Monday, October 12, 2009

Wish it was fall...

This is my favorite time of year. I love the fall, and always have. Nothing beats the feel of the first brisk breeze of the season after a long menacing summer, the changing leaves and colors, and the overall change of pace. It seems that life changes and transforms along with the season. At least that has been the way it has been with me. Fall has always been the season of change for me. There’s always some new phase that I am moving into, sometimes willingly, sometimes not.

Some of my favorite memories are associated with fall. In high school all my favorite bands would tour through Utah during the fall, so I would always find someway to hitch a ride from St. George up to Salt Lake and go with my friend Ben to see bands that we were into. Also, all my favorite shows that I played with in my own bands took place in the fall. With both my high school band, the Late Shakers, and my undergrad band, the Upstarts, it was our shows in the fall that were always the best and the most fun.

Still yet, all of my favorite albums are associated with the fall. Either they album came out then, or I just happened to just it then. My three all time favorite fall albums are 1) the Slackers "the Question", 2) Hepcat "Out of nowhere" and 3) the Toasters "Hard Band for dead." (Which is impressive for the Toasters to make it into the top three, because they certainly aren't in my top 3 as far as favorite bands goes. But hey, in the fall of my 9th grade year man, that was my favorite album.)

However, I must say, it’s just not the same out here in California. It doesn’t get colder, it doesn’t rain and thunder, leaves don’t change colors—the whole fall feel is missing man. It’s just one more reason to make it back to Utah as soon as we can.

This is a page of leaves that I collected back when I was on my mission in Cleveland Ohio from 2000 to 2002. The falls out there were amazing. The colors of the leaves are way brighter than leaves in Utah and there's way more of them. They are maple trees. But Utah tends to make up for it by the amazing mountain-sides that become painted with fall colors. Wow, this is sounding like I am writing a 8th grade English paper on "why I like fall." HA! At the risk of sounding any more sentimental than I already have, I will leave it right here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"A Wife and Two Kids": Eden Turns Two-Weeks Old

Well, Eden is now 2-weeks old, so it’s about time that I show her off. She’s a precious little creature, she is! It’s still kind of hard to believe that I am the father of two children now. Growing up you see all of those movies that have the famous line, usually uttered by some down on his luck schmo that is pleading with his boss not to fire him, or some desperate guy pleading for his life, “please Johnny, I gotta wife and two kids at home!!” I remember thinking how old a guy must have to be in order to have a wife and two kids. I figured the age had to be about 40. Well, here I am at 28. Not too bad. Still, I don’t feel overly old. Kids have the tendency to make you feel younger, at times, because they can remind you how to have fun.

Eden is a great new addition to the family. She has brought a peaceful spirit into our home, which is helpful because it acts as a counterweight to Auri’s boundless spirit. Another advantage of newborns is that it tends to make wives more content. They can’t seem to get enough of the cuteness and the innocence. And I must admit, husbands can’t either. Happy two-weeks Eden.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Spirit of '76!

Few other writings in the history of man have been as beautifully constructed and have had as great an impact on mankind as the Declaration of Independence. As powerful and as inspired as Moses’ “Let my people go”, the Declaration of Independence stands as the definitive statement of man’s right to be free. More than a mere set of political demands, the Declaration sets forth the rights that are inherent to all mankind, which are given them by their Creator, which only man in his scheming can take from them. In addition, the Declaration establishes the circumstances under which a revolution is morally justified. Here is the first part of the Declaration—read for yourself the beauty of the language and principles it contains:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…”

It is easy for us to look at this document now and fail to appreciate the freedoms that have sprung from its text--which are quite literally responsible for our day-to-day happiness. Indeed, the Fourth of July is a day that deserves celebration.
In a letter to his Wife Abigail Adams, John Adams prophesied of this day that it would be “the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.”

