Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Mormon Defines Israel in Today's World

As I have stated before, I do not speak for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), but I am a Mormon with an opinion. I have never been shy about sharing what I believe to be true.

Two facts this past week have prompted this post. 1) It was announced there will soon be 7 billion people living on planet Earth. Of course these numbers are difficult to nail down with precision, but "close enough" will have to suffice; and 2) according to a new poll by The Hill newspaper, 69 percent of Americans now believe the USA is in "decline." In addition, a whopping 83 percent indicate they are worried about America's future.

So how do those two seemingly unrelated facts intersect? They came together in my mind to suggest that very few people on planet Earth today understand, know or even believe these facts are part of the Grand Design of our Father in Heaven who knows the beginning from the end and has made ample provisions for His children because He loves them all and is no respecter of persons.

The Prophet Joseph Smith has delivered this plain and simple truth: "At the first organization in heaven we were all present and saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it." (TPJS, 181).

The "we" in his statement includes everyone currently living on the Earth today. Everyone. All 7 billion of us. In fact, it includes everyone who has ever lived on the Earth since the dawn of Earth's creation (more properly "organization," since matter is neither created nor destroyed, but is eternal - see D&C 131:7).

Unlearned Joseph Smith could not possibly have understood the first law of thermodynamics during his lifetime, but it was obviously revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, as he states below, and he shared this insight at a funeral for his good friend, a man named King Follett:

“Now I ask all who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation, say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing? The reason is, that they are unlearned in the things of God, and have not the gift of the Holy Ghost; they account it blasphemy in any one to contradict their idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of something, they will call you a fool. But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him.
“You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing; and they will answer, 'Doesn't the Bible say He created the world?’ And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the [Hebrew] word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos — chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end.” (TPJS, 350-52).

Abraham was shown all these spirit children before we were born, and he saw that "among all these there were many of the noble and great ones." The Lord then said, "Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born." (Abraham 3:22-23). "The noble and great ones" were all of Abraham's future posterity - referred to as "the elect," those who would hold the priesthood, those who are Lord's "chosen people," those whom we know today in the broad definition as "Israel." Abraham would become "the father of the faithful." (D&C 138:41).

We learned there was a war in heaven, the theme was the contention over moral agency (or sometimes, "free agency.") Taught Joseph Smith: "The contention in heaven was — Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him. (Book of Moses — Pearl of Great Price, Chap. 4:1-4; Book of Abraham, Chap. 3:23-28.)" (TPJS, 357).

"The father of all lies" (see Moses 4:4, Ether 8:25, 2Nephi 2:18) is a perfect description of Satan. Notwithstanding his subtlety and brilliance, Lucifer lost the war in heaven, but he did not quit, nor did he surrender. Instead he took the hosts who followed him, denied the privilege of a physical body, and continues to wage the war against agency today on Earth. Those of us on Earth today saw through his craftiness because the evidence is we are here and we all have physical bodies - 7 billion of us.

At every stage of our existence, first as organized intelligences, followed by our existence as spirits during the war in heaven, then here on Earth today, and someday in the glorious world of spirits and the resurrection yet ahead, we are always granted that precious gift - our moral agency. We may choose freely without compulsion. Everything about our Heavenly Father's plan of salvation suggests it could not exist without moral agency. We are enlarged and our choices expand until they are as wide as all eternity if we are faithful in the correct use of our agency.

It was John who preserved this precious doctrine taught by the Savior: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32).

If (it's a big IF these days) we learn the truth and obey it, we shall be free, even as free as God is.

President Harold B. Lee
President Harold B. Lee, in his pinnacle General Conference address (October 1973), said this:

"It would seem very clear, then, that those born to the lineage of Jacob, who was later to be called Israel, and his posterity, who were known as the children of Israel, were born into the most illustrious lineage of any of those who came upon the earth as mortal beings.
"All these rewards were seemingly promised, or foreordained, before the world was. Surely these matters must have been determined by the kind of lives we had lived in that premortal spirit world. Some may question these assumptions, but at the same time they will accept without any question the belief that each one of us will be judged when we leave this earth according to his or her deeds during our lives here in mortality. Isn’t it just as reasonable to believe that what we have received here in this earth life was given to each of us according to the merits of our conduct before we came here?
"Now there is another important understanding that we have from the scriptures. We are all free agents, which means to some people who manifest a spirit of rebellion that they are free to do anything they please, but that is not the correct meaning of free agency as the prophets have declared in the scriptures where free agency has been defined. I quote:
“'Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.'” (2 Nephi 2:27).

President Lee continued:

“Who are you? You are all the sons and daughters of God. Your spirits were created and lived as organized intelligences before the world was. You have been blessed to have a physical body because of your obedience to certain commandments in that premortal state. You are now born into a family to which you have come, into the nations through which you have come, as a reward for the kind of lives you lived before you came here and at a time in the world’s history, as the apostle Paul taught the men of Athens and as the Lord revealed to Moses, determined by the faithfulness of each of those who lived before this world was created." (Ensign, January 1974, 2-5).

Here's the important point as it affects Israel and all of God's children today: All God's children were of the foreordained spiritual family of Christ in the premortal world and were included in the broad family of Israel. They were all foreordained to join the eternal family of Christ during the days of their mortal probation. The gospel, it was agreed, would be preached to everyone, and they would all be given the opportunity to become the "chosen and the elect" during the days of their mortal probation. All these, we are told, "the Father had put into his [Christ's] power, and they were made by him." (D&C 76:42-43). All were good, and all were deserving of all the blessings they could obtain through their faithfulness in some degree of salvation.

