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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Are We Being Forced to Embrace Something We Should Simply Endure?

 Sports organizations are attempting to force their athletes to support LGBTQ “Pride” events. The National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball have all bowed to the cowards who are using force to support an agenda. Now it appears that the National Hockey League is joining them.

More than ten days ago, Ivan Provorov, a player for the Philadelphia Flyers, made the news because he refused to wear a Pride jersey. Provorov is Russian Orthodox and apparently the only player to make a stand. As reported by Fox News:

Provorov refused to participate in pregame warmups where players wore Pride-themed jerseys and wielded hockey sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape. “I respect everyone,” he told reporters after they won the actual game against the Anaheim Ducks. “I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”

As a result of Provorov’s stand, his Philadelphia Flyers jerseys have been selling out in multiple online stores. It appears that many Americans and Canadians are supporting Provorov stand. It also appears that the New York Rangers organization is aware of the support that he has received. The New York Rangers were scheduled to wear LGBTQ “Pride” jerseys during pregame warmups last Saturday, but none of the members of the team chose to do so. Dennis Prager noted the situation in an article. 

The Flyers and, apparently, the Rangers learned the truth about their fans: The vast majority of them – and presumably of Americans and Canadians in general – do not wish to discriminate against those who are LGBTQ, but they do not want their teams to go on record s expressing “pride” in those who are LGBTQ.

This mirrors society at large. The vast majority of Americans believe in tolerance of LBGTQ individuals but not in organizations expressing pride in them.

Why is this?

Because pride is not about tolerance. Pride is totalitarian.

Tolerance is about behavior. Pride is about thought.

The proof is that while there are laws governing tolerance, there are no laws governing pride. And if there were, most people would understand that such laws would enter the realm of thought control.

Most people could not articulate the totalitarian nature of LBGTQ pride. But they do sense it. That is why Provorov’s jersey became the Flyers’ bestselling jersey.

Prager continued by explaining that Americans do not oppose the many ways that “pride” is supposed to be shown because they hate gays. “They do so because they intuit that this is totalitarian – that they and their teams are being forced into groupthink. He said that the “Left chose the word ‘pride’ and not ‘tolerance’ because pride is about thought.” He added that leftism is different than liberalism and conservatism – “leftism is totalitarian. And totalitarianism controls thought as well as speech.”

According to Prager, the Left wants our minds as well as our behaviors. It is not enough for us to show tolerance for a way of life that we do not support. They are trying to force us to not only be tolerant but to accept the behavior and have “pride” in it. The whole situation made me think of the words credited to Alexander Pope: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Who Is Mark Houck?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 29, 2023

What Are the Differences Between the Trump and Biden Cases?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 28, 2023

How Do Disciples Prepare the Way of the Lord?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, January 27, 2023

How Important Are Babies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Do School Children Have Freedom of Religion?

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

How Is Kevin McCarthy Doing As Speaker of the House?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

How Would You Rank the Presidency of Joe Biden?

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

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

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

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

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

1.) Immigration Chaos

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

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

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

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

2.) Ballooning Debt

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

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

3.) Inflation

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

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

4.) Woke Administrative State

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

5.) Specter of Scandal

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

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

6.) No Return to Normalcy

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

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

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

Monday, January 23, 2023

Will Congress Pass An Amendment to Limit Congressional Terms?

My VIPs for this week are the lawmakers who are advocating for a constitutional amendment for term limits on members of Congress. According to Alex Nitzberg atThe Blaze, such an amendment supposedly has backing from members in both chambers. If such an amendment were to be ratified, it would limit members of the House of Representatives to three terms of two years each (for a total of six years) and senators to two terms of six years (for a total of twelve years). 

Such congressional limits would be in line with the Founders idea that members of Congress would serve for a few years and then return to normal lives. I believe that they would have put term limits into the Constitution if they had even imagined that members of Congress would serve for thirty, forty, or even fifty years.

The amendment would state that a member of the House elected to fill a vacant spot fills the vacancy for more than one year, that term of office would count toward their three-term limit. Similarly, a senator elected to fill a vacancy for more than three years would count that time as one of his two allowed terms. There are dozens of House Republicans who back the proposal along with “A number of GOP senators” and one Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.

