Is Harry Reid a Hypocrite on the FLDS?

Harry ReidThere was an interesting show on this morning on KSL. They had an interview with Harry Reid, Senator from Nevada and Majority Leader, on the FLDS situation. Reid blasted the Attorney Generals of Utah and Arizona for not doing more about the FLDS.

I’d put up the link to the interview but unfortunately KSL doesn’t have up just the interview. However this morning at 10:00 they replayed the interview and then had some responses by Mark Shurtleff and a few others. They have put that up as a podcast. It’s about 5 minutes into the show. Listen and give your view.

My view is that it’s amazingly hypocritical of a state with legalized prostitution – often of young 18 year old women who were sexually abused as children – and a slogan “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” to be criticizing Utah here. What’s worse is that Reid turned a blind eye to the polygamist communities in his own state. Worse yet he seems to fail to realize that the criminal actions of Warren Jeffs, the FLDS leader, happened in his State.

What makes FLDS prosecution often so hard is that they move between state boundaries. While State officials can still pursue charges without federal help they are far more limited in what they can do in terms of evidence collection. It seems quite ironic that a sitting Senate Leader would be criticizing Utah for not doing more when he’s one of the leaders of the Federal government and could have pressured for the Federal help that Utah has been requesting on this issue for years.

Reid also seemed to think Utah ought to have followed the Texas procedures. Now I’ve defended the initial raids by Texas. However I feel that the actions by the judge (allowing basically no individual hearings, taking all children away despite no evidence of abuse for most, etc.) are horribly unconstitutional. It’s unfathomable to me that Reid would support such actions. This by someone who purportedly defends the Constitution. (Hasn’t Reid attacked Bush on purported unconstitutional excesses?)

I recognize it’s a political year and a contrived rant does wonders for elements of ones base. But the hypocrisy in all this is staggering.

60 thoughts on “Is Harry Reid a Hypocrite on the FLDS?

  1. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

    “Reid previously wrote to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in September 2006 saying the federal government should work with state officials to address the ‘broader pattern of serious criminal conduct by all those who use multiple marriages to abuse women and children.

    “Reid suggested at the time that Justice should establish a federal task force to investigate interstate crimes by polygamous communities.”

  2. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

    “Reid previously wrote to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in September 2006 saying the federal government should work with state officials to address the ‘broader pattern of serious criminal conduct by all those who use multiple marriages to abuse women and children.’

    “Reid suggested at the time that Justice should establish a federal task force to investigate interstate crimes by polygamous communities.”

  3. You missed the main issue though. Why blame Utah officials for what Reid couldn’t get done? So Reid made a suggestion and wrote a letter. Wow. There’s some big action.

  4. If people want to get something done, they get it done. I believe there were (are?) polygamist communities in AZ, UT, and NV. Unless Reid did something active to stamp out sexual abuse in NV, he really shouldn’t talk. Something about John 7:1–2 or something.

    And, really, the crux of this entire issue isn’t polygamy but rather sexual abuse. Your comment that Reid’s state abets sexual abuse is quite telling as far as Reid and glass houses is concerned.

  5. Clark Goble said: “a state with legalized prostitution …”

    I’ve seen prostitutes in Utah and Arizona. Out of the 17 counties in Nevada, 11 allow prostitution and counties with populations above 400,000 cannot allow prostitution (Clark and Washoe counties. In a 2004 survey, about 300 prostitutes were working in brothels at any given time. I’ll bet there are more than 300 prostitutes working Utah county alone.

    So, Clark, am I a hypocrite because I live in “a state with legalized prostitution” but attend the Reno Temple, or the Las Vegas Temple?

    Clark Goble said: “often of young 18 year old women.”

    Actually, the average age of “legalized prostitutes” is 29. In fact, the legal age to work as a prostitute is 21 in 9 counties which allow prostitution. The other 2 allow 18 year-olds. “Often” seems a bit of a stretch.

    Your point begs a question: is it somehow wrong to allow an adult who was victimized during childhood to work in a chosen field simply because of that victimization? Is it up to the state to police that?

    Clark Goble said: “a slogan “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” to be criticizing Utah here”

    Senator Reid didn’t come up with the slogan, nor did the rest of Nevada. It was the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, I believe.

    Is a slogan such as that actionable by the Federal Government? Do my elected officials or other community leaders lose their moral authority because a lobbying group for the casino industry comes up with a slogan you don’t like?

    Please, the next time you visit Lake Tahoe, stay on the California side. It’s less hypocritical than the Nevada side.

    Clark Goble said: “Reid turned a blind eye to the polygamist communities in his own state.”

    Such as? I wasn’t aware of polygamist communities until you cross into Utah or Arizona. Can you name one (any) in Nevada?

    Clark Goble said: “he seems to fail to realize that the criminal actions of Warren Jeffs, the FLDS leader, happened in his State.”

    And they let a Utah court convict him for those? States don’t usually outsource their justice systems. Jeffs was convicted in Utah, faces trial in Arizona, and in Federal court for offenses in those two states. Nevada = no connection. Other than the fact that he, like most fugitives from the law, thought he could be “anonymous” in Las Vegas and was captured there.

    Clark Goble said: “What makes FLDS prosecution often so hard is that they move between state boundaries.”

    Yeah, Utah and Arizona, the two states that their communities straddled. How is Senator Reid responsible for that, now?

