Archive for the ‘Civics’ Category

How much longer can you have a garden?

Think your garden fresh veggies are safe? The Nevada Health Department may beg to differ. This will make your blood boil.

Thankfully some good Utah legislators are working to try and ensure this won’t happen here.

Capitalism and Democracy are Incompatible Pop Quiz

It’s always good to find the things you are saying publicly corroborated. In this case George Soros has now confirmed the words of John Goodlad and Bill Ayers that the use of the term democracy isn’t about freedom, it’s about Direct Democracy as a form of government leading to a totalitarian state. Thomas Jefferson said, “The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.”

How long will it be till people realize that in supporting public calls for “Democracy” they are helping bring about these radicals desire for revolution? These three are birds of a feather. Goodlad invited Ayers to be the keynote speaker at his NNER education conference in 2010. Soros funds Marxist organizations that want a New World Order of global communism which Ayers has been fighting for for decades. Goodlad’s NNER invited a Soro’s organization director to help them in their Agenda for Education in a Democracy. How close are they? Here’s a pop quiz. See if you can tell which person made each statement, Goodlad, Ayers, or Soros. Answers below…no peeking.

1) “If the question of sustainability comes down to a struggle between those who value short-term economic gain [corporations/capitalists] and those who value long-term environmental well-being, then engaging in deliberative democracy…may be the only way to grapple with and overcome this issue in a collective manner.”

2) “We can speak of the triumph of capitalism in the world, but we cannot yet speak about the triumph of democracy. There is a serious mismatch between the political and the economic conditions that prevail in the world today.”

3) “Capitalism promotes racism and militarism – turning people into consumers, not citizens. Participatory democracy, by contrast, requires free people coming together voluntarily as equals who are capable of both self-realization and, at the same time, full participation in a shared political and economic life.”

4) “Enculturating the young into a social and political democracy”

5) “We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution… overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.”

6) “The god of economic utility takes over and spins for us all an enticing narrative. This abuse discredits capitalism as a potential companion of democracy, stimulating attacks on the system that tend to obscure consideration of the possibility that the problem lies with humankind.”













1) Paul Theobald et al., in Goodad, John: Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pp. 94-110 (link)

2) Soros wrote in Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism.

3) Bill Ayers’ 2006 speech at the World Education Forum in Caracas, Venezuela in front of Pres. Hugo Chavez

4) One of John Goodlad’s 4 moral dimensions which Alpine School District plastered on their teacher development center wall

5) Bill Ayers’ 2006 speech at the World Education Forum in Caracas, Venezuela in front of Pres. Hugo Chavez

6) John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, p. 5 (link)


Here’s a little “in their own words” video montage to enjoy.

The Unconstitutional Super Congress

If you were unaware that the recent action to pass the debt limit increase also included provisions to create a “super-congress” (AKA cross-shredding the constitution) you’re not alone. This move will create an unconstitutional body within the congress to fast-track issues that appear to get held up in the full congress. At least that’s my take on it. Anyone that voted against raising the debt limit won’t be invited to the panel. Here’s some news to update you.

Jefferson’s Jericho Wall of Separation

“So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat…” (Joshua 6:20)

I started writing this post months ago but set it aside as other things became more pressing. With the recent 4th Circuit ruling upholding a terrible lower court ruling that saying “Jesus” during a public prayer is unconstitutional, I thought it was time to finish this post off. If you were unaware of the ruling, please read Ken Klukowski’s piece in his blog at the Washington Examiner where he concludes:

“As I explain in my law review article, “In Whose Name We Pray,” published by Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, not only does Marsh v. Chambers allow “sectarian” prayers (i.e. mentioning Jesus), it would violate the Establishment Clause for any government official—including any federal judge—to censor the content of anyone’s prayers.

Under our Constitution, every American can pray in accordance with the dictates of his conscience, and government never has a right to interfere with religious beliefs.

This is the latest in a string of disappointing lower court decisions on public prayer. It’s time for the Supreme Court to revisit this issue.”

I agree. Further, lets examine what Jefferson meant when he wrote his oft-quoted letter to the Baptists in Connecticut.

