Thursday, August 31, 2006


This comment was posted on one of my rants about the arrest of Warren Jeffs:

"I just wanted to point out to anyone who may read this blog. Mormons are not FLDS. FLDS are not Mormons. Its like saying the pope is protestant. They are a break off group."

This above statement is similar to the think the Babtist claim about the LDS. The Baptists say the LDS broke away from Christianity and that members of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" really aren't Christian. The LDS, of course, counter that they are the most Christian of all people because Christ speaks through the writing of Joseph Smith.

As for the FLDS, the "F" stands for "Fundalmental." Yes, there was a schism. In the schism the fundamentalists were the ones who continue to practice the religion as it was taught by the religion founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. The FLDS are the ideological heirs of Smith and Young and there is a apparently a great deal of interplay betweeen the LDS and FLDS with people suddenly adopting the FLDS stance when they get a chance at a second wife.

I don't like the FLDS. I can understand why the LDS don't want to be associated with the fundamental version of their religion. At the FLDS rally the other week, the children of the FLDS talked about all of the prejudice, ridicule and abuse they take from the LDS. I dislike these fundamentalist kooks, but, you know, the way a religion treats its fundamentalists is somewhat telling about the nature of the group. At this point in history, the fundamentalists are an obstacle for the power that the LDS heirarchy, so, the LDS treat people who've dedicated their entire existence to holding to the ideology of their religion as pariahs.

Personally, I think there are legitimate questions about whether or not a group can rise about its fundamentals. Fundamentals, after all, are the foundations. In the case of an orgnanization that claims that its fundamentals came inscribed on golden tablets directly from God, denying the fundamentals becomes even harder.

Of course, I also know people who've become LDS because they felt the system was pliable enough for people to rise about the foundations of their faith. I know many LDS who point with pride to the poor way that they treat their fundamentalists to show that they are a faith that can bend and flow with political change.

I am one of those who think it really is not that easy to over come the roots of one's belief systems. Just distancing oneself from the embarrassing aspects of a belief systems simply sets people up to falling back into the same traps.

A Tale of Two Rallies

The images of the different rallies taking place during President Bush’s visit are quite interesting. There was a very pleasant and happy greeting where 4000 plus people gathered at the airport and were authentically happy to welcome the President. Then there was the typical extremely well organized Bush-hate rally led by Salt Lake’s glorious leader Rocky Anderson.

America used to be the place were local political leaders would, as a representative of the community, greet visiting presidents. Even if they were in a different party. This thing where the opposition-party is so filled with hate that they stand on the court steps and chant partisan slogans during the President’s visit to American Foreign Legion Convention is just plain wrong.

Was Rocky Anderson’s choice to protest rather than greet the president something that Bush forced on Mr. Anderson, or was this a choice made by Rocky Anderson? Both of Rocky’s protests were at events that should have been unifying rather than partisan. Rocky protested at the Veterans of Foreign War convention and the American Legion.

I contend that Rocky Anderson’s decision to turn his back on the US President and lead a protest was a calculated moved to increase political tensions and divisions in this country.

There many, many, many things that I dislike about the Bush administration and about the Republican party (especially in Utah). The problem I have in the modern political landscape is that the truly virulent hate that is racking the nation is coming from the progressive left. And they’ve gotten worse in the last several years as we see with glorious leader in waiting Anderson.

BTW: I disagreed with Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. Yes, Saddam Hussein had committed genocide (close to 200,000 Kurds and other Iraq citizens were murdered by Hussein during Bill Clinton’s presidency). Even worse, Hussein was part of the cabal that was arming the terrorists in Lebanon. Imagine how much worse things would be if the Katusha rockets fired at Israel were filled with the chemicals that Sadam Hussein dropped on his own people. Hussein was a bad leader and the world is better with Hussein in cage. Unfortunately, in 2003 when we went to war, Hussein had skillfully answered enough of the UN demands disarming WMD stock piles that the justification for invading Iraq was just a dark murky grey, rather than a solid black. Faced with a murky grey, I wish we had taken an extra year to deliberate before invading.