All were given an opportunity to experience this second estate. The elect were foreordained to come into the world through the chosen lineage, and were foreordained to obtain eternal life. Significantly, and sometimes forgotten by all of us, everyone would be given an opportunity to obtain the very same blessings and promises to improve their station and to choose eternal life not only during the days of their mortal probation, but for as long as it took in the spirit world hereafter to fulfill the promises given to them in the premortal world. Whether by birthright lineage or eventual adoption into Israel, all were foreordained to exaltation who were worthy of a body in their second estate. Because God is no respecter of persons, ample opportunities are the sum and substance of His plan of salvation. The key is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Remarkable to me is that we perform all these ordinances vicariously for all in our family tree who have predeceased us. We give them the gift of the Holy Ghost vicariously here on Earth, so they may exercise its blessings in the spirit world where they reside. They are ordained vicariously to the priesthood so they may also minister to others in the spirit world as they advance in light and truth. All are alike unto God, and all have equal claim on all the blessings -- if they repent.

So what does all this mean about America's future? Freedom is the lynch pin that makes it possible for the gospel of Jesus Christ to exist on Earth today and to flourish in our lives. The United States of America is the bastion of freedom in the world today, so that all may come in at the front door of Israel's expansive tent. Yes, we are all kin to the state of Israel politically, but spiritually America's destiny is to provide and to protect freedom for all God's children living on the Earth today no matter where they reside on Earth. Zion is spreading forth globally. Satan's dominions, intimidating as they seem, are only an illusory passing night vision that will one day evaporate like the frost when the sun rises.

We may despair from time to time about America in decline, but truthfully, America will stand as long as the Earth itself stands, and as long as the hearts of freedom-loving people still beat in the breasts of those who reside in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," the outcome is assured.

The New Jerusalem is yet to be built before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and we know it will be established here in America and nowhere else. (10th Article of Faith; D&C 84:1-5).

All the doomsday talk notwithstanding, all the wars and rumors of wars, all the upheavals imaginable, all the filth and wickedness aside, the promises to the faithful remain:

"Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season." (D&C 100:13).

May we always prove worthy of the trust as the chosen seed of Israel and citizens of this great land of freedom as we build Zion together.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

President Obama's Historic Approval Slide

No matter who does the polling, it seems the once-wildly popular president who started with the mantra of "hope and change" has plummeted as the country has realized neither since his election.

I am one who never lays all the blame for everything at the feet of the current president whoever he is, but these numbers published today are certainly sobering and disheartening. No one wins when the president becomes this weak in the opinions of the most likely voters.

There's a poll out this week about the economy. The findings are not encouraging. The USA Today/Gallup poll says 35 percent of respondents assess the U.S. economy as no better than a year ago and 42 percent say it is worse.

Sixty-one percent said they expect the economy over the next year to be similar to now, or worse, Gallup said Wednesday. The findings are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,004 adults conducted Sept. 15-18. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Again, one man in America cannot solve all the problems. It's a popular myth, but the one thing one man can do is chart a course for everyone else. He can lead. He can work with Congress to find a path.

What is really unhelpful is someone who flaunts Constitutional checks and balances, goes over the head of Congress with "czars," travels the country on Air Force One at taxpayer expense, never stops campaigning and raising money for his own re-election, and is tone deaf to the expressed wishes of a majority of likely voters. His disdain for the electorate is now on full display and it is reflected in his historic slide in approval ratings. He has lost his connection with the people.

That one man is Barack Obama. I noticed in Steve Jobs' recently published biography that he expressly warned Obama he would be a one-term president unless he changed his course as a president who is profoundly unfriendly to business. He either has no idea how destructive his economic policies are, or he is malicious. Take your pick, the result is the same. . .

And it explains his historic slide in approval among common sense Americans.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rescuing "That Which Was Lost" in Today's World

Last night we held our Saturday night adult meeting in conjunction with a regional conference that will be broadcast into our stake center this morning. Our stake presidency invited the mission presidency for the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission to come and instruct us. It was one of those meetings where the spirit carried us along speaker by speaker, punctuated by a stake choir with missionary-themed hymns that were heavenly.

It has been said there is no such thing as an original idea in the Church, since we repeat so many things we hear and experience. I can say the lesson I have learned is that it can all be traced eventually to the fountainhead of this dispensation, Joseph Smith. I was into the eighth volume of the Journal of Discourses years ago when that realization hit me -- this all came through Joseph Smith! That said, despite how many times we read and study the scriptures, someone comes along and puts an interpretation on something we've never considered before. Such was my experience last night.

President and Sister Bruce E. Miller
When it was President Bruce E. Miller's turn to speak, he began with the Lord's introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants:

Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.

For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.

And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.

And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.

And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them. (D&C 1:1-5).

He emphasized that this revelation was given to members of the Church, certainly, but it also included all the people of the earth. He then cited Luke 15, where the Savior is quoted delivering three parables, all having to do with things that were lost - a sheep, a coin and a son.

One can turn to numerous commentaries on the meanings of these parables, and just when you think you've heard it all there is one more interpretation suggested you had never considered. President Miller suggested Luke 15 with its three parables are the ways in which people leave the Church for a season and are lost to the doctrine of Christ. They either wander away, either they or we are careless, or they rebel and turn away for a season. It may be true this is how people leave the safety net of the gospel, but it is also true for those not of our faith who have yet to find it in this life. . .

He had an audience member read each of the parables, and taught the principles concisely and with precision.

The parable of the lost sheep is actually given twice in the scriputres to different groups of hearers and with differing purposes and applications. However, in Luke the message is clear. It was delivered in Perea. The Savior illustrates the length the Shepherd will go to find the sheep and the rejoicing that takes place when the lost is found. He is teaching the murmuring and self-righteous religious leaders of the day what they should have been doing (but were not) in rescuing the lost sheep. The Good Shepherd was teaching them what was needed to become His true under-shepherds.

Joseph Smith
The Prophet Joseph explained: "The hundred sheep represent one hundred Sadducees and Pharisees, as though Jesus had said, 'If you Sadducees and Pharisees, are in the sheepfold, I have no mission for you; I am sent to look up sheep that are lost; and when I have found them, I will back them up and make joy in heaven.' This represents hunting after a few individuals, or one poor publican, which the Pharisees and Sadducees despised." (TPJS, 277). President Miller suggested some of the sheep today are lost because of the first reason -- they wander off and are lost.

