Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is caroling. I have a fairly large family, so this is just a few of us. But, I wanted to share a bit of us singing.

A very Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Town A Garden A Tomb A Miracle, Remember

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples and said, Take eat; this is my body. Matthew 26: 26

One of the tenents of my faith is the weekly sacred ordinance of partaking the Sacrament, bread and water, in remembrance of Christ's body and blood. I know this is something common among most Christian faiths. It was introduced by Christ Himself just prior to His death. I was recently asked to teach a lesson on this sacred covenant and I wanted to share some of the things I learned in my study.

When Christ took upon Himself a mortal body, He demonstrated His willingness to fulfill His mission, to Atone for the sins of the world. The Atonement actually began its fulfillment when He took that first mortal breath. For an essential part of the Atonement is for Him to be able to understand us intimately. He knows what its like to be a mortal, hunger, thirst, disappointment, betrayal. All those things that are associated with mortality He knows. He knows because He had a body and He experienced it all.

He tells us there in Matthew that partaking of the bread is remembering His body. Its a recognition of His mortality and His willingness to eventually die for us. How utterly fitting it is that Christ took upon Himself a body in a little town named Bethlehem, the translation of which means House of Bread. It touched me to realize that my weekly partaking of the Sacramental bread is in a way a weekly observance of Christmas. For isn't it at Christmas that we celebrate His life, that He took upon Him a body. We remember Him.

As I was thinking about that my mind went, as it often does at Christmas, to one of my most favorite Christmas memories. It was in April :) My classmates and I got to go to the little town of Bethlehem, which was a good experience. But, the night before was even better. We went to a place called "Shepherd's Field" just overlooking the town. There we told the Christmas story and sang Christmas songs. And as it got dark you could just imagine where the new star might have been. I love the shepherd's in the Christmas story. I look forward to the day when I can do as they did, to kneel at Christ's feet and adore Him.

The little town eventually led to a garden, where He shed His blood, and which we also remember as part of the Sacrament, then to a cross, then a tomb in another garden. And 3 days later, miracle of miracles a resurrection, opening the way for us all to live again.

That's Christmas, that's what we remember. I will love Him forever for what He has done for me, and for mankind.

May we all enjoy the warmth and love of this Christmas season. And may we always remember Him.

God Bless,
Sarah Emily Jordan

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Either Change Your Tune Or Change Your Mascot

Elephants never forget, right? At least that is what they say. As I've been thinking about the Republican establishment and their talking points about the 2012 presidential elections I have to say they are reminding more of squirrels. How is it that a squirrel can watch another squirrel get hit by a car and than go and get itself hit? Why don't they learn from the past experiences of the other squirrels? It's because their squirrels. Learning from past experiences of others is a decidedly human trait. At least its supposed to be.

History is an incredible gift, and it is incredibly underutilized. I was recently wondering why it was that progressive Democratic presidents, like Woodrow Wilson and FDR, have won re-election. I did this weird thing called historical research and here's what I found out:

1916 Election, Woodrow Wilson (D) versus Charles Evan Hughes (R)
Mr. Hughes was very well respected. He was at the time of the campaign a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He was also an important leader of the progressive movement. Wait a second . . . he was a progressive? He was in fact so progressive that he had the endorsement of the Progressive party. So, let's get this straight the Republicans decided to nominate a progressive to go up against a progressive? Makes sense right, why give the people a clear and distinct choice when you can just muddy the waters and get your progressive agenda through no matter who wins? Woodrow Wilson won re-election and Charles Evan Hughes eventually found his way back on to the Supreme Court where he backed Franklin Roosevelt's ideas for collective bargaining and Social Security.

The people eventually had enough of the progressive movement and voted in Harding who was followed by Calvin Coolidge, an actual conservative who actually brought some prosperity back into the country by backing away from the progressive agenda. But, as progressives had done for the past 100 or so years they came back. Hello, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He won re-election 3 times. How?

1936 Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) versus Alf Landon (R)
Alf? Its short for Alfred, I'm sure others will join me in thinking of the acronym for Alien Life Form (the name presents me with an opportunity for another acronym later), but I digress. The Republicans decided they needed to nominate a "moderate". A moderate back than kind of means the same as a moderate does today, probably a progressive liberal. Alf was the governor of Kansas at the time, and yes he was known as the leader of the liberal Republicans in his state. Alf had been a big supporter of Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party in 1912. Alright Republicans! You nominate a progressive Republican to go up against a progressive Democrat again. The people were not given a clear choice, so they went with the progressive they knew.

1940 Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) versus Wendell Willkie (R)
Wendell actually never held an elective office. He was a corporate lawyer. Oh and get this he was a member of the liberal wing of the GOP. If I had been alive at the time I think I probably would have pulled out all my hair in frustration. Another progressive, really? Yep, in fact after he lost the election he apparently had enough liberal/progressive credibility to be hired by Roosevelt as an ambassador at large. He went on a worldwide tour and came back preaching the virtues of one world government. In a way he was even more liberal than FDR.

1944 Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) versus Thomas Dewey
This election was going to be hard for Republicans no matter what, as the country was at war. But, no surprises here, Dewey was the leader of the liberal faction of the Republican Party. And he lost. *Sigh*, they really had a hard time learning their historical lessons.

1964 Election, Lyndon B. Johnson (D) versus Barry Goldwater (R)
Its important to discuss this election because this is the one that liberals/progressives like to throw in conservatives' faces to tell us that conservatives don't win. Goldwater was a conservative breath of fresh air and he had a really cool bumper sticker slogan , AuH20 (in case you're ever on Jeopardy and the category is "Campaign Slogans"). But, he was going up against a man who by the time the election was held had been in office for only 1 year. Johnson had not yet put in place the greater part of his "Great Society"/"War on Poverty" agenda, so their wasn't a real progressive agenda to fight against yet. Plus, and I think this is really important, the nation was still in shock. Our President had been assassinated. It would have been very difficult for any Republican candidate to beat Johnson, who had been chosen by Kennedy to replace him in case of such a tragedy. That Barry Goldwater made as much headway as he did is rather remarkable. Goldwater re-introduced conservatism in America, and lucky for us there was someone ready to take up the torch when the opportunity came, I'm quite certain you already know the name before you read it, Ronald Reagan. He in fact made quite the memorable speech in 1964 in support of Goldwater.

1980 Election, Jimmy Carter (D) versus Ronald Reagan (R)
President Reagan broke the mold, finally. Finally the American people were given a distinct choice between progressivism and conservatism. He famously called for Republicans to raise "a banner of no pale pastels but bold colors." He knew that there must be a clear difference between the Republican choice and the Democrat. And he knew that the clearest most differentiated stance, one which more Americans can get behind, is a conservative one. Yes, we can be a big tent party, but you have to set the stakes firmly on the right/conservative side, or else the tent just folds in on itself. Reagan is the model that Republicans, desiring victory over progressive Democrats, should follow. Stop putting up watered down versions of the guy already in office. Give the people a choice. Reagan won, big time, and so did America.

1996 Election, Bill Clinton (D) versus Bob Dole (R)
I don't think I need to say much about this one. This was the first time that I voted in a presidential election. I remember taking a good hard look at both of the candidates and deciding that I could barely tell the difference between them. The Republican strategy was to put up a "moderate" again, good one s/.

So, here's the challenge to the establishment Republicans, are you elephants or are you squirrels? Are you actually going to remember or are you going to attempt to convince us to yet again try to make a run across the moderate/liberal/progressive highway? Conservative America is wide awake right now, and we are on to your agenda. We know that "compassionate conservative" is really code for liberal/progressive. We hear talk of the candidates that you want to put out for us to get behind. Too many of them are what I'm going to start calling A.L.F.S. ( A Loser For Sure, not in life just in presidential politics). Do not expect me or any conservatives to get behind a candidate whose own state sponsored health care reform bill was a model for the federal health care reform bill that we want repealed and replaced. Do not expect me to get behind somebody who views government as some compassionate entity that needs to release prisoners based on his own judgment. Do not expect me to get behind anybody who will hold their finger to the wind and than talk up a good conservative talk but has no record to prove it. I want a proven conservative. I want someone who loves the Constitution and is determined to fulfill her oath to defend it. I want somebody who is so set on standing up for conservative values and doing what's right that she is willing to give up political power for those values. I want someone with a proven record of conservative policies which led to a more prosperous city and state. I want a Commonsense Conservative. If you want to know what that means check out Chapter 6 of Going Rogue Here's some quotage:

At its most basic level, conservatism is a respect for history and tradition, including traditional moral principles. I do not believe I am more moral, certainly no better, than anyone else, and conservatives who act "holier than thou" turn my stomach. So do some elite liberals. But, I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, and chief among those is that man is fallen. This world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics.
I am a conservative because I deal with the world as it is-complicated and beautiful, tragic and hopeful. I am a conservative because I believe in the rights and the responsibilities and the inherent dignity of the individual.

