Saturday, June 29, 2013

Did Lobbyists Have a Hand in This Immigration Bill?

   The immigration bill, the one from the Gang of Eight: I also do not like it that the bill offers help based on class and status and education. I say let in those who want to join their families, and those who want to be Americans, regardless of their educational status or whether they will be employed in an industry that has lobbied for their help. Perhaps I am too quick to wonder, but, yes, I do wonder if lobbyists had a hand in who will be allowed and who won't.

Friday, June 28, 2013

 A Nation Bought and Sold? I'm Embarrassed by Senate Bill

 Unsettling, then, this news -- a one-two punch to the gut. First, coming home, I hear on the radio that the immigration reform bill is filled with pork barrel spending. Then, before I can look that up, I see a Facebook post on how those in favor of the legislation out-donated those who opposed the bill by a 24-1 margin.
   Donated -- you know what that means: placed money in the pockets of the senators.
  We cannot do this, not with conscience. Is it not wrong for legislation to be bought and sold? Instead of weighing such an important matter on its merits, is a senator to vote for a matter because it contains a gift for his constituency, or one for himself?
   Is this not wrong?
   What have we become, as a nation, that this is the way we legislate? Is this not to be considered corruption?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

And Time Begins its Swirl Away from the High Court Decisions

   Time begins its swirl away from the Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage, and I ponder.
   This is not an issue I am at rest with. I think of how so much evidence exists that those of same-sex attraction are born that way. I do not know. I only know there is strong evidence. Some would say proof. I think of how all people should have their rights. I am not saying those of same-sex attraction should have the right to marry, but I wonder. I think of how the nation has swung to favor these unions. I think of how it is right to rule by majority, and wonder if the tumble of opinion toward favoring these unions will only grow stronger.
   But, no, this is not an issue I am at rest with. I think of God's law, of how He does not condone having sex with those of the same sex. How do I know that? I read the Bible and hear the words of living prophets. And, I think of what I have learned, of how children are fostered better in an environment that has a male for a father and a female for a mother. And, I wonder but what society, itself, is not served better by the historic tradition of marriage. Yes, that translates into saying I think the participants, themselves, are better served when they marry the opposite sex.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage: The Battle Intensifies

   So, the battle remains. The Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, but strained to indicate states are free to determine the issue on their own. Yes, then, the battle might only intensify. Each state becomes a battleground.
   I wrote the above, then word searched for a good news article to provide as a link on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today. Low and behold, the first story I call up, from Chicago Tribune, says just what I have posted.,0,1317682.story

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Introduction to Private Probation Services: I Learn
Justice should not be Sacrificed at the Table of Free Enterprise

(Note: This story warrants an update, but it will need to wait until next week, and will probably be a new post. Some of my feelings have changed.)
   So, you've heard of private prisons. Let me introduce you to private probation services.
   I don't know that I'd ever heard of them until discovering a roommate was on house arrest, which was being administered by a private entity. It raised my eyebrow that as the owner of the home where the house arrest was taking place, I had not been notified by the court.
   Guess they don't have to tell me. It's none of my business.
   Well, I called them. I didn't suppose it could do my roommate any harm if there wasn't a requirement that I be notified. So, yes, I called to find out more of what was going on. That he had said he didn't want to talk about the matter when I asked questions hadn't set well with me. Well, days later, I came home to find him upset with me, that I should call the ankle monitor people. He told me it was none of my business. And, a few more days later, they called him into the office and took the ankle monitor off.
   Now, I'm waiting to see if he will still have to pay the $1,400 fine. I've never been a big fan of charging criminals large fines. They are harder pressed to find jobs than the rest of us, as many will not employ them, and then we hit them with fines? It might be a good enough thing to do if we provide the jobs so they could earn the money, but, no, beyond that, it is not a good maneuver.
   My roommate lost the job he had just barely acquired. Don't know whether they found out he was on the ankle monitor program, but I wonder. 
   From what I can tell so far, the fine is the only thing left. I could be wrong. Maybe my call to Sandy City prompted them to take the contractor off the case. I'm waiting to see. I'm guessing this, though: If the private firm is still administering the case, whatever changes are made to the sentence, that contractor will get its money. While the $1,400 fine might be reduced, the share going to the private firm will not. I could be wrong. We'll see.
   So, you can see my introduction to the world of private probation services has not enamored me towards them. I do wonder if somewhere in our country's history, someone thought of providing these services as a way of making a dollar. Of course, you say, that is true (of course it is what happened). And, of course, I say, that is wrong (it is wrong for this to be a matter of making a buck). 
   I think the reformation of the prisoner should be our foremost concern. And, I worry that with private probation services, the foremost concern becomes that the contractor gets money out of the prisoner.
   America is a great place, but too often we turn everything into a way of making a buck. We worship free enterprise in this land. But, though free enterprise can be wonderful, justice should not be sacrificed at its altar.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Brazilians Running Wild in the Streets, But it's not a Party this Time

