Archive for category Utah Politics
Update May 28, 2013: Utah gun rights advocate Clark Aposhian arrested
March 29, 2013
Clark muttered under his breath when he discovered his ‘baby’ had been stolen out of the the back seat of his car as it sat parked in front of his house.
For the first time in Clark’s life, he knew the meaning of pants-around-ankles. Clark shuttered to think about his next move. ‘Do I call the police,’ Clark thought to himself, ‘how will I face my the students in my gun safety classes…or do I keep quiet and hope no one notices?’
“Shoot, shoot, SHOOT” Clark said, out loud this time.
Clark’s instincts kicked in. With the deftness of an eagle in flight, Clark swept the Glock out of his waistband and cocked it as his eyes narrowed transfixed on an imaginary enemy. Clark was a huge Clint Eastwood fan. He had perfected the “Clint squint” by first grade.
Seeing no immediate threat on the bucolic street at the end of his driveway, Clark spun around, crouched, and with both hands, aimed his gun toward the garage door.
“Don’t fuck with me,” Clark warned out loud as he crept back through the empty garage, into his empty house, hoping none of the neighbors had noticed.
A tingle ran up his spine. His mind raced back to his childhood and the endless days playing Cops and Robbers with his best friend Lil’ Clyde.
“Damned, those were the days” Clark said to himself as he straightened out and placed the Glock back in his pants. Stepping into the serenity of his empty kitchen, his mind went blank as it often did, without notice.
Unable to remember what he had come into the house for, Clark went over to his old vinyl record player and put on his favorite ZZ Top album and began doing air guitar. As he arched his back, he felt the barrel of the Glock press into his flesh.
“Shoot” Clark said out loud, remembering the was a bullet in the chamber. Then Clark remembered why he had come back into the house.
By now everyone has heard about this story. It highlights a couple of things.
1. Even the most responsible gun owners cannot protect us from the unintended consequences of gun ownership.
2. Refer to #1.
Personally, I’d like to know why he had a thermal-imaging scope attached to it. As a lobbyist for the gun industry, I imagine Clark Aposhian has plenty of exotic freebies kicking around his house. But why was it actually ON THE GUN? What the fuck? Is there a new shooting sport we should know about?
Don’t miss the Wonkette’s satirical reflection on Clark’s big ooops: “Utah Gun Lobbyist’s AR-15 Stolen Because SUV Couldn’t Defend Itself“
On December 19, 2008, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, Tim DeChristopher protested an oil and gas lease auction of 116 parcels of public land in Utah’s red rock country, conducted by the Bureau of Land Management. DeChristopher decided to participate in the auction, signing a bidder registration Form and placing bids to obtain 14 parcels of land (totaling 22,500 acres) for $1.8 million. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents, taken into custody, and questioned.
The auction was later declared illegal by incoming Obama Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.
Nonetheless, DeChristopher was aggressively persecuted by George W. Bush-appointed federal prosecutors a judge who’s tenure included Chief of Staff for Senator Orrin Hatch. DeChristopher courageously refused all plea offers to avoid jail time. On July 26, 2011, Judge Dee Benson sentenced DeChristopher to two years in prison;
Peaceful Uprising is organizing a screening of Bidder70 in Salt Lake City: the first that Tim will be able to attend since the movie premiered last year! In conjunction with this event, the filmmakers (Beth & George Gage) have partnered with a film distributor, Gathr Films, to organize countrywide simultaneous theatrical screenings.
An hour-long post-screening discussion and Q&A with Tim will be streamed so that everyone, no matter where they are watching, will be able to participate: by watching and/or sending questions via Twitter. It wouldn’t be a true PeaceUp celebration without song, which is why we’ve invited our dear friend Bryan Cahall (whose song Arise you will recognize in the movie) to join in a jam session as well.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Sign up to host your own local screening of Bidder 70: http://
2. Join PeaceUp in helping Gathr spread the word, by inviting your friends to their Facebook event, sharing it via the Twitter webs and updating your Facebook status:https://www.facebook.com/
3. Contribute to Bidder70?s IndieGoGo Distribution campaign (http://www.indiegogo.com/
4. Come to Salt Lake City. Details about our SLC Screening can be found by clicking HERE.
Note: Ryan’s proposal as released Tuesday calls for a tax cut that would reduce the top bracket from 39.6% to 25% (see update below).
The so-called “fiscal cliff” law passed by the Congress and signed by the President in January restored the top income tax rate to the Clinton-era levels of 39.6 percent, and increased the capital gains tax rate from 15 percent to 20 percent. It also made the Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich permanent for all other tax brackets. Reps. Paul Ryan and Jason Chaffetz voted against it. Now Rep. Chaffetz is touting the new Ryan budget proposal – which includes $600 billion in revenue from the measure they opposed in January.
