Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Should We Attack Iran?

A position of strength or ability to do something does not give anyone the right to do it. Whatever one does invites others to do likewise. What you send out comes back to you. These are all platitudes but they are nevertheless true principles. If we as a nation are to have moral character, we must always attempt to educate, negotiate and discourage evil actions by other nations. If those efforts fail and the nation takes an action that demands response, we should respond with full purpose and effectiveness to the extent that action demands.If we act first, regardless of the bluster or threatening of the other, we become the terrorist, the aggressor or the immoral force.

It is similar to the grouchy old man that moves into the neighborhood who says that all children should be boiled in oil and eaten for breakfast. It is appropriate to explain to him that he is causing fear and trouble and that, if something happened to a child, he is setting himself up to be the prime suspect and may be held responsible even if he didn't do it. However, burning his house down just because he is a grouchy old man makes us, not him, the evil one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Recent comments on a facebook debate on wasting your vote.

 I believe the only wasted vote is one cast in ignorance or in the hope of electing or defeating a party rather than supporting principles of truth and people who actually stand for those principles. If you can find someone on the ballot in November from one of the major parties that actually will work to change the direction we are heading rather than just adjusting the speed at which we are going there, then vote for them by all means. I will only vote FOR someone who will actually stand up FOR truth and Constitutional principles. I refuse to vote against anyone. If no one running for an elected position meets that requirement, I will not vote for that office. I refuse to support ANY evil, even the lesser of two, with my votes. Please get informed. Read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence and The Proper Role of Government by Ezra Taft Benson. All four will take you about an hour. Then vote your conscience, because that is what God will judge you on - if you followed your conscience.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Principle Based Decision Making - Health Care #2 - Some Reflections

Using and reiterating the principles from Part One of this topic to develop solutions, here are some of the things that either need to be or can be done. We will only be dealing with possible state and local solutions, since the Federal Government has no jurisdiction over health care, except for the responsibility to care for people who receive injury, physical or mental, while in and because of service to their country.
States, local governments and civic or service organizations can, if their constituents agree, provide certain types of health care to those constituents and/or others as a group by levying fees or taxes to provide that care. There should never be a mandate to participate in any state or locally sponsored healthcare program, but people who opt out may possibly be barred from the benefits of the programs provided.
If, because of a charitable mind and not because of governmental requirements, groups such as those above choose to provide additional benefits to the poor, injured or those who need long-term care, they should be given every possible consideration to make their job easier. Groups such as Primary Children's Hospital, the Shriners, the Children's Miracle Network and the various health charities for specific diseases such as cancer, diabetes, MD, MS, etc. can be of great service to those who need help and cannot afford it. These are funded by voluntary donations.
Using the individual states as an example, but not excluding other local entities, below is an example of how a group could provide a level of care to those who cannot afford to purchase it themselves. It is not provided as a solution but only as a possibility or a starting point for discussion of ways to assist those who need it. I must post the disclaimer that I personally would not vote for any government sponsored health care - even at the state level but would prefer that a prosperous and generous society (which must be restored) take care of their less fortunate members through charity and personal assistance.
  • The state could choose to educate, at taxpayer expense, healthcare professionals that cannot pay for their training themselves (scholarships). They can also purchase, rent or build health care facilities (clinics, hospitals, etc. - preferably purchasing old healthcare facilities that are being abandoned) that are staffed by those who have thus been trained as well as asking specialists to provide some volunteer service. These state-trained professionals would be required to spend a certain number of years serving in these facilities as a requirement of their free training. If they choose to leave the program before their commitment is filled, they must reimburse the state for their training so others can be trained to replace them. They would be paid at a rate similar to other state employees while working under this program.
  • Those who use these facilities must sign waivers excluding them from the possibility of lawsuits except in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm. They would need to clearly understand that the level of care and comfort in these charity facilities would be lower than in commercial facilities.
  • States can also choose to provide nursing homes for long-term care of residents who have no other options with the same type of stipulations as those above. A number or states already have programs such as these in place or subsidize clinics to provide basic services.
These are all choices and should be made by the people who are affected by the taxes required to pay for those choices - not by any federal mandate.
Below is an article I wrote a number of years ago. As you can see, I have changed in a few particulars over those years, but the concepts and philosophy remain the same.
Defining the Problems 

A perception that people are not responsible for their own well-being. In some cases such as injuries, congenital defects etc. that may be true. Most illness and disease is created by personal choices as to diet, exercise, life-style choices, etc.
Ridiculously expensive technology used to artificially keep unhealthy people alive in a diminished capacity for years often including mental conditions that make them unaware or uncaring about that very lengthening of life.
 A Legal system that makes reasonable quality care with good intent insufficient. HC Professionals are required to do massive testing and multiple procedures that are usually unnecessary and often create their own problems for the patient so that under threat of lawsuit they can say "I did everything conceivable to create a good outcome".
 A philosophy that says, not only do we have to artificially sustain life long after it is enjoyable, but we must take extreme measures to take away any discomfort of aging and poor health habits.
The key things that need to be done here (and were not even considered in the current legislation) are tort reform and a national debate and decision on what is reasonable to expect of health care professionals and what is the responsibility of the individual. When the cost of health care is reduced massively by expecting people to live in a more healthy manner and not rewarding stupidity in their nutrition, exercise and habits, by making lawsuits only available to those who have been wronged by actual incompetence or carelessness, by capping punitive damages or removing them altogether except in cases of intent to harm or defraud, and (most controversially) deciding as a society what we, as a society are willing to pay for, we can actually create a system that is reasonable, successful and reliable without destroying the economy.
If on the other hand, we decide that the state (or nation, if you like) is going to be responsible for every illness or accident, every congenital condition and every person who intentionally does damage to their health through poor choices and that we, because of budgetary restraints can no longer pay quality health care professionals a reasonable amount for all the extra expense, time, schooling and lost sleep they sacrifice - we will lose the best and brightest from the profession and there won't be enough money to continue which will create a collapse of the system to where even basic health services will be hard to find and ineffective. These are the choices. If we choose the second option, the system will eventually fail, bankrupting the country in the process.
Secondly, we the people need to change our perception. We think that, if something isn't the way we want it, we should go to the government and they will dispense the solution. That is the essence of "state-ism". Can you imagine George Washington saying to the government, "My teeth are falling out - you (meaning we the people) should take care of me and make sure I get some nice dentures". This is the guy to wouldn't even collect his pay as commander of the armies or as President because he could get by without it and he considered it his duty to do all he could to protect and maintain the freedoms and liberty of his fellow citizens. I know it is why people think conservatives are heartless and cruel, but we need to consider what is the "proper role of government" and what is the province of the individual. When the group of individuals decide that they are willing to take on a responsibility (such as health care for the needy or providing food to the hungry) it is a choice, not a requirement, and as such provides help but does not destroy freedom. If, on the other hand, we are forced to try to "be all things to all people", we will fail and with that failure, our liberty, our prosperity and our very souls will fall into servitude.