The lesson is there to learn Republicans. We need a conservative, not just in word but in deed. The country needs Sarah Palin. She's got my vote for 2012. So, Republicans you can actually try to live up to your mascot, you can be the animal that never forgets. If you don't learn it, than you're mascot should be a squirrel.

Sarah Palin 2012! Renew Revive Restore America.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas From Space

I happened upon this video a couple of months back, and looked forward to sharing it here on my blog in December. It is the Christmas message from the crew of Apollo 8 as they were orbiting the moon.

Can you imagine a message like that being shared today? It would be so refreshing. It reminded me of one of my favorite astronaut stories. When I was in Israel I had many opportunites to visit Christian sites in Jerusalem. During a day long tour of sites we went to a set of steps leading up to the southern wall of Old Jerusalem. Our tour guide related to us the story of Neil Armstrongs visit to Jerusalem. He asked the tour guide if there was any place that he could identify where Christ most definitely would have walked. The tour guide informed him that Christ would have most definitely walked up those steps in order to get into the Temple area. Armstrong than went and stood on the steps and said that standing there meant more to him than walking on the moon. I was touched by the story. In fact I took a picture of my own foot on those steps :)

I love faith in God and what it does for people. In fact to use the same reference that the Apollo 8 astronauts did, before the earth was touched by God it was without form and void. That is what we as individuals and we as a country would be like if we didn't trust in God and let Him work in our lives. It is only in His hands that we can be made something more, with purpose and direction. All goodness is in and from Him.

God continue to bless this country. We so need Him.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Marvelous Light

Today marks the beginning of this years Hanukkah. What a significant celebration this is, and may I wish a blessed Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and to all of us. Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights commemorating an amazing and miraculous event. The Maccabees had won a victory over the Seleucid Empire and regained their Temple. They re-dedicated the Temple which had been desecrated by foreign forces and part of that ceremony was the lighting of the eternal flame. They only had enough consecrated olive oil to last 1 day, but it mercifully and miraculously lasted 8, the time needed to prepare more oil. A story of light, marvelous graceful light. I love it.

Light to me is beautifully necessary and symbolic. One of the symbols of light for me is found in our seasons. My favorite season is Fall, I love it when it starts to cool and I can wear jackets again. I'm also one of those people who enjoys the cool and snow of Winter. Yes, the driving can be a bit rough, but snow is beautiful. Spring is pretty, but it gets my allergies all active. And summer is often too warm for me, though I admit to enjoying the increased swimming opportunities. That all being said there is one thing that I really miss in winter, light. I love light. Light brings clarity, light brings truth, light brings growth and joy.

There have in the past been wonderful and inspiring messages about being morning again in America. I think the analogy is appropriate and thought provoking. But, I've also thought about another analogy in reference to light, coming in to the light of summer.

There will be times of dark and there will be times of light, that is the way of it. There will be difficulties, but there can also be joy. But, right now it feels like the dark dominates in this country. Its akin to the feeling I have when I leave for work in the morning when its still dark, stay indoors all day, and than come back home when its dark. It can get a little bit depressing for some. I look forward to the weekends :) Right now it feels like we are in a perpetual winter. Yes, there are times of light, but boy do I long for more, I long for the light of summer.

Its about time that we start heading in to a spring, and even better yet start looking forward to a summer again. How do we do it? We seek for the things that light brings, clarity, truth, growth and joy. We seek with everything that is in us. We can actually change the seasons of this country, cool huh.

Another thing I love about light is the truth that as long as there is even a pillar of light than there is no complete darkness. The sun rules the day, the moon rules the night, and even when the moon isn't there the stars rule. Seek it out, find it, and share it so that it spreads. There are so many people searching for truth and light and clarity. There are so many people in this country who shine in their goodness and continue to make this country great. And as long there are young men and women willing to lay their lives on the line to protect our freedom than there will always be light. Our task is to reflect it into every corner.

Marvelous light, and amazing miracles still exist and can continue to do so as we keep standing for truth. Most especially as we keep trusting in God, He'll keep lighting the way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prepare: Have a Grateful Heart

A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of participating in the C4P meetup. I have to say I am continually impressed by the quality of people that congregate at Conservatives4Palin. They are good, humble people who love their country and are willing to do whatever they can to put it back on the right track. We see in Sarah Palin a leader who has had a tremendously positive impact for good in America and who will continue to do so. I offer my heartiest congratulations to the organizers of the event, and to the participants for the excellent people they are. My biggest takeaway from the event is that America is good, because there are so many great people who love this nation. Keep up the amazing efforts everyone.

We were blessed to have some wonderful speakers, all of whom were inspiring and informative. For a wrap up of the event you can read Whitney’s excellent piece here My biggest takeaway message from the speakers is that right now we need to prepare. I need to prepare for any eventuality, including a Palin presidential run, but more in general I need to prepare to do whatever I can to help this country. This message struck home to me especially during Tammy Bruce’s speech. As I was getting ready to leave the event Tammy happened to cross my path and she spent a few moments chatting with me. She gave me a hug and than repeated that same message to prepare. God speaks through others very often, and I felt the Spirit in her message.

As I’ve thought about what things I need to do in order to prepare I’ve contemplated physical preparation (like I need more sleep for instance :), financial preparation, spiritual preparation and so on. But, I feel like my greatest need in preparing is to get my heart in the best shape possible. I’ve written before about the heart, and how its functions include a great deal more than just pumping blood. You can read about that here

One of the amazing things about the heart is that our emotions play a role in heart health. The healthiest emotion for your heart is actually appreciation/gratitude. As an example I’d like you to see a couple of tracings that I just recorded today. The first tracing was taken as I was reading an article about the TSA. The second tracing was taken using a simple regulated breathing technique for the first 2 minutes, and than activating a positive emotion for the last 2 minutes. I wanted to feel gratitude so I thought about how I was inspired at the end of last week to get my snow tires on, I hadn’t checked the weather reports but felt it would be a good idea. These past 2 days we’ve had near blizzard like conditions. I’m really grateful to have those tires on and have had no problems. You can see a clear difference in the patterns.

TSA Reading

Grateful for Snow Tires

It cracked me up to see the result of this little experiment. Even an untrained eye would be able to discern there's a big difference between the two readings, I apparently don't like the TSA much these days. Gratitude, even for something simple, goes a long ways for making your heart healthy, and for decreasing stress and increasing your ability to think clearly. The grateful heart has a calm and easy flow to it. It is more efficient. There is a strong connection between the heart and the brain, a grateful heart makes it easier to problem solve. Also, a grateful heart should help you feel energized.

As I've thought both about the necessary preparation that a grateful heart is, and of course the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday I've tried to come up with lists of things I'm grateful for. This past year my gratitude can be summed up into one word for which I'm most grateful, mercy.

I'm grateful for the mercy of healing. I had a pretty good injury this year, that is almost 100% healed, our bodies and the capacity to heal is amazing. I'm grateful to witness and in some small way participate in the healing of the clients I work with.

I'm grateful not just for my own health but that of my loved ones as well. Our family welcomed three new little ones this year. They are all healthy now, though a couple of them gave us some big scares. I sure love these little ones, and the fact that God helped them and our whole family through some big trials is incredibly merciful. Being able to hold them is such a merciful thing. There's just nothing like looking into the eyes of a little one and them looking back and feeling safe enough to close their eyes and sleep.

One of the most merciful aspects of my life is to belong to the family I do. I'm incredibly humbled to be counted among the most inspiring, good hearted people you could possibly imagine. My biggest heroes are in my family. Their love sees me through much. I'm grateful that through His mercy The Lord places others in my life that have had such a positive impact on me.

I;m grateful for the mercy that our men and women in uniform show us. Through their sacrifice our freedoms our secured.

I'm grateful for the mercy of forgiveness. What a gift that is. I've needed it. It is humbling to recognize that God can change me. I've got so far to go. But, what a miracle it is to take a fallible person and to assure me that I still have a role to fulfill, that I can truly serve others.

I'm grateful for the mercy that is The Atonement of Jesus Christ. He is my Savior in every way, and every good gift every tender mercy is because of Him.

Prepare for any eventuality; start with preparing your heart. The very best thing for your heart is gratitude. Seek to be grateful, open your eyes to see God's wonders. Those who are sincerely looking and are sincerely grateful will see His hand in all things.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Those Aren't Secret Weapons

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So, I had a really great weekend spending time with Conservatives who support Sarah Palin in Chicago. I’ll be writing more about that in the coming days. But, I have to write about something that occurred before I even left Spokane.

