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, May 31, 2017

Trump Stands Tall

            When Air Force One touched down in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Donald Trump became the first President of the United States to make his first stop overseas in a majority Muslim country. The President and the First Lady were greeted with a handshake from 81-year-old Saudi King Salman who “was brought to the steps of the plane on a golf cart.” As part of the elaborate ceremony, “several flew overhead leaving a red, white and blue trail.”

Saudi Arabia offered Trump an elaborate welcome ahead of his two-day stay. Billboards featuring the image of Trump and the king dotted the highways of Riyadh and lights bathed Trump’s luxury hotel in red, white and blue light and, at times, an image of the president’s face.

            While in Saudi Arabia President Trump announced a “$110 billion deal in advanced military equipment sales and training to the kingdom.” He also spoke at the regional Arab-Islamic-American summit where he focused on fighting terrorism.

            According to Michael Brown, Trump’s speech before 50 Muslim leaders was “highly significant for at least four reasons.” The first reason is that “Trump mentioned `terror’ or `terrorism’ 30 times.” This is a great contrast to Barack Obama who did not mention terrorism at all in his speech at a similar gathering in 2009. In fact, Trump bluntly spoke of “the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

            Trump urged the group to stand “together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians,” and he did this in “the heart of Islamic holy land, Saudi Arabia.” He “called on these Muslim leaders to `drive out’ the terrorists from `your places of worship … your communities … your holy land, and this earth.”

            Brown’s second reason is that “Trump identified Iran as the enemy, linking Iran directly and repeatedly to Islamic terrorism. He called it `the government that gives terrorist … safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment.’ He labeled it `a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region.’”

            Brown says that Trump’s comments “had to be unprecedented for an American president speaking in such a setting.” He noted that Trump spoke of the desire to destroy Israel as “evil.” By mentioning Shias and Sunnis, Trump “was stating that his issue was with terrorism, not Islamic sectarianism.”

            Brown’s third reason was the organizations that Trump lumped together. He “put Hamas and Hezbollah in the same category as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. This means that opposition to Israel is not a justification for terrorism.” Brown quotes Trump as saying, “The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.” He also quotes Trump as saying, “You may call Hamas and Hezbollah freedom fighters against the Israeli occupation. We call them terrorists.”

            Brown’s fourth reason is Trump’s rejection of “the theology of martyrdom by suicide bombing. He quoted Trump as saying, “Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.” Trump added, “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between Good and Evil.”

            Brown says that Trump reminded the Muslim leaders that “the victims of this terror are primarily Muslims. He said that `the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence. Some estimates hold that more than 95 percent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim.’”

            Brown includes statements of opposition for most of his reasons and claims that he is far from being “Trump’s defender-in-chief.”

We can certainly debate his policies, actions, and words at home…. We can question the propriety of the massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia….

But we should not question the landmark nature of Trump’s speech, which also referenced the oppression of women and called on these Muslim nations to lead the way in repatriating Muslim refugees.

In short, an American president stood on holy Islamic ground and called on 50 Islamic leaders to fight against Islamic terrorism. This is highly significant.

            Trump appears to be the President needed for our time. He is unafraid to state the facts and to be a leader in this war against terrorism. If nothing else, Trump’s “significant” speech in Saudi Arabia gave notice to the 50 represented nations that the Obama era is over and the Trump era has definitely begun. Trump will also visit Israel and the Vatican while on his “religious tour,” and the reports of those visits should be interesting. This writer is grateful to have a President who refuses to bow to any world leader as well as one who will stand tall in defense of freedom everywhere.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Disorder or Reality?

            Is transgenderism a reality or a disorder? Is it possible for a man to become a woman simply because he thinks that he is a woman? Is it possible for a short person to become tall by thinking they are tall? Is it possible for a white person to become colored – or a colored person to become white – simply by thinking? This author believe that transgenderism is a disorder and that all of the other questions should be answered with a firm “NO!”

            Daniel Trotta reports that a transgender woman – a man who wants to be a woman - recently won the right to sue her employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act – an act that excludes transgender people from protection. Kate Lynn Blatt is the first transgender person allowed to sue under this act. She is suing Cabela’s Inc., her former employer, for sex discrimination, claiming that she was denied the right to use the women’s restroom and forced her to use her male name on her name tag temporarily. Cabela’s says that she was fired because of a threat to a co-worker’s child.

