Sunday, April 30, 2017

Christians being Killed Might be fulfillment of Prophecy

   I get excited when I see what seems to be fulfillment of prophecy.
   Pick up John 16:2 and see what you see in it that fits our day. "(T)he time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service."
   Well, there are Christians in this day of ours who are being killed by those who think they do God a service by killing them. I think well of Muslims and realize most of them do not think it right to kill Christians.
   But, some do.
   And, we don't need to read the news very long before we run into it.
  That could be just one way the prophecy is being fulfilled. I don't know for certain it is what Christ was referring to , but it sure seems to fit.
   Other ways the prophecy is being fulfilled? I don't know, would the murder of Joseph Smith count? Did those who killed him feel they were doing the right thing by God -- doing God a service? I don't know, but it seems they might have.
   I look down at the footnotes for John 16:2. They suggest the word "killeth" is referring to persecutions. So, the day will come that they who persecute you think that they do God service. That broadens things, considerably.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Robotic Medicine could put Doctors out of Business

   How close to the day are we when in fifteen minutes you can get a full medical GPS. You slip into a tube, it not only scans you, but takes your vitals, takes blood, urine, stool, saliva, sweat, skin and hair samples, and even does minor surgery by sampling fluids in your gut. It does muscle-tension readings, blood-circulation readings, bone-density readings and scans your brain. It monitors your heart and measures your breathing and samples your breath.
   And, of course, examines your DNA.
   Everything is then computer analyzed on the spot, and the computer runs out the details of how to get from here to there -- telling you what you need to do to overcome all your health problems.
   All for a $1.95.
   Well, it'll cost more than that, of course. Let's hope the price isn't too steep. But, my point is, we probably all ready have the technology for such a machine. All that needs to be done is for someone to make it and market it.
   Dr. Robot. I wonder if such a health-monitoring machine might be common in every home some day.
   And, since this probably already is possible, one wonders if the medical profession is putting the kabitz on it. It could put doctors out of business.

When You See Racism, Speak up, but Speak Softly

   If we would solve racism, we must have the right dialogue. Those who feel they are discriminated against should be encouraged to speak out. Softly.
  When there is a chance their accusations are false, then even softer.
   Having dialogue can mean lashing out, wildly. Having the right dialogue means being gentle. It means being willing to discuss something in order to find out if you are wrong.
   I have said that those who make accusations should be called out, but those making false accusations should be treated more gently than those making the accusations knowing that they are false accusations. So, you would ask, how do you know if the accusation is sincere, or insincere.
   You don't, often.
   Still, speaking out is critical. Those who are racists will continue in their ways unless someone tries to persuade them to be otherwise. Those who are not corrected continue on their way. Seldom does a person change unless someone or something causes them to change. So, speak up when you see racism. Point it out. Help those who are being racist to understand what they are doing.
   But, be gentle, sometimes even with those who know they are being racist, or those who knowingly make false accusations. Sometimes, they are blind to their wrong-doing and need but for someone to point it out. If you point it out harshly, though, they will recoil and lash back. But, if you are gentle, you are more likely to reach them.

Friday, April 28, 2017

False Accusations must be Stopped if Racial Tension is to be Ended

   If you are going to stop racial tensions, you've got to stop the false accusations, as well. If there were no racism, but there still were false accusations, you would still have racial tensions.
   What is the solution, then? Part of the answer is that false accusations should be called out, even as racism itself is. This is a tender thing, for sometimes a person makes an accusation, honestly believing he or she is being discriminated against. While it should be pointed out to them that they are wrong, I don't know that it should go so far as being a rebuke. Treat them tender, for it should not be forbidden to say you believe someone discriminated against you if you honestly believe that. So, when I say they should be called out, I mean only that they should be corrected.
   Other times, false accusations of racial bigotry come from those simply trying to make mileage off those accusations. They seek to get their way or hurt others with their false accusations. The rebuking here should be firm.
   And, to solve this problem, we should teach ourselves. We should have messages warning how serious it is to make false accusations. Television messages. Radio spots. Internet advertising. The messages should point out the harm done when someone makes a false accusation, how their reputation is tarnished, how they are branded as a racist when they are not one.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

If We Were Given to Considering Our Faults, Would we Spot this One?

   What if we were an introspective nation, a repentant one, a land that sought out its faults and sought to change them?
   What if we were reflective of our sins, analyzing our shortcomings?
   No, I don't so much mean our individual sins. It is the societal faults I speaks of.  Would you say racism is a fault? What then, if we reflected on it, recognized it, and decided that if this flaw existed -- if there were patterns of racism running through us -- then we must do something to change.
   What if when we saw it among ourselves, pangs of remorse grabbed at us? What if we didn't let go of it just because we, as individuals, didn't see it as our personal problem? Rather, what if we could see it as a societal problem, and we took the attitude that if it was society's problem, it was our problem, for this was our society, and what flaws it had were ours to help change?
   Now, those who know the steps of repentance, understand change doesn't come without recognition and desire to change. It doesn't come without remorse. If we, as a nation, do not feel remorseful, if we don't recognize it as a problem, it is not something we will repent of. If we suggest racism is not overly common, or if we brush it off, not wanting to discuss it, then solving it will not get done. If we let other issues take us from this one, if we don't stop long enough to work on this, we will remain a racist nation.
   Racist nation? I use the term to suggest we have some. How dominant it is should not be too much an issue. If we are serious about solving the problem, we do not wait until it reaches a certain level, we work on what we see, however much that is.
  This issue -- racism -- is not one we should shun. It is one we should own, as a society, as a people. If we do not own up to it, if we do not confess to it, so to speak, it will remain sin and flaw upon us.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Russian Influence on Who is in White House Might go back to 1963

