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.

Friday, June 30, 2023

What Happened with the Cancellation of Student Loans?

 The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns freedom from tyrannical executive orders. Today marked the last day of the U.S. Supreme Court season, and the final decisions were made known. One decision concerned President Joe Biden’s announcement in August 2022, that he would use the HEROES Act to cancel the federal student loans of certain deserving borrowers. The HEROES Act was meant to help active-duty soldiers, not all borrowers.

According to an article by Jack Fitzhenry in The Daily Signal, “over 40 million borrowers qualified at an aggregate price of $430 billion” to be relieved of their student loan debt. The announcement by Biden brought out several questions: “how had college graduates, a demographic which then had only 2% unemployment, been affected financially by the pandemic? Why was this species of relief announced well after the pandemic’s worst effects but suspiciously close to a midterm election? Speaking of suspicion, why did this relief mirror a Biden campaign promise in every relevant particular.” The questions went unanswered. 

States and nonprofits sued to stop the action, but many of them lacked standing. However, Biden v. Nebraska was heard by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the six-justice majority that Missouri “had standing because it founded and funded an entity, ‘MOHELA,’ that was paid to service federal student loans. MOHELA would lose money because of the canceled loans, and because MOHELA was Missouri’s ‘instrumentality,’ its financial injury could be attributed to the state.”

On the merits of the case, Roberts “rejected the argument that the power to ‘waive or modify’ laws conferred by the HEROES Act enabled the education secretary to create a ‘novel and fundamentally different loan forgiveness program’ more to the president’s liking than Congress’.”

The waiver and modification powers, whether read singularly or in tandem, did not enable the secretary to “draft a new section of the Education Act from scratch by ‘waiving’ provisions root and branch and then filling the empty space with radically new text.” Yet, that was effectively what the secretary had done when he issued his cancellation plan as “modifications” to the student loan program. This went well beyond HEROES’ boundaries.

The case’s seriousness did not prevent justices in the majority from coming up with some humorous analogies. Roberts channeled the late Justice Antonin Scalia when he mused that the “Secretary’s plan has ‘modified’ the cited provisions only in the same sense that ‘the French Revolution modified’ the status of the French nobility’ – it has abolished them and supplanted them with a new regime entirely.” This is always a great citation, though I’d prefer if Roberts refrained from giving progressives ideas on how to handle the opposition….

Per Roberts, cancellation “amounts to nearly one-third of the Government’s $1.7 trillion in annual discretionary spending. There is no serious dispute that the Secretary claims the authority to exercise control over ‘a significant portion of the American economy.’”

No cancellation of this magnitude had ever been set in motion, let alone without any direct input from Congress. Is it plausible that Congress meant to authorize this some 20 years ago when it drafted the phrase “waive or modify”?

As Barrett explained, “commonsense principles of communication” should lead us to answer no because “an initiative of this scope, cost, and political salience is not the type that Congress lightly delegates to an agency.” That is a view we should take seriously. For pretensions to vast power will continue to assert themselves as well-intentioned responses to the next emergency on the horizon.

This decision was a big loss for Biden, but he is so dense that he does not even realize how wrong he was. The borrowers who voted for Democrats were duped by a lying president because they do not know and/or understand that the House of Representatives holds the purse strings for the nation. Biden’s plan was bribery for votes – 77% of youth voters voted for Democrats.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

What Is “Separate but Equal,” and Why Is It Wrong?

On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court buried the “separate but equal” doctrine in education and its effect on college admissions. Jonathan Butcher wrote the following information in an article published in The Daily Signal.                     

The justices banned the use of racial preferences in college and university admissions programs. Students for Fair Admissions, an advocacy group representing Asian-American students, brought two lawsuits – one against Harvard University and another against the University of North Carolina – charging that the schools used racial bias in their admissions practices and discriminated against these students.

The Supreme Court agreed and rules 6-2 in the Harvard case and 6-3 in the University of North Carolina case that the schools violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Since Title VI of the Civil Rights Act reflects the 14th Amendment within schools that receive federal taxpayer spending, the ruling applies to federal law as well as the Constitution.

The majority wrote, “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.” Americans have long supported the ideas in the court’s majority opinion. Surveys find broad opposition to the use of racial preferences.

Results from a Pew Research survey released earlier this month found that 82% of respondents do not think that race or ethnicity should be a factor in college admissions. Seventy-one percent of black respondents and 81% of Hispanic respondents agree. State voters have also rejected racial preferences at the ballot box. Californians have twice rejected preferences, first with the passage of a measure known as Proposition 209 in 1996 and then again with the defeat of Proposition 16 (which would have overturned Proposition 209) in 2020. In 2006, Michigan voters also voted to ban racial preferences.