Even though Bush sinned against my sensibilities by invading on a dark murky grey (as opposed to the clear solid black that I would have demanded) I am smart enough to know that Bush is not the source of hatred and fear that is gripping the war, and I find myself feeling more for the happy crowds gathered to see a president at the airport than those that joined Rocky Anderson at the City County Building in his partisan hate-fest.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Religious Persecution

Looks like Weenie Rat Face (aka Warren Jeffs) was captured in Vegas.

I wonder how long it will take for LDS opinion to switch from considering Mr. Jeffs as an embarassment (they want swept under the rug) to the point where he is a martyr and victim of gentile religious persecution. Ms. Collins notes that the Deseret News skipped the standard disclaimer that Jeffs is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

My guess is that the folks in the tower of power will try to keep themselves distanced from Jeffs during any trial (as the gentiles rid the LDS of a big embarassment) and that they will turn on the Vegas police and start pointing to the arrest of Jeffs as a sign of anti-Mormonism in about two years.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Utah Trigger Law

The one thing America needs to do more than anything else is to relearn the art of discourse. What we have in America at the moment is a far left and far right that is so skilled at undermining discourse that they are effectively shutting the population at large out of the debate about what we want our culture to be.

In my last post, I ranted against progressive scientists who are trying to engineer society by changing the meaning of the terms conception and abortion. The term redefining marketing campaign was designed to sell a medicine called The Morning After Pill. You take this pill the morning after having sex and there is a good chance a woman won't get pregnant. The medication has its place, especially in the case of rape or condom failure. The act of redefining terms has positioned the medication to be used as the primary means of contraceptive.

Today, I had the misfortune of stumbling on the Utah House Majority website. Apparently the Utah Legislature will be trying to sneak in a "trigger bill" that will immediately become law in the case that Roe v. Wade gets overturned. The goal of the trigger bill is to shut out the debate that will take place if Roe v. Wade gets overturned.

Both the fare left and right pull tricks to stop debate.

I happen to hold to the opinion that abortion is wrong. I do not hold the opinion that, just because something is wrong, it must be illegal. I also recognize that a large number of people do not share my opinion.

If Roe v. Wade gets overturned. Our society will be launched into a major debate about the beginning of life. A trigger would stymie that debate.

The primary argument against an activist quart is that, when judges legislate from the bench, they effectively stop debates that should take place within the culture at large and body politic.

Personally, I think that, at this point it time, it is better to leave abortion safe and legal and to engage in open discourse about the issue.

I was supportive of Utah’s first cut of a Utah’s parental consent bill. This bill made a clear statement that the State of Utah is opposed to abortion. The first version of the Utah Law required that minors inform their parents before undergoing an abortion. The law also had doctors read a prolife statement to everyone seeking an abortion in the state. This was a good law because it engaged people in a debate about what they were doing.

Sadly, Utah’s archconservative legislature chose to muck up a good law with a dictate that the father of a pregnant minor could force her to carry the child to term. The final revision transformed an affirmative prolife statement into a mean spirited jab that made the family patriarch the ultimate arbitor of his daughter's body.

IMHO, the debate is far more important than the law that results from the debate. I suspect that the majority opinion is that abortion is something that is wrong and that, as a civil society, we must find ways to reduce abortions. However, we fall short of wanting to throw hundreds of thousands of women and doctors in jail by making it illegal. In other words the majority opinion is that abortions should be safe, legal but are still wrong, and should find ways to avoid the problem.

The only way we will ever find a positive way of reducing this problem is by finding a way of engaging in discourse without weirded out conservative legislatures imposing dictates.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Morning After Headache

Apparently the FDA approved over-the-counter status for the Morning After Pill.

For the most part, I consider this a good move. In my opinion the moral decisions revolving around birth control are best made at the individual rather than the government level.

