Utah Swamp?: The Buckshot Caucus (Sen. Todd Weiler, a member), Daryl Acumen, GOP Chair Rob Anderson, And GOPe Elites

This came into my inbox and I’m printing it below. It describes some ‘very swampy’ and possibly illegal personal-destruction tactics used by those within the local GOP establishment (and deep state within the courts?) against those fighting to retain the caucus (and draw power back from elite power brokers). Those reportedly involved include Daryl Acumen and The Buckshot Caucus which includes GOP Chair Rob Anderson (see link below), local pol Todd Weiler, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, and Utah’s part of Chicago swamp politics, Curt Bramble (naturally):

“GOP Chairman Rob Anderson, Rep. Mike Mckell, Senator Curt Bramble, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, and Senator Todd Weiler are members–as well as other prominent political figures in Utah” [Links added and Bramble’s first name spelling corrected].

I have a pretty good suspicion as to who the “political attorney” mentioned in the report likely is but will keep that to myself (UPDATE: Weiler is that attorney) . The email copy/paste is below the fold (click on Continue reading). I’m not holding my breath on any local media reporting since they financially benefit from getting rid of a caucus system.

UPDATE: Bateman has released audio of a voicemail from Weiler related to the lawsuit/$1 mil offer. I also have a list of names who are purportedly members of the Buckshot Caucus (from their facebook group so bear in mind some folks may have been ‘added’ to the group and may not be active participants):

Daryl Acumen, Kathleen Anderson, Rob Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, Bart Barker, Doran Barton, Todd Bauerie, Kelsey Berg, Aaron Bludworth, Curt Bramble, Daniel Burton, David Butterfield, Terry Camp, Brian Chapman, Diane Christensen, Kim Coleman, Joel Coleman, Jon Cox, Spencer Cox, David Damschen, Brad Daw, Mike Deaver, Sophia DiCaro, Dana Dickson, Carl Downing, Tani Downing, Sue Duckworth, Heather Duel, Dan Duel, Kitty Dunn, Nic Dunn, Steve Eliason, Clair Ellis, John English, Scott Ericson, Chase Everton, Lincoln Fillmore, Adam Gardiner, Wade Garrett, BJ Griffin, Heather Groom, Keith Grover, Eric Hafen, Craig Hall, Dave Hansen, Jeff Hartley, Greg Hartley, Timothy Hawkes, Daniel Hemmert, Gabe Henderson, Deidre Henderson, Carolina Herrin, Casey Hill, Kory Holdaway, Greg Hughes, Sean Hullngr, Joe Hunter, Don Ipson, Nathan Ivie, Richard Jaussi, Leslie Jones, Chris Kantil, DeAnn Shmalz Kelly, John Knotwell III, Steve Lockhart, Hannah Lockhart, Stan Lockhart, Jeremy Lyman, Kari Malkovich, Nicole Martin, Boyd Matheson, Brian Maxwell, Dan McKay, Mike McKell, Jeff McNeil, Mike Mendenhall, Ronda Menlove, Enid Mickelsen, Bret Milburn, Raphael Millet, Shawn Milne, Jefferson Moss, Mike Mower, Aimee Newton, Kyle Palmer, Jake Parkinson, Lee Perry, Jeremy Peterson, Erin Preston, Amber Pugmire Johnson, Susan Pulsipher, Joe Pyrah, Holly Richardson, Jeremy Roberts, Jeff Rogers, Michelle Scharf, Mike Schultz, Jacob Scott, Rusty Scott, Jennifer Scott, Doug Short, Richard Snelgrove, Lowry Snow, Robert Spendlove, Howard Stephenson, David Stewart, Jeff Strain, Becky Strain, Stan Summers, Brent Taylor, Dan Thatcher, Barbara Thatcher-Stallone, Norm Thurston, DeLaina Tonks, Natalie Tonks, Paul Tonks, Evan Vickers, Russ Wall, Chuck Warren, David Watts, Hyrum Weibling, Todd Weiler, Nathan Whiting, Ryan Wilcox, Brad Wilson, Mike Winder

Continue reading


2018: Utah’s Tax And Spend Legislature, Governor, Our Schools Now and the Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce

Next time someone wants to tell me Utah has a conservative legislature, they can shove it. They’re either GOP(e) party hacks or entirely clueless.

