My letter to Obama

Although I do worry about some of the things Obama has on his agenda, that most Democrats (who now have majority control of congress) will likely support, I actually have found myself felling better about him then Mr. McCain. I never liked McCain (even being a moderately-conservative republican-leaning voter) as a presidential Candidate and never thought he had a chance at wining.

I actually ended up doing a protest vote for Baldwin (Constitution party) to express my dislike for the options (and wish more people would do this instead of voting out of "fear of the other guy" or simply not voting) as I fell my voice is heard more clearly this way.

I think Obama will actually turn out to be more moderate then some are painting him to be, but I'm also sure I'll find plenty to disagree with him on.

My suggestion is to all of you is to go to his website http://change.gov/page/s/yourstory and tell him your story. Be polite and honest, and you may be surprised at the kind of influence you can have towards affecting the kind of change you want to see. You likely won’t get exactly what you want but you’ll be much closer to it then what you'll get just sitting around and complaining about it.

Here is the letter I wrote:



I've always believed that life is hard. By this I don't mean malicious, but rather challenging. I've also learned that the things that are most worth living for are the things we must work hardest to archive, or that require the most work; such as faith, family, good friendships, and a prosperous career (yes in order of importance). For this nation to be great, the people in it need to be great, and that means a willingness to work hard to earn the things that are most worth having. Our society today feels too entitled to things they need to learn to work harder for, and then get rewarded generously for their hard work. The greatest generation in the country (40's & 60s), came out of the hardest times this country has ever seen; because they learned to work hard for what they had.

The roll I'd like my federal government to play in this, is simple yet effective regulation to insure that not only corporations are prevented from taking advantage and usurping power from the people, but that governments are also prevented from interfering with our ability to work hard to earn and keep the tings we work for.

I'd also like my government to focus more on the nations infrastructure, national defense (not necessarily foreign defense) and basic standards related to commerce and business; in such a way that it enables the individual to do a better job at archiving the goals they see best for themselves. I believe that as our government steps back, leaving behind opportunity, the people of this nation will find their ability to stand up and fill those opportunities; while having minimal government assistance to insure the people can take those opportunities they are not taken advantage of, through simple but affective regulations.

I believe the constitution of this great country has enabled this country to be great, so long as the people in it are willing to be great; however, it has been walked all over in the last few decades by both sides of the isle, judges who misinterpret it based on their own agendas, and the people who have willingly accepted laws that aspire to regulate and control our freedoms. From this has come some of the biggest problems this country faces today. Basically I see the main problem as an oversize federal government controlled by bureaucrats, special interests, and over-sized monopolistic corporations, that usurps powers that according to the 10th amendment belong to the individual states and the people. I believe our gun regulations and criminal laws are already stricter then is necessary to discourage criminal activity and may even contribute to the delinquency of otherwise law abiding people. This not to diminish the federal governments responsibility towards oversight, but certainly this oversight needs to not be so overly intrusive. The real answer to our social problems is not more regulations and laws, but to untie our hands and enable the people to step up and do what's right for their families and their communities.

Fiscal responsibility is also a big concern of mine, and I strongly disagree with the "Bailout" loans that have been given over the last few months; especially because it's causing a nearly 1 trillion dollar spending deficit - the highest in history - even when accounting for inflation. If there's one thing that I believe will dis-stabilize an economy and cause increasingly larger fluctuations in inflation/deflation and prosperity/poverty it is an economy fueled by debt with the unreasonable expectation of consistent future inflation; usually forced upon us by huge increases in the money supply through deficit spending, international borrowing, and printing of new money. This benefits the rich and the large corporations, but tends to only hurts the people this government is supposed to protect.

I must admit, President-Elect Obama, I did not vote for you, but I also did not vote for McCain, as I feel both parties have lost touch with the "average Joe". I truly hope that the change you endeavor to bring to this country will help enable an improvement in the life and livelihood of the "average Joe".

- Posted By Seth Hollist

Destruction of the Family

Neal A. Maxwell, “A More Determined Discipleship,” Ensign, Feb 1979, 69–73

". . . [future] events are likely to require each [church] member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. (See 1 Kgs. 18:21).

"President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life' (in Conference Report, Apr. 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked . . .

". . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions . . . resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened . . .

"Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. . . Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, “summer is nigh” (Matt. 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat!

". . . God, who foresaw all challenges, has given to us a precious doctrine which can encourage us in meeting this and all other challenges."



The Family: A Proclamation to the World

". . . we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
"We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."

- Posted By S.J. Hollist

The end of the world as we know it?

I don't know about you, but I feel fine...

Elections are over and the people appear to have spoken in this certainly historic event, but how historic is it really? Certainly the U.S.A. has overcome a very dark chapter in it's history, and helped to realize the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., or so one would think that Affirmative Action no longer needs to be compelled upon us.

In the first few days after the election, signs of racism reared its ugly head, as a few hateful people vandalized and protested over President-Elect Obama, just because of his skin color. Others have also shown fear towards Obama's expected agenda that is expected to be very liberal and socialistic, as illustrated by a drop in stock prices the day after the elections. Many in the largely conservative state where I live have been out buying guns and ammo for fear that Obama will support initiatives to make them much harder to get; or possibly even try to take them away. Many also fear his socialistic programs and how they will affect the economy. I've even heard people go so far as to call Obama some kind of Anti-Christ. Of course I have a slightly different view of what/who is the ultimate Anti-Christ.

The big question I have is what can we really expect to change? Will we see the government stop spending billions more then it takes in? Will we see it become smaller, simpler, and more in favor of the people, rather then special interests? I don't see how with Obama's promised "Universal Health care" and the already 50+ Trillion in future obligations thanks to Medicare and Social Security; not to mention the friends he keeps that would cause anyone else to fail a top security FBI background check.

The last 8 years, with one of the most liberal Presidents we've probably seen since FDR's "New Deal" (especially for a supposedly conservative Republican) we've seen:

* The largest new entitlement in decades -- the prescription drug program
* Social engineering like "No Child Left Behind"
* Gutting of constitutional liberties in the name of "Homeland Security"
* Running-up vast deficits

Will Obama undo any of these? I doubt it. In fact I expect these things to only get further reinforced and promoted under Obama, and the now even more dominantly controlled Democratic Congress (they've had control for the last two years). Maybe we should have elected McCain? We'll actually he supported most of these things too. In fact most politicians support the same thing: bigger and more intrusive government as promoted by the special interests that pay for their election campaigns.

Who really voted for Obama? Out of about 300 million U.S. citizens, about 2/3 are eligible to vote, but only about 65 million of them actually voted for Obama. Is that true representation, with only about 1/3 of eligible voters actually voting for the new President-Elect? Is Obama really what most people in the U.S.A. want, or is he just the guy who convinced 7 million more people to vote for him then the next closet Candidate? My question has always been, "How do you get the 1/3 of the population that rarely votes to come put in a protest vote for an alternative party, so that their voice may at least be measured in some way?" I really don't care who they vote for, so long as they vote, even in protest so that we'd have some way to measure their discontent.

Despite all the doom and gloom that so many seem to think is just around the corner, and the fact that my vote for President sat along side just over 100 thousand others (less then 1% of the overall vote), I really don't feel a need for panic (I also voted for a handful of republicans, and for the first time a Democrat - because I was too upset with the 700+ Billion bailout to vote for the republican incumbent who won anyway).

