Saturday
Feb062016

Medical Marijuana and Mormon Church

As most of you know by now, the Mormon church as come out in opposition to legalization of medical marijuana. And once again, the Mormon church continues to get involved in legislating morality and influencing public policy as though they are the only church who can violate the long held concept of the separation of church and state. This time I think the LDS Church has definitely overstepped its boundaries. I was ready to expound on this issue in this blog when I discovered an outstanding commentary from a friend and colleague of mine from the days when I worked for the state of Utah. I asked Ray Mathews for permission to post the following commentary in my blog. Here it is in its entirety:

The LDS Church has instructed the faithful Mormons in the Utah State Legislature to vote down SB 73 (2016). Utahns originally from states where there is true separation of church and state find this interference appalling. But the rest of you who have grown up in Utah are numbed out of your minds. No need for cannabis here.

Your own territorial legislature and statehood commissions foresaw this and they wrote into the Constitution that would be eventually adopted in this State greater religious liberty protections than would be found in any other state’s constitution. These provisions were required as a condition of statehood.

Let us read chapter and verse our liberties, Article 1, Sec. 4.

"The rights of conscience shall never be infringed. The State shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust or for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on account of religious belief or the absence thereof.”

This insures that Mormons and those of other religions will never be denied serving in public office. It’s just and it's what we expect in America.

But in consideration of the past history of religious domination in the Utah Territory, unique guarantees of religious freedom were written into this state's Constitution.

Brethren, let us read further in Article 1, Sec. 4:

"THERE SHALL BE NO UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE, NOR SHALL ANY CHURCH DOMINATE THE STATE OR INTERFERE WITH ITS FUNCTIONS. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment."

Public and/or private coercion on the part of the LDS Church in the affairs of state, interfering with its functions, as admitted to by Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, is blatantly unconstitutional.

Where are all those lovers of liberty we hear about daily from Bundyland? Where are all those vest-pocket Constitution thumping Constitutionalists when it comes to domination of the LDS Church in state politics (not only Utah, but in other states as well as we saw in the case of California Prop 8).

We the people demand Separation of Church and State as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Utah. Demand that the Utah Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the long history of violations.

‪#‎utpol‬ ‪#‎sb73‬ ‪#‎churchandstate‬ ‪#‎LDS‬ ‪#‎AmericansUnited‬ Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Tuesday
Jan262016

The System is Broken

A few months ago I was asked to consider running for the Utah State Legislature, and to represent the people in our area in state government. I knew that I would have a very slim chance of winning office but I thought it might be a good exercise and an educational experience for everyone. Now that I have had some time to think about it, I have come to the conclusion that I am better off doing what I am doing and that is helping people through our non-profit, RAIN, and the various services available at our ranch, Uinta Springs Ranch. Another reason is that I have come to believe that our present system of government is no longer working...it is broken!

The reason I think it is broken is that it no longer serves the people, it serves big business. There is too much big money in politics! This trend appeared to have taken course even before the infamous Supreme Court ruling, Citizen's United, which now makes it lawful to make huge, unlimited campaign contributions in local and national elections. The impact of this decision is reflected in the statement above which states that basically our lawmakers have been bought and sold to the highest bidder. Therefore, I have decided to not be party to a system that will only contribute to greater oppression, depression, and harmful actions to the people. I also do not want to invite stress and strain into my already busy life.

I believe this is a critical time in the history of our country. I strongly believe what noted MIT intellectual, Norm Chomsky, says about the threat and harm that extreme policies will have on our country if we are not careful. There is simply too much income inequality in our country (with 1% owning 40% or more of the national wealth) to the point that if it is not corrected soon; and folks find out that they have been robbed and lied to, there could be an all out revolution in this country. When countries exercise absolute power and control over people, they plant the seeds of revolution. The sad thing is that revolution is so unnecessary... if people will only be reasonable and share some of their wealth. And the rich certainly do have an obligation to help the very country that enabled them to accumulate such wealth. No one that I know wants to rob the rich anymore than they like seeing the poor suffer from poverty. On the other hand, no one should be allowed to accumulate such wealth and not pay their fair share of taxes, especially when they knowingly deposit money made in the U.S. in off shore banks or countries with liberal tax policies. 

