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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brace Yourselves

At least, those of you who are LDS like me had better brace yourselves. The Washington Post is predicting that Mormonism will be the distraction/interrogation of the month in September, because everything else Obama and his team have tried against Romney has failed. What's more, Romney has risen in credible polls, took Israel and Poland by storm, and will soon choose a running mate. Obama is getting desperate. If the Washington Post, liberal as it is and connected to the Democrats in Washington as it is, is willing to admit as much and engage in speculation like this, then you may rest assured it will happen. Not that "Mormonism" has ever been off the table, as previously claimed by the Obama campaign. They just have news media do the dirty work for them, as liberal politicians always do. The benefits of a complicit media. An excerpt for you:
Obama will figure out a few more promises he can make to lure voters to the dole, but that has become old hat. I really believe there are meetings at the Obama campaign and at the White House (what's the difference?) where the question on the table is, "What can we give away to whom that will get us votes?" As the Obama campaign exhausts itself, having misspent money and failed with its messages too early in the election cycle, it is near the bottom of the barrel. The final 100 days are here and all Obama can do is attack — but he needs some new material.       
I look for the "September surprise" to be Mormonism on trial. At first the attacks will come from marginal surrogates, then the reliable half-cocked usual suspects among Democrats in Congress. (Somebody cue Debbie Wasserman Schultz.) Next, a member of the left's apologencia from the MSM will write a cerebral, somber piece saying the tenets of Mormonism are fair game, and then we will be off to Slimytown. Romney will be confronted with this or that Mormon practice or theological position, the late-night comics will weigh in and Obama will have a distraction that could linger while he hopes for a break or something external to change the trajectory of the race.
Lest you misunderstand, I do not fear the exposure for the LDS Church or its members. We only stand to gain by a closer inspection, provided it is genuine and not falsified, as verified by a study in May. Mormons are not trying to hide anything. What does bother me (us?) is that so much is misrepresented and taken out of context by the news media. As a reminder, the core teaching of the LDS Church is to follow Jesus Christ. All else is peripheral.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Remembering the 2002 SLC Olympics

Deseret News published a lengthy story in two parts about Mitt Romney's role in the Salt Lake City Olympics, and precisely why his Olympic experience should matter to a Mitt Romney campaign. Fascinating information.

Part 1: Romney and the Olympics: What the Salt Lake Games say about a Mitt Romney presidency
This part talks character, among other things such as budgetary priorities like putting athletes' health and comfort above the Olympic committee VIPs'.

Part 2: What Mitt Romney's response to Sept. 11 attacks can tell us about his approach to crisis management.

I especially love Part 2. Did you remember that Mitt Romney was in D.C. on Olympic business when 9/11 occurred? How he had to decide what the terrorist attacks meant for the SLC Olympics and whether it was possible to have them at all? How he arranged for the increased security and bringing all international parties on board with his decisions? How he got special permission by the Olympic committee to use the flag from the World Trade Center in the Opening Ceremonies? I had forgotten. To quote:
Romney skillfully used 9/11 as a new symbol for the Olympics, memorializing victims at torch-run venues and using the tattered flag from ground zero during the opening ceremonies, which has become an iconic image in the 2002 highlights reel.

Romney had always wanted the opening ceremonies to be emotional, so when the United States Olympic Committee wanted to use the flag, he seized on the idea and won an exception to the IOC's traditional ban on nationalism at Olympic ceremonies.
 I strongly recommend both parts. If you only have time for one of them, choose Part 2.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Swiss Army

Did you know that in Switzerland all citizens are required to serve in the military for two years? They are all trained and skilled in weapons and defense, among other things. Thus the entire country has low crime even though everyone has a weapon. Their military service teaches them discipline and work ethic. One might do worse than learn these kinds of skills. I'm not saying that the United States should have a mandatory military time for each citizen (which would not be practical in a country as large as ours) but rather that by arming responsible citizens, crime is reduced, as happens in Oklahoma and places like it. Also that the discipline and work ethic developed in such service benefits one for life. Mormon missions do something similar for those who serve.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

LDS Church response to Businessweek

Businessweek, published by Bloomberg, is the one responsible for an attention-getting story of the LDS Church financial practices that I've talked about before. Check out these headlines from Deseret News.

No more Mr. Nice Mormon? LDS scholars speak on reaction to Bloomberg story
"The Businessweek cover is in such poor taste it is difficult to even find the words to comment on it," said LDS spokesman Michael Purdy. "Sadly, the cover is a reflection of the bias and speculative nature of the article itself. It is narrow and incomplete, omitting, for instance, a good deal of information given on how church resources are used. The article misses the mark and the cover is obviously meant to be offensive to many, including millions of Latter-day Saints."
Out of bounds: Businessweek cover story distorts

Criticism follows Businessweek cover on Mormon Church finances
"Sadly, the cover is a reflection of the bias and speculative nature of the article itself. It is narrow and incomplete, omitting, for instance, a good deal of information given on how church resources are used.
LDS Church shares financial history, philosophy
"The church is not a capitalist enterprise; it is a religious endeavor that uses the tools of capitalism to achieve religious ends," he said. "In a nation obsessed with wealth, the distinction is hard to appreciate, but to Mormons it is all-important."
In fact, the church's statement emphasized the charitable and religious purposes of all its investments.
LDS Church issues statement on Mormon businesses, finances

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bad Signs for Obama

Love this title: Media Doesn't Want You To Know News For Obama Is All Bad. And, being published on Breitbart, it has all the necessary details including the economic data as to why this is so and the calls out media spin which says the opposite. There are other articles at Breitbart reiterating the same theme. For example, Census Shows 200,000 Small Businesses Shut Down From 2008-2010. And 47 Years Later, Medicare and Medicaid Are Financial Disasters. And Obama's DOJ? (Or injustice, as the case may be.) Refusal to hand over Fast and Furious Documents and halting legal voter roll cleanups, and dismissing valid cases aside, get this: Corzine Firm Member's Attorney is Holder's Former Lawyer and 'Best Friend' and Corzine's MF Global Was Client of Eric Holder's Law Firm. Somehow I don't foresee a special prosecution in the works, even though there should be. You'd think Obama would want to distance himself at this point, or get rid of Holder. Apparently he's in on it all too because exerting executive privelege in Holder's defense sure indicates as much. He might be impeachable, if we can find out what he's trying to hide.

