Utah Swamp Ruse 2018: Tricking You To Register To Vote And Share Personal Information

Last year, some Utah legislators tried to push through legislation effectively tricking people into unknowingly registering to vote and, thereby, gathering their personal information to sell and share with entrenched political parties and their cronies.

Well, “They’re baaaack…”

This year, we have Senator Deidre Henderson running the bill (SB 112 – Voter Registration Revisions) that would automatically register teens (18) and everyone else to vote when they go get their driver’s license and don’t read the fine print that they must opt-out. Once they’ve got your information, the Lieutenant Governor’s office ‘dutifully’ sells it to who ever wants the voter list and shares it with political cronies for their data mining.

The Utah voting list has turned up online and, best of all, includes birth dates to make it that much simpler for scammers to sort and target Utah’s elderly (click here for all posts on the voter list issue). But wait, there’s more: by cross linking to your driver’s license, they’ll be constantly updated with your latest contact information. That way if a lady tries to avoid a harasser or stalker by moving or changing their phone number, their tormentor need only pull the list and find the new phone/address. Really, the abuses by crooks and prying data-miners are endless*.

Of course, they bill is now sitting in the committee of Chicago politician and Utah’s biggest legislative swamp gator, Senator Curt Bramble. So I wouldn’t take it for granted that good legislators will quash the bamboozle. Please contact your Representative/Senator and ask them to oppose SB112 (and HB67 and HB154 – see update below).

UPDATE: More legislators are pushing this garbage. Here are two more bills: HB 67 (Rep. Stephen Handy, ran it last year too) and HB 154 (Karianne Lisonbee, WTH?!). Evidently, our political elite have determined to that your identity belongs to them and you are just a product to market.

*As I said last year: In Utah, however, registering to vote also means that the State will turn your information into a money making scheme by selling it to anyone willing to pay the Lieutenant Governor’s office. I’ve been tracking this for years. The only way to avoid this is to qualify and make your record “private” (contact your County Clerk for details on qualifications). This de facto public release results in a threat for unknowing voters who have security concerns (eg domestic abuse survivors etc) along with scam targets (the elderly via the list containing birth dates).

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LDS Church Renews Tempting Soft Target Status For 2018

Last month I posted my annual warning/reminder about staying vigilant when attending services at an LDS church, particularly given the specific Daesh (ISIS) threat against the church. This month, I checked if anything had changed in terms of the church allowing members and visitors to have defensive means. Nope. The LDS church renewed its status as one of two churches in Utah to ban law-abiding citizens from possessing a firearm.

The ban is in effect for another year. Thus, if you attend church (or any ‘gun-ban’ public venue) this year, be sure to click the linked post and review the terrorism defense tips/links at the end of the post. Stay safe and good luck.

UTA Joined By Governor Herbert To Fleece Taxpayers

Governor Herbert came out with another bright idea for his Utah Transit Authority (UTA) buddies: More money!

Utah’s governor proposes taking gas tax money to pay for transit improvements

Tucked into the governor’s annual budget recommendations is a proposal to dip into funds normally earmarked for road repairs to pay for improvements to mass transit…

…The gas tax that you pay when you fill up your vehicle is normally spent at the Utah Dept. of Transportation to fix roads. Shifting some of the funds toward improvements in bus and train service might help get people out of their cars.

The governor detailed his idea while speaking to the Salt Lake Chamber earlier this week…

So Herbert (while hanging out with his co-Governor, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce) would like to pilfer road repair funds and funnel them to the UTA. The same UTA that comes with baggage such as travel and land deal scandals, waste highlighted by the State Auditor, and getting sweet tax-funded bailouts.

If they manage to pull off this stunt, the next ruse, when road repairs are delayed due to ‘lack of funding’, will be to cry about the desperate, unforeseeable need to raise the gas tax to fund the roads in critical need of repair. Of course, they’ll expect everyone will have forgotten the transfer to UTA by then.

It’s another episode of cronies paying off cronies.

*This post has received the Available Jones (TM) seal of approval.

Organizational Vs Individual Freedom: Elder M. Russell Ballard And Utah’s LGBT Law

In the LDS Church’s monthly publication, Ensign, which I recommend if you want some uplifting inspiration, I read through an article titled “The Eternal Importance of Family” written by M. Russell Ballard. The article was good as it related to traditional families and respecting those who disagree and/or don’t share those values. However, a portion caught my attention and caused some dismay. In reference to Utah’s 2015 LGBT non-discrimination law supported by the church, he states:

At the same time, religious conscience and the right to practice deeply held religious beliefs are protected by this robust legislation.

