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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Wives for Paca

Mary Chew married William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1761. She was the daughter of Henrietta Lloyd and Samuel Chew as well as a descendant of John Chew who came to Jamestown on the Charitie in 1622 with three servants. There is little known about Mary except that "she was the favorite granddaughter of Samuel Chew, the head of one of the oldest and most prominent Colonial families."

William was a young lawyer and member of the Maryland Assembly at time he married Mary. Mary and William were parents of five children, but only one child survived - John P. Paca (married Juliana, daughter of Richard and Mary Tighlman). Mary did not live long enough to enjoy her husband's many successes as he served as a delegate to the General Congress, Justice of the Supreme Court of Maryland, and as Governor of Maryland. She died in the first year of the Revolution.

William married Miss Anne Harrison, a highly respected young woman of Philadelphia, in 1777. William and Anne had one child. Anne and the child both died within three years of the wedding. William died in 1799 at his ancestral home, Wye Hall, Harford County.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 219-220.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Farms and Plantations

Do entitlement and affirmative action programs keep Blacks "on the plantation," Hispanics "down on the farm," and other minorities under the control of Democrats? Do these liberal/progressive programs truly help minorities or are they in place simply to keep minorities voting for Democrats?

A blogger named Kevin DuJan asked the question, "What is the difference between slaves on plantations and blacks who blindly vote for Democrats?" He then answered his own question by listing the following areas where there are no differences: The slave owner (and Democrats) provides free "housing," "food," "healthcare," and "A menial education sufficient to the task he requires the slave to perform." In return, the slave owner (and Democrats) requires "unquestioning loyalty."

DuJan continued his article by claiming that Democrats keep other voting blocs under their control by similar questionable tactics: He stated that Democrats 1) tell gays that "Republicans are evil and want to kill us," 2) make policies making Spanish our unofficial second language so "Hispanics never learn English and don't progress as much in society," 3) keep women "in line" "through cultural wedges like abortion" by using scare tactics about the evil Republicans.

I would add that Democrats also keep Hispanics in line by pushing laws and policies aimed at giving illegal Hispanics the right to vote. The 2010 census showed Hispanics and Latinos to be 16.3 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics and Latinos are expected to be 39 percent of our population in 2050.

A large voting bloc of Alaska Natives secured re-election for liberal Senator Lisa Murkowski in 2010 because they were scared they would lose some of their benefits if Tea Party favorite Joe Miller became our Senator. I'm sure that some of these voters were upset when Senator Murkowski admitted in a recent interview that benefits must be cut in order to bring fiscal security to our nation.

There are numerous people who claim that blacks are being kept on a modern-day plantation. U.S. Representative Allen West (R-FL) was interviewed on the O'Reilly Factor by guest host Laura Ingram on August 18, 2011. During the interview Congressman West claimed that liberal Whites are the plantation overseers of the 21st century. He said that black leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, and Barbara Lee follow instructions from liberal Whites who tell them "…pacify the black communities, keep the black communities firmly behind us." Rep. West stated that the "black leaders" are "absent" regarding the "devastation in the black communities" and the "flash mobs" against Whites.

The next evening on the O'Reilly Factor, Representative Charles Rangel (D/NY) agreed with West's claim that liberal policies have failed Blacks on the Democrat plantation. Guest host, Laura Ingram, attempted to interview Rangel, but he avoided every question put to him. She was finally able to pin him down when she asked, "Has liberalism - has Obama - worked for inner cities?", and he answered "no."

I believe that the "Great Society" programs instituted under the Lyndon Johnson Administration are the worst things that could happen to Blacks and other minorities. Under the direction of LBJ the national welfare programs were expanded with policies that encouraged people to not marry and to have more children than they could afford - all on money from the government. The result of those policies is that we had third and fourth generations of welfare families in America.

President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act in 1996 that restructured the welfare program and instituted work requirements to encourage employment among the poor. The new requirements forced thousands, if not millions, off the welfare rolls and out of the cycle of poverty.

There are many ways that Democrats keep minorities firmly behind them. Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities would all benefit from good education, and reforms in the education system would make big differences in the lives of all students. Changes are needed in the education system such as education vouchers where students could choose which school to attend and policies that would reward good teachers and get rid of bad teachers. Democrats, with their teachers unions firmly behind them, oppose education reform. Just as slave owners wanted to keep their slaves illiterate and unable to read, liberals/progressives do not want minorities to become educated. They know that educated citizens can provide for their own needs and would not need the entitlement programs. They also know that educated citizens are much harder to fool by shady practices.

I believe that Democrats with their liberal/progressive ideas, entitlement programs, and other handouts keep Blacks "on the plantation," Hispanics "on the farm," and other minorities firmly behind them in order to win elections.

Monday, August 29, 2011

William Paca

William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence, descended from a wealthy Maryland planter. He was born in 1740 at Wye Hall, his father's residence. He was carefully and properly educated morally and intellectually before enrolling at Philadelphia College. There he studied diligently through a difficult course of study; he began a study of law after graduating. He was joined in his law studies by Samuel Chase, who was later a colleague at the General Congress. William was admitted to the bar in 1760 at age 21.

Paca was elected as a member of the Maryland Assembly, and he joined Samuel Chase and others in opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765. He was fearless in fighting against every effort by Great Britain to assert its right to tax the colonists. He was very popular with the people because of his patriotic zeal, but the British government and loyalists did not like his behavior.

William approved and actively promoted the proposition for a General Congress in 1774. Maryland appointed him to be one of its five representatives at the Congress and instructed the delegates to "agree to all measures which might be deemed necessary to obtain a redress of American grievances." He was re-elected to the General Congress in 1775 and continued in that position until 1778.

Both William and Samuel Chase were embarrassed by the fact that the people of Maryland were opposed to independence and insistent on remaining loyal to Great Britain. Maryland did not chase the delegates' instructions until May 28, 1776, when their opinions changed drastically. When Maryland withdrew the restrictions on the representatives, William and his fellow representatives actively joined the effort to declare independence. They voted to sever the political bond with England on July 4, 1776, and signed the Declaration of Independence on August 4, 1776.

William retired from Congress in 1778 when he was appointed as Chief Justice of the Maryland Supreme Court. He continued in that position until he was elected to be President (or Governor) of Maryland under the Articles of Confederation. He held that executive position for one year before retiring to private life.

Paca was a member of the Maryland convention given the responsibility to ratify the Federal Constitution in 1788. He was a strong supporter of ratification. Maryland ratified the Constitution in November 1788. After the Constitution was in effect and national officers selected, President George Washington nominated William to be a Judge for the Maryland District, an office he held until his death. He died at his ancestral home, Wye Hall, in Harford County, in 1799 at age 60.

William was considered to be a "pure and active patriot, a consistent Christian, and a valuable citizen, in every sense of the word. His death was mourned as a public calamity; and his life, pure and spotless, active and useful, exhibited a bright exemplar for the imitation of the younger men of America."

Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 154-156.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.6: "The Congress shall have Power … To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States." The Congress passed laws under this provision that made counterfeiting United States bonds, currency and coins a federal crime.

"The Secret Service, which is a branch of the Treasury Department, was given jurisdiction over counterfeit cases. The penalty for counterfeiting is a $5,000 fine and up to fifteen years' imprisonment" (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America: the Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 428).

Counterfeiting in America has "thrived" at various times, especially early in our history. When banks printed currency, each bank had its own design, and counterfeiters had easy times copying any of the designs. Official national currency - "greenbacks" - was first issued in 1862. The U.S. Treasury has been issuing new currency in recent years that make counterfeiting more difficult.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The topic of discussion for this Sabbath day is honesty. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if everyone were perfectly honest? There is a story in the Book of Mormon about a group of people who were "distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end" (Alma 27:27). These people were distinguished from their fellowmen and by God.

President Brigham Young taught that complete honesty is necessary for salvation. He said, "If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 293).

God is honest and just in everything He does. In order for us to become like Him, we too must be honest in all things. People who are honest love the truth, and they love justice. They are honest in both their words and their deeds. Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are Gods of truth and therefore cannot lie. In contrast, the devil is a liar. He has even been called the father of lies (see 2 Nephi 9:9). Mark E. Peterson once said, "Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves" (Ensign, Dec. 1971, 73).

What is dishonesty? Dishonesty takes many forms, among which are lying, stealing, and cheating. Intentionally deceiving other people is lying. The Lord told the children of Israel through Moses, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). Bearing false witness is a form of lying. Jesus Christ taught the importance of honesty while He was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). Lying takes many forms: speaking untruths, deceiving others by a gesture, a look, silence, or by telling a half-truth. It is dishonest to lead others to believe something that is not true. Honest people speak the whole truth even when it is inconvenient or disadvantageous.

Another form of dishonesty is stealing. Jesus Christ commanded, "Thou shalt not steal" (Matthew 19:18). Stealing is the act of taking something that does not belong to us whether it is from a person, store or community. It is stealing to take merchandise or supplies from an employer. It is stealing to make unauthorized copies of music, movies, pictures, or written text. It is stealing to accept too much change from a clerk or to receive more merchandise than actually purchased.

