Wednesday, August 26, 2009
There's something to freedom. It would appear that throughout history societies that embrace individual freedom flourish and prosper while those that promote individual restrictions of freedom stagnate.
It is disappointing (understatement) that so many Americans take their individual freedom for granted and would rather trade it in for a government guarantee, while failing to realize that every other time in history this very practice has ultimately lead to the ruin of every single society that has engaged in it. I'm sure this time it will be different, right? Check out Maxine Waters revealing the "secret" agenda of the Democrat party:
Nothing in the modern day church is a tax. We are not taxed into tithing, we are not taxed into Fast Offerings. Why? It is well within the rights of the Church and its head to make it so. In fact one can be a member of the church without having paid a dime into its system. Why? Because agency is so valued in determining worthiness for eternal blessings, and because being able to chose whom we return tribute needs to be a choice. God knows that, shouldn't we know that as well?
God did not create us to be mindless obedience-bots singing praises to Him at an eternal rock concert in heaven. The plan of salvation is for our Salvation not his adulation. He experiences greatest joy as agency is used properly and in righteous ways. As such, we are granted agency. In fact, without agency we would cease to exist. It is this principle that lies at the heart of why I BELIEVE taxes, especially repressive taxes that are borne under the false assumption that doing so will provide charitable acts for those in need is a lie of evil men and women who are in temporal power over this nation and who are being led by the adversary.
Satan has deceived many into thinking that universal health care and other tax laden plans are ways of charity. Upon a righteous study of the gospel, the Lord has taught and demonstrated through His own church, that taxation, especially forced charity through taxation is wrong. Agency, as preserved in our choice to come to this Earth, shows that we all once believed this truth and hailed agency over being forced to do what is right. Such a concept demonstrates how truth is eternal. Tithing is not a forced tax, fast offerings are not forced charity. To me, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of agency and freedom to act - not without consequences, but freedoms to act and not be acted upon. I choose to oppose principles, eve those in government, that are opposed to such truths.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In Mosiah 2:14 King Benjamin clearly states his desire as king to "serve (his people), that (the people) should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon (the people) which was grievous to be borne." One of King Benjamin's characteristics as a righteous king was that he was not in his office for himself. His service was comprised of selfless acts done to keep a tax burden off the people. The opposite could be then implied of an unrighteous leader. That higher taxes don't serve the people but serve the desires of the leader and their government.
In fact later on in Mosiah 7:15 the people of Limhi, who were in bondage to a Lamanite king, felt their bondage through the payment of taxes. Their feelings of bondage were such that the people of Limhi stated that they would rather be slaves to Nephites than to pay burdensome taxes to the wicked king. To what degree did they consider their tax to be burdensome? In Mosiah 11:3, now under King Noah's rule it is stated that these people were "laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings, and also a fifth part of all their grain."
1/5 = 20% The bondage these individuals felt was a twenty % tax on everything. To compare that today, the IRS tax rates for 2009 were anywhere between 10-35 percent depending on income. Those that makes less money are at 10 %, and those at 35% make the most. So in modern day, it is not the poor who are being oppressed through taxes. This figure does not include state income taxes or other local taxes as well as property taxes or taxes on the sale of goods which is determined by state, county, and city body politics. The average effective or net tax rate of most middle class Americans is somewhere around 36 % with all things being calculated together. This means that on average we as a people are almost double the tax rate of the people of Limhi who felt in deep bondage, worse so than being slaves to another nation.
Depending on your interpretation of Pre-US history, the Boston Tea Party was due in part to a 3% tax or 3 pence per pound (if we are speaking to British pounds and not the weight measurement) for imported tea. The amount was not considered to be as significant as the idea of being taxed without representation but the amount had merit in their minds as well. Additionally paying a tax to the East India Tea Company rather than to a government increased hostility because there was nothing to be accounted for the tax; no services rendered and it was of no value or there was no return to the people in the tax. The money went away and was lost. In a way the same principles apply to the people of Limhi. Taxes were high as well the taxes represented no voice of the people and provided no services that were returned to the people.