There’s nothing like a personal experience to give you stronger opinion on a matter. So, with all the chatter about the increased use of the body scanner I was fairly certain that I would be one of the chosen to use that amazing technology. I must just have a dangerous look about me or something. So, off to the blasted machine I went. I stuck my hands on my head, in the type of impersonation of a moose that you’d do for some kid’s song, walked out of the thing and than was informed that there was a ping that had to be checked. The ping was apparently a zipper on my sweat shirt. So, thought I maybe they’ll just have me remove the sweatshirt. Nope, my zipper I guess gave probable cause that I may be concealing something and so, not only did I get the naked maker scanner treatment I also got a frontal pat down. My thought at the time, ‘yeah those aren’t secret weapons, those are my boobs.’

I actually felt bad for the TSA lady, she seemed like a nice middle aged woman, who’d rather be doing just about anything else than patting down some unknown person. My thought for her was ‘why aren’t you guys protesting against doing this to people?’ She kindly explained to me that it was probably my zipper but that she had to do the pat down, and I’m thinking ‘blame the zipper all you want, but the fact is you’re giving me a boob job because of a stupid governmental mandate.’

These are random checks; there is less than 50% chance that a terrorist concealing a secret weapon boob bomb would get caught, according to these methods. I really question their effectiveness. Its like doping in sports, the producers of the illegal performance enhancing drugs are already working on the next concealable type before the rule enforcers have figured out how to detect the current one. Terrorists have likely already figured out multiple ways of defeating the backscatter, meanwhile we have to discuss the necessity of molesting nuns.

As a mental health professional I must also register another concern. The kind of pat downs being used are most definitely akin to sexual molestation. We warn children all the time to not let strangers touch them, what the heck are they learning now? And another thing, what about kids and adults who have experienced sexual abuse/trauma in the past? I’ve not read anything addressing the reality of PTSD for instance and the stress inducement this kind of treatment could give rise to.

How many more freedoms are we going to endure being stripped away (and in this case, that’s a very accurate statement), under some false pretense of security? The freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures is one that is guaranteed in our Constitution. It’s right there in black and white, well yellowing paper. I’m far from the only one to find it all completely unreasonable. I have to pay the price for some lunatic terrorist’s actions. Oh and not only that, I have to pay the price for the governments incompetence. They are the ones who did not catch the flippin underwear bomber, so the answer is for them to take more power for themselves and leave us with less freedom. The body scanner and pat down procedure are a slow response to a government failure. They have to be seen doing something.

This idea that we all have to sacrifice our rights for security is the reason that freedom gets lost. And honestly doesn’t this let the terrorists win, when fear is in charge?

I’m not sure what the solution is. Some have proposed the idea of having airlines themselves be in charge of security. That way if people prefer the security of having a full pat down they can go with that airline, or if they’d rather have a series of questions they could go with another airline. We should certainly learn from successful operations like they have in Israel for instance. But, this solution thrown out there, with little testing or veracity is just not a viable one.

This is all in direct violation of the IV Amendment to our Constitution. I personally have not done anything that could give probable cause that I’m a terrorist. And certainly the elderly in their walkers, and children who need leg braces to walk have little probable cause. A tyranny of security is still a tyranny.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Pledge Allegiance

I want to say thank-you to all of our veterans, those who are currently serving in our military, and their families and loved ones. There is nothing that I could ever do to equal your valor and service. Perhaps the best we can do to honor your sacrifices is to do our level best to stand up for what you have defended, our country and our freedom.

How many times have I said the Pledge of Allegiance? I’ve really no idea. But, standing in a room crowded with freedom loving Americans with whom I had had the privilege of volunteering my time with, that was the first time I can remember getting choked up and my eyes springing a leak when trying to recite those important words. Its not that I had never meant it before, I’ve always had a sense of patriotism. But, there in Anchorage Alaska I had done something more than just say the words, I’d put it into action. The experience humbled me.

I was invited a couple of months ago by Bill Peck to go to Alaska during the final days of Joe Miller’s campaign to be a United States Senator, and assist in those final get out the vote efforts. I was a little hesitant, but it did not really take me long to decide that it would be a great opportunity to actually be more involved in politics, out there on the forefront trying to help a worthy candidate. Now, I know some would question why I would get involved in some other states political business when I have my own state to tend to. Well, I have been involved here in Washington, a friend and I started a local group to address political concerns and Conservative principles. Washington has a completely mail in voting process. So, our little group met and we discussed our ballots and the issues and candidates. We didn’t tell people how to vote, but rather just informed them and encouraged the spreading of the information and the message to exercise our right to vote. I sent in my ballot several weeks prior to the actual election. So, I was indeed involved in my own state politics. But, I can understand the criticism from some who question why I would involve myself with another state. Well, Joe Miller was the true Conservative candidate in Alaska and I was grateful for an opportunity to help him in some small way. The outcome in Alaska is as yet undetermined and I’m still pulling for Joe. It was an honor to meet him and his wife and I think he would be a great Senator.

So, my experience in Alaska was unforgettable and went by very quickly. First off I must say a word about the stunning beauty of the state. I only saw a tiny piece of it. But, from the moment my plane was flying in to Anchorage and I saw the sun rising above the bay I was impressed. The mountains are inspiring in their proximity and beauty. One of the thoughts that I voiced aloud is “how could anyone be here and not believe in God.” I mean His handiwork up there is awesome. I also have to say that I was deeply impressed by the people I had the honor of meeting. Obviously I was only getting a snapshot of Alaska life, and Alaskans, but I was welcomed and got to see the down to earth, live life as it comes prevailing attitude. If I got a sense of Alaskans it was common sense, and a tight knit yet welcoming community.

I was informed that I should be prepared to hit the ground running. So, when my fellow volunteer and friend Don (aka Bestbud) picked me up we went right to a campaign office and were soon assigned an area to go knocking on doors reminding people to vote. We were joined by a young man and his wife who were both enthusiastic and dedicated. So, on went my warm socks, boots and hat, and a knocking we did go. Now, knocking on doors is something I’ve done before, in fact as a missionary in New Jersey many moons ago, but, it had been awhile. Still I was grateful for the chance to get out there and do something, even if it was uncomfortable. Comfort too often leads to apathy and apathy is the great instigator of non-action, and I think I’ve done away with apathy when it comes to politics. So, it was fun to talk to strong supporters, but I also have to say it was good to come across less than friendly responses as well. We have to be willing to take a stand and speak up, in an appropriately cordial way.

Later that day we were able to meet up with another friend from the online world, an Alaskan native. She took us to the famous Moose's Tooth where we enjoyed some fabulous pizza and a totally informal environment. Even later we ended up going to Rum Runners, get this, it really is a restaurant and there were kids there that were like 5, scandalous I know.

I was welcomed into a home, where I enjoyed a comfortable stay. My hosts were very kind, and I appreciated their willingness and openness at having me there.

The next day I was able to attend an LDS Church service. Again I felt welcomed and relaxed by the members. Later, I was able to attend another Church service with my friends at Anchorage Baptist Temple Several of the candidates introduced themselves there including Joe Miller. It was a great service led by Dr. Jerry Prevo, and I was touched by the amount of community involvement this Church had, they were truly making a big difference in the lives of a lot of people. Afterwards it was great to see people mingling with and around the various candidates.

Than we headed out to the Mat-Su Valley, and had particlar interest in visiting Wasilla. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m kind of a supporter of Sarah Palin :) It was a little surreal to be in her home town. We got to stop by several of the sites that she mentions in her book Going Rogue and that played a role in her life, including city hall where she served as Mayor. It was a delightful experience and it was again an honor to meet some amazing people there. It’s a beautiful town, and I’d love to go back someday.

The next couple of days were focused on the campaign. For me and Don that meant we spent a lot of time waving signs on the corner of Northern Lights Blvd. That was actually rather fun. There was a bunch of Miller supporters there with us, all excited and enthusiastic about not just Joe Miller, but Conservative values for America. It was always fun to get honks and waves. And can I tell you I did think it was fun to have the people that gave us the thumbs down, or the middle finger up. We would just smile and wave happily, that way the surrounding cars could assume it was a positive response from them :)

We were able to attend a fun concert in support of Joe by Bryan White and Andy Griggs. Andy had a great song called Amen that people should definitely check out; boy did we all get into that.

Then Tuesday evening there was the big gathering of supporters. We all were anxiously awaiting the results. I stood and chatted with people I’d not met before that night while we watched the returns from all over the country. Cheers ensued and than of course some groans of disappointment. But, lets be honest Election 2010 was an amazing one for Conservatives, especially with a historic takeover in the House. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from this past year, Sarah Palin has outlined some in a tremendously clear and concise way. Like I said I’m still pulling for Joe, and we’ll see in the next couple of weeks how that all turns out. But, all in all it was an inspiring if tiring evening.

