Declaration of Independence

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Did You Hear About the Unanimous Supreme Court Decision?

It is not often that the nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court issue a unanimous decision, but they did last week. In pushing back against regularity overreach by the Biden administration, the Supreme Court returned the Clean Water Act to its original purpose and restored federalism.

The case involved Chantell and Mike Sackett who purchased some new property in Priest Lake, Idaho, to build a home and began backfilling the land in preparation for doing so in 2004. The Environmental Protection Agency determined that the construction work on the land was affecting the “waters of the United States.”

According to Rachel Wilfong at The Daily Signal, the construction activity by the Sacketts was “discharging pollutants into surrounding wetlands that the agency deemed to be ‘waters of the United States’ and therefore subject to federal regulation.” The fine was upwards of $40,000 per day until the site was restored to its original state. Wilfong continued with this explanation: 

The Clean Water Act is a federal statute that allows the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to regulate “navigable waters.” In the past, both the EPA and Corps have attempted to introduce vague interpretations of these waters, which delivered the Washington bureaucracy a perfect opportunity to expand its power.

Luckily for all Americans, the Supreme Court ruled May 25 in favor of the Sacketts. The high court issued a judgment in Sackett v. EPA in line with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s plurality opinion in a separate major Clean Water Act case, Rapanos v. United States. Scalia’s opinion in that 2006 case held that the term “waters of the United States” can refer only to “relatively permanent, standing, or flowing bodies of water,” and “does not include channels through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally or channels that periodically provide drainage for rainfall.”

At the time Scalia’s opinion didn’t have the necessary five votes to achieve a majority of the nine justices.

Until last week, that is, when the Supreme Court honored the plurality by determining in Sackett v. EPA that the use of “waters” in the Clean Waters Act “refers only to ‘geographic[al] features that are described in ordinary parlance as “streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes” and to adjacent wetlands that are ‘indistinguishable’ from those bodies of water due to a continuous surface connection.”

In other words, the Supreme Court provided a succinct definition of “waters” under the Clean Water Act, providing a legal defense for rolling back federal overreach….

Until now, pushing back against the Biden administration’s draconian interpretations of the Clean Water Act, as well as those of previous administrations, has been an upstream battle.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA is a major step in the right direction for common sense, states’ rights, and private property rights. It could provide a legal precedent for fighting other instances of the EPA’s overreach.

Democrats and the EPA are upset with the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. We can expect more calls to pack the Supreme Court with more justices because the justices currently there are following the law and common sense.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Who Do You Think Has the Best Chance of Becoming Republican Candidate?

 A survey taken by The Economist/YouGov found that most Republicans think that former President Donald Trump shows a better probability of winning the 2024 presidential election than does Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The survey was taken May 20-23, 2023, before DeSantis made his formal announcement.

According to an article by Hannah Bleau, survey respondents were asked, “Which of these two Republicans do you think has the best chance of winning the 2024 general election for president?” There were only two choices: Trump or DeSantis. The results of the survey were 40 percent for Trump, 28 percent for DeSantis, and 32 percent who were unsure. Bleau wrote: 

More specifically, Republicans remain more confident in Trump’s ability to defeat the Democrat – presumably President Joe Biden – in 2024. According to the survey, 58 percent of Republicans have the most confidence that Trump can win, compared to 27 percent who said the same of DeSantis and 15 percent who remain unsure.

Notably, Trump has the edge among independents and Democrats as well as 32 percent of independents chose Trump, compared to 27 percent who chose DeSantis. However, 42 percent remain unsure. Thirty-one percent of Democrats also chose Trump as the individual who they believe had a better chance of winning, compared to 29 percent who said DeSantis. Forty percent of Democrats also remain uncertain.

I like DeSantis and what he has accomplished in Florida. However, I have questions about why he decided to run for President. I believe that he is letting the people of Florida down because they voted for him to be governor for four years, not to quit after one year. I also do not like the fact that the Bush family is behind DeSantis since they are for one-world government.

I believe that Donald Trump is the man that we need in the Oval Office. The fact that Democrats have fought so hard against him tells me that they are afraid of having him as President. They are not concerned about his rudeness or adultery. They are afraid of him because he cannot be bought.

Besides, the United States was in a much better position during the Trump administration than it is now under the Biden administration. Our citizens were prospering, our borders were controlled, and our enemies respected us. All of that changed when Joe Biden entered the Oval Office. Trump helped to make America better once, and I believe that he is the only person who has even a possibility of making America better again.

