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]

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Bountiful City Council Ready To Cloak Recycling Cost Rather Than Evaluate And Reform

Bountiful City already cloaks the cost of government via the power fund transfer to the general fund and the Mayor and City Council are poised to extend this practice to cloak the cost of recycling by transferring $120,000 from the landfill fund to the recycling fund. The vote on this is scheduled for 7PM Tuesday, June 25th at 255 South 100 West (Fire Station 81) and public comment will be taken.

It has been long known that recycling was inefficient with much being shifted to landfills. Ultimately, recyclers were middlemen that imposed additional cost for part of the waste stream to end up in a landfill. Many have been fooling themselves and imposing a ‘feelgood surcharge’ on their neighbors while ignoring reality for years. It’s time to come to terms that inviable recycling may emotionally feel good in ignorance but the reality is it is only adding and extra step and cost to trash going to a landfill. That special-interest cost is borne by the poor, young families on tight budgets and the elderly on fixed incomes. With the long anticipated market correction in recycling, this should be used as an opportunity to streamline programs to reflect reality and alleviate an undue burden.

While I’ve recycled for decades, I opposed the inefficient and wasteful curbside recycling mandate. If we’re serious about recycling, it would be better to return to and expand centralized recycling collection points where people can conveniently drop off their recyclables as part of their routine errands. Prior to the current government program, recycling points were located near Smith’s Marketplace (on city property), schools and some store parking lots. The city and recycling companies could join with businesses to cooperatively locate convenient collection points. These would have the several benefits:

  • Efficient recycling streams: better product segregation rather than mixed goods that require significant labor to sort
  • Cleaner, less contaminated recycling streams: partly due to better segregation and people are more careful/knowledgeable who voluntarily recycle
  • Glass collection: prior to the government mandate, glass was collected at the central locations
  • Helping air quality: lower emissions as far fewer trucks and fuel are needed to pick up from a few locations rather than every residential home/street. This is particularly the case as people can drop off their recycling as part of their existing weekly trips (grocery store etc.) thus requiring no additional gas consumption.
  • No or far lower cost to citizens
  • Alleviates the cost imposed on senior citizens who have few recyclables but are forced to pay for full-sized cans
  • Removes heavy hand of governmental force (fees)

Furthermore, some items may well still make sense and actually pay for themselves or provide revenue. Two things to consider are aluminum (and metals) and food waste – I understand the new biodigesters in North Salt Lake have the potential to make money.

The transfer should be rejected and the burdensome, inefficient program replaced with an efficient program that respects Bountiful family and fixed-income budgets. You may want to attend the meeting or reach out to the city council.

Bountiful City Not Only Hides True Tax Burden And Overcharges You On Power, Now They’re Going To Cloak Recycling Costs

For years I’ve documented Bountiful City politicians’ game of manipulating power rates to avoid truth-in-taxation and then claim taxes are low. Using this scheme, they’ve enjoyed pulling the wool over residents’ eyes on the actual financial burden imposed on residents by city government. This year, they’re again transferring about $2.49 million from power charges to the general fund (see the insert in your city power bill). I’m not going into detail on it this time, click the above link for all posts on the issue to get background and how they use the tactic to cloak the true tax rate (it would roughly double property taxes – about $2.5 million was taken in per FY 2018 Financial Annual Report (pdf).

This year, someone concocted a new way to hide the cost of government and a failing program. If you look in the notice that came in your power bill, they’re planning to transferring $240,485* from the Landfill Fund to the Recycling Fund. Their raiding the functional landfill to subsidize the failing mandatory recycling program instead of raising the recycling fee. Thus, they hide the actual cost of the recycling program by “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Rather than argue the merits of the program, they’ll just keep forcing it on us.

The recycling market has tanked and many cities are getting rid of the inefficient and costly program (see here too). Not Bountiful politicians. It’s awful hard to give up a pet project payed for by others (particularly an unwanted project they foisted on us).

For what it’s worth, I actually like legitimate recycling and reducing trash (I don’t like waste, Neo reflects my thoughts well ). Recycle your cans (give the funds to charity) and paper/cardboard can be conveniently dropped off at schools (they get money for it) while you run errands. Feel good ineffectual recycling programs imposing a burden on struggling families and folks on fixed incomes isn’t the way to do it.

