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…

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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.

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.

Daesh (ISIS) Now Specifically Threatens LDS Church (Annual Threat Update)

Apparently, this is turning into an annual Christmas tradition here. Two years ago, I posted about Daesh (ISIS) stating they would target churches in the US and last year I noted that they had reaffirmed that threat. Both times, I have highlighted LDS churches have been made into tempting soft targets. Just a week ago, Daesh demonstrated their appetite to kill at religious sites and the bloody carnage that results. That brings us to our third anniversary. This year, Daesh decided to not only reissue their threat but treat us with imagery specific to the LDS church (Image with LDS temple, terrorist, circulating online).

(KUTV) A disturbing, concerning image is circulating online claiming that a group is targeting the LDS temple in San Deigo, California. The picture which was allegedly released by a pro-ISIS media group shows a burning temple with an alleged member of ISIS looking on and the bloody words “Coming Soon.”

The FBI says they are “not aware of any specific and credible threat to [the LDS] community”. However, lone wolf and terrorist’s whole purpose is to fly under the radar.  The FBI isn’t able to catch everything; evidenced by recent terror attacks here and the still unresolved Vegas shooting (not to mention Fox 13’s report about Daesh recruiting in Utah). It is still up to individuals and organizations to maintain vigilance and situational awareness and be, preferably, granted a means of defense.

Unfortunately, we’re three years into this and folks are still stripped of the some excellent individual means of defense and a simple means to harden an exploitable soft target (i.e. the church’s firearms ban).

The article concludes with a U of U counter-terrorism expert:

“I think it warrants attention,” Guiora said. “We have a tendency to dismiss things that seem this can’t happen. but I think what we’ve learned in the past period – literally anything can happen. Terrorists say what they mean and they mean what they say.”

At the same time, Guiora said the last thing we want to do is stay home.

“You don’t want people to stay home, because if you stay home then terrorism wins,” he said.

I have to admit that it’s a bit more tempting to stay home when you’re denied a defensive ability and hindered in fulfilling a God-given duty to protect the innocent. It’s not all that fun being told to be a sitting duck. Regardless, to reiterate last year’s conclusion: As you go to church, pray, be vigilant, look for improvised means of defense and be ready to act. Please also review the following (also linked on my prior two posts on this subject):
Recognizing 8 Signs of Terrorism
How Situational Awareness Can Save Your Life In A Terror Attack

Stay vigilant and have a Merry Christmas!

Mayor Lewis’ Definition Of A Positive Campaign (Bountiful 2017 Election)

I understand that the current Mayor (Randy Lewis) insists that he’s running a positive campaign and his October 18 email (written by Councilman John Pitt) is ironically titled “Why is there so much negativity this election?”. Why indeed. Pitt’s email is a negative hit on the Mayor’s opponent. The irony of a negative email decrying negativity borders on humorous satire.

I suppose Mayor Lewis has a very interesting definition of ‘positive’ given the personal attacks from David Irvine certainly appear to be hosted on his mailing list. One such David Irvine email entitled “Truth in Bountiful”* and begins with “WHY I’M VOTING FOR KENDALYN HARRIS and CHRIS SIMONSEN”. The attack email focused on Kenny Knighton’s religious preference (or lack thereof – he’s an atheist). The hit resulted in Knighton deciding it wasn’t worth putting up with personal attacks and dropped out.


It looks like Mr. Lewis may be using a surrogate attack dog while pretending to be running a positive campaign. He may have assumed no one would bother checking his email list archive or email footers to notice the…ahem…’not so positive’ emails he’s hosting.

Several of the emails promote current Councilwoman Kendalyn Harris and Mr. Simonsen. I don’t know if either have agreed to the emails and sharing the list (maybe it’s incumbents helping each other stay in power). I wonder if they are running as a team. If so, I guess Harris and Simonsen condone the emails (especially since they resulted in an opponent dropping out). If they aren’t a team, the Mayor is going out on a limb by insinuating some affiliation via these emails.

Between the very ‘positive’ attacks and apparent feigning of Harris/Simonsen affiliation it’s quite the spin cycle. Wag the dog, Mayor Lewis/David Irvine/Truth in Bountiful, wag that dog.

*Note: Truth in Bountiful also appears to be Mr. Irvine’s group moniker to veil their affiliation with Mayor Lewis’ campaign. Emails are either copyrighted to David Irvine or “Truth in Bountiful” (particularly the negative emails) or “Mayor Randy Lewis” (more positively oriented emails).

For what it’s worth, some folks have also asked where the above got their email address. I found out Senator Todd Weiler is the source for the email addresses.

Repeating History: LDS Church And KSL Programming

Three years ago, I wrote about some of the LDS Church’s youthful members supporting gay marriage and the possible link to KSL programming which promoted and advocated for ‘alternative lifestyles’.

Rather than turning down this leftist advocacy, looks like they’re doubling down: Grateful cast, creators ready for ‘Will & Grace’ return (I also confirmed the show is on KSL’s program listings). What could go wrong?