Tuesday, December 28, 2010

111th Congress Added More Debt Than First 100 Congresses Combined

The 111th Congress added more debt than the first 100 congresses combined. And almost doubled the amount of debt incurred by the 110th congress.

You can read about it here.

You know it would be a lot harder for conservatives to argue their principles if our country was able to keep government spending on social programs in the black.

Perhaps, as someone who leans conservative, I should be grateful that the social programs created by the federal government are outside our means and thereby help to support my arguments for smaller government.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How is Obama a Loser?

Really, I'm being honest here, but for all intensive purposes I do not think Obama is a loser. He has accomplished almost everything he has set out to do. And with Republicans balancing out congress this next year, Obama has the chance to show that he is willing to work across party lines. His recent tax proposals could be an indication of that.

Personally, I really dislike many of the things Obama has been successful at getting through congress. Health Care Reform and additional bailout funds are at the top of the list, but not all inclusive.

But how is Obama a loser? What has Obama not accomplished that he said he would? Don't Ask Don't Tell was finally snuck off the books during the holiday season. I really can't think of anything left. Can you? If a checklist is a good indicator of success, Obama has surprisingly crossed much off his list and achieved a high 'not a loser' score.

So why do people, even people from Obama's same party say that Obama is a loser? That they aren't pleased with him?

It seems strange to me, they appear to be getting everything they wanted out of him, in record timing even. I don't get it. In fact all this loser calling is making me curious.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tony Blair's Religion Debate and My Response

A couple of weeks ago in the news I saw an article about a public religious debate between former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair and the atheist and columnist Christopher Hitchens. It peaked my curiosity, so I read it and was not that impressed with the quoted arguments used in that debate on both sides. Although, interesting points were made. I also don't know if Mr. Blair or Mr. Hitchens are the two I would put into such a debate.

Most of you probably know that I am one who believes that a religion created by God for his purposes is the greatest organization for which you can be a part. And some of you, who have had discussions about religion with others may have heard, or made, the argument that religion has been the cause of so many needless deaths in the history of our world.

This isn't really what I would call a "debate response," it is simply the response ignited in me when I read the article.

Religion is not evil. The misuse of power is what is evil. Is government evil? Not inherently. Only when the power given to government is misused is it evil, or when government is given power it should not have. Is charity evil? Only when it’s true designs and actions are evil. Can different religions perform evil acts? Absolutely. But God does not perform evil acts, and he condemns anyone who misuses his name to perform those acts.

This life on earth, which was created by God, puts us is in a situation where we are created free and commanded to use that freedom correctly. In order to become something greater. In order to become like our God.

That freedom can be abused, and has been abused to do EACH and EVERY evil act committed on this planet. But that freedom has also been the foundation for EACH and EVERY good act performed on this planet. That freedom comes from God and so all good that comes from our freedom is of God, whether you choose to recognize Him as the source or not.

There is a God, God is truth. All that is good is of God and all that is evil is not. Man does not declare what is of God and what is not, God makes that declaration. Within each of us is the Spirit of Truth that can help us to identify what is and what isn't true.

However, if we limit the Spirit of Truth within each of us with our pride, selfishness, doubt, fear, laziness, unwillingness, or other limiting traits we are unable to hear the confirmation of truth that that spirit brings, and we are then left to our own reasoning. When that is the case, each person comes up with his or her own “truth” through his or her own reasoning and chaos can ensue.

One being knows all, and that is the being who created our souls. He IS the source of all truth. God has only created one religion. Man with the help of the Devil has created many, and done much that is evil.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A New Study on the Tea Party

A friend of mine recently got a study she did as part of her doctorate program at UCLA picked up by the Washington Post and then other news organizations. Fox News was one of them (but for you anti-Fox people it was also picked up by the NY Times).

For her study she went to a Tea Party Rally and conducted a survey by going through the group row by row and taking pictures of every sign she saw. Her results showed that an overwhelming number of signs had to do with complaints about big government and fiscal conservatism while only about 6% of the signs had to do with the president's race or religion and 1% were tied to 'birthers.'

Here is a video of when she was invited to go onto Fox and Friends and explain her study. It does have the "Fox touch" but I think it presents her findings well.

Here is also a link to the Washington Times article that first covered her findings.

All I can say is "Emily, good job." I think her findings, although just one study and one rally, show that we can often overlay our fears or prejudices over a political movement and completely misrepresent what that movement is all about. That goes for both sides of the aisle.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Thought on Human Nature and the Greatest Good

How do we get it so society can foster the greatest good?

What is the greatest good?

Can we as a society achieve the greatest good if the greatest evil is not also possible?

