Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Watching the Climate Science Bubbles from the Outside

"from my perspective both sides of the debate are 100% persuasive if you look at them in isolation"
("Watching the Climate Science Bubbles from the Outside", Scott Adams, 19 Dec 2016)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Is VidAngel Legal?



The lawsuit is not about money. VidAngel tried 4 different ways to edit the content of movies. Studios could have picked any one of them that would have given them greater revenue than the current method VidAngel is using.

The studios signed secret contracts with the Directors Guild and distributors to create a force field against filtering. The contracts said no one could filter or partner with filtering companies, basically blocking filtering from the whole streaming market. We only know all this 'cause Sony got hacked by North Korea and their contracts became public.
...
And this is where VidAngel comes in. 'Cause that force field blocked us 4 times.
1) We teamed up with Google to filter their licensed Google Play movies, but Hollywood told Google no.
2) Later, when we tried to license directly, the studios said no again even though we had the money.
3) We tried to buy discs directly, and they said no.
4) We made a product that let you filter movies you already bought on YouTube. They got it shut down.
("Is VidAngel Legal?", YouTube 29 Nov 2016, 0:50)

The list more briefly:
1) Google Play
2) Direct License
3) Buying Discs
4) YouTube add-on

VidAngel legally decrypts DVDs.
It's also weird that VidAngel decrypts discs, but if you've ever used a DVD player, then so have you, and you're probably legal. So let's look closer. First, the discs. A law called the DMCA forbids unauthorized decryption of discs.  
Here's why VisAngel's OK. The DMCA doesn't apply here. Congress wanted the Family Movie Act to protect filtering companies from unfair Hollywood lawsuits. So they made clear that filtering companies who meet those three requirements would be immune to Copyright Act lawsuits and since the DMCA is part of the Copyright Act, it shouldn't apply here.  
But even if it did, decryption is necessary to fulfill the Family Movie Act. Without decryption, Hollywood's force field makes it impossible to filter at all. So either VidAngel can legally decrypt discs, or Congress passed a law that didn't change the law.
("Is VidAngel Legal?", YouTube 29 Nov 2016, 3:01)
A summary of the arguments from VidAngel that they are legally decrypting DVDs:
1) The DMCA doesn't apply here
2) We didn't break it anyway
3) Even if we had, Fair use makes that legal!
("Is VidAngel Legal?", YouTube 29 Nov 2016, 3:56) 
Separate from what VidAngel is claiming. Studios may not have a right to separate agreements to streaming rights. I would be sympathetic to the studios arguments if they had not refused all 4 other attempts to filter their movies.
To me the key issue here has nothing to do with filtering. The key issue is that it should absolutely not be legal for movie studios to sell separate licenses to stream vs. DVD. This is a stupid way to prevent free entry into the modern version of the movie rental business. As soon as a movie goes on sale in any format, it should be legal for anyone who wants to buy that movie and then rent the viewing of that movie via digital streaming. There is no good reason from a consumer rights standpoint to allow the movie studios to have any more control of streaming than they did of rentals. (Denmark Jensen, Comment on "VidAngel Keeps Streaming, Defying Judge’s Order and Enraging Studios")
The effort to stop filtering companies is not new. The Family Movie Act listed what was necessary to legally filter movie content.
Prior to the Family Movie Act, there had been 12 filtering companies and Hollywood sued Every. Single. One. Of. Them. The studios can say til they’re blue in the face that it “isn’t about whether filtering is lawful”, of course it isn’t about that – The Family Movie Act says filtering is legal, as long as the three requirements are met: 
1. The movie is an authorized copy
2. The movie is watched in the privacy of the home
3. No permanent copy of the filtered movie is made 
("Hollywood v. VidAngel", Matthew Woods, 21 Dec 2016)
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VidAngel AntiTrust Counter Suit, 14 Jul 2016

Neal Harmon, CEO of VidAngel is interviewed by Tom Woods (23 Dec 2016).
"Ep. 810 VidAngel Filters Movies for Families — So They’re Being Sued"

What you can do

Contact your Congressional representatives, http://savefiltering.vidangel.com/. My tweet and FB post,
Defend modern remote controls @SenJohnMcCain @JeffFlake @RepTrentFranks http://savefiltering.vidangel.com #savefiltering/

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mapping the Election

This is one that is a Oct 11 forecast. It shows the balance of electoral votes. ("There’s More Than One Way to Map an Election", Greg Miller, 11 Oct 2016


This one shows who won the actual geographic counties. It is accurate and it can be misleading since there is generally a lower population density in the red counties.

Mormons and the US Presidential Election 2016

-
If you’re familiar with recent Mormon political leanings, you may be wondering what could possibly be unusual about Mormons voting for Trump. Here is Mormon voting data based on recent history compared to 2016 Pew analysis of exit polls:
2004GW Bush: 80%J. Kerry: 19%
2008No dataNo data
2012M. Romney: 78%B. Obama: 21%
2016D. Trump: 61%H. Clinton: 25%
So Trump won the Mormon vote . . . but in a lukewarm fashion. His victory was not the strong four-out-of-ratio we saw with Bush and Romney; Mormon GOP voting was down to three in five. That’s a majority, certainly, but not an overwhelming one. ("Most Mormons planned NOT to vote for Trump. What the heck happened?", Jana Riess, 15 Nov 2016)
 -
temple recommend holders were three times as likely to back fellow Saint Evan McMullin as non-recommend holders, by 18% to 6%. Apparently some of Mormonism’s most conservative and religious members were actively seeking an alternative to Trump.
("Most Mormons planned NOT to vote for Trump. What the heck happened?", Jana Riess, 15 Nov 2016)
-
While many rightly struggled with the decision of whom to vote for, in Hillary Clinton many Utah women saw a flawed and unimpressive candidate whose policies would ultimately disadvantage and decrease genuine opportunities for themselves, their daughters and granddaughters.
("My View: What Mother Jones doesn't get about Mormon women", Sarah Matheson, 11 Nov 2016)

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Least Worst System Available to Us

I was asked in a FB group which book that had significant impact on my world view and political opinions. Following is what I wrote
I chose the Book of Mormon. She mentioned that she was surprised that people posted religious books since many have not read them in their entirety and many who read them come away with completely different viewpoints politically.  
I agree that Mormons have a great variety of political viewpoints. I put down the Book of Mormon anyway because of how much it has influenced my world view outside of politics.  
There are several parts of the Book of Mormon that have influenced me politically. King Benjamin asked "ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish....For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have"? (Mosiah 4:16-19)

The Book of Mormon peoples experienced many natural disasters after the death of Jesus Christ. The more wicked part of the people died. Jesus visited them personally resurrected from the grave. After his visits the people created a different kind of socio-economic system.
"they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift." (4 Nephi 1:3)

