Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Who Is Thomas Homan?

            Thomas Homan retired in June 2018 as the Acting Director of ICE, but he is making his name known as he defends Border Patrol agents and ICE agents. During a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing, he said the following.

After more than three decades of enforcing immigration law, I can assure you that if we do not have the ability to detain those that illegally enter our country until they see a judge and plead their case, we will never solve the immigration crisis on the border.

            Homan was not reticent about telling Congress that they needed to their job. If they do not like the current immigration system, they need to legislate new laws.

There’s people in Congress that called for the abolishment of ICE because they don’t like what ICE does…. ICE is merely enforcing the laws you enact. If you don’t like it, change the law. You’re the legislator. But don’t vilify the men and women of ICE and the Border Patrol.

            Even though he retired more than a month ago, Homan continues to defend his former co-workers. He has even been asked why he continues to go to Washington just to be insulted by members of Congress. Here is his reply.

I love the men and women in ICE and Border Patrol. I know what it’s like to wear that uniform and stand in that line, and I would defend the men and women of Border Patrol and ICE until the day I die.

I buried many Border Patrol agents and I’ve buried ICE agents, and those kind[s] of attacks dishonor their memory and dishonor their family…. This world is upside down when the people who knowingly violate the laws are the victims.

Early in the meeting Homan called out AOC for comparing the facilities for illegal immigrants to Nazi death camps. He did not mince words while doing so.

That comparison is 100 percent inaccurate and it’s disgusting…. Now forgive me, I didn’t think Nazi death camps had detention standards, I didn’t think they had health care, I didn’t think they had recreation, law libraries, visitation, three squares a day. It’s an insulting comparison.

At another point in the hearing Homan blatantly reminded Congress that the elected representatives worked for the American people and that they were not doing their job.

Look, you want to know why there’s 50,000 people in detention? You want to know why there are a million illegal entries into the United States? You want to know why we have these issues? Because you have failed to secure the border…. You guys failed to work with this president to close the three loopholes we’ve asked for two years to close. 

            The statement that I like the best came from Homan when he was yelled at and told to be quiet. He fired back, “You work for me! I’m a taxpayer. I’m a taxpayer, you work for me.”

            There is something to admire about a man like Homan who continues to defend the people who now do his former job. Most retirees are glad to get away from the office or whatever and go traveling or fishing or other pleasurable activity. Homan goes to Washington to sit in congressional hearings and be insulted. May God bless Homan. May God bless America!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

What Does the Constitution Say about Impeachment?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns impeachment of the President of the United States. The news is full of Democrat charges against President Donald Trump and defenses by Republicans. I personally believe that Trump is innocent of the charges. It seems that Democrats have been trying to impeach him since he won the 2016 election, even prior to him serving a single day as President. I can only think that they must be desperate to even charge him now.

            Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

            The Heritage Guide to the Constitution explains the “Standards for Impeachment,” and the chapter begins with these paragraphs.

Impeachment is the constitutionally specified means by which an official of the executive or judicial branch may be removed from office for misconduct. There has been considerable controversy about what constitutes an impeachable offense. At the Constitutional Convention, the delegates early on voted for “mal-practice and neglect of duty” as grounds for impeachment, but the Committee of Detail narrowed the basis to treason, bribery, and corruption, then deleting the last point. George Mason, who wanted the grounds much broader and similar to the earlier formulation, suggested “maladministration,” bur James Madison pointed out that this would destroy the President’s independence and make him dependent on the Senate. Mason then suggested “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” which the Convention accepted.

Because “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was a term of art used in English impeachments, a plausible reading supported by many scholars is that the grounds for impeachment can be not only the defined crimes of treason and bribery, but also other criminal or even noncriminal behavior amounting to a serious dereliction of duty. That interpretation is disputed, but it is agreed by virtually all that the impeachment remedy was to be used in only the most extreme situations, a position confirmed by the relatively few instances in which Congress has used the device.

