Archive for category Utah Politics

Mike Weinholtz Takes On Governor Herbert In First Debate

weinholtz-ad

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.

4 Comments

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)

3 Comments

Is President Obama Going to Do This?

Bears Ears
Bears Ears buttes, Elk Ridge, San Juan County Utah

The Bears Ears National Monument proposal has been on the table since last year. There is some speculation that President Obama is readying a proclamation, despite a dire warning from Senator Orrin Hatch that it could result in an armed confrontation similar to the one at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

The monument proposal stands on its own considerable merits. Adequate protection of the area, particularly the archaeological sites of Cedar Mesa, is long overdue. A recent poll found 71 percent of Utahns support the Bears Ears monument. Additionally, Utah politicians could stand to benefit from a well-timed reminder that we the people own our public lands, not the corporations.

Rep. Chris Stewart recently tacked an amendment onto the Interior Appropriations Bill, seeking to prohibit new national monuments in Utah.

Meanwhile, the Utah Test and Training Range Act land grab has been quietly incorporated in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act.

The Utah land grab agenda also includes Rep. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz’ Public Lands Initiative (PLI), nicknamed the “Plundered Lands Initiative” by conservation groups. The representatives are still threatening to introduce this corporate-friendly development bill in Congress.

Gov. Gary Herbert is still proceeding with a threatened lawsuit aimed at seizing 30 million acres of our Utah public lands, a doomed gesture that may cost us $14 million.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Despite the controversial 1996 proclamation by the Clinton administration, the GSENM is thriving today. Let’s hope President Obama is willing to counter the anti-public-lands Utah politicians with a resoundingly popular monument proclamation this summer.

More info:
U-Turn Utah (Center for Western Priorities)
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
Friends of Cedar Mesa
New York Times editorial: Monuments for Future Generations

10 Comments

Bernie Rally Tomorrow (Friday)

Bernie Sanders

Utahns normally expect that the outcome of the presidential primaries will be decided before we get to vote. Not this year!

Friday, March 18 12:30 pm.
A Future to Believe In Rally in Salt Lake City
The Garden Place at This is the Place Heritage Park
2601 Sunnyside Ave S Salt Lake City UT 84108

The free event is open to the public. Bernie will hold a town hall meeting at This is the Place Heritage Park at 3:30 pm on Friday. The campaign says RSVP’s for public wishing to attend event are strongly encouraged. You can RSVP for the town hall at this link.

More info:
Bernie Sanders to Make Campaign Stop in Utah on Friday
Bernie Sanders, Kasich, Cruz and possibly Trump to visit Utah this weekend

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How To Talk To An Empty Chair

empty chairs

I’m actually naive enough to think that our senators would show up to hear the concerns of the citizens who showed up to a hearing in Salt Lake on March 2nd, 2016, concerning the new “Public Lands Initiative”, (PLI). I don’t know why I thought that, when the hearing wouldn’t have even taken place without being organized by “Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment”.

Jason Chaffetz gets a gold star for sending a notice he wouldn’t be present. Orrin Hatch, Rob Bishop and Mike Lee didn’t even have enough decency to reply to their invitation. Lack of respect from the senators, for the overwhelming majority of their constituents was a common theme throughout the night.

It was a good turnout, and it’s too bad it wasn’t held in a larger venue then Orson Spencer Hall. There wasn’t enough room for all the people who came to the event, even though some the attendees had to stand along the wall after the seats were gone. People at the back of the auditorium were complaining about all the noise being made by the folks in the foyer.

My camera batteries weren’t sufficient to record the entire meeting which lasted over three hours. Many dozens of people submitted a request to speak. I got some good footage though, which I present here for the people of Utah and hopefully others across the nation, since this terrible initiative could affect many other states, should it pass as written.

Enjoy the passion!

Salt Lake Tribune coverage.
Deseret Morning News coverage.

10 Comments

Land Grabbers Use Deceptive Video to Spread Anti-Government Hate

Rep. Ken Ivory’s American Lands Council is using a misleading video on Facebook to claim that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deliberately started a 2012 wildfire in Oregon in order to kill cattle grazing on public land. In reality, the 161,000-acre Miller Homestead Fire was lightning-caused.