To me, at this point in my life anyway, it seems that the greatest good is where every citizen a part of society is not selfish in the least bit, is not prideful in the least bit, and where love reigns king. Unlimited industry, innovation, and creativity would be fruits of the greatest good. The greatest good is all about constant building, creation, and freedom.

The greatest evil is where there is no individuality and therefore no individual choices that build unity. Selfishness and pride reign king and so with them come unbridled lusts and passions that can never be quenched. Nothing can be created because all is torn down. No ideas are your own.

I believe the ability to achieve the greatest good and the greatest evil is born in each of us. That's what makes us different from the animals upon this earth. We have two natures. One nature, the nature we typically call 'human nature' is selfish and like an animal we only want to have our passions and lusts quenched. And because of what makes us different from animals we can go beyond the limits of animals in our attempts to quench those passions and lusts. Human nature is what tempts us to be greedy, to steal (and not just physical possessions), to think only of ourselves. It wants to destroy, not build. It wants all to be enslaved to it. It cares less for truth, and only seeks to bend it and obliterate it.

The other nature, I don't know if it has a name, but it is the part of us that dreams, that builds, that nurtures a child, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a neighbor, a stranger. It is the part of us that wants to end needless suffering. That wants to clothe the naked, feed the poor, and lift our brother. It wants to build and not destroy. It finds power in self-restraint. It finds power in working within boundaries that set you free. It wants all to be free and beautiful. It wants to know all truth. It wants balance.

I believe we each have these natures within us. Both natures can be taught, but a portion of both come born in each of us when we enter this world.

With all this nature all up inside ourselves, we are empowered as beings that can act and not be acted upon. We can choose which nature we wish to give in to. Most of us give in to a little of both. The better you are the less you give in to the destructive nature and the more you give in to the building nature. Few of us have mastered the building nature, but many if not most favor that nature, and some are better at different aspects of the building nature than other aspects.

What we call 'human nature' seems to be the one that we easily fall into, and the other nature, is the nature we all want or desire to have. I feel that, especially when I give in to human nature, the good nature is what pulls me out and helps to lift me to cast off my 'human nature.'

So it seems in order to create the greatest good, the better of our two natures needs to be able to reach its highest potential. For that nature is good.

How do natures increase?

They increase through choice, action, or lack of action. This goes for both natures. The difference comes with the nature of the choices, actions, or non-actions that we make.

It seems that the greatest good comes when we are free to make those choices or those actions or non-actions that increase our ability to make more choices, actions, or non-actions. That is the nature of 'good' choices.

The greatest evil on the other hand seems to come from making choices, actions, or non-actions that eventually limit future choices, actions, or non-actions. That is the nature of 'bad' choices.

If you create a society where choice, especially the choice to do good, is taken from you either entirely or given to someone else to make on your behalf, you then are limited on your current and future choices, actions, or non-actions, which is a perversion of good choices. But if you create a society where you are free to make good choices for yourself, you then find more and more good choices that you can make. Those good choices, in my current opinion, are endless.

So back to the original question: Can you achieve the greatest good without the possibility of the greatest evil? Can you make choices, actions, or non-actions available to society without also making available choices, actions, and non-actions that limit future actions?

Is that how balance, and opposition, is achieved while still accomplishing the greatest good? Where the possibility of the greatest evil is left available as a choice? A choice that is consciously refused?

Right now, to me, that seems to be the way to allow for the greatest good. Yet there also seem to be limits on the choices that lead toward the greatest evil that should be enforced by a society. It doesn’t appear to be just to allow evil actions of one person that harm another. Society seems to be able to restrict those while still allowing for the greatest good. Although, even that may limit the greatest good possible.

So until each person is characterly grown up enough to make good choices even when they have the ability to make the most evil of choices we are limited on the greatest good we can accomplish as a society.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Preacher Calls Off Burning Korans


A much needed sigh of relief has come.

The beauty of this country is that we do have freedom of religion and freedom of speech, with that you can make great decisions that produce the greatest good possible or make disgustingly offensive hypocritical decisions.

This wide spectrum of possibilities is what makes our country so great, especially since it seems that 9 times out of 10 we choose to use our freedom in support of the good and not the bad.

I love America.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

America is Great!

I was reminded the other day by someone who has immigrated to this country, about how great the United States of America really IS, ‘is’ as in present tense. Not ‘was’ as in past tense.

I think too often I listen to negative remarks and overlay them on my own perspective. These are negative remarks I have heard from friends, family members, reporters, commentators, republicans, democrats, tea partiers, independents, conservatives, liberals, and my own lips. It doesn't matter where you stand politically, 'both' political sides seem to be using negative perspectives to try and get more power than another side.

