Showing posts from 2009

What is Inflation?

We have been taught to think of inflation as rising prices. The image at right conveys this misconception.  But rising prices and inflation are two completely different things.  Inflation is an increase in the money supply.  Generally rising prices are only a consequence of that increase.

How Government Destroys Charity, Family, and Community

United States presidents in centuries gone by had a healthy respect for the Constitution. Now it receives regular disdain by those who call it "living". The General Welfare clause of the Constitution was placed as a safeguard against government usurping the responsibility (and opportunity) of private individuals and organizations to care for the poor. Now, under the guise of "helping" the poor, charlatans in government, along with their lobbyist friends, have become filthy rich, while families and communities continue to die a slow death.

Some Facts About "The New Deal" You Probably Didn't Learn in High School

One of the worst things about history is that the victors get to write it.  And then it gets promulgated far and wide in government schools throughout the land.  One of the most vicious lies ever told about Franklin D Roosevelt was that he supposedly saved the United States with his "New Deal".  After you read the actual facts, you can continue to like FDR's policies if you wish to, but here's what really happened.

Welfare: How Government Never Creates Problems, but Can Always Solve Them

Governments are notorious for creating problems and blaming them on the free market. The Great Depression is perhaps the most successful of such scams in the history of the United States, only exceeded on a worldwide scale by the machinations of people like Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Adolf Hitler. Caused by government, the Great Depression not only gave the federal government cover for the “benevolent” accumulation of power, but also has successfully (but wrongly) convinced the predominance of Americans that government bureaucrats can take care of our neighbor from afar better than we can from across the street.

A greater crock has not been perpetuated on freedom-loving people since Lucifer enticed a third part of the hosts of heaven to rebel against our Heavenly Father’s plan in our pre-mortal existence.

It Takes a Federal Reserve to Ruin an Economy

Without the Federal Reserve, the American economy would not be in dire straits.  It is primarily the fault of the Federal Reserve that many homes and office buildings sit vacant.  It is largely the irresponsibility of the Fed that resulted in the United States government owning General Motors.  Here's why.

Exposing the Citadels of Freedom to a Slow Death by Strangulation

Just a few years before Ronald Reagan became president of the United States, the Soviet Union was the world's 800-pound gorilla.  Countries across Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America were falling to Communism.  American politicians and beatniks had taken to talking of  losing the struggle to communism.

As Reagan weakened the Soviet Union with his words of encouragement to communism's captives, many Americans worried that Reagan was too boorish and too aggressive.  Yet, suddenly, when the Soviet Union imploded on the wings of his inspirational critique, those same Reagan detractors said they had seen it coming all along.

The Utah Ethics Initiative is Redundant and Should Be Opposed

At one time, Utah was in dire need of legislative ethics reform. I've written about it on Simple Utah Mormon  Politics more than once.  Out of such a dearth, the Utah Ethics Initiative was born.  Whether or not the impetus came from the recently proposed Initiative, the Legislature has now remedied or will soon fix most of problems that were identified in the Initiative's text.

The Utah Legislature still needs further ethics reform.  But it no longer needs an Initiative to spur it on.  Because of recent improvement in ethics laws, the Utah Ethics Initiative is largely redundant of existing Utah law.  Utahns should, therefore, oppose the potential Legislative Ethics Initiative for which signatures are now being gathered around the state.

Ethics Commission.  Utah's legislature does not have an independent ethics commission--not yet anyway. That's about to be fixed.  The proposed Initiative states that
Forty states have some form of an independent ethics commission; Utah do…

Climategate Isn't Just About 1 or 2 E-Mails

If you listen to the US mainstream media, you'd think that the ClimateGate scandal is about 1 or 2 emails.  It's about far more than that.  It's about conspiracy.  It's about intimidation.  It's about intentionally falsifying the data with the help of computer programs. You've heard only a minuscule amount of what Climategate is really about. It's important, however, that you find out just how gigantic is that part of the ClimateGate iceberg that lies beneath the water line.

Iran Contra: So You Thought You Knew the Truth About Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan haters ascribe malice to nearly all of his actions during his eight years as President. That ascription is especially made for his supposed involvement in what came to be known as the Ira-Contra Arms for Hostages scandal.

