by Judge James Robart of the Western District of Washington “is unjustified and has no basis in the law of the Constitution.” The judge wrote “his seven-page order” but failed to include any “discussion whatsoever of what law or constitutional provision the president has supposedly violated.” The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has accepted the Department of Justice’s emergency repeal.

                In comparison, Massachusetts District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton, as reported by von Spakovsky, “bases his decision denying the temporary restraining order on an examination of the extensive power given to the president under that [federal] statute [8 U.S.C. 1182(f)], which gives the president the authority to suspend the entry of any aliens or class of aliens into the U.S. if he believes it `would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.’ And he can do so `for such period as he shall deem necessary.’ Judge Gorton’s discussion covers 21 pages.

                In an attempt to keep Americans safe, President Trump signed an executive order suspending for 90 days all immigration visas for anyone trying to enter the United States from seven nations because of their histories with terrorism. I agree with the author’s findings that the President had the authority to issue the executive order. You can find the rest of von Spakovsky’s article here. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch

                Conservations from all walks of life approve of the man that President Donald Trump nominated to fill the vacant seat of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Liberals are likewise upset with the choice. Some say that Gorsuch is much like Scalia. This is probably the reason that conservatives like him and liberals hate him.

                Neil McGill Gorsuch was born on August 29, 1967, in Denver, Colorado, which means he is only 49 years old. He is the son of David Gorsuch and Anne Irene McGill Gorsuch Burford (1942-2004). His siblings are Stephanie Gorsuch and J.J. Gorsuch. He is a fourth-generation of his family to live in Colorado, but he moved to Washington, D.C. when he was a teenager. He accompanied his mother who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first woman to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

                Gorsuch graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in 1985. Three years later in 1988 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University. In 1991 he received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, and in 2004 he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Law (Legal Philosophy) from University College, Oxford. At Oxford he was a Marshall Scholar and studied under John Finnis, a natural law philosopher.

                From 1991-1992 Gorsuch was a judicial clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Then from 1993-1994 he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. He was a private attorney from 1995 to 2005 at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C. He was first an associate from 1995 to 1997 and then made partner (1998-2005). In 2006 he was nominated by President George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, to be a federal appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2006.

                Gorsuch married Louise, a British woman that he met at Oxford. The couple has two daughters, Emma and Belinda, and live in Boulder, Colorado. He enjoys skiing, fly fishing, and being in the great outdoors. He went fishing at least once with Justice Scalia. He raises horses, chickens, and goats. He is the author of two books.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Trump's Ban

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the same subject that has inundated the news feeds. Does President Trump have the authority to issue a ban to people coming from nations that are havens for ISIS and other terrorists? Is the President of the United States responsible to keep Americans safe from enemies foreign and domestic?

                Judge James L. Robart, a Seattle federal district court judge, issued a temporary restraining order against the ban. Trump asked his Department of Justice to request an emergency stay on the restraining order, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request.

                Geoffrey P. Hunt at American Thinker  reminds his readers that it was the 9th Circuit that affirmed a lower court ruling in 2011 in Arizona v. United States. Arizona made some statutes that were intended to decrease or stop illegal immigration into the state. The Obama DOJ sued Arizona “for usurping the federal supremacy in immigration.” Arizona lost. The Supremacy Clause states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. (Article VI)

                The Heritage Guide to the Constitution explains why the Founders chose to write the Constitution as they did and why the Constitution is “the supreme Law of the Land.” 

Any federal system needs a strategy for dealing with potential conflicts between the national and local governments. There are at least three strategies available. First, each government could be given exclusive jurisdiction over its respective sphere, which would, at least in theory, avoid altogether the possibility of direct conflict. Second, the governments could have concurrent jurisdiction, but one government could be given power to veto actions of the other, either in the event of actual conflict or in general classes of cases. Third, both governments could be allowed to act without mutual interference, but one government’s acts could be given primacy over the other’s acts in the event of actual conflict.

The Supremacy Clause embodies the third strategy. It is a conflict-of-laws rule specifying that certain national acts take priority over any state acts that conflict with national law. In this respect, the Supremacy Clause follows the lead of Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation, which provided that “[e]very state shall abide by the determinations of the united states in congress assembled on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them.”    

Federal statutes and other federal laws are, of course, “supreme” only if made in pursuance of the Constitution, and Chief Justice John Marshall used this language in Marbury v. Madison (1803) to support his argument that the Constitution contemplates judicial review. Thus, the Supremacy Clause does not grant power to any federal actor, such as Congress. It deals with resolving a conflict between the federal and state governments once federal power has been validly exercised. It is a straightforward interpretative rule that is addressed to all legal interpreters, including Members of Congress, federal executive officials, federal judges, state-court judges, or other state officials. It does not preclude other strategies for dealing with potential national and state conflict, nor does it allocate power between the national and state governments. Other parts of the Constitution do that… The Convention repeatedly rejected all such proposals for a federal veto power over state laws. The objective of the Framers throughout was to devise strategies that would reduce occasions for national and state conflict.

                Hunt’s article states that the U.S. Supreme Court in the Arizona case in June 2012 reinforced the “supremacy of the federal government – both Congress and the president – over the states in immigration and national security. I believe the Trump ban is constitutional, but I do not know what ruling will come down from the various liberal judges. Even going to the Supreme Court is not something to bet on because the Court would probably split 4-4 and leave the 9th Circuit Court ruling in place.