Rambling Political Thoughts by Seth Hollist

The real problem with the Federal Reserve, is not that it exists, but that it is a private corporation operating as a governmental protected monopoly with little accountability or oversight. The answer is not to "End the Fed", but to end the unconstitutional "Legal Tender" laws, and get congress back into the business of setting monetary standards as is required by Artical I Section VIII Clause V. Being a part of a free country means that the Federal Reserve also has the freedom to exist, but it is up to congress, according to the U.S. constitution, to set monetary standards that the fed should follow, not the other way around as it is today. The best way to keep the Federal Reserve accountable, is to have competition, such weighing it's monetary system to be measured against coins and standards set by congress.

The constitution makes it clear that the Federal Government should not be doing many of the things it is today.

While we certainly have the constitutional grantee to speak our minds and peaceably assemble, do not believe that the 1st Amendment found in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution is a guaranteed protection to Artistic Expression, lewd displays, or remarks of a slanderous or endangering type, I also do not believe that the Federal government has the right to enforce punishments for any such activities.  This is, thanks to the 9th and 10th amendments, is clearly a State matter.

If we want to allow the Federal Government to enforce such laws, we need to pass a constitutional amendment, that clearly defines how and under what circumstances the Federal Government is allowed to act on such things.  This help keep everyone clear about what to expect, and what is acceptable.

Social Security falls under this category as well.  Instead of simply passing a law, FDR should have sought his second bill of rights as constitutional amendments that clearly defined things such as, money being put into Social Security can only be used for the purposes of paying out SS benefits.  Preventing the funds from being spent else where, except for some reasonable administrative fees, and not allowing them to be invested in, borrowed from against any government issued bonds; which clearly creates a conflict on interest.  It could also provide guidelines for allowing people to partially op-out; especially if they are already investing elsewhere, and are willing to accept that they will not receive any future payouts. For example, if you are investing into a 401K, Roth IRA, or other long term investment, then you could keep half of your normal social security taxes.

Medicare and Medicate are also in similar situations, however, I don't think the Federal Government needs to be involved in such things at all.  They need to be given over completely to the states, and the states in turn need send any funding straight to the counties and communities, if they have the ability to pay for them.

I certainly wish I could do more to help others, and provide additional donations to help those in need, but considering the high levels of price inflation we've seen over the last few years, and that it would be unwise for me to go into debt to be able to give, I simply cannot.  I believe the best thing I can do to help out my country and my neighbors is to run for office, and in doing so be as good an example as I know how to be to other politicians who are caught up in the bureaucracies and corruption that is currently rampant throughout the Federal Government.

I would also suggest that going into debt to help others is not only a bad idea, but right down foolish and unsustainable.  I wouldn't recommend that anyone to take out a loan, or even co-sigh (unless your married and/or sharing finances) on a loan for someone else.  This only puts you into a much worse position, and makes you less able to help in the future.  If the person needs help that desperately, obligating them to a loan, or even making them indirectly responsible for it, will not help them in the long run.

Likewise, having the Federal Government accumulating massive, unchecked debt (as if the Federal debt ceiling had any real meaning with how easily it gets raised time and time again), as if it was all somehow meaningless.  While interest rates are low, and the borrowed money seems cheep today, much if it is done as short term bonds that will come due at a time when interest rates are not so likely to be so low.  Suddenly just paying the interest on the debt could consume a great deal of the tax revenues for the Federal Government, and then how easy will it be to pay for Obama Care, or Social Security benefits?

- seth.hollist.org

U.S. Senate Recognizes LDS Church’s 75th Anniversary of Welfare Program

On November 15th, 2011, Senator Hatch submitted Senate resolution 323 "Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Welfare Program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the significant impact of the Welfare Program in the United States and throughout the world in helping people in need"


This type of service is not unusual within the LDS church. For example, last October the Sachse Ward (congregation) did their own service project by helping Sachse City clean up Heritage Park. For the last three years they have also done the 12 days of Christmas anonymously for a needy family within the area.
The LDS church's headquarters in Salt Lake, UT responded to this Senate's recognition by releasing their own new story about the resolution, as well as to note it's recent "day of service" to commemorate the 75th anniversary, noting that "members have participated in various service projects around the world organized by local church leaders".

The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) also had an event on Mormonism and Politics, that may be helpful to those wanting additional information about what Mormon's generally believe from a Political perspective.

How I differ from Texas Libertarians

This is a list of areas were I differ slightly from, or would add additional details or clarifications to the Library Party of Texas's 2010 Party Platform.  This list may seem long, but I do, for the most part, agree with the Libertarian's much more so then any other political party I've had the opportunity to be a part of or even learn about; especially on a Federal Government level.

Economic Liberty

1. Taxes
I am in favor of replacing the current federal income tax with a much simpler and less intrusive tax code, including a federal flat income tax as a good compromise until less intrusive methods of taxation can be implemented. Before we can eliminate it we would have to greatly downsize the federal government, which I also support.
I’m glad Texas does not have an income tax, and would support keeping it that way, but would also caution that any taxation also requires prudence in saving for a rainy day, and avoiding debt.