    I’ve really been disappointed at the handwringing among members of the Church concerning Texas’ treatment of the FLDS. But now I see that the kneejerk reactions are a matter of pride not just among members of the Church, but among Utahns as well (“Don’t judge me and my polygamous cousins!”).

    Well, the polygamist problem of Utah and Arizona (decidedly *not* Nevada) that the states have turned a blind eye on for 50 years has now exploded into the national consciousness. Is the glare too bright?

  6. It’s been common knowledge for awhile now that the FLDS have a presence in Nevada. How is it that Bull Moose does not know this? Reid surely does.

    Just google – FLDS Nevada – and plenty will show up.

  7. I’d also like to point out that there is a huge moral difference between legalized prostitution and illegal activities. Your argument that Utah county has more prostitutes than the 300 legal prostitutes in Nevada is nonsensical because 1)there is a moral force behind all laws (anytime you decide to make something illegal you are doing so because you believe it is wrong — apparently Nevadans, unlike people in other states, don’t think prostitution is wrong enough to make it illegal) and 2)there’s no way to prove how many prostitutes there are in Utah county and 3)I’d be willing to bet a lot of money there are more prostitutes in Las Vegas and Reno than in all of Utah, but again, there’s no way to prove it. (Even if you were to show stats showing number of arrests of prostitutes, those stats would not necessarily be real because some police are more likely to ignore “victimless crimes” than others.)

    This does not make Nevada a bad place, and you are well within your rights to defend the state. Personally, if I worked in California I’d move across the border to Nevada in a second just for the tax benefits alone (I have a mobile job that I can perform from anywhere, this is why I’m mentioning this).

    The issue here is that Harry Reid is, indeed, a hypocrite, partly because he’s turning a blind eye to legal prostitution in his own state and partly because he’s going after other states’ actions while refusing to question the state authorities in Nevada. This is especially glaring because in the 2006 letter I link above he admits the FLDS operates in his own state!

    That Harry Reid can spare no tears for the 400-plus children who have been ripped from their parents is unconscionable.

    Typical double-talking behavior by the most disgraceful national Mormon politician ever.

  8. I love this:

    “Reid’s comments drew a feisty response from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Shurtleff tells the Salt Lake Tribune that Senator Reid should “get educated before he opens his trap.”

    As for the state not going after polygamists, Shurtleff says that’s “bullcrap,” and asked Reid to “give one example.”

    Shurtleff says the polygamists wouldn’t be in Texas if Utah had not gone after them, and asks “How is that not going after them?”

    Hooray for Shurtleff, telling it like it is!

  9. Jon W. thanks for posting a KSL article about JNJ Construction, a Utah company , winning a bid for work from the Las Vegas Water District among others.

    Of course, JNJ, a Utah company , also received “quarter of a million dollars for culvert repairs in southern Utah” from UDOT. And, of course the KSL article hinted that there could have been more public contracts awarded to JNJ, a Utah company .

    Last time I checked, a construction (or any other) company that works out of its state of residence is considered a “foreign entity.” So, JNJ, a Utah company is a foreign entity in the eyes of Nevada.

  10. Ivan Wolfe, the very first article brought up on your Google search is one I am familiar with. Many other links are derivates of the same information. Basically, the FLDS began moving farm equipment and buildings (including barracks)to farms outside of Pioche, NV to begin raising hay … in 2004! That means: prior to 2004, there was no significant FLDS presence at this farm and the contingent that moved to the farm came from? – you guessed it! – Hilldale and Colorado City. As a Nevada resident, I was concerned about this as were other Nevadans, including Senator Reid.

    The other articles are about a former FLDS member currently living in Nevada who went to Texas to give a DNA sample. Again, doesn’t show a persistent presence of current FLDS members in Nevada.

    Interestingly, if you read the wikipedia article (among the top Google hits which you don’t refer to), it lists the communities of the FLDS as Hildale, Utah; Colorado City, Arizona; Eldorado, Texas; Mancos, Colorado; Creston and Bountiful, British Columbia; and Pringle, South Dakota. Nope, no Nevada cities there.

    Seriously, I’m willing to entertain any credible evidence that the FLDS maintain a significant long-standing presence (pre-2004) in Nevada that would show Senator Reid’s comments are hypocritical.

    And, Clark Goble, I’m correcting myself about the activities giving rise to the accessory to rape charges against Jeffs not occurring in Nevada. Some (not all) of the forced marriages occurred in a motel in Caliente, Nevada, a few miles over the Utah border. But the participants lived in Utah at the time of the “marriages.” He was indicted, tried and convicted by Utah for the Utah marriages, and now faces trial in Arizona for the same.

  11. Geoff B, while I have sat next to “Harry” in the temple, I would hardly call him my “friend.” So, no chat would be likely to happen. That said, his comment that the FLDS live in the border region of Utah, Arizona and Nevada is not innacurate and does not necessarily mean that they live in Nevada. Hilldale and Colorado City are in the region of the borders of both Utah and Arizona and Nevada (believe me, I’ve driven past there many times). I’m quite certain he is not saying that the FLDS live in Nevada. Are you? Do you have proof?

    And thank you for meeting me halfway on this if that was your intent. I was equating legal prostitution and illegal prostitution inasmuch as Clark Goble and others were equating illegal child rape and forced marriages with legalized prostitution and implicating that any Nevada resident, particularly those elected to federal office, who speaks out against the FLDS’ practices is a “hypocrite” because the state allows legal prostitution.

