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The disastrous Utah Republican primary



The bid for former Representative Jason Chaffetz’s congressional seat has been a chaotic mess from the outset. And John Curtis’s victory on Tuesday proves the disaster maintained pace right up to the finish line.

The troubles started when Rep. Chaffetz, who had just been reelected in 2016 to his fifth term representing my native Utah 3rd District, announced in April that he would not be running for reelection in 2018. Never satisfied with his own statements, Chaffetz returned a month later on May 18th to inform the district that he would be resigning from office at the end of June.

This shell game was embarrassingly reminiscent of Chaffetz’s approach to the 2016 presidential election: endorsing Donald Trump early on; condemning Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tapes and saying he wouldn’t be able to look his wife and teenage daughter in the eye if he voted for such a man; then doubling back with what he insists was not an endorsement, essentially saying, “I’m voting for Trump, and here’s why you should too,” which by any reasonable metric is the epitome of an endorsement. Unfortunately, the events since then have roughly followed the same pattern.

The Utah Republican Party held a convention in June to determine its candidate based on a caucus of GOP delegates. Former state legislator and true conservative Chris Herrod pulled out a win after a five-round run-off, beating out 10 other candidates, including eventual primary winner John Curtis, who had a fairly dismal showing at the convention. But the delegates had spoken and Herrod was on his way, right? Nope.

In 2016, the Utah state legislature passed the controversial and unarguably unconstitutional SB-54, in which state government gave itself authority to force political parties — private organizations — to nominate candidates as the state sees fit. According to the bill, the onus of selecting a political candidate shouldn’t fall to measly delegates — party devotees, nominated by their peers, known for their political activity and dedication. Instead, candidates can sidestep the caucus altogether and gather signatures to gain ballot access, resulting in this year’s three-way primary between Republican nominee Chris Herrod, Provo Mayor John Curtis, and newcomer “my dad is famous” Tanner Ainge. Curtis had declared his intention of running in the primary via signatures regardless of the results of the convention, and Ainge didn’t even compete for the party’s nomination.

Herrod, the only proven conservative in the race, was endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz, who attested to Herrod’s loyalty to four key conservative issues: “having principled constitutionalists on the U.S. Supreme Court, repealing Obamacare, taking on regulatory reform, and tax reform.”

Somehow, despite losing the party nomination, John Curtis was still able to collect endorsements from 23 Utah mayors and sitting Governor Gary Herbert — as if there weren’t enough evidence that the state government resents the caucus/convention system. And have I mentioned that Curtis has not even been a Republican for very long? He readily admits that he formerly ran for office as a Democrat but couldn’t receive the party’s full support because of his pro-life stance. In every other way, however, Curtis falls in line with the Democrats.

As mayor of a town largely populated by socialist college students and professors (believe me, I just left it), Curtis enacted and encouraged one unconstitutional effort after another, resulting in a statist city government. One website has compiled Provo laws and ordinances constituting government overreach with extensive references and links to the actual legislation. Here are some examples:

  • It is illegal to fire a weapon outside of approved gun ranges, not even in self-defense.
  • It is illegal to house more than three non-relatives.
  • It is illegal to rent house space to strangers, stifling Airbnb endeavors.
  • It is illegal to have two sinks in your kitchen.
  • It is illegal to protest anything, anywhere, in any way without the city’s prior approval.
  • It is illegal to peacefully protest in public facilities, as one 80-year-old woman discovered when she was thrown out of the city rec center.

Curtis, while lacking authority to raise taxes as mayor, backed the council’s tax increases 43 times. His most famous “accomplishment” is an inefficient public busing service, BRT, that hardly anybody likes or uses. It limps along at Curtis’s insistence and taxpayers’ expense.

One of Curtis’s campaign staffers, a good friend of mine, told me at the convention, “John’s a conservative, whatever that means.” Um, no. You don’t just get to claim to be a conservative if A) it’s not true and B) you don’t even know what it means. For the sake of accuracy, I decided to ask John about it himself. He said he’s a conservative because he knows how to get the job done. I decided against pointing out to him that that’s not even close to the actual definition of conservatism. I asked him how willing he would be to defy the GOP or even what’s most efficient in order to preserve the Constitution, and he said he was very willing to go against the party — those Democratic roots shining through. I pressed again on the Constitution, and he insisted that he knew how to get things done efficiently, that he was committed to always choosing efficiency over party. Only after two or three more prods did he concede, “Sure, the Constitution’s very important.” He then moved on to another question. John Curtis is NOT a conservative, and he’s hesitant to even endorse the Constitution.