An amendment is not easy to make into law. Two-thirds of Congress must pass the proposal, and three-fourths of the states must ratify the amendment for it to be added to the Constitution. The following quote is from the article by Nitzberg:

“Term limits are critical to fixing what’s wrong with Washington, D.C.,” GOP Sen. Ted Cruz said, according to a press release. “The Founding Fathers envisioned a government of citizen legislators who would serve for a few years and return home, not a government run by a small group of special interests and lifelong, permanently entrenched politicians who prey upon the brokenness of Washington to govern in a manner that is totally unaccountable to the American people. [Term limits bring] about accountability that is long overdue and I urge my colleagues to advance this amendment along to the states so that it may be quickly ratified and become a constitutional amendment.”

“With the evident abuse of power that has taken place in Congress the notion of term limits is basic common sense,” Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina said, according to a press release. “Many of my colleagues have drifted so far from the reality of the people they serve by turning ‘representative of the people’ into a lifelong career. Members must be willing to not only enact laws, but return to their respective districts to live under them.”

I wonder at the timing of the proposal for such an amendment. I believe that there is a movement in the nation to obtain enough support to hold a Constitutional Convention that would make a similar proposal. At least one other amendment was drafted and passed because the people threatened to do it.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Do Americans Receive Equal Justice Under the Law?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is that all people are equal before the law. This site claimed that the words “Equal Justice Under Law” are “inscribed on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.? The words come from Amendment Fourteen and have much to do with civil rights. However, they do not appear to be applied equally under the Biden Department of Justice. 

The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, the home of former President Donald Trump, under the guise of national security because he classified information locked up in his home. They even searched through the closet of former First Lady Melania Trump and the bedroom of Barron Trump, the teenage son.

However, the FBI did not raid the home of President Joe Biden’s private home in Delaware or any of his other private homes. Classified information was discovered at the Penn Biden Center, and three more batches of classified information were found in his home in Delaware. Biden’s personal lawyers were allowed to search for documents until last week when the FBI finally went into Biden’s home – not in a raid – and found a fifth stash of classified material.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsels over both Trump’s case and Biden’s case. There are many similarities and many differences between the two cases. Two important differences, in my mind, are the way that the documents were stored and how long they were in the homes.

Trump took his presidential papers with him when he left the White House two years ago. He stored them in a locked closet or room in a home that is protected by the Secret Service. Biden took classified documents home when he was a senator (14 years ago) and when he left the office of vice president (more than six years ago). Some of his documents were locked in a closet at the Penn Biden Center where there is no Secret Service protection and in several places in his home, including his garage “beside his Corvette.”

Biden’s drug addict son, Hunter, has been living in the Biden home in Delaware. In addition, the home was used as the campaign headquarters for Biden candidacy in the 2020 presidential campaign. No one seems to know who was coming and going at the Biden home over the fourteen years that classified material was in the home.

A determination has not yet been made public about what was in the classified documents. The seriousness of the Biden case will be determined by the contents of the documents and how those contents affect national security. Trump’s case will most likely be judged on his desire to keep the paperwork and “obstruction.”

Saturday, January 21, 2023

What Does It Mean to "Come and See"?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to the book of St. John, the witness and testimony of the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. The lesson for individuals and families was introduced with the following paragraph. 

Have you ever wondered whether you would have recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God if you had been alive during His mortal ministry? For years, faithful Israelites, including Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael, had waited and prayed for the coming of the promised Messiah. When they met Him, how did they know that He was the One they had been seeking? The same way all of us come to know the Savior—by accepting the invitation to “come and see” for ourselves (John 1:39). We read about Him in the scriptures. We hear His doctrine. We observe His way of living. We feel His Spirit. Along the way, we discover, as Nathanael did, that the Savior knows us and loves us and wants to prepare us to receive “greater things” (John 1:50).

The lesson contained several principles such as Jesus Christ was “in the beginning with God,” Jesus Christ is the “true Light,” the Son of God, Jesus Christ gives us “power to become” the sons and daughters of God, and the Father bears record of His Son. All of them would be a good topic to discuss, but I feel prompted to discuss a principle from the Sunday School lesson.

The topic of discussion for tonight is this principle found in John 1:35-51: We can gain our own witness of the Savior and then invite others to “come and see.” The invitation to “come and see” appears twice in John 1. 