I survived the Clinton gun bans (it really didn't ban guns, but rather cosmetic appearances and insignificant features), and bought my first guns when the ban was still in force. I live in an area that is booming economically, and were housing prices have actually gone up about 1% in the last six months. Why is all this? It's called stability. We didn't have unruly housing price increases fueled by risky government programs, we didn't have a work force entirely dependent on a single industry that has been hit very hard, and we have a truly conservative grass roots base. Not to say we don't have problems, but I get calls almost every week, off a nine month old resume posting, from recruiters asking me if I want to leave me cushy job for one that's out of state.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly have seen the signs that the economy has been weakening over the last couple of years (since the Democrats took majority control of Congress), and I do believe things could get much worse, especially depending on what Obama decides to do with his first priority of the economy.

The truth of it all is that the world is always changing, and often times that means some people have to find new jobs or even new careers. Other times is due to the constant threats of "wars, and rumors of wars" (JST Matthew 23-28). Despite what might go wrong, I try to remember the words of Christ that run rampant through the scriptures: "Fear not" for "the triumphing of the wicked is short". Personally, I am not afraid.

We should be more focused on the positive things in this world, such as: even with Democrats having majority control of Congress, they still don't have a supper majority that would allow for filibuster proof control; also, this control is only guaranteed for the next two years, when the people of this country - who after a long drawn out and highly televised election cycle have a much better idea of how to get involved early enough that they can truly make a difference - will have a chance to elect someone who truly supports them, instead of being left to choose between the lesser of evils.

On another positive note, at least as far as us traditional family supporters are concerned, the made up need for "gay rights" has had a very definite line draw in front of it. California for the second time has spoken out against same sex marriages, this time with an amendment to the states constitution, as dozens of other states have also done in the last few years.

Gas prices are down to their lowest this year, interest rates are once again at their lowest in history (although I don't think that's really such a good thing), stock prices are no longer over-inflated and some are even bargain priced. We can expect other prices to also come down as shipping and transportation costs also drop, and people lean up on their spending to hopefully start paying off all their debt. Some companies may even start making a prophet again as their expenses drop, and help with unemployment (although it still has a ways to go to hit the high of the mid 80's and much further to hit that of the Great Depression). Many of the financial companies have also hopefully learned their lessons about risky lending practices which should also help them to become stronger in the long run (if the government doesn't screw it up again).

". . . see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." - Matthew 24:6.

- Posted By Seth Hollist



"Left Protests the Church's Winning Ways" by Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council - Nov. 7th 2008:

". . . The [LDS] Church's donations, estimated at roughly $22 million, fueled the hundreds of ad placements across the state that ultimately tipped the scales in the amendment's favor. Yesterday, 2,000 homosexual activists vilified the church, huddling outside the gate of an L.A. temple with profane signs and rainbow flags . . . At LDS headquarters in Utah, leaders called for a ceasefire with gay activists and "goodwill" on both sides. Unfortunately, that message has yet to stick with the "No on 8" crowd, which has lashed out with unprecedented aggression against the faith community . . . Once again, the Left is proving its unwillingness to practice the very "tolerance" they preach. FRC is proud of the example that the interfaith community has set on marriage. . ."

The LDS Church also Issued a statement on Proposition 8 protests

As well as a fallow up askingfor civility.

- Posted By S.J. Hollist

We will accept Socialism?

Ezra Taft Benson was President Eisenhower’s Secretary of Agriculture. Benson once hosted a visit from the Soviet Union’s Communist leader Khrushchev and here is the report he shared with America that should be a plague hanging inside every American home as a warning:

“I have talked face to face with the godless communist leaders. It may surprise you to learn that I was host to Mr. Khrushchev for a half day when he visited the United States, not that I’m proud of it. I opposed his coming then, and I still feel it was a mistake to welcome this atheistic murderer as a state visitor. But, according to President Eisenhower, Khrushchev had expressed a desire to learn something of American Agriculture — and after seeing Russian agriculture I can understand why. As we talked face to face, he indicated that my grandchildren would live under communism. After assuring him that I expected to do all in my power to assure that his and all other grandchildren will live under freedom he arrogantly declared in substance:

“‘You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you. We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands.’"

How to Build a Flying Saucer


I had a dream one night that taught me how to make a Flying Saucer, and I now realized that the U.S. Armed Forces could make it happen. The key to overcoming the inertia, allow for zig-zaging through the sky, are in lightweight materials and centrifugal forces. That's why most UFO's have the silvery aluminum look, and at least part of it spinning. The key to making it fly isn't that much different then that of a helicopter, only that the blades are disguised as the outer spinning edge of the flying saucer. Now if I only had a bunch of money and my own fabrication shop filled with engineers, I'd go make my own. And if I suddenly disappear off the face of the earth you’ll all know that I was right, and that they have taken me away to hide the truth.

Polygamy in Politics

The Associated Press released a story this week about Polygamy and Elections in Utah; specifically for the office of Utah Attorney General. I found two source for the article, and I'm sure there are more:

Comcast
Bay News 9

I've posted a few comments of my own on the matter of Polygamy and how it relates to "Mormons":
LDS vs FLDS
And a number of other posts back when I was actively involved with Delphi Forums that I need to find and re-post here (if anyone has a paid Delphi account and can search for all my old posts and provide me direct links to them, I would greatly appreciate it).

I was living in Utah when Attorney General Mark Shurtleff was first elected, and I most likely voted for him too. What I remember most about him is that he's always, from the beginning, been asked what he was going to do about the "Polygamy Issue". It's a question that's been asked in politics since around the time the "Mormons" moved west to settle Utah and escape persecution and threats of extermination.

Being a member of the LDS church, the polygamy issue is one that hits very close to home, and for many of us, it's something many of us wish we could put further behind us. One would think over a hundred years would be enough, but with radical self proclaimed "Fundamentalists" (like those in the FLDS Church) still lurking around in the tens of thousands, it's certainly not something that's easily dealt with, and that is miss-understood more often then not.

I remember Mark himself saying he would do what he could when he was first elected, but has on at least two occasions that I can recount, give a disclaimer that it would take time and wouldn't be easy to get the evidence needed for a conviction of the FLDS leaders; Texas is a good example of how difficult it can be to properly prosecute such secretive groups, when hundreds of kids taken from the FLDS's compound were ordered to be returned because of the improper procedures taken by the Texas Child Protective Services.

As I watched that tragedy of injustice unfold, I couldn't help but think how the children were being victimized by the State, rather then the State going after the true criminals and child abusers; not to mention that the Child Protective Services agency did a very poor job of verifying the claims; especially considering the third hand source of information they were given.

Today, the FLDS sect leader, Warren Jeffs, has now been in jail for a few years. Many other FLDS leaders are also now facing criminal charges in Texas. It seems that Mark is making a dent in this group, but with tens of thousands of people he's certainly going to need help from other States and federal authorities.

- Posted By Spaldam

Self Governance

I was reading an LDS produced church magazine called the Ensign, and in particular the message from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd counselor in the First Presidency, on Developing Christlike Attributes. President Uchtdorf grew up in Germany and had a career as an Airline Pilot, and as such always seems to have a good analogy between flying a plan and living correct principles, but what really caught my attention in this message was the following:

"The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, 'I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.'1 To me, this teaching is beautifully straightforward. As we strive to understand, internalize, and live correct gospel principles, we will become more spiritually self-reliant. The principle of spiritual self-reliance grows out of a fundamental doctrine of the Church: God has granted us agency. I believe that moral agency is one of the greatest gifts of God unto His children, next to life itself."

I've always found myself feeling the same way about government. "The best government is self-government or in other words, freedom to chose for ourselves, and understanding the natural laws [and consequences] that God has set forth." While we need good laws to help us live together in harmony, and to help route out the "bad apples", we will always be better off if we can live in such a way that we take care of each other and be respectful of others; very much like living our lives based on Christ like attributes.

