Declaration of Independence

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

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Will Abbott Win the Federal Lawsuit Against the State of Texas?

            The Biden administration opened the southern border and issued an invitation to all who want to come to America. Property owners along the border are paying the price of the bad Biden policies, and Americans across the nation will suffer from the approximately 2 million people who will enter the nation illegally this year. When Texas Governor Greg Abbott realized that the federal government, he decided to act to protect Texans.

            Abbott recently made several announcements about what Texas will do to alleviate the problems of the crisis at the border. The first thing he promised is to finish building the border wall, and the second promise was to arrest illegal aliens for trespassing on private property. The latest Abbott announcement restricts the ground transportation of illegal migrants around Texas communities. He directed law enforcement officials in Texas to intervene and reroute any vehicles suspected of violating his order. The goal is to stop illegal migrants from spreading COVID-19 to Texas communities.

            Kaylee Greenlee referenced court documents when writing that the Biden administration filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas arguing that Abbott’s “executive order violates U.S. law and could harm migrants in federal custody while risking the safety of law enforcement.” 

“The executive order violates the Supremacy Clause and causes injury to the United States and to individuals whom the United States is charged to protect, jeopardizing the health and safety of noncitizens in federal custody, risking the safety of federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” the Department of Justice alleges in the lawsuit….

“The INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) further vests the United States with broad discretion to release noncitizens seeking admission to the United States from custody through various mechanisms including, inter alia, parole … and conditional release from custody,” according to the lawsuit….

“If CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is unable to transfer noncitizens out of CBP facilities, CBP detention numbers and the average time individuals are in custody will rise, conditions will deteriorate, and there will be a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission to noncitizens and staff,” according to the lawsuit….

            The problem that I see with the federal argument is that Congress refuses to pass immigration laws that work. Reform has been needed for many years, but Congress is more interested in keeping Donald Trump out of the White House than in doing their job. In addition, the Biden administration refuses to do it job in protecting America and Americans. They seem much more interested in helping non-Americans than American citizens. Governor Abbott is trying to protect Texans and other Americans in an upside-down-world where the federal government is working against him.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

What Must Conservatives Do to Reach More Black People?

            After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He met His eleven Apostles in Galilee. There He gave them certain instructions to follow in teaching His gospel.

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:18-20).

            Raynard Jackson quoted Oral Roberts of Oral Roberts University as putting his own twist on the Savior’s message: “Go into every man’s world and meet them at the point of their need.” Roberts was referring to Christians taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world because there is not enough time to wait for “the people seeking God to stumble into our churches.” However, Jackson likened this message to conservatives spreading conservative principles. Jackson said that conservatives must go to black entrepreneurs, black parents, and black preachers. 

            While reading Jackson’s article, my mind went immediately to a conservative organization that is already working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began working with the NAACP in 2017 when it helped to refurbish the NAACP offices in Jackson, Mississippi. In May 2018, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ and the leaders of the NAACP released a joint statement calling for greater civility and racial harmony. 

            In July 2018, the Church of Jesus Christ “announced a historic collaboration between the two organizations and launched a self-reliance initiative.” In addition, BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School and the NAACP are working on other joint projects. Reverend Amos C. Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco said the following about his friendship with the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We have more in common than that which may superficially divide us….

[We are connecting] not as black or white, not as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Baptists, but as children of God who are about loving everybody and bringing hope, happiness, and good health to all of God’s children.

            A few hours later, Reverend Brown introduced President Russell M. Nelson at the 110th annual convention of the NAACP. He spoke about the power of partnerships. “Arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder, may we strive to lift our brothers and sisters everywhere, in every way we can.” Why is the Church of Jesus Christ working with the NAACP? Because they are all God’s children, they are our brothers and sisters,” said President Nelson.

            This “unlikely alliance is providing a model for bridging” the racial divisions across America. In June 2021, President Nelson “walked into a news conference linked arm-in-arm with the president of the NAACP on one side and a Black former student of Martin Luther King Jr. on the other.” The purpose of the news conference was “to announce a multimillion donation to the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and other initiatives to help underprivileged Blacks and improve racial understanding.” 

The president of the UNCF described his organization’s new relationship with the church as jaw-dropping. He said he hoped the Latter-day Saint commitment to Black higher education would become a national story.

The groups should stand as an example to the nation, said the Rev. Amos C. Brown, who studied under King as a young man and now is the NAACP’s emeritus director of religious affairs.