Joseph Smith is the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons). He translated the Book of Mormon. I like the way Joseph Smith implemented capitalism with a social compact.  
'Joseph accepted the economy of private property and individual enterprise. Even under the consecration of properties, individual stewards operated independently in a market economy, though they were obligated to return their "surplus" to the bishop
...
But capitalism never ruled Nauvoo as it did Chicago, a city that in 1844 was the same size as Nauvoo. The original name of the Nauvoo site, Commerce, was dropped after the Saints arrived. Rather than promising entrepreneurs great wealth, Joseph asked that "money be brought here to pay the poor for manufacturing." Profits were secondary to creating jobs.'
(Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Lyman Bushman, 2005, pages 502 and 503) 
A friend of mine said "capitalism is the least worst system available to us — until Zion can be achieved". Zion is a state of mind where we are of one heart and one mind. That we have in our mind and heart an eye single to the glory of God and for the welfare of our neighbors along with ourselves.  
Here is more on my views of the ideal economic system and how capitalism is the least worst system available to us until we as a people are willing to live the best one. 
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Friday, November 4, 2016

The Election Questions I have Battled With

There are a few conservative leaders that I have high respect for. Larry Arnn is one of them. He is the President of Hillsdale College. He has lead the effort to provide a free Constitutional education to anyone willing to put in the time and effort.

Larry was on with Hugh Hewitt this morning and said the following
Trump is not a learned man about the history of America. He is not eloquent, if eloquent means speaking in the way that Abraham Lincoln spoke. But I’ll add the caveat who is. But he has got a kind of rugged, direct and also fearless way of addressing us as a people. And I think all that’s refreshing.

And I noticed, you know, back in the time when we were in Switzerland, over the course of that time, I began to take Trump seriously. I didn’t vote for him in the primary. I voted for somebody else. But after the primary, I was able to endorse him, and have maintained that endorsement through the tapes and all the troubles partly because of this point that I’m stating right now.

I just like it that he, like in his campaign, one of the things I learned early on was his campaign is not driven by big data, that is to say this enormous effort to divide us, you know, into our groups and find out everything about us and talk to us singly and in our groups according to what we want to hear. And one of the reasons he’s been resilient in this campaign is that stuff tends to disappear as the campaign goes on and people get interested in its intents. And people start thinking.  
There’s polling data going back many decades now that show this. People start thinking about their country more toward the end and less about themselves. And so he was ready for that, right? And I like that. And then you know, if you look at his plans, there are some of them I don’t like, but there’s none of them that I think are crippling or fatal. So I support him. 
("Dr. Larry Arnn On The Vote On 10/8", Hugh Hewitt and Larry Arnn, The Hugh Hewitt Show, 4 Nov 2016)

Dennis Prager and Eric Metaxas both support Trump. I have followed them for years.

The questions I have battled with are: Which of the two two leading candidates will result in less damage in the next four years, possibly eight? Which of the two might do some good? What message am I sending about my preference about who is President?

Hillary Negatives

(1) The Clinton Foundation investigation is far more expansive than anybody has reported so far and has been going on for more than a year. 
(2) The laptops of Clinton aides Cherryl Mills and Heather Samuelson have not been destroyed, and agents are currently combing through them. The investigation has interviewed several people twice, and plans to interview some for a third time.  
(3) Agents have found emails believed to have originated on Hillary Clinton's secret server on Anthony Weiner's laptop. They say the emails are not duplicates and could potentially be classified in nature.  
(4) Sources within the FBI have told him that an indictment is "likely" in the case of pay-for-play at the Clinton Foundation, "barring some obstruction in some way" from the Justice Department. 
(5) FBI sources say with 99% accuracy that Hillary Clinton's server has been hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies, and that information had been taken from it. 
("Bret Baier: FBI Sources Believe Clinton Foundation Case Moving Towards "Likely an Indictment"", RealClearPolitics, 2 Nov 2016)
-
Wikileaks

Project Veritas.

The FBI’s latest announcement about the emails on Weiner’s computer.

"Donna Brazile, while a CNN commentator, shared CNN debate questions in advance to Hillary Clinton's campaign"
http://www.npr.org/2016/11/02/500407470/donna-braziles-resignation-illustrates-cable-tvs-pundit-problem

The Clinton Foundation, selling influence to foreign countries and companies that are more interested in war than peace

Obamacare Collapse

Greater chance of more war.

--

Trump Negatives

Following is my answer to "where Trump is corrupt?"
I see Trump corrupting the free market message of the Republican party with one of trade barriers in the form of tariffs and threatening our could be allies and economic partners.   
I see Trump further corrupting the Republican party's message of fiscal responsibility. The debt is not likely to slow down with him as President. Printing more money is not a sustainable strategy.  
I do not see Trump defending the Constitution except when forced to do so by others within and outside the party.  
I see Trump adding to a culture of bullying and intimidation. He will unnecessarily antagonize our could be foreign and domestic allies.    
I see him helping us jump off the cliff of being able to believe what people say. We always have to watch what politicians say and promise. Trump is ten times worse.\ 
I see Trump as a narcissist, egotistical, authoritarian sex offender. 
(My FB Comment, 4 Nov 2016)

Hillary Positives



- a clear rejection of the character of Trump. I do not want the Republican name saddled with what I see as a likely cultural legacy he will create.

...


Trump Positives


- Standing up to our allies such that they will begin to pay for their part of NATO

- That we may be in less wars. He will defend the USA, but I do not see him extending our troops to even more places than they are now.

...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nepotism, Pay-for-play, and Cronyism

-

Hillary Clinton is not only completely corrupt and even more dishonest than the average politician, she represents an elitist class of insiders who run everything through nepotism, pay-for-play access to government, and cronyism. (Jonathan Max Wilson, FB Post 1 Nov 2016, Referring to "Forget the FBI cache; the Podesta emails show how America is run",31 Oct 2016, Thomas Frank)
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Monday, October 31, 2016

Religion is Critical to the Functioning of Democracy



"I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy. The reason why democracy works is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does. But rather democracy works because most people, most of the time voluntarily choose to do obey the law." - A Marxist economist from China

"If you take away religion, you can't hire enough police." Clay Christensen

Here is a FB link to this video.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Why We're Losing Liberty


Our federal government only exists legally with enumerated and delegated powers. Who enumerated and delegated these powers? The individual states and the people did.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (9th Amendment to the US Constitution)
-
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. (10th Amendment to the US Constitution)
"The Constitution does simply does not empower the national government to impose a mandate on the people to purchase products." ("Why We're Losing Liberty", 7 Sep 2015, Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University)

Some transcription of the video.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hillary, Trump, and an Almighty God

(faithtrumpsfear.com, 26 Oct 2016)

I like this message. Send a message to both parties that neither of the two leading candidates are acceptable. Reject the call to speculate on which of these two is the least worst.

God has a higher calling for us than to vote for a candidate who is hostile to Him and His commands.
Vote for someone.