   In a world of protests, we have an uprising in Brazil.
   We saw the Arab Spring. We witnessed the largest demonstrations in Japan in 50 years when they restarted nuclear power plants. Uprisings, here. Uprisings there.
   And, now Brazil. No small thing, this protesting in Brazil. One million people vented in one set of demonstrations, and 250,000 days after that. Compare that to what is considered the largest protest in world history, which, by the way, just celebrated its 10th anniversary. That would be the 10 to 15 million people in roughly 600 cities around the world who on June 15, 2003, protested the Iraq War. Brazil's protesting is counted only within the boundaries of a single country, so raise you eyebrow at how many Brazilians are pouring out into the streets.
   Brazil's mad millions -- about three-fourths of the population is said to support the protesters -- come with many a grievance. They started with anger against rising bus fares, but quickly took on government corruption, education shortcomings, healthcare woes, and various other things. "We were a million people and we each had a different cause!," Cristal Moniz is quoted (in a USA Today article) as saying while sitting on a beach in Copacabana.
  They don't like it that Brazil will spend 7 million reais on stadiums for the 2014 World Cup. That -- just the stadium costs -- is three times what South Africa spent on everything for the 2010 World Cup. Corruption? One must wonder that the contractors are being paid handsomely at the public's expense. 
  They don't like it that the tax rate is 36 percent of the GDP, yet they receive lousy healthcare and education benefits. Corruption? If that tax rate is 36 percent, just where is the money going?
   Off the top, without knowing more, I'd say there is cause for anger.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Now, Two Agents Per Every Mile?

   So, the Senate wants 20,000 more agents along the Mexico border -- 20,000? It might be worth a moment to consider how concentrated with agents that border already is. I will wonder if I've done my math correctly, because, if my math is correct that border is already so packed with agents, we should have pretty good coverage.
   Say we have 18,000 agents already there (and I am rather certain we have at least that many), with the Mexico border stretching 1,969 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, having 18,000 agents (assuming they work eight-hour shifts) means there should be a pair of agents for every mile, around the clock.
   Let me repeat that: a pair of agents on patrol 24 hours a day for every mile. Perhaps some of them are office workers, then. At any rate, two agents for every mile is pretty good coverage, already, if that is what it is. It is not so tight of coverage that nobody can get across, but it does make me wonder that this is the most-crossed international border in the world. It makes me wonder how 250 million people a year are crossing back and forth. Perhaps that 250 million figure has dropped in recent years. I do not know.
   But, 250 million, if it is correct? Compare that to the U.S. population of about 309 million. Almost there is one crossing every year per every man, woman and child in the U.S. One thought is that many must be crossing the border multiple times.
   Will doubling an already tight border help? I do not know. The number of agents has already doubled in the past eight years -- and yet the number of apprehensions has declined. The old adage is that if you keep doing the same thing, you should expect the same results. If more agents hasn't solved the problem, why will yet more? Maybe it will, though. It does seem you eventually get to a point where the agents could stand still, look both ways, and spot someone trying to cross.