“Our democratic republic is under siege, but this very partnership of the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be the saving factor to redeem the soul of the United States of America, so that we shall indeed become one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” he said.

            This shows that leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ were willing to go into the world of the NAACP, and it takes us right back to the article by Jackson. Jackson said that “Blacks are the most conservative group in the country and have been for most of America’s existence.” Therefore, they do not “need to be persuaded or convinced about conservative values.” 

Conservatives must start financially supporting legitimate, credible black organizations and individuals who have standing within the black community. Conservative groups must form strategic partnerships with these credible black groups and individuals.

Far too often, conservatives attempt to address issues publicly that are of particular interest to the black community, but with not one credible black person on the platform with them….

Conservatives must go to the black businessman.

Conservatives must begin to substantively engage with black entrepreneurs. They are the gateway to the black community, not the preachers!

Within the black community, the businessman typically is the head of the deacon board and head of the board of trustees in the black church. So, if you get the black businessman on your side, he will bring you the pastor, who will bring you the congregation.

Conservatives must go directly to black parents.

Despite how the liberal media portrays black parents as liberal, nothing could be further from the truth….

Conservatism is mainstream within the black community. Don’t let the radical left media fool you or convince you otherwise….

            Jackson explained that black parents “are the biggest proponents of schools choice and vouchers,” and “Black men are some of the biggest proponents of the Second Amendment.” He also stated that the black community does not support “the radical agenda that Democrats are pushing on it.” This includes same-sex parents for children, the defund the police movement, higher taxes, transgenderism, or having their children indoctrinated with critical race theory.

Since blacks are already conservative, they apparently just need to have conservative and/or financial support to jettison the influence of the liberals. This means that the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were well ahead of the game.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Who Is Taylor Winston?

             My VIP for this week is Taylor Winston, a veteran of the Iraq War. He was in the vicinity of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on October 1, 2017, when he was given a free ticket and went to join his friends for the last act.

Winston had barely gotten a drink and found his friends when he heard the first shot. Then he heard a second shot. Then there came lots of shots, people running to find safety, and many of them falling.         The gunman ultimately killed 60 people and wounded more than 400 other people. This was the “deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.” More people would have likely died if Winston had not jumped into action. Here is the story in his own words in an interview with Douglas Blair. 

And I heard what sounded like gunfire, and no one was reacting…. And I heard it again. And then I really perked up because I was for sure that was gunfire from somewhere, but still no one was moving or doing anything.

And I could see other people starting to look around too with [the] concert still full going…. And then moments later, just pure chaos, bullets started raining down into the festival. People started screaming, falling all around. I started running, my initial reaction was instant fear. It felt like you were going to die.

You heard bullets getting closer and closer and closer. And as you were running, people were falling and they were just the unfortunate ones getting hit. We got to the back fence, and we were trying to get people over the fence….

But, once we got over the fence, I realized that people were still getting shot and help wasn’t going to be coming fast enough, because ambulances can’t go into an active shooting zone until it’s completely done and secure…. I thought to go to the employee parking lot and look for a vehicle ‘cause they often share vehicles and leave keys in them. And by the grace of God or some higher being, the first one I checked had keys in it.

And so, I drove back into the gunfire and started checking people to see who was the most critically injured and just loading them up in the bed of the truck and in the back seat and just cramming as many people as I could and sped off to the hospital.

Once we got to the hospital, we unloaded and no one was prepared for that scene. Just staff started going crazy. We were dumping bodies right in the lobby and the floor was pretty much painted red. And when I unloaded the last person, I looked at my friend Jennifer and said, “I have to go back.”

I was going to grab the military guy who I saw, because other people were starting to arrive doing a similar thing. There were many heroes that day….

So we drove back, loaded up again, took another full load. And we did two full trips and have been credited with saving a little over two dozen people. And we then parked the truck at Stoney’s and left it and went to our friends that night for safety….

            What makes Winston an even bigger hero is that he refused to tell his story to reporters who were calling for more gun control. He walked away from many interviews and is just now telling his story.

And I’m going to use it to advocate for guns and be a big pro-2A influencer in the mix. And start getting into the conversation more and fight feelings with feelings, because what happened that day was pretty horrific and to still support guns I think is kind of hard to find. So….

At the end of the day, mass shootings are horrific. And I never, ever want to have anyone experience that. But I would go through it again and again and again to protect our gun rights because [the Second Amendment] protects us from something far worse and bigger, and that’s a potential tyrannical government committing genocide.