            The Constitution outlines two steps to remove a President, Vice President, or other civil Official from office. The first step takes place in the House of Representatives. Member of the House can vote to impeach an official and do so by a simple majority vote of the Representatives (at least 218) (Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5). The Democrats have had the necessary votes to impeach Trump since they took control of the House. The second step takes place in the Senate where the Senators vote to convict the official of impeachable offense(s) and to remove them from office. This vote must be a two-thirds majority vote of the Senators (at least 67 votes) (Article I, Section 3, Clause 6).

            The Heritage Guide to the Constitution continues with its explanation about impeachment as follows:

In The Federalist No. 64, John Jay argued that the threat of impeachment would encourage executive officers to perform their duties with honor, and, used as a last resort, impeachment itself would be effective to remove those who betray the interests of their country. Like the limitations on the offense of treason, the Framers placed particular grounds of impeachment in the Constitution because they wished to prevent impeachment from becoming a politicized offense, as it had been in England. Nonetheless, Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist No. 65, also warned that during impeachment proceedings, it would be difficult for Congress to act solely in the interests of the nation and resist political pressure to remove a popular official. The Framers believed that the Senate, elected by the state legislatures, would have the requisite independence needed to try impeachments. The Framers also mandated a supermajority requirement to militate against impeachments brought by the House for purely political reasons.

            The Framers did all they could to provide a way to remove bad presidents from office without allowing any president to be removed for “purely political reasons.” The impeachment inquiry currently taking place is being pushed for political reasons. Donald Trump is not one of Washington elites, and he is attempting to clear the swamp creatures from Washington. This was the reason why he asked Ukraine for a favor in investigating the part that country played in the 2016 election problems. He wants to get to genesis of the Russian dossier and how it came about. The swamp creatures are fighting back in every possible way to keep their corruption hidden. They began before Trump was inaugurated, and they continue today.

            The House of Representatives could possibly be successful in impeaching Trump, but I do not believe the Senate will convict him. I believe that the further the Democrats go towards impeachment, the worse their situation will become in the 2020 election. American citizens are not stupid, and most of us can see through the charades being played by the Democrats.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

What Are the Fruits of the Spirit?

            I studied the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians for this week’s “Come, Follow Me” studies. The book known as Galatians is a short book with only six chapters, but it has numerous powerful principles in it. The principle that impacted me the most is, “If I ‘walk in the Spirit,’ I will receive the ‘fruit of the Spirit’” (see Galatians 5:13-26; 6:7-10). What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”? What are the “fruits” of the Spirit? 

            Maybe the best way to see if we are walking in the Spirit is to understand what the “works of flesh are” (Galatians 5:19). Paul says that “the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like” (Galatians 5:19-21). The New Testament Student Manual – Religion 211-212 ([2014], 419) explains some of these terms.

These sins fall into four general categories. (1) Sexual sins. “Fornication” refers to any immoral sexual relationship; “lasciviousness” refers to unbridled or excessive lust. (2) Sins from the religious realm, such as idolatry and witchcraft. (3) Sins against other persons. “Variance” can be interpreted as discord and is an outgrowth of “hatred”; “emulations” are actions carried out in order to equal or be superior to another, often out of jealousy. (4) Sins associated with alcohol: “drunkenness” and “revellings.” Paul warned that those who habitually participate in these sins “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).

            I think that we can assume some things from Paul’s list of sins. We can judge ourselves on three of the four groups of sins. If we are free from sexual sins, worship Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ properly, and abstain from all alcoholic beverages, this leaves us with one group of sins to conquer – sins against other people. Are we free from contention, hatred, and jealousy? Are we honest in our business dealings? Do we show love and kindness to members of our family? If we are free from all the major sins and many of the minor ones, we most likely are walking in the Spirit even though we may not actually see the fruits of the Spirit.

            We should know what the fruits of the Spirit are in order to recognize them. The Apostle Paul wrote that they are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, [and] temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23).  President Gordon B. Hinckley taught the following about the fruits of the Spirit.

How do we know the things of the Spirit? How do we know that it is from God? By the fruits of it. If it leads to growth and development, if it leads to faith and testimony, if it leads to a better way of doing things, if it leads to godliness, then it is of God. If it tears us down, if it brings us into darkness, if it confuses us and worries us, if it leads to faithlessness, then it is of the devil.