   All this talk of the Russians affecting the U.S. election, and now this: Russia may have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And, no, this is not a story just for the National Enquirer.
  History, the television channel, has new evidence KGB operatives met with Kennedy's killer about eight weeks before the assassination. For the first time on camera, the KGB operative relates how he met with Lee Harvey Oswald.
   That's a KGB agent, no less, saying the KGB met with Oswald. If I understand it correctly, the agent, himself is the one who met with him. I'm surprised the agent is still alive. We are coming up on the 100th anniversary of Kennedy's birth (May 29). He was murdered Nov. 22, 1963. That's almost 54 years ago.
   With our intelligence community looking into Russian influence in our elections, and with some talk suggesting they might have been doing this before 2016, we should wonder if their influence on who occupies the  White House goes back more than half a century.
    I wonder if our intelligence community should be looking into this, anew, as part of the current investigation. Just how far back does the Russian influence go?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

He Who Never Seeks, Never Finds

He who never seeks, never finds,
And, he who never aspires, never climbs.
Or, we could say
It another way.
The man who sits in the dust of others
Is the same who shivers under the covers.
So, shake off the dust,
And do what you must.
Turn up the heat in the old furnace place.
And get out of bed, and enter the race.

Adventures in the World of Dreams and Seems

   From the World of Dreams and Seems (as in, seems we could do this, if we really wanted to):
   What if Utah was so ambitious about technological advancements that if something was done someplace else in the nation, Utah figured it could do it, too.
   If Detroit made an automobile, Utah would turn around and make its own. If someone in Illinois discovered a new particle, then Utah would say, Well, if it takes an energy collider to make such discoveries, then let's get one, so we will be in position to make such advancements.
   If a company sprouted up in California making a great electric car (that would be Tesla, wouldn't it), Utah would respond with a company of its own.
   This kind of competition exists internationally, with China and other countries seeking to out-do the U.S. economically. And, if you will notice, the country that aspires to match other countries does achieve. Think of the space race, and of how it resulted in each country making achievements.
   So, why not Utah, as a state, take up such an attitude?
   And, not just in economics. What if Utah sought to be at the forefront of everything from heart science to immigration? Actually, I'm not sure if there isn't some of that spirit present, already, but it certainly could be compounded.
   And, it doesn't seem such a bad thing to seek to be the leader.
   Too ambitious? I don't know if anything negative would come of our efforts. In the World of Dreams and Seems, it seems it would spark our economy, adding jobs and GSP (gross state product).

(Note: This is a rewrite of a blog from six years ago today.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

There is Power to Lift Our Nation's Character in Overcoming Racism

    Racism? If a nation is infected with it, how much damage does it do to those who are infected? How much does it hurt us, the people who are infected?
   For, it surely is a disease; It spreads from one person to another.
   I cannot but think of the good that would be done to us, as a people, and to us, as a nation, if we were to overcome racism. In it lies the seeds of hatred. If you learn to hate black people, you will be more inclined to hate, in general.  In conquering racism, we gravitate more towards being a people who love all and who treats everyone justly. If we, as a society, love black people if we are white people and white people if we are black people, that will translate into individuals being more inclusive and loving in their relations with family, acquaintances and strangers.
   I think of the murders and the mass murders committed by those who hate other races. If we, as a nation, got racism out of our bones, some of this would wear off on those who are inclined to such murders and mass murders.
   I did refer to racism as a disease, did I not? The more it spreads, the more it is likely to infect those who could become inclined to murder.
   So, there is power to lift our nation in overcoming racism.
   You can build the character of your nation by overcoming racism. If we would be a great nation, one of great character, we should aspire to overcoming the racism within us.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Am I a God at Hand, Saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?

  I have mixed religion with politics abundantly the past two weeks, finding answers to political issues in scripture and in gospel principles. I do not think that wrong. If the gospel is true, it applies to all parts of our lives. And, it applies to world problems as well as personal ones.
   I happened upon this scripture tonight. "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? (Jeremiah 23:23)
   The verse strikes me. I can only wonder if it is saying that God is close and should be relied on for wisdom, and should not made to be far off and apart from the things going on down here on earth.
   But, I also see in this same chapter a warning that I should not suppose to speak on behalf of the Lord. Am I doing that when I suggest what the Lord might have meant in Jeremiah 23:23? A few verses later, in verse 31, it says, "Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues and say, He saith."
   Am I doing that? Am I using my tongue to say the Lord is saying something?
  I back up one verse, to verse 30, and read, "Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words everyone from his neighbor." From that, I wonder if He is saying that we sometimes take what others are saying as gospel. We take gossip for gospel. Forgive, but if, our neighbor tells us the First Amendment means we should go out and buy guns, and if the First Amendment is inspired of God, then should we not go out and buy guns? Or is this an example of us stealing from God in that we let the gossip of neighbors define what God is saying? In the words of Jeremiah, we steal God's words, supposing to find them in the things our neighbor tells us.
   Again, not having forgotten verse 31 so quickly, I realize that if it is I who interpret what God is saying, and set it forth as gospel, it is I who am using my tongue and saying it is what "He saith." So, I have a dilemma: I believe it right to apply the scriptures to my life and to our problems, but I do not want to suggest my interpretations are definitely correct, for that would be using my tongue to suggest they are God's words, and He says he is against our doing that.
   And, while it might be wrong to put words in God's mouth, implying that the First Amendment is His injunction that we should go out and buy guns, and while it might be wrong to let our neighbors steal words into God's mouth in this manner, are you any better off listening to my thoughts on what the scriptures might mean? I, too, am nothing but a "neighbor."  Listen to the logic I might offer, but know I am not blind to the fact I can be wrong, and will, at times.
   So, while I wonder -- that is what pondering the scriptures is all about  -- I do not know.
   I return to 23:23. "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar of." Again -- giving room that I might be wrong -- I wonder but what we make God a God afar when we do not try to apply His word to our problems, and that includes world problems.
   Jeremiah 23 is largely about false prophets, and it warns against them. But, I wonder if verse 28 suggests that if we do, indeed, have an understanding of God's word, we should speak it, even though there are false prophecies, as well. They (the false prophecies) are like chaff, and the true words are like wheat.
   Says the verse: "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord."
   I am not a prophet, of course, but the second part of that ("he that hath my word") might possibly apply to me. (Forgive, if you suggest I am out of line for that. But, I think we all have a tendency to think we are right, and I am no different.  So, yes, I think it possible I might be understanding God's word, I might have his word, some of the time.) So, "he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully." That would then seem to give me an obligation to speak faithfully. I might even should feel I have an obligation to say what I say.
   All this comes in the name of pondering the scriptures, and to likening them to myself. Forgive me if you think I do wrong.

