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Everything posted by Stargazer

  1. Actually, that's possible to do. Or at least it was the last time I looked. I'm quite serious. This may have changed in the meantime.
  2. Amusingly, IRS publications I have read describe the tax system as "voluntary". I think what they mean by that is you voluntarily fill out your own tax forms, rather than having the IRS "serve" you by filling it out for you themselves. It's the same sense as "volunteering" in the military. More like "voluntold".
  3. Maybe. It depends upon the outlook of the person, I suppose. I don't expect the Lord to intervene in every situation -- He does have his own agenda. I've learned a few things about when to trouble Him and when not to, but He still has His own will in all things. ETA: Well, I said I wouldn't trot it out, but here I am doing it anyway. It turns out it had to be told. In this particular instance, the key ring contained important keys and were definitely needed. We had thoroughly searched everywhere all the likely places the keys might have found their way to, to no avail. Before going off to work that day, we knelt down and prayed for help in finding them. I expected that one of us would possibly get some inspiration that would lead to finding them, but that's about all I expected -- I was also willing to accept that the Lord considered it our problem, not His. Well, having prayed, we left for our places of work, locking the bedroom and locking the house. I didn't think about the keys at all that day, but I got home first that day, and when I went upstairs to our bedroom, there they were, sitting dead in the middle on top of the made bed. I had helped make the bed that day, and the keys had not been there when we were finished. I don't know why the Lord decided to intervene in this case, but He did, and we were grateful. I know we didn't lose them on the bed, and how they got there I don't know. But there they were. I have two other cases, both from my mission, with one being the finding of something lost and the other an answer to fasting and prayer, both by investigators. The mission president's Assistants had an investigator who happened to be a high officer in a major German firm. They had been teaching him for a few weeks, and he was nearing the point of committing to baptism. Having been taught that the Lord answers prayers, he decided to pray about a problem they were having with some important missing documents. He locked his office, and knelt down and asked the Lord for assistance in locating those documents. Some time went by, and then suddenly his secretary burst into his office triumphantly holding a paper file folder, crying "I found it!" I don't remember every detail of the story, but she found the documents in a completely unaccustomed place where they weren't supposed to be. Did the Lord intervene in this case? I have no idea, but he certainly thought He did. He was baptized in the end, and just a few years later served as the bishop of the ward. The other story is rather closer to me, since they were my investigators. The husband had acquired a testimony of the gospel and wanted to be baptized, but didn't want to go into the water without his wife. But she was on the fence about it, not objecting, but not enthusiastic, and things were on hold. I don't remember us teaching him about fasting and prayer, but we might have, or he might have gotten it from the scriptures or Sunday School. In any case, one morning as he prepared for work, he told his wife that he wasn't hungry enough to eat breakfast, and though he took the lunch she made for him, he didn't eat it. He was fasting and praying for her to see the light, as it were, and consent to be baptized, but he didn't tell her that. When he got home that day, she told him that while she had been doing housework that day, the thought came to her, "Why not get baptized?" And she said she was ready. Now, was she going to make that decision anyway, regardless of him fasting and praying about it? I have no idea, but he certainly thought so. And so they were baptized and became a huge source of strength in both their branch and their stake. Incidentally, he was not long thereafter called into the branch presidency (as a priest, no less), and then later into the stake presidency. Just before he passed away, in 2016, he had just recently been released after five years as the bishop of his ward. These two brothers took seriously what the missionaries had been teaching them, and relied upon the Lord for help when they needed it. Their reward was nothing flashy, but they did get evidence that the Lord was looking out for them. This led them to greater faith and service. I guess I have to cite Alma 32 on this, because the principles found therein are what they were using, even if they didn't know that chapter like perhaps you and I do. I'm also reminded of Luke 11:11-13 - If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Maybe the Lord wants us to solve our own problems, and will only step in from time to time. As for me, I will accept gratefully what the Lord chooses to give me. And not fuss that he doesn't want to make me into a millionaire.
  4. No problem. We all have to have our hobbies. Sure, I created the scenario, but you were agreeable and said you'd do it. Thanks for playing! Maybe we could use it as a threat for all those twits who refuse vaccination for stupid reasons. "If you don't get the shot, we will send The Nehor!" You never know, it might scare them into acting rationally.