            According to Trotta, the American Psychiatric Association does not consider being transgender to be a disorder even though it can lead to “gender dysphoria, a type of anxiety that may require medical treatment.” The basis of Blatt’s claim is gender dysphoria. U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson “avoided ruling on the constitutionality of the ADA,” but he “found that simply being transgender would be insufficient to bring a case.” If being transgender became gender dysphoria, it would be “a medical condition worthy of protection against discrimination.”

            Almost two years ago Dr. Paul McHugh published an article titled Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme.” He says that he studied people who claim to be transgender for 40 years as the Psychiatrist in Chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital and as the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School. He says that transgenderism began as a rare issue but has become common in the past 10-15 years.

The champions of this meme, encouraged by their alliance with the broader LGBT movement, claim that whether you are a man or a woman, a boy or a girl is more of a disposition or feeling about yourself than a fact of nature. And, much like any other feeling, it can change at any time, and for all sorts of reasons. Therefore, no one could predict who would swap this fact of their makeup, nor could one justifiably criticize such a decision.

At Johns Hopkins, after pioneering sex-change surgery, we demonstrated that the practice brought no important benefits. As a result, we stopped offering that form of treatment in the 1970s. Our efforts, though, had little influence on the emergence of this new is idea about sex, or upon the expansion of the number of “transgendered” among young and old.

            Dr. McHugh says that sex changes “brought no important benefits” and should be stopped. He believes that gender dysphoria should be treated in much the same way that anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder are treated. He says that “treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones [but] should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it.”

The larger issue is the meme itself. The idea that one’s sex is fluid and a matter open to choice runs unquestioned through our culture and is reflected everywhere in the media, the theater, the classroom, and in many medical clinics. It has taken on cult-like features: its own special lingo, internet chat rooms providing slick answers to new recruits, and clubs for easy access to dresses and styles supporting the sex change. It is doing much damage to families, adolescents, and children and should be confronted as an opinion without biological foundation wherever it emerges.

            This author believes that transgenderism is a mental disorder that should be treated in a similar manner as any other psychological illness. This also believes that those people who promote transgenderism are doing a great disservice to individuals and society as a whole.

            Dr. Barry Starr at Stanford University claims that nothing can change a male to a female or vice versa and that the sex of individuals is determined at conception.

No amount of surgery, hormone injections or anything else will change someone’s DNA from a man’s to a woman’s (or vice versa).

As you know, for humans, sex is determined by the presence of a Y chromosome – humans with an X and a Y chromosome are male and those with two X chromosomes are female. No current (or probably future) technology can replace a chromosome in all of our trillions of cells.

In fact, it probably wouldn’t matter if they did. The genes on the Y chromosome sort of get the ball rolling for becoming a male. Once that has happened, the system can go on indefinitely….

So as you can see, with a sex change operation the underlying DNA stays whatever sex they started out with. The hormone injections, though, cause a different set of genes on the DNA to be turned on so that you get, for example, a male pattern of gene expression in someone who is XX.

            Sex is determined by the X chromosome, so sex cannot be changed without changing every chromosome in each cell of the body. Therefore, sex surgery and hormone injections may change how a person looks and acts, but it does not change the actual sex of the individual. This means that Dr. McHugh is correct in his assertion.

Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All … become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

            The comments by Dr. McHugh and Dr. Starr explain why so many transgender people remain unhappy with their lives. They think that they are the opposite sex and do everything in their power to become that sex. Yet, when everything is said and done, they are the same sex with the hormones of the opposite sex raging through their bodies. This author believes that transgenderism is a mental disorder rather than a reality and should receive appropriate treatment without attempting to change the sex of the individual. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Trey Gowdy

            Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is very popular with conservatives. As a former prosecutor he is very much a “law and order” man. He knows the law, and he has the courage to enforce it. Many conservatives rejoiced to hear that he was on the short list to be the next FBI Director and were disappointed when he “removed himself from the list of potential candidates.” Gowdy told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he was not the “right person” for the job. He later posted the following in a social media post. 

