Musings of a Homeschool Father

March 10, 2009

Oliver DeMille

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 9:15 pm

Oliver DeMille has started a great movement and brought into the light a great method of education.  Oliver DeMille is the author of a book called A Thomas Jefferson Education.  

I had a wonderful opportunity over the weekend to listen to Oliver DeMille at the Annual Thomas Jefferson Education forum last Saturday.  I have found that much of the power behind Oliver DeMille‘s speech comes from my already agreeing with what he is saying , just that I haven’t taken the time to put the same ideas in to words as thoughtful or as thorough as Oliver DeMille does.

On Saturday Oliver DeMille spoke about how we are in a Fourth Turning and the rules of how to be successful have changed.  The last group of people who have gone through a similar time are all pretty much dead or senile now.  We still need to learn from them.  Oliver DeMille‘s primary text to teach from was Our Home, a 19th Century book written about the time surrounding and during the Civil War, another Fourth Turning in American History.  It was a good speech.  

Oliver DeMille has been very ill for the last several months and made a heroic effort to support the forum by being there for the keynote address.  I truly wish him well.

Comments Welcome


March 20, 2008

This Page has moved. Again.

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 11:24 am

Thanks for reading.  If you link to here, please update your links.

March 17, 2008

Adultery is not a Federal Crime

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 12:16 pm

About 11 days ago I wrote in defense of a convicted attempted murderer now charged with murder because his victim died forty years later.  Today I am writing in defense of an admitted adulterer.

First of all, adultery is a sin and will land a person in Hell if they don’t repent.   As a member of the LDS faith Adultery will often cost you your membership via ex-communication.  Adultery is a serious and a breach of a very sacred trust in marriage.  It is a crime against marriage and a sin, but not a crime against the state.  There are seven groups responsible for a propely ordered society.  Government, Religion, Family, Community, Education, Media and Business.  It is reasonable to split Government into State, Federal, and Local for this analysis.  The proper actors in handling Gov. Spitzer’s bad acts are the State Government, Family, Community, Media, and Religion.

Former Governor Elliot Spitzer resigned today after details of his use of prostitutes was made public.  Gov. Spitzer was under threat of impeachment and news of his announced resignation last week led to champagne popping in both Albany (by Republican politicians) and on Wall Street in NYC (by stock traders and executives who once faced scrutiny when Gov. Spitzer was Attorney General).

It appears that Gov. Spitzer went to a lot of trouble trying to keep his adultery a secret.  He had the prostitute meet him in Washington D.C., paid money to a shell front corporation for the services, and broke up the transactions into amounts of less than $10,000 to avoid the automatic notice of a large transaction to the IRS called a “currency transaction report”.  These actions violated Federal statutes known as the Mann Act (transporting across state lines for immoral purposes), money laundering (paying to a shall corporation to hide where the money was going) and structuring (by breaking up the transactions into amounts less than $10,000).

It turns out that Gov. Spitzer may have broke open the investigation into himself.  He had the money wired in separate transactions of less than $10,000 and then asked his bank to remove his name from the transactions.  The bank said no and then filed a “Suspicious Activity Report” because of the structured transactions.  The bank was apparently required to do this by law and according to a source for Newsday: “The bank did the right thing[.]”  The bank’s report was then noticed by the IRS and then was forwarded to the FBI for further investigation.  After 5,000 wiretapped phone conversations and 6,000 intercepted emails, it was determined that there was a prostitution ring.  In fairness, it is possible that the FBI may have uncovered corruption, bribery, drug dealing, blackmail, or any other number of activities these laws were designed to catch.  Once it was apparent that they found a guy cheating on his wife, criminal charges should not be filed.

Gov. Spitzer is already in trouble with his wife and family and he will have to handle that.  If he is religious, he will have to face sanctions from that group.  The media has already put pressure on him too.  The State Government has already acted to remove Gov. Spitzer by threatening to impeach him if he did not resign and Gov. Spitzer resigned.  Of course Gov. Spitzer should have resigned because as Governor it was a position of public trust and if he would violate the most important of promises to his wife he is not fit to be Governor of a state.

