Saturday, August 31, 2013

Should Congress Step Up to Declare War without needing to be Asked?

   I think it neat President Obama today said he will seek Congressional authorization for proposed action in Syria. Too often, military intervention has begun before approval was obtained.
   But, what of this thought: Why does Congress need to wait for an invitation before voting on whether to enter an armed conflict? If the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, shouldn't Congress be taking the initiative?
   Yet, I don't believe of any of the times war has been declared, Congress took up the issue without being asked.
   They should.
    Also, bridging this to what I blogged yesterday, despite the tens of thousands of civilians who have been killed without us intervening in the Syrian war, I do wonder, after all, if this chemical weapons matter does warrant limited military action. 'Tis said that more lives have been lost (reportedly more than 1,400, including about 400 children) in this use of chemical weapons than any from any chemical weapons attack in 25 years. Does the use of chemical weapons up the ante for death, increase the ability of the attacker to kill a greater number of people? If so, an argument can be made for drawing a "red line," as President Obama called it, against the use of chemical weapons.
   But, then, remains the question of whether the U.S. should police the world.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Is Killing People with Chemical Weapons Worse than Beheading Them?

   I'll borrow from a Facebook poster tonight. Rod Johnson noted that among all the killing of civilians in Syria, some have been beheaded.  So, how is it Syria stepped over the red line just with chemical weapons? Is beheading folks more moral than using chemical weapons?
   I word searched to a link on Wikipedia, and learned between 82,370 and 106,425 civilians have been killed in Syria. (Don't know how that breaks down -- how many by the rebels and how many by the government forces.) So, by going to war only now, are we saying the 82,370 -- 106,425 killings were one thing, even though some were beheadings, but now that you've started using chemicals, that's a different ballgame?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Even Freedom at Times not Enough Reason for War

   Life is to be treasured so much, and peace valued, that at times even freedom is not enough cause for war.
   Yes, I love those words of the Star Spangled Banner, and do not doubt wisdom in them.
        Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
       Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
         Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
       Praise the Powr that hath made and preserved us a nation.
         Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
       And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
   Yes, I know our forefathers fought for freedom, spilt their blood for it. I do not doubt it. Nor do I doubt the God of Heaven preserved and made us a nation, through that war.
   I honor those who have fought for freedom in our wars since, including wars abroad, fought for not our own, but for the liberty of others.
   Nor have I forgotten the story of Captain Moroni, from my religion's Book of Mormon, and how he raised the Title of Liberty, pledging to fight, "In the memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children."
   Last night, as I prepared for bed, I considered how the cause of freedom is a cause worth warring for. But then I thought of a passage of scripture -- one that is also from my religion -- in which fomenting slaves to rise up against their masters is discouraged. "(W)e do not believe it right . . . to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations, in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men."
   And, I thought of the Anti Nephi Lehis in the Book of Mormon, and how they prostrated themselves upon the ground before an attacking army, dying instead of taking up arms fighting for their freedom.
   Tonight, I thought of the Israelites, and their many years in captivity. When they did escape the Egyptians, it was through the miracle of a sea parting, nor from fighting with the sword.
   Their are times for war. There are times to fight for freedom. But, be that being so, it remains that violence is to be eschewed enough that there are times for a people to be subjected, rather than to war for their freedoms. Perhaps I have not worked out when to fight for freedom and when to, as a people, be subject to dominion, but both are principles I believe in. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Hesitate to Jump on the War Bandwagon


   War in Syria? I am not ready for it. I hesitate to jump on the wagon with those who are calling for it. Not to say I do not wonder. I look at the picture below, and wonder if we should not help these people. Can we tolerate the use of chemical weapons?
   But, I question the propriety of any war. Renounce war and proclaim peace, it has been said, and I would like to believe I ascribe to that line of thinking. I also think of Washington's warnings against involving ourselves in such international entanglements.

