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here is a current hubub about wild assertions that the government will ‘own’ your DNA.  I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean.  The government has identification information about you already if you have a driver’s license, a birth certificate or a social security card.  If you have a CCW permit, have ever been arrested, or simply submitted to a background check, the government also has a record of your fingerprints.  It is now in the works that if you are ever arrested that you will also have to submit a sample of your DNA.

Having a record of something is not the same as owning it.  The government is collecting DNA samples which are then submitted for testing and recording of a DNA profile for identification purposes.  They can tell some basic information about you from a simple DNA test but the real value for identification is if there is a match with an unknown DNA sample for criminal or other forensic purposes.

You do have a significant ownership right in you body and body parts although the government will not allow you to sell the parts in a pre-meditated matter to the highest bidder.  So no, you can’t sell your kidney.  If you are hurt on the job and lose a finger your state government has already determined the value of that finger and that is all you will be paid for it through workers’ compensation legislation.  It is sort of sad that while  you cannot sell your body or parts, the government has already determined the value of the same.  Even if you die on the job, you will only recover the statutory amount allowed.

With DNA sampling and recording, the government has a new tool for identifying people.  Many years ago, blood types were kept on file for prisoners and criminals.  DNA samples will be a double edged sword really.  It is a more intrusive way of identifying people but can also help to avoid false identification and conviction of people who may be accused of a crime.

Here is a primer on DNA testing and how it works.  It is pretty interesting reading if you don’t know how it works.  Here is an article describing some of the process involved in testing a certain stained blue dress for a DNA sample of a former president who might be eligible for first husband this year.  (Yikes.)  Here is a quiz so you can test your DNA evidence knowledge.  I got 6 of 9 on the first try.  Here is an article about a potentially inexpensive and rapid DNA matching test involving a gold water solution.  Pretty interesting stuff.

Some of the fear of DNA testing is that people will know all about you, your hereditary diseases, if you are prone to same sex attraction, the color of you eyes and all of the other private data about you.  We are still several years off from anything like that and it is possible that kind of understanding from DNA will never materialize.  The Human Genome project took several years to complete the mapping of a human gene, and they still don’t really know what it all means but they are working on it.

This is still another encroachment on our privacy rights, but there are several people who have been released from prison that are glad we now have DNA testing.

Comments  Welcome


I very recently posted about medical testing and more specifically about the shoddy reporting quality of a certain online publication called WorldNetDaily.

What the article was about was the whole Orwellian big-brother is going to own the DNA of all of our children if a bill is passed, EVERYBODY PANIC!!!  But it wasn’t true.  It was really a large exaggeration of what is going on and it is shameful that some groups feel they need to tell big lies like this to get attention.

What was completely missed in the article and the discussion was whether the government should even be in the business of regulating health care at all.  Answer: it shouldn’t, unless it was done at the local government level.  Like maybe the city or county level.

April 15th every year is an interesting day for people paying taxes.  Many  people wait until the last day and then only pay out of a vague fear of what will happen if they don’t.  This is a horrible state for people to be in and for many reasons not discussed here is more symptomatic of tyranny instead of freedom.

People should not fear their governments, governments should fear the people.

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Polygamy is a very touchy subject.

It was in the doctrine of the early Church to practice it and ever since Official Declaration 1 in 1890 polygamy has not been a part of the Church Doctrine and will be cause for excommunication if the practice is not repented of.

Notions of what exactly constitutes abuse have changed over time.  Neglect and other terms are often used to disparage the parenting of some individuals.  “Abuse” and “neglect” are very highly charged emotional terms that tend to cloud the debate.  If the acts are described in greater detail rather than simply categorized there may be some clarity to the discussion.

One example should suffice.  If a parent forces their kids to fight each other, that might be called abuse.  My grandfather many years ago became very tired of two of his boys fighting each other.  I don’t know how often they fought or how rough it was but no one seemed to have suffered any permanent damage.  One day my grandfather grabbed a stick/switch and told my dad and his brother to fight each other or he would fight them both.  It was a one-time event that cleared up the problem.  They didn’t fight any more.  I would not call that one time event abuse.  Giving it proper context and meaning takes away some of the sting.

Well, there has been a lot of action recently in Texas against a polygamist settlement.  The polygamist group in particular is the FLDS faith with settlements in Texas, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.  There have been underage marriages, statutory rapes, expulsion of young men from the group to avoid competition for marriageable women, and abuse of ownership of property for punitive reasons.  The FLDS faith has a bit of a bad track record in following the laws of the land and natural laws as well.

In Texas a 16 year old girl complained of abuse and the state agencies responded by getting a warrant for the entire 1700 acre ranch and searching the whole thing for the 16 year old.  So far the state has not been able to conclusively say they have even found the 16 year old that made the allegations.

