Sunday, November 30, 2008

The U.S. Doctrine of Pre-Emption vs. The Book of Mormon Doctrine of Self-Defense

Modern-day America has been styled recently by both Republican and Democratic governments as the savior of the world. The natural result of such illogic is to claim that whatever America does is right. Out of this supposed inability to do wrong was hatched the "Doctrine of Pre-Emption"--or, in other words, to attack "them" before "they" attack us. The United States government would be more successful if it heeded the Doctrine of Self-Defense as advocated in the Book of Mormon.

The United States has employed the doctrine of pre-emption to some degree for decades now, but it has been most used blatantly by the George W. Bush administration. It is now, therefore, more commonly known as the Bush Doctrine. As fine-tuned by Bush's National Security Council, the Doctrine of Pre-Emption is this:

The security environment confronting the United States today is radically different from what we have faced before. Yet the first duty of the United States Government remains what it always has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD.

To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense.

It wasn't always that way. The United States started out as a country that wisely avoided entangling alliances. But then we started involving ourselves in military alliances and police actions on the other side of the globe. We have now comfortably mired ourselves in the geography and the affairs of the Middle East. As time marches on, the claim that virtually anything in the world is considered "an American interest" has become the further ironic result of American pre-emptive action.

The Doctrine of Self-Defense runs contrary to the doctrine of attacking them before they attack us. Moroni, ancient American Captain of the Nephite armies, understood that proper self-defense can never be pre-emptive. There must be an offense first. In The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Moroni did teach that war is sometimes necessary:
47 And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.
Additionaly, though, he taught that we should join war only when an offense has been committed against us, not simply when we can imagine a potential one. Therefore, it wasn't until after
the armies of the Lamanites had gathered together in the land of Antionum [that] the armies of the Nephites...prepared to meet them in the land of Jershon.
Integral to the Doctrine of Self Defense is a reliance on God--not so that we can feel justified in launching a crusade against our enemies, but rather so that God will protect us when our enemies ultimately attack us. Lachoneus, the governor of the Nephite nation, taught this critical concept to his people.
12 Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them.
Contrarily, the Bush Administration (as well as some previous administrations) has determined that since we are somehow God's chosen country, we can imagine or provoke any offense at all, in order that we can attack anyone we want to. We're not the first land with such foolish dreams of empire.

The Nephite populace of Lachoneus's time had much less patience for the Doctrine of Self-Defense than did he and his military chiefs. The people petitioned their leaders to allow them to pre-emptively take care of the problem. Fortunately, however, the people had elected as their leaders individuals who were wiser and more patient than themselves.
20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.

21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.
The Doctrine of Pre-emption is conducive to lying, whereas the Doctrine of Self-Defense is not. The War in Iraq was purely pre-emptive, and it was based on a demonstrably false pre-emptive justification. Six years later, some of the same people that advocated a pre-emptive strike against Iraq are calling for a similar attack on Iran. Pre-emption seems to have given the United States the idea that it can play the part of the sandlot bully. If we'd heeded counsel from modern-day statesmen and stateswomen--similar to that of ancient American prophets--we would have never gotten involved in Iraq in the first place.

I believe that America has been and can be a great nation, but only if we serve God as he should be served. God has only ever sanctioned the Doctrine of Self-Defense. If we fight much longer according to the Doctrine of Pre-Emption, we as a nation are doomed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How Did The Price of Oil Get So High? And Why Is It Now So Low? The "Enron Loophole"

It's beginning to look like we've reached the bottom as far as gas prices go. That's okay with me, as long as it doesn't return to previously exorbitant rates. I'd rather spend my money on products like books and restaurant food than gasoline whose price has become overly inflated due to speculation. I suspect, however, that prices won't get so high as they did a few months ago--at least not for the reasons that they did back then. That loophole has been closed.

Update 11/30/2008
: I think it important to correctly identify for the financially flummoxed what laissez faire actually means. See below.

Back in June, Republicans were

It's more than coincidental that gasoline prices have gone down markedly since the Enron Loophole was closed on September 30th.

claiming that oil prices had been on the rise because Democrats were blocking off-shore drilling, but they didn't talk much at all about the upward effect on prices due to speculation and the prior deregulation thereof. Although I support U.S. off-shore drilling, because it would have an almost immediate downward impact on the world price of oil, the effect of speculation had a much greater impact on the fact that oil prices reached record levels in 2008, and this factor should not be overlooked.

In the following video, Keith Olbermann talks about how John McCain (or at least his advisors) supported what's come to be known as the Enron loophole, which unleashed the ability of speculators to corner markets and run up energy prices. Olbermann called it "a legalized form of insider trading" which "lets speculators overwhelm trading in oil futures." The result? A huge increase in your energy costs.

By being able to speculate on the future of oil prices, according to Olbermann, the speculators had driven up the price of oil to more than double what it was before the loophole was created, and this speculation had created the potential explosion of a large 'oil bubble'.

Has the bubble finally burst? Yes. Government, which encouraged the bubble in the first place, popped it before it got too large, by closing what's come to be known as The Enron Loophole.

