Monday, August 31, 2009

What is Communism?

There are few political ideologies that have simultaneously aroused such indignation and fervor as Communism. Communism has been touted with promising “Peace, Bread, & Land” to the underprivileged, bringing all of humanity into a place of equality, prosperity, and Utopian bliss.

Others have viewed Communism as the ultimate evil ideology to enslave and oppress the masses while a tiny elite enjoy unchecked power and an almost god-like status.

Last week, Glenn Beck of Fox News fame did an expose in which he showed that some of President Obama's picks for advisers are Communist. Van Jones, the "Green Czar" charged with creating "green jobs" in our country has admitted to his enthusiasm for Communism.

Jones, a graduate of Yale Law School, spent time in an L.A. jail in 1993 after being arrested during the Rodney King riots. About his experience in jail, he reminisced that he "met all these young radical people of color, I mean, really radical -- Communists and anarchists, and it was like, this is what I need to be a part of. . . . By August, I was a Communist."

At least four other advisers to the President openly promote agendas that smack of Communism.

Check out Glenn Beck's reporting on these issues here (in particular, scroll down to video entitled "Who is Van Jones"):

Regardless of Van Jones or any other of Obama's special advisers, I believe that understanding what Communism is, how it comes about, how citizens living in Communism are impacted, and what influence Communist leaders and policies have in our nation today is a MUST for every American citizen.

Let's start at the beginning. So what is Communism, really?

Communism can be defined as “a family of economic and political ideas and social movements related to the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, or stateless society based on common ownership and control of the means of production and property in general, as well.” (Wikipedia -- This sounds innocuous enough, but let’s try to break this down into plain English.

You know you are living in a Communist society when:

- Your government abolishes the ownership of private property, including land, homes, businesses, and etc. (and seizes the property by force if need be) in the name of uplifting the poor.

- Similarly, your government seizes control of industry and agriculture stating it is in the best interest of the people, the poor in particular.

- Your government establishes and runs a central banking system, taking this duty away from privately-owned banks, for the good of the people.

- Your government takes control of transportation and communication.

- Your government controls labor, or is in the business of creating jobs.

- Your government engages in centralized regional planning.

- Ideals of equality among the classes, races, and genders are heavily promoted, with measures taken to institutionalize equality through:

o A graduated income tax to redistribute wealth – taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

o Government-controlled, free public education (with a government-approved curriculum).

o Abolition of inheritance.

- Your government implements policies that are hostile to a belief in God and religion.

Here's how I see it: Communism preaches power to the people while bestowing absolute power on the governing elite. This elite is charged with taking care of the people. Whether they do a good job of that or not is the next question to ponder.

(Stay tuned for my next article where I discuss how well the Communist Nations' elite make good on their promises to the masses.)

Let’s now take a look at the Pro's and Cons' of Communism for the average citizen:


- Guaranteed a place to live (though in the initial stages, if your home is too uppity it might be confiscated by the State),

- Food to eat (unless you happened to get caught in one of those nasty government-made famines. No food for you!),

- Lots of jobs available,

- Free education,

- Free health care,

- Free abortions,

- Relatively low crime rate on the streets,

- As long as you follow the status quo, don’t rock the boat, and don’t mind the CONS listed below, you can have a quite pleasant existence.


- Much lower standard of living than Capitalist nations,

- Grossly curtailed freedoms and civil rights for the masses (ie. Free health care, but no free speech),

- If you disagree with your government and you say or do anything about it, then you may not like the consequences. Tens of millions of people with dissident beliefs (ie. against Communism) have perished (and are still perishing) under Communist regimes at the hands of their government through executions and arrests with atrocious living conditions in concentration camps housing the arrested.

Check out this interesting article on the pro's and con's of Communism in Cuba, in particular.,opinion,pros-and-cons-of-communism-in-cuba


Is Communism to be feared? Should we be alarmed if our current president takes advice from an avowed Communist or two, or is there a place in our government today for people of all political persuasions?

I'll let the facts I just outlined, and those that I will share in subsequent articles, speak for themselves, and you can be the judge!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Debunking the Health Care “Myth” Debunkers?

This morning I got up, turned on my computer, and checked out the headlines on my Yahoo home page. This is a regular occurrence for me – not so much because I am dying to know what is going on in the world, but because I am curious about what is wanted for me to believe about what is going on.

I came across an article entitled “Majority of Americans Believe Health Care Reform ‘Myths’”. .