In the course of executing the warrant and protecting the children, the state of Texas has decided to take ALL OF THE CHILDREN INTO STATE CUSTODY.  More than 400 of them will be stripped from their families, moms and dads.  Because many of them will be siblings in very large families, they will probably also be separated from each other.  Currently the men are still in custody at the ranch (not free to leave) and more than 150 women have followed their children to be with them at this time.  Texas has 14 days to determine if the separation will be more permanent.

The state of Texas also chose to invade and search the temple of the FLDS people.  Traditionally religious structures were given some additional protection from state intrusion because of respect for religious belief.  There were other less-invasive means of securing the contents of the temple and awaiting additional hearings or something to avoid the wholesale desecration of the FLDS temple.

This is very heavy handed state thuggery.  There is no reason to simply remove all of the children from the settlement, treat all the men as guilty and turn the worlds of these children inside out.  The men are not allowed to leave the ranch and even if they were they are not allowed to visit their children because a state court judge will have to decide if visitation is appropriate.  This is a massive abuse of power and not consistent with the best and  highest traditions of freedom and due process in the United States.  This action stemmed from ONE accusation of abuse, not two, or ten, or a hundred.  One accusation of abuse was enough for the State of Texas to step in and completely destroy a community for a time.  That is outrageous.

What is worse is that the citizens of Eldorado Texas in a non-scientific poll of the town generally support the actions of the state and find the raid to be a good thing.

After the Short Creek Raid in Arizona in 1953 of a polygamist group, 236 children were taken into custody, and approximately 150 of them were in foster care for two years or more before being returned to their parents.  Some children were never returned.  It is entirely possible that similar results will come from this Texas raid.

Texas has a bit of a history of heavy handedness in dealing with people with different religious beliefs.

If they are coming for the polygamists today and no one cares, what is to stop authorities from coming after home schoolers and other non-favored and non-popular groups?

It is true that when someone’s rights are trampled on, it effects the rights of everyone.  There is no reason to think that when oppression of one group begins and is at least passively accepted by the larger population that the oppression will then move on to other groups and will continue unabated.

Texas should be ashamed of such heavy handed thuggery and inability to even attempt to determine who is guilty or not.  Simply taking all of the children and treating all of the men as guilty until proven safe for visitation is plain wrong.  Even if you don’t agree with their religious practices.

Comments Welcome

According to one columnist, I am.  You probably are too.

“Rush to retire early is selfish, unpatriotic” by Andrew L. Yarrow appeared in the Deseret News on Sunday.

According to Mr. Yarrow it is also “wrong, in general, with retiring at 55, 62 or even 65. I would go so far as to call it profoundly selfish and unpatriotic”.   The idea is for all of the working people of this country to continue working to older ages so that you are more productive, creating more tax revenue and taking less social security benefits to turn back the tide of the federal deficit.

From the article:

However, if Americans retired later, either staying in their current jobs or taking up “encore careers” — what Marc Freedman of Civic Ventures calls do-good, later-life jobs — we significantly could slow the growth of our multitrillion-dollar national debt, which largely is driven by rising Medicare and Social Security costs (as the latest Social Security trustees’ report makes abundantly clear). We also could keep more people in a labor force that no longer would be growing appreciably if not for immigrants. . .

However, since most Americans are much healthier at 60 or 65 than their grandparents were, we should be able to work longer. Few 62-year-olds in our youth-obsessed culture would want to be called “old.” Yet three-fourths of 62-year-olds draw benefits from Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance — otherwise known as Social Security. No wonder that the Urban Institute’s C. Eugene Steuerle calls Social Security a “middle-aged retirement program.”

For individuals, working longer can mean more income and savings and something to bequeath to one’s children. For the nation, if millions of us worked until 67 instead of 62, Americans’ wealth and consumption would increase appreciably, fueling stronger economic growth. That added income would provide about $800 billion in additional tax revenue and reduce government benefit costs by at least $100 billion in 2045, according to Urban Institute calculations. This alone would cut the projected deficit in 2045 by 159 percent.

Emphasis added.  One part that doesn’t make sense to me is, if you cut a deficit by more than 100% wouldn’t that make it a surplus?  Maybe I don’t get it.  Mr. Yarrow also has a new book out.

Is this a dark-side of the famous statement from President John F. Kennedy?  “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country“.

Mr. Yarrow looks with horror on people making decisions that make them happy because it won’t stop a projected train wreck more than 35 years in the future.  Some economists claim that our future obligations for Medicare and Social Security in 2050 have already bankrupted the country, that all of the land, buildings, and everything in the United States will not be sufficient to meet the financial obligations of the future.

When a socialist solution to societal problems has worked out so poorly already and has a terrible track record it makes no sense to continue down that path by asking for more socialist behavior and solutions.

How about we just stop spending so much?  It is difficult, but non-socialist solutions have worked in the past and can work well into the future as well.

Comments Welcome

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


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