About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

Secret combinations: from the military-industrial complex to the digital-intelligence complex

A little more than 60 years ago, President Eisenhower, as he prepared to leave office, gave what has proven to be his most enduring and well-known speech:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Recent scholarship has confirmed that Ike saw this as one of his most important speeches ever:

We should be clear what Ike was concerned about. He knew that the United States, with its growing economy and growing needs for defense, would need private businesses to help build weapons. What he was concerned about was that these companies would promote war or other military priorities so they could improve their profits. These companies would hire lobbyists to encourage members of Congress to direct business their way. Ike was worried about crony capitalism, the use of government money to promote private businesses.

Sixty years later, it is easy to see that Ike’s warning has come true. Almost nobody reading this believes in a completely pacifistic U.S. foreign policy. But I hope most people reading this can see that U.S. defense should concentrate on defending the U.S. borders. In the last 60 years, and especially the last 20 years, U.S. foreign policy has increasingly promoted wars in foreign lands (Iraq, Lybia, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc) far from our borders. Some of those actions may have been justified (I am thinking about Afghanistan after 9/11), but why is the U.S. military spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year fighting wars far from American shores? Is it reasonable to believe that the military-industrial complex is truly the source of the constant need to find new enemies abroad? Are these wars really about companies paying off politicians so these companies can make more money?

As this article points out, we have a new secret combination to worry about in 2021: the digital-intelligence complex.

Continue reading

Lockdowns don’t work: comparing Florida and California

The most urgent assault on our liberty and the most dangerous attack on human health in decades has taken place in the last year, and it is incumbent on latter-day Saints to speak out against this human-caused disaster. Billions of people have lost freedom — perhaps forever — and hundreds of millions more have suffered depression, anxiety and massive losses in income, all because a few power-hungry politicians imposed ruthless lockdowns throughout the world.

One of the saddest things about the tragedy of the lockdowns is that they simply don’t work. The most respected scientists have known this for decades, which is why there were no lockdowns during past pandemics that were even more deadly than what we are living through today.

But yet, our media today is so dishonest that the public perception remains: lockdowns good, no lockdowns bad.

This post will deal specifically with a comparison between two states, Florida and California. In Florida, the schools are open and people go to the beach and concerts and restaurants. There is no mask mandate in Florida, while two masks are apparently de rigueur in the People’s Republic of California. The heroic Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has actually followed the science, as opposed to his counterpart in California, the authoritarian fool Gavin Newsom, who has sought to take away every possible freedom while refusing to follow his own bizarre rules. The good news is that Newsom is facing a likely recall election, and DeSantis has a 54 percent approval rating.

It turns out that Florida (no lockdown) and California (full lockdown) have had about the same results. Yes, I know most of the media (with some exceptions) has not been reporting this, but it is true, as I will show in this post.

Continue reading

Five women who are witnesses of the physical Book of Mormon plates

As we study Church history this year, I wanted to make sure readers had seen this post from Book of Mormon Central that describes the history of five women who were witnesses of the golden plates that were translated to bring us the Book of Mormon. Did you know that Lucy Harris, usually seen as a villain in the story of the translation of the Book of Mormon, was also a witness of the physical plates? I did not know that. Worth reading.

Great new web site about the Family: A Proclamation to the World

This web site is really quite well done. It is dedicated to the Church’s Proclamation on the family.

Did you know that Pres. Hinckley said this before introducing the Proclamation on Sept. 23, 1995?

With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this, we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this Church have repeatedly stated throughout its history (Hinckley, 1995).

This statement helps me understand the importance of the Proclamation and why it is so crucial to our times, when sophistry, deception and the stains of the world appear to be increasing every month.

The new web site breaks down the Proclamation paragraph by paragraph, and line by line, with every sentence annotated with hundreds of ancient and modern scriptures, social science research and stories that support the principles of the Proclamation.     The web site also includes: 

  • “Relatable” articles.        
  • The “Raising Family” podcast.      
  • “Ask the Y” street team interviews.       
  • A free scripture insert.     
  • History, lesson ideas and study aids.    
  • “People of the Proclamation” featuring original stories of people who live and love the principles of the proclamation.

Check out the new web site at thefamilyproclamation.org

Peer-reviewed study questions effectiveness of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders

This study by Stanford researchers questions the effectiveness of locks and stay-at-home orders in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers write:

“In summary, we fail to find strong evidence supporting a role for more restrictive NPIs (lockdowns) in the control of COVID in early 2020. We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures. The data cannot fully exclude the possibility of some benefits. However, even if they exist, these benefits may not match the numerous harms of these aggressive measures. More targeted public health interventions that more effectively reduce transmissions may be important for future epidemic control without the harms of highly restrictive measures.”

The study was co-authored by Dr. Eran Bendavid, Professor John P.A. Ioannidis, Christopher Oh, and Jay Bhattacharya. The lead author, Dr. Bendavid, is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Stanford. The other authors collectively work in departments including the Department of Epidemiology and the Department of Biomedical Data Science.

The group studied the effects of lockdowns in 10 countries: England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United States, which had more restrictive measures, were compared to Sweden and South Korea, where measures were less restrictive. After they accounted for the less restrictive lockdowns in South Korea and Sweden, they found “no clear, significant beneficial effect of more restrictive (lockdowns) on case growth in any country.”

As I wrote in this post:

All Latter-day Saints should speak out against the deadly and authoritarian lockdowns that have been instituted by out of control governments around the world. Not only have these lockdowns affected religious and others freedoms, but they are causing millions of unnecessary deaths, destroying the economy worldwide, bankrupting businesses and causing an increase in suicide, depression, anxiety and a myriad of other health disorders.

Lockdowns should be voluntary. People who feel they are at risk should stay home. Mask wearing… should also be voluntary. Governments that impose lockdowns and mask mandates are acting in an authoritarian manner. The purpose of this post is to increase pressure on society to end mandatory lockdowns and mask mandates so that healthy people can return to normal lives. Note that some protections should be taken for the most vulnerable in society (the elderly and others at risk), but these protections should follow the actual science, not the voodoo that is spouted by most people in the media today.

I would like to remind readers that in times of panic and fear, governments almost always respond by restricting freedom. During World War I, people of German descent were harassed and arrested. During World War II, 120,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to American detention camps because of fear and hysteria. The Supreme Court even upheld this clearly unconstitutional act. (I am happy to say that the Supreme Court recently apologized for this decision). We are living through a similar time now, when people allow their terror to justify government attempts to control other innocent people.

I would like to add that the Church has called for members to voluntarily wear masks as a gesture of kindness to others but has not come out in favor of government-mandated mask wearing. Please follow the Church’s guidance on this issue.