Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memo To Occupy Protesters

The following article is by Daniel Hannan who is a journalist for the British paper, The Telegraph.

Chatting to some Occupy protesters this morning, I was struck by how wide of the mark were the beliefs they attributed to me as a Right-winger. In the interests of deeper understanding, here are ten things which – trust me – most of the Tory scum I hang around with think. Obviously, I don’t expect to turn my Leftie readers in a single post; still, they might get a clearer idea of what we actually believe.

1. Free-marketeers resent the bank bailouts. This might seem obvious: we are, after all, opposed to state subsidies and nationalisations. Yet it often surprises commentators, who mistake our support for open competition and free trade for a belief in plutocracy. There is a world of difference between being pro-market and being pro-business. Sometimes, the two positions happen to coincide; often they don’t.

2. What has happened since 2008 is not capitalism. In a capitalist system, bad banks would have been allowed to fail, their profitable operations bought by more efficient competitors. Shareholders, bondholders and some depositors would have lost money, but taxpayers would not have contributed a penny (see here).

3. If you want the rich to pay more, create a flatter and simpler tax system. This is partly a question of closing loopholes (mansions put in company names to avoid stamp duty, capital gains tax exemption for non-doms etc). Mainly, though, it is a question of bringing the tax rate down to a level where evasion becomes pointless. As Art Laffer keeps telling anyone who’ll listen, it works every time. Between 1980 and 2007, the US cut taxes at all income levels. Result? The top one per cent went from paying 19.5 per cent of all taxes to 40 per cent. In Britain, since the top rate of income tax was lowered to 40 per cent in 1988, the share of income tax collected from the wealthiest percentile has risen from 14 to 27 per cent.

4. Those of us who believe in small government are not motivated by the desire to make the rich richer. We’re really not. We are, in most cases, nowhere near having to pay top rate tax ourselves; our most eloquent champions over the years have been modestly-paid academics. We believe that economic freedom will enrich the country as a whole. Yes, the wealthy might become wealthier still, but we don't see that as an argument against raising living standards for the majority.

5. We are not against equality. We generally recognise the benefits in Scandinavian-style homogeneity: crime tends to be lower, people are less stressed etc. Our objection is not that egalitarianism is undesirable in itself, but that the policies required to enforce in involve a disproportionate loss of liberty and prosperity.

6. Nor, by the way, does state intervention seem to be an effective way to promote equality. On the most elemental indicators – height, calorie intake, infant mortality, literacy, longevity – Britain has been becoming a steadily more equal society since the calamity of 1066. It’s true that, around half a century ago, this approximation halted and, on some measures, went into reverse. There are competing theories as to why, but one thing is undeniable: the recent widening of the wealth gap has taken place at a time when the state controls a far greater share of national wealth than ever before.

7. Let’s tackle the idea that being on the Left means being on the side of ordinary people, while being on the Right means defending privileged elites. It’s hard to think of a single tax, or a single regulation, that doesn’t end up privileging some vested interest at the expense of the general population. The reason governments keep growing is because of what economists call ‘dispersed costs and concentrated gains’: people are generally more aware the benefits they receive than of the taxes they pay.

8. Capitalism, with all its imperfections, is the fairest scheme yet tried. In a system based on property rights and free contract, people succeed by providing an honest service to others. Bill Gates became rich by enriching hundreds of millions of us: I am typing these words using one of his programmes. He gained from the exchange (adding fractionally to his net worth), and so did I (adding to my convenience). In a state-run system, by contrast, third parties get to hand out the goodies.

9. Talking of fairness, let’s remember that the word doesn’t belong to any faction. How about parity between public and private sector pay? How about being fair to our children, whom we have freighted with a debt unprecedented in peacetime? How about being fair to the boy who leaves school at 16 and starts paying taxes to subsidise the one who goes to university? How about being fair to the unemployed, whom firms cannot afford to hire because of the social protection enjoyed by existing employees?

10. Let’s not forget ethics, either. There is virtue in deciding to do the right thing, but there is no virtue in being compelled. Choosing to give your money to charity is meritorious; paying tax is morally neutral (see here). Evidence suggests that, as taxes rise, and the state squeezes out civic society, people give less to good causes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Prepare for the Battles to Come

Ezra Taft Benson said:

"The Founding Fathers understood the principle that “righteousness exalteth a nation” (Prov 14:34), and helped to bring about one of the greatest systems ever used to govern men. But unless we continue to seek righteousness and preserve the liberties entrusted to us, we shall lose the blessings of heaven. Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The price of freedom is also to live in accordance with the commandments of God. The early Founding Fathers thanked the Lord for His intervention in their behalf. They saw His hand in their victories in battle and believed strongly that He watched over them.

"The battles are not over yet, and there will yet be times when this great nation will need the overshadowing help of Deity. Will we as a nation be worthy to call upon Him for help?"

(Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg. 601; from an address given at the Provo Freedom Festival, Provo, UT, 29 Jun 1986)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Be Prepared

Do you have extra food stored in your home in the event of a job loss or natural disaster? Are you prepared in case of crop failures or inflation? Take a look at the food and emergency supplies that Shelf Reliance offers. Visit my site at:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Governments are the Servants...

Governments are the servants, not the masters of the people. All who love the Constitution of the United States can vow with Thomas Jefferson, who, when he was president, said,

I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

He later said:

To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must take our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labors and in our amusements.

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under pretense of caring for them, they will be happy. The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public money. We are endeavoring to reduce the government to the practice of rigid economy to avoid burdening the people and arming the magistrate with a patronage of money which might be used to corrupt the principles of our government. . . .

In conclusion, I repeat that no greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.

Let us, by exercising our privileges under the Constitution:

(1) Preserve our right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience,

(2) Preserve the right to work when and where we choose. . . .

(3) Feel free to plan and to reap without the handicap of bureaucratic interference.

(4) Devote our time, means, and life if necessary, to hold inviolate those laws which will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

( Source: David O. McKay “Free Agency… A Divine Gift” 367, 378 )

Friday, October 21, 2011

Food Storage - Edie's New Venture

I am now a consultant for Shelf Reliance/Thrive food storage and emergency products. Please visit my online store at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Constitution: An Inspired Document

"If we would make the world better, let us foster a keener appreciation of the freedom and liberty guaranteed by the government of the United States as framed by the founders of this nation. Here again self-proclaimed progressives cry that such old-time adherence is out of date. But there are some fundamental principles of this republic which, like eternal truths, never get out of date, and which are applicable at all times to liberty-loving peoples. Such are the underlying principles of the Constitution, a document framed by patriotic, freedom-loving men, who Latter-day Saints declare were inspired by the Lord" (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 319).

Friday, September 9, 2011

Called to Serve

West African LDS missionaries in Ghana sing "Called to Serve".

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Freedom to Worship

"I have heard Joseph Smith say that if he were emperor of the whole world, holding the destinies of all men in his hands, he would defend the religious rights of every man, whether his religion was right or wrong. And especially ought this to be the case in this American nation, the constitution of which guarantees to all people the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. This is the broad platform upon which our government has been founded. I have looked upon the Constitution of the United States as one of the best instruments ever devised by man for the government of the inhabitants of the earth."
(Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 24:237)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

California Dreamin', Part Three

Our final stop on our southern California trip was at President Nixon's library. His libary is in Yorba Linda, about an hour-and-a-half from President Reagan's library in Simi Valley. President Nixon's library actually sits on his family's land, in the place where citrus orchards had once been. It is located right next to President Nixon's family home. The house hasn't been moved; it's in the same place it was when Nixon was born there.