Socialism, or even worse, communism, I see as direct opposites to this ideology of self governance. As "We the People" govern ourselves in such a manner as to care for one another, help each other to lift each other, and as a consequence have very little crime or poverty among us, we need and expect very little from our government. On the other hand, as we become complacent, irresponsible, or down right immoral and unrighteous in our persons and action, we find an increasingly greater need for more laws, more government subsidies and programs, and as a result we become increasingly less free and more in bondage and servitude to the government and it's laws.

How do we obtain such freedom? I hinted at this in my post on "Life's Little Influences", but I also liked what I once heard former President Hinckley (1910-2008) call it: Self Mastery. Our natural tendancy is to ask "what's in it for me" or "nobody else is doing it, so why should I?" Our time in today's busy world is made to seam increasingly more valuble, but we need to remeamber that Christ tought "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." - Matt. 16: 25. Likewise if we give our freedom to help others, we will find it, otherwise we will loose it to an overbaring and terrantical government.

President Uchtdorf finished up his message with:
"By becoming more like the Savior, we will grow in our ability to “abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). We will “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” (D&C 25:10).

This leads me back to my aerodynamic analogy. I spoke of focusing on the basics. Christlike attributes are the basics. They are the fundamental principles that will create the wind beneath our wings. As we develop Christlike attributes in our own lives, step-by-step, they will “bear [us] up as on eagles’ wings” (D&C 124:18). Our faith in Jesus Christ will provide power and a strong forward thrust; our unwavering and active hope will provide a powerful upward lift. Both faith and hope will carry us across oceans of temptations, over mountains of afflictions, and bring us safely back to our eternal home and destination."
- Posted By S.J. Hollist

Anti-Bailout vs Anti-philibuster

You don't want to vote for the "bailout" supporters. You don't want to allow the Democrats to gain "rubber-stamp" power over the government. So who do you chose? It almost comes down to voting for the one you fear the least, but is fear really the right thing to base such an import decision upon? Will voting out of fear allow your voice to truly be heard? I say it wont, and have a better solution:

What if Obama won the election by a large margin, not because he got a lot of votes, but because John McCain got relatively few? What if all those other votes when to someone else; anyone else? Wouldn't that send a clear message that real the conservative base (not the "neo-cons") of the Republican party was fed up and refused to support a party that no long allowed their voice to be hear?

If this happened, the Republican party would either have to realize they need to come back to their conservative base, or they would fall apart and leave room for a truly conservative party to rise up in its place. Would such an idea just end up causing you to throw your vote away? Perhaps, but is that worse then throwing your voice away?

Until we stop worrying more about who's going to win then we do about having our true voices and opinion be heard, we will never get our government back from our corrupt representatives who have taken it from us. Yes, it will be hard to deal with a rubber-stamped Democrat controlled government, but what will be even harder is to deal with is a corrupt congress emboldened by a vote re-instating most of the incumbents after they have clearly shown how little the care about the voice of he people.


Ever since John McCain secured the Republican Party Nominee, I've felt alienated from it. I've also noticed that many others feel the same way. Unfortunately I don't believe the Republican Party has much of a chance at wining very many elections this year; especially after getting falsely blamed by Senator Clinton for the very unpopular "Wall Street Bailout".

The answer to the problems with our government will not be fixed by Obama, despite what he wants us to believe. We all know how well socialism works in the rest of the world. With all the problems he is going to inherit, he, and his Democratic friends, are going to end up looking very bad four years from now; and likely the rest of the nation with it.  How good will traditional conservative values look then?

If the Republicans loose big this election year, they will only come back bigger and better four years from now, or they will be replaced with something else; likely something much better.

- Posted by Spaldam

Who will I vote for?

A couple of weeks ago our bishop read a statement about voting in the upcoming elections.  It reiterated the neutrality of the church in regards to political parties, while urging everyone to "to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government."  The LDS Church also affirmed its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues (i.e. Apposing Same Sex Marriage).

So who am I going to vote for?  Obviously I can vote for the arguably most popular candidate among Mormons to appear in this years presidential election, Mitt Romney, and unfortunately for me, he was the only candidate from both major parties that I personally could stand to stomach.  Mitt certainly wasn't my perfect candidate, but then who is?  Probably nobody, until I miraculously get enough experience to feel qualified for the position myself.

So who will I vote for.  Certainly not Barack Hussein Obama as I don't believe the federal government is the right place for all the socialistic ideas he has in mind (maybe he'd be better for Governor of a highly socialized state on the East cost or California).  Does that leave me with John McCain as my only alternative, despite his disregard for truly conservative values?

What about everyone else?  My congressmen voted against the $700 Billion bailout, but I've found myself disappointed with his leadership in so many other ways. Most of the Senators voted for it too. To make a long story short, I don't feel like the current government functionality, nor the two major parities, truly represent me or the kind of government I would like to see (i.e. a much more conservative federal government that does a better job of controlling spending and inflation, while putting the responsibility for social and welfare programs onto the States and local governments with minimal over-sight).  I also see a lot of parallels between our country today, and the Roman Empire before it started it's decline.

The only cure I see for this problem is to let Obama win.  Not because he gets a huge majority of the vote, but rather because McCain looses the conservative vote to alternative parties, proving the distaste the true conservatives now have for the way the Republican party has conducted itself over the last seven years.  This will either destroy the Republican party, making way for a new and truly conservative party, or force the Republican party to come back to it's roots within the truly conservative base.

I feel left having to vote for an alternative party.  The Libertarians will be on the ballot in my area, but I don't feel they really represent my views either.  The Constitution party has been my alternate for many years now, but they were not able to get enough signatures to get on the ballot this year in my state.  Chuck Baldwin will have to be done as a write in, but how does that work in this electronic voting age?  Last time I used the new electronic machines, it didn't give me a place to do a write in, nor did I even have a simple piece of paper to write on.

The only thing I know for sure is that I refuse to vote for any incumbents, that includes Senators McCain and Obama.  I might vote for Sarah Palin, but doing so will not allow my voice to truly be heard as it will actually show up as a vote for McCain.  In other races, I'll have democrats to vote for, giving me an excellent way to vote against the incumbent, but I've never voted for a democrat before, and I don't feel like this is the best time to start.

What I'll probably do is ask them when I show up at the polls how to do a write in.  I'm sure they give me some rhetoric about write-ins having to be registered, so that they show up on the machine anyway (what's the point to doing a write in at that point? - I guess we'll see).  Next, it'll be up to the Libertarians, and possibly writing myself in somewhere if possible.  What's left I might leave blank or perhaps I'll swallow the harsh pill and vote for a democrat in this highly republican controlled state.  Finally I'm voting no on all proposals (especially if it increases my taxes) and no on all judges to make my protest complete.

Am I throwing my vote away?  I don't think so.  I'm trying to get my voice heard, and that is the most important thing we can do when we vote.  Voting for the lesser of two evils will not accomplish this, but rather cause your vice to be drowned out. Both of the major parties will try to scare you out of voting for anyone else.  "A 'third party' or independent vote will only cause the worst of the choices to get elected," is what they will tell you.  I'm sure you've heard it all yourself; I know I have. The truth is that making a decision based on fear is never a good way to make up your mind. Jesus himself said to "Fear not, believe only" (Luke 8: 50). If you believe in having your voice heard, you MUST vote for the person who best represents you; not necessarily the one who has the best chance at winning. To truly "throw you vote away", means you have not had your voice heard the best way it can be.

Near the end of the 1700's being dedicated to a party was equated to loyalty to a private selfish faction that stood in conflict with the public good. These Parties today continue to drive division between Americans, and the last time a major party was replaced by a newer one was when Abraham Lincoln was elected to President as the First Republican Party President. Civil war followed. George Washing himself warned of such loyalties has he voluntarily left office after his second term as President. He easily would have won another term, but he knew of one other truth; absolute power in the hands of imperfect men will certainly corrupt them.

