The Constitution – 230th Anniversary Edition

On September 17, 1787, the United States Constitution was signed and we became a new nation. Previous to this, we lived under the Articles of Confederation. These articles gave all power to each individual state, but none to the confederation. Without a federal government, issues like common defense, treaties, interstate commerce, and a common currency were not possible. Under the threats of economic collapse and other nations waiting to take over weak states, the Continental Congress gathered. They initially gathered to patch up the Articles of Confederation, but it was soon agreed upon to scrap them and start fresh. Six weeks later, the draft was completed and sent to committee to finish it.

Over the next few months, I’ll be discussing the Constitution, article by article. Others are also encouraged to write posts on the Constitution.

Today, we’ll look at the Preamble.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

1. We the People of the United States – this is the first nation in modern history created and approved by the people. No kings, lords, nor authoritarians imposed their will on the people.

2. In order to form a more perfect union – the Articles of Confederation failed to hold the individual states together. “Not worth a Continental” described the federal government.

3. establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare – herein lies the main purposes for the Constitution. Provide a federal judiciary, handle interstate commerce and disagreements, defense department, and PROMOTE general welfare.

Note that the Constitution and its Amendments constrain the federal government to a certain number of things it can do. The states and local communities are better able to handle most challenges, not as a one-size-fits-all federal program (most of which have grown out of control, are costly, and do not help individuals very well.

To promote general welfare is not the same as providing general welfare. To promote it means to open up the free markets, between states and with other nations. It means having a Federal government that does not overregulate anything and everything.

Also note that the Fed is to promote GENERAL welfare, not specific welfare. This opens up the question of why the Fed is involved in specific welfare issues like healthcare, retirement, education and welfare? Should the Fed be so deeply involved in these, or should they be left to communities and states? Such questions continue in Congress and statehouses, even though many of our federal programs are generations old.

As we look at the articles of the Constitution over the next several weeks, we’ll see exactly what the federal government is expected to do, and what things may be prohibited. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

If I Were President: Healthcare Edition

Today, we’ll discuss healthcare, since the Senate is debating their bill.

The Senate bill is similar to the House bill in many ways. Neither repeals Obamacare, but do repeal many of the mandates.

Four Senators, Paul, Cruz, Lee and Johnson oppose it so far, because the bill does nothing to reduce costs to people and employers. It is not a free market system, which we have not had in over fifty years.

If the following were added to the bill, I would find it acceptable:

First, allow insurance to be sold across state lines. This may be difficult to do, given the 10th amendment.

Second, allow Walmart, CVS, credit unions and other companies to offer insurance plans to their customers. With risk spread out over hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of customers, prices will drop. Just look at how prescription prices dropped from Walmart offering many for four bucks. It takes health insurance needs from employers, where people risk losing insurance when they lose a job.

Third, give a 2 year period for people with preexisting conditions to get insurance without a penalty. Then, every five years after that, have a three month open enrollment for preexistent conditions as a year of jubilee. In this way, those who choose not to get insurance until something serious occurs will not have that expensive monkey on their backs forever, but will pay a penalty for a few years. It gives them incentive to buy now, or take a risk of their own choice. And it will drive down costs.


Of course, a pure free market system would be awesome, but probably not attainable at this time.

How would you fix the Senate bill?



If I were president: foreign affairs edition

If I were president, I would do the following in regards to foreign affairs:

  1. Re-establish President George Washington’s insistence on no long term alliances, and no adventurism in the world. We are not the world’s police force.
  2. Get out of unnecessary wars and conflicts. This would include most of the Middle East. Reduce our 95 overseas bases to about 1/3 that number.
  3. Compromise with Russia. We get out of Syria and most of the Middle East, if they remain neutral towards Eastern European nations. I’d rather we were defending those who are clearly allies, than fighting thousand year old wars between nations run by tyrants and terrorists.
  4. North Korea: Placating NK no longer works, as it has in the past. Today they have a dozen nukes. A decade from now, NK could have 100 nukes, able to hit America. We must tell China that their past methods to control NK have not worked on Kim Jong Un. With the murders of an American and Kim Jong Un’s brother,, and continual efforts to test nukes and guided missiles, NK has shown itself belligerent and a clear and present danger to all its neighbors. We must tell China that either they must depose Kim Jong Un, or we will.
    1. If we must fight NK, the first thing to do after notifying South Korea and Japan, is to send a huge EMP hit on all of North Korea. With systems fried, most of their equipment, missiles, etc., will not work.Then we hit all of their military and government locations.
    2. With dialogue and agreement with China, we replace the government. I’d rather have a peaceful communist nation like Vietnam, than to continue having a crazy megalomaniac terrorizing the area.
  5. Build the wall. Whether electronic or actual wall, does not matter to me. We build it, not to keep good immigrants out, but to control entrance to terrorists and drug cartels.
    1. Create big doors for good immigrants to enter within. Especially encourage young families to enter. Do not give them welfare assistance. Let them work their way up the system, as did my great-grandparents, who came over a century ago from the Ukraine and became farmers in North Dakota.
    2. Require immigrants to being learning English and the concepts behind the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. If they someday wish to be good citizens, they must understand what makes America great (and it isn’t Donald Trump).
    3. Allow immigrants to replace the 50 million aborted babies we’ve had since the early 1970s, paying into Social Security and Medicare. Their numbers will prop up those programs, which currently are on the verge of bankruptcy.
  6. Be an Ensign to the Nations of Freedom and Liberty. George W Bush’s idea of forcing freedom onto other nations proved to be a failure. Barack Obama’s Arab Spring proved to be a failure. We must stop trying to impose freedom onto peoples who are not ready for it. Let them cause their own freedom, with us supplying the inspiration.
  7. Ronald Reagan stayed out of most wars. Yet, he inspired nations towards freedom. When nations prepared themselves for freedom, we were available to teach them how to use it best. We must do the same.Because of Reagan’s method, a billion people experienced freedom. Since then, new failed methods of intervention have enslaved hundreds of millions. Neo-conservatism has failed us, as have progressive interventions.