Ryan Lizza put Chaffetz on the spot this morning on CNN, pointing out that “Republicans voted overwhelmingly against a deal that raised $600 billion in revenue, and now it sounds like they’re going to put out a budget that pockets that $600 billion…”
That’s not the only policy reversal in Ryan’s proposal:
The budget [proposal] will also likely include Medicare savings from the Affordable Care Act and “adjustments for an expected decline in war spending, a move that could reduce assumed expenditures by up to $600 billion over the next decade.” Ryan has consistently derided war savings as “phantom savings” and promised to restore the Medicare cuts during his vice presidential bid.
UPDATE: The Ryan proposal released on Tuesday includes a giant tax cut for the rich (14.6 percent for the top bracket), paid for by raising taxes on the middle class and cutting the social safety net.
Smoke and flames are seen over homes as the Dump Fire burns near Saratoga Springs on Friday, June 22, 2012. JIM MCAULEY/Daily Herald
Last June 21, target shooters ignited a wildfire near Saratoga Springs that burned 5,507 acres and cost $2.1 million to fight, and resulted in the evacuation of 9,000 residents from their homes. More than 20 Utah wildfires are started by irresponsible target shooters every year.
Why is target shooting causing wildfires? Don’t firearms enthusiasts go to firing ranges where safety precautions are the first priority? Well… regular firing ranges don’t let you shoot an AR-15 at an exploding star target (video), a Tannerite target, or use tracer or incendiary rounds.
Although Utah is one of the most heavily-armed states in the nation, our state government cannot regulate target shooting. Not even in an emergency, such as last year.
Utah code 76-10-500, passed in 1999, states: “Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms.” A 2004 law contains similar phrasing.
It seemed like a simple fix for Utah State Senator Margaret Dayton (R-Orem), and State Rep. Curt Oda (R-Clearfield) to introduce SB120, a bill to allow the state forester to restrict target shooting when it would create a high risk of wildfires. It sailed through committee, and Dayton said she has the votes to pass it. But then the gun nuts went ballistic. As the Senate started to debate the measure Friday, Dayton pulled it and told senators that she may not bring it up again.
Once again, it appears that a common-sense measure with majority support cannot withstand the fury of the gun fanatics. Most likely, our state will remain powerless to stop preventable wildfire emergencies caused by yahoos with assault rifles.
The two men charged with starting Saratoga Springs’ Dump Fire in June have pleaded no contest to reduced charges.
Idaho resident Kenneth Nielsen, 37, and Jeffrey Conant, 42, of Washington state, were originally charged in 4th District Court with reckless burning, a class A misdemeanor, and using prohibited targets, a class B misdemeanor.
… the pleas were part of a deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop the reckless burning charges, and won’t request jail time at sentencing.
The two men each agreed to pay $5,000 in restitution.
Charging documents state that Nielsen and Conant were target shooting near Saratoga Springs at 11:30 a.m. on June 21, when an explosive target ignited dry weeds and spread to burn the mountainside, court documents state.
Fire investigators discovered packaging linked to an explosive target the men used during their shooting session. A fingerprint on the packaging was traced to Nielsen, court documents state.
Utah’s Washington Country Sheriff Threatens Armed Resistance, Gets History Wrong In Open Letter To President Obama
The most honest message in Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher’s Open Letter to Barack Obama is that Sheriffs are politicians; “We, the elected sheriffs of Utah…” On the other hand, use of the word “We” implying all Utah Sheriffs signed off on the language, is most likely, a lie.
It is difficult to believe that ALL of Utahs 28 county Sheriffs support threatening President Obama with a call to “trade our lives” in an effort to resist “federal officials,” which may also explain why NO OTHER County Sheriffs’ names appear in the letter posted on Cory’s website on behalf of the Utah Sheriff’s Association.
The only substance in the letter is the final paragraph. Whether this paragraph was agreed upon by all of Utah’s Sheriffs, or is merely a personal campaign message, the reader must decide for her/himself.
We respect the Office of the President of the United States of America. But, make no mistake, …we will enforce the rights guaranteed…by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights-in particular Amendment II-has given them. We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.
Finally, it must be noted that Mr. Pulispher’s implicit assertion that HIS is also “the traditional interpretation” of the second amendment is a canard and should offend even the most pedestrian history buff. I think we can safely assume Sheriff Pulispher’s interpretation of 2A is identical to Wayne LaPierre’s. And it is wrong and certainly NOT the “traditional one.
“In regard to the Second Amendment, not a single Congressman or Senator is recorded as saying that it would establish an individual’s right to possess a weapon.
…In summary the original intent of the Second Amendment was to protect the right of the states to form and maintain state militias, free of the potential federal incursion created by Article I, section 8, clause 16 of the Constitution. Hopefully, we will one day get an intellectually honest majority on the Supreme Court that will reverse the judicial activism that the five right wing ideologues on SCOTUS forced on the American people in Heller, Citizens United, and the majority’s dangerous restriction on the interstate commerce clause in National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Sibelius (otherwise known as the “Obamacare” decision).”
For those of you who would dismiss the above as a radical assertion, I would challenge you to read this well research and sourced primer on the actual debate and circumstances surrounding the ratification of the Second Amendment. For those of you more used to reading NRA, Breitbart, Drudge and or the mountains of fabricated, unsupportable drivel presented by so-called second amendment advocates, I fear you will find the level of primary sources and facts in this brief, excruciating.
