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Meet your favorite neighbors, the Carbuncle family. After reading this, you will never, ever again skip over a Christmas letter.



Well, the year started off a little rough when, on the first day back from Christmas break, little Latrina got kicked out of school for sending her math teacher to the hospital. She says he called her a “stute,” and that’s why she threw the chair at him and walked out of class. I raised my little girl not to be a stute. She is a good girl. I do believe she did the right thing. But not being in school and all, Latrina went to work making about $70 a day standing on the corner by Walmart, holding a sign that said, “I’m not homeless but my mama’s too lazy to get a job so she makes me do this bulls***.” Latrina is an honest girl just like I taught her to be.


Latrina did well making money on the corner by Walmart but unfortunately one week it got real cold and the thermometer dipped below 0* for a few days. Latrina had to go to the hospital to have all her fingers and toes removed since they turned black from the frostbite. But she’s a fast healer and as soon as it warmed up again she went right back to work, and talk about a cash cow! My little Latrina, without fingers or toes, is pulling in twice as much cash as before. Thank God for small miracles! Uncle Sputum came down with an incurable skin disease and so he got an early release from the state prison! He moved in with us but we don’t have a lot of room bein’s Bubo, Boyle and Blain live here with Latrina, me, Aunt Edema, and the 7 dogs. Uncle Sputum don’t mind sleeping in the shed, which is preferable to us because he smells kinda bad, especially on warm days. But he does some cooking for us. The ingredients are a little strange, since he gets most of them from a chemistry catalog, but he’s making it just fine for now and always seems to have a lot of pep!


This was a sad month for us as Uncle Sputum was killed in a shoot-out with cops right outside the trailer on St. Patrick’s Day. I swear, he was just celebrating when he got naked, took my shotgun and started shooting the crows in that tree across the street. He didn’t mean to aim that gun at the cops. He was a good man. We will all miss Uncle Sputum. I put an ad on Craig’s List for to sell his chemistry equipment and weird cookbooks. He spent an awful lot of time cooking, but it weren’t food. But that’s okay cause I lost 100 pounds while Uncle Sputum was living here. God rest his gentle soul.


Well, we like it when the weather warms up this time of year, but the snow melts and the neighbors tell us to clean up all the dog crap the snow has been hiding since October. It’s not a pleasant job, but Bubo, Boyle and Blain do it for me, and it’s easy just to scoop up the dog dirt and toss it over the fence–into the neighbor’s yard. That’s where my brother’s ex-wife’s cousin’s niece lives and she’s not a nice person. Back in 1998 she tricked my brother’s ex-wife’s cousin’s best friend into knocking her up cause he’s a professional cage fighter and she lives off the child support he pays her for that baby. Oh, how I hate these low-life people. They got no class at all. For Easter we all loaded up in the van and went to Pea Ridge to celebrate with Aunt Edema’s daughter, Biopsy, who is also my favorite cousin. She filled up plastic Easter Eggs with things like used cotton balls and twisty ties and such and the kids just had a blast hunting for them. Biopsy don’t have much property though, so she hid them in the cemetery across the highway from her place. But good things can go bad, and apparently somebody called the cops on Boyle, who was havin’ so much fun he forgot himself and took a pee on a tombstone. Easter came to a sad end when I had to post bond for all three of my boys, since Bubo and Blain were arrested along with Boyle for trying to tip over the patrol car. They’re good strong boys. I can’t believe all this happened just because Boyle had to relieve himself. But it’s a great blessing that Latrina had enough money saved up so I could bail my boys out of county lock-up. It’s enough to make you want to kill, skin and cook the danged Easter Bunny.


This was a month to celebrate! Cousin Phlegm’s boy, Ryot, was the only boy in his class of the age of 15 to graduate from 6th grade! We were all so proud. The family, except Latrina ’cause she was working the corner next to Golden Corral downtown that day, met at Phlegm’s place where we had a real big party for Ryot. Phlegm’s wife, Listeria, got some food from the salvage food store and there was music and a wading pool and more beer than you could believe. Aunt Edema wore her favorite tube top and that made her back cyst real obvious. Ryot, a real smart boy, had the great idea that we should drain her cyst so everybody could watch. Then Bubo piped up and said, “hey, let’s film you poppin’ her cyst so we can put it on Youtube!” We spent a good 30 minutes watching Listeria drain Edema’s cyst. Oh, it stunk, and you had to stand back so it didn’t squirt on you, but that kept everybody entertained for the whole afternoon.


Some gifts just keep on givin’. Bubo put the video of Aunt Edema’s cyst drainin’ on Youtube and guess what? We got 2,346,702 views and, you know what that means? We got enough money from the ads that WE WENT TO DISNEY! Latrina stayed home and took care of the trailer and dogs while the rest of us went on vacation. She’s such a good girl. I raised her that way. Plus, without any fingers, I knew it might be hard for Latrina to keep a grip on those adventure rides. And I would feel just awful if anything bad happened to that girl.


We got some real sad news on the 4th of July. Apparently Uncle Phlegm and Aunt Listeria’s boy, Ryot, tried to shoot off some homemade fireworks. He had good intentions and all ’cause he just wanted to relive the wonderful fireworks shows we saw at Disney every night for two weeks. I don’t know why he thought a welding torch would be good to light his homemade fireworks but it didn’t go very well. Poor Ryot, one of the only kids in the family to graduate 6th grade, lost both arms up to the elbows in the explosion. While Phlegm and Listeria were in the hospital with Ryot, their komodo dragon, Marlin, escaped and hasn’t been seen since.


If there is an angel on earth it would be Latrina. That girl is such a sweetheart. She really wanted to cheer Ryot up since he was feeling kinda down, being armless and all. As soon as that boy got out of the hospital she put him to work with her asking for money at the corner by Applebee’s. He learned how to hold an old ice cream bucket with the handle in his teeth and when people would see these two precious children; a girl with no fingers or toes and a boy with no arms up to his elbows, they just load them up with cash. I tell you, sometimes bad things happen, but then it turns out better than winning the lottery. Phlegm and Listeria both quit their jobs at the convenience store and that gives us some real good catchin’ up time. Especially since we all love to play cards.