Such would be my beginning for Foreign Affairs.

How would you manage Foreign Affairs if you were president?

Dear Ivanka

Dear Ivanka,

You seem like a very intelligent woman. You are a successful businesswoman, mother, and now policy wonk.

For those of us who voted #NeverHillary and #NeverTrump, but are willing to give your Father a fair shake as president, we ask for your assistance on an important issue.

Please take President Trump’s Twitter account away from him. You are his daughter. I’ve heard he listens to you and your husband.

Yes, we need a president who will drain the swamp. However, we do not need a president that will refill the swamp with his own swill. While some of his tweets are mildly entertaining, most are making the important office of POTUS look like the “Cash me outside” girl episode from Dr Phil.

I see your father do competent things, like reducing regulations and nominating conservative judges, and I applaud him for these things. But when he threatens Comey or tweets some of his other outrageous and off the wall things he does, I wonder what are we doing with this kind of guy in the White House? How can I sleep at night, knowing he has his finger on the pulse of the entire world. Will he tweet something about some world leader that leads to war?

So, Ivanka, please do us all a favor and take away your Dad’s Twitter account. Our country hired him to do a job. No one hired him to be a crazy, senile old man that writes insane things while sitting on the toilet at 5 in the morning.



Book Review: Witness to the Martyrdom by Mark H. Taylor

Witness to the Martyrdom, by Mark H. Taylor (2nd Edition). Published  by Deseret Book.

Taylor, a great grandson of President John Taylor, shares the background to this book. He notes that a portion of John Taylor’s account of Joseph Smith’s murder floated around the family for generations. When a young family member was ready, a copy would be made for that person. Unfortunately, no one he knew had the complete version of the story of the martyrdom.

Taylor searched for years, and finally found a full version of his ancestor’s account. John Taylor wrote about the martyrdom in the mid 1850s while working for the Church in the Northeast United States. Willard Richards, the only other eye witness, had recently died. The Church Historian requested John Taylor to provide the account for the official record, which he complied with the help of others who were at Carthage at the time.

Fast forward a few years, John Taylor is back in Utah. The great British explorer and author, Sir Richard F. Burton, traveled to Utah in 1860 to get material to write his 1862 book, “City of the Saints.” He was eager to meet with John Taylor, knowing he was with Joseph Smith at the time of his death. On arriving at Salt Lake City, Burton spoke with some gentlemen about the Church and its history. Only after several minutes of discussion did Burton realize he was speaking with John Taylor.  Taylor spoke frequently with Burton during his stay, and offered to him a copy of his account of the martyrdom. Burton readily accepted this gift, and put it in the appendix of his finished book.

Mark H. Taylor was able to use this information to extract the full account and share it with his readers.

It is a very interesting account from John Taylor’s viewpoint. He begins by describing the political landscape of Illinois:

The political party were those who were of opposite politics to us. There were always two parties, the whigs and democrats, and we could not vote for one without offending the other, and it not unfrequently happened that candidates for office would place the issue of their election upon opposition to the “Mormons”, in order to gain political influence from religious prejudice.” (pg 26)

In some areas, anti-Mormons were so ubiquitous that Taylor quotes Governor Ford’s history of Illinois, noting, “In the county of Ogle they (anti-Mormons) were so numerous, strong, and well organized, that they could not be convicted for their crimes.”

John Taylor frequently referenced Ford’s writings to support his claims for the Mormons in Nauvoo and against those who opposed them. Still, Taylor exposes Governor Ford as either an idiot, who could not see the dangers awaiting Joseph Smith in Carthage, or as a willing shill for the enemies of the Church.

Taylor was involved as an intermediary between Governor Ford and the prisoners Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He notes the various vile people that frequented the meetings, including several excommunicated members, such as William Law. As one case was dismissed, Joseph and Hyrum were brought up immediately on charges of treason. Taylor notes that Ford promised to protect the Prophet and take him to Nauvoo with him, but let him anyway.

Two issues brought up that I was not aware of is that of the three companies of state militia in Carthage, Governor Ford took two with him to Nauvoo, leaving the murderous Carthage Greys behind to “protect” Joseph and Hyrum.  Second, after the murders were completed, a cannon was fired to notify the people in the area that the murders were completed. When Ford heard the cannon fire, he immediately left Nauvoo and returned to the  capitol. Either he knew what was going to happen, or one of his aides did.

Taylor writes with an indignant style towards those who were involved in the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, yet supports many of his statements from other sources, primarily Ford.

Living just a few hours away from Nauvoo and Carthage, I have the opportunity to visit frequently. To sit in the upstairs room of Carthage jail, see the door where John Taylor used a cane to bat down guns being shoved through the doorway, the floor upon which Hyrum fell silent, the bed that Taylor hid underneath when he was seriously wounded, and the window that Joseph fell out, are all made alive by reading John Taylor’s account.

Some may argue with John Taylor’s views regarding the rightness of destroying the printing press or other actions of Joseph Smith. But it is all semantics, when one considers a mob of hundreds, with the quiet support of a governor, had murder in their hearts and blood on their hands.

This volume makes the Martyrdom alive again. It is real. It is a story of heroes and villains, and we are blessed with an eye witness account of it. If you struggle with your testimony of modern prophets, this book will help you regain that burning in your bosom. You will find a friend in the apostle John Taylor, and pause again at the great work that was sealed with the blood of prophets.