[On another occasion, President Hinckley said] “You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit – that which enlightens, that which builds up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God. That which tears down, which leads us into forbidden paths – that is of the adversary. I think it is just that plain, just that simple (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley [2016], 121; as quoted in New Testament Come, Follow Me – For Sunday School [2019].

            We should look for “fruits” that bring growth and development and helps us to become better people. We should look for “fruits” that strengthen our faith and our testimony. We should look for “fruits” that bring more light into our lives and helps us to think, speak, and act with more kindness and love.

            After reading Galatians 5:22-23, Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Seventy (“His Peace,” Ensign, May 1997, 32) explained, “In other words, the Spirit can penetrate anything. No law can be passed which will preclude the Spirit from doing His work with an obedient follower of Christ. The scriptures teach us that the Spirit [can do the following things]. Then he proceeded to list seventeen ways that the Spirit can bless us – or the fruits of the Spirit.

·         Enlightens the mind (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:15)

·         Fills the soul with joy (see Doctrine and Covenants 11:13; Mosiah 4:20)

·         Reveals the “truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5)

·         Bears record of the Father and Son (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:27)

·         Know all things (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:17)

·         Convinces (see Doctrine and Covenants 100:8)

·         Gives knowledge (see Doctrine and Covenants 121:26)

·         Speaks in a “still small voice” (1 Nephi 17:45)

·         Teaches a man to pray (see 2 Nephi 32:8)

·         Brings about mighty change (see Mosiah 5:2)

·         Gives assurances (see Alma 58:11)

·         Fills with “hope and perfect love” (Moroni 8:26)

·         Gives liberty (see 2 Corinthians 3:17)

·         Comforts (see John 14:16)

·         Speaks peace (Alma 58:11)

·         Is available (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:14)

It seems that we can know if we are walking in the Spirit and enjoying the fruits of the Spirit. The Spirit brings peace, joy, hope, perfect love, assurance, and liberty. He teaches us to pray, gives knowledge, and reveals all truths. If we are enjoying any or all the listed fruits of the Spirit, we can assume that we are walking in the Spirit.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Male and Female Are Equal but Different

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when children, youth, and young adults understand that male and female were created different and that these differences are good. They were created different to be two halves of a whole. They are sort of like the two halves of a “best friends” necklace set. The two halves do not look exactly, but they are equal. Another comparison is that of a pair of scissors. The blades are not identical, but they are equal. Each plays a part in the purpose of their creation.

            Male and female were created to play individual parts in Heavenly Father’s plan for the happiness of His children. They were created equally but different because they have different jobs to do. Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke on this topic on August 20, 2013, at Brigham Young University and made the following statement about the equality of men and women.

Men and women are equal in God’s eyes and in the eyes of [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], but equal does not mean the same. The responsibilities and divine gifts of men and women differ in their nature but not in their importance or influence. God does not regard either gender as better or more important than the other….

Men and women have different gifts, different strengths, and different points of view and inclinations. That is one of the fundamental reasons we need each other. It takes a man and a woman to create a family, and it takes men and women to carry out the work of the Lord. A husband and wife righteously working together complete each other. Let us be careful that we do not attempt to tamper with our Heavenly Father’s plan and purposes in our lives.

            Children, youth, and young adults must be taught that God made male and female, he did not make one sex superior and one inferior. He made them equal but gave each of them unique responsibilities. To help them meet those tasks, He gave them unique bodies. He also gave them unique talents and gifts. When the rising generation understands the importance of both male and female bodies in the plan of salvation, they are much less likely to be confused about their personal role. As they accept the roles and responsibilities of their sex, they will strengthen their families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

What Does American Citizenship Mean?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that there should be a difference between an American citizen and a person who merely resides within the borders of the United States. Yet, the line between two such people becomes thinner and blurrier as time passes. The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights outline the privileges and responsibilities of being citizens, but mere residents are gaining more privileges without the responsibilities.