He continued, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” -John Adams- Philadelphia July 3rd, 1776

While the rights declared in the Declaration are indeed rights inherent in all mankind, and while these rights are protected by the Constitution, these rights are nonetheless not guaranteed. I don’t think any of us realize how fragile our freedoms truly are. I believe we are at all times one generation away from loosing them. If we cease to guard them jealously and to do our civic duty to protect them, we will loose them. In short, we must do much more than just celebrate them.

Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were named to a committee of five to prepare a Declaration of Independence. Jefferson (standing) did the actual writing, convinced by Adams that he was the best man for the job.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birthday Wishes for My Wife

Today was Kylee's 24th Birthday.  She says she feels old, but I would kill to be 24 again.  I will be 28 soon...yikes.
It wasn't the ideal birthday for her this year; Sunday Birthdays aren't always the funnest--plus being pregnant and having a 2 year old that has learned the art of throwing a tantrum can throw a damper on the party.  
However, we went out to the beach today after church to watch the water and ended up having a really good time.  
Happy Birthday Kylee! You're a great mom and a great wife.  We have a lot of birthdays ahead of us to enjoy together. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Aggrolites: "IV"

In keeping with my tradition of writing on topics that very few people will be interested in, I decided after buying a new record the other day to write a short review for it. 

For some people, myself included, the best years for Reggae music followed right after the Ska and Rocksteady era in Jamaica from 1969 to 1974.  The next best thing, of course, are those bands that make Reggae music that is in the spirit of those early years—bands like the Aggrolites. 

When you listen to an Aggrolites album, you are listening to the product of years of studying Jamaican music, and it shows. Also very clear in the Aggrolites sound is their love for early American Soul and R&B.  Take these influences and add the Aggrolites characteristic grit and rawness, and you have what they call “dirty Reggae.”  It’s soulful, it’s raw, its sincere, and most of all, it grooves.

However, all style aside, the fact is the Aggrolites are fantastic song writers. The Aggrolites new album “IV” is 21 tracks of great song writing.  If you like classy melodies and classy lyrics, you will like most of these songs.  The song writing on the album is most reminiscent of the early American Soul tradition. Like the kind of lyrics that came out of Motown, they are not very cerebral, but there is a classiness and a charm to them that gives them a timeless appeal. Also, the melodies are distinctly not modern. While they are original, there is also something familiar about them. “Precious and Few” and “Ever Want to Try” are good examples of this. 

In addition, “IV” also displays a divers showing of moods and grooves. Songs like “Fire Cracker” and “Wild Time” carry the energy of an old James Brown tune, while “Tonight” and “It’s Gonna Be Okay” carry the vocal smoothness of the great Jamaican singing trios like the Heptones and the Pioneers.

All and all this album 21 tracks of solid music.  While I wouldn’t say that there was one stand out track on the album, my favorites are the smoother songs: “Tear that falls”, “Precious and Few”, and “It’s Gonna Be Okay” are definitely my favorites.

Another great song on the album is “Feelin’ Alright.” If one song epitomizes the album, it’s this song. The song tells the story of the band, including the fairly recent loss of their former bassist, the late and great Dave Fuentes (also the former bassist for Hepcat).  In the song Jesse Wagner (singer) asks the question “Whatever happened to feel good music?”  If you ask me, there is still such a thing as “feel good music” and you can find it in the Aggrolites. 

P.S. Incidentally, I have a new Reggae song of my own up on my myspace page if you are interested called "I would." It's dedicated to my little family.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Constitution: Sacred and Inspired

 “[The adoption of the Constitution] will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.” (George Washington) 

President Obama announced his nominee to take Justice Souter’s place on the Supreme Court today. As everyone expected he picked a Latino woman. Now, it just may be that Sonia Sotomayor just happens to be the most qualified individual for the job, but it is far more likely that the President’s decision was merely a display of exactly how he views the Constitution; instead of viewing the Constitution as a sacred, complete document, he views it as merely a provisional document, one that is open for modern interpretation, adaptive to times and circumstances. Hence, a Latino woman, with her “ability” to take into account the interests of both woman and the millions of newly arrived Latinos is right for the job in these “modern times.”  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with advocating woman's or Latino issues, but the Supreme Court is NOT the appropriate, Constitutionally sanctioned forum to do that. That is the job of your elected officials, not your Supreme Court. 