Syria? War Powers belong to Congress, not to Obama

   War in Syria? I am against President Obama, on his own, taking us into such a chase. It is time we started following the Constitution on the matter of going to war.
  The Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war. "The Congress shall have Power . . . To declare War," says Article 1, Section 8.
   In 1973, Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution, which says the president is not to lead us into a war without congressional authorization, unless it is an emergency as we are under attack.
   We are not under attack.
    Ever since the War Powers Resolution, presidents have ignored it. Now, since the Constitution grants Congress the right to declare war, Congress certainly had the right to pass the War Powers Resolution.
   If the Constitution says a thing, we should live by it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Their Guns Would not Defend, but Attack

   Am I a little slow waking up, a little slow on the uptake? Have been posting for a couple days on the prospects of a military coup in the United States, with the thought being that some see the Second Amendment and having weapons as a defense against the government coming against us with weapons to subjugate us to its will.
   Now it occurs to me that some see the need for weapons not as a protection against a federal assault, but rather just the opposite. They would assault the federal government, if they felt their freedoms were eroding enough.
   Not that this possiblity is new to me. The thought that some might rise up militarily against our government has for a year or more been a fear of mine. But, somehow in the last two days as I've blogged on this topic and discussed it elsewhere, it has eluded me.

http://www.policestateusa.com/2013/fbi-interrogated-man-after-comment-about-american-police-state-on-facebook/

Monday, August 26, 2013

Military Coups Hardly Common in America

   A military coup? While many fear our loss of freedoms, not so many see it happening in the form of a military coup. Our nation is set up with an elected leader as the commander-in-chief. Perhaps that is part of it. Have we ever, in all of more than 200 years, experienced any military leader rising up, taking control of a military unit, and commanding it to fight against either the government or the people?
   I'm not student enough to know of any small incident. But, if there had been a significant one, we'd all be aware of it.
   The thought of the military rising up against our government, in opposition to it, is not a worry, to most. But, the idea of the military or federal law enforcement being used by our government to subjugate us is perhaps not so foreign. I think of the reports of the government buying up all the ammunition. If any leader or group of leaders brought weapons against us, the people, to tear the government away from the people, that, to me, would be a form of a coup.

Vigilance Trumps Guns in Protecting Our Freedoms

   Eternal vigilance is the foundation of freedom, not guns. Many worry about our own government taking us over from within. They worry about our own military overthrowing our freedoms. For this worry, they call on us as citizenry to bear guns. If this be the worry, though, perhaps we first should be concerned with who we have in charge of our military, and who we have in it. We should be doing all in our power to ensure our military is clear of corruption, and is manned with those who respect humanity. I wonder why we do not consider more on how important it is to ensure a vice-less military.  As much as any other person, perhaps, military leaders should be screened for character.
  Vigilance against guns being used against us, and not everyone owning guns, should be our first line of defense. By the time we need our guns to protect against our own military, it is to some degree, too late, the military coup has already taken place. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a little protection against guns being used against us is as wise as arming to the hilt to prepare for the moment they are.
   Vigilance also means guarding against the loss of freedoms by being involved in the public processes. Each might have a different opinion as to whether such things as the NSA surveillance is a loss of freedom. If we think it is, we should be lifting our voices against such things. If we do feel such things lead to an erosion of freedom, how will the gun protect us against them? Guns are not the first line of defense against such incursions. They cannot be. So, vigilance trumps guns in defending our rights and our freedoms.
   (This blog was added to on Aug. 26.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reading Scriptures a True Form of Worship

   I judge reading the scriptures, especially those detailing the life of Christ, to be one of the truest forms of worship. If we love our Master, do we not want to know about him? Do we not want to know about His life, and revel in it?
   Alas, this day I have not studied it. I've squandered my Sunday, largely on things of the world.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Alcohol and Drugs do Lead to Crime


