Privatizing Comb Ridge: When ‘Public’ Land Isn’t Really Public

Privatizing the Comb Ridge from Friends of Cedar Mesa on Vimeo.

A key square-mile parcel of Comb Ridge near Bluff is being sold by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), ignoring the majority of Utahns who commented on the proposed sale. I attended a public hearing about this land sale in Bluff on June 7. SITLA Director David Ure opened the meeting by explaining that the state-owned lands he manages are not in fact public lands although many people have that impression. The SITLA holdings, he said, are actually PRIVATE land. The impression was created that this was a done deal no matter what anybody says.

The buyer is the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation, which already owns the Bluff Fort tourist attraction. The Foundation says they do not have plans to build permanent structures at Comb Ridge, however after acquiring the land plans may change at any time. At the very least, they will devote the land to a single use — ignoring the broad public interest and the cultural importance of this land to Native Americans.

Here’s the big picture: Gov. Herbert and the Tea-GOP majority in the Utah legislature are planning to sue the federal government to grab 30 million acres of our public lands and national forests. If the state ever gets this land, it will instantly become PRIVATE land as David Ure can tell you. That is what is at stake here.

Support the Bears Ears National Monument!


Who is Peter G. Peterson?

Peter G. Peterson

Nancy Altman on HuffPo:

The presidential debates should be an opportunity to focus on the most important issues of the day. Unfortunately, the producers of the second debate failed miserably at this goal, because of their selection of which questions to ask.

Prior to the debate, the producers agreed to consider the top thirty questions voted on by the public at Open Debates. The question with the third largest number of votes, posed by Ellen Pleasant from North Carolina in the video below, was “Do you support expanding, and not cutting, Social Security’s modest benefits?”

That straightforward question was voted third, out of more than 12,000 questions on which to vote. Over 45,000 Americans voted for Ellen’s question. With poll after poll showing that retirement insecurity is a top financial concern of most Americans and with the reality that Social Security is likely to be even more important in the future, the voting is no surprise.

But the moderators did not ask it – or any of the other questions in the top thirty…

Why not ask such an obvious question? David Dayen explains: Debate Moderators Under the Spell of Deficit-Obsessed Billionaire Pete Peterson.

Who is Peter G. Peterson? He is a former Nixon cabinet official and private equity billionaire who has been demanding cuts to programs he’s too rich to rely upon since the early 1980s. Peterson was the inspiration behind President Obama’s failed Catfood Commission and many phony “grassroots” groups calling for austerity budgets, and ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

If you watch cable TV, you have seen the scary Peter G. Peterson ads warning us of impending economic collapse unless the Washington politicians come up with more tax cuts for the rich and benefits cuts for the 99 Percent.

Everybody in America totally rejects Peterson’s austerity plans. Everybody, that is, except the 1 Percenters and their bipartisan representatives in the nation’s capital. Even if Peterson remains unsuccessful in his quest to destroy our social safety net, his relentless propaganda helps stifle the debate about EXPANDING Social Security and other programs – which is what we ought to do.

A government of the people, by the people, and for the people is the opposite of what Peterson and his political allies such as Hillary Clinton want to achieve.

Did anyone notice in the last debate when Hillary pledged she would “not add a penny to the Debt?” That was Peter G. Peterson talking.


Letter to My Hypothalamus

Dear Hypothalamus

Hypothalamus, can I just call you Thal? Great! Well, Thal, we have been constant companions for a long time. You have always had my back when a crocodile is chasing me or kept me out of the way of stampeding bulls. I would like to thank you for that. But Thal, like any friend we need to have some boundaries. Sure I need you when I am truly in trouble. You give me that kick that helps me to either fight off an attacker or get the heck out of the there. When I am truly in real trouble I need you by my side.