So what has changed overtime to where we are at today? Is a 36 percent tax represent what we as a people want? Are we getting what we pay for? Is there taxations and representation, or are our taxes being paid to feed a political government who is wasting away and supporting laziness, idolatry, and whoredomes? "By the taxes which king Noah (or any government) had put upon (the) people; thus did (or are) the people labor(ing) exceedingly to support iniquity"? (Mosiah 11:6) Does a national health care system support the drug over doses and gender reassignment surgeries of its citizens as well as the welfare condition of the unemployed and unmotivated? Absolutely it does. Do our dollars go to government services or do they go to corporations and special interest groups who return favors for the politicians who pay them?
On one hand we have King Benjamin demonstrating proper governance to not burden the people through taxes and in serving the people's needs. On the other we see King Noah repressing the people through high taxation that supports iniquity and the desires of the king. Apply this today and see where history is repeating itself. The conditions in King Noah's time were described as follows, "Now the eyes of the people were blinded; therefore they hardened their hearts against the words of Abinidi, and they sought from that time forward to take him. And king Noah hardened his heart against the word of the Lord, and he did not repent of his evil doings." (Mosiah 11:29)
The words of the gospel and its prophets are clear. To care for one another's needs are admirable but are not to be borne through taxes and in the universal support of individual government sponsored iniquities. The desire to impose higher taxes on all to serve the needs of the few is WICKED; not just a bad idea but represent the characteristics of wicked leadership. Such a stance is in direct opposition to the righteous example of King Benjamin.
Many people today describe our society similarly to the people of King Noah's day in that they are blinded by their hardened hearts and their rejection of the Lord's council (ie, homosexual marriage issues, principles on charitable health care, etc.) I for one am grateful that we have the Book of Mormon to stand as a witness to more than the divinity of Jesus Christ, but stands as a reference to so much more in helping us to live life to its highest degree. We must stand aside from the philosophies of men mingled with scripture and keep it ALL in scripture. Proper governance cannot be determined in any other way.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Using the New Testament as context, a commentary was made by Howard W. Hunter with respect to publicans or tax collectors, and how people viewed taxes of the day. This article states, "Publicans were tax collectors and were looked down upon with contempt. Ordinary taxes, such as land taxes, were collected by the Roman officials; but toll taxes for transporting goods were usually collected by Jews under contract with the Romans. These collectors, or publicans, made a profit on the transactions. Their fellow countrymen had no higher regard for them than for thieves and robbers. The trade lent itself to graft and extortion, and the publicans had the reputation of having some of the tax money stick to their own fingers. The Jews were smarting under Roman occupation and domination, and they considered the payment of taxes as a tribute to Caesar."
It seems congruent to conclude that the individuals at this time in the New Testament were not fans of taxes. In one light the people viewed taxation as stealing from the people. Are today's politicians like the publicans of old? Are they making personal benefit off the taxes that we all pay? Are they not worse because rather than simply collect them, the enact and determine them? ABSOLUTELY! Without a doubt, the lobby's of today are a "legal" facilitator for our politician publicans. These acts would have been considered contemptible acts to the New Testament writers.
What of the last line of the above quote where taxes were viewed as a tribute to Caesar? Perhaps this places better in context the statement of the Savior in Matt 22:21 "Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s." Christ's staement, knowing well that all things belong to God, could be interpreted on one level as teaching the law of consecration. On another level this speaks to separation of church and state. Another interpretation could be rendered that Jesus is implying the existence of individual agency to choose whom their master is and to then demonstrate that choice through tithes to God or paying taxes to Caesar.
This concept of tributes made me wonder if this is why so many people are willing to support national health care and higher taxes as tributary worship towards Barack Obama? Do the citizens and politicians that support Barack Obama feel that higher taxes represent a high adulation of the man whom they seem to praise without fault?
