Category Archives: Political Thoughts

Independance Day, Armenian Style

/Intro —

As many of you know, I spent two summers in Armenia as a teenager. It was a really great experience in many ways. I learned a lot of things that have shaped who I am as a person now. One of the things that I learned is why Communism is so bad and what it does to a country and a people. I also learned what the price of Freedom is. I learned that it is a high price, but one worth paying. I’ve decided to write a posts, maybe more, talking about this. I hope that they will help you understand a bit more about the me, my political views, and maybe take a look at your own.

/End Intro —

When I lived in Armenia they had been free from the USSR for only four years.  I was there when the country had their fifth independence day. Armenia’s independence day happens to be July 5th. When you are a teenager and someone shakes your hand a solemnly congratulates you on your country’s independence, it make you take notice and wonder why, especially since in America we tend to take Independence day as a chance to party (not that their is anything wrong with a party, I love a good party)

On the Fifth of July Yerevan was very, very quiet. Not that their were not people about, there were lots.  There was a parade, a very very quiet parade. No fireworks, no party’s, just a solemn procession. It was after that I started asking questions.

First I asked my friends, the kids my age, “why don’t you have a party? Why aren’t there fireworks? Why is everyone so serious about Independence day?” Sadly, none of them really knew.  In retrospect I supposed their parents did their very best to shelter their kids from what happened, that would be a very Armenian thing to do in my experience.

Then I started asking the adults. I got pieces, a lot from listening to my parents talk to other adults (sorry Mom and Dad! I wanted to know and it’s not like I was really eaves dropping, you knew I was standing right there.) Here is some of what I learned.

When we went to a concert, at the beginning the Armenian national anthem played, it had no words, only music, I asked why.

The music had been written by an Armenian, but the words had been given to them later by the USSR. They were not going to use those words (It had a lot of talk about Mother Russia and such) but they were going to keep the song, they were going to take it back from Russia. Make it free like they were now free.

I asked once why there were no buses in Yerevan, just little personal vans that drove around like buses.

Armenia was the first of the former Soviet Block countries to get their independence. Russia was quite unhappy about it (This is the understatement of the year). Their reaction when it was inevitable was to essentially say “Fine, you want it, you got it.” They took all the power plants apart, shut off natural gas pipelines, and ripped out anything they could infrastructure wise, put it on all the buses in the country and drove them to Russia. They didn’t want Armenia to be free, but if they were going to be free Russia was going to make them pay for it. I think they were hoping Armenia would beg them to come back and “save them”.

I asked why there were no old trees only young trees in Yerevan. It seemed strange when everyone seemed to love gardening and plants.

Armenia had beautiful forests, most of them are gone now. When that first winter came many people were freezing and starving to death. The gas lines were still broken (plus they came from Russia, who would not turn them back on) the power plants were still in pieces. The only solution that could save people was to cut down the trees, so that is what they did. They said it was worth it to save their people and to have their own free country. When I later read “We the Living” by Ayn Rand it reminded me of this story about Armenia.

When the election came I was told to stay away from a street that I normally walked down, I asked why.

It was the street with the presidential palace. It was FULL of people, protesting, lobbying, shouting, waiting to hear the outcome of the presidential election. Apparently the man that was president at the time had been discovered doing certain things the old soviet way, the way of kickbacks, bribes, and ignoring rule of law. The people were ANGRY. They had starved, frozen and died to get rid of people like that.

I’ll stop here for now, I’m starting to cry thinking of the sufferings of the Armenians. The next lesson I learned that I think I’ll write about is my experience with those clinging to the USSR and Communism and what happened economically to Armenia once they were free.

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Politics and Religion

The world of Politics today crosses over into the world of Religion more often then I think we would like to believe. The very thing that the Puritans came here to avoid, restrictions and control over the practicing their religion, is very much in danger of happening in the United States today.

I see and hear so many people in the Church say things, that I know that if they just realized how the Church stands on the topic they might take a little more time to think. I very often want to say something in the moment, but I don’t dare, as it’s either not a good place or not a good time, or I’m just not close enough to the person to feel like they will listen to me in that context, or really because I’m afraid to offend.

