A New Utah Compact For Protesters (Inland Port Protest)

I’ve been following the Utah inland port protest that occurred at the Salt Lake Chamber and the continuing emotional debate in it’s wake. I’ve grown very concerned about the civility as both sides make various accusations against one another. I’m particularly worried about the charges of racism that have arisen along with “begetting violence“. Something has to be done. Thus, from compassion and piety, I propose a Utah Protest Compact:

The Utah Protest Compact was developed over several days by me because I was concerned about the tone of Utah’s inland port protest discussion. The Compact is based on Utah values and I urge our leaders to use these guiding principles as they address the complex challenges associated with a broken protest system. The Compact has broad support from me, blog readers, and anyone tired of pretentious elites. It is a simple document that expresses our values as community as they relate to specific policy issues that have become central to the protest discussion.

A Declaration of Five Principles to Guide Utah’s Protest Discussion

As signers of the Utah Protest Compact, we are committed to promoting common-sense protest reforms that will strengthen our civility, as well as attract talent and protest business to our state.

We urge state leaders and the Salt Lake Chamber to adopt these five principles of the Utah Protest Compact:

  1. VENUE SOLUTIONS Entering a private venue to protest is a policy issue between protesters and the media-not the Salt Lake Chamber and the Salt Lake City Police Department. We urge the Salt Lake Chamber to lead efforts to abide by the principles they promote on their own properties and strengthen the CEO’s office security while making other areas accessible to uninvited guest protesters. We urge them to make protesters as comfortable as possible with free WiFi, medical resources, staff assistance, comfy chairs, and drinks with those fun mini umbrellas.
  2. LAW ENFORCEMENT We respect the rule of law and support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of local codes.
  3. FAMILIES Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families, such as involuntary removal of protesters from Chamber properties. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Utah children.
  4. ECONOMY Utah is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role protesters play as workers and taxpayers. Utah’s protest policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.
  5. A FREE SOCIETY Protesters are integrated into communities across Utah. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion. The way we treat protesters will say more about us as a free society and less about our protesting neighbors. Utah should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill and virtue signaling…except Johnson’s Army.

If the above sounds familiar, it should. It was remarkably quick and easy to tweak the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Compact on Immigration and its preamble. I know that back in 2011, despite originating the Utah Compact on Immigration, the Chamber ensured that no one is “going to find the Chamber’s fingerprints on it” but the compact was just “reaffirmed on March 21, 2019” and now has their stamp of approval so I’m sure they’ll abide by the same ‘principles’ they demand us to swallow. Right?

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Utah Politicians, Lobbyist Groups Put On Kabuki Show Over Driver License Data Exploitation (Updates)

Apparently politicians and some political groups are shocked, shocked, I say!

Utah DPS disputes driver’s license pics used in facial recognition mining, but lawmakers may hold hearings

This is rich. These are the same politicians who voted for sharing the driver’s license database with their cronies (see here too) and fought for increasing access for this and voter records (see here and here for example).

Available Jones Herbert and his Lt Governer Spencer Cox (Available Junior?) who’s in charge of voter records, by the way, can shove their whining where the sun don’t shine. They were mucho happy knowingly passing on your data well beyond the scope of core government functions.

Politicians and the other carping cohorts like the media, ACLU and Libertas either voted for or refused to join efforts to respect privacy and restrict the wholesale disclosure of various personal information.

The ACLU has the nerve to say “We plan to investigate how this breach of trust occurred and the steps Utah lawmakers need to take to protect the privacy of all Utahns from this widespread, open-ended surveillance program…”.

Oh really? Where were you last session when this was being voted on? Oh, right. You were too busy preparing a fund raising press release on some other unexpectedly unexpected outrage to siphon some dinero off the rubes.

Rather than carving out goodies for your cloistered buddies and yourselves, maybe next time you’ll think of the rest of us as people instead of a data resource to exploit (although Facebook would be proud!).