And if you look throughout history, it repeats itself and tens of millions [die]. Russia killed, I think, 65 million of their own people in the last hundred years, China, who even knows, there is genocide being committed all [over] the world right now and America is the only country that has the means to defend itself. Not only from a domestic threat, but a foreign threat as well.

We hope we never have to get to that point. And it may not make sense right now because everyone’s so peachy and comfortable and privileged to live in America. And I just think they’re very privileged. And I would say to them, educate yourself on guns, learn more about it. And I do find that there are good laws and we have many laws that are in place already. I don’t think we need more laws. We just need more education and just more resources going into helping everyone own a gun. That’s all right.

            Winston was present during a mass shooting and survived. Yet, he does not think that more gun control will solve any problems. He is right that Americans have the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of protecting themselves against a tyrannical government.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Who Else Is the NSA Unmasking?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the unmasking of American citizens. Last month, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had read his emails, “unmasked” him, and leaked his information to the media. The NSA publicly denied the accusation and said that Carlson “has never been an intelligence target.”

            Tucker said that he had been in the process of trying to arrange an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Carlson said that he had learned the previous day that “sources in the so-called intelligence community told at least one reporter in Washington what was in those emails, my emails.” Later, the NSA admitted quietly that they had “unmasked” the Carlson’s identity and leaked information just as he alleged earlier. Mary Kay Linge wrote the following about the situation for The New York Post

Two sources told The Record Friday that, according to an internal NSA investigation, Carlson’s name was revealed after it was mentioned in “communications between two parties” that were under surveillance.

But the host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was neither a direct nor an incidental target of the agency, the sources said.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s claims about being “unmasked” were confirmed by an NSA investigation, according to reports.

            According to Linge, “unmasking” takes place when the intelligence community “allows national security officials to see the identities of American citizens who correspond with foreigners under surveillance.” This term became familiar to Americans when Michael Flynn was unmasked by the Obama administration as part of the FBI’s Russia investigation. According to the law, Americans are supposed to be protected from the view of the spy agencies. Plus, the revealing to the public of any “unmasked” names is strictly prohibited.

            Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal noted that mainstream media seems to have a different attitude about the Carlson unmasking than they had when the phone records of their own reporters became part of an investigation. 

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN strongly objected and protested when the Trump administration obtained reporters’ phone records as part of an investigation into the leak of classified information.

Yet those same news organizations aren’t willing to stand with popular Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson, who the National Security Agency “unmasked” during the early moths of the Biden administration.

            It appears from Lucas’s article that each news agency is willing to stand up and scream about governmental abuse when its own reporters are surveilled, but they do not seem to care that much when the reporters of another agency are “unmasked” or otherwise watched. Therefore, the governmental misuse of power will most likely continue simply because news agencies will not stand together against the government.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

How Can I Gain More Understanding of the Priesthood of God?

             My Come, Follow Me studies this week took me to Doctrine and Covenants 84. This section contains a revelation that was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, at Kirtland, Ohio, on September 22 and 23, 1832. This communication was received during a season of joy when missionaries were returning from their missions in the eastern states and reporting on their labors. It was during this reunion that the Prophet inquired of the Lord and received this revelation. The Prophet Joseph Smith designated it as a revelation on priesthood.

            The priesthood was restored in May 1829, and Latter-day Saints had been blessed by its sacred power for more than three years at the time Section 84 was received. Latter-day Saints had been baptized, confirmed, and called to serve by priesthood authority – much the same as is done today. Having access to priesthood power and enjoying its blessings is not the same thing as completely understanding it. This revelation was the Lord’s means of giving more understanding to His Saints. This revelation on the priesthood expanded the Saints’ vision of what the priesthood really is, and a study of Section 84 can expand our vision today.

            The Lord used this revelation to explain how the priesthood prepares the Saints to enter God’s presence and receive all that He has. The Lord taught of the importance of hearkening to His words and reproved the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri, for treating the Book of Mormon and His commandments lightly. The Lord also commanded the Saints to preach the gospel to the world, and He provided instructions for doing so.

            The Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual – Religion 324 and 325 [2018] gave further information about Section 84.