I probably shouldn’t be that way, I should be more brave to stand up for what I believe even, or maybe especially, to people who believe the same thing. So, that’s what I’m going to do here. It’s the chicken way, but it’s a start.

First example.

Pro-Choice. I could go on about this myself, but I’ll let an Apostle make my arguments for me.  Below is a link to the whole talk, which I recommend you read, and then a quote.

Weightier Matters by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Pro-choice slogans have been particularly seductive to Latter-day Saints because we know that moral agency, which can be described as the power of choice, is a fundamental necessity in the gospel plan. All Latter-day Saints are pro-choice according to that theological definition. But being pro-choice on the need for moral agency does not end the matter for us. Choice is a method, not the ultimate goal. We are accountable for our choices, and only righteous choices will move us toward our eternal goals.

In this effort, Latter-day Saints follow the teachings of the prophets. On this subject our prophetic guidance is clear. The Lord commanded, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. Our members are taught that, subject only to some very rare exceptions, they must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion. That direction tells us what we need to do on the weightier matters of the law, the choices that will move us toward eternal life.

In today’s world we are not true to our teachings if we are merely pro-choice. We must stand up for the right choice. Those who persist in refusing to think beyond slogans and sound bites like pro-choice wander from the goals they pretend to espouse and wind up giving their support to results they might not support if those results were presented without disguise.

“Every woman has, within the limits of nature, the right to choose what will or will not happen to her body. Every woman has, at the same time, the responsibility for the way she uses her body. If by her choice she behaves in such a way that a human fetus is conceived, she has not only the right to but also the responsibility for that fetus. If it is an unwanted pregnancy, she is not justified in ending it with the claim that it interferes with her right to choose. She herself chose what would happen to her body by risking pregnancy. She had her choice. If she has no better reason, her conscience should tell her that abortion would be a highly irresponsible choice.

If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious sins. I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law due to this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices. Should we decriminalize or lighten the legal consequences of child abuse? of cruelty to animals? of pollution? of fraud? of fathers who choose to abandon their families for greater freedom or convenience?

And another example.

I have seen several people who are decrying the Supreme Court decision today in favor of Hobby Lobby. People of my faith should be REJOYICING.  This protects OUR FAITH, just as much as it protects Hobby Lobby. The federal government should not compel people to do things contrary to their faith.  And if they could compel Hobby Lobby, what would stop them from compelling the Church?

Nothing.

And yet a third.

I have seen several people rejoice over the striking down of prop 8 in California (I know this is rather old news, but still valid to my point).  When the Church comes out with the statement, which they don’t often do, saying they are sad about it, you should be on board too.

There are more, but I’ll stop there for now.

I think very often people in the Church do not realize how far afield they get from their religion in what they believe politically.  I think people very often get into the “espouse ideas contrary to their religion.” without even knowing it. I think that’s because people try to have those things exist in a bubble, one separate from another. That’s impossible, and wrong.

Please please please, before you favor a political idea, see how it stacks up with your Faith. That’s all I’m really asking.

What talks from Apostles or statements from the Church have you see that influenced your political thought?

The Best Idea About Taxes I’ve Ever Had!

Every year when tax time comes around I start thinking about how messed up and broken our tax system is (Who doesn’t?). I’ve always been a fan of the Flat Tax idea. I even once read a book about the Fair Tax idea, which is surprising for me, because although I’m ‘into’ politics as it were, I can’t often stand enough sustained politics to read a book about it.

This year I had an idea, and it’s one that I’ve never heard before, maybe someone else has had it but I’ve not run into it yet. My idea was to change how the taxes are allocated, and who decides how taxes are allocated.

You’ve all heard of crowdfunding I assume, that’s how we should fund the government.  Every year you would figure out how much you owe in taxes and then you go to some government website that lists all of the different programs and departments that the government wants to have the next year and you decide where your tax money goes, or even just where 50% of your taxes go.

If you don’t like the NSA, you don’t fund it. If you are a big fan of the Military, you send most of your taxes there. You don’t like Obamacare, don’t fund it. You like National Parks? Send 40% of your taxes there. Think welfare programs are good? Pay for it. Think they are bad? Don’t.