  5. I don't know about those hordes of people with key-find stories, but my wife and I have one. I shan't trot it out, but we were grateful for finding the darned keys, and it seemed at the time to be at least slightly miraculous. I don't know why people disparage such stories. They seem to be the kind of small miracle that lead people to learn to trust the Lord in small things, so that perhaps they will then trust the Lord in larger things. The bird baptism reminds of a story I heard on my mission. It seems there was a man walking down a street when he spied a young boy digging two small holes in his front yard. By the time he reached the boy's yard, the boy had just finished filling one hole with water, but left the other one dry. The man asked him, "What are you doing?" To which the boy replied "I'm baptizing my cat." The man was puzzled so asked why the boy had dug two holes but filled only one with water. The answer was: "Well, first I baptize him in the water, and then in the hole he goes."
  6. I have no idea what to think about this. For me, I comply with mask mandates just because it's socially acceptable -- I don't have any confidence that the masks people commonly wear provide any protection worth a darn. Those cloth masks have a weave that is basically transparent to virus particles, because the viruses are like a quadcopter flying under the Golden Gate Bridge. I flew from the UK to the US and back in July, and both ways I had to take a Covid test and test negative, and despite the fact that everyone on the flipping plane tested negative, they made us all wear masks for the entire flight. Maybe someone who tested negative had just that morning inhaled a virus particle and was going to test negative in day or two -- what's the incubation period with Covid, I have no idea -- but presumably even that person wasn't chugging out virus particles yet. I feel that the mask mandate is nothing more than show-and-tell or eye-wash -- it looks good, but that's all it's worth. Has anyone published a study showing that those cloth masks work? Doesn't matter, I'll just keep wearing the things.
  7. Sorry. I'm annoyed at Utah Republicans and whatever they've been drinking/smoking/shooting. Thank goodness I am a Libertarian. But I tend to vote Republican, since there's no Libertarians with a snowball's chance of winning any office. And half of the ones who do run have no sense of direction when it comes to making political pronouncements.
  8. Very nice! Quite clever, in fact. But I don't want the federal government funding abortion at all, whether by tax dollars or by the proceeds of investment of tax dollars. The problem is that abortion isn't really analogous to City Creek. And personally, I don't much care whether the church funded City Creek with tithing or not. It's a tempest in a teapot to me.
  9. I'm very annoyed at all this. It doesn't make sense. And it is bloody stupid <- that's my inner Brit coming out to play.
  10. Yes, I'm really riding The Nehor horse hard. Part of the reason for this is to try to tease him to come out and play. But he forbears participation in my tease, so I shall give it up.
  11. OK, I'm past my bedtime, and I think I've collected enough downvotes today to satisfy any reasonable curmudgeon. The funny thing is, a few weeks ago when I got my first downvote I was rather dismayed. But since it was from someone with whom I regularly disagree with, it was kind of a badge of honor. Now that I've collected a few from people I rather like and usually agree with, I've decided that it's still a badge of honor that those fine folks would like me enough to be honest about their feelings if we cross metaphorical sabers over something once in awhile. I wish all of you, regardless of whether you disagree with me in this topic, a fine day, week, month, and year. May you be safe from Covid!
  12. I asked this of Calm, but I don't know if she knows the answer. Are 51% of the unvaccinated population unvaccinated because they are refusing to be vaccinated? Or is there a significant portion of that 51% that hasn't yet had the opportunity but would be willing? By the way, the stats seem to say that only 1/3 of Utahns haven't yet been vaccinated. Not half. The problem with the claim that forcible vaccination is going to help is all bound up with that number of those who are not refusing but who have just not yet been able to get vaccinated. I find it very hard to believe that 1/3 of Utahns are that stupid. But I don't live there, so what do I know?
  13. Some people believe the earth is flat, others believe that the moon-landings were fake, and yet others believe that taxing corporations is robbing the filthy rich. Wallace was a prize idiot. But he isn't the first man to avoid going to the doctor because he didn't want to admit he was vulnerable. You know how it is, right? Men have an unfortunate tendency to whistle past the graveyard when it comes to health. It's nothing new. But it's still stupid. In the supreme court case you refer to, the plaintiff got fined $5 for refusal to get a smallpox vaccination, and tried to get the courts to absolve him of the fine. They said "No dice." And he had to pay the fine. What they didn't do was drag him to the doctor's office and jab him while he fought them tooth and nail to avoid the needle. At least as far as I'm aware, anyway.