The nomination of Sotomayor today re-ignites the familiar arguments of how the Constitution should be applied by the Supreme Court.

To Obama and to Sotomayor, we are not sovereign citizens of the United States who have divinely inspired Constitutional rights, we are “citizens of the world” who have rationally developed human rights, which the Constitution must accommodate as US citizens become "more enlightened".  Thus, the Constitution is a work in progress that should be flexible and mirror changing social and moral climates.  This is often referred to as the idea of the “living Constitution.” It has an ironic name, for those that believe in it are effectively killing the Constitution.

For those of us “strict constructionists” who believe that the Constitution must be strictly applied and interpreted according the original intent of the founding fathers, and that any change to the Constitution MUST come in the form of an amendment, which requires two thirds majority in the House and the Senate or a two thirds vote by the states, the Constitution is NOT a provisional document to be interpreted liberally at the discretion of a “wise and learned judge.” The people we have had on the Supreme Court are intellectual peons compared to the founders, and any attempt to even begin to second-guess the vast wisdom of the founders on a premise that modern society is becoming more enlightened is really quite comical—quite comical indeed.

This is what those of use who hold the Constitution sacred believe. However, beyond what I find to be logical or rational, I believe the Constitution should not be be subject to modification and interpolation also because,  as a Latter-Day Saint, the scriptures and modern day prophets and apostles inform us that the Constitution was a divinely inspired document that should not be meddled with. 

The Lord said in Doctrine and Covenants, 101:80: “According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

He also stated in Doctrine and Covenants, 98:5-7: “And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” 

Yes, anything more or less than what was inspired by the founders in the Constitution “cometh of evil”.  As explained, this is not to say that there should not be amendments—but there is a process for amendments, a process which we have long since abandoned in this country, and we are now seeing the evil that is coming from that abandonment.

So you see, the debate is not merely logical, rational or political—the debate should really come down to whether you believe the founders were inspired by a living God or whether you do not.

Joseph Smith Declared: “The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.”

And J. Reuben Clark said: “…that statement of the Lord, ‘I have established the Constitution of this land,’ puts the Constitution of the United States in the position in which it would be if it were written in this book of Doctrine and Covenants itself. This makes the Constitution the word of the Lord to us.” (Conference Report, p. 90. April 1935.)

Being then that the Constitution is the word of the Lord, would we truly dare say that it is not adequate for modern society, that it is somehow outdated or antiquated, so much so that we must pick not the most qualified person to apply the Constitution, but the person in the the best position to give it a modern interpretation befitting of a modern political climate (i.e. a Latino woman sensitive to woman and Latino political interests)?

President George Albert Smith sternly warned of such handling of the Constitution in 1948 when he said: “Now, there are many things that I might talk about, tonight, but I want to raise my voice to you and say, our Heavenly Father raised up the very men that framed the Constitution of the United States....Yet, there are those who go around whispering and talking and saying, 'Let us change this thing.' I am saying to you that to me the Constitution of the United States of America is just as much from my Heavenly Father as the Ten Commandments. When that is my feeling, I am not going to go very far away from the Constitution, and I am going to try to keep it where the Lord started it, and not let anti-Christs come into this country that began because people wanted to serve God.” (Conference Report, April 1948.)

Yes, it is our duty not only as Americans but also as Latter Day Saints to raise the warning voice against judicial activism and any push in the direction of viewing the Constitution as merely a provisional document, one open for interpretation to serve modern, short term political expediencies.  I am writing with such vigor because I truly believe it is our duty, those many of us in the church that fully understand the importance of the Constitution, to proclaim its importance with a loud voice and to demand that it remain pure.  