I think I got choked up during the pledge because I felt I had finally started making some headway on keeping that pledge. No longer am I complacent or content to watch my country deteriorate, I’m determined to do something, to step up and speak out.

Progressivism has been around for over 100 years and has been doing its damage for that long. The Tea Party activities, which I certainly identify as a part of, have been around for about 1 and ½ years. Look at the amazing effect it has had on just this most recent election. I think the media and certainly Progressive Democrats/Republicans would love to see the Tea Party fade away. Sorry that’s just not going to happen. I for one leave the 2010 elections pumped up to continue and grow my involvement in the political process. I’m in it for the long haul, and I’m far far from alone in that sentiment.

We move forward. When people say we are being extreme we say ‘yeah it’s extreme, extremely sensible and extremely necessary.’ We keep standing up and speaking truth. We keep trusting in God, and we keep seeing what is good and right about America, because there is much goodness here because of the goodness of the people.

If you’d be interested you can listen to my most recent blog radio program The Grizzly Hour here where you can hear more of my and my brother’s take on the election and also an interview/chat between Don and I while we were up in Anchorage.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Two Years Later: Same Message

I've written here before about an experience I had just prior to the 2008 election. The campaign had been a tough one for me to watch, I confess to having felt quite anxious about the whole thing. As it became clearer what the likely outcome may be I remember feeling disheartened and still anxious. One day as I was fretting over what was soon to come I felt a peace wash over me from head to toe. It was God reaching out to me in one of His tenderly merciful ways just letting me know that things were going to be fine. One of the things that amazes me about a relationship with God is that it is infinite in the amount of lives that can be touched by Him, and yet at the same time intimately personal. He knew I needed that, and that peace is something that I reflect on often.

2010 has been a fascinating election year again. And though I have been quite involved in it, and will be up until the end of voting this coming Tuesday, I have not felt that same anxiousness. The message that was given to me two years ago continues today, its going to be fine no matter the outcome.

God has given us the gift of life. He has also given us the power to direct our lives, we are agents unto ourselves. That is freedom, the power to choose for our own selves what we will do. One of the consequences of that freedom is that there will be tough things happen in our lives. Those tough things are just part of mortality, they can result from our own choices, from the choices of others or just by the circumstances that occur in life. So, when we look at a voting/decision process we recognize that the choices of others might not always feel like they are the best for us. But, here is one of the most miraculous and merciful realities about God, He can take any situation, regardless of its cause and sanctify it for the benefit of those who choose to trust in Him.

God has a purpose for each one of us. Life is not so much about what we do as it is about what we become. He has the ability to make something far more out of us than we could ourselves. So, we turn to Him pleading for His help, and He is always there to offer it. That doesn't mean that life is going to be easy. What kind of person would any of us be if every step of life was a piece of cake? But, He will strengthen us and give us peace when we need it.

In order for God to sanctify our experiences for our benefit we must make the choice to allow Him to do so. That is elemental to trust. Making the choice to let Him help us means not to just say "okay God do your thing," it is to strive to be obedient to continue standing up for what is right and good and true, repenting when necessary. It means standing up for principles of freedom, that God given gift, and doing whatever we can to build up others around us.

There has been a constant in my life. Through dark times and light, through trial and triumph God has always been there for me. Throughout the history of our country He has been there, from George Washington and his faithful army, to Abraham Lincoln's fight to maintain the union. Through World Wars and terrorist attacks, He has been there sanctifying the hardships for the benefit of those who trust Him, throwing His loving arms around us. We have made that claim as a nation, that we trust in Him. Let us stand by Him at all times and all places and any circumstance we encounter, that's what He has done for us, surely we can do the same for Him.

I have made the decision that I'm in it for the long haul. Turning things back around in our country, back towards the Constitution and the principles of freedom that it was founded upon, is going to take a long-suffering effort. But, as long as our first decision is to recommit to trusting in God, in His peace and in His process of sanctification, than things are going to be fine.

God continue to bless this great nation of ours, made great because the people are good and we trust in Our Creator. Regardless of the outcomes of elections things can be even better than fine, they can be amazing. When we stand up for God and for goodness we find ourselves shoulder to shoulder with amazing people and we see miracles. May we continue to be who we are, may we continue to trust in God.

Monday, October 25, 2010

O Captain My Captain

Heads up this one is going to have religion in it.

I want to tell you about three of my favorite soldiers. First off one of my favorite people in the Old Testament is a soldier, his name is Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of a King, Saul, and by human understanding would have rightfully had claim upon the throne. But, Jonathan was a man who trusted in the Lord. He trusted in the Lord in battle and in life. 1 Samuel 14:6 Jonathan says to his armor bearer “it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” That was the way he operated trusting that the Lord would be there to assist His people constantly even in circumstances when they were outnumbered. Jonathan is famous for his friendship with David. He understood that the Lord had anointed David to be the next king of Israel, and supported his friend and the Lord in that anointing. He is an amazing example to me of faith and friendship and loyalty.

Ask a Mormon kid, or adult for that matter, who their favorite person in The Book of Mormon is and one of the common answers you will hear is Captain Moroni. He was a captain in a time when the liberty of his people was threatened by not just an outside force but traitors from the inside. From Alma 46:12-13

12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it – In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children – and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his headplate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land –

Moroni prayed to God for His favor on their liberties and the cause of the Christians, and he then went out among the people hoisting up the title of liberty and asking who would join him. Many did, and they eventually won their war.

One more soldier to share about, Sergeant William Allen Jordan of the United States Air Force, who served our country at the Phu Cat Air Base in the Vietnam War. Just prior to going to Vietnam, during his 36 week training in Biloxi as a communications technician, Sergeant Jordan made a decision to turn his life over to The Lord, being baptized and making promises to The Lord he fully intended to keep. During his 11 months and 29 days tour in Vietnam he kept those promises even on threat of death. Such was his strength in his convictions and his promises that even while surrounded by corruption and immorality he stayed firm and true. His faith and strength has been a blessing on generations of his family. When I told him that I was going to be writing this post and asked his permission to write about him he said to me that he wasn’t a captain. I told my father that it wasn’t about him being a captain, but rather who is Captain was and is. My father is the man who has taught me the most about loving my country and loving The Lord, because that is who is Captain is.

We are living in amazing times right now. It is a time when the country and our freedoms feel very much in danger. And yet, it is a time when amazing people are stepping forward to defend what is good and right and true. When The Lord is our Captain than we need not fear, but can move forward with faith and trust. It need not be anything other than a battle of words and ideas, in fact I dearly hope it never goes beyond that. But, we can still use the principles of these three soldiers whose Captain is God. Be loyal to our loved ones at any cost. And no matter what honors or gifts we think we may be entitled to, trust that God has us and our loved ones well in hand and just move forward continuing to do that which is right. Raise the banners of liberty high and be an example of a believer. Let the principles be clear and concise and invite others to join with us. And no matter what, even on threat of death, stand by the promises you’ve made to others and especially to God.

Our Captain is The Lord, the Founders of our country knew it. Like Patrick Henry said in his famous “Liberty or Death” speech, “There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”

Let us move forward in faith, and hope and trusting in our Captain, in peace and commitment. Amazing times call for amazing people and I believe we are up to the task as long as we rely on Him.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How to Recreate a Constitution

Justly revered as our great Constitution is, it could be stripped off and thrown aside like a garment, and the nation would still stand forth in the living vestment of flesh and sinew, warm with the heart-blood of one people, ready to recreate constitutions and laws. Woodrow Wilson

And so it begins. One of the Progressive hallmarks is the belief that the Constitution of the United States is a "living document." This means that it is supposed to change with the times. So, Progressives have been for over a 100 years now working to change the document. The early Progressive era occurred in the early 20th century up through the 1920's. Franklin D. Roosevelt's long presidency was the 2nd era of Progressive change. Lyndon B. Johnson began a 3rd era of Progressive change, one that continued until the halt that was Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately after that Progressive change has continued at an ever increasing speed. How have they done it? Well, they first started by working to change it through the Constitutions' own prescribed measures, amendments. Four amendments to the Constitution came about during the early Progressive era.

Amendment XVI- Federal Income Tax. The founding fathers would have absolutely opposed this amendment. One of the rights that the Constitution was established to protect is the right of property. Property includes income earned. Initially this amendment was proposed as a tax only on the rich. But, it opened the doors for taxing any and all people gaining an income. It has become so entrenched that we hardly notice how much money the government takes from us, and feel grateful to get a tax return back which is just a pittance of the money we put in. This was the beginning of the re-distribution of wealth in the US.

