Monday, June 30, 2014

Gay Marriage and Life in a Lawless Society

We have a national law to keep us safe from government power gone mad. It’s called the U. S. Constitution.
Enemies are demolishing it. One major attack is coming through the federal court system. The epicenter is gay marriage. Regardless of your beliefs on same-sex unions, you cannot approve this lawlessness. When law is destroyed, everyone loses.

The core issue is: who makes the decisions about government? The Constitution has an answer, no matter what the question is. It clearly tells us what all our governing bodies can and cannot do: Congress, the president and the states.

Congress is in charge of 20 things—a postal system, national navy, bankruptcies and immigration, and such—anything the states must be uniform in. (Article I section 8 of the Constitution)

The president is in charge of 6 things, all involve getting along with other countries, or preventing conflict between states. Some of these duties deal with treaties with foreign powers, commanding the military, and granting pardons. (Article II, section 2 )

There are decisions the states cannot make. (Article I, section 10) They cannot draft foreign treaties, raise their own armies, or develop separate money systems, for instance.

Anything else—anything—falls to the the states and the people. Any power not specifically given or forbidden, belongs to them. Those matters are none of the federal government’s business. The Constitution says this and the 10th Amendment nails it down. We have no uncertainty about who can and cannot decide what.

So, about gay marriage—the Constitution is silent on marriage; nary a word on the topic. Who, then, decides? The states and the people do. It’s not a matter for federal courts; it’s none of their business. Thus, it is an unconstitutional, make that illegal, act for federal judges to rule on this matter.

From the Mail February 20
But, wait: marriage wasn’t an issue 227 years ago when the Founders wrote the Constitution! Correct, but that’s the beauty of the Constitution: it adapts to every new situation. New technologies and ideas still fit within the powers assigned by the Constitution, and the pattern still works. Under that pattern, the states and the people make the decision about gay marriage.

So the people of Utah amended their constitution in 2003 to make marriage a male/female thing for their state. This was their duty/right.  A federal judge has cancelled it. That’s against the law, and he knows it; he has no authority there. Now other federal judges, emboldened by his misconduct, are doing the same and Congress and the president are silent.

Judges have the job to uphold the law. They are deliberately breaking it. Our law has become lawless.   

Some who want gay marriage are giddy. Are they thinking? If this law can be cancelled and Utah’s rights erased, anyone’s can be—any right, any protection: your right to own a car and house, to choose your job, to raise your children, to do what you like—all are based on law. The respect for your life is based on law. Take away the responsibility to abide by law and you take away rights and safety.

You do not want to live in a nation that ignores the law.

This is serious. Regardless of your beliefs on gay marriage, you want the right of states to make their own decisions to stand. It’s the law; it keeps you safe.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Common Core Violates Your Right to Privacy

The NSA scandal involving your private information has rocked the nation. Your privacy, and the reputation it cradles, is your prized possession -- your property, like your house and car. It is constitutionally protected. Your privacy could come under assault from another source: the data collection system connected to Common Core Standards, the federally endorsed and funded education program. Through data mining, your children could be used to get information about you.
Common Core is reportedly about achieving uniform national standards in education. For many states, the national standards lower rather than raise the bar. Utah’s standards fall both ways, depending on the subject. The potential to improve standards draws Utah teachers to Common Core, but there are better, safer ways to elevate education.