   'Tis suggested, somewhere in the links below, that 36 percent of those in prison were drinking just before committing their crimes. Violent crimes? The study suggested 40 percent of those were associated with alcohol.
   The figures don't mean a thing if 36 percent of us are drinking at any one time, or if 40 percent of us are consuming alcohol at any given moment. But, obviously, we don't drink quite that much. So, the statistics mean something, mean a lot.
   And, a study over in England showed about half of all the property offenses were committed by drug users looking for a way to fund their drug use.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765636430/US-soldier-apologizes-for-massacre-of-16-Afghans.html


http://www.ncadd.org/index.php/learn-about-alcohol/alcohol-and-crime


http://www.bjs.gov/content/dcf/duc.cfm


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/drug-addicts-commit-half-of-property-crimes-1393516.html

Thursday, August 22, 2013

   We live in the day of the libertarian. Tonight, I hear his voice on Facebook. "Alcohol prohibition was a disaster," he says. "Drug prohibition is even worse."
   Is it spin, or is it fact? For they suggest that if I oppose them, I am opposing freedom.
   Tonight, I also think again of the three teenagers in Oklahoma, who gunned down the Australian student for the just thrill of it, just to see someone die. And, I think of the Australian's right to life, and of how good government has a responsibility to protect.
   As much as any other measurement, the measurement of government is in how well it protects its citizens.
   I think of a social media site belonging to one of the three teenagers, filled with music and rhetoric on violence, and sex and drugs. I think how even libertarians should understand these influences did play a role in the teenagers doing what they did.
   Do I wonder whether we should outlaw some music? Surely, I do. I wonder if in another day we would have been quick to outlaw it. Back in the day when we outlawed selling cigarettes to teenagers, would we not have been as quick to outlaw selling to children music that calls for the death of others, and violent video games that roll out death as a game?
   I do not know. I stop and wonder if by outlawing cigarettes to children, the children only turn to them more. But, I do not know. Perhaps, it is that they take them less than they would if they were legal.
   At any rate, I'm tending towards thinking throwing so much violence before our children's eyes is unwise, including the violence found in the theaters. Why would we subject our children to these things, in their formative years?
   We do not leave the child free to run out and get pornography, or to smoke cigarettes, or to drink. Why is it now that violence has become such a commodity, that we spin the argument that we can not deprive them of it, for to do so would take away freedom?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tonight, I wonder

   Tonight, I wonder. We argue that guns are a preeminent right. We argue that restrictions on video games and music about violence would go against freedom of speech. We argue that people should not be forced to do as they should, that they should have free agency.
   Well, tonight, I wonder.
   I consider there might be value to the thought that if a society abuses its freedoms, there are perhaps some of them they should lose. A parent might let an older child use a gun, but if the parent is wise, if the child displays any tendency to use the gun for violence, the parent takes that gun away.
   You will argue we are not children. I will argue that if we conduct ourselves irresponsibly, we are no better than children. What is good for the gosling (baby goose) is good for the goose and gander. I think of the student from Australia, gunned down by teenagers whose influences included hip hop music about violence, sex and drugs. I wonder if the student athlete was not worthy of our protection.
   No, I am not ready to say, Outlaw violent videos and violent music. But, yes, I wonder. I wonder about the principle of giving more to those who cherish and wisely use what is given them, but taking it away from those who (at any age) are not ready for the blessings and responsibilities they are given.
   And, I realize that to be effective, sometimes we might have to take the responsibilities away from our society, at large, not just from those who have already committed their crimes.

http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/police-black-teens-kill-white-man-for-fun/

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/20/20107233-lucky-we-didnt-have-anyone-killed-20-year-old-charged-after-school-shooting#comments

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Government Lays a Dollar on the Table, and it is Snapped Up