Amendment XVII-Popular Election of Senators. This one was an attempt to democratize our Republic. There was a reason that the founders had Senators appointed by the states. The founders formed the federal government to be as least powerful as possible. The states were supposed to be far more influential than they are now. Many Americans are hardly informed about the actions of the federal government. Ask yourself how aware you are of what your state government is up to. Imagine if your federal Senators were determined by your state representation. We would all be more informed and more involved, and our Senators would be more responsible to the states that sent them there.

Amendment XVIII-Prohibition. I'm no fan of alcohol, especially having worked in the addictions area of behavioral health. But, prohibition was the attempt to take away something people already had, and it was done under the guise that it was for their own benefit. It was a mandate from the government to the people. And boy did the people respond. Crime related to the illegal production and use of alcohol was rampant. Prohibition was eventually repealed. I think at that time those of the Progressive bent realized that if they wanted to reform society they needed to do it in another way, a sneakier way.

Amendment XIX-Women's Suffrage. Alright I'll give credit where it is due. The Progressives jumped on board the women's suffrage band wagon. They hoped that women, who were by and large more supportive of prohibition than men, would maintain that mandate. One of the hallmarks of the Progressives is their attempt to identify with groups, and to maintain support from those groups. That has certainly been the case for women.

So, there we have it, the first attempts to recreate the Constitution. Now days people hardly realize there was a time in America when our income wasn't taxed and when people were more involved in state politics. I do very much appreciate women's suffrage but I sometimes cringe at the reality that Progressives have used identity politics to further their own agenda and really to make women feel that if they don't support "progress" they are somehow not real women. We didn't have our rights secured only to be told what to do with those rights.

But, as I said before I think Progressives learned a valuable lesson when it came to prohibition. They learned that mandating behavioral change through the Constitution was not going to work. If they really wanted society to "progress" towards perfection they would have to go around the Constitution.

Recently Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) was asked about the Constitutionality of the healthcare reform bill and had a rather telling response.

You know what Congresswomen? You make an excellent point. Where in the world does the Constitution give Congress the power to create Social Security, a banner FDR era deal, and Medicare a banner LBJ era deal? The answer is it doesn't. But, Congress believed it knew what was best for us. And since the likelihood of either of these programs passing with 2/3 majority of not just Congress but also 3/4 of all the states was not super, they went around the Constitution. I have to confess here that sometimes I get a little bit grouchy for the fact that previous political generations have saddled us with these monsters. Both Social Security and Medicare are so deep in the red, recovery is going to likely take generations.

Congress continues to do the practice of passing unpopular legislation, as evidenced by the recent passage of Obamacare. It is certainly irritating in the extreme and does not bode well for the future. What bodes even worse is the Obama era (which lets face it he is just carrying on the antics of recent presidents albeit with more rapidity and volume) tactic for implementing Progressive reform, this recreation of the Constitution.

An October 6, 2010 article from the LA Times details the Obama administrations new strategy following the November elections. White House senior advisor David Axelrod had this to say "It's fair to say that the next phase is going to be less about legislative action than it is about managing the change that we've brought" The article explains that ". . .the best arena for Obama to execute his plans may be his own branch of government. That means more executive orders, more use of the bully pulpit, and more deployment of his ample regulatory powers and the wide-ranging rulemaking authority of his Cabinet members." Ummm, I don't know what is more disconcerting, the fact that they're doing this, or the fact that they are doing it so openly. I mean don't get me wrong I don't want them to do this in secret, it just seems like the administration thinks that people are just going to go along with this lovely new approach. Are they really that arrogant?

The Washington times recently ran an article called Tyranny of the Unelected by Wayne Crews. In it Mr. Crews presents some interesting facts such as, "Congress passed and the president signed 125 bills into law in 2009. Your tireless federal regulatory agencies were even busier: They issued 3,503 rules and regulations." That's jaw dropping. Here's another fact, "The year's Federal Register - the daily depository of federal regulations - already tops 61,000 pages." Here's another, "According to research conducted for the Small Business Administration by economists Nicole V. and W. Mark Crain, annual off-budget regulatory costs exceed $1.7 trillion, an amount equivalent to more than half the level of the federal budget itself and on a par with the stratospheric annual deficit." Crews goes on to introduce a proposed legislation called the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) to try and address the beast of executive regulatory madness.

So, we've gone from amendments, to Congress passing whatever the heck bill they feel like regardless of its actual benefit or approval, to the Executive branch taking a completely unconstitutional role in regulating our affairs. For good measure let's make sure we include judicial activism, when judges rule according to what they feel is right, not what the law is. And what do we have to show for all of this? Debt well past our ears and the ears of our grandchildren, a government that feels it can do whatever the heck they want without any consequences and a Constitution sitting there just waiting to be followed. Those who want our government to address the ever-growing problem of Social Security and Medicare, or who dare to say that regulatory agencies like the EPA should have some accountability, or who have the unmitigated gall to mention that our leaders really ought to start following the Constitution are branded as extremists. What the flip is going on here?

There is a way to come back to sanity. It starts by acknowledging which principles work and which ones don't. We don't need a new Constitution, we need to follow the one we have. The Progressive changes have not worked, and no amount of money or effort is going to suddenly, magically make them start working. The Republic our founders set up was built on principles not the numbers of citizens. Those principles of freedom can work regardless of how many people are here, or how many different places we all originated from. Freedom works, it really does.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To Chile and Its Hero Miners: Thank-You

What a beautiful story. I have just been transixed the past 24 hours watching as the Chilean miners one by one were brought out of the dark and back up into the light into the waiting arms of their loved ones. I have been thoroughly impressed with the process by which the miners have been rescued, great planning, great job reaching out and accepting help.

One of the things that has been most touching for me is to hear about the amazing faith and hope of this group of men, and their families, and really the country of Chile.

“There are actually 34 of us because God has never left us down here." Jimmy Sanchez.

“I’ve been near God, but I’ve also been near the devil, God won.” Mario Sepulveda

“Thank God we’re alive, I know now why we’re alive.” Edison Peña

Simply amazing. It has been a Major Miner Miracle. The miners found light in the darkness, and found it in God and in each other, as well as their connections with their loved ones above. We all have experiences that feel like we are coming back into the light. Watching this whole event unfold, I've had a song running through my head, which I wanted to share here. I planned on doing a whole bunch of video with it. But, I think I'll just stick with one photo of light and let you just listen to the song. Let your mind and heart run your own video :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Grace, Mercy and Sanctification

"We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger," Obama reportedly said in an interview with Bob Woodward.

I don't know really know what the President meant by that comment. It does sound cavalier and fairly arrogant to me. But, it got me thinking about those things that did help the country through that horror. On September 11th and the days that followed the country turned to God. Congress members sang "God Bless America" on the capitol steps. There was a massive gathering of citizens in Churches across the country to pray in unity with bells tolling simultaneously. The prayers in song, in speech and in hearts sent out by a humble nation beseeching Our Creator, were answered. To say we "absorbed" the attacks is to dismiss the miraculous blessings of divine grace, mercy and sanctification that were so necessary.

God shed His grace on this country following September 11th. So, what is meant by grace? It is a divinely bestowed enabling power. God blessed us with the power to overcome. Grace is the power we didn't know we had until we needed it. And we didn't know we needed it until we humbled ourselves enough to recognize it. To receive grace requires more of us than just asking. It requires us to put ourselves in a position to have access to true power. The attacks were not what humbled us, it was turning to God that humbled us, and than He enabled us to overcome and keep moving forward.

Grace is necessary for mercy. Mercy often is described as forgiveness. Well, forgiveness is indeed a merciful act, but mercy is more broad than that. To me mercy is a restoration of that which was lost. When combined with grace it becomes divine, and thus it is a power to restore those things which only divinity can. We all lost a sense of peace, safety, and freedom that day. God blessed us with buckets of mercy in order to restore those things again. Understand that sometimes that restoration takes a while. In fact the attacks are still very raw in some ways. But, through grace and mercy there is overcoming and there is restoration and it continues today.

Mercy is necessary for sanctification, the process of making something holy. We look back on that day with great sorrow, and also great respect, for those who were lost, many many heroes among them. One of the greatest miracles there is, is for something good to come out of something bad. It is truly divine. God can and does sanctify trials for our welfare. In short it is not trials that make us better people. Rather trials bring us to our knees, to God, and He makes us better. We were better, we were more unified and charitable to one another after that. To continue the process of sanctification we have to be willing to learn the lessons from that day, those attacks, and the processes we went through for overcoming.

We know our country will continue to experience trials, that is just a reality. But, if we have an attitude of just absorbing the next one, we are not exercising the humility necessary for the gifts that will get us through, grace, mercy and sanctification.