I decided to open this article on up and take a look at what ridiculous “myths” people were believing now. We’ve all seen Sarah Palin and others mocked and ridiculed for their claims that Obama is trying to “pull the plug on grandma” with an Orwellian end-of-life counseling provision purported to be a part of the health care bill.

So I decided to take some time to check out the gargantuan 1,000-page bill itself to see what I could find.

Are all those health care “myth”-believers out there either shameless fear-mongers and/or jealous Republicans grasping at straws seeking defeat Obama in his lofty goals? Or is there some merit to their concerns?

I figured the bill itself would have the undisputed answers – what was truth, what was fiction – on any controversial points, or “myths”.

Thankfully, I was also able to draw upon a document written by some Dr. Stephen Fraser to Senator Bayh of Indiana in which he cites pages and lines that refer to certain contentious elements of the bill, giving me a great head start.

(see )

So, here it goes. “Myth” # 1 of this Live article is that wait times for health care services, such as surgery, will increase. Apparently 67% of respondents believe this will be the case. Why would anyone believe this?

Reality – Maybe because it is self-evident that when demands go up for any given service and the infrastructure to meet those demands stays the same, the service will become more scarce. I’m no guru of economics or economic theory, but this one is a no-brainer even for me!

“Myth” # 2 – Apparently about 80% of Republicans, 25% of Democrats, 56% of Independents (or 50% of respondents) believe the federal government will become directly involved in making personal health care decisions. I’m not sure how this could qualify as a myth, since:

Reality – According to page 30, Section 123 of H.R. 3200, there will be a government committee made up of between 19-27 individuals that decide which treatments and benefits are given for which illnesses. This committee is led by the “Health Choices Commissioner”, who is appointed by the President. Maybe it would be more appropriate to call him the “Health Choices Restrictor”, since the choices he makes will actually restrict the choices available to doctors and patients.

Further, page 42 of H.R. 3200 reaffirms that the Health Choices Commissioner will choose your health care benefits for you in the following delightful and engaging language:

“Sec. 142. Duties and Authority of Commissioner.
(a) DUTIES. – The Commissioner is responsible for carrying out the following functions under this division:
(1) QUALITIFED PLAN STANDARDS. – The establishment of qualified health benefits plan standards under this title, including the enforcement of such standards in coordination with State insurance regulators and the Secretaries of Labor and the Treasury. . . .”

Blah, blah, blah.

O.K. – this next one is big. “Myth” # 3 -- Roughly 60 % of Americans believe taxpayers will be required to pay for abortions on demand (78% of Republicans, 30% of Democrats, 58% of Independents).

Reality – There is no language in the bill that specifically forbids taxpayer funds to be appropriated to abortion. However, there is a piece of legislation called the Hyde Amendment that was passed in 1976 and which prevents Medicaid funds to be used for abortion except in cases of rape or incest. Some argue that the current healthcare bill would be subject to the Hyde amendment, and therefore abortions would not be funded except in extreme cases.

Others argue, however, that without specific language in the actual healthcare bill itself to disallow abortions on the government plan, an overturn of the Hyde amendment by abortion advocates would essentially make abortion-on-demand a state-funded benefit. Besides, the Hyde Amendment is specific to Medicaid and one could argue that it has no legal bearing on H.R. 3200. (See

This next part is what gets me. Another amendment proposed by Rep. Lois Capps of California, who incidentally has a strong pro-abortion voting record, was passed in July 2009 by Congress. This amendment specifies that abortion would be covered in a public option health care plan (using the taxpayers’ funds) should the Hyde amendment ever be reversed. Hmm – looks like someone in power has some plans for widespread government-funded abortion. (See

Here’s another biggie: “Myth” # 4 – 46% believe reforms will result in taxpayer subsidized health care coverage for all illegal immigrants.

The truth is that Medicaid already covers the health care costs for illegal immigrants with conditions that could jeopardize their lives, including the delivery of babies and emergency room care, at great cost to the taxpayers. With all due respect to illegal immigrants, it’s definitely true that expanding full coverage to these individuals would come at an enormous cost to American taxpayers.

Reality -- Page 50 Section 152 in H.R. 3200 has these elucidating words to offer: “All health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.”

I have to be honest with you here. My 12 years of public schooling plus 8 years studying at an institution of higher learning did not prepare me to decipher such convoluted verbiage as this. If you can figure out what that means, please let me know, because the longer I look at it, the less sense it makes.