But, Thal, frankly I do not need you as my constant companion. I do not need you protecting me from everything that may make me feel uncomfortable. I do not need you always hovering over me just in case someone may ask me a question I do not have an immediate answer. I do not need you when someone challenges my beliefs or acts contrary to my expectations. I do not need you when someone asks me to do something that I either do not want to do or avert me from something that currently has my attention.

Thal, to be brutally honest. You are just a dumb brute. You are part of my brain that has no connection to my higher brain such as intellect, reason, logic, compassion, empathy, wisdom or any of the higher faculties that set us apart from animals with brains the size of an acorn.

When you kick in, I lose my connection to higher brain functions and lose all ability to apply reason and logic and run almost entirely on basic survival instincts. You make me appeal to my emotions instead of my intellect.

Yes, Thal, you make me as dumb as you are. You make me dysfunctional and stressed out you make me easy prey for manipulation and control by others.

Since we are co-dependent, the parting will be difficult. Both you and I will resist the changes required to put you in your place. There will be times we will run back to each other, but we both will be healthier when you keep to your intended purpose.

So, if you come for a visit, I will no longer feed you. I will no longer respond by either fighting or fleeing. I will simply invite the one thing that you cannot exist in a room at the same time, and that is my higher brain function. We will call him Funk. Yes, Thal you and Funk cannot operate at the same time. Funk and I will have to ease into it because you are cunning and like a petulant child you will use tricks to be fed and get what you want. We will have to use our own tricks to combat you. Things that use our higher intellect when you come knocking. Things as simple as doing a word puzzle or think of random numbers or count backward. Anything that invites Funk in to get you out.

So instead of retreating to some imaginary safe-space that only functions to feed and enable you I will go to the only true safe-space that exists wherever I happen to be and use my mind instead of reacting to you and my environment.

Don’t despair; we are still friends. When I truly need it, you are welcome, and I will be happy to feed you when we are truly in danger.


Ken Bingham

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“The Donald” Doth Protest Too Much

Believe Me!

Believe Me!

I would think Donald Trump’s advisors are telling him to tone it down this week, after they previously advised him to keep repeating that his election is being stolen. Either this is desperation on display, or a deeper knowledge of manipulating the media then any of us little folk, or even the media understand.

This strategy is only supposed to work if the election is close and after Americas parents had to tell their children what sexual groping was, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be.

Projecting election theft on democrats is a very old trick by now, that should embarrass the hell out of congressional Democrats who refused to expose it. There is essentially no “voter fraud” and the Republicans pimping it probably know that better then anyone else, since they are the ones who have made election fraud into an art form for many years.

It’s probably gone down the memory hole by now, but a lot of us remember the battle that took place in Wisconsin, after the grass roots there decided they’d had enough of Scott Walker, and petitioned successfully for a recall. I even went to a pretty well attended rally in Salt Lake called “Stand With Wisconsin“. Yep, that’s Utah’s state capitol!

It seems as if Wisconsin was being used as a test case for ACTUAL election fraud. Documents that were strangely ordered destroyed, showed up recently concerning a suspicious judicial race there benefiting governor Walker. It has not been reported on by the media at large. It’s obvious there was some disturbing public manipulation going on, but too complex for a media that can only focus on fake fraud, bumper sticker arguments.

Emails Reveal GOPers Plotting To Gin Up Voter Fraud Fears In WI Judicial Race

“Do we need to start messaging ‘widespread reports of election fraud’ so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we should,”


“”Talk radio needs to scream the Dems are trying to steal the race…We need to declare victory first so it appears that the results are being overturned if they go the wrong way.”

One of the talk radio hosts that was willing to play along in Wisconsin, came clean not too long ago about his involvement in bringing America to this embarrassing and dangerous point.

Here is a detailed report from “The Guardian” about the complex matter, but I think the best way to learn about the intricacies of the story are more easily absorbed by listening to this commentary and interview that Brad Friedman did with attorney Brendan Fischer on September 15th. Not an once of sensationalism; just right to the point information from two people who followed the story judiciously, all those years ago.