President Nixon and his wife, Pat, are both buried on the site of the Nixon Presidential Library.

The presidential helicopter that flew President Nixon and his family away from the White House on the day of his resignation is also located on the property. We were able to walk through it. It had the lovely 1970's decor of gold and avocado green upholstery.

These pictures are inside the Nixon family home. The kitchen is tiny. A person could stand in one place and reach almost everything in the room. The main room has the piano, chairs, and the dining table in the corner. There were two bedrooms on the main floor, but President Nixon's dad split one of the rooms in half and made it into a bathroom when indoor plumbing became a common feature. The Nixon boys slept on beds in the attic. The picture of the bed is the actual bed and room where President Nixon was born.

Bathroom is through the door

Piece of Berlin Wall To scale replice of White House East Room

Monday, August 8, 2011

California Dreamin', Part Two

Last summer we went to the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. We were pleasantly surprised at how interesting it was -- and that's from two people who agreed with very little of Truman's philosophies.

Library is really a misnomer for a presidential library. They are really museums and contain history about the president, his family, and issues of the world at that time. Anyone who is interested in history would love to walk through a presidential library. But plan for at least two hours; we have yet to get through one in less than two hours.

Touring all the presidential libraries is our new interest. Since we were planning a trip to Solvang this summer, taking the time to visit the Reagan and Nixon libraries seemed like a must.

We went to the Reagan library first. When we went to the Nixon library, we mentioned to one of our guides that we had visited the Reagan library prior to the Nixon libary. He had library envy as he expressed to us that Reagan's library had a lot of space to spread out. He's right; Reagan's library had a lot more space than Nixon's library.

Reliving the years leading up to Reagan's election while walking through the library was like looking in a mirror of where our country is currently. We were surprised at how many people were at the Reagan library besides us. Maybe they, like us, all long for the days of Reagan backbone and sanity.

Below are some pictures we took at Reagan's library:

President & Mrs. Reagan greet visitors / Reagan's saddles

President Reagan's "tear down this wall" suit / President & Mrs. Reagan's inaugural clothes

Air Force One. We were able to tour the inside.

The view from the Reagan Library

Replica of Reagan's Oval Office built to scale.

Reagan and Gorbachev

"We have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."

-Margaret Thatcher-

Friday, August 5, 2011

California Dreamin', part one

This year for our summer vacation we decided to take a trip to southern California. Edie had visited Solvang, California, several years ago and decided that it might be a place we'd like to see. Solvang is a small Dutch community that attracts lots of tourists and offers a variety of choices in Dutch shopping and pastries - two of our favorite things.

We stayed at a hotel in Goleta, California (by Santa Barbara), and drove the thirty minutes to Solvang. The drive was beautiful as we drove on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Below are some pictures we took with a cell phone:

We were so busy shopping that we forgot to take pictures of Solvang, but here's the link to a visitor's site.

Traffic in southern California is worse than a nightmare. At least you can wake up from a nightmare. It seems like there is never a good time of day, or a good day of the week, to drive the L.A. freeways. It's always bumper to bumper with periods of completely stopping and sitting on the freeway.

We've driven across country and back. We've driven through the rush hour downtown traffic of Philadelphia. We've driven the narrow and hectic streets of Washington, D.C. None of it compares to the absolute chaos of the L.A. freeway. If we ever return to Solvang, we're going through Bakersfield and sneaking in the back way. Future trips to southern California will be limited to Disneyland.

We asked one of the Solvang store owners how long he had lived there. He said that he had been there for about 28 years. He had lived in L.A. prior to moving to Solvang, but one day it took him 5 -1/2 hours in L.A. traffic to get home from work. And thus started his quest to leave L.A. It took three years, but he got out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Freedom Requires Work

"The only way we can keep our freedom is to work at it. Not some of us. All of us. Not some of the time, but all of the time.

"So if you value your citizenship and you want to keep it for yourself and your children and their children, give it your faith, your belief, and give it your active support in civic affairs."

(Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 405; from an address given at the Rotary Club, Salt Lake City, UT, 8 Jun 1976)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

George Soros Strikes Again

Billionaire George Soros is continuing his efforts to fundamentally change America -- and it's not a good change.

"A small tax-exempt political group with ties to wealthy liberals like billionaire financier George Soros has quietly helped elect 11 reform-minded progressive Democrats as secretaries of state to oversee the election process in battleground states and keep Republican 'political operatives from deciding who can vote and how those votes are counted.'

"Known as the Secretary of State Project (SOSP), the organization was formed by liberal activists in 2006 to put Democrats in charge of state election offices, where key decisions often are made in close races on which ballots are counted and which are not.

"The group’s website said it wants to stop Republicans from “manipulating” election results.
'Any serious commitment to wresting control of the country from the Republican Party must include removing their political operatives from deciding who can vote and whose votes will count,' the group said on its website, accusing some Republican secretaries of state of making 'partisan decisions.'

"SOSP has sought donations by describing the contributions as a “modest political investment” to elect “clean candidates” to the secretary of state posts.

Read the full article:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Greatest Responsibility is to Protect Freedom

"No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.

"Let us, by exercising our privileges under the Constitution (1) Preserve our right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience, (2) Preserve the right to work when and where we choose. No free man should be compelled to pay tribute in order to realize this God-given privilege. (3) Feel free to plan and to reap without the handicap of bureaucratic interference. (4) Devote our time, means, and life if necessary, to hold inviolate those laws which will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control [p. 158] of property,(35) and the protection of life." (David O. McKay, CR-4/50:37)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Civic Responsibility

"Improve your community by active participation and service. Remember in your civic responsibility that 'the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing' (Edmund Burke)... Do something meaningful in defense of your God-given freedom and liberty" (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, April 1988, 58).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Law of the Harvest

Excerpts from The Law of the Harvest: As a Man Sows, So Shall He Reap. Elder Howard W. Hunter. BYU Devotional. March 8, 1966.

"Many consider Ralph Waldo Emerson one of the wisest Americans. He discovered in his own way the truth that all blessings are predicated on obedience to both natural and spiritual law. His expression is very profound:

"…Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty…Every act rewards itself, or in other words inte­grates itself, in a twofold manner, first in the thing, or in real nature; and secondly in the circumstance, or in apparent nature. Man calls the circumstance, the retribution. The casual retribution is in the thing and is seen by the soul. The retribution in the circumstance is seen by the understanding; it is inseparable from the thing, but is often spread over a long time and so does not become distinct until after many years. The specific stripes may follow late after the offence, but they follow because they accompany it…."

"What is true with an individual is also true with a nation. You can absolutely rely on this – a nation cannot violate basic principles with impunity, that is, without paying the awful price, anymore than an individual can violate basic principles with impunity.

"We hear a lot of economic and political arguments going on around the country today. We have for a long time. Words like 'socialism,' 'free enterprise,' 'the welfare state,' 'states rights,' 'federal control,' 'human rights,' 'property rights,' 'communism,' are bantered around widely.