One of the sister missionaries in the audience had been to Israel, encountered a shepherd there, and inquired why he had a lamb draped over his shoulders. She was told by the shepherd that this little lamb had wandered off one too many times. "The first time it happens, I tell the little lamb, don't do that again. The second time it happens I repeat my instructions, but the third time it happens I must break all four of its legs then carry it on my shoulders and do everything for it until the bones heal. Once I have demonstrated my love for the lamb in caring for and protecting it, it will never wander away again."

by Del Parson
The application of the parable for each of us takes on new meaning in the context of those symbolic explanations, doesn't it? When we come unto the Savior, something profound must be broken within each of us -- our hearts must be broken and our spirits must be contrite, and then we can recognize what great things He has done for us so we never hunger nor thirst again. (See 3 Nephi 9:14-22). Our tendency to love Him more increases, but only after our hearts are truly broken for our sins. Only then is our tendency to love Him increased and our diligence in obedience manifested.

Our Lord's earthly under-shepherds today, because they are mortal and weak, sometimes lose precious members of their flocks. When he was a bishop, President Miller told a simple story of elderly lady in the congregation scolding a young sister that her skirt may be too short. Through an unkind word, or inattention, or perhaps even something trivial said carelessly, or because of some other weakness, the soul of much worth like the lost silver coin in the parable, is finally recovered after it seems all attempts that previously failed are finally rewarded with recovery. President Miller suggested the second reason people leave the Church is that either they or we were careless and misplaced or lost our priorities in focusing on things of lesser value. The parable of the lost coin also speaks of rejoicing in the celestial realms when erring members of the kingdom repent and pursue again the course leading to eternal salvation.

Elder James E. Talmage
Elder James E. Talmage offered this insight: "The woman who by lack of care lost the precious piece may be taken to represent the theocracy of the time, and the Church as an institution in any dispensational period; then the pieces of silver, every one a genuine coin of the realm, bearing the image of the great King, are the souls committed to the care of the Church; and the lost piece symbolizes the souls that are neglected and, for a time at least, lost sight of, by the authorized ministers of the gospel of Christ." (Jesus the Christ, 456.) How many times have we misjudged another because of their outward appearance and thought, "Surely, that person would have no interest in the gospel?"

In the more famous parable of the prodigal son, the teaching of the previous two is repeated. All three are part of Jesus' answer to the Pharisees and scribes who murmured because He mingled and ate with publicans and sinners. They all show what joy there is in heaven when straying souls repent, and in this case an illustration is given of the third reason people leave the Church or never embrace it -- they rebel.

The Father in the parable is God who endows all His children with certain talents, capacities, powers, and agency — all according to their needs and situations, all subject to the divine decree that they shall keep His commandments and use their inheritances wisely. We all have gifts, spiritual gifts and endowments designed to aid us in our mortal journey back to Him.

The Prodigal Son
One son is faithful all his life, he keeps the commandments, labors diligently without disruption or complaint at his Father's side, and lays up a rich spiritual harvest for himself and magnifies his Father's kingdom. The other son, however, is tempted, becomes jealous and is overcome by the world's wiles, he squanders away his inheritance on the lusts of the flesh, and soon finds himself in a state of degenerate behavior and suicidal thoughts. Finally, humbled by his adversity he "comes to himself," recalls that even his Father's hired servants are better off than he is, and in his distress turns to God. He seeks relief and begins his journey home. He is emblematic of so many in the Church today who rebel against authority, cheat themselves of the happiness through obedience that otherwise might have been theirs. Those who have never known a day of peace and happiness are also in this group. The gospel truly is all about joy, it's about the good news of Christ's atonement. It's a timeless and timely message for all God's children.

There is much fodder for discussion in this beloved parable. Repentance is real, hearts can change and obedience can be demonstrated, but we can never have back the time wasted in rebellion that might otherwise have been ours. Our memory of our former rebellion is never fully taken away either, to keep us in remembrance of the pain of our former suffering. We may be forgiven, it is true, but that which is lost is lost forever in what "might have been" during the season of our discontent. To rebel is a common theme, to repent is even more common, but wasted time is unrelenting and cannot be fully recovered to us.

Properly applied, this parable has found application for me in all three scenarios -- as the rebellious son in the sense of "holding back" what I might have given in service to others, the faithful older brother who wrongfully judged himself worthy by comparison, and the father of the prodigal who has experienced the joy of welcoming home the prodigal. Seeing it all fulfilled through life's experiences within ourselves is the first step of the true disciple.

In today's world, perhaps as never before in the world's history, we must come to understand why people leave the warmth and safety of the gospel of Jesus Christ, or know not where to find it (see D&C 123:12) and do all we can to succor them.

In so doing we find that which was lost as the true under-shepherds would.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lee and Schumer: Strange Bedfellows Agree on Immigration Bill

Did you ever think you'd see the day when a tea party activist, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and a New York liberal, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), could not only agree on something, but co-sponsor a narrowly crafted immigration reform bill? YIKES!!

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Well, stop the presses. . . it's happened today. They are introducing significant immigration reform legislation that congeals around an idea no one has ever brought up before. Let's bring foreign nationals and their investment dollars into the United States legally, and encourage their purchases of residential real estate to lift real estate prices by introducing some demand into the vast inventory of foreclosed, government-owned homes on the market currently.

It's a legitimate effort to boost housing prices that have not only languished, but continued to decline in some afflicted areas. There are strict provisions to bring capital into the U.S. without granting an automatic path to citizenship. Simultaneously, the bill will introduce some much-needed revisions to speeding up visa applications by installing technology (video-conferencing) to speed up processing.

It's a well-thought-out approach in a narrow segment of a complex immigration pie, but it's a good first step. Schumer says the bill's provisions have won endorsements from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

In a press release explaining the bill, Lee's office said:

"The Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act (VISIT-USA Act) would remove bureaucratic red tape that stifles travel and investment in the U.S. For instance, the bill would reduce barriers for Canadian and Chinese visitors whose consumer spending provides a lift to the U.S. economy. The bill would also expedite priority visa applicants, introduce videoconferencing as a means to screening foreign nationals, and make major changes to visa procedures for U.S. allies in the fight against al Qaeda."