During a conference of priesthood holders held in Amherst, Ohio, on January 25, 1832, a number of elders were called to preach the gospel in various locations in the United States (see Doctrine and Covenants 75). In September 1832, some of these elders returned from their missions in the eastern states. Joseph and Emma Smith had just moved from the John and Alice (Elsa) Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio, to the living quarters in the Newel K. Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio. When the missionaries returned to Kirtland, they reported their experiences, and the Prophet Joseph Smith rejoiced in their success. While the Prophet was with these elders on September 22, he inquired of the Lord and received revelation about the priesthood. The Prophet continued to receive instruction from the Lord the following day, September 23. This revelation, received over two days, is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 84. Several individuals witnessed the Prophet Joseph Smith dictate the revelation. Doctrine and Covenants 84:1 suggests that six elders were present as the dictation began, but a note in an original handwritten copy of the revelation indicates that 10 high priests were present during the latter part of the revelation. (See The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 2: July 1831 – January 1833, ed. Matthew C. Godfrey and others [2013], 289-90.)

            One of the principles taught about priesthood in Doctrine and Covenants 84 is: “We all have access to God’s priesthood power and blessings (verses 1-5, 17-28, 31-42). The Lord begins this revelation on the priesthood by teaching that a temple will be built in Zion (verses 1-5). Temples would have little purpose without priesthood power and authority. It is within the walls of the holy temple that men and women receive some of the greatest blessings that can be received on earth. The gospel of Jesus Christ is taught in the temples, and families are sealed together for eternity in the temples.

            The oath and covenants of the priesthood are taught in this revelation (verses 31-42), and this information has special application for those who are ordained to a priesthood office. However, many of the promised blessings in these verses are available to all as we receive the Lord’s servants and the Lord. President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following.

All who have made sacred covenants with the Lord and who honor those covenants are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, to commune with God, to receive the fulness of the gospel, and, ultimately, to become heirs alongside Jesus Christ of all our Father has (“Men and Women and Priesthood Power,” Ensign, Sept. 2014, 32).

            Men and women are called to labor together in building up the kingdom of God upon the earth. This includes the building of temples and doing sacred temple work. It is through performing the work of the Lord that can receive blessings both for time and for eternity. Men and women stand together in performing the work for the living and the dead.

            Another important principle found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:61-88 is: “The Lord will sustain those who serve Him.” These verses are directed to those who “shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom” (verse 80), but many of the principles they contain can apply to anyone who is serving God.

            The Lord charged His ancient Apostles (see Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-18) to preach the gospel to all the world. He, likewise, instructed His Saints in the latter-days to preach the gospel to all the world. He commanded them to send their testimony in some other way if there was any place that they could not personally go to ensure that the restored gospel was proclaimed “unto every creature” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:62). Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited members of the Church of Jesus Christ today to use innovative and inspired communications and technology to send the gospel message to people throughout the world:

The Lord is hastening His work, and it is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fulness of times. Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work….

What has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning – but only a small trickle. I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood…. I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth – messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy – and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood (see Moses 7:59-62) (“Flood the Earth through Social Media,” New Era, Aug. 2015, 32, 35).

            The priesthood is the power of God bestowed upon mortals for the purpose of blessing all the children of Heavenly Father. Doctrine and Covenants 84 teaches about the priesthood and how to use it more effectively in doing God’s work here on earth.

Friday, July 30, 2021

What Children’s Programming Should Parents Trust?

            Strong communities and strong nations are built upon strong families. The job of a parent has always required time and effort, but the job of today’s parent may be the most difficult of all.

Once upon a time, parents could depend on the children’s television program Sesame Street to “babysit” their children for a few minutes.

This program allowed a mother to grab a quick shower without any children in the bathroom with her, or it allowed a parent to prepare dinner without children getting into mischief. Today’s parents can no longer trust Sesame Street to teach their children the alphabet, numbers, colors, or how to get along with a friend.

            Bethany Mandel has fond memories of watching Sesame Street as a child. She “remembers the letters and numbers of the day, the celebrity guest stars, and the cantankerous Cookie Monster stealing my heart.” However, she did not plan to set her children in front of the television set and let them watch the modern-day Sesame Street. In fact, she added “a DVD player and seasons of all the old shows” to her baby registry.  Mandel and her husband had “witnessed a shift in the purpose and direction of contemporary children’s media over the past decade” and did not want to take their children on that journey. 

But the shifts keep coming. Last month, “Sesame Street” marked Pride Month by showing a type of family that has never been seen in the 51-year history of the iconic children’s television show. According to TODAY:

The show shared an episode last week called “Family Day” that features a married gay couple of two dads with their daughter. A dad named Frank, played by Alex Weisman, and a dad name Dave, played by Chris Costa, along with their daughter Mia, played by Olivia Perez, join the neighborhood family that surprises Big Bird at a party.