Boyle, my middle son, is a special boy and I always believed he was star material. I don’t know if I mentioned this before but he spends a lot of time pretending to be a dog. He will play with the dogs, roll around with them in the dirt, chase cars, sniff their butts and such. Well it got really heartwarming when one of our mongrel bitches had a big litter of pups that she couldn’t care for all by herself. Boyle, bless his heart, got in the box with that mama dog just like he was a bitch himself. He cleaned the pups with his tongue. He let them nurse at his nipples–he really seemed relaxed during nursing time–he was just an excellent dog. Well, then we heard that TLC Channel was looking for people to feature in their reality program called “My Strange Attention-Getting Behavior” and we all immediately thought of Boyle. Guess what? He met with the producer of the show and got all set up do his own episode! My boy was set to be a television star! Unfortunately, the filming had to be delayed when Boyle came down with a real bad case of tapeworms.


What a crazy month. I spent a couple of weeks helping Boyle nurse his tapeworm infection.  I heard about this real expensive medicine the doctor wanted Boyle to take but instead of spending the money, I just had him swallow his chewing tobacco instead of spitting it out. With poor Boyle sufferin’ and all I completely forgot about my precious angel baby, Latrina. One day Bubo noticed that the housework was behind and piped up and said, Mama, “It looks like Latrina is slacking on her jobs. Where is she anyway?” Then my heart just  about stopped when I realized that I hadn’t seen her or Ryot since that TLC Channel producer feller was looking at Boyle to be the next big TV star. Blain, the calm one, just said if we wait long enough Latrina and Ryot would show up. So we sat down on the couch and clicked on the TV to the TLC Channel, and GUESS WHO WE SAW HAD THEIR OWN TV SHOW? You know it! Latrina and Ryot were right there on the TV screen in their own television reality program called, “Amputee Panhandlers.” Poor Boyle was just heartbroken. But for now, Aunt Edema is going back to work at the water plant and I guess the boys will have to pick up the chores.


Well, sometimes you think things can’t get any worse then your own kid turns on you. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I had to go get Bubo, Boyle and Blain out of jail on Halloween night for nothing more than borrowing a police patrol car and collecting jack ‘o’ lanterns off folks’ porches and donating them to the poor folks here in the trailer park. Those boys were just doing charity. You’d think the cops would give them credit for being kind to people. Well, while I was still trying to recover, the day after Halloween I got a letter from Latrina. Only, it wasn’t from Latrina. It was from some fancy lawyer representing her and Ryot. It said my baby girl and her cousin Ryot got legally emancipated and are now in charge of all the money they make on their TV reality program. Here, this is what it said; “Heretofore wherewith Ryot Sluge and Latrina Carbuncle, having been found to be self-sufficient with adequate means for support, will herewith put their forthcoming funds in a trust to be held forever for their personal benefit into perpetuity, having severed all ties forthwith and from this day forward and shall have no contact with members of either the Sluge or Carbuncle families.” Don’t that just break your heart. I was so good to them kids. I just saw on the TMZ website that “Amputee Panhandlers” was the biggest new thing since Jersey Shore. I bet those kids are millionaires. S***!


Trying to take my mind off Latrina and the way she did us wrong, the boys and I spent the time making Christmas ornaments out of stuff we found around the house since we’re poor because Latrina cheated us out of our happy life. It’s amazing what you can make from used paper plates and Copenhagen cans. We have a lot of Copenhagen cans around as Boyle still struggles with his tapeworms. Aunt Edema isn’t here to help me with the house cleaning since she went back to work at the water plant then moved in with Cousin Biopsy. Uncle Phlegm and Aunt Edema were so broken up over what Ryot and Latrina did that they moved to Oregon in their 5th-wheel. Their komodo dragon, Marlin, got his pictures all over town in the post office and police station and dog pound. Apparently Marlin had a habit of eating litters of new puppies. Good thing Boyle still sleeps with our dogs and keeps them safe from that damn lizard. Well, as you can tell, we’re feeling kind of down and we don’t expect this Christmas to have much cheer. But if you would like to help us out we sure would appreciate it. Cash is really what this little family needs. After all, Christmas is about givin’.

Happy Christmas from Mama Candida Carbuncle and sons (’cause I don’t got a daughter anymore)

by Marjorie Haun  12/12/15




November 7, 2016

Hillary’s Email Debacle Leaves More Questions than Answers


Last October I had a conversation with a senior F.B.I. attorney at a public fund-raising event who I have known socially for a number of years. And being afforded the opportunity, I just couldn’t help but ask: So, what’s the status of the Hillary email debacle? Of course, initially I got what we all have come to recognize as the F.B.I.‘s auto-response apologetic: I’m sorry, but you know I can’t comment on any investigation that remains ongoing, etc., etc., etc. But then, to my astonishment, as my friend prepared to return to their table, our conversation ended with what I have since thought to be a remarkable statement on their part. This is from memory, not notes, but I’ll put it in quotes for easy reading: “But… I can tell you this. We both know that, if you or I had ever been caught doing even a fraction of what we all already know that she did in mishandling state secrets, you or I would most certainly be in federal custody by now.”

At the time I found this statement to be refreshing, in that, coming from a government official, it was disarmingly honest. Americans have become so conditioned to expect less from our government. We are amazed, even excited, by the rare occurrence when they do us the honor of rising above those expectations and actually give us the unvarnished truth. I left the event that last October night thinking: Is there any more I need to know?

But with the passage of time, my friend’s statement has become increasingly unsettling. Now, five months later, it has left me with more questions than answers.

Let’s put aside for the moment the question of why Hillary has yet to be indicted. Why, to date, hasn’t she even been officially interrogated by the F.B.I. about her emails? Thousands of emails on her unofficial and unsecured server have been found to contain classified material. Yet, they have not even approached her to discuss the matter. Why?