You may be sympathetic to President Obama’s policies or philosophies, but be honest with yourself and consider whether we should trust the wisdom of modern “forward thinking” political elites because they align with our political views or whether we should trust the Lord and know that the Constitution is a sacred and inspired document that will protect our freedoms and liberties far better than they can.  If we truly honor our liberties it will be well for us to proclaim that anything more or less than what is in the Constitution, or which does not come by way of a valid and proper amendment, will “cometh of evil”.

(All quotes came from

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Behold the Face of your Media!

"It's anti-government, anti-CNN...since it's promoted by the 'right wing' conservative network, Fox...and since I can't really hear anymore, and since this isn't really family viewing, I'll toss it back to you kerrah."
-CNN Reporter at the Tea Party Rallies-

For those of you that doubt the power, scope, and aim of the mass media, please view the following. If there is any of you that watch this and say to yourself "Yes but she is only ONE reporter, they don't all act as irresponsible and overtly biased as she did", I would merely respond everyone of those big named broadcasters, Brian Williams and the whole lot, by and large does the same thing day in a and day out, just more subtly.
When you watch the media, you are watching it through a very crafted, manipulated lens. If you watch someone like Brian Williams, for example, one who we all count on for objective news reporting, it isn't always the words that he says that reveal his leftist views; it's the body language, it's careful use of adjectives, it's the tone in the voice, it's the way the shots or sound clips are edited together, its the camera angles, and even the lighting; in short, it's the subtlety of some of the most masterful propaganda artists the world has ever seen. I have been watching listening, and reading the words of these "journalists" for long enough now to know how and what they think. Yesterday's CNN reporter's meltdown was merely an outward display of what is on the mind of almost your entire media. Yeah, yeah, Fox News, whatever. I don't even watch Fox News. All Fox is is the ONE quasi conservative mass media outlet standing in the shadow of the well oiled, left wing propaganda machine. Well go ahead, see for yourselves...

So my first question is, what exactly is not "family viewing" about the rally? A man holding his two year old baby talking about, GASP! President Lincoln! Close the ears of those kiddies moms and dads!
Then she makes the excuse that she "can't hear"--I didn't hear any reporters complaining in all of the Obam-euphoria; nor did I hear them complaining when they camped out daily to let the No on Prop 8 propesters take up day after day of airtime here in California. You know how they reported these demonstrations here in California, as a brief FOOTNOTE that lasted, I kid you not, about 20 seconds before moving onto the WEATHER. Yet when all of the No on Prop 8 rallies were going on, they were right down in the thick of it, day and night, exuberant as could be. You should have seen the elated looks on their faces and the elevated tones of their voices. You would have thought they were at had just touched the hem of Obama himself. I am telling you, we are headed for trouble with these people at the helm. What's more is, who is responsible for putting these people in check? Unlike the federal government, the media has not checks and balances. The media has become quite literally an unchecked power unto itself, and in far too many ways, more powerful than the federal government itself. We are all essentially the captives to the tyranny of the media.
Alright, that's all I can stand to say for now. Nothing winds my clock more than the media. You probably won't hear from me for a while--I will officially be immersed in finals for almost the next month.
Till then,
keep your ears to the ground

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Time to Dissent

To everything there is a Season- A Time to support, a time to dissent. Today was the latter. I highly endorse the protests that took place today. All I can say is that it is about time people turned off the X-Box, cancelled the tee-time, and raised a voice of opposition. One good thing about the events that have been unfolding at President Obama's hand is that perhaps conservatives, independents and moderates will have something to unite around again as they did by the end of the Carter years.
The real problem for the conservative movement, in particular, has been that two consecutive republican presidents fooled most self proclaimed conservatives into thinking that they were actually represented by them, when in truth, the Bushes represented very little but their own dynasty. The Bushes took the reigns of a massive conservative base and squandered it, divided it, and ruined it. Yes, the house of conservatism is so fragmented now, that it really might take what is currently happening to our country to unite us again, and do so around fundamental principles. I don't know though; many, like myself, have divorced themselves so thoroughly from the neo-conservatism of men like Bill Kristo and John McCain, that its hard to see how all conservatives could agree on a coherent platform again.
Regardless, however, I see the events of today as by and large very positive. It gives me reassurance that there are some patriots still out there that will be willing to dissent to the massive government and media takeover of our republic.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Elder Holland's Easter Message

