Once Soft Target For Terror In Utah Hardens Itself

At the beginning of the year, I put up my (now) annual post warning of the dangers of feel-good gun bans by churches, particularly related to terrorism or mass shooting/casualty situations. As I noted then, the LDS Church was only one of two religious organizations in Utah that advertise they ban lawful citizens from carrying guns. At the time, the only other church to do so was Congregation Kol Ami.

They are now off BCI’s list of those banning a lawful and effective defensive means. It may have something to do with this (Congregation Kol Ami in SLC heightens security after three anti-Semitic incidents):

Congregation Kol Ami says they are increasing security measures in response to several incidents of anti-Semitism that occurred within a short period of time.

I won’t pretend to know much about them, but there appear to be plenty of their faith who advocate for individual defensive means in the face of bigoted threats.

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LDS Church Wants One Sided Blind Trust, Open Borders

LDS Church public affairs came out with this:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long expressed its position that immigration reform should strengthen families and keep them together. The forced separation of children from their parents now occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border is harmful to families, especially to young children. We are deeply troubled by the aggressive and insensitive treatment of these families. While we recognize the right of all nations to enforce their laws and secure their borders, we encourage our national leaders to take swift action to correct this situation and seek for rational, compassionate solutions.”

Oh really? They put the blame completely on the US. No where did they state that people should not violate a nation’s laws and sovereignty if they do not want to face the possibility of separation and other legal actions. No where did the church acknowledge the fact that separation occurs precisely to protect children if they are believed to be in danger or travelling with a non family member (a red flag for human trafficking). Nor did the church acknowledge that when an adult is arrested trying to enter the United States illegally that their children can not be with them in adult jail. And finally, the church did not acknowledge that the only option to keep parents and children together is to release them into the United States which means that anyone with a child can ignore United States borders and simply tell the United States that they are coming in, like it or not (ie the previous failed/destructive ‘catch-and-release’ policy).

Instead, the church seems to expect us to just blindly trust everybody who walks in with a child, no questions asked and to effectively have an open border. Are they seriously unaware of human trafficking and sex trafficking in minors? Evidently, they prefer we do believe the alien and release the minor and potential criminal into our population with no investigation. If we did follow such a path and see a wave a child abuse, the same people would be outraged and demanding consequences for those who enacted such a negligent and cruel policy.

The church has long tacitly encouraged illegal immigration and looked the other way as victims and citizens bear the costs. Does anyone have any recollection of the church being “deeply troubled” at the incentivization of unaccompanied minors (separated families) turning up in droves at the border during Obama’s tenure? I don’t.

Then there’s the one sided concern. Apparently, they couldn’t care less about separated families of citizens or legal immigrants accused of a crime who are incarcerated pending their trial (many of the kids end up under the care of social services). Does this mean they oppose that law? What about after a conviction, especially for a non-violent crime? How about CPS abuses?….No, ‘those people’ don’t matter and don’t get you social justice media brownie points.

If they and their congressional cohorts are really serious about this, rather than virtue signalling, let’s see them change the laws for all accused of a crime and absorb the costs of housing as ‘family units’ and investigating these folks themselves. The church could also pay all medical, education and other costs associated with the new families. They would also assume the liability if any child abuse occurs and deportation costs when such a policy inevitably leads to another spike in illegal entries. Or is it more likely they’ll just pass something that pushes more costs to us and leaves victims in it’s wake while they pat themselves on the back for their piety?

UPDATE: Just thought of this – Speaking of children, I haven’t seen any press releases about being deeply troubled over abortion. Nor do I recall any expression of being deeply troubled during Obama’s detention centers during the incentivized unaccompanied minor fiasco.

Oh, and…Surprise! Or something:
Top Senate Democrat Shoots Down Cruz’s Proposal to End the Family Separation Democrats and the Media Supposedly Care So Much About, In Order to “Keep the Focus on Trump”

…and bingo (watch the video).