The party that should be out of the loop is the Federal Government.  Instead of staying out of it, they are currently working to put him in prison for a few years for violating laws that should not be illegal.  “Structuring”?!?  The laws required banks to disclose transactions of more than $10,000 to the IRS and if a person tries to get around that reporting requirement by having smaller transactions, it should not be a crime.  [Banking institutions should not be required to report transactions of $10,000 or more either.]  Money Laundering is generally for drug dealers and terrorists but it also should not be illegal.  There are so many problems with the criminal code in the United States.

The Mann Act is a little different.  There were concerns about possible prostitution rings and slavery related to the prostitutes and the interstate transfer of the women.  The flesh trade so to speak.  This law was designed to combat that.  The law would be greatly improved if the act that is illegal was the unwilling transport of a person across state lines for immoral purposes.  Oh wait, it appears that would already be covered under the Federal Kidnapping Act.  So the Mann Act is also unnecessary.

Gov. Spitzer is a victim too.  Victims can be victimized too.

Comments Welcome

March 13, 2008

A Stabbing

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 10:43 pm

Yesterday in West Valley City, a 15 year old man was stabbed by an 18 year old man during an argument and fight.  The 15 year old ended up in the hospital with a punctured lung.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported the event as the 18 year old stabbing the 15 year old after an argument also that the 15 year old was there to warn the 18 year old of an impending fight the next day that angered the 18 year old so the 18 year old stabbed the 15 year old.   ABC 4 reported the event as a fight in progress started by the 15 year old which resulted in the stabbing.  The Deseret News reported the event as the 18 year old warning the 15 year old of an impending fight, the 15 year old then began hitting the 18 year old and the 18 year old stabbed the 15 year old.  Fox news Utah reported the story as the 18 year old warning the 15 year old, then the 15 year old started a fight that carried on outside and before the adults could intervene, the 15 year old was stabbed.  The 18 year old waited on the scene for police to arrive.

Who to believe?  These are supposed to be skilled and reputable news sources that can’t even get a simple stabbing story straight.  From what I can tell, it happened that the 18 year old was there to warn the 15 year old, the 15 year old probably was trying to show how tough he was or something and started hitting the 18 year old and in defense the 18 year old pulled a knife.  That is if a person who claims to be the mother of the 18 year old commenting on these stories is the real deal.

Mrs. R:  3/13/2008 6:12:00 PM  

This reporter got it wrong and has misinformed all of you. Brandon was the one warning Dillon that these kids were going to attack him at school the next day. That set Dillon off and he began attacking Brandon. Brandon tried to walk away. He had even called a friend’s mom to come get him and was going out to get in the car when Dillon came after him.

The Deseret News and MyFoxUtah got it right.

Also, Brandon is not a WVC boy, he’s not even from Utah.

Pray for both of these boys, please.

Thank you,

Brandon’s mom

It also seems that “Brandon’s mom” also added a comment after the Deseret News story too.

Mrs. Raney | 5:30 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
If I have anything to say about it, the “victim” will be charged with assault as well. The police should have charged both of them at the time. He attacked my son several times, while he was trying to get away from him. All the witness said Raney tried to walk away from Damron and Damron kept coming after him. Damron “snapped” and rushed Raney, pummelling his head. The victim always carries at least one knife and Raney knew this.

If these comments are real and reputable it suddenly makes more sense that the 18 year old would pull a knife if he was aware that the 15 year old often carried at least one knife.  Either which way it is bad news and a sad story.

Our news outlets are charged with providing clear and accurate news reporting about events and issues of the day.  This is a fairly straight forward story about a fight that ended in a stabbing but the news reports could not consistently agree on the details of the story.