"From my own experience in business and as a lawyer and church worker, and from my firsthand observations in this country and other countries of the world, there appears to me to be a trend to shift responsibility for life and its processes from the individual to the state. In this shift there is a basic violation of the Law of the Harvest, or the law of justice. The attitude of 'something for nothing' is encouraged. The government is often looked to as the source of wealth. There is the feeling that the government should step in and take care of one’s needs, one’s emergencies, and one’s future.

"The right to own and control private property is not only a human right; it is a divine right. We will largely be judged, if I understand the Savior’s teachings correctly (see Matthew 25), by how we use our property voluntarily for the blessings and benefit of our Father’s other children. ...this right of free agency is our most precious heritage. It is our greatest gift in this world and is to be valued even more than life itself.

"If you deprive a man of his right to fail in the righteous use of his property, you also deprive him of his right to succeed. If you remove from a man his right to “go to hell,” you likewise remove his free agency to go to heaven. Satan’s entire philosphy is based on a “something for nothing” philosophy: salvation without effort – a free gift. This counterfeit doctrine was rejected by God our Father. Our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, accepted our Father’s plan and agreed to pay the infinite price to become our Savior and Redeemer and to show us the way back to the Father. The way is often the hard way. It is the Law of the Harvest. It is the same basic law in the spiritual realm which the farmer must obey in the physical realm. He plants in the spring and cultivates, waters, weeds, and nourishes the ground and its new life and then harvests in the fall.

"Under a free enterprise economy, little more than 6 percent of the population has produced nearly half of the world’s goods. We can today best wage a war on poverty by working on the roots of prosperity, not by sapping their vital strength. To sap the self-reliant spirit of enterprising independent souls in the development of a welfare state can bring only 'poverty equally divided.' When the responsibility for their own welfare is completely shifted from the shoulders of individuals and families to the state, a lethal blow is struck at both the roots of our prosperity and our moral growth.

"What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms.

"Let me illustrate: If I, as an employer, in my policies and practices exploit my employees, I will either lose them and my business, or my employees will gather together and threaten to strike me. They will strive to exercise an influence on the legislative process so that laws will be enacted dictating fair employment policies and practices, thus limiting my freedom to determine these things for myself.

"If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through 'a democratic process' he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the 'haves' and give to the 'have nots.' Both have lost their freedom. Those who 'have,' lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who 'have not' lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got 'something for nothing,' and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.

"Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost ."

"A thief takes something and gives nothing. He thinks he is free but sooner or later his freedom vanishes into walls and bars. Likewise, a person becomes a thief of his own soul by deceiving himself that he can live unrighteously, immorally, that he can cheat, lie, and take advantage of his neighbor; but all the while he is imprisoning himself behind bars and walls of his own making. 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked.'” (Galatians 6:7.)

"The only way we can keep our freedom is through our personal righteousness – by handling that freedom responsibly. We are our brother’s keeper. We must be concerned for the social problems of today. We must take that responsibility upon ourselves according to the gospel plan but not according to the socialistic plan.

"You know that it is vain and foolish for a doctor to criticize the symptoms of a disease and refuse to work upon the roots. So, also, it is superficial to only criticize socialism and the welfare state and the many other evil “isms” growing up among us unless we work upon the roots. It is only in the changing of a man’s heart – a second birth – the changing of an individual, that the root strength comes to change a people or a nation.

"God will preserve our country and protect it from all enemies, within and without, if we will worship the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ. The real issue is righteousness."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

7 Responsibilities You Have As An American

The following article was written by John Hawkins and posted today, June 8, 2011, on

7 Responsibilities You Have As An American

You hear a lot about "rights" in America. You have a right to an attorney. You have a right to remain silent. You have a right to free speech, a right to "keep and bear arms," a right to "due process," and a right to have "equal protection under the law."

Cruel and unusual punishment? Unreasonable search and seizure? Being tried twice for the same crime? Those would be violations of your rights. We're told that we have a right to privacy, a right to have an education, and a right to worship as we choose.

We hear about individual rights, civil rights, human rights, and constitutional rights. Stop somebody from doing something he wants to do and as likely as not, he'll tell you, "I have a right to do that and you have no right to stop me. After all, it's a free country and I have my rights!"

All that's well and good, but know what you don't hear a lot about anymore?


Responsibilities are the flip side of rights. In fact, the only reason we have rights at all is because there are people who fulfill their responsibilities. Yet, if you ask people what their responsibilities as Americans are, you'll usually get vacant expressions and maybe a mumbled statement about jury duty or paying taxes.

With that in mind, here are a few basic responsibilities that you, I, and all of us have as Americans.

1) It's your responsibility to pay your own way. Nobody owes you a living and that includes other taxpayers. You have a responsibility to pay your own bills and not be a leech. That means, over the course of your lifetime, paying as much in taxes as you take out in services and direct payments from the government. If, by some horrible set of circumstances you feel compelled to go on the dole, you should at least be ashamed to take hand-outs from your fellow citizens.

2) It's your responsibility to take care of your children. If you have kids, you have a duty to take care of them. That means paying money to feed, clothe, and house them. It means being a part of their life and doing your best to raise them, teach them right from wrong, and help them have a better life than you've had. This seems to be so simple that it's practically instinctive to most people, but apparently, a lot of people don't get it.

3) It's your responsibility to look out for future generations of Americans. Whether you think of America as "the land of opportunity, "a shining city on a hill," "the land of the free and the home of the brave," or the "last, best hope of mankind," we all have a duty to preserve what's great about this nation so that future generations of Americans can experience it just as we have. How careless, how irresponsible, how unforgivable it would be if our children and our children's children have to grow up in an America that is no longer extraordinary.

4) You have a responsibility to be an informed voter. In recent years there has been a big push to get all Americans to vote. That's sort of like giving everyone a gun and encouraging them to immediately squeeze off a few rounds. If they don't know anything about what they're doing, they're as likely to hurt themselves or someone else as they are to do good. The same goes for voting. Not everyone has to be a political junky, but it would be nice if people took the time to become well-informed about the ins-and-outs of the basic political issues we have to deal with in this country instead of voting on who has the best attack ads. Being an informed voter is a responsibility. Being an uninformed voter is flipping a coin – heads, America wins and tails, it loses.

5) You have a responsibility to support and defend the Constitution. The Constitution is the "set of rules" that we go by as a people and most of the "rights" are guaranteed by the Constitution. Yet, the Constitution is under daily attack in this country by activists and politicians who feel the ends justify the means along with judges who claim to believe in a "living Constitution," which is functionally no different than not having a Constitution at all. You may not win every fight to adhere to the Constitution, but it's a battle worth fighting because no document does more to safeguard the rights of all Americans.

6) You have a responsibility to put America first. The UN, other nations, and "the world" don't really care very much whether you live or die. Not that Americans in Boston are going to shed tears if an American in LA passes on either, but we at least have a certain small, but meaningful level of kinship with each other by virtue of being Americans.

9/11 was a good example of that. Most other nations around the world said a few kind words for us and seemed to have a few days to a few weeks’ worth of goodwill towards us over it. But nearly 10 years later, it was other Americans who got revenge for the fallen by putting a bullet in Bin Laden's forehead. You should always look out for your own country because it's the biggest group of people on the planet who might actually care whether you live or die.