    You seem to agree with that opinion. You let everyone know that “apparently Nevadans, unlike people in other states, don’t think prostitution is wrong enough to make it illegal.” Question: do you expect your elected officials to go after and condemn legal activity in your state? I hope so, otherwise you are setting a double standard for Nevadans. Have you petitioned Mark Shurtleff to go after the strip clubs in Utah, or is that not “wrong enough” to outlaw?

    So, all Nevadans, even the temple-recommend holding ones don’t think prostitution is “wrong enough?” Nice. Because we live in Nevada, and haven’t been able to convince the legislature to go against the brothel lobby (yes, there is one, and it is powerful like the gaming lobby) we can’t criticize Utah’s handling of the FLDS? Again, illegal child rape and forced marriages = legal prostitution in your mind? Is that why Senator Reid shouldn’t be “turning a blind eye to legal prostitution in his own state”? Is that what he should be questioning Nevada authorities about? Again, you would do well to lose the weak argument about Reid’s letter referring to the Nevada “operations” because those operations were the ones that began 2 years prior in Pioche.

    The problem that Reid correctly identified about the Utah AG’s handling of the FLDS is that by treating them with kid gloves by targeting Jeffs and a few other leaders, the group began to disperse – moving equipment/buildings to Pioche, NV; building a sprawling communal compound in Eldorado, Texas. The problems caused by their practices began to metastatize to other states. Utah’s and Arizona’s problems now became other state’s problems. Why not ask the Federal AG to intervene?

    Sorry for the rant. You can rail against Senator Reid and his politics all you want, and you won’t hurt my feelings. But when you claim that because he is from a state that has legalized prostitution, he is hypocritical in his criticism of Utah’s handling of the FLDS, you’re not only being illogical, but offensive to a large number of faithful, morally upright LDS who live in Nevada.

  12. The only way polygamy is going to go away is if the state successfully prohibits both adultery and fornication. Until then the only thing actions the government can legitimately take amount to nibbling around the edges.

  13. Bull Moose, sorry, but your rant is not convincing. Harry Reid should be concentrating his attentions on his own state, which he admitted in his own letter to the AG was also a site of FLDS activity. He should be pursuing shutting down prostitution in Nevada. You may want to look up Matthew 7:1–5. This is the clearest definition of a hypocrite, and it seems to apply directly to Harry Reid.

    As for what faithful LDS people should do, I leave that up to everybody’s own conscience. Personally, I have lobbied in my state (Florida) against gambling laws and in favor of more enforcement of anti-pornography laws and in favor of greater punishment for child abusers. My conscience is clear. I cannot judge the conscience of the average Church member in Nevada, because there are complications and exceptions a-plenty, and I’m simply not going to get into judging everybody’s situation. But I am going to join the chorus condemning the Mormon hypocrite Harry Reid.

  14. Em, advance notice to the honorable blogmasters: feel free to delete this comment if you see fit. I also recognize that I may be ending any welcome I may have had. If so, I’ll not return if people are offended. I apologize up front.

    I have a question for y’all: why are we so concerned?

    To be frank, I see mostly Latter-day Saints worked up on this issue. Why us? Why not Catholics or Baptists or Presbyterians or ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews?

    Sometimes I think that because I’m a convert, I won’t get all this concern over the Fundamentalists. But even a cursory examination of their church and The Church of Jesus Christ would make one realize that we and they really have nothing to do with each other. We are as far apart as Jews and Catholics. So why are we so obsessed?

    It seems to me that there are so many other issues we Latter-day Saints can debate, issues of greater import than the Texas raid. So why do we focus on this? I’ve seen debates on this issue in practically every single Latter-day Saint website. I just don’t get it.

    Maybe there’s something wrong with me or something I’m not getting.

  15. I think the reason Reid is being called out is because he accuses some people of doing stuff he has not the spine to do. Writing a letter is a far cry from campaigning for change and then losing. It doesn’t matter if one succeeds: what matters is how much effort a person puts into it. Reid did nothing, and does nothing about the sinful combinations in his state, while condemning other states whose people actually do try to get things done.

  16. My take on this is that Harry Reid is a prominent national politician who happens to be Mormon, and to keep public perception of his religion from being any kind of obstacle to his work this week, he needed to say loud and clear that he doesn’t like the FLDS. Pretty similar to Barack Obama’s denunciation of Jeremiah Wright this afternoon. If the Texas raid had happenned while Mitt Romney was still running for president, we probably would have heard something about doubling the size of Texas CPS.

  17. Muslihoon,

    Your comment doesn’t even come close to being marked for deletion. :-) Try harder next time.

    Having been born into the Church, I think I have always had a curiosity about polygamy and the FLDS church. The FLDS are like the black sheep of the family, but, in a way, still a part of the family.

  18. John, I think that’s correct, but it doesn’t make it any less hypocritical.

    Bull Moose, there’s a lot more polygamist groups than the FLDS.

    Regarding the other things, the issue isn’t whether stuff happens in Utah. It’s that Reid is making it seem like it is only happening in Utah while Nevada is pure as the lily snow.

  19. Harry Reid is a politician (a particularly bad one imho), but he is a politician with national prominence. I think it is appropriate for him to say something about the FLDS issue because it is clearly something that concerns his state and his region and is getting national attention.