Still another form of dishonesty is cheating. It is cheating to give less than owed or to get something undeserved. It is cheating to give less than a full day's work for a full day's pay. Taking unfair advantage is one form of cheating.

There are no acceptable reasons for dishonesty although many people try to justify being dishonest. Anyone who excuses their dishonesty, cheats themselves and loses the Spirit of God. Without guidance from the Holy Ghost, it is easier to become more and more unrighteous.

If we want to become totally honest, we must examine ourselves carefully and often. When we find ways in which we exhibit even the least bit of dishonesty, we must repent immediately. When we become completely honest, we will reach the point that we cannot be corrupted. We will be true to every trust, duty, agreement or covenant even at the loss of money, friends, prestige, or life itself. When we become completely honest, we will be able to face the Lord, ourselves, and others without shame. President Joseph F. Smith counseled, "Let every man's life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that he will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of" (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 252).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sexual Morality

Families are strengthened when parents understand and live the law of chastity and then teach God's law of sexual morality appropriately to their children. All members of our families need to understand that our bodies are sacred and should be protected. We all need to understand that our bodies can become defiled just as easily and simply as a building can have graffiti written on it.

The Apostle Paul compared our bodies to temples when he said, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (See 1 Corinthians 3:16.) Paul also said, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.)

When Paul was warning the Saints of his day to avoid serious sins, he named several sexual sins: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind." (See 1 Corinthians 6:9.)

In order for us to teach the law of chastity to our children, we need to know what immorality consists of. Sexual immorality is "Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage - I mean any intentional contact with the sacred, private parts of another's body, with or without clothing - is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body" (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).

Parents and children may not understand what specific parts of our bodies are sacred and private. We can be sure that any part of our bodies that would be covered by a modest swimsuit should be considered sacred and private. Parents should model and children should understand that dressing modestly helps us to protect our bodies in many ways.

Sexual sins are so serious because they affect our eternal salvation. We cannot enter the temples or into the kingdom of God if we are unclean. Immorality is also serious because sexual sins affect the very fountains of life. God ordained that sexual relations are to take place within a legal and lawful marriage between a man and a woman. When we follow the will of God, we take part in keeping the fountains of life clean and pure. "[Satan] knows that this power of creation is not just an incident to the plan, but the key to it. He knows that if he can entice you to use this power prematurely, to use it too soon, or to misuse it in any way, you may well lose your opportunities for eternal progression" (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, July 1972, 112).

There is much deception in the world about immorality, and adults, teens, and children must be warned in order to avoid them. "One of the most pervasive deceptions in recent years is the notion that immorality is normal and acceptable and has no negative consequences. In truth, immorality is the underlying cause of much suffering and many other problems that are prevalent today, including rampant disease, abortion, broken families, families without fathers, and mothers who themselves are children" (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 76).

Satan tempts us in many ways and uses numerous methods to convince us that there are exceptions to the law of chastity. "Satan tempts one to believe that there are allowable levels of physical contact between consenting individuals who seek the powerful stimulation of emotions they produce, and if kept within bounds, no harm will result. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that is absolutely false…." (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).

It is possible to withstand the temptations of Satan if we take the correct precautions. The Apostle Paul taught, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Elder Scott explained one way that we can escape temptations: "Decide what you will and will not do. When temptation comes, do not change your standards."

There is hope for any who have already broken the law of chastity because Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself through His atoning sacrifice if we are repentant. Several scriptures attest to the possibility of becoming clean through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

"And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).

"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord remember them no more.
"By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins - behold, he will confess them and forsake them" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43).

Immorality is very destructive to individuals, marriages, and families. The earlier people recognize sin and start the repentance process, the stronger their families will be. Repentance from sexual sins is not easy, but it is possible and very worthwhile. A better situation would be to avoid sexual sins in the first place. Parents can strengthen their families by modeling and teaching obedience to the law of chastity.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prepare to Remember

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the need to prepare for and remember the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. In approximately three weeks, our nation will honor the nearly 3000 people killed when Islamic terrorists attacked our nation. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of this heinous act, is dead, but the war against terrorism continues.

I encourage you to be prepared to turn this anniversary into a repeat of the day when our nation was turned red, white and blue by the many flags flying in the breeze. Please make sure that your flag is clean and in good repair and that you understand the proper treatment of the Stars and Stripes.

Another way to prepare for this anniversary is to let your Senators and Representatives know that national security is of high priority to you. National security was decreased during the administration of President Bill Clinton, and our nation was attacked months after he left office. We now have another President and his supporters who want to cut our defense budget. It seems to me that they do not understand the simple fact that people who want to destroy our nation usually attack us when our defenses are down.

Our Founders understood that we must be militarily strong. President George Washington fought for the cause of liberty and risked his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor fighting for American independence. He wanted peace, and he knew that "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."

Benjamin Franklin was of the same opinion and wrote: "The very fame of our strength and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies; for 'tis a wise and true saying, that `One sword often keeps another in the scabbard.' The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent."

Franklin said later, "Our security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth, that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by a neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those in the eastern dominions of Britain [India], when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying 'Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you.'"

Thomas Paine said, "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

After the terrorists attack on 9/11, our nation put important policies into place to protect us. America has stopped at least forty-one attacks in the past ten years. This type of vigilance has saved lives and must continue because there are still enemies who want to attack us. Matt Mayer of The Heritage Foundation wrote the following just days after bin Laden was killed: "In terrorist hideouts across the globe, many men with similarly warped views are eager to become the next bin laden. They know the path to that title lays in successfully attacking us domestically and causing substantial death and destruction."

There are brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day in order to protect Americans. They must have the necessary equipment, supplies, and support in order to do so. Our President apparently does not take the situation seriously because one of the results of the debt ceiling battle is a policy to cut $500 billion in our defense budget.

In the words of Baker Spring at Heritage: "… the policy established by the debt ceiling law will strip the military of its ability to secure the vital interests of the United States. The law, unless it is altered or repealed, will do irreparable harm to the United States military.
"History has repeatedly shown that these kinds of reductions in defense are penny wise and pound foolish, because they often serve to increase the likelihood of conflict. And weakness that invites war is much more expensive than deterring our enemies by maintaining an adequate defense budget all along."

Our wise Founders understood the necessity of maintaining a strong military, and wise men and women today still understand this fact. We can honor the victims as well as the heroes of 9/11 by staying prepared to defend our nation from all enemies - foreign and domestic. President Ronald Reagan understood the need for military strength when he stated, "Peace through strength." We must remain vigilant and prepared!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Margaret Brown Stone

Margaret Brown was born about 1749 and married Thomas Stone, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1762. She was the youngest daughter of Dr. Gustavus Brown of Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland. Margaret was described as being "adorned with elevated talents and blest with piety, and every female virtue." At the time of their wedding, they received L1000 sterling with which they purchased a plantation - the "Havre de Venture" - located about two miles from Port Tobacco.

Three children were born to Margaret/Mary Brown and Thomas Stone: Frederick (died during the yellow-fever epidemic of 1793 while studying law in Philadelphia), Mildred (born in 1771; married Travers Daniels of "Cleremont" in Stafford County, Virginia), and Margaret Eleanor (became the second wife of John Moncure Daniel of "Crows Nest" in Stafford County, Virginia).

Margaret was inoculated with small pox in 1787 but didn't receive proper treatment. Thomas watched as his beloved wife suffered miserably for weeks until she died. He was so affected by the death of his wife that his own health declined steadily. He died on October 5, 1787.

Facts are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 220-225.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Immigration End Run

Did law-abiding President Barack Obama make an end run around Congress when his administration announced the halt of deportation proceedings of people who are in our country illegally? Did the Obama administration make this immigration decision for political reasons or for the good of the nation? Did Obama find a way to ignore his previous comments when he said that he must obey the laws as written by Congress and that he does not have broad authority to halt deportation?

Apparently, the immigration rights groups have put so much pressure on the administration that the Department of Homeland Security changed its policies. DHS announced on Thursday, August 18, 2011, that it will halt immigration proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal aliens without criminal records who meet certain criteria - attending school, having primary responsibility to provide for other family members, or having a family member serving in the military.

The DHS established the "Secure Communities" program in 2008 that called for police to submit suspects' fingerprints to DHS in order for them to be cross-checked with federal deportation orders. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano sent letter to Congress last Thursday claiming that she has discretion to focus on "priority cases" and that both DHS and the Justice Department will review all cases currently being processed to determine who meets the new criteria. As I understand it, the new rule applies to those who have already been apprehended and are currently in deportation proceedings but who have not been officially ordered out of the country by a judge. The new rules may affect nearly 300,000 people.

The new move was praised by Hispanic activists and Democrats who have pushed Obama to act on this matter. The administration needs the Hispanic vote to prop up Obama's falling numbers of supporters. Hispanic voters are a key bloc for the re-election of Obama, and they have been disappointed by Obama's failure to keep his 2008 election promises. The new rules are already paying dividends for Democrats because advocacy groups for Hispanics are praising the new policy.