7) You have a responsibility to be a good person. As Samuel Adams noted way back in 1779,

"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."

Honesty, honor, godliness, industry, respect for the law, morality, and truthfulness are the wheels on which our entire republic rides. If the American people are no damn good, then no matter how well the Constitution is written, how well we're governed, or how much good fortune comes our way, we are doomed as a nation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Founding Fathers' Quotables

"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
-- Tom Paine, 1776

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -- Tom Paine

"Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Beside, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us." -- Patrick Henry

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." -- Ben Franklin, 1766

"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader." -- Samuel Adams, 1779

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Americans are Destroying America

(Ezra Taft Benson. General Conference Talk – April 1968. Americans are destroying America.)

We live in a time of crisis Never since the period of the Civil War has this nation faced such critical days. Americans are destroying America.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–the Mormon Church–believe–
–”that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.”

–”that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”

–”that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people. . . .”

–”that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly. . . .” (D&C 134:1–3, 5.)

No people can maintain freedom unless their political institutions are founded upon faith in God and belief in the existence of moral law. God has endowed, men with certain inalienable rights, and no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these. The function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, and anything more or less than this is usurpation and oppression.

Breakdown of law and order

The Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by courageous men acting under inspiration from the Almighty. It is a solemn contract between the peoples of the states of this nation that all officers of government are under duty to obey. The eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish. It is the responsibility of government to punish crime and provide for the administration of justice and to protect the right and control of property.

But today these basic principles and concepts are being flaunted, disregarded, and challenged, even by men in high places. Through the exercise of political expediency, the government is condoning the breakdown of law and order.

Qualification for civil liberty

Edmund Burke, the great English statesman, explained that “men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites,–in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity,–in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption,–in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” (The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke Vol. 4, pp. 51-52.)

Greatest threat

I do not believe the greatest threat to our future is from bombs or guided missiles. I do not think our civilization will die that way. I think it will die when we no longer care, when the spiritual forces that make us wish to be right and noble die in the hearts of men, when we disregard the importance of law and order.

If American freedom is lost, if America is destroyed, if our blood-bought freedom is surrendered, it will be because of Americans. What’s more, it will probably not be only the work of subversive and criminal Americans. The Benedict Arnolds will not be the only ones to forfeit our freedom.
“At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected?” asked Abraham Lincoln, and he answered, “If it ever reaches us, it must spring up among us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher; as a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide.” (Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1837.)

If America is destroyed, it may be by Americans who salute the flag, sing the national anthem, march in patriotic parades, cheer Fourth of July speakers–normally good Americans, but Americans who fail to comprehend what is required to keep our country strong and free–Americans who have been lulled away into a false security.

Erosion of national morality

Great nations are never conquered from outside unless they are rotten inside. Our greatest national problem today is erosion, not the erosion of the soil, but erosion of the national morality–erosion of traditional enforcement of law and order.

Theodore Roosevelt said: “The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.” (Quoted in The Red Carpet, p. 315.)

In this blessed land we have exalted security, comfort, and ease above freedom. If we dwelled at length on the many things that are disturbing in the life of America today, we might well become discouraged. I mention only a few of the reported startling evidences of our national illness, our moral erosion.

–There is a decline of U.S. morals and moral fiber, a turning to pleasure and away from hard work and high standards of the past.
–There is a growing worry in our universities over cheating in examinations.
–Nationwide juvenile delinquencies show an eight-fold increase since 1950.
–There is a 500-million dollar smut industry in this country causing youngsters to wrestle with standards of value.
–America is the biggest market for narcotics.
–Although we consider ourselves a people who believe in law and order, we have seen much evidence of the passion of the mob.
–Crime in the United States is up 88 percent in seven years, rising nearly nine times faster than population, up 16 percent per year, according to the FBI. Crime costs some $20 billion a year, and less than 21 percent of reported crimes result in arrests and less than one-third of those in convictions.
–In the midst of a cold war and preparation for a possible shooting war of survival, we have faced 651 strikes at missile bases in six years.
–Inflation has struck a serious blow to the value of the American dollar.
–We continue to move in the direction of more federal intervention, more concentration of power, more spending, more taxing, more paternalism, more state-ism.

Gradual encroachments

The facts are clear. Our problem centers in Washington, D.C. And this applies to the administration of both political parties. In the words of James Madison, Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.” (Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 3, p. 87.)

If America is to withstand these influences and trends, there must be a renewal of the spirit of our forefathers, an appreciation of the American way of life, a strengthening of muscle and sinew and the character of the nation. America needs guts as well as guns. National character is the core of national defense.

Appreciation for American system

Could many of our ills today have resulted from our failure to train a strong citizenry from the only source we have–the boys and girls of each community? Have they grown up to believe in politics without principle, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without effort, wealth without work, business without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice?

In recent months a nationwide survey of high school and college students has been conducted. The U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce reveals that 41 percent believe that freedom of the press should be canceled; 53 percent believe in government ownership of banks, railroads, and steel companies; 62 percent said that the government bad the responsibility to provide jobs; 62 percent thought a worker should not produce all that he can; 61 percent rejected the profit incentive as necessary to the survival of free enterprise; 84 percent denied that patriotism is vital and plays an important part in our lives. (Bookmaker News, Vol. 10, Nov. 1, 1965.)

Letters that come to my desk from worried parents deeply concerned by what is being taught to their children in the schools are shocking, to say the least.

We can never survive unless our young people understand and appreciate our American system, which has given more of the good things of life than any other system in the world–unless they have a dedication that exceeds the dedication of the enemy. Character must become important in this country again. The old essentials of honesty, self-respect, loyalty, and support for law and order must be taught the younger generation.

Right to be uncommon

I appeal to people everywhere, young and old, to heed these words of Dean Alfange:
“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me–not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the bend fit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say–’This, with God’s help, I have done.’ All this is what it means to be an American”

Those of us conscious of the seriousness of the situation must act, and act now. It has been said that it takes something spectacular to get folks excited, like a burning house. Nobody notices one that is simply decaying. But in America today we not only have decaying but burning before our very eyes.

Heritage threatened

Our priceless heritage is threatened today as never before in our lifetime: from without by the forces of Godless Communism, and at home by our complacency and by the insidious forces of the Socialist-Communist conspiracy, with the help of those who would abandon the ancient landmarks set by our fathers and take us down the road to destruction. It was Alexander Hamilton who warned that “nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions, by letting into the government, principles and precedents which afterwards prove fatal to themselves.” (Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation, p. 462.)

Serious and concerned citizens everywhere are asking, “Can we cope with these threatening realities?” Yes, we can; if we would allow the local police to do their job, they could handle the rioting and looting. Yes, we can, if we have the courage and wisdom to return to basic concepts, to recall the spirit of the founding fathers and accept wholeheartedly these words of Thomas Paine, whose writings helped so much to stir people to action during the days of the American Revolution when he said:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; ’tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” (The Political Words of Thomas Paine, p. 55.)