    But what he said, and the way he said it, is incredibly in appropriate. Imagine if he had said, “Well, I certainly am concerned about the reports of child abuse, and this is legitimate area of government concern. It is appropriate for government to get involved in protecting the innocent, especially small children. And to the extent that Texas authorities and the authorities of other states, I applaud them for doing that. I am concerned that these innocent children have been separated from their parents without due process. I would encourage Texas authorities to expeditiously return the children to their parents if there is no evidence of child abuse. At the same time, I have asked authorities in my own state to look into possible child abuse that may be happening in Nevada, and I will continue to pressure Federal authorities to help in any way they can.”

    Something like that would have been completely appropriate. But instead Harry blasted away at neighboring states and had nothing but praise for the jack-booted fascists who stole children from their parents without cause (based on one fake phone call that was not even from Texas).

  20. Thank you to no one who chose to address any of my points directly, and instead claimed generally that my position is unconvincing, and yet again cast vague generalities to boster your own. (BTW, one of the last bastions of an untenable viewpoint is a blanket dismissal of opposition without addressing anything specific.) I’ll take that to mean that the reactions of the majority of commenters fall in the same category as the Utah AG’s response and the commenters on the KSL website: purely visceral, backed in a corner, insubstantial, and overly-defensive.

    If anyone would like to discuss the merits of the argument put forth by Clark Goble on this topic, and any others brought out in the comments (like which is the greater evil: child rape and forced marriages of minors, or legalized prostitution and gambling? And, why should one practice allowed for decades in one state have any impact on the other practice allowed for decades in another while discussing the effectiveness of Utah state officials in dealing with the FLDS given the current situation in Texas?), let me know. Otherwise, I’ll stop wasting my time.

  21. Bull Moose, clearly child rape is worse. But (a) Utah has been doing a lot about it and (b) there are polygamist (not necessarily FLDS) communities in Nevada and (c) the FLDS have been involved in Nevada and (c) Utah was requesting federal help in dealing with the state boundary issue which makes evidence gathering difficult. In addition whether prostitution is worse or not it is bad and continues to help victimized women be victimized more. When just walking down the street in Las Vegas you can’t go 5 feet without someone handing you a catalog of prostitute numbers then I think the fact it is ‘illegal’ is a joke. Clearly there’s not much prosecution going on in Las Vegas. That they do a “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” advertising campaign for strippers and prostitutes doesn’t exactly help matters.

  22. I have a question for y’all: why are we so concerned?
    To be frank, I see mostly Latter-day Saints worked up on this issue. Why us? Why not Catholics or Baptists or Presbyterians or ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews?

    I think all Americans have a duty to be worried about such things. I worry about some of the excesses by George Bush in conducting the War on Terror that may violate the Constitution. (Although I think some are exaggerated given that it is wartime)

    I think that the no-knock raids by SWAT teams to do even simple arrest warrants are unconscienable. They may not violate the letter of the Constitution but they violate much of the spirit.

    I think that many bans on fire arms for self-defense in places like DC are unconscienable. The wealthy can be protected but everyone else is at the mercy of the criminals given an ineffective police force.

    I think that the drug war often goes too far confiscating goods of people not even convicted of crimes and making it near impossible to get such goods back if one is found not guilty. I think the number of people in jail for non-violent crimes like drug offenses is unconscienable as were double standards for drugs used by different communities (the cocaine used by Blacks vs. Whites for instance). I think that the militarization of the war on drugs in America violates the spirit of the Constitution as well.

    So I think this is actually a more minor issue relative to many other Constitutional issues I get upset at. As to why Mormons worry – I think it is because there is a concern that the reason this community is being treated the way they are is because they are a weird religion but of white people. But to most Americans so are the LDS. So if they can violate due process even for a justifiably horrible problem might they not do the same thing for us when there isn’t a crime?

  23. OH, Bull Moose, I think it’s widely viewed that Mesquite is a big polygamist haven. Likewise the Kingston polygamist sect, which is arguably one of the worst having lots of incest, has many, many members in Nevada. There are others as well.

  24. Thanks Clark Goble for the engaging comment. May I respond in order?

    “clearly child rape is worse”
    Agreed.

    “(a) Utah has been doing a lot about it”
    Yes, if by “doing a lot about it” you mean: recently targeting Warren Jeffs and the Hildale police chief for child rape without addressing the rest of the community causing them to seek refuge in other places like Nevada (in 2004 they show up on a farm in Pioche) and Texas. Utah has done so much about it that they have exported the child rape and forced marriages elsewhere. Kudos to Utah!

    “(b) there are polygamist (not necessarily FLDS)communities in Nevada.”
    Unless and until you can provide some proof to this canard, it really adds nothing to your argument, because Reid was criticizing Utah about their handling of the FLDS and the child abuse, not polygamy! There are likely polygamists/bigamists in every state, but that’s not the issue.

    It was first asserted that Nevada, and by extension Sen. Reid, should have done something about the FLDS because they had “operations” in Nevada. I demonstrated that that was a recent phenomenon and more likely a result of Utah’s handling of the FLDS communities in Utah. That was the reason Sen. Reid wrote the 2006 letter to AG Alberto Gonzales. Now you claim that Nevada’s hands aren’t clean because there are other unnamed other “polygamist(not necessarily FLDS) communities in Nevada”? [Cue Bullhorn voice over]: Put your hands up and step away from the straw man! I repeat, step away from the straw man!

    I’ll address the rest in a follow-up post.

  25. The reason they left Utah was because prosecutions were continuing. The fact they left Utah is evidence of Utah cracking down.