We also need to decide if our core beliefs are in support of love or hate. Do we really need to be so fearful and ready to go to war at the slightest provocation? I admit that up to this point in our history, we have had to have a strong defense posture. I no longer believe this is necessary especially since we and a few other developed countries have the nuclear war capacity to destroy the world several times over. The U.S. defense budget is out of control, higher that the next eight countries combined. How much more money has to be spent to promote this facade. It is ridiculous! This money could be used for so many wonderful and beneficial purposes. It could change the world overnight.

The fact is war has become very lucretive. Big bucks are made in the business of killing! Former President Eisenhower warned of the "Military Industrial Complex" before he left office. He was a military person who saw what was happening in our country and spoke out about it...only to be ignored. Well... his wisdom has come to fruition now, and we have to deal with it. It has become an out of control monster, a monster that continues to keep American people operating in fear, ready to go to war on a moment's notice...regardless of the circumstances. Whether 911 was a conspiracy or not matters not anymore; the fact is we have become entangled in the ceaseless middle east wars. And we must pay the consequences. It will take time and high level diplomacy to avoid war. Keep this in mind during the upcoming presidential election. And keep in mind that our middle class existence is at risk of vanishing into poverty if we are not careful. It is indeed an important time. Our very existence is at stake. Thank you for your time.

Sunday
Jan102016

The True Socialists

In this time of unbridled greed and corruption in the U.S. and the world at large, I have come to see the value of my people's and other Indigenous people's traditional beliefs in socialism - sharing of goods and resources, fairness, and value for the common good. I was told that our people's economic beliefs sysems were different from the Whiteman but they were never fully explained or held to high esteem until I attended college. In college I learned about capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, and other variations of these. Most of these systems evolved as a result of bloody conflicts and revolutions. I learned that the most dangerous system was fascism, the marriage between the military and the wealthy class. I learned that Karl Marx believed that man was not capable of sharing the wealth. Capitalism was the prized system and post WWII with the growth of the middle class essentially proved Karl Marx wrong. There are indications this may change.   

Recent reports in the U.S. media, including recent campaign rhetoric, indicate that the middle class is in decline and that it is being replaced by a growing poverty class. This has caused me to question the wisdom of Marx and Das Capitas. Could it be that Marx was right, have we met, maxed the crescendo or height of our economic system capabilities? Is this all there is? Before Bernie, I was beginning to panic! I was beginning to think that with all the corruption - big banks and corporations enjoying bail outs, off shore investments to avoid taxes, wall street shenanigans, and out of control CEO salaries amid the starving working class; there was simply no hope! I was especially concerned because of trend of so many poor American voting against their very own interests; their entrenched believe in "trickle down economics" and their fear of threat to wealthy because "they provide the jobs." Then I was reminded of how our people once lived and cared for one another via socialism or an adaptation thereof.

I want to quote a passage from the book, The Book of Destiny 2012, by Carlos Barrios, about the Mayan beliefs which are very similar to my people, the Utes', beliefs. In this passage, he is talking about leadership. He says, "Rulers in my Grandfathers' time were loved and respected for their wisdom and ability to serve others. They earned their higher position by demonstrating lifelong service: the best political campaign was to work for the community. Being a leader was an honor, not something to brag about or take advantage of. They didn't believe they were all-powerful. The purpose was to maintain equilibrium and uphold our Grandfathers' vision. Democracy isn't about choosing the person we think we serve our individual purposes. Wouldn't it be better to elect someone who will work for the good of all?"

I have come to be quite fond of our peoples' beliefs. We had similar traditions and beliefs as the Mayans. Unfortunately, we have all lost sight of these beliefs and values. These beliefs are no longer valued among the Utes' nor the greater American people for that matter. Most elected leaders are looking out only for themselves and their own families. Their interests and the interests of their financial backers comes first. The needs of the community are way down the list. There are so many leaders in Congress who are now owned by corporate American and their lobbists. Most of the Presidential candidates are backed by political action committees (PACs) who are bought and paid for by powerful corporations. Bernie Sanders is the only one so far to not have a PAC, nor does he accept donations for large corporations. Unfortunately, he is a dark horse with a big uphill fight. Nevertheless, that is not my point.