Back when the bill was developed and debated, I caught the discrepancy in the church’s justification to support the proposal:

Good For The Gander: LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Laws

LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Law Credibility

The disconnect is that the law protects organizations to practice deeply held religious beliefs via specific exemptions (see above links or the footnote 12 in the Ensign article). Individuals are not exempted; only certain organizations are.  It does not protect individual freedom, quite the contrary.

Individual freedom is the basis for freedom. Basically, it would be like saying there is only freedom of speech for specific organizations and if you aren’t working on behalf of it, you have no right and may be legally sanctioned for what you say; only specific organizations have protection from unreasonable search and seizure but you don’t and so forth.

While the church received an exemption and retained their right, individual members and non-members alike were thrown under the bus and lost their freedom. Meanwhile, we hear of Oregon upholding the fine against the cake bakers under the guise of non-discrimination. I don’t think Utah’s law is as bad as Oregon’s and, hopefully, won’t be construed or form the basis for similar actions here. Nevertheless, it doesn’t protect individual religious freedom and may open the door to exploitation in the future.

Disclaimer: I don’t advocate denying basic services – that sort of stuff isn’t my thing and goes against my beliefs. However, if there are plenty of alternative, willing sources for a basic need, then no law should be made and no freedom intruded upon (the issue is moot). Furthermore, economic and peer/societal consequences will be brought to bear as others use their free association to not conduct business  etc. with those denying the service. For fluff stuff like cakes, I think it absurd and unconstitutional to restrict freedom of the business or consumer.

Don’t Be Fooled By OurSchoolsNow (AKA Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce)

Elite political players (particularly the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce) is continuing to push their newest front group: “Our Schools Now”. I noted the Chamber’s newest tax-pushing alias in June along with the ‘fuzzy math’ they’re using to trick people into increasing burdens on Utah’s families (it’s actually big 18% tax increase).

The Chamber (via their alias) is continuing to push the tax hike they exempt themselves from and the coming new year is a good time to remind folks about their game. Click the above link for background on their math and the political insiders backing the increase. Also keep tabs on Libertas Institute as they are on top of the spin coming out from the Chamber as well. That includes reporting on budgetary misapplication (Another Education Ranking Shows Money Isn’t Everything):

…Our Schools Now has said previously, “Even 750 million [dollars] isn’t enough to solve the problems that we’re in.” In other words, no matter how much taxpayer money the Utah Legislature gives to the school system, it will never be enough—not only because funding has very little correlation to student outcomes, but because Utah’s $15+ billion budget looks very much like a leaky sieve when it comes to K-12 education spending. As the state adds taxpayer money to the general and education funds, a lot of it is siphoned off to transportation and higher education.

Utah doesn’t have a lack of funding problem, it has a budget prioritization problem. That is why, in the end, this tax increase initiative will do little to help teachers…

Bigger Swamp Playground? Rob Anderson, Count My Vote, And The Utah Republican Party

Earlier this month, I ran across a scathing report on Rob Anderson’s time with the Davis County Republican Party. He’s now Chair of the Utah Republican Party (GOP). I concluded the post with:

Will the state party (or media) address this at all or did Chairman Anderson find a bigger swamp to play in?

I may already have my answer. Two reports are out. A short KUTV blurb (Activist says “Civil War” in Utah GOP, special meeting Saturday). In this, a familiar tone is sounded:

“This disagreement with the governing body, and it’s rogue chair will end up in the courts,” said Bill Olson, retired CEO and Utah transplant, who immersed himself in state Republican politics. “He’s a rogue chair.”

For a more in depth report on what is going on, see the op-ed at Utah Standard News (NewsOp: Anderson Flips Again). The report gives much more background and was helpful for me. It notes that Anderson is attempting to usurp authority and may well be a plant by the Count My Vote folks:

Rather, his actions lend immense credibility to those who suspect he’s colluding with Count My Vote to bankrupt the Party, undermine the Caucus System, and silence the SCC.

As noted in the article, Count My Vote was pushed by high power political-media elites, many of whom stand to benefit from it:

If CMV passes, Utah’s media outlets will make a killing on primary campaign advertising. One political consultant stated “So much of this [CMV] has always been about lining the pockets of the consultant class. As a former (and sometimes current) member of the political consulting class, I can tell you that primaries are money makers for “campaign professionals”, and that mostly means media/ad buys.

Per KUTV, attendees include Teena Horlacher who is very familiar with Anderson’s (and his attorney’s) ‘ethical’ behavior while at the Davis County GOP. Let’s face it, the behavior was very swampy.