            Victor Davis Hanson, a historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, recently posted an article titled “The Death of American Citizenship.” He writes that American citizenship is being assaulted on several sides, such as the 11-20 million undocumented residents who “are becoming legally indistinguishable from citizens and enjoy exemption from federal immigration law in some 500 sanctuary jurisdictions.” He states that multiculturalism “has reduced the idea of e pluribus unum to a regressive tribalism” and that Americans are more loyal to people “who look like they do” than to the United States.

            Being a historian, Hanson looks at America through the lens of history. He says that “It is eerie how such current American retribalization resembles the collapse of Rome, as Goths, Huns, and Vandals all squabbled among one another for what was left of 1,200 years of Roman citizenship – eager to destroy what they could neither create nor emulate.”

            Hanson says that it is the middle classes that protect citizenship because they are “more independent and self-reliant than the poor, but can stand up to the influence and power of the elite.” He believes that the middle class is threatened by “stagnant wages [as well as] outsourcing, offshoring, and unfair global trade.” He says that the constitutional government usually ends when the middle class dies.

            Hanson writes that one of the greater threats is the fact that the “coastal elites” do not see anything “exceptional in America, past and present.” They look at the “culture and values of the European Union” but fail to see how the continent has been damaged “by open borders, economically stultifying regulations, and unapologetic and anti-democratic efforts to curb free expression and local autonomy.” As citizens of the world they prefer the European ideas on “climate, criminal justice, and human rights.”

            With the growing strength of progressivism, there is a desire to “destroy statues, rename streets and buildings, and wipe away art that does not reflect more global values.” Even the basic right of Americans to vote for their political leaders does not seem to matter much as voter fraud takes place in many localities. “Lone activist judges frequently overturn legislation and referenda” that do not agree with their political views. Then there is “the proverbial ‘swamp’ of the bureaucratic, administrative, and regulatory state is so vast and unaccountable that a few clerks can harass entrepreneurs, issue edicts with the force of legislation that ruins lives, or indict, regulate, or audit a target individual into legal bankruptcy.” Hanson concludes his article with the following paragraphs:

We are unwinding at both ends. Tribalism, the erosion of the middle class, and de facto open borders are turning Americans into mere residents of a particular North American region between Mexico and Canada.

Yet even more dangerously, thanks to the fiats of unelected bureaucrats and officials, along with the social media lynch mobs who boycott, harass, and shame us, our constitutional rights are now increasingly optional. They mostly hinge on whether we are judged worthy by an unelected, politically correct, and morally righteous elite.

In theory, American citizenship remains the same; in reality, it is disappearing fast.

            Hanson’s article reminded me of what happened in ancient America prior to visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ as told in the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Secret combinations ceased control of the government and ruled with their “secret works of darkness” (Helaman 8:4) and corruption. There was so much selfishness and wickedness in the region that the Lord could no longer bless the people, and a famine forced the people to repent or die. The people were righteous for a while, and then they turned to wickedness. The secret combinations were so powerful that the people gathered in one group to fight them, and they eventually destroyed or converted the robbers. 

The people began to be “distinguished by ranks according to their riches and their chances for learning” (3 Nephi 6:12) and brought great inequality to their land. The wickedness became so great that “the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land” (3 Nephi 7:2).

This is a short summary of the happenings of about fifty years. Shortly before the Savior appeared there were great earthquakes and other natural disasters. Many cities were destroyed, particularly among the more wicked parts of the land. The only people who survived were the more righteous ones. 

The Savior taught His gospel to the people, and they became righteous. The people lived in righteousness for approximately two hundred years before pride and wickedness again entered the land. It was a death spiral from that time on, and the entire society was destroyed about four hundred years after the Savior’s visit.

The Nephite society in ancient America is just one of many great societies that was destroyed from within itself. The United States is the most powerful nation in the world today, but it is decaying from the inside because of secret combinations are destroying the unity of the nation. Secret combinations fight against all who oppose them or seek to expose their works of darkness, and they do this in order to hold onto power, wealth, and glory. Unity is necessary for a nation to survive, and America is greatly divided. There is a strong push to bring socialism into the United States, and socialism would destroy this country just as it destroys every country that embraces it. There is great anger against anyone who desires to make and/or keep America strong and powerful. 

