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.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Who Is Mark Houck?

My VIP for this week is Mark Houck, the pro-life father who was charged with two counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in Pennsylvania. He allegedly pushed a pro-abortion activist who was allegedly antagonizing his son. Today Houck was acquitted by a jury of both Department of Justice charges. 

In late September, more than twenty “heavily armed federal agents with shields and long guns” arrested Houck in front of his children. Peter Breen, Thomas More Society executive vice president and head of litigation, made the following statement today:

We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome…. Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them.


We took on Goliath – the full might of the United States government – and won…. The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from Day One. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life….

A few weeks ago Breen said that the Biden administered had “filed two brazenly defective and discriminatory charges” against Houck and declared that both charges should be dismissed. “Both counts allege that Mark Houck interfered with a so-called volunteer abortion patient escort, when in reality, Houck had a one-off altercation with a man who harassed Houck’s minor son, approximately 100 feet from the abortion business and across the street.” He continued by saying that the care was “brought solely to intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans.” He declared, “Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court.”

Breen and his team obviously proved in court that Houck is innocent of the charges because the jury acquitted him. The case brought “a national outcry” from conservatives because the DOJ and FBI are charging pro-life activists while ignoring the attacks on pro-life centers and churches.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

What Are the Differences Between the Trump and Biden Cases?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the constitutional right to equal rights before the law. The treatment by the FBI and the Department of Justice of former President Donald Trump was much different than that of current President Joe Biden.

In August 2022, the FBI, part of the Department of Justice and under the direction of the Biden administration, raided the resort home of former President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, searching for classified materials. In early November 2022, classified materials were located in the Penn Biden Center. More classified materials were found in the Joe Biden garage in December 2022, and even more were found inside the home in January 2023.

Numerous talking heads claim that the Biden situation is not as bad as that of Trump. According to Victor Davis Hanson, we should not be so quick to jump to conclusions. Yes, it appears that there were more documents at Mar-a-Lago that were labeled “classified” than were found at Biden’s home and office. Otherwise, Hanson wrote, the comparisons between the two cases, do not favor Biden and gave the following reasons. 

First, a stranger would face a far greater challenge entering a post-presidential Mar-a-Lago than a pre-presidential Biden home, office, or garage….


Secret service agents and private security were stationed at Mar-a-Lago. Prior to the 2020 presidential election, they were not at citizen Biden’s various troves for most of 2017-2020, much less prior to 2009.


Second, we seem to forget that for much of the developing controversy, Biden’s own team was investigating Biden…. [Remember, the FBI raided Trump’s home.]


Third, no one in a position of government authority had passed judgment on Biden’s alleged security violations.


That was not the case of the still alleged violations of Trump….


Fourth, Trump is certainly right that as president he had a far more substantial claim of declassification rights than did Biden who took the papers out either as a senator or vice president.


Fifth, the FBI was not merely asymmetrical in melodramatically raiding the Trump home while allowing Biden lawyers to inspect various Biden stashes. The FBI also leaked the purported contents of the subjects of the Trump classified documents (falsely spreading the lie of “nuclear codes” and “nuclear secrets”) in a way it has not with the Biden cache.


The FBI went so far as to scatter the documents on the floor for a fake news photo-op as if the papers were so messily arrayed when they arrived.


So far, the FBI has come lightly and belatedly to the Biden case without the SWAT team get-up and only under pressure from the public and the Republican opposition.


Sixth, Biden did not “self-report.” Biden’s team did not call the relevant government authorities the minute they discovered the classified documents in Biden’s office and home and garage.


In truth, Biden, or someone close to Biden, certainly knew that he or someone close to him had illegally removed classified documents when he left the vice presidency in 2017 – or years earlier as a senator.


For at least the last six years – at least – Biden has felt no compunction to confess to authorities he illegally was in possession of classified documents….


Worse, Biden and his staff knew classified documents were in his possession before the midterms but deliberately suppressed that information until after the elections were over.


Seventh, Trump’s documents were stored only at one place, Mar-a-Lago, and only for about 19 months. Biden’s were stashed at various locations for nearly seven years, or perhaps over a decade. There were far more opportunities of time and space for those without security clearances to have access to the Biden documents than to the Trump files.


Eighth, the press has exhaustively speculated, usually wrongly, about how the documents reached Mar-a-Lago and what they contained. In contrast, no one knows or even asks why Biden took classified documents, what they concerned, or who, if any, in his family circle had access to them.


Ninth, Trump’s documents did not expose other liabilities of the constantly investigated Trump. The Biden files so far have directed attention to the mysterious tens of millions of dollars in Communist Chines money that poured into Biden’s think tank at the University of Pennsylvania, the proximity of members of the quid pro quo Biden consortium to these classified papers, and the files’ relevance, if any, to the Biden family’s overseas businesses…. [The Biden presidency could be finished if Hunter accessed any of the classified material.]