In October 1801, President Thomas Jefferson received a letter from a committee of individuals at the head of the Danbury Baptist Association in Danbury, Connecticut, including the minister who was a friend of Jefferson’s, on the subject of religious liberty. Both their letter and Jefferson’s reply can be read on this page:

David Barton has written a wonderful article analyzing this church and state issue which I highly recommend.

I will quote from it and then share some other thoughts:

“Therefore, if Jefferson’s letter is to be used today, let its context be clearly given – as in previous years. Furthermore, earlier Courts had always viewed Jefferson’s Danbury letter for just what it was: a personalprivate letter to a specific group. There is probably no other instance in America’s history where words spoken by a single individual in a private letter – words clearly divorced from their context – have become the sole authorization for a national policy. Finally, Jefferson’s Danbury letter should never be invoked as a stand-alone document. A proper analysis of Jefferson’s views must include his numerous other statements on the First Amendment.

For example, in addition to his other statements previously noted, Jefferson also declared that the “power to prescribe any religious exercise. . . . must rest with the States” (emphasis added). Nevertheless, the federal courts ignore this succinct declaration and choose rather to misuse his separation phrase to strike down scores of State laws which encourage or facilitate public religious expressions. Such rulings against State laws are a direct violation of the words and intent of the very one from whom the courts claim to derive their policy.”

The truly amazing thing that nobody seems to talk about is that when Jefferson wrote his letter, 2 states HAD STATE RELIGIONS. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut had written into their constitutions establishments of religious practices. They did away with them in 1833 and 1818 respectively. When I heard David Barton mention this on Glenn Beck’s TV show a year or so ago, I had to go look it up myself to make sure.

In 1639, Connecticut created its Fundamental Orders, which were the first written constitution in this country (causing Connecticut to nickname themselves the “constitution state”). In this document they established themselves as a Christian state in these words:

“…do, for ourselves and our Successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation to gather, to maintain and pressure the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said gospel is now practised amongst vs;…”

In 1662, the Connecticut Colony Charter was granted by Charles the 2nd which continued this belief in this language:

“And for the directing, ruleing and disposing of all other matters and things whereby our said people, Inhabitants there, may bee soe religiously, peaceably and civilly Governed as their good life and orderly Conversacon may wynn and invite the Natives of the Country to the knowledge and obedience of the onely true God and Saviour of mankind, and the Christian faith, which in our Royall intencons and the Adventurers free profession is the onely and principall end of this Plantacon; WILLING, Commanding and requireing, and by these presents, for vs, our heires and Successors, Ordaineing and appointeing.”

Clearly, Connecticut was a Christian state dedicated to being based upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Massachusetts on the other hand, went much further. Drafted in 1779 by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin, and ratified in 1780, this document contained several provisions that clearly establish the Christian religion.

In the first part of the constitution declaring the rights of the people, the 2nd and 3rd articles read (emphasis added):

“Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe…”

“Article III. As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of the public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, To promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.

And the people of this commonwealth have also a right to, and do, invest their legislature with authority to enjoin upon all the subject an attendance upon the instructions of the public teachers aforesaid, at stated times and seasons, if there be any on whose instructions they can conscientiously and conveniently attend.

Provided, notwithstanding, That the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic, or religious societies, shall at all times have the exclusive right and electing their public teachers and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance.

And all moneys paid by the subject to the support of public worship and of public teachers aforesaid shall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the support of the public teacher or teachers of his own religious sect or denomination, provided there be any on whose instructions he attends; otherwise it may be paid toward the support of the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct in which the said moneys are raised.

And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”

This is nothing short of stunning! At the time Jefferson wrote his private letter to the Danbury Baptists, Massachusetts was forcing the citizens to pay taxes to support churches whether or not those citizens attended a church. Jefferson never said a thing about this practice! There was no cry from him of a problem in Massachusetts but he was most certainly aware of this practice which had been codified into supreme law by John Adams, Sam Adams, and James Bowdoin.

Before moving onto the next part of their constitution I must point out article 4 which follows.