For the rest of us shlubs, there’s not much you can do on the driver license data but you can lock down your voter information: How To Make Your Utah Voter Registration Information Private

Ending on the positive, our political betters just earned the Captain Louis Renault award:

UPDATE: I read a few more articles on this issue. I noticed something I initially missed. It appears that the upset politcians and groups are most perturbed by ICE using the database. Interestingly, ICE may have the greatest justification for using it and we have swampy Curt Bramble to thank for it. See years ago, Bramble pushed through the Driver Privilege Card (DPC) to further Utah’s position as a defacto sanctuary state (also pleasing the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce). The DPC is only available to illegal immigrants (citizens and legal immigrants may only get a driver license). Thus, Bramble and his DPC inadvertently created a mechanism for ICE to have probable cause of a crime (illegal immigration at a minimum and likely employment-related identity theft and the other frauds/crimes that goes along with it) which could save law enforcement lives.

The ACLU also mentions the DPC in their whining. I have a feeling a lot of these politicians and organizations are more upset that their sanctuary vehicle* is being used than they care about citizen’s privacy given their tacit or overt approval of reckless personal data disclosure.

*Pun intended.

UPDATE II: The Salt Lake Tribune put up an official editorial decrying the privacy breech (and throwing in some divisive, race-baiting pap along the way). Huh. That’s funny, the Utah media (Tribune included) were all opposed to locking up voters’ personal information when that legislation was being pursued and didn’t give a rip about the Driver’s License data sharing bill when it was brought to their attention. But we should totes take their outrage seriously…That’s some nice kabuki outrage you have there.

Utah Swamp Trio Of Arrogance Inadvertently Bolster A Trump Nomination (Update)

Over the weekend, Utah’s biggest swamp creature, Curt Bramble teamed up with Paul Mero and politically entrenched attorney David Irvine to pen a laughable hit piece about a local Trump nominee (full disclosure: the nominee is my father). It was so poor, that the piece generated a single comment…which jabbed the authors. LOLZ.

The diatribe they penned is one of those eye-rolling pieces dripping with hollier-than-thou, condescending pablum interspersed with guilt-by-association and innuendo. The cherry-on-top is they attack his religious convictions and insinuate he’s a ‘bad Mormon’.

The trio sure don’t have much to stand on. David Irvine proudly voted for Hillary Clinton, as all good NeverTrumpers should. In my opinion, the guy is an underhanded political hack involved with some ethically-challenged folks. Meanwhile, Bramble is probably Utah’s biggest swamp creature, embracing his home-town Chicago politics and was on the Evan McMullin squad. Then you have Paul Mero (who dutifully posts NeverTrump stuff on his Twitter feed). ‘Torpedo Mero’ was once a semi-player in Utah politics when he was with the Sutherland Institute…unfortunately, for the Sutherland Institute, his arrogance and condescending methods (here’s one example) served to send plenty of otherwise good legislation to Davy Jones’ locker. Fortunately, for Sutherland, he’s no longer there.

These guys appear to be a bunch of sourpuss NeverTrumpers throwing an elitist fit because they hate Trump and are upset the President isn’t selecting folks from their clique.

Heh. I was no Trump fan either. After Trump became the nominee, I said: ‘one thing’s for sure, we’ll soon have a charlatan in the White House’ (referring to Trump and Hillary). Hillary was awful but, as time went on, she got worse and her ethics were atrocious. I admit being wrong about Trump* and got over it. President Trump stuck to the conservative principles he preached in the campaign and actually fights. Trump also represents a rejection of the old-guard elite policies that left pain and terrible messes in their wake and a new direction away from globalism to renewing the US as the shining city upon the hill. These guys are out of touch and don’t realize they represent a aristocratic mindset in the midst of being rejected but desperate to cling on. At least one preferred to shaft us with Hillary Clinton and all preferred a continuation of their status quo injurious policies.

The trio is great at writing a preachy article but seemed to forget to mention their target of scorn lead humanitarian operations in such lovely getaways as Haiti, Darfur, Mali, Lebanon, and Iraq (multiple times including near the front during Daesh/ISIS’ apex). And only the best vacation hotspots include cholera and ebola outbreaks. So yeah, he knows what ministering and succoring suffering looks like and actually acted rather than preached. As an aside, check out Samaritan’s Purse – they were incredibly close to the front lines in Iraq providing aide and medically care – my dad said they were awesome out there.

So some of Utah’s biggest politically entrenched elite have decided question a nominee’s religious convictions and attack a guy who went out to some hell holes and coordinate humanitarian efforts because they need a surrogate for their Trump ire. Their whole hit job comes off as snobish and petty. Really, you couldn’t ask for a more resounding endorsement.