There is a great desire to destroy any reminders of history. Statues are torn down and murals are painted over in attempt to hide past historical events. People from all over the world are coming to our nation and maintaining their own language and customs, and some even want to bring their own laws with them.

Even though I had not considered that all these things were destroying American citizenship, I can now see that they are. Since the middle class is the protector of citizenship, we must do everything that we can do to strengthen and grow the middle classes of America.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

            The Democrats with their allies in the media are going full bore on impeaching President Donald Trump. They based their formal impeachment inquiry on the complaint of a so-called whistleblower (does not actually meet the qualifications to be a real whistleblower) who acted on second- or third-person hearsay. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not even wait for facts before making her announcement of impeachment proceedings. She rushed to the cameras and microphones to make her announcement and did not seem to care that she was undermining President Trump and the United States as he met with world leaders at the United States. She was determined to get the announcement out in the media and did not appear to consider the consequences of her actions. She and her fellow Democrats obviously hate Trump more than they love the America.

Meanwhile, President Trump was speaking at the United Nations. His speech – both verbal and text – can be accessed here. Iran for squandering the wealth of their nation for selfish purposes. He encouraged North Korea to move his nation forward by getting rid of their nuclear weapons. He defended women, LGBTQ, Jews, religious minorities and the First and Second Amendments. He had choice words for globalists and open border advocates. He made numerous powerful statements such as the following paragraphs.

One of the most serious challenges our countries face is the specter of socialism. It’s the wrecker of nations and destroyer of societies. Events in Venezuela remind us all that socialism and communism are not about justice. They are not about equality. They are not about lifting up the poor. And they are certainly not about the good of the nation. Socialism and communism are about one thing only, power for the ruling class.

Today I repeat a message for the world that I have delivered at home. America will never be a socialist country. In the last century, socialism and communism killed 100 million people. Sadly, as we see in Venezuela, the death toll continues in this country.

These totalitarian ideologies combined with modern technology had the power to excise new and disturbing forms of suppression and domination. For this reason, the United States is taking steps to better screen foreign technology and investments and to protect our data and our security. We urge every nation present to do the same.

Freedom and democracy must be constantly guarded and protected, both abroad and from within. We must always be skeptical of those who want conformity and control…. 

Patriots see a nation and its destiny in ways no one else can. Liberty is only preserved, sovereign[ity] is only secured, democracy is only sustained, greatness is only realized by the will and devotion of patriots. In their spirit it is found the strength to resist oppression, the inspiration to forge legacy, the goodwill to seek friendship and the bravery to reach for peace. Love of our nations makes the world better for all nations. 

So, to all the leaders here today join us in the most fulfilling mission a person could have. The most profound contribution anyone can make – lift up your nations, cherish your culture, honor your histories, treasure your citizens. Make your countries strong and prosperous and righteous. Honor the dignity of your people and nothing will be outside of your reach.

When our nations are greater the future will be brighter, our people be happier and our partnerships will be stronger. With God’s help, together we will cast off the enemies of liberty and overcome the oppressors of dignity. We will set new standards of living and reach new heights of human achievement. We will rediscover all truths, unravel all mysteries and make thrilling new breakthroughs. And we will find more beautiful friendship and more harmony among nations than ever before.

My fellow leaders, the path to peace and progress and freedom and justice and a better world for all humanity begins at home. Thank you. God bless you. God bless the nations of the world and God bless America. Thank you very much.

            While President Trump was at the UN declaring the strengths of America and encouraging growth in other nations, Pelosi and her allies were doing their best to weaken and debase America. The fact that Trump’s talk is a hidden item and impeachment mania is loud and clear shows that there are factions in our nation who would rather weaken than strengthen our nation. Their hatred for Trump has blinded their eyes because they cannot see the good that he does. May God bless President Trump and my God bless America!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Is Impeachment a Good Idea

            The Democrats, liberals, and progressives have been searching for three years for a reason to impeach President Donald Trump, and they think that they have one now. It seems that Trump decided to temporarily hold back about $400 million in aid to Ukraine. There was a bi-partisan demand that the money be sent, so it was sent. However, Trump had a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July, and a so-called whistleblower thinks that he was using the money to pressure Ukraine to dig up some dirt on Joe Biden. Now the U.S. House of Representatives has decided to hold a formal impeachment inquiry about Trump’s acts.