Is it because they know Hillary is a known congenital liar and that such an interrogation would virtually guarantee her exposure to charges for obstruction of justice, just like Martha Stewart, General Petraeus, Scooter Libby and others were, long before Hillary came along? As the latter all soon learned, it is a crime for a person suspected of violating federal law to lie or even give misleading information to a federal investigator. Yet, with the ball in their court, the F.B.I. has failed to take even this minimal action with respect to Hillary in what is now almost a year since the story broke. Why? Does it evidence a decision by someone in the Administration to isolate Hillary from any further prosecutorial exposure, while the Justice Department can focus upon finding a way to make her current exposure disappear in a politically acceptable manner?

Hillary herself recently declared with frightening confidence in the course of a nationally televised debate that she will never be indicted. The glaring  question that remains unasked of her, however, is: How does she know that? It certainly leaves one to wonder if a deal has already been cut with the present Administration for her to obtain some kind of a disguised equivalent of a pardon. Certainly using the cloak of secrecy that envelopes federal grand jury proceedings, the system could be manipulated by the Administration to allow them to present her exoneration to the public without any particular Administration official having to take the blame for the decision.

Even so, are we not still left with the over-arching questions that have remained unanswered since the email debacle began? Are we, or are we not, supposed to be a nation of laws, and not man — where all are to be considered as equals in the sight of the law? And if not, when did our country change? But, more importantly, why do so many not seem to care? Have we as a nation lost sight of the fact that a two-tiered system of justice is more indicative of a dictatorship than of a democracy?

A government of the people, by the people and for the people, cannot long survive as such where there is allowed to exist a separate tier of justice reserved only for an elite few wherein those elite are allowed to manipulate, if not torque the system at will to extend mercy, if not absolute immunity, to their fellow club members for their violations of laws that are otherwise enforced without mercy against the multitudes. Sadly, however, if my friend in the F.B.I. was correct, is this not exactly what appears to be playing out in the Administration’s handling of Hillary’s emails?

Of course, my hope is that it is not. But, if it is, at least those of us out here among the multitudes will now be able to better understand how two people in America can violate laws intended to protect our national security with opposite results. One — like Hillary — can remain free to run for President — while the other — like Snowden — must run for his life as long as he can remain free.

© 2016 Clifford C. Nichols. Cliff Nichols is an attorney licensed to practice law in both California and New Mexico. He may be contacted at

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Reposted by  11/7/16

October 27, 2016

As usual, the Daily Sentinel told only part of the story. In today’s issue, Gary Harmon did a story on tensions and divisions in the Grand Junction area related to this year’s presidential election. The photo accompanying the story was of a slightly bent Hillary sign, with an intact Trump sign in the background. The front page photo misrepresents the truth about what is actually happening in Mesa County, and the thousands of dollars worth of damage done to large Trump signs which have been placed on private property.

The following photos were sent to the Sentinel, but the editors chose not to use them. Please share, and contact the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial staff and ask them to publish the photos below.


This is the photo the editor chose to publish with Gary Harmon’s story.

THESE are the photos sent to the Daily Sentinel by the man who has repeatedly put up, taken down and replaced Trump signs across the Grand Valley during this year’s persistent cycle of vandalism.

trumpsign2 trumpsign3 trumpsign4

Sign @ 12th and Horizon cut from top to bottom

Sign @ 12th and Horizon cut from top to bottom

Harley Hill

Harley Hill

Posted by   10/27/16

October 26, 2016

Jankovsky guest opinion: Acha, Democrats smear county

The smear campaign, muckraking and dirty politics of Democratic candidate John Acha and the Garfield County Democratic Central Committee has directed accusations not only at John Martin but the entire Board of Commissioners, county government and county employees. Mr. Acha states rules are optional at Garfield County, that there is waste, fraud, abuse and corruption at the highest levels. His outrageous rhetoric is a direct attack on all of Garfield County and is directed at the very foundation of our county government.

Before I go any further, I need to defend our county government and its employees. The employees at Garfield County are hardworking, conscientious, professional, dedicated and well-educated. Garfield County and its employees provide a good service and a good product.

Tom Jankovsky

Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky

As commissioners, we are public servants who took an oath to serve the health, safety and welfare of the citizens. As commissioners, we are not saints, we are human, we make mistakes and we do our best to correct them. We are also not sinners, as the Democratic Central Committee portrays us. The central committee has had four lawyers and spent hundreds of volunteer hours going over thousands of pages of documents. The best they can find is an audit where Commissioner Martin did the right thing and paid back per diem funds in question to protect the county and his integrity.

Let’s get some facts on the table. The $1,800 in per diem Commissioner Martin received from Colorado Counties Inc. covered three years, nine different meetings and a minimum of 45 days of travel and meetings. The average per diem would be $40.

CCI does not require Commissioner Martin to provide receipts of expenditures, and no county policy was violated by accepting per diem advances or by not reporting it to the county. There is no evidence to support the accusation that the per diem expenses were also charged on a county credit card. Any reasonable person would understand that $40 per day does not cover meals and travel expenses in Washington, D.C., or any other major metropolitan area.

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Garfield County Commissioner John Martin

By reimbursing the county, Commissioner Martin more than accounted for any errors in record keeping. In fact, Commissioner Martin most certainly overcorrected any spending discrepancies.

As an example, I have traveled with Commissioner Martin to the National Counties Association meeting in Washington, D.C. Commissioner Martin, instead of taking the cab from the airport to his hotel, paid cash and took the subway.

Because the commissioner overcorrected in paying back the county, Commissioner Samson and I paid back a portion of those funds. We did not think it was right for Commissioner Martin to have to pay back the entire amount himself. Then through the Democratic Central Committee’s open records request, they somehow got ahold of our reimbursement checks. Candidate Acha then posted those checks on his website, with our routing numbers, account numbers, addresses and signatures. This action victimized not only us but our families. You can take this as disrespect, poor judgment or breaking the law.

This is probably a combination of all the above and gives a little insight into the character of John Acha. When the Glenwood Springs Post Independent characterizes John Acha as “Unready John,” that is probably an understatement. His actions and his words are an insult to the reputation of Garfield County, the reputation of the county management and its employees.

As county commissioners, we do our best to represent the county with integrity and strive to be good public servants. In addition, we understand that politics —even local politics — can get ugly. It goes with the territory. However, this scorched-earth campaign is over the top and does not represent the good people and character of Garfield County.