Today we have two parties that hold the vast majority of the political power in the USA, a notion contrary to the principle of separation of powers that the US constitution was designed to prevent. This countries loyalty to these factions has undermined this very principle, and that is the real problem with this country today.  Its time to vote against them, and clean out the corruption in Washington.

Here's is another interesting article on the subject.

- Posted By Seth Hollist

Life's Little Influances

I was at the hospital the other day, talking to a nurse about child birth, and she mentioned how the full moon has a tendency to make for a very busy night for the Labor and Delivery section of the hospital; especially among the "crazy people" as she put it. It reminded me of some friends I had a few years ago, and I had to agree with her that a full moon can certainly have an effect on certain people who are sensitive to those sorts of things. She conclude by saying she wouldn't have believed it herself if she hadn't done some research on it while she was in school.

Today, my wife and I were talking about how women tend to get in-sync with their monthly cycles, because a mutual friend of ours was thinking she might be expecting. I wondered if there was a reason why women do tend to do this; was there some purpose behind it? Did it somehow fit into God’s plan?

All this got me to thinking about all the influences we have in our lives from worldly pressures, pier pressures, natural phenomena, and other subtle things we rarely even notice; like the ones I saw in an animated movie about an unusual penguin that went on an adventure to save his fellow birds from the horrible humans taking all their sea food. The movie was rich with subtle innuendos about how our elderly and religious leaders shouldn't be trusted or believed, and how it was ok to be so different that you can get away with behaving irrationally and in socially destructive ways.

The few people I talked to about the movie thought I was reading things into it, but I believe those who are the most oblivious to these things are the most likely to be unconsciously influenced by them; instead of filtering them out and recognizing them for what they are. If we do nothing more than "go with the flow" these influence will surly end up controlling our lives, and taking us where ever they may.

All this makes me thankful that I have a belief system in my life to helps me stay in control of my decisions and my life; instead of losing my ability to choose for myself. It also reminded me of the importance of making decisions about whom and what you are before being faced with an otherwise difficult decision. If you already know your moral value system, these decisions are no longer difficult, but become increasingly black and white as your moral values and beliefs become more solidified.

I'm not talking about choices such as a career or what to eat for dinner, as these things become almost meaningless when viewed with an eternal perspective. Such a view is not easy to come by in this life, as it has a very finite beginning and end points for everyone, but when you realize that what is truly important to come away from this life with, are not the physical possessions we have (really, you can’t take them with you) but the spiritual progression and heavenly treasures we have obtained, you start to see how important it is to be in control of yourself and your life; while heading in the right directly.

Thanks to the Saviors Atonement, God allows for course corrections, and U-turns.

- Posted By Spaldam

Mormons & Catholics Vote



Mormons and Catholics tend to disagree on a number of basic doctrinal points, but we also agree on a lot of important issues. Take this video for example. It has a very good message that I can stand behind.

- Posted by S.J. Hollist

The paper eyeglass

Spaldam's Gallery

I looked threw my spyglass and what did I see?
A strange looking man taking pictures of me.
It seemed really strange and a little scary too.
I wanted to pound him with my eye glass too.
It really was quite strange, and it seemed to be,
the very weirdest thing that ever happened to me.


- S.J. Hollist

The Answer to Financial Problems, the Banks, and Everything

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Sell not liberty to purchase power." -- Benjamin Franklin

Thanks to U.S. Citizens speaking out against the purposed 700 Billion dollar bailout for banks stuck with bad mortgages, at the cost of the tax payers, the bill has failed. Unfortunately, Congress is at it again thanks to the fear and hast that some in the financial world are trying to poor out into the minds our representatives and leaders. Congress is now trying for a 850 Billion dollar bill full of pork belly spending and once again making the taxpayers reasonable for all the risky mortgages that banks were all but forced into, thanks to bad laws.

Is a 700 or 850 Billion in new liabilities to the already trillions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer liabilities really the answer?

That is basically the equivalent of around $6,000 dollars per U.S. income-tax payer.

I think I have a better answer. One that will cost the U.S. tax payer a lot less, directly help every U.S. tax-payer, and give the people who are hurting the most the most help. Not to mention this is a simple four point plan with no pork, nor complex long term obligations requiring a new bureaucratic entity to manage it for us.

1. U.S. treasury to send out tax vouchers to every U.S. taxpayer according to 2007 tax returns. These vouchers would not be directly redeemable by the tax payers them selves, but would essentially be a blank check with a maximum value of $6,000 payable to their mortgage lender. If the tax payer has not mortgage, they can get some benefit from it as described in section 4.

2. The Voucher would be filled out by the person it was issued to (non-transferable) for an amount of either:
a) 1 months mortgage payment for one mortgage (most likely their highest monthly payment),
b) if they are two or more months behind on their payments, for the amount required to become current on their mortgage payments (up to $6,000).
c) Those with adjustable rate mortgages can use it towards the cost of refinancing to a fixed rate mortgage (up to $6,000).

3. These vouchers would be required to be accepted by their mortgage lenders as payment towards the respective mortgage, as described in section 2. The payee would then attach these vouchers to supporting documentation that proves the amount the voucher was filled out for is accurate, or showing why it is not accurate and what the correct amount should be.

4. The vouchers and the supporting documents would then be filed as an addendum to the mortgage lenders 2008 tax returns, and counted towards an equal amount in tax credits; up to an amount not exceeding their total tax liability. If Voucher was not eligible to be given to a mortgage lender, it could instead be used by the tax-payer as an addendum to their 2008 tax returns for a tax credit of $300 per person listed on the tax return (i.e. dependants or married persons filing jointly).

This plan would help lenders get payment for mortgages that are behind, allow those who are behind on their mortgages to catch up, and free up some spending money for everyone else to help boost the economy. The poorly managed mortgage companies who truly deserve to go under still would because of liquidity problems (but the Federal Reserve could certainly provide them with short term low interest loans to cover them until they file their tax returns), as this is not an instant fix (any more so than the 850 billion dollar bailout). It however would bring some added relief to the concerns of many big bankers who have tightened up on lending thus allowing the money to start flowing once again between banks and financial institutions.

To follow up on this, congress would also have to cut back on spending, and get rid of a lot of non-critical programs so they can balance the budget and make up for the loss in tax revenues that would inevitably follow. As I tried to point out in my last post, a balanced budget, for the federal government, state government, local governments, and personal households, is essential to a fighting inflation and stabilizing the economy.



P.S.:
Congress also needs to re-instate the regulations that had been in place since the passage of the Banking Act of 1933; as they were undone with the financial reformation law in 1999 (no thanks to Clinton and the members of congress that passed the bill). We also need to rethink the "Community Reinvestment Act" (passed in 1977 and revised in 1995, and 2005) as it promotes risky lending practices.

I also received an e-mail from a relative of mine with another interesting solution to the financial problems that really doesn't require much of a bailout at all, and has some good ideas in it; however, but I am a little skeptical of the math and some of the claims presented with this idea:
I. INSURANCE
a. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance. Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.
b. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two things:
1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps under performing executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.
c. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.

II. MARK TO MARKET
a. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.
b. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.

III. CAPITAL GAINS TAX
a. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stockmarket in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.
b. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement investments that go up instead of down.
I have a few problems with this plan, but I also like a few things about it:

1. Government backed insurance would most likely cost less then a full on bailout, then but it's also part of the problem that created this whole mess, and insurance companies (like AIG) are hurting too. On the other hand, if this doesn't help, the insurance could end up costing even more then the bailout would, with no assets to recover any of the cost.