Also, Trump has been walking through the “fire” for six years, and DeSantis does not even smell of smoke. Trump knows who he can trust and who he cannot trust. He has a lot of information on the opposition because he had access to all the intelligence information. In mob talk, Trump “knows where the bodies are buried.”

In addition, Trump has the motivation to go after the Deep State. He, his family, his associates, and his supporters have been put through great distress since 2015, and there are no signs of things getting better. Trump has been through numerous battles, but he is still standing. He is a proven warrior, and American needs a powerful warrior to face down our enemies both foreign and domestic. If anyone can bring America back from the edge of the cliff, I believe that only Trump can do it.


Monday, May 29, 2023

How Do We Honor Those Who Protect Us?

My VIPs for this week are all the men and women who served in the military forces of America at any time. Many of them made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in service to their nation. Many of them returned home badly injured physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Even for the healthy men and women warriors, returning to civilian life is extremely challenging, according to veteran Jim Lorraine, president of America’s Warrior Partnership. “What you have to understand, when you move from the military back into the civilian world, you’re really not just changing a job, you’re changing a culture.” Virginia Allen at The Daily Signal interviewed Lorraine and shared the following: 

America’s Warrior Partnership works to build relationships with veterans and provide them with the tools and support they need to succeed after their military service. The veteran organization uses a four-step plan to connect, educate, advocate, and collaborate with veterans and prevent veteran suicide.

Unfortunately, Lorraine says, “there’s people around you who have served in the military, especially Vietnam-era veterans, who didn’t have a good reception when they came home and ow is the time to give them a good reception when they come home and make sure that they’re taken care of too.”

Lorraine shared his journey back into civilian life with Allen in “The Daily Signal Podcast.” He served more than 20 years in the military. He also explained how America’s Warrior Partnership is working to prevent veteran suicide.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Why Do We Have Memorial Day?

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. This day of commemoration began after the Civil War when Americans wanted to remember the men who fought and died. At that time, May 30 was known as “Decoration Day” because it was a day to decorate the graves.

As the years passed, the day became a day to honor the dead from all the wars and became known as Memorial Day. In 1968, it became a three-day weekend when the federal government moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May. Dakota Wood wrote the following about commemorating Memorial Day. 

People are the heart of a nation’s strength, especially those comparatively few who step forward to serve their community and their country in military service. Wars are rather rare, but the nation’s future can hang in the balance when war comes and the loss of life that results in defeating an enemy can number in the thousands, sometimes the tens of thousands.

Our history is punctuated with such crises and sacrifices. Citizen-patriots rose to the challenge of securing America’s birth nearly 250 years ago, with some 8,000 new Americans giving their all to defend our fledgling republic.

The Civil War, two world wars, operations against terrorists who have attacked America at home and Americans abroad, and wars to protect U.S. interests not just in our hemisphere but also in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, have resulted in the loss of nearly 700,000 Americans.

These men and women did not seek death; it came to them through their service. Their motivations included protecting the lives of those they loved; defending their homeland that has provided opportunity and freedom previously unknown in history; and facing dangers loyally alongside their brothers and sisters with whom they trained, deployed, and surged into combat as they answered their nation’s call.

Wood reminded his readers that every fallen warrior was “someone’s son or daughter; they might have been a husband or wife, father or mother, sister or brother. They were surely friends.” He continued, “They meant something to someone, and their loss struck deep to those whose lives they touched.” Wood explained that it is the loss of someone important who gave rise to ways to remember the fallen warriors. These memorials included “cemeteries dedicated to their internment; poems, books, songs, and speeches written in their honor; and specific occasions, like Memorial Day, set aside on which to reflect on all of this.”

Like Wood, I encourage my readers to take time on Memorial Day to show gratitude for the thousands (millions ??) of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. Those heroes include those who fought to establish our nation, to maintain our union, and to defend our nation for more than 250 years.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

How Can We Look Forward to the Second Coming Without Fear?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Joseph Smith-Mathew 1; Matthew 24-25; Mark 12-13, and Luke 21 in a lesson titled “The Son of Man Shall Come.” The lesson was preceded with this counsel: “As you read [this scripture block], you might ask, ‘What messages do these chapters have for me? for my family? for my calling?” The lesson was then introduced with the following information: 

Jesus’s disciples must have found His prophecy startling: the mighty temple of Jerusalem, the spiritual and cultural center of the Jewish people, would be destroyed so utterly that “there [would] not be left … one stone upon another.” Naturally the disciples wanted to know more. “When shall these things be?” they asked. “And what is the sign of thy coming?” (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:2-4).