Tenth, Trump possessed contested documents as a private citizen. Biden’s files under contention involve the current behavior of the president of the United States. Biden ran for office, was elected, and serves as president with the full knowledge that all this time, he unlawfully possessed classified documents.

Questions still remain about the fate of Trump, Biden, and now former Vice President Mike Pence who recently found classified materials in his files at his home in Indiana. Will all three men be exonerated, or will all three men be charged, or will Trump and Pence be charged and Biden be exonerated by the corrupt FBI and Department of Justice? No matter the final decision, we can understand that Attorney General Merrick Garland has a big problem! 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

How Do Disciples Prepare the Way of the Lord?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to three chapters – Matthew 3, Mark 1, and Luke 3. The lesson was titled “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” and was introduced with the following paragraph: 

Jesus Christ and His gospel can change you. Luke quoted an ancient prophecy of Isaiah that described the effect that the Savior’s coming would have: “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth” (Luke 3:5; see also Isaiah 40:4). This is a message for all of us, including those who think they cannot change. If something as permanent as a mountain can be flattened, then surely the Lord can help us straighten our own crooked paths (see Luke 3:4-5). As we accept John the Baptist’s invitation to repent and change, we prepare our minds and hearts to receive Jesus Christ so that we too can “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6).

The lesson teaches much about John the Baptist and his opportunity to baptize Jesus Christ. It discusses much about how John went before the Christ to prepare the way for Him. Matthew quotes a prophecy spoken by “the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Matthew 3:3).

John held the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood and had the power and authority to perform baptisms. He baptized many people before and after he baptized the Savior. However, he made it clear that he was preparing the way for someone else. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).

I heard an interesting point of view over the past week that helped me to connect some dots that I had not previously considered. It is well known that John the Baptist was born six months prior to the birth of Jesus Christ to prepare the way for the Savior’s mission. However, I had not considered that John was killed prior to the Savior’s crucifixion and would have been in a position to prepare the way for the Savior to enter the Spirit World. What was John doing in the Spirit World that made it possible for the Savior to accomplish so much work during the three days that His spirit was absent from His body?

In addition, the resurrected John the Baptist returned to earth to restore the power and authority of the Aaronic Priesthood. On May 15, 1829, an angel appeared to the latter-day prophet and announced himself to be “John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament.” The introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 13 includes this statement: “The angel explained that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, the ancient Apostles, who held the keys of the higher priesthood, which was called the Priesthood of Melchizedek.” He promised Joseph and Oliver that the higher priesthood would be conferred upon them. Section 13 has only one verse as follows:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

There are numerous principles taught in this scripture block, but I have taken the principle for this discussion from the Sunday School lesson manual: “Disciples prepare themselves and others to receive Jesus Christ.” This principle is discussed in Matthew 3:1-12 and Luke 3:2-18. These scripture blocks teach that John the Baptist was “preaching in the wilderness of Judaea” (Matthew 3:1). Matthew continued by telling us that John called the people to repent of their sins and be baptized in preparation to receive the Holy Ghost when the Savior came. 

Disciples today are preparing themselves and others for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 80,000 missionaries serving in the mission fields of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thousands of missionaries were called home. The latest number of missionaries that I found since the pandemic is more than 54,000. They dedicate six months to two years of their lives to work for the Lord in preparing for His return.

Millions of other members of the Church of Jesus Christ are participating in family history and temple work to find their ancestors and to help them to prepare in the Spirit World for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Still other millions work to help the current members of the Church of Jesus Christ to prepare to receive Christ.

Disciples of Christ prepare themselves for His Second Coming by being baptized, receiving other ordinances, and keeping the covenants that they make with the Lord. They help others to prepare for the coming of the Savior by sharing the gospel with them, by teaching classes, by doing family history and temple work, and by teaching their own children and grandchildren.

 

Friday, January 27, 2023

How Important Are Babies?

Families, communities, and nations are stronger when individuals value babies. Wise parents will value their children because they are blessings in the home as well as the community and nation. Wise adults will help their nation to maintain a replacement birthrate because a replacement birthrate is essential to maintain social functions in communities and nations. The value of maintaining a replacement birthrate can be seen in the experiences of China and Japan.

In the 1980s, China instituted its one-child policy, and women having more than one child were forced to have abortions and pay fines. Recognizing the future effects of the policy, China changed the policy in 2015 to two children and in 2021 to three children per couple. In addition, China is offering financial incentives, better maternity benefits, etc. to encourage couples to have more children. The incentives are not working, and China is worried that it will follow the path of Japan. 