There is that 
which we could call 
the prison of the past.
   We make a mistake, and fail to correct it, and pretty soon we are captured by what we have done, and where we have been, and how we have fallen short. Our past becomes our present, and we let our failures define our future.
   We become prisoners of our past.
   We should learn: Making a mistake is not the bigger fault, failing to correct the mistake is.
Wisdom is not in finding fault in others; 
It is in perceiving and changing our own faults. 
He who would be wise 
realizes it is not others he needs to change, 
but his own self.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Candidate Who borrowed a Church Theme to Solve Racism

   The reporter looked up from her notepad long enough to ask the candidate a question. "And, why are you running? What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?"
   "Well, I want to solve racism, for one thing," the candidate responded.
   The reporter had dropped her eyes back to her notepad in preparation of writing what he was about to say. But, her eyes shot right back up when she heard that answer. "Excuse me?" she said.
   "Yes, I want to solve racism," the candidate repeated.
    The reporter paused, reflecting for a brief moment. "You know, I don't know if you can do that -- solve racism. That's a rather big assignment."
   The candidate smiled.
   "And, I don't know that I've ever heard a politician suggest there is a way to solve it," the reporter said. "They decry racism, they oppose it, but I don't know that I've ever heard any of them suggest they can solve it."
   The candidate smiled.
   "So, do you already have an answer," asked the reporter, "or are you just going to go out and find one?"
   Now, it was the candidate's turn to pause. "Well," he began, "you might be right about it not being something we can solve, and I think you are also right about it being something that isn't perceived to have an answer. People fight racism by marching and protesting against it, but no one seems to have an answer as to how to solve it."
    He paused again. He drew a deep breath.
   "I go to church," he offered. "Do you mind if I tell you I took the answer from something I learned at church?"
    The reporter just looked at him, not replying.
   "Yes," the candidate said. "In church, they teach the steps of repentance. Would you agree that racism is a sin -- a national sin -- and therefore is something worth repenting of?"
   The reporter just stared at him.
   "In order to repent, you need to recognize you've sinned," the candidate said. "If you ever are going to repent, you've got to sit back and recognize you're doing something wrong."
   He paused, then continued. "If we want to have a chance of ending racism, we have got to help as many people as possible realize they are sinners, so to speak. We've got to help them recognize they are racists, and we've got to instill in them a desire to change."
   "That's a tall order," the reporter said. "Do you really think you can convince racists to admit they are racists, and to change?"
   I think we can change some," replied the candidate, "but, no, I realize we can't change them all."
   The reporter pursed her lips. "How are you going to go about convincing people they are racists, and how are you going to convince them to change?"
  "You get them to thinking," the candidate said. "You get them to reflecting. You ask them, 'Of all the incidents we've had where police have been accused of violence, is there a chance that any of them really involved racism and unwarranted violence? I mean, I'm just thinking some people are racist. To suppose that there is a magic door that keeps any and all of them from becoming police officers might be a little much. Sooner or later, it's going to happen. All the events we've had might not be police violence. Some, maybe most, might not involve any racism and any undue violence, at all.' "
    The candidate paused, and then said very gently, "But, if a person says all of the incidents were justified and none of them involved racism or undue violence, that person . . ." He paused, again, and made his voice even lighter. "That person might be a racist. Can you see why I say that?"
  He wasn't done. The candidate had one more point to make. "We also need those who make false accusations of racism to realize they, too, need to adjust. So, you ask them, 'Of all the incidents we've had where police violence has been suggested, is there a chance some of them did not involve police violence? I mean, it just seems to me, theoretically, that a person potentially could make a false accusation of racism. And, if in theory it is going to happen, it would seem it would in real life happen. Wouldn't you agree there is at least a chance that somewhere in there, one or more of the incidents were nothing more than false accusations?' "
   The candidate's voice again became soft and gentle. " 'It just seems a little much to suggest that never happens.' " Another pause, and then the even-quieter voice. " 'I think you'd agree such false accusations can be very harmful.' "
   The candidate glanced at his watch, realizing he had to be somewhere. "If we are going to solve racism, we have also got to solve the false charges of racism."


Friday, April 21, 2017

We must See Racism to Solve Racism

   The first part of solving a problem is admitting you have one. If we don't think race is a problem, we will never solve it. If we don't think police sometimes have a bias, we will let them continue with that bias.
  But, this also: If we don't think we sometimes falsely accuse the police of bias, there will be no stopping the false accusations.
   For starters, I think each one of us should consider how we are biased. It is natural to like those who come from our groups. If we are from Idaho, we might identify with and speak fondly of Idahoans. Even so, if we are black people, we often identify with black people. Natural enough, right? And, it is the same with white people, right?
   Mitt Romney ran for president four years ago. His being a member of my church certainly was a factor in my deciding who I would vote for.
   Supporting our own is not wrong.
   But --here's the trick -- condemning and disliking those who are not our own is wrong. If they do nothing to warrant our dislike, then it is wrong for us to dislike them. That is when the word "discrimination" locks in.
   So, if we are to solve racism, the first steps include:
   (1.) Recognizing that we tend to pool with those who are like us. This does not need to be seen as a bad thing. Feeling an affinity for those like ourselves does not need to be a negative.
   (2.) Recognizing that it is wrong to dislike or condemn or find fault with those who are not in our group simply because they are not in our group.
   (3.) Recognizing that it is possible for some police to be biased and to hurt or kill those who are of different races. And, to recognize not only that it is possible, but that it does, in fact, happen.
   (4.) Recognizing that some accusations of racism are false, and that not only are they false, but  they are harmful and damaging.
   If we were to want to solve our race problem, we could begin by hammering out this message, by sharing the four above points with each other. If we could get all Americans to consider these points, and to see that they are true, we would be started on the road to success in solving our race problem. And, while it is clear we can't get all Americans to consider the points, the more people who signed on to recognizing these four things, the further we would be along the path of solving our racial divide.
   It is said that the first steps of repentance including recognizing the fault, and confessing it. It is no difference with a nation than it is with a person. So, if we are serious, as a nation, about solving our racial divide -- and we ought to be -- then we should push to get as many people as possible to recognize and confess to the problem.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Racism Remains one of Our Larger Problems