Finally, take a good look at Mr. Acha’s platform. Other than negative criticism and portraying himself as a government official you will find there is not much there.

Tom Jankovsky is a Republican Garfield County commissioner.

Reposted by  10/26/16

October 7, 2016


Colorado Amendment 71 tries to cut down on constitutional red tape

County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, pictured here in front of the County Courthouse in Breckenridge, is helping lead efforts on the "Raise the Bar" campaign. Should Amendment 71 pass in the face of some opposition, it would require that citizen initiatives to amend the constitution include signatures from throughout Colorado to reach the state ballot.

County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, pictured here in front of the County Courthouse in Breckenridge, is helping lead efforts on the “Raise the Bar” campaign. Should Amendment 71 pass in the face of some opposition, it would require that citizen initiatives to amend the constitution include signatures from throughout Colorado to reach the state ballot.

In a battle that’s being billed as rural versus metro areas, Colorado voters are being asked this election season whether it’s too easy to rewrite the state constitution.

If approved this November, Amendment 71, dubbed “Raise the Bar” by its bipartisan backers, would change the process for signature collection in attempts to amend the state’s founding document. Proponents note the immense number of times the constitution has been revised since the initiative process began more than a century ago, while objectors argue that landing a measure on the ballot is already difficult enough and, as is, allows voters to more directly impact the state’s laws.

One of the issues that supporters point to, however, is that the current system requires only a set number of signatures — 5 percent of the total cast for secretary of state in the prior election, or upwards of 100,000 — and nothing that necessitates they originate from different parts of Colorado. The new law would demand that signatures be amassed at a rate of 2 percent from each of the state’s 35 Senate districts.

“What we’ve seen in the past are people hanging out at the 16th Street Mall (in Denver) for signature gathering, we see people in the Pearl Street area (in Boulder),” said Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, a co-chair for Amendment 71. “We never see people up in Summit County, we never see people in Sterling, in Durango. Having constitutional policies be dictated by people in Denver, in my opinion, is not right. It requires a statewide discussion.”

So rather than just accumulating signatures in Denver, Boulder or other large population zones, Summit County, part of Senate District 8, could expect its 19,000 or so active voters to be more frequently polled for ballot permissions. The law would also entail getting about 1,600 of Mesa County’s approximately 80,000 voters in Senate District 7 during the 2014 election to meet the new standard.

In addition, Amendment 71 would call for a 55-percent threshold for passing a constitutional ballot measure rather than the simple majority currently required. The minimums for statute revisions would remain unchanged.

Many opponents — several environmental groups, Libertarian organizations and government watchdogs — say the problem is that the petition process is hard enough, let alone then also putting it to voters often just to see it fail.

“It is difficult to go out and gather signatures,” Elena Nunez, executive director of Colorado Common Cause, explained during a recent forum. “What this is about is making it so expensive and so onerous that voters don’t even get the opportunity to decide. To set standards that may not be possible to meet, I think that deserves a closer look.”

Some estimates assert that current signature gathering campaigns can top $1 million, let alone if one is taken to court over contested signatures. Insisting on signatures from a larger geographic region would involve training more volunteers or hiring additional professional signature collectors to cover more ground, they say, and result in further inflated — and possibly prohibitive — costs.

For Gibbs, a veteran of a number of political campaigns, it’s a small price to pay to prevent unwieldy and ultimately burdensome laws from hitting the state books. That the Colorado Constitution has been changed 150 times compared to just 27 for the U.S. version, he said, is unacceptable.

“We don’t want to limit an opportunity if there’s need to amend the constitution,” said Gibbs, “but we’ve clearly seen this phenomenon in Colorado where it’s turned into this legislative mechanism for people to put things in our constitution that is very problematic for our state. If you have something that’s that important, grassroots can gather 2 percent of the registered voters in each of the 35 state Senate districts.”

Challengers contend that voters throughout the state already get a chance to have their say — by reviewing information in the proposal and voting in November. And they’ve by no means wholeheartedly sanctioned whatever appears on the ballot.

According to the Colorado Independent, fewer than a third of those amendments proposed on Colorado’s ballot in the last 30 years have gone on to be passed by voters. And the constitution has been amended by citizen-initiated ballot measures 48 times since the initiative process was approved in 1910.

What Amendment 71 might also grant, foes protest, is a single Senate district having the ability to block a desired measure entirely. Without added safeguards in the proposal for the statutory process — one in which the state’s General Assembly can modify laws that are passed by voters, a reason why many people instead choose the constitutional option — changing the law is unwarranted.

“If the voters decide to go the statutory route,” said Nunez, “the Legislature could turn around and change it the next day because there’s no protection, and that’s the reason we see a lot of initiatives go the constitutional route. That’s not addressed by Amendment 71.”

Raise the Bar’s list of supporters reads like a Who’s Who of Colorado politics. Every living governor from both sides of the aisle, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Bill Ritter, Bill Owens, Roy Romer and Dick Lamm are counted among them, as is current Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and a few of his predecessors, Wellington Webb and Federico Peña (Hickenlooper also served in the position from 2003-11). Their primary bone of contention remains that since just 1990, citizens have attempted to amend the state constitution 68 times. Per the movement’s data, just two other states across the nation, California and Oregon, have tried to do it more.

“Being a former legislator,” said Gibbs, “I’ve seen firsthand some of the conflicting provisions in our constitution that I think create a juggernaut, if you will, of challenges for Colorado. Things with real fiscal components, in my opinion, don’t belong in a foundational document. Fundamentally, I think that if we’re having a discussion on amending our state constitution, that Summit County voters need to have a say. And right now I feel like they don’t.”

Reposted by  10/7/16

October 6, 2016

The Caucus system for determining local, state and national primary races was established first in 1910, then repealed by an act of the State Legislature in 1992. But after 10 years of a primary system, Colorado voters, by defeating Amendment 29, restored the Caucus system in 2002.

Proposition 107, introduced this year by a coalition of progressive interests, would establish a presidential primary in Colorado beginning with the presidential election year 2020.  It is a statutory amendment to state law, and thus would be subject to amendment by the general assembly.

Why do folks want to hold a Presidential Primary in Colorado?