The Savior’s answers revealed that the great destruction coming to Jerusalem – a prophecy fulfilled in AD 70 – would be relatively small compared to the signs of His coming in the last days. Things that seem even more stable than the temple in Jerusalem will prove to be temporary – the sun, the moon, the stars, the nations, and the sea. Even “the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:33). If we are spiritually aware, this commotion can teach us to put our trust in something truly permanent. As Jesus promised, “Heaven and earth shall pass away; yet my words shall not pass away…. And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:35, 37).

It so happened that I was asked to speak on this topic in sacrament meeting, and I feel prompted to share with you the short version of my talk. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is a future event that can bring either great fear or great joy to us. We are told that we will go through some difficult times and that we will be praying for the quick return of Jesus Christ.

Mentally, I know that tough times will precede the Second Coming. I try to prepare for them, but I do not worry about them. The amount of fear or joy that we feel depends on our perception. When I was a child, I hoped that the Savior would not come until I was old enough to marry and have children. Now I have grandchildren who are old enough to serve missions, get married, and have children of their own. My original fear has turned to joy, but a continuing fear is that I will not be worthy to meet the Savior.

In my talk today, I will share four actions to help us look forward to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ without fear. They are: (1) check the condition of our hearts, (2) maintain positive spiritual momentum, (3) love, serve, and walk peaceably with one another, and (4) seek the presence of the Holy Ghost.

First Action: Check the condition of our hearts:

Two weeks ago in my research methods class, I had a lesson about the ways that scientists and researchers measure their data. Part of our assigned reading material was a talk by Elder Marvin J. Ashton given at the October 1988 General Conference. The talk is titled, “The Measure of Our Hearts,” and it speaks of several ways that the Lord measures our hearts. 

Elder Ashton reminded us of the scripture in 1 Samuel 16:7. As you most likely remember, Samuel was tasked with the assignment of choosing a king to replace King Saul. This is the criteria given by the Lord to His prophet Samuel: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; … for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” The Lord measures the heart because it is, in the words of Elder Ashton, “an indicator of the person’s capacity and potential to bless others… The measure of our hearts is the measure of our total performance.”

We know that we will be judged for our actions as well as the desires of our hearts. Elder Ashton gave four questions for us to use in measuring the conditions of our hearts: (1) How honest in heart am I? (2) Do I have a willing heart? (3) Do I have an understanding, loving heart? (4) “If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, … can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26).

Second Action: Maintain Positive Spiritual Momentum

In the April 2023 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson taught us how to plant seeds of peace and become followers of the Prince of Peace. He told us that we cannot expect peace to exist in the world unless we are “individually seeking peace and harmony.” He asked us to seek spiritual momentum and suggested five specific actions to help us maintain positive spiritual momentum.” 

·         First: Get on the covenant path and stay there.

·         Second: Discover the joy of daily repentance.

·         Third: Learn about God and how He works.

·         Fourth: Seek and expect miracles.

·         Fifth: End conflict in your personal life.

Third Action: Love, Serve, and Walk Peaceably with One Another

In the April 2022 General Conference, President Nelson also spoke about peace. He reminded us of the commandment of the Savior to His Twelve Apostles to love one another as He had loved them. Then the Savior added, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

President Nelson then said, “The Savior’s message is clear: His true disciples build, lift, encourage, persuade, and inspire – no matter how difficult the situation. True disciples of Jesus Christ are peacemakers.” 

Fourth Action: Seek the Holy Ghost

All of the above are good actions to take, but my fear of not being worthy to be in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ remained until I heard the following quote in a General Conference talk: “We should seek after whatever invites the influence of the Spirit and reject whatever drives that influence away – for we know that if we can be worthy of the presence of the Holy Ghost, we can also be worthy to live in the presence of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.” 

The Holy Ghost bore testimony of the truthfulness of this statement, and I no longer fear not being worthy to return to the presence of God. I recognize that I must act to stay worthy, but I also know that I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost regularly and frequently. In fact, I have actually found myself praying for the Second Coming of the Savior. I look forward to His coming because He will usher in a time of peace and rest from the difficulties of this world. It will also be a time when our children, teenagers, and young adults will mature in a time of righteousness instead of the wickedness of this world. We live in a time when only the elect will survive. We absolutely need the guidance of the Holy Ghost to discern between good and evil.


Friday, May 26, 2023

How Can Parents Protect Their Teens from Online Exposure?