What I was able to gather from the bill is that nonresident aliens not having “acceptable coverage” are exempt from paying the 2.5% tax on income required of everyone else who is not suitably insured (Page 170, Lines 1-3), and that “individuals not lawfully present in the United States” are ineligible for affordability credits (Page 143, Section 246).

I looked up the term “affordability credits”, because I wanted to see if having them was equivalent to having health care coverage. I found that this is not the case -- ineligibility for affordability credits in no way equates ineligibility for any other benefits of the government-run health care system, and nothing else is specified about illegal non-resident aliens and health care coverage in the health care bill.

For a more detailed discussion of how illegal immigrants will likely be able to access the government-run health care system with few problems under the system being proposed by Congress, check out this document penned by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR):

Next -- “Myth # 5” – 54% of Americans polled (78% of Republicans, 28% of Democrats, 58% of Independents) believe the public option will increase premiums for Americans with private health insurance.

Reality – This can in no way be considered a myth to be proven or refuted, since it is merely a projection of a possible future outcome rather than a verifiable understanding about what the policy actually says. I did look around to see if I could find a precedent for private premiums either increasing, decreasing, or staying the same when a government system is introduced. I couldn’t find anything. I would be curious to know if such a precedent exists – let me know if you find something on this!

The truth is that an increase in the premiums of private health insurance due to the institution of government-run health care is a possibility at the very least. Check out what this guy has to say on the matter (scroll down about halfway to point number 2.):

“Myth” #6 – Half of all Americans polled think cuts will be made to Medicare in order to cover more Americans (66% of Republicans, 37% of Democrats, 44% of Independents).

Reality – Page 341, lines 5-9 state: “. . . the Secretary may determine not to identify a Medicare Advantage plan if the Secretary has identified deficiencies in the plan’s compliance with rules for such plans under this part.”

I’m not quite sure what that means, but it does appear that there could be some restrictions to senior citizens using Medicare Advantage plans. With this type of plan, senior citizens retain their own private insurance while still utilizing the benefits from Medicare. It is conceivable that such restrictions would, at the very least, lead to fewer health care choices for some senior citizens.

This article would not be complete without looking into the claims that the health care bill would support government-sanctioned euthanasia. The article reported that only 30% of respondents believe the government will “require the elderly to make decisions about how and when they will die.”

Reality – read pp. 425-430 of the bill and decide for yourself what it means for grandma:

It is interesting to me how much space is dedicated to regulating end-of-life services for senior citizens. For whatever reason, this is clearly an area of health care that the policy-makers want completely spelled out ahead of time.

Conclusions – After spending hours pouring over the health care bill proposed by members of Congress, many things are still unclear to me. One thing, however, is as clear as day – transparency in the specifics of the policies they are proposing is not a top priority for these guys.

Second, the various news stories and reports in the media about the health care reform bill should under no circumstance be taken at face value. Just because someone who writes a widely-circulated article states that something is a “myth” or a “truth” concerning health care reform (or anything else either, really) does not make it so.

Lastly, if you found reading this article to be tedious, you should try reading the health care reform bill!

Monday, August 17, 2009


I've had a lot of thoughts bumping around in my head over the past few days as I've considered what I wanted to write about next for this blog. I wanted it to be related to the topic of healing, which this blog is supposed to be about. But as anyone who has perused this blog can see, I have a hard time staying strictly on topic!

I decided to post this article that I wrote back on February 11, 2009. I was up late one night, thinking about change and what it really entails, how I could change and move forward with some things in my life.

It's funny -- my life has taken some interesting turns since I wrote this. Some of these turns were completely unforeseen by me, some of them have been enlightening and joyous, others have been excruciating. But without fail, I see how all of them have been and are still contributing to one thing in my life. CHANGE!


I've been thinking a lot about change lately. Apparently, so has much of America. We don't like the current status of our nation. We don't like an economy heading south. Many of us wonder about the morality of a war we wage, leaders of the nation past and present, and a societal system that seems to exalt a tiny elite, drag down the middle class, and "grind the faces of the poor."

And then on a personal level, I think about where I'm at -- how much I have truly changed over the past few years, and how much I truly haven't! What causes change to occur? Do we have control over the changes that take place in us, and also in our life's circumstances? We must have some level of control! I reject the idea (at least in theory!) that we are victims to circumstance, and some people have circumstances that make it easy for them to change while others don't.