I'm sick of it. I miss loving my country for the optimism it promised.

I think I used to be a much more positive person in my youth. I tried to stay away from prejudging or hopeless thinking. Now, unfortunately, I seem much more comfortable embracing both.

I want to do better.

We as a people can do better.

We in America are part of the largest economy in the world, built upon the amazing industry of those who have gone before us in our free market. We are the richest country in the world.

We have the freedom to speak and to gather. We have the freedom to practice our religion or not practice any religion. We have the ability to make of ourselves anything we CHOOSE! We can provide our children with the same optimism and freedom. We have the ability to do the greatest good possible in the entire world!

Now, there are problems, and those problems must be addressed. But they must be addressed with hope (that's for the Obama fans) and with a steadfastness to protect individual rights.

Problems should be addressed with the idea that we can overcome our problems. That our problems do not define us, but instead it is our resolution for doing what's right, our creativity, and our industry that defines us.

America is great! It embodies the hopes and dreams of countless people. It is beautiful and inspiring. It is a land of milk and honey.

I love being an American.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


BYU IS INDEPENDENT! (in foosball)

I am justifying this post because although this situation was not governmental politics (which is generally the focus of my posts) it was political, and for me a BYU fan, it was highly exciting news.

So after days of rumors and almost for-sures, BYU (a private college located in Provo, Utah) officially declared its independence in football!

Here are the key details as I know them:

BYU signed on an 8-year contract with ESPN
- ESPN will broadcast at least three games
- ESPN has exclusive rights to broadcast any BYU home game
- BYU reserves same day broadcast rights for all home games (BYU-TV)

BYU and Notre Dame will meet six times between 2012 and 2020

BYU will have at five games with WAC teams in 2011 and four in 2012

BYU will play all other sports (basketball, baseball, ect.) with the WCC (West Coast Conference)

BYU's sports not included in the WCC agreement (cause the WCC doesn't play these sports) are softball, swimming, and track (which they are currently looking for a place for these sports to play)

So in short, I'm excited for BYU. This will be fun (I hope) and I will love not being as limited to what BYU games I can or cannot watch due to what channel I do or do not have (BYU-TV is available in most markets AND online).


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rights vs Privileges - Ext. of the Prop 8 Discussion

A friend of mine posted a blog post that discusses the difference between rights and privileges and how it relates to the Prop 8 discussion.

I think most readers of this blog will find his points interesting and rather than steal ALL his good ideas (after typing my blog title I noticed how similar it was to his) here is a link to his blog post:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Overturn of Prop 8

Was our system of government designed to allow 1 singular judge to overide the votes of millions?

This post isn't about gay marriage, but about the power we give one judge and the role of democracy in America. What role does democracy have in America? Is it only there to elect officials? If so, why do non-elected officials have power to change the policy created by millions?

I've been thinking for some time about what role judges are supposed to play in America? Their role is loosly outlined in the constitution and has been outlined in more detail mostly by the judges themselves.

We know federal judges are there to balance the power of the legistlative and the executive branch of government. But now it seems that they don't balance, they trump.

The only way to trump the supreme courts of the land is for the other two branches of government (who have enforcement power) and the people to ignore their rulings. This has happened before, but I think now we see the federal judges as the highest power in the land and I don't see that happening anytime soon.

But I could be wrong.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What if?

What if in order to get a bill passed it had to first pass the "average joe understanding test."

This test would be quite simple. An average male or female American would sit in congress and listen to congress explain EXACTLY what a bill would do. In addition, that average American would then sit and read the bill in its entirety before it is voted upon.

If in either case the American cannot understand the bill then the congress people go back to edit the bill to make it more understandable.

Then, instead of reading the bill to the same American, a new average American is brought in and the same process repeats. This is done until an average American has no misgivings about understanding what the bill will do.

Of course, Mr. or Ms. Joe would not necessarily agree with the bill. But that is a totally separate issue solved through exercising the right to vote.

Instead, we Americans would have something no living American has ever had before: An ability to understand the laws that are passed by congress.

Now some of you are saying to yourself, "we can't understand everything, some issues are too complex." To that I say, I don't think I believe that. I cannot think of one instance where a law needs to be complex to get the job done of TRULY helping Americans and protecting their rights. Please, provide one if you can think of it.

Others of you are saying to yourself, "This could never work." If that is the case, my next option is to say that for the next five years congress can only repeal legislation. No more new legislation can be done. Call it a legislative fast using a cleansing juice diet complete with its own enema.

And if you don't like that idea either, can we at least start fresh and replace the entire congress?