Families, communities, and nations are stronger when parents limit the exposure that their children have to screens. Actress Kate Winslet recently won an award for playing the part of a distraught mother in “I Am Ruth,” a U.K. drama depicting the struggle of a severely depressed teenage girl with social media addiction. In accepting the award, Winslet spotlighted the harm caused by social media.

In the words of Winslet, the television drama is “for families who feel they are held hostage by the perils of the online world, for parents who wish they could still communicate with their teenagers but who no longer can, and for young people who are addicted to social media and its darker sides.”

Winslet called for politicians and other “people in power” to make changes to “criminalize harmful content” and to “eradicate harmful content.” She concluded, “We want our children back; we don’t want to lie awake terrified for children’s mental health….”

Winslet is joined by “many celebrities” and parents in voicing “concerns about the dangers of social media and smartphones,” according to Alysse ElHage and Brad Wilcox. ElHage is the editor of Family Studies, and Wilcox is the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Together they wrote the article with the above information as well as some suggestions for parents. 

·         Delay giving smartphones to children until at least high school. “Delaying a smartphone also helps parents delay social media longer, at least on the child’s phone. And given the harms of social media, especially for young teens, limiting your young teens (10-14) to a simple phone is a smart move.”

·         Limit and monitor the use of smartphones. “When your older teen is ready for a smartphone, the good news is that you do not have to hand the phone over and hope for the best. There are a variety of tools that parents can use to limit their children’s time online, monitor their phone and oversee their use of social media.”

§  Bark is” an internet filtering and monitory app that alerts parent to problematic photos, text messages and websites, and help them manage a child’s time on the device and on various apps…. Bark also monitors teens’ use of social media and music apps, such as Instagram and Spotify, and gives parents an alert on their phones if there is a concern.”

§  Google Family Link “is free with a Gmail address. Family Link allows parents to block or limit apps, set limits on phone time and block certain websites, as well as track a child’s phone via GPS. (Parent tip: Adjust your child’s birth date if you plan to use the tool after they turn 13).

·         Use built-in controls. “Finally, parents who have allowed their teens to use social media sites should also be taking advantage of the new parental-control tools offered by many of these platforms, including SnapChat and Instagram. While we do not recommend relying solely on these built-in controls, they can provide a good backup tool, and from our experience, they go over better with teens.”

§  “Instagram’s parental supervision tools, for instance, enable parents to monitor whom their teen is following and who follows them, and (more importantly) to set daily time limits, ranging from 15 minutes to two hours. Parents can also institute scheduled daily breaks from the app - all through the parent’s Instagram account.”

·        Know the passwords. “Parents should also have access to their children’s passwords for their smartphones and social media apps so they can check in on their teens’ virtual world and make sure they are not getting into trouble online.”

According to ElHage and Wilcox, “things do not have to reach a crisis point where our teen is severely depressed, addicted to social media, dealing with an eating disorder, or suicidal due to unfiltered and unmonitored smartphone and social media use.” Parents must understand that they “are the first and most important line of defense in the battle against Big Tech for our children’s hearts, minds and health.” Parents should “be looking at [their] child’s phone regularly, monitoring its use, controlling the flow of information that is flowing through it and getting in between [your] child and harmful online content.” The most important thing that parents should do is “do not … wait for the government to limit our teens’ exposure to social media.”

Congress is working on legislation like the “Protecting Kids on Social Media Act.” However, parents can act in the best interest of their children “by delaying the smartphone and any social media until at least high school, taking advantage of non-internet forms of communication for the tween years, and using the countless tools available to help us limit, monitor and filter our teen’s time online once they acquire a smartphone.” By following this counsel, parents can strengthen their families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Is the U.S. Nearing a Debt Cliff?

Daniel Horowitz has some strong words for Democrats and Republicans: Stop lying to the American people about possibly defaulting on our debt. He wrote that it is necessary for us to “understand the leverage, opportunities, and potential pitfalls in forging an agreement or in failing to forge such an agreement by a certain date” IF we are to “properly negotiate a path to fiscal sanity and avoid the inevitable long-term default.” 

Horowitz blamed both parties for “operating under a false assumption that there is a June 1 debt default cliff” if an agreement is not made. We will not be destroyed immediately, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy “needs to set the record straight immediately.” Horowitz continued with his reasoning.

Default on debt is not the same as a shutdown, slowdown, or rolling blackout of certain government agencies, functions, and programs. We have an obligation to pay our creditors. We have a strong need to pay for Social Security and Medicare. We have no obligation, however, to fund HUD, the EPA, Department of Education, Ukraine, or illegal aliens. There is enough money to pay the interest on the Treasuries, so there is no threat of default. Period. And for the most part, there is money for other critical functions for a while longer. Full stop with the default talk!