For posterity, the entire page containing Sheriff Pulsipher’s letter is posted below:
The National Rifle Association countered with “arm the teachers.” Gun clubs claim hundreds of teachers are applying for free weapons training. Two hundred people showed up for a class in West Valley City, Utah, outside Salt Lake City, on December 27, 2012, for example. Not all of the people who took the course were teachers. But some were, including Carolyn Cain, who teaches special education kids in kindergarten to the 6th grade in Utah County, Utah.
Republicans are feigning shock that Obama is proposing to implement the very same policies that Americans voted for in November. In the Weekly Republican Address, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, demagogues the so-called “fiscal cliff” and falsely claims that the Obama administration proposal to raise taxes on the rich (slightly, by allowing the Bush tax cuts on the top bracket to expire) is “a classic bait and switch.”
President Obama ran for re-election explicitly on the proposal he is advocating now. Much of President Obama’s current proposal appeared in his 20-page plan, released back in October. Polls indicate 60 percent of Americans support Obama’s tax plan.
Senator Hatch says the answer is to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, lower tax rates for the rich, and achieve “comprehensive tax reform,” whatever that is. Where is the Republican plan? We’re still waiting.
Oh, and by the way there is no such thing as a “death tax.” This term is the creation of Republican pollster Frank Luntz. It’s actually called the estate tax, and only applies to inherited wealth of more than $5 million (which is taxed at a 35 percent rate). Estates pass automatically without taxes to a spouse.
Paul Krugman predicts the next two years will be “one long Republican tantrum.” “Republicans are signaling that they don’t intend to make any specific proposals, they’re just going to yell and stamp their feet until Obama soothes them somehow.”
Steve Benen explains why the GOP has no proposal: “Under the rules Boehner and McConnell drew up last year, Republicans are supposed to tell the president, “Make us happy,” and Obama is supposed to keep offering conservative ideas in the hopes of guessing what they’ll find satisfactory.”
Via Think Progress:
Cloaking his predilection for the rich as concern for the less fortunate, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) argued Wednesday that raising taxes on the wealthy would primarily hurt the poor.
…“The reason we worry about raising taxes on anyone – even raising taxes on the rich,” Lee argued, is “that will hit the poorest among us the hardest.” Lest listeners get the wrong idea, the Utah Senator insisted, “it’s not that we’re looking out for the rich.”
No, of course not. The fact that trickle-down economic theory has never worked doesn’t mean that Republicans can’t keep pretending that it does!
The Congressional Research Service has documented what we know already: giving tax breaks to the rich helps concentrate wealth at the top, but it does not boost the economy.
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Peacefully grant the State of Utah to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.
We the people of the great state of Utah, do see that in today’s world the Federal Government has not led our citizens justly and with honor. We therefore as free men and women of our great state do believe that it is time to take matter upon ourselves to ensure our continued freedom, and to enact our own laws and here buy govern ourselves without the federal government’s involvement in our internal matters from this day forward.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin: 1775
Created: Nov 11, 2012
[Typos in the original]
As of today, people from 40 states have filed petitions on whitehouse.gov asking to secede from the Union. Four of the petitions have already garnered the 25,000 signatures required for a presidential response, including Louisiana, Texas, and Florida — all members of the old Confederacy.
Next time a right-winger calls me a traitor, I’ll be sure to ask if they signed a secession petition!
UPDATE: Jon Stewart Mocks Secessionists: ‘Stop. Wait. Don’t Go.’ (VIDEO)
UPDATE: Twenty five percent of registered Republicans want their state to secede from the United States, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling.
Will President Obama come to the rescue of Utah wildlands?
The Outdoor Industry Association and more than 100 outdoor-related businesses are asking President Barack Obama to designate 1.4 million acres of federal wildlands surrounding Canyonlands National Park as a national monument.
The OIA and businesses supporting the monument designation are sending a letter Tuesday to the president, asking for the protective designation of what is commonly called Greater Canyonlands.
…The Greater Canyonlands area includes geologic landmarks such as Labyrinth Canyon, Indian Creek, White Canyon, Fiddler Butte, Robbers Roost, Lockhart Basin and the Dirty Devil River.
Meanwhile, local residents of San Juan County are proposing a National Conservation Area (NCA) to be called “Diné Bikéyah,” or “Land of the Navajo People.” Unlike a national monument, an NCA requires an act of Congress. The NCA effort might also include legislation for wilderness designation.
One way or another, it looks like land preservation issues in southeastern Utah are about to make headlines once again.
Gary Herbert gets his way, one way or the other.
If you can’t pass a bill, appointed a shill.
I just hate it when my beloved state is used as a model for corruption.
Transparency is non-existent in my home state. Whether it’s your voting system or your right to know what’s happening in the legislature, it’s no longer your right to know. And it hasn’t been for a long, long time.
Just pledge allegiance and shut up!