What are we to think about reporting when there are more complex issues involved?  I tend to think that news is often inaccurate and leaves out very important details on a regular basis.

Comments Welcome

March 12, 2008

Latter-Day Saints and the Constitution

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 11:02 pm

What do you think of the Constitution?  Is it a heaven inspired document or something that is now outdated and is not that  important when compared to the other issues we have to face?  How important is it for Latter Day Saints to try and support the Constitution?

Here are some quotes you may find illuminating.

“You and I have heard all our lives that the time may come when the Constitution may hang by a thread. I do not know whether it is a thread, or a small rope by which it now hangs, but I do know that whether it shall live or die is now in the balance.

I have said to you before, brethren, that to me the Constitution is a part of my religion. In its place it is just as much a part of my religion as any other part. It is a part of my religion because it is one of those institutions which God has set up for His own purposes, and, as one of the brethren said today, set up so that this Church might be established, because under no other government in the world could the Church have been established as it has been established under this Government.

. . .

I suppose you brethren will all know, but I will recall it to your attention, that the Constitution of the United States is the basic law for all of the Americas, or Zion, as it has been defined by the Lord.

You brethren from Canada know that, your great British North America Act, in its fundamental principles, is based upon our Constitution, and you know that in the courts of Canada, the reports of our Supreme Court, and our Federal courts generally, are just as persuasive as the decisions of the courts of England, and even more so, where questions of constitutional law and constitutional interpretation are involved.

You brethren also know that from the Rio Grande down to the Horn there is no constitutional government except those that are rounded primarily upon our own Constitution. In Mexico the revolutionary party which more than a century and a quarter ago rebelled against the king of Spain and established a republic, copied almost verbatim, and practically overnight, our Constitution, and made it their own. Neither Mexico nor the others to the South interpret their Constitutions as we interpret ours. They have different standards and different canons of interpretation, for their fundamental system is the civil law, while ours is the common law. But the great essentials of that document, the Constitution of the United States, which God Himself inspired, is the law of Zion, the Americas.

So, brethren, I wish you to understand that when we begin to tamper with the Constitution we begin to tamper with the law of Zion which God Himself set up, and no one may trifle with the word of God with impunity.”

J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, October 1942, Evening Meeting pp. 58-59

I have often been taught that the Constitution was heaven inspired, but I have never really heard it taught that it is part of our religion and that it is also the “word of God”.

“President David O. McKay said on more than one occasion that the maintenance of constitutional principles was one of the most important tasks that members of the Church had before them. In an editorial in The Instructor in 1956, he said: ‘Next to being one in worshiping God there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States.'”

Gerald N. Lund, The Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 59.

The Church is unfortunately so very far from being united in “upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States”.  Perhaps the first thing would be to study it and learn what it means.

“If those who so carefully drafted the checks and balances into our Constitution could have looked into the future and seen what the Supreme Court of the United States would do to their masterpiece, they would have been dismayed. Through the process of supposedly “interpreting” the Constitution, the Court has twisted beyond recognition just about every conceivable clause to justify the transfer of all sovereignty from the states to the federal government, to broaden the powers of the federal government beyond any definable limit, and then to make it possible for all such powers to fall into the hands of the executive branch of government. We may still give lip service to the checks and balances of our constitutional republic, but the phrase is now quite hollow. (An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 265-67.)

We, the people, have allowed the government to ignore one of the most fundamental stipulations of the Constitution-namely, the separation of powers. In recent years, we have allowed Congress to fund numerous federal agencies. While these agencies may provide some needed services and protection of rights, they also encroach significantly on our constitutional rights. The number of agencies seems to grow continually to regulate and control the lives of millions of citizens.

What many fail to realize is that most of these federal agencies are unconstitutional. Why are they unconstitutional? They are unconstitutional because they concentrate the functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches under one head. They have, in other words, power to make rulings, enforce rulings, and adjudicate penalties when rulings are violated. They are unconstitutional because they represent an assumption of power not delegated to the executive branch by the people. They are also unconstitutional because the people have no power to recall administrative agency personnel by their vote. (The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner, pp. 25-26.)”