As is typical for grass fires, the fire front was fast-moving and could only be controlled using back burning techniques to create firebreaks (known as “black line” in firefighting parlance). It’s usually too slow and too dangerous to fight a grass fire directly using hand crews and bulldozers.

To add insult to injury, this bogus BLM smear video was paid for by taxpayers.

Ivory, R-West Jordan, was a co-founder and CEO of the American Lands Council, to which 47 counties in Western states spent a combined $219,000 of taxpayer money in 2014 to be members, according to the Center for Western Priorities.

The same lies were put on the Web last December by Ammon Bundy, claiming “BLM Destroying Ranches by Fire: Feds Burning Cows ALIVE, Torching Homes, Imprisoning Ranchers!” The baseless allegations against the BLM were intended to highlight alleged hypocrisy in the prosecution of two ranchers for earlier incidents of arson on public lands. A few weeks later Bundy led an armed terrorist takeover of the Malheur National Wildife Refuge on January 2.

From the official press release on the Miller Homestead Fire:

Two structures are reported lost in the incident: one, a long-abandoned, roofless mobile home, and the other a single structure within the M.S. Davies homestead (other infrastructure in this area was unharmed). It is also reported some livestock have been lost, though accurate counts have not been confirmed. All residences affected by the Miller Homestead fire have been successfully protected…

Firefighters successfully protected all residences and the hamlet of Frenchglen, but this doesn’t stop the anti-government fanatics from accusing the BLM of “torching homes”!

From the final report on the same fire:

Local Coordination – Local landowners and permittees were engaged from the initial attack on. A member of the Incident Management Type 3 Team stated, “Local folks worked well with BLM staff during those first few days. There was lots of coordination. BLM crews helped cut fences, open gates and secure cattle.” A landowner and permittee stated, “They worked with me on letting me build direct line that saved important feed from being part of a backfire. They got ideas from me for tying in black line, and it worked.”

Another said that initial attack priorities were set and communicated early with all involved.

Others noted that the Burns District tries to hire local young people for the crews when possible. This helps with knowing people and the land. One stated there is a strong sense that this is their home, and they want to protect it.

…Cattle represent a significant investment and their livelihood to their owners, and great lengths appear to have been taken to get them to safety in conjunction with fire activities.

An example of this occurred at Lone Tree Lake, a small dry reservoir. Six ranchers and a BLM law enforcement officer stayed with about 200 head of cattle while the fire burned around them. Just prior to the fire front reaching them, they burned out around the small dry reservoir to provide a black line for additional safety for the cattle and themselves. Fire managers were aware of this situation, and a helitack crew gave advice on where and when to ignite backfires.

Bear in mind that safety is always of paramount concern in wildland firefighting. Yet BLM personnel took personal risks in order to preserve property for ranchers during this fire.

More info:
Rolly: Video’s claim that BLM sparked devastating Oregon fires goes up in smoke
Inciweb: Miller Homestead Fire (2012)
Final Review Report for the Long Draw and Miller Homestead Fires (PDF)

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Bishop-Chaffetz Bill Is An Attack On Our Public Lands

Today we finally got a look at the Bishop-Chaffetz Public Lands Initiative discussion draft, covering public lands issues in 7 eastern Utah counties. It was not worth the wait.

From the Center for Western Priorities:

After years of work, Congressman Rob Bishop released a draft of his long-awaited Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill on Wednesday. Early reporting already shows Congressman Bishop trying to spin his bill as a balanced and collaborative success story, even before the public has an opportunity to review the legislation.

Don’t be fooled: The draft Public Lands Initiative bill is an extreme and deceptive attack on our nation’s public lands that does little for conservation. The legislation is another ideological vehicle for Congressman Bishop to express his disdain for national public lands, rather than a true attempt at addressing diverse stakeholder needs.

Rep. Bishop stated recently that “people will win and people will lose” in his bill. There’s no doubt that the winners Bishop picked are big oil and gas companies and Utah’s misguided public lands policy, while the losers include hikers, campers, sportsmen and women, Native American tribes, and the American people.