I expect that Horowitz knows a whole lot more about how the government works than I do. However, I know that any individual, family, company, or nation can prosper when they have more debt than income.

I agree with the Republicans in that we need to bring the spending under control. Besides stopping Biden from throwing money at every potential Democrat voter, we should decrease the size of the federal government.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

How Are the Debt Limit Talks Going?

Debt limit talks continue in Washington, D.C. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its bill titled Limit, Save, Grow Act, but the U.S. Senate has not yet passed a bill. President Joe Biden refused for more than 90 days to negotiate with Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. Now he is negotiating but is many days late and wants to spend too much money. McCarthy remained positive and called the debt conversation “productive.” However, the two sides have not yet reached an agreement about increasing the federal debt limit.

One reason that the Senate did not pass a bill is that Senate leaders did not think that McCarthy could unite all the factions of the Republicans in the House. The Republicans hold a narrow majority in the House, and many people did not think that he could obtain 218 votes to pass the debt limit bill. However, they were wrong.

The House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act to the disbelief of many people. In the words of David Ditch, “The bill would reduce deficits by trillions of dollars and cut red tape that stands in the way of hundreds of thousands of jobs.” 

McCarthy worked hard to bring bill with some fiscal sanity to the negotiation table, and Americans are viewing him in better light. “There is a clear upward polling trend this year in both his national approval and net favorable ratings.” However, there is a great deal of pressure on McCarthy and other Republican members of Congress back down and give in to the Democrat demand to pass a clean debt limit bill. So far, McCarthy and Republicans have stood strong, while Democrats have resorted to their usual tool – dishonesty. Ditch listed “seven false, misleading, or nonsensical claims” that have not caused any caving by the Republicans.

Claim No. 1: Republicans won’t negotiate and will make America hit the debt ceiling. This is the most common rhetorical tactic from Biden, essentially contending that if it weren’t for Republicans, there wouldn’t be a problem. However, that ignores the fact that the House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would immediately increase the debt limit, but with accompanying restrictions on spending….

Claim No. 2: Biden can raise the debt ceiling unilaterally because of a provision of the 14th Amendment.

In what has become a recurring theme, the Biden administration once again claims to have the unilateral authority to sidestep Congress and do as it pleases. We’ve seen this dictatorial approach on COVID-19-era evictions and student loans, and now, Biden has embraced the notion that the president can increase the debt ceiling without legislative authority.

At issue is the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Section 4 states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” That was clearly meant to ensure that if the federal government issues debt, a future president or act of Congress cannot render it void.

Since Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress alone the power to authorize spending, levy taxes and fees, or issue additional debt, the idea that the 14th Amendment provides the president with unstated powers to ignore Congress on this issue is ludicrous….

Claim No. 3: Republicans gave President Donald Trump “clean” debt limit increases and should do the same for Biden.

What Democrats want is a debt limit increase without any other policy provisions included in the legislation, or a “clean” increase. They clam that that’s how Republicans handled the issue during the Trump administration.

However, all three of the debt limit increases under Trump were directly linked to spending actions. While these deals were heavily flawed, they were still subject to bipartisan negotiations….

Claim No. 4: We should save $1 trillion by freezing 2024 appropriated defense and nondefense spending at 2023 levels.

An offer that Democrats supposedly made (but Republicans rejected) would have kept so-called discretionary spending at fiscal year 2023 levels into 2024, rather than the typical practice of increasing spending. The claim is that this would cause a ripple effect on future years and save $1 trillion.

However, there are two major flaws with that line of thinking….

Claim No. 5: Biden reduced deficits by $1.7 trillion.

Biden has made this claim so often that The Washington Post issued a “bottomless Pinocchio” rating.

The deficit shrank as a result of pandemic-related spending coming to an end. In contrast, Biden’s choices have increased short- and near-term deficits by more than $6 trillion, which is especially bad at a time of high inflation and rising interest rates.

Claim No. 6: We should focus on raising taxes.

There are several variations on this assertion, including an offer from the Biden administration that focuses on trillions in tax hikes and that the 2017 tax cuts were a handout to the wealthy….

We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Unless elected officials get spending under control, the middle class will ultimately pay the price….

Claim No. 7: The Limit, Save, Grow Act directly cuts spending on veterans, border security, and more.

It can be hard to tell whether Biden has forgotten how federal budgeting works or is just pretending not to know. Either way, there’s no excuse for claiming that enacting a lower spending cap would immediately reduce spending on veterans, border security, rail safety, and seemingly everything else under the sun.