This Charge, Alone, Should Not Bring Impeachment Without Further Study

   Taking the resort vacation is a known fact. The receipts show it happened and Swallow has agreed it happened. Many of us would agree it is wrong to take such a visit, since the person you are taking the gift from is the same person you just sent to jail, and the case might come back for adjusting of sentence. (Note: Swallow was a private attorney, true, but he was also Shurtleff's chief fundraiser and was there with him. The ties to the A.G.'s office as opposed to just being a private attorney seem well in place, to me.)  
   Do you take gifts from someone whose case is in your power to influence? No. At least to me, you do not. Whether a person is in prison should not come down to whether you thought, "Ahh, shucks, I'm not going to recommend much punishment for you since you were so kind as to buy me that night at Pelican Hill. Our justice system should not be tainted by any such influence. 
   So, if we were to say this offense is enough for impeachment, we could go without the investigation. I, however, do not believe that is enough. What was done was wrong,, but was it wrong enough to impeach? If you establish that there was a, "If you do this for me, it'll make your case go smoother" mentality, then you have reason -- definite reason -- for impeaching Swallow. There is in the things that have come out, evidence of that. Whether there is proof, yet, I don't think so.

Friday, June 21, 2013

 Is There an Easier Way for the Swallow Case?

  Government sometimes complicates things, takes a circuitous route when things might be easy to figure out, solve and settle.
   Maybe a case in point, maybe not: the Utah House of Representatives is soon to launch an investigation of John Swallow. I'm not sure an investigation is necessary, at least not an expensive one. First, conduct an inquiry. Just talk to Swallow. He spoke to you (meaning the Republican legislators) as you were considering what to do. What can be gleaned from that? Will more discussion with him make it clear what happened, so we do not need to waste money on a high-dollar investigation?
   I found this quote from Swallow in the comments section of a Deseret News story:  "I took trips with Mark Shurtleff to Newport Beach to hang out with a convicted criminal and charged a bunch of stuff to his accounts."  This quote, then, is an admission that at least some of what he is being accused of, did happen. What isn't established is why he took the vacations, and why they came about. It has to raise an eyebrow that the judge rejected as too lenient a plea arrangement the A.G.'s office arranged with Marc Sessions Jenson. This was before the Pelican Hill resort visits, but seems to have been after the relationship with Swallow, if not Shurtleff, had already been established. 
   Anyway, 'tis past time for bed. I might think on this as my bed hits the pillow.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Not so Much an Investigation, but an Inquiry is in Order

   So, the House Republicans want another investigation, before they will consider impeaching Utah Attorney General John Swallow.You know, it is not so much another investigation that is needed, as an accounting. There is a fair display of evidence on the table. What we need now is for John Swallow to talk more, to explain better why the money he took in the Jeremy Johnson case should not be considered wrongful, and whether it helped fund efforts to buy help from Sen. Harry Reid. We need a better explanation from Swallow on why, as Mark Shurtleff's fundraising chief, his stay at a resort at the expense of someone being investigated by Shurtleff's office should not be considered a wrongful thing.
   It is not so much an investigation that we need, but an inquiry. It is not new allegations that need to be sought. The allegations are already there. What is needed is for John Swallow to speak up.
   Oh, I am not altogether against an investigation. I just don't think an expensive one is in order. It's an opportunity for someone to make some money. Always wary of lobbyists, I'd say if any law firm or investigative company has suggested an investigation might be helpful, they should be ruled out when it comes time to select the investigator.
   Maybe I'm wrong to suppose they are going to even hire someone. Maybe the Utah House members plan to do their own investigating. What would be so wrong with them picking up the phone, going to the prison to interview, and doing the other things an investigation might require? It's their investigation, let them investigate.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Opinion on Swallow Need Not Await for Court Decision