States choose their participation in the four key elements of Common Core’s reform, but federal money rewards them, and Utah bought into the data gathering process. Concerns about privacy revolve around both the data collected and its storage and use. Student tracking is connected to but is not directly required by Common Core. However, the organization pushing data collection, the Council of Chief State School Officers, is a co-holder of the Common Core Standards copyright, intertwining the two. States get federal stimulus money to “establish and use pre-K-through-college and career data systems to track progress.” The actual questions to be asked are still being developed, but suspicious parents, burned by past government overreach, fear the questions could be invasive and are mobilizing.
According to the Department of Education’s February 2013 report titled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century,” educators want “new opportunities” for “complex affective data,” whatever that means. If data on behavior — dealing with challenges, frustration, failure, help-seeking, tenacity and delayed gratification -- are collected, the state just created a psychological profile on your child. That smacks of George Orwell’s “1984” and parents don’t like it.
Some sources, such as Mallory Sauer of The New American, say the 2013 report opens the door to collect “sensitive” information on politics, religion, sexual preferences and income. Even if this doesn’t happen initially the mechanism to collect that data in the future would be in place. The requirement for parental permission is supposed to protect students, but that has been sidestepped before. Farming such information from young Junior and Sally would be prejudicial and biased, not to mention unethical.
Nine states, including Massachusetts and Colorado, are pilot-testing data mining. Once gathered, information is stored with third party private businesses, who aren’t committed to your privacy. Will fears that collected information be sold or made public materialize? InBloom, the privately owned data storage source of the progressive Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which will make big bucks off this), says no, in effect.  Only limited protections are in place, though states are said to control the information, which gives potential oversight.
Sauer insists the 2013 education report reveals plans for future biofeedback monitoring and says the report admits that “users may or may not be aware” the data is being mined. The report declares that “Educators have the potential to get ... feedback ... that [has] never been available before.”
Data mining could be benign if collectors were, and remained, impeccably ethical. Stored data might be harmless if public perceptions of appropriate behavior never changed, but they do, on everything from disciplining children to morals. Today’s acceptable may be tomorrow’s unthinkable, leaving you in jeopardy.
Proponents tut-tut these fears, but we’ve been burned in past. You should be concerned. There is no place in a free society to track and predict children. Our children are not data sources, and your parenting should not be determined by what your children might say during data collection. We all have the inalienable right to privacy and its attendant freedoms.
About a national education standard, even when partially state led, this basic rule prevails: Never nationalize anything outside the 26 powers granted to Congress and the president in the Constitution. It is not outdated. Don’t be blinded by the normalcy bias -- the desire to believe it will all be OK -- that tempts you to let this pass. Educate yourself and tell your friends. Call Governor Gary Herbert at (801) 538-1000. Tell him to get us out of Common Core.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Utah Wants Too Much

Utah’s debt monster is after us, like a green globby thing chasing us in our dreams. He wants $3.5 billion. That’s a lot of money.

What happened? Senate Budget Chairman Lyle Hillyard got it right in a Daily Herald article of May 27, ”... we haven’t been able to control ourselves ...”. Interesting. State governments can get out of control, just like the federal government? Who would have thought... Conservatives fume over bloated federal government, as they should -- somebody has to. Those same rants should be aimed at an out-of-control state. Our budget stats have earned us a verbal lashing.
Where is our self-control? It appears our state servants at the Capitol fund what the state shouldn’t fund -- all those things the free market should preside over. They ignored the flashing “stop the spending” light on our fiscal fire alarm. By any account, we got ourselves into this mess.
Apparently the problem lies with our math -- addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the skills all elementary students learned until recently. (Now, under Common Core, the right answer doesn’t matter, so long as you felt happy while getting it.) New Math was the rage, and Utah bought in.
Addition came first. Utah’s government added powers and duties to its chore chart as it embraced control. According to, we now have ten million words in our state code and 10,403 crimes you can be charged with. That’s nuts! You could commit three felonies a day and never know it. The costs add up for bureaucrats, office space and enforcement. (Does this sound like the federal government?) We’ve also been “yes men” for federal perks, payoffs and programs, some with bite-back costs at the end. We receive 45.3% of state revenues from federal sources -- more than New York or California. Addition has been huge.
Subtraction came next. All those additions of state power subtracted our earned income. Regulations dinged it further, as every law takes money to enforce. For instance, are you OK with the $1.74 million in bonuses awarded to officials of our empty UTA buses? As government got complicated, Average Joe subtracted his attention, and multiplication settled into the void.
Multiplication has been titanic. With the addition of power and the subtraction of respect for your paycheck, the need for money multiplied. That’s where the $3.5 billion debt comes in. Even in good times we wanted too much, promised too much and borrowed. Then times got hard. (Doesn’t everyone over 10 know that hard times follow good, so we spend, and save, accordingly?) Ursula Wayman of Utah County got it right as she described her youth in Switzerland, where people avoided debt and saved for unexpected events. Utah should take that as wise counsel. Self-control could have stayed the debtor’s hand. Our interest -- the rental fee for greenbacks -- has multiplied to half a billion dollars annually to cover our excess. Should we be excited that debt payments should begin to wane in five years? Hardly. The pain multiplies over time.
Division offers hope for government math. Legislators, please divide the necessary and legitimate — infrastructure repairs and law enforcement -- from the needless and negative, like a million dollars for the Sundance Film Festival (let those who attend fund it) and a half million for Envision Utah, the UN’s ugly Agenda 21 program to take away our private property.
Our elected officials know better. Back up! Get your head on straight, rethink your function (hint: protect, not plunder). Don’t divide our prosperity between the necessary and the needless. Let’s draft our own math: Add elected officials who won’t give away the store, subtract out of the equation what’s not government’s to give and multiply our eyes and ears to supervise state spending. Then we can divide greater prosperity among Utahns.
We make math choices in the voting booth. Ask candidates what they plan to add and multiply, and what they can subtract and divide. Vote accordingly. Our state government need not function like a mathematical dunce.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Militarization of our Local Police