   Racism remains one of America's largest problems. I think of all that has happened since the Ferguson riots -- the police shootings and shootings of police, the public debate and rancor between black people and white people.
   We should reflect on what are the best things to be done. I doubt we can end racism, but we can come up with best courses of action. We can find wise things to do, and do them.
   And, we should not only address racism, but false charges of racism. These problems run together.

To Defend Bear Ears' Archaeolocial Sites, Define Where They are

   You can't defend what you don't define. If we don't know what the archaeological sites are and where they are in Bears Ears, how will we protect them? That's my thought as I hear Matt Anderson of the Sutherland Institute say the Obama Administration failed to identify archaeological sites.
   I don't know, maybe the charter (or whatever it is called) creating the monument does provide a way for protecting the archaeological sites. Maybe the management team is empowered to identify them and protect such places. That might be a simpler and less expensive answer than having a federal study.
  My brother notes finding many might be as easy as reading the BLM map. At any rate, I agree the sites should be identified. You can't defend what you don't identify.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where your heart is, 
there will your wallet be also.
Money is the placebo, and love is the cure

 We throw money at everything from education to poverty.  Expensive programs rehabilitate our drug addicts. Top dollar buys us counselors for those with marital problems, mental needs, and social disabilities.
   As long as we are spending, we figure we are doing something about the problem. It becomes a placebo. Whether the problem gets solved or not, spending money buys us comfort. Now, sometimes the money and the programs make a massive difference. But, other times, our spending reaps little result.
   I would to tell you a better solution. There is more success to be found in love than in money. If it is a change in behavior you seek, try love before money.
   You have heard the old adage, I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.
   And, you have heard of those studies, of how babies receiving affection and love develop better than those who don't.
   It is said, Love is the most powerful force in the world. If we believe that, we should be trying it. If love really does bring about change, we should be looking for ways to instill it in our education programs, in our prisons, and in our programs for everything from homelessness to drug abuse.
   Love brings about change faster than a dollar spent.
   I do not say money cannot buy change. Surely, many of these programs reap great rewards. But, love is being ignored, and it is love that is the greater force. It might not be popular to say it, and certainly a person running for office, if he were to call for instilling love in education or such, would run the danger of being laughed of the stage. 
   We must get beyond that. We must get to a point where the answers that make a difference are neither ridiculed nor casually dismissed.
   Consider: Love has not been seriously instituted as a means of solving so many of our problems. If it is effective, if it is the most powerful force in the world, if we use it, we stand to reach heights and make progress that has never been achieved before.
Lord, be with me through the day
Please help me in every way
All my blessings are at thy hand
I need them all if I am to stand

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

If We Believe in Love, Why do We Ignore it?

   Give more money to education, perhaps, for that will show you are trying to help, trying to do something. But, I'm not so sure but what, when it comes to education, money is the placebo, while love is the cure.
   Pouring money into education will make us feel like we are doing something. And, it is true that money can help.
   But, laugh me away, if you will, that I should suggest love is the better answer. However much love the students feel, give them more. Amp up the love. I believe in the maxim, I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care. I hear of the reports on how love affects the development of children.
  In Nelson Rockefeller's words, "The most powerful force in the world is love." Others have probably said it slightly differently.
  If we believe these things, why do we not run to amp up the love? If we know -- if studies have shown -- love affects intelligence, why do we leave it behind when discussing what should be done to better our education system?
  Why all the talk on programs and tests and standards -- and no talk about the role of love? Those other things, too, might be helpful, but to leave out love is to leave out one of the most important elements of all.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Those Who Falsely Accuse Others of Racism Should be Corrected

   A week and a half ago, I wondered what could be done to, (1.) discourage people from honestly coming to the false opinion that others are racist, and, (2.) discourage people from calling others racist even though they know they aren't, and doing it just to stir up trouble.
   I suggested I was going to bed thinking about solutions, but doubting I would find one. Well, perhaps there are some things that could be done. If someone is falsely accused, that person should be stoutly defended. That might seem too simple an answer. But, it matters. If nothing is said to defend truth, falsehood wins. When I say, stoutly defended, though, I do not mean with anger. We should be understanding of others, even when they make false accusations. We should set them straight, but we should be gentle and meek in setting them straight. And, while this gentleness and meekness should be used on those making honest mistakes, perhaps a little more firmness is in order for those who know they are making false accusations.
   If a person attacks another as a racist, and gets away with the accusation, they will likely do it again. It is only in being rebuked that they learn not to make false accusations.
   I will go to bed thinking yet more on this.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Looking to the Book of Mormon for What to do in Syria

