The Utah GOP Establishment’s One-Sided Unity

This subject is turning into a series. About a week ago, I wrote about the Swamp Wing of the GOP consolidating power and telling conservatives to get out and get a new party. A few days ago, I discussed the Utah Republican Party and their benefactor’s myopic focus on economy while our social fabric is torn asunder.

Well, here’s another example of elite ignorance. A few days ago, Aimee Winder Newton wrote:

If you’re tired of the bickering and are ready to move on from the political conflicts of recent years (like me), this ought to be a shot in the arm for Utah Republicans. Our new party leadership has pledged to get back to the most basic and fundamental purpose of the state’s GOP … winning elections.

Um…Ms. Newton seems to have selective amnesia. When insiders’ power was threatened, she and other Utah elites were quite happy to engage in “political conflict” and “bickering”. She happily supported the spoiler campaign of Evan McMullin. When it comes to the “fundamental purpose of the state’s GOP … winning elections”, it’s a tad ironic that McMullin avowed he was in the race to help Hillary Clinton win (preferable to political outsider, Trump).

For years, these insiders told conservatives to suck it up and vote for the milquetoast GOP candidate fare and endure their failure theater because Democrats would be worse. But as soon as the shoe was on the other foot, they threw a massive fit and backed a poster-child-for-the-deep-state to throw the election to Hillary Clinton and to give us a progressive Supreme Court for decades.

Now, these insiders tighten the grip on power in the party and their swamp buddy tells the grassroots to take a hike. Like I wrote back in December, these so-called elites are really an ignorant, ivory tower bubble class.

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Hillbilly Elegy, The Utah Republican Party And The Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce

I wrote about political insiders effectively consolidating their take over of the Utah GOP. The outgoing party Chair then told conservatives and other grassroots folks they are not welcome and to get out and find another party. The GOP entrenched elites headed by Governor Gary Herbert have some fellow travelers, most prominent of which is the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. These select groups have formed various policy front groups which they control and employ to provide a false veneer of neutral analysis to champion/justify their political goals/policies; a self-licking ice cream cone. The roll up of the GOP will certainly strengthen the local oligarchy they have formed.

They operate under the premise that what is good for business and GDP is good for everyone. They seem to believe in a one-size-fits-all silver bullet that stock values and business profits and growth equate to a healthy society. But that’s a lazy half truth that they (and many conservatives) fall for. To wit, with the power consolidation, we’ll likely see further business costs/risks being pushed onto the backs of of struggling families, onto low and middle income Utahns and onto small businesses — socializing the costs and privatizing profits. This will be done to improve the (big) business environment and to ensure the continued growth of government by broadening the tax base.

Certainly, having jobs is important to society but business success doesn’t always translate into jobs (e.g. automation and outsourcing) nor does it mean jobs are created where they’re needed (such as the rust belt and the vacating of rural Utah and especially where there is a seemingly blind focus on the Wasatch Front for government-assisted economic development measures). Nor can business success serve as a surrogate for the health of the foundational unit of society – the family and it certainly does not ensure a higher quality of life.

At the beginning of this year, Tucker Carlson gave a monologue on this issue which should be considered by everyone. I was going to quote part of his talk to capture his main point but decided against it because it is too important. It really must be considered at in full. Watch the segment or read the transcript here: Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it’s infuriating.

I also just finished J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy. I can’t recommend a better book. Just read it. It is a must for anyone who cares about their neighbors and community (and for those involved in politics/policy) or preparing for a church mission*.

Vance also took note of Carlson’s monologue (The Health Of Nations: Conservatives should heed Tucker Carlson’s advice. We shouldn’t assume that what is good for markets is good for all of us). He notes:

This raises a fundamental question with which so many of Tucker’s critics refuse to even engage: What happens when the companies that drive the market economy — and all of its benefits — don’t care about the American nation’s social fabric? What happens when, as in the case of a few massive narcotics sellers, they profit by destroying that fabric?

Surely our response can’t be: “Well, the market will take care of it.” The market is not a Platonic deity, floating in the sky and imposing goodness and prosperity from on high. It is the creation of our choices, our laws, and our democratic process. We know, for instance, that pornography has radically altered how young boys perceive their relationships with women and sex, and that the pornography industry has acquired a lot of wealth…

Again, please read the entire article (AND his book). It is true that both parties have rejected the social aspect of policy. National Republican economic elites have basically cast out and silenced social conservatives. We’re told the way to win elections is to limit ourselves to economic issues and definitely avoid anything about morality or “traditional family values”.

Meanwhile, in his book, JD Vance refers to family values with strong church and community support as part of the remedy to the situations he was faced as a youth:

…So I wasn’t surprised that Mormon Utah—with its strong church, integrated communities, and intact families—wiped the floor with Rust Belt Ohio.