Friday, October 14, 2016

LDS leaders ask Mormons to oppose legalization of assisted suicide, recreational marijuana

I have several libertarian friends that are LDS. I was wondering how they reconciled their position with this letter, First Presidency Letter About Recreational Marijuana.pdf ("LDS leaders ask Mormons to oppose legalization of assisted suicide, recreational marijuana", Deseret News, 13 Oct 2016)

I asked them about their feelings on it from Facebook. This were their responses.

I was already going to vote no on Prop 106, so that is an easy one. I am in favor of marijuana legalization, but because the Church apparently opposes it, I will remain quiet about it and try to bring my will in line with the prophets instead of the other way around. (Geoff Biddulph)
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I think that if prophets are only "right" when they happen to agree with our philosophical and political predilections, they are ultimately redundant, and our real faith lies in personal reason and ideology. 
In a world without prophets, I would probably support legalization. But I believe that prophets are watchmen on a tower (to use a scriptural metaphor) precisely because they can see what we sometimes cannot. If I only heed their warnings when I can see too, then what purpose do they serve? 
I have many, ongoing spiritual witnesses that these men are prophets and apostles of God, and I will give heed to their teachings and warnings, even when it contradicts my personal ideological predispositions. (Jeffrey Thayne)

-
I don't believe that God wants me to use violence against others who ingest cannabis. I therefore cannot ask the government to do it on my behalf. (Connor Boyack)
While I see the logic of Connor's response, I agree with Geoff and Jeffrey. I believe that our prophets are watchmen. I trust them. I believe that they are called of God to lead the LDS church, the only church authorized to administer in the saving ordinances God.


For further study,
"The difference between legalisation and decriminalisation", The Economist, 18 Jul 2014)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The 1954 Johnson Amendment

Should churches be able to endorse candidates without their tax exemption status be in question?


Here is a video from the Alliance Defending Freedom on the history of the 1954 Johnson debate. They have a web site, pulpit freedom, dedicated to repealing it. Here is more info on the amendment.

What is the principle that the LDS church is following with their policy that they will not endorse candidates in elections?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Vote Responsibily

I agree with Mike Rowe

Jessica Kenney writes... 
A friend shared this article on my page and I couldn't find the original interview...just wondering if it was real. http://qpolitical.com/24-hours-after-last-nights-debate-mi…/ 
Hi Jessica 
As a rule, I try not to repeat myself. I find it both redundant and repetitive. Yesterday though, a piece I wrote back in August was reposted on a site called qpolitical. It now appears to have gone viral. I’m glad, because for once, the words are in fact my own – reprinted exactly as they first appeared on this very page. https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/posts/1254500967893377 
The only mistake is the headline. I didn't write this in the wake of Sunday's debate; I wrote it back in August. My original post was an explanation to a fan as to why I would never use my celebrity - such as it is - to persuade people I’ve never met to cast a ballot. I’m re-sharing today for several reasons. 
1.Everyday, someone asks me to encourage the electorate to vote. I won't do that, and the attached article explains why. 
2. Since my original post, social media has become flooded with celebrities who seem determined – absolutely determined – to do everything in their power to persuade their fans to cast a ballot in November. Neil Patrick Harris, James Franco, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Stanley Tucci, Martin Sheen…there are too many to count. 
3. None of these celebrities encourage their fans to get informed – only to vote. And all of them seem to believe it’s your civic duty to cast a ballot. It’s not. Voting is a right, not a duty. The difference is important to understand. 
4. I’m flattered. qpolitical has interspersed my original words with images of me addressing various crowds from various stages, and strolling down random streets with purpose. All this imagery creates the impression I’m presenting my thoughts to a variety of different audiences. A man on the move! It's a much more interesting dynamic than static shots of my kitchen table, where the article was actually written, and where most of my deep thinking occurs... 
Mike (FB Post, 12 Oct)


What about Evan McMullin?

A poll recently placed Evan McMullin in a close third to tied Hillary and Trump. ("Poll: Trump falls into tie with Clinton among Utah voters", Deseret News, 12 Oct 2016)

Following are bullet points of a respected friend of mine on McMullin. I agree with him largely. Except that I hope any electoral college loss by either of the leading candidates might be a win worth working for.

- Evan McMullin has no executive experience of any kind.
- Evan McMullin’s presidential run is the creation of the same people who crafted and supported George W Bush’s failed foreign policy.
- Mormons are being taken for granted — again.
- Face it:  most people who favor McMullin know very little about him except that he is Mormon and he appears to have traditional Republican positions.
("Why I am #neverMcMullin", Geoff B., 12 Oct 2016)
I largely agree with this. I support Gary Johnson's foreign policy. It is what I hear in this paragraph from Geoff.
My vision of the United States is one where we trade and are at peace with the world. It is one where we vigorously respond to attacks and defend our borders but remain neutral in conflicts that are none of our business. We should spend much more on intelligence — trying to spot potential enemies before they get to our country — and much less on troops and armament. We should close most of our foreign military bases and concentrate on threats to those countries that are essential to the U.S. national interest. ("Why I am #neverMcMullin", Geoff B., 12 Oct 2016)
While I largely agree with Geoff, I hope any electoral college loss by either of the leading candidates might be a win worth working for.

McMullin is more of a war hawk than I like, but not nearly as much as Hillary is. I am excited to send a clear message that the two leading candidates are unacceptable choices for the Presidency. If there was a chance McMullin might win in AZ, I think would vote for him.

-

From my friend Jeffrey Thayne

I've heard people say that if Utah votes for a third party, it may help Clinton get elected; or that if Utah votes for a third party, it may help Trump get elected. 
The fascinating thing -- and most don't realize this -- is that this literally cannot be the case (the way the electoral college is set up). If Utah's electoral votes go to a third party candidate, it literally cannot help or hurt either of the two main candidates. That's because a candidate needs a majority of electoral votes to win outright (which, right now, means 270 electoral votes). 
If Hillary gets more than 270 electoral votes, she wins. This is the case no matter whether Utah votes for Trump or a third party. Utah's votes going to Trump won't have stopped her from getting 270. 
If Trump gets more than 270 electoral votes, he wins. This is the case no matter whether Utah's votes for Hillary or a third party. Utah's votes going to Hillary won't have stopped him from getting 270. 
If Utah's votes going to a third party is what keeps either of them from getting 270 electoral votes, then it by definition keeps both of them from getting to 270. 
In short, if Utah votes third party, it literally, mathematically cannot help or hurt either Hillary or Trump; it has a small, small chance of preventing both of them from winning outright, but no chance of helping either of them win. 
If either Trump or Hillary win, it will not have been because Utah voted third party. (FB Post, Jeffrey Thayne, 12 Oct 2016)


Mandy Patinkin Sings You've Got to be Carefully Taught; Children Will Listen Medley

(FB Link)

Lyrics

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate

...