   If we were to look to the Book of Mormon for an answer as to what to do in Syria, could we find an answer?
   I think of Nephi and others fleeing from one part of the land to another to escape Laban and Lemuel. And, I think of Limhi and his people fleeing, and of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies . . .
   There are those who would force the Syrian refugees back to their home country, saying they should fight for their freedom instead of forcing themselves on others in foreign lands. 
   But, I see scriptural precedence -- in abundance -- for fleeing from the hands of the enemy. We have more than just the Book of Mormon on this. In the Bible, the Israelites fleed the Pharoah. (That the Lord had the people in the Book of Mormon do the same thing as He had the Israelites do in the Bible -- flee -- might should be considered evidence the Book of Mormon is true, for the same God gave the same directions.)
   And, I see precedence for doing what I suggested this past week: Being a protectorate of  a people. The Lord commanded Ammon to lead the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to safety, and so he led them to the land of Zarahemla, and the Nephites consulted and chose to give the Anti-Nephi-Lehies the land of Jershon.
   So, it appears that rather than mixing the Anti-Nephi-Lehies in with themselves, the Nephites, they set them in a land that became their own. And, since the Anti-Nephi-Lehies refused to fight for themselves -- having taken a covenant not to war -- the Nephites placed their own armies between the Lamanites and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies.
   They became their protectorates. They sought to seal off the Anti-Nephi-Lehies from their enemies. That is the same thing I suggested we do for Syria, albeit, I suggested we leave the Syrian people in Syria as opposed to moving them to another place.
   In today's world, I fear there might not be another place large enough to place the Syrians as a whole. Would we move them to Siberia? I would consider it, if we could. Would we give them their own land in New Mexico? I'd consider it, if it could be done.
   Bottom line, though, is I don't think Siberia or New Mexico are open to giving up a goodly-sized area to the Syrians.
   So, make Syria the place where we protect them. Clear out Bashar al Assad, ISIS and all the other bad elements, and wrap a defense around the land.
   Like the Nephites wrapped a defense around Jershon for the Anti-Nephi-Lehies.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Might the Fear of Bombs Chase us Underground?

   One wonders if the world will someday fear bombs so much that people will run and hide.
   Under the rocks and in the clefts of the rocks.
   Will fear chase us to the caves, to the bomb shelters?
   If so, that, too, might be a fulfillment of prophecy.  "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord." (Isaiah 2:19)

War is not freedom

  Roughly a decade and a half after entering Iraq, we still have not rendered it a free nation. A dozen years after the country held its first free elections, the country still is not free.
  For war is not freedom.
   If you "free" a country, but it remains embroiled in war, it is not free. Freedom is not fear -- It is not fearing for your life. Freedom is not death. It is not being forced to run and hide. It is not having your home blown apart, or family members being shot and killed.
   Of all things that keep a nation from being free, none stands larger than war. No nation is so far removed from freedom as that nation embroiled in war.
   War can bring freedom, but the period of time leading to that freedom -- the period known as war -- is the most oppressive of all. It is a little like curing a person of cancer: It is wonderful when a person is cured and healthy, but the chemo treatment leading to the cure is very oppressive. Good health lies not in the moment of treatment, but after the treatment is over. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

If We are to have Guns, We Must have a Reverence for Life

  If you would teach your children how to use guns, you must teach more. Guns can be good and guns can be bad. What you teach about guns is more important than just teaching how to use them.
   Guns come with dangers, so they should come with warnings. Guns can kill the soul of the person shooting them as quickly as they kill the person who is shot. So, pass them out only with precaution. Tell those who would use them not only when to use them, but when not to.
  We may suppose we strengthen our society by giving it guns. To the contrary, we will only weaken it if the guns come without instructions on the sanctity of life. Guns should not be placed in the hands of anyone who is not first taught to reverence the lives of those they can be aimed at.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is it Fulfillment of Scripture of Just Likeness of Scripture?

  As I went to bed last night after writing about the Middle East practice of hiding in underground caves, I thought of this scripture. And, as the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever on the tunnels of Afghanistan, I thought of it again.
  Is the practice of hiding in the tunnels fulfillment of scripture, or just a likeness to scripture?
   "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord," says Isaiah 2:19.
   As I finished my blog yesterday, and considered what to put as the headline, I found myself thinking of the phase, "holes of the rocks." So, I titled the column, "How do You Find Them in the Holes of the Rocks?" That's when it hit me that the practice in the Middle East of hiding underground might be fulfillment of scripture, and it certainly is at least likeness to scripture.
   Then this next day, the tunnels made the news as the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever.
   Saddam Hussein was found in an underground hideout. Osama Bin Laden is said to have accessed the tunnels. Both would be considered wicked men by many. Both had the fear of justice, the fear that they would be caught.
   Perhaps, then, the fear of the Lord.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How do You Find Them in the Holes of the Rocks?

   Syria is the one part of the world he would blow up and start all over on. I have a friend who feels that that is the best way to deal with Syria.
   I'm not in favor of such a suggestion. I don't at all want to see the country wiped off the map, so to speak. But, I do take note of one of the reasons he gave for wanting to blow Syria off the map, and I note how it affects my thoughts on making Syria a protectorate of ours.
   My friend said Syria, like many other countries, has so many tunnels and underground hiding spots, the bad guys can live underground. So, if I am suggesting we first rid Syria of its bad elements, then before sealing it off against them, we face a large task. If we would clear all the bad people out, how do we do so when they are holed up underground?
   Starve them out? That might be one thought. But, I don't know exactly how we would go about starving them out and identifying them when they came to the surface.

More Thoughts on the Business Model

  Recently, I suggested a business model worthy of trying might be one in which the company lets subcontractors own certain component departments, thus inserting the profit motive on middle management.
   I've continued to think on this. It occurs to me, you could insert the profit-making motive without giving up a portion of the ownership. Just base the department head's pay on a factor tied to saving the company money. I still think there is an advantage, though, of offering a share of ownership. We have a tendency to take greater pride in something that is our own.
   And, about as quick as I wrote the blog, I realized there are some departments for which you do not want to be motivated by profit. Some, you want and need to focus on quality, not profitability. Though it is essential that the company, as a whole, makes a profit, some functions must not be tied too closely to profitability lest a necessary level of performance be compromised by an effort to reduce costs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Model the Defense System after that of Israel

