Time To Change: Conservatives Blowing It On Government and Education Sectors

I recently read this article:

How to Cope With Your Prof’s Left-wing Bias

The article deals with university professors but the problem is seen at virtually all levels of the educations system. However, how did we get here? How did we get to the point that conservatives, libertarians, and even moderates, have to basically hide and/or pretend to be liberal to be able to get through school?

Realistically, it’s out own fault. For decades we’ve told our kids how awful government and education systems are and to avoid them (instead of getting in there and fixing them). So guess what, our kids listened. Meanwhile, all the liberal kids took those jobs. We’ve basically ceded the ground to liberals/progressives in those fields and look how it’s turned out.

Rather, we need to acknowledge the serious problems of the education/indoctrination system and incredibly dangerous deep state AND encourage ourselves and our kids to consider getting in there an being the voice of reason to balance debate (actually have debate and free thought). Yes, it will be tough to get in and rough (you’ll be considered a pariah) requiring significant patience and forethought/strategy. However, it should be quite evident that continuing to cede these career fields to oppressive progressives and social justice warriors is just not an option.

We need to quit just bashing education and government employment and get in these fields to help fix the destruction that has been wrought.

Utah Legislative Tax Reform Task Force Thumbs Nose At Citizens, Opts For Corporate Socialism And Gives Delta Airlines Tax Gift

I got this in my email but am linking to the website as it should be read in full: Voters say no to 33% gas tax increase. Tax Task Force says tough—you’re going to pay it.

On November 6, 2018, Utah voters resoundingly said No! when asked if they would support a 10 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax—65% No (689,254 votes), 35% Yes (363,878 votes).  So, what does the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force do? They ignore the vote of the citizens and include a “temporary” 4.85% state sales tax on a gallon of gasoline in their tax reform proposal.

A state sales tax on gasoline would raise the price of a gallon of gas by 9.7 cents—based on the July wholesale price of $2.00 per gallon in the Rocky Mountain Region. The total state sales tax on a gallon of gas will go from 30 cents to 39.7 cents—a 33% tax increase and on January 1,2020 that will increase to 40.8 cents per gallon since the legislature has already built in an automatic increase in the existing per gallon gas tax.

This type of tax is regressive and hits the middle class and low income folks proportionally harder (see the original article for details). This is on top of raising the food tax (also very regressive) and they plan on also taxing shipping/handling charges on every order.  Then there’s this:

Furthermore, in keeping with its penchant for using the tax code to reward Utah’s wealthiest citizens and to help big businesses socialize their costs while privatizing their profits, aviation fuel will continue to be taxed at between 2.5 cents per gallon and 9 cents per gallon. The 2.5 cents per gallon rate on federally certificated air carriers (SLC Airport) has been in place for 18 years but legislators are in no hurry to increase that tax. The estimated value of the aviation tax exemption is in the range of $180 million.

That means Delta Airlines etc. retain a sweat heart deal on taxes as do folks with private aircraft. So we’ll be hiking taxes on everyone else and subsidize corporate giants.  It’s no surprise that the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and their front groups instigated many of these ‘tax reforms’. Really ‘socializing cost while privatizing profits’ is effectively corporate socialism and the Salt Lake Chamber is a avid mentor of this socialism. No wonder taxpayers are now just seen, not as individuals and humans but as a “reservoir of funds” by these guys. Enough already.

I don’t have time to go into any more detail – please click the link at the top of this post and read the whole thing. Full disclosure: the author is my father.

Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) Public Affairs Coming To Terms With Lethal Anti-Gun Policy?

About a month ago, I put up a post continuing a years-long documentation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint’s steps on an unrealistic, deadly policy. The policy also resulted in some members pushing back. This week, it looks like they maybe starting to think of the consequences of public affairs’ political correctness patty-cake. The church is now acknowledging the threat of active shooters:

Updated Security Guidelines for Church Meetings and Events

The update includes a baby step (like a newborn baby step) forward. They now acknowledge the threat and provided some very basic (and, frankly, inadequate) guidance in the above document…in the very last page:

Run. Flee immediately if a safe path is available. Move quickly to the safest exit and away from the building to a safe location. Exit quietly, without drawing the attention of the assailant. Adults are to ensure all children are supervised and accounted for. Do not return to the building or to an office or classroom for personal items. Do not carry anything that could be mistaken for a weapon by responding law enforcement.

Hide. If you are unable to escape safely, hide out of sight of the assailant’s view. If possible, close, lock, and barricade the doors to the classrooms, offices, or other rooms where you are hiding. Turn out the lights, silence mobile phones, and keep low to the floor and away from windows. If there is an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the assailant, everyone in the building is to stay in their barricaded rooms until instructed otherwise by law enforcement.