There is a basic level of service that we as a society can afford and some of that we can ask of the professionals if and only if they are well compensated for their usual paid work. In law it is called pro-bono and most attorneys expect to give a portion of their time to it. In health care it can work the same way, but it must be limited in order to not destroy the very people providing it and their livelihood.

The debate, though uncomfortable, needs to be held and decisions made about what the public trough can provide and what we individually are responsible for.
Finally, we need to recognize that the current legislation is not a health care proposal. It is, instead, a health insurance requirement that mandates that I buy government approved health insurance and use government approved health care providers. It gives me no freedom to invest in my own type of insurance (savings), go to alternative health care providers (naturopaths, chiropractors, etc.) or to choose to live as healthy as I can and deal with problems when they arise to the best of my own ability.
We could learn alot from many of the native american cultures. Many indigenous cultures live in harmony with mother earth. They use natural herbs and medicines to improve their health, mental state and lives in general. They are peaceful with that. Could our culture accept that approach? Probably not. Should we think about it? I think we should.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The following is a face book discussion from about 2 years ago. The first poster is a young woman who was a college student at a very liberal college in Washington state. The second poster is her father, Shaun McCausland.


Okay. I know I may be opening a can of worms here, but I have to ask.

I've been taking a class this quarter called Disease in Modern Society. It's been a brilliant course so far and I've thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since it has had an emphasis on how various factors of society (such as inequality, marginalization, and poverty) affect the spread of disease. In order to stimulate these discussions, we've read two nonfiction books I'd like to recommend to everyone. One is "We Are All The Same" by Wooten, a story of a South African boy with AIDS... and "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder, a story about Dr. Paul Farmer, a truly Christlike man who has against huge odds created effective treatment programs in countries like Haiti, Peru, and Russia.

Reading these books, I've come to believe that access to good health care should be a basic human right, and that relieving suffering is an ideal which agrees firmly with my own moral code and the moral code of many others, especially, I would hope, my fellow Christians.

I understand that the subject of health care in our own country (the U.S.) is highly controversial right now. I'm not sure I understand all the reasons, though I have heard a little bit on both sides of the issue. There may be things I have yet to understand about why some people are so convinced that the newly proposed health care systems will actually make things worse. I understand that people are worried about freedoms being compromised, doctors doing a halfway job, taxes being raised, and having to pay someone else's doctor bills.

So what I have to ask is this.

How many people believe that we all have a responsibility to care for our fellow man? How many people believe that relieving suffering when it is within our power is not just something nice to do, but is in fact our duty? How many people truly believe that when a mother has a sick, wounded, or dying child, that she should have access to treatment for that beloved child, regardless of her income? How many people believe that Jesus really meant it when he said that sharing our substance with the poor, administering relief to the sick and the affilcted, is the true gospel?

Are we not all beggars?

So what I'm curious about is why we are afraid. I'm honestly curious. This is not a challenge or a criticism. I am ignorant about this matter, I will freely admit that. So educate me. Tell me, briefly, what is wrong with the idea of making health care available to everyone, even if the money for it does come from our pockets? Is it the fear of losing our freedoms? Is it the fear that we'll be encouraging laziness in our population? Is it a feeling of entitlement to our own hard-earned money?

Which aspect makes it the most frightening?

This is an invitation of straightforward explanation. I don't want to start an argument. I don't want any name-calling or contention. I just want to know what it is that makes such a seemingly good idea sound so bad to so many of my friends, family, and acquaintances. I want to understand so that I can make a more informed decision about where I stand.

All this is assuming that anyone actually replies to this xP

Rachel - excellent post, excellent thinking and excellent approach. If more people would start where you are starting, there would be more understanding and less of all the negative stuff. I will try to shed what light I can. To clear up all the concerns would take a book or maybe more than one book, but I will try to be brief. I do not have all the answers, but I think I do understand the questions, which is the first step.

The first and most important point you want to find clarity on is the moral and spiritual framework that we should work from when considering what to do with those who need health care. I believe that most of us who consider ourselves Christian would agree that we have a responsibility to care for one another and help when help is needed. I won't cite scriptures here, but there are many that support this. The question then becomes, who provides the help, who receives the help, what level of care should be provided, and should it be mandatory, or should people be able to choose how much they contribute to the well-being of others and how much they should be entitled to.

Health care can be divided in many ways, but in my mind there are four basic types of health care - prevention and strengthening health, basic care, emergency care and long-term management of degenerative or incurable illness or disability. The first area is fairly inexpensive and is comprised of mostly teaching, nutrition and avoiding toxins. If everyone ate an organic, raw food diet, most illness would simply disappear. That brings up the question of whether the government should regulate what we eat and mandate exercise, etc.

The second area, basic care, is treatment and support of natural processes (like birth) and simple, short term diseases. It is also fairly inexpensive, at least in comparison to the other two areas remaining.

Emergency care is about sudden, traumatic crisis management, whether for broken bones, injuries from accident or inflicted injuries or extreme for the doctors and hospitals that are astronomical which is a major part of the problem with health costs.

The final area is the most expensive by far - that of caring for those on a long term basis that are incapacitated, incurable or have debilitating weaknesses and disabilities.

I don't know the exact numbers, but if you take the exorbitant insurance rates that doctors and hospitals pay out of the equation, the first area is likely getting about 5% of the money, the second is getting about 15%, the third about 30% and the fourth the other 50%. It seems that if we would actually teach people correct principles (word of wisdom, exercise, etc.) much of that 80% part of the cost could be eliminated.