  • Colorado’s current caucus system is open only to members of each political party. Unaffiliated voters feel this is discriminatory, giving them no say in the selection of presidential candidates.
  • Citizen participation in party caucuses is very low because of the non-participation of the large unaffiliated voting bloc, and does not represent a good cross section of Colorado voters. A presidential primary would allow all Colorado voters to participate in selecting presidential candidates.
  • In both the 2015 and 2016 sessions of the state legislature, party insiders killed proposed legislation to reestablish Colorado’s presidential primary. Proponents feel Proposition 107 is the only way to overcome the establishment’s opposition to giving ordinary citizens a voice in the process of selecting presidential candidates.

 Why folks don’t like Proposition 107

  • Proposition 107 is too broad and has many features not essential to establishing a presidential primary. The legislature has plenty of time to write and pass a good bill before 2020 once we reach a consensus on the best way to do it.  There currently exists no consensus supporting a presidential primary.
  • The additional, holding a separate March presidential primary will cost Colorado taxpayers over $5 million and there will be substantial costs to local taxpayers. This could strain already cash-strapped local governments.
  • Unaffiliated voters already have the opportunity to participate in any party caucus simply by changing their voter affiliation 60 days in advance of the caucus meeting. Every unaffiliated voter receives a notice informing him or her of that option.
  • Both the Republican Party and Democrat Party have the option to establish a binding “straw poll” for the 2020 presidential election. Each party should decide that for itself, and the need for a binding poll may change from one presidential election cycle to the next.
  • Proposition 107 allows the Governor to set the date for the presidential primary without any consultation with either the Secretary of State or state party officials. That is a bad idea because such unilateral authority is subject to partisan abuse.
  • Another bad feature of Proposition 107 is mandating a “winner-take-all” formula for awarding delegates to the national convention instead of a proportional allocation. A candidate who gets 45% of the primary vote should get 45% of the delegates, not zero. Adopting a winner-take-all allocation by statute is inherently unfair and undemocratic.
  • The poorly drawn language on “binding” of convention delegates will bind Colorado’s delegates not only for the first ballot but for all subsequent ballots as well. That is a really dumb idea because it could disenfranchise the entire Colorado delegation if the candidate who won Colorado’s primary in March is no longer a viable candidate in July or August.
  • The mandated “combined ballot” for unaffiliated voters likely will result in widespread confusion, voter fraud, and possibly tens of thousands of spoiled ballots, which could go uncounted.
  • The state’s previous presidential primary system was abandoned in 2003 because of the taxpayer cost after participation in the 2000 primary declined to only 17% of eligible voters, and the 1996 turnout was only 22%. Let’s learn from history and get it right.

Proposition 107 has the right intention, to get more Colorado voters involved in the electoral process. But this ballot proposition was hastily crafted without sufficient thought given to voting patterns, and elections costs in Colorado. Vote NO on Proposition 107. It’s an unnecessary measure that will further muddy Colorado statues. Answers to the problems Proposition 107 purports to fix are already found in Colorado’s elections rules and processes.  10/6/16

October 4, 2016

The Descent Into Quasi-Law


Library of Law & Liberty

“Our Constitution was written for a people seeking to live decent lives within their own, largely self-governing communities. It cannot function if the unwritten constitution, as we can call it, of institutions, beliefs, and practices no longer supports a limited central government of separated powers.”

“Stroke of a pen . . . law of the land. Kind of cool.” That insouciant comment, made by Paul Begala when he worked in the Clinton White House, raised controversy when Begala said it back in 1998, but it hardly would today.

After all, just in the past few weeks we have discovered that President Obama plans to sign, on his own authority, an international “climate change” treaty. He calls it an executive agreement and so claims he needs no congressional approval, even though his administrators will use the treaty to impose new policies and rules binding American individuals, governments, and businesses to change their behavior on pain of federal sanction.

We also have discovered that the Obama administration has been funneling money it wrangled from legal settlements with banks—intended to help those victimized in the last mortgage bubble—to partisan organizations supporting its own political agenda.

In addition, Obama has “proclaimed” the world’s largest ocean reserve off the coast of Hawaii and created a massive federal “monument” banning economic activity from a large swath of Maine. The mainstream press has lauded these last actions as pro-environment. But loggers, fishermen, and consumers will pay the price for policies implemented without the constitutionally required debate in Congress regarding their costs and benefits.

What all these actions have in common is their contempt for constitutional forms and procedures. I use the term “contempt” to indicate, not open hostility, but rather an utter lack of concern. And this lack of concern increasingly crosses institutional and partisan lines.

Some of the President’s recent actions might be dismissed as mere “perks of the office.” Creating monuments, changing the names of mountain peaks (Mount McKinley is now Mount Denali) and such have become pseudo-prerogative actions in the United States; few among our elites care to question them. But, as with all prerogatives, those who hold these powers will seek to expand them. Under Obama the “flexibility” of the President has come to swallow up the rule of law.

Image result for constitution on fire

Take, for example, this President’s attempts to contravene established law so as to prevent deportation of persons in this country illegally. In a series of 12 executive orders he did precisely this, exempting from deportation anyone who met a set of criteria specifically rejected by Congress. The orders eventually were stuck down by a federal appeals court—a decision upheld on account of a tie at the U.S. Supreme Court. What was truly astonishing about this naked power grab, intended to allow up to five million people in this country illegally to stay here in defiance of the clear language of properly promulgated law, was that it almost succeeded.

Even more than through direct decree, Obama has seized massive power for himself through cynical misuse of his executive, administrative power. He has directed his administrators to issue orders and regulations contradicting and/or going well beyond the intention of the laws they are sworn to uphold. Judges help as well. Chief Justice John Roberts saved Obamacare by pretending that its provision imposing a penalty on anyone daring to not purchase the dictated health insurance was merely a “tax.”