I know that Easter is "over" now, but I wanted to post this video the church put together from Elder Holland's talk from General Conference. This was a great talk. Everybody has a favorite Apostle or two and Elder Holland is one of mine. There's nothing wrong with having a favorite Apostle is there? It's not like I'm collecting their trading cards and swapping them with the neighborhood kids. Anyways, although I wish they used different footage behind his talk, this video is still pretty good.
He is risen!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Can I get a witness?!

For those of you that don't know, I have four older brothers. Anyway, my oldest brother Jason, whom I have a great deal of respect for, has recently started a blog that I would like to announce, where you can find much wiser political writings than mine. You can find him at:
His first official non-introductory post "Dollars and No Sense" adds a witnessing voice to my last post, "The Specter of Global Governance." Check it out!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Specter of Global Governance

For an introduction to this post I’d like to start with one of George Washington’s many great statements. It is a belief that sadly, too many Americans no longer accept:
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
I have been watching events unfold over the last few months involving our government and our future as a nation. I have endeavored not to jump to conclusions and make knee jerk reactions; however, I can no longer ignore the writing on the wall. I can’t help but be alarmed at many of the developments that have been unfolding. I will not be able to elaborate on all of them here and now, but there is one development in particular that I will address very quickly.
Due to the fast approaching board game status of our currency caused in part by over printing, the Chinese have opined that the US dollar should no longer be considered the reserve currency. In addition, others have called for the creation of a global currency. This last week at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Treasury Secretary Geithner, in answer to a question posed by investment banker Roger Altman in regard to the adoption of such a currency gave what should be to all Americans an alarming response. The conversation is as follows:
ALTMAN: Let me just follow that up for one second. A number — I haven't read the governor's essay, either, but a slew of news reports interpreted his comments to suggest that the world needs a super reserve currency, and that the dollar, on some gradual basis, ought to be replaced in favor of that. And I wasn't entirely clear what your response was.
GEITHNER: Well, as I said, I haven't read his proposal, but I thought the initial reaction was sort of ahead of the details of the proposal I saw. The only thing concrete I saw was a reference to expanding the use of the SDR, but I look forward to reading his figures. As I said, I have tremendous respect for him. He's a really thoughtful, pragmatic guy, and he has a great record of credibility in China as a whole, so anything he's — he's thinking about deserves some consideration.