The next question is, how much of a persons health is their responsibility and how much is the community responsible for? Is it the communities responsibility to pay over a million dollars to care for and try to keep alive for 40 plus years someone who has spent their whole lives smoking, drinking, taking drugs, eating wantonly, - you get the idea. Agency dictates that we get to choose what we do, but we don't get to choose the consequences - our choices have already created them. To take this out to a logical extension - if one in twenty people choose to live this way, how can the other nineteen pay that million dollars. There are 11 people in our family, so less than two families our size would have to come up with the million dollars to pay for that one person's choices. How can that be done? If you think that amount is unlikely, check what the total bill is for a lung transplant, a heart transplant, long term care in a facility or home for even a short time, let alone 40 years or more.

Now add to that the insurance costs. Individual doctors pay from $50,000 to $200,000 per year for malpractice insurance, depending on their specialty and type of practice. They of course pass this along to their patients in higher fees. Then add to that all the extra tests, procedures, etc. that doctors do just to cover their butts in case anything goes wrong so they can stand up during a lawsuit and say, "I did everything I could - just look at all these tests", which adds countless more dollars to the bills.

I know I said this is brief and believe me, it is compared to what people really need to know.

The solutions -

1st. Increase the education of people in natural health and the toxicity of chemicals, pesticides, food additives, dyes, pollution, etc. Help them learn how to increase their health and their natural immunity. This would take much less money than any other option and would be the most effective in lowering costs.

2nd. Tort reform. This means changing the way courts award money to people who have had bad outcomes from medical procedures. If negligence is proven, those people injured should be taken care of whether until they return to productive, normal life if possible or while they live if the damage was permanent. Punitive damages should only be awarded in cases of fraud or gross negligence or intent to harm and should be capped at $1,000,000 per person so harmed. (Some have received $50,000,000 or more for a doctor making an honest mistake in addition to compensatory damages - those requiring care, etc.) This would decrease the amount that insurance would cost both for the doctor and the patient.

3rd. Recognize that the fourth area of care is the one that is most expensive and the most preventable, that the second area of care is affordable to most people if they are not having to subsidize the doctor's insurance because of exorbitant rates. With that understood, health insurance is properly only needed by most people for the third area - that of emergency care. Costs in this area can also be reduced by tort reform, but it will still be expensive for most people. This is the area where there should be some type of insurance available to everyone.

Interestingly, it is already in place and working. If you present yourself at the hospital emergency room or call for an ambulance in an emergency, they are required by law to admit you and treat you to the best of their ability. If you can't pay, they have to work with you to allow you to pay what you can and forgive the rest. They pay for this by raising the costs for those who have insurance or can pay through their own resources. Donations are also accepted to help pay these costs. You remember how many people in our community helped us pay the costs of medical and funeral expenses when Elijah died.

Finally, we need to determine if it is appropriate for taxpayers to be forced to pay for all types of treatments or just the emergency types or none of them. We need to see if the charitable community can cover the costs for many of these situations. Historically, most people - especially children - are taken care of by organizations such as the Shriner's hospitals, Primary Children's hospital (as well as other children's hospitals all around the country) and others. These hospitals will only charge what the people can reasonably pay. The rest of their operating costs are covered by charity from people like you and me. They have succeeded doing this for many years.

The problem with the current proposal is that it is not clearly addressing the problems as they stand. It is simply creating a huge government program at an even huger expense to us, our children and our children's children. That program will be about as effective as all the other government programs and as such, will run out of money fairly quickly. Then they will have the choice of the following - 1. Raise taxes even further than they will already have to be raised to pay for the stimulus and bailout, 2. Restrict access to health care to those the government considers "worthy". 3. Force providers to charge less for services (which will cause providers to either do less for people or simply go out of business.) When the number and quality of providers is reduced sufficiently, how effective will government provided health care be? For answers, look to countries where it has been tried. England, Canada and Russia are good examples. Many people in those countries come here because they either can't get care (they are disallowed because they have some other problem or they are "too old" or some other reason) or they can get care but have to wait so long because of the lack of providers that they will die before their appointment arrives.

In our country, there are very few people who can't get care if it is urgently needed, even if they can't pay for it. I can't pay for health care or insurance. I went to the emergency room last year. I received decent care and a doctor consultation with a specialist. I was not charged because I was unable to pay. They did not raise anyones taxes. I don't believe that anyone need go without care in an emergency in this country.

RB (name withheld to avoid his embarrassment)
Shaun Shaun Shaun.... Please read the Bill. People are being turned down by insurance every day in this country. Private companies, in states that have legalized euthanasia, are already refusing to pay for terminal illness treatment and offering assisted suicide coverage. All you boogey talk is already happening. Obama is not modeling Russia, ... Canada or the UK, the bill models France's policies which are widely regarded as the best in the world the Doctors and citizens of France. Insurance companies lack the moral obligation to help people, while our goverement program will be dsigned to do so, beyond profit motive.

There will be no "Death Panels", There is no mandatory suicide clauses. We HAVE the money. Our nation HAS the resources. We, as a nation, need to do what's right and stop fretting over lies and missinformation.

If yo don't want the goverment program, you don't have to be a part of it. You have the right to keep your current care. How is that so hard to understand?

The reason people are scared is that they believe the government will waste the money taken from us to pay for this and that health care will decrease in quality and availability. A good example of this is the recent cash for clunkers deal. The report I saw noted that even though they spent 1 billion dollars for the program (soon to spend 2 billion more of our money that they take through taxes) only 120 million of it went to the people trading in their cars - the rest went to run the program and pay for implementing it. That's is why we don't trust the government to run health care. Medicare takes money from every check you receive as an employee - so does social security. If the government put that money in the bank so it would be available to you when you need it, they would have literally trillions available now. Instead they have spent all that money and are taking money from other people to pay for the benefits of those who are collecting now. That is why many of us don't think the government is qualified to run this program.

Stop being a tool, Shaun.

2 billion is what the Iraq war used to cost us a day.....

RB, please keep to the intelligent dialogue we have started here instead of name-calling. If you have specific disagreements with what I have posted, bring them up and directly address them with your facts and experiences. If you can't address the specifics and be civil, please go away.

