Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ballot Suggestions for April 4th Colorado Springs Muinicipal Election

To: Interested Colorado Springs Voters:

Several voters have asked me to weigh in on the upcoming April 4th, Colorado Springs Ballot issues.  Based on the principles of Limited Government and to the best of my ability and the information, my thoughts are as follows:

GENERAL COMMENTS ON ISSUES:

CAUTION: It is a constant ploy to raise taxes by starting the issue with the wording: "Without Increasing Taxes."  That DECEPTIVE wording should be a Red Flag to voters because it is most-often used to continue an existing tax by assigning it to another cause..OR when a current tax has brought in more funds than anticipated and will require a refund.  So, instead of eliminating the tax (as in the first case) or refunding the overage to the citizens (as in the second case), the county/city place an issue on the ballot that would allocate the use of those funds for something else. 

ISSUE 1:   -- Vote NO

My general rule of thumb is always to vote NO unless there is extremely good reason to vote YES.  In this case, the voter has absolutely no way of knowing the detail behind the reasoning for placing this on the ballot. To vote for a change int he city's charter without understanding the reasoning behind such a change would make for an uninformed vote.  Therefore, I would recommend a NO vote.

ISSUE 2: Vote NO

Deceptive wording: "WITHOUT INCREASING TAXES..."

Surplus revenue this year and next is estimated to be $9million.  "Surplus revenue" is money out of taxpayers' income.  The city wants to keep $6million for stormwater projects.  Question:  Why haven't the stormwater infrastructure project costs been allocated in the budget during past years?  Now the city wants to keep from returning  the overtaxed funds to taxpayers.  The wording, "Without Increasing Taxes" is deceptive.  Force the city to return all $9milllion of the estimated "revenue" and place a specific ballot issue before taxpayers in the future.

ISSUE 3  Vote NO
Deceptive wording: "WITHOUT INCREASING TAXES..."
If you want more government control of your telecommunications services in place of private enterprise, then this is this issue is for you.  However this bill, passed in 2005 as Senate Bill 152,  was designed to make it difficult for governmental entities to compete with private enterprise in providing a cable television service, telecommunications service, or high speed internet access service to subscribers, and from purchasing, leasing, constructing, maintaining or operating any facility for the purpose of providing such service.

City Council Dist 1: Don Knight.
I'm not convinced that Don's opponent fully understands, when he says "Create a Government that is a Partner..." what that really means.  Most-often, whenever government is a "partner," it put a drag on free enterprise and competition.
When Don's opponent states the obvious, that we must "Fund our Communities infrastructure challenges...." there is no discussion as to where those fund will be generated.
When Don's opponent says "it's time to pursue business diversification," what does he mean?  How much more diversification does he plan to pursue...and what government expense will be involved to achieve this undefined goal?
Don's opponent's answer to most of the issues is more taxes or fees.  I don't sense there is any desire to re-prioritize the income the city is already is receiving.
Finally, Don's opponent is a "non-partisan" candidate.  How do his "non-partisan" views determine  the Principles he will use in making decisions? You should want to know what those principles are before considering him for an important City Council position.

City Council District 4: Helen Collins  (No other candidate is as interested in keeping your taxes low and serving his/her citizens)
I have observed Helen Collins for several years, and there is no question that she is far-and-away the best candidate for this District.  She is extremely committed to responding quickly to constituents' needs.  Her District needs someone who will not only respond promptly, but follow-through on handling the concerns of her constituents.  Helen is also extremely focused on maintaining the lowest tax rate possible that will meet the infrastructure and safety needs of her constituents.  If you are a constituent  of hers and have an important issue that needs solving, you want Helen as your advocate.

City Council District 6:  Janak Joshi
Former State Representative.   Studies the issues very well.  Has keen insight. Strong conservative principles.  Strong supporter of TABOR.  High moral standards.

Monday, November 21, 2016

It Wasn't an Election, It was a Revolution, by Daniel Greenfield



Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


  This wasn’t an election. It was a revolution.

It’s midnight in America. The day before fifty million Americans got up and stood in front of the great iron wheel that had been grinding them down. They stood there even though the media told them it was useless. They took their stand even while all the chattering classes laughed and taunted them.