“Article IV. The people of this commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign, and independent state; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, or may not hereafter, be by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress assembled.”

This will be taken into account below, but it’s clearly an indication that Massachusetts was identifying itself an independent state and upon joining the federal body would only delegate certain powers to the federal body.

In Massachusett’s “Part the Second: The Frame of Government” we see how they would elect officers also took into account an establishment of the Christian religion.

“Art. II. The governor shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless, at the time of his election, he shall have been an inhabitant of this commonwealth for seven years next preceding; and unless he shall, at the same time, be seized, in his own right, of a freehold, within the commonwealth, of the value of one thousand pounds; and unless he shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion.

They further required anyone taking office to make this oath:

Article I. Any person chosen governor, lieutenant-governor, councillor, senator, or representative, and accepting the trust, shall, before he proceed to execute the duties of his place or office, make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:

I, A.B., do declare that I believe the Christian religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth; and that I am seized and possessed, in my own right, of the property required by the constitution, as one qualification for the office or place to which I am elected.”

They even openly declare in chapter 5 of the constitution that Harvard university was established for the “advantage of the Christian religion.” I wonder how they might feel about Harvard fulfilling that mission today?

Clearly Massachusetts had established a religion and even required its office holders to declare a firm belief in Christianity.

So what did Jefferson mean in his famous letter to the Danbury Baptists? Clearly it wasn’t to prevent a church from influencing government, or to prevent invoking the name of “Jesus” in a public prayer. Jefferson understood 3 things very clearly as they were written into the U.S. constitution.

1) Article VI: “[legislators and officers must support this constitution]… but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

2) Amendment I: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

3) Amendment X: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The first, Article VI, was clearly written in response to the Framer’s distaste for the Church of England’s influence to prescribe the beliefs of an individual before allowing them to hold national public office. (The difference in MA was they did not hold people to a specific sect but just mandated they must be Christian. Another factor is MA is not the United States as specified in this article.)

The second specifically forbids the federal government from medling with religion or interfering in the free speech of anyone else.

Neither of these items forbids religious leaders from making statements regarding politics, but they prevent the establishment of a national religion or any kind of litmus test to hold office. The religious pastors of the Revolutionary era stirred the souls of the people to rise up and cast off England and nobody condemned them in those actions (except perhaps the pro-England factions). It was clearly within the freedom of speech rights of religious leaders to participate in civic affairs, but not vice-versa for the federal government to meddle in religious sects.

The third element, the 10th Amendment, Jefferson clearly understood when as governor of Virginia, he called for a day of thanksgiving and prayer, but as president of the United States, he was hesitant to do so because he recognized the differing roles of state versus federal involvement.

Said Jefferson to the Reverent Samuel Miller on Miller’s recommendation for a national day of fasting and prayer:

“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. …But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from…civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.

So Jefferson signed the state level observance, but felt he didn’t have the right or ability to do it at the federal level because it was reserved to the states through the Constitution.

Dallin Oaks, a well respected judge for many years and now a General Authority in the LDS church, recently said this at a speech he gave at Chapman University:

“The prohibition against “an establishment of religion” was intended to separate churches and government, to forbid a national church of the kind found in Europe. In the interest of time I will say no more about the establishment of religion, but only concentrate on the First Amendment’s direction that the United States shall have “no law [prohibiting] the free exercise [of religion].” For almost a century this guarantee of religious freedom has been understood as a limitation on state as well as federal power.

As he notes, for the first century or more of our nation’s history, states had the power and authority to establish religious tests and even force citizens through taxation to support Christianity, deeming it in the public good and for the benefit of morality and even the preservation of the civil government. It was only after progressive elements came into power in the courts that these views were overturned and stripped from the states.

Now before someone jumps on me and says “Oak wants to establish the LDS faith as the Utah state religion” lets just put that to rest. My purpose in writing this post is to point out the fallacy of the “church and state” argument that is created by those that uphold a single quote from Jefferson’s private letter, and then ignore all his other writings which would clearly explain what he was talking about.