Personally I think it would be VERY interesting to see what got funded and what didn’t. It would also be very interesting to see how many programs and departments there are in the fed, and see them all together in one place. There is this list of departments and agencies and this list of programs where they fund things, and this list of welfare programs, but I doubt that putting those three together is comprehensive. I also doubt that most people have ever seen these lists. I think it would be eye opening for most people to see what the fed is doing with their money and good for people to directly decide what they want to have happen with their taxes.

Now, I know realistically it can’t be this way, you know that whole constitution thing that I’m a fan of prevents it, but it sure is fun to think about.

So, if this WAS how we did taxes, what would you fund?

 

Unreasonable Search

Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I don’t call what is going on in airports reasonable.  Having the choice of being looked at naked or being felt up is extremely violating, well beyond unreasonable!

Here’s some links to what is going on.

Don’t touch my junk

Hands down flyers pants

Searching a 3 year old

just 15 seconds of awkwardness

Scanners and Patdowns

100 naked bodies

The thing that amazes me is how little people are upset.  I’m astonished that there is not MORE outrage.  Like the little girl, I can’t believe her parents let it happen. 

I guess I look at this and realize that even in the depths of the darkness of the USSR it was never a government requirement to feel up passengers, including children.  To take essentially naked pictures of people.  So it  makes me wonder how far we are from everything else that Communism has to offer. 

What I do know is that I will not, nor will my children fly ANYWHERE until the government stops this atrocity and the molestation of the American people.

Politico

I’ve moved all my political stuff to

http://wethepeoplewed.wordpress.com/

That way you can avoid it if you wish!

Amendment X

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

If you read the Bill of Rights

you will find this to be rather odd and contrary to the purpose stated in the Bill of Rights.

How do you win when they cheat?

Politics is like Chess. Strategy, making moves your opponent doesn’t expect, delay until you are in a stronger position, looking ahead in the game and based on the rules, anticipate what your opponent will do, these are some things you can do to win.

None of that works if your opponent changes or ignores the rules.

That is what the Democrats are doing to force on the American people this health care bill

One of the chess moves you can make in politics is to delay your opponent.

Here is a rule.

“Reading: Under Rule XV, paragraph 1, and Senate precedents, an amendment shall be read by the Clerk before it is up for consideration or before the same shall be debated unless a request to waive the reading is granted; in practice that includes an ordinary amendment or an amendment in the nature of a substitute, the reading of which may not be dispensed with except by unanimous consent, and if the request is denied the amendment must be read and further interruptions are not in order; interruptions of the reading of an amendment that has been proposed are not in order, even for the purpose of proposing a substitute amendment to a committee amendment which is being read. When an amendment is offered the regular order is its reading, and unanimous consent is required to call off the reading.” (Riddick’s Senate Procedure, P.43-44)

But here is what happened

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday afternoon withdrew his proposal to create a single-payer insurance system after Republicans compelled Senate clerks to spend hours reading his 767-page amendment to the health care bill as a way to slow down work on the legislation. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) forced clerks to begin reading the amendment in the Republicans’ first attempt at stalling the health care bill.

How Sanders was able to withdraw his amendment is unclear — under the chamber’s rules it appears that a motion to withdraw would not be in order during the reading of the bill. However, the Senate Parliamentarian — in what a GOP aide called “an incredibly bizarre decision” — ruled Sanders’ request was allowable.

Coburn, who originally forced the reading of the amendment, attempted to call for the “regular order,” which would be the reading of the amendment. However, the presiding officer recognized Sanders long enough for him to withdraw, saying it was within the Senator’s rights to do so.

Read the article this came from Here

And here’s another one about it.

They broke a rule, and the guy who is supposed to enforce the rules (the Paliamentarian referred to) just let them.

How do you fight that?  Where do you go for justice when the rule enforcer is breaking the rules?

Here’s some more links about what is going on with this bill.

Some of the VERY bad things they are doing with this bill.

Backroom Deals being made for this bill

More on back room deals

A specific Back Room deal

As the bill stands we will all pay a fee every month for people to have abortions