The first time that the invitation to “come and see” took place the day after the baptism of Jesus Christ. (See John 1:38-41.) John the  Baptist stood with two of his disciples, and they saw Jesus walking near them. The Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples immediately went to follow Jesus, and Jesus turn to see them following Him.

38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

Andrew took his brother, Simon Peter, to meet Jesus. When the Christ saw Peter, he said, “Thou art Simon … thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone” (verse 42). The next day, Jesus went into Galilee and found Philip. He said unto Philip, “Follow me” (verse 43). Philip was from Bethsaida, the same city as Andrew and Peter (verse 44).

Philip found Nathanael and said unto him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (verse 45). Nathanael asked if anything good could come from Nazareth, and Philip replied, “Come and see” (verse 46). Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him and said of him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is o guile!” (verse 47).

The invitation to “come and see” is extended to all people. What does “come and see” mean for us today?

Elder Neil L. Andersen, one of the Lord’s Apostles in our day, said that we can invite others to “come and see.”

“The Savior taught us how to share the gospel. I like the story of Andrew, who asked, ‘Master, where dwellest thou?’ [John 1:38]. Jesus could have responded with the location of where He lived. But instead He said to Andrew, ‘Come and see’ [John 1:39]. I like to think that the Savior was saying, ‘Come and see not only where I live but how I live. Come and see who I am. Come and feel the Spirit.’ We don’t know everything about that day, but we do know that when Andrew found his brother Simon, he declared, ‘We have found … the Christ’ [John 1:41].

“To those who show an interest in our conversations, we can follow the Savior’s example by inviting them to ‘come and see.’ Some will accept our invitation, and others will not. We all know someone who has been invited several times before accepting an invitation to ‘come and see’” (“It’s a Miracle,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 79).

Elder Andersen taught that Jesus Christ was inviting people to come and see how He lived and who He was. We, too, can invite other people to “come and see” how the gospel of Jesus Christ affects our lives. Issuing an invitation is not a requirement to come. An invitation simply offers an opportunity to “come and see.” Those whom we invite can either accept the invitation or reject it. The same people who reject may change their minds at a later date and accept a similar invitation from someone else.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Do You Support the Right to Life for All People?

Families, communities, and nations are stronger when every life has value, including the unborn. The 50th annual March for Life was held today in Washington, D.C., the first one since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973. The decision spurred the pro-life activist to March for Life.

Even though Roe v. Wade was overturned, unborn babies are still in danger, and right-to-life activists are fighting for them. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill to save the lives of babies born in botched abortions. All the Republicans voted for the bill, but only one Democrat joined them.

The House also passed a resolution that condemned the attacks on pro-life groups and churches since the leak of the draft of the decision in early May in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. It was the decision in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe. Even though 78 pro-life groups and 108 churches have been attacked in the months since early May, all the Democrats in the House voted against the resolution except for three of them.

The Democrat votes in the House show that Democrats do not care about unborn babies or the activists who seek to protect them. Thus, the fight for the right for unborn babies continues even though Roe was overturned.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Will Biological Female Athletes Be Free to Compete Fairly?

 The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that freedom requires common sense about biological reality is a requirement. Biological men who think that they are female have stolen championships from many biological women. Some state legislatures have tried to protect the rights of biological women and girls to participate against biological women and girls.  

One such case is West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act. A federal judge recently upheld the case when he rejected a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). If the ACLU had won, it would have allowed males who identify as female to compete in girls and women’s sports. Lathan Watts at The Daily Signal explained the case. 

Federal District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin had previously granted a motion for preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect while the case, B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education, proceeded. Typically, this would indicate that the court was leaning toward striking down the law.

But once more complete scientific evidence and legal authority was put before Goodwin, he reversed course, vacated his previous order, and dismissed the lawsuit.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Lainey Armistead, a former West Virginia State University soccer player who intervened to defend the law on behalf of her teammates. ADF is an alliance-building, nonprofit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

“While some females may be able to outperform some males, it is generally accepted that, on average, males outperform females athletically because of inherent physical differences between the sexes,” Goodwin wrote in his decision. He continued:

This is not an overbroad generalization, but rather a general principle that realistically reflects the average physical differences between the sexes. Give [the challenger’s] concession that circulating testosterone in males creates a biological difference in athletic performance, I do not see how I could find that the state’s classification based on biological sex is not substantially related to its interest in providing equal athletic opportunities for females.