When I read this, it was a source of pride. But it vanished quickly and I was chilled when I realized that I know kids and families much like JD’s in my own neighborhood and in our classrooms*. Utah is not immune. We all know someone or a family just like JD’s. It’s already here and we’re not talking about it. Nor is it helpful when local churches waver on foundational moral principles that give the stability cited by Vance to Utah and, most importantly, its families.

I hope we’ll wake to this and not continue to be lead by the nose by the Salt Lake Chamber and that we will recognize that gross economic growth does not ensure a thriving society and economy. As individuals, we don’t get absolution by blaming our oligarchs and doing nothing. We need to get ourselves together, inculcate religious values in our children, take political action, and reach out to those like JD.

*If you want to understand those near you and those you teach or will serve. Read Hillbilly Elegy. His was an Appalachian family but the experience, consequences, and ‘enduring monsters’ that JD faces transcend Appalachia and exist next door, sit in an elementary school, and can be found behind the door missionaries knock on as they proclaim Christ’s gospel. There’s plenty of swearing but it isn’t gratuitous – it’s the way they talk. Get passed it and look at the heart and lessons, and act!

Swamp Wing Of Utah Republican Party Takes Over: Tells Conservatives To Leave, Get Another Party

Fox13 reported on the Utah GOP convention (Utah GOP ‘civil war’ appears to be winding down as delegates pick new leadership). At the convention, conservatives were booted from some party positions as the establishment consolidated power. Entrenched politicians and political operatives who’ve bungled so many things over the years are now fully in charge of the party. The same folks who continue to cater to the Chamber of Commerce and like to socialize business cost/risk and inadvertently mentor our younger generation to view socialism as something familiar and worth looking into.

As the Party’s outgoing chairman (ethically challenged, Rob Anderson ironically with Curt Bramble in the background) makes perfectly clear in Fox’s report:

“Their voices are a minority now,” he said of the group of party hardliners, adding: “Maybe it’s time for a new party for that group.”

So, it’s clear they don’t want you around. It’s been obvious for years that the establishment folks just saw conservatives as votes and people to use for the in the trenches grunt work they don’t like to do. They consider party grassroots and conservatives outside their cloistered circle as rubes that they must tolerate (but not respect) to retain power and have been plotting to get rid of grass roots and conservatives influence for years (click here for more). They’ve blocked all but the politically entrenched and certain wealthy folks from running for office by destroying the caucus system and rendered primaries virtually inaccessible for the average person (see the linked article). There’s no longer any use for participating in the party if you’re not an elite. Even the wealthy need to be cautious if they’re not acceptable to party elites as they will use tactics of personal destruction if you rock the boat.

They got their wish. The mask is now off the Utah Kabuki GOP Dance and they’re explicitly telling you they don’t like you and to just shut up and leave.

I’ll take them at their word. After decades as a Republican, I just changed my affiliation to Unaffiliated. It’s a piece of cake (takes about two minutes):

  • Go to the Utah Voter Registration site and click Update Registration (or direct link).
  • Plug in your info (House #, driver license #, birth date).
  • Scroll down to  the “Political Party” section and select “Unaffiliated” from the drop down.
  • Scroll down to the final three sections (Private Voter Record, Applicant Declaration, Signature).
    Be sure to select Yes on the Private Voter Record section to protect yourself from ID theft (otherwise the Lt. Gov’s office discloses and/or sells your personal voter info).
  • Confirm the applicant declaration and signature and you’re done.

Sayonara.

Mentoring The Next Generation Of Socialists: The Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce

I read this about a week ago and don’t have much to add (nor the time) so I’m wimping out and just posting a teaser excerpt. Read the piece in full – crony capitalism is the path to socialism and they don’t get it at all.

Salt Lake Chamber – Promoting Socialism by Socializing Costs and Privatizing Profits

Derek Miller, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, recently expressed deep concern about “the assault on free enterprise from the far right and the far left, from the halls of government to the sidewalks of Main Street.” He then noted that while “Utah makes free market principles work better than almost anywhere else….We already see anti-growth, anti-job sentiments creeping in.” He concludes by commending Governor Herbert for “calling for financial literacy courses in high schools” in order to “combat fascination with socialism.”

In my opinion, what Miller fails to grasp is that the “fascination with socialism” is fueled, at least in part, by the U.S. and Salt Lake Chambers of Commerce as they go about socializing business costs while privatizing profits. In fact, the Salt Lake Chamber has actively worked to socialize costs while privatizing profits for decades…

Full disclosure: the author is my father.

Edit: Heh, I was in such a rush that I forgot to include a link to the article. I added it above and here for good measure.