In reality, though, Reagan's biggest mistake was, in his attempt to make things right, to trust people who didn't deserve to be trusted.

Glenn Beck's "Arguing With Idiots" Has an Idiotic Title, but a Lot of Truth

I have a dilemma regarding Glenn Beck.  He's bombastic, and--as he admits--he's a rodeo clown.  But he's also very intelligent.  His latest book, although poorly named, is full of interesting truths and insights.  Many people hate Glenn Beck.  They challenge his personality and some of the causes that he (jokingly) advocates, but they seldom challenge his facts.

Beck can be very uncivil.  But he speaks the truth.  Is that enough reason to keep paying attention to him?

The IPCC is a Fraud, and Al Gore's Nobel Prize Should Be Rescinded

If you didn't know that the man-made global warming theory was an elaborate hoax, there exists no question about that fact now.  With the uncovering of thousands of e-mails that identify the gyrations that supposed scientists went through to hide real data and to deceive the public, the days of faux scientists promulgating lies about man-made global warming are numbered.  Al Gore, the two-bit, filthy rich snake-oil salesman should be required to return his unearned Nobel Peace Prize, and he should be made to walk as a pariah about the earth until the end of his days.

The General Welfare Clause: Limited Government is About More than Dogmatism

The predominant belief among the Founding Fathers was that the General Welfare clause of the Constitution did not allow the federal government to perform any act or collect any amount of money for whatever it deemed to be the general welfare. That belief, though, was not unanimous among the Founders. However weak the case might be, nonetheless a case can be made, based on the beliefs of such Founders as Alexander Hamilton, that very broad powers are granted to the federal government when it comes to providing for the general welfare.

This reality requires us to defend the "limited" view of General Welfare powers not just as a matter of Constitutional principle, because those who make the opposing case do so using the same Constitution and the words of other Founding Fathers. Those who make the opposite case see our "principle" as mere dogmatism. Our case is made much stronger, then, if we can defend the limited view of the General Welfare Clause from a pragmati…

George W. Bush is Not Ronald Reagan's Legacy

Ronald Reagan did some wonderful things as president.  But he was far from perfect.  Reagan presided over some of the worst moments in American history.  The worst thing about Ronald Reagan, however, was not anything Reagan himself did, but rather his distorted "legacy," created by those who wished to profit from his popularity.  This so-called legacy, embodied in the two-term presidency of George W. Bush, has given both Reagan's supporters and his detractors a far different idea as to who Ronald Reagan really was.

They were very dissimilar.  Ronald Reagan was an imperfect statesman.  George W. Bush was a political freak.

Ezra Taft Benson, Ronald Reagan, and the Undying Russian Religious Spirit

Ezra Taft Benson saw it firsthand.  Ronald Reagan knew it was there.  Decades of Soviet Communism could  not quench it.  For what they saw, Reagan and Benson have been reviled.  Reviling does not, however, change the truth.  Through decades of the dark slavery of Soviet communism, the Russian people, along with their fellow Warsaw Pact slaves, illustrated that a firm belief in God cannot be suffocated.

In the Fall of 1959, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, along with family and staff members, toured the Soviet Union.  From the moment he arrived, Secretary Benson requested to be able to visit any  Christian church in Moscow, all the while fearing that his KGB handlers would never allow such a thing to happen.

The Constitution and Natural Law

Everything has a law built into its nature.  Our ability to recognize and obey such law is the basis of Natural Law.  Good government ensures that man-made law adheres to natural law.  Government which makes unnatural law in order to benefit one class of citizens (usually the elite) will invariably create more unnatural law in an attempt to pretend that it is righting (or hiding) its previous wrongs.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States both satisfy the predicates of Natural Law.  Natural law realizes its limits and stops there.  The current United States government doesn't.  Natural law finds its equivalent in our founding documents.  Our current national government is natural law's antithesis.

Saving the Constitution Through Provident Living and Civility

The Constitution will "hang by a thread". It has been prophesied. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will play an instrumental part in saving the Constitution. That has also been foretold.

But how will it be saved? Through provident living and civility.

