Monthly Archives: May 2017

It’s Time for Real Ethics Reform

With a part-time Legislature, Utah is prone to difficulties with ethics in at least two ways. First, there always is the possibility that legislators will legislate matters pertaining to their own business interests. Second, and the more serious concern, legislators may create business interests because of their political power.

More often than not, the public debate over government ethics reforms center on systemic issues. Time is the biggest one. It is both a blessing and a curse. When the Legislature is not in session it cannot do any harm. The more time the Legislature is in session, the expectation will be to do something. Why meet if not to do something? So Utah’s 45-day legislative calendar is a blessing. It’s also a curse. read more

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Rival organizations should copy Sutherland, not criticize it

Of course, I do not speak for Sutherland Institute, but my 14 years there give me some authority with which to respond to ABU. Rather than chastise Sutherland, ABU should follow its example. After all, ABU is neither an effective public policy group nor public relations machine. It could learn a thing or two from a successful organization.

Like ABU, Sutherland started small and was experiencing trouble finding its influence in Utah. We did a few things to change all of that in my first three years. First, we became more relevant and less ideological. Second, we fired the entire staff and turned over the Board of Trustees. Third, by January of 2004, we reinvented ourselves. And, fourth, we fearlessly engaged every issue with honesty and transparency (there is nothing to fear when you are right). Sutherland went from nothing to a respected and highly influential organization. read more

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Impeach Trump Now!

Yes, I never thought Donald Trump should be President of the United States. No, I never supported his candidacy. Yes, I think he is unfit to be president. And, no, that thought is not new for me. I have said on numerous occasions that Donald Trump is a pathological narcissist. Who knows why? I’m not condemning him for deep-seated mental or emotional challenges he may have faced all of his life. But he is a pathological narcissist and unfit to be president. And, now, it is time to move to impeach him. read more

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Adieu, Scouting!

Many Latter-day Saints might be sad or confused about the announcement from the LDS Church that it will no longer be participating in the Scouting program for older boys. And that sadness or confusion is understandable. The LDS Church was one of the original partners with the Boy Scouts of America dating back to 1913. Their partnership has been deep over the years in terms of membership, programs and finances.

I am neither sad nor confused.

I never have been a fan of the scouting program. None of our four boys participated. Rarely have I donated to the Friends of Scouting fund and, when I have, it was usually out of some kind of neighborhood peer pressure. My indifference to Scouting is not based on any sort of animosity. I think they have served many millions of boys and men very well. It’s simply not my cup of tea. I’m not an outdoors guy. I don’t like bugs. I don’t like dirt. I don’t like eating from cans and drinking from containers requiring purification. I don’t like sleeping on the ground. Nor do I like heat or cold. I realize that scouting has become easier. Its culture of enduring the great wilderness has given way to fast food, big cookers, diverse energy sources, mutli-room tents and comfortable and cushioned bedding. read more

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The true relationship between LDS and conservatism, a response to Taylor Petrey

Editor’s note: This article from commentator Paul Mero is a response to Taylor G. Petrey’s recent piece “The failures of Mormon conservativism.” These opinion articles are part of an ongoing Deseret News opinion series exploring ideas and issues at the intersection of faith and thought.

Taylor G. Petrey is a progressive provocateur who dares tell Latter-day Saints what to believe about politics, sex and gender. Petrey tempts members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to think that it’s time for “a revitalization of Mormonism’s past and potential.” read more

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Trump the Unifier?

From the beginning of the modern conservative movement in America, there always have been philosophical divisions. We have different species of conservatives: economic, social, neo- and paleo. Unfortunately, the movement often gets lumped together with non-conservative, but right wing, strains of delusional freedom fighters such as libertarians, the alt-right and conspiracy theorists.

In the 1950s and 1960s, conservative icons such as William F. Buckley did their best to create a movement based on what they called “fusionism” – the idea that all freedom fighters can work together for what they have in common. Admittedly, and rightly, fusionism did not include conspiracy theorists and other crazies, regardless of their popularity. In fact, Buckley went out of his way to separate the crazies from intellectual conservatives. Still, a big effort was made to bring every other reasonable freedom-loving philosophy together. read more

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