If you’re interested, Bountiful City Council will hold a public hearing on both transfers on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 7:00PM at the fire station on 255 S 100 W. You can also email city council members if you can’t make it but have a comment.

For all posts related to recycling, click here.

*Update: As of June 22, the figure appears to have been updated to a $120,000 transfer. See: Bountiful City Council Ready To Cloak Recycling Cost Rather Than Evaluate And Reform

The Equality Act: How The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Stepped On A Rake

Fox13 reported today that the Latter-day Saint church speaks out in opposition of Equality Act:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Monday in opposition to House Resolution 5, also known as the Equality Act…

“While providing extremely broad protections for LGBT rights, the Equality Act provides no protections for religious freedom. It would instead repeal long-standing religious rights under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, threaten religious employment standards, devastate religious education, defund numerous religious charities and impose secular standards on religious activities and properties,” the statement from the Latter-day Saint church said, in part…

Yeah, it’s bad legislation on many levels. While I oppose it, the church statement comes way too late. Their Public Affairs folks stepped right into this and were warned about it years ago when they decided to play patty-cake with LGBTQ advocates and dabble in social justice. They were happy to throw individual rights (and members) under the bus while exempting the church on this very issue in order to score fleeting political points:

Organizational Vs Individual Freedom: Elder M. Russell Ballard And Utah’s LGBT Law
LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Law Credibility
Good For The Gander: LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Laws

This year, the church tacitly endorsed the Utah Legislatures’ hate crimes bill (which undermines equal protection under the law). Now they find themselves potentially subject to the same laws they were happy to stick everyone else under while they carved an exception for themselves.

But it goes beyond that. They may have set the means for their youth-turned-LGBT-advocates to be indoctrinated into supporting this stuff. I posted on this subject in 2013: Turning Point: Did The LDS Church Lose Its Youth On Gay Marriage With KSL?. Then, in 2017, they doubled down on the same decision: Repeating History: LDS Church And KSL Programming (Note: that is a CBS show they’re running on an NBC affiliate – it’s 100% their choice and not an affiliate mandate from NBC).

To be frank, I was a decade late on this. This programming gambit was really was set in motion a decade before I opened my fat yap. Steve DeVore gets the credit for sounding the first warning on this: Utahn battles raunchy TV online.

I mentioned him and his now defunct CleanTV site in my 2017 KSL programming blog post (above). Read that post and take note of the damning quotes from the church-owned KSL programming execs. They unwisely made themselves “friends of the mammon of unrighteousness” and got burned, big time.

Coming back to this year, BYU youth and profs now cheer and herald a BYU valedictorian coming out as gay. In local Utah schools, being gay, trans, or any one of multiple gender variations is viewed as something to be respected and applauded while being heterosexual is suspect and considered a potential oppressor (definitely unjustly “privileged”).

This whole PR press has certainly worked wonders. Now the church can look forward to battling its own (now indoctrinated) members over the Equality Act (you know, like bill co-sponsor, Rep. Ben McAdams).

Many have warned them they were playing a game with groups who were not concerned for the church’s welfare and would certainly not be satisfied until a full victory. Here’s the SOP put more succinctly:

Plenty have followed gospel truths and admonitions from ecclesiastical leaders to put aside bad influences and advocate for traditional and eternal moral values. They’ve spent their time and treasure sitting on the front line and taken all sorts of flak and retaliatory strikes from the media, Hollywood and very groups the church tried to curry favor (or reprieve) with. They’ve been derided and defamed. While the church backed down, the ‘front line members’ were told to hold the line…essentially with no material higher echelon support while watching the church roll over or outright help opposing advocates successfully pursue their goals.

At least for now, the church is holding firm on this (see Fox13 link):

But homosexual behavior is considered sinful and would disqualify a member from temple privileges, and therefore employment at a church-owned business.

Whatever comes next, the church media group (and me!) owes Steve DeVore a damned good apology for not heeding his warning.

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.

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.