I support property taxes as a way to pay for essential government services, local roads and schools used in and around the local area were such taxes are collected, but I also understand that raising property taxes is especially hard on fix and low to mid income families and individuals and should, as a general rule, be greatly limited for Homesteads.
Sales Taxes, Service Fees, Tolls and other forms of taxation should be used only for areas which the collected taxes directly affect.  For example, Gas and fuel taxes should be apply only to the building and maintaining of roads.

3. Transportation
I agree for the most part (maybe 85%), but would add that toll roads are a good way to fund freeways, - as those who pay for the toll primarily end up being the one's who use it regularly - so long as the tolls are also used to pay for construction, upkeep and improvement on the surrounding roads as well - a freeway is no good if you can't get to it easily and efficiently. I would seek a requirement that all toll roads be responsible for highways or frontage roads that run parallel to the toll road to enable those who do not want to pay tolls the ability to still travel in the same general direction and to the same destinations; not necessary with the same level of efficiency or speed.
I would however keep all Interstate Freeways toll free, to insure unrestricted travel between states and major cities.

Personal Freedom and Civil Liberties

1. Rights of Individuals, Children and Families
These so called “Free speech zones” should only be allowed in areas where it would help protect the freedoms of a non-governmental groups or religions, or in areas of heightened security were the general public is not allowed.  I have seen them work very well for religious groups wanting to allow open access to an area of their property, but want to still insure it is a place conducive to spiritual activities and contemplation without detracting distractions.
I believe that traditional families, within a traditional marriage, is of the up most importance to insuring our children learn how to create and maintain a safe, productive, and free society. However, I do not believe the Federal Government has any right to enforce this in any way. I would also encourage States to view marriage as a significant religious event, not a legal one requiring a license, but to instead provide legal partnerships between any two people willing to share financial and legal responsibilities of all types on any level, either for specific things or all aspects of their lives in general.
Attempts by the Federal Government to regulate and control marriage, violates the 1st Amendment were it says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

2. Government and Health
I believe that local and county governments, with assistance from state governments if requested and approved, should be allowed at the discretion of the majority of citizens, to provide charitable health care resources were needed. State and Local governments, however should reject any help or funding in this matter from the Federal government.
The Federal government’s “War on Drugs” should only be concentrated on the importation of illegal or uncontrolled drugs into the country as a matter of national defense, just as it would with any other hazardous or dangerous materials. Across state lines the Federal government should only intervene, based on state law, as a matter of interstate commerce if assistance is requested by the state(s); however I would encourage states to first work together to resolve any such issues.

3. Privacy and Universal Identification
I believe the original meaning of the 4th amendment has been stretched in the last few decades, as the information age has given us a faults sense of tangible ownership to intangible information, and is really only about property, not privacy; however I do support strong protections of privacy for individuals within their personal lives.

4. Election Reform
I reject the notion that a National party is needed for any reason, and believe the major parties have usurped power from the Federal Government, reducing the effectiveness of the separation of powers; however I do respect their right to exist, but would encourage voters to focus more on the individual candidates instead of the party.
The only public office for which there is a nationwide vote, is for President, and this vote is unnecessary under the current constitutionally defined process of electing the President. True election reform to me would be restricting candidates, or organizations focused on electing a particular candidate, from accepting any contributions, towards running an election campaign, from anyone other than those whom they are campaigning to represent. This will help insure that elected officials do not have loyalties to anyone, but those they directly represent.
I also belive that we currently have insufficient representation in the U.S. House.  A single person cannot be expected to effectively represent many hundreds of thousands of individuals.  I would seek to at least double, if not quadruple the number of elected members to the U.S. House, with the goal of having no Representative being beholden to more then 200,000 individuals.

5. Crime and The Justice System
I feel indifferent in this area, until I can learn more about the issues expressed in the 2010 Platform, though I do believe we have a constitutional right to a trial by Jury.
Due to the uniqueness that is intrinsic in every situation, I don’t agree with the notion that one judge’s decision can be used to decide the outcome of an unrelated case. I believe this would prevent the Judicial system from “legislating from the bench”. Every case should be considered as unique and judged based on its particular facts.
We put way too many non-violent "criminals" in jail today, making them a significant burden on tax payers. We should instead be requiring other punishments, such as community service, that allow the convicted persons to continue being a productive member of society, keep their job, and still have deterrents to crime that also provide restitution to society.

Thing I wish they had tought me in High School

Practical Self-Defense
Running around a track for 30 minutes every other day, or playing games like Volleyball, certainly helped with the physical fitness aspects of things, but does nothing to help us understand how to protect ourselves from other potentially physically damaging encounters.  Certainly I had health classes that at least attempted to teach me about personal respect, eating healthy, human sexuality, and how to avoid conflict; however, none of this helped me learn how to defuse an already heated conflict, or to deflect a punch, hold down or disarm an assailant, or even shot a gun when the conflict becomes violent.

