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:

Bay News 9

I've posted a few comments of my own on the matter of Polygamy and how it relates to "Mormons":
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.

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:
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.

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.

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.


“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