Thursday, April 17, 2008

Friday: Polygamists and Lobbyists

Tomorrow, I'll have a two-fer: (1) comments on Barack Obama's false claim that he doesn't take money from lobbyists; and (2) comments on the Fundamentalist Latter-Day-Saints in Texas.

Here are the first comments:

Ken Dilanian, “Obama has ties to lobbyists despite boasts of not taking their money,” April 16, 2008

“Barack Obama often boasts he is “the only candidate who isn’t taking a dime from Washington lobbyists,” yet his fundraising team includes 18 members of law firms that were paid $138 million last year to lobby the federal government, records show.

“The lawyers, including 10 former federal lobbyists, have pledged to raise at least $3.5 million for the Illinois senator’s presidential race. Employees of their firms have given Obama’s campaign $2.26 million, a USA TODAY analysis of campaign finance data shows.

“Thirty-one of the 38 are law partners, who typically receive a share of their firm’s lobbying fees. At least six of them have some managerial authority over lobbyists.

“’It makes no difference whether the person is a registered lobbyist or the partner of a registered lobbyist, f the person is raising money to get access or curry favor,’ said Michael Malbin, director of the Campaign Finance Institute, a non-partisan think tank.”

Steve Adds: Obama is running wall-to-commercials, perhaps $10 million worth, in Pennsylvania that claim he doesn’t accept money from lobbyists. That is the reverse of the truth, and it reinforces the view of Obama as a man who is dishonest in the claims he makes about himself and his campaign.

Here's number 2, my comments on the situation in Texas:

I believe when we hear the evidence the state has -- and the early signs are that they have a great deal of information about law-breaking, including sex with underage women -- we will all be able to make more intelligent decisions about the rightness (or lack thereof) of the state's actions. At the very least, the males who totally dominate the "Yearning for Zion" (yikes!), or YFZ, site are exploiting both the males and females there.

Frankly, the women, who come across as Stepford Wife zombies, are not being done any favors. I say zombies because of the women's lack of "affect," the inappropriate smiling, and the sing-song voices, coupled with an obvious lack of basic education. I was dismayed by the women's (and we heard only from women, not the "elders") refusal to answer questions that they surely knew the answers to. What appears to have happened is that the "elders" define anything controversial as "sacred" (including sex with underage girls) and therefore not a matter that can be discussed. Very convenient.

In normal society, the way that abusive treatment gets detected is often by the neighbors or the authorities. In YFZ, there are no neighbors -- just members of the one secetive religious cult -- and the authorities and abusers seem to be one and the same. Yes, I have some mixed feelings about the withdrawal of all 416 children, but as I hear more I think the state just may be doing the children a big favor.

YFZ looks a whole lot like one of the old plantations from "Gone With the Wind," where the "darkies" were portrayed as singing away, all happy as clams. I don't believe it. At YFZ, at the very least, people's lives are being drained away and anyone who can stop that is performing a public service.

One point that hasn't been emphasized is that six women chose to go the "safe house." I won't be surprised if those women are singing like the birds in the trees about things taking place at YFZ.

Apparently, a number of children are also talking freely. One network is reporting that several young girls have said they know "Sarah," who made the original complaint. One thing people may be wondering about YFZ -- and all the other FLDS communities: where are the Black people?

Apparently, the answer is that they don't want any, in keeping with the "old" Mormon doctrine (pre-1980) that Blacks are someohow lesser beings in the eyes of God. I don't think that teaching children that particular "doctrine" is anything but hateful -- and very damaging to those who hear the "lessons."

There is no grand solution to this situation, but foster homes are starting to look better and better.

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