Obama's failures are not only domestic. Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, wrote a fantastic piece published at Financial Times, US must recall it is not just any country.
The list of US foreign policy challenges is long and there will be a temptation to respond tactically to each one. But today’s headlines and posterity’s judgment often differ. The task at hand is to strengthen the pillars of our influence and act with the long arc of history in mind.
Then she details, working her way both regionally and specifically across the globe, as to how this can be done. In short, Obama has not been taking the long view, not that Condi addressed Obama's policies by attacking him personally, but rather focused on the ineffectiveness of his policies in solving any long or short term problems. She talks about how protecting America's interests (promoting and supporting democracies) benefits people the world over.

She would be a terrific choice for VP, in my opinion.

Back to Obama: Rush Limbaugh has said off and on that "I hope he fails." What he means, as he has often explained, is that he hoped that Obama would not be successful at transforming the United States of America into something less than its best. Obama has not failed. We now have a weakened place internationally, a shrinking military, a skyrocketing deficit (approaching $16T, with soon to be $6T all on Obama's head), expanded government programs (including the addition of Obamacare) with less to pay for them, a shrinking economy, a bad housing market, bad retail market, bad energy policy, bad jobs market. These struggling markets are the product of a government too big to sustain. Obama can't seem to get on top with numbers, because he's not supporting policies that would produce improvement of these numbers.

What Rush Limbaugh suspected from the get-go in 2008 is that Obama never wanted to improve these numbers at all. On the contrary, he wanted to increase dependence on the government. He wants to buy support with handouts. He increases the scope and power of the government over the people in governs. He wants the majority of Americans to look at government as the solution or the answer to all their problems. Dependency. The opposite of personal freedom.

The problem is in the paradigm. Government can't really solve problems directly except by stepping out the way to let the free market work, but politicians (especially those of a liberal bent) want to convince voters otherwise. I'm not sure whether politicians (including Obama) actually believe big government works themselves, since they might just be in it for the personal power and money. I saw somewhere that some government program spent over $70k per minimum-wage job. Typical. These are the same people that spent over $200k per "stimulus" job of some kind. Too much bureaucracy and too little efficiency. There is no motive for accountability or economy when using taxpayer dollars rather than a business, which uses dollars wisely to get the biggest possible returns. The free market knows the value of a dollar and will get as much good out of it as it possibly can, while the government knows how to waste our money unlimitedly, and waste our grandkids' money while they're at it; simultaneously shrinking opportunities for Americans at home and abroad.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

By Hook or By Crook: Voter Registration Fraud

I'm sure you remember that Obama's DOJ (Eric Holder) refused to allow Florida to clean up their voter rolls by removing dead voters, etc. As they are required to do by law! They can't win. The law says they can't do what the law says they have to.

Now Virginia is having trouble with its voting rolls. The nortorious Voter Participation Center has been mailing registration forms addressed to dead people, pets, and children. The Romney campaign is asking for a probe, and rightly so.

I saw some other report about voter registration forms being mailed to residents of Democratic-leaning areas. Fraud again. I don't have the link to that anymore, I apologize.

Fraud doesn't stop there. It gets worse. Drug money has been buying votes in Kentucky. We all know who supports drug legalization, don't we? This activity is definitely illegal and is indefensible, and I'm relieved to see that (according to this report) the Dems aren't even trying to defend it. They already have several public officials incarcerated for buying votes in the past. Talk about corruption!
Then there is a weak online voting system in most states, which are designed to help overseas voters such as military personnel to exercise their right to vote. This system can be hacked. I don't know if this online ballot initiative would be an improvement for overseas voters or not. The military tends leans Republican, and in 2008 Illinois purposefully did not mail out the absentee ballots to their residents in the military until it was physically impossible for the military personnel to get them returned on time. Thus denying them their votes. New York routinely doesn't send ballots to the military. With no penalty. Remember that Illinois and New York and both blue states, and apparently willing to suppress conservative votes in their states. Illegal! But unpunished. The media suppresses information like this all the time, because they're liberal themselves. Also, while the federal voting law states that states must mail out ballots overseas by a certain time, there is no means of enforcement that I am aware of. I'm suspecting that an online system may be better in that respect.
Then there's Rush Limbaugh, who suggests that while all this talk of voter fraud is intended to make the Republicans lose faith, hope, and voter enthusiam, but as long as we vote there won't be enough fraud to make a difference in the outcome.

Which is precisely what happened in Governor Walker's recall vote in Wisconsin. For example, people were bussed into Milwaulkee from Michigan and probably other places as well to vote illegally, with 110% voter turnout reported, but it still left Walker up 7 points against his opponent.

Walker's election is probably as good an indicator for November as anything else we've got. Conservative voters are fired up and will vote just like in WI. Fraud will happen, but it will not win.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A breakdown of Businessweek's bad numbers on LDS money

Last week, Businessweek wrote about LDS Church money. They made much of it. There is much of it. The LDS Church has large investments, some for-profit businesses, many non-profit organizations, etc. This is all in addition to tithing and other charitable donations. What Businessweek did not do is provide the most accurate of numbers in estimating the monetary value of charity extended by the LDS Church. Nor do they consider the possibility that the LDS Church has these investments to provide for charitable causes (above and beyond member-donated funds) while not depleting their principal. Duh!