What, you don’t like that idea either?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'Obscene Pay'

I just read an article that put a sick angry knot in my stomach.

The city manager of Bell, California makes almost $800,000. It's police chief makes $457,000. PART-TIME (emphasis added out of disgust) city council members make almost $100,000.

The population of Bell? 38,000.

Needless to say, residents are pretty ticked right now.

UPDATE: Here is a nice article that goes into a little more depth and shows a nice comparison of salaries of Bell city officials with other officials (including the president).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Regulation Without Representation

I have a beef with regulation.

And it has nothing to do with thinking that there shouldn't be limits on what we can or can't do in America. Some limits that don't infringe upon our rights are needed to protect those rights.

My current beef is that some regulation is passed by a representative and some regulation is mandated by a bureaucrat. One of those shouldn't happen at all.

I also think that 99.9% of our regulation is garbage, but that is a whole ‘nother post.

I am of the strong belief that a government agency's responsibility is to enforce law not create it. We vote in lawmakers to do that.

When power is 'given' to an agency to create law, laws are being created without representation.

I may be treading on thin ice here, but it seems that regulatory agencies are sliding down greasy slopes. The more we create agencies to regulate and the more we give agencies to regulate, the more we are taking power from the people and the representatives that represent them.

With the new banking and consumer protection bill, a new agency will be created with new powers to regulate and create regulation. These will in effect be new laws that financial institutions and merchants will have to adhere to. They will not have been created by your representative. (And they’ll be most menos eficaz.)

I don't know why, but the more I think about regulation the more I'm irritated with regulation.

Monday, July 12, 2010

'Tea Party' as an obscenity

I don't get it. Not really.

Sure, I guess I understand why some people would think that the Tea Party movement is a racist, close minded, prejudice group. But that IS NOT because of what I've learned from listening to and watching the actual movement. I understand why some people think that way because I've listened to what those against the Tea Party movement have said about it.

This article is a case in point:

Those who have joined Tea Party groups across the country seem to be those who would label themselves as conservatives or of the political right. Those vehemently against the Tea Party groups seem to be those who would label themselves as liberals or of the political left.

Among those who label themselves as politically independent I've also noticed a split between the politically independents that are more conservative and those that are more liberal. There are also some that are scratching their heads not yet knowing where they stand when it comes to the Tea Party movement.

I suppose I am one who sympathizes with the Tea Party movement. I haven't joined a local Tea Party group or even been to one of their gatherings, but I am definitely attracted to its small federal government stance. AND I have NEVER seen or heard anything that has led me to believe that the Tea Party movement is racially motivated or driven.

Now, do some people for the Tea Party movement say stupid things? Absolutely. But that happens on both sides of the political stand. But I have yet to see any immoral or disgustingly hypocritical actions from the Tea Party movement itself.

At its core, I believe, are Americans who think government is getting too big and too involved in our daily life. I think, and this is just my observation, that this movement is fueled by the desire of Americans to govern their own lives and to keep America fiscally sound and strong enough to protect itself against its enemies. And America does have enemies.

You can disagree with those points, but these points are what the Tea Party movement is all about. They don't care about the color of the President, they care about the content of his policies and the policies of those around him. They are local organizations not governed by a large national head.

If you disagree with those against the current administration, and think that the policies being presented and passed by our government are good strong policies that our country needs, then you need to do a better job at explaining to your neighbor why these are good policies. The name calling, prejudging, hypocritical bantering that is coming from those who despise the Tea Party movement is doing NOTHING to convince the other side that their ideas are wrong.

Using 'Tea Party' as an obscenity is dividing America.

I'm a relatively young guy and have not seen the political movements my parents and grandparents have seen. But just in my lifetime, the current heat and political fervor is dividing neighbors, friendships, families, and America like I've never seen before.

I believe the main reason for this is that no one is willing to sit and listen to each other any more. All because of the political obscenities used by many of those in power, which are being used to keep and grow their power not to help what is true and best for America.

This is America, and we are only as strong as we are willing to listen to each other and work together. Disagreement is fine and needed for imperfect beings to find perfect solutions. But I'm guessing that if we listened to each other, disagreement would decrease and cooperation and common ground would increase.

Both sides have a lot more in common than is currently being publicized. Using each other as obscenities is not how we are going to find that.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Importance of Property Rights

Why do you think John Adams would make such a statement:

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."

-- John Adams, Works 6:9

Friday, June 25, 2010

We Got Something Really Good! ...just not sure how it works.

House and Senate lawmakers approved new financial rules this morning. About how the rules will work, Senator Chris Dodd said, "No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we've done something that has been needed for a long time."