Is deregulation of speculation a good thing? I don't think so--at least not nearly to the extent that the Enron Loophole allowed. It's obviously good not when it's employed by self-seeking shysters like Enron, who nearly brought California to its knees by speculating on electricity there. The robber barons of Enron essentially cornered the California market on energy, and they were able to drive up prices dramatically because of it.

The price of oil has been affected largely by the same type of speculation--until recently.

Speculators have not just been placing bets on the price of energy, they have been been largely able to control future prices in an effort to profit from their insider knowledge, according to Michael Greenberger, former chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, who testified before a US Senate committee meeting on June 3, 2008. It was estimated that in the last two years prior to that, the average family spent at least an extra $1500 on energy due to such collaborative speculation. Speculation and its deregulation, according to George Soros, had allowed banks and other financial institutions to purchase and set aside larger reserves of petroleum than even the U.S. has in its entire national reserve.

The Enron Loophole was closed on September 30, 2008. Not long thereafter, gas prices started coming down precipitously (I'm still not sure why the price of diesel remains high). Obviously, other factors, such as declining demand in a weak worldwide economy, have contributed to the downward pressure. However, it's clear that speculative control of large swaths of the oil market caused its price to go up. It's more than coincidental that gasoline prices have gone down markedly since the Enron Loophole was closed on September 30th.

Update 11/30/2008: George Reisman has an intelligent warning to those who claim that laissez faire capitalism is the cause of such bubbles as the recent "oil bubble" and the financial crisis of 2008:
The mentality displayed in these statements is so completely and utterly at odds with the actual meaning of laissez faire that it would be capable of describing the economic policy of the old Soviet Union as one of laissez faire in its last decades. By its logic, that is how it would have to describe the policy of Brezhnev and his successors of allowing workers on collective farms to cultivate plots of land of up to one acre in size on their own account and sell the produce in farmers’ markets in Soviet cities.

Laissez-faire capitalism is a politico-economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and in which the powers of the state are limited to the protection of the individual’s rights against the initiation of physical force. This protection applies to the initiation of physical force by other private individuals, by foreign governments, and, most importantly, by the individual’s own government.

Friday, November 28, 2008

If This is True, We Mormons Have a Ways to Go in the Charity Department

Somehow I missed this one. I was checking my site on Technorati, and I came across a post from Cliff Lyon at OneUtah that surprised and frustrated me. This time it was because I agreed with it. Except that now I'm not sure if Cliff's perpetrator really exists--or if he's an agent provacateur.

Cliff's article linked to a letter to the editor of the Deseret News by one Marvin Carlsen. The letter went like this:

I am ashamed of the members of the LDS Church who opposed Proposition 8. I am sick and tired of reading comments by members of the church saying they are ashamed that the church got involved. If you believe Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and this is the Lord’s true church, then shut up and let the inspired
leaders lead us where the Lord inspires them to go. If you don’t support the church’s stance, keep your opinion to yourself.

Marvin Carlsen - Sandy
Cliff then asks why the Deseret News would allow

Mr. Carlsen probably got his mind full of mush from an overdose of Rush Limbaugh. Neither LDS Church doctrine nor its leaders would ever expect us to "shut up" and "let the inspired leaders lead us" wherever they want to.

such tripe to be published. I agree that it is tripe, but I disagree that DesNews should censor such opinions, and I suspect that Marvin Carlsen from Sandy does not exist--at least by that name.

I checked on to make sure that a Marvin Carlsen lives in Sandy, Utah. And, unless Mr. Carlsen has an unlisted number...he doesn't live there (Dex does indicate one "Carlsen" in Sandy with an unlisted number). I'm not sure what kind of fact checking occurs by Deseret News before they publish letters to the editor. But I know this: of every one of at least 15 letters that I have had published by DesNews over the years, I have included my phone number and my e-mail address (as required) with every one of them--and I have never been contacted by DesNews staff to verify that I am who I say I am.

It wouldn't be the first time that someone with a hate agenda posed in hateful satire as one's enemy.

I know members of the church who are hateful of homosexuals (ironically, Cliff thinks I am one of them), as well as others who are different than them, but I can't imagine that there are very many members of the LDS Church who would think it appropriate to tell people to "shut up" and to let the church hierarchy do all of their thinking for them.

Church doctrine teaches that we should have charity for all, even if we disagree with them. Church doctrine teaches individual members to stand up for what they believe in. While Church doctrine teaches us to find out for ourselves whether something is true, it also teaches its members to respect other points of view.

Marvin Carlsen from Sandy, Utah scores a miserable 1 out of 4 on this basic scale, and he scores that measly 1 for the wrong reason. Mr. Carlsen probably got his mind full of mush from an overdose of Rush Limbaugh. Neither LDS Church doctrine nor its leaders would ever expect us to "shut up" and "let the inspired leaders lead us" wherever they want to.