Do the families separated by illegal aliens not deserve any attention…and what about those dirty Canadians detaining kids and separating families?

Double Whammy: Ray Ward Hit Bountiful With Another Tax Increase

In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted the the legislature’s move to slap a tax increase on middle income families. I urge voters to question incumbents (such as Ray Ward) on this tax and spend craze. However, there’s another surreptitious tax increase and I finally got around to highlighting it.

It turns out Ray Ward also supported freezing the property tax rate for five years. “Freezing” sure doesn’t sound like an increase, does it? That’s the sophistry politicians hope you fall for. Don’t.

Here’s the trick: Property tax rates are normally variable and the dollar amount cities/counties collect on your property is fixed. For example, if the dollar amount is fixed at $1,000 for your home and it is worth $100,000 the variable rate is 1% (100,000 X 0.01 = $1,000). If next year your home’s valuation jumps to $200,000 then the variable rate drops to 0.5%  (200,000 X 0.005 = $1,000) to maintain the fixed dollar amount.

The above system was turned on its head for five years. Thus, if your home increases in value it will be taxed at the same rate and government reaps the windfall profit. In our above example, if your home valuation jumps to $200,000, it would still be taxed at 1% and your would pay $2,000 in property taxes with politicians having extra cash to play with in their sandbox. The crafty plan is banking on home values continuing to spike (and trust me, if the bubble bursts, they’ll rapidly move to ensure no loss).

The property tax manipulation is yet another gut punch for middle income families courtesy of many incumbent legislators.

But we’re not done yet! There’s another whammy. This one is a regressive tax too: As I noted back in March, Ray Ward and his legislative buddies plan on duping voters with a gas tax increase:

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.

Ray Ward is the only incumbent in a primary in South Davis County right now (Edwards isn’t running). He’s supported three tax increases on middle income families (really a triple whammy). I would certainly look at his opponent (Phill Wright) as Ward is neck deep in heaping burdens on families. Regardless of where you live, check on how your incumbent has voted for the above.

Please, no more Whammies.

Full Disclosure: I know and support Phill Wright but am not affiliated with his campaign.

Primary Election Issue: Yes, The 2018 Utah Legislature Raised Taxes On Middle Class Families

If you haven’t noticed yet, take a look at your recent paycheck. If you have a family and have a middle class income, you may notice that your take home pay went down. But how can this be? We were told the legislature (slightly) lowered the income tax rate from 5.00% to 4.95%. Yes, but they also knowingly did nothing about the removal of personal deductions. The Trib article,“Utahns with large families could be paying a lot more in state taxes next year”, and it’s associated impact table (be sure to look at it!) sum it up:

The Utah Legislature passed a 0.05 percent income tax cut this year but took no action on changes in federal tax law that eliminated personal deductions. The decision means most Utah taxpayers will pay more in state tax in 2019 even though their overall tax bills will be lower because of the federal cuts.

Legislators and he Governor were well aware of the need to address the changes and certainly better not claim ignorance:

For example, an $80,000-a-year family of seven with one disabled child might currently itemize deductions equal to about 20 percent of income and end up with a state tax bill of $2,200. Next year, that family will do better claiming the standard deduction. But they will lose $17,000 in other deductions, and their tax bill could jump by $1,000, or 45 percent.

Lawmakers knew all this back in January, when the state Tax Commission reported a potential $80 million windfall for the state thanks to federal tax changes and outlined the “average Joe” impacts. The cost of the income tax cut the Legislature eventually approved was about $55 million — an amount more than offset by that windfall.

But for about the same cost, lawmakers could have taken action to preserve the state personal exemption and pass along those savings to taxpayers — something that neighboring Idaho did this year by creating a state child tax credit.

House Bill 385 was such a bill. Introduced by first-termer Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber City, it didn’t even get out of committee, a victim of other priorities.