A character in the episode observes that “all of our families are so different.”

“There’s all kinds of different families,” Frank says. “But what makes us a family is that we love each other.” …

“Sesame Street” has addressed a range of social issues in recent years, including addiction, incarceration, race, homelessness and autism.

            Parents may not be opposed to such an episode under certain circumstances. However, this episode -- and other children’s media following the same type of trend – assumes that parents do not mind television programs teaching values to their children. Mandel wrote about her opposition to this teaching.

I don’t particularly care if “Sesame Street” features episodes with two dads; we have discussed with our children the different family makeups around us. What makes this episode – and the entire trend in children’s media – troublesome is the assumption that it is up to a media company to introduce topics ranging from addiction to same-sex marriage on their terms and that these topics should be presented to toddler-aged children watching programming like “Sesame Street.”

When played out in this way, the presentation isn’t just designed to be educational and informative; it’s meant as a symbol of virtue. The intention with episodes of this nature, especially launched during Pride Month, isn’t merely inclusion – it’s promotion.

Mandel continues her explanation for why she is concerned about children’s programming today. She ends with the following warning:

Parents should take note: The aim of children’s media is no longer just to provide free, education-minded babysitting while you get ready for work. Parents who want to remain the guiding force in their kids’ moral upbringing should opt-out of kids’ media produced in the last decade or so and invest in some vintage “Sesame Street.” The screen may not be in HD and the latest celebrity guest stars may be dated, but at least you know you can walk out of the room for a quick shower.

            Parents can no longer trust children’s programming to be strictly educational because too many are trying to teach morals. Parents must be aware of what children are learning from media to keep their family strong and to strengthen their community and nation.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Is the Biden Border Crisis Incompetence or Corruption?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the topic of illegal immigration into the United States. The steady stream of non-citizen travelers entering the United States was vastly decreased during the Trump administration. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaigned on the idea that they would open the borders to anyone who wanted to come to our nation. As soon as the results of the 2020 presidential election were announced, migrants began planning to come.

            The numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border in March 2021 was the highest in history – until the numbers came in for April 2021, which were the highest until the numbers for May 2021 came in, which were the highest until the numbers for June 2021 came in. Here are some actual numbers provided by The Daily Wire

Democrat President Joe Biden’s crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border sank to new lows last month as U.S. law enforcement officials apprehended more illegal aliens trying to enter the U.S. than in any other month on record at the Department of Homeland Security, which was founded in 2002.

“In May 2021, CBP encountered 180,034 persons attempting entry along the Southwest Border,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. “Single adults continue to make up the majority of these encounters.”

The disastrous border numbers for last month represented a staggering 674% increase vs. May of 2020 when 23, 237 illegal aliens were apprehended. Last month’s numbers were the worst numbers in more than two decades.

The Trump administration turned around the situation on the border starting late during Fiscal Year 2019 and kept them low throughout Fiscal Year 2020. Biden’s border crisis has worsened every month that he has been in office in terms of the number of illegal aliens apprehended at the southern border.

            The situation at the border is just one evidence that “elections have consequences.” Hopefully, this disaster will teach American voters to look further than the manners or looks or even the personal morals of a candidate. The single most important factor in determining which candidate to elect should be the policies put forth by the candidate and the candidate’s party. I will vote every single time for a candidate who promises to and works toward putting America first. However, I have digressed from the topic of this post and will now return to it.

            To put it bluntly, the policies of the Biden administration have been disastrous in many ways but especially on the southern border. The projected number of illegal immigrants to cross the southern border this year is more than two million. We should keep in mind that this number does not include the “got aways” – those migrants who did not come through Immigration. Biden tries to convince America that he inherited a bad situation at the border. However, he lies about this topic and many others. The fact is that he could have left the Trump policies in place, and there would not be a border crisis. The following quote comes from Axios. 

About 50,000 migrants who crossed the southern border illegally have now been released in the United States without a court date. Although they are told to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office instead, just 13% have shown up so far, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The sizable numbers are a sign of just how overwhelmed some sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border continue to be: A single stretch covering the Rio Grande Valley had 20,000 apprehensions in a week. The figures also show the shortcomings of recent emergency decisions to release migrants.

·         Its unprecedented for agents to release migrants without an official notice to appear in court. Where it has occurred recently, migrants have instead been given a list of addresses and contacts for ICE offices across the country and told to report to one of them.

