Trump Wins And The Work Begins

I was not in the #NeverTrump camp, quite the contrary. Am I happy he won? Sure, we have temporarily dodged a bullet. I’m not going to rain on anyone’s parade so despite writing this the day Trump became President-elect, I held off posting this until today.

Let’s start with the good. Trump’s election shows that the electorate (particularly the blue-collar middle class) has soundly rejected:

  • Crony capital schemes (on a national level, at least) – Enough with the sweetheart deals for the politically connected. Nobody has ever liked them and everyone is sick of getting them shoved down their throats by the political class.
  • Obamacare – Trump was clear on this and people have been clear on it for years after everyone was forced to eat that crap sandwich via unconstitutional and unethical congressional maneuvers. Much of this goes hand-in-hand with the point on crony capital schemes.
  • Political correctness and the politically correct despots (“Social Justice Warriors”) – I never bought into the SJW tyrants and their ‘good for thee not for me’ rules. That includes their media enforcers.
    Certainly, SJWs and their main stream media enforcers will continue to try to personally destroy anyone who opposes their absurd rules. They’ll also continue to try and extort businesses into capitulation. But maybe this indicates a turning point of people finally telling them to pound sand and returning to the capability to vehemently disagree and understanding that being offended isn’t a crime. I also hope this will indicate a willingness to take people on their intents (everyone misspeaks and says stuff they regret in the heat of a moment) rather than solely seeking to set traps and savage them with innuendo and effectively strangle free-speech* (critical to a nation’s health).
  • The elite and their double standards – People are tired of the ivory tower dwellers telling us they know how to run our lives better than we do. Basically, see the above for starters. Glaring examples include exemptions from laws that affect others (eg insider trading) and all the crony back-room deals and preferential treatment in economics and media. The incestuous Washington DC cabal needs to end. Succinctly, Drain The Swamp!
  • Open borders – People are not at all interested in open borders. While Americans are compassionate, we aren’t foolish and willing to trash the nation. If you kill the goose, you have no golden eggs to be compassionate with. Both illegal and legal immigration need to be addressed (including “anchor baby” rules – no more birth tourism and auto citizenship for those illegally here). Build the wall (and pass E-verify) and improve the entry process!
  • Oligarchy – People want a real rule of law. They want Lady Justice blind. Hillary represented oligarchy with the obvious capricious application (exemption) of laws that would have any other person in prison.

Ok. Now for the rain on the parade. I don’t trust Trump. I have hopes but I don’t trust him and that’s a good thing. As Hamilton said in Federalist 25:

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.

Trump’s died-in-the-wool supporters and those who voted for him can’t be naive and think the above rejections are on autopilot. Not even close and I don’t trust Trump to fully follow through. SJWs, the media, entrenched politicians and corny capitalists are going to fight like hell so you better plan on doing so as well. Furthermore, I also implore people to not give into the expediency of getting something they want but gauge such through the filter of Constitutional propriety. I plan on fighting Trump if he blows off constitutional bounds ala Obama. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz I hope will also help beat the drum on this as well. Again, this is only the beginning.

The first and most crucial step to national restoration is to repent and turn to God. We need to pray for a return to divine values and righteousness as a nation. Certainly this includes praying for Trump to do so as well but the course of a nation and it’s acceptance of God’s grace and blessings is the duty of the people, not just their leaders. This starts with you.

Along with a return to God, we need a return to constitutional values and respect. The two really goes hand-in-hand. Please read the Constitution, read the Federalist Papers, discuss them with your children, friends and co-workers and press for them to be taught in schools.

Now, let’s go Make America Great Again.

*If unfiltered free speech floats your boat, look at Gab.ai as an alternative to Twitter. Twitter and Facebook have shown themselves to be SJW-dominated (including site ownership/admin) tyrants. Gab gives you the power to set your own filters (rather than being imposed on you by big brother Jack) and engage as wide or limited points-of-view you desire. And, no, I’m not affiliated with Gab other than just being a user.