The way of safety

As American citizens who love freedom, we must return to a respect for national morality–respect for law and order. There is no other way of safety for us and our posterity. The hour is late; the time is short. We must begin now, in earnest, and invite God’s blessings on our efforts.
The United States should be a bastion of real freedom. We should not support the world’s greatest evil, the Godless, Socialist-Communist conspiracy that seeks to destroy all we hold dear as a great Christian nation and to promote insidiously the breakdown of law and order and the erosion of our morality.

With God’s help we must return to those basic concepts, those eternal verities, the rule of law and order upon which this nation was established. With an aroused citizenry and the help of Almighty God it can be accomplished.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Wisdom of Plato

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Courage Of The Minute Men

April 14, 2011 by Bob Livingston

In the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, about 700 British regular troops began a march toward Concord. Their goal: Round up weapons and gunpowder stored there by rebel colonists and arrest any rebel leaders they find, particularly John Hancock and Samuel Adams.

Around 1 a.m. Paul Revere arrived and informed Lexington’s captain of the militia, John Parker, that British troops were on their way. Parker called for his Minute Men and 77 arrived at the town’s green. After learning from Parker that the best-trained and best-equipped troops Britain had were on their way, the Minute Men voted to disband, lie low and do nothing to provoke the British.

Upon learning from Revere of the British march, Hancock grabbed a pistol and started to join the Minute Men. But Adams persuaded him that their capture by the British would be a major coup for Great Britain and huge loss for the rebel cause. Reluctantly, he relented. However, about four hours later, after learning the Minute Men had dispersed, Hancock met with Parker and the Minute Men who remained on the green. Shortly thereafter the drum was sounded and the Minute Men reassembled.

Hancock and Adams climbed into a chaise to leave the area just as British troops arrived. With orders to capture and hold two bridges leading into Concord and the knowledge that Revere was spreading word of their mission, the British commanders had no intention of engaging the Minute Men on the Lexington green. And Parker had ordered his men to let the British march by and not molest them unless they acted first.

As British troops marched in quick-time past the green, cursing the rebels all the while, British Major John Pitcairn told the Minute Men, “Disperse ye villains, ye rebels! Disperse! Lay down your arms! Why don’t you lay down your arms and disperse?”

After standing fast as most of the British troops passed and defying the British call to lay down their arms, Parker told his men to disband. Some began to walk away, carrying their muskets with them, and it seemed as if the crisis would pass without incident. But someone—no one was sure who but it was thought to have come from a nearby tavern or hedge—fired a shot and all hell broke loose.

Upon hearing the gunfire as the chaise rode away, Adams told Hancock, “Oh, what a glorious morning is this.” Seeing that Hancock mistook his meaning, for it was dawning a nice spring morning, Adams said, “I mean, what a glorious morning for America.”

Back on the Lexington green it was anything but. One of the Minute Men, Jonas Parker, who had vowed to never run from British guns, fell from a musket ball. He tried to fire from the ground but was bayoneted where he lay. The Minute Men fled the green and the British fired into their backs. When the smoke cleared, eight Minute Men lay dead on the green.

Shortly after 1 a.m., Samuel Prescott arrived in Concord and gave word of the British march. Bells in the town began to ring and the Concord Minute Men began to gather at Wright’s tavern. As day broke a messenger arrived from Lexington telling of gunfire on the green, but he was unsure whether the British had fired only powder as a warning, or if they were actually shooting.

About 250 men of the militia decided to carry the battle to the British and began marching east toward Lexington. After they had traveled about a mile they saw the British troops coming their way and they halted, waiting until the British were about 500 yards away.

The Minute Men then did an about face and marched back toward Concord. As they neared town some of the Minute Men were ordered to command a high ridge to deny it to the British and the rest debated what to do next. The Reverend William Emerson said, “Let us stand our ground. If we die, let us die here.”

But the Minute Men weren’t quite ready for battle and they faded back to see what the British would do. The British troops secured the bridges and then began to spread out in search of weapons and rebel leaders.

The troops burned what weapons they found and also cut down the town’s Liberty Pole and threw it onto the fire. Seeing the smoke from the bonfire over the hill, one of Concord’s volunteers asked if they were going to sit back and watch while the British burned the town to the ground.

They were told to get ready to move, but not fire until fired upon and then fire as fast as possible. They marched toward the bridges.

As the Minute Men approached the bridge, British Captain Walter-Sloan Laurie told his men to remove the bridges’ planks to make them unusable, but the Minute Men told them to stop and the British troops complied. Laurie ordered his troops into formation for street fighting, a tactic designed for fighting in narrow roads and alleys surrounded by buildings, not out in the open.

As the distance between the two armies narrowed, once again a musket went off without the order to fire being given, and the battle commenced. The Minute Men fired as rapidly as possible and advanced, driving the British off the bridge. The British troops broke and ran to the center of town.

British commanders regained order and collected their troops, but they were soon surrounded by Minute Men, whose ranks had swelled once the firing began. The order was given for the British to withdraw from Concord and the march back began.

Minute Men, hiding behind houses, barns, fences and trees, harassed the British as they retreated.

Back in Lexington, after the dead were removed from the green, Captain Parker reassembled his men, along with some newly arrived volunteers, and began to march toward Concord. Hearing the sound of the British retreat coming his way, Parker ordered his volunteers to take cover.

The British troops ran headlong into the Lexington volunteers seeking to avenge their fallen comrades. The British had no idea how many troops were facing them, but the shooting was intense. Before long, the British again broke and ran.

In Lexington, British officers got in front of their troops and again got them into order. They began a retreat toward Boston. They whole way Minute Men harassed the retreating British ranks.

When the day was done, 49 Americans were dead, 39 were wounded and five were missing. Of the vaunted British army, 73 were dead, 74 were wounded and 26 were missing. Against overwhelming odds, American volunteers had defeated troops from the mightiest army in the world.

After the fighting was over, Dr. Joseph Warren, who had become something of hero for his actions treating wounded Minute Men as the battle raged around him, put out a call for volunteers:

“Our all is at stake. Death and devastation are the instant consequences of delay. Every moment is infinitely precious. An hour lost may deluge your country in blood and entail perpetual slavery upon the few of your prosperity who may survive the carnage.”

Thousands of volunteers arrived for the cause. Thus began the war for American independence.

Now we have a new war for independence. It’s a war to make us independent from the slavery of the debt burden put on us by the Federal Reserve and the actions of the elected elites. It’s a war that will require the courage exhibited by the Minute Men on April 19.

It’s going to require sacrifice and it’s going to be difficult. But it’s obvious from the most recent budget deal that Congress still doesn’t get it. The plutocrats are crowing about cutting $38 billion from the budget as the deficit grew by $58 billion in the days they debated the cuts.

It’s time and past time to get to work contacting your representative in Congress to tell him or her that things have to change, that government has to be cut, that the Constitution has to be adhered to. Remind him or her that an election is coming soon, and you are watching and taking notes.

Undoing 100 years of damage is going to be difficult. It’s going to require a new way of thinking about the role of government. It’s going to require commitment and courage.

Do you have the commitment and courage of the Minute Men?

(Descriptions of the battles taken from Patriots, by A.J. Langguth.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Now THAT’S funny!

Yesterday, MSNBC host Chris Mathews of “Hardball” fame stated that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan would "kill half the people that watch this show." To which actor and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson tweeted: “That's terrible. Hope his other viewer will be OK.”