The new immigration rules make an end run around Congress where the battle to establish comprehensive immigration reform is stalled. Republicans want stronger enforcement of current laws as well as a program that would allow workers to come into our country to work but eventually return to their home countries. Democrats want legislation to legalize approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants who are now in the country; they also want a guest-worker program that would lead to citizenship.

More than 1 million illegal aliens have been deported since 2007 when this issue stalled in the Senate. A record number of undocumented immigrants - 392,000 - were deported in fiscal year 2010. Democrats claim that the system is broken and that illegal immigrants are receiving unfair treatment. They also claim that deportations are causing families to break up.

Representatives Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Candice Miller (R-MI), chairwoman of the Homeland Security subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security released the following news item: "This new non-enforcement policy announced by the Obama Administration Thursday is a blatant attempt to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal aliens in this country."

I believe that the Obama Administration did make an end run around Congress. Because Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on comprehensive immigration reform, Obama decided to do things his way. I believe that the new rules were put in place for political purposes because Obama needs the Hispanic vote in order to win re-election in 2012. I believe that Obama was claiming the need to obey the law of the land only until he could get away with changing the policies. I believe that the only way we can stop Obama and his liberal/progressive cohorts is to get him out of office as quickly as possible. The election in 2012 cannot come too soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thomas Stone

Thomas Stone, signer of the Declaration of Independence, apparently lived an obscure life except when duty to the cause of liberty called. He had an unassuming manner and applied his time and energy to his domestic life. He apparently did not keep a journal or other personal records. What little we know about him came from fragments of information scattered among the public records and testimonies of surviving family members, friends and other patriots.

Stone was born in 1743 at the Pointoin Manor in Maryland. He received a good education according to English standards, including some knowledge about the classics, before embarking on a study of the law at age twenty-one. There is no record of the place where he first practiced law, but it is assumed that he started in Annapolis.

Even though Thomas did not have much personal fame, he readily joined the patriots' cause of liberty and was very active in the movement even before he was elected to the General Congress in 1774 as one of Maryland's first five delegates. After performing his duties in the Congress, which lasted fifty-two days, he went home to retire from public life. His fellow citizens apparently liked what they saw in 1774 because Thomas was elected to the General Congress of 1775.

The majority of residents of Maryland opposed even the thought of political independence from England and instructed their delegates to vote against any petitions calling for independence. When the restriction was finally removed six weeks later in June, 1776, Thomas Stone and other delegates from Maryland were ready to vote for and sign the Declaration of Independence. An important note: Stone and other delegates from Maryland were unanimously re-elected to the Congress on July 4, 1776, the very day that the Declaration of Independence was accepted.

Stone did not become a prominent member of Congress, but he was very useful to that body of patriots because of his good common sense and his unrelenting willingness to labor for the cause of liberty. He was a member of the committee with the responsibility to write the Articles of Confederation, adopted in November, 1777. He was elected to Congress again in 1777 but retired from it in 1778 in order to become a member of the Maryland Legislature. Maryland, with strong principles for state rights and independence, did not accept the idea of a general political union with Congress as the head until 1781 when it accepted the Articles of Confederation.

Thomas returned to the General Congress in 1783 and was present when General George Washington resigned his military commission and returned military power to the Congress. Thomas was appointed President of Congress, pro tempore, in 1784 and might have remained in that important position, the highest office attained through the vote of the people, except his personal modesty stopped him. When Congress adjourned, he returned to his home and law profession at Port Tobacco where he died on October 5, 1787, at age 45.

Facts are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 151-153.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weights and Measures

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.5: "The Congress shall have Power To … fix the Standard of Weights and Measures." Congress has the authority and responsibility to fix the standard of weights and measures and make them uniform throughout our nation in order to promote healthy commerce in our nation.

Our Founders wanted to avoid the systematic frauds found under the Articles of Confederation and decided that a national standard for weights and measures was necessary. They gave the responsibility to establish national standards to Congress and made it permanent by writing it in the Constitution.

"In 1838 the Congress officially adopted the English system of weights and measures to which Americans had already become accustomed.
"This provided a standard for the pound, ounce, mile, foot, yard, gallon, and quart. The standard of liquid measurement was the wine gallon of 231 cubic inches. The Congress adopted the old English or Winchester `bushel' as the measurement for dry products such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. A bushel was fixed at eight gallons or four pecks and represents 2150.42 cubic inches. This particular measurement was used in England from the earliest Anglo-Saxon times.
"The Congress also fixed the size of barrels for apples and similar dry products and established the size or capacity of baskets to be used for fruits and vegetables" (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, 426-427).

According to Skousen, the metric system of measurement was set up by the French after the French Revolution. This system was accepted throughout Europe, but the Founders rejected the metric system and adopted the English system.

The English system continues to be our standard of weights and measures, but the metric system is also familiar to most Americans today as it is used mostly in scientific and technical matters.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The topic of discussion for this Sabbath day is charity. Mormon, a prophet in the Book of Mormon said, "Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail - but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever" (Moroni 7:46-47; see also 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Nephi 26:30; Moroni 7:44-45, 48).

The World Book Encyclopedia defines charity as a "generous giving to the poor or to organizations which look after the sick, the poor, and the helpless; an act or work of charity; a fund, institution, or organization for helping the sick, the poor, and the helpless; alms; kindness in judging people's faults; love of one's fellow men; natural affection; love" (pp 343-344).

"The life of the Savior reflects His pure love for all people. He even gave His life for us. Charity is that pure love which our Savior Jesus Christ has, and He has commanded us to love one another as He loves us. The scriptures tell us that charity comes from a pure heart (see 1 Timothy 1:5). We have pure love when, from the willing heart, we show genuine concern and compassion for all our brothers and sisters" (Gospel Principles, p 173).

The Savior gave us a perfect example of charity in His life. As the Son of God, He had perfect love for all mankind, and He showed us how to love. He taught us as well as showed us by example that all mankind has spiritual and physical needs that are important. He said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." He also said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12-13).

Most people will not have to give their lives as the Savior did, but everyone can have charity by putting Christ at the center of their lives and by following His teachings and example. Just as the Savior did, we too can bring blessings into the lives of other people.

The Savior taught by using stories or parables. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ taught that we should give to those in need, whether we know them or not (see Luke 10:30-37). The parable tells of a man who was traveling to another city. While on the road he was attacked by robbers who stole his clothes and his money, beat him, and left him to die. A priest came along, saw the man and passed by. Then a temple attendant walked over to him, looked him over, and passed by. Along came a man from Samaria - people who were despised by the Jews. When he saw the man, he felt compassion for him and knelt beside him. The Samaritan bandaged the man's wounds and then put him on a donkey and took him to an inn. There he paid the innkeeper to care for the wounded man until he was healed.

Jesus taught his followers to give food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. He taught that when we visit the sick, the widowed, the fatherless, or those in prison, it is as though we were doing those same things for Christ. He promises that those who care for the needy will inherit His kingdom. (See Mathew 25:34-46.)

Jesus also taught his followers that they didn't need to decide whether or not someone really deserved to be helped (see Mosiah 4:16-24). After we have taken care of our own family's needs, we should help all who need help to the extent of our ability. In helping as much as we are capable, we will be like our Father in Heaven, who sends rain to fall on the just and on the unjust alike (see Matthew 5:44-45).

Sometimes people need more than just material goods. President Thomas S. Monson said, "Let us ask ourselves the questions: `Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?' (Hymns, no. 223.) What a formula for happiness! What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace - to have inspired gratitude in another human being.
"Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved" (Ensign, Nov. 2001, 60).

True charity must come from the heart. We do not have charity if we are being forced to share our material goods with others. We do not have charity if we give without feeling compassion for those in need (see 1 John 3:16-17). Paul the Apostle taught that we are filled with good feelings for all people when we have charity. If we have charity, we are patient and kind; we are not boastful, proud, selfish or crude. When we have charity, we do not remember or rejoice in the bad things done by others; neither do we do kind things to make others indebted to us. When we have charity, we share joy. When we have charity, we are loyal, believe the best in others, and show kindness to others. The scriptures teach, "Charity never faileth." (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.)

Jesus Christ, our Savior, gave us an example of how to feel toward and how to treat other people. He loved sinners but despised wickedness. He had compassion for little children, old people, the poor and the needy. He had such great love for all mankind that even while the soldiers were pounding nails into His hands and feet, He begged Heavenly Father to forgive them (see Luke 23:34). He was very firm when He said that if we want Heavenly Father to forgive us of our sins, we must forgive others of their trespasses against us (see Matthew 18:33-35).

We can learn to feel toward others as Jesus did by following his formula: "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?" (Matthew 5:44, 46).