I agree that the insurance companies are turning people down. I agree that some are not doing a good job. I believe that much of that can be addressed with tort reform as noted above. I also believe that the problem you are concerned with will get worse if the government is in charge, not better. That is why I don't like this bill - and yes I have read a readers digest version of the bill, but no I haven't read all 1400 pages - have you?

I've read all the "scary parts". It sounds like your arguement has been reduced to a matter of opinion:

"I also believe that the problem you are concerned with will get worse if the government is in charge, not better. That is why I don't like this bill"

I DO believe the goverement can handle this. So does Rachel, so do many more Americans. So there.

That's fair. Can you give me examples of how the government has done well with other large projects? You pointed out well how much we wasted on the Iraq war. If they are good at this type of thing, I need some examples. (was the "so there." necessary?) I can respect you if you respect yourself enough to be civil and mature in your comments - even if we don't agree.

ER (name also withheld)
You can't base this administration's potential on the activities/failures of previous administrations, especially ones with such radically different policies... if they didn't change from president to president, we could never advance after a bad one. Germany's healthcare system is fantastic now, but just 60 years ago, it was Naziland.

That is a fair point and I don't base anything on previous administrations. I am equally concerned by the last three administrations and how they all moved us towards centralized governmental power and away from individual and state's rights. So far, I haven't seen anything that indicates this administration is taking us in any new directions. It seems to me that we are just going faster into debt and governmental power.

I do not beleive myself to be uncivil in my comments, perhaps you're a bit too sensitive.

The US government, considering the majority of other nations, actually controls very little in this country. Education, Medicare, Medicade, Military, Police and Justice.... Most Banks go, or until recently have went, mostly unregulated. Social Security has dried up as baby boomers have. This is becasue back when social security started, the average life expentancy was about 65.... It was designed so that people would die before they have to collect. Unfortuneately that's no longer the case. People don't retire becasue they're unable to work, they do it nowadays because they want to play golf, relax, and travel with the help of a goverment meal-ticket.

Perhaps the government would function better if we gave it the power it needs to function. A half-ass funded program can only perform half-assedly.

Perhaps we should stop allowing perfectly fuctional people to suck the system dry simply becasue they're in thier 60s.... People live until 80 on average. I say work em dry....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Text of Speech at Constitution Party State Convention, April 7, 2012