Another Hillary-Media Lie: The 2008 Financial Collapse

This is just a quickie to point out a lie that Hillary uttered in the debate and Democrat allies (eg the mainstream media) continue to parrot. She tried to pin the 2008 meltdown on tax policy. It is absolutely absurd. As noted in 2008, she only needs to look in the mirror. I’m not the only one who caught her lie:

In fact, tax policies had almost nothing to do with the recession of 2008. What caused the market crash was the collapse of the subprime market. If that collapse had an architect-in-chief, his name was Bill Clinton. This is not a speculation. It is an easily documented fact…

The article goes on to discuss Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, Franklin Raines, Community Reinvestment Act, and arm twisting banks under thread of ‘racism’. Funny thing is all of that should sound very familiar. Here’s a blast from the 2008 past:

Burning Down the House: The Financial Fiasco in Under Ten Minutes (Updates)

Here’s the video I posted back then:

Ah, good times, indeed. If you want more on the bailout, use the bailout tag and scroll down to the 2008-2009 time frame.

Don’t Fall For The GOPe’s Stooge McMullin

Two must read articles I’m cross posting here and at Utah Rattles. Please, please read the articles in their entirety. Yeah, I know Ace’s language is a bit salty but they hit the nail on the head!

First, Ace succinctly sums up why no one should fall for helping Hillary win:

Crony Criminals: Department of Justice Blocked Any FBI Inquiry Into Clinton Foundation

This is why I just don’t get NeverTrump.

Do you want a country that is still recognizably America in four years, or do you want… something darker?

Yes, Trump is an obnoxious, ignorant, possibly crooked a–hole.

And what is Hillary? Hillary is all that plus the official and very illegal protection of the US federal bureaucracy.

Second, here’s the latest GOPe* gambit to ensure a Hillary victory and somehow pretend they had nothing to do with it. Don’t fall for this McMullin crap. It is nothing more than the GOP country clubbers having a hissy fit that they were rejected.

Will The Establishment’s Stalking Horse for Hillary Blow Up the Republican Party?

The Establishment’s plan is very simple. They’ve pretty much announced it. Bret Stephens, for example, does not hide the fact that his plan is to help Hillary into the presidency with a “blow out” against Trump. Then, he figures, the rebellious Untermenschen of the Lumpenproletariat will come grovelling to the Establishment for its super-successful and popular policy mix of unchastened neocon foreign adventurism, favors for corporate cronies, and official, explicit Open Borders policy…

…These guys, who fancy themselves smart, seem to miss the point that the way to “teach a lesson” to Trump supporters is to just sort of stay out of the election, and let Trump fail on his own. Then they would have the makings of a “See, I told you so” argument.

…You guys, having admitted you shivved the rest of the party in the back in order to scramble into a leadership position after the electoral debacle you admit you engineered —

why the f— wouldn’t the rest of us return the favor?

Remember the decades of their crappy nominees that conservatives were told to just shut up and eat the crap sandwich. Funny how they can’t take their own advice…especially when Trump is a product of their own making. They and their Utah McMullin stooge are nothing more than a bunch of hypocritical spoiled brats.

Again, click the links and read both articles.

UPDATE: Gov. Herbert is in bed with crony capitalists but even he isn’t falling for the McMullin scam.
*Note also that if Cruz was the nominee, I fully expect the GOPe elites would be pulling the same stunt on him.

Financial STD: Citigroup Continues Bailout Cronyism Binge With Costco Card Win

Don’t ask me how I ran into this topic…clicking links on credit cards sometimes leads you to things you never thought of looking into (or caring about).

Apparently Costco is switching their card carrier to Citibank and Visa. Big whoop, right? The only thing that intrigued me was that it appears that Citi may have buyers remorse unless a lot of card holders decide to carry a balance on their card and thereby pay ridiculous interest and fees:

How Much Citibank and Visa Actually Overpaid to Win the Costco Business Away from Amex

Costco to Pay Almost Zero to Accept Credit Cards

Discover CEO Defends AmEx’s Decision to ‘Walk Away’ From Costco

Citigroup and other Visa-issuing banks may profit from the new arrangement as people use their cards more and carry interest-earning balances.

I was obviously interested enough to click a few links on the issue. Anyway, somehow in my clicking I stumbled on this:

Citigroup’s past losses may have helped it win Costco business

Citigroup Inc had at least one advantage in its successful bid for the exclusive right to issue credit cards for Costco Wholesale Corp, rivals and tax specialists say: it lost so much money during the financial crisis that it has billions of dollars of tax credits.

…”The deferred tax assets would be quite a dramatic advantage,” said Robert Willens, an independent accounting and taxation consultant. Citigroup, he said, may well have won the deal by being able to offer far better terms to Costco than banks that pay more in taxes…

…To competitors, the bank’s tax credits are an irritant. A big chunk of the bank’s deferred tax assets stem from the billions of dollars of losses it generated during the financial crisis. Citigroup was rescued three times by the U.S. government between 2008 and 2009, and one of the rescues threatened to wipe out some of the bank’s deferred tax assets.

