Boulder County Isn’t a Sovereign Nation

By Scott Weiser

They call it the “People’s Republic of Boulder” as a joke aimed at the perpetual shenanigans of the most liberal city and county in Colorado. But Boulder County and the City of Boulder, for all their leftist leanings are still political subdivisions of the State of Colorado and the United States of America and are subject to all the laws and regulations thereof.

East Boulder County United and Boulder County Protectors on the other hand aren’t government agencies, they are anti-fracking groups whose spokesperson Cliff Willmeng said “We do not recognize the authority of this body, we do not recognize the authority of those industries to override the free people of Boulder County. We will not be allowing a single well in Boulder County” at a May 1st meeting of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission. The members of the COGC tolerated Willmeng’s tirade with stone-faced bemusement and then went on about its state-authorized business of regulating the extraction of oil and gas statewide.

Willmeng is an extremely radical activist who was the driving force behind the attempt to pass an ordinance in Lafayette that would have made physical attacks and obstruction against oil and gas employees and operations legal, an absurdity fronted by his mother, Lafayette City Councilperson Merrily Mazza. That entirely unconstitutional ordinance was defanged by more rational voices on the City Council back in January, just as Boulder County’s five-year moratorium on oil and gas development was overturned by the courts and expired on May 1st.

Groups like East Boulder County United and Boulder County Protectors aren’t really all that concerned about fracking itself. Fracking is being used as a propagandistic buzzword and stalking-horse for an anti-technological Luddite return-to-primitivism effort to completely stop the extraction of fossil fuels.

Despite the hysterical propaganda from these kind of organizations the EPA, even under Obama, did not find any credible evidence of substantial risks to air or water resources that can’t be mitigated as a part of a comprehensive 2016 study of fracking impacts. The EPA identified many areas of possible concern including examples of surface contamination from fracking fluid spills, which can be controlled by proper well operation, but was not able to show that sub-surface injection itself or the subsequent oil and gas production poses any substantial risks to the environment.

Now Willmeng is once again trying to forward the fiction that Boulder County is a sovereign nation not subject to American law. Engaging in a bit of bald-faced cultural misappropriation Willmeng and his fellow radicals invoke a mish-mash of Native American theology and socialist ideology as justification for their plan to balkanize Boulder County to “create democracy in our municipalities and counties within the State of Colorado.” Their manifesto claims “our communities are under siege from a structure of law that has bestowed greater rights on corporations than on the communities in which they operate.”

What they actually mean is that private property rights, in this case the rights of those who own the oil and gas are an impediment to their socialist desire to turn Boulder County into Venezuela. They want to amend the state constitution to dispose of private property rights by making “local laws that elevate the rights for Colorado residents and communities above the rights of the State of Colorado, including legal rights for the natural environment.” To socialists, when individual rights conflict with their collectivist ideology, those individual rights must be discarded in the name of social democracy.

But the state and federal Constitutions remain in force to protect private property mineral ownership that pre-exists the homes that these fractivists live in, and live in with full knowledge that they didn’t buy the mineral wealth under their property. It’s right there in their property deeds. So unless they are prepared to pay the estimated 8 billion dollars that some say is what those resources are worth, they cannot be allowed to prevent it’s extraction.

Reasonable regulation of oil and gas extraction by the COGC to minimize risks and harm are perfectly appropriate, but the key words are “reasonable” and “regulation,” which cannot be replaced with “ban,” no matter how much radical activists might want it to be.

Kids playing doctor aren’t felony sex offenders

Juvenile cellphone “sexting” is the technological equivalent of playing doctor, something that has been part of human behavior for as long as anyone can remember. Sexual curiosity is a natural part of physical and emotional development in children, and only the most zealous of prudes would argue that innocent exploration ought to constitute a crime.

The problem today is that what was usually a private, consensual and fleeting guilty pleasure too often now becomes a matter of permanent public record thanks to technology. Turning curious juveniles into criminals with lifetime felony sex-offender records however goes so far beyond the pale of justice or reason that something must be done.