Lee released another statement, clarifying the details of the proposed legislation. It's not intended to be a comprehensive approach. Rather, like eating the elephant one bite at a time, Lee and Schumer have found AN area of agreement (ONE ONLY) around which they can cobble legislation in a constructive way.

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
Lee says buyers under the provisions of the proposed legislation will not be allowed to purchase a home by taking out a mortgage. They must pay up front and in cash in order to qualify. They will not create additional risk in our financial system, nor will they create a stream of interest payments to our major banks. The plan is not intended to go through the banks, a plus to those who view banks as the evil empire.

He also says this bill does not create a new market that did not exist previously. Foreign buyers accounted for roughly $82 billion of American real estate purchases in the most recent year tracked by the National Association of Realtors. "A full quarter of those buyers came from our neighbor to the north, Canada, with whom we share the world’s longest open border," explains Senator Lee.

The purpose of this bill is to support a free market method of increasing demand for housing at a time when so many working-class Americans who are underwater on their homes are desperate for prices to rise again. We all know the big-government programs to assist banks and borrowers have failed to work.

Lee concludes, "I am sponsoring this bill because I know that it makes economic sense while protecting American citizens."

Great idea. Kudos to the honorable Senators for coming up with a creative and innovative way to bring a foreign infusion of investment capital into our struggling economic system and to come up with a free-market solution to helping reduce the deficit.

After I saw the headline, overcame my shocked initial response and dived a little deeper into the detail, I like it!

But then, I like Mike (still do).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Political Quote of the Day

From Mortimer Zuckerman, a lifelong Democrat and avid supporter of Barack Obama, as quoted by James Freeman in today's Wall Street Journal:

"Reagan surprised me. He got the point of every argument. . . . He was very decisive. And everybody loved working for him. They followed his lead because they really respected his decisiveness and his instincts.

"I was not a Republican and I was not an admirer of his before I knew him. And you know, Harry Truman had a wonderful definition for the presidency. He said the president has to be someone who can persuade the American people to do what they don't want to do and to like it. And that's what you have to do. Somebody like Reagan had that authority. He was liked so much and he had a kind of moral authority. That's what this president has lost.

"Democracy does not work without the right leadership and you can't play politics. The country has got to come to the conclusion at some point that what you're doing is not just because of an ideology or politics but for the interests of the country."

Thanks 53ers - Now I Finally Know Who I Am

First we had the tea party, and in 2010 they changed the electoral map nationwide from blue to red in a dramatic "take back" of the People's House - the U.S. House of Representatives.

Most observers speculated they were a flash in the pan that would quickly fade and have no staying power.

However, taking a page from the tea party, a more recent populist response has arisen, labeling themselves as "the 99." They claim they are the "rest of the country" not represented by the privileged class in America who comprise the top 1 percent. Their claims are legitimate. Corporate greed has never been more obvious than it has been the last few years. Workers unite!! Overthrow the system!! Down with capitalism!! At least one observer thinks it's coming right out of the Communist Party play book.

Contrasted with the peaceful demonstrations of the tea party (no, they are not racist, bigoted, rowdy or fanatics), they have been seeking a more representative voice in Washington, and they made huge strides toward that goal in 2010. Many would be surprised to learn the goals of the 99ers and the tea party are not that divergent when it comes to change we can really believe in, as opposed to the change Obama gave us. Political change within the system without anarchy is what everyone is aiming for. Overthrowing the government by violent means isn't really the aim of anyone, or is it?

The 99'ers, aligned with something called "Occupy Wall Street," have filled up public squares all over the United States with their vitriol. Camped out for days at a time they have left behind garbage and filth, and I'm not referring to their language or their antics. The iconic symbol of this development is a picture of a protester defecating on a police car in New York. Nice image.

They claim this country has treated them unfairly. They collect their welfare checks, their unemployment benefits, their Medicare and Medicaid, and they are railing against the fat cats because they aren't. They aren't likely to become such with their protests, unless the goal (which it could be argued is the goal) is to simply destroy the capitalism they detest, which would give them the jobs they claim they want. But what they really would prefer is living on the government checks they receive. The government in their view is the benevolent dictator for which they seek. Level the playing field, equalize the income, redistribute the wealth, reach for the Utopian society capitalism denies them.

It's complicated, I know, but try to keep up.

If the socialist government we have created in this country does not collect enough taxes, it is free to borrow from foreign nations to sustain the socialist giveaways. Try asking them sometime where all the money comes from that funds the government, then wait for their response. Their simplistic view is that we need to tax the rich, redistribute the wealth of the fat cats and presto, problem solved! They rarely mention the debt this government has racked up, nor do they believe government spending must be curtailed. If you really believe in the socialist agenda, you'll have to look somewhere else for direction; you certainly won't find it here.

Now comes something called "the 53-percent." These folks are pushing back against the 99 with their own stories. They pay taxes, these 53 percent, because they are working and trying to stay ahead of the economic tsunami that has overtaken the world's financial markets. Many lost jobs, certainly their medical benefits, their retirement investments, and some on the cusp of old age now find themselves wondering what all their hard work of a lifetime has gotten them. I met a neighbor the other day in his 70s working the drive-up window at Arby's, but he refuses to give up or retire.

Here's the one thing they won't do - they refuse to blame anyone for their plight.

Somebody's got to pay for this according to the 99ers!! Followers of the 53-percenters' site created on Tumblr have been posting photos of their faces next to pieces of paper detailing the workaday sob stories that are their lives. But who are they blaming for their difficulties? Not the fat cat capitalists, nor the communist progressive liberals who are driving this country into the ditch.

The 53-percenters might be pushed to blaming themselves for electing career politicians, but that's generally as far as they will go in playing the blame game with others. They say we did it to ourselves. They're right in the middle of the American electorate where I reside. And in most cases they would be right. It's the folks in the middle who tend to be more independent.

Here's one guy's story who caught my eye today:

"I don't blame Wall Street because it doesn't matter what Wall Street or anyone else does. I am responsible for my own destiny because of me and me ALONE."