Men and women are fundamentally, biologically different, and as the judge noted, “It is beyond dispute that, barring rare genetic mutations … a person either has male sex chromosomes or female sex chromosomes,” and “a transgendered girl is biologically male.” The laws of nature and of nature’s God, centuries of history and tradition, common law, and most recently, Title IX of the Civil Rights Act all reflect this reality and self-evident truth.

Even though “this reality and self-evident truth” is evident to clear thinkers, not everyone can think clearly. Nevertheless, “Adherence to this truth is essential to protecting fairness and safety for women in sports. Rejecting reality produces immediate harm to women and girls and inevitable harm to institutions upon which our nation’s future rests.”

I do not know if the ACLU will appear the ruling at the district court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Nor do I know if the “victory for reality” will continue or be temporary. I find it sad that such a law is necessary, and I hope that the law is sustained.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Should Today’s Americans Pay Reparations for Slavery?

 Calls for reparations for slavery continue to surface and be entertained by various governmental agencies. It does not seem to matter to any of the liberals who purchase for reparations that slavery was banned more than 150 years ago. Since no humans are currently living 150 years, I believe that it is safe to say that there is no one alive who was a slave or a slave owner.

The latest government to call for reparations is San Francisco, a city located in a state that was founded as a free state. In other words, slavery was never allowed in California. Yet the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee wants “the city to pay every black resident $5 million and absolve all of their outstanding personal debt.”

If I understand that statement correctly, such people are not satisfied with giving the $5 million to those who qualify, but they also call for all personal debt to be paid. I would think that most people could pay their own debts if they received $5 million!

Ben Shapiro had some interesting words to say about the San Francisco proposal. He quoted the following statement: “While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the tenets of segregation, whit supremacy, and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement.” He continued with his own statement: 

This rationale serves as the same sort of catchall term as “equity,” widely beloved by the political Left. It conflates specific harms from deliberate policies – which deserve redress – with vague societal ills that indirectly and unverifiably impact the specific life paths of individuals. Thus, every inequality between blacks and whites, for example, becomes an instance of societal failure, to be cured with social engineering.

This is bad ethics, and it is bad social science. It’s bad ethics because the innocent should not be forced to pay people against whom they have not sinned, and because the connection between continued suffering and past discrimination must be measured and clarified rather than merely assumed.

It’s bad social science because it ignores the role of individual decision-making in persistent intergenerational inequality, despite the massive intervention of state, local, and federal government.

Simply put, the preferred solution of San Francisco’s reparations committee – simply cutting checks – has been a dramatic failure in the United States.

Shapiro made some important points. The first point is that it is unethical to force innocent people to pay for the sins of other people. A second point is that every person has agency and individual responsibility to decide how they want to live. Slavery was bad. Most reasonable people recognize that it is inherently evil for one human being to own another person. However, every person who has reached adulthood has the freedom to choose how they will live and where they will live.

Thus, each person is responsible for whether they make good choices or bad ones. There are lots of Blacks who have made good choices, worked hard, sacrificed much, and become successful. The numbers are so high that they clearly show that black skin alone does not hold anyone back. We live in a nation that had a Black president and now have a Black vice president. We see successful Blacks wherever we choose to look.

Despite the truth of the above statements, there is also evidence that many Black people struggle. However, I do not believe that reparations for a condition that has not existed for more than 150 years are necessary to help people. Paying reparations is a bad idea for numerous reasons.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

What Do We Know about the Fiasco with Joe Biden and Classified Documents?

On January 9, 2023, a story broke that classified documents were discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a “think tank” located in Washington, D.C. The White House acknowledged the discovery, and President Joe Biden indicated that he was “surprised” when he learned of the finding. However, neither Biden nor the White House mentioned until January 12 that other classified records had been found in Biden’s Delaware home.

What do we know at this point about the situation with Biden’s classified document fiasco? According to John G. Malcolm and Cully Stimson at The Daily Signal, we know is that all the revealed information has been come from people who close to President Biden and has been selectively filtered through the media trying to protect Biden. 