Ezra Taft Bensen, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Bensen [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 613.

Are you listening?  What should we be doing about this?  The Church very clearly observes political neutrality and encourages people to get involved in the political process.

There are mass meetings on March 25th this year for both the Democratic and Republican parties.  There are other parties as well such as the Constitution Party.

There has been a lot of criticism by members of the Church of one party or another that a “good” member of the church should not be a member of one party or the other.  This is garbage.  The party platform of any party is a collective vote of the party members.  How can you change the direction of any party if you categorically refuse to be involved with it?  If millions of Latter Day Saints or the Christian Coalition or other groups chose to join the Democratic party, it might be possible to change the party’s position on abortion or some other moral issue that people feel strongly about.

The important thing is to get involved and do what you can to uphold the Constitution.

Comments Welcome

Our Unelected Leaders

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 10:39 pm

Just earlier today it was reported on KSL that the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to make Utah’s air quality standards even more stringent. EPA air quality guidelines and the efforts to comply with the currently existing guidelines are more invasive than you may realize.

Before the current re-construction of Downtown Salt Lake City, people did not want TRAX and actually voted in elections against it several times. Because of the State of Utah being forced to try to comply with EPA regulations, TRAX was built. These additional air quality restrictions limited the amount of parking spaces that could be built in Salt Lake City and the big hammer the EPA has is to withhold federal funds for projects in Utah including federal highway development funds. Most people think that air quality is adversely affected by automobile traffic, so for the EPA to withhold federal highway funds may do more to help clean up the air than the other measures implemented by the State of Utah in efforts to comply. The Irony Police is conducting a full investigation of the matter.

The EPA is a Federal Administrative agency. It is unelected, makes rules, determines if they are being violated and can enforce penalties for non-compliance. The EPA is one agency among many including the FDA, FCC, USDA, TSA, BATF, and others. These agencies make things more expensive and onerous for people to comply with. Your TV, cell phone, cordless phone, car-lock remote, radio, CD player, and blackberry all had to comply with FCC regulations in the construction and use of the devices. The Federal Government has a massive reach into our lives. But this was originally about air quality.

There are areas of the country that are often out of compliance with EPA air quality regulations. The EPA actually gives states an allotment of days of non-compliance as far as measuring overall air quality. Southern California is one of them. California tries hard, they have the most stringent vehicle emissions restrictions in the nation. Utah also has emissions testing in the most populous counties in the state as well as oxygenated gas in Utah County during the winter and also has restrictions on burn days. It is an interesting experience to feel the need to check to see if our government will allow me to fire up the fireplace in the middle of winter in the land of the free.

The single greatest factor in whether Utah has clean or dirty air is the weather. Really. Same thing with southern California. If we have windy or rainy weather, the air cleans right up. Utah is a desert with stagnant air. It is reported on the weather all of the time that we need a big storm to move out this inversion and all of the bad air out here. The EPA cannot possibly be so stupid as to not realize this. So what is the point of all the regulations?

The simple (and happy) answer is that the EPA is a Federal Agency that needs to justify its’ existence and therefore must continue to get in our way in order to continue to employ thousands of federal employees on the taxpayer’s dime.

The scary (and paranoid) answer is that the EPA is another tool of oppression that will regulate in ways that make things more expensive for the subjects/citizens of the United States. Think about it for a moment. We have sales tax increases to build public transit so that the people who use public transit don’t have to pay the full cost of using it. Some of the public transit was already put in place because of EPA requirements. If the government enacts “no-drive days” much like red burn days, people will be forced to use public transportation or work from home. If you use public transit, that is more money in the pockets of the government. Red Burn days are another example of people becoming used to regulations in our every day lives.