A few days ago, I was sitting in a radio station answering questions from callers. That is always an interesting experience. A caller asked me "What have you done in the last few years to save our country?" In a few minutes, I will tell you what I would say to him today. In the meantime, think about this question. 100 Years from now, what will historians say about our time? Will they say that a segment of the population stood up and educated the people and turned the tide of public opinion away from those who were willing to destroy the republic - or will they say that too many of us fiddled while Rome was burning and that as a result, we saw the end of the greatness and goodness of the United States?
In about 7 months, I think I may be able to give you a pretty good prediction, but what we do today and in the days to come may determine to an extent what that prediction will be. To start with, listen to this statement "The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are inspired documents and the source of the solutions to our nation's current problems!" If you believe that statement, please stand up.
Don't worry about who is or isn't standing. This is not for each of us to judge someone else. It is to evaluate ourselves.
If you are standing, you are at least on level 1 of a 5 point scale that may determine our future. All of you who are standing are awake. You realize that our country is in trouble. You know that our freedoms are being lost. You know that government is too intrusive in our lives, too expensive for us to sustain, too arrogant to respect our freedoms, our desires and our choices. It is a government that has forgotten that it is supposed to be "of the people, by the people and for the people." Sadly, many of our elected and appointed representatives have forgotten it as well. They seem to think that it should be government of the many by the few and for the few. That is a definition of tyranny. Hopefully, on the other side of things, it seems that, across this nation and here in Utah as well, people are starting to awaken, to get involved, to stop repeatedly voting for the same people and the same failed ideas that got us into this mess.
Levels 2 and 3 on this 5 point scale are qualified by the following. Have you read those founding documents. Do you understand them? Level 2 is for those who have read the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Level 3 is for those who have taken time to understand each of those documents and the unalienable and guaranteed rights that they promise to defend. We understand that these documents and the government they created do not provide these rights, but they promise to protect them and restrict the government and its employees from actions that would infringe on those rights. If level 2 or 3 describes you, please stay standing. The rest may sit down.  No matter what level you are on, I challenge you to move up at least one level in the next couple of weeks. You on these levels are AWARE.
If you are aware, you know what has created the debt and the erosions of our freedoms. You know which laws and executive orders and judicial pronouncements have done this and how they did it. You know if those things that have been done were legal under the Constitution. You probably know how your representatives voted on critical issues of freedom. How did they vote on the Patriot Act? How did they vote on raising the debt limit? How did they vote on the National Defense Authorization Act? There are dozens more. I hope you know how they voted. Have they spoken out against the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order? It's approximately EO# 13,600 - I'm not sure because they quit numbering them on the government website. These are edicts that carry the force of law and our current president is using them to circumvent congress - effectively legislating from the executive branch with no check and balance. That's not how it's supposed to work. Congress could challenge and stop them from taking effect. Senators can challenge them. Are they doing so? No they are not but I will! And yes, Mr. Obama, the Supreme Court can rule on the constitutionality of laws. In fact, it is their job.
Those who are aware understand that, if a government can give you the right to do something, they can also take it away. Do you understand that unalienable rights mean that those rights exist regardless of what government is in power and that our responsibility is to see that our government fulfills its proper role? Do you understand that the proper role of government is to protect and defend those rights?
OK, you can sit down now, and thank you for helping me with that. The final levels, 4 and 5 are for those who are engaged in doing something. Are you actively engaged? You are here today. That tells me that you care enough to try to do something. I honor you for showing up - for showing up at your caucus meeting or your county convention, for taking the time, effort and money it took to be here today. For showing up at the polls in November. The question that I have to ask you is this. What are you going to do tomorrow? What are you going to do next week, or next month? Are you going to speak or will you hold your tongue so that people will not be offended or disagree with you? Will they stay uninformed because you weren't willing to speak? If you are speaking up, you are on level 4.
Many of us are peacemakers by nature. We like to calm the troubled waters. We like to make everybody feel good, even when they shouldn't. Our tendency is to compromise or agree with people to whatever extent we can because we hate conflict. I often feel that way. But let me tell you what I hate more than conflict. I hate that those we have entrusted with the defense of our liberties by and large do not even know or care that our freedoms are being quietly stolen away. I hate that a government that thinks it can tell us that we must purchase health insurance will soon think it can tell us what to eat or what to drive or where we can go or who we can worship or if we can defend ourselves. Oh wait! There are those in our government that already think that. Their numbers are growing and their bureaucracies are gaining more and more power. How can we combat all of this? Is just voting individually going to do it? What percentage of people in this country do you think are even awake to the problems? How many are aware? If that number is 10%, can they elect the people who will change things? How about 15 or 20%? No? Then how are we going to save our republic?
I have some suggestions for you no matter what level you are at today.
Get a copy of the US Constitution. Read it. Write it down in your own words. Then you will understand it. My children are in a class where they are asked to do that.
Get a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Do the same thing.
Get a copy of the Bill of Rights. Follow the same process. Then you will understand them.
All of those are available on my website along with an incredibly prophetic pamphlet published clear back in 1968 by Ezra Taft Benson entitled "The Proper Role of Government". There are also a number of other good resources.
Next, find out what the government is doing. Subscribe to a good newsletter or two that focus on that topic. Choose who you listen to or read carefully. Even some so-called conservatives still think that more government is the answer to most problems. It's even good to listen to those you disagree with occasionally so you can understand how they think.
Then, tell your representatives what matters to you by any means possible. If 60% of the people think that a law is bad but only 1% say anything, there is no incentive for our representatives to listen. If 60% of the people say something, I can guarantee you they will listen. They may not choose to follow, if they are arrogant or have their own agenda, but they will hear and they will bear responsibility if they do not act.
Next, take a class on the Constitution and why it is important. Hillsdale College has a free online course that you can take or share with your neighbors, family and friends. The Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (known as LEMI) is educating hundreds, if not thousands of young people in the principles of statesmanship and Constitutional government. My wife and I teach at one of their Commonwealth schools as volunteers. It has been a great experience and these are incredible young people, some of them are already doing amazing things in carrying forth the cause of freedom. They also have a  program for adults and everyone is welcome to attend. It is called the Freedom Project. It not only helps you to understand these principles, but how to share that understanding with others.
Read! If you have read what Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and others that contributed to the creation of our nation wrote and said, you will understand how to write and say what needs to be heard today. If you read Scott Bradley's book "To Preserve the Nation", Ezra Taft Benson's pamphlet "The Proper Role of Government", Skousen's "5000 Year Leap" and even recent best-sellers like "Liberty and Tyranny" by Mark Levin, it will give you the knowledge to converse or write intelligently on topics that people really need to know about. Once you have done that, find others who have also read them and discuss what you have learned.
That is level 4. To be on level 5, you need to find a way to teach people. It is the greatest need of our republic right now. Teach your children or get them in classes where they can learn. Share your ideas with your family, your friends and your neighbors. Yes, they may disagree with you or think you are crazy in some cases. They may even call you names. Most will respect you for standing for something. You may lose influence with others. But what good is that influence if you don't use it to make a difference?
Now, I want to thank all of you for standing up for our country. I want to spend just a moment on the current election. Mr. Hatch has made it a big issue to make sure everyone knows how much power and influence he will have if re-elected. Now, I don't know if he is a good guy or not. I don't know if he believes what he says or not. I do know, that on the important issues of personal liberty, reducing the size of the Federal Government and protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States, he does not have a very good voting record. I know he has done some good things and I thank him for that. He has also done a lot of things that are not so good and it seems to me to be getting worse. It seems to me that he still thinks that government is the solution instead of the problem. Why should we believe that giving him another 6 years will make him do anything different than what he has done for the last 36 years. Do we really want someone with his voting record to have that much power? I repeat, what good is power and influence if you don't use it to uphold the truth and defend liberty?
I am doing all I can to be a level 5 defender of freedom and the Constitution. It is why I am running even though I don't have money or fame or movie star looks or Super-PACs that will attack all my opponents. I am running to be a teacher, to teach principles of truth and the connection between following the US Constitution and freedom, goodness, greatness, prosperity and a brighter future for America. I am running to be a voice, a voice for what is true and right - a voice that won't compromise on the core values that create prosperity, liberty and moral character.
I am simply asking you - each of you - to move up at least one level, make a difference, find a way to affect the process. I would love it if everyone here could be on level 5 - the informed teacher. Don't look at the people around you - look at yourself. You are the one that controls what you do. If you don't have time, give money. If you don't have money, give some time. If you don't have either - find someone who does and convince them to help. I need your help - we all need your help. It matters. You matter. The future of our country matters. Find a way to do something that will make a difference.
Remember that radio caller? My answer to him is that I have learned, I have written or called my representatives, I have written editorials and responses to editorials, I have engaged in facebook debates. I have created websites. I have taught my children and volunteered at a school where I have taught other people's children, I have challenged or taught my family and friends. I even talk politics with my customers which probably costs me occasionally. And now, I am challenging a sitting Senator that has $15 million dollars to spend on defeating me and I'm crazy enough to think I might win if enough other people stand up and teach their neighbors, family and friends what we here already understand. I want all of us here to be noticed by those historians 100 years from now. I want them to say that we made a difference. A lot of candidates finish their speeches by saying something like "I am so-and-so and I'm asking for your support." Well,  I am Shaun McCausland, and your country needs your support. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Constitutional Basis For and Restrictions on Social Conservatism

Let me start by saying that I consider myself a social conservative in most ways. I am strongly in favor of fidelity in marriage and traditional families and believe that they are the best way to raise children. I believe the traditional family is the foundation of a solid and productive society. I believe that choosing to live by a moral code that challenges and overcomes the natural or carnal impulses of mankind is one of the most important things that we do in this life. I also believe that, in some cases, social conservatives ask the government to punish or restrict people who don't agree with them about specific actions or even beliefs. When that approach infringes upon the freedoms and rights of others, it leaves the realm of being "righteous" and becomes judgemental and tyrannical.

As always, I must make decisions based on principles of truth and the foundation of the US Constitution. Here are the principles as I see them.