            The lame stream media is upset because Trump has been saying that Joe Biden used his position as the Vice President of the United States to pressure the Ukraine government to fire its top prosecutor. The prosecutor was allegedly investigating whether there was corruption in a deal that Hunter Bidon made with Burisma Holdings, an energy company in Ukraine that was paying Hunter Bidon $50,000 per month to serve on the company’s board of directors.

            There is no dispute about if Biden abused the power of his office. He bragged about getting the prosecutor fired, and there is video of his statement for proof. The debate is about the purpose for having him fired. Did he insist that the prosecutor be fired to help the company in Ukraine that was paying his son $50,000 per month? There is also some talk about Hunter being involved in some deals with China, but that is not a part of this discussion.

            Mark Levin admits that there is a huge scandal that involves a top U.S. politician and Ukraine, but it is not Trump as the media and Democrats are claiming. It is Joe Biden.

You have a massive Democrat scandal here. That’s why the media are conducting themselves the way they are. That’s why the Democrats are trying to turn this inside-out. To immunize Biden and to attack Trump, but it won’t work....

My take is that the Biden family is corrupt…. My take is that Joe Biden obstructed justice in the Ukraine. You want to find obstruction? There it was.

And my take is that he blackmailed that government to get that prosecutor removed, and not just to protect his son, but to protect his future run for president of the United States….

            Levin may or may not be correct. It stands to reason that the dealings of Biden with Ukraine would be investigated if the communications of Trump with Ukraine are being examined. Maybe a special counsel should be appointed to study both men. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives are not willing to wait for a special counsel or even for the facts. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that a formal impeachment inquiry would start soon.

            Democrats demanded that a transcriptof Trump’s telephone call be released to the public. Trump announced today that “the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine” would be released tomorrow. This was not enough for the impeachment-hungry Democrats, and they announced that an impeachment investigation would begin. The Democrat Party has moved far left from pressure by far-left progressives. Even though Pelosi has declined to pursue impeachment in prior days, she finally caved to the far left. 

            Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that he believes Democrats will successfully impeach Trump even though it is unlikely that two-thirds of the Senate will vote to convict him and remove him from office.  

I think the momentum of radicalism on their side is so great, they won’t be able to help themselves…. The Democrats have always had the votes if they wanted to do it, and it’s up [to] them….

I just think the Republican position ought to be if you want to look at pressure being brought on Ukraine; you have to look at Biden as well as Trump…. There is more than enough reason to have a serious deep investigation of what was going on in China and Ukraine as it relates to Biden, father and son.

Biden personally, directly, while in Ukraine pressuring them involving an investigation with his son’s company is vastly worse than what we’ve seen with Trump.

            Gingrich knows a few things about impeachment because he was Speaker of the House when it voted to impeach Bill Clinton. The Senate declined to convict Clinton, and he stayed in office. Clinton was impeached during his second term, so there was no question of running for another term of office. However, CBS News announced in August 2019 that “the majority of Americans oppose removing President Trump through impeachment.” In fact, the favorability rating for Trump continues to climb and now stands at a high level -- 53% -- than that of Barack Obama at the same time in his first term.

            The United States is deeply divided on numerous issues. Impeachment proceedings will just cause a greater divide. The Trump haters just cannot get over the fact that Trump is acting for the good of the nation, and they continue to impede his progress. It just goes to show that people hate Trump more than they love America!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Lindsey Graham

            I chose Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as my VIP for this week because he appears to have grown a spine to stand up to Democrats. Democrats continue look for a reason to impeach Donald Trump, and they think that they may have found it with the current “controversy” about a July telephone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine. Graham is more than willing to join them in calling for an investigation.