All I'm really asking for is another choice or alternative to gym class, called "self defense class".
Home Maintenance and Repairs
I took Wood and Metal shop in Jr High, and they also offered Home Ec as another option.  I also took Auto Shop in high school, which if you ask me should have been a per-requisite to the Drivers Ed class; however, were I learned to take care of my home was by working with my dad in the summer time has he built and remodeled homes.  It might have been helpful to many of my classmates to have had an option to take a class on home repairs.
Personal Finances
I took a lot of math in school, so much so I didn't have to take any in Collage for the degree I ended up getting.  However, after living with roommates in a condo I had purchased, and driving a new expensive car, It didn't take long before I realized I didn't have a very good grasp on how manage a budget, or the real cost of financing and paying interest.  A course on personal finances, that included balancing a budget and avoiding debt would have been helpful.

Statistics

I passed the AP calculus test in High School, which the collage I attended gave me 12 semester credit hours towards their math requirements for graduation.  Unfortunately, if you were to ask me today to do some complex calculus equation I would probably have no idea what you were even talking about.  On the other had, on a regular daily basis at work I'll do any number of math equations from simple addition all the way up to algebra.  From there what would have helped me more then taking calculus or even Trigonometry would have been a class on Statistics.  I run statistical analysis on all kinds of data all the time, without any formal training, and often times find myself wanting for a better understanding of what I just did.
Computer Programing
While computers were just getting into peoples homes when I started high school, I fortunately had friends and family that helped me get and learn to use one of my own.  If I had only learned more about programing languages before collage, I might have found a reason to continue past an associates degree, and ended up in a career in software design and programing.

Thankfully there are a number of things I was glad to have had the opportunity to have learned in High School, including:

  • The U.S. Constitution (although they told me it was a "Democratic-Republic" and glossed over many other things that where significant influences upon the founding fathers.).
  • World History
  • English and writing
  • Theater, and performing Arts
  • Art classes
  • Science, though it would have been nice to know that many of the theories I was taught were just theories that where only a few year or decades old, and would be discarded or modified within my lifetime.
  • Socializing, you know with friends and enemies in the halls and cafeteria.  How else can we learn how we fit into society?
  • Most importantly, how to learn.  After High school I really didn't know how to do much of anything except turn a wrench, hammer some nails, and go to school.  Thus I ended up in Collage, and really haven't stopped learning new things since.  I've even found that I learn better on my own while focusing on things that interest me most.

Why Libertarian?

In November 2011 I started to seriously consider running for officeI have certainly though of doing it before, but after receiving a number of general inquires, via mass e-mail, from the Texas and National Libertarian parties I figured it would at least be a great learning experience.  I certainly don't expect that I'll win, but hopefully it will be educational for myself, and for others within my congressional district.

Why Libertarian? My journey through the political spectrum starts when I was just a teenager.  I overheard an older brother-in-law of a friend of mine badmouthing Democrats, and soon started to realize I was living in an area heavily dominated by self proclaimed "conservatives", many of whom were practicing Republicans. I found myself identifying with a lot of what Republicans had to say, yet still much of it seemed a bit off to me; and proclaimed myself to be more of a Moderate.  The first few chances I had to vote, despite having closely supported Republicans at a state level, I found myself voting for Presidential candidates belonging to the Constitution Party; mostly out of protest. After all if you vote for the lesser of two evils, all you really end up with is evil.  I first heard of the Constitution Party while sitting in church, after our Priesthood meeting had concluded.  A man who had just given a lesson on freedom and liberty, after being asked a question, decided since church was over he was ok to talk more freely about a particular political candidate running under this parties banner.

I soon after moved to Texas, were the Libertarian Party has a much larger Influence.  Of course being much larger then almost nothing still isn't very large, yet as I continued to learn more about politics, and the political process, I found myself disagreeing more and more with Republicans, and certainly a great deal with Democrats.  I eventually concluded that there is a problem with the political system itself.

Today I find myself wanting to be a Moderate Libertarian at a Federal Level, a Moderately Conservative Republican and a state level, and a Conservative Democrat at a local, regional or county level.  However, if I want to get involved at any level, I must pick one.  If I want to have much of a chance at really getting involved in a big way, I'm pressured into picking one of the major parties, and hoping that I can influence it from within; something I had tried before as a county delegate within the Republican Party.  Or I can pick the long shot, the one I most identify with, relative to the position I want to run for, and hope for the best.

Now I just have a whole lot of paperwork to get done, notarized, and mailed in.

Texas candidate filing deadline approaching for 2012 elections

If you are considering running for an office in Texas that will be voted on as part of the November 2012 elections, the deadline for filing is quickly approaching. December 12th is the deadline, and many grassroots organizations are looking for common minded people to jump into the races.

The Grassroots Texans Network recently sent out a notice filled with useful information on how to file.
Below is a list of some important information for those looking to file:
You can also read about my previous experience with researching how to file for candidacy.

Texas 2011 elections heat up with proposed constitutional amendments

This November 8th, people all over Texas will head to the polls, to vote on ten proposed constitutional amendments. Many groups have already piped up on these amendments to provide there recommendations, including the Texas Eagle Forum, The Liberty Institute, and Others. The Libertarian party even made a bold statement that they felt none of the amendments should be passed; sighting that it's all about "quick money to be paid for with future taxes."