On Monday, the prime minister of Japan said that his country is “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions” due to the falling birthrate. He called the situation a “now or never” one that “simply cannot wait any longer.” 

What is a replacement birthrate? The replacement birthrate is 2.1. This means that every couple should have more than two children. One could say that it means that every two couples should have five children between them. Most of the nations in the world are below the replacement birthrate, including the United States. The population of the United States is growing because there are many immigrants entering our nations, and the immigrants tend to have more children than American couples.

Japan was able to survive this long because they invited people from other nations, including China, into their nation. Now that China is also struggling to maintain its social functions, Japan may no longer be able to entice them to immigrate to Japan.

Babies are important because they grow up to join the workforce and help the economy of the nation. As adults, they will care for their parents and grandparents. Such adults would also be expected to have babies to replace them.

China is in trouble today because they limited the birth of babies for four decades. Those babies who were not born are not helping the economy, caring for the older generations, or having babies of their own. The Chinese one-child policy was a bad policy.

The Bible teaches us that “children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalms 127:3). When husbands and wives welcome two or more children into their home, they bring blessings into their own lives. In addition, they strengthen their communities and nations by providing a replacement birthrate.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Do School Children Have Freedom of Religion?

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The latest win in the fight to protect religious liberty came for an elementary schooler in Mississippi. Two years of legal proceedings later, Lydia Booth, age 11, will be allowed to wear her “Jesus Loves Me” face mask to school if she so chooses. A settlement was reached between the Simpson County School District in Mississippi and the Lydia’s attorneys. 

Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal-aid organization, represented Lydia in a lawsuit against the Simpson County School District. The lawsuit was filed in 2020 on behalf of then-9-year-old Lydia after school officials told Lydia that she could not wear her “Jesus Loves Me” mask to school.

Tyson Langhofer, the senior counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement Wednesday: “No student should be singled out for peacefully expressing her religious beliefs.” Michael Ross, Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel said the following:

Public schools have no business discriminating against a 9-year-old for her religious expression….


Other students within the school district have freely worn masks with the logos of local sports teams or even the words “Black Lives Matter.” Lydia deserves, and will now have, an equal opportunity to peacefully express her beliefs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

How Is Kevin McCarthy Doing As Speaker of the House?

Interesting things are happening in the U.S. House of Representatives since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) became Speaker of the House. McCarthy’s latest act was to boot Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the ultra-sensitive House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on which they previously served. They are fighting against their removal, and even Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is battling for their reinstatement. However, McCarthy has stood strong.

You see, McCarthy has several reasons for acting as he did. In the first place, Democrats established the precedent to permit the Speaker to veto nominees put forth by the House Minority Leader for assignments on committees. They did this when they created the January 6 Committee and rejected McCarthy’s nominees.

McCarthy’s other reasons are far more important. When Jeffries sent a letter to McCarthy asking for the reinstatement of Schiff and Swalwell to the Intelligence Committee, McCarthy replied, “I have rejected the appointments of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell for the House Intelligence Committee. I am committed to returning the @HouseIntel Committee to one of genuine honesty and credibility that regains the trust of the American people.” 

Neither Schiff nor Swalwell can be trusted with the nation’s intelligence. Schiff lied repeatedly about having evidence that Donald Trump was colluding with the Russians, but the Russian Hoax played out without him bringing any such evidence to the forefront.

Mike Pompeo served first as CIA Director and then as Secretary of State during the Trump administration. He appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered” recently and claimed that he knows that Schiff leaked classified information while he served in those roles. Pompeo claimed that Schiff “leaked classified information that had been provided to him.” He continued by saying that classified information that had been supplied to Schiff and his staff showed up in places where it should not have been “with alarming regularity.” 

As for Swalwell, McCarthy was calling for him to be removed from the House Intelligence Committee as early as December 2020. He made his calls “after reports that his office was allegedly targeted by a woman believed to be a Chinese spy.” McCarthy tweeted, “Rep. Swalwell has long been disqualified from serving on the Intel Committee. For years he peddled Russian disinformation for political gain. Now we find out he was involved in an effort by a reported spy to gather info for China. Swalwell is a national security liability.” 

About the same time, McCarthy appeared on Fox News and took a swing at former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for placing Swalwell on the Intel Committee even though she had knowledge of the situation. “These are Chinese spies that go down to the level of a mayor., They court and help a city council member become a congressman. This congressman now gets on the Intel Committee.” He continued by saying that only the leaders can place members on the committee, meaning Nancy Pelosi. Recently, McCarthy said that the FBI gave him a briefing about Swalwell showing that he “cannot get a security clearance in the private sector.” 