2. I agree with the two points that mortgage companies need to do. I would hope they would do them without any government incentives, as they would help these company avoid a lot of losses through foreclosures and high payrolls for employees that aren't giving much back in return.

3. Mark To Market needs to be done away with permanently, not temporarily.

4. Removing the capital gains tax completely would save some tax payer some money, but it would reduce the income tax revenue, making it harder for congress to balance the budget, especially if they have to come up with $50 to $850 Billion to insure bad loans. What we really need are better and simpler regulations on wall street to better insure that company stocks are actually worth something, and not just another way of creating funny money for companies that don't really produce anything worthwhile.



P.S.S:

“True, governments can reduce the rate of interest in the short run. They can issue additional paper money. They can open the way to credit expansion by the banks. They can thus create an artificial boom and the appearance of prosperity. But such a boom is bound to collapse soon or late.”
-- Ludwig von Mises (HT: Matt Kibbe)

Right after the bailout passed, they finally told the truth about it...

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Friday that the financial rescue package is a "tourniquet,"

On Friday, Obama called it "culmination of a sorry period in our history."

Yet even today, Obama seems to be ignorant as to how his own parties leaders were greatly responsible for creating the environment that allow all this to happen.

Hold on to your wallets folks, inflation is on it's way up again, maybe not today, but certainly sometime soon in the future.


According to Downsize D.C. 91 (out of 199 - or 45%) of Republicans in the house and 172 (out of 235 or 73%) of Democrats in the house voted for the bill dubbed as the "Wall-Street Bailout"  (The Democratically controlled Senate was about 3/4 in favor of the bill over all). However, according to Hillary Clinton, you'd think the Republicans were somehow entirely responsible for it, despite Democrats having a majority in congress for the last two years. (I heard her say it myself on the radio - I'm looking for an actual link to her speech and will post it if I can find it - which I can't because nobody in the mainstream media will publish it).

- Posted By Seth Hollist

Bailouts R us vs. Inflation

“At this point, Congress is being asked to support an uncertain entity, costing an uncertain amount of dollars, for an uncertain duration – a decision that will have implications for generations to come and requires absolute certainty.”
– Congressman Jeb Hensarling, TX, and Chair of the House Republican Study Committee

To truly understand what is going on with the financial problems of the U.S., you must first have an understanding of where it all started. Hopefully I will do justice to this complex problem in such a relatively short explanation. Be sure to follow the links for more detailed information. The most important factor to help determine where it started requires a lesson on how the value of the U.S. monetary system has changed over the years; which can easily be seen by looking at inflation trends.
According to http://www.westegg.com/inflation/:

What cost $1 in 1800 would cost $0.58 in 1913.
If you were to buy exactly the same products in 1913 and 1800,
they would cost you $1 and $1.76 respectively.
That's an average of -0.51% inflation per year.

Money at this time was based on precious metals, so a dollar in gold was by definition, a dollar in gold, according to Congressional standards (see the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5). The negative inflation was due to technological advancements that allow products to be made more efficiently.

Historic Gold value was at or near $19.3939 from 1800-1833 and $20.67 from 1879-1932.

What cost $1 in 1913 would cost $4.09 in 1971.
If you were to buy exactly the same products in 1971 and 1913,
they would cost you $1 and $0.25 respectively.
That's an average of 7.05% inflation per year.

Historic Gold value was at $35 in 1934 and 44.2 in 1971.

What cost $1 in 1971 would cost $5.07 in 2007.
If you were to buy exactly the same products in 2007 and 1971,
they would cost you $1 and $0.19 respectively.
That's an average of 14.08% inflation per year.
Historic Gold value was at $126.3 in 1973 dollars and over $900 in 2008 dollars.
So what happened in 1913 and 1971?

In 1913 U.S. Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, on the heels of the 16th and 17th amendments. All three of these go hand in hand, but those who may have orchestrated this would have made sure history only thought it was the latter of the two that go together (along with the 18th and 19th amendments as part of the "progressive area"). In fact most people I've talked to, think the Federal Reserve wasn't created until the Great Depression possibly as part of the Banking Act of 1933. This is simply not true. The U.S. Congress even investigated the Federal Reserve for causing Black Tuesday, which stared the Great Depression; Instead of admitting guilt, and blaming government intervention, for flooding the market with paper money (ultimately causing artificial inflating stock values), the leaders of the Federal Reserve took the opportunity to grab more power through additional legislation and regulations that they hoped would allow them to stabilize this new system of paper money. For more information on this I suggest a book called The Creature from Jekyll Island.

Before 1971, the U.S. dollar had for the majority of its existence, been backed by precious metals, with only a few brief periods when this policy was suspend. After WWII, the U.S. had the largest gold reserves in the world thanks to European nations being highly in debt and transferring large amounts of gold into the United States. From that time on, the U.S. treasury would give one ounce of Gold for every $35 dollars as a foreign exchange rate to other nations, (as part of the Bretton Woods Agreements). Private ownership of Gold, in the U.S., was also outlawed during this time. On August 15, 1971 President Nixon, because The Federal Reserve had printed too many dollars for which there was not enough gold - at $35 per ounce - to back it up with, Nixon put an end to the Gold Standard. Of course the reasons given had to do with the Vietnam war that was currently going on, and the need to raise funds for the war; however, with Gold reserves down to 22% of the outstanding dollars (the dollar was tremendously overvalued with respect to gold), and Nixon wanting more dollar bills printed, one or the other had to be done away with.

For more information on this history and why it caused inflation rates to dramatically increase, see:
(please note: I'm not a die-hard "Ron Paul supporter", but he has some good information and ideas).

In the 1970's the cost of oil skyrocketed, most likely because the U.S. dollar was no longer backed by Gold. The overseas oil producers obviously wanted more dollars for their oil since they could no longer get gold in exchange. The Federal Reserve had printed too much paper money, and as we all know, thanks to natural laws of supply and demand, the more you have of something the less it's valued. This, according to some, has forced the U.S. government into doing drastic things to protect its supply of Oil, as well as to hide the true cost of inflation. Technological advancements have made some things much less expensive, but real commodities, like those made with real metals and other natural resources continue to become increasingly more expensive as inflation goes up.

If it wasn't for trade deficits sending much of the newly printed U.S. Dollars overseas were it gets saved up and taken out of circulation, the inflation within the U.S. would definitely be much higher, due to more money saturating the U.S. economy.

Over the last few decades, the Federal Reserve has simply printed more money every time the U.S. government runs a deficit on spending. This all works by the U.S. congress authorizing the creation of Bonds, which are then sold to investors, many of whom are overseas, but many of the bonds are given to the Federal Reserve as a way to back the dollars they print for the government. In other words, our monetary system, since 1971, has no longer been based on something of real value, but rather on the future obligations of Taxpayers (thanks to the 16th amendment) to pay back those debts. In short, our monetary system is based on usury.

This new ability to more freely print money allowed our government to more easily pay for all sorts of things, including wars, and huge bailouts of failing financial institution, corporations, pork belly spending, earmarks, and even foreign entities; essentially making the government for the government and for the corporations who get the bailout and make money off the wars. If it was truly for the people, they wouldn't be putting financial obligations on us as tax payers and would be providing laws and policies that help us keep our individual wealth instead of having it confiscated through taxation and inflation.

Here are some examples that help further explain our current "crisis":

Congress passed something called the "Community Reinvestment Act" in 1977, resulting in the creation of bureaucratic regulations designed to encourage, or even compel, financial institutions to make loans to people with lower incomes. In the 1980's, thanks to the massive devaluation of the dollar, and past deregulation that allowed Savings and Loans to make consumer and commercial loans and to issue transaction accounts, the savings and loan crisis occurred. This essentially ended up in a bailout by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve to the tune of about $124.6 billion (more then twice that when adjusted for inflation) directly paid for by the U.S. government (meaning tax payers), which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s. Proponents advocated that without these bailouts the U.S. monetary system and economy would have collapsed, but what it did instead was put more money into the money supply, creating more inflation; and it did nothing to stop the recession of the 1980's).