I certainly don't presume to have all the answers. That's why I decided to look to a higher source in my quest to understand how changes occur, and what I can do to facilitate them both for myself and others. Certainly, if I am ever to have any influence over changes in my society and my world, they will come only after I have enough “fruit” of change in my own life, and thoroughly understand the process!!

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago when the topic of change came up. So I pulled out one of my favorite all-time books and decided to see what it had to say.

I would like to share what I found. Whether you personally recognize this book as valid or not is your choice. You may find something valuable regardless:

I came across a story familiar to me and many of you -- A king named Benjamin, who had presided over the victory of his people over their enemies, was at the end of his life and reign. He decided to give one final address to his people, during which he would pass the baton of the kingdom on to one of his sons.

During the address, Benjamin shared with his people the secrets to his success, and to how he was able to lead the people to safety from their enemies. He taught them truths. What he taught them was the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- eloquently and beautifully.

Apparently, this people was in need of change. Benjamin hoped that his words would help that to occur. This is what happened --

"And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.

"And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou has spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has WROUGHT A MIGHTY CHANGE IN US, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually . . .

". . .And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy."

This people were "CHANGED THROUGH FAITH ON HIS (Jesus Christ's) NAME", therefore they "were born of him and have become his sons and his daughters."

Wow! That sounds pretty simple! These people heard about Jesus and his sufferings for them, they FELT it was true by the Spirit of God, had FAITH it was true for them, and then GOD changed them to the point that they no longer had any disposition to do evil. Hmmm. Sounds much simpler to me than some other things I’ve been taught about change.

Later on in this book, a prophet named Alma is speaking to a large gathering of people and telling them about the miraculous change that occurred with his father, who had previously been involved with some pretty bad people. He says that “ACCORDING TO HIS FAITH THERE WAS A MIGHTY CHANGE WROUGHT in his heart.”

Later on, Alma shares his own mighty change that came “not of any worthiness of [him]self.” He relates that the memory of all the horrible things he had done (which in his case were pretty bad) that caused him to be “racked with torment”. Have you ever felt racked with torment over your stupidities, foibles, mistakes, poor judgment, or inadequacies? I certainly have!

So what did Alma do to change from a state he suddenly found unbearable, to something better? He remembered how he had heard about a Savior, Jesus Christ, who was supposed to atone for the sins of the world. He was desperate, so he seems to have decided to try his luck with this Jesus.

He cries out: “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.”

The result: “And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!”

It looks like Alma CRIED OUT TO GOD in the sincerity of his soul, and then GOD CHANGED HIM.

One more story here –

A man named Ammon, who was a friend of Alma who we just heard about, had the desire to preach the word of God among his enemies, a people who waged war with his people, and whose fathers had rejected God’s commandments in past times. Ammon ended up serving in the house of the king of this people, named Lamoni. Ammon first went about gaining the trust of the king by protecting his flocks from robbers, at which time it was apparent to the king and his other servants that Ammon had something they didn’t have. They wanted to know what it was.

Ammon was glad to oblige, and he taught king Lamoni and some of his associates about Jesus Christ and God’s plan for his children to be redeemed from a fallen state through Jesus’ name. I’m leaving out a lot of juicy details here, because I feel I’m already being long-winded.

What ended up happening is strait from the scene of an evangelical worship service – people were passing out left and right overcome by the Spirit of God. What happened when they were in this state? “ . . . they did all declare unto the people the selfsame thing – that THEIR HEARTS HAD BEEN CHANGED; that they had no more desire to do evil.”

Who or what changed them? Lamoni’s wife, the queen, tells us: “O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell!”

Could it really be that simple? Cry out to God to change you, and it’s done??

I think one key here is that all these people in these stories were SINCERE. They were DESPERATE for change. They were WILLING TO DO ANYTHING. And then they COMMITTED to fulfill God’s will for them, whatever it was. These MIGHTY CHANGES were instantaneous in a sense, and apparently ongoing in another as these people showed by their subsequent choices that they were on board with God for the long haul.

I am giving this a try in my life. In fact, I tried this earlier tonight and felt a witness in my heart that my requests were heard, and would be honored. I will continue to turn my heart to God and ask him to change me. It really does sound much less stressful and much more effective than trying to walk the road to change alone!

If you are ready for change NOW in your life, maybe you could try it too!

Oh – the book I quoted from is The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Along with our beloved Bible, it adds another testimony that our Savior Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God.