Religious leaders should have every right to speak out on any political matter without fear of losing their tax-exempt status. People can pray and speak in public and public schools and invoke the name of Jesus in the course of doing so. These are first amendment rights. It is a violation of the constitution for anyone, especially a national official, legislator, or judges to proscribe people in those practices, or to establish a particular sect to the exclusion of others (ex. The Church of England).

This nation was founded upon the principles of Christianity and ensuring people had the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Today’s vocal minority is stripping that right from those that worship God with the blessing and collusion of the federal government to establish their religion, secular humanism, and in the process, laying flat Jefferson’s wall of separation they claim as their ensign.

Judge Napolitano on the Pledge of Allegiance

Do you know how the pledge of allegiance came about? Judge Napolitano explains. One pet peeve I have had for a long time is that there is no comma in “one nation under God.” It should be said without a pause in the middle.

Minority Report Predicted the Future

Just as Star Trek’s visionary technology spawned all kinds of useful tools we enjoy today, the movie Minority Report has spawned it’s own tool but not the useful kind. Reported on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze news site, comes this video straight from the Department of Homeland Security, now testing citizens for “malintent” as they pass their new scanners designed to test your psyche.

“Move along citizens, nothing to see here. Just quietly put on those chains after you pass through the scanner.”

I’m sure there’s nothing in the constitution that would be violated by this device. That old document is sooooo outdated anyway.

Communists Promoting Democracy Again

From this year’s May Day parade in LA come the Communists promoting Socialism matched with its forerunner Democracy.

Communists Promote Democracy

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (or Breakfast)

Until I saw this article in the Daily Herald last week,I had no idea this was happening. It’s not just Alpine School District, but this was their press notice.

Alpine School District

Summer Feeding Program The Alpine School District has announced the sponsorship of the 2011 Summer Feeding Program. Free meals will be made available to all children under the age of 18 years. Sites will serve breakfast from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Operating dates will vary by each serving site which are: Geneva Elementary, 665 West 400 North, Orem; Westmore Elementary, 1150 South Main, Orem; Greenwood Elementary, 50 East 200 South, American Fork; Cherry Hill Elementary, 250 East 1650 South, Orem; Mountain View High, 665 West Center, Orem; Sharon Elementary, 525 North 400 East, Orem; and Windsor Elementary, 1315 North Main, Orem. Please check with each school for dates and extended times.

The State Office of Education has put up a convenient website to allow for people everywhere to find the closest free meals for their children during the summer.  Remember, it doesn’t cost you a thing. It’s FREE. Everyone should take their children here because it’s FREE. Nobody is paying for it. Really. It’s wonderful because it’s FREE!!! Just tell your children the government will always take care of them, even when their parents can’t, and everything the government does is FREE. Or at least for the betterment of mankind, so just grin and bear it neighbors. Your lack of charity for your fellow beings necessitates the feeding of the 5,000 by the government. <end sarcasm>

Unfortunately, as I asked around about this program I learned that it’s not just low income families using this program, but financially secure families thinking “free food” is fun. One unconfirmed statement given to me was if schools didn’t use all their money for this program, funds would be reduced for the next year so they have to give away breakfasts, lunches, and in some locations supper and snacks, in order to make sure they get funding for next year. In just about every school, food that is prepared every day is thrown out rather than consumed by the hungry or employees, or hungry employees. There must be tons of food thrown away every day in Utah schools alone that is perfectly good…but that’s another topic.

Thankfully, we don’t have it as bad here as in some other cities such as the Chicago Tribune reported recently about a school in Chicago where the principal banned students from bringing lunches from home to protect students from their own poor nutritional choices. Heaven forbid we let kids’ parents send them to school with a less than optimal lunch (or at least one not approved by Nanny McPrincipal).

Utah, when are we going to wake up and smell the socialism? Does your legislator know this is happening?

The Questions We Need to Remember

Which is greater, you or government? Who created whom? Where did government get its rights? Are they unalienable or temporal? To the LDS, D&C 134, a statement on government, says that God instituted government for the benefit of man and that we should respect and uphold the government while we are protected in our inherent and inalienable rights.