I am indebted to Ryan Bell of Mormon American. He found or has access to much better numbers than I do.
Ryan Bell's response sections to Businessweek are the following:
1. The facts are wrong.
2. The comparison is misleading
3. The conclusion misses the point.

I will quote one portion, but I strongly recommend you head over there to read his response in entirety. He provides substance througout that I cannot in good conscience copy in entirety over here. And he also illustrates my point yesterday about not taking what the media reports at face value. You NEED more sources to really know whether someone's article is right or not.

This is from point three listed above.
If you and I both make $1 million, and you donate $500,000, and I donate $5,000, it is easy to determine which of us is more charitable. All the rest of my money will be spent on me, so it’s obvious I’m being more selfish than you, and this would be proper grounds for criticism. When two churches spend dissimilar amounts on humanitarian aid, the analysis is completely different. That’s because churches don’t typically spend their non-charitable funds on “selfish” purposes. The LDS Church is not some wealthy individual buying ski boats and jetting to St. Lucia, while stiffing the local homeless. The money the LDS Church does not spend on humanitarian purposes is being spent on other causes it believes are of equal or greater value to the world. As has been noted widely, the Church builds and maintains many thousands of buildings to host its members and create stable, holy places to preach the gospel. The Church trains, equips, supports, and houses tens of thousands of missionaries, some of whom are supported by their parents, but the majority of whom are not. These missionaries require maintenance of huge fleets of cars, hundreds of offices, and tens of thousands of flights each year. The Church publishes books, magazines, curriculum and administration manuals, operates several universities (all at a loss), and manages myriad other widespread and wide-ranging aspects of a massive, rapidly growing global operation–almost none of which produces a cent of revenue. Thus, even if the LDS Church gave very little to traditional charitable causes, that would not be evidence of selfishness or apathy. It might mean that the Church’s fights against evil, secularism, and sin are higher priorities than the fight against hunger and disease. It’s a debatable position, but quite defensible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I've been reading various articles concerning Mitt Romney's religion for months now. I like to check in on the press and see how they're doing in representing both my preferred candidate and our shared faith. For a while, the press was tamer and reporting things conscientiously and accurately, at least about Mormonism. Not so much in the last week.

Romney, naturally for liberal media, will never get a fair shake about anything. Media continues to drive public opinion against Republicans and towards Democrats by the nature of the questions (or lack thereof) raised about either side and the nature of material reported. We've heard details of Romney's life that have no match in coverage of our current president! They're digging deep for dirt, and it's not working (see Breitbart). The same seems to be happening with Mormonism, which appears to be a renewed media target in the Obama campaign's joint fight with the liberal press against the Romney campaign.

For example, the left likes to say that Romney is playing dirty and lying about Obama, but the 'fact-checkers' they use are lying. Romney is usually right. The press is lying. And so is Obama.

Here's what you should look for in a well-research article involving any aspect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
  • References to LDS sites or quotations from LDS spokespersons.
  • Interviews with Church members.
  • Information that is not strongly biased against Mormonism.
  • Both sides of a viewpoint.
  • Indication that the author made an effort to understand the Church's point of view, rather than relying solely on hearsay or antagonists of the LDS Church.
If you find an article that does not meet with at least three of these bullet points, then categorize that article immediately as insufficient information, meaning no opinion of the Church or its membership should be made by using that article alone.

Thank you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Proving My Point

A funny story for you. Well, I think it's funny.

Once upon a time some weeks or maybe months ago, I was reading on a liberal news site some utter hogwash about either Romney or Obama, I don't remember which. Either they were lying about Romney to tear him down or lying about Obama to build him up. I think the article was disparaging to conservatives in general, and the comment section was even worse. Name-calling, insulting, ill-educated stuff.  Typical liberal talking points about conservatives like they're stupid, etc.

I commented, in this hostile territory, something to the effect that I felt that conservatives were actually better informed and better educated because they formed their opinions not according to and in agreement with a deluge of liberal media but also the conservative media response and they also knew how to argue and debate their opinions and positions; whereas liberals just spout off the same liberal-media-taught hatred for the right without a second thought, and that if they were ever crossed in this opinion they would just shout more names without engaging in discussion or debate.

Less than a minute later some dude replied with profanity that I was so wrong and stupid. No debate. No discussion. No open-mindedness. I was tempted to reply "Thanks! You prove my point." But I didn't. I didn't need to - it was all too obvious!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

LDS Excommunication

An article published in a Massachusetts paper erroneous associates Romney with the excommunication of a woman in his congregation when he served as bishop (lay pastor). Some facts are correct: for example, the stake comparative to a Catholic diocese in some ways, being about 10 wards (congregations) together. The stake president presides over those wards in his stake, but much Church activity happens on the local, or ward, level, which is presided over by the bishop of each ward. The story in question involves a woman who declared herself finished with the Church, followed by the newly called Bishop Romney inviting her to her own excommunication trial.

Here's what you need to understand about LDS excommunication that is missing in the article. Bishop Romney would not have issued the orders for an excommunication trial. That can only happen on the stake level, and he was not the stake president at that time. Also, in the absence of the article indicating the reason the stake sought an excommunication trial for this woman we don't know why this trial would have happened. Usually it is for serious sins such as broken covenants (promises to God) made in holy temples. But I have no idea what happened in this case because no reason was given. Thirdly, this woman says she told the LDS Church she was finished and wanted to be removed from off of Church records, but she apparently didn't meet with her bishop (before Mitt Romney) to sign the form to make that happen. Yes, there is a procedure for leaving the LDS Church, which is probably one reason why the rolls have more members listed than attend each LDS ward across the world.

There is something else you should understand about excommunication if you're going to be laying charges at Romney's door about it. First, excommunication is a repentance tool. An excommunicated member can have all Church ordinances reinstated following a period of complete repentance.