Agreements are Not Treaties. Agreements are Therefore Not Constitutional

The Constitution is very clear on how the United States must go about making commitments to other nations. Every such accord must be ratified by a two-thirds majority of the Senate in order to take effect. This, specifically, is called a treaty. In the last several decades, this requirement has been skirted more and more often. Now, nearly always, an "agreement" is used instead. Sometimes the agreement between the President and another country doesn't even get voted on in congress.

Up until tonight, I had thought that the North American Free Trade Agreement was really a treaty, but that the acronym NAFTT just didn't have quite the right ring to it. The reality, however, is that NAFTA is a mere "agreement", which doesn't have the force of Constitutional validity. The 61 votes that NAFTA received in 1993 did not constitute enough votes for it to become a "treaty".

Article VI of the Constitution says thatThis Constitution, and the Laws of the …

General Welfare Clause: Did Alexander Hamilton Waffle?

Alexander Hamilton at one point in his political career seemed to have held a very limited view of the federal government's powers, believing that such things as "agriculture and manufacture" were under the purview of state governments. Not long after taking such a stand, he advocated the federal government's role in funding such pursuits. Did Hamilton change his tune? It does not appear so. On the one hand, Hamilton seemed to be advocating that the federal government should have no legislative control over things for which no power had been granted to it, while on the other he seemed to believe that it was okay for congress to appropriate moneys to all of the states generally to fund such pursuits, because funding of such endeavors was within the parameters of the Constitution's General Welfare Clause.

Just two days before Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, he revealed who had written each of the Federalist Paper essays. That day, Hamilton appear…

General Welfare Clause: Without Limited Federal Powers, the Constitution Would Likely Never Have Been Ratified

It is absurd to imagine that the former colonists, who abhored British attempts to continually centralize governmental power over them, would in turn create a federal government that possessed the same abusive powers. Yet this is exactly what some opponents to the Constitution of the United States were fearful of. It was only after careful assurances that the government's powers were limited and that a Bill of Rights would be the first item of business for the new Congress that several of the largest states ratified the Constitution.

Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York, some of the largest states in America at the time of the state constitutional ratifying conventions, came rather close to not ratifying the Constitution. They wanted assurances that the General Welfare Clause, as written, did not mean that the new federal government could raise moneys through taxation for essentially anything that the government happened at the time to deem as being for the general welfare.


General Welfare Clause: The Constitution's Great Limitation

If a court doesn't clearly understand what a law means, the judges always go back to the intentions of those who wrote it. So they should. A law is still the law until it is properly amended. As law, meaning of the Constitution of the United States can be so understood. When we go back to discover the historical context in which the Constitution came forth, its meaning becomes much less ambiguous.

Some people refer to the Constitution as a "living" document. It's not--at least not according to the way that people who use the term "living" mean it. Worse than that, the Constitution is virtually dead, because when it is not being misinterpreted it is almost always otherwise ignored.

But it wasn't always that way.

The Constitution is what the Constitution says. If it is not clear what the Constitution says, then we must go back to what those who wrote it and those who ratified it understood it to mean. It is largely only to those who don't go bac…

A Basic Explanation of the Current Economic Crisis

Incessantly, putrescent pundits and politicians blame "The Free Market" for our current economic problems. In reality, the economic crisis is due to the fact that our economy is under far more government control than you've been led to believe.

Besides megalomaniacal politicians, the biggest of the free market haters are the big bankers. Right now, they're winning, and you're losing.

Big bankers hate the free market. It's too risky. The free market forces you to be responsible for your economic choices. Big Bankers, on the other hand, just want to get pornographically rich. Because of their lust for money and power, big bankers encourage government to become involved in their transactions in order to protect them from the results of their failed risks. Government is more than happy to take their risks and fix their messes, because in doing so, government can gain more control over your life.

The reason for our current economic crisis is not "The Free Ma…

For Today's "Heroes", the Constitution is a License To Do Anything

The old interpretation of Constitution of the United States is bo-o-o-r-r-r-ing. This school of thought said that the Constitution limits what the federal government can accomplish. So what do people do who are annoyed by that inconvenience? They reinvent and "reunderstand" the Constitution so that suddenly it allows anything they want. This is the essence of modern-day heroism--rape of principle accompanied by masterful propaganda.

As a result of such claims of heroism, the Constitution has come to mean next to nothing. For today's "heroes," it has become a license to do anything. Today's "heroes" come from both major political parties and from every branch of government.