Perhaps the people of today are much less conscious of such a tribute. But upon my observations of MSNBC, the Daily Show and others media outlets, along with the Obama posters and stickers praising this man before he even had a chance to be president, represents a shift from a government FOR the people, to a government FOR the president. To one interpretation, taxable programs are a tribute to the man they call Obama; quite possibly the Julius Caesar of the United States.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
When Joseph Smith ran for president in 1844 he published a pamphlet or tract called "Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States". Many have not read this tract today but it was widely circulated in his day by newspapers and by the council of 50 (missionaries called to proselyte Joseph for President). (Views .pdf available here) This gentleman's response when asked about this tract was that the writings are very different than what many might expect. He concluded that the pamphlet "represents a liberal view on government that many Mormons would not be willing to accept today."
Perhaps this is nothing people will comment on, but I wanted to get the pamphlet out there for people to read and to become familiar with. Few documents exist where prophets or apostles make commentary on political principles and topics of proper governance. By no means do I consider this doctrine, but something worth the read for those who are LDS and politically minded. Then make up your mind, was Joseph Smith a liberal, a libertarian, or somewhere in between?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
In fact, I might end up being a little scared if opposing voices were silenced. We are not dealing with perfect individuals leading our nation. These are men and women who are and will be subject to the temptations of power and greed. Speaking against even those officials or candidates that one might agree with and support can be a good thing towards maintaining what is best for this country and not just some random political career.
As evidence of how opposing voices works in politics, Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, released this statement regarding national health care that in my mind represents a small retreat from the devastating plan that was originally released by Obama and one that might represent the best option yet to deal with the issue of health care without crippling the entire country in the process. This article quotes, "President Barack Obama's health secretary is suggesting the White House is ready to accept nonprofit insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run public option in a health overhaul plan."
About 15 percent of American's are without health insurance either by choice or otherwise. So why should the other 85 percent of American's have to pay for 15 percent of the population in addition to their own coverage?
This third option that I have not heard in all the debates that have been flying around makes room for a non-profit organization that can provide health care to these individuals who go without. People who think that health care to these individuals is essential can put their money where their mouth is and donate to the cause. No taxing, or forcing individuals to give their hard earned money away if they don't want to. And those who have supported this cause can donate freely to a cause they believe in. However, the facts currently are that those individuals who support universal health care, liberals and democrats specifically, have historically given less money to charity than conservatives and republicans. Translation: Liberals are not as charitable as they talk.
In conclusion, perhaps this non-profit option would not have even surfaced had their not been such a backlash by those who oppose blindly supporting what Obama says. In one example, this is why opposing voices in politics works and why the founding fathers were inspired to higher ideals when they formed this nation.
Friday, August 14, 2009
The second school in the area is considering replacing their name with Sotomayor's. CBS 11 of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area reports reactions to the renaming as, "Overwhelmingly, the parents and the kids said we want Barack Obama and when you see those kids eyes, their eyes just started glowing, and even the parent's eyes were glowing just for the fact that their kid would one day go to the Barack Obama school."
Their eyes were glowing eh? Was it exposure to nuclear radiation or are they all posessed? What have B.O. and Sotomayor done? What deserves them the privelege of having things named after them. Granted schools are merely a propaganda epicenter for the liberal indoctrination for the next generation of Americans, so considering they are part of the same agenda I suppose it makes sense.
I propose naming a public rest area after Barack Obama or Sotomayor, or any other liberal member of Congress, because they make me sick to my stomach. Then I could have a comemmmorative place to crap, vomit, or both.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
So how is it that after they become president they say the stupidest things and seem to act like complete morons devoid of basic logic and reasoning?
For example, Barack Obama, regardless of opinion on policy, carries himself as a clear spoken individual (unlike his predecessor George W. Bush), has achieved the presidency at a young age, was a senator, and graduated from a prominent law school. Now, after being elected and in office for a few months, in attempt to sell people on a government run health care insurance program as a solution and a good idea, he uses this phrase in a town hall meeting:
"People say, well, how can a private company compete against the government? If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. Right? No, they are. I mean, it's the post office that's always having problems."