Much like an STD, the bailout keeps on giving. Well, that and when Treasury “relaxed the rules governing such assets”.  Political cronyism certainly has its advantages.

If this kind of stuff grates you and you happen to shop at Costco it sounds like you have two options:
a) Refuse to use or cancel the Citi Visa card (per comments, Costco will accept any Visa or cash/check) or
b) Use Citibank’s Costco Card at Costco and never carry a balance* (per the articles: the rewards program is a money loser for them due to the low interchange rates – please comment/use contact form if they can still make money when consumers don’t carry a balance).

If you don’t shop at Costco, the only thing you can do is switch cards to another provider (they all have rewards or cute cards if you’re into that kind of thing).

*Something you should do anyway unless you like paying 20% more for every product you buy. If you are going to use a card, be smart and pay the balance off – set up an auto pay also to avoid late fees (c’mon the whole card thing really is a gimmick to suck you into overpaying for stuff, don’t fall for it).

Prop 1: Funding The UTA Money Pit With Government Kickbacks

Back in June, I warned that I would be surprised if city and county governments didn’t put the UTA tax on ballots because of the “incentive” the legislature gave them. It’s a fiscal incentive better known as a ‘kickback’ which would normally be highly unethical if not illegal but since the legislature did it, it’s ok…  Please read the above linked post for details on the kickback along with a list of the other tax increases this year and links to UTA’s bad financial audits. You can also go directly to the 2014 audit here or read a related article from the Salt Lake Tribute here “Audit blasts UTA, says it gave millions in sweetheart deals

Rather than reinvent the wheel and post my own summary on why we should oppose Proposition 1, let me paste in an excellent summary I was sent in an email (original author is Heather Williamson):

…Also, we are concerned that another tax is being considered against us. And I mean against, not FOR us. Taxes take more dollars out of our pockets which we can simply can not afford. Governments should be expected to work within their existing budgets just like my family and I have to.

However, I am equally concerned with where our tax dollars are going. Almost half of the tax proposal will go to the Utah Transit Authority. UTA has been less than frugal with their funds. I find it offensive that I am being asked to be more frugal with my money, so UTA doesn’t have to be with theirs.

At the end of 2010, UTA was millions of dollars in debt, and the debt continues to rise. The following year over $600,000 was spent on international travel, which an audit released called these ‘work trips’ unnecessary and a misuse of public funds. UTA also signed a deal with a contractor in Draper, which according to another audit, lacked the proper legal documentation and defied UTA’s own rules and regulations. After the deal experienced failure after failure, UTA lost roughly $2 million dollars and did not seek compensation. The auditors concluded that this put “tax dollars at an unnecessary risk.” According to the same audit, UTA legal counsel advised to recover the $2 million, however the executive board decided that the loss was acceptable.

UTA executive bonuses have totaled close to $2 million dollars a year, and that is not including the bonuses that UTA is withholding to report on. According to the same audit, UTA has not reported all compensation to Utah’s state transparency website. Two years ago, General Manager of UTA made over $400,000; General Counsel made over $350,000; and the Chief Operating Officer made over $300,000 and their compensation continues to rise. This government entity is asking for more money, because it has paid itself into debt. And now they are asking me and the other county residents to restrain our budgets even more to pay for their lack of basic budgeting skills. This sales tax, if approved, will increase UTA revenue by millions a year. However, when does it stop?

I have nothing further to add other than to ask you to please vote NO on Prop 1.

Going For Broke: UTA Demands Tax Increase, Parties In Europe (UPDATE)

Just off the high of a sweat cloaked bailout from the 2013 Legialature, news came out that UTA wants a 66% increase in it’s share of sales tax. It seems they were unable to properly plan for and budget for their various high profile line (rail etc) expansions. The PR of new goodies is just too tempting, I suppose. Despite the apparently poor planning, UTA execs got large bonuses on your dime:

The Salt Lake Tribune reported this month that top UTA executives split $750,000 in bonuses last year by meeting goals that critics say are too easily met. Even former UTA Chief Executive Officer John Inglish received a $22,700 bonus even though his then-mostly advisory job had him mainly traveling to represent UTA at industry meetings, while receiving other compensation of $364,000 a year…

Better yet, Utah Transit Authority execs and their legislative supporters decided now would be a great time for a European vacation:

The day after the Utah Transit Authority began seeking a 66 percent increase in its share of sales taxes, four top UTA officials — including the same person who asked legislators for that increase — jetted off to Switzerland to look at mountain transportation systems.