    The Kingston polygamist group has been charged in Utah with multiple counts of rape, incest and so forth. Their money comes from World Enterprises Inc. which is a large conglomerate owning other companies in Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. It is based in Las Vegas and is involved in a lot of construction and other such things in Nevada.

    Utah tried to raid them about a year ago but according to Mark Shurtleff but wasn’t able to serve all the 80 warrants. So they fled.

    Now let’s get back to the topic at hand. Are there polygamist communities in Nevada? Yes. Were they only there because of Utah prosecution of the FLDS. No. The Kingstons predate it by quite a while. But even if they were fleeing Utah and are in Nevada to avoid prosecution so what? That means Nevada has a problem and Reid isn’t doing anything about it.

    So it’s a weird argument to make. Utah was prosecuting and people fled so obviously it’s Utah’s fault that they are in Nevada and Texas and if nothing is being done about it then that too is Utah’s fault. Are you really making that case?

  26. “(c) the FLDS have been involved in Nevada”
    Already addressed in the above post and others. The recent “involve[ment] in Nevada” is likely a direct result of Utah’s prior handling of the FLDS and was probably what prompted Sen. Reid to write to AG Alberto Gonzales in 2006.

    “(c)[sic] Utah was requesting federal help in dealing with the state boundary issue which makes evidence gathering difficult.”
    I’m not sure where you’re going with this, but if you are claiming that Sen. Reid blocked “federal help”, that’s pretty specious. Shouldn’t Utah’s Congressional delegation have been the conduit for that help? Shouldn’t the responsibility for making that happen have fallen on Utah’s Congressional delegation? I’m afraid this is another straw man in the attack.

    More to come …

  27. “In addition whether prostitution is worse or not …”
    No brothels are allowed in Clark County, where Las Vegas is seated. The Las Vegas prostitutes that are streetwalkers are indeed “illegal” and many are regulars in the city/county jails and courtrooms. The outcall girls are more organized and likely are the product of larger criminal organizations. Of course, their pretext is that they are “entertainers” and only provide “private dances.” Occasionally, Las Vegas Metro Police pick some up for providing illicit services. but, the pretextual service is legal. In fact, Google SLC Outcall or SLC Escort, and you’ll see the same thing. Or are you implying that those escorts don’t go all the way?!

    As for the pamphlets that litter the sidewalks, you can thank labor unions and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for that. Prior to the Venetian Resort’s opening in 1999, the Culinary Union and others were protesting the property as it was being constructed. Sheldon Adelson was able to keep the protesters off the property by claiming the sidewalk, though public was controlled by the resort, and they had a right to exclude anyone. The unions claimed that it was against their First Amendment rights to prohibit their gathering on the sidewalk and passing out flyers. Their successful appeal opened the door to the smut peddlers on the sidewalk that are so pervasive. To recap, their handing out the flyers is within their First Amendment rights (you know, the Constitution and Bill of Rights that y’all are clamoring that Texas trampled on in the FLDS case?). Further, the outcall services are escorts and dancers by pretext and you’ll find those in any large city, even SLC. The attempt at complete enforcement of all escorts would sap most cities’ law enforcement resources, and not do much to address the underlying issue of morality.

    And since we are so intent on setting Utah up as the shining city on a hill, but bad Nevada has all that gambling and strippers and prostitution … oops, Utah has all that, too.

    Now casinos … those are limited to places in Nevada like Wendover, Mesquite, Las Vegas, places Utahns would never go, right? Sure, count the Utah license plates in any of those casino parking lots, count the minivans with Utah license plates, count the cars with BYU Alumni license plate holders holding Utah license plates – then tell me how morally superior Utahns are to Nevada. I live in Nevada and I don’t gamble. I have more friends from Utah who gamble than friends from Nevada who gamble. What does that tell you?

  28. ”I think it’s widely viewed that Mesquite is a big polygamist haven.”
    Really, I thought Mesquite was a big golf haven? I’m going to call B.S. on this unless and until you provide proof. Having spent much time in Mesquite, I’ll tell you there is a large LDS population (larger ratio than the rest of Clark County), but no polygamists. However, when you cross over from Mesquite to Arizona, you can see the remnants of some polygamist communities before you get to the Virgin River canyon. But, again, that’s Arizona. (The Kingstons if I understand correctly are more based in and around Salt Lake City. To say that they are in Nevada is to say that they are in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, and California, inasmuch as they run businesses there. But as far as I can tell, they are legitimate business for the most part.)

    Am I saying that polygamists never went into Nevada? Of course not!

    Am I saying that they are not based in Nevada? Absolutely!

    Are you saying that Nevada should prosecute them from exercising their Constitutional right to cross stateliness into Nevada and engage in commerce because they practice polygamy in Utah and Arizona? Preposterous!

    ”the Kingston polygamist sect, which is arguably one of the worst having lots of incest, has many, many members in Nevada. There are others as well.”
    In short I’m closing your straw man argument that polygamists are a Nevada problem to the extent that they are a Utah problem, if you can’t provide proof beyond specious generalities: “many, many members,” “others as well”.

  29. Just to be clear you are saying there are no polygamist groups in Nevada?

    Regarding stripping you are aware that public nudity is illegal in Utah right? Strip clubs in Utah must wear bottoms and pasties. So they aren’t really strip clubs in the sense that Las Vegas has. Likewise are you saying that Las Vegas aggressively attacks prostitution there the way Utah does?