We may never know exactly what went wrong. A few weeks before the election — a closed primary — the state illegally sent out 68,000 Republican primary ballots to unaffiliated voters. Upon acknowledging the error, rather than recall the ballots, the state encouraged unaffiliated voters (largely moderates) to register as Republicans in order to vote. Several moderate-to-left activist groups called for the same, occasionally endorsing Curtis in the process as the “moderate candidate.” As we’ve already seen, Curtis is not even right-wing enough to be considered a moderate, and 68,000 illegal ballots in a race with fewer than 45,000 counted votes can certainly swing an election.

There’s too much uncertainty and apparent malfeasance to sift through, but to quote the great Luke Skywalker, “I only know one truth:” the Republican Party in Utah is in shambles, and it’s falling to the Left as it goes.

Utah, formerly one of the most reliably red states, is swinging. The Beehive State was divided during the 2016 election, but that was largely in reaction to Trump, not pushback against conservative ideals. This election is different. One of most historically conservative states has rallied tooth and nail behind a politician with openly socialist policies. Utah almost certainly won’t elect a Democratic candidate, so we’re most likely stuck with another congressman who is, at best, “a conservative, whatever that means.”

Kind of makes you wish the Federalist Party would start up in Utah, am I right?

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards, Co-Host of The New Guards Podcast, lifelong fan of the Anaheim Ducks, and proud Hufflepuff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in English from Brigham Young University in 2017. One day later, his wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Richie is a constitutional conservative and doesn't see any compassion in violating other people's rights.

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Guns and Crime

My city is conducting covert taxation by shaking us down. I bet yours is too!



Most of us remember the Disney cartoon movie when we were kids, Robin Hood. Various animals played the characters. The movie opens with the Sheriff of Nottingham bullying the poor into giving him what little money they have as “taxes.” He even took from the old and infirm. This was done to show that he clearly was a bad guy. We wouldn’t imagine that this would happen with our modern police today, right?


As I wrote about a couple of months ago when illustrating how judicial tyranny could affect all of us, whether it be in big ways or small ways, back on November 10th I received a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. I was not driving too fast, swerving, texting while driving, or anything else that could possibly endanger any other person. I was simply going home for lunch from work. It’s a 3 minute drive. This cop was hiding under the overpass and decided to pull me over, because in a large city that is a conduit for drug and human trafficking, this is where the San Antonio Police Department’s resources are best spent, apparently.

Now, a little background. The SAPD’s Chief, William McManus, is currently under investigation for having let more than a dozen people being trafficked go without so much as identifying them. The driver of the truck carrying them was arrested and charged, but his human cargo was just released into the winds. This is the man running the department that decided that my not wearing a seatbelt was worthy of a day’s pay in a tax.

Of course, that was just an excuse. Now, I’m not saying people shouldn’t wear their seatbelts. I in fact DO wear my seatbelt 99.9% of the time. I didn’t have it on at this particular moment because I’d taken it off to reach down for some water. I suffer from migraine headaches and had a bad one on this particular day. I was on my way home for my lunch hour just to get a few minutes of peace and quiet. This police officer decided to ruin my day and didn’t even bother to ask the circumstances.

Now, without a doubt, many of you reading are saying “well, you should have worn your seatbelt!” Fine. But how many of you saying that are fine with motorcyclist riding without helmets. Or bicycles without helmets. Or having an abortion? Yes, I went there. After all, it’s MY BODY isn’t it? I should be able to decide what I want to do with MY BODY, shouldn’t I? I promise you the government lawyers I had to deal with felt that way. And yet, they had no problem telling me what to do with MY BODY when it came to wearing a seatbelt.

I could have paid the ticket and moved on with my life. And if I’d been speeding, or if I’d had my KIDS in the truck without seatbelts I would have (would never have happened) I would have paid the ticket and moved on. But this felt too much like the Sheriff of Nottingham shaking me down for money. I showed up for court and asked for a jury trial. The government lawyer sneered arrogantly at me. I was undeterred. I was assigned a court date nearly 2 MONTHS later. I showed up for that date only to have the prosecutor ask for a continuance because the police officer was “in training.”

And this is where the scam becomes obvious. I argued to the judge that this shouldn’t be allowed, that the police department and the prosecutor’s office could have coordinated and informed me this was going to happen so I didn’t have to take a day off work. I was told “that’s not how it works.” So the trial was reset for 5 March.