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn

To learn what to be
Careful before you say "Listen to me"
Children will listen

How do you say to your child in the night?
Nothing's all black, but then nothing's all white
How do you say it will all be all right
When you know that it mightn't be true?
What do you do?

Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free

Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes a spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Does Terrorism respond to intervention?

I just watched Nova's "15 Years of Terror: From 9/11 to today’s crowd-sourced violence, trace how terrorists’ strategies have evolved".

I am interested in where it left off. That we are not going to be able to eliminate radicalized Islam through killing. We must offer those who are radicalized and who are likely to be a new hope a new understanding of their own religion in a peaceful view.

I was moved by the story of Mubin Shaikh. Starting at 44:30 Nova tells his story. He went to Syria to study the Quran. He met an Imam that decided to show him the peaceful teachings of Islam. Mubin Shaikh soon saw the Quran in a whole new light.

Mubin gives the example of chapter 9 verse 5 where it says "kill the unbeliever wherever you find them". The Imam asked him, do you normally start with verse five or do you start with verse one? Let's start with verse one. Then you get the context. This chapter is about the treaty the Muslims had with the pagans at that time. In verse four, it says this does not apply to the polytheists who did not break the treaty.

He learned after two years that he had it all wrong. The Imam told him to go back and teach the people that this is not our way [terrorism].

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Humans Need Not Apply



What will we do when robots can do every human's job better than any human? I wonder if the ultimate solution will be a minimum human salary. If an automated world brings abundance, it makes sense. How might we transition to something like this?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stop the Presidential Debate Cartel!

Stop the Presidential Debate Cartel!

FB Post of video


What Abe Lincoln Prophesied About Trump and Hillary

FB Post of video

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Refugees

-

Since 9/11, the U.S. has admitted 784,000 refugees into the country. According to the Migration Policy Institute, during that time, exactly three refugees were found to have links to terrorism — so, approximately .00038 percent of refugees in the U.S. have had ties to terrorism. ("How Many Refugees Have Been Linked To Terrorism? The Number Will Astonish You", Liz Posner, 18 Nov 2015)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Be Watchful for Tyranny

"Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Best Realistic Outcome of the Election for President

Here is a conversation with my friend about my best, realistic hopes for the outcome of the election.

How to Quickly Peel a Boiled Egg in a Glass of Water

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Free Trade versus Protectionism

What is the best economic policy, free trade or protectionism?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How is Jeff Flake doing as my Senator

For Tree trade
It is a very, very disturbing trend that we're seeing in the Republican Party against free trade. It's always been there but usually confined to a few isolated members, the Jeff Sessions of the world and others, but now it seems to be spreading. (Jeff Flake, From reason.com, 6 Sep 2016)

 Fiscal Conservative
If you want to know what keeps me up at night more than anything—and there are plenty of threats out there—it's waking up some morning and having the markets already decided that we're not going to buy your debt anymore, or we're only going to buy it at a premium and interest rates are going to have to go up. When that happens, then virtually all of our discretionary or non-military discretionary spending goes just to service the debt and then we are Japan. (Jeff Flake, From reason.com, 6 Sep 2016)
-

"Rand Paul, Jeff Flake and other Senate Republican fiscal and budget hawks oppose increased defense spending either because they oppose any increase in federal spending" ("11 GOP Vote Against McCain’s $18B NDAA Add; AIA Briefs Trump", 9 Jun 2016)
-
During his decade in the House, Flake accrued one of the most consistent fiscal conservative records of any Republican serving.  (John Catsimatidis, "Senator Jeff Flake on the CATS Roundtable Radio Show", 3 Jul 2016)
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In his six House terms, Flake has carved out a distinct profile as a spending hawk willing to take on anyone — including his own party’s leadership — to curb federal profligacy. When Congress banned spending earmarks in 2010, he could rightly claim to have actually changed Washington. 
“A true conservative, Flake is as rare as the dodo,” Esquire wrote in 2008. The Weekly Standard in 2011 called him “a tea partier before there were tea partiers.”
In the years since, the party orthodoxy on spending has only moved closer to Flake. But on other issues, Flake has stuck to his free-market, often libertarian principles even as the party has hardened around other positions, and conservative activists aren’t giving him the benefit of the doubt. 
("Why this lone Republican accompanied Kerry", Mike DeBonis, August 14, 2015)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How does Language Affect our Ability to Perceive?


without a word for a colour, without a way of identifying it as different, it’s much harder for us to notice what’s unique about it — even though our eyes are physically seeing ... it in the same way. ("No one could see the colour blue until modern times", Kevin Loria, 28 Feb 2015)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Arizona Corporation Commission


Election 2016


Primary Election 2016



Here is the Republican debate video from Aug 8.

"5 Republicans vie for 3 seats on utility regulation panel", Highlands Today

From Ballotpedia, "Incumbents Robert Burns (R) and Andy Tobin (R) are running for re-election in 2016. Commissioner Bob Stump (R) is ineligible for re-election due to term limits."

In addition Boyd Dunn, Rick Gray and Al Melvin are running.

Boyd Dunn
Attorney, city councilman, vice mayor of Chandler, former mayor of Chandler, Judge of Maricopa Superior court.
Ballotpedia page

Al Melvin
Arizona State Senate, District 26 in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
Ran for governor in 2014, "dropped out of the race in June due to campaign financing issues"
Ballotpedia page

Rick Gray
Representative, Arizona State House of Representatives, 2010, 2012, 2014
Retired plumbing contractor.
Lives in Sun City
Ballotpedia page

Bob Burns
Corporation Commission 2012
Senator, Arizona State Senate, 2002-2010
Representative, Arizona State House of Representatives, 1989-2000
Ballotpedia page
VoteSmart page

Andy Tobin
Appointed by Doug Ducey to the Corporation Commission. Started serving after Susan Bitter Smith resigned in Jan 2016.
Ran against Ann Kirkpatrick for the U.S. House, Arizona District 1 in 2014. He lost.
Representative, Arizona State House of Representatives 2008, 2010, 2012
Ballotpedia page


From "Robb: Arizona Corporation Commission is now a circus, thanks to these clowns", Robert Robb AzCentral.
Two outside groups, Save Our Future Now and the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, spent over $3 million in 2014 to help elect Commissioners Doug Little and Tom Forese. Arizona Public Service is widely believed to be the source of much of that spending. And APS has pointedly not denied it. 
The commission and individual commissioners have the right to inspect the records of regulated utilities. Burns wants to use that authority to try to determine whether APS or its parent, Pinnacle West, did contribute to those efforts and how much.
From "5 Republicans vie for 3 seats on utility regulation panel", Tampa Bay Times, 20 Aug 2016
The normally quiet race for Arizona Corporation Commission is anything but this year as two Republican incumbents and three GOP hopefuls battle over political spending that has embroiled the utility regulation panel in controversy.