  14. I think it's a given that the unvaccinated are more likely to catch it than the vaccinated, but what percentage of those unvaxxed but now infected were refusers, and what percentage were those who just hadn't yet had the opportunity to get the vaccine? And what of the vaxxed but who got infected anyway? Are there many people who haven't yet been vaccinated, but only due to unavailabilty? The question here revolves around the refusers, not the unlucky. Weren't those most in danger of Covid the ones offered early access to the vaccine? That's how they did it here, and I assume that's how they'd do it in Utah. So the ones who were willing but were in groups considered less "at risk" have not yet been vaccinated, but only because others had higher priority. Or? Does everyone believe that those not yet vaccinated are refusing vaccination? Utah's population is 3.2 million, which leaves over 1.2 million who have not yet been vaccinated. Does that mean that ONE THIRD of the state is refusing vaccination? How many are refusing, and how many just haven't been given the opportunity? Because if ONE THIRD of the state is refusing vaccination, The Nehor is going to be one busy guy trying to pin them all down to give them their medicine. The page of charts at the Utah state coronavirus site (https://coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts/) is quite informative, but there's not one iota of information about refusers. Not that anyone is doing a survey to get the numbers -- or are they working on it?
  15. How bad is it NOW? Looking at "Cumulative COVID-19 Cases with Estimated Recoveries" it looks like the worst was back around the year-end, before vaccinations started coming online. Our vaccinations began sometime around the beginning of February (with healthcare workers first), and if that's when it started for Utah, it looks like the vaccination results began to take hold around the same time as they did here. Why has there been this recent increase of infections, I wonder? There have been nearly 2 million people vaccinated at this point, at least a first dose. Seems like 2nd doses isn't tracking as well as 1st. Wouldn't vaccination refusers come down with Covid at the same rate as those who are willing but haven't been able to get it? Or are the refusers less likely to catch it?
  16. And vaccinate him whether he wants it or not. Right? I agree that it does show love to your neighbor to get vaccinated. But why does every one of you who want to argue with me about this show up with a proverb or parable expressing the importance of voluntary love, care, and concern, and then equate it to pinning your neighbor to the ground while someone injects him with a medicinal potion? I suppose this is the same thing as the Savior asking us to help those in need by donating from our surplus, and then someone else pulls out a gun, robs someone, gives to the needy, and then claims to be doing God's work?
  17. Of course it doesn't need to be destroyed. We've had rationing over here, too. Routine care is now more available, however. It gets better, and then it gets worse, and then it gets better. It goes in waves, and the government re-panics itself each time, with the Opposition parties getting all hot under the collar as if they would have done any better. I just had a look at Utah's statistics. OMG. Case counts etc. What's the percentage of Utahns who refuse vaccination? I looked at the stats just now and I see there have been a total of 487,439 confirmed cases of Covid and 2,764 deaths thus far in the pandemic. The percentage of fatalities is thus 0.6% of confirmed cases, and the bulk of them would have occurred before vaccination became available. Today the Trib reported: "Another 1,885 Utahns tested positive for COVID-19 in the past day, and 15 more have died of the coronavirus. Since Aug. 1, there have been 300 coronavirus deaths in Utah — 11% of the total deaths since the pandemic began." How many of the 1,885 refused to be vaccinated? All of them? Will 0.6% or 11 of those new cases die? The colored maps and charts makes Utah look like a war zone. Is nobody vaccinated over there? November through January was far worse in deaths than the way September is shaping up, though. The chart seems to show a falling off as September progresses. Back then there was no vaccine available. And you say that it's overloaded now, when there are fewer cases than eight months ago? Since then there have been nearly 2 million people vaccinated, and the numbers are NOW going up again? If the number of cases is rising like this, in spite of vaccinations, do you still think forcible vaccination is going to help?