An MRAP for the local Police

Utah County, my home, just received an MRAP, a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle—an armored car that carries people. The Obama administration is “giving” these vehicles, which normally cost $380,000, to local police departments for the $18,000 shipping costs.  Conservatives across the country are up in arms over this, viewing it as a tyrannical administration buying local police with favors and setting them up to come against their own citizens. There is great concern as we see little safety in federal government today

Our county had a group confrontation with the county sheriff, Jim Tracy, about this matter last week. Some attendees were openly hostile and confrontational—behavior one would expect from those who fear they are being backed into a corner.

I share their concern. With what we have seen from the progressive left, there are few illusions about the future intentions of federal authorities. Every day there is news of another assault on our rights. One concern is the turning of local police forces into military units who operate under political agendas. Our own protectors may one day turn on us.  Should that happen, a vehicle such as the MRAP would give local law-enforcement-gone-rogue an ugly advantage over innocent citizens.

The sheriff presented his case well. He offered the argument that it isn’t what the vehicle is but what you do with it that matters. (The vehicle has had the machine guns removed, but they can be remounted, probably easily.) He says this is equipment to be used for defense, rather than offense. We’ve all heard the argument for the Second Amendment: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Remember the story about the guy who put his shotgun on his porch all day, and by nightfall the gun hadn’t killed a single person? That same argument exists for the MRAP. The vehicle, itself, isn’t bad, it’s what it’s used for. It was ironic, at our meeting, to see those who normally argue for the Second Amendment now objecting to this vehicle because it is a killing machine.

The sheriff says he needs the vehicle to protect his men; that violence is escalating in previously calm Utah County, which now sports 14,000 people a year booked into the county jail, 23 of which were for homicide. The county paper, the Daily Herald, routinely carries news of violent crimes. I see Sheriff Tracy’s point: he wants to protect his men. That point was driven home by the murder of one deputy, Cory Wride, a few months ago and the serious wounding of another, although the MRAP would not have been in use in either in the routine situations each was involved in at the time.

I trust Jim Tracy to use that vehicle appropriately. Several problems are worrisome, however, one of which is that Jim Tracy won’t always be the sheriff. How do we know those that follow him will be as honest? For that matter, how do we know Jim will remain trustworthy?

Secondly, the great temptation would be to use it because we have it. The old adage applies about the carpenter, whose only tool is a hammer, therefore, to him everything looks like a nail. There’s a concern about the gradual drift to justify use of the vehicle that’s a part of human nature. It’s a new toy, and the temptation to invent uses for it could get out of hand.

In the end, the matter comes down to the same two points most freedom issues come down to. First, we must have moral people—people who know right from wrong and follow what’s right—in office.