    I can point to attacks on polygamist groups by the Utah government. Your entire argument appears to be that there are no polygamists in Nevada therefore they don’t need to do anything.

  30. No. As I said earlier, there are polygamists/bigamists in every state of the Union. I would also agree that at various times, members of the Utah and Arizona groups have set up businesses and residences in Nevada. However, I would laugh at the assertion that the groups that they are based in Nevada or are as prevalent in Nevada as they are in Utah and Arizona, and therefore, no one in Nevada has the right to criticize Utah’s or Arizona’s handling of the polygamist sects.

  31. “Strip clubs in Utah must wear bottoms and pasties.”
    Clark Goble, I’m not defending Las Vegas strip clubs, I’m saying that arguing Nevada can’t criticize Utah’s handling of a community of child rapists because they have strip clubs and prostitutes and gambling, is ridiculous because Utah has the same vices – yes, to a lesser degree, but are you really going to argue it’s a matter of degrees?

  32. OK, just so we are clear on your position.

    1. Reid said Utah wasn’t doing anything about the polygamy and child abuse.

    1a. This is demonstrably false
    1b. Nevada has polygamists and child abuse of the same sort but isn’t doing anything. (Yes less amounts)

    Therefore Reid is a hypocrite since he is accusing someone of not doing something when he isn’t doing anything. (If you feel Reid is doing something about polygamy beyond writing a letter to Gonzales please explain what he’s done)

    2a. Utah was limited by polygamist groups crossing boundaries (as Jeffs did).
    2b. Utah requested federal intervention but all Reid did was write a letter.

    Therefore Reid is a hypocrite since he could have done something about Utah polygamy and aided Utah prosecution but did not. (Once again if you think Reid did more than write a letter please be clear what they did)

    To your final point that Utah can’t point fingers at Nevada. Let’s be clear. Utah aggressively prosecutes prostitution, gambling and child abuse found in its borders. Nevada has extensive legalized gambling, has legalized prostitution, and turns a fairly blind eye to the widespread postitution all through Las Vegas. Utah bans stripping in the sense of nudity or touching. Such is legal in Nevada and advertised around the country. So the Nevada Senator pointing at Utah for not being agressive is hypocrtical because (a) Utah is going after child abuse and (b) Utah has gone after prostitution, gambling and other vices but Reid has not.

    That’s my argument.

    Note that my argument does not compare child abuse to stripping. I’d simply note though that many if not most strippers and prostitutes are the victims of past sexual abuse.

  33. BTW – did you listen to the KSL interview with the Utah attorney general? He was pretty explicit about there being groups in Mesquite and other places.

  34. “OK, just so we are clear on your position …
    No, your summary weaves a convenient conflation of what your original argument posited and what you claim I said. So, no, you’re not clear.

  35. Estimates are that there are polygamous groups in 30 U.S. states, I would venture to guess that there are more. So? How does that insulate Utah from criticism, again? Oh, yeah! Mote and beam and all that. Right.

  36. Here’s hypocricy in the KSL interview from Utah Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert (@ abt. 14 mins.):

    “I think it’s always difficult … to have somebody from outside of our area kind of get upon their high horse and criticize how things are being done in somebody else’s backyard of which they know very little about other than probably what they’ve heard or read in the newspaper seen some soundbites on the television and hear a lot of gossip.”

    Then in the next breath:
    “And how they do it in Texas may be one way to do it. I’m not sure it’s the right or correct way to do it.”

    To paraphrase:
    Don’t criticize Utah because you don’t know the full story. But, I’ll go ahead and bash Texas based on what I’ve heard or read or seen on T.V.

  37. Utah AG Mark Shurtliff’s argument for the presence of FLDS in Nevada (parroted on this blog):
    “The marriage[incident to the charge of rape] was done in Nevada. Where was Warren Jeffs captured, Harry Reid? Nevada. You know when we started coming after UEP, the United Effort Plan, and realized we had to get control of this huge $100 million empire, that they were using to abuse people and kick them out of their jobs and their families and their homes. When they saw that we were coming after them on that, they immediately started to move their most profitable companies, and just before the court took over the UEP they moved their most profitable company called Western Precision they moved it out. Guess where it is, Harry? Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Again, look into your own backyard, into your own state before you start criticizing others.”

    So, Utah exports their polygamy problem to neighboring states and gets to wash their hands of it? “Now it’s Nevada’s problem and don’t you dare criticize us for how we handled it until you take care of the mess we left you.”

    This reminds me of Rocky Anderson giving one-way tickets to the Salt Lake City homeless prior to the Olympics. “It’s your problem now! What are YOU going to do about it?”

  38. Clarification: “This reminds me of Rocky Anderson giving one-way tickets to Las Vegas to the Salt Lake City homeless prior to the Olympics.”

  39. Mark Shurtliff:
    “There’s polygamists all over Mesquite.”

    Again, there are polygamists in many places, not necessarily groups like at Hildale/Colorado City and Eldorado.

    How does Shurtliff know there are polygamists “all over Mesquite”? That’s right, because he’s the AG of Mesquite … or, ummm, Nevada! … no, he heard a rumor?

    I’ve spent much time in Mesquite, and there are not polygamist “groups.” They live in Arizona around Mesquite. But they do not control the city government and police department like they did in Hildale and Colorado City. Do you see the difference?