If a certain Marvin Carlsen from Sandy, Utah exists, he clearly does not understand in the least the doctrines of the LDS Church. But contrary to what Cliff Lyon thinks, he's certainly entitled to share his doleful opinion.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The "SUMP Failsafe, Be-All, End-All Bailout Plan"

The bailout packages that have been waged against the US economy so far have had little or no positive effect. But bailouts are good, right? So why are we nibbling around the edges? If a little bailout is a good thing, then a bigger bailout must be better. With that maxim in mind, here is my plan for a gigantic bailout plan that will fix everything for good.

At first glance you might think that my plan is overly simplistic. But as you read through the numbers, you'll notice that they make a great deal of sense. I should know because I just

At first glance you might think that my plan is overly simplistic. But as you read through the numbers, you'll notice that they make a great deal of sense. I should know because I just returned from a week-long training course at Bernanke and Paulson Financial Consulting Inc.

returned from a week-long training course at Bernanke and Paulson Financial Consulting Inc. The figures I propose are nice round figures, precisely because they should be easy for anyone to understand. And, trust me, this plan will work. This is just what the US economy needs to get those credit markets unfrozen. Once this plan is implemented, debt problems of any kind will be entirely a thing of the past.

In addition to the $700 billion bailout that Congress passed recently, the Federal Reserve has pledged nearly an additional $7 trillion to help failing banks. The $700 billion didn't have the intended effect. Seven-point-something trillion dollars might work a little better, but it's not enough. Why? Way to little. The way I see it, it's about $93 trillion too little. I propose a Federal bailout of 100 trillion dollars. It would be easy for the Fed to inject this money into the system, and it would solve all of our debt problems overnight.

The current United States Federal Government debt is roughly $11 trillion. In addition to that, there are unfunded liabilities, such as Social Security and Medicare, to the tune of about $59 trillion. Then, let's round up and say that the combined debt of all the States in the U.S. is $2 trillion. That's a combined debt of...let's see...11 + 59 + 2 = $72 trillion.

According to my well-rounded plan, that leaves $28 trillion unused. I therefore propose that $17 trillion of that amount be used for bailing out the financial sector, including the credit-card companies and Citigroup, and $1 trillion would go to the auto industry. If they're only asking for $25 billion, just imagine how much they could do with a trillion!

But wait! There's still $10 trillion left unspent from the "SUMP Failsafe, Be-All, End-All Bailout Plan". Under my plan, that money would go back directly to you--the taxpayer!! This will make a fabulous stimulus package. If we act now, we can have it to you in time for the holiday shopping season. With 10 trillion dollars to split up among every United States citizen, that amounts to something along the lines of $124,789 per person. That will do wonders to get our economy back on its feet, plus it will have the added bonus of stimulating the global economy.

That's kind of a whirlwind explanation of the bailout, but I think I've covered everything. How does it sound?

Am I missing anything?

So hurry! Contact your congressional representatives and your senators and ask them to support the "SUMP Failsafe, Be-All, End-All Bailout Plan". You'll be glad you did!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama's Non-Citizenship: A Conflagration Waiting to Happen?

President-elect Barack Obama has still not proven that he is a citizen of the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court plans to meet in conference on December 5th to determine whether it will hear the evidence against him. No matter how the High Court decides, the result will cause a political and social conflagration.

The large media outlets in America are ignoring the Barack Obama Citizenship issue, praying that it will go away. It won't. Barack Obama has conveniently sidestepped the issue of whether he is a citizen of the United States--a specific requirement for one to become its President. The State of Hawaii, where Obama claims to have been born, has officially stated that it has Obama's birth certificate on record, but it still has yet to say unequivocally whether that certificate certifies a United States--or a foreign--birth. Alleged reproductions of Obama's certificate float around the internet, but none are officially embossed. The Supreme Court will meet next week to determine whether to hear the case against our President-elect.
A case that challenges President-elect Barack Obama's name on the 2008 election ballot citing questions over his citizenship has been scheduled for a "conference" at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Conferences are private meetings of the justices at which they review cases and decide which ones to accept for formal review. This case is set for a conference Dec. 5, just 10 days before the Electoral College is scheduled to meet to make formal the election of Obama as the nation's next president.
To Decide...What happens if the Supreme Court finds that Obama is NOT a citizen? Who will become president? Joe Biden? No. It would seem that if Obama is not a citizen, his entire presidential ticket would be invalid. In such a case, would the Presidential Line of Succession take place? No, because a valid President has not been elected.

In such a case, would George W. Bush remain president until another election can be held? That would be quite ironic in a day when tin-pot dictator Hugo Chavez is still seeking to become President of Venezuela for life.

Ten days intervene between the Court's conference and the date on which votes from the Electoral College must be certified. That seems like enough time for our President-elect to show a piece of paper that proves that he is a United States citizen.

The worst outcome would be large-scale riots, which would almost definitely ensue a Supreme Court decision that Barack Obama is not qualified to become President of the United States. Millions are still seething as a result of the Court's decision in 2000 that Florida had to abide by its state recount rules, which effectively installed George W. Bush in the White House for his first term. Imagine how much more anger would be released into the atmosphere this time--if the nation's first black president were to be disqualified by the same body!