Before I address Geithner’s statement I will give what I see as the context behind it.
This age of globalization we live in has perhaps done more for the opportunity of the creation of global government than any other movement in world history. We have created the UN and NATO in the name of addressing global concerns and national and regional conflicts. We have created the WTO and the IMF to address global economic concerns, promote modernization in developing countries, and to manipulate global politics by means of economic incentives. We have also created complex trade agreements in the form of NAFTA, CAFTA, and AIPAC, in the name of so-called “free trade” to promote economic liberalization and the free movement of goods and peoples across boarders. In addition, we have also pushed for global tribunals on issues of “global warming” through initiatives like the kyoto protocols. This is just to name a few of the obvious examples of global government.
In all of this euphoria of creating more and more government, the rights and liberties of man are ever being placed in fewer and fewer hands. To what end to can we expect the creation of all this new government take us? Will it bring us more liberty? Will it bring us more security? Those should, after all, be the two central aims of any form of government. I can't give a good discussion on the balance between liberty and security here, but suffice it so say, for now, that it is indeed doubtful that our insistent moves toward global government will bring us either liberty or security. Can we really think that some nebulous bureaucracy made up of various nations and corporations, convening in Paris will have the best interest of our liberties at heart? And can we suppose that any such governing body will be benign, peaceful, and “democratic”? Nay! Those of us who know better know that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
No matter how hard the economic crisis becomes, America must NOT give in to the siren song of massive government, either here within our own boarders or jointly, colluding with other nations. We must remain sovereign in every respect. We must remain independent; we must remain free.
What do these concerns for global government have to with Geithner’s statement about entertaining the idea of a global currency? The answer is that it has everything to do with the concerns for global government. The fact that our own government is will to even entertain the idea, frankly, scares the hell out of me. It has been bad enough that the last 20 years of “free trade” has bound us hand and foot in debt and dependency to the nations of the world, our current government doesn’t even seem to bat an eye at the thought of further subjugating us to the fate of the rest of world.
I am a firm believer that, in this crisis, each nation has the ultimate burden of getting its own house in order. This is not to say there should be no cooperation, but integration is wholly separate matter. But even assuming that some “temporary” form of global integration is necessary to whether this storm, can we really expect such a thing to be temporary? Can we not expect those at the top of such a power structure to let go of that power once it is handed to them?
The creation of a global currency will be just one more step towards global government. This mischief will not end at the creation of a currency—it will end with nothing less than global government. Every American concerned with their freedom should decry even the very thought conceived by our own Secretary of the Treasury, a post once held by the great Alexander Hamilton—a thought that is no doubt shared among the entire Obama Administration.
However, if nothing else—even if you think that the possibility of a global government is hogwash, you should still be concerned that our government is entertaining the idea to set aside our own heritage and our own sovereignty, and abandon our currency. Should we ever do so, we will have proved once and for all that we are truly no longer worthy to bear the slogan “In God We Trust” on our currency, but must in truth admit it is really “In Government We Trust.”
Should the day come where our government accepts such an alternative, I would hope that we would be willing to rise up against such a scheme.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Auri Turns Two!

Well, I can’t believe that it has already been two years, but Auri turned two years old today! Kylee and I always talk about how impossible it is to picture our lives without her. Before you have children it is hard to picture your life with them, then once you have them you can’t imagine life without them. This doesn’t just pertain to lifestyle. Sure, before you have kids you have much more recreational time and more spending money. But these trivial conveniences don’t hold a candle to the joy a child can bring into your life.
I honestly don’t know what I would do without Auri. While Kylee is the love of my life, Auri is the light of my life. Without her, this world would already have drained me. When you have a child, it is like living life all over again. All of the things that have become so mundane and that you take for granted can be experienced all over again. It’s like you have a new tour guide in life, one that is excited to see just about anything. Suddenly places that have become unappealing and things that have become boring, or even a drag become new again. Something as simple as chewing a piece of bubble gum becomes a pleasure again, as you see the absolute glee on your little one’s face when you hand them a piece. Something as banal as seeing the moon at night is interesting again once your little one points up in the sky and exclaims “moon!” It really is quite a beautiful thing.
But even on a more personal level, there is just something about Auri. I can’t help but feel in her a kindred spirit. She really is a child after my own heart. We understand each other on some strange fundamental level. It’s really hard to describe. Auri and I also have similar interests. Her two favorite things are books and music and so are mine. Of course, she is also pretty obsessed with watching “shows”, but all of her favorite shows center around music. Her favorite movie right now is Sleeping Beauty which means her favorite song right now is the Sleeping Beauty theme “Once upon a Dream.” In fact, she loves it so much that she woke us up at 4:13 A.M. the other morning singing it at the top of her lungs. I thought I was dreaming that she was singing it, but eventually I woke up and realized that she was really singing it. I went into her little room/closet, she was rustling around wide awake just singing. She’s crazy. I love her for that though. I have a hard time not encouraging her craziness.
So yes, Auri has given us two very joyful years so far; but with Auri’s boundless spirit, we know that it’s only going to snowball from here. And now that we have another one on the way, I am pretty excited to see what kind of soul we will end up with next.