1. The role of the federal government is limited to those things the US Constitution requires of it. All other choices devolve to the states and to the citizens. (Amendment 10)

2. Freedom of religion is one of the bedrock rights of the republic. (Amendment 1)

3. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated... (Amendment 4)

4. The moral character of a society has a direct correlation with its destiny. In a monarchy, the character of the king or queen has historically been of great influence on the character of the people. In a republic such as ours, the moral character of the representatives of the states and the people is very influential on the perceptions and actions of the people. The laws the representatives create, support and enforce encourage or discourage moral actions by the people.

5. Morally specific laws are often a response to and a reflection of a decreasing moral character in the general populace and encourage good people to do better, but bad people to disregard law in general.

6. Morally specific laws often exceed the limits of power allowed the federal government by the Constitution.

7. The principles of unalienable rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness should never be abridged by law unless actions taken under those rights infringe on the similar rights of others. All laws should reflect and defend those basic human rights.

8. The electorate should seek and promote men and women of high moral character for public office. When representatives are found to be derelict in their character, they should be removed from office by vote or, in cases of malfeasance or crime, by impeachment or recall.

9. Legislation should attempt to sustain and support moral character in the people, but not to force it except when the actions taken affect others adversely in their persons or property.

10. State and local laws and policies that discourage immorality and educate about its negative consequences, if carefully crafted to avoid persecuting minority beliefs, are permissable and often beneficial. Federal law does not include the mandate to support community standards, but only to "promote the general welfare".

11. Protection of children from physical and emotional harm that comes from exposure to negative experience and media is a proper role of the Federal Government.

How this affects social conservatism and those of us who subscribe to it is as follows.

The desire to ban abortions is consistent with the Declaration of Independence and Constitution since one of the unalienable rights is the right to life. When life begins can be debated, but the extreme position that life is not viable until after the birth is completed cannot be defended. There are those that propose that children can be "aborted" even up to hours after birth. Such position is anathema to the right to life. If there is question as to when life begins, we should err on the side of protecting life. Thus a complete ban on abortion with possible exceptions in the case of danger to the life of the mother is compatible with the Constitution.

Marriage is not correctly perceived as an institution of the federal government. Marriage is a social contract either sanctified by God or religious communities through religious ceremony or by agreement between people. The government has no right to either allow or disallow marriage between responsible adults under the law. The state and local governments do have the right to grant certain preferences and privileges to types of social contracts that it deems conducive to the "general welfare".  Federal tax law should not be used for social engineering.

I believe that pornography is damaging to both those who use it and those who create it. The courts have held that adults have the right to view it if they wish. I believe it appropriate that we make it much more difficult for children to view, especially inadvertently stumbling on it through deceptive websites, etc. I have long advocated that we mandate that pornographic sites use the .xxx extender (similar to .com or .net) and that browsers be fitted with easy to set up extender blocks to avoid unintentional exposure to those materials. Those who put pornographic material on any other type of site should be subject to fines and incarceration. This approach respects both the freedom of speech and expression and the rights we all should have not to have destructive images and other material thrust upon us. Child pornography is especially damaging to both viewers and victims. Prosecution of those viewing and producing these items should continue.

The advances in medical, biological and robotic sciences will continue to challenge us to determine what is morally acceptable in our society. My hope is that we will base our debates on these issues on sound and moral principles and not just on what is possible. We have already had major tragedies because we moved too fast with new technology without understanding all the unintended consequences we were creating. Thalidomide babies were just one of the more well-known of these type of consequences.

I stand strongly with those who uphold traditional families and traditional family values, but do not believe it morally right to try to force others to believe or even act as I try to unless their actions impinge on the rights and freedoms or well-being of others.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Principle Based Decision Making in Representative Government #2 - Health Care

The Federal Government has no constitutional jurisdiction in mandating, providing, subsidizing or restricting health care. States and communities (including faith-based and charitable groups) have the right if they wish to assist individuals and families with the cost and provision of health care and/or emergency services. Medicare should be phased out or transitioned into a state sponsored and funded system. The Federal Government does have (under the interstate commerce provisions) the responsibility to see that national or multi-state insurance companies do not engage in deceptive or discriminatory practices. They can also regulate the safety of chemicals (drugs) and medical devices sold on a national or multi-state basis.

As they determine what their level of involvement in health care should be, states and communities should keep the following principles in mind.

1. People have a variety of preferences as to what kind of health care they desire. Some are holistic, some prefer chiropractic, some use energy, light or aroma therapies, some use ceremonies or faith/priesthood healing. None of these are fully covered by insurance companies. Individuals have a right to choose what type of health care they get and should not have mandates that force them to pay, not only for their own care but for health care they do not agree with and won't use. Mandates are an abuse of governmental power, no matter what level of government tries to use them.

2. Availability of a medical procedure, device or chemical (drug) does not mean that everyone has a right to have it, even if they need it.

3. Health is a personal responsibility. To a great extent, individuals determine their health by their decisions on diet, exercise and types of activities.

4. Assistance to those who have injuries or disabilities not caused by their own actions are a special case. While it is not the responsibility of the federal government to address these, communities and states can and should marshall public resources to assist those in such need to the extent possible.

5. States and communities can provide with the consent and financial support of the members of those communities whatever level of support they determine to people who can not afford the care they need or want.

6. Foods and naturally grown (unrefined or unaltered) plants including medicinal or any other herbs should not be regulated or outlawed. These items, when sold outside their state of origin, can be monitored and any claims made as to their effects or effectiveness verified or disputed by the federal government under interstate commerce regulation. Any actions taken in case of fraud or false claims should be directed at the sellers of these items, not at removing them from availability.

7. Aging and death are natural processes of the human condition. Just because we can intervene and delay death or minimize the effects of aging does not automatically mean that the public should pay for doing so.