Unfortunately we didn't learn our lesson, and the 1977 lending regulations were amended in 1995 to encourage further lending. Then in 1999 Clinton signed into law what essentially equated to a deregulation on banks and financial institutions that undid much of the Banking Act of 1933; allowing banks to own other financial companies including insurance and investment firms (Practices that had been outlawed because they were believed to be big contributors to the stock market crash on Black Tuesday). This, along with the ability to greatly inflate the money supply, setup the beginnings of the financial crisis the U.S. is facing today.

In the early 2000's, after the events of September 11, 2001, the U.S. bailed out the Airlines with justification that it was necessary to maintain our ability to move goods and people throughout the nation, so that our economy could keep moving, and we could keep paying our debts. Once again this money came primarily from the government in the form of more budget deficits, and the inflation of the money supply. Other corporations, like Bowing, were also bailed out in the process. However, the airlines still haven't fully recovered, and we likely would be better off with lower inflation, and having the poorly run airlines go out of business; allowing the stronger airline companies to be much better off than they are today.

In efforts to further boost the economy and simulate growth (code for inflation), once again in 2005, the 1977 mortgage regulations were amended to create different rules for institutions of different sizes, so that various kinds of institutions would be better able to meet the government's goals for fostering home ownership in lower income communities. To make it easier, the Federal Reserve starting making loans available to the banking systems at extremely low interest rates which also encouraged inflation due to the easy at which money can be re-let, essentially creating more money (and inflation) based on the "assets" these loans created for the banks.

Over the last few years, the U.S. Federal Government has been spending money as if it was going out of style, and incurring the highest deficits in history. This of course has caused more inflation that almost everyone is now starting to notice in a big way. Just as in the 1970s, oil prices are skyrocketing, gold prices are rising fast (and have hit historic highs - not adjusted for inflation), and are expected to go higher. Food and other commodities have also been affected, and it's become increasingly harder for families and businesses alike to balance their budgets and to pay their mortgages. Of course this trend has been going on in a big way since the 1970's when a single family income was the norm. Today it takes most families two income to live the same lifestyle their parents did, and we could certainly debate the effect that has on the kinds.

With cheap housing loans available, financial institutions had been lending money to people who couldn't afford it. It caused an increased demand for housing that sent home prices spiraling upward. The Fed's policy of easy money, and laws forcing lending institutions into risky loans, falsely inflated the value of all real estate, especially in places like California, Nevada, Florida and others, were the housing problems are extremely difficult. This means that good mortgages could not be used to manage the risk involved in questionable mortgages, because the value of all homes are falsely inflated. All of this is coupled with banks spreading their investments too thin, artificially inflating stock prices, and a booming economy based primarily on an unsustainable housing boom. With banks also involved in insurance and financial dealings, other financial sectors have also made risky investments while competitively pushing insurance prices down thanks to the cheap loans; greatly reducing the companies cash flows. This has once again forced tax payers to bailout even more financial institutions or the economy would supposedly crash and burn like it did on Black Tuesday.

"It started with the $60 billion Bear Stearns bailout, followed quickly by the $300 billion bailout of government’s big mortgage/banker buddies last month. September started with the massive Freddie/Fannie bailout that will end up costing taxpayers somewhere between $500 billion to $1 trillion. On Monday, the Federal Reserve brokered the Bank of America buyout of Merrill Lynch. Then just the other night, the fed announced the $85 billion bailout of AIG insurance" - Chuck Baldwin

In the mean time Congress snuck through an additional $25 billion bailout of Detroit automakers, and today Washington Mutual was just ceased by the government to then be sold off, seemingly in the same day, with the likelihood of more government expenditures threw the FDIC. Today we are talking about another huge bailout to the tune of 700 Billion Dollars threw the creation of a new government entity control by the U.S. treasury to buy up bad debts. Sure they are making promises today that they will eventually regain much of the dept this would incur on the Taxpayers, but even if we do get the money back, will it really do anything to fix an economic problem that has been around for decades? All the other bailouts don't seem to have helped prevent this, so why should we believe that another bailout will?

For more information on how got here, into this mess, see: http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/what_you%27re_not_being_told_918


Will this "crisis" destroy the U.S. Economy? In the Great Depression 40% of homes went into foreclosure. Today the foreclosure rate is only 6%, and the trend is toward fewer foreclosures not more. The fact is that some politicians, bureaucrats, and various hysteria mongers, are misleading us. They tell us that the market is frozen, but the fact is that commercial loans are at an all-time high, and even the number of real estate loans may be higher than they were last year! Further expanding the money supply (creating more inflation) through all these bailout "loans" - causing the largest spending deficient in U.S. history - will only make it more difficult, in the long run, to get the whole situation under control. Sure they might help in the short term, but what’s the real solution to "fixing" this "crisis"?


From http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/this-would-be-simpler-than-a-bailout:

Financial Accounting Standard 157 is a regulation imposed on businesses by the quasi-private Financial Accounting Standards Board (FAS). This rule is also incorporated into the regulations of the IRS and is further enforced by the SEC and the FDIC. FAS 157 requires businesses to mark down assets to the lowest price for which similar assets have been sold in the market. The jargon term for this regulation is "mark-to-market." Mark-to-market forces good securities to be valued at the same price as bad securities.

Another solution might be for the greedy banking system to accept some losses and work with the lendees they allowed to barrow more than they could afford, to reduce their rates, put some of the interest already paid towards lowering the principle owed on the loan, and essentially giving them an affordable mortgage payment.

Others have suggested that we simply let these banks go under or rely on already existing mortgage insurances that were required in the first place on many of these high risk loans. Or are those insurance companies failing as well because they invested all their reserves into these high risk loans? Certainly the Insurance companies have some responsibility in this matter. They've made billions from people who have been forced by law to pay them. AIG just got an $85 billion bailout loan, hopefully so they could cover their obligations in this matter. Has it helped? It doesn't seem to have. On the other hand, the banks can't really make an insurance claim until they've foreclosed and auctioned off the property, and know what their actual losses are. Also many of these loans didn't even have PMI to begin with as they got around it with 80/20 loans. In the mean time the bank's and mortgage lender's cash flow has becomes limited, and the whole banking system in the U.S. relies heavily on the ability for banks to barrow from each other all day long, "keeping the cash flowing" so to speak; because they don't have enough reserves on hand to pay their expenses. It all comes back to being spread to thin while at the same time getting involved in risky business.


Do I want us to give up our current economic system and go back to a gold or precious metals standard? Not necessarily, as I don't think it's the tools we use that matters, but how we use them that counts. However, I do believe our current monetary system in the U.S. (and many throughout the world) is very susceptible to greed and corruption much more so then gold would be. On the other hand using a gold standard has been proven to have its problems as well; especially when one country is able to hoard all of the precious metals through trade surpluses. The real problem that I see is one of failing integrity and moral values throughout the world, and government leaders who don't understand the consequences that deficit spending and poor regulations have on our economy; particularly with how inflation creates instability.
I also have a short term solution of my own, but what I believe will truly make a different - not immediately but in the long run - would be for people to be more responsible, for corporations and financial institutions to not be so greedy, and for simple yet effective government regulations to be in place and enforced. The real issues I have are with the politicians who allowed laws to be changed to encourage irresponsible lending and investment practices. We need to vote every one of them out, even the "good ones" because they too have been tainted by association with the greed, corruption, and convoluted practices of our current government officials (The truly good ones that truly love this country will support us in this effort by resigning and helping us find replacements who have high values and integrity).