  18. In some cases, yes. In others, no. Does the good of the community always override the rights of the individual? I say "No." In the conversation between Spock and Kirk after Spock saved the Enterprise by repairing the damaged warp core despite the danger of radiation, which led to Spock's death, the following dialogue occurred: Spock: "Ship? Out of danger?" Kirk: "Yes!" Spock: [nods] "Don't grieve, Admiral. It's logical. The needs of the many, outweigh..." [falters] Kirk: "...the needs of the few." Spock: "...or the one. [pauses] I never took the Kobayashi Maru Test, till now. What do you think of my solution?" Kirk: "Spock?" Spock: [sinks to his knees] "I have been, and always shall be, your friend." [makes Vulcan salute against the protective shield wall] "Live long, and prosper." Kirk: [returns the salute against the shield] Spock: [collapses and dies] We honor those who go beyond the call of duty to accomplish great deeds of valor; we award them the highest of medals. In each of these cases, the one has placed his or her life in danger in order to prosper the cause for which he or she fights, or to save the lives of their many. There are stories of Soldiers and Marines who leapt upon live grenades in order to shield with their body their comrades from likely death, and a number of Medals of Honor were conferred as a result. We rightly celebrate the deeds of these men. But have any Medals of Honor been awarded to the men who might have tossed their fellow soldier upon the grenade in order to preserve lives? Haven't heard of any, to be honest. Was there valor or glory to be had if Scotty had tossed Spock into the danger area to force him to fix the warp drive? Perhaps to Spock if the fix had worked, but Scotty would probably have been vilified. Because it would have been wrong for him to do it. Despite the danger to the ship and crew. Before you protest the obvious overreach, let me make clear that it's definitely ridiculous to seriously compare tossing someone upon a live grenade to forcibly inoculating someone who doesn't want the shot. What danger do they stand in danger of by having the shot against their will? Virtually and probably literally none. But just how dangerous to society is it if we begin to so disregard the free will of its members in fear of this disease when in reality the survival rate from infection is extremely high? The most recent numbers I have seen, on a global level, is a 98% survival rate. And as more are vaccinated (in train as we argue) that number will get better. I fear we are letting ourselves be turned into something we really don't want to be. For example, The Nehor is willing to commit violence upon those who are unwilling to be inoculated. He is most certainly not alone. And where do we stop when the next perceived public danger arrives? I don't know what else to say. But I do remember Ben Franklin's famous saying: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
  19. It might be. I'm not convinced. I live in England, and the healthcare system here has been tested, surely, but it is far from destroyed. My wife works in a hospital which revamped some of its spaces so as to handle a feared overload of Covid cases requiring hospitalization. The feared overload didn't occur, though at first things seemed headed that way. Currently they have 20 cases, with two in ICU. The served population is about 110,000. Threat assessment and liberty/compulsion evaluation must go hand in hand, I feel. You're worried about one side of it, while others worry about the other side. The public danger from the virus versus the public danger from governmental overreach. Are those who assess the threat of governmental overreach as high without grounds for that assessment? Can we just trust the government without limit? That's what some seem to think. I am not so sanguine. I've had friends die from this virus. I have relatives who got sick from it. Despite being vaccinated I do not believe I am immune. I am mainly careful about wearing a mask, and disinfecting my hands when out in public. But I do not believe we should go off the deep end about it all. Like some seem to want.
  20. I think you meant that it is the unvaccinated who are keeping the pandemic alive. My stepdaughter and her husband got Covid after being vaccinated when their not-yet-vaccinated children went back to school and brought it home with them. Whole family, from age 2 to 10 got it. I agree that everyone who can be vaccinated should get vaccinated. I still disagree that those who do not want it should be forced to be vaccinated.
  21. Vaccinated people are already sitting next to unvaccinated people. Everywhere. Whether you're talking polio, mumps, measles, rubella, or whooping cough. Are you going to start wanting to inspect everyone's health records for necessary vaccinations everywhere you go? Require a Covid passport? You may be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. That says to me that the vaccination may be inefficacious. Just because it may be inefficacious is not a reason to not get vaccinated. Just because people are killed because of seatbelt use in automobile accidents is no rational reason not to wear a seatbelt. 99% of the time, seatbelts save lives. But your comparison is apples to oranges. Seatbelts are not vaccinations, any more than automobile accidents are Covid infections. The vaccines for Covid-19 provide some protection. I do not argue with this. But for government to forcibly inoculate those who do not want it is morally wrong. In my humble opinion. I'll say it again: I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I'm anti-compulsion, particularly anti-compulsion-by-government. Do you get it, now? Argue in favor of getting vaccination all you want: I'll agree with you wholeheartedly. Argue that people must be compelled to be vaccinated, and I will disagree.