Here's another one:

"I don't have health insurance, but I don't blame Wall Street. Stop whining, suck it up, and God bless the U.S.A."

The 53-percent Tumblr is run by Mike Wilson, the same guy who made "Michael Moore Hates America," and his friends.

I don't need to sign up my story on the 53-percent. I wrote my views recently to the Bank of America in my "hardship letter" as part of a request for a modification of my mortgage (almost a three-year odyssey now):

"I love the game of golf. I love it because no matter what external influences come to bear on you during a round, there is only you, the ball, your club selection and the hole up ahead. You alone are responsible and accountable for the outcome in a round of golf. Only you take the swings that produce either a good or a bad shot. You can kick the ball to improve your lie, you can shave strokes off your scorecard, and you can brag about your exploits after the round is over as you describe it to others, but in the end only you know the truth about the round. You can't blame the weather, the wind, your playing partner, or even the condition of the greens. Once you learn the truth that no one's a very good golfer, you can accept responsibility and take it all in stride.

"I signed a mortgage agreement years ago with a mortgage broker and the loan was sold to Countrywide. Then Countrywide was taken over by Bank of America. In a transaction to which I was not a party that mortgage was securitized along the way. But none of that changes the fact that someone in the capitalist system in America eleven years ago provided me with money to buy my home. I made a promise I would pay it back with interest. Certainly since then the financial winds have blown at gale force, the economic rain has fallen in torrents and I lost my means of providing financially for my wife and family. All my savings were consumed and my assets sold to stay alive.

"I reinvented myself to compensate. Three years later I am still alive, in good health and I can still work hard every day.

"I know as the servicer for my loan Bank of American cannot even produce the original note I signed because it long ago disappeared into a securitization pool where it was pledged in the collateral pool to investors who bought it, and I later confirmed the note is now owned by Fannie Mae. There is nothing I can do about any of that.

"All I know is I still owe someone the money I borrowed, and I am doing everything I can to repay it. The arrearage that has amounted to a negative amortization of my loan based upon my partial payments of the full amount will have to be addressed. Even that's not totally my fault, since Bank of America's inaction and broken promises have contributed to it. However, I've done everything you've asked me to do as a borrower in distress.

"In the end I am fully responsible and accountable. No politician did this to me. No bank did this to me. No amount of adverse external conditions swirling over my head in the last three years alters in one iota the fact that I made a promise to pay it all back. And I will. With or without Bank of America's offer of a modification. If I can't get there before I die, a life insurance policy will pay it off."

So after all that, here's what I know about myself: I never saw myself as a member of the tea party. There was something about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann that just never clicked with me. I'm sure as heck not a 99'er, so I must be a 53-percenter. The margin of victory in a presidential election is most often narrow. Thirteen months out, no one knows which way the thing will turn out. Half the country will be ecstatic, the other half dismayed.

A related thought to conclude: If the death of Steve Jobs teaches us anything it is that in failure we may someday succeed despite all the odds against us. He didn't just put a "ding" in the universe, he kicked the door down. He was likely a fat cat in the upper 1% by any measurement of financial success. How funny to see one of the protesters the other day in New York answering her iPhone while condemning capitalism's profits. Can you say disconnect?

Now you can correctly label me. #IAmThe53. Here's another version.

Romney/Cain 2012 Ticket Being Hatched?

Ann Coulter made "news" last night on Sean Hannity by endorsing the Romney/Cain ticket for 2012. She's a big fan of Chris Christie, and is projecting him for a 2020 run.

Well, we'll all see what kind of prognosticator Ann Coulter is. . .

"Read 'em and weep"

The favorite expression around the Sigma Chi house in college after a winner in a poker game laid down his cards, was "Read 'em and weep."

We're two years into the vast economic and social re-engineering experiment that was labeled as Obamacare, and now we are learning the real costs. The winners then aren't so sure today. This week the Obama administration admitted its math was flawed in its assumptions about a key provision of the bill. The "Community Living Assistance Services and Supports" proved to be unsustainable. It was a disability program actuaries panned even before Obamacare passed, but it was thrown into the final bill, some say, as a tribute to its champion, Senator Ted Kennedy.

Nancy Pelosi once famously said, "We have to pass this bill so we can find out what's in it." Stunning! And now we know. The winners and the losers in the Obamacare fight are all weeping now:

By The Numbers
$2.6 Trillion:
True Cost Of ObamaCare Once Fully Implemented. (Office Of The Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives, Report, 1/6/11)
$701 Billion:
Amount ObamaCare Will Add To The Deficit. (Office Of The Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives, Report, 1/6/11)
$575 Billion:
Cost Of Medicare Cuts In ObamaCare. (CMS Chief Actuary Richard S. Foster, Memo, 4/22/10)
$491.7 Billion:
Taxes Raised In ObamaCare. (Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 3/18/10;Joint Committee On Taxation, 3/2/10)
$450 Billion:
Cost Of ObamaCare “Glitch” Allowing The Middle-Class To Qualify For Medicaid.(Avik Roy, “The 450 Billion Glitch: 3 Million Extra Middle-Class Americans Eligible For Medicaid Benefits,” Forbes, 6/21/11)
$401 Billion:
Increase In Federal Entitlement Spending From ObamaCare. (“The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update,” Congressional Budget Office, August 2010)
$210 Billion:
Amount Of Income Taxes Collected Over 10 Years Through ObamaCare.("Estimated Revenue Effects Of The Manager's Amendment To The Revenue Provisions Contained In The 'Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act,"Joint Committee On Taxation Report, 3/20/10; Editorial, “Taxes Upon Taxes Upon…,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/11/11)
$145 Billion:
Cost Of ObamaCare Cuts To Medicare Advantage. (CMS Chief Actuary Richard S. Foster, “Estimated Financial Effects Of The 'Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act,' As Amended,” Memo, 4/22/10)
$80 Billion:
ObamaCare’s CLASS Program “Zombie” Savings In The Federal Budget. (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “‘Zombie’ In The Budget: Long-Term Health Care Plan,” The Associated Press, 10/8/11)
$60 Billion:
Health Insurance Tax On Businesses. ("Estimated Revenue Effects Of The Manager's Amendment To The Revenue Provisions Contained In The 'Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act,"Joint Committee On Taxation Report, 3/20/10; Editorial, “Taxes Upon Taxes Upon…,” The Wall Street Journal,7/11/11)

As I suggested in an earlier post last week, no one really can predict the future, but I know this much - if Obamacare is not struck down by the Supreme Court on the legal issue of the individual mandate, it must be defunded, repealed and buried deeply in the bowels of Mother Earth before its costs bury us as a nation.