If it weren't so tragic, it would be funny how many conservatives have I've come to the conclusion that many Constitution haters really don't hate the Constitution as I once thought they did. Rather, they have simply come to "re-understand" it, which mak…

What Would the World Be Like Without Atheists?

I suspect most believers in God think that "atheist" is a dirty word. But is it really? Think of a world without atheists. Would we be better off? Absolutely not. A world without atheists would be a pretty scary place.

Some of the most intelligent people in the world are atheists. They are often atheists because they are diligent seekers after truth.

In the October 2009 General Conference of the LDS Church, Elder Robert D. Hales make the following statement:
...we live in a time when the darkness of secularism is deepening around us. Belief in God is widely questioned and even attacked in the name of political, social, and even religious causes. Atheism, or the doctrine that there is no God, is fast spreading across the world.Does that indicate that Elder Hales thinks that atheists are bad people? I don't think so. I think it indicates simply that believes that they are misinformed. It's not hard, however, it today's world to be misinformed, what with there ex…

Climate Change and Pollution are Two Separate Things

Conflating "pollution" with "climate change" is causing us to waste a lot of time, effort, and money. One of these (pollution) we can control. The other we cannot.

How is it that so many people can't understand the not-so-subtle "nuance" between climate change and pollution? In a recent letter The only way that pollution, CO2, and climate change are remotely related is in the fact that the federal government mis-defined carbon dioxide--one of the most vital nutrients for plant life on earth--as a the editors of the Deseret News, Scot Morgan ("Humans Partly to Blame", 10/8/2009) chastizes Frank Overfelt for not believing that humans have much of anything to do with climate change (which we don't), but as supposed proof that we do cause climate change, he lists ways that we cause pollution. In an attempt to make an otherwise excellent point regarding our stewardship of the environment, Morgan suddenly finds himself in the l…

How Twitter Dramatically Enhanced My LDS Conference Learning Experience

Tweeting my #ldsconf notes on Twitter is much more fun than mere note-taking. It's also much more insightful. I have never learned so much on any one day of LDS General Conference as I did yesterday while tweeting about it.

A few evenings ago, Connor Boyack and I were returning from a blogger briefing at the Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City, when we began talking about the upcoming LDS General Conference. He mentioned that for the last couple of General Conferences he had tweeted his thoughts on twitter. I had just about given up on twitter in favor of facebook, but his idea piqued my interest. For the next couple of days I tweeted my thoughts as I listened to various talks from the April 2009 Conference.

And I was hooked. Twitter has now found its firm niche in my internet toolbag.

It used to be that I wrote notes in a notebook. That was helpful, but I never looked at those notes again. More recently, I've typed my notes into a document on my laptop. That at least…

Is It Still "Patriotic" to Hate the Dixie Chicks?

I never really liked the Dixie Chicks that much, so when all the radio stations started boycotting them in 2003, I didn't really think much about it. I now see the real point, though, that if someone's livelihood can be destroyed in the blink of an eye for speaking out against something they wish their nation was not doing, that we ought to be worried about our own freedoms.

The Dixie Chicks have a few good songs. But that one about throwing Earl's dead body in the trunk of the car about did me in. That, coupled with the scanty way in which the Chicks often dress, made me not much of a fan. So it really didn't matter much to me when the Dixie Chicks got banned from the radio for speaking out against George Bush and the Iraq War. It should have.

In the lead up to the Iraq War in early 2003, Chicks' lead singer Natalie Maines said "We don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." Th…

If We Could Make Just One Fix to Health Care, This Should Be It

The best solution for increasing competition in the health insurance industry--to allow insurance companies to sell policies to any resident in any state-- is one to which the federal government holds the key. Not only would this reduce costs by increasing competition, it would be a simple change for Congress to make. Yet so far, the United States congress refuses to make this one change, preferring instead to make health insurance and health care more complicated than it has to be.

Since 1945, as a result of federal intervention, Americans have only been able to purchase health care in their own states. The resulting lack of competition is one of the chief reasons that health insurance has become so expensive here. A simple, one-page federal law allowing Americans to purchase health insurance from any company in any state would help to reduce the exorbitant insurance costs that cause several million Americans to not be able to afford health insurance. The United States Congress,…