Is a statement like that supposed to help me feel that this government run program will be a success?! Would an intelligent individual give an example of another government program running in the red and having problems as proof that adding another government run problem is a good idea? Is using the example of a broken system to support your idea to fix a broken system a valid argument or the product of an intelligent person gone stupid? Not the sales pitch Billy Mays would have used I can tell you that.
I wonder if Obama is really that stupid or did the office of the president make him that stupid? George W. Bush is an endless catalog of moronic statements. Clinton had his moments as well. So why is it that the office of President, what should otherwise be viewed as a high and prestigious post, seems to be the moron factory?
Perhaps it is from being around Vice-Presidents who are already stupid and seem to fall into their jobs. I don't know, but I could sure use some help developing this theory that just might have legs.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
For me, the quote from Barack Obama was the perfect example of political double speak. The article reads, "Obama answered his critics indirectly. At his town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., he urged Americans to ignore those who try to "scare and mislead the American people," telling a cordial audience, "For all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary is if we do nothing."
In Obama's own words, he admonishes to ignore people who use scare tactics like "what is truly scary is if we do nothing."
So Obama is telling us to ignore Obama.... done!
Monday, August 10, 2009
In Salt Lake City, the current Mayor, Ralph Becker, is proposing an ordinance that would restrict pan handling only in certain area's and times of the day. My impression is that this ordinance would essentially make it illegal to be poor and beg in Salt Lake City. This Deseret News article quotes the following:
"As it is currently written, the ordinance would prohibit panhandling within 20 feet of sidewalk cafes, lines of people waiting to be admitted to a vehicle or place, street vendors, bus stops, entrances to some religious establishments and ATMs.
Panhandling also would be outlawed on buses and trains and in public transit hubs.
Under the proposed ordinance, it would be illegal for panhandlers to make false claims about being homeless, disabled, a veteran or a stranded out-of-towner.
Panhandlers also wouldn't be allowed to block traffic, impede a pedestrian's path or ask for money while walking "behind, ahead of, or alongside" someone.
Panhandling before sunrise or after sunset would be outlawed."
I am unsure how one would go about enforcing the portion of the ordinance making it illegal to pan handle under false claims as if false advertising laws come into play some how. Are they going to require a pan handling license in the future? How does one go about proving they are homeless or a stranded out-of-towner?
Potential issues as I see are this:
Pan handlers will be pushed into certain areas that meet this criteria. This could place an unfair concentration of pan handling out in front of particular properties dropping foot traffic, and land values as there could be an un-spoken zoning designation as being a pan handling "ok" zone. Under the current wording there would be very few places that are not by a bus stop or religious zone in Salt Lake. They might as well say no pan handling in Salt Lake downtown period under such a criteria.
Quite a bit less homeless individuals and pan handling going on making downtown a more comfortable place for those with an aversion to such individuals and practices. Restored reputation locally as a safer place to be at night.
Ultimately I wonder what effect this will have on the church. This ordinance comes around the nearing completion of the Church owned downtown refurbishment and does seem to carry with it the idea of a downtown Utopia being organized. But for me I can't help but wonder if this is an ordinance Christ would be behind? He always taught to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and house the homeless. Pushing away charity into the dark corners of the city might not have the effect the church is looking for. Since most consider Salt Lake City to be a sign to the world of what the Mormon Church stands for, justified or not, is this the image of compassion that the church has so long pushed to establish?
Also, is this an issue of rights? We are talking about public property and to say that someone doesn't have the right to walk beside another person simply because they are homeless makes a crime out of nothing criminal albeit undesirable. I know that those supporting this ordinance will turn things around to say that opposition to this ordinance somehow constitutes an endorsement of being homeless. Rather, the costs enforcing such an ordinance could better be spent (or not spent at all) fixing the problem rather than casting the "problem" or in this case "the human beings" aside. We can't make homelessness invisible and expect the problem to actually go away. Seems to me that an effort to help these individuals represents a higher law that not only helps to create or reinstate a tax payer and to help a human being feel human again, but does so in such a way that does not restrict their rights to exist. For me, this ordinance as it currently rests seems cold and un-Christ-like.