The best thing that Bill Clinton ever did for the U.S. was to balance the Federal Government's budget. The worst thing he did was to sign the financial reformation law in 1999; allowing the same kinds of activities to occur that greatly contributed to Black Tuesday. His indiscretions also created an attitude of non-enforcement of laws (i.e. immigration laws) to permeate the country and prevent good regulations form being enforced.

The best thing that George Bush did for this country was to stand up to a man that Bill Clinton failed to imprison despite having the opportunity to do so (Osama Ben Laden). The worst thing he's done for the U.S. is created the biggest U.S. government entity in history in the name of "homeland security", and incur the highest deficit spending in U.S. history, which of course creates a great deal of inflation; further endangering the integrity and stability of the financial markets.

I also believe the Federal Reserve's monopoly on the monetary systems in America today is unconstitutional, because of the laws that force us to accept Federal Reserve Notes as legal tender violating the fact that congress is constitutionally responsible for setting standards and coining money, not the Federal Reserve. I don't have a problem with Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. dollars), but I'd like to see the U.S. treasury also creating coins that contain real Gold, Silver, and copper that would then be allowed to also be used as legal tender based on intrinsic value; off-setting the monopoly of the Federal Reserve (after all competition is essential to a truly capitalistic economy). Ron Paul introduced a bill that would do just that.

The real problem, when it comes right down to it, is really all about integrity and stability. If we want a stable financial system, we have to expect slower growth, more moderate interest rates, and to have basic but effective regulations that actually get enforced. We also need leaders who have the highest levels of integrity and knowhow. We need everyone to be careful, wise and thrifty with their money (which was the law of the land before the 1970s). We have to save up for the things we want to buy, not buy them with fake money called "credit", which increases the money supply and causes inflation. We need to expect borrowers to put down 10-20% of the cost of what ever they are borrowing to insure that the lenders can easily get their money back should the borrower default on the loan. In the end, however, it's all about the moral behavior of all those involved in the system that makes the system behave in a manor full of integrity and stability.
For a more "entertaining" perspective on this issue see:

- Posted By Seth Hollist

Listen to a Prophet of God

How would you like to go back in time and talked to one of the Prophets mentioned in the Bible? Which prophet would you want to talk to, and what would you ask them? What kind of advice could they give us today to help us with our troubled world?

Your in luck. In just a couple of weeks, you can have such an opportunity when the prophet of our time will address the world along with his two counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other church leaders.

Prophet Monson

Direct from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah: it's the 178th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sessions start Saturday morning, October 4th
Saturday Morning - 11am Central Daylight Time.
Saturday Afternoon - 3pm CDT
Sunday Morning - 11am CDT
Sunday Afternoon - 3pm CDT

Sessions can be watched on the following channels:
Dish Network - 9403
Verizon FIOS - 265
Direct TV - 374
Any Cable provide that offers BYU TV

Also available via the Internet at http://www.byu.tv/ or http://www.lds.org/.

For additional broadcast information and world wide broadcast information see: http://www.lds.org/broadcast/gc/0,5161,8176,00.html

It will also be broadcast via satellite to all LDS Stake Centers world wide that have satellite feeds.

Come join us, or tune in to any or all of the sessions.

- Posted By S.J. Hollist

Identity Protection

In this digital world it has become increasingly easy to copy just about anything; including your identity. So how do you protect yourself? Here's some tips:
  • Review your credit card and bank statements regularly for suspicious activity.
  • Request your Credit report at least once a year. Examine it for accounts you did not open.
  • Keep sensitive hard copy information in a fire and watter proof safe, or a safe deposit box.
  • Dispose of sensitive information by destroying it completely (i.e. cross-cut shredder).
  • Get a P.O. box or locking mailbox, and deposit sensitive outgoing main directly at the carriers office.
  • Use anti-spyware and virus protection on all Windows computers, or just get a Mac.
  • Encrypt sensitive files on your computer and removable media.
  • Keep your computer's software up to date, especially the Operating System.
  • Dispose of old computers and media securely. Deleting files or formatting the drive is not enough.
  • Change your passwords and pins regularly. Use a password utility to auto-generate strong passwords.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone or Internet unless you initiated the contact.
  • Never send any kind of personal information threw e-mail, even to people you trust.
  • Never click on links claiming to be from financial institutions. Go to their web-sites directly your self instead.
  • Reduce the amount of sensitive mail you get, including statements, credit card offers, etc.
  • Remove yourself from pre-approved credit offers, junk mail, and telemarketing lists.
  • Sign the back of your credit cards, and question the checkout person if they don't check it or your identity.
  • Get a freeze put on your credit for yourself and your children. This will also help you be more responsible with getting new credit.
  • Incurage your doctor to stop asking for your SSN and using it as the primary ID for their records.
If you believe your information or cards have been stolen:
  • Notify your card issuers immediately.
  • Have card issuers correct any unauthorized transactions.
  • Correct incorrect reports submitted to the credit bureaus.
  • Change your PIN and passwords immediately.
If your SSN is being used without your authorization:
  • Notify the credit bureaus and establish a fraud alert.
  • Use a unique identification number assigned to you credit report for all communications.
  • Send mail items as certified and with return receipt requests.
  • File a report with the local police where the identity theft took place. Keep a copy of the report.
  • Close the accounts that have been compromised or that were opened without your consent.
  • Put a freeze on your credit, to prevent anyone from accessing your credit files.
Here's some helpful web-sites:

Federal Trade Commission: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Free Annual Credit Report: http://www.annualcreditreport.com/

Credit Bureaus:
Equifax - http://www.equifax.com/
TransUnion - http://www.transunion.com/
Experian - http://www.experian.com/

Stop Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers: http://www.optoutprescreen.com/
Get off Junk Mail Lists: http://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/proto1.php
SS ID Theft Info: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html
Do Not Call List: http://www.donotcall.gov/ or 888-382-1222 from the number you want on the list.

Anti-Spyware:
Sypbot - http://www.safer-networking.org/
AdAware - http://www.lavasoft.com/
A real OS - http://www.apple.com/macosx/

Password Utilities:
KeePass - http://www.keepass.info/
KeePassX (for Mac) - http://www.keepassx.org/
Password Safe - http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/

Disk Wiping:
Darik's Boot and Nuke - http://dban.sourceforge.net/
Heidi Eraser - http://www.heidi.ie/node/6

File Encryption:
Included with Apple computers
PGP - http://www.pgp.com/products/desktop_home

Anti-Phishing:
Google Toolbar for FireFox - http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/toolbar
IE 7 - http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp.safety/technologies/antiphishing

- Posted by S.J. Hollist

9-11, 7 years later

New York Times Photo

I was posed the question today as to what has changed in my life since the tragic attack on the U.S.A on September 11th, 2001. The more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that the events on that infamous day, as a singular event, did not have a big affect on me personally. Don't get me wrong, I was just as shocked that morning as the next person, and I'm certainly glad that we went into Afghanistan to break up the terrorist strong holds of Alkita and the Taliban. I just wish we'd spent more time finishing the job, instead of refocusing our efforts so strongly in Iraq. Don't get me wrong there either, I'm glad Saddam is out of the picture, but I also think it should have been handled much differently. Even while Bush was trying to make his case, I was glad to see the extra pressure on Saddam, but never felt we had a strong enough case for a full on invasion; however, there's really nothing we can do about that now, and I'm glad to hear my friends in the Military reporting that we are doing very well over there now, they did find mass quantities of chemical agents hidden in the ground at various locations, and even have the new Iraqi government working with us on an exit plan. Of course we'll more then likely keep a functioning military base in that strategic location that will be especially good for protecting Israel from Iran.