   Lay a dollar on the table, and someone will pick it up. It is a principle we have not appreciated, as to how it affects government.
   And, I wonder if I see a reflection of this principle in some of our philanthropic efforts. I'm speaking of the government as a philanthropist here, talking of times the government does its best to help those in need.
   I will confess to conjecture, for I think of the rehabilitation, treatment and care centers that have sprung up across our land. I wish I could learn where the patients get their money from to go these treatment centers. I think of a friend, dying from cancer, and being placed in an end-of-life hospice center -- at government's expense.
   What I'm saying when I say I wonder where the money comes from is, I wonder if the large share of it comes from government. We create programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and, once qualified, the people are eligible for care, which is great.
   But, who really gets the money?
   If a business sees it can make a dollar by building rehabilitation centers, because government will foot the bill for patients, it will snap that dollar up.
   Begone with it.
   This is not all bad. These rehabilitation centers do much good. They provide treatment and care that would be lost without them. But, there is a danger. It is that often, the patient is going to end up in the treatment center even though it is not necessary. There might be family that could care for the patient, but word to the family might come that the patient needs the care, and that they should let the patient get the care that he or she deserves.
   Yes, let the patient get the care deserved, so the treatment center can sweep up the dollar government left on the table.

(Edited 11/30/15, but it still remains a poorly-written blog)

Monday, August 19, 2013

A $5,500 Tax Break Awaits Many of You, Thanks to Obamacare

   It took a little word searching to find, but I did locate a story telling us that 48 percent of those currently insured stand to get tax breaks. Looks like, for them, the average tax break is to be about $5,500. That's a fair chunk of a total tax bill. I wonder if I overstated it, though, suggesting this could be one of the larger tax breaks.
   No time to look into, must go to bed.

http://www.themonitor.com/opinion/the_monitor_view/article_36cd0e52-0534-11e3-abc0-0019bb30f31a.html

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Of all Things Political, Religion is the Most Important

   All religion is politics. Well, it depends on how you look at it. But, if politics covers all societal affairs, then that includes religion.
   So, I say, throw away the maxim that you shouldn't mix religion and politics.
   Of all things political, religion is the most important. Of all social issues, of all discussions of what is true, religion is the most significant.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Defund Obamacare Before it Defunds the Government

   Defund Obamacare, even as Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Georgia Rep. Tom Graves and others suggest. Don't withhold funding for all the government. Don't shut down everything. Just say No to Obamacare.
   I line up with those who are against funding Obamacare because it is a health system I fear, fear because our national deficit is so great and I fear it will be a significant step further into debt. 
    Wish I would have save the article, but read this week how 48 percent of those now having insurance will be able to get some kind of credits to help them pay for insurance once Obamacare takes force. I can't imagine what kind of credits the article was talking about unless it was talking about tax credits. The article suggested most of those receiving the credits will get not just a little help, but substantial help.
   Why have we not heard of this before? Did I read correctly? Am I understanding it correctly? We are going to shift a good portion of the bill over to Uncle Sam? Yes, surely I missed something. Surely I am wrong.
   Because, if what I read was read correctly, I must wonder if it is possible this will fuel our nation's national deficit somewhat as much as any single act Congress has ever taken. How do you start paying a sizable chunk of 50 percent of insurance medical bills and not run up a hefty tab? Wouldn't this amount to a notable tax break, one of the bigger ones ever?
   I wonder. In essence, wouldn't this partially defund the government? If you are taking away necessary revenue, isn't that was the defunding is all about?
   So, it is ironic that so much talk has been of Lee and others wanting to defund the government. If they stop Obamacare, that will help pay for government, not defund it.
   We should defund Obamacare before it defunds the federal government.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Right to be Born is the First Right

   America, the land where you have the right to free speech, the right to a fair trial, the right to this and the right to that . . .  and yet we withhold the very first right a human has, the right to be born.
  If you were to list all the rights a person has, and then put them in chronological order based on when they first need those rights, the right to be born would be the very first. When we consent to abortion, we tell another person, "You have no right to live. You have no right to ever be born." We rip from them the most basic of all rights, and the very first one they ever encounter.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