   Here's a novel approach to solve the Syrian crisis: Go in, take over the country, and make it a protectorate of the United States. Now, I'm not saying we definitely should do it, but I'm saying we should consider it.
   The goal would not be so much to free the people -- to bring them democracy -- as to free them from war. Could we do that? Could we go in, kick out not only Bashar al Assad, but also ISIS and any other rough influence  -- and keep them out?
   It is war the country needs freedom from. Six million are internally displace, almost five million have fled the country and are refugees, and an estimate 400,000 have been killed.
   Could we do it? Could we isolate the country from war? Could we take a country in the middle of the Middle East and block out all the hostile elements so prevalent in that part of the world? (A few of Trump's walls might be worthy.)
   And, could we afford to do all this?
   I believe the answer might be, yes, to both questions. For part of the model of how to do it, look no further than Israel. In it, we have a country surrounded by foes and yet it is a nation not only surviving, but thriving. They have their famous Iron Dome anti-missile system. Place a similar system over Syria. Look at whatever other measures Israel has in place for keeping out the enemy and copy them.
   Again, I'm not sure but what Trump-type border walls might be in order. Consider Gaza, and how the wall there keeps out weapons that might be used against Israel.
   Now, in Syria, since we are wanting to be a benevolent protectorate, while blocking the nation off, do everything to help the economy and to foster it. That is part of being a benevolent protectorate, building the economy.
   Can we pay for all this? Seems a little much, right? Well, yes, we can pay for it. We can afford to do this. Syria has its oil wells. Take their profits and use them to pay for the defense system.
   The harder question is, what will become of the defense system down the line? What if we are ever pressured to leave? Do we leave behind the defense system we have created? What if an undesirable government some day takes over? Will our defense system fall into its hands? Should we make it clear that if we leave, we dismantle the system?
   Still, so far, I am not dissuaded from thinking the right way to handle the Syrian crisis is to adopt the nation, take it under our wing, and care for it as a parent cares for its child.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Should we Consider becoming a Benevolent Protectorate?

   I wonder today on the wisdom of whether the U.S. should become an occupant nation, go in, take over Syria . . .
   And rule it.
   Be a benevolent ruler, but a ruler the same.
   I am not ready to say we should do it, but I believe we should consider it.
   Some estimates put the death toll at 400,000 in that war. An estimate 6 million have been internally displaced, and an estimate 4.8 million have become refugees outside of that country. We, as Americans, find ourselves crying out, wanting to help.
   But, if we rid Syria of Bashar al Assad, who steps into the void? Will ISIS gain control? Will another despot rise to power? If we step in, militarily, and rid the country of both ISIS and Assad, and then let them have a democratic election, will they just elect another despot? And, if a decent person is elected, will he and his nation remain under attack from ISIS or someone else? The scenario of Iraq should haunt us. We call it a free nation, but war remains and shows no signs of going away.
   What if we just stepped in as a benevolent protectorate? Coul we afford it? Would we just be putting ourselves in harm's way? Would war remain, just with us more at its center?
   Or, could we go in, put up all the anti-missile systems and all the defense systems to keep the enemies at bay? How many soldiers would we have to keep there? How much money would we have to spend?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wisdom is often nothing more 
than withholding an opinion.
   When all the facts are not in, the wise person will perceive they are not, and reserve judgement. But, a fool will rush to judgement. "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards," says Proverbs 29:11.
   Even so, sometimes we rush to opinions too quickly, and I speak of current events, and how we rush to our opinions. Wisdom is often nothing more than holding off on an opinion until you know more about an issue or event.
   And, even so, we often are too quick to condemn others, and end up accusing them falsely.
   If you would be wise, then, neither judge your neighbor too harshly, nor place all your public opinions in stone.

Should We go to War in Syria?

   Do we let ourselves get drawn into this war? Or do we remain out? I'm told President Trump's attack on the Syrian air base was the first direct U.S. attack on Syria in the six-year history of the conflict.
   Do we delve in, more?
   I open today's newspaper to read how Syria has struck, again, at Khan Sheikhoun, the town devastated by the chemical bombings. I assume the news story is correct in saying it was the Syrians who conducted Saturday's attack on Khan Sheikhoun.
   And, I read the criticism of how Trump's missile attack was but symbolic, of how it will do nothing to deter the Syrians, nor save the civilians. That the Syrians returned to Khan Sheikhoun is evidence of that. They thumbed their nose at the U.S. and, in essence, suggested our attack will only make it worse for the civilians.
    From the Washington Post story, I read: "'The American strikes did nothing for us. They can still commit massacres at any time,' said Majed Khattab, speaking by phone from Khan Sheikhoun. 'No one here can sleep properly; people are really afraid.'"
   So, what do we do? 
   Are we the world's policeman? Do we want to be? Does international law allow us to be? Will this be but one of many conflicts we get drawn into?
   I read from the Washington Post story of Shiite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr criticizing both Russian and U.S. intervention. "I call for a military retreat from Syria by everyone," he says. "The Syrians are the only ones who have the right to decide their fate."
   I consider that this is not exactly a matter in which you could ask for a national referendum of the Syrian people, asking them what they want. The Syrians the only ones who should decide their fate? The people are not even in position to pick their own fate. Or is Moqtada al-Sadr saying the fate should to be left to Syrian President Bashar Assad, ISIS and the rebels? 
   I do believe this: Congress should convene -- should already have convened, for that matter -- to discuss whether we should go to war. We keep saying it is for Congress to declare war. Often, then, when the question of whether we should go to war does come up, why is it that Congress does not even convene to discuss the matter? 
   As for me, do I believe we should go to war? I must think on it some more.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