All of this context was missing in the article mentioned. The author does Romney a great disservice by opening with a detailed negative story involving Romney rather than making numerous possible detailed positive stories involving Romney from the same time period. I dare say that the liberal media has no intention of giving credit to him where credit is due since he is a Republican nominee rather than a Democrat one. I still caution anyone taken in by anti-Romney anti-Mormon information that you do not have the full picture, and who among us can accurately say our lives our blameless?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Obama's excesses

Excessive vacations and vacation expenses, a 'stimulus' bill that was so large even Congress had a hard time getting rid of all the money to all the unions, extra TARP funds that Bush didn't want to use, you name it. Obama is a big spender of our money.

His campaign, while paid by donors, is in the red, according to what I've heard somewhere months ago. Maybe that's changed, but I rather doubt it. He's a spender! Now a report has come out that Obama Campaign Spends More Than $2.6 Million on Polling - in June. Sheesh! That

Is this really the man that American citizens want in charge of our nation's fiscal problems? Spending our money until we don't have any left? He shows no restraint and no responsibility. Hence the nearly $16T deficit thus far with annual deficits topping $1T for the first time in US history, with no sign that he will cut back or ask Congress to cut back.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Romney's response to the CO shooting

Romney's response to the tragedy is appropriate and respectful. He showed real leadership with what he said and did today. He gave a great example and reminder to all of us as Americans. Here are some of his words spoken from Bow, N.H. where a campaign event had been scheduled.

I don't have the full transcript. As reported in Politico:
“I stand here before you today not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American,” Romney said. “This is for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another and how much we love and how much we care for our great country.”
Romney, who served as a bishop in the Mormon church while he lived in Boston, quoted scripture and called on Americans to offer prayer for those who are mourning in Colorado. He substituted the remarks for his normal stump speech and also pulled campaign ads in Colorado.

“Today, we feel not only a sense of grief but perhaps also of helplessness,” Romney said, using a pastoral tone. “But there is something we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy laden, and we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado.”
“This morning, Colorado lost youthful voices which would have brightened their homes, enriched their schools and brought joy to their families. Our prayer is that the comforter might bring the peace to their souls that surpasses their understanding.”

The man who has avoided much mention of his faith during the campaign quoted from the Bible.

“The Apostle Paul explained, ‘Blessed be God who comforts us in all our tribulations that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,’” he said. “What we do know is how evil is overcome and we’re seeing that greater power today in the goodness and the compassion of a wounded community.”

The previously scheduled campaign rally was stripped of its political overtones. The stage did not include the usual campaign signs featuring the candidate’s slogan and jabs at President Barack Obama, who struck a similarly somber note earlier.

Before the event started, the sound system didn’t include the usual country music playlist and, instead, attendees waited in silence.

Romney stood at the lecturn in a suit and tie, a more formal look than his usual one. He spoke for only about four minutes.

“There will be justice for those responsible, but that’s another matter for another day,” he said. “Today is a moment to grieve and remember, to reach out and to help, to appreciate our blessings in life. Each one of us will hold our kids a little closer, linger a bit longer with a colleague or a neighbor, reach out to a family member or friend.”
This story is backed up by the Weekly Standard, with nearly the same quotations.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mischaraterization Warning

As time goes on and as Romney proves harder to distract on the campaign trail, the harder the liberal media tries to undermine him, in conjunction with the Obama campaign. Now they're digging up Mormons of (gasp!) differing political opinions! Imagine that. Here we have several Mormon Congressional politicians on both sides of the aisle but they have to go dig up every-day Mormon Joes and Janes to suggest Romney isn't speaking for everyone - as if that is news.

They have to compare Mormonism to Scientology. No connection whatsoever, besides you might say both are misunderstood. Scientology is genuinely secretive, from what I can tell. The LDS Church, on the other hand, is hard to ignore. The I'm a Mormon campaign to to to to local LDS chapels to missionaries... we're everywhere, trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not so  much the Scientologists.

The media suggests (in an underhanded way, with their wording or random quotes) that Romney isn't a good Mormon - as if they could know. Subtle, this media is. As far as I can tell, Romney's a good Mormon in every sense of the word and I'm proud to have him represent our faith on a national scale. I also approve of his decision to leave the discussion of his faith to people other than himself.

As a reminder, the LDS Church maintains strict political neutrality, though it encourages members to be active politically and that both political parties (for those in the United States) support good things. Not that that means that either one of them are wholly good, mind you. Both have their issues.

In conclusion, don't believe that the media is innocently reporting anything about Romney or his religion. Because they're not. Go to better sources. Read both sides of any story.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Obama's Legacy

Ann Coulter hit it right on the nose today.
Before taking the oath of office, Barack Obama vowed to fundamentally transform the United States. He has certainly done so. For example, Obama has: 

-- destroyed the job market; 

-- sent billions of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, companies overseas, his campaign contributors and public sector unions; 

-- forced the passage of a wildly unpopular national health care law on a purely partisan vote; 

-- come out for gay marriage; 

-- refused to enforce laws on illegal immigration; 

-- eliminated the work requirement for welfare. 
Yup. And let's not forget the infractions against Americans in Eric Holder's DOJ. Fast and Furious, refusal to allow Florida to clean up its voter rolls even though it's legally required to do so? It's all politics. Coulter's title is Democrats' Ideal Voter: Illegal Alien, Single Mother, Convicted Felon. More from her article:
The same process that has already destroyed California is working its way through the entire country. 

While conservatives have been formulating carefully constructed arguments, liberals have been playing a long-term game to change the demographics of America to get an electorate more to their liking. 

They will do incalculable damage to the nation and to individual citizens, but Democrats will have an unbeatable majority. Just like California, the United States is on its way to becoming a Third World, one-party state. 