Monday, April 4, 2011

John Cleese And The Terror Threat Level Of Nations

The British response to terrorist threats.

Many thanks to funny Englishman, John Cleese, for the following:

The English are concerned about the recent increase in terrorist activities, and have therefore raised their security level from "miffed" to "peeved." If the threats continue to grow, the security levels may be raised to "irritated" or even "a bit cross." (The English have not seen "a bit cross" since the blitz in 1940, when tea supplies nearly ran out.) Terrorists have been recategorized from "tiresome" to "a bloody nuisance." The last time Britain issued "a bloody nuisance" warning was in 1588, when Spain launched the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "pis*ed off" to "let's go get the bas*ards." They don't have any other levels—which is why they have been placed on the front lines of the British Army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced that it has raised its terror alert from "run" to "hide." The only two higher levels in France are "collaborate" and "surrender."

Meanwhile, the Spanish are excited to see that their new submarines are ready to deploy. These beautiful new vessels have glass bottoms, so the Spanish sailors can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Down under, Australia has raised its security level from "no worries, mate" to "she'll be all right." The next escalation would be "we may need to cancel the barbie this weekend." The final level is "Crikey! The barbie is cancelled." Australia has never faced a crisis so severe that it merited this highest level.

Thanks to John Cleese, British writer, actor for today's laugh.

The above article was published in the Personal Liberty Digest on April 1, 2011.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Porker of the Month

The article below was published March 30 on the Citizens Against Government Waste website.

CAGW Names Senator Harry Reid Porker of the Month

Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) bestowed upon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) the March “Porker of the Month” Award for his absurd belief that a federally-funded Cowboy Poetry Festival in Elko, Nevada (pop. 17,000) constitutes essential government spending. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which allots a small part of its $146 million budget to the festival, was defunded under H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Resolution for fiscal year 2011, which Sen. Reid helped defeat in the Senate. On March 8, 2011, he described the proposed termination in a Senate floor speech as “mean-spirited,” stating that were it not for NEH’s federal money, the Cowboy Poetry Festival and “the tens of thousands of people who come there every year, would not exist.”

One day after Sen. Reid made his preposterous statement, Western Folklife Center Executive Director Charlie Seemann commented that the NEH funds just seven percent of the festival, and that he and his fellow cowboys “could certainly continue if we lose that funding.” That’s the individual, entrepreneurial spirit that has made America great, and it contrasts sharply with the attitude of Sen. Reid, who believes that taxpayers should pay for everything, even if a program can and should stand on its own.

In tribute to Sen. Reid and the Cowboy Poetry Festival, CAGW has decided to try its hand at a bit of verse. As Robert Frost wrote, “a poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong.” So we begin.

Dollar’s Inferno

Midway upon the journey of his life,
Reid found himself in Washington, D.C.
Once there he gathered money from us all,
Convinced the world would call it charity.

Kubla Con

In Carson Mr. Reid began
To guzzle from the public trough;
Engorged with pork, each term he ran
With gifts to Special Interest Man,
Which ticked the taxpayers off.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flunking Liberty

The following article was written by Ben Crystal and was published in the March 31, 2011, Personal Liberty Digest. * *

Flunking Liberty

by Ben Crystal
March 31, 2011 *

A story in a recent edition of Newsweek detailed an effort to determine the civic pride of our fellow Americans. The left-leaning journal offered 1,000 readers—they borrowed a few hundred from US Weekly—the opportunity to take the same citizenship test required of all prospective ingredients in our ever-expanding melting pot.

Keep in mind, with President Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty in dealing with illegal immigration, I’m not certain if that many people have actually taken the citizenship test recently. *

I have no interest in burdening you with another maudlin monologue about Americans’ lack of civic pride (not to mention civic understanding). Lectures about the need for the people of the fruited plain to make time in between episodes of “Jersey Shore” to learn about the Bill of Rights are boring, depressing and trite. *

Besides, anyone who really cares about the travails of “Pauly D.” and “J-Woww” is unlikely to give a damn how many voting members are part of the U.S. House of Representatives. The answer, by the way, is 435. If you answered correctly, then congratulations are in order. You just wrecked the national grade curve. I’d make some teacher’s pet crack, but something tells me most of the teachers’ union layabouts drew the same blank as the rest of the class. *

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal isn’t as helpful as he is suave, debonair and quick-witted. Instead of standing on the dais and acting as if I have suede patches welded to my elbows, I’m going to invite each of you to partake of a little academic challenge. Call it: The Personal Liberty Digest’s™ Super-Citizen Survey. There’s no time limit, and you’re welcome to cheat. Think of it as an exercise in “outcome-based education.” If you don’t know the answer, just do as Obama does: Lie. *

And remember, kids: There are no stupid answers, only stupid people. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stupid people. They’re over at telling each other how tolerant they are for hating everyone who isn’t just like them. *

To wit: *

Question 1: Sarah Palin is: *
A. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
B. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
C. Capable of making a kill shot from a moving helicopter. (AWESOME!)
D. Pretty hot. * *

Questions 2: Michelle Bachman is: *

A. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
B. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
C. Terrifying to Democrats who are unused to women who still look like women.
D. Pretty hot. * *

Question 3: Hillary Clinton is: *

A. The Secretary of State (for now).
B. Not running for President in 2012 (honest!).
C. Dean Rusk, compared to her boss.
D. Less hot. * *

Question 4: Libya is:

A. A nation in North Africa.
B. A nation in the throes of civil war.
C. A nation with which the United States is NOT currently at war.
D. A rash which can be cleared up with a non-prescription ointment.

Question 5: Moammar Ghadhafi:

A. Is the dictator of Libya and a sponsor of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.
B. Keeps a bedroom decorated just in case his special friend Louis Farrakhan drops in for a romantic evening.
C. Dresses like Elizabeth Taylor (the late 80′s-onward version, not the Cleopatra version).
D. Has to be the front runner for the Keith Richards look-alike contest.

Question 6: Scott Walker is:

A. The duly-elected Governor of Wisconsin.
B. Standing up to Democrat-sponsored union thugs on behalf of children.
C. A union-busting hero.
D. Obviously related to Hitler somehow.

Question 7: The Service Employees International Union:

A. Is a group of dangerously violent thugs officially endorsed by the Democrat Party.
B. Puts the “hug” in “thug.”
C. Wears purple because it’s so slimming.
D. Is probably watching me from across the street.

Question 8: Sendai is:

A. That new sushi joint down the street.
B. A Japanese city devastated by a recent tsunami.
C. Nowhere near Rio, Mr. President.
D. Still nicer than Detroit.

Question 9: Despite a series of bailouts and so-called “stimulus” packages, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently:

A. Lower than it was during the Carter Administration.
B. Lower than it is in Kenya.
C. Lower than it is in Detroit.
D. Higher than it is in George Soros’s front office.

Question 10: Common Cause, and ACORN are:

A. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
B. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
C. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
D. About as collectively intelligent as the kids in the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

Question 11: Kinetic Military Action is:
A. A euphemism for a limited-scope military engagement.
B. A nice way of describing the sort of marching done by the New Black Panther Party. (Listen, fellas. I love the berets. But you’re wearing them like mimes, not soldiers.)
C. Obama’s desperate attempt to look like a wartime leader.
D. Probably a waste of time, under the current circumstances.