  22. The onset of the Covid pandemic precluded my returning to the US from England for my customary annual visits during 2020, but with the easing of some restrictions it became something that could be done. Accordingly, I spent a month back in Washington state during July. What I found there was the state government had eased various restrictions so as to allow people who had been fully vaccinated (2 inoculations) to enter shops and other places without the need for wearing masks. Since I left to come back to England, Washington state has gone back to requiring masks everywhere, because of Covid variants coming on the scene. When I left England for my Washington visit, England was still mandating masks and limiting public meetings. When I came back, the government here had eased those restrictions, so masks were no longer required by law, although some businesses still "urge" everyone to wear masks while indoors. I suppose, like Washington state has, the UK government will revert back to masks at some point. Seems to be what happens. The Washington state Dept of Health website currently features a graphic that mandates mask-wearing, with the words "Everyone can get it -- everyone can spread it." Presumably this means the fully vaccinated and those who have already had Covid and have recovered (though I note that the reinfection rate is very low). The WA state DOH site also says: "Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from severe illness, hospitalization or death due to COVID-19. But because of a steep increase in disease transmission in Washington, the Secretary of Health is requiring that everyone five years of age and older wear a mask in public indoor settings and at large, outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, including sporting events, fairs, parades, and concerts, regardless of vaccination status." I got chaff from some of you for my claim that Covid-19 vaccinations are not efficacious. Insert the qualification "sufficiently" if you want. But if vaccination were truly efficacious, then why are fully vaccinated people still required or urged to wear masks? I'm not being disingenuous when I say that I believe wholeheartedly that everyone who can be vaccinated, should get vaccinated, but if you must still wear a mask after successful vaccination, then you would be most unwise to rely upon your vaccination to save you fully. Hence, this is why I say and believe that vaccination's efficacy is very much in doubt.
  23. You're in the same boat with The Nehor. I do not deny that there is a good purpose for vaccination. I am glad there are vaccines for this disease. I have been vaccinated. I object, however, to forced vaccination. Especially when government force is being used to enforce a government mandate. The Nehor said he was willing to have people strapped down to be vaccinated against their will, and that he would be willing in that situation to administer the vaccine himself. The church is perfectly within its rights to require vaccination as a condition for serving as a missionary for the church. The church will not force anyone to be vaccinated, however. Nor should it. You and The Nehor seem to be under the misapprehension that I am an anti-vaxxer. I am not. I am opposed to compulsion. There's a difference.
  24. I was going to argue extensively with you about all this, but it seems not to be a productive activity, when all is said and done. I do resent the accusation of disingenuousness, however. Are you sure you know what it really means? Just to lay it out, the definition I've found is as follows: "not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does." e.g. "he was being somewhat disingenuous as well as cynical" synonyms: dishonest · deceitful · underhand · underhanded · duplicitous · double-dealing · two-faced · dissembling · insincere · false · lying · untruthful · mendacious · not candid · not frank · not entirely truthful · artful · cunning · crafty · wily · sly · sneaky · tricky · scheming · calculating · designing · devious · unscrupulous · economical with the truth · terminologically inexact · subtle · hollow-hearted · false-hearted · double-faced · truthless · unveracious I have been vaccinated. I wanted to be vaccinated. I urge all others to receive the vaccination. But I truly believe, based on observation of others who have received the vaccination and have nevertheless been infected (and this is not rare), that the vaccines so far developed are not efficacious in preventing infection. Hence I won't be surprised if I get Covid-19, and do not consider the vaccines so far developed to be efficacious. Perhaps I am overstating it, and you might be more content if I modify my assertion to say that the vaccination is "insufficiently efficacious." Is that better? If not, fine. And forcing people to receive the vaccine against their will is something I still oppose. Particularly so because the vaccines so far deployed are "insufficiently efficacious" -- but even if they conferred 100% reliable prevention, I would still oppose forcing people to vaccinate. Because I am 100% in favor of free will. If you want to strap people down in order to vaccinate them, go for it.
  25. Hi @Raingirl! I'd be interested to hear your reason for the downvote, to cure my curiosity, if you feel so inclined. 🙂
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