Or To Decide Not To Decide...It's odd that it has come to this. Barack Obama could have easily presented his United States birth certificate before now--which leads the scrutinous to believe that he's hiding something. If the Supreme Court decides not to hear the case, not only will President Obama live under a Constitutional cloud for his entire administration, he will live at the beck and call of his Establishment handlers. With his selection of a predominance of Clinton retreads for his
Administration, it's already beginning to shape up that way.

And American foreign and domestic policy will not change substantially--just as it hasn't for the past 20 years.

And somehow a large percentage of people who voted for Obama will be genuinely surprised.

. . .

How do we get ourselves into these predicaments? I'll tell you how--by failing to think for ourselves and by voting for the lesser of the same two evils that the Establishment serves us up on a lead platter every four years. The Democrats rejected their one viable candidate--Dennis Kucinich--who had no personal baggage. Likewise, the Republicans could not have have gone wrong by supporting Ron Paul, yet they cast him aside like a dirty rag.

Now, because we can't think for ourselves, we have been presented with a gigantic conundrum. No matter how the Supreme Court decides, our reaction to that decision will mean that we have become less of a nation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

True or False?: Obama is a Marxist. Defend Your Answer.

We had a great Utah blogger get-together at Squatter's Pub last Friday night. Proposition 8 was the most popular topic of discussion, but one of the other more controversial issues we discussed was whether President-Elect Barack Obama is a Marxist. Some of us expressed the opinion that he is. Others of us were very vocal that he's not. Which of us is right? Does it really matter?

In my opinion, Barack Obama is quite a Marxist. On scale of 1 to 10, he's definitely not a 10, but he's way above a 5. Marx espoused a form of socialism, so for all intents and purposes, Marxism and Socialism are the same thing. The fact that a lot of Republicans are Marxist to varying degrees clouds the question at hand quite a bit. Nonetheless, a Marxist is a Marxist is a Marxist.

Karl Marx believed that the free market does not work, and that it eventually leads to monopolies. Marxism focuses on the class warfare that supposedly arises in free markets. The only way to remove class warfare, according to Marx, is to have a society where the economy is fully planned and controlled. defines Marxism as
The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society's allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society.
A Marxist is at least a wannabe socialist. If you are a socialist, you believe that government should control the means of producing and distributing goods. Here's your socialist quiz:

Do you believe in government stimulus packages to help Americans? Then you are a socialist.

Do you believe that capitalism, unfettered by government, becomes monopolistic? If you do, you are socialist, and I defy you to give me one example where an American company has ever become monopolistic without the help of government.

Do you support a bailout for the auto industry? If so, you are in favor of "socializing" the losses of the auto industry among the masses of Americans, and yes, that would make you a Marxist.

Do you support a graduated income tax? Zing! You're something of a Marxist.

Do you believe that some companies should get favors from government while the bulk of them should not? If you don't, then why do you believe everything else in this list?--because such favors are a hallmark of Marxist governments.

Did you support the $700 billion bailout of the finance industry? If so, you're a socialist.

Do you favor government subsidies for farmers, sugar growers, education, and homeownership? Guess what? That makes you a socialist!

On of the first things President Obama plans to do is provide a stimulus package to Americans. He supports government control and subsidization of such things as the finance industry, the auto industry, farms, education, and homeownership. On top of that, I'm hearing rumors that he's in favor of having the government take over the management of my 401-k. If the government would stop granting favors to its cronies in the world of faux capital, my 401-k would be just fine.

So it might sound vicious to some when people such as me assign the epithet of "Marxist" to Barack Obama. But the fact of the matter is, President Obama is a Marxist. He's definitely not a Stalinist-Marxist, but he's a Marxist just the same.

If we can get that understanding squared away in our minds, then we can decide whether we want to be Marxists, too.

Not me. I believe in liberty. Marxism has never worked. Why should we expect that it will this time? Because we now have a President with the charisma of an Adolf Hitler or a Benito Mussolini? Guess what...socialism didn't work for them either.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

GM and Bailouts: Have You Noticed a Pattern Yet?

What was the result when enough members of Congress were suckered into voting for the $700 billion bailout? It "surprisingly" turned out not to be enough. What happened when the government gave AIG 85 billion dollars? They had some really nice parties, and then they wanted--and got--more. What do you suspect will happen if a bloated General Motors gets money from the federal government? Here are your multiple choices: (A) It won't be enough, (B) GM will want more, or (C) the taxpayers will get taken to the cleaners yet again?

The correct answer is (D), all of the above.

America's new motto has seemingly become "If it sucks, subsidize it." Are

Here's a novel idea: General Motors...get this...could declare...are you ready...bankruptcy! People who have actually spent some time thinking about it have come to the conclusion that this would be the best economic choice. But then again, maybe it's not a very good idea after all. Because bankruptcy is something that is actually constitutionally permissible!!

there really that few people who understand the result of subsidizing something that sucks? It will suck even more. Always has, always will. America's vault has been sucked dry. GM doesn't deserve a red cent out of my, your, or the Federal Reserve's pocket.