The proposed amendments range from property taxes and bonds, to governor pardons, and election laws. Here is a quick list of each of them:
  1. Authorizes the legislature to exempt property taxes for surviving spouses of veterans.
  2. Allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue general obligation bonds.
  3. Allows for general obligation bonds for educational loans.
  4. Allows counties to issue bonds for development proposes with the ability to increase ad valorem taxes to pay for them.
  5. Allows inter-local contracts between cities and counties with the imposition of a tax or sinking fund.
  6. Clarifies references to the permanent school fund, allowing the General Land Office to distribute revenue from the fund to provide additional funding for public education.
  7. Authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County and to issue bonds for parks and recreational facilities.
  8. Provides for the appraisal of open-space land devoted to water-stewardship purposes based on its productive capacity.
  9. Allows the governor to grant pardons to a person who completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision.
  10. Changes the length of time of an unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain office holders if they become candidates for another office.
To find more information about voting locations and ballots you can visit the Collin County Election Information web-page.

Remembering oath and covenants we have made


Today in church my wife and I had an opportunity to speak.  Her's talk was about Prayer, and mine was about remembering the oath and covenants we have made.  Here are my notes from my talk.  I due to time limitations was not able to speak on all of these notes.  The one's that were missed are in strikeout.

Marriage:
I first met my wife a little over nine years ago [in] my condo.  This was shortly after I had stopped praying for the kind of wife I thought I wanted, stopped trying so hard to find her, and started praying for someone who needed me as much as I needed her.  Being in a singles ward I had many times poked fun at the others who had met and married in very short periods of time, but only a few weeks later I found myself getting engaged.

My wife and I were married a few months later on a brisk, cloudy, November morning in the Bountiful Utah temple.  The temple ceremony was certainly beautiful; especially in a spiritual sense. I had seen them done a few times before, but to be the one kneeling at the altar, getting sealed to someone I had come to love so much in such a short time, was a very different experience from watching.

Once we changed back into our more worldly wedding attire, and finally emerged from the temple we were greeted by our friends and family gathered outside the main entrance in anticipation, all dressed up in their Sunday best, and poised with cameras in hand; hoping to capture some small glimpse of the beauty and sacredness of a temple marriage.

While the day was full of all kinds of wonderful events, documented with many beautiful pictures and memories, the most important part of that day was the covenant my wife and I had made together between us and our Heavenly Father.  The real beauty of this covenant is that it has the power to seal us and our children to each other, not only in this life, but far beyond into the next.

In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaim that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”   In D&C 132:19, we also learn that marriage is a “new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto [us] by the Holy Spirit of promise . . . and if [we] abide in [this] covenant . . . [it] shall be of full force when [we] are out of the world”.  While this Eternal Marriage or sealing is often seen as the crowning covenant for exultation and eternal life, the other covenants we make with God are just as important to our exultation.   

When I was in High School, people used to talk about how we couldn't drink or smoke or do drugs or other such things because it was against our religion; talking as if the church was too restrictive, or that it was against our religion.  However, I have a better reason why we don't do these things; because we have made covenants with God that we will not do them.

We are a covenant making people:

We are a covenant making people, just as in the Old Testament, the Israelites were the covenant people of the lord, we today also become the covenant people of the lord because of the covenants we make with him through the power of the restored Priesthood.

We can trace many of these covenants back to Abraham, as recorded in Genesis 17 where God made a covenant with Abraham containing several promises.  Including that Abraham’s posterity would be numerous, entitled to an eternal increase, and also entitled to bear the priesthood.  All nations of the earth will be blessed through this covenant.17

 
These covenants are sacred promise made with God. He fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. As it says in D&C 130:21, “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

When we are baptized we covenant to serve the Lord, keep the commandments of God, and remember the Savior always5, In D&C 20:37, and  take upon [us] the cname of Jesus Christ”, and in return we receive a “gremission of [our] sins”.  In Mosiah 18:8-9 we also learn that we covenant to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” and that we “are awilling to mourn with those that bmourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort”.  When we partake of the sacrament, we renew that covenant, along with any others we have made.

This covenant allows us to be adopted into the Abrahamic covenant as sons and daughters and become brothers and sisters. Ultimately, in the temple, we may become joint heirs to the blessings of an eternal family, as promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their posterity.

More Covenants that we make:

 
When we receive the priesthood we receive it with a covenant and promise. In D&C 84:33–40:
33 For whoso is afaithful unto the obtaining [the Melchizedek, and Aaronic] bpriesthoods of which I have spoken, and the cmagnifying their calling, are dsanctified by the Spirit unto the erenewing of their bodies.
 34 They become the asons of Moses and of Aaron and the bseed of cAbraham, and the church and kingdom, and the delect of God.
 35 And also all they who receive this priesthood areceive me, saith the Lord;
 36 For he that receiveth my servants areceiveth me;
 37 And he that areceiveth me receiveth my Father;
 38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s akingdom; therefore ball that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
 39 And this is according to the aoath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.
 40 Therefore, all those who receive the apriesthood, receive this boath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.”