Graham is pushing the Department of Justice to investigate the relationship between Ukraine and the United States, particularly when Joe Biden was the vice president. He told a radio host that the clamor for information about Trump’s phone call is a perfect opportunity to look at the deals between Ukraine and Biden. The New York Times reported in May that Biden was instrumental in 2016 of ousting a prosecutor in Ukraine who investigating Burisma Holdings. It seems that Biden’s son, Hunter, was being paid a monthly salary of $50,000 for being a Burisma board member. 

The strange thing is that Biden is already on record for bragging about getting the Ukraine prosecutor fired. Since Biden is now campaigning to be the next President of the United States, it seems only fair that the family’s relationship with Ukraine is given the same scrutiny as Trump’s family’s alleged dealings with Russia received. Graham is calling for the same standards being used to “judge” Biden as were used on Trump. It seems fair to me!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Is Civil War Coming to the United States Again?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Liberals have plotted for years about taking guns away from law-abiding Americans, but they have always denied the claims. However, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke let the cat out of the bag last week when a reporter asked if he was proposing taking guns away from Americans.

“Are you proposing taking away their guns and how would this work?” ABC anchor David Muir asked O’Rourke, referring to his so-called mandatory “buyback” proposal for AR-15s and AK-47s.

“I am, if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield,” O’Rourke replied, garnering cheers from the debate audience.

“If the high-impact, high-velocity round when it hits your body shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that,” O’Rourke added, “so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.”

“When we see that being used against children,” O’Rourke said, “H___ yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47, we’re not going to allow it to be used against fellow Americans anymore.”

            It appears that American gun owners have a different idea. Alpha Dog Firearms of Tempe, Arizona, ran a “Beto special” on AR-15s and sold all their inventory of the rifles in four hours. Are the owners of the new guns preparing to fight the U.S. Government, or did they just recognize a deal when they saw it?

            Open-carry advocate Lauren Boebert confronted O’Rourke at a campaign town hall in Colorado on Thursday about his plan to confiscate firearms. “I am here to say h___ no, you’re not!” She happened to have a gun on her hip when she made the statement, but she doubled down on her position during an interview with “Fox and Friends” later. She seemed to be particularly upset that O’Rourke would use the victims of the mass shooting at the Aurora movie theater in 2012 to support his political campaign. “Those are our victims…. We experienced those losses. That was a community loss, and honestly those victims were defenseless.” She has a strong point because the theater was declared a “gun free zone.” This means that the people who entered the theater were defenseless.

            Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is apparently trying to put the cat back in the bag because he suggested that O’Rourke’s stand on the gun issue is different than that of other Democrats. “I don’t know of any other Democrat who agrees with Beto O’Rourke, but it’s no excuse not to go forward.” Forward with what? Gun confiscation or just more “gun control”? 

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) seem to agree with Schumer. Manchin said, “I can tell you one thing: Beto O’Rourke’s not taking my guns away.” He claimed that Beto is only one person, but his comment “was very harmful to make it look like all Democrats” have the same opinion. Coons expressed similar comments, saying that he is a gun owner and enjoys skeet shooting and hunting with his sons. He admitted, however, that O’Rourke’s comments “will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying, ‘Democrats are coming for your guns.’” These Senators can say whatever they please, but I still believe that there are Democrats who are trying to take guns away from lawful Americans.

            O’Rourke may be able to claim some success because the West Hartford, Connecticut, based gun-maker Colt announced that the company was suspending production of AR-15 rifles for use by civilians. The reason give is that there is an “adequate supply” in the market already. The company claims that the decision was driven by the market rather than public pressure about the use of the rifle by mass murderers. The company will, however, continue to make and sell AR-15s for “our warfighters and law enforcement personnel” who “continue to demand Colt rifles.”

            I do not know whether to believe the Colt spokesperson or not. It seems like a big coincidence that they stop making civilian AR-15 rifles just when O’Rourke makes his statement. I personally do not care if they make the rifles or not, but I do not like the idea of individuals or businesses feeling forced to make decisions that would curtail the Second Amendment rights of Americans. I cannot see anything short of civil war that would force American gun owners to give up their guns.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

To Whom Do You Compare Yourself?