That Decal You Bought from the Police Fraternity is Not a Good Thing

   You donate $20 to the Fraternal Order of the Police, and they give you a decal to place in your window: Good idea or bad idea?
   More to the point: Is it wrong to entice the cops not to ticket you, maybe just issuing you a warning, instead?
   Now, even more to the point: Is it a form of bribery? I mean, you are giving them money in hopes of getting off the hook. If a person were to flat out offer $20 to get off, that would be bribery., wouldn't it. This is not as quid pro quo, but it is insinuated. And, you're giving to the Fraternal Order of the Police, not to the individual officer.
   Still, you are giving money in exchange for the officer hopefully granting you leniency, are you not?
   I say it is wrong, and am surprised law enforcement agencies would ever be involved in such. Why is this not corruption?

 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Should Study Mike Lee's Proposal Not to Fund Obamacare

   Before this issue passes into the sunset, I should study Utah Sen. Mike Lee's proposal that we defund Obamacare. If we do not feel Obamacare is good, if we believe it too expensive, why would we not want to defund it?
   Tis late, and I must go to bed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Take the Ethanol Away from Uncle Sam

   Why today's editorial in the Deseret News is so important. I mean, it's about ethanol. Such a mundane topic. Yes, I follow the part about ethanol causing more pollution, not burning as clean. But, there is more.
There's that part about the federal government subsidizing ethanol. So, here we have a product that does not appear to be a viable energy solution (at least not with crops grown in the United States), and we are developing it at the expense of running up the national deficit?
   This is why the editorial is so important. It is a place to cut. It is government waste. See here, we have congress members who speak fervently of decreasing the national deficit. They introduce bills calling for a balanced budget. That is good, but our national deficit got here one item at a time, to some degree. We add a program here, and another there, and soon enough we have a deficit so large it dwarfs the moon in the night sky. So, it follows that to reduce the national deficit, you might want to pick at the mess each time you see something wasteful.
   The good thing about cutting ethanol is that, to some degree, taking it away will not cost as many jobs as some cuts. Oh, those in the processing and fuel plants will lose their jobs, and I do not look lightly on that. But, the farmers will not, hopefully. Some of them were raising soybeans before ethanol, but turned to corn when ethanol became so profitable. They will simply return to soybeans, and private enterprise will pay them, instead of Uncle Sam subsidizing them.
   Where is the congress member who is picking at our national deficit, item by item, introducing legislation each time he sees a spot? I want to know.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765635815/The-ethanol-strategy.html

Monday, August 12, 2013

There's a Loophole in Our Law Against Murder

  Loopholes are often not good. Oh, those loopholes in the tax laws, you might like. But, what if there were loopholes that let people rape, or commit arson, or to burglarize, or to murder?
   Could we go back to that last one? What if there was a law that said, as long as you can argue that you did it in self defense, you can kill the other person, then, would that be a good law? What if there were a law saying that the person allowed to decide whether he or she felt jeopardized would be the person doing the killing, not the jury?
   Self defense is a great thing. Long before these Stand Your Ground laws were established, people could argue self defense, but they had to prove it. Now, they don't. They just have to claim it. They become their own jury.
  And, we are left with a loophole in our law against murder. Murder is the greatest crime a person can commit. To have such a loophole in that law is a grave thing.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Operation Failed, so this Boy Lives

   Suppose an abortion was attempted but was not successful, and the unborn went on to finish the gestation period and was born, despite the abortion attempt. Such a story exists. See the links below.
   To put it in other terms, there was an operation to remove him from ever living, to take his life away. This human being lives not because an operation succeeded, but because it failed.



http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/teen-lost-parts-of-both-legs-after-failed-abortion-pursues-wrestling-dream/



http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20130214/SPORTS/302149987

