- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Not California’s problem

Thursday’s editorial on California energy, “California’s problem,” gets it wrong on two points.

First, California’s long-term energy contracts should be revised because they were not based on fair energy prices. Those contracts, in fact, were based on energy prices that were a result of the widespread and pervasive fraud and manipulation that took place during 2000 and 2001.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has the responsibility for ensuring that energy rates are “just and reasonable,” should therefore revise those contracts and ensure that California rate payers aren’t forced to spend billions more on energy than is fair.

Second, I voted against the energy bill in committee simply because it is a bad bill that does nothing to combat global warming or increase fuel economy standards and doesn’t do enough to fix our broken energy markets. Unless the legislation is substantially revised on the floor of the Senate, I will vote a second time against this bill.

In the past three years, evidence has surfaced proving that energy companies deliberately manipulated the supply and price of energy during the Western energy crisis.

Yet, the Senate energy bill does not prevent the type of gaming that went on during the energy crisis, nor does it provide adequate regulatory oversight of the energy trading market.

In fact, the Senate bill only bans one type of specific manipulation — wash trades in the electricity market — but it does not address the natural gas market, nor does it prevent other forms of fraud and manipulation that took place in California and were detailed in memos released by Enron — “Fat Boy,” Ricochet,” “Death Star” and “Get Shorty.”

I believe the energy bill should do much more. I would support an energy bill that:

• Provides strong consumer protections to fix our broken energy markets and prevent another energy crisis like the one we experienced in the West. This includes restoring the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) authority to provide anti-fraud and anti-manipulation oversight over energy trades and giving FERC the powers it has requested to adequately investigate and punish possible instances of fraud and manipulation.

• Increases the fuel efficiency of our vehicles to reduce the amount of oil we consume, lessen the amount of carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere and save families and businesses money at the pump.

• Increases our energy production while protecting our environment. This means not infringing on such environmentally sensitive areas as the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and our waters off the California coast.

• Addresses global warming and establishes plans to combat climate change.

• Encourages the development of new renewable power from solar, wind and geothermal resources, for example.

I strongly believe our nation needs an energy policy that will protect consumers, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and promote new energy development while protecting our environment.

If our energy legislation cannot accomplish these objectives, it will be an unbalanced and incomplete energy policy that should be defeated.


U.S. Senate


Mormons and libertarianism

The article about whether one can be a good Mormon and a good Democrat made me think (“Church and state,” Page 1, Sunday). I believe we cannot be a good Mormon and a Democrat — or a Republican. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) doctrine is completely libertarian in nature. Mormonism’s and libertarianism’s foundational premises allow people to do anything they wish as long as they don’t harm another’s person or property. Ninth LDS President David O. McKay (among others) stated in several LDS General Conference addresses: “Teach the highest ideal in the social and political life of man; namely, perfect liberty of action so long as you do not trespass upon the rights and privileges of others.”

LDS doctrine states that Lucifer, before his fall from heaven, proposed that mankind be forced to do good and to avoid evil. His ideas were rejected in favor of man’s having “agency” to do as he pleases. LDS doctrine says that God sent men to Earth with freedom as a test “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abr. 3:25). Former LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, who was secretary of agriculture under President Eisenhower, stated, “What is the devil’s plan? To force men; to take away from them their agency; to compel them to do the bidding of somebody else, whether they like it or not.” Forcing people to refrain from certain things that don’t “trespass upon the rights and privileges of others” is of the devil.

Other LDS scriptures denounce force and promote personal freedom. “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others…” (D&C; 134:4). Men can’t use their personal morality as an excuse to deny others their liberties. The Apostle Paul also said so in 1 Corinthians 10:29 that he rejected the idea of others limiting his choice of foods due to their religious beliefs against those foods. We can’t limit the choices of others because of our religious beliefs against such choices.

Republicans and Democrats both promote forcing people to obey their notions of morality. Republicans want to use force to prevent people from sinning (abortion, prostitution, drugs, gambling, etc.) while Democrats want to use force to cause people to be Christ-like by taking their money and giving it to social welfare agencies and passing laws outlawing discrimination. Both emulate Satan’s plan for using force to promote righteousness. Because of this, one can in no way be a good Mormon and also a good Democrat or a good Republican.

Libertarianism is the only political philosophy compatible with official LDS doctrine. Paul’s statement suggests that all Christians should follow libertarianism, as well.


Boise, Idaho

Highway robbery

Where in the world has Roger Clegg been for the past 20 years (“Disappointing legislation,” Op-Ed, Monday)? He criticizes the Bush administration for including in its highway reauthorization bill a requirement that “not less than 10 percent” of the appropriations “shall” be expended with businesses controlled by minorities and women — as if this were an innovation.

This provision was inserted in President Reagan’s first highway bill back in 1982 by Rep. Parren Mitchell of Maryland, and it passed with solid congressional approval. I know, because as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration at the time, I fought it as hard as I could. I fought to no avail, however, because members of Congress feared being labeled racists.

Not only has the provision fundamentally corrupted the competitive bid principle, but it has stigmatized minority businesses by portraying them as incapable of competing on an equal basis with white-owned businesses. This is shameful and in direct contradiction to the principles this country espouses. Nonetheless, Congress has insisted that it be included in every transportation bill submitted by Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Does Mr. Clegg seriously believe Congress, with something like half of the Democratic membership running for president, will reverse course?

There are scads of major issues President Bush faces today. He has a multitude of critics who, perhaps like Mr. Clegg, expect him to fight to the death over them all. Fortunately, he’s smart enough to know that he has to concentrate on the really important ones that he has a chance of winning. The history of this provision is such that at this time, pursuing its demise would be useless and could jeopardize his chances to achieve victories with other issues.


Austin, Texas

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