  • The worst part of the bill is that the 40 areas Congressman Bishop calls “Wilderness” would not be designated wilderness as it’s been understood since the passage of the Wilderness Act over 50 years ago. “It is a designation in name only, and that alone makes the bill a nonstarter,” says Aaron Weiss, spokesman for the Center for Western Priorities.
  • Unspoiled public lands that are currently set aside as BLM wilderness study areas would be given up forever and released for industrial uses.
  • The bill also creates so-called “energy zones,” i.e. areas open to expedited oil, gas, and other mineral leasing and development.
  • The bill seeks to open up disputed RS 2477 right-of-way claims to motorized travel.
  • Bishop wants to prohibit any new national monument designations by presidential proclamation.
  • Congressman Bishop just waged a vicious and ultimately unsuccessful battle against America’s most successful parks program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Fresh off his defeat, Bishop is now trying to gut LWCF within Utah by banning land management agencies from using LWCF funds to protect land inside new wilderness and conservation areas.

More info:
Public Lands Initiative discussion draft
Bishop Public Lands Proposal Unveiled, Already Sparking Criticism
Bishop public lands bill unveiled amid support, criticism
Rob Bishop’s “Public Lands Initiative” is an Insidious Attack on Our Public Lands

UPDATE:
New House Bill Gives Away Public Lands, Creates Pseudo-Wilderness Areas

[O]ver the past several months there have been many significant changes made to the bill, turning it from a gesture of compromise to a divisive bill that includes Bundy-style public land giveaways, pseudo-wilderness protections, accelerated oil and gas development, and the marginalization of several original stakeholder groups.

6 Comments

Bears Ears National Monument

Bears Ears NM proposal map

For Native Americans, it’s a sacred place of healing. Twin buttes on Elk Ridge that form a landmark called the Bears Ears (Orejas del Oso on old maps).

The Bears Ears national monument designation for 1.9 million acres would include the existing Natural Bridges National Monument, Dark Canyon Wilderness, part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest and part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Lands surrounding these areas and adjacent to Canyonlands National Park are long overdue for national recognition and protection.

Conservationists have been very patient. Wilderness proposals have been made and talked about for more than 30 years with no action taken by Congress. Now we have an opportunity to do something significant. President Obama ought to proclaim the Bears Ears National Monument before he leaves office at the end of next year.

Petition: Ask President Obama to Protect Bears Ears Now

More info:
Bears Ears Coalition
Tribal coalition in Washington, D.C., pushing for Bears Ears National Monument
Explore the Proposed Bears Ears National Monument!

5 Comments

How Could They?

Why Don't They Ever Represent Me?

Why Don’t They Ever Represent Me?

A short rant about losing one of our most important freedoms, and about the only thing you can do to keep it. Good luck.

After all these years of Americans fighting for “internet neutrality”, against the corporations who want control of the internet, and finally winning an important ruling by the FCC recently, the corporations got the house of “representatives” to sneak language into a funding bill that would stop the FCC’s ability to carry out it’s own ruling.

This bipartisan effort brought Americans from every political party together in staggering numbers in a common cause to protect our freedom to be heard and participate in the course of our lives. The internet provides the most exciting innovative possibilities imaginable, by allowing everybody – not just corporations – the unfettered ability to create new ideas for our future and even our survival.

Our collective congress doesn’t seem to care if our country has an open internet as long as they secure a campaign donation, or maybe they’re just tired of not being able to control it more to their liking. There hasn’t been a peep about this from the congress or our media. I’m sure ABC, NBC, CBS, print media and the politicians liked it a lot better when they had complete control over public discourse before the internet. I don’t share that sentiment.

DO THIS! It’s designed to be super fast and super easy. It even dials the phone for you! Can’t possibly take more then a couple of minutes and it might even be therapeutic. No excuses for you, Bubba!

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Utah Politicians Are Spending Millions On Public Land Grab Scheme – At Your Expense

Land Beyond the Law

Writing in the Salt Lake City Weekly, Eric Ethington reveals that frustrated Utah politicians are trying to deal with widespread public opposition to their land grab plans by hiring two right-wing consulting firms, Strata Policy and Davillier Law Group. Strata is best known for its opposition to renewable energy.