The Great Mace Movement of 2014

   The Great Mace Movement of 2014. America had just emerged from a lively debate on guns, what with the Sandy Hook mass shooting and the Trayvon Martin shooting.
   Guns, guns, guns -- that was all the talk. And, these folks turned the conversation to mace, mace, mace (and rubber bullets and other such non-lethal weapons).
   Their idea was that, sure they wanted to defend themselves. But, no, they did not want to kill the other person, even if the other person were intent on killing them. As long as they could stop the other party, that's all they wanted.
   It was kind of an approach that echoes down from the New Testament, albeit many in the Mace Movement were not even Christians. In the New Testament, it says, with the Savior being the one who is doing the speaking:
   "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil. But whosoever shall smite thee on the thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
   That is not to say the Mace Movement folks were willing to forfeit their lives. They weren't going to say, "Okay, you've shot me once, now shoot me again." No, but they did want to return good for evil. They did want to say, "Okay, you've shot me. But, if I can get out of this without killing you, I'd like to spare your life."
   There's a thread that runs through the Guns Right Movement, or through some of the people in it. Now, the Guns Right Movement was a movement that preceded the Great Mace Movement, and many of those in it were literally an-eye-for-an-eye type of people. They believed that if someone was trying to take your life, you should take theirs. They passed laws in a number of their states, called Stand Your Ground laws, that spelled out that deadly force could be answered with deadly force. Deadly force with deadly force. An eye for an eye. Get it?
   Now, there are times when that's what it takes. Sometimes, if a person is to save their own life, they have to take the life of the attacker. The Mace Movementers, though, wanted to take other options, whenever they could.
   So, they all went out and bought mace, tons of it. They bought so much mace, new mace manufacturers sprung up just to handle them. And, there were so many different mace products -- of course including mace shot from guns so you could reach the criminal from a distance -- that you couldn't shake a stick at them all.
   For many of these Mace Movement folks, it was a matter of self defense. If a can of mace would stop the criminal just as good as a gun, that's what they wanted. For others, it was simply a way of making a statement: that guns were not the only answer, that if life could be preserved, it should.
   I've always looked back on the Great Mace Movement of 2014 as one of the finest moments in humanity's history. Here was a time when people said no to killing, a time when they took up the Savior's challenge of turning the other cheek, a time when they said life was too precious -- even if it were the life of an enemy -- to be taking it if there were other options.
   These folks looked down the barrel of a gun, and answered with a can of mace.

Friday, August 9, 2013

We Reach for the Biggest Stick

   Suppose we lived in a world of guns -- I mean, a world where everyone had a gun. Ever notice how when two people are fighting, they sometimes look around for the biggest weapon they can find? If it is a stick, that's what they use. But, if they don't have a stick, or anything, they just use their fists. The availability of a weapon escalates the violence, and multiplies the harm and injury. Now, a gun is about as big of a weapon as anyone can have. So, when a fight breaks out, if everyone had a gun, there would be an inclination for the fight to escalate from just yelling and screaming and wrestling and fist fighting, all the way to . . . pulling a trigger and killing the other person.
   Is that what we want?
   No, no, no, I am not for gun control. But I do think it unwise for us all to have guns. I simply think it unwise for there to be many guns, at all, on our sidewalks. I just wish we would quit telling each other to go out and buy these weapons.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Right to Kill Should not Become the Reason to Kill

  I'm wondering whether the right to kill can become the reason to kill. And, I'm looking at breaking news and sifting the thought that it might be evidence.
   You know the Danielle Willard case. Isn't she the one whose family brought in the big attorney from Los Angeles? Anyway, today Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced the police shooting was not justified, that the officers' lives were not in jeopardy, that they were not in the path of the car, and while the car brushed one, there was no imminent danger of the car killing them.
   More may yet come out. The defense attorney seems flabbergasted. Who knows but what she will prove right.
   But, for the moment, I find sense in what Gill has concluded.
   And, I sit wondering, wondering if our society often justifies a killing with a quick jump to the mantra of self defense. If you are but defending yourself, the killing is justified. And, indeed, if your life is in jeopardy, you should be allowed to defend yourself.
   But, do we sometimes jump too quick? Does a touch of anger and the knowledge that we are allowed to defend ourselves sometimes result in a rash pulling of the trigger?
   Was the thought in the officer's mind: How dare you come so close to me with your car? I'm an officer! Or maybe it was: Don't you think you are going to get away. I have the right to shoot you to stop you!
   And, the officers pull their triggers. And a life is lost.


