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, August 29, 2015

Is Edward Snowden more Noble or Treasonous?

Is Edward Snowden more noble in that he revealed practices the government unduly kept secret? Or was he more treasonous in that he revealed sensitive information that unduly put our protectors at risk? I do not have enough information to conclude definitively. I do believe that, in the long term, he has caused us more benefit than harm.

On May 13 & May 20, 2014 Frontline aired "United States of Secrets". It ends with the many and detailed secrets about how the US government violated privacy measures in law and in the constitution. Whatever security problems that may have come from the secrets he revealed is outweighed by the light he is shining on our own government. It is currently available to watch on Netflix.

One of the principles that makes the USA great is that "governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed". If the government unduly keep practices and policies from the people, they cannot consent to them. It seems that Dick Cheney prompted and approved breaches in the boundaries set after Watergate. The NSA has been gathering data from the Internet and elsewhere on a wholesale level, starting sometime after 9/11/2001. Edward Snowden revealed this secret and has done us a service in doing so.

Principles That Have Made America Great

America was and is great not because of our birthright or the land we live on. We are great as far as we live by the principles that make us great. Following is a list of some of those principles.

From the Declaration of Independence:

There are truths that are generally evident to humans 

We hold these truths to be self-evident
[Humans] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

All men are created equal

All humans are created with equal potential for greatness.

Unalienable Rights

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed

If the government unduly keep practices and policies from the people, they cannot consent to them.

People have a right to alter, abolish and institute new Government

"whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"

Bullard Road Diet

In Aug 2015, the city of Surprise put Bullard Avenue on a road diet. It was narrowed from 4 lanes to 2 lane of auto traffic. A glof cart lane was added and the bike lane was expanded. In this article, I am listing the for and against argument for keeping this arrangement.


Two lanes cannot possibly be better at moving traffic faster than four lanes. During the school peak times, the right lanes will be used as ad-hoc right turn lanes because through traffic will tend to stay in the left lane.

Two lanes are not safer than 4. Impatient drivers may choose to drive in the golf cart and bike lanes to get around those going the speed limit. This may put at risk vehicles in the right lanes.


It may encourage more people to use the bike lanes, as long as they feel they are safe to use. Instead of waiting in car lines to drop off or pick up kids, children may bike to and from school.

The gold cart lane may be usable by small cars. It may encourage the use of these.

If the community accepts the road diet, the culture of living at a balanced rate may develop. We may just enjoy our drives rather than racing to get to point B.

FB Post in Surprise Matters Group
FB Post

Friday, August 28, 2015

Snowden and United States of Secrets

On May 13 & May 20, 2014 Frontline aired United States of Secrets. It ends with the many and detailed secrets about how the US government violated privacy measures in law and in the constitution. Whatever security problems that may have come from the secrets he revealed is outweighed by the light he is shining on our own government.

It is currently available to watch on Netflix.

AirDroid vs. Google Voice

AirDroid seems to have everything I ever wanted Google Voice to give me. And I get to use my actual number instead of another one forwarding to my real number.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Concentrated Benefits and Dispersed Costs

See also public choice theory

Centralized Planning vs. Emergent Order

The Economics of The LEGO Movie, Centralized Planning vs. Emergent Order

Keynes Vs Hayek

No one would be trying to buy government

Rand Paul in Peterborough, NH 8/11/2015 #StandWithRand #DumpTrump
Posted by Rand Paul Revolution on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Asked about a plan to reduce the need for candidates to keep scrounging for money.
"If Government were a lot smaller, and if government were not passing out so many favors, then no one would be trying to buy government."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How My City Government Works

My city councilman Todd Tande posted this in NextDoor.com. I am copying it here as a concise, common language, description of how my city government works. I am sure that we have an exceptional councilman.