So - now that we know what charity is - how can we develop more charity? 1) We can study the life of Jesus Christ and keep His commandments. By learning what He did in certain situations, we can know what to do when we are faced with similar situations. 2) We can pray for greater charity - especially when we have uncharitable feelings towards someone. The prophet Mormon counseled, "Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love [charity], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ" (Moroni 7:48). 3) We can learn to love ourselves by gaining the understanding that we are children of God. The Savior taught us that we must love others as we love ourselves (see Matthew 22:39). When we love ourselves, we also have respect and love for ourselves. We can learn to love ourselves by being obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ, repenting of our wrongdoing, and then forgiving ourselves. As we grow in love for ourselves, we can also feel the deep love that the Savior feels for us. 4) We can stop thinking we are better than other people and learn to have patience with their faults. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 428-429).

In the Book of Mormon there is a story about a young man named Enos who was concerned about his sins. While he was out in nature, he felt the need to commune with God. He said, "My soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
"And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed" (Enos 1:4-5).

When Enos asked how this could be, the Lord explained that his sins were forgiven because he had faith in Jesus Christ. The interesting thing to me is that when Enos heard that his sins were forgiven, he knew that the Lord loved him and would bless him. He also was able to forget about himself and was able to reach out to others. He was concerned about his family and friends, the Nephites and he poured out his whole soul to God in their behalf. The Lord again answered his prayer by telling him that they would be blessed according to their faithfulness in keeping the commandments. When Enos knew that his family and associates would be blessed, he reached out even further and began to pray with many long strugglings for his enemies, the Lamanites. The Lord assured him that his desires would be granted, and Enos spent the rest of his life trying to save the souls of both the Nephites and the Lamanites. (See Enos 1:6-26.)

Enos was filled with true gratitude for the Lord's love and forgiveness and became filled with charity. He spent the rest of his life helping others to receive this same gift. Enos became more like Jesus Christ when he learned to be truly charitable. We can and must learn to have charity in order to inherit the place in Heavenly Father's kingdom that is being prepared for each of us. True charity cannot be legislated or taxed or otherwise forced. It must come from a willing and loving heart.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Facts of Life

Families are strengthened when adults give the facts of life early, factually and without embarrassment. Children need to be taught appropriately about sex from the time they are babies, and young people need honest and direct answers to their questions about sex and babies. Children, teenagers, and young adults need to be taught by precept and example the importance of dressing modestly and appropriately for the occasion.

The subject of our Relief Society lesson last Sunday was the law of chastity. Since the teacher believed that class members did not need to be taught this law, she used the occasion to discuss the importance of teaching this law to our children and grandchildren. The first topic that came up was the importance of teaching children about sex from babyhood. A new sister in our ward said that she taught classes on how to avoid sexual assault and claimed that children need to know facts about sex before nine years of age. I was a little disbelieving at first, but I understood and agreed with her when she explained that even babies can be taught the proper names for the parts of the body and little children can be taught to dress modestly. When parents teach the facts of life reverently in the home, children are strengthened in their abilities to deal with the irreverence that other children deal with the sacredness of procreation process.

This sister's young adult daughter shared her conviction for early teaching and appreciation for the efforts of her parents. She highlighted the need for early teaching when she said that fifth grade students in her elementary school were experimenting with sex. Her words reminded me that my oldest daughter came home from sixth grade asking some very serious questions about sex. Some of her classmates had shared a description of the sex act with her, and she didn't believe them. She came to me for confirmation that they were wrong, and she became angry with me when I confirmed that her classmates were telling her the truth. She was angry with me because I had not taught her the facts of life earlier. I tried to be more diligent in teaching my other children, but I probably fell short of what I should have taught them.

Another topic of discussion that took a large portion of the class time was modesty of dress. A mother of a teenage son explained that she and her husband were chaperones at a school prom in recent months. Her son asked a young Catholic girl to the prom and explained to her the importance of wearing a modest dress. When he picked her up for the prom, she was dressed in a strapless dress but thought it was modest because she wore a shawl over it. The young man immediately realized that the dress was not modest and apparently said, "My mother's going to kill me!" The young woman spent the entire prom clutching her shawl and trying to cover her bare skin. This mother continued in describing the dresses of other young women of her acquaintance, all of which were immodest. She came to the conclusion that our young women do not understand the meaning of modest dress.

I remembered my efforts as a mother in trying to teach my own daughters to dress more modestly. I realize now that they didn't understand the importance of modesty or even what it means. Whenever I sewed anything for them, I encouraged more modesty, but I still didn't consider their prom dresses as modest. I usually redesigned the pattern in order to make the outfit as modest as possible, and I always added an inch or more when I hemmed their dresses to bring the hems closer to their knees.

I also remembered my own experience at a high school prom about fifty years ago. At the time I was in high school, prom dresses consisted of a lining of taffeta covered with ruffles and more ruffles of gathered netting with straps made of lots of gathered net. I remember that I felt quite bare in my dress because it was the most immodest thing that I had ever worn in public besides my swimming suit. All the other girls at the dance were dressed in similar dresses except one girl. Out of all the dresses at that prom, there is only one dress that I remember - including the one I wore. This young woman chose to wear a modest dress - a round and becoming neckline, simple and short sleeves, a fitted bodice, and a floor-length skirt - in a beautiful, medium blue. I was very impressed by this young woman and her dress and wished that I had been wearing a more modest dress. In later years I wished that my parents had helped me to understand how I could be more appropriately and modestly dressed. As a side note, this gorgeous young woman became Days of '47 Queen just a few years later. If I ever have the opportunity to meet this woman again, I plan to tell her of my respect for her modesty.

Another young woman in Relief Society shared with us how the bishop of her ward at college visited the Relief Society one day to talk about why it was important for the young women to dress more modestly. He told the young women that he had already spoken to the young men, but he wanted to talk to the young women also. He told them of the effect that immodest dress has on young men and how seeing too much skin on a girl arouses improper feelings in young men. He told the young women "Don't tempt my young men by dressing immodestly!"

I was very impressed when I read that the Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter spoke about appropriate dress and hygiene for young people. After his city endured the results of a recent flash mob of mostly young, African-American youth, Mayor Nutter told the marauding black young people, "Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.
"If you walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you? They don't hire you `cause you look like you're crazy. You have damaged your own race."

Children, teens and young adults are strengthened and better prepared to face the tests of life when they have been taught appropriately about sex and reproduction as well as the need to dress modestly and appropriately for the occasion. Parents and leaders can strengthen families and society by teaching modesty and the facts of life early, clearly and appropriately.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Family Is Core Unit of Society

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the family forms the core unit of society and thus determines the strength of our communities, states and nations. The family is under assault and must be strengthened and protected in order to protect our society.

America was developed and built by people who believed in marriage and the family. They loved God and read their Bibles regularly. They came to America in order to have the freedom to live their religion without governmental influence.

The French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited America and made the following observation: "There is no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated…. But when the American retires from the turmoil of public life to the bosom of his family, he finds in it the image of order and peace. There his pleasures are simple and natural, his joys are innocent and calm; and as he finds that an orderly life is the surest path to happiness, he accustoms himself easily to moderate his opinions as well as his tastes. While the European endeavors to forget his domestic troubles by agitating society, the American derives from his own home that love of order which he afterwards carries with him into public affairs" (Democracy in America, 1:315).

America became a great nation because its citizens understood the importance of marriage and family. They understood that "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 11:11.) They understood that even though the husband acted as head of the home, both partners held equal status. They understood that the man was to protect the family and provide for the daily needs while the woman was to nurture the children and provide a wholesome environment for her family.

The Proclamation on the Family proclaims, "… marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…. The family is ordained of God."

London has suffered through several days of rioting, robbing and burning, and several cities in the United States have endured "flash mobs" - spontaneous groups of mostly young African-Americans who attack people at random. After his city endured the results of a recent flash mob, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter told the marauding black youths, "Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.
"If you walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you? They don't hire you `cause you look like you're crazy. You have damaged your own race."

Mayor Nutter clearly understands the place of family in the lives of our young people because he did not stop at chastising the youth. He went to his Baptist church and delivered a thirty-minute sermon to parents about taking responsibility for the behavior of their children: "The Immaculate Conception of our Lord Jesus Christ took place a long time ago, and it didn't happen here in Philadelphia. So every one of these kids has two parents who were around and participating at the time. They need to be around now."
He told the parents, "If you're just hanging out out there, maybe you're sending them a check or bringing some cash by. That's not being a father. You're just a human ATM. … And if you're not providing the guidance and you're not sending any money, you're just a sperm donor" (Dave Boyer, The Washington Times, Monday, August 8, 2011).

Mayor Nutter took a courageous stand to tell both the youth and their parents to step forward and accept responsibility for their behavior. Parents must recognize that they hold a unique place in their homes and in society and have a powerful effect - for good or bad - on how their children behave. Because the family is the core unit of society, it is vital that families are strengthened and protected by individuals and communities as well as state and federal governments. As we have seen by the recent flash mobs, the very foundation of society is threatened, when the family is weakened.