This site (http://www.az-acc.com/) is promoting Tobin, Melvin and Gray as "your conservative team"




I am for the freedom of APS to

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Grow and Create the Beautiful and Inspiring

Last night we had many of our friends come to a house concert with Spencer Jones of Redhill and Rob Gardner. They are so talented and generous to travel so far. 


We live in a golden age because of the ability we have to connect to each other over the Internet. It makes possible for us to not only choose the entertainment we want, how we want it. It allows us to create the arts that feed our souls.

It is obvious that Rob and Spencer are creating the arts that feed their souls and many around them. Look for the beautiful and inspiring around you. Choose to support it by sharing and donating money. As Bill and Ted said,

Be excellent to each other.


Here is the band of Spencer Jones http://www.redhilltheband.com/

Here is a production by Rob Gardner featuring Spencer Jones http://www.cinematicpop.com/.
"Hallelujah - Live Symphony & Choir - Feat. 16 yr. old McKenna Breinholt"

Here is a song from Spencer Jones of the Redhill band.



Here is the sacred production company of Rob Gardner http://spiremusic.org/
Rob also wrote music for Blackbeard The Musical.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Best Way to Defend Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is rooted in property rights and the freedom of association. If we defend and strengthen these, we will strengthen religious rights.

If we fail to protect property rights and the freedom of association — the real “core” of religious freedom — then it will only be a matter of time we find ourselves guarding an empty building that has lost its value and purpose. ("Connor Boyack: How to lose the fight for religious freedom", Connor Boyack, 16 Jul 2016)

Is is Constitutional to Prevent the Immigration of Muslims or Certain Nationalities?

The short answer is,

"if you (like me) don’t want Trump to block Muslims from entering the United States, then stop him from getting elected president. Don’t depend on the Constitution, Congress, or the courts." ("But President Trump Couldn’T Exclude Muslims By Himself, Could He?", Eric Posner, 8 Dec 2015)
 It may be a good idea for a President to have the power to do this... maybe. When a President bans people solely based on their religion or their nationality, they are on thin ice.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... (First Amendment)

If we do not stand up for the rights of those outside of our "tribe", we are opening up ourselves to being abused by that same government.

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Americans are not possessed of more natural rights than non-Americans; rather, we enjoy more opportunities to exercise those rights because the government is theoretically restrained by the Constitution, which explicitly recognizes the natural law. That recognition is articulated in the Ninth Amendment, which declares that the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution shall not be used by the government as an excuse to deny or disparage other unnamed and unnamable rights retained by the people. ("Immigration Is a Natural Right: Nativism is the arch-enemy of the freedom to travel", Andrew Napolitano, 31 Jan 2013)

George Washington sent a letter to the Hebrew congregation at Newport
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. 
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy. ("Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport", George Washington, 21 Aug 1790)
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Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. ("Reply to the Governor", Benjamin Franklin, 11 Nov 1755)




Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Understanding Trump

In an effort to understand where Trump comes from, I read this article about the minister Trump and his parents used to attend in Brooklyn, Norman Vincent Peale.

Norman Vincent Peale popularized what came to be known as positive thinking. He took existing ideas from Christian Science and other inspirations, gave them a biblical veneer, integrated them with psychology, and packaged them for the masses, spreading his message through The Power of Positive Thinking and his other works. His foremost contribution to the world was this notion that thoughts are causative, that our thoughts can change our lives, our health, our destiny. Readers were thrilled with this notion that if they believed it, they could have it, or be it, or do it. ("The False Teachers: Norman Vincent Peale", Challies, 2 Apr 2014)
Norman was a universalist. He believed that truth came from many sources. I am similar in that belief. The author of this article, Challies, points out how he thinks this is not Biblical.
The Bible makes it clear that the troubles we experience in this life are not merely the result of negative thinking that can be overcome by tapping into our potential through positive thinking. They are the result of a deep-seated rebellion against God that involves not only the mind, but the will. We simply cannot overcome the evils of this world, or even the evil in our hearts, in our own strength. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). Apart from being born again, we are eternally dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). ("The False Teachers: Norman Vincent Peale", Challies, 2 Apr 2014)
I agree with Challies. I believe that positive thinking alone cannot lift us from our fallen state. Faith in Jesus, sorrow for our sins, covenants made before God and our fellows and sanctification through the ministration of the Spirit is the path to God and the fullest happiness.
I am not sure how much Trump was directly affected by the philosophy of Peale. It seems that it is central to his character. Trump does not feel the need to say sorry. He powers through with positive thinking about himself and attacks anyone that says the opposite.

Update 2016-08-09

From "'Hillbilly Elegy' Author On The White Working Class And America's Greatness", J.D. Vance, 4 Aug 2016.
when you think about Donald Trump, there are many things to say, of course, about Trump. But his slogan, make America great again - and the obvious implicit acknowledgement in that statement is that America isn't great right now. 
... 
A really important trend that I think a lot of liberal elites miss is a recognition of the role of religion in these communities. You may recall that President Obama in 2007 or 2008 said that in the wake of the decline of the industrial economy, these people are clinging to their guns and their religion. 
And whatever might be said about guns, the fact is that people in these communities are actually going to church less and less. Church attendance rates among white Americans without a college education have dropped pretty significantly. People with college degrees are more likely to go to church than people without college degrees among the white working class. 
And importantly, when you go to church, you're fundamentally part of a community. And for people, I think, who don't have a lot of community left, we should keep in mind how important, I think, the church can be and indeed how important the church is for many folks.
Hugh Hewitt said that "everyone ought to read Hillbilly Elegy to understand Trump’s appeal"

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Who is Darrell Castle and the Constitution Party?

Darrell Castle is running for the President in the Constitution Party. He is 67 or 68 years old. His is currently on the ballot in 18 states.

Here is his YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Free Speech

People and their free associations have the natural right to freedom of speech. This is true whether people express themselves through their own means or if they pay others to express for themselves.

"Corporate Influence over Government Is Bad...Unless They Hold the Correct Positions"

Thursday, July 21, 2016

How do I reduce my echo chamber effect?

The simplest answer is to allow into my sphere of influence, people of many different biases. Engage with them and try to understand where they are coming from. Compare the best my perspective has to offer with theirs. I want to be able to express their point of view to a third party such that they would approve of how I have advocated for them.

A video that points out how Facebook can create and deepen our echo chambers.

"A stunning visualization of our divided Congress", Christopher Ingraham April 23, 2015

"5 Super Easy Ways to Eliminate Your Echo Chamber", Courtney Jones

"Facebook 'echo chamber' makes people more narrow-minded – study", RT News, 7 Jan 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why I Plan to Vote for Darrell Castle

Update 2016-10-24
(from http://www.libertyguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016_LG_Scorecard-page-001.jpg)

Months ago, I saw Gary Johnson as the best way to reject the two, leading, deeply flawed candidates for President. I am feeling that I still, cannot vote for Gary because of his positions outlined by Geoff Biddulph below.
1) abortion 2) gay marriage 3) lack of respect for religious freedom 4) a general sense that he feels more comfortable with left-wing people than traditional religious people. 