To that end, two bills have been introduced in the state Legislature that would reduce the criminal penalties involved depending on the exact circumstances while also preventing the prosecution of kids who are sent sexually explicit images without their consent provided that they either report them or delete them within 72 hours.

House Bill 1320 by Rep. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs also requires the creation of a restorative justice program that seeks to modify inappropriate juvenile behavior by requiring offenders to acknowledge the harm they have done and do some penance, which is the modern societal equivalent of a trip behind the woodshed with dad and a leather strap, which was usually pretty effective but these days would be considered felony child abuse by some.

Educating young people on the unintended consequences of their actions and requiring them to acknowledge their error and somehow compensate the victim is the rational way of dealing with many juvenile misbehaviors, including sexting.

A few details need to be ironed out to fill some loopholes with respect to the potential for printing out and distributing electronically-created images, and the law must make it plain that consensual electronic show-me between juvenile peers cannot end up with anyone on a sex-offender registry, but these bills are an excellent start on righting a gross injustice in our laws.

The laudable goal of stamping out child pornography should not be dismissed or disparaged because it involves adults deliberately abusing children for the gratification of other adults, which is an intolerable affront to the dignity of the victims and society.

Harsh penalties for child exploitation are perfectly appropriate, but making a felony of juvenile “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” victimizes willing participants far more than the unintended escape and schoolwide circulation of a photo created by the child. As a society we have to back from the ick-factor, knee-jerk moral-outrage overreaction that our laws reflect and deal with the problem in a far less prudish, judgmental and unwarrantedly harsh manner.

We as adults in today’s hypersexualized culture are largely responsible for creating and tacitly approving of this sort of childish misbehavior by virtue of our constant and practically unavoidable consumption of salacious imagery. Sexual freedom in today’s media is a double-edged sword that keeps us free but can also cut us to the quick by harming our children.

Our societal sexual mores are astonishingly liberated compared with even 50 years ago, and the debate over the unintended consequences of our libidinous culture will rage on for generations. Our culture is reviled and hated by some other cultures precisely because of our expressions of sexual liberty and equality, which are decried as perverse and harmful. In some cases this criticism may have some validity, but not in this case.

Whatever our adult cultural sexual mores may be, we should not be branding with the scarlet letter children whose sexual curiosity and interest we as adults have in large part created and sanctioned. We need to teach them to handle their budding sexuality with more restraint and respect than we too often do with our own, not punish them for life for emulating us.

Originally published in the Colorado Springs Gazette

Failure of health care market isn’t an accident, it’s progressives’ plan

The advertised promise of Obamacare was, according to Obama “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.” Everybody now knows this was a lie. Costs have skyrocketed and your plan and doctor disappeared the instant the bill was signed, replaced with Obama’s plan for your health care.

People on the Western Slope of Colorado have already been beggared by rising insurance premiums and now it is being reported that Anthem, one of the few remaining providers in western Colorado, may soon be pulling the ripcord on it’s golden parachute.

The abandonment of the health care insurance market is happening all over the United States as company balance sheets finally tip over into the red due to the rising costs of providing mandated coverage and by consumers abandoning the market without any parachute at all because they simply cannot afford the monthly premiums.

What you need to understand is that the disintegration of the private health care insurance market is not accidental; the socialists and their progressives in government and in Congress meticulously planned it. What these socialists want is Great Britain’s government run, government paid health care, no matter that the UK’s system is bankrupting the country and results in health care rationing, delays, inferior care, doctors and nurses leaving the country to find better jobs and outright denial of care to people who are too expensive to treat.

The socialists who support this system don’t like the idea that some people can afford to pay for “Cadillac healthcare” while other people get only basic emergency care, so they want to make everyone equal in the name of “social justice,” which is a buzzword actually meaning “making everyone equally miserable.” One look at the current state of affairs in North Korea proves how badly this works out.