Teddy Kennedy's 1965 Immigration Act was expressly designed to change the ethnic composition of America to make it more like Nigeria, considered more susceptible to liberal demagogues. 
Yup. Which is exactly why the DOJ is refusing Florida to comply with federal laws. This move is wildly unpopular, even with Democrats and a majority of Hispanics. See Despite Media Onslaught, Florida Voters Approve of Voter ID, Stand Your Ground, Voter Rolls Cleanup, at Newsbusters.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mormon Support for Romney

The New York Times has a most interesting article about the big financial support Romney has from other well-to-do Mormons. I don't know if this is to put attention towards those relatively few LDS businessmen who have notable careers and pioneer ancestry, as Romney does, or whether it is to focus on Romney supporters as wealthy and therefore out of touch, but what they do report is accurate, even though the article focuses only on a rather small subset of LDS Church members.
In interviews, several of Mr. Romney’s supporters expressed their concerns that attention to the financial support he has received from other early families of the religion would raise old prejudices and accusations of clannishness that followed their forebears. For many, their support is born of their personal admiration for Mr. Romney, as well as of their shared values and experiences with him, whether in business, at Brigham Young University or as high-level lay officials of the church.
“Obviously, there’s a Mormon tie there,” said Kevin B. Rollins, a former Bain & Company partner and onetime chief executive of Dell computers, who has donated $375,000 to Restore Our Future. “But it’s much more about his competency as a manager and an administrator.” You don’t keep winning positions of leadership if you mess them up, he said.
Not that this quote reflects the main point of the article, which is that rich Mormons in business have pioneer ancestry (which hypothesis is broken by other Mormons such as Glenn Beck). Other news agencies have noted the groups of anti-Romney Mormons, who dislike his politics because they are Democrats or independents. Only 85% of the 6-odd million members of the LDS Church living in the United States are Republicans, after all.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Some LDS perspective

To hear tell about the "hateful" stance of the LDS Church towards gay marriage, you'd think people were trying to pressure the Church to change their ways - including some in the Church who don't seem to understand that this is a doctrinal issue rather than a cultural one. Sure, intolerance and hatred have no place in our behavior towards any of our fellow men, but that does not mean that God's eternal doctrines are subject to change or "evolution." Marriage is defined by God as being between man and woman.

Allow me to give you some perspective by broadening the conversation to other doctrinal issues within the LDS Church.

  • We believe in abstinence before marriage and complete fidelity afterwards. 
  • We believe in avoiding harmful substances including (but not limited to) alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and coffee. 
  • We believe in keeping all of God's commandments.
Why? Well, when we choose to keep God's commandments and repent of our sins and transgressions, we are clean before Him and are better able to receive revelation and inspiration for our lives. Sin of any kind interferes with the ability to listen to the Holy Ghost. Ultimately our dedication to God (as evidenced by following Jesus Christ) will bring us home to live with Him.

Yes, this means that gays within the LDS Church are expected to live celibate as any other single member of the Church would do. Otherwise, gays may choose to marry in the traditional way as some have done. LDS Church doctrine is family - based. In order to achieve the highest level of salvation and live with families eternally, we are sealed in holy temples for time and eternity and are afterwards faithful to the covenants (promises) that we have made to each other and to God.

If you don't like this, that's fine. The LDS Church doesn't ask for approval or affirmation from any culture anywhere in the world. They only seek God's approval by teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the best of their ability.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

An Indicator

On June 23, StarNewsOnline published Romney sparks interest in Mormon religion. And you know what? They did a pretty good job. The factual inaccuracies reported as a quote from someone against Mormonism were corrected. None of the facts reported were incorrect (as often happens). They included the core belief of those belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is to follow Jesus Christ.

Great work, guys! I hope the rest of media follows your example. On the whole, I've not seen egregious reporting errors on the subject in the last few weeks, which tells me that the LDS Department of Public Affairs is on the ball, responding to and correcting flawed coverage, leading to greater accuracy overall as more time passes. Way to do your homework, reporters!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Legal Analysis of the Obamacare Ruling

Breitbart has a legal contributor, Ken Kuklowski, faculty at Liberty University School of Law. I greatly appreciate his legal perspective.

Confusion has reigned over whether Obamacare’s individual mandate is a tax, because politics has gotten in the way of serious discussion (no surprise there). As Governor Mitt Romney tried discussing the issue like the serious businessman and serious lawyer (Harvard Law School) that he is, political operatives were so busy making an important political point that it looked like they were on different pages.

Then Romney brought order to chaos by plainly stating: Obamacare’s Individual Mandate was a mandate with a penalty, not a tax. Although the Constitution allows states to impose mandates (like car-seat mandates for children, seat-belt mandates for adults, and car-insurance mandates for driving) such as Massachusetts, the same Constitution makes it illegal for the federal government to impose an insurance mandate. But when Chief Justice John Roberts saved the Individual Mandate by declaring it a tax, it now becomes a tax.
Thus the Individual Mandate was not a tax. The Massachusetts mandate is still not a tax. But now henceforth Obamacare’s Individual Mandate is a tax, thanks to an astounding declaration by the Supreme Court.
So Romney hit it exactly right: The individual mandate is unconstitutional unless it’s a tax. Romney was right to say that as a penalty it was unconstitutional. And once the Supreme Court (wrongly) declares it a tax, it’s now a tax. It would be nice if the rest of his party would get on board with their nominee’s message, because their nominee happens to be 100% correct, and seems to be one of the few leaders on television who fully grasps the law and the facts on this case.
Read the whole analysis for more of his perspective. And go Romney!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Doctors Fleeing in Droves

A very long time ago I told you that doctors are leaving practice in the United States because of Obamacare. Now I have evidence. The Daily Caller (and many others) reports that 83 % of doctors have considered quitting over Obamacare. Media Matters is predictably calling this survey "comically awful" even though in my rough analysis the survey is no more poorly constructed than the average political poll by a liberally-leaning institution. And perhaps much better - it's not like any poll gets an 100% response rate, etc.