  40. How does that insulate Utah from criticism, again? Oh, yeah! Mote and beam and all that. Right.

    To say someone is a hypocrite is not to agree with all actions by Utah officials. However if you are going to criticize one ought at least get ones facts right. i.e. the question of why Utah didn’t do what Texas did is legitimate but I think Mark Shurtleff has very good answers for why he does what he does.

    The reason it is hypocritical is that a lot of the help Shurtleff says he needs and has asked for Reid is in a position to help provide but hasn’t.

    As to how the Attorney General knows there are polygamists in Mesequite perhaps it’s because he’s been prosecuting them for 8 years and has large data files on them and has been monitoring people he wants to prosecute? Just maybe that’s part of his job?

  41. Clarification: “This reminds me of Rocky Anderson giving one-way tickets to Las Vegas to the Salt Lake City homeless prior to the Olympics.”

    Hey, I’ve no love for Rocky Anderson. I’ll join in the chorus of condemnation there.

    So, Utah exports their polygamy problem to neighboring states and gets to wash their hands of it?

    This is the thing you keep coming back to that I just don’t understand. It seems incoherent. Utah is bad because they didn’t prosecute these yahoos. But Utah is also bad because they exported it by prosecuting and having the people for whom there wasn’t yet sufficient evidence to indict flee prosecution.

    You can’t have it both ways you know. If they fled because of prosecution then obviously Utah was doing a lot. It’s not at all like Rocky Anderson putting homeless on buses.

    But in any case the issue is what Nevada is doing and I can’t see that it’s doing a lot. It’s almost like you’re saying they don’t have to because it’s Utah’s fault.

  42. Clark Goble, I’m not saying Utah didn’t do anything at all. I’m saying they didn’t do anything from about 1953 (then again, the Short Creek Raid was Arizona; Utah had nothing to do with that!) to 2000. Even Mark Shurtliff says that they had begun cracking down 7-8 years ago (Hmmm. Right before the Olympics. “Lessee: Homeless out of SLC? Check! FLDS clamped down? Check!”). What happened before then? Hildale and Colorado City became more insular and depraved.

    That the FLDS fled does not mean that Utah’s tactics were successful, although Lt. Gov. Herbert said in the KSL interview that “It worked for Utah.” Sure it did; it got rid of the problem. Now it’s in Texas.

    You keep bringing up Nevada, obviously parroting Herbert’s and Shurtliff’s comments, and how Nevada isn’t doing anything. What would you propose Nevada do? There are no complaints of child rape and forced marriages like from Hildale/Colorado City. From what you’ve said, polygamists in Nevada are running construction businesses. Is that illegal in Utah?? Because it isn’t in Nevada.

    Yes, I’m concerned that Utah’s tactics, while effective for Utah’s problem has caused the problem to metastatize. Shurtliff even admitted this in the KSL interview (see my above post at 1:35pm). This sets up Utah’s strategy for legitimate criticism, whether its from a Nevada Senator, a Texas Governor, or the Dalai Lama.

    And speaking of Senator Reid: given a healthy respect for the Constitution and the limits to the authority of the Senate as well as principles of federalism, what would you have Sen. Reid do?

    Utah requested federal intervention but all Reid did was write a letter.

    So what did Utah do? Send an invitation on gilded goatshide? Sacrifice gophers to an effigy of the Attorney General?

    Just how much coercive power to you ascribe to Sen. Reid? He barely keeps his own party together, and you expect him to conjure a federal task force from the Justice Dept. from his trousers?

    What power do you suppose Reid has over our Governor, AG, legislature, if he did want to accomplish anything? Answer: none. He’s elected to federal office. And in our country, we have this hang up with separation of powers, federal from state.

    So, what would you have Reid do?

  43. The reason it is hypocritical is that a lot of the help Shurtleff says he needs and has asked for Reid is in a position to help provide but hasn’t.

    What position is Reid in to provide that help. That’s Justice Department, as in executive branch, as in not the Senate. The Constitution does provide guidance on separation of powers.

    And what about Senators Hatch and Bennett. Are their hands tied by some invisible restraints?

    As to how the Attorney General knows there are polygamists in Mesequite perhaps it’s because he’s been prosecuting them for 8 years and has large data files on them and has been monitoring people he wants to prosecute? Just maybe that’s part of his job?

    Again, sorry to bring up federalism, but each state is its own sovereign. So, Shurtliff has no jurisdiction over Nevadans, in or out of Mesquite. No prosecutory authority there!

    So “data files”? Seriously? He said, “There’s polygamists all over Mesquite.” Being familiar with the area, I can assure you, it’s puffery, not some “data files.”

    Of course, he could have just as easily said, “There’s polygamists all over Sacramento,” and it would have been the same. There’s polygamists in every state. There are not polygamist communities like Hildale and Colorado City in every state. Do you see the difference?

  44. I’m saying they didn’t do anything from about 1953. . . to 2000.

    I don’t see how that’s relevant. I agree they should have done something. But what’s that got to do with Reid? Given that there’s been a decade of prosecution.

    And speaking of Senator Reid: given a healthy respect for the Constitution and the limits to the authority of the Senate as well as principles of federalism, what would you have Sen. Reid do?

    One of the more powerful tools of the Senate is to hold hearings. He also could have done more to encourage the Justice department than merely write a letter. Did the topic come up in the hearings on any Bush nomination for Attorney General? (Reid’s not on the Judicial board but as majority leader he could have got one of the other Democrats to raise the issue)

    Note that I also fault both Utah Senators in this. So I’m being equal opportunity here. However Reid has more power and is condemning Utah for not doing enough. So my point is hypocrisy.