I have to be true to these principles. I plan on voting for Darrell Castle in Arizona.

I support Utah voting for McMullin over Trump, even though I don't like McMullin best. I want Trump to be soundly rejected. McMullin taking the Utah electoral votes will do that.
"I prefer a future in which the conservative movement (e.g., pro life, pro traditional marriage, etc.) is besieged by the left, than a future in which it is corrupted by the right." (Jeffrey Thayne, FB Post, 23 Sep 2016) (My public FB Post referring to Jeffrey)

On Voting By My Conscience Versus Voting Strategically

From a FB thread of Jeffrey Thayne
I've been really frustrated by those who argue that we MUST vote for one of the two top candidates (or any of the more popular candidates). It's foolhardy to assume that we only have a few options. I have deep respect for pure-conscience voting (e.g., best fit analysis voting), and will vociferously respond to anyone who condemns it.  
But I have equal frustrations with those who imply that there's some great moral evil in voting in strategic ways, or who pit that approach against conscience or principle. I used to think that my hands are bloodied by any crimes committed by someone I voted for, so that anyone who votes for Romney, or Bush, or Obama, or anyone with whom I disagree with on policy was morally culpable for every bomb that fell on the middle east and for the murders they committed, etc.  
That perspective certainly made me fare more cautious and responsible in voting. But it also made me judgmental of anyone who doesn't vote for whatever ideological purism that I was into at any given time. And I think it's as equally problematic as the "lesser of two evils" trap. 
When voting, I am not choosing a president. I don't have that power. By voting for a candidate, I'm not choosing that person for president. No single person has the authority to anoint someone president. Else, their vote really WOULD mean precisely that (moral culpability for the person's actions).  
Further, McMullin is not going to be president -- we both know that. So by voting for him, or urging others to, there's exactly zero fears that doing so will further perpetuate a problematic foreign policy. Because the guy ain't winning. But even if I were voting for one of the two major candidates, the same principle is true -- my vote didn't make the difference. Statistically speaking, the chance of a single vote making a difference is one in a billion or something.  
So for me, voting is not, "Who do I want to be president?", but rather, "What signals can I send about what I prefer in a president." [emphasis added]
Voting is a statistical exercise. And statistics is about finding signals in noise, inferring information in participant responses. And sadly, you can get very little information out of a 2-3 question quiz (a bit more in a 7-8 question quiz, more on that momentarily). But let me simplify, for a moment, to illustrate (this is a vastly simplified example just to highlight what I mean): 
Imagine that there are three options in front of you. Each option has two central characteristics/dimensions: color, and texture. All three of them are blue, but they each have a different texture (soft, hard, sticky). You find one hundred people and ask them which of the three they prefer. From the results, you infer that people generally prefer the first object. Could you conclude that people prefer "blue, soft" objects? 
No -- you could conclude that people prefer "soft" objects, but you can infer nothing about their preference of colors. 
For me, when it comes to Hillary, Trump, or McMullin, they all have similar foreign policy approaches. They are all "blue." So by expressing a preference for McMullin over the Hillary or Trump, I'm signaling nothing about *my* foreign policy preferences (I prefer green over blue, to continue the example). But I'm sending a strong signal on my preference on "texture" -- I prefer someone honest, decent, and kind.  
But what if there are red and green objects in the midst? Would choosing McMullin (blue) signal a preference or blue over red or green? It could. But there's also a signal to noise ratio. In every statistical endeavor, you have random variation and noise in the data, and finding signals in that noise is central to the exercise.  
I think that people's votes for Gary Johnson (green, in my example), in most states, is a signal that can rise above the noise. Which is why I urge people in most other states vote for Johnson. Because it WILL signal something audible about people's foreign policy preferences, in a way that voting for Trump or Hillary will not. Voting for other third party candidates in those states is certainly something I won't condemn, because I will never condemn a conscience vote. But I recognize that those votes will fall into the static/background noise -- the signal won't be heard or noted. 
Utah is a special case, though, where there's more signals going on. I think that Johnson's votes in Utah will be indistinguishable from the noise/static, given the signals clamoring in the foreground. So it I think that if Evan McMullin wins, it will be a signal people can't ignore -- and if none of the other options are noticed as distinguishable from the background noise, then it will not signal anything useful about foreign policy preferences. But it *will* signal something tremendously useful about the preferred personal character of candidates.
Update 2016-10-13
In reply to a friend, "is Johnson the guy. He is also against God. Believes in Pro Choice, legalizing drugs, etc. And don't get me started on the Green Party."

I have friends that are considering Evan McMullin. I think he is too much of a war hawk, though he is preferable to either of the two leading ones. If Utah actually gives their electoral votes to him, it would be revolutionary. 
I am voting for Gary Johnson because I don't think anyone in the Presidency will likely influence abortion law one way or another. It is the issue I most strongly disagree with Gary on.  
I think that we should back off on the war on drugs. We should use the resources we are paying law enforcement to help those addicted. I think the war on drugs is helping to militarize our police forces. I don't think that is a good trend.  
I agree most strongly with Gary Johnson on the budget and on foreign policy. We need to live within our means and reduce the scope of the government. Neither party has come close to that.  
"My vision of the United States is one where we trade and are at peace with the world. It is one where we vigorously respond to attacks and defend our borders but remain neutral in conflicts that are none of our business. We should spend much more on intelligence — trying to spot potential enemies before they get to our country — and much less on troops and armament. We should close most of our foreign military bases and concentrate on threats to those countries that are essential to the U.S. national interest." ("Why I am #neverMcMullin", Geoff B., 12 Oct 2016) 
http://wisegoodhonest.blogspot.com/2016/10/what-about-evan-mcmullin.html
If Rand Paul had gotten the nomination I would be enthusiastically be backing him. I prefer Rand to Gary Johnson.  
Among the choices left, I think Gary Johnson is the best option. (My FB Post, 13 Oct 2016)
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Here is a comment from Geoff Biddulph in answer to my question, "Those who support Darrell Castle, please tell me why he is better than Gary Johnson."
Rich: I have several big problems with Johnson: 1)abortion 2)gay marriage 3)lack of respect for religious freedom 4)a general sense that he feels more comfortable with left-wing people than traditional religious people.  
He is great on foreign policy and economics and civil liberties, but I get the sense when he talks that he has never even spent the time to get to know any religious people. This is extremely worrisome to me because once he is in a position of power in Washington he will be surrounded by non-religious people, and I see him making some very bad decisions on federal court picks and other issues that could be damaging to religious groups. We already saw this with Johnson relying on the advice of Weld on Supreme Court picks. Weld said one of his favorite justices was Souter, who is a horrible left-wing disaster.