It’s past time to understand that Obamacare was never, ever intended to provide health care for anyone. It was specifically designed to lard-up health care insurance with so many government mandates that insurance companies would necessarily abandon the market because they can’t make a profit. And that’s exactly what is happening.

Nor is the timing coincidental. The failure of Obamacare was carefully calculated far ahead of time so that one of two results, both desirable for the socialists who implemented it, would occur. In both cases, when the OPM (Other People’s Money) runs out the system is doomed to collapse.

Plan A was that shortly after Hillary Clinton took office she would be able to declare a national health care emergency and impose government-run health care by executive fiat. Plan B is that it would fail during a Republican presidency and could be spun to lay the blame on the incumbent, paving the way for a Democrat takeover four years later, with the result again being socialized medicine imposed by fiat.

And it may well be that this will occur despite President Donald Trump’s and the Republican’s attempts to prevent it, as Paul Ryan discovered to his dismay. The most cynical and Machiavellian aspect of Obamacare was its sub rosa intent to create a new entitlement that the public would claim as a right, thereby achieving the socialist goal more than a century in the making of creating the public perception, and therefore the reality, that the government is responsible for providing for the economic needs of the people and must therefore be empowered to do so without constraint.

The objective of making everyone dependent upon the largess of the government is fundamental to controlling the lumpen proletariat, as Karl Marx said. When the government provides and controls your housing, your food and your medical care, the government controls your life and most importantly in the sham-democracy endgame of state socialism, it controls your vote. By controlling whom you are allowed to vote for, the term “social democracy” becomes nothing but propaganda.

Once state socialism takes control of a nation by controlling the votes of supposedly democratic institutions, dictatorship, despotism and tyranny are never far behind, as the people of Venezuela have recently discovered.

Originally published in the Colorado Springs Gazette

At a critical crossroads with respect to free speech

Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter is playing a dark game of whack-a-mole with the University of California at Berkeley over her invitation to speak on campus Thursday. As they have done with other conservative speakers, UC Berkeley administrators have larded ridiculous requirements on Coulter and have arbitrarily and capriciously changed the dates and times Coulter will be allowed to speak.

The administration is using the tired excuse that because leftist thugs disrupted a planned speech by narcissistic conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopolous with violent, bloody attacks and arson the Berkeley Police Department refused to prevent or put a stop to, Coulter either can’t speak at all, or must be subject to rules that will prevent most students who want to hear her from attending.

Here in Colorado Springs, a few weeks after the Berkeley debacle, our police did not hide inside and let things burn like the Berkeley police did. Instead, they put on an effective show of force and determination that kept a speech by Yiannopolous at UCCS entirely peaceful.

Coulter has said she will speak Thursday, daring the administration to arrest her for doing so, and the students who invited her have warned the administration they will sue the university if it doesn’t stop violating their civil rights. It is about time somebody sue them.

We are at a critical crossroads with respect to free speech that we have not seen since the riots of the civil rights era and Woodrow Wilson’s wholesale imprisonment of more than 175,000 people who resisted his plan to inject the U.S. into World War I.

This time the coordinated conspiracy to suppress speech is coming from the Marxist left in the guise of masked “antifa” thugs who disrupt conservative gatherings with violence. Recent violent pushback by Trump supporters during confrontations fomented by these terrorists have the thugs looking for “combat training” and firearms, according to an article on The Blaze.

A self-identified Communist on Reddit, MrDocProfRyan writes “Antifascist tactics aren’t about convincing anyone… Antifa is only there to keep committed fascists from organizing a physical presence.”

This is clear evidence of a criminal conspiracy and violation of 18 U.S. Code § 241 that makes it a crime if “two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person . in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same” and if “two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured.” The penalties can include up to 10 years in federal prison or up to life in prison or the death penalty for killing or attempting to kill someone.

This 1948 law was a response to ongoing racist attacks against blacks that authorized the federal government to intervene when law enforcements officials in southern states refused to take action against intimidation, arson and murder by the KKK and other disguised, anti-black racists.