We know that some documents were supposedly found “unexpectedly” in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center, while others were found in the Biden garage and library in Delaware. It has also been reported that the “University of Pennsylvania has received more than $30 million in donations from anonymous Chinese donors” shortly after the Penn Biden Center opened in 2017. 

What Is the Dateline for the Disclosure?

Malcolm and Stimson provided the following dateline for the discovery.

On Nov. 4, the National Archives Office of Inspector General notified the Department of Justice of the discovery. The FBI commenced an investigation five days later, and the day after that, the Justice Department notified Biden’s lawyers that it is looking into the matter. 

On Nov. 14, John Lausch, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was tasked by Attorney General Merrick Garland with conducting a preliminary investigation.

On Dec. 20, Biden’s lawyers informed Lausch that they had found a “small number” of additional classified documents in a storage space in the garage of Biden’s private home in Wilmington, Delaware, where he keeps his 1967 Corvette Stingray.  According to Bauer, the Justice Department took possession of those documents the next day. 

On Jan. 5, Lausch briefed Garland about his preliminary conclusions and recommended the appointment of a special counsel.

On Jan. 9, … the story broke about the discovery of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center…. The White House acknowledged the discovery and added an additional page with classified information [had been discovered in storage room.]

The same day, [Attorney General] Garland appointed Robert Hur … as a special counsel to lead the investigation into the matter.

On Jan. 14, the White House issued a statement that yet another five pages of classified information had been discovered in a storage room….

What Is Classified Material?

Among the classified documents are some that are labeled “Top Secret,” and some “include briefing documents and intelligence reports involving Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom. Malcolm and Stimson wrote, “Assuming that all of that is true, there are still a lot of answered questions. Not only should the special counsel delve into these questions, but Congress should as well.”

The authors noted that those “questions fall into three broad categories: timing, access, and damage assessment.” They then proceeded to suggest several dozen questions that could be asked in the three broad categories as well as a fourth - “other issues.” Malcolm and Stimson also defined the different types of classified material.

Each level is supposed to convey the level of harm that could reasonably be expected to occur if the information is disclosed without authorization, as follows: “Confidential” (“damage to national security”), “Secret” (“serious damage to the national security”), “Top Secret” (“exceptionally grave damage to the national security”), and “SCI” (“Sensitive Compartmented Information” describes classified information that is derived from or relates to sensitive intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes).

Additionally, some “Top Secret” information is additionally categorized as “Special Access Programs,” a category that limits access to a small group of top military and intelligence officials.

Classified information can reveal intelligence gathering sources and methods, human assets who cooperate with us in other countries, sensitive technological capabilities or plans that we do not want our enemies to know. In addition, classified information may contain the names of other nations that are cooperating with us but do not want the world to know.

The authors indicated that there are “Various federal laws, including the Espionage Act, make it a criminal offense to remove, divulge, or destroy classified information either intentionally or “through the exercise of gross negligence.”  Numerous former military personnel and federal employees have been imprisoned for removing classified material from their bases. Penalties can be as much as ten years in prison plus hefty fines, or death if convicted of espionage.

Retired Army General and former CIA Director David Petraeus and former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger pled guilty to charges of unlawfully taking classified documents. However, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given a pass by then-FBI Director James Comey.

Biden has handled the whole situation “poorly” in the words of the authors. However, he may face serious political damage, but I do not believe that he will face criminal charges.

What Should Congress Do?

The authors encouraged Congress to “conduct vigorous oversight hearings” and “do its level best to unearth exactly what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and if there should be any consequences.” They added that “Congress should, at the very least, review how classified documents were handled at the end of the Obama-Biden administration in order to minimize the risks to our national security in the future.”

None of us know what all this means at this point. Both our current POTUS and the former POTUS are being investigated for mishandling classified material. Some people believe that the only reason that Garland appointed a special counsel for Biden’s case is simply to avoid the look of a double standard after raiding Trump’s home and appointing a special counsel for Turmp. Although the cases of Joe Biden and Donald Trump are different in some respects, they also have many similarities. However, if Trump is indicted and Biden is not, many more people “will believe that there is a double standard of justice at the Justice Department and the FBI.”