On the other hand, Castle is good on abortion, gay marriage and religious freedom and is obviously a religious person himself, and he is also very good on economics, foreign policy and civil liberties. But Castle is the least charismatic person to ever run for national office and will not be elected anything. But at least I can vote for somebody whose positions I agree with in Castle. (Comment on "Why I am #neverMcMullin", Geoff Biddulph, 13 Oct 2016 )
Geoff is giving me reasons to vote for Darrell Castle. Here is how you can vote for him.
http://castle2016.com/how-to-vote-for-darrell-castle/

Gerald Smith said this (14 Oct 2016).
I remain never Trump and Hillary. I'm open to voting for Johnson, Castle or McMullin. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

The Constitution Party misses on immigration for me. I don't mind a wall, but I want a big door in that wall to welcome in hard working families. I fear they and McMullin speak of small government, but really mean to shrink only the parts they don't like. I want someone that will reduce the fed and regulations by at least 50%, balance the budget and end the income tax. I'm hoping one of these three can do it. So I'm still deciding on who is the best. It isn't a choice of the lesser evil, but which is the greater good.
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Here is an interview of Evan McMullin by libertarian Austin Petersen (6 Oct 2016). Austen Petersen ran to be nominated as the Libertarian candidate for President. Following is the most interesting part of the interview. It is at the end.
Paraphrase of Austin Petersen:
It seems like you share a lot policies that overlap with Gary Johnson. If there is a chance to break the two party system this year ... wouldn't it make sense to drop out and support someone like Gary Johnson? Why can't we all come together an unite behind a candidate that shares mostly our principles? So we can actual stop Trump and Hillary from taking the white house?  
Evan McMcullin
If Gary Johnson were a true libertarian, I'd probably not be doing what I'm doing. That's the reality Austin. If you were the libertarian nominee, I'd probably not be in the race. Let me put it that way. Gary Johnson is not a real libertarian. Some of his tax proposals, his ideas on religious liberty, they're just not libertarian. I'm sorry, but they're just not.  
In addition to that, he's been doing some very strange things on the campaign trail in the past few weeks that have me questioning his suiteability for the Presidency or any other position of real responsibility.  
If you were the nominee, Austin, I wouldn't be doing this. I'd probably be backing you. (FB Post, 14 Oct 2016)
Update 2016-08-04

While I do not agree with Gary Johnson view of religious liberty, I think Congress would temper Johnson more readily than Trump or Hillary. I think he is a much better choice.


Update 2016-08-01

I cannot support a candidate that "sees no value in religious liberty and implies that Mormons want religious liberty so they can shoot people dead"

Wow. Gary Johnson clarified but "it's really, really bizarre to claim that religious freedom is dangerous because it allows religious groups to be hunted down and killed." (FB Comment, Jeffrey Thayne)

I think this describes his point of view best.
Johnson doesn’t just come off as anti-religion, but completely misses the distinction between public (meaning government) and private action that is at the heart of (classical) liberal or libertarian legal theory. ("Is Johnson-Weld a Libertarian Ticket?", Ilya Shapiro, 29 Jul 2016)

Here is a very well stated analysis of the balance between the freedom of commerce and the freedom of expression.

Gary clarified his position in here, "EXCLUSIVE: Gary Johnson: Clarifying my views on religious freedom, Mormons, A call for balance between religious freedom and non-discrimination"

--
2016-07-19

I have been weighing my options in the Presidential election this year. I have outlined why I am
against Donald Trump. I have said for quite a while that if the election were tomorrow I would vote for Gary Johnson. This article has clinched it for me, at least for today.

Look at what each of them were doing 20 years ago:
As First Lady, Hillary Clinton was working hard to silence the victims of her pervert husband and yelling vulgarities at our Secret Service agents who were risking their lives to protect her.
...
Her crony friend Donald Trump was bankrupting casinos and shoveling massive amounts cash into the campaign coffers of shady liberals. Up until 2010 the overwhelming majority of Trump’s political donations went to Democrats. His shills and surrogates like Eric Bolling are quick to defend with lame excuses like “he’s a businessman so that’s okay”. No it’s not. Being a real estate tycoon shouldn’t give him a free pass for helping elect socialist politicians because it was financially beneficial to him. That just shows how selfish he is.
...
Gary Johnson was the owner of Big J Enterprises (which he sold in 1999), a multimillion-dollar mechanical contracting company that he started from nothing, and earning his nickname “Governor Veto”. His spending record isn’t perfect; but it’s decent, especially considering the circumstances of his tenure. He vetoed over 700 bills from a legislature that was heavily controlled by Democrats for most of his 8 years in office. ("Why Gary Johnson Is Obviously Our Best Option This Year", 16 Jul 2016)
I do not agree with some of  his policies on religious liberties but I am sure that a Congress would check him on that.
I wouldn’t smoke crystal meth because it’s not rat poison, and I won’t vote for Trump just because he’s not Hillary. 
I love this as a rebuttal against those that a vote not for Trump is a vote for Hillary.

-
Recent polling data shows that Gary Johnson takes away equally from Trump and Clinton. The CBS News/New York Times poll shows Trump and Hillary tied at 40%. When Johnson is added to the mix they are still tied at 36%, with the Libertarian candidate receiving 12%.  
UPDATE 2016-07-26

From a FB Comment
May Bo Hubbard Also... isn't voting for a 3rd party like voting for Clinton?..... Also.. not voting a vote for Clinton?.... IDK... all these questions came up yesterday. 
Jeffrey Thayne May Bo Hubbard, Good questions. I have a few thoughts:  
(1) First of all -- as a deeply social conservative, I honestly believe that Hillary Clinton will be better than Donald Trump.  
Hillary Clinton will bring us 4 more years of the same policy priorities as Barack Obama. I strongly disagree with those policy priorities. But it's basically going to be, "More of the same." Social conservatives will continue to rally, and will continue to refine their arguments -- we can survive a corrupt government. 
Donald Trump, in contrast, is going to use the flag of social conservatism to advance bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. He will destroy the conservative movement by allying it with an authoritarian worldview. The social conservative movement cannot survive this sort of corruption from *within.* 
A Hillary Clinton victory will postpone the conservative resurgence, and in the meantime, we can still seek control of the Senate and the House, where most of the power is anyways. A Donald Trump victory will implode the conservative movement, taint us with evils that have nothing to do with conservatism, and the national backlash against him will lose us the House and the Senate as well. 
In short, those who cannot imagine anything worse than a Hillary Clinton presidency aren't really *listening* to what Donald Trump is saying, and aren't realizing how deeply he will corrupt the conservative movement from within. 
(2) Second of all -- I don't think that voting for Gary Johnson will help Hillary win. Polls show that Gary Johnson is taking exactly as many votes from Hillary Clinton as he is from Donald Trump. There's just as many liberals who hate Hillary and are OK with Johnson as there are conservatives who hate Trump and are OK with Johnson. 
(3) As Jacob Ross said above, the Republican party has given us a trashy candidate -- the trashiest in known history. If they can't even lose our vote *then*, then there's no way to signal that they need to do better than this. If we are so loyal to the Republican party, and view the Democratic candidates with such disdain, that we are literally willing to vote for ANYONE the Republicans put on the ballot, then we're part of the problem. That's just jersey politics (voting for whoever is wearing our team jersey). 
(4) Gary Johnson personally believes that abortion should be legal, but has said in the past that he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue to the states. That's a huge deal, and the most we can ask of a president.  
Gary Johnson believes that we should take government out of marriage. I disagree with him. But I can't let perfect be the enemy of the good. I disagree with Gary Johnson on a lot of things, actually. But he's (1) not corrupt, like Hillary Clinton, and (2) he's not out to aggrandize himself, and he's not a bigoted authoritarian, like Donald Trump. So there's that.  
There's many, many different strands of libertarianism. I consider myself libertarian, but I don't believe in taking government out of marriage (in large part because I believe that marriage is part of the common law).
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"As we go further, and further into debt, we become less, and less safe."