 
In the first half of verse (D&C 84:33) 33 the Lord identifies priesthood holder’s part of the covenant: “For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling …”

The Lord then gives his promised blessing for keep our part of the covenant to be, “sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of [our] bodies”.

Verse 34 goes on to reinforce inclusion in the Abrahamic covenant. Today, incredible blessings flow from this oath and covenant to worthy men, women, and children throughout the entire world.

 
The convents we make in the temple also have certain obligations, such as promises to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, and devote our talents and material means to the spreading of the Gospel and the building up of the church.

 
The payment of tithing is another distinguishing part of the covenants we make as revealed in D&C 64:23: “Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.”

We can also make personal covenants with God through righteous prayer and doing all we can to help fulfill the things we desire that are for our benefit.

Covenants are sacred (optional if time permits):


A covenant is a sacred promise. We promise to do some things, and God binds himself to do things for us in return. God does not take his promises lightly, and so we should not be take our covenants lightly.


In Mormon 9:29 we are warned to “see that ye do all things in cworthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.”

Further in D&C 78:11-12, we are commanded “to prepare and organize yourselves by a abond or everlasting bcovenant that cannot be broken. And he who breaketh it shall lose his office and standing in the church, and shall be adelivered over to the bbuffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.” 


This means that our family and marriage relationships are not to be frivolously discarded at the first sign of disagreement or when times get hard. Even those who merely decline callings, neglect neighbors, or moderately adopt worldly ways are at risk. If we are not keeping our part of our covenants, we have no promise.


A lasting eternal marriage cannot be achieved without a commitment to make it work. If you want something to last forever, you must treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You don’t treat it as common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.

Choose Ye this day (and every day):

In Joshua 24:15 we are told to “choose you bthis day whom ye will cserve.”  When we make covenants we are saying we chose to serve the Lord, but that is not the end of it.  Every day we all make choices that either helps to re-enforce the convents we have made or that drive wedges between us and our ultimate potential, to return to live with our Heavenly Father.  These choices range from lusting after things we cannot or should not have, to wasting time with things that do not matter when we should be doing things that help build our testimonies, enrich our spirits, and help others in need.


Renewing our Covenants:


Each week we make a choice to come here and partake of the sacrament.
 
When we partake of the sacrament we renew whatever covenants you have made with the Lord. For example, if you have been baptized only, that is the covenant you renew. If you have received the Melchizedek Priesthood, you also renew that part of the oath and covenant related to your having received that priesthood. If you have been to the temple, you also renew the covenants made there

President Spencer W. Kimball has been quoted as saying, “Remembering covenants prevents apostasy. That is the real purpose of the sacrament, to keep us from forgetting, to help us to remember … [that which we have] covenanted at the water’s edge or at the sacrament table and in the temple.”3 President Kimball further said: “The Savior emphasized that the tangible bread and water of the Sacrament were to remind us continually of the sacrifice he made for us and for renewal of our covenants of righteousness.” (also see 3 Ne. 18: 1-11, 28-29)

 
The structure of the sacrament prayers is elegantly simple. Each comprises three logical parts. Also arranged in a kind of chronological order. First, the prayer consecrates the emblem and explains its significance; as made by Jesus in the past. Second, it reminds us of our part of the covenant, and we strive to keep today. Third, it reveals the Lord’s part of the covenant, his promise of his Spirit to be with us, and help us in the future.

Rewards of Covenant Making:

In Mosiah 3, King Benjamin taught the people about Jesus Christ.11

After listening to the beautiful teachings, the people were humbled and desired with their whole hearts to be free of sin and to be purified. They repented and professed their faith in Jesus Christ. They made covenants with God that they would keep His commandments.12

Mosiah 4:3 says: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ.”

Keeping covenants is the path to true joy and happiness. It brings us comfort and peace. They are a protection from the evils of the world. Keeping our covenants will help us in times of trial. In D&C 101:39, it says the covenant people of God “are accounted as the bsalt of the earth and the savor of men”


Summary and closing:

I would encourage all of you who have not had the opportunity to take part in all of the sacred ordinances that Baptism, the Priesthood and the Temples have to offer, to prepare yourselves today by making good choices that will bring you closer to your Heavenly Father, to choose to follow the example set by his son Jesus Christ, so that once you have made these Oaths and Covenants, you will be able to keep them as you continue making good choices with help from the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Jeremiah 31:33 says “But this shall be the acovenant that I will make with the house of Israel … I will put my blaw in their inward parts, and write it in their chearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
When we realize that we are God’s people because of the covenant we have made, we will also come to know who we are and what God expects of us.37 When we allow his law to be written in our hearts, we become committed to the covenant and remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. Even the sting of death is soothed and our spiritual stamina is strengthened.

The greatest compliment that can be earned here in this life is to be known as a covenant keeper. The rewards for a covenant keeper will be realized both here and hereafter. Mosiah 2:41 declares that “ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out cfaithful to the end they are received into dheaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

Democrocy or Republic?

I have often heard the notion that the United States of America's federal government is Democracy, yet when I was in High School Social Studies class, some 20 or so years ago, they taught me that it was a Democratic-Republic. However, according to the 1906 American Historical Review, as record by Constitution co-signer James McHenry, Benjamin Franklin clearly stated that what had been created by the U.S constitution was a Republic.