Some of the ideas and quotes for this post came from W. Cleon Skousen in The Five Thousand Year Leap, pp. 199-204.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two Mrs. Chase

Samuel Chase, signer of the Declaration of Independence, married twice. He was twenty-one years old in 1762 when he married Anne Baldwin of Annapolis, Maryland. He had recently completed his study of law under the direction of two prominent Annapolis attorneys, John Hammond and John Hall, and had established his own law practice. He was also taking an active interest in public affairs.

Anne did not live long enough to share the great honors that came to her husband because she died in the early years of the Revolution. She was the mother of six children, two sons and four daughters.

Samuel went to England in March 1783 on legal business. There he met and married Miss Hannah Kilty Giles of London. They became parents of two daughters, Eliza (married Dr. Skipwith Coale of London) and Hannah (married William Barney, Esq.).

Judge Chase moved to Baltimore in 1786 where his good friend, Col. John E. Howard, gave him a piece of land on the condition that he would live there. The land consisted of many city lots as well as area where the Judge built his home - a "specious mansion." The sale of the other lots helped the Judge to live in comfortable conditions until his death in 1811.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 217-219.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bad News for Obamacare

Supporters of Obamacare received more bad news on Friday, August 12, 2011, when the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the individual mandate in it is unconstitutional. In supporting the United States Constitution as it is written, the court strongly rejected the Obama Administration's argument that the powers of Congress are unlimited.

Our Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution with the intent to protect the personal freedoms of the people from the powers of government. For this reason, they restricted the powers of Congress to what are called "the enumerated powers" - the power to tax, pay debt, coin money, etc. Congress has broadened their powers over the last one hundred years by asserting the Commerce clause: "The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the States, and with the Indian Tribes."

The Obama Administration is not yet willing to accept this court ruling because the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Obamacare. The administration is trying to claim partisanship, but one of the writers of the ruling was Judge Frank Hull, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

The Heritage Foundation published a statement written by Todd Gaziano [] on August 12, 2011, that explains what this court decision means for the future of Obamacare: "In short, the Obama administration has lost its battle to delay review of the individual mandate until after the 2012 election. Until today, there was at least a change that the Supreme Court would pass on the case until after its forthcoming term, but now, with a split between the Eleventh Circuit and Sixth Circuit, the High Court will have little choice but to take the case and resolve the fate of the forced-purchase mandate. After over a year of delaying tactics, the Obama Administration has no more options to slow-walk the constitutional end-game for the mandate. Our best estimate is that the case will be argued either in late March or in April 2012. The Court will issue its decision near the end of its term in June, during the presidential candidate nominating season.
"The Eleventh Circuit's opinion is also a carefully conceived and tightly reasoned opinion that properly and narrowly addresses the issue before the court, without broad gestures or the irrelevant policy discussions in the Sixth Circuit's opinion. More than merely a judgment, it is a persuasive and elegant affirmation of our constitutional structure, one that may even sway the high court's liberal wing in its concern for liberty and political accountability.
"Another significance of today's decision is that it provides a roadmap for the Supreme Court on how to strike down the individual mandate provision and still save part of the Obamacare law….
"Finally, not only is the majority opinion thorough and rigorous, its conclusion is crisp and precise: `[T]he individual mandate is breathtaking in its expansive scope. It regulates those who have not entered the health care market at all. It regulates those who have entered the health care market, but have not entered the insurance market (and have no intention of doing so). It is over inclusive in when it regulates: it conflates those who presently consume health care with those who will not consume health care for many years into the future. The government's position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual's existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life. This theory affords no limiting principles in which to confine Congress's enumerated power….
"`The federal government's assertion of power, under the Commerce Clause, to issue an economic mandate for Americans to purchase insurance from a private company for the entire duration lives is unprecedented, lacks cognizable limits, and imperils our federalist structure.'
"Bravo. In answer to Ben Franklin's famous question: we still have a republic…."
It is almost certain that the next battle in the war against Obamacare will take place in the U.S. Supreme Court where nine Justices will hear the arguments. Since the Court is divided in their political views, the final ruling may come down to the decision of one Justice. We must pray that the majority of Justices will see the dangers of Obamacare clearly and clearly stop this effort by liberals/progress to give the federal government absolute power to control and regulate our entire lives.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Samuel Chase

Samuel Chase, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Somerset County, Maryland, on April 17, 1741. His father was a well-educated clergyman in the Protestant Episcopal Church, and he instructed his son so well in the "study of the classics" and the "common branches of an English education that he was sufficiently prepared to enter the "professional life." Samuel began studying law at the age eighteen years under the direction of Mr. Hammond and Mr. Hall of Annapolis; he was admitted to practice law before the mayor's court at age twenty and became a member of the bar at age twenty-two when he was allowed to practice law in other courts. He soon became a successful lawyer in Annapolis.

Mr. Chase was also elected to be a member of the Provincial Assembly at age twenty. There he was independent in both feeling and action about matters of principle that he offended those legislators who were there to please the royal governor. It was in the Provincial Assembly that he first manifested his "stamina of character" that was so evident during the Revolution.

Samuel was among the first people in Maryland to lift both his voice and hand against the Stamp Act. His group of young patriots styled themselves after the "Sons of Liberty" in Massachusetts, and they opposed every form of the Stamp Act, going so far as to attack the Stamp Offices and destroy the Stamps. The authorities of Annapolis tried to dampen his spirit, but they increased his popularity by persecuting him.

Mr. Chase went to the first Continental Congress, in 1774, as one of the five delegates appointed by the people of Maryland. At the same convention, he was appointed to be on the "Committee of Correspondence" for Maryland. The committees of correspondence had a powerful effect in uniting the patriots in their cause of liberty and helped them to prepare to act promptly when needed. Samuel was "bold and energetic" and "expressed his sentiments freely in favor of absolute independence" in the General Congress. The people in the colonies were desirous to settle their differences with England and didn't particular want independence.

Samuel was elected to Congress again in 1775 and was zealously active in strengthening the military located around Boston. He used his growing popularity and political power to influence the Maryland convention to remove its prohibitions on its delegates to the General Congress to vote in favor of independence. This restriction was especially difficult on him, and he yearned to have it removed. He was elected to Congress again in 1776.

In the spring of 1776 Samuel was appointed to a committee with Dr. Benjamin Franklin and Charles Carroll to travel to Canada to "effect a concurrence" with the English colonies there. The mission was unsuccessful, and they returned to Congress just in time to join the discussion about independence. He was very much in favor of independence and was grateful that Maryland had lifted her restrictions, which left her delegates free to vote as they desired. Samuel voted in favor of independence and willingly signed the Declaration of Independence.

Samuel continued as a delegate to the General Congress until 1778 when he resigned his public position to give his attention to his personal affairs. He resumed his law practice in Annapolis and did not enter the political arena again until 1788 when he was appointed Chief Justice of the criminal court in Baltimore. That same year he was elected as a delegate to the state convention of Maryland that was considering the United States Constitution for ratification. At about the same period of time he was appointed to be the Chief Justice of the Maryland Supreme Court.

In 1796 President George Washington nominated Samuel to become a judge on the United States Supreme Court. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate, and he held the position for fifteen years. He was considered as having the highest degree of "honesty of purpose and integrity of motives, but his political opponents still tried to impeach him for misconduct on the bench. He was honorably acquitted.

Judge Chase was benevolent to his fellowman. Close to the end of the Revolutionary War, he met a young man in a debating society in Baltimore and was so impressed with the young man that met with him and advised him to study law. When the young man frankly expressed his state of poverty, Samuel offered him a place to stay and "free access to his extensive library." The young man accepted the Judge's offer, studied law, and was accepted to the bar "after passing an examination with distinguished ability." The young man's name was William Pinkney, who later became United States Attorney General and U.S. minister at the Court in Great Britain.

Samuel was a "sincere professor" of Christianity and was a member of St. Paul's church in Baltimore, the same parish where his father served when Samuel was a child. Judge Chase died on June 19, 1811, in the seventieth year of his life.

Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 146-150.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Coin and Regulate Money

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.5: "The Congress shall have Power … To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin…." This provision in the United States Constitution gave the Congress the responsibility to establish the coins to be used in our nation as well as their weight and value. It also gave Congress the responsibility to establish the value of foreign coins as related to the domestic coins.

According to W. Cleon Skousen, the original draft of this provision gave the federal government power to "emit bills of credit" (paper money), but the Founders didn't like that idea. "The Founders had lost confidence in paper money. During the Revolutionary War they had issued paper money on the assumption that it would be redeemed in gold or silver by the states. Then the states began issuing vast quantities of paper money and England brought over bales of American counterfeit paper money. It soon became evident to everyone that all the so-called Continental (paper) dollars couldn't possibly be redeemed by the states or anyone else. Their value therefore fell to less than a penny per dollar and people began to speak of worthless things as `not worth a Continental.'
"It was decided that the government would mint only gold and silver coins as `money'" (The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 420).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom is the Lord's law for having good health. The entire law is found in Doctrine and Covenants 89, and it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, on February 27, 1833. The Prophet was pondering about the practice of some of the early brethren's use of tobacco in their meetings, and he inquired of the Lord what he should do. This revelation was the result of his prayers. The Word of Wisdom was given as a protection from wicked men who sell products to make money without concern for the health of their customers. Since the time the Word of Wisdom was given, science has discovered the evils that are involved in using tobacco of any kind, abuse of legal or illegal drugs, and drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol beverages.