My point is that we, Americans, have gone off track. Somewhere along the way, we lost our way and we are stuck in the mire. We have become lazy looking for quick solutions and when we don't get them; we become frustrated and we strike out against whoever is available. We no longer respect many of our leaders and some of them could care less anyway as long at they collect their payoff. They have no respect for each other even insulting colleages of the same party; and of course they villanize those belonging to the "other party." Consider how they strike out and insult at each other and put each other down with the most vile comments. The insults hurled against our standing President are very troublesome. Some people, even a Texas Govenor, are making threats and getting away with it. To me this is an indicator that our country is in trouble. There is no excuse for this kind of rudeness and disrespect.

In the clinical world, the first task in getting well is to recognize you have a problem. We need to realize that we have a problem. Either our system of govenment is not working because we are not following the rules or it has reached it zenith. I know in my heart that one thing that must be done is to take money out of politics. I am one of those that believes that the United Citizens ruling by the Supreme Court was one of the most damaging rulings for U.S. Democracy. It needs to be overturned immediately. If not, then perhaps another economic system must be considered. I am not panning for socialism! I am just saying that if we cannot correct the problems or overhaul our present system to make it work better; then perhaps we need to do something else. As alluded to above, some of these systems emerged out of bloody rebellions and revolutions. Question yourself...do we really want to undergo a revolution? I don't. I think there are other ways. 

Sunday
Dec272015

Media Release-COP21- Critical State of Mother Earth, a repost

Due to the important nature of the COP21 meeting in Paris, France, earlier this month, I wish to repost a blog prepared earlier by Dr. Phil Lane Jr. [posted December 12, 2015. Please visit the details below. Thank you
MEDIA RELEASE-12/12 2015, Paris, France
The Ihanktonwan Dakota Treaty Committee, Choctaw Musgokee Yamassee Nation, Tsleil Waututh Nation, Brave Heart Society of Ihanktowan, International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Consejo de Visions-Guardianes de la Tierra, Four Worlds Europe, Embassy of the Earth, Fundación Cuatro Mundos, Front Siwa Lima,Salish Sea Foundation, Netherlands Centre for Indigenous People, Compassion Games International, UNO Foundation, World Conscious Pact, the Global Wisdom Summit and the Four Worlds International Institute released the report COP21-Critical State of Our Mother Earth  that outlines 16 immediate actions necessary to reverse climate change, restore the ecological function of our Mother Earth, and reunify all peoples and nations.
 
This historic report outlines the critical state of our Mother Earth as observed and documented by the world’s leading scientists. These recent scientific studies of the past 14 years demonstrate that climate change is a symptom of a larger economic and political system of plunder and exploitation of Mother Earth’s natural systems and the spreading of wastes and toxins through Earth’s ecosystems.
 
“Science confirms the warnings and prophecies of our wise ancestors and elders,” said Chief Phil Lane Jr., Ihanktowan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations, and CEO of the Four Worlds International Institute. “Our elders have warned us that if we fail to live humbly and if we fail to live in harmony and respect with our Mother Earth, then all members of the Human Family and all life forms will suffer.”
 
“This is a unique document,” said Rex Weyler, a co-founder of Greenpeace International, who helped review all major scientific studies of the past 14 years for Four Worlds International Institute. “There is no other single document, today, that so thoroughly summarizes the critical scientific studies and demonstrates the links among the ecological challenges, including global warming, that we face as a Human Family.”
 
“Our new vision is, in fact, an ancient vision,” said Chief Lane. “We must leave the destructive path that has created these global challenges, and walk the life enhancing, principle-centered path of protecting and restoring the Human Family, our future generations, and our beloved Mother Earth.”
 
Contact: Chief Phil Lane Jr., Four Worlds International Institute
phillanejr@gmail.com
skype: planejr1234
Friday
Dec042015

Men are not Angels

On of my favorite early American patriots was considered the father of the U.S. Constitution, James Madison. One of my favorite quotes from him was, "If men were angels there would be no need for government." By the same token, if men were angels there would be no need to regulate arms." Or big business, corporations, wall street, etc. Go figure.