Other instances of overreach abound and multiply. Sometimes Obama loses, as with his attempt to force the Little Sisters of the Poor—an order of Catholic nuns caring for the elderly and dying—to cooperate in the provision of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs through their health insurer. More often he seems to be winning, as with his Education Department’s intentional misreading of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

The Department has taken it upon itself to vastly widen the definition of “sexual harassment” and to alter the plain meaning of Title IX’s ban on discrimination on the basis of sex to demand students’ access to bathrooms belonging to the opposite sex. Across the nation universities in particular are reversing traditional burdens of proof and truncating due process rights for those accused of sexual misconduct out of fear of Education Department investigations and reprisals. All this in response to bald claims of power without any reasonable basis in the legislation under which the Department is claiming the authority to regulate.[1]

Much of the Education Department’s power in this area does not stem from the law, or even its own regulations. Most of the changes in educational policy—and the rights of the accused on college campuses—result from directions embedded only in “Dear Colleague” letters sent by mid-level bureaucrats to universities. Even more changes owe their existence to consent decrees entered into by universities with the Department out of fear of the cost and bad publicity of a federal investigation.[2]

None of this is to say that the Obama administration is the first to stretch the powers of the presidency beyond constitutional bounds. All of his abuses have precedents in previous administrations. Moreover, the movement toward presidential power has been aided and abetted by a Congress intent on passing broad legislation “solving” problems like workplace safety through massive delegations of power, then accepting a distinctly secondary role as ombudsmen and overseers of administrative quality-control. Courts, too, have expanded executive power through their own quasi-legislative actions, demanding that new and expanded rights be made real through discretionary actions by administrative agencies.

We have seen in recent years the solidification of a regime different in character from that embodied in the language of the Constitution. Partly on account of a determination to pursue a radical agenda and partly on account of the breakdown of opposition from other branches of government and the people, we have seen a fateful shift in the operating rules of our political order. These actions, and cavalier responses to them, evince a lack of respect for constitutional forms and procedures that has become so pervasive as to undermine the rule of law. Indeed, it is not too much to say that the United States no longer is a regime of law, but one of mere quasi-law.

By quasi-law I mean directives with the force of law that lack crucial characteristics of genuine law. Emanating from all three branches of government, quasi-laws create rights and duties like laws but lack essential legal attributes such as promulgation through prescribed means and provision of predictable rules rather than mere delegation of discretionary power. Citizens today may find themselves charged with violating “rules” emanating from any branch of government (including, of course the fourth, administrative branch) without understanding their content or origins, even as rulers find it increasingly difficult to enforce effective policies in the face of unpredictable conflicts with members of other branches.

Thus, the persistent breaking of constitutional rules has produced confusion, tension, and animosity among those making and following law. It also increasingly denies the people that most basic of goods provided by legitimate governments: predictable rules allowing them to go about their lives without fear of arbitrary, surprising punishment for their actions.

The roots of our descent into the rule of quasi-law are relatively deep. From Woodrow Wilson and the Progressives to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, powerful political actors have attacked the “deadlock of democracy,” painting the Constitution as an impediment to expression of the people’s will. This determination to turn our Constitution into a tool of transformation, rather than a charter of limited government, crucially undermined the rule of law. The ideological choice of results over process and form that literally transformed our constitutional culture from one devoted to maintenance of a free people governing itself in its various local associations into a conflicted set of interested parties and ideological factions fighting to control the levers of federal power for their own ends.

The crucial change that has taken place has been the atrophy of Americans’ constitutional morality. This term, most fully developed by the late George Carey, refers to the felt duty of the people, and especially those in positions of political authority, to respect constraints on their power included in the written and unwritten constitutions. Having delegitimized the written Constitution’s emphasis on limited, checked, and balanced powers, and having sold the people on a conception of the national government as one properly responsible for the well-being of every individual in the nation, Progressives of various sorts have destroyed America’s traditional constitutional morality. In its place we now have a confused set of motivations and convictions in important ways opposed to the written Constitution.

Our Constitution was written for a people seeking to live decent lives within their own, largely self-governing communities. It cannot function if the unwritten constitution, as we can call it, of institutions, beliefs, and practices no longer supports a limited central government of separated powers. It would be easy to simply despair of our constitutional order and recommend a new one, seeking to cabin power through extensive, detailed statutes or administrative procedures. This has been the direction of reform for some decades. It has not born fruit for the simple reason that contempt for constitutional formalities necessarily involves contempt for legal formalities.

Only the hard work of restoring our unwritten constitution will make it possible to enforce and rebuild our constitutional order. This is not the work of a few detailed reforms, but of a decades-long struggle to reinvigorate the determination to use already existing constitutional procedures to limit power. The power of impeachment and removal, the power of the veto, and, above all, the determination to cease supporting actions, by whatever branch of government, that fail to abide by the requirements of constitutional and legal form; all these must be grasped again by citizens and public figures determined to restore the rule of law and our constitutional order.

[1] The new regulations have suffered only limited judicial setbacks along the way. For a detailed critique, see “Law Professors’ Open Letter Regarding Campus Free Speech and Sexual Assault.” Available at:

[2] Of course, the Department is aided by campus administrators only too happy to comply with any directive increasing their own power and supporting their own ideological programs. A useful summary of these actions is provided in the document from Senator Lankford’s office, cited in previous note.

Bruce P. Frohnen

Reposted by  10/4/16


October 2, 2016

Image result for blm agents body armor bundy ranch

Lawyer says FBI agents posed as film crew in Bunkerville standoff investigation


Rancher Cliven Bundy displays a bouquet of desert foliage that his cattle grazes on during a news conference at an event near his ranch in Bunkerville on Saturday, April 11, 2015. (David Becker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

FBI agents posed as a documentary film crew to gather evidence during their investigation into the April 2014 standoff near the Bundy family ranch in Bunkerville, a defense lawyer disclosed in court papers Friday.

Attorney Chris Rasmussen said undercover agents conducted video interviews of several defendants to “extract admissions” from them before they were charged.

He identified the company as Longbow Productions, which does not appear in online Nevada licensing records.

Attorney Dan Hill, who is defending Ammon Bundy, said his client was interviewed for several hours in Phoenix by Longbow Productions months before he was charged in the Bunkerville standoff with his father, Cliven Bundy, and other defendants.

 “I believe that the FBI was pretending to be members of the news media in order to have lengthy conversations with Ammon and others,” Hill said. “Ammon has nothing to hide, but I still find it troublesome that the FBI would sink to that tactic.”