We are facing plenty of trials right now as a nation. We could most certainly use these gifts now. The answer for our trials is the same as it ever was, turn humbly to God.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Psychology/Psychiatry and the Left: Part Three

Atrophy. That's the word I think of when it comes to the results of so much of the practices of psychology/psychiatry over the last 100 years. There has been a lessening of personal responsibility and of personal belief in ones own strength to overcome.

Before I get too caught up in the descriptions of what I see that is going wrong I actually want to talk about positive changes, some positive trends. As you could probably guess from my previous posts I'm not a huge fan of diagnosing. I understand the point of it, particularly in providing direction for treatment. But, I just don't like labeling people especially at a young age as being dysfunctional. One of the newer modalities that I really like is positive psychology. Not long ago a new assessment tool was released to help "diagnose" character strength and virtues. I really appreciate this tool and its focus. By using it clinicians can identify with their clients those strengths and attributes that will help that individual overcome the problems they are currently facing. Human beings are equipped with an ability to heal when possible, and to adapt if necessary. That doesn't mean its easy or quick, just that we have the capacity. It also doesn't mean it has to be done alone. Sometimes our greatest strength lies in the supportive people we have around us.

What I like about positive psychology is that it helps individuals understand their own resources and to take charge of their own change. Clients are strengthened in the belief that they can be successful at overcoming because of themselves, not because of a pill or any other expert. My clients who make improvements own that change, and get all the credit for it. I'm humbled to be able to assist in some way, but they are using their own mental muscles to get better. They are then strengthened not just for the current trial but for whatever else might come their way. By virtue of our humanity we will all go through difficult things. It is essential to know we have the ability, the strength, to overcome.

I have also noticed, and am a part of, a rise in the use of "alternative" treatments. They are called "alternative" because they do not fit the medical model. Some examples follow. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR taps into the human systems' ability to process through trauma. Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT which looks at helping individuals realign their own internal energy. Biofeedback which makes individuals aware of their own physiological processes and than clients learn skills to change their current processes into more healthy patterns. All these modalities have shown a shift in the approach to mental well being, more client focused and client driven. They all help to make a client aware of their own power for wellness. I don't wish to make an endorsement of these modalities as much as to make note of that pattern, the individual is the expert for their own systems and they have the power to heal themselves. I'm encouraged by this shifting, especially when I consider the effects of the medical model and government involvement in the mental health professions.

I love good parents, they are quite simply one of my favorite things. By 'good parent' I don't mean perfect parents. In fact one of the things I tell parents is that it is absolutely essential that they be imperfect, because their kids are, and they have to know you can be imperfect and still be good. Good parents do their utmost to help their children with whatever needs come up.

When parents are struggling with helping their children's emotional state or in their ability to focus often look to experts to help them. We have in society right now an absolute flood of children being medicated for ADHD and Bipolar disorder among other things. I'm troubled by this. I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not hold negative judgments of the parents who are seeking whatever help they can find. To be sure there are some kids who truly do have some positive changes when on medication. Parents who look for ways to help their children are good parents hands down. But, the mental health professionals have not done an adequate job of informing parents of all the statistics of efficacy (or lack thereof) of medication nor of informing parents of the negative realities that can result, such as stunted growth, disregulation of physiological systems and possibly dependence (even life-long) upon medication. Parents have been made to believe that someone else is the expert on raising their children. That is simply not the case.

Parenting is one of the hardest things in the world, but every parent is up to the job. I would encourage parents to look at alternatives to medication if able and to use those God given parenting skills. Absolutely seek support but recognize that you are the expert, the final say on raising your child belongs to you. You've got all the muscles, continue to strengthen and use them.

Now in speaking about government intervention I will be speaking specifically of what I've seen with clients who use Medicare Medicaid and SSI/SSDI for their mental health needs. I have no negative judgment on those individuals who use these programs. They are making use of what is available to them. Most people who use these programs feel they have few or no other options available to them. This is of course by design. The results of using government assistance in the mental health arena are detrimental. As there is a reliance on government for mental health there is a decrease in personal responsibility. That goes not just for clients but for professionals. I cannot stand having insurance dictate to me what treatment should be, and Medicare/Medicaid is the absolute worst at this. The practitioner is made to behave as if the government is the expert, which of course than separates the client even further from the reality that they are in fact themselves the expert and master of their own healing.

From my experience in working with individuals on government assistance for mental health services, I'll offer a few observations. These individuals have a much higher rate of missing scheduled appointments. I'm not sure I know the full extent of what that means, but I think when individuals feel less invested than they also feel less responsible. I've also noticed that efforts are made to maintain disability or financial status. In order to do so clients would tell me they could not seek better employment or make other significant improvements in their lives. If the point of government assistance is to truly assist, why than are individuals feeling and staying so stuck?

Another disturbing aspect I've noticed is government dictation of medication. Medicare, for instance, recently expanded their roles making more people eligible. This increase was not accompanied by a sufficient increase in available funds. At that time the medications that the government program would cover were altered, because of expense. So, I had clients who had become dependent upon a certain medication that suddenly they could not obtain, or afford. Can I say it was more than a little scary, in fact for some the reality was a life or death situation. I was quite frustrated with that development and can see it getting worse as we continue to march towards socialized medicine in the United States. Yuck!!

Now given all that I'll let you in on my ultimate and quite frankly unrealistic goal as a mental health professional: To work myself out of a job. I love my work. I love being able to be a support for others. My guiding principles as a therapist are 1) to have unconditional positive regard for every individual I work with 2) that the very best answers for an individuals problems come from the individuals themselves, my job is to guide them there and 3) that my absolute most basic relationship with my clients is that I'm their sister. The best thing I can do for my brothers and sisters is to be a support and to help them discover their own power and responsibility, their own muscles again.

I ponder again that original question that brought me into writing this three part post. Why would Communists want to take over the field of psychiatry? I think in the end it comes down to making people feel and believe that someone/something else is and/or should be in control and is the expert in keeping them safe. As a mental health professional I say phooey! Parents have the best answers for their kids, individuals have the best answers within themselves. The power really is inherent in the people.

I of course also believe strongly in God and that He has blessed us with the abilities to heal and grow and change. He has provided ways for all of that to occur. Healing may include social support, therapy, it may even include medication (just be educated on its use). I would never presume to know all of the right answers for each individual, but I do believe each individual can know them for themselves. I start out each work day on my knees, I know I need His inspiration. He will guide us all to the best practices and solutions. He gave us the muscles, He also gave us the tools to build them up.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read all of this. I know it was considerably longer than any thing else I've written. I just felt it was important to find out for myself and than to share with others what my own profession has been up to. Truth rocks, and so does sharing it.

God Bless,
Sarah Emily Jordan, MA, MA, LMHC

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Psychology/Psychiatry and the Left: Part Two


So, today's discussion will be about drugs and docs, the former first. In doing so I think it is important to take at least a brief look at the history of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the government agency charged with the regulation of drugs. The FDA has its roots in the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. This act was signed by one of Progressivisms headliners Theodore Roosevelt. But, there is another figure who should be included in the discussion of the 1906 Act. His name is Upton Sinclair, and he was an avowed Socialist. The webpage for the FDA mentions Mr. Sinclair in its history.

Upton Sinclair wrote a book called The Jungle , his purpose in doing so was to convince the American public of the injustice of the Capitalist system. The book details some of the rather disgusting conditions of a meat packing plant. Instead of turning to Socialism the American public was simply grossed out. Sinclair famously stated "I aimed for America's heart and hit them in the stomach." Indeed. Sinclair was a very active Socialist in fact running for political office in California on the Socialist ticket with little success. He had a little more success running on the End Poverty in California (EPIC) ticket. His goal was the same for both tickets. He said about his EPIC run "The American people will take Socialism but they won't take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. . .I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. there is no use attacking if by a front attack. It is better to outflank them." Typical leftist m.o. is to change the name but not the goal.

I still have more studying to do before I form a complete opinion on the FDA, but just looking at the origins, and the leftists who influenced it certainly gives me pause and is a little off putting to say the least.


Much of the information in this section comes from an eye opening book by Robert Whitaker titled Anatomy of an Epidemic

Drugs for mental health issues were first introduced in the mid 20th century. It was at this time that the Psychological fields were floundering a bit in trying to determine which direction and theoretical orientation to commit to. The model that won out was a medical one. A medical model means diagnosing and than treatment. Treatment in medicine of course includes well medicine.

Some important historical milestones include the 1938 Food and Drug Cosmetics Act, Whitaker explains on pp. 55-56 "The law required drug firms to prove to the Food and Drug Administration that their products were safe (they still did not have to prove that their drugs were helpful), and in its wake, the FDA began decreeing that certain medicines could be purchased only with a doctor's prescription," Also in 1946Congress passed the National Mental Health Act which meant that the government could sponsor research in the mental health field, providing grants. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was established three years later to oversee the reform. Yipee! The left specializes in regulation, and the mental health field gets to participate in that big time.