Why would doctors want to quit? If you don't remember, Obamacare de-incentivizes treating Medicaid and Medicare patients, leaving doctors with headaches of paperwork and less reimubursement than ever. Would you want to be a doctor if you could only get a little of $100k (at most) for 12-18 hour days after 7-12 years post undergraduate education and steep student loans? I wouldn't. So lots of doctors will drop their government-funded patients, leaving them fewer options for care. Meanwhile, we already face a doctor shortage and it will get worse under Obamacare because (hypothetically) more people will be insured and have to visit their physicians, thus increasing the demand for doctors. The survey forecasts a shortage of 90,000 doctors.

Here are the key findings from the survey:
  • 90% say the medical system is on the WRONG TRACK
  • 83% say they are thinking about QUITTING
  • 61% say the system challenges their ETHICS
  • 85% say the patient-physician relationship is in a TAILSPIN
  • 65% say GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT is most to blame for current problems
  • 72% say individual insurance mandate will NOT result in improved access care
  • 49% say they will STOP accepting Medicaid patients
  • 74% say they will STOP ACCEPTING Medicare patients, or leave Medicare completely
  • 52% say they would rather treat some Medicaid/Medicare patient for FREE
  • 57% give the AMA a FAILING GRADE representing them
  • 1 out of 3 doctors is HESITANT to voice their opinion
  • 2 out of 3 say they are JUST SQUEAKING BY OR IN THE RED financially
  • 95% say private practice is losing out to CORPORATE MEDICINE
  • 80% say DOCTORS/MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS are most likely to help solve things
  • 70% say REDUCING GOVERNMENT would be single best fix.

If you want an interpretation, AMA is the American Medical Association, who "worked" with the federal government when Obamacare was considered. Corporate medicine is large groups, such as Kaiser. I've mentioned them before. It is Very Difficult for a doctor to make it on his or her own in a private practice.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Liberal Science isn't Science

I've touched on this before, but it's worth repeating and exploring in greater detail. It would ease my scientist's heart if you all understood this well. You know of Ann Coulter? She has a book, called "Godless". Basically, she identifies liberalism as a religion, demanding indoctrination despite inconsistencies. For example, if science shows a result against what liberals (religiously) support it isn't reported or believed. So much for claiming they believe in science. She also questions their morals, for instance, supporting the protection of all vegetation over the protection of unborn human babies. Is life worth protecting or isn't it?

Remember the polar bears and how all of liberalism was up in arms because polar bears were drowning? Evidence has since shown otherwise, and the picture used was shown to be taken years earlier - of polar bears in one of their natural habitats, an ice flow. Did you hear about that? Probably not. Only those who pay attention to conservative media (such as Rush Limbaugh) would remember it. Do you hear any more about drowning polar bears though? Not I.

Remember the hype about global warming and the ridiculous (and false) claim of consensus among scientists? It's a religious-level belief among liberals, but it has the same problem. Science isn't ruled by consensus - though those who get the government grants have to be doing what the government wants to hear about. A true scientist considers all data with an open mind to identify all possible causes and explanations, and there is every bit as much data suggesting the opposite to global waming as there is to support it. The very nature of science makes it hard to determine absolute truth, because it is hard to prove something when the possibility or even existence of one exception invalidates it.

Hence we're seeing more talk of climate change now than about global warming, as is entirely normal and natural - but entirely separate from human life. 10,000 years ago the earth was in an ice age. 2000 years ago the earth was considerably warmer than it is now, as a tree ring study indicates (not that you'll see it oft repeated in liberal news media). Humans in all likelihood make much less of a dent on the earth than they self-importantly imagine. Is the earth worth protecting? Of course. But is the earth and life forms on it worth protecting at the expense of fellow human beings including higher taxes - a liberal cause in itself? I doubt it.

In the Clinton years, environmental regulations led precisely to the wild-fire-ripe conditions near human settlements in Colorado today. From a Red State article:
Environmental regulations restricting the construction of forest access roads have limited the ability of the Forest Service to clear combustible brush and trees, adding dangerous fuel to the wildfires that have ravaged Colorado this summer. The so-called “roadless rule,” which was first implemented in 2001 by President Clinton shortly before he left office, restricts and in many cases prohibits local and federal officials from building and maintaining roads that allow firefighters to clear out growth that could instantly become tinder for a new fire.
These kind of laws erase years of progress in protecting life. Rather than maintain access roads - used to fight fires or access problems in general - the regulations force access road neglect, reverting the area to the tinder box it was originally, before humans made the area more habitable for all forms of life. Not all changes in the environment are bad, people. Yes, fire is a natural thing. But does that mean you want to get burned? Does it mean that all humans should live on another planet so we leave Earth untouched? Human life - including human innovation - is a natural thing on Earth too, you know. Natural as the dramatic changes wrought by volcanic activity, tsumanis, and earthquakes.

In conclusion, as much as the news media would love for their audience to unquestioningly believe their reports - including those about science, I strongly recommend you read both sides so as to avoid being duped by the hype and misplaced mass hysteria. And in the case of scientific reports, research would necessitate reading as many reports as possible, and certainly not those all from the same source. Even Popular Science is severely biased. You can tell because of the kinds of stories they cover, what viewpoints they take, and how much they ignore the opposite points of view. Hardly a scientific stance, but certainly a liberal one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Numbers Support the GOP

Unemployment Rate Dropped in Every State that Elected a Republican Gov. in 2010. The average rate drop was 1.35%, compared with an average drop of 0.9% in states with Democratic governors, with many of those states having increasing unemployment.