Who knows what will happen. If their hated effigy is nominated/confirmed, I know he’ll do a great job of effectively alleviating as much human suffering as he possibly can.

UPDATE: The Buzzard’s Blog has some thoughts on this as well.

UPDATE II: The Salt Lake Tribune is desperate. They’re continuing their attack line and drafted another yellow journalism hit piece as an excuse to regurgitate part of the above Swamp Trio’s hit piece. Maybe the letter calling them out for this crap stuck in their craw. LOL!

UPDATE III: Check out this gem. Very pious David Irvine is on the board of Alliance for a Better Utah. They sent out an official action alert with Planned Parenthood to support abortion. The email sent out by the organization’s Communications Director (Katie Matheson) states**:

We have joined with Planned Parenthood and created a petition of our own that makes a very clear demand: Utah lawmakers should keep their hands off a person’s right to decide whether to have an abortion

I guess we should follow “Christ’s call – of welcoming the stranger” so long as that stranger isn’t an unborn child.

*Important caveat: While I am pleased with President Trump (albeit don’t always agree with him or some of his rhetoric), I go by Alexander Hamilton’s advice: “For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.”

**Full text of the Alliance for a Better Utah/Planned Parenthood email:

From: Katie Matheson, Better Utah <[redacted]@betterutah.org>
Date: Fri, Jul 5, 2019 at [time redacted]
Subject: Help needed
To: [redacted]

Dear [redacted],

I’m not going to mince words–things are difficult right now in Utah for supporters of reproductive rights. Earlier this year, the Legislature passed an unconstitutional 18 week abortion ban. In the past month, Riverton City and Utah County passed anti-choice resolutions. And perhaps most worrying of all, state Senator Dan McCay has announced he will introduce a bill in 2020 to “end elective abortions in Utah.”

The agency of Utahns to make the most fundamental decision of all–what to do with our own bodies–is under attack right here in our state. A new group touting extreme views on bodily autonomy started a petition to support re-criminalization of abortion in Utah. So far they have over 2,000 signatures.

This is not the Utah we know and love. Utahns support the fundamental right to freedom for every individual; and yes, that includes the right to choose to have an abortion.

We have joined with Planned Parenthood and created a petition of our own that makes a very clear demand: Utah lawmakers should keep their hands off a person’s right to decide whether to have an abortion. But we’ve got an uphill climb ahead of us–we are short of our goal by over 1,500 signatures, which means we could really use your help. Please sign and share with your family and friends, and ask them to sign and share.

More Utahns support Roe v. Wade than want it overturned, but we have been ceding ground to the anti-choice activists because abortion is such a personal issue. If we don’t stand up now, we will be forced to fight unconstitutional laws implemented by a loud minority of Utahns. It’s time to stand up.

Thank you for all your support.

Best,

Katie Matheson
Communications Director
[Remainder of Email Redacted]

Utah Media Bias Chris Jones (KUTV) Style

Waste is always worthy of being exposed and addressed. It’s the pretentious nature and condescending attitude Jones has toward parents (i.e. ‘outsiders’) coupled with his failure to disclose conflicts of his go to “expert” and one-sided reporting that torpedoes his credibility. His bias was on full display.

Here’s a snippet from his report (“APA charter school blew nearly $500K in botched expansion plan”):

American Preparatory Academy [APA] is in the middle of a lengthy, expensive legal battle that has cost Utah taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, all thanks to what critics suggest is poor planning and a sense of entitlement.

“It was an expensive, dubious project to undertake,” said Carol Lear of the Utah State School Board.

He goes on to go after APA’s actions but here’s what Jones left out of his report:

  • He didn’t disclose Carol Lear is a counsel attorney to Lear & Lear, LLP, a competing law firm (specializing in education law) to the one paid to represent the charter school in Jones’ report. Her firm is one which, just a few months ago, bid on a state school board contract resulting in conflict of interest concerns: “State board mulls possible conflicts after firms of 2 school board members bid on $40,000 contract“.
  • Jones didn’t disclose Lear’s apparently passionate involvement prior battle with this issue and APA which occurred and was reported on over a year ago. She certainly wasn’t one of the “board members [who] were more moderated in their communications, while still hinting at discomfort over the issue.”
  • In the televised newscast, he concluded, telling the KUTV anchors, that charter schools aren’t managed well because parents sit on the board instead of an elected politician or a professional education administrator.