Why is this distinction so important? While in today's vocabulary the two words are almost considered synonyms, the sentiment of being a Democracy, or majority rule, is very different from the original meaning of a Republic, or to rule by law. The word "republic" comes from the Latin res publica, meaning "the public thing(s)," or "the law(s). "Democracy," on the other hand, is derived from the Greek words demos and kratein, which translates to "the people to rule." In other words, what ever the majority of the people want, or a conglomeration of such things, is what they tend to get.
So what's the problem with Democracy? Maybe this video will help.

An explanation of the various forms of government, and why America is not a democracy.

Today, instead of sticking to the constitutional restrictions, or hard set "laws" set by the constitution, we getting what the majority of our elected officals precive as the latest fad their constituents are in favor of. Instead of sticking to hard set rules, we have created a mammoth sized government that is trying to please and be all thing to all people. A true republic, would stick to it's roots, or follow the rules, such as constitutional amendments, instead of passing laws that can be easily changed and modified until they become so convoluted that nobody knows what to expect.

Jim Babka comments on Cut, Cap, and Balance

Are Republicans Powerless or Are They Conning You? Is Cut, Cap, and Balance a way to hustle the grassroots and the Tea Party?
Akron, OH - "Republican politicians are pretending to act, but they're actually playacting," says Jim Babka, President of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. "House Republicans could balance the budget right now, simply by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. They don't need the cooperation of the President or Senate to accomplish this. They don't even need to take a vote. They can simply ‘do nothing.’ Just leave the debt ceiling where it is."

Babka described the pretense this way: "The GOP, and numerous conservative groups, would have their supporters believe that the House Republicans are powerless. That in order to...

* stop deficit spending, they must first do years more of it.
* stop expanding the national debt, they must first increase it by 17%.
* make Congress live within its means, they must first execute the cumbersome process of ratifying a dangerous amendment to the Constitution that won't take effect for many years."
"The truth," charged Babka, "is that the Republican leadership is trying to hustle the GOP's supporters. The Republican leadership prefers business as usual, so they can continue to borrow and spend to buy votes, reward friends, and punish enemies."

"In reality," says Babka, whose organization has 31,000 members, "Cap the debt equals a balanced budget, NOW. And that would also Downsize DC," Babka concluded with a smile.

How to cut the budget


Photo
The Heritage Foundation wants to know: What Would You Cut?
askheritage.org
America is at a tipping point. Federal spending now exceeds tax revenues by $1.6 trillion a year. That 40 percent of total budget.


Let's start with the department of education. Don't just cut it, eliminate it. What good has it really done for our country? I think it's done more harm then good. But even that is only a fraction of the overall cuts needed. Everything across the board needs a baseline 40%+ cut in budget. Including your own salary. How about the department of transportation?​ Is it really needed anymore? It's a perfect example of a government program that met it's original goal and instead of being disbanded, it was expanded. How can we expect government spending to stay in check when every government organization that has failed miserably, instead of being punished and done away with, instead gets rewarded for thief failure with more funding to try and make it work? FEMA, ATFE, and EPA come to mind in those cases. FEMA just gets in the way of quick responses by creating unnecessary red tape and overpaying for jobs that others can do much faster and cheaper. ATFE has shown many times how ineffective it can be, and with the FBI, CIA, US Martials, Homeland Security, National Guard, and other more local law enforcement, are they really needed. The EPA is nothing more then a bully in government suits. Instead of working hard to find new and better ways of finding extracting, distributing and using energy, they are instead hard at work enforcing unreasonable and counterproducti​ve laws and regulations. And as I pointed out already we have plenty of law enforcement. Take a lesson from Texas; they have a Sunset advisory board to help get rid of redundant and unnecessary departments and agencies. Tell Obama to stop his undeclared and unconstitutiona​l war in Libya if he truly believes we have spent too much on the Military over the last decade. Do we really need a base in Germany these days? Maybe we can get Europe to start paying us for the service we provide them; if they even still want it. And for the war on terror, we have bigger threats closer to home that we need to refocus on; like tyranny from some of our own government agencies such as the TSA, and a still insecure boarder. Of course the biggest threat to the solvency of our great country are the not yet realized, but certainly coming liabilities that the current healthcare and Social Security demands will put on the budget. Start working on a plan to phase out Social Security. Only the government could get away with such a scheme without someone going to jail. Start handing Medicare over to the States where it belongs, and repeal "Obama Care" immediately. Finally, take a lesson from Canada. They've were recently in an even worse situation, but were able to cut back without causing massive economic collapse or riots in the streets, or any of the other claimed negative effects that the debt lovers keep trying to scare us with.