http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865584323/DA-to-announce-findings-of-West-Valley-police-shooting.html


http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56708974-78/cowley-willard-vehicle-salmon.html.csp?page=2

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

America, this, too, was an Atrocity

   Watch the video in the link below, if you will, and be amazed and sickened as American soldiers slaughter what appears to be innocent people going walking down the street. Wonder, if you will, how the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam is such a well-known part of history, and yet this is hardly even a part of the national consciousness, though it was committed short years ago. Is this not, also, something we should be embarrassed by? Is this not, also, something that should outrage us? Is this not, as well as My Lai, something to be devasted by? Is this not, also, an atrocity commited in the name of America?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH5vaaarpqk

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

We Should Aspire to being the Healthiest Nation on Earth

   Is it true Americans once had the longest lifespan? Is it true we are now among the fattest and those with the most unhealthy diets? Is it true some point to this as a national crisis, because it surely, surely is.
   Habits formed are passed on to the next generation, so what we have become does not bode well for our nation.
   So, I'm reading the paper not long back, and the front-page story tells how schools are now required to serve healthy food. But, when they do, many students simply take the food to the nearest trash can.
   This is a program that needs tweaking, but not abandoned. Let the food servers be part of the solution, not forcing the students to consume the food, but encouraging them unendingly. Let them offer choices. "Sam, you didn't like the spinach yesterday, but try this broccoli. It's cooked in a cheese sauce and really isn't that bad."
   Never force the child. Rebellion comes with force. Never coerce, but ever coax. Never throw in the towel because the child simply is not coming along. Never speak angrily, but always smile. Love the child into eating that first bite of broccoli, and that first avocado (yuk, I admit).
   A nation founded on freedom needn't force the child. But, a nation that has turned from healthy eating should think of how it will use its freedom. It can choose to continue down a road that will not lend to its well-being, or it can take steps to returning to being a healthy people, Indeed, we should aspire to being the healthiest people on earth.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Veggies on Every Plate Might not be a bad Idea

   Word came through a recent newspaper article that the government has mandated more fruits and veggies be placed on the students' lunch plates -- only to find the students responding by taking the unwanted food straight to the garbage can.
   Say it is a waste, then, and say we might as well stick with pizza. I'm saying, No, this fruit on the plate is a good idea, a good one. Only, it needs a little classroom encouragement. And some tweaking at the serving table. Even then, it might fail, but you don't give up on things that should be done, just because they don't get done 100 percent (or even 50 percent).
   And, this is something that should be done. Here's why: Americans have become some of the fattest people on the planet. Their diet is among the worst. If we think it wrong, we should do something about it. What better place to start than with youth. Didn't someone say, Train up a child in his youth, and he will not depart from it?
   If our schools exist to teach the important skills in life, isn't proper eating truly a life skill? If proper eating contributes to a long life, isn't it one of the more important things our children can learn?
   Well, all this is coming from a person who was a picky eater when young. I didn't eat any fruits and the only vegetable I ate was potatoes. I haven't improved much since, but hope I am learning to change even as I write this blog.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Praying is the Most Important Thing You can do

   Of all the things a person can do as the day is filled with work, and play and running around, prayer is the most important.
   The most important, if you would to have a good day.
   I am among those who wish I prayed more often, and relied on the Lord more. A good prayer, to me, asks the Lord to be with us, with everyone, not just myself. A good prayer asks for the Lord to help me out of circumstances I might not see coming. Oh, and a good prayer tells the Lord I will submit to whatever He might see to inflict upon me. Yes, I want Him to help me avoid pitfalls, and help me out of them. But, if He would that I go through them, so be it.
   I would that I carried a prayer in my heart throughout the day. I would that I did not just utter a prayer, then forget the Lord until a little crisis evolved. I would that I thought of him all day, even when things go well.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