Here’s the story as it appeared on Brad Friedman’s longtime archive of actual election fraud in this country. You should listen to his excellent free podcasts provided every week day, and donate like I do.

Dark money was coming in from wealthy people all over to support this undemocratic action in a state previously known for honest government, and candidate Donald Trump was one of them, unless you believe in ridiculous coincidences more then I do.

Please spend the time to listen, just in case the 2016 election is close enough to allow this sort of debauchery again.


What Keeps People Down?

What keeps people down? Why do some people fare better while others struggle? Why do some groups of people, generally, do better than others? Is it some magical privilege bestowed on one group at the expense of all others? It is one group keeping the others down?
Let’s put all that to rest.
The problem is not all about our environment. Environment is the fuel to the fire. However,  the problem lies in our brain and how all of our brains work regardless of skin color, ethnicity or any other factor.
Our brain is not a single entity. We have the upper cortex which controls our higher brain function that gives us the ability to think, use reason and learn. Deep within our lower cortex is a small section about the size of an acorn that is our primitive brain. It deals solely on our most basic survival instincts. It hs no ability to think, and it does not reason; it has no higher brain function at all. It is the part of our brain that reminds us when we need to eat, breath, and gives us a kick of adrenalin when we are in danger or sense danger. It controls our fight or flight reflex.
When we are angry, offended, raged, outraged, fearful, anxious or threatened our primitive brain activates and in turn inhibits our higher brain function. It diminishes our ability to reason, use logic, and learn. People who are in a constant state of fear or rage or have a hair trigger sense of offense live in nearly a constant state of fight or flight and this keeps their primitive brain active which in turn inhibits their ability to use higher brain functions.
Even the most intelligent people lose their capacity to think rationally or cognitively when their primitive brain takes over. We have seen even Harvard and Yale educated students and even faculty reduced to mob like behavior lacking all of their higher brain function while in this state.
We simply cannot use both our cognitive ability and our survival instinct at the same time. However, there lies the answer. Our primitive brain inhibits our higher brain function, but our higher brain function also inhibits our primitive brain. In other words, when we apply reason and logic and use our higher brain function it turns off our fight or flight reflex and allows for an environment of learning, reason and higher cognitive thinking. That, in turn, leads to a happier, healthier, anxiety free, and a more prosperous life. We progress when we are not spending the bulk of our energy in survival mode.
As a society, we are doing it all wrong. We are feeding our primitive brain by encouraging rage, resentment, distrust, and division. Even the way we attempt to combat these things only causes more and perpetuates it. We call people racists and haters. We call people privileged or assign blame instead of using our higher brain faculties to solve problems. The answer is to appeal to reason instead of anger and to retrain our brain to not reflexively go into a state of fight or flight unless we truly are in danger. We need not listen to those who fan the flames because they are keeping people from using their higher brain function and realizing their potential. It is they who keep people in continuous survival mode and in a constant state of anger, rage, fear, resentment, and hopelessness instead of encouraging people to use their natural cognitive ability to solve problems and use critical thinking skills and react to their environment in an intelligent and deliberate manner. If this happened, you would see the world change for the better and unshackle people from a life of constant stress, fear, rage, resentment, hopelessness, and hate.
Some call that a privilege, but no. It is everyone’s birthright.

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Yes, we were in the abuser’s house

This was the moment the American right has been salivating over for 25 years . . . someone stood on a stage and leveled all the charges at Hillary Clinton, to her face, and called her a liar, and glowered and swaggered while doing it.

And it fell flat.

It went nowhere.

She was calm, composed, even cool, under pressure. She didn’t break down. She didn’t fall to pieces. She didn’t dissolve into a puddle of tears.

Josh Marshall is spot on:

The whole debate, rancid and intense, felt like an ordeal to live through just watching it on TV.