8. The reason that people are hoping the government (taxpayers) will pay for their health care is the incredible rise in the cost of that care over the last 70 years. The staggering increases in the cost of health care have been created by three things: a) extreme court and insurance settlements that create high insurance premiums for doctors, hospitals, drug companies and other health care entities, b) the high cost of educating and preparing doctors and specialists which in turn leads them to charge ever higher prices for their services, and c) unnecessary proceedures which are often required by insurance companies to avoid frivolous lawsuits rather than because they are actually needed by the patient. These issues will be addressed in another paper.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Response to Deseret News article on Romneycare

I agree with Mr. Romney that health care is a State and local issue, not the domain of the Federal government. I do not agree with ANY government (including Massachusetts) mandating that I purchase anything. If I am a person who chooses not to use traditional medicine, then I receive no benefit from mandated insurance even though I end up having to pay for it or pay a fine. People use the example of auto insurance. Good example. If I choose not to drive, I don't have to purchase it. States can (and have) made the decision to provide (or require that providers do so) certain types of care such as emergency services regardless of ability to pay. That is where this debate needs to go. How much and what types of care should be provided either by state taxation of its citizens or by paying clients of hospitals and health care providers or by purchasers of health insurance? One or more of those will pay for it - whether they like it or not. We need to decide as communities what is fair and responsible. The Federal government should not be involved.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Applying Principles to Problems #1 - Illegal Immigration

I am starting with admittedly the most divisive and difficult policy question we face. The solution is complex but easily understood when the principles relating to it are clear.
Here are the principles that I believe apply to this problem.

1. This is a problem that is the responsibility of the Federal Government. If they refuse to take that responsibility, it creates severe problems for the states and the citizens of our country.
2. Every country has the right to protect its borders and determine who to allow to visit, for how long and who should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship
3. People have a right to seek to improve the health and well-being of their families - even if that means moving to a new area or country (unalienable rights to life and the pursuit of happiness)
4. People who demonstrate willingness to reform/repent should be forgiven and be given assistance and opportunity - they shouldn't, however, be given more than those who continue to live in integrity.
5. A Citizen should always have more rights, freedoms and opportunities than illegal aliens and other non-citizens.
6. Economic status and education should not be deciding factors for those applying to enter the country legally. Our country was built by those who had neither, but came here to build a better life through hard work and determination. (Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.)

The Solution

1. Arbitrary quotas on legal immigration must be removed or greatly expanded for a time as we provide an adjustment to the broken system we have been living under. We can no longer state that the country cannot assimilate the 12-20 million illegals living here, because we are doing it now. People wading through the system to immigrate legally are waiting as many as 15 years to complete the process. This makes it impossible for those who need to feed their families now to go through the process legally.

2. Deportation should cease for a period of one year while the changes below are instituted. This does not apply to those who break our laws, especially driving without a license or insurance, violence, theft and other serious crimes.

3. During that year, those who are here illegally can present themselves for expedited processing. No penalties will be invoked unless they are guilty of serious crimes. We will assist them to return to their country of origin and work with their government to bring them back legally as quickly as is possible, after criminal and background checks are completed.

4. Those in this program will not be placed in line ahead of those who have already applied to come here legally.

5. At the end of the deportation moratorium (1 year), those who have not taken advantage of the program will be considered criminals and treated as such. They will be deported. If they are found in our country again, they will be incarcerated and work at hard labor or domestic/institutional service/maintenance in government institutions such as prisons or to rebuild our roads, bridges and other public works until such time as they choose to return to their country of origin. This will provide them with the room and board they need to survive while acknowledging their status as illegal aliens with no rights except those that other criminals receive.

6. Those who take advantage of this program will be forgiven only for entering the country illegally. For them only, there will be a possible path to citizenship if they are not guilty of other crimes.

This is an example of how applying true principles to problems can help us to arrive at solutions that are creative, sensitive to peoples situations and have moral integrity. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

AmeriCANs Can! Don’t be an AmeriCAN’T

I just finished watching two of the most remarkable comebacks in sporting history. There have been bigger turnarounds, but never in the NCAA basketball tournament. With less than 5 minutes to play, Western Kentucky University trailed by 16 points. Over those last 4 minutes plus, they outscored their opponent 22-5 to win the game.

With a little more than 6 minutes left in the first half, Brigham Young University found themselves down by 25 points. Worse, they had been outplayed, out-hustled and out-defended at every turn. Iona College (their opponent) was on track to score nearly 150 points. Instead, in the remaining 26 minutes of the game, they only scored 23 points while BYU scored 54 to win. What happened? Did a star player for Iona fall to an injury? Did BYU bring a superstar off the bench to save the day? No. Coach Dave Rose saw that what they were doing wasn’t working and decided to make a change. Instead of trying to outrun the very talented Iona team, he decided to turn things around by focusing on defending and disrupting - a total change of direction. It worked. Not only did they stop the onslaught from the other team, they gained confidence and exhibited more teamwork. Coach Rose said "The look in our players' eyes at that time was, 'Game on. We've got a chance here,' “ What he didn’t mention was that he helped them to believe they could do it.

I know that basketball is not life and that metaphors always have limits, but I see truths in all kinds of things. In these contests I see a similarity to the situation we find our nation in today. Over the last 100 years, we have chosen to let our government grow far beyond its founder’s intent. We are letting our representatives in government "run up and down the court" spending our money and taking our freedoms without restraint. As a people, we have thought that, if we give government enough power and enough of our money, they could solve our problems, take care of the less-fortunate and make us safe. What we see today is that we have more problems, more of us fall into the less-fortunate category and we are definitely less safe than we were even 20 years ago. Asking the government to manage our lives has created immense debt. Our current course will make it even worse. We need to defend and disrupt. We need a total change of direction.

We are driving toward a cliff at high speed. The Democrats want to step on the gas and go faster. The Republicans (most of them) just want to go a little slower. I am asking, "Wait a minute. Shouldn't we turn the car around? You people are still driving us off the cliff."

Are we wise enough to determine, as coach Rose did, that what we are doing is not working? Are we courageous enough, as his players were, to believe that our best effort in a new direction can bring us to a better outcome, one that no one else might even believe is possible? I believe that we can save our nation from descending into mediocrity and weakness. I do know that, if we don’t change course soon and put forth out best effort to move our nation in a new direction, it will be too late. Let us all choose to believe we can make a difference. The motto “Yes we can!” is a great one - but only if it is coupled with the principles of truth, liberty and personal responsibility that echo “Yes we should!” Once we have a direction we can believe in, each of us must decide if we are willing to say “Yes I will!”