Addendum: I just heard about this and it somewhat ties into this subject. Utah offers a Custom Fit Funding program to train a company’s employees in a specific field. Utah covers part of the training cost thus subsidizing “up to 40% of the training costs” per the pamphlet I got. I can see such a program helping entice companies to rural areas that are hurting and experiencing brain drain to the Wasatch Front etc. but the program is offered at SLCC and not limited to struggling areas or small companies. I have trouble subsidizing a big company when it could cover the cost of the training if the employee contracts to stay with a company for a certain amount of time (something that companies have done for a long time). This sure sounds like more corporate welfare to me.

Church President Russel M. Nelson, Personal Opinion And Inspiration (UPDATE: PBS Report On Congregation Security)

I had a recent experience on Sunday where Church of Jesus Christ President/Prophet Nelson attended our service. The talks were really good and President Nelson offered a few concluding words. His words were an example that the Church President is a man and is fallible.

President Nelson noted he had recently visited church members in Sri Lanka and the sadness he felt for the despicable attack on Christians. He then stated how grateful he is that we are ‘fortunate to live in a country where we can worship in peace and safety’.

I assume he was not aware of the attack (Saturday – the day before) on the California synagogue that left one dead and maybe forgot about the Tree of Life synagogue attack six months ago along with the other shootings that have occurred at US Christian/other churches over the years. Then there’s ISIS’ explicit threat on Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints facilities. At least, I sure hope he was made aware of these items and not oblivious to them.

Basically, he was wrong. I agree that we are blessed to live where we do and all of us take it for granted but we are absolutely not safe in a church anymore. To think so doesn’t acknowledge the reality on the ground. He was ‘ad-libbing’ and some of his words were inspired but others were simply misinformed. It’s a good example that church leaders (to the highest level) may be good folks but they’re certainly not omniscient and it’s unfair to them (and lazy) to suggest all blindly agree with everything they say (hint: Nephi didn’t buy off on Lehi’s teaching/directions, he questioned it and spent some time praying to get confirmation, meanwhile, it appears Laman/Lemuel just went along for the ride without seeking personal confirmation and it didn’t end well).

It is also easy for President Nelson to say we’re safe when he happens to have an armed security detail that protects him in church. I’ll admit that doesn’t sit well with me at all. The rest of us are prohibited from effective means of self-defense, so we’re all sitting ducks when we go to church. It’s also particularly ironic that the prior day’s synagogue shooting was interdicted by a malfunction and an armed congregant and another brave soul who rushed the shooter (I expect several people owe their lives to their actions).

Again, I call on President Nelson and the church to terminate the dangerous and ridiculous gun ban*.

*Click on the last link for active shooter resources – it could save your life.

UPDATE: First, PBS updated a good background report (How safe is your place of worship?). The data on Jewish congregations addressing security is reflected locally: Once Soft Target For Terror In Utah Hardens Itself

Better yet, PBS just ran a report today that starts with a list of attacks on churches in the US: Amid rising attacks on places of worship, how religious leaders are responding (video and transcript at the link). Church leaders discuss the issue with Bishop Sutton noting a church shooting (of a priest and secretary) in his diocese. The discussion turns to security. Pastor Elmore discusses experienced, armed congregants as part of their security plan which begins in the parking lot. As Rabbi Marcus states:

In the end, we made that choice to move to armed guards, for a number of different reasons. One, as was demonstrated at Chabad, first of all, it decreases the appearance of being a soft target. And people who come in to do these attacks often flee immediately when they are confronted with other people who are armed and trained.

So we didn’t do this because we glorify violence or we celebrate guns. We’re very much not in favor of a violent culture. We made the transition to switch to armed guards because we felt that it was the best way to keep everyone in our community safe.

2019 Legislative Lesson: Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Swamp Consolidates Stranglehold On Utah

The general session of the Utah legislature ended on Thursday and it was a major win for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and the elite swamp.

Let’s start with some temporary good news. Outcry stopped, for now, the Chamber’s HB441 tax reform which would have further socialized costs and privatized profits. Again, this is temporary as the legislature is planning a special session to address tax reform. I expect they will basically run HB441 with a bit more lipstick and stick residents with a larger portion of government/infrastructure cost while minimizing big businesses’ contribution (businesses represented by the Chamber), thus maximizing their profits.

Teachers were also unhappy with HB441 and should be reminded that it was the Chamber’s past president, Lane Beattie, who screwed up school funding in the first place. Senator Howard Stephenson also picked up on this as well on his March 9th radio show where he called out those behind this mess.