So who has rights? We do as children of God. In fact, as Mary Mostert pointed out in her books on the founding of this country, we have unalienable rights. When Jefferson presented his draft of the Declaration of Independence, he used the word inalienable, but the committee changed it to unalienable. What’s the difference? Mary points out that both mean we have rights that cannot be taken from us, ever. The difference though is that “un” alienable means the rights cannot even be transferred by us, while “in” alienable means we could transfer those rights to someone else. Rights from God to us cannot be cast aside.

Does government have rights? No, it has powers. Can those powers exceed our natural, unalienable rights? Never, because government’s powers are derived from our delegated rights.

Are you smarter than all your neighbors? Well, besides that one family down the street… ;) How about smarter than all your neighbors combined? Do you know anyone that thinks they are? Of course we all do, and far too many of those people become politicians. Who is best qualified to know the needs of a child? The parents of course. Empowering parents in their God-given role as the head of the family is the only morally right thing to do. Allowing them the maximum freedom to determine what is best for their children’s education, health, and all other activities, is the only God-approved course we can follow.

Government exists to provide for the safety, security, and happiness of the people. It exists to protect our unalienable rights. I cannot create a mob of people and send them out to murder and steal and provide myself and my neighbors with the goods the mob captures. Government cannot legally do this either simply because we call it government instead of a mob. Frederick Bastiat pointed out this is what government’s devolve into and we legalize plunder causing a moral imbalance in people who recognize the injustice on the one hand, but recognizing the need to respect government on the other. This imbalance leads to frustration and disgust with the process of government. The only solution is freedom. Freedom to fail. Freedom to watch your neighbor fail to educate their children (according to your own perspective). Freedom to choose a course of life that doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s life and thus maximize your own freedom by staying within the bounds of natural rights. None of this means government or schools completely go away, it just means they operate within their bounds. That question then leads to, “where’s the line America?

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

Vineyard Meeting Results

I attended the meeting at Vineyard the other night along with about 50-60 other citizens. I will start out by giving the mayor props for how he handled the meeting. He seems like a really genuine individual and I think everyone appreciated his openness. The rest of the council looked like whupped puppies for most of the meeting, never looking up unless someone spoke in favor of the RDA. I think they were stunned by the recent reaction to what’s been happening and the mayor asked several times why people are just now getting excited about this when it’s been posted on public notice websites and the press for a long time. I didn’t even know there was a public notice website but Wendy Hart sent me a link and I guess we’ll have to start frequenting it to know what’s going on.

Mr. Anderson, one of the developers, was there and said the property could be sold right now for $100 million to a toilet paper manufacturer but he had spoken with an economist from the University of Utah (I think) who said the property would be worth $3 billion if it was planned out properly. Dave Duncan then replied he ought to sell to the toilet paper manufacturer if he could make that much money and that if the property was really potentially worth $3 billion when built out properly, the developer should put together private money interested in doing it and not put this RDA on taxpayers. (Hope my memory is right on that Dave :))

One thing about the meeting that was very evident, is that there is a lot of misinformation that has been put out there. Whether by the press or the “telephone game,” I think everyone was wishing they had more facts about what’s been going on and how this all works. I strongly suggest everyone read Thomas Sowell’s article on RDA’s as it fully supports what Dave said above.

Larry Ellertson was there from the Utah County Commission and said his vote to pass the RDA was a conditional yes, wanting to make sure Alpine School District was satisfied with the deal. Since they weren’t, and ASD’s attorney was there to let them know they weren’t, then he implied his vote wasn’t really a yes till they worked it out with ASD.

I don’t know what can be done at this point. I wish I understood more about this type of stuff, but I think the complexity hurts citizens because we’re so unfamiliar with it. On principle I think RDA’s should be banned. I agree with Dave’s comment that the market can decide how land gets used. If someone wants to seize an economic opportunity, let them. I think we may have some responsibility to clean up the site, but not to fund infrastructure and development. Let an enterprising developer do that with private money.

Here is Fox-13’s news report.