I am, however, extremely upset with the “progressive-scientists” who are marketing the pill as a contraception rather than as birth control.

The term “abort” means stopping a process. Sex starts the birth process. Taking a pill the morning after sex stops the process. The Morning After Pill aborts the birth process.

I am not opposed to abortion nor I am not against the Morning After Pill. I am oppsed to the confusion that results when progressive scientists try to engineer society by changing terms.

The pill has its place, but I think it is extremely important that people know what the pill does. Marketing the pill as contraception creates market confusion. In many cases, the pill acts after conception (the fertilization of the egg). The pill has a dual action. It stops ovulation, and it prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterine lining. The first act might properly be considered contraception. Calling effects that occur after fertilization “contraception” requires a redefinition of the term “conception.”

I think it is very important that couples planning their method of birth control understand the workings of the Morning After Pill. Because the pill acts after the start of the birth process (having sex), it should not be used as a primary birth control method. By mucking with definitions, progressive scientists have positioned a pill that is not acceptable as a primary means of birth control as the primary forms of birth control for millions of young women.

Although the pill will prevent fetal abortions. It does not really decrease the number of abortions. You cannot stop abortions with an abortions. What the pill does is replace the more intrusive fetal abortion with a less intrusive embryotic abortion. This is well and good in cases of rape or condom failure. It is not good when the pill is marketed as a primary means of birth control.

The extremely large number of people who will use the Morning After Pill as their primary means of birth control will end up increasing the number of embryotic abortions.

While my primary anger is directed at prograssives. I admit I am also upset with the dim-witted conservatives who think that, if we call the pill an abortive, that it must be outlawed.

Yes, there is a very strong argument that using the Morning After Pill is morally wrong. Just because something is wrong does not me that it should be outlawed.

It seems to me that people have to make their own moral decisions. The knee-jerk conservative who outlaws anything branded with the scarlet letter end up feeding the progressive’s desire to engineer society by chaning terms.

It seems like the law resulting from the Conservative/Progressive rift is quite silly.

For example, the FDA approval has the silly restriction that the pill is not available to women under 18. I doubt that this will dampen sales. Young women will be able to get the Morning After Pill from older friends. Of course the primary market for the Morning After Pill is the 20 to 30 year-old male set on seducing younger women. The 18 year old restriction won't have any effect on the 20 year-old male trying to coerce younger girls into a one night stand of unprotected sex.

17 year-old girls coerced into sex with the assumption that they will get the pill the next day will end up having babies. It is really sad.

Over the counter status for this pill will have many negative effects. Perhaps the largest market for the pill will be young women forced into sex on a date (that is date rape). With the over the counter drug, date rape victims are likely to choose to consume the Barr Pharmaceutical product in private rather than reporting the rape in public. The direct result of Barr Pharmaceutical's victory is that date rapists will be free to rape again and the young women will get to live their lives in fear.

I suspect that the disease ridden men who are good at coercing women into one night stands will be less likely to use a condom increasing the number of women who get AIDs and other forms of VD.

Overall, it is probably for the best that the pill is being sold over the counter.

People make moral choices in their lives. It is not the role of the government to protect people from difficult moral decisions.

When making moral decisions, it is important that people have correct information. The social engineers who’ve worked to redefine the term “contraception” to market their precious little pill have done the world a disservice. I hope that consumers see through the lies of the pharmaceutical industry and the progressive social engineers who haunt the medical industry.

The term “abortion” means that you stopped a process after starting it. Consumers who use the Morning After Pill as a primary means of birth control are being duped into aborting the birth process.

The only postitive side of this debate is that a few of the progressive social engineers lost their jobs in the political wrangling.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Freedom to Coerce

Great SaltairI realized I didn't have a picture of the Salt Lake's Farmer's Market nor did I have pictures of the Saltair Concert Hall. News reports said there would be pro-FLDS rally at the City County building. So I decided to throw that in the day's tour as well.