Just as Obama prepares to drop tax bombs on us all, consider also that In Maryland, Higher Taxes Chase out Rich. They move to Virginia, with better tax rates, or elsewhere. Mostly Virginia though, because the rich in both Virginia and Maryland are strongly tied to our federal government in the District of Columbia. Similar things are happening in New York and even California. States with bad business laws lose business and the money and jobs and income taxes and sales taxes they could make from them. States with bad income tax rates are losing residents with high income. What does this mean federally? People will have less incentive to earn more than $250,000 and have less incentive to hire people for their businesses thanks to Obamacare with its host of federally regulated rules and taxes. Regulated through the IRS. Lovely.

Will Democrats ever figure this out and decide it's not worth lying about any more? I doubt it. They like to massage the raw data in obscure and unethical ways until it shows something they want to hear. Like all of Obama's job reports adjusted upward the next week. Like Nancy Pelosi fudging numbers or pulling them out of thin air with no scientific basis. Etc., etc., etc. Thank you, conservative media, for shouting loud and long enough that liberals can't completely hide their shady methods in the complicit news media.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thanks for the laugh!

Over at Business Insider I saw a ridiculous reference to an LDS General Conference article within an editorial geared towards shaming Romney (or driving a wedge in public opinion against Romney - same thing) about not releasing more tax returns.

The General Conference article is called Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time, without Delay. Naturally I have no problem with the substance of this General Conference message, but what does that have to do with Romney releasing his tax returns? BI seems to think that releasing returns is a 'right thing' on par with obeying God's commandments - but the argument has flawed logic. It is not against the law to not release tax returns when running for president. Romney has released last year's returns and plans to release this year's returns - and two is standard for presidential nominees - at his own convenience. Not the convenience of the liberal media or the Obama campaign. As John Nolte on Breitbart often says, Romney's playing chess, not checkers.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mormon Grace

I've seen references elsewhere to the fact or idea that Mormons aren't Christian because they don't define grace in the same way that other Christians do. I don't know how every other Christian defines grace, but I do know its meaning within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so I will explain that to you.

First of all, Mormons refer to Jesus Christ's great sacrifice as the Atonement. This Atonement includes his suffering for all our sins and pains and weaknesses in the Garden of Gethsamane, up through his glorious Resurrection. Jesus Christ's Resurrection allows all mankind (us) to be resurrected. His prayers and suffering in the Garden allow us the miracle of repentence: that through an intercessor we can be forgiven the great debt we owe to God for our sins and weaknesses. This can be further broken down.

Justice would require that each man would punished for his own sins. Mercy allows us to avoid the demands of justice by having someone else satisfy our debts by being punished for our sins: this is only possible for us because Christ is perfect, offering himself a perfect yet willing sacrifice for us. Thus we can be redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance through His name. Now, even after all we can do (our faith, repentance and good works) we still fall short in comparison with God and Jesus Christ. Grace makes up that difference. Grace is part of the Atonement of Christ: a gift to each of us. We access grace by both faith and works (including repentance). We need faith, works, and grace to be saved. Without our faith and works, grace is not extended to us. Without grace, faith and works are not enough for salvation. All of this is made possible through Christ; the author and the finisher of our faith.

If I understand correctly, some Christians think that Mormons emphasis on the Atonement (which includes grace) rather than grace itself marks an insurmountable difference between the LDS Church and other Christian churches. Some Christians quote LDS Church leaders from the past about grace and think Mormons dismiss grace entirely. I remind each of you that not everything that any Church leader (or other Mormon) has ever said constitutes an authority. Prophets' counsel is prophetic and for all people only when acting in that capacity. For absolute authority in words rely first on the scriptures (including the Book of Mormon for members of the LDS Church) and then the words spoken by Church leaders in General Conference. And remember: the most fundamental belief and teaching in the LDS Church is to follow Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mormon Misrepresentation

Have you seen Mormons quit church in mass resignation ceremony? It's not very representative of the whole story - in fact, it's almost entirely one-sided, covering those leaving but not members staying. Allow me to correct the flaws.

150 Mormons (now ex-Mormons) hardly constitute a mass resignation ceremony in my book, though the mere formation of a group is a novel idea in LDS Church history.

Yes, there is a slight uptick in the rate at which members are leaving the Church these days, though the net population change is still one of growth. So don't be deceived at the wording here or elsewhere.

To an unmeasured degree, media scrutiny (with greater and lesser degrees of accuracy) does seem to be contributing to many members' loss of faith. Some of those leaving say it is because of the Church position on homosexuality. On that the scriptures and Church teachings are in agreement: God defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Yet the Church teaches and extends tolerance, love, and understanding towards the LGTB community.

The LDS Church does not claim to have the only truth on the earth, but it does claim to have restored truth to the earth. In this way you might say that we claim truths of a broader scope than those left in the Bible alone (which has changed a bit over time).

The LDS Church does have sticking points in its past, such as polygamy. Faith in the LDS Church comes down to precisely that: faith. As with any other religion, there are many things we can't fully understand or explain (such as Christ's birth and resurrection) but we believe them all the same. For faithful members of the Church who have a personal witness that the LDS Church is true, the flaws aren't so much of sticking points as unanswered questions.

The LDS Church is neither sexist nor racist. Equal blessings are promised to both genders and those from all races and always have been promised to all, even if the priesthood has some restrictions just as it did in the biblical times. Women in the LDS Church who understand the gospel don't have much issue with being 'denied' the priesthood. I've seen a recent article referring to a "matriarchy" within the church just as much as "patriarchy." That's an accurate statement.

The local LDS Church leaders (and general Church leaders for that matter) have no ecclesiastical training. They do the best they can to lead their congregations and follow the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. This is not to say they don't make mistakes - they're human like anyone else.

The "culture of abuse" is fictional. What is accurate (though unclear in the article) is that the Mormon culture is not always in agreement with either the gospel of Jesus Christ or the LDS Church. The gospel being the doctrine: eternal truths which never change, and the Church being the organization of members who teach the gospel, with policy changes as needed to best meet that objective. The culture doesn't always have much to do with either the gospel or the Church.