They were fathers who couldn’t feed their families anymore. They were mothers who couldn’t afford health care. They were workers whose jobs had been sold off to foreign countries. They were sons who didn’t see a future for themselves. They were daughters afraid of being murdered by the “unaccompanied minors” flooding into their towns. They took a deep breath and they stood.   They held up their hands and the great iron wheel stopped.

The Great Blue Wall crumbled. The impossible states fell one by one. Ohio. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania. Iowa. The white working class that had been overlooked and trampled on for so long got to its feet. It rose up against its oppressors and the rest of the nation, from coast to coast, rose up with it.

They fought back against their jobs being shipped overseas while their towns filled with migrants that got everything while they got nothing. They fought back against a system in which they could go to jail for a trifle while the elites could violate the law and still stroll through a presidential election. They fought back against being told that they had to watch what they say. They fought back against being held in contempt because they wanted to work for a living and take care of their families.

They fought and they won.

This wasn’t a vote. It was an uprising. Like the ordinary men chipping away at the Berlin Wall, they tore down an unnatural thing that had towered over them. And as they watched it fall, they marveled at how weak and fragile it had always been. And how much stronger they were than they had ever known.

Who were these people? They were leftovers and flyover country. They didn’t have bachelor degrees and had never set foot in a Starbucks. They were the white working class. They didn’t talk right or think right. They had the wrong ideas, the wrong clothes and the ridiculous idea that they still mattered.

They were wrong about everything. Illegal immigration? Everyone knew it was here to stay. Black Lives Matter? The new civil rights movement. Manufacturing? As dead as the dodo. Banning Muslims? What kind of bigot even thinks that way? Love wins. Marriage loses. The future belongs to the urban metrosexual and his dot com, not the guy who used to have a good job before it went to China or Mexico.

They couldn’t change anything. A thousand politicians and pundits had talked of getting them to adapt to the inevitable future. Instead they got in their pickup trucks and drove out to vote.   And they changed everything.

Barack Hussein Obama boasted that he had changed America. A billion regulations, a million immigrants, a hundred thousand lies and it was no longer your America. It was his.

He was JFK and FDR rolled into one. He told us that his version of history was right and inevitable.

And they voted and left him in the dust. They walked past him and they didn’t listen. He had come to campaign to where they still cling to their guns and their bibles. He came to plead for his legacy.   And America said, “No.”

Fifty millions Americans repudiated him. They repudiated the Obamas and the Clintons. They ignored the celebrities. They paid no attention to the media. They voted because they believed in the impossible. And their dedication made the impossible happen.

Americans were told that walls couldn’t be built and factories couldn’t be opened. That treaties couldn’t be unsigned and wars couldn’t be won. It was impossible to ban Muslim terrorists from coming to America or to deport the illegal aliens turning towns and cities into gangland territories.

It was all impossible. And fifty million Americans did the impossible. They turned the world upside down.

It’s midnight in America. CNN is weeping. MSNBC is wailing. ABC calls it a tantrum. NBC damns it. It wasn’t supposed to happen. The same machine that crushed the American people for two straight terms, the mass of government, corporations and non-profits that ran the country, was set to win.

Instead the people stood in front of the machine. They blocked it with their bodies. They went to vote even though the polls told them it was useless. They mailed in their absentee ballots even while Hillary Clinton was planning her fireworks victory celebration. They looked at the empty factories and barren farms. They drove through the early cold. They waited in line. They came home to their children to tell them that they had done their best for their future. They bet on America. And they won.    They won improbably. And they won amazingly.

They were tired of ObamaCare. They were tired of unemployment. They were tired of being lied to. They were tired of watching their sons come back in coffins to protect some Muslim country. They were tired of being called racists and homophobes. They were tired of seeing their America disappear.

And they stood up and fought back. This was their last hope. Their last chance to be heard.

Watch this video. See ten ways John Oliver destroyed Donald Trump. Here’s three ways Samantha Bee broke the internet by taunting Trump supporters. These three minutes of Stephen Colbert talking about how stupid Trump is on the internet. Watch Madonna curse out Trump supporters. Watch Katy Perry. Watch Miley Cyrus. Watch Robert Downey Jr. Watch Beyonce campaign with Hillary. Watch fifty million Americans take back their country.