Yes, they had “other priorities”…like helping political cronies such as UTA with millions for a name change. Maybe another priority was creating a bridgehead for an education ‘head tax’ on children but they didn’t have the guts to debate it in the open. Instead, they chose to sneak one through on taxpayers and Governor Herbert went along with it.

Since it’s primary season and an election year, this issue would be a good one to bring up to incumbent state legislators (such as Ray Ward in South Davis County) and opposing candidates.

Bountiful Raising Power Taxes Again (2018)

Bountiful City (via the city power company, Bountiful Power & Light) is moving to raise your power bill again on top of last year’s customer charge increase (a 67% jump from $6 to $10/month). As I’ve documented for years, Bountiful city politicians use the municipal power company to raise money while skirting truth-in-taxation requirements. This method provides a significant fund transfer (about $2.5 million this year) and lets city leaders speciously claim the city has lower taxes than others its size.

Now we’re all on the hook for a $2/month/account increase for a “street light fee”. Normally, cities pay the power company for street light electricity. However, if I recall correctly (please correct me if wrong), about 10 years or so ago, Bountiful Power made some bad decisions and played the wholesale market (something a government-owned entity shouldn’t do)* and they lost. Due to the loss, some deal was struck that the power company would cover electricity for street lights and the city wouldn’t pay for it.

Now, city politicians have decided to exploit this abnormal street light cost line item as another avenue to raise funds and cloak actual tax burden. This may also lead to an increase in the power transfer from the current $2.5 million/year.

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to get treated to letters patting residents on the head about being unwitting “investors” and getting ghost “dividends” (and zero SEC protections). The shtick used to be funny but now it’s just insulting.

*The loss may have had something to do with this, but I’m not positive: Bountiful Power “Call-Backs and Resales”.

Edit: I had written FTC rather than SEC. I just realized it and corrected it (so many federal acronyms…). As an aside, these municipal power companies really should also be brought under the jurisdiction of the Utah Public Service Commission.

How To Make Your Utah Voter Registration Information Private

As I’ve explained in the past, the state of Utah and Utah’s county clerks are required by law to sell the personal information of more than 1.5 million registered voters for $1,050—voter identification number; first, middle, and last name; voter status (active or inactive); absentee status; original registration date; party affiliation; phone number (if provided by voter); mailing and residence address, voter participation history; and method of participation (absentee, by mail, normal, etc.).  Of course, some of the elites, such as the governor have managed to have their personal information protected.

If that weren’t bad enough, certain entities including political parties, or an agent, employee, or independent contractor of a political party, candidates for office, financial institutions, health care providers, researchers and insurance companies are authorized to purchase the month and year of birth of registered voters along with all of their other personal information.

Once purchasers have the voters’ information, they can do whatever they want with it including tracking down the victims of domestic violence who may have changed their addresses, accessing teenagers’ private information or even posting the entire list, less the month and year of birth, to the Internet.  In fact, the personal information of roughly 1.8 million Utah registered voters can already be found on voterrecords.com.

2018 legislature finally made it possible for registered voters to protect their personal information.

For over five years, my father worked with Representative Becky Edwards (R), who unsuccessfully ran bill after bill designed to protect voters’ personal information.  Their efforts were always stymied by the state’s two major political parties and powerful business interests who insisted that if voters wanted to exercise their right to vote, they had to give them their personal information.

Finally, in 2018, two election related bills, SB74 and HB218 were passed with provisions making it possible for Utah voters to request that their voter registration records be made private.  Both bills passed the House and the Senate unanimously and were signed by the governor.

In addition to Representative Edwards, the following legislators played a key role in making it possible for Utah voters to exercise both their right to vote and their right to privacy:  Senator Karen Mayne (D), Senator Deidre Henderson (R), Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D), Representative Sue Duckworth (D), Representative Karianne Lisonbee (R), and Representative Norm Thurston (R).

Salt Lake County Clerk, Sherrie Swensen (D) also worked diligently to give voters the right to make their voter registration a private record.

So, how do I make my voter registration record private?