            I learned about comparing myself to others in my “Come, Follow Me” studies this week. Paul wrote to the Saints in Corinth: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

            It appears that the Corinthian Saints were attempting to see if they were better or worse than their neighbors when they were “measuring themselves by themselves.” When we look at each other through the lens of comparison, we make the mistake of judging other people by their outward appearance. Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915-94) gave the following counsel about this tendency to judge others.

We also tend to evaluate others on the basis of physical, outward appearance: their ‘good looks,’ their social status, their family pedigrees, their degrees, or their economic situations….

When the Lord measures an individual, He does not take a tape measure around the person’s head to determine his mental capacity, nor his chest to determine his manliness, but He measures the heart as an indicator of the person’s capacity and potential to bless others (“The Measure of Our Hearts,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 15).

            When we compare ourselves to another, we usually compare our worst to the best of the other person, and we never measure up. We are all guilty of staging our photographs in such a way that the clutter of our homes, yards, or lives does not show in the background. The only thing that shows in our Facebook picture is the beautiful item that we created – not the mess in the background.

            We can make ourselves truly miserable by continually comparing ourselves with other people. Some people are bubbly, energetic, and talkative. If we do not have such a personality and try to be like them, we will wear ourselves out. What we need to do is to look for the good within ourselves and build on our personal strengths instead of criticizing the other person or pretending to be something that we are not. 

            The Apostle Paul mentioned in the same verse of scripture that we “compare ourselves with some that commend themselves” and such people are “not wise.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then of the First Presidency, taught that self-commendation is related to pride.

At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with ‘Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done,’ it always seems to end with ‘Therefore, I am better than you.’

When our hearts are filled with pride, we commit a grave sin, for we violate the two great commandments [see Matthew 22:36-40]. Instead of worshipping God and loving our neighbor, we reveal the real object of our worship and love – the image we see in the mirror.

Pride is the great sin of self-elevation….

This sin has many faces. It leads some to revel in their own perceived self-worth, accomplishments, talents, wealth, or position. They count these blessings as evidence of being ‘chosen,’ ‘superior,’ or ‘more righteous’ than others. This is the sin of ‘Thank God I am more special than you.’ At its core is the desire to be admired or envied. It is the sin of self-glorification” (“Pride and the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 56).

            If we desire to compare ourselves to anyone, Paul suggests that we measure ourselves “according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us” (2 Corinthians 10:13). The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-44) encouraged members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to measure themselves in comparison with God: “Search your hearts, and see if you are like God. I have searched mine, and feel to repent of all my sins” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 72).

Friday, September 20, 2019

Will Studying the Book of Mormon Strengthen Your Family?

            Families who study the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ – together grow stronger and strengthen their communities and nations. Families can read a few verses each day from the regular Book of Mormon, or they can read from a Book of Mormon made for children with lots of pictures and few words. It does not matter how a family studies the Book of Mormon together, but it does matter if they study it. Numerous prophets and Apostles have urged people to read the Book of Mormon, but I will share the words of just one of them. Elder Marion G. Romney said the following in the April 1960 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity – the pure love of Christ – will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, pp. 110-13; as quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986).

            There are a lot of blessings listed in that paragraph, including greater love, respect, and consideration. However, most parents would appreciate this one: “Children will be more responsive and submissive to … counsel.” What parent does not want their children to be “more responsive and submissive”? Elder Romney says that it will happen for families that study the Book of Mormon.

            I am excited to study the Book of Mormon for the “Come, Follow Me” family study program in 2020. To help us gain more from our studies of this great book, the Church released today the “first in a series of epic Book of Mormon videos.” There will be a new video “released every Friday until the end of the year and later seasons will also be released." 

The first episode includes the first two chapters of the Book of Mormon where God commands Levi to leave Jerusalem with his family. I watched the first video and highly recommend it. As you study the Book of Mormon with your families, I know that you will be blessed and strengthened in such a way that you will strengthen your community and nation.