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)

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) 
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)

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.

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.

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"


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).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

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

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. 
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)


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.


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)

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_...)