   If you have done wrong, you've done wrong, regardless whether you broke the law. So, I am not in step with the thought that impeachment of Utah Attorney General John Swallow should wait until the investigations have concluded.
   And, surely those who think so, would have us wait not only for the investigations to conclude, but wait even longer, waiting until a conviction came.
   But, when the question is whether you have done wrong, it is not necessarily a question of whether you have been convicted, or whether there is even a law against what you did. Ethics are not always bounded by law, so neither should public judgments be. We, as the public, should have the right to judge public officials not just by the laws they break, but by the morals they display. And, our judgments reflect upon ourselves. If we judge what Swallow did as acceptable, what does it say of our own morals?
   Courts don't decide for us who we elect; They shouldn't decide for us who we impeach.
   The public, too (not just the court) has the right to discuss the case, and the right to make a judgment. Due process can have have its place in both realms. In the courts, you don't convict without due process. So it should be in the court of public opinion: People should hear the facts before rushing to an opinion. But, yes, people do have the right to form opinions independent of what the courts say.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Should this be an Impeachable Offense?

   If it were up to me to decide what we impeached someone for, I would be ready to do so if they were meeting with potential campaign donors, and, in discussing how cases would be treated by the the Utah Attorney General's Office, telling them:
   "If it's somebody we're not familiar with, we're just going to treat it normally and prosecute it like we normally would. But, if you donate to the campaign, you're going to lunch with Shurtleff. He's going to know you. He's going to know what you're doing. And, when we get complaints coming across our desk, we'll take that into consideration."
   We don't know Utah Attorney General John Swallow said that. He is accused of saying it. My understanding is that one of those it was said to remembered years later that that is what he said. Wish I were in position to ask him if he said it. (June 18 entry)

Monday, June 17, 2013

This, Too, is Prison Reform

   If it is wise to offer the prisoner self respect, it is also wise to teach respect of others. It will not be often that the criminal arrives at committing crime without having a shortage of respect for other people. The same as I wondered why building a person's self-respect is not a set part of the prison experience, so I wonder why we do not endeavor, through a set program, that the prisoner is taught respect of others.
   Sending them to jail punishes them. But, if we are to reform them, they must be changed. They will be much more inclined to leave off crime if they have a healthy respect for the world around them, and the people they make contact with.
   No answers tonight. But, what could be done to help instill a respect of others?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

 Should We Replace Prisons with Treatment Centers?

   We should have treatment centers, rather than prisons.
   Imagine the response that might bring, unless you listen fully to what I mean. Let's see, do I mean a place where the rapist is prescribed seven milligrams of  Acedylln Rivariton, and the shoplifter gets three milligrams daily of Miorsium Diphosanate? The murder is prescribed a heavy dosage -- six ounces - of Dytrixide Nureen.
   No, no, no. I don't mean that.
   Nor do I mean to take the functions of our prisons out of our prisons. We still lock them up, cut off much of their interaction with the outside world, and punish them. But, we go beyond that. We don't stop at punishment. We ensure that there is treatment.
   Somewhere, sometime, someone is going to come along with a study showing that crime is a social disorder. And, they will be right. That does not mean the criminal is not responsible for his actions, that he had no choice but to commit the crime. It only means you can slap a medical term on it, if you like, and treat it as something that needs to be treated.
   To a certain degree, that might be helpful. If you'll notice, we don't offer much treatment at present. We're heavy on punishment, and light on treatment and cure. Why would we not want to treat the problem? You might tell me working on a road crew is all the treatment a prisoner needs. I beg to differ.

Friday, June 14, 2013

This is Essential if We are to Reform Our Criminals

  Thought this evening upon something that we should definitely be doing if we are to have any hope of reforming the criminal.
   And, it is something we are not doing, not as a prescribed method -- not as part of our sentencing, and not as a pronounced part of the prison experience.
   The criminal needs to obtain self worth. He or she needs to be doing something, needs to be achieving something that makes him or her feel worthwhile and gives a sense of accomplishment -- I think we call it a sense of pride. Would it be so wrong to have the sentencing offer up an endeavor that brings a sense of worth to that prisoner, or to make that part of every regular stay in prison, thus not needing to mandate it in the sentencing?
   Growing a nice little garden, searching the night sky with a telescope, becoming an expert on the Civil War -- there are many, many things a person can pursue to bring self worth. It is essential the convict be given this sense of accomplishment. He or she can hardly be expected to reform unless finding something bringing a worthy purpose to life.
   Ofttimes, people turn to crime because they lack such a purpose. They feel frustrated or rejected or worthless, so they fall into a life of crime. So, why would we not seek to correct that? Why would we not seek to instill such a foundation in their lives? Why would it not be part of the sentencing, or, if not part of the sentencing, part of every prison experience? If you don't follow the principles of reformation, you cannot expect as much success as when you do. Giving a person a purpose is one of those principles. It is a must.
   And, while some fall into crime for lack of purpose, others turn to crime to obtain purpose. They find in crime bravado, or they take pride in being able to commit the crimes, or glory in the lifestyle. If you are to take that away, you must replace it with something else.
   It is said, everyone needs a reason to believe.
   Surely, we cannot think to reform our criminals if we do not instill in them self value. Whereas now it is not a part of the sentencing, nor often part of many prison programs, it should be.  

 John Swallow Makes Strong Case for Impeachment being Illegal

   Ahh, so Utah Attorney General John Swallow believes it is illegal to impeach him.
   I think he makes a strong case. 
   Swallow points to the language in the Utah Code saying impeachment can be for, "high crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office," and says that means committed criminal acts. Now, my thought has been that malfeasance can include not criminal acts, and can simply be misbehavior. 
   But, Wikipedia seems to disagree with me. It says malfeasance in office requires the commission of an unlawful act. I'm not sure Wikipedia's saying it's so, makes it so. I also note the Utah Legislature's counsel says the definition is open to interpretation since there is a shortage of direction from federal courts.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The DesNews Story on Swallow Offered Up Lots of News

   Ahh, did that story in the Deseret News ever offer up news.
   Like, it might have included the first significant comments from Utah Attorney General John Swallow on the details of some of the accusations against him. Like, it included comments from his attorney. (I don't remember if his attorney has been quoted before.) Like, if my memory serves  correct (and I confess I have no time to  go back and read the story), it pointed out Swallow was a private attorney, not an employee of the A.G.'s office, when much of this was happening. And, it included Swallow flat out denying some of the gift giving (or was that not the DesNews article, but a KSL news story that included that).
   Anything else interesting? Well, like it marked one of Utah's leading defense attorneys being added to the list of those who have given testimony that doesn't reflect well on Swallow. It is one thing to have convicts testifying against you. It is another to have a respected attorney, Greg Skordas, offering things that aren't exactly helping your case.
   I will pick up the paper long enough to look at one item in the story. Bubbling in the middle of the article, it says Idaho businessman Grant Lee invested $1.1 million on a federal program that allowed Chinese immigrants to get visas. This certainly lifts my eyebrow. It's off the topic of Swallow, really, and to me hints at  something, of its own, that I think might be a wrong.
   How is it that people are making money off our immigration programs? I'll guess this Grant Lee is an upright citizen, only making money in an honest manner. But, how is it there is a federal program in which people are making money off people being allowed to come to the United States?
Perhaps there is a good explanation. I'd certainly like to hear it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

 Obama's Case for the Paperless Americans

  No, I am not a big fan of Obama. But, I do think he at times makes very persuasive arguments. Take this, on immigration:
   "Right now, our immigration system has no credible way of dealing with 11 million men and women who are in this country illegally, and, yes, they broke the rules. They didn't wait their turn. They shouldn't be let off easy. They shouldn't be allowed to game the system. But, a vast majority of these individuals aren't looking for trouble. They're just looking to provide for their families."
   Obama goes on to say the current legislation is not a cakewalk. He notes they have to pass background checks, learn English, pay taxes, pay a penalty, and go to the back of the line. He notes that the vast majority of them can't even apply for citizenship for 13 years.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Due Process Should not Justify Long Process

   Due process should not justify long process. And, for a scandal to be covered by the press is not wrong. Those two points are underscored in the Sixth Amendment, which suggests "a speedy and public trial."
   This is my thought upon hearing Utah Attorney General John Swallow asking for patience with the due process as the case against him is investigated. "I still believe we should put our faith in fairness, facts and evidence rather than allegations, rumors and speculation shared through the media,” Swallow says, in the Fox 13 story linked below.
   I believe the spirit of the Sixth Amendment suggests that rather than waiting for a long investigation, the investigation should be timely, and rather than supposing what the press has reported is rumor, we should hail the right that these things are played out in public. After all, there would be no federal investigation had not the press reported the situation in the first place.

Monday, June 10, 2013

 Why a High Price for Swallow Impeachment?

   A recent article -- don't remember which paper -- suggested impeaching John Swallow could be a very expensive process.
   I wonder why. Perhaps it will be, but I do believe we should question why. If the Legislature brings in witnesses, is there a price? Are subpoenas that expensive? Are we assuming there would need to be investigation done other than the witnesses brought in? Are we paying lawyer fees for lawyers to be present? Just what is it that is to cost so much?
   Well, I do think if a high price is expected, we should be told why. And, if we don't agree with the expensive items -- lawyers, or whatever -- we should do the impeachment without them. If this is to be too expensive, it almost seems that that, itself, is a scandal.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

We Should be the Most Open Society on Earth

   I would we were a just-ask society. If the people didn't understand something, they could just ask their officials, and the officials would answer. I would that if we didn't understand why Susan Rice did what she did and said what she said, we could just ask her.
   Same with President Obama. If there were questions about how Benghazi was handled, he would field them and answer them. Any questions about whether and why the the Social Security Administration was buying up hollow-point bullets would be answered -- by Obama, himself.
   I would that if public officials were accused of taking in a resort stay at the expense of a person they were either investigating or prosecuting, they would say why they did it. I would that if there were receipts showing they did, indeed, take in the resort stay, they would explain why the public should think that evidence enough of wrongdoing. (I speak of Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow.)
   America is more than a land of freedom. It is a land of openness. It should be a nation not hiding behind a cloak. This should be the most open society on earth, where truth is not hidden, and where both the people and officials are forthright.
Josh Powell was Tried in the Press

   Nor do I think being tried in the press should be limited to pubic officials. When matters become public concerns, then they belong in the press. I think of Josh Powell, and how he eluded arrest. I don't know if I have ever seen a case so tried in the press. The stories hardly stopped at just saying he was a suspect. Rather, they presented all the evidence that could be found. In the end, there was not courtroom trial. He was tried in the press and that was the end of it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

 For Public Officials, Being Tried in the Press is Right

  Being tried in the press should not be viewed as such a negative thing.
   It should be an honored practice.
   Okay, hold on, I know you think of rumors and innuendos and slanders and mud raking. False charges, then, get their moments in the press. But, for every rumor and innuendo, if the press is working honestly, there will be an answer.
   What happened to my copy of the Constitution? There it is. I reach for it, and review how the Sixth Amendment speaks of trials being public. Yes, it is talking of criminal prosecutions. But, I can't help thinking the principle applies. I'm not speaking of street gossip about neighbors and friends and people who are not in the news to begin with. But, yes, I am talking about public officials. 
   Their matters are public matters. Trying them in the press is one place where they should be tried. Let the courts decide what they may, the matter also remains a public matter.
   I say this because of the John Swallow controversy. Some have suggested we should let the matter run its course in the courts. Yes, of course we should. But, that does not mean stories and discussions are to be preempted until the courts have had their say. The court of public opinion should be a valid court. Rather than silencing it, we should embrace it. 
   I think of another part of the Sixth Amendment, where it speaks of the accused having the right to witnesses in his favor. This, too, should be a vital part of being tried in the press (and it is). For every accusation, the accused should be given repeated opportunities and invitations to reply. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Benghazi Hearings Should be Made Public

  Me, I'm upset the Benghazi hearings were held behind closed doors. I always look at that part in the Constitution about trials being public and think congressional hearings should be, too.
   Oh, I know well enough why the weren't: security issues. I can see the concern that something might be said during the hearings that could jeopardize national security. Easy enough solved, though. Tape them, then cut out whatever breached national security.
   But, don't be too quick to cut. I'm would not be surprised if nothing at all was said that would truly compromise security.
   Now, perhaps the hearings were recorded. If so, make them public. In America, we don't do things behind closed doors. At least, we shouldn't as much as we do.

Susan Rice Might Not have Known

   The difference between Susan Rice and a criminal is that we don't have enough reason to conclude Susan Rice is a criminal. We're slapping her in that box unfairly, without convicting evidence.
   Oh, we know she said the attack on Benghazi was spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video, and that it came during a protest, when, in fact, there was no protest, and when, in fact, missile-propelled grenades and mortars, and machine guns were used in a premeditated attack.
   But, we have no less than David Petraeus saying Rice's briefing did not include the information that it wasn't spontaneous. As head-scratching as it might seem, though she was a top official, she might not have known.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Nation of Hate?

   Have we become a nation of hate? I look at the ridicule and contempt the two parties throw at each other. I see them straining to find faults. I say, when a fault is there, then it is true that we should not endure it, not foster it nor allow it.
   But, our finding of faults is not so just. 
   There are those among us who oppose anyone in the Obama Administration, simply because they are in the Obama Administration. "I don't trust anyone in the Obama Administration," someone posts on Facebook, and I find myself replying:
   "The 'administration' is an awfully big place, with people from multiple backgrounds and political persuasions. Rejecting them all because they happen to have Obama for a boss seems a little harsh. What has become of us, that we judge this way, judging not by merit, but by association?"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rick Koerber Case Foreshadows Today's News

   The Rick Koerber case mirrors the Shurtleff-Swallow events now unfolding in the news in that Shurtleff had a meeting with someone being prosecuted and the accusation of kickbacks resulted. Back then, Utah State Senator Steven Urquhart told federal investigators he suspected Shurtleff "was selling fire insurance" by not prosecuting big donors.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Supporting Shurtleff Reflected Not Well on Us

   To read Paul Rolly's Saturday piece is to wonder if I have been derelict of good judgement in the past by supporting Mark Shurtleff. To read Rolly is to see that the current scandal is but luggage from a baggage cart Shurtleff has long wheeled around.
   It does not reflect well on us, the public, that we supported a person who refused to press state charges against a man, Rick Koerber, he had a standing with, who had been indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office on fraud charges. The U.S. Attorney's Office needed only for Shurtleff to press those charges.
   Eventually, Francine Giani, head of the Utah Commerce Department, became so frustrated that she took the charges to the federal government, and they brought the case against Koerber, instead of Shurtleff's office.
   Public office is not a place for protecting friends from criminal charges, especially when you are the one charged with pressing the charges. We, as the public, should have seen this was wrong, and demurred. We should have realized that whether we liked him or not, we simply could not in good conscience support him.
   Or, is protecting someone from charges something we do not see as a wrong? If we -- the public -- do not see something wrong with this, it reflects on our own morals.
   (This story rewritten June 4, 2013)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Scouting Remains a Plus for Boys

   Scouting remains an anchor for the souls of young men. Though a few fled the organization when it voted to allow those with same-sex attraction to be included, I see not the reason. Whether you hail the decision or oppose it, the Boy Scouts of America remains an organization that lifts boys and instills good in them.