There is another reason to think that the EPA is not really that interested in cracking down on air pollution and is more interested in helping businesses out. Emissions Trading. Companies are allowed to buy and sell pollution credits so that they can be in compliance with air pollution requirements. Let’s say that a company in 1990 when these pollution caps were instituted was assigned an allowable amount of CO2 emissions of 50 million pounds per year and then had to close down operations in 1995 for some reason. This company is allowed to continue to sell that 50 million pounds of CO2 emissions to the highest bidder even though the company is not voluntarily reducing their own emissions. It happens all the time and is a farce. It happens to be good for the business owners that had to close down operations but bad for the employees because the cost of closing down is less severe on the business owners because of the ability to sell the pollution credits.

The government is in way too many areas of our lives where no regulation should be made at all because the Constitution does not permit it.

Comments Welcome.

March 10, 2008

Practical Epistomology

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 11:06 am

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  — Isiah 55:9.

“And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.”       — Abraham 3:19.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” — James 1:5.

“And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.

And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.” — Ether 2:19-20.

Epistomology is “a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.”  Part of it is a discussion of  how we know things, or what to believe.

There are eight basic methods of knowing what to believe:

  • Empiricism – believe it because you know from scientific experimentation.
  • Revelation – believe it because it is revealed from God.
  • Reason – believe it because it makes sense through logic and thinking.
  • Aestheticism – believe it because it is beautiful.
  • Historicism – believe it because of historical study.
  • Pragmatism – believe it because it works in a given situation.
  • Credentialism – believe it because an expert in that field says that you should.
  •  Mandarinism – believe it because an ‘official’ said you should.

I’d like to add two more to this list:

  • Trustism – believe it because the person who has told you is trustworthy and is otherwise knowledgeable about it.   One example of this is in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where Lucy and Edmond have gone through the wardrobe into Narnia and have returned.  Lucy is excited and is telling her older siblings about Narnia and Edmond lies about it.  Professor Kirke explains that because Lucy always tells the truth and Edmond does lie that what Lucy has said must be true.  (It also probably helped that Professor Kirke had already been to Narnia and in his allegorical part as Adam brought the White Witch/Satan into Narnia in The Magician’s Nephew.)
  • Canonism – believe it because it is scripture from God.  This is really an extension of Revelation, but still worth noting.

As there are several competing ways to determine what to believe, as a practical matter we must seek out what is the best way to know what to believe because our actions are always an extension of our beliefs.  Even if we do something bad it is at least because we thought it was an OK idea at the time.

The primary and best way to know what to believe is Revelation.  There is no better source of knowledge and it always has a reason or purpose behind what is revealed.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks (1) wrote about eight purposes of revelation “to testify, to prophesy, to comfort, to uplift, to inform, to restrain, to confirm, and to impel.”

The other methods of what to believe have their place and are proper methods for exploring knowledge, laws of nature, and other things.  The biggest problem that the world has with regard to truth is that science is the new king.  Empiricism has won the day in many hearts in popular culture, if it can’t be observed, weighed, measured, calculated, evaluated, tested, or otherwise empirically defined then it does not exist.  One question for people who think that way: How do you know that someone loves you?  Is love real?  It cannot be scientifically defined and scientists need some love now and then too.

It is important for any thinking or religious person to consider our sources of knowledge and to evaluate which sources are primary or secondary or even tertiary.  In a world with confusing and contrary messages a person must decide what sources of information they will follow.

Comments Welcome

(1) Dallin H. Oaks, The Lord’s Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], p. 24.

March 9, 2008

Where is Cumorah?

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 11:01 pm

There are a couple of opinions about the matter but they mostly come under either two Cumorahs or one.

If you think there may be two of them, one in central America, and one in the west part of the State of New York, then you are in company with some BYU Scholars(1) and author Chris Heimerdinger.