When the Word of Wisdom was first given, it was given as counsel for the benefit of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and not as commandment or constraint. It was given for a "principle with promise" and was "adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all…." A few years later, obedience to the Word of Wisdom became a requirement for being baptized, holding Church offices and entering the temple.
One of the purposes for coming to earth is to receive physical bodies to house our spirits. A physical body is one of the greatest blessings we have because we must have a physical body to become like our Heavenly Father. The Lord places so much importance on physical bodies that He calls them temples (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20). He considers our bodies as being holy, and He wants us to treat them as holy.

Because of the importance of our bodies, Heavenly Father wants us to take good care of them. He wants us to be happy and knows that healthy bodies bring more happiness. He also wants us to stay worthy to receive the Holy Ghost by keeping our bodies and minds clean. He knew that we would be tempted to treat our bodies unwisely or to partake of harmful things; therefore, He told us which things are good for our bodies and which are bad for them. This information concerning good health is contained in the Word of Wisdom.

Obedience to the Word of Wisdom helps us to stay worthy to enter the Lord's temple and to enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost. Disobedience to this law causes the Lord's Spirit to withdraw from us and causes damage to ourselves physically and spiritually.

The Lord revealed that there are certain things that we should not take into our bodies. He commanded us to not use wine or strong drinks (drinks containing alcohol). The use of strong drinks often causes cruelty, poverty, and disease to enter our homes. It often is the cause of dishonesty, loss of chastity, and loss of good judgment and is always a curse to those who drink it. Use of alcohol by expectant mothers can cause physical and mental damage to their unborn children. Drivers under the influence of alcohol cause many automobile accidents each year.

The Lord also revealed that "tobacco is not for the body" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:8) because it is harmful to our bodies and our spirits. Scientists have shown that tobacco causes many diseases and can harm unborn children. We should not smoke cigarette or cigars, or use chewing tobacco. Any form of tobacco taken into our bodies is harmful. Even being around those who smoke tobacco can cause health problems for non-users.

The Lord counsels us against the use of "hot drinks" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:9), meaning coffee and tea, which contain harmful substances. Wisdom requires us to avoid all drinks that contain harmful substances.

Wisdom dictates that we should not use drugs except when they are medically necessary. Some drugs are even more destructive than alcohol and tobacco, which are also drugs. Anyone who misuses drugs should seek help, pray for strength, and counsel with their bishop in order to fully repent and become clean.

In the spirit of the Word of Wisdom, we should avoid anything that we know is harmful to our bodies. We should not use any substance that is habit forming. We should avoid overeating and any foods that cause allergic reactions. The Word of Wisdom gives us guidelines, but it does not tell us everything to avoid or consume. It is a law that is valuable physically but also spiritually. By obedience to the Word of Wisdom, we become stronger spiritually. This law helps us to purify our bodies in order to have the Spirit of the Lord dwell with us.

The Lord also revealed that there are certain things that are good for us. These foods include fruits, vegetables and wholesome herbs, which should be used with wisdom and thanksgiving. The Lord has said that the flesh of birds and animals is provided for our food but should be eaten sparingly. Fish is also good for us. Grains, especially wheat, are good for us.

The Lord has revealed other ways to keep our bodies healthy. We are taught to "cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; … cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:124). We are also told, "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work" (Exodus 20:9) and to not labor more than we have strength (Doctrine and Covenants 10:4).

President Thomas S. Monson told us that we should keep our bodies healthy. He said, "Nutritious meals, regular exercise, and appropriate sleep are necessary for a strong body, just as consistent scripture study and prayer strengthen the mind and spirit" (Ensign, November 1990, p. 46).

When the Lord revealed the Word of Wisdom to teach us how to care for our bodies, He also promised blessings for doing so. He said, "No temporal commandment gave I …, for my commandments are spiritual" (Doctrine and Covenants 29:35), meaning that His commandments concerning our physical bodies are for our spiritual good. Keeping the Lord's law of health and obeying His other commandments brings promised blessings physically and spiritually.

We are promised good health physically, which helps us to "run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:20). Physical health is a great blessing, but the promised spiritual blessings are even greater.

God promises us that we "shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:19), meaning that we will be taught important truths through revelation by the Holy Ghost. President Boyd K. Packer taught, "Our physical body is the instrument of our spirit. In that marvelous revelation the Word of Wisdom, we are told how to keep our bodies free from impurities which might dull, even destroy, those delicate physical senses which have to do with spiritual communication. The Word of Wisdom is a key to individual revelation" (Ensign, November 1989, p. 14).

The Lord also promises that the destroying angel will pass by us. President Heber J. Grant said, "If you and I desire the blessings of life, of health, of vigor of body and mind; if we desire the destroying angel to pass us by, as he did in the days of the children of Israel, we must obey the Word of Wisdom; then God is bound, and the blessing shall come to us" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant [2002], p. 192).

I know that living the Word of Wisdom brings blessings to us. I know that avoiding harmful substances, including too much food, makes my body healthier. I know that too little sleep makes me tired and too much sleep makes me groggy. I know that I enjoy more closeness to God because I keep my mind and body clean.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gender Matters

Families are strengthened when parents understand that there are basic differences between girls and boys and that these differences are good and necessary. There are sex differences "hardwired" into children before birth, and ignoring or mixing up those differences can create problems for them as teenagers and young adults.

Gender problems have been very much on my mind lately. I know several young people who consider themselves to be gay, and I recently learned of an additional one. My heart goes out to these young people and their families because the situation is difficult for all involved. I believe that this particular social problem came out of the atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980's when the ones I am familiar with were born and reared. I believe that many young people become involved with homosexuality out of curiosity or being introduced to it by an older person or someone they admire and want to be like. At any rate, the acceptance of same-sex relationships by society seems to increase the numbers of those who become involved in it.

Back in the 1970's when my older children were born, parents were told that boys and girls acted differently because adults expected them to act differently. We were told that parents created and reinforced the differences in children. Being a new mother, I wanted to care for my children properly and to teach them appropriately, but I didn't really believe the experts. What they were saying didn't make sense when compared with what I was personally seeing, and I decided to perform my own experiments with my children. My husband and I had two little girls followed by a boy, all in a three-year period, and we could see from the beginning that our son was much different that our girls. We purchased dolls and other girl toys as well as same-sex toys such as puzzles and games. When our son was born, we purchased cars, trucks, and other boy toys. All the toys were together in the family room, and the children could choose which toys they wanted to play with. I noticed that without any prompting, our girls usually chose the dolls, dishes, and other feminine toys while our son usually chose the cars, trucks and other masculine toys. They all enjoyed the sex-neutral toys. Our son seemed to always put a masculine touch on whatever he did, and our girls were more feminine. When our son wanted to join the girls at their Barbie parties, he brought his Heman characters to play with - and no one seemed to consider that strange at all. Today the girls are still very feminine while our son is very masculine, and all are happily married.

As we added more children - another son and two daughters - they followed the same patterns in their own individual ways. All of the children were given opportunities to play the piano as well as to play on sports teams. Some excelled in some areas while others excelled in other ways. All were good students. I cannot take credit - or blame - for the adults that my children have become because I simply allowed them to be themselves and loved them for it.

I believe that gender truly matters. I believe that we are sons and daughters of God and that He has an individual plan for each one of us. I believe that homosexuality comes from Satan because it is exactly opposite from what our Father in Heaven desires for His children. We all lived as sons and daughters with our Heavenly Father, and we had no confusion then about whether we were male or female. It is only in this world that there is confusion about our roles. I believe that Satan introduced same-sex attraction in order to destroy the family unit. We know that our families are the basic units of society and that society cannot withstand the destruction of its basic unit. The work of God depends on the success of that basic unit. If the basic unit is destroyed, then the work of God is easier to overthrow.

The doctrine of the family was stated clearly in the Proclamation on the Family, which was first introduced to the women of the Church on September 23, 1995, and then given to the entire Church membership the next week. "We the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
"All human beings - male and female - are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
"We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan…."

The family Proclamation continues in describing the duties of husbands and wives to each other and to their children. "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children." "Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens… [and] will be held accountable before God for the discharge of theses obligations."

The Proclamation tells us that the "family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ." Husbands and fathers have the basic responsibilities to preside in the home, to protect their wives and their children, and to provide for their temporal needs. Wives and mothers have the primary responsibility to nurture the children and support husbands and fathers in their duties. "In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners" and to make the necessary adaptations brought about by disability, death or other circumstances.

With the background of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the clearly stated principles found in the Proclamation of the family, I feel strongly that gender is very important. We must not become confused or allow our children to become confused about gender.