They are spending $1,600 each for round-trip airfare and $200 each per night on hotel rooms for five nights, plus food and other incidentals, the UTA acknowledged in response to Tribune inquiries. They also took six legislators and a lobbyist with them — but UTA said they are paying their own way.

As for the “paying their own way” line, I can’t help wonder if the legislators (Representatives Greg Hughes, Brad Dee, Don Ipson, Brad Last and Johnny Anderson and Senator Evan Vickers) used campaign funds to ‘pay their own way’. Such funds are often provided by lobbyist donors such as Jeff Hartley, who is UTA’s lobbyist…and also on the trip.

Representative Janice Fisher summed it up well:

“I question their judgment on spending this kind of money on top of the firestorm that’s going on concerning bonuses and the cutting of services and the debt they are in…”

Just wait ’till she hears about how much UTA’s blowing on travel:

International travel has been among controversies UTA has faced recently. Last year, the Tribune reported that UTA had spent $600,000 in a year and half on travel. For example, former CEO John Inglish had traveled to Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico, Spain (twice), Switzerland, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and 17 U.S. cities. He averaged 1.6 trips a month.

Hughes traveled for UTA to Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, San Antonio, Sacramento, Portland (three times) and Washington, D.C.

Not to worry though, we’re being so tough on them that UTA felt it necessary to petition their board to lower targets for bonuses.

UPDATE: Freshly back from their trip, UTA reps and legislators proudly declare blowing tax money and lobbyist funds on the junket was totally worth it. Note that this time the reporter did mention that ‘pay their own way’ really means lobbyists paid their way through legislators’ campaign funds:

…Accompanying them were six legislators — including Hughes, who is also the House Republican whip — who said they paid their own way, or used a mix of personal and campaign funds.

In more local news, Bountiful feels icky about it but decided to drop $15,000 to UTA anyway.  At least that will pay for one Swiss trip costs.

Utah’s Clean Air Dupe: Endless Tax Increases, CNG Monopoly, And UTA’s Stealth Bailout

UPDATE: Herbert has signed the bill.  He’s bailed out his buddies and created a new, cloaked and uncontrolled taxation vehicle.  Progressives rejoice.

Who can say they don’t want clean air?  So that should justify any action that would creates a government-ordained monopoly and open a larger avenue for tax increases that entirely undermine truth-in-taxation?  Apparently.  Just look at the end result of SB275 (“Energy Amendments”).

The legislation gives Questar (“a gas corporation”) a virtual monopoly on CNG (natural gas) stations and infrastructure.  CNG vehicles are an increasing market and prime for expansion.  Rather than allow free enterprise and businesses (small and large) to enter the market and ensure competition, the legislation will strangle the market and provide significant advantage for what will amount to a state utility company (Questar).  Instead of using a competitive process for infrastructure and allowing gas stations meet CNG demands,  the legislature and Governor Herbert are primed to severely restrict entry in the market.    All this amounts to is a juicy shade of big government intervention and crony capitalism.

As a “double whammy”, the legislation allows all layers of government to increase gas rates (“in the public interest”, of course) when they feel like it.  As I’ve well documented Utah cities with a municipal power company are notorious for manipulating rates (overcharging) and transferring the excess into their general funds (see here too).  They then turn around and speciously tout low property taxes (without factoring in the rate manipulation).  If signed by Governor Herbert, the barn door will be thrown wide open for not only cities but also counties, special districts, and the quasi-private Utah Transit Authority (UTA). This action will also surreptitiously help bail-out a financially foundering Utah Transit Authority.

The end result is and end run around truth-in-taxation requirements, gas rates for your home as well as CNG vehicles will rise, and government runs on the Questar bank (while claiming your taxes are low)…with the added bonus of a constriction of market entry and competition.  Milton Friedman in “Free To Choose” warned about the unintended consequences of government-corporate regulatory development.  This is just another case study in the making.

Please call Governor Herbert (801-538-1000) immediately and ask him to veto SB 275 (this is your last chance). Too late – see the update at the top.

For more detailed background information, see this post.