I gather and post on social media, the factual information and/or additional factual clarifications of the information hoping that it will be helpful to citizens that want to be engaged. I try to include links to the source data so that those who are interested can research the issue being posted in more detail if they wish.  
There are many methods that residents contact me besides Nextdoor.com, and as with most all issues including this one, I receive both positive and negative responses as it would be highly unusual for everyone to have the exact same opinion. Even those who have the same general opinion often disagree on details of a solution. 
Due to Open Meeting Laws, I do not debate issues in a public forum such as this.
The Mayor and City Council Members must comply with the State of Arizona Open Meeting Laws. It would be inappropriate and perhaps illegal for me to share how I would vote on any upcoming issue. If you receive an e-mail from a member of City Council that expresses the member's opinion on an upcoming issue, you are also likely to see the following statement at the bottom of the email: -- 
" This e-mail is being transmitted to or by a member of the Surprise City Council. A recipient of this e-mail who wishes to retransmit this e-mail should be careful that the e-mail is not transmitted to a quorum of a public body upon which the recipient sits."  
I also saw many posts asking how our government works, so I will attempt to briefly clarify how our local government works here, so that you can better help me advocate your ideas. As a City Council Member, I am your representative. I also am the representative for those who disagree with you on any and all issues. I strive to not take sides of one person over another person. I strive to decide issues based upon the facts and goals of an issue. 
Surprise has a Council Manager form of government. The Mayor and City Council Members do not run the day to day operations of the City. This form of government came about in the early 1900's partially to attempt to limit political influence in favor of striving for excellence in operations, which should provide for better overall outcomes... you would not want your City Council Member to design, manage, or police a street for example, so instead, a City Manager is appointed by a vote of the entire City Council and the City Manager is responsible for day to day decisions including hiring a professionally educated and experienced staff that do run the day to day operations of the City.  
Here is just one of the rules that City Council must comply with:
Rule 9. Policy Role of Members
The Role of each Member, as an individual, is to represent the community and to share their ideas, recommendations, and point of view forward during consideration of matters before the body.
Members must respect and adhere to the Council‐Manager structure of the Surprise City government as outlined in City Code. In this structure, the City Council determines the policies of the City with the advice, information and analysis provided by the public, boards, commissions, committees and City staff.
Members therefore may not interfere with the administrative functions of the City or the professional duties of City staff; nor impair the ability of staff to implement Council policy decisions.  
I am looking forward to the meeting on Monday where we can hear a brief explanation about the purpose of the changes on Bullard, a few of the results the City staff are seeing, and mostly, for staff to hear from residents.  
I will also have a signup sheet for those of you that would like to attend District 6 meetings to discuss items and advise me prior to my voting on items at a City Council Meeting. I believe that it is very good thing for our residents to be engaged and interested in our City. You can also signup for the District 6 Newsletter and announcements by visiting our District 6 webpage below. 
Todd Tande
City Council Member - District 6

Monday, August 17, 2015

Is Abortion Ethical?

"The Most Important Question About Abortion" Prager University, Dennis Prager Aug 17, 2015

Let's talk about one of the most emotionally charged subjects there is -- abortion -- but in an unemotional way. Also, let's not touch on the question that most preoccupies discussion of the subject -- whether abortion should be legal or illegal. The only question here is the moral one: Is ending the life of a human fetus, moral? 
Let's begin with this question: Does the human fetus have any value and or rights? Now it's a scientific fact that a human fetus is human life. Those who argue that the human fetus has no rights say that a fetus is not a person. But even if you believe that, it doesn't mean the fetus has no intrinsic value or no rights.There are many living beings that are not persons that have both value and rights: Dogs and other animals, for example.  
And that's Moral Argument Number One: A living being doesn't have to be a person in order to have intrinsic moral value and rights. When challenged with this argument, people usually change the subject to the rights of the mother - meaning the right of a mother to end her fetus's life under any circumstance, for any reason, and at any time in her pregnancy. Is that moral? It is only if we believe that the human fetus has no intrinsic worth. But in most cases, nearly everyone believes that the human fetus has essentially infinite worth and an almost absolute right to live. When? When a pregnant woman wants to give birth. Then, society - and its laws - regard the fetus as so valuable that if someone were to kill that fetus, that person could be prosecuted for homicide. Only if a pregnant woman doesn't want to give birth, do many people regard the fvetus as worthless. Now, does that make sense? It doesn't seem to.  
And this is Moral Argument Number Two: On what moral grounds does the mother alone decide a fetus's worth? We certainly don't do that with regard to a newborn child. It is society, not the mother - or the father - that determines whether a newborn child has worth and a right to live.  
So, the question is: Why should that be different before the human being is born? Why does one person, a mother, get to determine whether that being has any right to live? People respond by saying that a woman has the right to "control her body." Now, that is entirely correct. The problem here, however, is that the fetus is not "her body;" it is in her body. It is a separate body. 