Same-sex marriage has been approved by several state legislatures while the voters in the majority of states have voted it down. Since New York legalized same-sex marriage, pressure has been building for the producers of Sesame Street to use the children's television show to advance same-sex marriage. Bert and Ernie have been sharing the same bedroom with separate beds for many years. The creators have always said that the friends are gender neutral, not homosexual, but same-sex marriage advocates are pressuring the producers of Sesame Street to have Bert and Ernie tie the knot on the show. We have no idea of the problems such an example would bring into the lives of still more generations.

Gender is important in more ways than just sexual orientation. Our gender is involved in all we do: learning, reading, hearing, thinking, etc. I own a book entitled Why Gender Matters, written by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., with a copyright date of 2005, and I highly recommend this book to all parents, grandparents, and teachers. I found it to be very interesting and informative about gender matters. It confirmed to me that children suffered much by the theories of the past thirty-five years. "There is more at stake here than the old question of nature versus nurture. The failure to recognize and respect sex differences in child development has done substantial harm over the past thirty years…" (p 7). The author maintains that many problems are caused in the lives of children because adults do not understand the "hardwired differences in how girls and boys learn." He explains that boys and girls hear differently and some boys who exhibit attention deficit disorder may be reacting to the fact that they can "barely hear the soft-spoken teacher." The author maintains that problems with school dropouts, alcohol and drug abuse, teenage sex, and other problems can be traced back to the fact that the "innate, biologically programmed differences between girls and boys" are not recognized and that "many administrators and teachers don't fully appreciate that girls and boys enter the classroom with different needs, different abilities, and different goals" (p 9).

Dr. Sax described how he had "been invited to schools around the United States and Canada to speak to teachers about differences in how girls and boys learn. I've been struck by the similarities between good teachers and good parents. They both stay up late at night agonizing how best to help a child. They both may shed tears when they tell me how they've struggled with a particular child. Good teachers and good parents both understand that every child is unique. Both want to help every child achieve his or her full potential. Teachers and parents are partners in helping each child grow up to be the woman or man that child was meant to be" (p 10).

The author explains that boys and girls not only hear differently, but they see differently. Their brains work differently, and they feel differently. They enjoy reading about different subjects. Dr. Sax even addresses sex differences versus sexual orientation. "Basically, I will argue that sex differences - female compared with male - are far more profound than any differences attributed to sexual orientation….
"My bottom line is that sex, female or male, is more fundamental than sexual orientation, gay or straight. A lesbian girl and a straight girl have much more in common with each other, as a rule, than a lesbian girl has in common with a gay boy - in terms of how they learn, how they play, how they fight, and how they relate to their friends, to their parents, and to the world in general" (pp 36-37).

I strongly recommend Why Gender Matters to anyone and everyone who deals with children and teenagers. Our boys and girls are different, and their differences are good and necessary. It is particularly important that parents understand the differences between males and females and use those differences to help their sons and daughters to reach their full potentials as adults.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Debt Brings Slavery

It seems only fitting that the liberty principle for this Freedom Friday should be economic freedom - particularly the importance of avoiding debt. The United States lost its sterling credit rating last week when Standard and Poor's downgraded America's debt from AAA to AA+. This downgrade came as a result of our leaders' inability/unwillingness to reduce our nation's debt.

President Barack Obama and his cohorts are either uneducated as to the effect of debt on individuals, families, states and nations - or they are using our nation's debt to advance their own agenda. Debt is a form of "involuntary servitude," and it can enslave us as surely as conquest by military means.

W. Cleon Skousen defined debt as "simply borrowing against the future. It exchanges a present advantage for a future obligation. It will require not only the return of the original advance of funds, but a substantial compensation to the creditor for the use of his money" (The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World, p. 205).

Skousen explained that the Founders understood that the ability to borrow funds in a time of crisis is "an honorable procedure" and "looked upon it as a temporary handicap which should be alleviated at the earliest possible moment. They had undergone sufficient experience with debt to see its corrosive and debilitating effect, which tends to corrupt both individuals and nations."

Our leaders over the past one hundred years have been much different than our Founding Fathers. Our Founders abhorred debt and considered it to be "like a plague." They considered "excessive indebtedness as a form of cultural disease." If our modern-day leaders had followed the example set forth by our Founders, our nation would not be more than $14 trillion in debt today, and we would not have lost our best in the class credit rating.

Our Founders understood that the debts of a nation are no different than the debts of individuals. The fact that the responsibility for debt is shared by many does not make debt any less dangerous. The ability to borrow from friends - not enemies - at a time of crisis is good. Wars and other emergencies are expensive and often require debt. Our Founders understood this situation and authorized debt for emergencies when writing the United States Constitution; however, "they considered it a matter of supreme importance for the survival of a free people to get out of debt and enjoy complete solvency in order to prosper." (Above quotes are from Leap, pp. 205-214.)

JD Foster of The Heritage Foundation explained what the credit downgrade really means to us: "A credit rating downgrade will eventually mean higher interest rates on U.S. government debt. This may be hard to imagine given the recent drop in Treasury bond rates in response to events overseas. . But higher future rates are certain, and that means that even more federal tax dollars must be dedicated to paying the interest on past government excesses. Higher interest rates and interest cost means greater deficit pressures, which can mean more debt, which can lead to higher interest rates. This is why it is termed a debt spiral."

Foster continued with his explanation: "While not solely to blame, President Obama and his allies are most certainly preeminently to blame. Facing a rapidly growing budget deficit in 2009, President Obama pushed through a massive fiscal stimulus program followed by a succession of lesser efforts. As the anemic state of the economy attests quite clearly, those programs failed miserably - except in raising federal spending and national debt.
"Then the President pushed through his disastrous and highly unpopular health care reform. On paper, these reforms give the appearance of improving the fiscal picture modestly. But as the Medicare trustees' report has reminded us every year after ObamaCare passage, this happy picture is an illusion. Aside from the damage it has done and will do to health care costs and services, from a fiscal perspective, Obamacare ultimately is just yet another unaffordable entitlement piled on top of those already on the books."

We must cap our spending, cut our entitlement programs and shrink our government. We simply cannot pay our debts by raising taxes, even by raising the taxes of the wealthy people in our nation. Even the wealthy do not have enough money to pay our nations debts. The only way we can get out of debt - or even get our good credit rating back - is to cut the spending. Cut, Cap and Balance was a good plan, much better than what we got.

I believe that there is only one way to pay our debts and live in economic freedom again. Our Founders set forth the way to conduct our government, and it worked for over a hundred years before progressives began to set up unaffordable entitlement programs that have led to our current debt situation. The only way that we can solve our fiscal problems is to return to the formula set forth by our Founders - the fundamental principles found in our Constitution. The Tea Party may be hated in our nation, but they know what we must do. They know that we are Taxed Enough Already (TEA) and are making their voices heard. This is a good time for all Americans to join the TEA Party!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two Mrs. McKean

Mary Borden, eldest daughter of Thomas Borden of Bordentown, New Jersey, married Thomas McKean, future signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1763. Mr. Borden was described as being "a wealthy and public-spirited citizen." He became very active during the Revolutionary War in the patriot cause of liberty. I found it very interesting that both of his daughters, Mary and Ann, married men who later signed the Declaration of Independence. Ann, the younger daughter, married Francis Hopkinson.

Thomas McKean came from a well-to-do, Irish-American family. His parents settled in Chester County, and he attended the "celebrated school of Rev. Francis Allison of Philadelphia." He later studied law in the office of David Finney, "a prominent attorney of Newcastle, Delaware," and was appointed deputy prothonotary and register of the probate court of Newcastle County before he turn 20 years old. There apparently was no one who exceeded McKean's sense of duty to public service for more than sixty years - early 1750's to 1817 when he died. During that period of time he held at least one "high official" position and sometimes more in either Pennsylvania or Delaware. "In 1777, for instance, he represented Delaware in the Continental Congress, was chief justice of Pennsylvania, and president of Congress. The chief justiceship he held for twenty-two years, after which he was governor of Pennsylvania for nine years."

Mary lived only ten years after her marriage to McKean. She did not live long enough to see the great success of her husband, but she did live long enough to give him six children. The children are: Joseph Borden (born 1764), Robert (born 1765), Elizabeth (born 1767, married Andrew Pettit), Letitia (born 1769, married George Buchanan), Mary (born 1771, died in childhood), and Ann (born in 1773, married Andrew Buchanan).

Thomas McKean married Sarah Armitage of Newcastle on September 2, 1774. They were parents of four children: a son who died in infancy, Sarah (born July 8, 1777, and became the Marchioness de Casa Yrujo), Sophia Dorothea (born 1783), and Maria Louisa (born 1785 and died unmarried).

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 215-217.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blame Game

The Obama Administration and other liberals/progressives have stepped up their blame game after Standard and Poor's (S&P) downgraded the credit of the United States from AAA to AA+ on Friday, August 5, 2011. S&P downgraded Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, banks, and other institutions the following Monday, August 8, 2011. S&P also warned that another downgrade is possible if proper measures are not taken.