Believe it or not, parents have a vested interest in the school’s operation (they pay for school and often volunteer) and their kids are directly involved and may be harmed. Meanwhile, a politician’s interest is in a career path. Of course, the media is in bed with professional political swamp, so not much of a surprise here that KUTV would want to promote the latter.

Charter schools are far, far more responsive to parents than a traditional school. I speak from experience. Obviously, not all charter schools are good (conversely, plenty of traditional schools suck too) but they are overall much more responsive and, at least, bear the consequences of their actions (decreased enrollment, funding, and eventual closure). Traditional schools generally don’t have this level of feedback. In economics, it’s been long known that the closer an individual or organization is to the funding source of their service, the better job they do – just read the section on public and private education pros and cons in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

I looked through several KUTV “Beyond the Books” reports and I didn’t see such a ‘tenacious’ report on waste and poor management from the traditional public schools and I’m sure there’s plenty (some options: student data sharing, school fee abuses, Taj Mahal buildings, apparent violations of Utah code and district policy). Maybe he’ll go after them with the same zeal but I’m not counting on it.

I’m sure Jones has never found any problems with any politician’s decision…well, besides those he politically disagrees with. But he can sure run some exposé when it’s someone outside the anointed Utah political insider club like a bunch of parents on  a board…ugh that icky rabble should just stay out of the playpen.

All this begs the question given the one-sided nature of his “reports”: Who’s feeding Jones the attack information so he can act as their hired gun? At least one of his benefactors is the left-wing Alliance for a Better Utah who sicced him on School Board member Lisa Cummins and I suspect he’s happily aligned with them and/or just plain lazy and happy to regurgitate what he’s been told.

I already linked to this above, but if you really want to know what’s going on with the APA issue in a much more objective manner read this in full: Should Utah charter schools be allowed to seize private land? Maybe Jones should ask the article’s writer, Benjamin Wood, to mentor him. Otherwise, he and KUTV are always welcome to the world of blogging where he can spout his opinion rather than feigning objectivity.

Note: I’m not affiliated with APA nor at all enamored with their actions based on what I read in Wood’s actual reporting (last link above). I’m just sick of pretend journalists (“fake news”). If you’re going to advocate, fine,  just be open and explicit – don’t call yourself a journalist.

Side note for potential future reference: I stumbled on this. Apparently Carol Lear isn’t a fan of concealed carry and weapons training in schools:

“It’s a terrible idea,” said Carol Lear, a chief lawyer for the Utah Office of Education. “It’s a horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten idea.”
Utah educators say they would ban guns if they could, but legislators left them with no choice. State law forbids schools, districts or college campuses from imposing their own gun restrictions.[I believe this the opinion of the UEA]

Utah’s Ignorant Ivory Tower Bubble Class And A French Warning

The Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) recently reported on a meeting that included a discussion with the Governor about the state legislature forcing cities to accommodate high density housing. The ULCT understood Governor Herbert was supportive of the developers position and expected he ULCT to go along with their decision. The ULCT was made aware that they will get no where with the Governor if they bad mouth developers.

To sum: residents will just have to deal with it. I expect nothing less from Governor “Available Jones” and his Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce cohorts.

I guess you can add this to the list of other crap our local ignorant ‘elites’ have dumped on us because they know what’s best for the little people. Many are the same people who blather on about federalism, states’ rights, and that decisions should be made locally. Funny how they forget all about it in their own backyard. No, now centralized planning is A-OK. Besides, they live in areas that won’t have to deal with the congested housing fallout.

Of course, the ULCT isn’t going to fight or do anything about it. Regrettably, the ULCT is intimidated by the Governor and Legislature and won’t stand up for the interests of their citizens who have reservations about high density housing. They generally serve the same interests as the Governor and have shown, time and again, that they prefer to lobby for tax increases and certainly don’t represent taxpayers nor residents. Unfortunately, taxpayers pay almost $2 million/year to fund the useless ULCT to…lobby for more tax increases.