Better yet, it seems Anderson will be appointing an attorney for the SCC:

Anderson is also complaining about the special SCC meeting called for this Saturday. He says that the GOP attorney, who hasn’t been confirmed yet, has the opinion that the meeting is outside of GOP Bylaws.

If I were on the Utah GOP’s State Central Committee, I would be extremely careful about the attorney he appoints based on what went down at the Davis GOP. If it turns out to be his Davis County GOP days attorney, David Irvine, it only lends even more credibility to his association with Count My Vote since Irvine was (surprise!) a big proponent of it (just run a web search).

I haven’t heard what came of the Saturday meeting but I’ll try to update this if I find a summary somewhere. In the meantime, the SCC may want to keep an extraordinarily close watch on their indemnification protection…

UPDATE: Here’s a write up on the meeting which includes a link to a video of the entire meeting: UTGOP Chair Fails to Sabotage Successful Special SCC Meeting

Local Swamp Drain Needed: Utah Republican Party And Rob Anderson’s Ethics

I don’t know if this was ever covered by the Utah media (please let me know if they have). After a web search it seems like they’ve totally ignored the Davis County Republican Party (DCRP) press release published about a month ago. It’s pretty scathing.  Here are some snippets but hit the link and read the whole thing.

Ethics Complaints Substantiated against former Davis County Republican Party Chair Rob Anderson
Press Release, November 2, 2017

…The complaint was initially filed, on October 16, 2015. In the process of the investigation, the accused, Rob Anderson, when asked to answer questions in relation to the charges responded through his attorney, David Irvine.

Irvine, with Anderson present, informed the ethics committee that if they proceeded with any further investigation he would bring suit against each individual member of the ethics committee on Anderson’s behalf. He based this threat on a supposed loophole within the constitution of the DCRP, which, according to Irvine, left ethics committee members vulnerable due to lack of protection from potential lawsuits. Under this threat, one ethics committee member resigned. The remaining committee members, fearful to proceed due to a question of legal indemnification, suspended their work on the investigation…

….With the change of party leadership in May of 2017, it was discovered that Anderson had removed the ethics committee from the liability insurance policy held by the DCRP shortly after the 2016 County Convention without discussion or consent of the County Central Committee or executive committee…

…With the change of party leadership in May of 2017, it was discovered that Anderson had removed the ethics committee from the liability insurance policy held by the DCRP shortly after the 2016 County Convention without discussion or consent of the County Central Committee or executive committee…

…The workings of the ethics committee are very confidential as stipulated by the DCRP Constitution and Bylaws, however, part of the complaint and some of the specifics regarding it were leaked to the press in 2016. This satirical and slanted article is believed to be aimed at shutting down the ethics committee and others and to dissuade any future allegations from being brought forward. (Rolly: Signature-gathering firm goes from villain to hero for Utah GOP, archive.sltrib.com).

“In a world where it seems no one is held accountable for unethical behavior it is gratifying to see the ethics committee rebound and come forward with their finding in a courageous manner,” said Teena Horlacher, current chair of the DCRP….

Wow. So, if I get this, Anderson removed the ethics committee’s indemnification then sicced his lawyer (David Irvine*) on them to threaten and intimidate them (since they no longer had indemnification protection). Once the party fixed rules and the investigation could restart, they discovered the indemnification trick Anderson had pulled (I wonder if he pulled that under the advice/scheme of his attorney who then used the opening to threaten the ethics committee). Then someone leaked info to Paul Rolly so he could write (another) one of his distorted, pseudo-journalist hit pieces (…should I even use “journalist” in a sentence with Rolly’s name?…).

First, well done to Teena Horlacher and the DCRP ethics committee for trying to bring this to light. Next, where is the media on this?! Seriously, I couldn’t find a report on this at all. But Rob Anderson is gone from the DCRP!, you say. Yeah, that’s true. He’s not in charge of the DCRP; he’s only the Chairman of the Utah Republican Party.

Will the state party (or media) address this at all or did Chairman Anderson find a bigger swamp to play in?

UPDATE: Maybe I do know why the media wants to ignore this. It appears Anderson may well be a Count My Vote ally which means lots of $$$ for the media via political ads etc. – see the latest post on Rob Anderson and the Utah GOP

*If you read this blog and Irvine’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the same attorney who acted as the surrogate attack dog for Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis’ “positive” campaign. UPDATE: Heh, if you can laugh at irony, Irvine is with Utahns for Ethical Government and A Better Utah. Giggle.