School Attendance Should be Mandatory

   The news rumbled  -- not loudly, but it rumbled -- across the U.S. a week or so ago when one of Utah's most respected state legislators suggested we do away with compulsory education.
   Shock and awe. Would a state seriously consider doing this? Actually, I don't think Aaron Osmond could get it to pass, but even that he should suggest it is surprising. I remain with the majority in favoring mandatory education, for at least five reasons.
   One, If we have a non-compulsory system, I assume it means the parents will be doing the deciding for the younger children. The idea that the children will learn better if they are not compelled, then, is lost, for it is the parent who is not compelled. The child is still compelled, it is just that the parent is the one doing the compelling.
   Two, Those parents who choose to keep their children out of school will be depriving them of an education. The education benefits the child, but the parent will have the power to take that right away from them. Why punish the child for the negligence of the parent?
   Three, Some children benefit from the social worker aspects of going to school. Senator Osmond said schools often end up being social workers, and that is not what school is all about. I do not see how, thought, that is going to change just because you take the compulsory element out. Teachers and administrators will still be social workers for the children still attending.
   Four, If, though, the social worker aspect is to be lost, I believe that is a negative. Some parents are negligent. Some mistreat their children. If kept at home, the mistreatment would not as readily come to light. By sending them to school, it is more likely to be unveiled and the child cared for. That is a good thing.
   Five, Even though the have to go to school, children and youth can choose whether they will excel. It is their choice, to some degree. Rather than clipping some of them out of an education, instill in all of them a love of education. Once they are there, treat learning as a joy, and try to get them all to want to learn of their own choice. The students can be given greater leeway to choose what they will study. They can be given more choice in what courses they will pursue.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Freedom from False Imprisonment is One of Our Greatest Rights

   One of the more important freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights might be one you would never guess, never think of. You'd jump to pick freedom of speech, or freedom to bear arms, or freedom of religion, wouldn't you?
   Then, you'd say, What else is there?
    And, I'd say, Freedom from false imprisonment. The freedom to be free from prison unless you really belong there. Oh, that is not the actual verbiage in the Constitution, but there are no less than 14 protections for those accused of crimes spelled out in the Bill of Rights. Fourteen. Since there are only 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights, that there are that many protections mentioned ought to catch some attention. Amendments four through eight are pretty much devoted, entirely, to the rights of the accused.
   Don't know for sure that this right, but I wonder if the day and age the Founding Fathers lived in has something to do with all the attention to rights of the accused that we have in the Bill of Rights. Kings tossed people in jail without needing to cite a law or justify it. If they wanted someone flogged, or put in stocks -- for whatever silly reason -- it was done.
   I ran into a man today who was convicted of a felony. I tended to believe him when he told me he hadn't done it, but those who had done it had friends who were going to witness against him, and his kid brother was wanted on separate charges and when prosecutors offered leeway for the brother, he chose to plead guilty to save the brother.
   A likely story, you say, and note I can be gullible. Well, I can be gullible, but just consider that if it didn't actually play out that way, it could have. I say, false imprisonment is a wrong, and to be free from it is one of the most important rights we have.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Friend of the Sequester

   Does the Sequester have any friends? Do we have anyone present who will step to the fore and defend it? It is vilified and demonified and just plain fried by just about everyone.
If it needs a friend, though, let me be that friend.
   No, automatic cuts are not the cleanest. Yes, the cuts have hurt. But our deficit is so worrisome that something must be done. The Sequester was a step in the right direction. My lament is that it was but a small step. My lament is that the shame given to the Sequester has negatively affected our taste for budget reduction. My lament is that the deficit continues to soar and the need to do something is one of our sorest needs.