I was out of the country on a House intelligence committee mission when Jim Comey’s tenure ended as director of the FBI…. I spoke briefly with Attorney General Sessions Saturday when I returned and again this afternoon. I shared with him two things: (1) the qualities I believe are indispensable for our next FBI Director to possess, and (2) my firm conviction that I would not be the right person.

            Even though Gowdy has often been a critic of Comey, he made a strong defense of Comey’s press conference to announce the decision of no prosecution for Hillary Clinton for her email scandal. Gowdy called Comey a “standup guy” who made the only decision he could and that “history will be kinder” to Comey than the Democrats were at the time.

            Gowdy came into the spotlight when he became the chairman of a committee to investigate the Benghazi incident. He is now expected to replace Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) as the next chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Chaffetz is leaving Congress on June 30, 2017, to keep one of his campaign promises to go to Washington, make a difference, and leave.

            Five members of the Steering Committee (decides committee assignments) say that Gowdy could easily win a race for the position. Steering Committee member Tom Graves (R-Ga.) intends to nominate Gowdy for the position and says, “Trey is more than qualified to be the next chairman of Oversight…. He has a lot of support from our conference, and given the responsibilities that come with the position and his past pedigree [as a prosecutor], he’s perfect for the job.” 

            This writer believes that Gowdy would make an outstanding Director of the FBI but is also grateful to know that he will remain in Congress. The American people need to have people is Congress that they can trust, and Gowdy is one such person.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Separation of Power

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the separation of powers as outlined in the U.S. Constitution. They understood that the powers of government belonged to the people but were loaned to certain elected official for a period of time. The writers of the Constitution deliberately divided the powers of government between the three branches – executive, legislative, and judicial – as well as between federal and state. However, there has been a movement of these powers over a period of several decades.

            Rachel del Guidice reports on a talk given by Senator Mike Lee about his efforts to shift this power back to the citizens of the United States. She says that the Utah senator is working to put the people back in control of the government through an initiative called “Article One Project.” She quotes him as saying the following.

Many Americans now feel that they are not in control of their own government…. The administrative state is designed to be insulated from the will of the people.
Our goal is to develop and advance and hopefully enact an agenda of structural reforms that will strengthen Congress by reclaiming the legislative powers that have been ceded to the executive branch.

            Lee does not blame the executive branch for this shift in power but insists that Congress is at fault. “We are not, in fact, the victims, we are the perpetrators…. We have done this willfully because it makes our job easier. It is a whole lot easier and less politically risky to have somebody else do the lawmaking than it is to do the lawmaking yourself.

            Lee suggests that this executive overreach can be corrected with several pieces of legislation: (1) REINS Act, (2) Separation of Powers Restoration Act, and (3) Agency Accountability Act.

            The REINS Act would lay responsibility for every major regulation directly on Congress. Lee says that the professionals in each agency would still contribute to the process, “But ultimately, Congress would be responsible for every major regulation that went into effect. This would make it easier for American voters to know who to blame for bad policies. As things currently stand, lawmakers can have it both ways.”

            Lee says that the Separation of Powers Restoration Act “would end the dysfunctional status quo that tilts the legal playing field in favor of bureaucrats who pass the legislation to [place] federal law in the hands of legislators and the power to write and judges power to interpret just as the Constitution.”

            Congress has the responsibility to control the purse strings of the federal government. The Agency Accountability Act would make agencies accountable to Congress for the money it spends including the fees, fines, and other unappropriated monies the agencies collect and keep.

            Lee urges Congress to act on the three proposals. He says that “real progress” would be made “toward listening to the people and making sure that our government itself has to listen to the people…. If we pass all three bills, it would constitute a fundamental, generational shift in power back to the people.”

            Senator Lee knows the Constitution and works hard to restore the Republic to constitutional guidelines. This writer is grateful to have such a man in the Senate.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

"Charity Never Faileth"

            “Charity never faileth” is the motto of the Relief Society, the women’s group in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world. Charity is an attribute of Jesus Christ and necessary in order for us to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

            Thomas S. Monson, prophet, seer, revelator, and president of the Church, spoke on the topic of “Charity Never Faileth” at the Relief Society Broadcast in October 2010. He began his talk by sharing the following story. 