A few weeks later I got a notification in the mail that the trial date had been reset AGAIN for 19 March. Wait, huh? I thought that’s not how it worked?

I did some research and looked at the San Antonio City Budget. The last one available was from 2016. It showed the city planned to make approximately $12.2M in fines and forfeitures, meaning they were COUNTING on citizens being fined to make the city work. Well, they only collected about $10.7M, which is a shortfall of $1.5M. They couldn’t let that happen again. So they’ve got cops out there shaking down honest citizens for money. Why go that route? Because as most people I know admitted to me, they would have just paid it and moved on. That’s what the city of San Antonio is counting on. They have a money-making factory that they COUNT on to make the city work. They can’t raise taxes because they’d get voted out of office, so they come up with this covert form of taxation, knowing most people will just pay it and move on.

My 19 March court date arrived and the charges were dropped because “the officer didn’t remember enough about the incident.” Well, maybe if he wasn’t out giving so many bogus tickets he’d remember more of the ones that matter. Several other tickets from the same officer were also dropped. The city didn’t want to spend the money on my constitutional right of a trial. They count on most people just paying and moving on. The certainly didn’t want me making my case to a jury and nullifying their money-making scheme.

The upshot.

Well, sad for them they didn’t know who they were dealing with, and I don’t mean ME, I mean YOU, dear readers. I urge you to look into this in your own communities. Most police officers are great people who work hard to protect them. But if some are being used to shake you down for money so that liberal mayors and city councils (like the ones here in San Antonio) can spend more money paying their campaign donors back, maybe something needs to be done.

I know this seems like a small thing. It was pointed out to me “it’s worse most places in the world.” Well sure it is, but you can’t wait for things to get that bad before we do something about it. You have to stop this kind of police state in it’s tracks and do it while we still have the power to do so. Look to your local communities and see how they are collecting their money and then spending it. Hold your local leaders accountable. It’s not just Congress that shakes you down for money. And you can’t count on the national or even local media to report on this. They LIKE big government, which this supports. Make it happen, Patriots. I have faith in you.

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The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail



Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Michigan’s Tenth Amendment defiance of Trump and the GOP



In the name of “fixing” the illegal immigration problem and improving national security, Trump and the GOP have advanced a host of legislative initiatives that even Barack Obama would love.

One such initiative was the re-authorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) back in January. Forced through Congress by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, FISA 702 was renewed for six years, despite concerns that, according to Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), it allows the government to conduct warrantless electronic searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Thought originally originated during the Cold War, FISA has grown since 9/11 into a weapon used by agencies such as the NSA to spy on anyone, anytime, anywhere. Even though these abuses were common knowledge—leading to the passage of the USA Freedom Act to rein in the government’s abuse of power—big government progressives within the GOP joined hands to let the feds keep their unconstitutional power.

Though Amash’s efforts to protect our Constitutional rights failed in Congress, local leaders in his home state recently exercised their Tenth Amendment rights by passing a law telling Trump and the GOP where they can get off when it comes to FISA 702.

This past Monday, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill prohibiting the state from providing “material support or resources to a federal agency to enable it to collect, or to facilitate in the collection for use of person’s electronic data” unless one of five conditions are met:

(a) The person has given informed consent.
(b) The action is pursuant to a warrant that is based upon probable cause and particularly describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized.
(c) The action is in accordance with a legally recognized exception to warrant requirements.
(d) The action will not infringe on any reasonable expectation of privacy the person may have.
(e) This state or a political subdivision of this state collected the electronic data or metadata legally.

State Rep. Martin Howrylak (R), the sponsor of HB4430 which passed 108-1 in the House and 37-0 in the Senate, explained the bill:

“This reform safeguards the fundamental rights of all Michigan residents, who are guaranteed protection of their property and privacy rights by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. Michigan will not assist the federal government with any data collection unless it is consistent with the Constitution.”

FISA 702 empowers a secret court to rubber-stamp general warrants that authorize spying on broad swaths of Americans without probable cause. Typically, this authorization lets the government spy indiscriminately on all landlines, mobile devices, and desktop computers in a given area.

Obviously, Trump and the GOP can’t be trusted to protect and defend the Constitution. It’s up to the states to exercise their Tenth Amendment rights to do what Trump and the GOP are unwilling to do.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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