Now the high court has said university programs “may never use race as a stereotype or negative, and – at some point – they must end.” While citizens and taxpayers have been waiting for this court ruling, many college administrators have been devising ways to continue using race in admissions.

According to an article by Hans von Spakovsky in the Daily Signal, the decision described above “will benefit families all across the country and their high school-graduating sons and daughters who aspire to attend college.” He continued: 

[The] Supreme Court has finally fulfilled its duty to uphold the guarantees of equal protection in the 14th Amendment and end the pernicious, morally repugnant racial discrimination practiced by Harvard College and the University of North Carolina (UNC), as well as many other colleges and universities.

Those contesting the decision, like President Joe Biden, are simply wrong in their unjust criticism of the Court and their continued support for allowing academic institutions to discriminate in favor of, and against, qualified students based on the color of color of their skin. The critics’ claim, including the dissents written by the three liberal justices on the Court, that the Equal Protection Clause that guarantees all Americans “the equal protection of the laws” doesn’t actually mean what it says and that certain races, such as Asian Americans, can be denied equal protection defies common sense, as well as the text and history of the 14th Amendment.

Racial discrimination is wrong every single place that it happens. Americans have the guaranteed right to be treated equally. Yet, many Americans have not been treated equally because their skin was the wrong color. Finally, the Supreme Court did away with the “separate but equal” doctrine that has plagued us for so long.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

What Is the Independent State Legislature Theory?

United States Constitution in Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.” This clause is known as the Elections Clause. This site provides the following information.

Known as the Elections Clause, Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 provides for Congress and state legislatures to regulate the Times, Places and Manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives. Under the Elections Clause, each state establishes how it will hold congressional elections, subject to Congress adopting or altering the state requirements (except as to the place of choosing Senators). The Elections Clause’s Times, Places and Manner encompasses a complete code for congressional elections, not only as to times and places, but in relation to notices, registration, supervision of voting, protection of voters, prevention of fraud and corrupt practices, counting of votes, duties of inspectors and canvassers, and making and publication of election returns. States and Congress may also establish sanctions for violating election laws and procedures for recounts and primaries. The Elections Clause, however, does not permit states or Congress to set voter qualifications for congressional elections, which, under the Constitution, must be the same qualifications necessary to vote for the most numerous branch of the state legislature. Likewise, the Elections Clause does not allow states or Congress to change the qualifications to be a Member of the House of Representatives or the Senate, which are stipulated at Article I, Section 2, Clause 2 for the House and Article I, Section 3, Clause 3 for the Senate.

By providing Congress power to preempt state election procedures, the Framers sought to prevent states from thwarting the Federal Government’s operation by using state law to manipulate or preclude elections for the House of Representatives….

With above information in mind, consider a new decision by the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. According to Katelynn Richardson, the Justices ruled 6-3 today in Moore v. Harper to reject the “independent state legislature theory,” the idea that legislatures have unrestricted power under the Constitution to administer federal elections without review from state courts.

The Supreme Court held that the Constitution’s elections clause “does not vest exclusive and independent authority in state legislatures to set the rules regarding federal elections.” The case stems from the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision in February 2022 to toss a congressional map drawn by the Republican-led legislature after the 2020 census as “an egregious and intentional partisan gerrymander.”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketani Brown Jackson.

“State courts retain the authority to apply state constitutional restraints when legislatures act under the power conferred upon them by the Elections Clause,” Roberts wrote. “But federal courts must not abandon their own duty to exercise judicial review. In interpreting state law in this area, state courts may not so exceed the bounds of ordinary judicial review as to unconstitutionally intrude upon the role specifically reserved to state legislatures by Article I, Section 4, of the Federal Constitution.”

Richardson explained that the Supreme Court originally determined that the Justices did not need to decide in the case because the North Carolina Supreme Court had already “reversed its 2022 ruling on April 28, finding that it did not have the authority to review the map under the state constitution.”

Because of the decision made in North Carolina, the Biden administration called for the case to be dismissed. However, state legislatures wanted the Justices to rule on the case “because the state court did not touch the federal ‘independent state legislature’ question, which would likely come before the Supreme Court again.”

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito dissented from the majority opinion. Thomas wrote that the case is “indisputably moot” because “the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned its judgment, calling the majority opinion ‘plainly advisory.’”


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Why Do Democrats Fail to See that Abortion Is Wrong?

