Colorado Democrats’ War on Colorado

In his Op-Ed Colorado Democrats’ War on Colorado, author and blogger Rick Turnquist explains how Colorado Democrats are attacking free speech, our oil and gas industry, rural Colorado and our livestock producers. Colorado Democrats are not done making your life more complicated and increasing the cost of the basic items everyday Coloradans need to thrive and prosper. What can you do?

“But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being…”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In late February 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) issued a proclamation calling for Coloradans to refrain from eating meat on March 20, calling it a “MeatOut Day”. This silly idea was concocted in 1985 by an animal rights group to “educate” consumers about the benefits of a plant-based diet. With this, Governor Polis (D) – who eats meat himself – threw Colorado’s $4.7 billion (in 2018) cattle industry under the bus in the service of left-wing ideology.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this idiotic proclamation has sparked a backlash across Colorado, with people all over the state publicly committing to eating as much meat as they can on March 20. I personally will be having yummy steak with a delicious side of bacon.

This easy contempt for the hard-working ranchers and farmers in Colorado is, sadly, par for the course for the cabal of Denver/Boulder progressives who have virtually unlimited power over our state. Their dislike of everybody who disagrees with them is clearer with every passing legislative session, and this year’s is no exception. More on that later. It’s also clear that they really don’t care about anybody that lives outside of the Denver/Boulder/Ft. Collins nexus.

Emboldened by their electoral wins in 2018 and 2020 and the election of Joe Biden and full Democrat control of the federal government, the hard Left is ascendant and going for broke.

Ministry of Truth

The clearest and most egregious example of this is Senate Bill 21-132, titled “Digital Communications Regulation”, whose sole sponsor is state senator Kerry Donovan (D-SD5). This bill is blatantly unconstitutional, and instead of asking the reader to take my word for it, I quote below:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” [Emphasis mine]

United States Constitution, Amendment I

 

“Freedom of speech and press. No law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech; every person shall be free to speak, write or publish whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuse of that liberty…”

Colorado Constitution, Article II, Section 10

 

This Orwellian bill would create a division within the state government called the “digital communications division” within the department of regulatory agencies. On an annual basis, digital communications platforms would be required to register with the state. Further, this division would be charged with investigating and holding hearings on claims filed alleging that one of these digital communications platforms has “…allowed a person to engage in one or more unfair or discriminatory digital communications practices on the platform…”

Such practices include (quoting from the bill summary):

  • Include practices that promote hate speech; undermine election integrity; disseminate intentional disinformation, conspiracy theories, or fake news; or authorize, encourage, or carry out violations of users’ privacy; and
  • May include business, political, or social practices that are conducted in a manner that a person aggrieved by the practices can demonstrate are unfair or discriminatory to the aggrieved person. Such practices, if done in an unfair or discriminatory manner, might include:
  • Practices that target users for purposes of collecting and disseminating users’ personal data, including users’ sensitive data;
  • Profiling users based on their personal data collected;
  • Selling or authorizing others to use users’ personal data to provide location-based advertising or targeted advertising; or
  • Using facial recognition software and other tracking technology.

 

Some obvious questions: who defines “hate speech”? As we’ve seen, “hate speech” is often used by leftists as a charge against those whom they wish to silence. This chilling bill is reminiscent of the censorship practices of Nazi Germany or the USSR and has no place being even considered in an American state legislature.

Incidentally, this article discusses how the origin of hate speech laws was the result of “…the introduction of hate-speech prohibitions into international law was championed in its heyday by the Soviet Union and allies. Their motive was readily apparent. The communist countries sought to exploit such laws to limit free speech.

Fortunately, SB 21-132 was assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, also known as the “kill” committee, so it is unlikely to go far. But the very fact it was even introduced shows the mindset of the “Boulder mafia” running our state.

Unreliable Energy

Thanks to the widespread delusion surrounding human caused climate change, the ascendant Left is doing everything they can to tear down one of the Pillars of Modern Life – the oil and gas industry – through ballot initiatives, legislation, executive orders and regulation.

On his first day in office, President Joe “The Big Guy” Biden (D) cancelled the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which was to carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. This will result in thousands of lost jobs (and no: oil and gas and “renewable energy” jobs are not interchangeable), millions of dollars in lost revenues for state governments and billions of dollars in lost economic activity. Further, pipelines are the safest (and greenest) way to transport oil. Now, it will have to be transported by tanker trucks, which have far more environmental costs.

On his second day in office, President Big Guy “temporarily” suspended oil and gas drilling on federal lands, a move that could cost thousands more blue-collar jobs and millions (if not billions) in economic activity.