http://www.majorityleader.gov/YouCut/YourIdea.htm

Cut the TSA airport body scanners which waste my money and violate my rights against unlawful search.
Stop bailing out wall street - no more treasury slush fund.
Cut regulations and bureaucracy so businesses can produce more, and thus pay more in taxes.
Sell off the governments shares of GM and tell the labor unions to stop expecting so much for so little, nor help from the government.
Put states and teacher back in charge of our schools, and again tell the teachers union to stop sucking the life and money out from under our children's education. Stop federal funding of schools and teachers unions.
Turn Medicare and SS and other unconstitutional social programs over to the states were the money can be utilized more efficiently and out of the hands of federal bureaucrats spending bills.
Turn over control of BLM land and Forest lands to the states, and let the states have the option to tire them into prophet centers that help insure our natural resources get used wisely and preserved for the future.
Encourage more volunteerism and charitable giving so the federal government doesn't have too. Stop giving foreign that we cannot afford righ now.
Abolish the out of controle EPA, and the ineffective FEMA.
Abolish the IRS by simplifying the tax code so that a 5th grader can understand it.
Stop using our troups to police the world for free. If we are wanted, ask for reimbursement for our services. We only do if for free if there is a eminent danger to our country.
Encurage more hardworking immigrants by easing up on immigration laws.
No more pet projects or pork belly spending. No more bribing votes by putting unrelated "beafits" into a bill.
Don't fund Obama Care - repeal it.

Texas Senate race heats up

With Kay Bailey Hutchison retiring from the U.S. Senate, candidates from all parties are already gearing up for the 2012 elections. The challengers are expected to collectively run one of the most expensive senate races of the election cycle. Of course plenty of polls have already been done, trying to tell you who you should vote for. My hope here is to give you links to information that will allow you to decide for yourself, who best represents you and your ideals of what a Senator should stand for.

On the Republican Side:
On the Democrat Side, it seems to still be widely undecided with fewer candidates to choose from:
Other Candidates include:
Some of the hot topics being discussed:

Inflation over the last two years of Obama

Two years ago, Barack Obama was inaugurated as president of the United States .  Are you better off today than you were two years ago? Numbers don't lie, and here are the data on the impact he has had on the lives of Americans:

January 2009
January 2011
% chg
Source
Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S.
$1.83
$3.104
69.6%
1
Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)
$43.48
$99.02
127.7%
2
Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)
$38.74
$91.38
135.9%
2
Gold: London (per troy oz.)
$853.25
$1,369.50
60.5%
2
Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL
$3.56
$6.33
78.1%
2
Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL
$9.66
$13.75
42.3%
2
Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob
$13..37
$35..39
164.7%
2
Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall
7.6%
9.4%
23.7%
3
Unemployment rate, blacks
12.6%
15.8%
25.4%
3
Number of unemployed
11,616,000
14,485,000
24.7%
   3
Number of fed. employees, ex. military (curr = 12/10 prelim)
2,779,000
2,840,000
2.2%
3
Real median household income (2008 v 2009)
$50,112
$49,777
-0.7%
4
Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10)
31,983,716
43,200,878
35.1%
5
Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curr = 12/10)
7,526,598
9,193,838
22.2%
6
Number of long-term unemployed
2,600,000
6,400,000
146.2%
3
Poverty rate, individuals (2008 v 2009)
13.2%
14.3%
8.3%
4
People in poverty in U.S. (2008 v 2009)
39,800,000
43,600,000
9.5%
4
U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings
5
9
n/a
10
Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10)
29.9
23.5
-21.4%
11
Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date)
140
164
17.1%
12
U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate
89.76
82.03
-8.6%
2
U.S. money supply, M1, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)
1,575.1
1,865.7
18.4%
13
U.S. money supply, M2, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)
8,310.9
8,852.3
6.5%
13
National debt, in trillions
$10.627
$14.052
32.2%
14
Just take this last item:  In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history.  Over 27 times as fast!  Metaphorically, speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane 27 times faster . . . it would be doing 1,755 MPH!
Sources:
(1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. of Labor; (7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; (9) RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; (13) Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury

Collin County and Wylie City May 2011 local elections

Elections for local and regional government positions including Wylie City Council seats and Wylie Board of Trustees places are scheduled for Saturday, May 14. Following is information regarding early voting and election day locations and times.

Early Voting-May 2 - May 10, 2011
  • Collin County Election Office
  • Wylie Municipal Complex (Library)
  • Murphy Municipal Complex
  • City and School District Voters may vote at any of the additional early voting locations open under full contract services with the Collin County Elections Administration
Election Day Voting-May 14, 2011
  • Southfork Mobile Home Community Clubhouse - Precincts 153, 159
  • Wylie Bible Church - Precincts 27, 33, 41, 56, 83, 133, 170, 174, 1A (Rockwall County), 2601 (Dallas County)
  • Murphy Municipal Complex - Precincts 25, 166, 175
  • Miller Elementary School - Precincts 94, 125, 144
You are invited to a candidates' forum hosted by The Wylie News:
Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 7 PM
Held at the Bart Peddicord Community Center
It will be moderated by a representative from the League of Women Voters of Plano.

How to balance the massive U.S. federal government budget.

First of all, if you’re not certain why we should even try to balance the Federal Budget, you may find a previous artical of mine helpful.