June 24, 2023, marks one year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization. This decision sent the question about abortion back to the states where it belongs. There is absolutely nothing in the U.S. Constitution that protects killing unborn babies, and the current Justices recognized the fact that Roe v. Wade was wrong when it passed.

A new poll conducted for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America claims that “a majority of Americans support protections for unborn children and their mothers.” Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, “24 states have enacted pro-life protections for the unborn and their mothers,” according to a pro-life organization.” 

Wyoming extended Medicaid to cover mothers through the first year after her child is born. Mississippi’s governor signed off on foster care and adoption reforms. North Carolina established $160 million for child care, parental leave and community college assistance. Other Republican-led states increased support for pregnancy resource centers that offer goods and services free of charge to expectant mothers, such as ultrasounds, medical exams, counseling, housing and baby clothing.

In the poll of 1,000 likely voters nationwide, 73% of people polled said that there should be “some limits on abortion by 15 weeks of pregnancy, the point at which the baby can feel pain.” The poll found the following:

·         Nearly 6 in 10 voters support Congress passing legislation to enact limits on abortion after 15 weeks.

·         76% of those polled support pregnancy resource centers that provide financial and material support for mothers during pregnancy but don’t perform abortions. That number included 87% of Republicans, 68% of Democrats, 70% of independents, 76% of men, and 77% of women.

·         70% of respondents agree minors should be required to notify parents when seeking an abortion.

Americans are deeply divided on the abortion issue. This division shows in the 24 states that have enacted legislation to protect the unborn and their mothers in in 23 states where “minors can receive an abortion without informing their parents in 23 states.” In addition, there are activist groups, such as Jane’s Due Process, that counsels “girls on how to get an abortion behind their parents backs” and “violating state laws.”

Planned Parenthood remains “a major proponent of highly contentious abortion practices” and is lobbying in states like Alaska and Idaho against laws to protect unborn babies and women. Support for abortions comes from the top with Democrats in both White House and Congress committed to support abortions up until the time of birth with federal funding.


Monday, June 26, 2023

Who Is Jim Caviezel, and What Is “Sound of Freedom”?

My VIP for this week is Jim Caviezel, star of “Sound of Freedom,” a new film made to empower watchers to fight human trafficking across the world. Another purpose for the video is to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and testify to what they have seen and heard. In an article published in The Daily Signal, Mary Margaret Olohan reported the following: 

Caviezel and his co-actor Eduardo Verastegui, rumored to be pondering a presidential bid in Mexico, shared all this and more in a June interview with The Daily Signal…..

Both actors, who are Catholic and vocally pro-life, stressed the connections between sex trafficking and pornography, open borders, and abortion. They hope that the movie will shake viewers from apathy into action to aid victims of human trafficking across the globe.

“This movie has a power because it goes into your heart and it asks you a question,” Calviezel said. “When this is all done, what are you gonna do? You’re going to have to meet God at some point. And I believe it’s going to move a lot of whistleblowers to come forward.”

“That will bring an end to this whole thing,” he predicted.

“Sound of Freedom” is based on the true story of former United States government agent Tim Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit that fights against child sex slavery. Ballard, who worked for the CIA and then the Department of Homeland Security, has worked undercover in many different countries to fight, infiltrate, and combat child trafficking organizations.

According to Angel Studios, which has the licensing rights to “Sound of Freedom,” the purpose of the film is to “put a spotlight on the global movement to end the trafficking of minors by successfully distributing this film to a worldwide audience.”

According to Olohan’s report, the film is crowd funded and will be in theaters in time for Independence Day, the Fourth of July. Tickets are selling so well that the movie is outselling “Indiana Jones” by 25%. More screens continue to be added in an effort to give freedom to the kids on America’s Independence Day.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Will Americans Choose Populism and Liberty or Liberalism?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns liberalism versus populism. Popularism arose in opposition to liberalism. Americans did not like what was happening to their country in the name of liberalism and began looking for a leader that they could trust. The Tea Party arose in opposition to what Democrats were doing under President Barack Obama.

Then Donald Trump announced in 2015 that he was a candidate for President of the United States. Americans liked what Trump was saying and voted for him. Under the Trump administration, the borders of the United States became the most secure they have ever been. The leaders of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea backed off from their threats towards the United States. The economy was roaring, and life was good in America.

Trump should have run re-election, but something happened to thwart his campaign. Joe Biden entered the Oval Office, and the United States began to go downhill under the policies of the Biden administration. Americans are now wide awake and are seeing the effects of Democrat policies. They are currently searching for another leader. Do they go with the tried- and-true leader but hated Trump, or do they go with someone else who has not proven their ability to make America great again? Trump’s base remains strong, but he needs Never-Trumpers, Independents, and even Democrats to join his cause: Make America Great Again.”