Fight. As a last resort, if there is no time to run or hide, fight back against the assailant. Use
anything available as a weapon, and fight to stop the assailant. If others are present, organize to defend yourselves.

Unfortunately, none of this was read over the pulpit and likely virtually no one knows about it. The media reported on it briefly but there appears to be no plan to provide training or actual security to lay members (not even to get this into the hands of members). Here’s the biggest irony highlighting the double standard from the “Fight” section:

…Use anything available as a weapon…

Great. After they take lay member’s best means of defense and prohibit weapons, they say to…use a weapon. Riiight.

Meanwhile, higher church officials will continue to enjoy armed security details. This sure looks like members are being “divided into classes” with some worthy of armed protection and others not.

Finally, start with the above guidelines and please review and practice the resources here.

Compare/Contrast: Wildlife Biologists and Teacher Unions

I was browsing job announcements a week or so ago and one caught my eye: the state is looking for a wildlife biologist. Well over a decade ago, I worked as a wildlife biologist. It didn’t pay much but I loved the job and had to move on as we expanded our family. Work was no picnic; you had long hours in bad weather conditions (especially when caring for animals) and had expansive duties (vehicle and equipment maintenance, chemical management, computer systems administration etc. etc.) but we enjoyed the work despite often eating overtime (we frequently didn’t have a budget to pay overtime, so we wouldn’t claim it).

Any way back to the job posting. I was shocked when I saw the pay for the job: $16.31 an hour. In all these years the pay has barely budged – it has only increased about 8.7%. That certainly doesn’t keep up with inflation over all that time. Wildlife biologist jobs are highly competitive – you need a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree plus several years of experience (in the job announcement they want five years direct experience, it used to be only two). Often the Bachelor’s degree isn’t enough and you need the Master’s degree for an entry-level position…earning $16.30/hr. It’s so competitive that I remember being beat out by a PhD for such an entry level job!

As I said, despite very tight finances, I loved the job but I have no idea how anyone can do it now – especially with the housing bubble we see now. They don’t give you a vehicle outside of work duties and they no longer let your family come out with you during field surveys etc. (hopefully that has changed but I doubt the liability lawyers will allow it – it was one of the few benefits that helped compensate for the lack of compensation). No one has taken notice of this and I bet the jobs are highly competitive. I suppose biologist still scrape by (more so now then ever) and find happiness in the job. When I was in, people didn’t complain as we all knew the low pay when we were earning our degree and gaining experience – we just found happiness in the job and if pay wasn’t enough, I moved on without begrudging anyone.

Compare that to the teachers’ lobby. Politicians cater to them, they have a huge political machine and they certainly don’t go unnoticed. I hear constant complaining and protests (plus strike threats). Yet they come out of school and get a $40k/year job but work 9.5 months for it. It would be nice if someone would take notice of the biologists who knowingly go into a low paying, competitive field and don’t gripe constantly about what they knew they were getting into.

Member Push Back On Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) Anti-Gun Policy

The Church of Jesus Christ recently formalized and publicized their dangerous policy for meetinghouse security (or the lack thereof) and now there may be push back. The social justice movement has undoubtedly been successful with the church on illegal immigration and LGBT issues and the church continues to cater to them as it embraces a globalist posture. Many of these policy directions have come at the expense of undermining individual rights/choice, the doctrine on a divinely inspired US Constitution, and in seeming conflict with current and past instructions to members along with the accompanying double standards.

Interestingly, there may be push back from members who have quietly put up with all the policy shifts. Taking a page from the ‘social justice’ protesters play book (e.g. ‘wear pants to church’ day), I’m hearing of personal protests related to the policy. Thus far I’ve heard of civil disobedience (ignoring the policy), carrying a visible, empty holster (bad idea, IMO), walking out, calling church HQ and a ‘soft walk out’ (my term for it).

I like the soft walk out best (it can be combined with calling church HQ). Here’s the soft walk out theory: The church meticulously watches its weekly attendance. The attendance clerk typically runs the count immediately after the sacrament is passed. To coincide with the week of Constitution Day, on September 22nd, protesters would quietly walk out for a bathroom break or to get something from their car and return to their seat once the count was completed. Walking away from the count would be even easier if you sat out in the foyer rather than inside the chapel.

I have no idea how many will do any of these let alone how many know or have thought of the above. I don’t really care. I’m sold on the soft walk out, I’m tired of being pushed around and getting hit by friendly fire from the public affairs virtue signalers. Regardless of what you do regarding this policy or how you feel about it, please review active shooter training and be vigilant.

The Church of Jesus Christ Enacts Lethal Policy, Ensures Meetinghouses Are Soft Targets (Update)

I’ve been documenting this dangerous policy for years, including the beginning of this year.