A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”

John looked on but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John – she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”

John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

            President Monson then  asked, “Are we looking through a window which needs cleaning? Are we making judgments when we don’t have all the facts? What do we see when we look at others? What judgments do we make about them?” He suggested that “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” could be compared with “Why beholdest thou what you think is dirty laundry at your neighbor’s house but considerest not the soiled window in our own house?” He continued.

None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.

There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.” …

I have always loved your Relief Society motto: “Charity never faileth.” [1 Corinthians 13:8] What is charity? The prophet Mormon teaches us that “charity is the pure love of Christ.” [Moroni 7:47] In his farewell message to the Lamanites, Moroni declared, “Except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God.” [Moroni 10:21]

I consider charity – or “the pure love of Christ” – to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.

There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere.

            According to President Monson, we must have mercy, tolerance, sympathy, and compassion in order to have charity. For a recent religion class I chose to develop the Christlike attribute of tolerance. One of the “weekly opportunities” I did in my becoming project was to pray for a woman in my congregation that sorts of grates on my nerves. I decided that I would pray for this sister and her family every day. As my project continued, I became concerned for her and how she was dealing with difficult children and her husband’s occupation. I had softer, more tender thoughts about her. I do not know if my prayers helped her, but they helped me develop more tolerance for her. It was as though someone had “washed” my “windows.”

            In a recent Time Out for Women (TOFW) in Anchorage, Alaska, Anthony Sweat said that the opposite of charity is pride, selfishness, and cares of the world. He described charity as the “Fatherly love of God for His children and His children for Him.” Love of God fills us with joy. Love of God plus Love for God equals Love like God or Charity. Charity changes our natures.

            Charity is not easy to develop because it includes all the other Christlike attributes. We cannot develop charity until we have humility, meekness, patience, tolerance, etc. “Charity never faileth” because anyone who has charity is like Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Parenting Is Not Efficient

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents realize that relationships are more important than being efficient. Parents are some of the busiest people in the world, and the most efficient parents have long to-do lists. Some people, like people, feel more efficient when seeing to-do tasks with a check beside them.

            I was a busy young mother of five children under the age of eight years. I know what it is like to never complete a task! Yet, my children share important memories with me. My oldest daughter saved the “J Book” that we made before she was old enough to go to kindergarten. We found pictures of things that started with the letter J (the first letter of her name), cut them out, and glued them in a homemade book (pieces of paper sewn down the middle and folded over). Apparently, that simple task was very meaningful to her.

            My oldest son remembers coming home from school and not being able to find an important piece of paper in his backpack. We walked the quarter of a mile back to the school looking for it. We did not find the paper, but my son understood that he was important enough to me for me to look for his paper. We also had a short lesson on the importance of closing his backpack before he left the school.

            Another daughter remembers going shopping with me and stopping to get corn dogs. We did not have the money to go out to eat very often, so she knew that this was a special treat. This same daughter taught me an important lesson in relationships when she said to me, “Mama, listen to me with your eyes!” She was very young, maybe two years old, but she knew the importance of having someone’s full attention.

            Jim Daly posted a short article titled “Good Parenting Usually Isn’t Efficient.” He shares a short story about a busy father who took his son fishing. They each made a journal entry about the day. The boy considered it “the most glorious day” of his life while the father considered it “a day wasted.” The son read the father’s statement many years after it was written. The author asks a very important question: “Can you imagine how his father’s assessment of the day must have pierced [the son’s] heart? Daly concludes his article with these paragraphs.

It’s not that to-do lists aren’t important or useful. It’s that sometimes the best thing to do is to take the time to truly connect with our children.
The best moms are those who sometimes take a step back from all those items begging to be completed to spend time reading with their kids. The best dads are those who understand they have to stop looking down at their smartphone and start looking into their kids’ eyes.
Those special moments of togetherness are what kids will remember and cherish. It’s the times of carefree laughter, learning and affection that will stay with them and let them know they’re valued.