In accordance with the medical model for mental health in 1952 the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel (DSM) for mental disorders was published. The DSM and the subsequent revisions became the staple for diagnosing in the mental health arena. I must say my hardbound copy of the current DSM IV-TR has been a joy and is quite a useful doorstop among other things. It certainly is interesting to consider the various diagnoses that have been added and removed from the DSM. But, for now it is important to note that it originates from the medical model and is relied on for much of mental health treatment.

Alright so we see some of the groundwork that had been laid out, let's take a look at some of the drugs. In 1954 the FDA gave its stamp of approval for a drug called Thorazine. It was initially billed as a tranquilizer but through a metamorphosis which included government and media became a disease fighting pill rather than just a tonic. Shortly after Thorazine's introduction a new "happy" pill called Miltown was also introduced with promises of Nirvana (the propaganda for this pill included a Salvador Dali exhibition for which he was paid quite well). Ch. 4 in Whitaker's book gives these details and more about these 2 drugs. Miltown became a predecessor for more modern drugs such as Prozac. Thorazine was given all sorts of credit for success in decreasing the amount and time of hospitalizations for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. But, Whitaker on pp. 92-94 uses hard facts to refute that notion. Here are some highlights. Prior to the introduction of Thorazine people admitted for a first schizophrenic episode in the 40's and 50's 75% were recovered enough in the first three years to return to the community, the majority within the 1st year. Returning to the community meant back to family and even work. California records from 1956 after Thorazine's introduction found that 85% who were not prescribed medication were discharged within 18 months. Those treated with the drug had a lower (74%) rate of discharge. So, why does Thorazine get credit as some breakthrough drug for schizophrenia patients being discharged from hospitals at an increased rate?

Well, credit was given to Thorazine when in reality it lay elsewhere. As Whitaker explains on p. 93, "The 1965 Medicare and Medicaid legislation provided federal subsidies for nursing home care, but no such subsidy for care in state mental hospitals, and so the states, seeking to save money naturally began shipping their chronic patients to nursing homes. That was when the census in state mental hospitals began to noticeably drop rather than in 1955, where Thorazine was introduced."

Well, blow me over with a feather, a government program caused a decrease in the appropriate care a certain population would receive? Whitaker goes into great detail on a number of diagnosis and their preferred medications. I highly recommend reading his book. Of particular note are the absolute explosions of the diagnosis of ADHD and Bipolar disorder. This is a disturbing pattern that has long been an irritant for me. While I believe that there can be some benefits from medications, I have felt strongly for some time that we are overdiagnosing and overmedicating. Whitaker's take down of Prozac is particularly well done.

Whitaker presents some other significant facts that I wish to highlight here. Social Security and Disability payments from the government are programs from the ideological left. From p. 250 Major Depression is the leading cause of disability in the US for people 15-40 year olds. With Bipolar Disorder 85% used to recover from this previously uncommon illness now only about 1/3 function well. In 1955 46,000 people were hospitalized with Anxiety and Manic Depressive (Bipolar) illness, today 40 million people have one of these diagnosis. More than 1.5 million people are on SSI or SSDI and that number is increasing at a rate of 250 children and 850 adults daily. I suppose it is possible that we are just struggling that much as a society, but it certainly begs for more explanation than that.

I'm just presenting facts here, and as I've stated before coming to any real conclusions will require much more study. A friend recently directed me to a book titled Manufacture of Madness by Thomas Szasz. But, I have to say that what I've found so far is in a word disconcerting. Given that psychology has been used in the past to justify the eugenic process of weeding out undesirables can you blame me for wondering if it continues to be used so now? As my boss Dr. Thurber pointed out to me "why put them in camps or sterilize them when you can just imprison them in their own homes."


Now one more note about the medical model. Doctors became the experts. I want to re-iterate here that I know some fine people who are psychiatrists and I do not wish to disparage them in any way. But, I do wish to point out that the model and orientation of psychiatry is driven by medication and by psychiatrists being the overseers of it.

One expert psychiatrist I want to highlight is Dr. Benjamin Spock. In doing so I'd like to state that I do not necessarily disagree with all of his assertions. But, he is one of the most famous psychiatrists in recent history. He became a go to expert on parenting. But, Dr. Spock also was quite politically active. He was a part of a movement called the New Left. Sounds inspiring no? It was a coalition of several leftists organizations. Dr. Spock advocated strongly for the passage of medicare. He was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War. In 1972 Dr. Spock was the presidential candidate of the People's Party. Dr. Spock's platform called for free medical care, legalizing abortion and marijuana and guaranteed minimum income for families. I say as a sidenote that I find it a little shocking that a man known as a huge advocate for children was also a huge advocate for abortion. Again I don't disagree with all of Dr. Spock's techniques on parenting, but it is an uncomfortable reality that politically he was so far to the left. To refer back to part 1, why would taking over Psychiatry be a Communist goal? Well, I don't yet know the full answer to that, but to note that one of Psychiatry's biggest names was on the Communist side of things certainly says something.

The concluding post on the subject will be my personal perspective in working in the mental health field.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Psychology/Psychiatry and the Left: Part One

APA’s founding was part of a large number of changes occurring in the United States then, including:
• The emergence of academic disciplines such as psychology, economics, political science, biochemistry, and physiology These new disciplines quickly developed advanced degrees that provided credentials to validate the disciplines’ members as experts.
• The progressive movement in politics, which called for a more efficient, less corrupt, social order.
The synergy of these two developments—specialized expertise and rationalized government—helped create the need for trained personnel to fill the new professional niches created by the demands for a more efficient society.

I thought it would be hard to find the connection between psychology and progressivism. But, no that quote comes from the American Psychological Association's (APA) website. You get the sense that there is almost a sense of pride in the connection. Certainly they are not hiding anything.

This piece is not an attempt to tear down the fields of psychology and psychiatry. I like and respect too many people in both fields to try to take them all down with a broad brush stroke. It is rather a telling of the truth. We must have the truth and the whole truth in all its glory and shame in order to effectively understand where we are at and than to move in a forward direction.

I have long known that in general the mental health field professions have leaned towards the left, particularly in academia. I fortunately had professors who were not preachy about their beliefs, and were open to and respected our own theoretical orientations and beliefs. They taught me to have an attitude of unconditional positive regard for my clients, and treated me as such. It is imperative in the profession to treat others and their points of view with dignity and I have striven to do so. At the same time there needs to be an acknowledgment that leftist ideals have permeated the paradigms of psychology.

I had never really thought about a direct connection between progressivism, and it leftists cousins, and psychology/psychiatry until I was introduced to the 45 communist goals first brought to light in 1963. I was taken aback by 2 of those goals #38 "Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat]." #39 "Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals." Well, thought I, 'what gives?' Why is psychiatry something Communists were even interested in. I began to research psychology, psychiatry and the left. One of the things that I found is that there is a heck of a lot more research that can and should be done. I present what I've found so far with the desire to make the truth known.

Early History
When I began researching this topic I first wanted to see if the subject had already been researched and written about. Very quickly I found an article titled "Psychology and the Progressive Movement" by John Chynoweth Burnham in American Quarterly Vol. 12 No. 4 (Winter 1960) pp. 457-465. Now my history professors would probably frown on me referencing an article form 50 years ago. But, I found it to be very pertinent and honest. Burnham writes frankly about progressivism and psychology's involvement in it. He succinctly describes progressive ideology, "The essence of the movement was the 'firm belief that to a considerable degree man could make and remake his own world.' Although the progressives did not all believe that man is inherently good, they agreed at least that the human being is malleable." Bingo Burnham! This is the mentality that progressives subscribe to, man can alter mankind. Of course it takes the geniuses controlling the masses in order to shape us correctly (according to progressives). Burnham also writes "Direction was to come from the Man of Good Will who had transcended his own interest; he governed by right of his own moral superiority." There we have it, the good will doers had the intention to govern those considered beneath them.

Psychology in the 1890's and early 1900's was a fairly new concept. Direction for this new science was still being determined. And as the APA points out in its own history the chosen direction coincided and was linked to the progressive movement.

One of the key things I've realized in researching this topic is that there is a wealth of information and it will be impossible to cover every subject thoroughly in just a matter of a few blog posts. These are just going to be highlights, a place to start. One area that I know is going to require more investigation is some of the specific individuals involved in psychology and psychiatry and their various theoretical orientations. One of the rather intriguing figures is John Watson. He is perhaps the most well known behaviorist. Burnham quotes him from 1913, "Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior." Ah yes, "control" what a lovely leftist bent that has to it. This is not to say that Watson considered himself a progressive, that will require more research, but I think it is safe to say that this view of psychology would have been attractive to progressives. I personally think Watson had some valuable tools for helping to overcome behavioral problems. But, what is to be considered a behavioral problem and who is to be controlled?