The way budgeting actually wors is that Congress must fit its appropriated spending within an overall limit, and it can prioritize that spending. That means that if the limit is lower, it can focus those cuts on low-priority areas, such as earmark boondoggles and programs that fund the activist Left.


The next few weeks will likely see a flurry of backroom discussions, partisan bickering, and more dubious claims like the ones above.

What matters most is that Republicans, led by McCarthy, must not buckle under pressure from Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media.

America’s fiscal situation is dire, so any debt limit increase must come with strong budgetary reforms.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Does America Remain an Eagle, or Has She Turned into a Turkey?

The Bald Eagle is the national symbol of the United States. It was chosen by the Second Continental Congress on June 20, 1782. The Bald Eagle can be seen on official documents, currency, flags, public buildings, and other government-related items. It is used by both the military and government agencies. The Bald Eagle is a good symbol for the United States because Bald Eagles are our eagles and are unique to North America. Besides, Bald Eagles are majestic birds as well as bold and faithful. They are a perfect symbol for strength and determination. 

I found the following information on Facebook from Frank Facts. As I read the six facts about eagles and the leadership principles that we can learn from them, I could not help making a comparison to the current government of the United States. Here are the facts, and you can make your own comparison.

Six Leadership Principles that We Can Learn from Eagles

1. Eagles fly alone and at high altitudes. They do not fly with sparrows, ravens, and other small birds.

Meaning: Stay away from narrow-minded people, those that bring you down. Eagles fly with Eagles. Keep good company.

2. Eagles have accurate vision. They have the ability to focus on something as far as 5km away. No matter the obstacles, the eagle will not move his focus from the prey until he grabs it.

Meaning: Have a vision and remain focused no matter what the obstacles are, and you will succeed.

3. Eagles do not eat dead things. They feed only on fresh prey.

Meaning: Do not rely on your past success. Keep looking for new frontiers to conquer. Leave your past where it belongs – in the past.

4. Eagles love the storm. When clouds gather, the eagle gets excited. The eagle uses the storm’s wind to lift itself higher. Once it finds the wind of the storm, the eagle uses the raging storm to lift itself above the clouds. This gives the eagle an opportunity to glide and rest its wings. In the meantime, all the other birds hide in the branches and leaves of the tree.

Meaning: Face your challenges head on, knowing that these will make you emerge stronger and better than you were. We can use the storms of life to rise to greater heights. Achievers are not afraid to rise to greater heights. Achievers are not afraid of challenges. Rather, they relish them and use them profitably.

5. Eagles prepare for training: They remove the feathers and soft grass in the nest, so that the young ones get uncomfortable in preparation for flying and eventually fly when it becomes unbearable to stay in the nest.

Meaning: Leave your comfort zone because there is no growth there.

6. When the eagle grows old, his feathers become weak. They cannot take him as fast and as high as they should. This makes him weak and could make him die. So he retires to a place far away in the mountains. While there, he plucks out the weak feathers on his body and breaks his beak and claws against the rocks until he is completely bare - very bloody and painful process. Then he stays in this hiding place until he has grown new feathers, new beak, and new claws. Then he comes out flying higher than before.

Meaning: We occasionally need to shed old habits, no matter how difficult. Things that burden us or add no value to our lives should be let go.

The American Eagle has been weakened by the Biden administration. Our adversaries are plotting our demise. They are working to change the world currency from the dollar, which will further weaken America. Inflation continues to go higher, making buying groceries and other necessities more difficult for many families. Immigrants from more than 150 nations are crossing into our country with no one stopping them or knowing who they are or where they are going.

The American Eagle should cast off the weak feathers (the Biden administration) and weak beak and claws (military) and elect a powerful President who will rebuild the military and face down our adversaries.

Monday, May 22, 2023

The American Hero

We celebrate the heroic cowboys (such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry) and other heroes like John Wayne who rescued damsels in distress. We honor the American heroes of the Greatest Generation that protected the United States and saved the world from Nazism in World War II. We want the police officers and fire fighters to stand between our homes and danger. Yet, many people condemn the toxic masculinity that makes heroes such as Daniel Penny

Penny is a former Marine who acted in self-defense as well as the defense of other people on the New York subway when Jordan Neely began making violent and threatening remarks. Neely had an extensive criminal record as well as a documented history of mental illness.

