Saturday, May 26, 2012

Senator Hatch Ratings Overview

Having listened to and read many claims regarding Senator Hatch’s record I thought I would organize a summary of a number of them so interested parties can easily find the information. I used Project Vote Smart to find those groups with the most recent ratings in the Conservative and Family Issues categories and then recorded the Senator’s ratings as far back as they provided them. Note, the Eagle Forum did not have a rating available for 1999 which is why there is a gap in their rating.

Each organization that rates congress identifies key votes on issues that they care about and uses them to rate members of congress. The rating then reflects how a member of congress performed against a limited set of votes. You can go to each group to find out which votes they considered (I’ve put links to them at the bottom of the post).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Columbus, Providence, and the Discovery of America by Ron Mann

Bear with me for just one minute and we’ll get to the story. Thanks.

I find it curious that during a decade when when we’ve gone through one crisis after another (the Internet bubble, the real-estate crash, Katrina, 9/11, the financial melt-down of 2008 …) that while a lot of time and money has been spent trying to prevent similar problems in the future, society as a whole hasn’t taken an inward look to see if there are areas where we are off-track that contributed to these problems.

What! you say. How did we contribute to 9/11? We can see from the information that came out following 9/11 that there were a number of warning signs that were missed, not passed on to the right people, or ignored. Why? Could part of the issue be related to pride, an unwillingness to cooperate, and poor legislation which was crafted to protect the power of various departments but restricted cooperation that would have benefited all. The dots were there but no one connected them. We lacked the inspiration to put it all together.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Should Senator Hatch and His Primary Challenger Dan Liljenquist have Multiple Debates?

debateLocally, there have been a lot of discussions lately regarding whether or not the two primary candidates for one of Utah’s two Senate seats should have multiple debates prior to the primary election. The sitting Senator has agreed to one radio debate sometime the week before the election sometime between 9 AM and 12 PM. There has been a lot of energetic discussion on Facebook and in other online forums. I think much of the dialog misses the major point entirely.

I sent a short letter to the editor of Deseret News today on the subject. Not sure if it will be published so I thought I’d share it with you. But before that let me share a sampling of the online commentary so you can get a feel for the passion on both sides.:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Integrity by General Charles C. Krulak, USMC retired

General Charles C. Krulak, USMC General Krulak (former Commandant of the Marine Corps) was the keynote speaker at the Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics (JSCOPE) 2000. JSCOPE is now known as the International Society for Military Ethics (ISME). They have met annually since 1979 to discuss ethics, values, leadership … .

General Krulak’s January 27, 2000 keynote address is timeless and an ever needed reminder of the importance of integrity. This characteristic is essential for those we select to serve as leaders, whether in business, government, or private organizations. It is vital that those who serve maintain their integrity or like Rome our nation, business, or group will collapse from within and fall prey to those who seek its demise.


We study and we discuss ethical principles because it serves to strengthen and validate our own inner value system … it gives direction to what I call our moral compass. It is the understanding of ethics that becomes the foundation upon which we can deliberately commit to inviolate principles. It becomes the basis of what we are … of what we include in our character. Based on it, we commit to doing what is right. We expect such commitment from our leaders. But most importantly, we must demand it of ourselves.

Sound morals and ethical behavior cannot be established or created in a day … a semester … or a year. They must be institutionalized within our character over time … they must become a way of life. They go beyond our individual services and beyond our ranks or positions; they cut to the heart and to the soul of who we are and what we are and what we must be … men and women of character. They arm us for the challenges to come and they impart to us a sense of wholeness. They unite us in the calling we now know as the profession of arms.

Of all the moral and ethical guideposts that we have been brought up to recognize, the one that, for me, stands above the rest … the one that I have kept in the forefront of my mind … is integrity. It is my ethical and personal touchstone.

Integrity as we know it today, stands for soundness of moral principle and character – uprightness – honesty. Yet there is more. Integrity is also an ideal … a goal to strive for … and for a man or woman to “walk in their integrity” is to require constant discipline and usage. The word integrity itself is a martial word that comes to us from an ancient roman army tradition.

Roman Legionary wearing 1st century armorDuring the time of the 12 Caesars, the Roman army would conduct morning inspections. As the inspecting centurion would come in front of each legionnaire, the soldier would strike with his right fist the armor breastplate that covered his heart. The armor had to be strongest there in order to protect the heart from the sword thrusts and from arrow strikes. As the soldier struck his armor, he would shout “integritas”, (in-teg-ri-tas) which in Latin means material wholeness, completeness, and entirety. The inspecting centurion would listen closely for this affirmation and also for the ring that well kept armor would give off. Satisfied that the armor was sound and that the soldier beneath it was protected, he would then move on to the next man.