Patrick Deneen published an interesting article in the Deseret News about populism and liberalism. He began his article by stating, “Liberalism has generated its own undoing.” Further into the article, he wrote the following: 

Several hundred years into this experiment, we have witnessed at firsthand the rise of a new ruling class, a “meritocracy” that has thrived under the conditions established and advanced by liberalism. Liberalism is today in crisis, not just because of the bad behavior of the new elite, but because its rise has corresponded with the attrition of institutions that benefited the lower classes while restraining the ambitious who wished to escape its restraints. The weakening of the family, neighborhood, association, church and religious community, and other associations has resulted in the degradation of the social and economic conditions of “the many,” even as “the few” have garnered a monopoly both on economic and social advantages.

In the advanced liberal democracies across the world, working-class voters have risen up to reject the leaders who have regarded those who have been “left behind” with disdain and contempt. In response, liberalism has unmasked itself, revealing itself as an ideology that is willing to force those who oppose it into submission, and advancing an increasingly “illiberal” liberalism. Efforts to limit the political power of the culturally dispossessed and economically disadvantaged – frequently by accusing majorities of being “anti-democratic” – increasingly reveal liberalism not to be a mutually shared comprehensive system that allows self-determination, but rather a particular partisan set of commitments. Once an unassailable public philosophy, liberalism has been delegitimized.

The surge of a largely unorganized “populism” has arisen because of the degraded conditions that liberalism has created among the masses. Both social and economic conditions are measurably worse among the working classes across the western world, even as life has gotten better for the liberal ruling class. What is often called “progress” – globalized economic expansion and the dismantling of traditional social mores – has largely benefited only a small liberal elite. Like the revolutions against the ancient regime, the current order has lost support of the demos.

These degraded conditions have arisen not because liberalism has failed, but because it has succeeded. Titanic economic inequality and a fraying social fabric are the results of realizing liberalism’s conception of liberty. Ancient ideals of liberty as self-rule, requiring duty and self-sacrifice, were replaced with the liberal understanding of freedom: doing as one likes. Realization of liberal freedom has led to a hyper-individualistic order that weakens national economic solidarity and tends toward the dismantling of social institutions.

The institutions of family, religion and government raised guardrails on the otherwise natural appetites and desires that, when succumbed to, resulted in what the classical and Biblical tradition regarded as a condition of servitude or slavery. The person who succumbed to lower nature not only had the soul of a slave, but also had the soul of a tyrant – a gluttony for power that would allow the enslaved tyrant to commit any act, any crime, any awful deed. All of the citizenry, including the powerful, needed to be habituated to the virtue that accorded with this classical ideal of freedom, and the guardrails helped with that education for liberty.

Under the new definition of liberty, what had previously been considered as guardrails came instead to be regarded as oppressions and unjust limitations on individual liberty. As a result, the advance of liberal liberty has meant the gradual, and then accelerating weakening, redefinition or overthrowing of many formative institutions and practices of human life, whether family, the community, a vast array of associations, schools and universities, architecture, the arts and even the churches. In their place, a flattened world invites: the wide-open spaces of liberal freedom, a vast and widening playground for the project of self-creation.

Today, the story of liberalism’s tearing down of guardrails is often told as a progress from heroic overcoming of past injustices to a present moment of enlightenment, justice, liberty and equality. Oppressed people are liberated from the unjust constraints of an earlier age. Anyone questioning the story is accused of defending privilege and nostalgically craving to reinstitute the injustices of a benighted past.

Deneen’s article is much longer, but I encourage you to study it. The bottom line is that the liberalism envisioned and created by our forefathers has been abused and bastardized into what we have in America today. Americans can either rise up and vote Democrats and other liberals out of office, or we can continue down the road that we are currently traveling. If we choose to do the latter, we have no one but ourselves to blame when we lose true liberty and freedom.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Why Should We Forgive Our Enemies?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19 in a lesson titled “It Is Finished.” The lesson was preceded by this counsel: “Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; and John 19 include descriptions of the final hours of the Savior’s mortal life. Seek to feel His love for you as you study about His sacrifice and death.” The lesson was then introduced by the following information. 

In every word and deed, Jesus Christ exemplified pure love—what the Apostle Paul called charity (see 1 Corinthians 13).  At no time was this more evident than during the final hours of the Savior’s mortal life. His dignified silence in the face of false accusations demonstrated that He “is not easily provoked” (1 Corinthians 13:5). His willingness to submit to scourging, mocking, and crucifixion—while restraining His power to end His torments—showed that He “suffereth long” and “beareth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 7). His compassion toward His mother and His mercy toward His crucifiers—even during His own incomparable suffering—revealed that He “seeketh not [His] own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). In His final moments on earth, Jesus was doing what He had done throughout His mortal ministry—teaching us by showing us. Indeed, charity is “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47).

The lesson includes several notable principles that are worthy of further study, such as (1) “Jesus Christ’s willingness to suffer shows His love for the Father and for all of us,” (2) Mocking cannot change the truth,” and (3) “Jesus Christ suffered alone so I don’t have to.” However, I feel prompted to discuss this principle: “The Savior is our example of forgiveness” (Luke 23:34). I will start with the scriptural words as follows: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

Verse 34 is preceded by the telling of Jesus Christ being taken before Pilate, Herod, and back to Pilate. It also tells of the people crying “Crucify him, crucify him” (verse 21), and being taken to be crucified. Last week’s lesson told of Christ being mocked, spit upon, and scourged. Then He was taken and nailed to a cross until He died. Even the thieves being crucified on each side of Christ mocked Him.

Matthew 23:34 does not tell us exactly who Christ meant when He uttered, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). However, the Joseph Smith Translation of this scripture tells us in footnote c: “JST Luke 23:35 … they do (Meaning the soldiers who crucified him,) …).  President Henry B. Eyring taught the following about this scripture. 

If we are to have unity, there are commandments we must keep concerning how we feel. We must forgive and bear no malice toward those who offend us. The Savior set the example from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We do not know the hearts of those who offend us. Nor do we know all the sources of our own anger and hurt.

The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves, when he said, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). And then he gave solemn warning against reacting to the fault of others and forgetting our own when he wrote, “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

All of us have been hurt by something that someone said or did to us or about us. Many of us have had reputations or relationships damaged or destroyed through no fault of our own. Many of us know of loved ones who have been hurt or even killed by someone else. Jesus Christ set the example of forgiveness because we are required to forgive those who hurt us before Heavenly Father will forgive us of our sins.

Friday, June 23, 2023

What Do Healthy Families Do?

Healthy families enjoy being together, and healthy family members who spend quality and quantity time create stronger families, communities, and nations.

I belong to a large extended family. My parents descended from ancestors who had large families, and they are the parents of twelve children who all lived to adulthood. My parents have seventy grandchildren and two hundred and something great grandchildren. The family continues to grow, while the older generation is graduating to the next life.

This weekend is a family reunion for all of my parents posterity, and we expect about 150 people to attend. There will be some games and other activities for the children and teenagers, but the adults will mostly visit with each other and catch up on our lives for the past year.

We love to be together, and we look forward to our annual reunions. We are blessed to belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches us that families can be together forever and prepares us for eternity. Despite many weaknesses, our family is a strong family, and our family members strengthen their communities and their nation.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Why Should Tax Dollars Fund puberty Blockers to Children?

 The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns U.S. tax dollars being used to fund puberty blockers for children. The Freedom Caucus comprises Republicans in Pennsylvania’s legislature, and it has blocked – at least temporally – a bill funneling taxpayer dollars going to Penn State University to prescribe puberty blockers to children.

In an article authored by Mary Margaret Olohan and published in The Daily Signal, Republican state Representative David Rowe made the following statement: 

The Pennsylvania Freedom caucus made it clear at the beginning of the budget process that we would lead the opposition to taxpayer funding of Penn State if any policy that endangers the health and welfare of our children remained in place….

The Democrats’ failure to reach the two-thirds majority required for final passage shows that we have broad support for our effort to protect Pennsylvania’s children, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with Penn State to see these harmful policies abolished.

Olohan explained that the bill “is not dead” yet. If revived, it would provide more than $259 million to Penn State University. However, the bill received only “81 votes on its second consideration” and “will not be able to progress to its final passage yet” because it requires two-thirds of the votes for funding.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

What Did Durham Say?

Today was the day for special counsel John Durham to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. House representatives wanted to hear from him about his investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe. Two Democratic lawmakers sought to detract from his findings, but he aimed sharp retorts at them.

Durham released his report about the investigation last month. He criticized the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into a possible conspiracy between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government to win the election.

Fred Lucas published an article in The Daily Signal about the congressional proceedings. He listed “six big takeaways from the former U.S. attorney’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee” from a hearing that lasted from early morning to late afternoon. 