The media had the election wrong all along. This wasn’t about personalities. It was about the impersonal. It was about fifty million people whose names no one except a server will ever know fighting back. It was about the homeless woman guarding Trump’s star. It was about the lost Democrats searching for someone to represent them in Ohio and Pennsylvania. It was about the union men who nodded along when the organizers told them how to vote, but who refused to sell out their futures.

No one will ever interview all those men and women. We will never see all their faces. But they are us and we are them. They came to the aid of a nation in peril. They did what real Americans have always done. They did the impossible.  America is a nation of impossibilities. We exist because our forefathers did not take no for an answer. Not from kings or tyrants. Not from the elites who told them that it couldn’t be done.

The day when we stop being able to pull off the impossible is the day that America will cease to exist.  Today is not that day. Today fifty million Americans did the impossible.

Midnight has passed. A new day has come. And everything is about to change.

  “Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society.”   Aristotle

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Voting Recommendations for November 8, 2016


My recommendations on the upcoming voting issues

Whenever one analyzes ballot issues it should be done with some degree of understanding as to what he/she expects from the Government.  We all know that Government seldom passes any law that doesn't remove removing hard-earned dollars from the citizens, or favoring one class of persons over another..  While some degree of government is certainly essential, it should be constrained to only those functions that citizens cannot do for themselves. Government is all about power;  the more power we, as citizens give it, the more it wants and the less freedoms we have to live our lives as we desire.

Also important to keep in mind as you decide your votes is that it is most-often less "risky"to vote for changes to the Colorado Statutes than to vote to change the Colorado Constitution, since the Constitution should remain as stable as possible (similar to the U.S. Constitution).  It should be difficult to change, whereas Statutes are more-easily modified by the legislature once they have been passed by the voters, should unforeseen consequences result.

With that in mind, here are my suggestions for the upcoming ballot this November 8th.  For brevity, I will be voting NO on each of the Amendments and Propositions.  Nearly all would move Colorado towards a more socialized form of government and further limit citizens' liberties.

Trump/Pence -- YES
While I am disheartened with the manner and approach that Trump campaigns, as well as the recent "locker-room" talk recently exposed after 12 years,  I have been a supporter of Trump since the onset of his campaign.  Many of you will at first seem aghast at my position, so let me explain. 

While serving in the Legislature for ten years, and building a very conservative track record, I decided, in 2005, to become the "tip of the spear" with respect to fighting illegal immigration because I became profoundly aware of the damage throughout society that our lax immigration policy was causing.  Increased crime, lower wages, over-taxed healthcare, increased welfare, over-burdened education, risks to national security and to the environment...virtually every aspect of our society was being negatively affected. Furthermore, our American culture was beginning to change as a result of a virtually open-door immigration policy.  Now, with the growing numbers of Muslim immigrants pouring in from Syria, pushed by President Obama and agreed to by Hillary Clinton, it won't be long before extreme conflicts significantly arise between the believers in Sharia Law (Islam) and the U.S. Constitution. Should "extreme vetting" as Trump proposes not be in place, we can expect both continued influence of third-world cultures as well as Islamic terrorist-inspired events.

Finally, as our culture moves further and further away from our roots, we can forget a having a Supreme Court that adheres to the Constitution, but rather focuses on social change.

If you need any other reasons to vote for Trump/Pence, consider these:
  • Trump allowed key organizations to fashion the most conservative Republican Platform ever.
  • Trump is not hostile to Religious freedom
  • Trump is strongly Pro-Life
  • Trump is committed to upholding strong immigration laws.  See Ten-point plan here.
  • Trump has committed to using a group of committed religious leaders to provide advice on moral/ethical issues
  • Trump has committed to removing the "Johnson Amendment" which pastors have used as an excuse to muffle themselves from any "politically-related" speech 
  • Trump has committed to appointing Supreme Court Justices that will uphold the Constitution
  • Trump is a strong advocate for 2nd Amendment 
  • Trump is committed to strengthening our National Defense
  • Trump is committed to reversing Obamacare and to major healthcare reform
  • Trump is committed to School Choice
  • Trump is committed to "Extreme vetting" of new entrants to our country
  • Trump will dramatically increase our armed forces
  • Trump is a solid supporter of Israel
  • Trump will "upset" the status quo and put America first when dealing with other countries
  • Be sure to read this article: America's Most Honorable Men Stand With Trump 
  • A powerful three-minute video by John Voight,"Plea to Save America."
So...let's not let comments made a decade or two ago, or allegations unverified dictate our vote.  Hillary has jeopardized our country by her lies and total disregard for National Security.
There is too much at stake in this election that will affect the future of the U.S for good or bad.