I don’t think we can discuss this debate as citizens, take stock of it as a country, without noting that this is certainly the first time one candidate has openly threatened to jail the other candidate. Trump said openly that he would instruct the Justice Department to open a new investigation of Clinton and that he’d make sure it ended with her imprisonment.

That’s something we expect it kleptocracies and thin democracies where electoral defeat can mean exile, imprisonment or death.

Such a ferocious claim, one that puts our whole constitutional order on its head, is not something that can be easily undone. That’s the ranting threat of a would-be strongman and dictator The threat itself is like a bell that can’t be un-rung. Through the course of what was often an ugly debate, I was thinking a lot of the destructiveness of this entire campaign, virtually all of which stems from Trump’s transgressive, norm-demolishing behavior. It’s a topic we’ll have to return to in the ed blog and one the country is going to need to wrestle with. None of this is going to disappear after November 8th. These are slashing wounds to the country’s political fabric that will at best leave tremendous scar tissue we’ll still see for decades.

It was vile.  Not because of Hillary Clinton who remains an ordinary politician in almost every sense – with all that status implies. No, it was vile because Donald Trump is vile, because the American right has long since surrendered its ethics and standards, because the American right has long since given up truth and honesty and instead has played an amoral game whose only yardstick is who won the election, right or wrong; who outshouted who; who got the highest ratings.

Donald Trump, glowering, swaggering, striding around the stage, trying to physically intimidate Hillary, was every bit the bully, the abuser, the loud mouthed asshole. His behavior is vile, degrading and shameful.


Hillary’s Wall Street Speeches: Politicians ‘need both a public and a private position’

Via Salon:

Hillary Clinton promised in a debate with Bernie Sanders last February to “look into” releasing the transcripts of her paid speeches to Wall Street. She never released the transcripts, but thanks to WikiLeaks we know that the Hillary campaign did an assessment of them to review the most damaging quotes.

Hillary’s speech excerpts are revealed in a Jan. 25, 2016 email from Tony Carrk, the research director of the Clinton campaign, to John Podesta, the campaign chairman, and other top campaign officials. Some examples cited by Salon:

Politicians “need both a public and a private position”

In an April 2013 speech to the National Multi-Housing Council, Clinton maintained that politicians “need both a public and a private position.”

“If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least,” she said,

“Politics is like sausage being made,” Clinton added. “It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be.”

In other words, Hillary reserves the right to have two positions on every issue – but which one is the lie? BTW the “sausage” analogy was originally made by John Godfrey Saxe, but is often attributed to Otto von Bismarck. It is a political cliché.

Dreams of “open trade” world

In a May 2013 speech to the Brazilian bank Banco Itau, Clinton articulated her neoliberal, hyper-capitalist vision of the world.

“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” she said….

“Far removed” from the middle class

In a February 2014 speech to the bank Goldman Sachs and financial management company BlackRock, Clinton admitted, “I’m kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class, “because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy.” She added, “But I haven’t forgotten it.”

Clinton also said, “I do think there is a growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged,” but she stressed, “I am not taking a position on any policy.”

The Intercept highlighted another quote, in which Hillary suggests the big banks ought to write their own regulations.

Touching on her view of developing financial regulations, Clinton declared to a crowd of Goldman Sachs bankers that in order to “figure out what works,” the “people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”

Last but not least, we now know that Hillary told an audience at Morgan Stanley that she supported the Catfood Commission plan for tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for everyone else.

We ought to remember that the content of Hillary’s Wall Street speeches, as bad as it is, doesn’t outweigh the fact that she was paid $22 million. The speeches were primarily an excuse for the TBTF banks to financially reward the Clintons for their support over the years.