I (mostly) agree with Thomas Friedman about the management of General Motors--they are idiots and should be sacked. He wrote
Last September, I was...watching CNBC...interviewing Bob Nardelli, the C.E.O. of Chrysler, and he was explaining why the auto industry, at that time, needed $25 billion in loan guarantees. It wasn’t a bailout, he said. It was a way to enable the car companies to retool for innovation. I could not help but shout back at the TV screen: “We have to subsidize Detroit so that it will innovate?” If we give you another $25 billion, will you also do accounting?
Friedman seems to be on the right track, that of recognizing that a bailout of GM would be fruitless. But wait...there's more.

How did GM become an obese automaking mastodon? A beached whale?
Clearly the combination of a very un-innovative business culture, visionless management and overly generous labor contracts explains a lot of it.
First of all, GM labor union contracts guarantee outrageous wages. Secondly, GM owners wanted to make as much money per car as they could, so they pushed SUVs and refused to make the intelligent decisions that Japanese and European automakers did. If Japan and Germany can figure it out, why should we facilitate the perpetuation of General Motors' stupidity?
...instead of focusing on making money by innovating around fuel efficiency, productivity and design, G.M. threw way too much energy into lobbying and maneuvering to protect its gas guzzlers.
The blame for the travesty, according to Friedman
...not only belongs to the auto executives, but must be shared equally with the entire Michigan delegation in the House and Senate, virtually all of whom, year after year, voted however the Detroit automakers and unions instructed them to vote.
It seems pretty clear that a bailout would be a worse travesty, right? This is where Thomas Friedman gets weak in the knees. After all his chiding of General Motors, he ultimately whimpers:
O.K., now that I have all that off my chest, what do we do? I am as terrified as anyone of the domino effect on industry and workers if G.M. were to collapse.
I am suddenly left to suspect that General Motors subsidizes Friedman's NY Times column. How else to explain the sudden U-turn? I, for one, think there is no entity that is too big to fail, and for a minute I thought Friedman did, too. I'm sick and tired of the wimpish "lesser of two evils" mentality that we have developed as a nation--that Friedman seems to personify.

Quite a few of those news shows you should never watch again, and

America's new motto has seemingly become "If it sucks, subsidize it."

a plethora of politicians who should be thrown out of office are yelling "HURRY! It worked so well for Wall Street!" It's as though all of GM's capital would simply disappear in a puff of smoke we didn't bail them out. If you believed George W. Bush and Hanky Panky Paulson once, you get a pass. If you believe them again, shame on you.

Here's a novel idea! General Motors...get this...could declare...are you ready...bankruptcy! People who have actually spent some time thinking about it have come to the conclusion that this would be the best economic choice. But then again, maybe that's not a very good idea after all. Because bankruptcy is something that is actually constitutionally permissible, and we all know that the Constitution is just a "[blankety-blank] piece of paper".

So, being unconstitutional, maybe a bailout is our only choice...

If that's the case, we really suck.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Proposition 8: Keith Olbermann Big on Theatrics, Low on Heart

Keith Olbermann is very entertaining, although I seldom agree with him. When it comes to things he doesn't know much about, his feigning of passion and emotion are little more than theatrics. In a recent monologue, he's become a fine shill for the "H8" lobby. If he really cared about homosexuals he would get his facts straight.

Some people watch the follow video segment

"In a time of [the] impermanence and fly-by-night relationships" that Mr. Olbermann clearly observes (along with the rest of us) in society, Mr. Olbermann apparently thinks it's okay to have more of them.

and try without success to hold back tears. I watch it and I try without success to hold back mountains of dismay. Is Olbermann mixing the issues--as well as the truth with fiction--so flippantly in an effort to garner ratings for his show?

Conflating "Homosexual Marriage" with Civil Rights. The issue-mixing shell game is the oldest trick in the homosexual lobby's trick book. Olbermann begins his monologue about "homosexual marriage" by saying that he can't think of anyone he knows who is gay, and that he has no personal stories of friends who are fighting prejudice against their civil rights. But....I thought this was a monologue about homosexual marriage...?

It baffles me how anyone can think that a vote against "homosexual marriage" can be interpreted as condoning the vilification of homosexuals or a violation of their civil rights. In the minds of the vast majority of Mormons (and I suspect of others as well) who voted for Proposition 8, "homosexual marriage" and civil rights are two completely separate issues. Somehow, though, Mr. Olbermann's first monologue salvo is to imply that just because we don't support "homosexual marriage," we would somehow commit or condone violent acts against homosexuals. How heartless.

"I Do Not Understand--Why Does This Matter to You?"
Mr. Olbermann asks this question at the height of his theatrics. Mr. Olbermann doesn't understand because Mr. Olbermann has never sought to understand. "In a time of [the] impermanence and fly-by-night relationships" that Mr. Olbermann clearly observes (along with the rest of us) in society, Mr. Olbermann apparently thinks it's okay to have more of them. Did it ever cross his mind, by the way, what kind of devastation such impermanence and fly-by-nightery have wreaked on each succeeding generation? It takes a heartless person to discount the importance of children having a safe and nurturing environment to grow up in.

