Estimated read time: 6-7 minutes
SANDY — Government "encroaching on freedoms" was top-of-mind at Saturday's annual convention of Utah conservatives — the majority of whom did not wear face masks, despite a new and active emergency public health order requiring them to do so.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and other members of Utah's congressional leadership spoke to the large gathering about the importance of freedom and other conservative values, even mentioning concerns about government encroaching on those freedoms during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he has stood against various federal mandates to require vaccines for businesses, health care workers and Head Start programs.
"The rule extends so far beyond (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's) granted authority, he said. "(It) can regulate workplace dangers. But this is not a danger specific to a workplace. This is a communicable disease in our community, affecting over 80 million workers who have to pick between a jab and a job, and it's unconstitutional."
Attorneys general from multiple conservative states argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court against mandates, and Reyes said at least one judge agreed that the power to start these mandates should not be in the executive branch, but in the legislative branch.
"We have been tremendously successful in fighting these mandates, staying all of them and now waiting for the Supreme Court to decide the fate of the OSHA and (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) mandates. That covers a lot of the vaccines," Reyes, who serves as vice chairman of the conservative group of state leaders, said.
He said they need support, as the "last line of defense against federal overreach."
Lee said that in the last 85 years, Congress has delegated the power to make laws to the executive branch, undermining parts of the Constitution.
"You can't consolidate the power to make laws with the power to enforce laws, because the same entity that would make tyrannical laws would predictably enforce them tyrannically," he said, adding that it leads to loss of freedom and makes it more difficult for government to do what it is designed to do — namely, protect life, liberty and property.
"When government starts doing things the government isn't necessarily supposed to do and isn't uniquely or constitutionally qualified to do, government becomes less capable of and less inclined to do those things that only government can do," Lee said.
The Utah senator also spoke about abortion, and argued that the Supreme Court did not have the authority to legalize abortion, because it is state law that defines murder and other crimes. He said that the Supreme Court gave itself that power, which led to further problems.
"Human beings deserve to have the dignity of protecting other human beings, especially the most vulnerable among us," Lee said. "We need to understand intuitively, this is one of the very most important features of government."
Doug Yeaman, a Utah business owner, said the COVID-19 pandemic response has impacted businesses. He said he ended up at a county GOP caucus meeting asking questions and trying to find an answer "to where and when he had given his liberties away," and how the government could "require him to stay home or wear a mask."
Yeaman said he learned that the American people "gave away" those freedoms when they allowed the mandates to be made, they let it happen.
"We have been involved and immersed in a system using our ability to believe something to be true, that has created what I call the 'religious cult of COVID,'" he said.
Citing the current numbers of COVID-19 cases in Utah, Yeaman said it is important to look past the data and at the patterns that give the numbers meaning. As of Friday, the state has reported 682,036 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,887 COVID-19 deaths, which, he said, shows a death rate of .0057% for each case. He said that these statistics are slightly worse than the flu, but that the data is often "skewed," so that it looks more horrible than it is.
Yeaman is helping to push legislation in Utah this year to ensure that vaccine passports are not possible — as he believes vaccine passports are the "greatest threat in my lifetime."
Dr. Janci Lindsay, a molecular biologist and toxicologist, spoke to the Eagle Forum group about her concerns with the COVID-19 vaccine and particularly, with vaccine mandates. She claimed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was aware that the vaccines could cause strokes, heart attacks and other issues based on animal trials, but moved forward with them anyway.
"I decided to get in this fight because I knew that the technology was brand new and had never been used before it was being pushed out at warp speed. You don't push out a brand new vaccine technology at warp speed. You don't skip the animal trials. And we don't put new experimental genetic gene therapy into humans without doing the necessary research," Lindsay said.
She also claimed that there have been 22,000 deaths reported in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control database related to the COVID-19 vaccine. A check of CDC records, however, shows there have been 7,771 vaccine-related deaths — each with a disclaimer noting that the deaths are self-reported and have not been verified by the CDC.
Lindsay, however, believes the federal agency has withheld death reports, taken reports down and made it difficult to file death reports.
She talked about her concerns with giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children, as well, saying there is a risk of cardiomyopathy and the fatality rate for children resulting from COVID-19 is "insignificant" and "smaller than chance for a children to die of suffocation or the flu."
"I want you to understand that Pfizer, the CDC and the FDA are working together. We do not have a safety and regulatory entity intact at the FDA and the CDC anymore," Lindsay said, also criticizing the push to treat COVID-19 with remdesivir, instead touting the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. The FDA says using ivermectin, which is used to treat some parasitic worms, to treat COVID-19 has not proven to be effective and can be dangerous. And the CDC says any potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine does not outweigh the risks.
Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, talked about what he thinks will happen throughout 2022, again mentioning the government's COVID-19 response.
"They will impose their will until we tell them that they cannot any longer, and if you don't believe that it's true that you have not watched our society over the last generation and you surely have not watched it over the last 11 months. Because everything that we feared has happened, and more," Stewart said.
He noted — as he has before – that he is vaccinated, but that he has stopped attending Utah Jazz games because the venue requires proof of vaccination.
While the coronavirus mandates overwhelmingly dominated the conversation at Saturday's meeting, speakers also addressed how conservatives also care about the climate; and, cultural changes facing males and females, as well as other topics.