At about the same time, the praetorians or imperial bodyguard were ascending into power and influence. Drawn from the best “politically correct” soldiers of the legions, they received the finest equipment and armor. They no longer had to shout “integritas” (in-teg-ri-tas) to signify that their armor was sound. Instead, as they struck their breastplate, they would shout "Hail Caesar", to signify that their heart belonged to the imperial personage – not to their unit – not to an institution – not to a code of ideals. They armored themselves to serve the cause of a single man.

A century passed and the rift between the legion and the imperial bodyguard and its excesses grew larger. To signify the difference between the two organizations, the legionnaire, upon striking his armor would no longer shout “integritas”, (in-teg-ri-tas) but instead would shout "integer" (in-te-ger).

Integer (in-te-ger) means undiminished – complete – perfect. It not only indicated that the armor was sound, it also indicated that the soldier wearing the armor was sound of character. He was complete in his integrity … his heart was in the right place … his standards and morals were high. He was not associated with the immoral conduct that was rapidly becoming the signature of the praetorian guards.

The armor of integrity continued to serve the legion well. For over four centuries they held the line against the marauding Goths and Vandals but by 383 AD, the social decline that infected the republic and the Praetorian Guard had its effects upon the legion.

As a 4th century Roman general wrote, “When, because of negligence and laziness, parade ground drills were abandoned, the customary armor began to feel heavy since the soldiers rarely, if ever, wore it. Therefore, they first asked the emperor to set aside the breastplates and mail and then the helmets. So our soldiers fought the Goths without any protection for the heart and head and were often beaten by archers. Although there were many disasters, which lead to the loss of great cities, no one tried to restore the armor to the infantry. They took their armor off, and when the armor came off – so too came their integrity” it was only a matter of a few years until the legion rotted from within and was unable to hold the frontiers … the barbarians were at the gates.

Integrity … it is a combination of the words, “integritas” (in-teg-ri-tas) and “integer” (in-te-ger). It refers to the putting on of armor, of building a completeness … a wholeness … a wholeness in character. How appropriate that the word integrity is a derivative of two words describing the character of a member of the profession of arms.

The military has a tradition of producing great leaders that possess the highest ethical standards and integrity. It produces men and women of character … character that allows them to deal ethically with the challenges of today and to make conscious decisions about how they will approach tomorrow. However, as I mentioned earlier, this is not done instantly. It requires that integrity becomes a way of life … it must be woven into the very fabric of our soul. Just as was true in the days of imperial Rome, you either walk in your integrity daily, or you take off the armor of the “integer” (in-te-ger) and leave your heart and soul exposed … open to attack.

My challenge to you is simple but often very difficult … wear your armor of integrity … take full measure of its weight … find comfort in its protection … do not become lax. And always, always, remember that no one can take your integrity from you … you and only you can give it away!

The biblical book of practical ethics – better known as the Book of Proverbs – sums it up very nicely: “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them”. (Proverbs 11:3)

Thank you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Miracle and Hopefully Yours

I wrote the the following poem for my wife years ago and rededicate it to my wonderful companion this Mother’s Day. A better mother for our children does not exist. I hope everyone I know thinks the same about their companion.

Sunset on Wailea Maui

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

“Give Me Liberty!” by Ron Mann

The following short speech on freedom and liberty by my father, Ron Mann, is appropriate for today’s world, although it was written over 10 years ago.

Patrick Henry delivering his great speechPatrick Henry gave his most famous speech on March 23, 1775, in Richmond, Virginia, where he argued to mobilize for military action against the British – at the time the members of the 2nd Virginia Convention were undecided on this matter. Thomas Marshall, who was present at this speech, gave utterance to the unanimous verdict of all who heard it, when he described it “as one of the most bold, vehement, and animated pieces of eloquence that had ever been delivered.” Indeed it was so powerful that it consolidated all the forces in attendance to military resistance against the Crown.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A “Positive” Observation about Christ by Norman Vincent Peale

The Power of Positive ThinkingI recently started re-reading The Power of Positive Thinking (Amazon now has a free Kindle version on this link) which should be on everyone’s must read. In the foreword of the 2008 edition Pastor Robert Schuller shares a story from 1957 when he introduced its author, Norman Vincent Peale, a guest speaker to his congregation.

Dr. Schuller relates the following story: