Monday, March 28, 2011

The President's North Star: Pragmatic Idealism

Or, "what can be done, ought to be done." I guess that is sort of like "passionate moderation."

I was struck by a particular phrase in the President's speech on Libya tonight:
our strength abroad is anchored in our strength here at home.  That must always be our North Star -- the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring for our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eisenhower, Obama, and the United Nations: Faith or Fear?

OK. It's time to fess-up. I changed my profile to reflect that I have a degree in International Relations from that bastion of liberalism, Brigham Young University. And I'm only being a little facetious because my liberal arts education and my significant but modest political shift from moderate Republican to moderate Democrat did occur there. (Which, of course, makes me a flaming liberal if not an outright communist to many people here in Utah). But, education happens.

This recent Libyan conflict really has my hope soaring along with the recognition, but not fear, of great risk. As I noted before, this could be the first time the United Nations has actually worked as intended. I'll get back to that later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Long Ride to the Middle Road

I spent the last couple of days in a Ford hybrid with a work associate on some long drives for government business. I was a little surprised when my friend said that he had a whole bookcase full of political books from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, etc. My response was to facetiously ask, "but aren't you then working for the enemy?" (us feds). He didn't seemed phased by that as he said most of his office was conservative. So I cautiously tried to understand.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To the Shores of Tripoli - War? and Peace?

Yikes! I look at my last blog title "Paved with Good Intentions" and worry about the standard meaning coming true with the turn of events of US involvement in Libya. Yet I hope and pray that this Libyan conflict truly is still the way I understand it. So far, and hopefully it will continue to be that no US or other outside troops will engage on the ground in Libya. To this point, it is enforcement of a no-fly zone by first taking out the capacity of anti-aircraft action by Qadafi's forces which seems to be working as a united effort sanctioned by the UN. There appears to be much more international support and authority than there was with the control and manipulation of the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq only covered by a fig leaf of legality.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Paved With Good Intentions

A lot of the things so familiar by overuse can be seen in other ways. Sometimes this gives an important meaning that is truer than the ordinary. One of these is that if the Lord looks on the heart and not the outward appearance, then it's the path to heaven, not hell, that is paved with good intentions.

Of course we can't just sit around only "intending" to do good. The point here is that we will usually fail in our attempts, but if we try and our heart is right, then it doesn't matter that we fail or how wrong we are.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anti-Earthquake Tea Party Government

I hate hypotheticals. It was probably law school that did me in. I know the point was to create absolutely impossible factual situations to test our reasoning skills when there is no real solution. I just think that reality gives us clearer options in which to act. At least you can appropriately rely on the spirit or instinct when all else fails which is hard to do in a law-school hypothetical.

But I do ponder this question, and it's not entirely hypothetical. How does an anti-government philosophy deal with the real potential of a horrific earthquake? or tsunami? or nuclear reactor disaster? or all three?!! I don't think a free market emphasis, private property, and freedom from governmental intrusion have much relevance from what I see in those videos from Japan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

His Yoke Is Easy

I'm sure that others have figured this one out, but I had some spiritual learning today in Gospel Doctrine class. In considering Matthew 11:28-30, particularly "for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" I realized that we will never understand how difficult and heavy His burden actually was. He took upon Himself all the sins and sorrows of the world for all time -.including mine. And that is what made Him able to yoke us together to be one by means of Atonement. He's carrying our burdens, yet they are easy and light to Him because He loves us more than we'll ever understand.

Friday, March 11, 2011

By Their Fourteenth Amendment Fruits, Know Them!

Sorry for the scriptural allusion. I need something to get attention.

I was teaching my semi-annual presentation on basic legal processes to BLM Realty Specialists today and something just came to me so I shared it with them. I was talking sort of like I write on this blog about the various theories and philosophies on Constitutional interpretation. I conceded that this very turmoil of ideas was part of the Constitutional process as the Founders left us with this structure and process and it is ultimately the people who are in charge. Then I went on.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Moderates of the World, UNITE!

I saw my fist letter to the editor in the D-News this morning from a Republican fed up with the arrogance of the Republican super-dominated Utah State Legislature. He said he is going to vote straight-ticket Democratic.