Second, we must, as citizens, become involved in the political process and watch what our elected officials do. We must support and compliment them when they do what’s right. When they err, we must teach them. If they won’t learn and correct, we must throw them out of office. There is no substitute for involved, watchful citizens. That’s our part of the governing process.

Stay tuned to the ongoing drama of the MRAP, both locally and nationwide.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Culture reroute: 9.0 on the Richter Scale

One of the current culture deceptions is the belief that legalizing gay marriage will not affect traditional families. Facts and common sense say the effects will be huge. It’s not about "equality"; this is a fundamental social reroute.
The question of “How much change and what kind?” revolves around this: Will legal and social acceptance of same-sex marriage increase the practice? The evidence from past social changes — no-fault divorce and abortion -- says yes.
Within 15 years of no-fault divorce laws, marriage breakups went from 20 percent to 50 percent. The rate of couples living together without marriage rose by 1,400 percent; sociologists say marriage no longer matters. The Guttmacher Institutie now estimates one woman in three will have an abortion in her lifetime. A recent Associated Press article on related transgender issues says "the trend is likely to accelerate." Gay rights activists are on most college campuses with the message: “Just try it.” The Gay Pride Leadership Academy holds summer camps, and groups like the American Association of College Professors encourage gay activism. These facts all suggest that homosexuality will surge.
What are the potential results for society and traditional families?

We can expect major cultural change. Advertising, movies, music and TV will increasingly bring homosexuality before the public eye, and public schools will encourage its acceptance; they are doing so now. Same-sex couples divorce more often; only 15 percent of homosexual couples are together after 12 years, says the 2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census. Higher divorce rates will add to cultural breakdown and leave more children afloat, so government welfare, with its bureaucracy and added costs, would be expected to expand to provide care.
The worrisome drop in population numbers would increase, with more marriages that biologically cannot reproduce. Demographic and economic growth always parallel each other, so the economy would continue to decline, as stated in USA Today, Feb. 13, 2013: "There are no cases of peace and prosperity in the face of declining populations." This makes sense; fewer people to produce and consume. The eventual cost to the nation would be dramatic over time.
Safety could become a concern. Every child in a same-sex home is raised by a step-parent, and child abuse is far greater from a step-parent. Daly and Wilson of McMaster University call this "discriminative parental solicitude" — people naturally give the best care to children they create to protect their "parental investment." Under this "Cinderella effect," small children are 100 times more likely to die from abuse by a step-parent than a biological parent. In addition, 31 percent of lesbians are physically abused by partners (Journal of Interpersonal Violence), and domestic abuse among gays is double that of heterosexual couples (Island and Letellier). We should brace for increased domestic violence.
Experts on all sides say that if the protective walls around traditional child-bearing families are breached, other alternative sexual practices are inevitable. This has begun; Newsweek reports 500,000 American households now living in polyamory — group marriage of three or more people. Polygamy is considered inevitable. United Nations agendas, which steer U.S. agendas, now advocate sanitized pedophilia: the legalization of prostitution, including child prostitution (Bali Youth Declaration), sexual rights for children and the teaching of questionable sexuality to children without parental knowledge or consent (UN Committee, Rights of the Child).
Through government’s forced acceptance of homosexuality, Christian religions, which define biblical right and wrong, will be silenced. The Constitution’s protection of religious freedom will be hobbled with this precedent-setting religious control. "The free exercise of religion obviously involves both the right to choose religious beliefs and affiliations and the right to ‘exercise’ or practice those beliefs" (Dallin Oaks, former Utah State Supreme Court justice). Moral objections to homosexuality are being classified as hate speech worthy of prosecution. In the aftermath, Christian morality could all but disappear, except as found in the hearts of believers.
The media and those who push the gay agenda are not reporting these facts and many other negative side effects of gay marriage. This is an earthquake—9.0 on the social Richter scale. Few things of this magnitude have struck our society. Our first obligation is to protect our children and our culture. Let all live and love as they choose, but don’t legalize gay marriage.
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