Auri woke up first thing and asked for pancakes, so mom made her special birthday kind.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hope #4: Hope for a traditional American foreign policy

Okay, this one is a little long, but it’s a topic that needs a lot of explanation. Hope #4 for President Obama is that he will seek a traditional American foreign policy of neutrality and non-intervention unless our vital national interests or national security are inherently connected. What does this mean? This means no more world policing and no more state building! Under Clinton our policy was one of policing the world; Under Bush our policy was one of reforming the world. When the President puts his hand on the Bible for the oath of office, he swears to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. He does not put his hand on that Bible to swear to uphold any other nation than our own, and he certainly doesn’t swear to spread democracy throughout the world. As preferable as it would be to see democracy pull down and end all tyranny, it is not the job of this nation to spend ourselves into trillions of dollars of debt (mostly owed to foreign nations) and sacrifice the blood of our best and bravest sons on the battlefield to “make the world safe for democracy.”

You may say, “but this isn’t our foreign policy is it?” Let President Bush answer that question: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” This may seem harmless, but is it? To understand this policy you have to be familiar with an idea called “the democratic peace theory.” This has gained popularity in recent years, but has no historical support. What it claims, in a nutshell, is that democracy is inherently peaceful, and that democracies do not fight other democracies. Therefore, the theory states, if you make all nations in the world a democracy, there will be world peace. The basis for invading Iraq was built on this theory. The belief was that if we could establish a democracy in Iraq that Iraq would become an instant friend to all Western Democracies, and moreover, that democracy would spread throughout the rest of the Middle East. Not have we seen so much utopian fervor in an ideology since Marxist socialism’s claim that socialism would lead to world peace. Unfortunately, as with all utopian ideas, they always work better on paper than they do once placed up against the natural forces of history, culture, religion, and human nature. And unfortunately, like other utopian ideals of its kind, it takes far more violence to bring about the utopia than is experienced in the absence of the utopia itself.

Some have falsely branded the Bush foreign policy as “conservative”. However, the policy, in truth, is the antithesis of conservatism. As a conservative, the very comparison makes my skin crawl.

I don’t believe that that President Obama will continue the Bush Administration’s neo-conservative experiment. After all, he did vote against the invasion of Iraq. However, I don’t believe he did so on a healthy skepticism of state-building. President Obama falls in line more with the Clinton police state model for America—that our role as a nation is basically to be the muscle behind the UN. This is equally as foolhardy as the Bush team policy. I truly hope that President Obama doesn’t fall into this category, but with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, herself quite hawkish, it seems very likely.

What should our foreign policy look like then? Former Conservative Senator Robert Taft, who almost beat Eisenhower for the 1952 Republican Nomination, gave a very great prescription in his 1951 book “A Foreign Policy for Americans”.
“War should never be undertaken or seriously risked except to protect American liberty. Our traditional policy of neutrality and non-interference with other nations was based on the principle that this policy was the best way to avoid disputes with other nations and to maintain the liberty of this country without war...Nor do I believe we can justify war by our natural desire to bring freedom to others throughout the world, although it is perfectly proper to encourage and promote freedom."

Yes, it is proper to encourage and promote freedom abroad, but as Taft is saying here, we can and should do that without getting involved in foreign conflicts. In fact, that is part of what it means to be John Winthrop’s “Shining City on the Hill.” We should always be the first to promote freedom, but we should not do so with the sword.

Don't be mistaken. I'm not advocating of policy where we never go to war. What I am advocating is that we use all available means so as to make war our last option. The world is a chessboard, and America must always endeavor to be the Queen. We do this by having the best military in the world, by having a shrewd President and foreign policy team, exercising skilled diplomacy, and by using our economy strategically. The key is to projecting a temperament that says to the world “Don’t tread on me.” This is the thought that I will close on.