The oil and gas industry provides a life-affirming and enhancing product – the ability to heat our homes, consume electricity, mobility and so much more, and in return it is one of the most hated and regulated industries in the country, especially in states run by Democrats.

Here in Colorado, the lunatic Left has tried everything they can to all but eradicate the oil and gas industry. They call for bans on “fracking”, a technology that enables producers to unlock oil and gas from previously inaccessible reservoirs – thus freeing us from dependence on foreign oil. They call for an end to “flaring” where unrecoverable natural gas is burned at the wellhead (if there were more pipelines available it could be recovered and sold). They want people out of their cars and using bicycles and public transportation (have YOU ridden a bike to work in 10-degree weather or a blizzard?).

In 2018 they tried to fatally wound the Colorado oil and gas industry by placing Proposition 112 on the ballot. This initiative would have established minimum setbacks of 2,500 feet from occupied buildings or other “vulnerable” areas. According to one estimate, this would have rendered virtually the entire state off-limits, cost over $26 billion in state GDP and 148,000 jobs by 2030, and drastically cut into state and local government tax revenues. Fortunately, Colorado voters saw reason and defeated Prop 112 by 55% to 45%.

Undaunted, Colorado Democrats went on to pass Senate Bill 19-181 in 2019. This bill was crafted without any stakeholder input from the industry, over the vocal objections of the industry, its workers and the larger business community in a rushed fashion in little over a month from introduction to passage. Included in 181 was a setback requirement of 2,000 feet, thereby accomplishing by legislation what the Left failed to get at the ballot box.

Rational people understand how we all benefit from fossil fuel development. Irrational people try to eliminate it. Unfortunately, they now control our government.

Let the Wolves Run Free

Another example of the deep contempt the ruling Boulder/Denver Democrats have for the rest of the state can be seen in Proposition 114, which called to “reintroduce” gray wolves on public lands.

From the “2020 Voter’s Guide” by Kim Monson and Rick Turnquist:

 

“The introduction of gray wolves on designated lands west of the continental divide would economically harm Colorado ranchers and farmers on the western slope and hurt everyday, hardworking Coloradans by disrupting our food supply and increasing the cost of food at our grocery stores. This initiative would use taxpayer money to pick winners and losers by introducing gray wolves only west of the continental divide. It is unfair and compassionate that folks in the Denver/Boulder corridor would use the voting booth to approve an initiative that adversely affects people and their livelihoods in a completely different region of the state.

While the proponents of this measure have input language that a farmer or rancher would receive “fair compensation” for economic losses of their livestock herds by gray wolf predators, most citizens experience very high bars of proof and many hoops to jump through before receiving compensation from a bureaucratic, governmental entity. Additionally, this initiative gives the legislature the power to adopt additional legislation to facilitate the implementation of the restoration of gray wolves in Colorado without a vote of the people.

Hunters and fishermen contribute $1.8 billion to the Colorado economy each year. A portion of this money is used for successful wildlife management in Colorado. The introduction of the gray wolf would adversely affect the deer and elk herds in Colorado and many hunters would spend their money in other states creating yet another revenue shortfall for Colorado after the COVID 19-Wuhan Virus Reaction Disruption shut-down.

Wildlife management should not be determined at the emotional ballot box. Wildlife management should be determined by professionals. It is not fair to introduce a predator in someone else’s neighborhood that harms their private property.”

Despite our recommendation of a “No” vote, voters in 12 of 64 counties – most of them east of the mountains including Larimer, Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, Denver and Arapahoe – voted “Yes” on 114.

It’s too soon to understand the results, but I’m sure they won’t be good.

91 Days

As of this writing, it is 91 days until the General Assembly adjourns sine die on June 12, 2021. A look through the list of bills introduced so far reveals several terrible bills that are on the docket including “Safe Storage of Firearms”, “Lost or Stolen Firearms”, several “social justice” bills, a bill to suspend state assessments in the 2020-21 school year (and why not suppress data on how poorly our publicly funded indoctrination centers public schools are doing?) and additional licensing for liquor stores among others. To be fair, there are some good bills too, but they are unlikely to be passed whatever their merits simply because they were introduced by Republicans.

Every year, the 120 days between the opening of session and the closing seems like an eternity. This year is no exception. I can only hope that someday the voters will restore some sanity to our state legislature and dismantle this disastrous one-party tyranny we are now enduring. In the meantime, call and write your legislators to express your opposition to the left-wing agenda they are busy implementing. We’re running out of time to save the kingdom.

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