·         The hope has been for migrants to show up at these offices after reaching their final destination, to get work permits.

By the numbers: Just 6,700 migrants who crossed between mid-March and mid-July showed up at ICE offices as of Monday, one source briefed on Department of Homeland Security data told Axios.

·         16,000 have not showed up and passed the 60-day reporting window they were given. That’s 2.4 no-shows for every one that has checked in.

·         Another roughly 27,000 migrants who crossed and were released during the same time frame have yet to turn up, but remain within the 60-day window for reporting….

More than 1 million arrests have been made involving people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border since last October. The last time we saw that many stops in one year was 15 years ago, and there are still two months left in the current fiscal year.

Further, the 178,000 arrests made in June alone marked a 20-year high for the month. That follows other, similar monthly records being broken.

            Under Biden, the Obama policy of “catch and release” has turned into “catch and misplace.” There are “repeated record-setting” numbers of people attempting to cross illegally into our nation, and there is no way that Biden can convince any honest person that this is just the normal annual surge at the border. This is definitely a crisis, and the Biden administration created it.

            On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order to stop the construction of the border wall – costing American taxpayers several billion dollars for the contractors to NOT build the wall and to secure the building materials. Possibly the same day but soon after the first executive order, Biden reversed Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. This policy caused immigrants to stay in Mexico while their asylum requests were processed and researched. It was also instrumental in slowing the stream of immigrants because they did not want to be stuck in Mexico.

To show their gratitude, many immigrants showed up at the border with Biden-themed T-shirts. One migrant told a journalist this month, “Gracias al President Biden por la oportunidad de venir aqui ahora,” meaning “Thanks to President Biden for the opportunity to come here now.” This statement alone shows that the migrants know that it is Biden who is letting them into our nation.

Biden’s border crisis brings not only a huge number of people that is currently overwhelming the system. It also brings many hundreds of COVID-19 infected individuals. At a time when the Biden administration is trying to convince Americans to wear masks once again, it is an ironic fact that he is allowing thousands of foreigners to enter our nation without knowing much about them or their health.

According to Axios, 30% of the illegal migrants in ICE custody refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccination. The numbers of COVID-19 cases in the southern states – states to which the migrants are transported – have jumped to something like 900%.

The Biden administration totally owns the border crisis, and the Democrat Party and the mainstream media support him in it. It is difficult to imagine that an administration could do so much damage to our nation in less than seven months. Since Biden promised that he would open the borders and followed through on his promise without any corrections, we must assume that corruption is the reason for the border crisis.

For some “Firsthand Accounts of the Illegal Immigration Surge,” click here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Does America Have a Crisis of Empathy?

            Ben Shapiro believes that America has a crisis of empathy because it “is divided over two mutually exclusive definitions of empathy.” He also believes that the American divided cannot be bridged and is “tearing the country down the middle.” 

            According to Shapiro this crisis has nothing to do with charitable giving, governmental spending, or being tolerant racially and religiously. He admits that an individual American donates about seven times as much as Europeans do, and the United States far outspends all other nations. In addition, “America is one of the most racially and religiously tolerant nations on Earth.” So, what is causing the empathy crisis?

            Shapiro describes the two groups as “neutrality-driven empaths” and “emotion-centered empaths.” The first group “defines empathy as treating people as individuals capable of free choice and deserving of equality under the law.”

In this view, empathy manifests in respect for the capacity of other human beings, and in understanding that they make different decisions than you would. This version of empathy doesn’t require that we agree with anyone’s decisions, but that we understand that it is not our job, absent significant externalities, to rule them….

Neutrality-driven empaths believe that politics ought to be about solutions geared toward equality of individuals before the law. Policy and emotional empathy may come into conflict in this view.

            The second group, according to Shapiro, “believes that empathy means mirroring solidarity with subject feelings in policy. I

In this view, empathy means expressing agreement with someone else’s specific feelings, refusing to assess whether those feelings re merited or justified, and then shaping policy around assuaging those feelings.

Emotion-centered empaths … believe that politics ought to be bout emotional solidarity rather than finding solutions. Policy must follow emotional empathy in this view.

            Shapiro used the question of black student test performance for an example. Neutrality-driven empaths suggest that using meritocratic standards is the “only neutral rule that can be applied to education” and that “such standards have acted as a ladder” for various races. They believe that the underperformance of “a disproportionate number of black students” on such tests merit empathy but not the discarding of the standards.