I wonder if it was a representative I liked, would I be okay with just trusting him/her and whoever else will be implementing the bill, if it gets passed, to do a good, fair, and honest job?

Or would I be as skeptical of the bill as I am now?

What do you think?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I want to know what makes you tick

The reason I decided to create this blog was because I was tired of the discussion (or lack thereof) that is done throughout the political scene. Whether it is the political ranting, name calling, exaggerations, or finger pointing that you often find political commentators such as Sean Hannity, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Glenn Beck and the whole slew of them doing, or just politicians in general that you feel you can't trust because they seem to say one thing and then do another, there seems to be a soul missing from what we should really be discussing about government and politics.

Don't get me wrong – I enjoy listening to political commentators. But I have yet to find one that I always agree with. They are usually too sensational or too opinionated for me to feel like they are always giving a fair analysis. But I do think they can often add value to political thought, sometimes providing legitimate points for thought and even action.

However, I'm tired of having to listen to a bunch of fuzz to pick out bits and pieces of truths that can really help this country as well as any other society in this world. I believe there are truths out there that don't change, and if we understand those truths, we can then reap the benefits that come with living by those truths.

I also believe that people are not as divided on what they want for this country as is often portrayed or felt among Americans. There are differences in opinion and even strong disagreements as to what is true or not true. In some of those cases there can only be one side that is right, but in many cases there is also the chance that we haven't yet dug deep enough to understand the underlying truth that everyone is trying to adhere to.

If it isn't already apparent, I lean a little toward what we in America call the Right. Yet I have a hard time labeling myself as a "conservative." Words can change meaning. A conservative in the United States today means something different than what it did a hundred or two hundred years ago. Even across the ocean you find groups labeling themselves as conservative who adhere to different principles.

I don't care about political labels.

I don't want to know what you label yourself as or what you label others as. I want to know what principles guide your thoughts and actions. I want to know why you think certain political actions are important and others not.

So if you are a "liberal" then why are you a "liberal?" If you are a "conservative," why do you classify yourself as such? Even if you don't classify yourself as either, what principles guide your current political leanings and vision for our country?

I want to know what makes you tick when making decisions or opinions on what the government should or should not do.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Why are we a Republic?

If you would have asked me in sixth grade what type of government we have I would have said a democracy. Heck, you could have probably asked me that in high school and I would have said the same thing. We usually call ourselves a democracy, and in a way we are but not in the true sense of the word.

A full-fledged democracy would not have representatives to act on our behalf. Each individual given voter rights would vote on each issue that affected them.

We are more of a hybrid democracy. We vote for our representation on the federal level and often even on the state level. Those representatives then make and/or enforce our laws. It usually isn't until we get to the city or county level where a full on democracy begins to take shape, but even then we often have council members to represent us and create our laws albeit usually on a limited basis.

So why did the founders of this great nation choose a republic over a democracy? Was it because it would have been too hard to get the states to allow a straight democracy? Was it because those in charge didn't want to share power with every citizen? Was it because up to that point every democracy ended in bloodshed and corruption using the ignorance of the masses to fuel the fires created through politics? Or was it for some other reason?

As far as I can tell from my understanding of history the idea that our country is more of a democracy than a republic wasn't something that was portrayed until the early twentieth century. Before that, you would be hard pressed to find the word 'democracy' in the speeches of the leaders and thinkers at the level you find it today.

Today the word 'democracy' is a buzzword that is used and abused. Even communist dictatorships can use 'democracy' to describe their country's government without much question by the international community on the use of that word.

I think that we most certainly need democratic means to create and run our republic. But I also think there was some wisdom in the founders for making this nation a republic instead of using any of the other choices for a government structure.

What do you think? Why are we a republic and not a democracy? Was it wise for the founders of this country to chose a form of republicanism as the government of this country, or should they have chosen a different form of government?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Government Intervention Better Than Nothing?

Is government intervention to provide welfare services and other needed services better than nothing?

This was a response to a friend who made a suggestion that perhaps the answer to the above question is yes:

I wonder if gov't intervention is better than nothing. When the government intervenes it seems that people begin to always expect that intervention. We stop relying on charity or developing other solutions because we have a solution that somewhat works. That, I think, handicaps us and prevents us from completely obliterating the problems that immoral uses of capitalism or immorality in general breeds.

I might also argue that charity can't really exist in a closed system, but that charity has the greatest power to do good in an open free system like capitalism.

But the the opposite is also true, the lack of charity can do the most damage in an open system like capitalism.

Maybe we aren't mature enough yet as a society to help our neighbor except by force.