More info:
Salon: In paid speeches, Hillary Clinton said she “represented” and “had great relations” with Wall Street
The Intercept: Excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speeches to Goldman Sachs Finally Leaked
Official Transcript Clock:

Previously on One Utah:
The $675,000 Question (February 4, 2016)


Mike Weinholtz Versus Governor Herbert In Televised Debate


This second debate took place on September 26th, and will most likely be the last one, as governor Herbert would rather keep his governmental matters close to the vest and probably only showed up to the first one at the last minute because he didn’t want to be called, “Unavailable Jones” at that event.

Weinholtz came out swinging like a real democrat should with the problems the GOP has left us in this state and the rest of the country as well, but he has already proven he can work with the other side on the issues.

I hope all those people who showed up to wait in line for hours to register and vote for Bernie Sanders will see that this is the year to get democrats in office again in Utah. The governor’s office has never been in Republican hands for this long in Utah before, (32 years). It’s time for a change with REAL values instead of the stagnant cronyism we see today.

Short post-debate question and answer session:

The first debate was not televised, so I took this from a citizens cell phone recording.

NOTE: You can stop the unwanted soundtrack by going near the bottom of the page, and pausing the video, or going to the comments section.


The Jimmy Dore Show: Forget The Lesser Evil

“Forget the lesser evil, and fight for the greater good.” — Jill Stein
Read the rest of this entry »


Allan Lichtenstein: ‘The rich get richer, the rest get poorer’

Wealth and Income Share of the Top 1%, 1913-2012

Wealth and income share of the top 1 percent

Via Truthout:

At one of the many high-dollar fundraisers Hillary Clinton held during the month of August, a personal-check donation of $100,000 would get an attendee a photo with Hillary, according to a recent New York Times article. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Paul McCartney at a waterfront Hampton’s estate fund-raiser, Hillary “joined in a sing-a-long finale to ‘Hey Jude’.”

…Since the late-1970s, the top one percent of families have been steadily accumulating a larger share of the nation’s wealth (total assets people own net of their debts), recessions notwithstanding. In 2012 (the most recent available data), the top one percent of families (1.6 million families, each with at least $4 million in assets in 2012) held about 42 percent of all the wealth. Although still below the 1928 peak of 51 percent, the growth has been spectacular, almost doubling in close to 40 years.

“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
Louis Brandeis


Mike Weinholtz Takes On Governor Herbert In First Debate


I took the liberty of modifying the only known recording of this important event by cropping a citizens cell phone recording and amplifying the sound. This one-on-one debate nearly didn’t happen. Herbert only agreed to debate Weinholtz once on September 26th, but changed his mind at the last minute. I guess you could call this a flash debate.

I wanted people to see what a great leader Weinholtz would be for Utah. He really did a great job!

Original debate video can be found at Mike Weinholtz’s webpage.


Can Rep. Bishop Run Out the Clock on Bears Ears National Monument?

Sally Jewell
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell toured the proposed Bears Ears National Monument last July

Yesterday Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz held a subcommittee hearing on their Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill. There is virtually no chance of the bill becoming law, however Rep. Bishop is hopeful that by keeping the PLI in play for the few remaining weeks Congress will be in session he can block President Obama from issuing a Bears Ears National Monument proclamation.

Bishop says there’s plenty of time left.

“There is a helluva long lame-duck session,” he said in an interview. “We’re going to be here from after the election to Christmas.”

He said he doesn’t know if movement on the PLI will stop the president from acting on a monument but that the White House would be hard-pressed to explain why it made such a move against a locally driven process.

Bishop said: “It’s going to be very difficult to make this monument unless it’s simply, ‘Screw you, Utah, in your face.’ “

Bishop is ignoring the fact that the Bears Ears monument proposal has the support of a strong majority of Utahns.

More info:
Congress can still avoid a Bears Ears National Monument, says Rep. Jason Chaffetz
Beautiful Film Of The Proposed Bears Ears National Monument (July 2016)
Is President Obama Going to Do This? (June 2016)
Bishop-Chaffetz Bill Is An Attack On Our Public Lands (January 2016)
Bears Ears National Monument (November 2015)


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