1. ‘Two of the Dumbest Things I’ve Ever Heard’

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, talked about the main sources for the anti-Trump “dossier” assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which became the FBI’s predicate for starting its Crossfire Hurricane probe. 

Durham’s grand jury indicted Russian citizen Igo Danchenko, a U.S. resident who has been a Russian analyst for the Brookings Institution in Washington. Danchenko was the primary source for the Steele dossier, but he was acquitted in a trial. 

“Danchenko is the primary sub-source. A few years before doing this work, he was investigated by the FBI for doing espionage. Is that right?” Jordan said. 

Durham replied that the FBI stopped that investigation, believing that Danchenko had returned to Russia. However, he actually remained in Washington. 

Jordan said of the FBI and Danchenko: “They go hire him, use the tax money of the people I get the privilege of representing to pay this guy, who they obviously think is a Russian spy, to hire him, who is the source of all the false information.” 

Danchenko never was charged with being a spy. 

“They hired him and they paid him,” Durham replied. “It was over $200,000.”

Jordan followed up by saying: “This guy is hanging out with Dolan, Charles Dolan, who is a buddy of the Clintons, who is also a source for the false [Steele] dossier that was used to spy on an American citizen. In fact, don’t they [Danchenko and Dolan] meet on a park bench somewhere in Arlington, Virginia, on New Year’s Day?

Durham replied: “New Year’s Day, middle of the day.”


The Durham report shows the FBI didn’t even interview Dolan. 

“This is straight-up out of the movies,” Jordan said of the FBI’s uncritical acceptance of the so-called Steele dossier, despite its sourcing. 

“These are two of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of,” the Ohio Republican added.

 “They pay a guy who is a Russian spy, who is the source of the dossier. The other source is Charles Dolan, who meets with that guy [Danchenko] on a park bench in Arlington, and [FBI agents] don’t want to interview him.”

Jordan later asked: “Were there agents on the case who wanted to talk to Mr. Dolan?”

“Yes,” Durham answered.

“What happened to [FBI] Analyst No. 1?” Jordan asked. “She kept pushing to talk to Mr. Dolan. She was ultimately turned down. What happened to her?”

Durham replied: “At or about the same time, she was assigned to a different project.”

Jordan seemed to want to add an explanation point to Durham’s answer.

“They moved her. They said we can’t have this,” Jordan said of the analyst’s FBI superiors. “We can’t have you looking into the Clintons’ buddy. What did she do?”

“She memorialized it,” Durham replied.

Jordan explained: “She entered a memo to the file because she said at some point the [Justice Department’s] inspector general is going to want to know this information.” 

2. ‘Reputation Will Be Damaged.’

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., mostly taunted Durham in his comments, pointing out that Trump had appointed him as U.S. attorney for Connecticut before Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham as special counsel to look into the FBI’s actions in the Trump-Russia case. 

“Do you believe Mr. Trump has pretty good judgment on people, their abilities, their character?” Cohen asked. 

“I’m not going to characterize Mr. Trump, or my thoughts about Mr. Trump,” Durham initially answered.

[Cohen continued to badger Durham and finally said the following:]

Cohen: “Your reputation will be damaged. Everybody who gets involved with Donald Trump is damaged. He’s damaged goods.”

Durham’s response to Cohen drew applause from some of those in attendance. 

“My concern about my reputation is with the people who I respect, and my family, and my Lord, and I’m perfectly comfortable with my reputation with them, sir,” Durham said. 

3. ‘Clinton Campaign Funded the Work.’

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., noted in his questioning of Durham: “The Steele dossier was entered into the Congressional Record. Was it true?”

Durham replied by stating what has been widely accepted for years.

“There is not a single, substantive piece of information in the dossier that has ever been corroborated by the FBI or, to my knowledge, anyone else,” Durham said. 

McClintock later asked, “What role did the Clinton campaign play in this hoax?”

Durham replied: “The Clinton campaign funded the work and opposition research that was done by Fusion GPS, and Fusion GPS paid Mr. Steele.” 

4. ‘Collusion and Conspiracy’

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., noted that Durham’s report said the FBI launched the Trump-Russia conspiracy probe without evidence or a predicate in 2016, and continued it until 2019, more than two years into Trump’s presidency. 

“To date, has any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia been uncovered?” Johnson asked. 

Durham seemed to try to be respectful of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who as special counsel took over the Trump-Russia investigation. 

“There is information, of course, in the report that was prepared by Director Mueller,” Durham said. “As to collusion and conspiracy, I’m not aware of any.” …

Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Calif., noted that several House Democrats claimed that Trump and Russia colluded even after multiple investigations failed to find evidence of it. 