Question 12: The Huffington Post has banned Andrew Breitbart from its front page because:

A. Breitbart is a bigot.
B. Breitbart is a liar.
C. Breitbart is mean.
D. Ex-Obama Administration laughingstock Van Jones said he would hold his breath until the Huffpo shunted Breitbart to the even-less-read back sections.

Question 13: Joe Biden is:

A. The Vice President of the United States.
B. Neil Kinnock’s number one fan.
C. Sy Sperling’s favorite client.
D. That weird-looking old dude who f-bombed the President last year.

Question 14: Nancy Pelosi is:

A. The former Speaker of the House; and now the House minority leader.
B. Even more surprised-looking in real life.
C. Still planning to “drain the swamp.”
D. No longer two heartbeats from the Oval Office.

Question 15: Harry Reid is:

A. The Senate Majority Leader.
B. Deputy Droop-a-Long’s long-lost brother.
C. Oddly obsessed by hookers in Nevada.
D. Eminently qualified to hold Pelosi’s purse.

Question 16: Obamacare is:

A. A plan to deliver top-quality healthcare to every American, regardless of ability to pay.
B. A bureaucratic monstrosity which is more about government intervention in your life than it is about healthcare.
C. Really just the reanimated corpse of the mid-90s “Hillarycare.”
D. Probably going to force you to watch reruns of “House” to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Question 17: President Obama’s energy policy entails:

A. Exploiting domestic resources, including fossil fuels, in order to lessen the economic burden on his constituents without sending billions to corrupt and/or hostile foreign powers.
B. Signing an executive order requiring all Americans to drive mopeds to work.
C. Paving Kansas, Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas in photovoltaic cells.
D. Aiming Ed Schultz at a bunch of windmills.

Question 18: The national debt of the United States is now:

A. Worth about 97 percent of the U.S. annual GDP.
B. Increasing at a geometric rate.
C. Rapidly approaching one of those numbers that end up being used as a name for a search engine.
D. Still smaller than Michael Moore’s waistline.

Question 19: President Obama hails from:

A. Hawaii.
B. Kenya.
C. Chicago.
D. A secret laboratory in Warren Buffett’s basement.

Question 20: The current Head of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States is:

A. John Boehner.
B. Harry Reid.
C. Barack Obama.
D. Oprah.

If you struggled with this exam, fret not. Many of your compatriots are still trying to figure out if Dean Rusk is that guy who’s married to Tori Spelling. In administering the actual citizenship test, Newsweek was likely demonstrating Americans’ lack of civic understanding. But they forgot that civic understanding may not mean the same thing to everyone.

An old colleague of mine used to say that “civic duty” encompasses everything from jury duty to picking up after Rover when he does his business on the sidewalk. That colleague of mine is entirely correct; albeit enormously optimistic.

In the age of Obama, I have learned to set my sights a bit on the low side. Don’t take stuff which isn’t yours. Don’t hit girls. Don’t make your mother cry. And once in a while, learn something useful. You can’t always count on British MP’s to do your homework for you, Mr. Vice President.

I’d tell everyone to go back to school, but there’s no point. The teachers are all cutting class to go scream at the Governor of Wisconsin.

–Ben Crystal

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Week In History

The following was in the March 23, 2011, online edition of Personal Liberty Alerts

The Stamp Act

On March 22, 1765, the British Parliament passed an odious piece of legislation known as the Stamp Act. It imposed a tax on every piece of paper used by colonists in America, including all legal documents, licenses, newspapers and other publications... and even playing cards.

The colonists were outraged by this "taxation without representation" and launched massive protests. After a decade of appeals accomplished nothing, Patrick Henry urged Virginia's House of Burgesses to adopt his Stamp Act Resolves. When the legislators approved four of the resolutions, Virginia Governor Fauquier (who was appointed by the King) ordered the assembly dissolved.

The next day, on March 23, 1775, Henry gave his famous speech, which ended with, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give me Liberty or Give me Death." Within a month, Britain and the colonies were at war, Fauquier fled his post, and Patrick Henry was named Governor of Virginia.

I think you know how the story ends.

--Chip Wood

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Nation Can Endure

These are the pillars upon which any nation’s national security rests:

-Faith in God and in the universal brotherhood of all mankind.

-Strong homes and family ties.

-A political climate and governmental system that protects man’s inalienable rights.

-Elected government officials who are wise and good, and a vigilant, informed citizenry.

Today we are in a worldwide battle, the first of its kind in history between two opposing systems, freedom and slavery; between the spirit of Christianity and the spirit of the antichrist for the bodies and souls of men. May God grant that we will win the battle by alertness, by determination, by courage, and by an energizing realization of the danger.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Are we willing to pay the price? The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will demand the faith, prayers, and loyalty of all men to the truth. As the ancient apostle declared: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12.)

May God give us the wisdom to recognize the danger of complacency, the threat to our freedom, and the strength to meet this danger courageously.

(Source: Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, published 1977)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brotherly Love

Missouri Mormons Open Their Church To Muslim Neighbors
Reported by Dan Rascon for the online Meridian Magazine
Wednesday, March 02 2011

Exactly 7:45 in the evening and the call for 8 o'clock prayer, is heard in a mosque 1300 miles east of Salt Lake City in St. Louis, Missouri. One by one fellow worshippers arrive. They stand side by side, touching shoulders, wall to wall.

They are Muslims, and according to their faith, Islam, they are supposed to pray 5 times a day.

"We are praying to God," said Mufti Minhajuddin, the Muslim leader in St. Louis. "We stand up and we praise him and then we bow down and praise him as well ."

Their holy book is called the Quran which contains 6,600 verses of what Muslims believe to be direct revelation from god to their prophet Mohammed.

"We believe in the prophets of God, that God created this world and sent down the prophets throughout the ages who were inspired with revelation and taught mankind what is the meaning of our existence," said Minhajuddin.

One o'clock in the afternoon the next day, and the same call for prayer is heard, but it's not coming from a mosque. Oddly enough, it's coming from an LDS church building in St. Charles, Missouri, about 25 minutes west of St. Louis.

And they are not Latter-day saints coming inside the gym to worship. They are Muslims. 15 to 30 of them come here every Friday to call upon god in prayer.

"Friday prayer is very important for us afternoon, just like {Christians} gather on Sundays," said Magbool Khan, the Muslim leader in St. Charles, "'s very important that Muslims gather on Friday and pray."

This all came about because of LDS member Deborah Coffey who works with other faiths as part of the Interfaith Counsel in St. Charles.

"I didn't see it as unusual, I didn't see it as uncomfortable," said Coffey.

Several years ago the Muslim leaders came to the Interfaith Counsel in St. Charles asking for a place to worship on Friday's.

So Deborah went to her stake president Terry Slezak.

"When it was first brought to my attention that there was an opportunity I didn't hesitate," said Slezak. "Their desire was to have a place to gather to pray to God, and to me it's like if we were in a place where the church was not strong enough and we didn't have a building and we wanted to pray to God I would hope that someone would reach out to us."

"I actually took it as an honor that they would feel comfortable coming to us," said Coffey.

St. Louis is a fascinating city. It sits on the edge of the Mississippi river, the dividing line to the state of Illinois. It's best known for its 630 foot architectural wonder called the Gateway Arch. The metropolitan area is home to about 75 thousand Muslims and 14 thousand Mormons.