The Feebleminded
There is one subject that progressives and psychology absolutely came together on, eugenics. I recently completed a read of Edwin Blacks War Against the Weak I did not agree with all of his conclusions but he gives an excellent account of the history of eugenics. It is one of the ways in which progressives have historically tried to control and perfect what they viewed as a malleable population. It is an attempt to breed a superior race. It has quite a history in the United States. And there was a reliance on psychology to determine who were the fittest and also who needed to be reduced. In the United States forced sterilization was legalized and employed in a number of states. Burnham summarizes "The eugenics movement, advocating the sterilization of the insane, defective and criminal persons in order to improve the race represented the progressive attempt to deal with that part of man which was more malleable." Those who did not improve the race were classified in groups, perhaps the most prominent is what eugenicists termed "feebleminded."
Black in his chapter "Legitimizing Raceology" introduces us to one of the leading eugenicists of the early 1900's psychologist Henry Goddard. First off I want to note that Goddard eventually abandoned eugenics (p. 85) Its important to tell the whole truth including this turn around, though by that time his renunciation was not well noted by the eugenicists who were using his paradigm to further their ends. His early work was damaging.

The following paragraph is a summary of Black's information presented in pages 76-85. Goddard was a powerful ally in the eugenics movement. In order to justify the sterilization of the feebleminded there had to be a way to determine who fit that criteria. In 1905 the first "intelligence test" was introduced in France by Binet. Goddard was hired in 1906 to direct research in Vineland New Jersey's Training School for the Feebleminded. He began to assess the patients for their intelligence and eventually came up with his own modified version of the test. As a side note we can thank Goddard for the term "moron." Understand that eugenics had a very obvious racial tone to it. What were the results of Goddard's "testing"? Here are a couple of examples 40% of immigrants tested as feebleminded and 60% of Jewish immigrants in particular classified as "morons". Tests applied to Blacks as reported in the "Archive of Psychology" reported that Blacks scored 3/4ths as well as their white counterparts, with pure Blacks testing the lowest about 60% lower than whites. This is all of course offensive in the extreme and to believe such drummed up numbers would be (pardon the use of the word) moronic. But, the intent of eugenics was to create a perfect race and for most of its subscribers that did not include anyone who did not fit the Anglo-Saxon mold. Yes, psychology was used to not just justify racism but a movement to purge the United States of those who were different, the mentally ill, the immigrants, and non-whites. The progressive M.O. of calling anybody they don't like "stupid" has been a very long tradition indeed, and unfortunately some psychologists played a role.

Further study of eugenics yields all sorts of information including its ties to the most famous and horrific attempts at race purification and genocide. Historically it is necessary we gain and maintain an understanding that the Nazi's gained much of their eugenic ideas from American eugenicists. It is also important to note that they also used psychology as a justification.
The early history of both psychology and progressivism are intertwined. In the next segment I will be discussing diagnosis, drugs and the new left. "Live long and prosper"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Difficult Decisions, Difficult Truths, Turns Out the Easiest Answer is the Difficult One

We like to avoid difficult things. Its human nature. But, when we do we end up making it harder on ourselves. Consider some examples.

First off a lame one, doing the dishes. I suppose there are people out there who actually enjoy doing the dishes, but I think they are probably in the minority. Most of us avoid doing them. A common occurrence is the piling up of dirty dishes and letting them get all crusty or gross, or there is the practice of "letting them soak" which just leads to disgusting, stinky, stagnant water (I have a bit of a pet peeve about that:) Its harder to clean dishes that are crusty and gross. Honestly the easiest way to do dishes would be to clean them right after they are used. At least rinse them off and load the dishwasher as you go. That way at the end of the day (or whatever time period) the only chore is to start the dishwasher, rather than facing a mountain of dishes when all you really want to do is go to bed and often you just leave it until morning. So, why don't we clean the dishes at the most opportune time? Because we think its difficult, we put off the unpleasant. The reality is the easiest answer is the one that seems hard at the moment.

Alright so a political example. For decades the government has been letting the financial dishes pile up. And boy are they dirty and crusty and nasty now. Political cycle after cycle our elected officials have tried to take the easy/lazy way out. Push the debt onto the next cycle and just try to please the masses with some delectable delights. They've been stuffing our faces hoping we won't notice the mess they are leaving behind.

Well, somebody sometime is going to have to finally clean it up. Its far better to do it right now, to do what seems difficult so that it is not more difficult later. We also have to take a look at the difficult truths about where we actually are at financially. Here are a couple of highlights from a presentation from David Buckner of Columbia University. The US debt in 1990 was $3.2 trillion, in 2000 it rose to $5.6 trillion, that is a 75% increase. In 2010 it has risen to $14.4 trillion, which is a 157% increase. Understand a very important truth, this dramatic debt increase is a combination effort from both Republicans and Democrats. The easy answer would be to just vote in a different party. But, change of a name doesn't seem to change the direction. The difficult answer, the right one is to elect people who will face this terrible truth, that this is all unsustainable, and do something about it, not words action. Here's more difficult truth. Right now interest on our national debt is at the lowest level in history. Now, before you start thinking it is good news, understand that means interest can only go up. The United States owes interest on $14.4 trillion dollars even a 1% increase in interest adds $144 billion, a 10% increase would add $2.3 trillion. Here's more, the $14.4 trillion is just what we owe our lenders (other countries, most notably China). But, for the first time since its enactment Social Security is in the red, this year. As of now the US has promised $6.6 trillion in Social Security, funds that are not there. What is even more difficult is how much is promised in Medicare, $36.3 trillion. Those 3 things combine total $57.3 trillion in promises. Right now that equals $184,000 that each US citizen (men, women, and children) owes in promises.

We must look this terrible truth in the eye and go forward to make difficult decisions. And it is a guarantee, it will be difficult. The government has got to stop spending. They have got to cut out entitlements. They have got to quit making empty promises.

Another difficult thing that absolutely must be done. We have to learn history, all of it, especially the difficult things. The most important lesson from history is to never forget. Forgetting spawns the repeating of mistakes. We have to take a good hard look at what we believe and find out if its true or not. Sometimes we even have to be willing to let our hearts break for learning the truth. I have recently been doing research on Psychology and its ties to Progressivism. Boy, I tell you what, it breaks my heart to report that there are some nasty crusty dishes in the mental health field. I love my work as a counselor. But, I have to tell the truth of what I've found. I'll be posting a rather lengthy piece shortly (be forewarned). Its uncomfortable to learn history sometimes, but its absolutely necessary.

One final example. Jesus Christ promised that His yoke is easy and His burden light. That's the truth. And yet we have this tendency to try and seek a different answer. For some reason we get it in our heads that seeking righteousness and divine help and healing is somehow difficult. The difficulty is really just in humbling ourselves. But, it must be done. In striving to keep the commandments we actually make our lives easier. We don't have to be burdened by the consequences of sin. We need God more than ever. Choosing Him, will pay off more than we can now imagine. Don't just turn to Him, run to Him.

Now, I've got to go start the dishwasher :)

God Bless America and Americans as we move forward with faith and courage. The difficult truth, the difficult decision often ends up being the easiest path for us and for the generations to follow.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Becoming Who We Ought to Be: Forgiveness

Life is all about who we become. Its about becoming our greatest selves, the people God knows we can truly be. To help along that journey He gives us commandments and instructions. One of the things that we are commanded to do is forgive.

Forgiveness is, unsurprisingly, something I work on quite a bit with my clients. When someone does us harm the most immediate reaction we go into is self-protection. Anger and fear serve the purpose of guarding our hearts against further damage. They are kind of like walls that get put up. The problem with walls around our hearts is that nothing can get in and nothing can get out. We become stuck where we are at. And behind that wall resentment and other such negative things build up.

Why is it that God asks us to be forgiving? Well, for one thing He is forgiving and we are trying to become like Him. For another it can help the person who committed the offense to move on in their lives. But, I also think that forgiveness is for the sake of the forgiver. Its a release, it takes away a burden that really just doesn't belong.

Its easy for me to say that forgiveness is something I work on with my clients. But, I admit that it is a struggle for me as well. Sometimes its a big struggle. Amazingly The Lord continues to work with me in His tenderly merciful way and helps me remember to take my own advice. Its humbling.

I recently needed a reminder about forgiveness and was blessed to view the following video. This good man is nothing short of heroic and I wanted to share his message here.

God continue to bless us as we strive to become who we ought to be. His grace is sufficient for all those who seek such blessings.