But to get back on the main topic, let me reminisce. . .

New York Times Photo

That fateful morning, I was sleeping in bed, as I worked an afternoon-evening shift. I was a bachelor at the time and had a few roommates paying the mortgage on my condo for me. They came and woke me up with an incredible story about terrorists flying plans into buildings. What a terrible plot to get me out of bed I thought. What's was going on in my condo!??

I must have sat on the couch in front of the TV for an hour; almost as if in a trance, not believing what I was seeing. I think I was in shock for the next few days, and never really felt all that angry about it, though I certainly observed a few people who were. I was probably this way because it was in a place thousands of miles away that I had never been to, and probably because I had known from my youth that great and terrible things had and would come to pass in these Latter-days:

". . . you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet . . . " - JST Mathew 24:23

There would actually be a number of other events to come shortly there after that would have a much greater affect on me. The first and biggest would be getting married the following year, and shortly there after the Enron scandal hit. I didn't think much of it at the time as I was getting a promotion and a big raise at work, but the events to from the Enron fallout ended up having a much bigger affect on my job then anything else that went on these last seven years. It was all thanks to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). As if dealing with HIPPA regulations wasn't enough, we now had people scrabbling over, and over-reacting to, a law that really only requires you to document why you do things the way you do them.

One might say the affect 9-11 had on the economy affected Enron in a big way, but Enron was on it's way out one way or another with all the crazy, underhanded, and manipulative accounting they were doing. It's probably better they went under sooner, then waiting until latter when the fall could have been much greater; like the Fannie Mae issue we are seeing today.

What is for certain, the issues at work, along with many other things going on in my life at the time, contributed to my wife and I moving a couple thousand miles to Texas. That too had a very big affect on my life.


Here's some people who's life it has probably affected much more then mine:
http://happygilmores.blogspot.com/
http://gr8e.blogspot.com/

- Posted By Spaldam

An Atheist's Questions to Mormons

From: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=25462359&postID=114424765259683521


Daniel Womack has got some great answers to your questions, though I have to agree with others and say that debating these kinds of questions will not help anyone understand one bit what "Mormon's" actually believe. And I put "Mormon's" in quotes for good reason; it's a nickname. Personally I prefer to be called LDS or Latter-day Saint.

In my experience, questions like this tend to come from people looking for reasons not to believe in the Book of Mormon. Why wast your time? There's a much better way to get answer to that question; Ask God (see James 1:5).

Are LDS people really so bad that people have to go out of their way to try and put them down and produce rumors about them? Sure they may believe some things that are different from other Christens but that doesn't mean they deserve the long history of bigotry, persecution and slander they have endured.

If you truly want to know what's in the Book of Mormon from the persecutive of an individual who has taught from it, check out my blog at:

bookofmormonstories.info

Here's my personal answers to your questions:

1- Why Did Brigham Young teach the Adam-God theory in the Temple?

I've never heard of this doctrine, and I'd suspect that I would have by now if it was truly official doctrine of the LDS church. Brigham Young is often quoted by many anti-mormon individuals as having said any number of non-doctrinal things, as if they were true LDS doctrine. Some of them I've found to be made up, others I believe were his personal opinions; though I'm sure much of what he said was important and beneficial to the church. I've even seen Joseph Smith quoted to say something to the affect that a prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as such. Meaning, he's free to have his own personal options, and he's still a flawed man like the rest of us. After all, Jesus was the only truly Perfect person to ever walk the earth that I know of.

2- What is your understanding of DNA and the Book of Mormon.

If you take a bucket of water from the Ocean, and it has no fish in it, do you conclude that the ocean is void of fish?

The Book of Mormon has a number of references to many different people migrating to the lands we now know as the Americas. A few dozen recovered corpuses that pre-date Book of Mormon times, showing asian decent have been found. What does that mean to me? Nothing. It's like pulling a few people out of a crowd in China Town, New York and saying that all of New York is populated with Chinese people. It's just not a definitive test.

Another thing to remember is that the Jews in Israel were decedents from Judah, the Nephites in the Book of Mormon were descendants of Joseph; two completely different tribes of Israel, many generations away from Isreal/Jacob himself.

3- What do you think about Joseph Smith having relations with 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball without Emma knowing. This occurred after the president said Helen and her family would be saved in the afterlife for this arrangement.

I really like Daniel's answer [especially the part about how 14 year olds commonly got married in the early to mid 1800's], and I'm not sure I can improve upon it. I will say that polygamy is something that has always been a very limited practice throughout history and only performed by God's people when specifically directed to do so. There's more references to it in the Old testament (40+) then in the Book of Mormon (only 1), and I've even heard some people say that it may have been in some New Testament books, but was latter removed before making it into the a canonized form.

Another thing you might want to consider is that many of the women Joseph Smith supposedly married, actually did what's called "Sealing for the Dead" where they essentially married Joseph in the Temple, after he was dead. This was soon stopped, and now these Sealing can only be done for people who were previously married in life, but it often is used to make Joseph look like he was married way more times then he actually was while he was alive.

4- Why doesn't the translation of the Egyptian papyri found in 1967 match the text of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price?

I don't know much about this claim, so I'll revert to what Daniel said. He seems to know a lot about it [because Joseph Smith did not use these papyri to translate the Book of Abraham].

5- Why do you think Book of Mormon has old English when it was originally written in "reformed Egyptian"

Because most of the people Joseph was going to teach were more familiar with the Bible's "old English" text then they were with "reformed Egyptian".

6- Why does the Book of Mormon contain King James translations and spelling errors?

I'm not sure if I completely understand this question, but I think I answered it in #5. Hopefully Daniel's answer was sufficient as well.

7- Why did Joseph Smith give African Americans the priesthood? Then years later Brigham Young took it away.

The way I heard it was that Joseph Smith asked the African Americans to not practice the priesthood he had given them, and then stopped giving it to any more of them. I've never heard that it was Brigham Young who took it away, but I could be wrong.

Try looking at it from another perspective:

The LDS church has never advocated or condoned slavery. I've heard that every slave owner who converted, was required to free their slaves.

The most convincing argument I've personally heard, and I have no idea how accurate it is (because I don't know what Gods plan was), goes like this:

Up until the 1970's both "Mormon's" and people with dark skin, endured a great deal of persecution. Being both at the same time would certainly have been very difficult in the 1800's. Perhaps the LDS church wouldn't have survived if it fully embraced those with a dark skin color because of the horrible stigma that came with it at the time. God had promised that his church in these latter days would not be taken from the earth.

It might also be helpful to point out that it wasn't about membership, but about holding the priesthood. Of course you could argue that without the priesthood, membership for a man is not much of anything in the LDS church.

8- Why are the "signs and tokens" in the LDS temple the exact same signs and tokens that the masons use. They are the same grip and even some of the same wordings.

I've never seen what the Masons do, so I really can't answer your question. I have heard the Masons are derived from people who helped build and maintain the temples in ancient times, so maybe it's really that they copied God's symbols and not the other way around. Maybe Joseph needed to be a Mason so he could learn these symbols.

Again, I really don't know the answer to this question.

9- One last kind of a hard hitting question. Do you know about the “Kinderhook plates” that are talking about in an early church newspaper?

I've never heard of them. It sounds like a rumor to me, with no real factual basis behind it.

Again, feel free to check out this blog "bookofmormonstories.info" and other blogs posted by LDS members (not those pretending to be "Mormons" or pretending to know what the "Mormon church" believes and teaches - there's technically no such thing as the "Mormon Church"). If you want the real truth, go to the real people who make up the real church, and find out how they live their lives, and what they personally believe.

- Posted By Spaldam