I Hesitate to Endorse President Trump's Attack

   I hesitate to endorse President Trump's attack on Syria. I might endorse it, but I will be slow. I do not condone the use of chemical weapons that resulted in 86 or however many deaths. And, yes, I do think such things call for response.
   But, was Trump's attack the appropriate response? We launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at the air base in Syria that is suspected to be the home of the planes involved in the chemical attack earlier in the week.
    And, if I hear correctly, eight or nine civilians were among the casualties. Now, if you are attacking an air base, perhaps you are not expecting to take out civilians. I still pause, though, because, allegedly, we did take out civilians. If civilians were, indeed, killed, could it have been avoided?
   For what it is worth, as I study the issue, I hear that 23 civilians were killed in the Jan. 29 attack in Yemen that also took out a Navy SEAL.
   I know that war can only be so surgical, that some civilians are going to die. But, I still feel you keep them to the minimal, and when you can, to zero. When you are in the midst of battles in the middle of wars, that is when it is least likely you can keep civilian deaths to zero. Often, you can't choose the battlefield, and civilians are in it. But, when you are planning an optional, surgical, single-day attack, perhaps you should be expected to keep the deaths to zero.
   Killing someone to protest the death of others is not an appropriate response.
   Still, despite all my concern about the loss of civilian life, I cannot but come back to the reality that an air base is singularly a military facility, and, as such, an appropriate target. While I think we should be asking how we ended up killing civilians, while I think we should be very concerned and disheartened, I conclude that the attack on Syria appears appropriate.
   On a separate concern not addressed in this column, I am not yet convinced Trump acted within his powers, nor within international law, but the military action is in line with what past presidents have done.
   This would leave but the concern that the Syrians are not the ones responsible for the chemical attack. On that, I wonder but what the strike might have been justified, anyway.
(Note: the second sentence and last three paragraphs were added hours after this column was written.)

Friday, April 7, 2017

These Days, if You are Going to go to War, You Better have a Lawyer

   These days, you need a lawyer to go to war.  You need to know if its legal to go to war, and you need to know how to conduct the war legally once you're in it. You don't just wander into war without the advice of a competent legal team. Until our current day, war was the one thing that didn't have rules. Those days are gone. It used to be that part of the definition of war was that you could do anything you wanted, kill anyone you wanted, and kill them however you wanted -- because that's what war was all about.
  Nowadays, we have rules. You can't just fight anyway you want. You can't just go about killing another country's people unless you do it by the book. In coming up with war strategy, you need both generals and lawyers.
    No chemical weapons. If you are going to kill another country's people, be nice about it.
   And, you better remember that the War Powers Resolution only gives you permission to skip over Congressional approval in case of an attack on America, its territories, its possessions, or its armed forces.
   And that international law says you can only fight on another country's soil if that country gives you permission, the UN gives you permission, or you are acting in self defense.
   These days, instead of asking for Congress's approval, you better ask for your lawyer's. He can tell you whether you have the proper permissions and qualify to go to war, and whether you are fighting in an authorized manner.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Is there Anything to be done to Discourage These False Accusations?

   If someone were to accuse me of being a racist, would it make him a racist? Perhaps just as important, am I in any way and even slightly racist? That is an introspective question I consider.
   But, again, realizing how apart I am from being racist, would it make them a racist if they were to suggest I'm one?
   Off top, maybe, maybe not. Some of them might be just jumping to the wrong conclusions, using what they feel are reasons when those reasons don't exist. Let's say I said to one, "Listen, son, you need to do this," and they took my use of the term "son" and the fact I was giving an order to indicate that I was trying to put them in their place, racially.
   They'd be wrong, but I don't know that that would necessarily mean they were the ones who were racist.
   But, what if they knew I wasn't racist, but just threw out the accusation to cause trouble? I don't know that that qualifies as racism either. But, it is a form of conduct that is just as bad as racism.
   And, it is a form of conduct we need to call out. In our society, as we veer back toward a more divided nature, one race against another, we do not want people to be fueling the fire without cause.
   As, I often do with social issues, I wonder what could be done to remedy these two problems. One, I wonder if there is something we could do to discourage people from jumping to the wrong conclusion that the other person is a racist. And, two, I wonder if there is something we could do to dissuade people from knowingly making the false accusation, just to stir up trouble.
   Off top, I see no answers. I will go to bed thinking on it, but doubt I will come up with answers.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sometimes, They Show Themselves to be Racists

   I wonder, when someone suggests there isn't racism, or much racism, in America, if that doesn't show them a racist. Let me explain.
   Shortly ago, I ran into a situation where one person was suggesting the others in his group were treating him in a racist way. I was privy to some of the back-and-forth of what was going on, but could see that I didn't know enough to say whether they were discriminating against him racially.
   Someone asked me about it. I suggested the racism might be possible. Saying it might be possible is just leaving the door open, not saying it is so.
   Later that day, as I thought about it, considering all I knew and weighing each small evidence I had, I concluded I just couldn't tell. I went back and forth thinking it might be, and then thinking it wasn't.
   Without reading their minds, I concluded, there often is no way to tell. Often they do not come right out and do something that clearly brands them a racist. That doesn't mean they aren't. They can pick on someone and put it off as there being a reason for their doing so -- having nothing to do with racism.
   If we were to say such things never happen, we would be wrong. There are going to be those who are racists, who just don't let on. To say that it never happens is to deny what surely does happen. How often it happens might be a question, but not that it does.
   So, when someone suggests it never happens, when they say certainly no racism was involved in situations where it possibly might have been, they might just not be thinking clearly.
   Or, they might be showing themselves a racist.
   And -- another thing -- if we suppose we are wise enough to figure out whether racism is involved in a lot of these situations, our "wisdom" proves us fools. We are fools for thinking we are wise. When there aren't enough facts to sort it out, there aren't enough facts.
  (Minor changes made 4/6/17.)