"A Little Less Alone in the World" Olberman's second most specious claim is that homosexuals can't be together and love one another simply because they cannot be married. Homosexuals have always had relationships, and Proposition 8 can never stop that. Most

Did it ever cross anyone's mind, by the way, what kind of devastation such impermanence and fly-by-nightery have wreaked on each succeeding generation? It takes a heartless person to discount the importance of children having a safe and nurturing environment to grow up in.

people don't care if homosexuals have relationships, or if they can give their domestic partners hospital visition rights, retirement benefit rights, etc. This has nothing to do with being alone. To claim as much is heartless.

The Oft-Told Lie that Prohibition of Interracial Marriages Equates with Prohibition of Homosexual Marriages Olbermann's worst lie is the impossible comparison between interracial marriages and "homosexual marriage". The banning of interracial marriages as well as earlier marriages between slaves was a travesty in the United States. Such marriages were banned because blacks were thought of by whites as subhuman. That problem has been rightfully fixed.

Although some people may have such feelings that homosexuals are less than human, this is not the reason that thirty different states now have constitutional amendments prohibiting "homosexual marriage". The reason is because marriage is supposed to be a relationship between a man and a woman who together create and nurture life--in love for one another as well as for the life they have created. This is why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches that "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity." Because children reared by such mothers and fathers are most likely to be happy and successful and loving in life. Not because Mormons somehow are supposed haters of homosexuals.

It does not require the skill of a rocket scientist to uncover evidence that loving nuclear families provide the best opportunity for the rising generation to succeed in life. That evidence is plentiful. Although such evidence is garnered as much nowadays in the breach as in the observance of natural laws, this is no reason to tip the scales further toward the side of social failure.
. . .

Do homosexuals really want to have "that feeling" of marriage as Olbermann goes on in his monologue to claim? Or do they just want people to love and respect their differences? Love and respect from others is not too much too ask. It's also not too much to ask for Keith Olbermann and others to stop mixing the issues, so that we can get down to the real problem. Homosexual couples just want other people to treat them as they themselves would wish to be treated.

The real problem is that, as blacks once were (and in some cases still are), homosexuals are treated as subhuman. This is wrong. Homosexuals should have the same civil rights that anyone else has, whether man, woman, or child. The real problem will not be solved by giving homosexuals the right to marry. But the whole problem will be solved by a greater outpouring of love from everyone.

It's unfortunate that Keith Olbermann is in the vanguard of the heartless charge against heart-felt logic.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Proposition 8: What Happens if Loving the Mormons Doesn't Get Them to Change Their Minds?

There's a lot of hatred going around right now for Mormons. In the name of tolerance, many homosexual marriage advocates are being grossly intolerant of our beliefs. There are, however, the notable exceptions. Among them are those who realize that hatred doesn't get anyone to change their point of view.

But in the case of Mormons and others who oppose "homosexual marriage", what happens if loving them doesn't get them to change their minds? Is this "love" sincere, or is it only a short-term tactic?

The statistics surrounding Proposition 8 are interesting:
  • 70% or more of blacks voted in favor of Proposition 8.
  • 84% of regular churchgoers voted for it, which 83% of never-churchgoers voted against it.
  • A significant majority of Hispanic voters supported Proposition 8.
  • Catholics supported Proposition 8.
  • Jews supported Proposition 8.
Yet the bulk of the protests are targeted against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That's actually fine with me. It would be much better if it were accurate, but in any case, free PR is a great thing.

Similarly to what I have pointed out here before, Connor's Conundrums notes that such attention most often redounds to the LDS Church's benefit. The current salvo--that we are Gestapo agents that

Somehow I'm afraid that non-marital rights aren't the ultimate goal of the homosexual marriage lobby. In other words, I'm not feeling very much of the love just yet.

hate homosexuals--is pretty much as easy to disprove as the fact that we don't have horns on our heads.

While a large percentage of the protesters seethe with a special venom reserved for the LDS Church, a significant portion of them don't agree with hate as a tactic--ever. I appreciate such sentiments.

Utah State Senator Scott McCoy said:
Today we have a great opportunity before us to begin to bridge the divide between the gay community and the LDS community and to seek out common ground. I take LDS Church leaders at their word that they are not anti-gay and that they sincerely understand that gay and transgender individuals and their families are in need of certain legal protections and basic benefits. I appreciate their statements that they do not oppose legal protections for gay people like those already enacted in California law that do not conflict with their genuinely held beliefs about marriage. This is our chance to come together and work to enact basic legal protections for gay Utahns. I am hopeful that the LDS Church will accept our invitation to heal our communities by bringing its considerable social and political influence to bear in support of laws that prevent discrimination and provide for the legitimate needs of all Utahns and their families.
I've met Senator McCoy once, and he seems like a sincere man. For now, I'll take him at his word as well. But it might be a while before we see if he really is sincere. After all, even Senator McCoy admitted that a great number of his constituents are LDS.

A brief by Equality Utah, which I received in my inbox today, seems a little less on the "love" side, and a bit more on the "taunt" side.
The LDS Church has articulated it is not “anti-gay” but rather pro-marriage and it “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights.”