            I remember making the book with my daughter, I remember taking the walk back to school with my son, and I remember getting corn dogs with a younger daughter. Yet, I had no idea at the time that we were forming wonderful memories for the children. These memories help my children to know that they are important to me.

            There are times when we must put down the to-do list and work on relationships. Being a task-oriented person and one who gains self-satisfaction from crossing off tasks, I still must remind myself that relationships are more important than tasks to be accomplished. When we strengthen relationships, we strengthen our families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Winning the "War of Ideas"

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns defeating and destroying ISIS. Barack Obama claimed that ISIS was the “JV team” and did not cause any concern. We watched helplessly as ISIS grew and took over territory, and the President of the United States did nothing. He could not even call them Islamist terrorists. His administration developed a plan to fight terrorism called “Countering Violent Extremism.” He did not define the real problem.

            Donald Trump declared that his top foreign policy priority was to defeat and to destroy ISIS. He defines the problem as Islamist terrorists. This is a big deal because a problem must first be identified in order to solve it. Trump put a name on the problem – Islamist terrorism - and is now looking for solutions.

            In his article titled “Top 10 Waysto Make War on the `War of Ideas',’” James Jay Carafano shares some ideas on how to fight the war against Islamist terrorism at home and abroad. Here are his ten guidelines for the new administration in this critical battle.

10. Help Americans understand the changing nature of the war. The global face of Islamist terrorism looks far different from when President Obama took office. Americans understand that, but grasping how the threat has changed can be difficult in a hyperpartisan America where politics define views on foreign and security policy….

9. Do not allow efforts to be captured by ulterior motivations. … Advisers must be carefully vetted. No adviser should be a government stooge or a cheerleader for administration policy, but they all must have an unshakable belief in democracy, equality, tolerance, freedom of speech and the rule of law.

8. Focus on Islamist Threats. Islamist terrorism is among the most dangerous destabilizing threats in the world today. The movement of foreign fighters is particularly challenging. And political Islam both threatens democracy and promotes extremism….

7. Limit domestic programs and keep them modest in character. … American Islamist terrorists are a tiny data set of any data set other than other terrorists. U.S. programs ought to be scoping for specific communities and threats where a particular need is identified rather than focusing on a broad, national scope.

6. Focus domestic programs on counterterrorism. The main goal should be to identify and interdict criminal activity related to terrorism. Programs should give special attention to activities, such as proving material support, that are precursors to criminal acts.

5. Make domestics programs bottom-up. Washington should not be dictating the needs and scope of programs to state and local officials and law enforcement agencies….

4. Emphasize support to the field in overseas programs. Although ISIS and Al Qaeda are global phenomena, they manifest themselves based on local conditions…. U.S. efforts ought to be prioritized and resources pushed to support local programs and be well-integrated with regional strategies that complement other efforts to address radicalization with other instruments of national power and regional partners.

3. End handouts that don’t deliver. The United States ought to scrupulously review programs to ensure they are supporting our strategic priorities….

2. Avoid obsessing over social media. Despite what you may have heard, social media is not the root cause of radicalization….

1. Drop the label. “Countering Violent Extremism” is an overly vague term. Lacking clarity and precision of scope and focus, it contributes little to explaining what government programs should be….

            These are great suggestions for fighting the war on terrorism. We must win the “war of ideas” before we can destroy terrorism. Helle Dale at The Daily Signal added an eleventh point about “the importance of information and communication in defeating the enemy.” She writes:

For that, the United States government has powerful tools – in particular, the civilian entities of U.S. International Broadcasting under the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

These broadcasters are legitimate and important tools of U.S. foreign policy, and have been ever since they were created in World War II.

The U.S. government has devoted millions of dollars over the last 15 years toward expanding these broadcast services to the Middle East and Afghanistan, with varying degrees of success….

The Trump team must now create a comprehensive broadcasting strategy to reach and inform audiences who are trapped behind enemy lines, often by autocratic Islamist regimes. This should become part of a clear, focused, and revitalized counterterrorism strategy.

            As we can see from this list, there are many actions that the U.S. government can take to fight Islamic terrorism. The most important thing that our leaders can do is to persuade Americans that there is a problem by defining it clearly and then convincing all Americans to support the fight. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Protecting Women and Children

            President Donald Trump and Congress are actively working to decrease the number of babies that are aborted in the United States and elsewhere. One of their actions is to defund Planned Parenthood. This means that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to abort babies within the boundaries of the United States.