Be an AmeriCAN. Don’t be an AmeriCAN’T.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Announcing My Intention to Run for the US Senate as a Constitution Party Candidate from Utah

I have frankly tried to find a way to avoid running. It really takes too much time, money and emotion. Especially when I know there is an incredibly small chance of winning or even making a large difference. However, I believe that it is our responsibility to stand up for what we believe in and I am fairly certain that no one else is going to do that in this election. There are those opposing Mr. Hatch in the Republican Party, but their chances of unseating him are not as good as those who opposed Mr. Bennett two years ago. While Mr. Hatch speaks like a conservative, his voting record does not square with the Constitutional imperatives that I believe should be protected and defended.

I do not see myself as conservative or liberal, left-wing or right-wing. I simply attempt to be a principled, pragmatic Constitutionalist. That puts me at odds with some conservatives and many liberals. My thoughts on illegal immigration seem to offend extremists in both camps. It is similar with many other of my stands. I believe that, when we consider our unalienable rights, our duty to consider the rights of others to pursue happiness as well as their rights to life, liberty and property, we can usually find the right approach to legislate compassionately and minimally. We always need to try to serve the dual goals of justice and mercy. If we deny either, we either destroy the rule of law or ignore the growth and peace of our own souls and the souls of the citizenry.

I will post positions here over the next few weeks so people can see what I stand for. I reserve the right to alter or improve my statements if I can be shown the errors of my ways. I am not a politician and do not want to be. If I am wrong, I will find a better way. If I am unclear I will improve how I state what I believe. I want your input and your criticism. Even if I can't find a way to agree with you, your thoughts will challenge me to consider things and clarify what I think. Thank you for your input.

If you would like to help with my campaign or donate to the effort, please contact me at 435-668-7118.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Principle Based Decision Making in Representative Government

I have long believed that there is a process by which we can find solutions to even the very vexing problems we face now as a nation. It is based on using correct principles of truth to determine the correct and effective path to resolving the problem. It consists of three basic steps.

Analyze carefully and state the problem correctly.
   This requires setting aside politics and special interests. It requires intellectual honesty and being able to articulate accurately what the problem actually is, not what rhetoric makes it seem to be.

Discover and state clearly the principles of truth that pertain to the problem(s).
   Before trying to solve a problem, we must understand all of the principles that should be considered.

Apply the principles to the problem.
   Reject "knee-jerk" reactionary solutions and emotional appeals as a basis for decision making. More bad laws have been created because of emotional response to real problems than any other cause. If a solution does not hinge on the correct principles involved, it will not serve us well in the long run. The law of unintended consequences to "good-intentioned" decisions is one of the most common things that has gotten us into the mess we are in. If we instead choose to take the time to make decisions based on sound principles of truth, we have a good chance of not only solving today's problem, but not creating tomorrow's.

I am aware that there will be some disputation as to what the principles of truth are. However, I am confident if those principles are based on our unalienable rights and the U.S. Constitution, we can come to consensus among most people of good conscience. In the next while, I will be posting what I believe to be reasoned solutions created by this process to some of our more vexing problems and questions. Come along for the ride and comment freely so that we together can refine those solutions and more accurately observe and describe what the problems and principles are that should be considered.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Is Voting For a Third Party or Independent Candidate Wasting Your Vote?

That's what all the major party candidates tell you. Is it possible that they have an ulterior motive for saying such a thing? We have a societal problem in this country - we want to be on the "winning" team. For many, it has become more important than being on the "right" team - or perhaps even being the lone voice in the wilderness that speaks the truth, come what may. It seems that almost every person I respect has as one of their guiding principles some version of the following statement. "My responsibility is to do all I can to affect change for the better. Results are up to God."

I have come to understand that, if no one will step forward and take a chance or take a stand, God will not do anything for us. If we will do what we know or even feel is right, he can help us make a difference. Sometimes that means that an unlikely candidate may be elected through happenstance or intervention by God (or luck if you would rather). More often, it means that a person who does all he or she can will affect the debate, encourage people who are tired of the status quo, or help people realize there is a better way than what we have been doing.

The old maxim that "insanity consists of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" applies. For at least 100 years we have been sending people as our representatives to Washington D.C. who either believe the government should be bigger, stronger and more intrusive in our lives or soon allow the seductive influences of power, prestige and wealth to destroy the idealism that gave them the courage to run for office. The two major political parties and their manipulation of our representatives is a major reason for this cynicism and infidelity to the principles of the Declaration and Constitution. If you vote for anyone controlled by either of the two major parties, you are continuing to support this particular brand of insanity. There are notable exceptions that seem to be able to stand up for themselves, even as they attempt to steer their party away from the course of destruction that we are on, but they are few and far between and are often in office only one term because their own parties work against them because they are not "team" players.

I propose that voting for anyone who is to any extent under the control of either major party is a vote for the destruction of our liberty and our economy. To me, that is truly "wasting your vote". How much better to vote for someone who actually believes in and will work for liberty and a restoration of freedoms. Voting for the lesser of two evils is actually voting for the evil of two lessers. Voting for either of two groups driving us over the cliff is remarkably self-destructive, even if one of them is driving slower than the other. We need to change course and we need to do it now.

In recent history, every so called "cut" in the federal budget was actually a cut in the amount of increase. The debt keeps increasing as does the intrusion of government into our lives and businesses. The last president to actually try to cut some of the waste and inordinate use of power by the federal government was Ronald Reagan, but both parties would have none of it. They did all they could to limit his effectiveness and his desires to actually do away with unnecessary or unconstitutional segments of the bureaucracy.

We need to send truly independent and constitutionally based representatives to Washington. Even if we only send a few, they could become the fulcrum in swing votes, using their leverage to make changes. Furthermore, they would give courage to others who would like to do something better but don't see many succeeding at it.

If Washington and Jefferson and Adams and Franklin had looked at the odds of their little rebellion conquering the most powerful army and navy on the planet, we would not have our country or our republic. If Lincoln had accepted the two parties that then existed instead of helping start a new one he probably could not have done what he did. Each of us can make a difference, but only if we actually vote for those we believe in. Even if we lose, we send a message that we will no longer support tyranny and excess from either party and we give courage to those of like mind and strike fear into those who would betray our freedoms. Stop wasting your vote!