A woman who was on the subway and witnessed the altercation between Penny and Neely told Fox News that passengers on the subway were uncomfortable with Neeley’s remarks. “I’m sitting on a train reading my book, and, all of a sudden, I hear someone spewing this rhetoric. He said, ‘I don’t care if I have to kill an “f,” I will. I’ll go to jail. I’ll take a bullet,’” The woman continued, “I’m looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re in between stations. There’s nowhere we can go.’” She added, “The people on that train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives.”

The continued with her experience. Penny stepped in after Neely used the words “kill” and “bullet” and restrained Neely in a headlock for several minutes. Neely lost consciousness during the restraint and was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Penny stayed at the scene to talk with police officers. His lawyers noted that Penny turned himself in voluntarily and “with the sort of dignity that is characteristic of his dignity of service to this grateful nation.” Penny has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in Neely’s death, but his attorneys claim that he acted in self-defense. Americans agreed with Penny and donated more than $2.6 million to a legal defense fund for the former Marine.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) discussed the Penny case in an interview with The Daily Signal about his new book, “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs.” According to Hawley, Americans do not have all the facts and details necessary to understand the Penny-Neely situation fully.

This is a good example of the extremely confusing signals that the culture and the media and the Left send to young men, which is that you don’t hear much outrage on the Left … about the fact that New York subways and streets are extremely unsafe, and that if you are an everyday citizen walking or traveling, you may well be subject to violence….

That’s just wiped away. We’re supposed to just live with that.

But then, you’ve got a guy who actually puts himself in danger to try to help other people. You’ve got a subway passenger now saying, ‘He saved my life. He put himself in danger.’ That is automatically condemned before we even know all the facts. It’s like, ‘Oh, that must be wrong” or “That must be crazy.’

Young men looking at this situation … will like think, “Well, now, hold on. I thought that a man was supposed to be willing to put himself on the line. Isn’t that what we celebrate in the Greatest Generation, for example, a whole generation of young men who went out there and sacrificed for their country? But you’re telling me now, ‘If I do that, I’m going to be vilified, sued, charged, what have you.’”

As the criminal justice system plays out, Americans will learn the facts and the truth about what happened between Neely and Penny … based on what is known?

It sure looks like the guy who wanted to do good and wanted to protect others is being immediately condemned, while the criminality or potential criminality of the aggressor here is just sort of being overlooked.

Some people claimed that there is a racial motivation to Neely’s death and participated in protests in New York City. Some politicians claim that Penny (who is White) “murdered” Neeley (who is Black). However, the woman who witnessed the altercation told Fox News that Penny did not intend to kill Neely but was acting in self-defense. “It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that he saved a lot of people that day that could have gotten hurt.”

Hawley continued his discussion about how such incidents can affect men as well as young men:

For men, and young men especially, you can see why [incidents like that of Penny and Neely] sort of pushes them, sort of, into neutral, so to speak… It gets them out of ger and into neutral, where it’s like, ‘Well, if I try to do something with my life, if I’m ambitious in terms of wanting to actually achieve something, if I put myself out there, I’m going to be told I’m “toxic.” I’m going to be told that I’m making the world worse. I’m going to be vilified. If I want to be heroic, I’m going to be told, “No, don’t do that.”’

On the other hand, if you do nothing, if you sit around in your parents’ basement and look at a screen all day, you feel terrible about yourself… [citing the dangers of pornography and social media consumption]. And this is what we’re seeing in men today.

This is the cultural dysfunction that the Left’s ideology has led us to….

And the antidote to that is a better vision. It’s a better message, to say, ‘No, we want you to be a hero. We want you to sacrifice yourself. We want you to put yourself on the line. We want you to try and serve others.’

That’s what you should do as a man…. You should try to take on the roles of father and husband and warrior. Those are good things, and we should encourage our young men to do that.

Americans should be grateful for leaders like Senator Hawley who defends masculinity in men and femininity in women. Men and women are equal in worth, but we need each other to be complete. We should use the strengths of men and women to make society a better place.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

What Should Be Learned From Concentrating Powers in Government?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns concentration of power in government. In writing the U.S. Constitution and organizing the government, the Framers did what they could to avoid the concentration of power in the federal government. However, more and more power has migrated to the executive branch over the years, the dangers of which were shown under “emergency powers” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michele Blood at The Blaze reported on an “unsigned order” with an attached statement about a case that became moot due to the expiration of Title 42 on May 11. As most Americans know, Title 42 was put into place by the Trump administration to aid in removing migrants from the United States due to the pandemic. In the words of Blood: 

Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch slammed the sweeping use of emergency powers during the pandemic as “breathtaking” in scale.

“Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country,” Trump appointee Justice Gorsuch wrote, in pertinent part….

The conservative justice spared neither presidents nor states nor lawmakers nor colleagues in his pointed remarks.

“The concentration of power in the hands of so few may be efficient and sometimes popular. But it does not tend toward sound government,” Gorsuch wrote.

“However wise one person or his advisors may be, that is no substitute for the wisdom of the whole of the American people that can be tapped in the legislative process.”

Gorsuch took aim at government-imposed vaccine mandates, lockdowns, church and school closures while other businesses like casinos remained open, the eviction moratorium, and federal officials’ apparent pressure on social media companies to tamp down speech expressing disagreement with government’s approaches to pandemic management.

He chastised Congress and state legislatures’ silence in the face of executive officials issuing orders that ought to have gone through the lawmaking process.

He blasted the judiciary in general, including the Supreme Court on which he is seated.

“In some cases, like this one, courts even allowed themselves to be used to perpetuate emergency public-health decrees for collateral purposes, itself a form of emergency-lawmaking-by-litigation.”

Gorsuch continued by saying that the nation should learn crucial lessons from this chapter in the history of our nation. One of those lessons “involves seizing upon the power of fear and the desire for safety to achieve ends contrary to our nation’s founding principles. Another, he said, involves concentrating power in the hands of too few.”

Saturday, May 20, 2023

What Is the Condition of Your Heart?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Matthew 21-23, Mark 11, Luke 19-20, and John 12 and lesson titled “Behold, Thy King Cometh.” The lesson was preceded by this counsel, “Read [the assigned scriptures]. Record impressions that you could share with your family or in your Church classes.” The lesson was introduced with the following paragraphs

The Savior was hungry after traveling from Bethany to Jerusalem, and a fig tree in the distance looked like a source of food. But as Jesus approached the tree, He found that it bore no fruit (see Matthew 21:17-20; Mark 11:12-14, 20). In a way, the fig tree was like the hypocritical religious leaders in Jerusalem: their empty teachings and outward demonstrations of holiness gave no spiritual nourishment. The Pharisees and scribes appeared to keep many commandments yet missed the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love thy neighbor as thyself (see Matthew 22:34-40; 23:23).

In contrast, many people had begun to recognize good fruit in Jesus’s teachings. When He arrived at Jerusalem, they welcomed Him with branches cut from trees to pave His path, rejoicing that at long last, as ancient prophecy said, “Thy King cometh” (Zechariah 9:9). As you read this week, think about the fruits of the Savior’s teachings and atoning sacrifice in your life and how you can bring “forth much fruit” (John 12:24).

As usual, this scripture block taught several principles. The principle that I will discuss tonight is, “The Lord judges not by the outward appearance but by the desires of the heart” (Luke 19:1-10). In the time of Jesus Christ, many people considered the publicans (tax collectors) to be dishonest and stole from the people. Zacchaeus was the chief publican and was wealthy; therefore, they may have considered him to be even more suspect. However, Jesus Christ did not look at Zacchaeus as other people did. Jesus looked on Zacchaeus’s heart. First, we will look at what the scripture says about the situation.

1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down for to day I must abide at thy house.

6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Zacchaeus’s response to Jesus Christ shows that he had a good heart. He quickly obeyed the command of Christ and came down from the tree. He was also compassionate in that he gave “half of all [his] goods” (v. 8). He was also honest in that he returned “fourfold” for anything that he took from any man falsely (v. 8). Jesus Christ told Zacchaeus that salvation had “come to this house” today (v. 9).

In the days of Jesus Christ, men painted the outside of sepulchers white to make them look good, even though there were dead bodies inside them. Winter in Anchorage makes it difficult to keep cars clean, particularly during breakup when the snow melts and everything near a road or highway turns a dirty brown color. It seems to me that the dirt on the cars jumps out to get us!

Once enough snow had melted that the roads and highways were mostly dry, I washed the winter’s dirt off the car. However, I was too tired to clean the inside. I joke that my car is like a whited sepulcher because it looks nice on the inside, while the interior is full of dirt and gravel from the winter.

I am more concerned about the condition of my heart. Is my heart soft enough to hear the voice of the Lord? Am I willing to do the Lord’s will even when it is inconvenient or painful? Am I honest and obedient. Am I seeking the Savior, as did Zacchaeus?

The standards of the Lord are the same today as they were in the meridian of time. In the latter days, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith, “For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.” My task is to be sure that both my heart and my actions are clean and pure.