This new announcement  isn’t much of a change from the current policy but strengthens the gun ban and extends it to all “lethal weapons” (a vague policy letting them pick and choose what they ban). Either way, it means attending members are left defenseless in an advertised soft target. The Salt Lake Tribune has a very good article by Kathy Stephenson and Peggy Fletcher Stack on this. Read the whole thing:

LDS Church makes it clear: No guns in its meetinghouses

The article mentions two shootings that took place at a Church facility:

There have been gun incidents — even deadly ones — at Latter-day Saint meetinghouses through the years. In July, a 48-year-old man opened fire inside a church in the northern Nevada city of Fallon, killing one man and wounding another. A decade ago in Utah County, a pregnant woman was shot and killed by her estranged husband in the parking lot…

Not one of these incidents would have been prevented by the new policy. It won’t stop a criminal/murder. Worse, it reduces security. It ensures a disarmed, vulnerable set of victims to be slaughtered, particularly in a space with poor egress. This is a very tempting target for a criminal or terrorist.

This begs a few questions:

1. What will the church do to secure their facilities and ensure congregants are protected?

2. Will church leadership (including President Nelson) lead by example, eschew armed security and adhere to the policy and risk their lay members are subject to?

3. Does this reveal a significant policy/doctrinal change on the divinity of the US Constitution?

Finally, please click this post from January on this issue and I implore you to review the potentially life-saving training and resources in the last half of the post (as a start). You’re a sitting duck, best be prepared and aware.

UPDATE: The church is well aware of the threat and, in 2017, was provided a white paper through their lobbyist, Marty Stephens, on options regarding their dangerous no self-defense policy (View/download here: “Protecting LDS Church Members Against Church Shootings“). The document has plenty of background resources as well (read the whole thing including appendices). It is also noteworthy that one of the churches mentioned in the paper quietly rescinded their advertised no gun policy last year.

Perverse Incentive Double Dip: Student Loan Forgiveness For Public Employees

I was recently informed about this program: Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

As a taxpayer, this type of perverse incentive really grates me. It appears that we are getting hit twice. First, taxpayers pay the salary of these employees (which is fair since it’s their labor). However, they get a carve out and have us pay for their remaining student loans. That is not cool at all and they’re hitting the piggybank we’re forced to pay into twice. We’re already paying the salary they can use to pay off those loans and now we’re also forced to absorb the cost of those loans. I don’t know who came up with this program but it stinks.

In contrast, if a private arrangement is made to forgive a loan or donations are gathered, that’s cool, I have no dog in that fight. The difference is a forced versus voluntary action.

I’ll also say the loan forgiveness thing at taxpayer expense is rotten in general (regardless of who benefits). It’s a slap in the face to people who opted to save, work, or serve in the military to pay for college and leave with no debt as well as those who worked and paid off the debt they incurred. I remember several friends in college who worked full time while attending or made military commitments and sacrifices to pay their schooling. Those same folks who labored and bore the cost are now told to involuntarily pay off someone else’s loan. That is just awful and it teaches an irresponsible lesson to future generations.

Finally, this isn’t the first government program the promotes entitlement and dependency. Several years ago I highlighted the destructive and indoctrinating nature of the school breakfast for all. That brings me to an exit question/information request:

The free school breakfast and ‘come to the park to eat lunch for free’ programs (i.e. force your neighbors to pay for your lunch) are bad enough that they are open to everyone, rather than means tested. But even if means tested, they make no sense. Wouldn’t the same folks who would qualify also qualify for food stamps? If so, you would expect that they should have their SNAP benefit reduced by a comparable amount, right? Having both programs overlap, besides being wasteful, sure makes it sound like those receiving food stamps are not using them to purchase the food to feed their children – to me that sounds like there is a bigger problem afoot and while I’m not a big fan for child services intervention, having the means to feed your child but not doing so sure looks like something they should look into.

If there isn’t overlap between the programs and why they aren’t means tested, I would be interested in getting some sources of info to read. Please refrain from articles about it being government’s job to feed everyone – it will fall on deaf ears as we don’t have a duty to feed our neighbor and his kids when he makes $500K/year but blew his grocery budget on a new yacht (if people have prioritization issues, that’s their problem).

UPDATE (further reading): Here’s an article on the PLSF from Brookings from 2016: The coming Public Service Loan Forgiveness bonanza (I guess the bonanza is moving forward) and an article a couple of alternative student loan suggestions to think about: Two Conservative Ideas for Fixing Student Loans (see also Fixing student loans—the right way). Finally, here’s a bit of perspective from CNN (Wealthy Borrowers Will Benefit Most From Elizabeth Warren’s Student Debt Forgiveness Plan) and Brookings (The Typical Household with Student Loan Debt).