The Muslims in St. Charles, are hoping to one day build a mosque on a piece of land a short distance away from the LDS church where they currently worship in order to keep up with the growth.

No date has been set for the construction of the mosque in St. Charles. At this time they are still in the process of purchasing the land, so it could be a while before anything is built.

The LDS church says there is no time limit for the Muslims to worship at their building.

Before the arrangement the only place they had to go to in St. Charles was the home of Nadeem Farooqui, a nice home but too small for worship on Fridays.

"This is actually my living room," said Farooqui. "It's not big enough to serve the whole community."

So they grab their carpets out of a closet and roll them out inside the LDS church's gym, take off their shoes, and begin their 30 minute worship service.

For Mormons the gym is usually a place for social activities like basketball. But it's the plainness of the gym that the Muslims prefer. There are no benches or podiums or images of Jesus Christ like in some of the other rooms.

There have been a few occasions when the gym is being used by the LDS congregation. So the Muslims go to the primary room. But inside the primary room there are images of Christ - so they cover them up and go about their service.

Muslims believe that Jesus Christ was a great prophet but not the son of god like Christians do. But who believes what is no matter to the two faiths, at least in St. Charles

"We don't have a need to proselyte they don't have a need to proselyte. It's not a missionary tool at all, it's strictly a friendshiping tool, building that friendship," said Coffey.

"Quran teach you all good things just like a Bible. Quran don't teach you to go hurt any another person or anything like that," said Khan.

And so the Muslims continue to go, week after week, praising god, and thanking him for this place of worship.

"They are very good, they're very nice people, very polite, very cooperative. Very nice peoples," said Mir Asif, a Muslim worshipper.

"It was a blessing for us that we have a bigger place, said Khan. "God bless Mormon church they opened the door for us and we are very pleased, very happy and god will give them a reward."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can We Preserve What They Wrought?

by Ezra Taft Benson
posted at

"Today we live in a land choice above all other lands. We live amid unbounded prosperity—this because of the heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears—a heritage of self-reliance, initiative, personal industry, and faith in God, all in an atmosphere of freedom.

"Were these Founding Fathers and pioneer forefathers to counsel us today in their fundamental beliefs, so manifest by their acts, what would they say to us?

"First: They would counsel us to have faith in God. It was by this faith that they were sustained in their privations, sacrifices, and suffering. They placed their trust in God. He was their defense, their refuge, and their salvation. Their faith is perhaps best expressed by the father of our country, George Washington: 'The success, which has hitherto attended our united efforts, we owe to the gracious interposition of Heaven; and to that interposition let us gratefully ascribe the praise of victory, and the blessings of peace.' (To the Executive of New Hampshire, November 3, 1789, Writings, 12:175.)

"Yes, it was this faith in God that sustained them in their hours of extremity. We too will need this same faith to sustain us in the critical days ahead.

"Second: They would counsel us to strengthen our homes and family ties. Though they did not possess our physical comforts, they left their posterity a legacy of something more enduring: a hearthside where parents were close by their children, where daily devotions, family prayer, scripture reading, and the singing of hymns were commonplace. Families worked, worshiped, played, and prayed together. Family home evening, now a once-a-week practice among the Saints, was to our pioneer forebears almost a nightly occurrence.

"Can we not see in their examples the solutions to problems threatening families today? Were we to pattern our homes accordingly, divorce would be eliminated, children would be welcomed and guided, and love between parents and children would abound. There would be no generation gap. Family unity and solidarity, crowned with love and happiness, would prevail.

"Third: They would counsel us in the dignity of work, to practice thrift, and to be self-sustaining. Theirs was a philosophy that neither the world nor government owes a man his bread. Man is commanded by God to live by the sweat of his own brow, not someone else’s. In his First Inaugural Address, Thomas Jefferson counseled us toward a wise and frugal government, one that 'shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned.'

"The Founding Fathers would be in complete agreement with this counsel from Brigham Young: 'Beautify your gardens, your houses, your farms; beautify the city. This will make us happy, and produce plenty.' (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 302.) 'To be slothful, wasteful, lazy and indolent . . . is unrighteous.' (Ibid., p. 303.) “Learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity.” (Ibid., p. 293.) '. . . If you cannot obtain all you wish for today, learn to do without.' (Ibid., p. 293.) 'Be prompt in everything, and especially to pay your debts.' (Ibid., p. 303.)

"Finally: These noble founders and pioneers—our benefactors—would counsel us to preserve the freedoms granted to us by God. They knew that the foundation of this nation was spiritual, that the source of all our blessings was God. They knew that this nation can only prosper in an atmosphere of freedom.

"Those intrepid forebears knew that their righteousness was the indispensable ingredient to liberty, that this was the greatest legacy they could pass on to future generations. They would counsel us to preserve this liberty by alert righteousness. Righteousness is always measured by a nation or an individual keeping the commandments of God.

"In the outer office of the Council of Twelve hangs a painting by Utah artist Arnold Friberg, depicting George Washington, the father of our country, on his knees at Valley Forge. That painting symbolizes the faith of our forebears. I wish it could be in every American home.
In the 1940s, while serving as the executive officer of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, D.C., I saw in a Hilton Hotel a placard depicting Uncle Sam, representing America, on his knees in humility and prayer. Beneath the placard was the inscription “Not beaten there by the hammer and sickle, but freely, responsibly, confidently. . . . We need fear nothing or no one save God.”

"That picture has stayed in my memory ever since. America on her knees—in recognition that all our blessings come from God! America on her knees—out of a desire to serve the God of this land by keeping His commandments! America on her knees—not driven there in capitulation to some despotic government, but on her knees freely, willingly, gratefully! This is the sovereign remedy to all of our problems and the preservation of our liberties.

"Yes, those valiant patriots and pioneers left us a great heritage. Are we prepared to do what they did? Will we pledge our lives, our possessions, our sacred honor for future generations and the upbuilding of God’s kingdom on this earth?

"Hear the challenge made to us—their descendants and beneficiaries—at the dedication of 'This Is the Place' monument, at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, July 24, 1947:
'Can we keep and preserve what they wrought? Shall we pass on to our children the heritage they left us, or shall we lightly fritter it away? Have we their faith, their bravery, their courage; could we endure their hardships and suffering, make their sacrifices, bear up under their trials, their sorrow, their tragedies, believe the simple things they knew were true, have the simple faith that worked miracles for them, follow, and not falter or fall by the wayside, where our leaders advance, face the slander and the scorn of an unpopular belief? Can we do the thousands of little and big things that made them the heroic builders of a great Church, a great commonwealth?' (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Address at the Dedication of 'This Is the Place' Monument, July 24, 1947; in Improvement Era 50:626.)

"There should be no doubt what our task is today. If we truly cherish the heritage we have received, we must maintain the same virtues and the same character of our stalwart forebears—faith in God, courage, industry, frugality, self-reliance, and integrity. We have the obligation to maintain what those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor gave to future generations. Our opportunity and obligation for doing so is clearly upon us. May we begin to repay this debt by preserving and strengthening this heritage in our own lives, in the lives of our children, their children, and generations yet unborn."

(Source: Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, published 1977)