            Another action taken by the Trump administration is to implement a new version of the Mexico City policy of President Ronald Reagan to stop U.S. dollars from supporting abortion in foreign nations. The Mexico City policy was designated as such because it was announced by President Reagan in 1984 in Mexico City. This policy was “designed to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money is not funneled to foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.”

            The support or non-support for the Mexico City policy depends on the party who occupies the White House. President Reagan instituted the policy, and Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush embraced it. They were all Republicans. Democrats Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama nullified it.

            Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) has been involved in the process for more than three decades. In July 1985 he “authored the first of several successful annual amendments … to preserve the Mexico City policy.” He says that the “old Mexico City policy only applied to family planning funds – over half a billion dollars.”          Smith continues his explanation.

The new policy establishes pro-child safeguards – benign, humane conditions – on about $8.8 billion in annual global health assistance funding appropriated to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of State and Defense.

This funding includes not only family planning, but other global health assistance such as maternal and child health, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.

Also of significance, the new pro-child, pro-woman safeguards do not reduce funding for global health assistance by so much as a dollar.

            President Trump’s policy – Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance – includes three abortion exceptions: rape, incest, and the life of the mother. According to Smith, there is also nothing in the policy that will prevent treating injuries or illnesses caused by any abortion. Smith explains the benefits of the new policy.

Prioritizing programs that ensure adequate nutrition and supplementation for moms and children during the all-important first 1,000 days of life – from conception to the second birthday – are among the most transformative, life-enhancing commitments that can be made.

Expanding these measures make women and children healthier, stronger, and more resilient to disease and disability while reducing death and injury.

No one is expendable or a throwaway. Every human life has infinite value. Birth is merely an event, not the beginning of the life of a child.

The new Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy is inclusive of all people, regardless of their age, race, sex, disability, or condition of dependency – especially the weakest and most vulnerable.

            President Trump’s emphasis on protecting children – born and unborn – and women is shown through the defunding of Planned Parenthood and implementation of the new Mexico City policy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First Job

            I received a different but interesting and appropriate gift for Mother’s Day. One of my daughters gifted me with a subscription to “StoryWorth.” The idea behind the subscription is to help me to write the stories of my life. Each week my daughter will select a question, and the company will email it to me. I am supposed to write the answer to the question and send it back. The company will send the answer to my daughter as well as combining the answers into a book at the end of the year.

            This is my first question: How did you get your first job? The following information is my answer to the question. I included more than a simple answer to the question because it is part of the story of my life and will be included my life history.

            My first paying job was babysitting a toddler when I was approximately twelve years old. There were not many babysitting jobs in the farming community where I lived. Most of the families were well established and had in-house babysitting services. Ruth, a friend to my older sister Bettie, asked me to watch her son while she went on a date with her husband. Ruth’s parents lived about half a mile from my home. Our families belonged to the same congregation, and Ruth’s father was our bishop. When Ruth married, she and her husband moved into a small house about half the distance between my home and her family home. I think that the going rate for babysitters at that time was 25 cents or less per hour. I might have received one dollar.

            I remember receiving much praise from Ruth and her husband upon their return home when they found their child in bed asleep and the house clean. I had washed the dishes, swept the kitchen, and generally tidied the living area. There was not much for me to do after putting the child to bed because there was no television in the area yet and I had not thought to bring a book. However, I remember thinking that I was being paid for my time in the home, and I should not be lazy while there. So I worked. I had one other babysitting job in the area.  
            When I was seventeen I went to my older brother’s house to help with his five children for the summer. I wanted to purchase a school sweater and a class ring, so he invited me to live with him for the summer. A sister in our congregation asked me to babysit for her, but she withdrew the offer when I told her that I charged 35 cents per hour. Soon afterwards, a neighbor down the street hired me to watch her children during the day. This job lasted for several weeks. I do not remember how much I was paid or why the job ended. Was it temporary while the regular sitter was out of town? Did I simply move on?