And that is Moral Arguement Number Three. No one ever asks a pregnant woman, "How's your body? when asking about the fetus. People ask, "who's the baby?"
Moral Argument Number Four: Virtually everyone agrees that the moment the baby comes out of the womb, killing the baby is murder. But deliberately killing it a few months before birth is considered no more problematic than extracting a tooth. How does that make sense?  
And finally, Moral Argument Number Five: Aren't there instances in which just about everyone - even among those who are pro-choice - would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral? 
For example, would it be moral to abort a female fetus solely because the mother prefers boys to girls - as has happened millions of times in China and elsewhere? And one more example: Let's say science develops a method of determining whether a child in the womb is gay or straight. WOuld it be moral to kill a gay fetus because the mother didn't want a gay child? 
People may offer practical reasons not to criminalize all abortions. People may differ about when personhood begins; and about the morality of abortion after rape or incest. But with regard to the vast majority of abortions - those of healhty women aborting a healthy fetus - let's be clear. Most of these abortions just aren't moral.  
Good societies can survive people doing immoral things. But a good socirty cannot survive if it calls immoral things moral. 

Either a human fetus has worth or it doesn't.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Every child has a right to a mother and a father; no one has a right to a child

Our 5 principles represent what we stand for. Passion for these principles is what unites us and motivate us.   
1. Marriage is a permanent, exclusive union between one man and one woman  
2. Every child has a right to a mother and a father; no one has a right to a child. 
3. Every human being has a right to life from conception until natural death.   
4. Every person possesses a unique dignity and is worthy of respect, regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, sexual feelings, race, educational level, religious or political ideas.  
5. Every person has a right to freedom of conscience, thought, and religion, which includes the freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs in a public or private way so long as these beliefs and practices do not harm others. (The principles of CanaVox)

I believe that "Every child has a right to a mother and a father; no one has a right to a child."

That means a woman does not have a right to the sperm of a man to get pregnant. That it is irresponsible for a man and a woman to purposely get pregnant with the intention of not raising the child together. That if a man and a woman should not have sex unless they are married.

It just is not responsible with respect to the child they may create. The child or possible child that is created has rights. We have an ethical obligation to persuade others in our communities to be responsible with our reproductive power.

I believe that same sex couples should not create children with the intention of separating the child from their biological parents. I think that gay couples willing to adopt is a great for children outside the ideal and that married men women are a better situation all other things being equal.

What Does it Take to have a Polite and Civil Society?

From one of my FB Friends,
if we are going to have a polite and civil society, we cannot force our views on other people, no matter what those views are. We can invite, we can try to persuade, we can even peacefully boycott. But we cannot force. The gay couple involved wants to FORCE another person to do something for them. This is the crux of the matter, in my opinion. The moment you begin to use force, i.e., coercion from government, which will either fine the people involved or put them in jail, you are nothing more than a bully.
And in relation to this story,
he is not refusing to conduct business with a defined segment of society. He is more than happy to bake cakes for gay people. The issue is that he does not want to participate in an event he disagrees with, which is a first amendment freedom of expression issue. (There is actually a Supreme Court precedent on this). In addition, there are no public accommodation issues involved because there are plenty of other bakers who would be happy to take his business. As a Mormon, if an evangelical didn't want to bake a cake for my temple wedding, I would happily say "thank you for letting me know you are a bigot -- I will take my business elsewhere." This is what the gay couple should have done.
I have a different FB friend that took issue with my post.
So the black child who forced the elementary school to let her attend was a bully? 
The accused who forces the government to give him access to the tools necessary for defending himself is a bully? 
The woman who forces her employer to stop harassing her is a bully? 
Your friend is wrong. Government force, used by the weaker party to level the unfair playing field that is imposed by the powerful is not a bully. The bully is the one who used a position of social advantage to keep another person down.
Here is my response,
I think the general principle is outlined in D&C 121. It is possible to do otherwise but it is not the most effective way of making change, especially transformational change.  
Gahndi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela did more than the US government ever could have done by the force of law.