Another defense lawyer, Jess Marchese, said his client Eric Parker gave the company a 90-minute interview in Idaho, where he lives.

“From everything that I’ve seen, it’s my belief that Longbow Productions was the FBI,” Marchese said. “I know that there were interviews with some of the other defendants. It was definitely unique, but I don’t think it’s overly harmful to my client because his recitation of the facts has always been the same.”

Parker posted on Facebook in August 2014 that a member of Longbow Productions told him the company was making a documentary about the standoff and wanted his opinion about it.

“I was told that the Bundys were working with them and have given interviews for it,” Parker said in the post. “If I could have that confirmed, I would feel better about talking to them.”

Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the Nevada U.S. attorney’s office, would not comment Friday on Longbow Productions.

“We cannot comment on pending litigation,” she said.

FBI spokesman Huston Pullen also declined to comment.

The revelation came in court papers Rasmussen filed seeking to narrow a protective order that vastly restricts public disclosure of evidence in the high-profile case.

Rasmussen, who represents radio talk show host Peter Santilli, said he and other defense lawyers want to cite government evidence about Longbow Productions and other activity by federal agents during the standoff investigation in public motions challenging the government’s case.

Other government evidence expected to be the subject of defense motions includes Nevada Highway Patrol dashcam videos showing the standoff scene, bodycam videos from Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents capturing the events leading up to the protests, and aerial surveillance of the Bunkerville area conducted by federal agents, according to Rasmussen’s court papers.

A total of 19 defendants were charged in March with conspiring to assault BLM agents on April 12, 2014, and take back the impounded Bundy cattle that had been grazing on federal land. Two later pleaded guilty, and the rest are to stand trial Feb. 6 before Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro.

In his court papers, Rasmussen said defense lawyers should be able to remove personal identifiers from government documents and then file them publicly with their upcoming motions.

“Counsel should be allowed to make professional judgments and redact the personal information of any person outlined in police or FBI reports like counsel in this district has done in every case prior to this one,” he said.

Attorney Maggie McLetchie — who represents the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Battle Born Media and The Associated Press — has lodged objections in court papers to the protective order, calling it too broad and a blow to transparency.

Because of concerns about threats to witnesses and law enforcement officers, the order prohibits defense teams for all 17 defendants from publicly disclosing grand jury transcripts, FBI and police reports, witness statements and other documents the government collected during its two-year investigation.

McLetchie on Friday hailed Rasmussen’s bid to narrow the scope of the order, which was signed earlier this year by U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen.

“In short, the protective order in place is excessively broad,” she said. “It cloaks information that the public has a right to know about in total secrecy.”

McLetchie said there are First Amendment concerns and questions about the actions of law enforcement in the case.

“The public has a right to assess for itself whether the government engaged in problematic law enforcement practices and whether this prosecution is retaliation for criticizing the government,” she said. “The courts belong to the people, and law enforcement works for the people, too.”

Reposted by  10/2/16

September 14, 2016

Meet Native Americans Fighting Obama’s Push to Conserve Public Land

 Josh Siegel

as published by Daily Signal

“I hope our people can still enjoy Bears Ears,” Holliday said. “But I fear with a monument, there will be more restrictions, and we won’t have that opportunity, especially our Indian people, our Navajo people. We are always being cut off somewhere, and we don’t really trust the federal government. That’s the way we are. We want to continue to use it like the way it is.”

The latest front in a debate over the reach of U.S. control of federal land is a 1.9 million-acre retreat of mesas and canyons located in Utah’s poorest county.

The stakes are large for this remote land, which President Barack Obama is considering designating as a national monument, in his continued pursuit of being the most prolific conservationist to ever occupy the White House.

But for the local Native Americans who live near the land—known to them as Bears Ears—and depend on it for sustenance and cultural tradition, the debate over how to best preserve it feels smaller, but no less important.

“Bears Ears has a lot of meaning to me,” said Marie Holliday, a 72-year-old resident of Monument Valley in Utah’s San Juan County who belongs to the Navajo tribe.

Added Holliday, in an interview with The Daily Signal:

    Our people have used the land for generations. With my grandmother before she died, we would go across the San Juan River to graze [livestock]. In the fall, people start to go out there to get firewood to heat their homes for winter. We use the herbal plants that grow there to heal sickness. A lot of our ancestral ruins are buried there. It really is a beautiful place.

Obama’s Conservation Drive

Holliday does not support the work of a coalition of tribes—including the national body of her own, Navajo Nation—that is advocating for Obama to use his executive power under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make Bears Ears a national monument.

Whereas supporters of a monument see it as a way to best protect Bears Ears from looting, mining, and drilling—and a tourist boon for the area’s struggling economy—local Native Americans who oppose it don’t trust the federal government to look out for their interests.

The 1.9 million acres in southeastern Utah defined in the proposal by the coalition of tribes are public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service.

“I hope our people can still enjoy Bears Ears,” Holliday said. “But I fear with a monument, there will be more restrictions, and we won’t have that opportunity, especially our Indian people, our Navajo people. We are always being cut off somewhere, and we don’t really trust the federal government. That’s the way we are. We want to continue to use it like the way it is.”

The Obama administration’s consideration of Bears Ears as a national monument shares characteristics with the president’s recent use of the Antiquities Act.

On Aug. 24, siding with conservationists over the opposition of some residents and local officials, Obama designated more than 87,500 acres in Maine as a national monument.

Obama has created 23 national monuments, in addition to expanding an already existing one, more than any previous president.

In Utah, the Bears Ears monument proposal also lacks local backing.

Among opponents are the San Juan County Commission; Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican; the GOP-controlled state legislature; and the state’s congressional representatives.

But the tribal coalition of Navajos, Zunis, Hopis, Utes, and Ute Mountain Utes that is pushing for the monument views itself as representative of local interests. As part of its proposal, the coalition asks to jointly manage the land with the government.

Who’s Protecting the Land

“To put it plainly and bluntly, the people elect us to sit in these positions, and there is no way an elected leader would ever advocate for lack of access for its own people,” said Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, councilwoman for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and co-chairwoman of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.