            My next job was working as a car hop at the Dairy Queen, moving inside to be a cook after several months. Buddy and Arlene were nice enough people, but they did not pay regularly. I remember receiving only one pay check from them, and I received it only because my sister-in-law asked for a loan to buy a new water heater or something. Maybe she knew more than I did because Buddy and Arlene declared bankruptcy soon afterwards. They sold the Dairy Queen to Kent and Thelma, and I started working for them and receiving regular pay checks.

            Kent and Thelma had five young children, so Thelma was usually home with them while Kent managed the business. When they purchased the Frost Top at the other end of town, I started working there. Kent was an interesting employer. He was as round as he was tall and very jolly. He was also a big tease and kept asking me to “belly bump” with him. I, of course, would turn red with embarrassment, and he would laugh.  I suppose that it would be called “sexual harassment” today, but I never felt threatened at any time. Kent started a side business while I worked for him. He made delicious onion rings to sell at the Dairy Queen and Frost Top. Apparently other restaurant owners started asking for them, and his business was born. I helped make onion rings when business was slow.

            There were two incidents that happened at the Frost Top. The first happened while I worked as a car hop and carried a tray full of drinks or shakes to a car. While attempting to hang the tray on the window of the car, one or more drinks tipped over. Some – or all - of the drink(s) went in the lap of the driver, but I cannot remember how much. I do not remember what happened after the accident. I just remember being quite embarrassed.

            The second incident happened while I was a cook. The other cook and I were assigned to change the oil in one of the fryers. We drained the used oil out of the fryer okay, but we had problems when we put the new oil in it. Apparently, we did not work fast enough because the fryer was too hot and caught fire as soon as the new oil hit it. I immediately called Kent, who was working at the Dairy Queen, but I did not think to call the fire department. I am grateful that a guy at the service station next door saw the smoke and called the fire department. The firemen were about to chop a hole in the ceiling when Kent arrived and persuaded them to stop. The fire was quickly extinguished, and there were no further problems. Kent said that it made him feel good to know that I thought to call him rather than the fire department.

            I worked for Kent for nearly two years before I was hired at Hill AFB as a clerk-typist. I had taken business classes – typing, shorthand, etc. – during high school and wanted to work in this field. I advanced to secretary to a major who was the Army liaison with the Air Force and later for his replacement. While working for the second Army major, I also became the secretary to an Air Force colonel and his deputy. I worked for them until my husband graduated from college, and I transferred to a Navy base in California where I worked for six months.

            When my husband was transferred to the oil fields of Utah, I was hired as a secretary at the First Security Bank. I took lots of shorthand and transcribed it into letters. I also opened many new accounts. I was there for about two years before we moved again. I went back to Hill AFB until my first child was born.

            Many years later when my youngest child started school, I worked part time and handled the money for the Barratt Inn in Anchorage, Alaska. When my job was eliminated, I became a teachers’ aid for the Anchorage School District. That was my last paying job and ended when I started making a wedding dress and doing other preparations for an older daughter’s wedding. I never looked for another job because I knew that my favorite job was being a stay-at-home mother!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Young Judge Nominees

            More than 100 vacancies occur throughout the federal circuit and district courts at the present time. The Federal Bar Association  says that the Senate must “act promptly” on confirming the President’s nominees because “the increasing number of federal judicial vacancies throughout the federal court system is straining the capacity of the federal courts to administer justice in an adequate and timely manner.” The association also says that this lack of judges causes “unnecessary hardship and increased costs on individuals and businesses” with pending lawsuits.

            President Donald Trump recognizes the need to fill the judge positions. After seeing Judge Neil Gorsuch successfully confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, he turned his attention to filling other positions. He recognizes his opportunity to leave a “mark” on the lower courts of the federal court system as he fills the lifetime appointments.

            In keeping with his responsibility, President Trump named ten nominees for the federal judiciary on Monday, May 8, 2017. Many of the nominees are still in their 40s. Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal quotes legal scholar John Malcolm as saying, “They all appear to be bright, young, capable conservatives who promise to be outstanding judges; some are already judges.”
Lucas also quotes Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, as saying:

These 10 individuals the president has chosen were chosen for their deep knowledge of the law and their commitment to upholding constitutional principles. Two of the nominees today came from the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that the president released during the campaign. … The president followed the principles that were used to guide that list to select the additional eight individuals…. I think you will continue to see a very robust amount of announcements on not just the judicial front, but on several fronts.