During this press conference Equality Utah will be asking the LDS Church to demonstrate its conviction on these statements as well as its willingness to secure such rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Utahns.
From my perspective, the issue for the Church has always been about marriage and not about human rights. this really love coming from the "homosexual marriage" advocates? Or is it just another attempt to get another step ahead through false compromise? Are homosexual marriage advocates willing to see our point of this really love coming from the "homosexual marriage" advocates? Or is it just another attempt to get another step ahead through false compromise?

view that marriage is not a "right" but a responsibility, if we are willing to agree that homosexuals should have the rights listed by LDS Church leadership in a recent public statement--which, actually, we've done all along?

Somehow I'm afraid that this isn't the ultimate goal of the homosexual marriage lobby. In other words, I'm just not feeling very much of the love.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Republicans: How Did You Just Now Notice that Your Party Stinks?

Inexplicably, Republicans held up George W. Bush as their presidential candidate for not one, but two terms. That was followed by the shocking encore of John McCain. Some Republicans are just now admitting that John McCain was a flop as a candidate. Why did they wait? They knew that at least a year ago.

If Republicans really want to have a competitive party, they have got to stop listening to the Establishment fringe and offer an alternative. Socialism lite is a weak attempt at uniqueness. John McCain had no chance of beating Barack Obama. Given a fair shake by the media and the Republican Establishment, Ron Paul could have run circles around our President-elect.

Answer me honestly now--on election day (and even months before) did you ever really get the feeling that Barack Obama was going to lose? Why should

And which candidate really represented Reagan principles? That would be the candidate that Glenn Beck kept trashing throughout the campaign--until he sought out that now former candidate's expertise when the economy began to tank, just like Ron Paul predicted it would.

Americans have voted for a Bush clone? McCain and his Establishment Republican backers offered no alternative. The outcome was not surprising.

Following the election, Senator Jim DeMint said:
"Republicans suffered very serious setbacks in the last two years in both the Senate and the House. We have got to clean up, reform and rebuild the Republican Party before we can ask Americans to trust us again. This must begin with either a change of command at the highest levels or our current leaders must embrace a bold new direction."

"Republicans must admit the Wall Street bailouts were a trillion-dollar bust, and immediately fight for free-market solutions that create jobs and increase freedom," DeMint said. "This election reflects a failure of Republicans to keep their conservative promises."
Why, Senator, did you wait until now to say this?

Rush Limbaugh was quick to criticize:
Radio host Rush Limbaugh... blasted John McCain's presidential campaign as weak and said Barack Obama's election as president is an opportunity to purge the Republican Party of candidates who abandon conservative principles.

"McCain's whole campaign was a concession speech," said Limbaugh in his post-election analysis. "We've now demonstrated to everyone how to lose."
I wonder, then, why Rush Limbaugh

If the minions continue to cow to the Establishment faction of the Republican party, they will be suckered again and again.

belittled the only real Republican in the bunch, Ron Paul?

Yesterday, Glenn Beck stated that
John McCain was one of the worst presidential candidates conservatives could have ever fielded. John McCain was also not the choice of conservatives. John McCain, not the standard bearer of conservative principles. Huh. Why vote for liberalism light when you can have a real socialist? It was John McCain that lost last night, the values and the principles of Ronald Reagan's Republican party were not rejected because there was no candidate representing them.
And which candidate really represented Reagan principles? That would be the candidate that Glenn Beck kept trashing throughout the campaign--until he sought out that now former candidate's expertise when the economy began to tank, just like Ron Paul predicted it would.

We've gotten ourselves into this mess because of 8 years of fake Republicanism. Aside from Alan Keyes having been the Republican nominee in 2000, the best thing that could have happened for our country was to have Al Gore beat George Bush. Not only would we not have had a senseless war in Iraq, we wouldn't have given millions of Americans and people around the world the wrong impression about what conservatism and Republicanism is all about.

In the coming days, Republicans are going to get everything they deserve. As long as they field "I'm just like the Democrats" Republicans, it's going to stay that way. If the minions continue to cow to the Establishment faction of the party, they will be suckered again--every four years on the dot.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Proposition 8: Anti-Mormon Ad is Reeeeaallly Lame

Often when people so completely mischaracterize an opponent's position, it turns to the opponent's benefit. I'm predicting that a silly video will get a lot of people wondering what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is all about, and they'll be pleasantly surprised to find that Mormon missionaries don't work for the KGB. Could the video producers be sued in court for hate crimes? Maybe, but they won't be.

Is the video's content so inane that no one can take it serious? Unfortunately, a few people already claim to believe that the video tells the truth.

A friend of mine at work was very distressed about a new commercial that has begun playing recently against Mormons who are in support of California's Proposition 8, which would make it illegal for homosexuals to marry. I expected to encounter a tour-de-force, something much more truthful and effective, something that would cause me to question my stand against homosexual marriage. Instead, I watched a very lame video.

You'd be better off reading the LDS Church's Official Statement about its involvement in Prop 8. Cliff Lyon, of the weblog OneUtah, seems to have never met a Mormon bashing tool that he didn't like, regardless of its truthfulness. Cliff posted the above video on his website, advocating that it's a correct representation of what LDS Church leadership is directing from its ivory tower in Salt Lake City. I'm not sure why even Cliff would allege that the video is anything close to accurate.