Several Church Authorities (2) have described the Hill Cumorah as being near Palmyra, New York.  The only one.  Perhaps the best enunciation of this doctrine is from Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3:232 forward.  Here are some highlights:

Within recent years there has arisen among certain students of the Book of Mormon a theory to the effect that within the period covered by the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and Lamanites were confined almost entirely within the borders of the territory comprising Central America and the southern portion of Mexico-the isthmus of Tehauntepec probably being the “narrow neck” of land spoken of in the Book of Mormon rather than the isthmus of Panama. . . .

It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah in New York, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. Moreover, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon. 

Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery. Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history. . . .

Perhaps this matter could rest at this point, but the question of the territory now embraced within the United States having been in possession of Nephites and Lamanites before the death of Mormon, carries some weight in the determining of this matter. In the light of revelation it is absurd for anyone to maintain that the Nephites and Lamanites did not possess this northern land. While Zion’s camp was marching on the way to Jackson County, near the bank of the Illinois River they came to a mound containing the skeleton of a man. The history of this incident is as follows:

“The brethren procured a shovel and a hoe, and removing the earth to the depth of about one foot, discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire, and between his ribs the stone point of a Lamanitish arrow, which evidently produced his death. Elder Burr Riggs retained the arrow. The contemplation of the scenery around us produced peculiar sensations in our bosoms; and subsequently the visions of the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thickset man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or at least, in part-one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites.”

And on it goes.  It is well written with lots of documentation to show that the Hill Cumorah is only one hill, near Palmyra.  The book uses some scientific and scriptural citations and information to show that this is so.  Of course, to the doubter it will never be enough (just like it never is).

There are also several accounts of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery returning the gold plates to the Hill Cumorah, this one is from the Journal of Discourses(3).

When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.”

Presumably, these are the records that Mormon hid up in the Hill Cumorah as referenced in the Book of Mormon although some people continue to say that there are only second hand accounts of the event, or that it may have been in vision and not in reality, or other such things.

On the one hand, scholars seek to find things based on the evidence that is present now while Prophets seek revealed truth from God.  I’ll stick with what the Prophets have to say about where the Hill Cumorah is, and whether there is only one of it.

Comments Welcome

(1) John L. Sorensen, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1985], p. 44.  Sidney B. Sperry,  Book of Mormon Compendium,  [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968] pp. 6-7.

(2) James E. Talmadge, Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], p. 231.  B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930], 1: 75-76.   George Reynolds, A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City: J. H. Parry].

(3) Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 19:38-39.

March 7, 2008

Autism or Mercury Poisoning? Vaccine injury Compensation.

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 10:45 pm

It has been on the news recently that the family of Hannah Poling would be compensated for injury resulting from five simultaneous vaccines that caused young Hannah to have autism.  Naturally, doctors and the media are working hard to downplay the importance of this case because Hannah also had some additional underlying medical problems that made her more susceptible to having difficulties from the vaccinations.

There is a lot of blustering from doctors about just how save all of these vaccines are and that there is no way at all that the vaccines could be related to autism.   Hannah’s case is different.  According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, there was a document from the case leaked online which seemed to link Hannah’s autism to her vaccines, specifically “that five shots Hannah received in July 2000, when she was 19 months old, ‘significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder’ and resulted in a brain disorder ‘with features of autism spectrum disorder.'”  So the conclusion is that the vaccines caused a “brain disorder” that has “features” of “autism spectrum disorder”.  Got that?  It is not autism, but is has many of the similar characteristics of autism.  It makes me wonder if there are many mistaken diagnoses of people who have some sort of “brain disorder with features of autism spectrum disorder” but don’t really have autism.