            Since most of the Justices on the Supreme Court came from the Appeals Court, we may see some of these same people nominated to fill future openings there. They may not be on the short list simply by confirmation to an Appeals Court, but they will definitely be on the long list. The Appeals Courts hear hundreds, maybe thousands, of cases each year, while the Supreme Court takes about seventy-five cases annually.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fair and Balanced Courts

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the court system of the United States. When the Founders of the nation organized the government, they structured it with three branches – executive, legislative, and judicial. The three branches were meant to be independent in order to “check” each other. The executive and legislative were political in nature, but the judicial was supposed to remain neutral in order to judge fairly by the law. This is no longer the case.

            President Donald Trump signed several executive orders to limit the numbers of refugees entering the nation and deny funding to cities that refuse to obey federal immigration laws. The executive orders were ruled unconstitutional by left-leaning judges. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is well-known for its liberal decisions, and it struck the first blow to President Trump’s attempts to protect Americans. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals also leans left. Both courts heard arguments about Trump’s orders.

            How did we end up with so many courts with liberal judges? According to an article posted by Josh Siegel, many of the judges were appointed during the Obama administration. “Today, nine of the 13 circuit courts have a majority of justices appointed by a Democrat, compared to only one when Obama took office.”

            Siegel’s article deals mostly with the changes to the 4th Circuit Court, but his chart shows that most of the courts have turned liberal under the Obama administration. The makeup of the courts clearly shows the importance of elections. President Trump was successful in appointment a strict constitutionalist to the Supreme Court, but he has much work to do with the circuit courts in order to make them fair and balanced once again.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hope Is More Than a Wish

            Hope is an interesting word that is sometimes misunderstood and often misused. In everyday usage, we often hear “hope” used in uncertainty, such as “I hope that Grandma comes to visit this summer.” Used in this way, hope is more like wishing for something. To hope is more than simply to make a wish as the following scriptures illustrate.

But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions (Alma 34:41).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abound in good works, being led to glorify God (Ether 12:4)

            These references tell us that hope is more than a wish. It is a firm, sure, and unwavering trust that we will gain a place in the kingdom of God. Hope is connected to faith and charity. As our faith increases, so does our hope, and as our hope increases, so does our charity. We must first learn about God and have faith in Him. As our faith increases, we began to hope that our faith is not in vain.

When we have hope, we trust God’s promises. We have a quiet assurance that if we do “the works of righteousness,” we “shall receive [our] reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23). Mormon taught that such hope comes only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ: “What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise” (Moroni 7:41). (See True to the Faith, A Gospel Reference (p. 85).

            Anthony Sweat spoke about faith, hope, and charity at a recent Time Out for Women (TOFW) event held in Anchorage, Alaska. He said that “hope” is the big sister of “faith” and is centered in the promises of Jesus Christ. Hope has several powers: (1) Cleansing power, (2) Healing power, (3) Restoring power, (4) Identifying power, (5) Strengthening power, and (6) Transforming power. He emphasized that the first letter of each of these powers spells CHRIST. The gift of hope is our personal assurances of Christ’s promises in our lives.

            The opposite of faith is fear, and the opposite of hope is doubt. In order to exercise faith and develop hope, we must put our trust in the Savior, even Jesus Christ. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at Brigham Young University in 1995 and said the following.

A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish. Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force as strong as steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb tide of despair. If we will cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever. As declared in scripture: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast.” [Ether 12:4]
The Lord of hope invites all people to come unto him. Steps toward him begin with faith, repentance, and baptism. Mormon explained that “the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and … the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, … until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.” [Moroni 8:26] That destiny can only be realized when we “have faith unto repentance.” [Alma 34:15]
Insufficient hope often means insufficient repentance….

            In order to avoid doubt and despair, we must place our hope in Jesus Christ. As we do so, we will be filled with joy and peace. As we gain security in our hope, we then have charity or the ability to love others as God loves them.