That's it! Utah moderates need to recognize the extremism of the Glenn-Beckian, tea-partyist Utah Republican Party and bring your moderation over to the Democrats! It's not like we're a bunch of wild-eyed leftist radicals. I mean, look at Congressman "Blue-Dog" Matheson, for heaven's sake!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Utah State Legislature- Probably a Pretty Nice Bunch of Guys and Gals

Whew! The Session is almost over! I haven't fought on the limiting-public-access-to-government-information bill (HB477 amending GRAMA) or even said much on the immigration bills because there are so many others fighting on those issues. Oddly, the Governor refused to veto HB477 in spite of strong public protest because he was afraid of an override from the Republican super-majority in the Legislature. He may (one can hope) still veto any omnibus immigrant bill because nobody likes it. The Utah Compact supporters still don't like it and the tea-partiers are threatening political defeat for those who approved it because of the so-called "amnesty." Usually, when both sides aren't happy that's a sign it might be a good compromise. But in this case, it will be expensively litigated one way or another. And who needs an unclear message law with endless lawsuits? (and it's unconstitutional!)

I shouldn't be so hard on them. I just hope they or the public listen to me and the other moderates a little to get a better balance going in this state. I don't want everybody to agree with me or be Democrats. I just want a little respect for views other than the extreme conservatism that has taken over the Republican Party, worse here in Utah than even nationally.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Original Intent of the "Constitutional Compound Republic"

It's been staring me in the face all this time! The extreme conservatives (read Utah State Legislature or at least the Republican super-majority) quote-mine and proof-text the Federalist Papers to promote their rather unique phraseology of what our Union should be called. And the clear expression of the Founders' original intent is laid out in plain English in the Preamble to the Constitution! I know the Preamble is no "grant" of power, but it certainly is the most direct expression of what they were intending. It is in essence "why we are doing this."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Glenn Beck, Skousen & the Utah Legislature: Proof-Texting for the "Constitutional Compound Republic"

Bear with me. I don't know if this is at all helping you, but this blogging about my problems with the Utah Legislature certainly helps me to organize my thoughts. I feel like I've discovered an important key to understanding Beck, Skousen, and the extreme conservatives who dominate Utah state government..

Most LDS missionaries learn fairly quickly that "Bible-bashing" gets you nowhere. Either the Spirit is there to convert or it isn't. And spirited discussion using scripture as fighting words to prove a certain point doesn't bring a good spirit. The technique for this is "proof-texting" or pulling scripture often out of context to argue or prove a particular preconceived view or doctrine. A better process is to read and share scripture to learn, teach, and then testify with the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Even Real Conservatives Question the "Constitutional Compound Republic" of HB220

First off, let me thank Senator Mark Madsen (R-Eagle Mountain) and all the other Skousenite-Beckians in the Utah Legislature for increasing the hits on my blog. Apparently, the term "Constitutional Compound Republic" is so rare in the real world, that my blog actually gets hits when people google for a definition.

Let me share an interesting piece from "Imaginative Conservatives" on Madison and the Compound Republic that I found by searching the term myself. I'm way behind these guys on intellectual smarts, but they certainly point out that Madison, like all the other Founders, had all kinds of varying opinions on the Constitution and government. (And Madison really was trying to do a sell job to promote a much stronger national government). It doesn't mean he wasn't inspired, it just lends support for my argument that you can "proof-text" pretty much anything you want out of the statements of the Founders to support political dogma.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lambie Lives!

I'm off politics tonight. This one is rather personal. So, if you don't like the "touchy-feely" stuff, just skip this one.

Recently, I had a couple of people bring up the issue of my “inner child.” (Yes, Gary C, you were one of them.) So, I was doing some thinking and writing on my private blog trying to remember and record my earliest memories. One of those is of a stuffed toy lamb with a music box inside its belly named “Lambie.” He had floppy ears and was a cuddly comfort. That is about all I could remember except for some family stories about him. And I still could feel the emotion as Lambie was my first love. (Well, beyond my parents and grandparents). We were inseparable. And, yes, there was a bit of thumb sucking involved as I caressed a satiny ear with my other hand. Lambie eventually disappeared much to my inner child’s distress. So I switched to my fringed blankie.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Constitutional Compound Republic" revisited as this blogger calls out the extremist, reactionary FRAUD!

Sometimes, "¡Ay, ay, ay!" is all I can say. Still trying to maintain my moderation when passion tempts to overwhelm, I revisit my post of yesterday.

I did a couple of little tests today. The first was a quick little check of some of my friends at work during our lunch break (potato leek soup for St. David's Day). I asked three federal attorneys if they had ever heard the term "Constitutional Compound Republic" and what they thought it meant. All three had blank expressions and two astutely responded that it might be something from the tea party crowd about states rights. (Of course, they are also aware of my intellectual struggles.) Now, before all the tea-partier-Libertarian-Skousenite-Glenn-Beckians jump in here to say how that proves their point that federal attorneys are clueless, let me tell you about the second little test.