There is a special vaccine court for vaccine caused injuries.  There is some debate whether this vaccine court is an admission that vaccine related injuries really occur, if it is merely to placate the paranoid masses who actually believe vaccines can hurt people, or if it is just the U.S. Government’s way of giving a big, wet, sloppy kiss to pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines.  Any damages awarded by the vaccine court are paid by me, you, and the other millions of tax payers in the United States.  Employers have to carry workers’ compensation insurance in case employees are injured on the job, but pharmaceutical companies just have their congressmen pay for their mistakes.  It is enough to remind me of this comic about the influence of rich elites on legislative proposals.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims employs eight Special Masters to handle the vaccine claims.  A special master is a judicial officer that specializes in a specific thing so as to make better informed decisions about particular matters.  It is most often used in a large civil case with very technical details that require special attention and specialized knowledge acquired through study. It is a significant thing that eight Special Masters are required to handle claims solely related to vaccine injuries.  Maybe it means that vaccines are not as safe as doctors are continuing to tell us.

The  government publishes a list of conditions that are subject to compensation when they are caused by vaccines and include nerve damage, arthritis, seizures, and a myriad of other complications.

CBS news has a very interesting article about the vaccine court, autism, and the link to vaccines.  It has to do with the case of Michelle Cedillo and her autism.  The article mentioned

Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction. Those affected often have trouble communicating, and they exhibit unusual or severely limited activities and interests. Classic symptoms of mercury poisoning include anxiety, fatigue and abnormal irritation, as well as cognitive and motor dysfunction.

While we know what these words mean, it is actually very difficult to specifically quantify and define exactly what the words mean in a clinical sense.  I would think that if I suffered from anxiety, fatigue, abnormal irritation, cognitive and motor dysfunction, (mercury poisoning) I would also probably exhibit impaired social interaction, have trouble communicating, and have unusual or severely limited activities and interests (autism).  So from these definitions it may well be possible that people are suffering from mercury poisoning and not autism.  I don’t know how many doctors there are that are trained to know the difference either.

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March 6, 2008

Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the Law

Filed under: Uncategorized — David @ 12:20 am

I don’t often like to take up the cause for a violent criminal, let alone a career criminal, but when our penal system is being abused. . .

A man who has already served 15-ish years in prison for shooting a police officer and related offenses is now 71.   He shot a police officer in 1966 and was tried for attempted murder.  The officer died in 2007 from complications related to his paralysis which was caused by said gun shot wounds.  After the defendant got out of prison for attempted murder, it appears that he became a repeat offender of some sort and when he was arrested for murder of the same individual because of the subsequent death in 2007, he was picked up from a half way house on his way out of the penal system.

Some people think that people who shoot cops should be put away forever.  That is one point of view, but the justice system in this country does not automatically work that way.  The complications from the forty year old gunshot are alleged to have caused a Urinary Tract Infection that was the proximate cause of death.  The case may hinge on medical testimony about causes of infections and why paralysis from a gunshot would would put a person at a higher risk of having a Urinary Tract Infection.  What if the deceased merely failed to drink enough cranberry juice one day?

Regardless of the merits of the case, the judge in the new murder case has ruled that the case can go forward in spite of the very long interval between the injury and the death.   There is a major moral problem with this case going forward.  The U.S. Constitution prohibits trying a person for the same crime twice.  Also, traditionally there has been the “year and a day” rule at common law that said when the victim dies after that interval of time it is presumed that the initial injury was not the cause of death.

While the defendant in this case may be a career criminal, it is at the very least a violation of the spirit of the law to charge him with murder when he has already completed his prison sentence for attempted murder.  On the legal side, there are questions of whether he should be sentenced according to the penalties back in 1966, or if the year and a day rule was on the books back in 1966 and the subsequent changes to the law in 1996 are illegal as an ex-post-facto law (also prohibited under the U.S. Constitution for criminal violations and punishments).

Maybe his prior prison sentence will be considered credit for time served if he is again found guilty and sentenced.

It is very sad that a rookie police officer at the age of 23 was shot, wounded, and paralyzed for the rest of his life and that kind of injury can never be paid for really.  That is why we have a justice system with set rules and punishments.  Now that the police officer died over forty years later, it is not proper to go back and charge the same individual with murder.

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