Thanks to Senator Mike Lee's website for this summary.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Predicting the Outcome

Note to self: You are not very good about predicting the future, and nobody is. Truth be told, we only have broad brush strokes of the future events yet to transpire on this earth before the Second Coming. What is always missing from prophecy is the timeline. It is obvious the ancient prophets are of one voice when they speak of the events they witnessed in vision. That's why it is important to gather detail from many sources before making any conclusions about the future. A certain symmetry emerges when one can find more than two or three witnesses in scripture from which to draw conclusions.

On the political front, stepping away from scripture for a moment, this past week has seen two potential Republican nominees for the presidency finally (maybe) and officially (at least that's what they're saying today) announce they would not be candidates in 2012.

Sarah Palin
Each has teased the public for way too long, then bowed out. Sarah Palin has had a longer ramp to run on for a longer period of time than anyone I can remember who lost the election as a vice-presidential candidate. Anybody remember Geraldine Ferraro? Me neither. Sarah Palin became for some reason an iconic figure associated with the timing of the emergence of the tea party. If it never had a head, it at least found a figurehead in Sarah Palin. My problem with Sarah Palin is that I've never been able to paint a picture in my mind of the Oval Office with her in it.

In dismissing Palin, this author concludes, "Wasilla charm will be missed, but it only goes so far."

I think the one single event that ruled her out as a serious contender was the Katie Couric series of interviews. It's the reason Oman's article (see above) attracted me: he came to the same conclusions I did about Palin. She did in those interviews what no one else before her was ever able to do -- Sarah Palin made Katie Couric look like a deep-thinking intellectual genius for the first time merely by illustrating the comparison for us. Ouch! To her credit, she has taken a wagon load of slings and arrows aimed at her personally and effectively deflected them all en route to fame and fortune outside elective office. But presidential? I just don't see it.

I like Sarah Palin as a person, and I love her family story. I even watched the documentary on her life, "The Undefeated," and was mildly impressed because all the talking heads seemed to really like her. She's a pretty, great personality in the same way Utah was once touted as a pretty, great state. Not pretty great, mind you -- that comma made all the difference. But Sarah Palin always strikes me as a mile wide and an inch deep when I listen to her talk. Maybe I'm wrong, time will tell, but her rising star could go into permanent eclipse and no one would notice in the years ahead. She's had a good run, amassed a ton of money, and now she tells us she can be more effective on the "outside." Honestly, who cares? If you ever pay for a ticket to hear her speak anywhere, you've been had.

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ)
Chris Christie has been a darling among true believers in limited government and fiscal restraint. Those looking for a plain-spoken, sometimes bombastic and assertive savior figure in a leader, need look no further than Christie. His political bio is impressive, but became downright irresistible when he first emerged in his campaign for governor of New Jersey and took on the public employee unions, including the teachers, without mercy. He slashed budgets, openly berated the status quo, and returned (is returning) New Jersey to a state of fiscal sanity. He decided to stay on the job at home, rather than run for the presidency in 2012. He's one of a handful of successful governors who has been able to do painful but essential turnarounds in their states, including Mitch Daniels in Indiana, John Kasich in Ohio, Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana to name a few. And who can forget what happened with Wisconsin and its determined governor, Scott Walker? These are all strong leaders and each has a bright political future.

Mitt Romney
So the state of the race today has former Godfather's CEO Herman Cain ("never held a political elective office and proud of it") stealing thunder from Rick Perry in Florida and becoming (maybe) a rising star. Perry at least halved Michele Bachmann's tea party support when he entered the race, but he has stumbled badly and is losing ground to Cain. In the meantime, Romney keeps chugging along in front-runner status as the designated "next-guy-in-line" Republican establishment candidate. Many are coming to view the outcome of the nominating process as a foregone conclusion now, ceding the race to Romney. It now appears former Speaker Newt Gingrich (who has too much personal baggage, but is always the smartest guy in the room), Ron Paul (who looks like a true prophet after he appeared crazy four years ago), Rick Santorum (much better senator than presidential candidate), and Jon Huntsman (who's really in it to prep for 2016) will all fade away. Get ready for earlier and earlier primaries next year -- they start January 3, 2012.

Romney said something last week that caught my attention: "Almost all Americans live for a purpose greater than ourselves.  Our heritage of religious faith and tolerance has importantly shaped who we have become as a people.  We must continue to welcome faith into the public square and allow it to flourish. Our government should respect religious values, not silence them. We will always pledge our allegiance to a nation under God.

"Our values ennoble the citizen, and strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate.  The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda narrow our vision or drive us apart."

I applaud leadership instead of criticism wherever I can find it. That statement exhibits leadership.

It's interesting to get the input from about 1500 different points of view, as I do each day on Twitter. What a great addition to social media that has been! Instead of waiting on the print or cable or network news outlets as we did at one time, Twitter gives you raw news feeds in real time, unfiltered and from a wide span of sources, allowing you to sample news as you would food from a buffet table and come to conclusions without being told what some commentator wants you to believe it all means.

So this morning I looked at several sources from the prognosticators about the outcome of the nominating process, then the general election in November 2012. This one predicts a narrow victory for Obama now that Palin is out of the race. I sincerely hope (and believe) he's dead wrong. Rather than go away dispirited by the loss of Palin in the race, my bet is people from all factions within the Republican party will rally behind the eventual nominee, whoever it is, because the fundamental bedrock belief is another four years of Obama would be disastrous.