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RUBIO: ...Yes, I believe the world is a safer -- no, no, I don't believe, I know that the world is a safer place when America is the strongest military power in the world. 
(CHEERING) (APPLAUSE) 
PAUL: No. I don't think we're any safer -- I do not think we are any safer from bankruptcy court. As we go further, and further into debt, we become less, and less safe. This is the most important thing we're going to talk about tonight. Can you be a conservative, and be liberal on military spending? Can you be for unlimited military spending, and say, Oh, I'm going to make the country safe? No, we need a safe country, but, you know, we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined?
I want a strong national defense, but I don't want us to be bankrupt. 
(RealClearPolitics, 11 Nov 2015)







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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Lesser of Two Evils Might be Too "Evil"

This post of a friend of mine, John, captures how I feel about the election.

Well, at least we learned nothing new about Hillary Clinton's ability to tell the truth. On the other hand, FBI director Comey changed the requirements of the law in order not to recommend a grand jury investigation which requires only gross negligence (not intent), which he specifically stated had taken place in describing Clinton's actions as "extremely careless"--the very definition of gross negligence. 
Not that Trump would fare much better in his political statements, but at least he didn't break the law regarding our nation's national security secrets. 
There's clearly a greater of two evils, but Trump leaves me in limbo, as I won't vote for someone whose real positions I do not know. 
I suspect, in the end, that Clinton will succeed regardless. I'm pretty sure the corruption of our officials no longer matters for a large portion of our electorate, and even a majority. 
The Republican party never wastes an opportunity to lose an election. We'll see (I'm still in limbo as to whom I'll vote for--I'd only vote for Trump if I knew whom he'd choose as his Supreme court appointments. He came out with a "short list," but immediately backed away from it by saying he didn't feel obligated to choose someone from the list, which makes it a political statement, nothing else. 
At this point, even the lesser of two evils might be too "evil" for good governance and adherence to constitutional principles. Any vote for Trump would be based solely on an ephemeral hope he'd actually govern better, something I've not yet seen. I keep wishing he'd say something to convince me he had actual principles that guide his thinking, but he never gives one-- just the normal platitudes regarding very generic statements that don't say much.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use to Silence You

From "20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use to Silence You", Shahida Arabi, 30 Jun 2016.

1. Gaslighting.
2. Projection.
3. Nonsensical conversations from hell.
4. Blanket statements and generalizations.
5. Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity.
6. Nitpicking and moving the goal posts.
7. Changing the subject to evade accountability.
8. Covert and overt threats.
9. Name-calling.
10. Destructive conditioning.
11. Smear campaigns and stalking.
12. Love-bombing and devaluation.
13. Preemptive defense.
14. Triangulation.
15. Bait and feign innocence.
16. Boundary testing and hoovering.
17. Aggressive jabs disguised as jokes.
18. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone.
19. Shaming.
20. Control.

Is Trump Nathan Jessup?

-

Trump, for a lot of voters, is Jack Nicholson's Nathan Jessup from A Few Good Men. He's the one willing to stand on the wall and do not just what others are politically unwilling to do but what others' (Christians) values do not necessarily permit them to do. (FB Post, Jacob Jul 2016)
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Monday, July 4, 2016

Just As Ready To Die

I love this quote from Joseph Smith about religious liberty for all.

If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a "Mormon," I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul — civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.
—Joseph Smith, 1843 
Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city ... 
—Ordinance in Relation to Religious Societies, City of Nauvoo, [Illinois] headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 1, 1841 (Quoted by MormonNewsroom.com, 8 Dec 2015)
I would add Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists or the church of the widgets to the list of denominations.

It is in harmony with what George Washington wrote to the Hebrew congregation at Newport, August 21, 1790.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. 
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy. ("Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport", George Washington, 21 Aug 1790)

-
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew. 
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. 
(Martin Niemöller, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...)






Thursday, June 30, 2016

There isn’t a road to Rationalia

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There isn’t a road to Rationalia. There are billions of them, negotiated by individuals and institutions dozens or hundreds of times a day, every time they make a significant choice. Government programs are, by their nature, centralized, unitary, and static attempts to impose a rational order on complexity beyond the understanding of the people who would claim to manage it. Obamacare is an excellent example of that: No one intended for premium prices to skyrocket and for millions of people to lose their policies or for the majority of the American public to be unhappy with the program and its results, but that is what happened. The architects of Obamacare weren’t stupid, but, being ordinary mortals (albeit reasonably bright ones), their intellectual capacity was insufficient to the problem at hand: Small brains, big problems. ("The Road to Rationalia", Kevin D. Williamson, 30 Jun 2016)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Wall of Separation


(Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists: The Final Letter, as Sent, Thomas Jefferson, Jan. 1. 1802)

From a post I made, I love this comment,
The wall is one-way. Government shouldn't control or affect religious practice, but our Founders believed that the churches and the morality of a righteous people absolutely MUST influence this government for it to survive. 
No intellectually honest person can look at how religious our government was (Issuing calls to prayer & fasting, and speaking of the Lord *CONSTANTLY*) and suggest our government was designed to be devoid of religious influence. (FB Comment, Timothy Allen, Jun 22, 2016)
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds to the doctrine of the separation of church and state; the non-interference of church authority in political matters; and the absolute freedom and independence of the individual in the performance of his political duties. …
We declare that from principle and policy, we favor:
The absolute separation of church and state;
No domination of the state by the church;
No church interference with the functions of the state;
No state interference with the functions of the church, or with the free exercise of religion;
The absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs;
The equality of all churches before the law. (In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:153, Quoted in "Section 134 Earthly Governments and Laws", Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, (2002), 344–347)