Furthermore, what is meant by "culture of abuse" is a reference to the hierarchy: Jesus Christ leads the Church, directing it through the prophet and apostles. Members are  not authorized to make decisions outside of their own stewardships, meaning their own families and Church positions of teacher, leader, pianist, etc. This is another one of the things that could be a sticking point for some instead of a matter of faith.

This "culture of abuse" could also be said to refer to the idea within the Church that problems or questions individual members have with certain aspects of the Church are not the Church's problem: it is theirs. I realize this sounds bad. But the fact is that the people who pray about and find peace with the Church's positions stay, and those who don't leave. The article refers to a "culture of obedience" but it would be more accurate to say "doctrine of obedience." I've no doubt that some members obey Church teachings because of culture, but most follow out of personal conviction and testimony, not culture. A cultural conversion is not likely to last. That tells me that it really does come down to individual faith and conviction more than people going and coming reflect upon the Church itself. The Church isn't in this to please people: they teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Speaking of which, it would have been nice to see a reference to the core belief and teaching of the Church: to follow Jesus Christ. All else is peripheral. The media certainly doesn't understand this or has no interest in reporting it since they're almost entirely liberal and thus in the tank for Obama and opposed to Romney.

Romney had absolutely nothing to do with the article, yet they still mentioned his candidacy and reminded us all (again) that he would be the first Mormon president. Yeah, we got that down already.

So. Again, I remind you to not trust the media in representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why We're Afraid of Mormons

I just found the most interesting interview through Boston University with a scholar who studied Mormonism.
Hutchison-Jones, a Harvard administrator, is not Mormon, but an interest in religious intolerance led her to write her BU doctoral dissertation on “Reviling and Revering the Mormons: Defining American Values, 1890-2008.” (Those years marked the official Mormon abandonment of polygamy and Mitt Romney’s first run for president, respectively.) She began with the assumption that this would be another American story of a minority’s assimilation into, and acceptance by, the mainstream culture. To her surprise, she learned that Mormonism remains “really problematic for a lot of people. The negative images of Mormons far outlasted my expectations.”
 She did a great job representing Mormons and the prevalent misconceptions about them in her interview. Read it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day

I wish you all a terrific day. I hope we can all spend some time in remembrance of and gratitude for the founding of our great country and the freedoms and protections provided here.

I saw on Drudge that some conservatives are upset that Romney is on vacation right now - his first since his candidacy, at least that I'm aware of. Guess what? Obama is on vacation right now too. And guess what else? Obama has taken nearly innumerable vacations -and his family took more besides - all on the tax payer dime. Let Romney take a break with his grandkids on his own dime. It's a holiday, for crying out loud!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

SCOTUS ruling consequences slowly sink in

And I'm not just referring to the growth of government, federal expenses, state budgets, and the 20 tax increases on people making under $250,000.  Politico has a lead article entitled Liberals fear the John Roberts rebound. I had to laugh when I saw the title. Apparently the liberals missed this fact last week while they were gloating about the ruling - but it didn't escape conservatives. The very first thought I had when I heard about the ruling after "Really!? Seriously!? You're not joking!?" was how much the conservative base is now going to be fired up. And we are.

As the article mentions, conservatives are now poised to have some big wins in November. Apparently the liberals think there are even bigger court rulings up in the next session that Roberts has given himself immunity from any (liberal media) criticism about because of his prior SCOTUS ruling but we'll have to wait and see about that. I have little faith that Roberts won't keep his liberal bent.

Meanwhile, a recently released poll shows Romney up 51 to 43 after the Obamacare ruling in 15 swing states, though the liberal article mentioning it hastily adds that Obama is still up 49-46 nationally. Whatever that's worth - they're always slanted too liberal in comparison to the actual electorate, and at any rate the 3% is within the margin of error. All this really means is it's a close race, and Obama isn't gaining ground in any swing states which he would certainly need to win the election. Obamacare is not popular in any swing states, as discussed at Breitbart a few days ago.

*FYI the links in the first sentence all are from Rush Limbaugh, who is on a terrific roll about Obamacare and what it means for the country.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Private Equity Hyposcrisy

This at Breitbart in The Vetting Series:

President Barack Obama has attacked Gov. Mitt Romney's record in the private equity industry as CEO of Bain Capital. But ten years ago, as he struggled to raise funds for his long-shot U.S. Senate campaign, then-State Senator Obama decided to embrace the private equity industry and its wealthy Chicago political donors. At one point, Obama even sponsored a resolution in the Illinois Senate calling calling private equity firms like Bain "the best opportunity for long-term economic vitality" and for "the creation of jobs."

Heeheeheehee! Breitbart is making a name for itself in stirring up the liberal talking points and turning them on their heads. Their exposures have the news media on their toes! Because of Breitbart, the media is forced to cover Fast and Furious (however minimally), Politico suspended a reporter, and Weiner was called out a year ago. Right wing media - led by the vision of the late Andrew Breitbart - is completely changing the way Americans get the news.

I read somewhere (Breitbart again, perhaps?) that the Romney campaign is constantly checking in at Drudge, Breitbart, and the like and it is one of the reasons that Romney's campaign is so successful at providing quick counterpunches to the Obama campaign and media smears. Go Romney! He's running a brilliant campaign and he's playing to win.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fast and Furious details emerge

Here, at Boy, was the Obama administration sneaky. Unfortuneately, the article is long enough and detailed enough that short snippets don't do it justice. You'll just have to read it yourself. Go ahead! See why Obama is headed into hotter water than Watergate ever was.

A historical precendent

Did you know (or remember) that the Supreme Court ruling against Dred Scott's independence from slavery in 1857 so fired up the Republicans that Abraham Lincoln was elected? Not all is parallel between then and now, but it's still worth noting after a ruling this week fired up the Republican base to new heights. Thanks to American Ride on BYUtv for reminding me. Watch it online!