            On the other hand, according to Shapiro, emotion-centered empaths suggest that the underperformance of black students “requires discarding testing regimes. Any other action would “abandon solidarity with those who underperform, to ignore the myriad factors that undoubtedly led to the underperformance in the first place.”

The battle between neutrality-driven empaths and emotion-driven empaths creates a massive political asymmetry. That’s because neutrality-driven empaths acknowledge that while people may disagree over policy, that does not mean they are uncaring or cruel.

But for emotion-driven empaths, the opposite is again true: If policy is directly correlated with empathy, failure to agree represents emotional brutality and cruelty. Not only that: There can be no agreeing to disagree, because to suggest that people bear consequences for their actions is in and of itself uncaring and unempathetic. It lacks solidarity.

            There lies Shapiro’s reasoning for claiming that the “empathy gap is a crisis” in America. On one side of the great divide, “empathy means treating people as individuals capable of reasoning and acting under neutral rules.” On the other side of the gulf, “empathy means shaping policy around solidarity with subjective feelings.” This means that “rules become kaleidoscopic, variable, and fluid – and compulsion is generally necessary in order to effectuate such rules.”

            A society can survive and prosper when adopting neutrality-driven empathy, but it will shrivel and die using emotion-driven empathy and coercion. Shapiro concluded with this statement:

Empathy for people as full human beings means recognizing their agency, understanding their differences, and holding fast to equality before the law. If we reject those principles in favor of a high-handed and paternalistic approach to power politics, freedom will not survive.

            This conclusion takes us right back to the discussion about equality and equity. It is possible to give equal opportunities to achieve success, but the degree of success will depend on the individual. The person’s talents, skills, knowledge, determination, work ethic, etc. will determine if they become a success. This is the same reason why we cannot guarantee equity in results – unless it is equity in poverty and sorrow. I agree with Shapiro: America has an empathy crisis. There are too many people who want success handed to them rather than the opportunity to work for greater success.       

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Should Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?

             Roe v. Wade became the law in all fifty states on January 22, 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute that banned abortion. The Texas statute made it a crime to perform an abortion except in cases where the mother’s life was endangered.

The Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion across the nation continues to divide Americans today. There are three findings from Roe v. Wade that are kept today: (1) “Women have the right to abort pre-viability without undue interference from the state.” (2) “The state may restrict abortion post-viability.” (3) “The state has a legitimate interest in protecting woman’s health and life of the fetus.” 

The U.S. Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade nearly fifty years ago before much of the current medical technology was developed. The sonogram was first used for clinical purposes in 1956 in Glasgow, Scotland, and was routinely used in hospitals there. However, British hospitals did not use it much until the 1970s, and American hospitals did not widely use it until “well into the 1970s.” 

My children were born between 1972 and 1985 without the use of sonograms. I remember hearing about sonograms with my fourth or fifth child simply because my friend’s doctor had one in his office. I was never offered a sonogram or had need for one, but I believe that they were more widely used in Alaska by the time that my last child was born. Most of my grandchildren were introduced to me by sonogram.

Sonograms give doctors and parents a way to look into the womb to see the child or children before they are born. These medical miracles show that unborn children are human beings, and I have long believed that they would be instrumental in ending abortion on demand. That time may be the present.

According to Mary Margaret Olohan, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear in October an abortion case titled Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Three Republican Senators – Josh Hawley (Missouri), Mike Lee (Utah), and Ted Cruz (Texas) – filed a brief in the case, and they asked the court to “revisit its rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.” In doing so, they asked the court to “return questions of abortion legislation to the states and challenged the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence as unconstitutional.” In other words, they said that abortion is a decision that each state should decide. 

This status quo is untenable….

Where a legal doctrine has repeatedly failed to offer clarity – where it has proved unworkable in the past and will likely engender unpredictable consequences in the future – its existence constitutes an open invitation to judges to interpret it according to their own policy preferences, usurping the constitutional prerogatives of the legislature.

Roe and Casey should be overruled … and the question of abortion legislation should be returned to the states.

            This is the first time in my recollection that a case has challenged Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court. At least, none has done so successfully. Olohan explained that Dobbs “deals with a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks.” The law was challenged by Jackson Women’s Health Organization and struck down by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2019. The State of Mississippi appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case. Olohan continued with her explanation:

An unborn baby is considered viable at 24 weeks, though medical intervention and a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit are usually required this early. Babies born before 23 weeks have a survival rate of about 5% to 6%, and analysis by Charlotte Lozier Institute medical experts found that unborn babies can feel pain as early as 12 weeks.