Our leaders don't seem to listen to their warnings because they were warned last April that a downgrade was possible if they didn't make appropriate changes. During the budget battle in Washington, the three main credit agencies - S&P, Moody's Investor Service, and Fitch - warned that the country faced a downgrade if Congress didn't cut spending enough. Moody's and Fitch have not yet downgraded the credit rating of the United States, but they could do it any time.

In spite of the credit downgrade by S&P, investors consider U.S. debt to be the safest place to invest, but many investors have sought refuge in buying gold, silver, and land. Scott Brown, an economist at Raymond James & Associates, said, "The S&P downgrade of U.S. government debt is the least of our problems. The bigger worry is sub par economic growth and the threat of a new recession."

Some of the points made by S&P but not clearly reported in mainstream media are: 1) "Standard and Poor's takes no position on the mix of spending and revenue measures that Congress and the Administration might conclude is appropriate for putting the U.S.'s finances on a sustainable footing." 2) "We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process." 3) "We also believe that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade." 4) "First, the revisions show that the recent recession was deeper than previously assumed, so the GDP this year is lower than previously thought in both nominal and real terms. Consequently, the debt burden is slightly higher. Second, the revised data highlight the sub-par path of the current economic recovery when compared with rebounds following previous post-war recessions. We believe the sluggish pace of the current economic recovery could be consistent with the experiences of countries that have had financial crises in which the slow process of debt deleveraging in the private sector leads to a persistent drag on demand. As a result, our downside case scenario assumes relatively modest real trend GDP growth of 2.5% and inflation of near 1.5% annually going forward." 5) "The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to `AA' within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case."

The U.S. stock market plunged 634 points on Monday also. It was already down about 400 points when Obama spoke to the nation and continued to plunge as he spoke. Obama claimed that the nation can reduce its debt and jumpstart the economy if there is "political will in Washington," and called for our political leaders to stop "drawing lines in the sand." He wants to extend an expiring payroll tax cut, extend unemployment insurance benefits, rebuild highways, bridges and ports throughout the nation in order to revive the construction industry, increase taxes on "wealthy" Americans, and make adjustments to programs like Medicare. He is obviously increasing the pressure on conservative Republicans to agree to tax increases as part of a deficit deal, but Republicans have reiterated that taxes are off the table.

The fiscal problems of the United States have come about because of actions by Presidents and Congresses from both political parties, but the debt has increased greatly under the Obama Administration. The Heritage Foundation explained how we arrived at the point we are at: "Decades of over-spending and over-borrowing by the federal government have damaged America's creditworthiness. Congress after Congress, President after President, the federal government spent every penny it took in and borrowed over $14 billion on top of that to keep happy the voters to whom the government made promises it could not afford. The government kept shifting the burden of paying the bills forward onto future generations.
"Well, the future has arrived, and it is bleak. Our economy is weak, millions of Americans are out of work, and America is so deep in debt that we have lost our good credit rating. Our nation needs to drive federal spending, including our ever-growing entitlement programs, down toward a balanced budget while maintaining our ability to protect America and without raising taxes. That is the sound path forward to a stronger economy with smaller government and more real jobs."

Obama is refusing to accept responsibility for being the only President who caused/allowed our nation to lose our prized credit rating. He and his liberal/progressives cohorts are blaming everyone but themselves for the bad rating. They are faulting S&P for the bad rating and claiming that S&P did their math wrong. They are blaming the Tea Party for the contention about raising the debt ceiling and insisting on spending cuts and no tax raises.

Obama is continuing his search for a budget agreement that will raise taxes on the wealthy while shaving little from deficits caused by entitlement spending. He is still insisting that taxes need to be raised in order to cover his huge spending spree, and he appears to not understand the serious economic situation that our nation is in. I continue to maintain my position that he is either evil and is destroying the United States on purpose or he is plain stupid and not qualified to be elected to the office of President of the United States. In any other situation, he would be able to read "the writing on the wall" and would make the necessary spending cuts.

Dave Ramsey, a man who makes his living in helping individuals and families to get out of debt, described the nation's situation as follows: "If the United States Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt, reduced to a level that we can understand."

The family in the above example would need to cut up credit cards, stop eating out, end expensive vacations, and hunker down. They might need to sell a big house and move into a smaller home or sell an expensive vehicle and buy one they could afford. They might have to purchase their clothing at Wal-mart instead of Nordstrom's. All of these steps would be painful, but getting out of debt would be worth the pain.

Our nation is in serious fiscal danger and must go through the painful cost-cutting steps. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a 2012 budget that would bring our spending under control and also passed the Cut, Cap and Balance Act. Even though the Democrat-controlled Senate has not passed a budget for over 800 days, the Senators failed to pass the House budget or the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act. Obama put forth a budget that was voted down by every Senator, and he threatened to veto the House budget and Cut, Cap, and Balance. The liberals/progressives in both parties refuse to take the necessary but painful steps to cut spending. In order to get anything passed before August 2, 2011, the Republicans had to make great compromises. Instead of getting the $4 trillion cuts that they wanted and that S&P said were needed, Republicans had to settle for half that amount.

Obama and other liberals/progressives have resorted to name calling. They first blamed S&P for the bad reports and then turned the full force of their blame to the Tea Party for the situation our nation faces. It is a typical case of shooting the messenger when you don't like the message. The Tea Party movement has been growing since it first began two years ago and sending the message "Stop the spending!" Now that we have lost our good credit rating, it is somehow the Tea Party's fault! The following quotes illustrate the hate of liberals/progressives toward the Tea Party - Americans who are simply trying to save our nation. The poisonous venom that issues from liberals/progressives tells us that the Tea Party is having a great effect on what our federal government is doing.

In an article entitled "Washington Chain Saw Massacre," Maureen Dowd wrote: "Tea Party budget-slashers didn't sport the black capes with blood-red lining beloved by the campy Vincent Price or wield the tinglers deployed by William Castle. But in their feral attack on Washington, in their talent for raising goose bumps from Wall Street to Westminster, this strange, compelling and uncompromising new force epitomized `Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and evoked comparisons to our most mythic creatures of the night.
"They were like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country's reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims, Boehner and President Obama. They were like the metallic beasts in `Alien' flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehner's stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones."

An article in The Blog written by Michael Warren, described a conversation between MSNBC host Martin Bashir and Stanton Peele, a psychologist and guest on Bashir's show. Bashir asked Peele to psychologically evaluate supporters of the Tea Party, and Peele replied, "It reminds us of addiction because addicts are seeking something that they can't have. They want a state of happiness or nirvana that can't be achieved except through an artificial substance and reminds us of the Norway situation, when people are thwarted at obtaining something they can't have, they often strike out and Norway is one kind of example to one kind of reaction to that kind of frustration….
"They are adamant about achieving something that's unachievable, which reminds us of a couple of things. It reminds us of delusion and psychosis."

In an article in The Politico Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan reported that Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, joined House Democrats in accusing Tea Party Republicans of acting like terrorists during the debt crisis battle. They wrote that several sources were witnesses when Biden agreed with and supported Representative Mike Boyle (D-PA) who said, "We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists has made it impossible to spend any money." Biden responded, "They have acted like terrorists." The same article reported that Biden called the Republican threat of a default on the nation's debt a "weapon of mass destruction," and Doyle stated, "They have no compunction about blowing up the economy to get what they want."

MSNBC's Christ Matthews said, "The GOP has become the Wahhabis of American government." Joan Walsh of Salon accused Tea Partiers of "hostage-taking" during the debates about the debt ceiling. Margaret Carlson, a liberal writer at Bloomberg, accused conservative Republicans of strapping "explosives to the Capital." Senator John F. Kerry said that media sources should stop carrying news articles about the Tea Party. Senator John McCain quoted a newspaper in calling Tea Partiers "hobbits."

Howard Dean, former head of the Democratic Party, said, "I think they're totally unreasonable and doctrinaire and not founded in reality. I think they've been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it."

I suppose that I am a member of the Tea Party, and I don't particularly like being called vampires, body snatchers, cannibals, zombies, metallic beast, delusional, psychotic, addicted, terrorists, or hobbits. I am not too surprised that liberals/progressives are trying to shift the blame for their spending to someone - anyone - else, but any sane thinker should realize that the Tea Party did not cause the problem.

Republican presidential candidate and CNBC host Rick Santorum stated: "Blame the Tea Party? Geez, no wonder [John] Kerry did so well in an election. If it wasn't for the Tea Party, they would have passed the debt ceiling thumbs up, we would have been rated BBB."

The Heritage Foundation said it best: "The Tea Party's primary focus is our nation's fiscal health. If it were not for the Tea Party's positive influence, Congress would still be spending, taxing, and borrowing with little regard for the burden it is placing on future generations. Only months ago, President Obama was demanding a so-called `clean' debt limit increase that would allow him to keep on borrowing without any cuts to spending."

Now is the time for Tea Partiers to stay the course and for other conservatives to join the party. We must stand strong and insist that our national leaders make the tough decisions even though the results will be painful. This is the only way that we can save our nation!