If you are NOT already registered to vote, go to the state website and register to vote. When asked “Would you like to make your record private,” click on “Yes.”

If you are already registered to vote go to the state website, update your voter registration information and make your record private by clicking on “Yes.”

If you are completing a paper form to register to vote, when asked on the form “Would you like to make your record private, check “Yes.”

How do I remove my records that were previously sold by the state from voterrecords.com?

According to voterrecords.com:

We respect your privacy and have a simple way for those wishing to remove some of their public records data from appearing on VoterRecords.com.

Step 1: Search for a person [by clicking here and then entering your info in the Search Filters on the left.]

Step 2: Click on the person’s name in the search results, this will take you to the individual’s detailed record page.

Step 3: Scroll to the very bottom of the page and click the Record Opt-Out link. This will take you to the opt-out form specific to that record.

Step 4: Once the form is submitted we will send you an email with a verification link that you will need to click to verify your opt-out request. (Not everyone will receive the verification email. If you do not receive the email this typically means your record was successfully processed without additional verification being needed.)

Once you have done this, data such as: house number, phone, and email address should no longer appear. Make sure to refresh the page and clear your browser cache if you are still seeing the data after you have completed these steps.

Please remember that all voter records appearing on VoterRecords.com are public record and can be obtained directly from the government by anyone at anytime. Removing information from VoterRecords.com has no effect on the official records the government maintains and releases.  [Therefore, unless you make your voter record private, the state will sell it to voterrecords.com and voterrecords.com may add it to their list even if you have previously removed it.]

So, that’s it.  Take five minutes now and protect your personal information.  And, pass the word on to your family and friends.  After all, if the state won’t do its job and protect our information, then we will have to do it ourselves.  At least, we can now vote without being forced to let the state sell our personal information to the world, political operatives and a bunch of businesses and health care providers.

Note: This post was co-written with Ron Mortensen (hey, there’s a first time for everything).

The LDS Church, Social Justice Warriors And The Decline Of The Boy Scouts Of America

Yesterday, the LDS Church stated it would terminate its over 100 year association with Scouting effective January 31, 2019. For the Boy Scouts Of America (BSA) that is likely a nail in it’s coffin. It’s a shame too and one which the church bears a good part of the blame.

For quite a while now the BSA was a big target of social justice warriors (SJWs) and media allies in their war on traditional values and boys/men. Over the last several years they scored key victories on getting policies allowing openly gay leaders and scouts and getting girls into boy scouts* (right now they’re only in cub scouts but the trajectory is clear). Just this last week, the BSA even changed it’s name, yanking “Boy” from their name – they’ll be “Scouts BSA”. This mirrors the changes to scouting in Canada where the program is a shell of it’s former self (it’s pretty much dead).

The church was the dominant organization in Boy Scouts wielded great influence on national policy (they could block anything). During the above battles, folks waned the church and BSA that the social justice groups did not care about the welfare of the BSA nor compromise; “compromise” was simply a stepping stone on the path to the ultimate goal of destroying the organization for them. The warnings went unheeded, the church/BSA “compromised” on core principles and here we are.

In 2015**, David Burge did a good job of summing up SJW procedure:

It looks like SJWs will soon have a new “skin suit” to parade around in.

*I actually think it’s fine to offer a scout program for girls but it should’ve been just for girls and a separate branch and could’ve had the same requirements etc as the boys rather than getting into mission creep. Besides, that wouldn’t be good enough for SJWs as no boy-only organizations can be tolerated.

**Ironically, the same year the BSA added openly gay leaders to the program (openly gay scouts were added in 2014).

Addendum: I forgot to include this! It is very important to note that the LDS Church didn’t really run the scouting program the way it was intended. Rather than having a proper troop, the church broke the troop into ‘sub troops’ by age group (11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17). This fractured the program but wasn’t too big of a deal if you had lots of kids in each group (though lacking experienced youth leaders/mentors in younger groups) but if there were smaller numbers, proper youth leadership structure and training was much harder to implement.