            Sonograms can detect a fetus about six weeks after the mother’s last menstrual period. Healthy pregnancies today usually involve two sonograms, one in the first trimester and the second in mid-second trimester. The sex of the child can usually be seen by the time of the second sonogram. Yet, abortion is legal up until the child is born.

            With the use of modern technology and modern medicine, much more is known today about the unborn baby than could be proven in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was passed. Now that it is obvious that an unborn baby is a human being and not just a blob of tissue and that unborn babies feel pain, it is time to revisit the law that legalizes killing of unborn babies for the convenience of their mothers.

Monday, July 26, 2021

What Do Medical Doctors Say About Transgender Athletes?

             My VIPs for this week are two medical doctors, Michelle Cretella and Quentin Van Meter. They published an article explaining why biological men cannot become women and should not be allowed to compete in women and girls’ sports. 

            Males who identify as females have infiltrated women and girls’ athletes at all levels, so it was only a matter of time before transgendered woman was selected to participate in the Olympics. Laurel Hubbard is a male athlete who thinks that he is female. He/she was selected to represent New Zealand on the women’s weightlifting team in the Tokyo Olympic games. Although the transgender movement celebrated it as a victory for “the power of inclusion,” most people can understand that it is unfair to both the sport and the athletes.

            Belgium female weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen hoped to qualify in the same event that Hubbard will compete. She claims that she “supports the transgender community.” However, she recognized that the benefits of steroids “give athletes unfair advantages” years after their use. She wants to know there is still a question about the effects of steroids.

            In 2015, the International Olympic Committee approved transgender athletes “who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category” IF their testosterone level falls below a certain level for the past twelve months. However, this rule has been challenged by two recent peer-reviewed studies, according to two medical doctors – Michelle Cretella and Quentin Van Meter.

            The doctor-authors explained that the first study, published in the Sports Medicine Journal, found “the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women [men on estrogen] is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed” for twelve months. The “review article found the male strength advantage to remain even after three years of testosterone suppression.” They continued their explanation:

Even if the strength advantage could be eliminated, however, to reduce the definition of female human being to having a certain level of testosterone in your body for a certain amount of time completely ignores the scientific reality that genetics – not testosterone – is at the root of all that makes the two sexes different.

When males are allowed to compete in athletic leagues designed for females, they deprive female athletes of the opportunity to safe and fair participation in sports. As Vanbellinghen said, “Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes – medals and Olympic qualifications – and we are powerless.”

Vanbellinghen is not alone in feeling powerless. The authors discussed several instances where males took awards from female athletes: high school track, high school softball, college basketball, mixed martial arts, and state track and field championships. The authors continued their explanation.

The simple truth is that males outperform females in regard to speed and strength due to inborn genetics and sex hormones. This has consistently been proven by long-term research on elite athletes when matched for training.

The sex hormone testosterone plays an important role in regulating bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, strength, and the production of red blood cells leading to higher circulating hemoglobin. This is particularly true during puberty.

After puberty, male circulating testosterone concentrations are 15 times greater than those of females at any age. The result is a clear male advantage in regard to muscle mass, strength and circulating hemoglobin levels even after adjusting for sex differences in height and weight.

The authors continued by explaining that “Athletic differences are also due to genetics.” Referring to completed studies, the authors wrote that the studies “identified more than 3,000 genes that are differentially expressed in male and female skeletal muscle.” The studies found some interesting facts.

Obvious bone differences due to a combination of genetics and hormones even exist at birth; the average male is heavier and taller than the average female and this advantage continues, hen controlled for stage of puberty, throughout life.

Genetics is why a male who self-identifies as female remains male, and giving estrogen to a male does not transform him into a female.

While it is true that a male using estrogen will lose muscle strength and impair other aspects of his physiology, he does not alter his genetics; he remains male at the cellular level in all body systems.

Similarly, a female who self-identifies as male remains female, and giving her testosterone does not transform her into a male. In terms of genetics, she remains female at the cellular level.

These inherent sex-based differences also mean that females are at higher risk of athletic injuries….

            The doctors concluded that “these discrepancies render females, on average, unable to compete effectively against males in power-based or endurance-based sports.” Science and common sense agree that males should not be allowed to compete in female sports because “they deprive girls and women of the opportunity to safe and fair participation in sports.” The question is how many women and girls will be denied proper recognition for their skills because men cannot succeed in competing against men?