Among some of our early revolutionary flags was one that had a snake in the center on a yellow background and which read, “Don’t Tread on Me.” This flag was an adaption from Benjamin Franklin’s wood carving of a snake cut into eight pieces representing eight early colonies. Benjamin Franklin later described in an essay what he believed to be the representative significance of the snake.
“I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretentions of quarrelling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenceless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defence, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?” –Benjamin Franklin-

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

List of "Hopes" For President Obama

The inauguration that took place recently truly was an event for the ages. It has been a long time coming for one of the oldest classes of American people to have an American President rise from their ranks. Our Pilgrim ancestors arrived in 1607 in Virginia and not long after in 1619, our African ancestors began arriving. It is only natural that we have a president that represents this part of our heritage. However, President Obama has much more to do than to merely make history. He has an enormous task ahead of him. The hopes of all Americans, not just certain groups, are relying on him for leadership. And since “hope” has been one of President Obama’s major themes, I have a short list of “hopes” for the Obama Administration that I will post incrementally over the coming days. Here are a few to start:

Hope #1: That President Obama will not seek to solve our economic problems by putting irreversible policies or permanent government institutions in place in order to do so. Whatever policies he chooses, may they be derived from the past experience of our nation, consistent with the constitution, and not derived from the uncharted territory of abstract theory cooked up by technocrats, statists, and leftists.

Hope #2: That President Obama will not continue the ominous trend of governmental growth that we have seen under the Bush Administration. It is impossible to overstate the dangers of too large a federal government. When more and more power drains out of state governments and into the federal government, as sure as the law of cause and effect, you can expect a loss of personal freedom and a weakened national character. Here is a quote by Ezra Taft Benson (former LDS Prophet) from General Conference in 1958. If I could, I would have it printed on leaflets and dropped from airplanes in every city in America. “It is high time that we awakened to the dangers of excessive government in business and agriculture. It is time we realized the perils of too great a centralization of power, and too much dependence on public agencies.” Why is the drain of power out of state government and into the federal government so dangerous? President Benson continued, “Once power is concentrated, even for helpful purposes, it is all there, in one package, where it can be grabbed by those who may not be helpful in its use.” keep in mine, this was in 1958. Just think how much the government has grown since then. So my hope for Obama is that he will not seek to concentrate power in Washington, but diffuse power as is proper throughout the several states as the founders intended to be, and that he will keep the federal government's hands out of areas that the constitution intended to be matters for state governments such as education, health care, safety, moral issues, ect.

Hope #3: That President Obama will seek a policy of fair trade as opposed to the current policy of so-called “free” trade that has been sold to the American people like a can of snake oil. While it may be too late for the once great American auto industry and most other American industry, what little industry we have left we must endeavor to save and what industry we have lost we must endeavor to get back. The national security, sovereignty, and economic stability of our nation depend on it.

List to be continued

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wolf Cries Boy

If there was one frivolous wish that I could have granted it would be that I could have a good chunk of time set aside to work on projects with each one of my old friends.  Whether it be music, short films, or whatever, I wish I had the time to spend with friends collaborating.  One such time that I actually got to do this was was with my buddy Spencer when I first got home off of my mission.  It was then in the summer of 2002 that Wolf Cries Boy was formed.  With a keyboard that I was borrowing from my friend Scott and a guitar that I had recently bought by trading in my student saxophone, Spencer and I collaborated on a total of about 4 songs together.  It was summer and the only thing we had to worry about was our telemarketing job where we basically got paid to prank call.  It was a short lived music project, but we managed to make a couple of recordings which I will one day make a myspace page for.  They were just recorded on my four track, but they sound a lot better than what you will hear below.  I forgot that these videos even existed until Spencer sent them to me recently.  I was pleasently surprised. It took me back to simpler, more care free times.  When I come across more care free times again I hope to collaborate with some of my friends again.  Dave has been bugging me about putting together a little duo called "Them Dandy Boys" where I will play guitar and he will play the harmonica.  He has in mind that our first album will be "Them Dandy Boys Sing the Hymns."  I promised him we will do it someday.  I hope it wasn't an empty promise...

This first song was called Via Telepathy

This one was called "When Child Met Gnome". It was our hit single.