Stephenson: I believe they created a crisis to then have a solution that was basically cooked up behind closed doors and sprung on the legislature with only two weeks left in the legislature.
Dougall: So when you say “they”, you don’t mean the legislature created the crisis, others created the crisis was responding to…
Stephenson: Well we know who was involved in it: The Salt Lake Chamber, the Kem Gardner Institute and Natalie Gochnour, and the uh Representative Quinn and some others, who, nobody really knows who was part of this brain trust and when they were meeting or anything…

Next, the Chamber and politicians made another big step in pulling political power from citizens and into the hands of political power brokers and political elites (“the swamp”). HB119 modifies the rules on citizen intiatives/referendum to greatly increase the logistics (and cost) by carving cities up into separate districts and requiring signatures come from 75% of those districts along with having to hold town hall meetings. The bill also lets cities spend money to fight such initiatives (thus, they get to use citizens’ tax money to fight citizen initiatives). The bill was sponsored by none other than Brad Daw and chief Utah swamp creature (imported from Chicago), Curt Bramble. This junk comes on the heels of SB54 which shifted candidate selection from the neighborhood caucus (advantageous to citizens) to big money political campaigns and lobbyists/consultants. SB54 also resulted in candidates being selected with less than a majority. Somewhere, Kurt Jowers, his Alta Club posse and his “California friend” are smiling…

The Chamber and Legislature (BIRM) also pushed more high density housing onto local cities. This will make the Chamber’s developers very happy and will not help housing affordability – likely the opposite (note: read the op-ed but then read the author’s (Justin S) comments in the comment section, they are key). The Chamber is also behind the propaganda ads on this issue and note that the Chamber cites the Kem Gardner Institute in the article (you’ll never guess who sits on the board of the Kem Gardner Center…).

More cronyism is glaringly obvious with HB290 where the legislature decided to dish out your sensitive personal information (including SSN, mother’s maiden name, place and date of birth, physical characteristics, medical information, etc.) to the University of Utah (UofU) for their health and epidemiology studies. As I said when I highlighted this abuse of power:

I’ve been part of medical studies but voluntarily participated. The UofU is no better than any other university or other medical research group when it comes to this. They should adhere to the same standards as the rest. They should be ashamed for engaging in political cronyism and trying to get this type of preferential treatment to take our driver license information without asking. It’s another example of Bastiat’s “legal plunder”.

Our so-called elites continue their path of power consolidation and legal plunder. Unfortunately, we’ll be left holding the consequences these ignorant elites foist upon us.

Addendum: the Chamber also had limited success with their support of the irrigation water metering bill. They used the guise of water conservation for this bill but it was bunk – water operators stated it was easy to conserve water by simply limiting irrigation to certain days (turning of the system on ‘non-water’ days) etc. What they had attempted (pushing expensive water meters onto everyone) was likely to result in cheaper, smaller water operators being forced out and effectively creating water monopolies and to favor developers. That danger still exists and there’s a question if Utah’s aquifers will be harmed (irrigation water significantly replenishes the aquifer).

HB290 (2019): Utah Legislature To Expose Your Sensitive Personal Information, Force You To Participate In UofU Medical Studies

Representative Lee Perry, a law enforcement officer ought to know better but I guess he doesn’t care. He’s sponsored a bill that exposes your sensitive personal information and gives it out to medical studies without your consent.

Perry is sponsoring HB290. The third substitute which already passed the House and is now in the State Senate (sponsored by Lyle Hillyard). It gives out your personal information found in Driver’s License records which includes social security number. This also includes your children if they have their license. Here’s where they do it in the bill under a section on who can access driver license personal identifying information:

(v) to the University of Utah for data collection in relation to genetic and epidemiologic research; or
(vi) to a government entity, including any court or law enforcement agency, to fulfill the government entity’s functions, or to a private person acting on behalf of a government entity to fulfil the government entity’s functions, if the division determines disclosure of the information is in the interest of public safety.

First, the University of Utah really refers to the Huntsman Cancer Institute but the wording certainly doesn’t limit disclosure to Huntsman, the information will go to the entire university as long as they’re conducting an epidemiological study. The UofU and Huntsman do important research but so do plenty of other universities as well as private research outfits. However, they have absolutely no right to take and use anyone’s personal information without getting their permission first.

I’ve been part of medical studies but voluntarily participated. The UofU is no better than any other university or other medical research group when it comes to this. They should adhere to the same standards as the rest. They should be ashamed for engaging in political cronyism and trying to get this type of preferential treatment to take our information without asking. It’s another example of Bastiat’s “legal plunder”.

Second, the “or to a private person acting on behalf of a government entity to fulfill the government entity’s functions” is extremely vague. Any government ‘entity’ or contractor can get extremely sensitive personal information. The bill doesn’t restrict the disclosure to those directly related to public safety and licensing nor limit what it discloses to the scope of their needs/program. There is also no prohibition on thereafter selling or sharing the information with another person/company. Thus, they will spread your information all over the place to who knows how many databases, computers and thumb drives. This greatly increases your exposure to identity theft.

Contact your Senator and ask them to oppose this bill. It is disrespectful to Utah residents and their youth drivers as well. It is simply unacceptable.