Lopez-Whiteskunk, in an interview with The Daily Signal, added:

We believe we need to protect that access to the land, but do it in a respectable and responsible manner. We understand what it’s like to live out there. We’ve survived it. To think any tribal leader would cut off the supply to herbs, and firewood, and the capacity to say their prayers, is simply absurd.

In addition to the coalition’s tribal representation, it also gets support from major conservation groups and nature advocates.

According to a report in a local newspaper, Deseret News Utah, the campaign for the monument has been granted $20 million in donations from two philanthropic groups — the Hewlett and Packard foundations — that cite environmental protections as a focus for the grants they award.

The Conservation Lands Foundation also supports the coalition’s proposal, the newspaper said.

Lopez-Whiteskunk, 47, is a college-educated resident of Towaoc, Colorado, the headquarters of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to which she belongs, located about an hour-and-a-half drive from Bears Ears.

Using her platform “as someone lucky enough to speak for my people,” Lopez-Whiteskunk said it’s appropriate to collaborate with outside groups if it helps accomplish the coalition’s goal of making Bears Ears a national monument.

“When people say outsiders are coming in and we are backed by environmentalists, I say, ‘Heck, yeah, we are,’” Lopez-Whiteskunk told The Daily Signal, adding:

   There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just some people think Native Americans are not intelligent enough to seek resources, and seek out organizations and experts. We can and we do. I am a Native American who’s educated and I have the ability to research and utilize tools in a manner any movement would utilize. So I feel strongly that this initiative has the correct spirit and the right intent.

‘Trying to Work Together’

As the Obama administration considers the tribal coalition’s request, Utah’s representatives in Congress are planning their own method to preserve Bears Ears.

In July, Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, both Republicans, introduced the Utah Public Lands Initiative.

The massive public lands bill includes a provision that would conserve less of Bears Ears—1.4 million acres instead of 1.9 million acres—and also would allow energy development in certain areas.

Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, told The Daily Signal in an interview that his panel will mark up the legislation at the end of the month.

The committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on it Wednesday morning. A floor vote wouldn’t come until after the presidential election, Bishop said.

His measure is opposed by environmental groups and the tribal coalition, who say it does not significantly protect natural resources.

Bishop has made a congressional career fighting for local land rights. About 65 percent of Utah’s land is controlled by the federal government. The federal government owns 28 percent of all U.S. land, according to the Interior Department.

Bishop argues that executive action by the president would create ill will among locals who are split about what to do.

“If the president acts, he messes up what has been three years of trying to work together,” Bishop said, adding:

   “He can’t claim to have the local support to do it. Our plan is good and theirs sucks. Intellectually, creating a monument is a legislative function and should never have been an executive function. It has also become at least curious, if not downright hypocritical, why the president is considering doing this now as he is leaving office and is no longer accountable to explain why he did things.”

‘Won’t Have a Home No More’

No matter the path to protect Bears Ears, uniting the tribes is a challenge.

Jovanii Nez belongs to Descendants of K’aayelii, a group that considers itself the original inhabitants of the area in and around Bears Ears, and heirs to the land.

Nez, 43, says the group’s members are relatives of Hastii K’aayelii, a Navajo leader whose followers never surrendered to the federal government during the American-Indian Wars.

In 1933, the group says, the government relocated its members against their will from Bears Ears to an area of the Navajo reservation known as the Aneth Extension.

Descendants of K’aayelii opposes both the monument and the congressional approach, Nez told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“This discussion over the monument, and what to do about Bears Ears, has elevated our story but no one wants to hear it,” Nez said. “All that is keeping us alive is our passion for our homeland. We want a place where we know who we are. With a monument, we won’t have a home no more.”


Graphic courtesy of Daily Signal

Josh Siegel is the news editor for The Daily Signal. This article was originally posted at

Reposted by  9/14/16

September 30, 2016

Wind Power Made The Lights Go Out Across An ENTIRE STATE

The lights went out across an entire Australian state due to wind and solar power, and experts say the worst green energy blackouts are on their way.

South Australia suffered a complete power blackout Wednesday largely due to green energy. It plunged 1.7 million residents into darkness. The blackout was caused by problems with transmission lines feeding the region from other states and a green energy policy which caused the area to shut down operating coal plants to promote heavy use of wind and solar power.

Experts believe that the ability of an electrical grid to absorb unreliable green energybecomes increasingly more difficult at scale. Australia’s reliance on wind power makes blackouts more likely because the amount of electricity generated by a wind turbine is very intermittent and doesn’t coincide with the times of day when power is most needed. This poses an enormous safety challenge to grid operators and makes power grids more fragile.

Australian Liberal Party Sen. Chris Back blamed excessive reliance on wind turbines for the blackout and incredibly high electricity prices in South Australia. South Australia has been experiencing a power crisis since July when the state’s last reliable coal power plants were shuttered in favor of wind. Back has formally called for a moratorium on new turbines pending a cost-­benefit analysis of the effect of the wind industry on the country.

“There should be no further subsidies paid for an intermittent and unreliable power source that can be seen as a proven failure. There are solutions to our climate challenges but wind power is not one of them,” Back told The Australian.

The power crisis in South Australia has caused the price of electricity to spike to 200 cents per kilowatt-hour of power. The average Australian currently pays about 25 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity, according to research by the country’s parliament. To put that in some perspective, the average American only spends 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour of power, roughly half the cost. Major businesses in South Australia have already threatened to suspend operations entirely until the price of power comes down.

Household electricity prices in Australia have risen by more than 40 percent between 2007 and 2012, the same period when the government offered lucrative wind subsidies. Power prices in Australian states with a lot of wind power are almost double the rates in other states.

Other Pacific nations are cutting back and outright banning wind power due to the risk of blackouts. China has ordered wind operators to stop expanding four times in the last five years, because unreliable wind power was damaging the country’s power grid and costing the government enormous amounts of money. The Chinese government stopped approving new wind power projects in the country’s windiest regions in early March, according to China’s National Energy Administration. China was wasting enough wind energy to power Great Britain, according to an article published earlier this month by a green think tank.

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