Hugh Hewitt, author of A Mormon in the White House?, revisits his scholarly view of Article Six of the Constitution prohibiting a religious litmus test for potential candidates for national office, and concludes as he did back in 2007, that Romney's Mormonism is not, never was, never can be or never will be the defining issue of his candidacy. Just as a refresher, here's what the Constitution says:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Because of freedom's guarantees for freedom of speech, however, religious bigotry will always abound in some quarters, particularly among those who have no respect for the Constitution. Not a thing anyone can do about that. That's why we love America, isn't it? Give anyone who wants it a public soapbox and let them say whatever they want. Witness the explosion of bloggers like me in cyberspace.

It's interesting that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Majority Leader, never seems to draw any flak at all over his a membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Maybe it's only because he's a liberal Democrat. Talk about a double standard! Last week Reid invoked the so-called "nuclear option" in the Senate, forbidding further debate on a bill he already had in his hip pocket with the requisite 60 votes needed for passage, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), lamented the course the Senate is taking under Reid's leadership. But Reid's Mormonism is never an issue in the Senate.

A Rick Perry surrogate who introduced Perry at a conservative gathering last week, Pastor Robert Jeffress, of Dallas, Texas, was quoted as saying: “Mormonism is not Christianity,” he declared. “It’s not politically correct to say, but Mormonism is a cult.” I almost welcome it now, rather than take offense as a Mormon. The more they say it, the more worn out it sounds. Jeffress doesn't just single out Mormons. He's said equally disparaging things about Catholics.

The Washington Post account includes some othe details on the swift Perry denial:

A spokesman for the Perry campaign released a statement saying that Perry did not agree with Jeffress about Romney’s religion. “The governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult,” wrote Robert Black in an e-mail. “He is not in the business of judging people. That’s God’s job.”
Black was quick to add that it was the conference organizers, not the Perry campaign, who chose Jeffress to introduce Perry on Friday.
And Jeffress made clear that he was not speaking for Perry. “I did not talk about my Mormon views” with the governor, he told the press, “and I’m not insinuating that the governor shares those at all — he may not share them at all.”

Be that as it may, when you're losing ground in the polls and desperate for attention, have someone play the Mormon card and paint your opponent as "weird." It's all open season now.

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
So how are you at prognostication? I'll admit I'm not a very good guesser most times. My one single triumph was Mike Lee in 2010. I liked Mike early, often, and throughout that campaign when he was considered a dark horse candidate without any backing. He came from "nowhere" to topple a senior senator.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Will anyone rise to challenge Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) this time around? So far, all's quiet on that front as many possible contenders await the redistricting outcome to see where the boundaries will be before committing themselves to a Senate run, Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT) among them. He's probably the only Democrat who could challenge either the governor or the senator in a statewide race with some hope of winning in Utah. So, much of the drama in the state races still awaits us.

But when it comes to the national scene, I'm just a "pretty great" prognosticator.

What does a Mormon guy from Utah really know anyway?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

President Boyd K. Packer: The End is NOT Near

When I was a young missionary in England, I had dinner toward the end of my mission with a man who would someday become a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy. We lamented the condition of the world, and wondered if the time was so short we would never return to our normal lives.

Said he, "If God does not soon destroy San Francisco, He will have to apologize to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah." The year was 1968. It was a funny joke back then, and made the rounds. Today it is reality -- we are living in Sodom and Gomorrah.

President Boyd K. Packer
Today, the Lord's senior Apostle, President Boyd L. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, declared there is time and to spare to live our lives fully and without excuse based upon the signs of the time all around us. Wars and rumors of wars continue to persist, but he is not afraid and urged young people everywhere to live the gospel as the antidote.

Said President Packer, the youth of today can look forward with anticipation to "getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren."

No imminent apocalypse overshadows us, despite assertions by many about Mayan calendars, earthquakes and tsunamis. President Packer hearkened back to the days of his youth. As a 17 year-old high school student, World War II broke upon America with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Temptations, then as now, continue. He said we are living in enemy territory, but there is no doubt about the outcome: "Lucifer loses."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of his call to serve as a General Authority. This talk is his 100th talk at General Conference. He introduced his remarks with John Ciardi's poem, "About Crows":

The old crow is getting slow;
the young crow is not.
Of what the young crow does not know,
the old crow knows a lot.
At knowing things, the old crow is still
the young crow's master.
What does the old crow not know?
How to go faster.
The young crow flies above, below, and rings
around the slow old crow.
What does the fast young crow not know?
— Where to go!

"You young crows need not fly aimlessly to and fro, unsure of the path ahead," President Packer said. "There are those who know the way." He promised young people if they will follow the counsel of church leaders, "you will be watched over and protected, and you yourself will know by the promptings of the Holy Ghost which way to go."

Like my friend who matured to become a member of the Seventy (back in the day before they were even oragnized!), the future Apostle Boyd K. Packer surmised World War II might be the end of the world as foretold by the ancient prophets. In every generation since, the speculation continues about the timing of the Lord's return. So far, it appears, Heavenly Father seems content to let the world go on, providing ample opportunities for discipleship and mortal growth and testing. The wheat of His harvest is fully ripening as the tares, once resembling the early shoots of wheat, now look more like the miserable weeds they are.

"All at once our future was uncertain. We did not know what was ahead," declared President Packer, now 87 years old. In his generation the youth wondered, as they do today, "Would we live to get married and have a family?"

He leaned then on the testimonies of his Seminary teachers who were wiser, those he could trust, those who were spiritually mature.

Now I am an old man, having overcome all the uncertainties and fears of a young father of one who matured to become the father of thirteen and grandfather of a growing posterity of grandchildren we never could have imagined back in the late sixties. President Packer commented that he hears many who postulate, "The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be."

To that President Packer responded, "Not so!"

I add my witness. Lean on our testimonies until you obtain one of your own. You have time.

Live well.

New Provo Temple

Arriving late at the opening session, President Monson announced six new temples, including a complete restoration of the old Provo Tabernacle building that was destroyed by fire last year. The Lord's living prophets seem determined to plan for the future. They have no fear.

