Security vs. Privacy - Schneier on Security

If there's a debate that sums up post-9/11 politics, it's security versus privacy

The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria :: Daniel Pipes

China could not now be described in any way as a liberal democracy. At present, no more than 20 percent of its economy has been marketized, and most importantly it continues to be ruled by a self-appointed Communist party which has given no hint of wanting to devolve power. Deng has made none of Gorbachev's promises regarding democratization of the political system and there is no Chinese equivalent of glasnost. The Chinese leadership has in fact been much more circumspect in criticizing Mao and Maoism than Gorbachev with respect to Brezhnev and Stalin, and the regime continues to pay lip service to Marxism-Leninism as its ideological underpinning. But anyone familiar with the outlook and behavior of the new technocratic elite now governing China knows that Marxism and ideological principle have become virtually irrelevant as guides to policy, and that bourgeois consumerism has a real meaning in that country for the first time since the revolution. The various slowdowns in the pace of reform, the campaigns against "spiritual pollution" and crackdowns on political dissent are more properly seen as tactical adjustments made in the process of managing what is an extraordinarily difficult political transition. By ducking the question of political reform while putting the economy on a new footing, Deng has managed to avoid the breakdown of authority that has accompanied Gorbachev's . Yet the pull of the liberal idea continues to be very strong as economic power devolves and the economy becomes more open to the outside world. There are currently over 20,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S. and other Western countries, almost all of them the children of the Chinese elite. It is hard to believe that when they return home to run the country they will be content for China to be the only country in Asia unaffected by the larger democratizing trend. The student demonstrations in Beijing that broke out first in December 1986 and recurred recently on the occasion of Hu Yao-bang's death were only the beginning of what will inevitably be mounting pressure for change in the political system as well.

Capitalism vs. the Climate | The Nation

Hauenstein Center | Presidential & Leadership Studies

Fanny Alger was a teen-aged servant in the Smith's home. Joseph and Emma had "adopted" Fanny when she was about 16 years old (1833). She is believed to be either Joseph Smith's first polygamous "wife" or simply a sexual encounter. (The Church's essay, "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo," says it was a marriage, whereas Lawrence Foster said, "…contemporary evidence strongly suggests that Smith sustained sexual relations with Fanny Alger, it does not indicate that this was viewed either by Smith himself or by his associates at the time as a 'marriage.'" Dialogue Vol. 33 No. 1 pp. 184-86.) Critics believe he had an affair with her, was found out, and then introduced the concept of plural marriage in order to justify and continue his affair with her and then other women.Some historians record the date of the "marriage" as early as 1833, while others believe it was 1835, putting Fanny's age anywhere from 17-19. Fanny departed the Smith home sometime in 1836, the same year Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated for revealing Joseph Smith's "dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's."Warren Parrish, the secretary of Joseph for a period of time, told Benjamin Johnson that he and Oliver Cowdery knew the report of an affair between Joseph and the girl to be true, for they "were spied upon and found together." (, 1903.)Critic's Note: Regardless of whether Joseph Smith's relations with Fanny Alger was merely a sexual encounter or a "marriage," it was adulterous. However, Joseph could only be , and even if it is claimed that the "marriage" was a symbolic "celestial only" sealing, the sealing power was not restored until April 1836, after Joseph's "marriage" to Fanny.Whether Joseph's "marriage" to Fanny Alger occurred in 1833 or 1835, it was illegal both under the laws of the land and under any theory of divine authority. Plural marriages are rooted in the notion of "sealing" for time and eternity. It is claimed that the "sealing power" was restored 3 April 1836 when Elijah appeared to Joseph and committed the sealing keys into his hands. (, The Joseph Smith Papers.) Until that time no one on earth had authority to "seal" Joseph and Fanny. As a result, his marriage to her was a nullity from the beginning both in time and eternity, and any sexual relationship he had with her was adulterous.As admitted in the LDS essay, "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo":

[C]areful estimates put the number [of Joseph Smith's wives] between 30 and 40.Following his marriage to Louisa Beaman and before he married other single women, Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married.Estimates of the number of these sealings range from 12 to 14.
from the LDS website (also see footnote #24).In other words, Joseph "married" or was "sealed" to 12-14 women who were already legally wedded to other men at the time. Following is a list of Joseph's wives that we know of (some researchers estimate that the number may have been higher). A name indicated with an * was a living husband of the woman to whom Joseph Smith was "married" (From the website, )(The above table can be downloaded as a .)

The Hamilton Hustle | Matt Stoller

"Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity or non-essential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I wish here, to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it to be false. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the law of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage IN PART --and is good so far as it goes--and so far as a man abides these conditions of the law, he will receive his reward therefore, and this reward, or blessing, he could not obtain on any other grounds or conditions. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain a fulness of the blessings pertaining to the celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. He cannot receive the fulness of the blessings unless he fulfills the law, any more than he can claim the gift of the Holy Ghost after he is baptized without the laying on of hands by proper authority, or the remission of sins without baptism, though he may repent in sackcloth and ashes."

The Hamilton Hustle Why liberals have embraced our most dangerously reactionary founder