Too Many Opinions; Too Many Chiefs

   "Too many opinions; too many chiefs," my friend said. He exited the door, then came back seconds later. "Everybody puts their 2 cents in; all you get is chaos."
   Just as there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians, so are there too many people putting themselves forward as having all the answers and not enough people willing to follow good advice?
   There's an interesting thought.
Those who love are loved of God. 
Being a loving person is synonymous with being a good one. 
Showing kindness is the trait of a noble soul.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Here's a Corporate Model Worth Trying

   I thought on it, when my brother noted Simplot once brought in a subcontractor for the kitchen, for food services. I thank him for getting me thinking on how, sometimes, large companies would be better off if they took many of their parts and made semi independent businesses of them.
   Here's why: Mid management in a company often does not have attention to the bottom line. Instead, the managers look at success as achieving the the functions they are entrusted with. Unfortunately, their look for success can include unnecessary travel, and unwise expenses. Sometimes, even, they look at expenses as simply a way of improving their departments. If they can hire an employee to do this, or to do that, it will mean things can be done that clearly will make the department better. So hire the person.
   But businesses need to be profit-driven in order to survive. If they hire too many mid managers, or too many employees, or succumb to too many department-improving expenses, they will go broke.
   So, here's my perhaps novel idea. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't, but it might be worth trying. Whenever you have a department that could be operating on its own, on a profit or loss basis, give 49 percent of it away. Bring in a managing partner (who owns the 49 percent) to make his or her living off the profits. The partner is thus profit-driven, for if he doesn't make a profit, he doesn't make a living. The partner sometimes will be more driven, himself, as the job becomes more of a personal thing than just a punch-the-clock effort.
   Maybe it isn't altogether a novel approach. I do see companies bring in subcontractors. Still, I don't think this model is used much, if at all. I don't believe it is common to split the ownership with the subcontractor,

Monday, April 3, 2017

The definition of a good person 
someone who finds good in others.

   That is not always true, but there is a lot of truth in it. Consider how a not-so-good person is someone who is a fault-finder, and who turns friends against each other, and who scorns and taunts. Gossipers certainly are not often considered wonderful people. On the flip side, Loving one's neighbor is the second greatest commandment. Speaking well of them is a way of showing that love.
  So, indeed, there is much truth in the thought that the definition of a good person is someone who finds good in others.
  (The last part of blog changed the morning of 4/5/17.)

Abraham Arch Lincoln Worded it a Little Differently

   Abraham Arch Lincoln once said, 
Government of the born-here people, 
for the born-here people, 
and to get rid of all other people. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

From Conference: Speaking out is a Virtue, but Hostility is not

   "These turbulent times were foreseen," said Elder Russell M. Nelson during the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Later in his talk, he said, "True disciples of Jesus Christ are willing to stand out, speak up, and be different from people of the world. They are undaunted, devoted and courageous."
   That sage comment does not tell us what the right side is for each of the public issues, but it does give us hope that taking a stand when we see injustice is the right thing to do.
   And, I think of the words of Elder Dale G. Renlund. "We must guard against bigotry that raises its ugly voice toward those who hold different opinions. Bigotry manifests itself, in part, in unwillingness to grant equal freedom of expression. Everyone, including people of religion, has the right to express his or her opinions in the public square."
   Bless me, then, that I will be wise enough and gentle enough not to condemn those whose opinions differ from mine. Although I do reasonably well on this matter, in the past month I have seen need for improvement.
   And, I consider the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. "There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures, and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, the married, for large families and for the childless," he said. "There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions."
  I wondered if he was weighing in on requiring immigrants to speak English. Perhaps he wasn't; I don't know.
   I believe it good to apply what church leaders said during Conference to our daily lives, which includes all that is going on on the public stage, since many of us are active in discussing news and events. It is also important to listen to the other things the church leaders said, things that do not involve how we react to current events.
   I also think of the headline over the Salt Lake Tribune's story about Conference. "Hostility no way to deal with conflict, apostles say." I think of the many rallies and protests. Turbulent times? That certainly is reflected in rallies and protests. Such places should not become forums for hatred and for hostility. They have, though, and they are. Bless us, that when we participate in the market places of public opinion, we do so without being hateful and hostile.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Evolution of Economics: Sellers Realized They'd Get More this Way

   The evolution of economics: As prices have pushed up on certain items such as health care, there came times when the consumer could no longer afford them. If it were to be him doing the buying, the buying wouldn't get done.
   So, enter third-party buying. Instead of Joe Blow, the consumer, reaching into his pocket and paying right on the spot, a third party -- a rich uncle, so to speak -- is found. And, the "rich uncle" pays the bill.Then, Joe either pays the rich uncle -- the sugar daddy -- back later or receives the product gratis, ne'er needing to pay the money back. Insurance is a form of this. Government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare are also forms of this.
   Now, I have suggested our economy evolved to this as a result of prices reaching a point where the consumer could no longer afford them. I'm not sure that this was always the case. Rather, in some situations, there came a time when the seller simply realized that if he could slip a sugar daddy into the equation, he could charge more money.
   Insurance companies have deeper pockets than average people. Governments, the same. If you leave it to the average person to pay the bill, you aren't going to be able to charge as much. Get insurance companies and governments involved, though, and you can jack up the price.
   So, what if we were to take insurance companies and government out of the equation? What if we left the buyer to pay his own bills upfront. More correctly stated, what if we left the seller to collect from nobody other than Joe Blow?
   He wouldn't be able to charge as much. If he wanted to sell his product, he would either have to sell just to the rich, or he would have to lower the price to where the average person could afford it.
   So, if we want medical bills to drop, perhaps we should get rid of or reduce the influence of insurance and government.
   Now, if we just got rid of insurance and government as bill payers, the medical profession would likely cater more exclusively to the rich. It just wouldn't provide all the services to the poor, because they couldn't afford to pay them.
   So, what to do?
   Turn the individual mandate on its head. Instead of requiring everyone to buy insurance, require  medical providers to sell to everyone.

Homeless Persons' Night at Corner Canyon High School

   "When you know someone, you do everything you can to help them. When you're trying to help a friend, you're happy to see them move closer to you," writes Doug Wilkes, editor of the Deseret News, as he discusses homelessness. He ends his column by saying,  "Turning someone we fear into someone we know is key to solving the problem of homelessness." 
   I see great wisdom in these words of his. 
   Maybe a partial answer to solving the problem, then, is to create programs where people work with the homeless, programs where they meet them, and listen to them, and learn to love them. 
   The programs could go beyond the traditional going to the shelters to help serve meals. How about a Homeless Persons' Night at Corner Canyon High School, where the homeless are asked to come and speak, telling their stories.
   And, you could have a Sit With the Homeless Night at the shelter, where the visitors divide up to sit down and talk one-on-one with the homeless, allowing the street people tell them their stories.