I was pleased with the crowd at the Farmer's Market. For that matter, the crowd near the fresh produce was so thick, I wasn't able to get any really good shots. I couldn't see the crowd for the people. I have the exact same problem when I visit forests.

I also really enjoyed the trip out to the Saltair. Sadly the day was hazy and I did not get great shots of the lake.

The FLDS rally was interesting as well. This meeting actually got national press, but almost no local attendance. The GLBT community hate polygamists because they are not PC. The Mormons hate them because they are an embarrassment. Libertarian groups aren't that enamored with the polygamists for reasons that I will get to later.

The main theme of this rally was that the children in Utah's polygamous families are subject to a great deal of ridicule and prejudice. Apparently, this group of polygamists does a good job educating girls and claims that the girls are free to decide who they marry. Several of the young women said that they were going to college.

NOTE, I personally have met women raised by polygamists who've had essentially no education and were basically non-functional outside their clan.

Several young women talked about their various aspirations and the challenges of the prejudices they face. I feel for these young women and wish them happy lives.

The rally also let some of the young males speak. The young males are scary. Joseph Smith promised his adherents that they would become Gods if they followed him blindly. Sadly, there is a large number of Mormon males who still believe it. Being Gods on earth, as Gods they transcend the laws of the land.

The young males tried to give rousing speeches based on libertarian rhetoric. One of the young polygamist male blabbered about how, as a God on earth, he did not have to ask the mortals on the plant to take multiple wives. As a God on earth, he is here to take what is his right.

Libertarianism really isn't about a "right to take" things. The philosphy is a little more subtle than that.

The Mormon polygamist culture has this social political model with a few extraordinarily powerful men at the center who coerce the people around them. The small number of powerful people love to spout libertarian sounding rhetoric as they demand the freedom to coerce and manipulate the people under their thumbs.

The Libertarian model does not recognize a "freedom to coerce." The "freedom to coerce" is just one of the many manifestations of the reflexive paradox. The reflexive paradox exists in most complex logical models.

The Libertarian model has each individual's freedom stopping where others freedom begin. The Libertarian model invariably clashes with the political models established by Joseph Smith. The Seer Revelator and Prophet was seeking to dominate his adherents and to use the political force of his adherents to dominate the society around him.

Plural marriage is somewhat a problem for the Libertarian minded. These women should be able to chose what they want. The children should not be subject to the ridicule they face in life. The problem comes with the clans with clan leaders suppressing the freedom of the people unfortunate enough to be born in the polygamist clan.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Invasive Species

If I was a good blogger, I would always have a camera with me.

On my walk yesterday, Coco got into a field of houndstongue and got herself covered from snout to tail with burrs. It would have made a great picture. Instead I spent an hour deburring the dog with no documentation.

Today, I stumbled onto a blog called Invasive Species web log that discusses the plight of invasive species. The blog is from New England. As such it reports primarily on east coast issues; however it is a great example of a what blogs should be.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Can We Kill the Hate Out of The Middle East?

I don't think the strategy will work. I do not believe that we can kill the hate out of the Middle East. There is even a chance that the current spat of killing will increase the amount of hate.

Before the invasion of Lebanon, Isreal was actually starting to receive sympathy from the Islamic world. There was even hope that a Lebanese Government with help of the UN and moderate Arab world would try to muzzle Hizbollah.

Yes, it is highly likely that they would have failed, but the failure of such effort would have given Isreal justification for its own intervention.

Sadly, the innocent must suffer before garnering justification for intervention. It is a sad, sad reality.

We need to win hearts and not just battles.

Perhaps the real failure in the Middle East is simply the believe that Neoconservative methods can be used to spread classical liberal ideals. The very foundations of neoconservativism is so thoroughly at odds with the foundations of a free society that or current efforts at introducing a classical liberal democracy in the Middle East is doomed to create nothing but a muddle of hatred and suffering.