    What would you propose Nevada do? There are no complaints of child rape and forced marriages like from Hildale/Colorado City. From what you’ve said, polygamists in Nevada are running construction businesses. Is that illegal in Utah?? Because it isn’t in Nevada.

    Actually enforcing child labor laws is something that could be done but once again is primarily a federal issue that if you listened to the podcast you know that Shurtliff wants done. Reid could have done something about that.

    And you probably do know that Utah has shutdown businesses of polygamist groups on various grounds and is going after others. As you note you’re limited in how you can do this. But then Shurtliff’s prosecution is also so limited by what the law and evidence allows. However you’d never guess that from Reid’s comments.

    Yes, I’m concerned that Utah’s tactics, while effective for Utah’s problem has caused the problem to metastatize. Shurtliff even admitted this in the KSL interview (see my above post at 1:35pm). This sets up Utah’s strategy for legitimate criticism, whether its from a Nevada Senator, a Texas Governor, or the Dalai Lama.

    So let me turn it around and ask what you think Shurtliff should have done that wouldn’t have made it worse. Because it’s pretty clear that polygamist groups are fleeing Utah because of Shurtliff.

    Just how much coercive power to you ascribe to Sen. Reid? He barely keeps his own party together, and you expect him to conjure a federal task force from the Justice Dept. from his trousers?

    If Reid had put up hearings on the issue I guarantee the Justice Department would have had to do something. Had they even brought it up in confirmation hearings it would have been something.

    I note that now you’re talking about how powerless Reid is. But note that the issue is hypocrisy. Are you ascribing more power to the Utah AG than they have?

  45. To add, it seems to me that Utah and Shurtliff have been on the forefront of the issue. Shurtliff has been getting prosecutions going – which is hard when many refuse to go to court to testify (physical evidence gets you only so far). He’s also been on many TV shows trying to drum up awareness for the issue. I can’t think of anyone who’s done more about the issue. So for Reid to then attack Shurtliff when I can’t see that Reid has done anything but write a letter is pretty hypocritical on the face of it. It’s as if Reid thinks Shurtliff has a magic want and could make the problem disappear.

    We’ll see how Texas does but I honestly think that Texas’ actions will make the situation worse.

  46. I think it’s pretty obvious to most readers by now that going around and around on this issue is not going to get anybody anywhere. It seems like the arguments have been made. Personally, I think Clark makes the better argument. But I do appreciate Bull Moose’s passion and I am grateful for him visiting M* and adding to the discussion. Thanks everybody for keeping it mostly civil.

  47. that the issue is hypocrisy.

    Then stick with that. The KSL interview and this blog has been about: Harry Reid can’t criticize Utah’s handling of the FLDS vis-a-vis Texas’ handling because: a) He didn’t do anything about the FLDS in Nevada; b) He’s from Nevada *gasp* and we know that they have legalized gambling and prostitution; and c) He hasn’t lifted a finger for Utah, other than that letter to AG Alberto Gonzales where he urged a federal task force.

    a) We’ve been going round and round on this. It’s ridiculous because the issue was the prodigious forced marriages of underage girls and subsequent rape in the insular communities of Hildale and Colorado City. If either of those cities were in Nevada, he probably still would not have done more than Hatch and Bennett (and weren’t they in the majority before 2007 anyway?) because of limited federal authority.

    b) This is a straw man, borderline ad hominem, and it’s patently offensive. I live in Nevada. So what? Are you going to question my morals also?

    c) This makes no sense. “Sen. Reid is a hypocrite because he didn’t do anything to help Utah get a federal task force, except ask AG Alberto Gonzales to establish a federal task force. But at least Utah requested federal intervention. All that Sen. Reid did was request federal intervention.” It’s terribly inconsistent.

  48. Thanks Geoff B and Clark Goble for the discussion. If Herbert, Shurtliff, KSL and this blog had kept the issue focused on Senator Reid and not implicated, wrongly IMO, Nevada, I would have had no problem with this. But the gauntlet was thrown down.

    I hope I haven’t worn out my welcome. But here’s another intellectual firebomb to throw as I sign off: I think Texas handled this the right way. When I read about the compound being constructed in Eldorado back in 2006, I was living in Dallas. I noted that this was the way it would end, and it was only a matter of when. I guess time will tell if Texas’ strategy has better results than Utah/Arizona.

  49. Bull Moose,

    I may disagree with you, but I appreciate your viewpoint and for sharing your thoughts on the issue. You have not worn out your welcome in the least with me!

  50. Reid proves himself again to be an utter moron and lightweight. Who gives a rat’s rear what he says? Before this, it was some pathetic whining about Republican obstruction to Senate progress. Like he didn’t do the same when in the minority? This guy has got to go.

  51. There is a difference between being “from Nevada” and being “a statewide elected official from Nevada”. The latter gives Reid a practical responsibility to speak against the evils in his state, especially if he wishes to criticize the administration of other states.

  52. You have to be good with flaws to be a hypocrite. Harry Reid is definitely not a hypocrite.

  53. Eloquently written and much needed public response. We can never “understand” to the point of rationalizing God’s Word. Thank you brother Steve for standing soundly upon God’s Word and His blessed covenant of marriage. I am praying for Pat Robinson and those who respect his advice.

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