Kiley read an old tweet from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., saying: “Collusion in plain sight.” 

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter: “Obviously a lot of collusion.” 

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., tweeted: “We may have an illegitimate president currently occupying the White House.”

And Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter: “In our investigation we saw strong evidence of collusion.”

In each case, Kiley asked, “Mr. Durham, were those statements supported by the Mueller report?”

Durham responded with variations of “I don’t believe they were supported by the Mueller report” or “Not to my knowledge.”

5. ‘Unique in Your Experience’

In a moment that garnered attention, Durham appeared to take a not-so-subtle jab at Schiff by referring to a recorded prank call to the California Democrat by two Russian comedians in 2018. 

In the prank, Schiff—investigating Trump at the time—believed he was talking to   a Ukranian official who had compromising information on Trump, including “naked pictures of Trump.”

At the hearing, Schiff brought up a 2016 meeting between Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. 

“People get phone calls all the time from individuals who claim to have information like that,” Durham responded. 

Schiff shot back: “The son of a presidential candidate gets calls all the time from a foreign government offering dirt on their [most] important opponent. Is that what you’re saying?” 

“I don’t think this situation is unique in your experience,” Durham said, in what seemed like a jab at Schiff.

Twitter lit up with reminders of Schiff being pranked by the comedians. (The Daily Mail, which first broke the story in 2018, ran another story Wednesday about what seemed to be Durham’s poke at the California Democrat, who is running for Senate.)

After this apparent reference to the prank played on Schiff, the two continued an exchange about the 2016 meeting of Trump’s son and son-in-law with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. 

Schiff said: “You said it’s not uncommon to get help from a hostile foreign government. … Do you really stand by that, Mr. Durham?”

“I’m saying people make phone calls making claims all the time, that you may have experienced,” the special counsel replied.

Durham went on to say that the 2016 meeting at Trump Tower “was not illegal,” but he called it “stupid, foolish, ill-advised.” 

6. ‘White Supremacist in Chief’

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., a member of the “squad” of far-left female Democrats, blasted her Republican colleagues for embracing Durham’s criticism of the FBI and said Trump was pushing them to do so. 

“St. Louis and I are here to set the record straight on this political investigation conducted on the twice-impeached, twice-indicted former white supremacist in chief, Donald Trump,” Bush said.

“From the start, this entire investigation has been an attempt to undermine the findings of the Mueller investigation and distract the people of this country from Donald Trump’s corruption,” the Missouri Democrat said. “That’s why it [the Durham investigation] began just days after the release of the Mueller report. That’s why four years later—no matter how much my colleagues across the aisle claim otherwise—the Durham investigation did not exonerate Mr. Trump or any of his associates.”


Monday, June 19, 2023

Who Is Michael Seifert?

 My VIP for this week is Michael Seifert, Founder and CEO of PublicSq. While other companies are making it easier for their employees to kill their babies, Seifert offers money to his employees as a baby bonus. Mary Margaret Olohan reported on the situation with Seifert.

PublicSq. Founder and CEO Michael Seifert believes “strong families make a strong nation.” But when the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, he began witnessing a lot of companies grandly making “impassioned petitions to pay for their employees’ abortions.”

“I was shocked by that because it’s an immoral and egregious act for an employer to pay for an employee to terminate their children,” he told The Daily Signal. “That’s my opinion. But on top of that, it was also a very blatantly obvious move for just more productivity out of their employees. And it was a stifling of [employees’] potential desires to have families.” At PublicSq., Seifert said, the company is only as strong as the families that have built it.

“I’ve been saying that for the past few months,” he explained. “And we thought, as we near the anniversary of the overturning of Roe v Wade, it would be a great idea to remind our community and our growing employee base that we are truly a company and a movement that is pro-family. And in order to do that, we wanted to put our money where our mouth was.”

The policy has been a big hit, he said.

“Funny enough, we’ve had like three announced pregnancies in the past two weeks,” the PublicSq. Founder laughed. “So I think that’s a good sign that this is timely.”

His employees can use the bonus, which is $5,000 after taxes, for anything they want, Seifert said. Some parents who are adopting face exorbitant fees, and the baby bonus could help offset that. Other families with several children already may just “need some more diapers” or a babymoon, he joked.

“There’s no restrictions on it,” he explained. “And it’s also not limited to one child. So if you have multiple kids as an employee of our company, its $5,000 for the child, so if you have twins, you get ten grand. So, yeah, we want to make sure that we are supporting families and then giving them the agency to utilize these resources s they see fit.”