After a couple of temporary funding bills, Congress has finally passed a budget to keep the government running for the rest of the fiscal year (about 6 months).  This was an important housekeeping measure that had been put off way too many times already by the previous Democrat controlled congress, but was still difficult for the Republicans to do, and get the spending cuts they wanted, because of the control the Democrats still have in the Senate, and White House.  While it's hopeful they can now get down to taking care of other important business, it's appalling to think they are calling this a success, when they only cut $38 Billion.  This is about 1% of the Federal Government's budget for this year that was expected to be 3,818.8 Billion Dollars.


To put this into perspective, imagine if I asked to you put together a big and very important event for me and my kids, which is going to cost $3,818.80.  However, I really only have $2,173.70, but I promise that my kids will pay you the difference when they get old enough to have jobs.  To take some of this burden off of my kids I finally agree to cut $100.00 worth of the items I want for the party, but when it comes down to it, I can only agree on cutting a few things that amount to a measly, $38.00.  This leaves my kids responsible for paying you back, with interest (on a variable rate), the remaining amount of $1,607.10.  Of course I'll cover just the interest portion for now (but at the lowest rates in history).  O, and this is going to continue to happen on an annual basis, and likely be more expensive each year.
Does this sound like a good deal for my kids?  I don't think so, but if you take these numbers and multiple them by a million, you essentially get the same amounts in a spending bill that Congress finally agreed to.  Hopefully it also gives you an idea of why it's important for us to do more to balance the budget as soon as possible.  So how do we do itDo we cut more, and leave behind "essential" social services like housing for the poor, health care and Social Security, or cut defense and let al-Qaeda and blood thirsty dictators run rampant around the world? Do we tax the richest of the rich of all their wealth, giving us not quite enough to balance the budget for almost a year, but taking all the wealth out of our economy in the process?

Before we know what we can do, we've got to know where we are, so here's how it breaks down:
So which one do we cut?  I say all of them, about a quarter to a third each, with one exception:
  • Reduction in Social Services is the one I would focus on the most, as I’m not sure any of it should even been a Federal responsibility; rather, constitutionally speaking (see the 10th amendment) it should be a State and local issue. Let's phase out "The Projects" that only further encourage the poor to continue in their poor lifestyles, and get real about Health Care reform that actually reduces costs (not the Obama Care scam that will actually increase costs).
  • Strategic reduction in Defense.  Let's do what Bush wanted to do and get the Iraqi's to provide our military with all its oil needs for the next decade or so.  Tell the UN and NATO that they are going to have to pick up a much bigger portion of the bill as we cannot do it anymore.  Finally, stop getting involved in undeclared wars, as we seem to have been doing ever since WW II ended.  If we’re going to go to war, let’s do it right and get everyone behind it via a straight forward well-defined congressional resolution.
  • Reduction in “Pensions”.  Tell those Social Security recipients who don't really need it, that they aren't going to be getting it much longer.  Tell the Baby Boomers who are about to get it that they may not get as much as we had hoped they would, and those of us who are paying into it now, that we are really just making sure we don’t have a bunch of retirees out on the stress with more forecloses on the market, but that when it come to be our turn, we have better have gotten something else figured out because we aren’t likely to get any.
  • About the only thing we can do on the interest payments is to pay down the balance, and make sure interest rates don’t go through the roof (even though they likely will); however if we can't do that if we can't even balance the budget to start with.
  • Eliminate the Department of Education, and do the constitutionally correct thing in allowing the individual states to deal with Education on their own; with some basic standards and guidance provided by congress based on already established University Accreditation Standards.
  • Sell off the U.S. Held Amtrak stocks (and any other held stocks, including GM’s), stop funding it, and tell the States they are on their own for maintaining their own infrastructure.  The fraction of what's left can be used to maintain the interstate highways, and "Post Roads" as the constitution puts it.
  • As for what's left, see my next suggestion:
So where does the rest of the money we need to balance the budget come from?  25-33% isn’t enough to make up the 42% budget deficit. The solution should be one of the simplest of them all: Tax reform.  When addressing a budgeting shortfall, weather in your personal life or in government, cutting expenditures is really only one side of a two headed coin.  If we can increase our income, we can make it much easier to afford the things we need, while paying off the debts we owe.
By "simpliest" I mean we need to simplify our tax code, so we can lay-off 70% of the IRS since it will be so simple for everyone to do their taxes, doing audits, refunds and payments will be much easier (and could be compleatly automated). This of course would also help reduce the cost of enforcing our current tax code that is so complex that we in all reality don't have an easy way to enforce it.  We need to make sure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes to insure we are all getting important and essential services from the government.  My suggestion is that we all get put into the same % bracket for how much taxes we pay (say 15-20% of our total income - including inheritance, retirement, investments, capital gains, etc.), and we also all get access to the same standard deductions that everyone else does: like the first $20,000 we make being tax free, deductions for having kids, the interest on the first mortgage of our primary residence (not for investment or vacation properties), and don't forget charitable contributions to non-profit organizations; which we'll need more of as we cut government sponsored Social Services, and get more of with a simplified tax code.
I believe this would cause the richest of the rich to start paying more in taxes, and help the poorest of the poor from needing to pay any taxes at all.  The net affect being increased revenue and large reductions in the time and costs for individuals, businesses, and cooperation’s to file their taxes; while at the same time reducing the cost for the government to processes those same taxes.