Take it or leave it, I just wanted to share. And maybe someday soon those with whom I interact will notice they have less of my faults and quirks to put up with!!

I haven't "arrived" yet, six months after asking God to change me (and I haven't asked him just once, by the way, but I plead with him regularly about this)!

But I'm more on my way than ever.

Lastly, how does any of this relate to healing? What is healing if not change for the better?

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Top 10 Reasons ObamaCare Freaks Me Out

I am not anti-Obama, and I am not a heartless overprivileged American citizen who looks on the sufferings of the poor with disdain. I just can't help but see parallels between the proposed healthcare reforms and the old-school game "Operation". In the game "Operation", children use a pair of electronic tweezers to carefully tinker with the body part of a poor, naked, and horrified cartoon man.

When they err and touch the tweezers to the wrong things, a loud buzzer goes off and the cartoon man's nose lights up.

At least in the game, any damage done is purely hypothetical. In our real world, the damage that could be done to the quality and accessibility of our healthcare, as well as the solvency of our nation's weakened economy will have real and possibly startling implications to the lives of many.

Let's be sure those who are "operating" on our healthcare system have more skill than a child's wavering hand before we hand them the knife.

Here are my Top Concerns with ObamaCare:

Health insurance in no way ensures health to those who have it (I know this from personal experience), and no way ensures that an individual won’t be faced with medical bankruptcy when faced with a serious illness.

9. People are translating “we have to do something about health care in this country” as “any tinkering with the system by the higher-ups will automatically result in a better outcome than what we are currently experiencing.” This type of naïve mindset is what led the Russian peasantry to embrace Lenin and Stalin.

8. Per the Constitution, the Federal Government has no place in healthcare. For those who are unfamiliar, the Constitution is the document on which our great nation was founded, and which outlines the role of the Federal government and its different branches, as well as the rights of U.S. citizens.

7. (a continuation of number 8.) U.S. citizens are guaranteed the right to life and liberty, the right to pursue happiness as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. We are not guaranteed reduced-cost healthcare. Notwithstanding, subsidizing basic healthcare for underprivileged American citizens (I used to be one myself) is the right thing to do in my opinion. I would prefer to see states, businesses, foundations, and private individuals step in. Perhaps the Federal government could provide tax incentives for providing such charitable contributions.

6. American citizens and their doctors will have fewer available choices when it comes to treatments. Americans will still have to pay out-of-pocket for non-included treatments (such as holistic modalities and herbs). If you don't think you'll ever need to look beyond the scope of Western medicine for the healthcare of yourself and your family, think again. There's a reason Americans spent over $34,000,000,000 of their own hard-earned cash in 2008 on holistic treatments. Interestingly, most of the European and Asian nations that offer universal healthcare prescribe and cover cheaper, and oftentimes highly effective herbal and holistic remedies and treatments, as well as pharmaceuticals and surgeries.

5. Healthy Americans who lean toward holistic and alternative medicine may be forced to purchase a health policy they will rarely if ever use, or face a fine of 2.5% of their annual gross income. Gone will be the option of the high-deductible catastrophic policy and health savings account in which Americans may set aside money tax-free for use in their healthcare, for treatments and remedies THEY choose.

4. Senior citizens, the mentally disabled, and the chronically ill may receive a lower priority in receiving care, with “productive” citizens ahead of them in line.

3. Do we really want the bozos responsible for overinflated and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that we probably can't win, as well as countless episodes of money mismanagement and thousands of other crimes, making the decisions for your healthcare and mine?

2. From the research I have done, every nation that offers universal healthcare is struggling with bankruptcy, and acknowledge that their healthcare system is at least part of the culprit. Since our nation is already bankrupt (China is subsidizing 25% of our debt, with a slew of other nations taking care of the rest), the answer is no. We can’t have universal health coverage. We can’t afford it. America pushing for expensive universal health coverage at this time in our history is just like a compulsive shopper up to her ears in debt reaching for yet another credit card application.

1. Corruption, corruption, corruption. Our current President just appointed Michael Taylor as food safety czar. Michael Taylor, for those who aren’t familiar, was previously the Vice President and chief lobbyist for Monsanto Corporation. This is the monolithic agribusiness company responsible for possibly doing more damage to the health of Americans in the last decade than any other. See This is completely akin to the conflict of interest between Dick Cheney’s close relationship with Haliburton and its lucrative activities in the Middle East, and his duties as our nation’s Vice President.