Sunday, June 18, 2023

What Is Juneteenth?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday. As many people may not know or understand the meaning of Juneteenth, I will share part of the information in an article Alexandra Rainin the Deseret News

The end of slavery began when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The evil practice officially ended on December 6, 1865, when the Thirteen Amendment, which abolished slavery, was ratified by the States about a year after Congress passed the law.

Black Americans have commemorated Juneteenth – named for June 19, 1865, the day that Union soldiers delivered the message of liberation to slaves in Galveston, Texas. The following information comes from the article by Rain.

On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, at the head of about 2,000 Union soldiers. There, he delivered General Order No. 3, which declared that “all slaves are free” – effectively liberating roughly 250,000 people in that area – and advised them to stay at their posts and work for wages. Across the former Confederacy, masters often waited until a government agent arrived, or after the harvest, to tell those they had enslaved that they were freed.

Nearly 40,000 Black soldiers died in the Civil War, fighting to free their people after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation made newly freed Black men eligible to serve in the military. About 198,000 took up arms in segregated units, notably marching with Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in his famous march across Georgia and South Carolina to the Atlantic Coast, wrestling Atlanta and Savannah from Confederate control….

An early emancipation celebration was held in Galveston on January 1, 1866. A Galveston newspaper reported that hundreds of men, women and children gathered in the “colored church.” Among the speakers was Brig. Gen. Edgar Mantlebert Gregory. The Emancipation Proclamation was read from the pulpit and the congregation sang hymns like “John Brown’s body.” The first Juneteenth happened that summer, and soon came to embody the spirit of liberation, with “monstrous and brilliant” parades through the Texas city.

There is much more information in the article about the end of slavery. However, knowing the above information will help understand why Juneteenth is important to all of us, but especially to Black Americans. Understanding the meaning behind the holiday will make commemoration of it much more powerful.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

What Does the Atonement of Jesus Christ Mean to You?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Luke 22 and John 18 in a lesson titled “Not My Will, but Thine, Be Done.” The lesson was preceded by this bit of counsel: “Take your time reading Luke 22 and John 18 this week. Ponder and pray about what you read. Do this can give the Spirit opportunity to bear witness to your heart that the scriptures are true.” The lesson was then introduced with the following information: 

There were only three mortal witnesses to Jesus Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane—and they slept through much of it. In that garden and later on the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the sins, pains, and sufferings of every person who ever lived, although almost no one alive at that time knew what was happening. Eternity’s most important events often pass without much worldly attention. But God the Father knew. He heard the pleading of His faithful Son: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:42-43). While we were not there to witness this act of selflessness and submission, we are witnesses of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every time we repent and receive forgiveness of our sins, every time we feel the Savior’s strengthening power, we can testify of the reality of what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The principle that I feel impressed to discuss tonight is “The Savior suffered for me in Gethsemane” (Luke 22:39-46). First, we will look at the words of the scripture.

39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

President Russell M. Nelson invited us to “invest time in learning about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice” (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 40).

I pondered what I could do to accept the invitation offered by President Nelson and I studied all the references under this section of the lesson. Here are the questions along with a simple answer for what I found in my study.

·         Why was the Savior’s Atonement necessary? To redeem all mankind from the effects of the fall of Adam. (2 Nephi 2:5-10, 17-26; 9:5-26; Alma 34:8-16; 42:9-26)

·         What did the Savior experience as He suffered? He trembled with pain and bled from every poor as He took upon Himself the sins, sicknesses, and problems of all mankind. (Isaiah 53:3-5; Mosiah 3:7; Alma 7:11-13; Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19)

·         How does Christ’s suffering affect my life? His suffering gives me life as well as mercy and grace. (John 10:10-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 John 1:7; Alma 34:31; Moroni 10:32-33; Dallin H. Oaks, Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 61-64)

Gethsemane was a garden of olive trees and included an olive press. The press was used to crush olives and extract oil used for lighting and food as well as healing (see Luke 10:34). The process of extracting olive oil can symbolize the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane because He was also pressed down with the weight of all mankind’s sins, sicknesses, and weaknesses. The load was so heavy that He bled from every pore.

President Russell M. Nelson taught the reason why the Atonement of Jesus Christ was an infinite atonement that only He could perform.

“[Jesus Christ’s] Atonement is infinite—without an end. It was also infinite in that all humankind would be saved from never-ending death. It was infinite in terms of His immense suffering. It was infinite in time, putting an end to the preceding prototype of animal sacrifice. It was infinite in scope—it was to be done once for all. And the mercy of the Atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people, but also to an infinite number of worlds created by Him. It was infinite beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension.

“Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being” (“The Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 35).