At the end of the legislative session, the GOP-Governor-Chamber of Commerce group managed to jack up your taxes and enable a flimflam scheme to trick people into raising them further…all during a year of budget surpluses (because it’s not your money and labor, it’s really their money to play with).

Here’s what they did: The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce created yet another front group (Our Schools Now) led by a group of Utah’s wealthy elites. They started a ballot initiative pushing for another big tax increase on everyone but themselves. Then they could count on  their “Available Jones” (aka Governor Herbert) along with their shills in the legislature to cut a deal with them – much like the tactic used to begin to crush Utah’s neighborhood caucus system (in the form of SB54 a few years ago). Herbert is now out there on some dog-and-pony show about how he ‘saved’ everyone from some big tax increase. It’s total baloney.

What Herbert and the legislature did (again) is save the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce from spending their own money to run a ballot initiative that was likely to fail. Instead, they passed a couple of increases and will also use your money to fund a tax increase question for the next election. C’mon, when you’re a special interest group tied with the political elite, someone else pays for your initiatives.

So here’s the damage:

  1. They will encourage local governments to further raise the sales tax to dish more cash to the corrupt and fiscally irresponsible Utah Transit Authority (UTA) or its new name, the Transit District of Utah. UTA is (surprise!) promoted by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and politically well connected.
  2. They “froze” the rate of the state property tax dedicated to education for five years thereby exempting it from truth-in-taxation hearings . Sounds good, right? Nope. Normally counties drop the tax rate as your home valuation increases as they have a cap on how much they can collect each year. This ‘freeze’ holds the rate regardless of valuation which will result in a surplus (of your money) they will harvest.
    Tip: Be on guard for them extending the freeze in perpetuity and expanding it to other entities that take property taxes. Also watch for an increased tempo of home value evaluations to further boost their take. Face it, property taxes combined with spendthrift politicians mean you never really own you home.
  3. They will shove a question on the next election ballot asking for a 33% increase in the gas tax from $0.29/gallon to $0.39/gallon.
    Here’s the flimflam: A few actual conservative legislators asked that they phrase the ballot question to include the percent increase (33%) or the old/new rate (0.29-0.39/gallon), thus giving voters clarity and context. Niet! said our liberal GOPe legislators and blocked the motion. Now the Chamber et al. can try to pull the wool over naive voters and spin the increase as ‘just a small 10 cent increase’. It’s a significant increase ($2.00 per fill-up) and will impact family budgets. In addition, it will not add even one penny to road funds since the amount going to roads from the general fund will be reduced by the amount of the increased fuel tax.
  4. There’s no guarantee the Chamber/Our Schools Now won’t press for more tax increases…which their politicians can then again cave on to ‘save us all from a bigger tax increase’.

I will acknowledge that there was a small decrease in the income tax but overall the average citizen came out on the losing end since all this, along with the last few years of tax increases, is going to hit your family budget. But so long as our political betters and their buddies can continue to spend your cash like drunken sailors, we totally have the most fiscally conservative politicians….ever!


Government Intrusion In Private Sector Claims Another Local Business Scalp (RDAs)

A local South Davis County business (in Bountiful) is closing it’s doors. Winegars, run by a local family, has been in the area for just over 100 years (since 1917). Unfortunately, government fooling around with things best left to the private sector dealt a blow they couldn’t overcome. You see, local governments used redevelopment agencies (RDAs) which provided a significant tax and competitive advantage to competitors (including a large chain/corporate grocer) which Winegars didn’t have (Winegars to close Bountiful store after decades in the community):

Existing stores have often been negatively impacted when redevelopment agencies or community development agencies are established, said Winegar, giving tax breaks to new businesses. The Smith’s on 2600 South in Woods Cross is in a redevelopment agency area and the Lee’s on Redwood Road in North Salt Lake is in community development agency area. Lonny and his brother, Weston, are the fourth-generation owners of the business. They bought it from their father, Dee, some years ago. The first store owned by the family was the Woods Cross Mercantile, which was opened in Woods Cross in 1917 by Thomas E. Winegar.

Yet another example of government actions deciding winners and losers along with some corporate welfare.

Note: Smith’s is part of the Kroger chain.

Bonus read: See the bottom of this post for links on what RDAs are along with the post on another example of abuse of RDA authority.

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).

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…