After a brutal attack by county Sheriff’s deputies and Alabama State Police dispatched by Governor George Wallace on black voting-rights activists attempting to peacefully march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama on “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, President Johnson finally acted to quell the violence.

On March 21, some 3,500 marchers left Selma, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, under the protection of federalized National Guard and military troops, arriving in Montgomery four days later with a crowd of some 25,000 who had joined them on the way. The Voting Rights Act was enacted shortly thereafter.

What the “antifa” Communists are doing today is exactly what the KKK did in 1948.

The protection of the rights of everyone, Conservative, Liberal or Communist, to peaceably assemble and engage in free speech is no less important, and no less a duty and obligation of President Trump than was securing the voting rights of blacks in 1965.

The remedy to the continued criminal acts of so-called “antifa” terrorists is no different and no less necessary today.

 

Originally published in the Colorado Springs Gazette

So-called ‘Dark money’ is plain free speech

There is a new liberal pejorative for describing what is an essential aspect of our political system: anonymity in political speech. Some candidates for City Council are complaining that they don’t know who are funding political campaigns so they are trying to impugn the messages by using the sinister-sounding “dark money” as a descriptor for anonymous donations that fund political speech.

“People deserve to know who’s spending money to influence their vote,” said Colorado Ethics Watch executive director Luis Toro in the March 26 Gazette. “It helps them understand who benefits from possible policies. And it also helps identify possible conflicts of interest with legislators and City Council members and the industries that are supporting them.”

Colorado College political science professor emeritus Bob Loevy is quoted in the same article saying “The real mystery is who are the nameless, faceless persons or person who are behind the attempt to take over City Council. The voters have no way of telling what’s really going on.”

What’s going on is anonymous political free speech, which has a long and honorable tradition extending clear back to Publius and the authors of the Federalist and anti-Federalist papers. In their day, political speech could get you hung by the British for sedition. Today it can get you attacked by masked thugs or destroy your business.

People do not deserve to know who is trying to influence their vote. The whole purpose of campaigning is to influence people’s votes and it is the argument that is important, not the author. Wrote the Supreme Court, “Far from enhancing the reader’s evaluation of a message, identifying the publisher can interfere with that evaluation by requiring the introduction of potentially extraneous information at the very time the reader encounters the substance of the message.The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”

“Don’t underestimate the common man,” the Court goes on to say, “People are intelligent enough to evaluate the source of an anonymous writing. They can see it is anonymous. They know it is anonymous. They can evaluate its anonymity along with its message, as long as they are permitted, as they must be, to read that message. And then, once they have done so, it is for them to decide what is ‘responsible,’ what is valuable, and what is truth.”

In overturning an Ohio law that required name disclosure the Supreme Court said “Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.” The court went on to say, “It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation – and their ideas from suppression – at the hand of an intolerant society.”

And that is why people form and contribute to nonprofits to act as political speech surrogates. Such organizations provide a shield against an intolerant and increasingly violent leftist/liberal cadre of cowardly masked thugs who are willing to commit assault, arson, criminal mischief, riot and general disorder to suppress the speech of their political opponents. The gravity of the violence of these thugs was seen in Washington D.C. at President Trump’s inauguration and again at a speech by Milo Yianopolous at UC Berkeley and many other places since.

The fear of persecution and violence is today, as it was in the past, a genuine physical threat that makes anonymity critical to protecting freedom of speech. That a group must by Colorado law register and be identified to band together and contribute financially to speak politically puts them at personal risk. Anonymity is all that protects those who want to engage in free speech and expression without fear of retribution and violence.

Nobody required Publius to register as a 401(c)3 nonprofit corporation and list the names of contributors before James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay were allowed to publish the Federalist Papers. We are entitled to the same protection of anonymity our forefathers enjoyed under the First Amendment.

Originally published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, April 6, 2017