I agree with McCarthy’s actions with Schiff and Swalwell. No one trusts Schiff to tell them the truth, and rumors are that Swalwell was sleeping with the Chinese spy known as Fang Fang. Our nation’s intelligence is too critical to be trusted with such people.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

How Would You Rank the Presidency of Joe Biden?

During the last week of the 1980 presidential campaign between Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, the Republican nominee, they held their only debate on October 28. Carter’s four years in the Oval Office was bad for Americans but somehow made the race a close race. However, Reagan said something that has become famous.

Reagan’s statement is one of the most memorable campaign questions of all time: “Are you better off today that you were four years ago?” Anyone who lived through the Carter years could answer a loud NO, and Carter’s numbers tanked after the debate. Reagan won a huge popular vote with his electoral victory. The question has remained with us because it is a reasonable question to ask during a presidential campaign. 

Donald Trump made a similar statement in his outreach to African American voters in August 2016. He was speaking in a mostly white suburb of Lansing, Michigan, and lamenting about the collapse of American manufacturing. While criticizing freed trade deals, he mentioned that Democrats take black voters for granted. “You’re living in poverty, your school are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed – what the h___ do you have to lose?” It was apparently an unscripted statement where he otherwise stuck with his teleprompter. The Blexit movement began about the same time, and Republicans continue to gain more black supporters.

Joe Biden has been compared unfavorably with Jimmy Carter. Carter was a good man, but he was a terrible president due to lack of leadership. Biden is worse than Carter! He not only lacks leadership skills, but he has allowed the Far Left to take over his presidency. More than four million migrants have crossed the border illegally in the past two years. We are looking in the eyes of another deep depression. Foreign policy is in the dumps. In addition, there are many questionable things about Biden and his family. I have heard them called the “Biden crime family” more times than I prefer.

With this information in the background, Jarrett Stepman is now asking Americans this question: “Are you better off than you were two years ago?” I can honestly and loudly say, NO! “From COVID-19 tyranny to a foolhardy retreat from energy independence to a vicious war on parents, the 46th president has proved to be far from the healing uniter he was promised to be.” Stepman lists the following as some of Biden’s “biggest failures that are affecting Americans today.”

1.) Immigration Chaos

Biden said that the border crisis didn’t begin “overnight.” Actually, it pretty much did begin overnight – the moment he took office. Since he was sworn in as president, here have been an estimated 5.5 million illegal border crossings….


Not only are millions of people crossing the border illegally, the border situation has created additional problems beyond the humanitarian issue. Huge quantities of illicit drugs such as fentanyl are coming across the border, too, brought here by drug and human traffickers who thrive in the chaos.


It’s not a stretch to say that Biden has created the worst border crisis in U.S. history. We’ve set records for border crossings in each of his first two years as president, and at the current rate, we will set an illegal border-crossing record again this year….


It’s hard not to conclude at this point that what’s happening at the Southern border isn’t just incompetence, it’s intentional.


2.) Ballooning Debt

Pretty much every modern president and Congress has failed on the national debt issue. But Biden has ratcheted it up to a whole new level.


The United States started the 2023 fiscal year with a national debt of more than $31 trillion, which is 120% of the entire U.S. economy at this point. That debt increased by about $4 trillion since Biden arrived in office. And the administration is eager to pile up more debt, with a student-loan forgiveness program that will cost half a trillion dollars if it survives court challenges….


3.) Inflation

Inflation may be slowing down a bit – while food prices soar – but for the most part, the U.S. economy under Biden has suffered its highest levels of inflation since the Jimmy Carter administration in the late 1970s.


The result is that while the U.S. economy has low unemployment, for now, inflation and the cost of living are wiping out the wealth of the average American….


4.) Woke Administrative State

The federal bureaucracy is being transformed into an apparatus more wholly devoted to the cult of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Following Biden’s 2021 executive order to establish a “government-wide initiative to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all parts of the federal workforce,” the bureaucracy has been hard at work injecting every college campus-style inanity into its everyday operations….


5.) Specter of Scandal

A more recent development in the Biden presidency has been the discovery that he had classified documents from when he was the vice president under President Barack Obama. [More documents have been found from when he was a senator.] …


Before Biden was elected, there were questions about scandal in his family. Was his son, Hunter Biden, using his father’s name and influence to enrich himself? Was the now president in on this corruption? …


6.) No Return to Normalcy

Not only did things generally seem broken and dysfunctional in the past year, but Biden and his administration frequently took opportunities to portray half the country as evil, anti-democratic monsters….


Biden’s presidency has been a failure. He’s the tottering, corrupt, intellectually bankrupt face of a radical, broken regime.

I agree that Biden’s presidency has been a failure. In my estimation, he ranks lower than Jimmy Carter. He has not only failed, but he is destroying the United States intentionally.