I’m left to wonder where the breaking point will be as the not-so-smart bubble dwelling ‘elites’ keep coming up with burdensome schemes that fail and then pop out their next great idea will fix the last (while neglecting to disclose why a ‘fix’ is needed, of course).

If you look around, you realize that virtually the same people run and/or are on the boards of all the major policy-oriented organizations (e.g. the Utah Foundation) that Gov. Herbert and the media refer to as the “authority” for what the state needs. It’s a monolithic echo chamber where the same elites with virtually the same background group-think their way into new policy recommendations. Recommendations which don’t substantially affect them but do adversely impact the rest of us and they simply don’t realize it in their bubble.

These are the folks that still can’t grasp why Trump is in office and think he simply came out of nowhere. A fluke. A total shock and surprise that they still can’t and won’t accept. They are cloistered in their board meetings, think tanks, and summits and simply miss what is going on the ground outside their clique. If you want to get a feel for the late stage of this process, look at what is going on in France right now with the “Gilet Jaunes”:

France: Understanding the Gilets Jaunes Uprising.

Normally, I include a quote from a linked article. Not this time – read the whole thing (it’s not long) and pay close attention to the “Arrogance & Ignorance : A Toxic Mix” and “Those Who Forget History, Are Condemned to Repeat It” sections. It is a warning I hope they notice and one we should apply to our own lives.

Illegal Immigration, Govt Mission Creep Claim New Victim: Utah County Law Enforcement

This report is really a two pronged argument against illegal immigration and government creeping outside core functions. Here’s the headline from the Daily Herald:

Utah County Sheriff resigns during commission meeting over funding shortfalls

So what caused the funding shortfall? Read down to the 3rd paragraph:

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is short on funds by about $800,000 to $1 million, Tracy told Commissioners Ivie and Bill Lee during Tuesday’s commission meeting. Commissioner Greg Graves was not in attendance. That shortage is due, in part, to large medical needs by one patient that Tracy said he couldn’t discuss because of medical privacy laws..

But keep reading…all the way buried in the 15th paragraph:

Ivie said the person whose medical bills had caused the crisis is in the country illegally, and the county is also looking into finding funding from federal partners.

The county clearly needs to address funding shortfalls. Sticking to core government functions would be a start (forget the rec centers, art stuff, among other hobbies). An illegal alien tipping the balance is simply unacceptable. Either way, the Sheriff had enough of the fiscal mess and quit.

This brought to you by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and other associated open-border lobbying groups and special interests demanding government fund their business/hobbies.

Thanks To Count My Vote And SB54, Primary Election Nominees Are Elected By The Minority

Just one more data point in the junk that is Count My Vote (2014’s SB54). I’m limiting this to Davis County but anticipate the same thing occurred or will occur in other counties/cities as well and will continue to do so.

Political elites and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce felt a threat to their power base so they teamed with the media and foisted “Count My Vote” drive on us which culminated in their swampy legislative cronies (Senator Bramble, naturally) shoving SB 54 down or throats in 2014. It allows candidates to circumvent the accountability of the neighborhood caucus system and pay cash to gather signatures to go directly to the primary ballot where their money provides them a key advantage over otherwise good candidates from the “great unwashed” (see video at above link).

They used the sophistry of ‘every vote counting’ and not wanting ‘anyone to be disenfranchised’ to justify their power grab while also being certain to…not provide for a run off election in the event a candidate doesn’t get over 50% of the vote. We’ll here are some nominee* vote totals we now have thanks to their dumb scheme:

Utah House of Reps, District 20 – Melissa Ballard 41% (59% did not vote for her).

Davis County Commission – Lorene Miner Kamalu 41% (59% did not vote for her).

So, who feels their vote “counted” now…do we all have a warm enfranchised feeling? No? Maybe we should tell the elites to stuff it, support restoring our voices and return to a level playing field with KeepMyVoice.

UPDATE: I changed the post title after I looked at a Salt Lake race near Davis County. This one shows the CMV/SB54 impact for the Democrat Party:

Utah House of Reps, District 24 – Jen Dailey-Provost 35% (65% did not vote for her).

*Note: Be aware that this isn’t a hit on the nominees. They may well have been able to pull the majority in a run-off but we’ll never know thanks to SB54/Count My Vote effectively muzzling the majority’s voice.