Cliff says
Lets also be clear the preponderance of modern, good Mormons, though silent, are not proud of the LDS church’s intrusion into the lives people, families, and the rights of all Americans.
I'm not sure how Cliff would know how the preponderance of "modern, good Mormons" think--if they are silent.

The Church is not intruding into people's lives and destroying their rights. Of course if you watch the video believing what Mr. Lyon promulgates as "gospel truth", you might think the Church is a bastion of Torquemada.

Cliff continues
The good news is almost no one born since 1980, Mormon kids included, has any problem with homosexuality and nothing the LDS church will do will change that.
It's as though the LDS Church is supporting a Proposition that would make homosexuality itself illegal. I'm not sure how Cliff and others can come to the conclusion that that's what members of the LDS Church are advocating. It's interesting as well that he would single out the Mormon Church, when the issue has broad support among various churches. I suppose it's just easier that way--to not have to really delve deep into the issue, because one's mind is already made up.

Related Links:

An Ugly Attack on Mormons

These 3 Things Bug Me about Utah Elections

I went to the polls this morning, and I found a couple of things that really bothered me. Find out what they are below.

What will you be doing tonight after you vote? Will you be sitting with eyes glued to your television set? Do you prefer to get your updates from the internet? Or do you not care at all? I'm actually very intrigued by what will happen tomorrow, both on a state level as well as nationally. Here's my battle plan.

This Really Bugged Me when I Voted this Morning.

One Party is More Important Depending On Where You Live. Did you get a chance to look at the official ballot for Utah County that was being provided to voters as they waited in line? In every single case, the name of the Republican candidate was placed at the top of the list of candidates for that particular office. In Salt Lake County, the Democrat candidate was always listed first. Imagine that--the politicization of politics.

Normally, in all fairness, the names for each office are alphabetized.

Straight-Party Balloting Should Be Made Illegal. This is one of the dumbest inventions next to the unaccountable Diebold voting machines. I was momentarily confused this morning when the first question the machine asked me was which party I wanted to vote for. I wonder how many people don't realize that it's okay to click the "Next>" button without selecting something on that first voting screen.

Why Don't They Let Me Keep a Printed Copy of My Ballot? I know--this one is an old beef--but it still bothers me greatly that I have no idea what's going on inside that voting machine despite the fact that it correctly tells me that I voted for Governor Smith, Congressman Jones, and against Initiative 1. There should be a way that I can have my unique voter number printed out for me, and a web site where I can ensure that the votes for my number were actually tallied correctly.

My Election Day Battle Plan.

After I go to the gym in the morning, I'll probably stop by the Santaquin City Center in my sweaty clothes to hurry and vote before the line gets too long, so that I can get to work on time. I hope they're still long anyway, even though 330,000 Utahns have already voted, which amounts to 30% or more in some counties.

During the day I'll probably tune into,,,, and to see what's going on. As soon as I get home, I'll tune in again, probably every now and again though, with a couple of good books by my side.

I'm irritated, but not depressed, that either McCain or Obama

Will there be another protracted incident the likes of the "hanging chad"? Will the Supreme Court get involved yet again? Or will we know by early Wednesday morning who the next president will be?

Where will you get your election coverage information? Will you stay up late? Or are you just going to wait until tomorrow to find out what the outcome was?

will be our next President. I'm not concerned in the least that Obama will throw us a socialistic sucker punch in his first 100 days. I'm not even worried by the fact that the Democrats will have huge majorities--probably even to include a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. There's not a whole lot of difference between Republicans and Democrats these days, anyway. It just makes for excellent theater for the millions of people who think there is a difference.

I hope that at least 5 million people vote for Chuck Baldwin, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, or Bob Bar. That would mean somewhere around 2 percent of the population had the brains and the cojones to vote for a non-Establishment candidate.

In Utah's 3rd Congressional District, I'll be voting for Jim Noorlander. Bennion Spencer and Jason Chaffetz are actually both fine candidates (Chaffetz is a bit brash from time to time, though), but Noorlander would represent Utahns more effectively than the others.

In the Utah State Legislature, I expect that there will be a better balance between Democrats and Republicans. My "biggest fantasy" of the entire election would be that Chris Buttars, Greg Hughes (despite what I wrote about him here previously), Greg Curtis, Becky Lockhart, and Curt Bramble get waxed by their opponents.

I hope for Bob Springmeyer to do well against Jon "Blue Ribbon Panel" Huntsman, and Jean Welch Hill to make a good showing against Mark Shurtleff. I actually wish Hill would clean Shurtleff's clock, but the polling numbers leave me less than confident that that will happen.

Are you voting for Obama? Will he win? Will there be a riot in America if he doesn't, as Glenn Beck predicts?

Will there be another protracted incident the likes of the "hanging chad"? Will the Supreme Court get involved yet again? Or will we know by early Wednesday morning who the next president will be?

Where will you get your election coverage information? Will you stay up late? Or are you just going to wait until tomorrow to find out what the outcome was?