The job of these firms is apparently to get more support for state government’s illegal scheme to steal 30 million acres of our public lands. On June 16, Utah lawmakers committed up to $2 million in taxpayer dollars for the two firms to launch PR campaigns aimed at convincing a majority of Utahns that it’s somehow a good idea to ditch the whole concept of public lands. It’s all part of the Koch brothers agenda, but why should the Kochs pay for their own propaganda when they can get their hands on OUR money?

The consequences of a state takeover of public lands and national forests in Utah have been spelled out already. In general, such a land grab would require either a steep Utah tax hike or a massive increase in fossil fuel extraction to cover the cost of land management (hundreds of millions of dollars annually).

One way to answer this Tea-GOP attack on public lands: President Obama could be persuaded to declare one or more national monuments in Utah before he leaves office. Potential national monument proclamations could include Greater Canyonlands, the San Rafael Swell, Cedar Mesa or Desolation Canyon along the Green River. The new monuments would be incorporated into BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System and managed to protect natural and cultural values. The Obama administration has already demonstrated a willingness to move ahead with monument proclamations.

UPDATE:
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune is lobbying for a Greater Canyonlands National Monument proclamation.

6 Comments

Ken Ivory Accused of Fraud in Public Land Grab Scheme

Via Think Progress

The Campaign for Accountability (CfA) is requesting that the attorneys general of Utah, Arizona and Montana investigate Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory (R) for “solicit[ing] funds from local officials, falsely claiming the federal government can be forced to transfer public lands to the states.”

The complaints cite Ivory’s use of his role as president and founder of the American Lands Council (ALC), a Utah-based organization, to “enrich” his personal wealth and make “false or fraudulent representations to obtain money.”

Utah remains the only Western state to have enacted a law to steal our public lands, which would be utterly unconstitutional. Utah’s HB 148, signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012, violates the U.S. Constitution, the Utah Constitution, and the Utah Enabling Act.

Anne Weismann, executive director of the CfA:

“Ken Ivory has relied on his position and authority as a Utah state legislator to persuade unsuspecting local officials that if they contribute taxpayer dollars to his charity, they can help their states acquire federal land and increase revenues… He might as well be trying to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Ken Ivory and his wife pocket most of the money contributed to the ALC.

According to the AP, representatives for the Utah and Montana attorneys general offices are reviewing the fraud accusations.

More info:
SLT: Environmentalists claim Ken Ivory is scamming local officials

UPDATE:
Rep. Ivory says he’s being bullied by the Campaign for Accountability.

“These types of organizations have just destroyed Western public lands through this kind of litigation and bullying tactics,” he said. “They’re so afraid of the success that the transfer of public lands movement is having that they’re stooping to these kinds of bullying tactics because they can’t tolerate basic political debate.”

49 Comments

A Republican I Could Vote For

Bob Inglis

Never thought I’d say that, but this man has some good ideas and I’m sure that’s why the fake grassroots movement of the wealthy made sure he didn’t get elected again. Utahn’s should remember that “The Tea Party” defeated another Bob. Our long standing senator from Utah got gone because he wasn’t crazy enough. I guess you could call this other Bob from South Carolina an old style Republican.

Any Republican who puts himself on the air with Brad Friedman already has my admiration, but he probably knows Brad will be respectful, yet inquisitive. That’s his job as one of Americas best and most informed journalists. South Carolina’s Representative, Bob Englis had me on his side right away, when he admitted that for the first six years of being in office, he hadn’t done any research on climate change and opposed it because Al Gore was for it. He reconsidered his stance when his son said to him, “Dad, I’ll vote for you, but you have to clean up your act on the environment”. His other children and wife agreed. Yikes!

It’s easy to understand why the supporters of “citizens united” wanted this guy gone when he started to say that socializing cleanup for the industries who pollute was not the way to go. Since we all know by now that when industries on any continent polute, all of the planet is affected. The congressman was pushing for making corporations clean up THEIR act everywhere. If, for instance, China didn’t deal with the problem, and tax it’s corporations over there, it would face that cost when importing it’s products to this country. Pretty damn smart!

Listen to the interview on this post starting at about 16:00 minutes in. You’ll hear a promotional spot from Daniel Elsberg, who launched Brad’s new daily radio program with his appearance. I’ve already learned a lot from the program which can be downloaded for free from BradBlog. Please DONATE though. I’ve been donating for years. The revolution in media isn’t going to be free.

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