Neither should we. We win.

The Incredible Irony of Obamacare and Obama's Electability

This past week the Obama administration's Justice Department (yes, they are his guys), surprised many court watchers by choosing to bypass the appellate avenue available to them and allow Obamacare to proceed on its appointed path to the Supreme Court. This is the "sort of" expedited path many were advocating months ago to put to rest all the uncertainty associated with the individual mandate provision.

Here's what's at stake and the weird political calculus that goes into this latest calculation:

If the SCOTUS strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional -- especially if the final vote ends up being yet another 5-4 split -- then President Obama can argue he should be re-elected. How? Say what? It's simple really. He would argue the next opening on the Supreme Court could be filled by him with a more Sotomayor/Kagan-kind of liberal who would have supported Obamacare. Forget what the public polling is telling him about the majority of Americans who hate the idea of Obamacare being rammed down their throats, Obama sees a win for him even in a resounding defeat at the SCOTUS.

Here's the judicial issue (among many others) at stake in this next election:

If a conservative Republican wins the presidency, the court is all but assured to retain its right of center with one swing vote make-up. If Obama is re-elected, he will surely move with his next nomination to move the court to a more liberal majority. If the Republicans control both houses of Congress the point is moot. That's how finely balanced we are as a country on the fulcrum.

The country really does hang in the balance between the two polar-opposite points of view.

On the one hand Obamacare is extraordinarily unpopular among a plurality of Americans who want to see it repealed. Mitt Romney and all the others on the Republican platform vying for your vote in 2012, have uniformly declared as POTUS they will kill it, Romney proposing to do it through an executive order on day one of his presidency with an executive order granting a waiver to all 50 states. Romney continues to be bashed by Romneycare in Massachusetts, and his successor who raised taxes to pay for it continues to praise it, as does Obama who claims he modeled his plan after Romney's. That issue just isn't going to gain much traction with the voters.

The thing that is so damnable about Obamacare is that it didn't pick up one single vote from the opposition party in the Senate. That puts it in a class all its own from other bi-partisan entitlement safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Further, a majority (26) of state attorneys general either filed or joined lawsuits to overturn the mandate that requires practically all Americans to purchase health insurance.

Freedom-loving people HATE being told by a dictatorial government what to do with their lives. It's the reason America was founded -- to escape tyrannical dictators who wanted to control them through taxation without representation. Currently, we have representation, and we will continue to change that representation at the ballot box until we find a Congress and a President who will do our bidding. It's really what representative republics are all about.

Americans are finally awake and on task politically. I've been asked in recent weeks if I think all this pent-up anger will last until November, 2012. You betchyer bippy it will, especially if the economy continues to tank and there are further attempts like the "American Jobs Act" that are nothing else but more government debt and increased taxes as far as the eye can see.

It is remarkable how dismissive this President seems to be in the face of the expressed anger and frustration of the American people who elected him. His arrogance and his ideological intransigence are now on full display. He claims the Republicans are merely obstructionists who have no constructive ideas. He must have missed this memo, sent to his Republican caucus by Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader.

So, Mr. President, please click on the link and get a clue. Your stump speech rhetoric has to change into action and you need to start doing the job people elected you to do. Start leading, stop whining.

Obama's "all-or-nothing" tendency to propose, then whine, then blame Congress, and his continuing refusal to even consider the points of agreement Cantor outlines where there might be constructive conversations in the halls of Congress, will do nothing to improve his chance for re-election among Americans with even a sliver of common sense when presented with the facts. Who's the real obstructionist here? Is it the tea party activists, the Republican-controlled House, the Democrat-controlled Senate or the POTUS?

All fingers will increasingly be pointing at the President if he doesn't soon take a more moderate view and learn to work with what he has in Congress. It's the very reason the Constitution assured divided and shared power. But he routinely goes on the campaign junkets and complains bitterly that if he weren't constrained by Congress he could really get things done. And this is a constitutional lawyer by training.

But all those considerations aside, let's get back to Obamacare and how it affects Obama's electability.

I saw a poll in Investors Business Daily stating two-thirds of all doctors "oppose" Obamacare and predict lower-quality health care. Another poll by McKinsey & Co. reveals nearly one-third of businesses plan to drop health insurance for their employees after 2014, when much of Obamacare goes into effect. Why? Because the costs will make it prohibitive for private enterprise to compete with the government-mandated overhaul. That is all by deliberate design to enthrone government as the ultimate sovereign, the end-all, be-all solution to all the ills society inflicts upon us.

It can be argued by many proponents of Obamacare that the American Medical Association supports it. However, only 17 percent of doctors in America today belong to the organization -- hardly a representation of the name of the organization. Many doctors have dropped their membership precisely because of the AMA's endorsement of Obamacare. Americans consistently rank physicians among the most respected of professionals.

But the President? He's a man with no private-sector experience, who arrogantly ignores doctors' objections. In almost every scenario, the President continues to isolate himself in his ideological cocoon, asserting he knows better than everyone else what is right for America and Americans.

If he's lucky, the American voter in 2012 will put Obama out to pasture like they did Jimmy Carter in 1980. By the way, today is Carter's birthday. He's 87 years old. I remain a great admirer of Carter's native intelligence, his passion for trying to do what was right from his Christian perspective, his initiatives to bring peace to the Middle East, and his passion for humanitarian doing-good since he left the White House. However, like his successor, Barack Obama, he was an ineffective president with his leftist liberal politics. Obama's fight to end Bush-era tax rates for the "rich," along with his misguided social engineering represented by Obamacare will all go down in flames. These policies are misguided and proven to be unsuccessful.

Here's the irony in a nutshell: I believe a Supreme Court rejection of the Obamacare individual mandate would immediately give a much-needed boost the economy and the American psyche. It would dramatically improve Obama's prospects for re-election. He could thank his lucky stars when it's struck down.

In his arrogance, however, he'll find a way to manipulate the SCOTUS outcome with his political spin calculus if he wins on Obamacare.

And whichever way that turns out, the American voters will reject him in November.

You heard it here first, Mr. President. We're on to you.