For those who consider yourselves Christians, there is NO reason for you to stay home.  As a citizen, we must engage in our country's selection of its leaders. There should be no alternative.


Darryl Glenn for U.S. Congress
I've observed Darryl for many years as he served us as Colorado Springs' City Councilman and then El Paso County Commissioner.


Colorado State Senate
Highly recommend voting for ALL Senate Republicans.  These past two years Republicans only held the Senate by ONE vote.  Because of that majority, albeit slim, it was able to kill numerous progressive bills.  Senate Committees controlled by Republicans held the line against bills advocating more government and advocating, with some bills what many citizens would consider immorality.

NO on Amendment T: No Exception to Involuntary Servitude Prohibition
A proposed Amendment to the State Constitution
Seems to be being driven by those wanting to eventually classify prison labor as "slave labor" in order for those in Dept. of Corrections to be paid higher wages for work done during incarceration or when performing community service.  Has potential for increased state spending. 

NO on Amendment U: Exempt Certain Possessory Interests from Property Taxes
A proposed Amendment to the State Constitution
This minor reform would cost government more to administer than taxpayers would save.
 
 NO on Amendment 69: State-wide Health-Care System
 A proposed an Amendment to the State Constitution
 MASSIVE new taxes will result if Amendment 69 is passed.  There are numerous reasons why this should not pass.

First, the ballot title calls it a $25 billion tax, for the first year alone. It is a 10% tax on ALL income, with few exceptions. Conservative estimates anticipate the cost to taxpayer to balloon by tens of billions of dollars in the first ten years, requiring higher taxes, higher co-pays and eventually rationing of care.
Click here if you need a more comprehensive analysis.

 No on Amendment 70: State Minimum Wage
 A proposed Amendment to the State Constitution
 This measure proposes increasing the hourly wages to be increased from $9.30 per hour, at the rate of $0.90 per year until the year 2020, bringing the minimum wage up to $12 per hour.

This will significantly hurt businesses who hire unskilled employees.  Many of these businesses will take other measures, such as automating repetitive jobs in order to avoid higher wages.  Fewer obs will mean more welfare costs.  Mandating higher wages favors labor unions and higher-skilled workers at the expense of minorities and youth.  These higher wages are simply passed on to the purchasers of goods and services including those workers themselves.

No on Amendment 71: Requirements for Constitutional Amendments
A proposed Amendment to the State Constitution
This Amendment is a TROJAN HORSE.  For years, the Establishment has tried to come up with a way to remove Colorado's TAXPAYER BILL OF RIGHTS, known as the TABOR Amendment.  At first glance, for the uninformed, this Amendment seems justified in keeping changes to Colorado's Constitution to a minimum, however, the amendment language has a clause that states that the new rules requiring a 55% majority "shall not apply to an initiated constitutional amendment that is limited to repealing, in whole or in part, any any provision of this Constitution."  Many believe that this small sentence will be the undoing of TABOR in a future election.  While that sentence will remain unchanged, once the increased 55% threshold is in place, there will be a major push to defeat TABOR.  If successful, it will be nearly impossible to put a similar tax-restricting issue on the ballot. Click here to learn about TABOR. Click here to hear words from Congressman Tom Tancredo.

No on Amendment 72: Increase Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes
A proposed Amendment to the State Constitution
Another Tax increase? Amendment 72 would add a a significant tax on a pack of twenty cigarettes 
Should not be an issue in the Constitution. This will increase government's regulatory power and create a black market in cigarettes as it has for Marijuana.


NO on Proposition 106: Access to Medical Aid-in-Dying Medication
A proposed Amendment tot the State Statutes
Compassionate-sounding BUT would endanger elderly and disabled persons while subverting the medical profession from its high calling of saving lives, not ending them.   Colorado has already addressed this issue in legislation several years ago by allowing physicians the latitude of prescribing enough pain medication to relieve pain and suffering for the terminally ill, except when its use becomes an intentional ending of life.

This Amendment would legalize physician assisted suicide, but also does not have enough exemptions in place for rights of conscience when a physician or pharmacist cannot, due to deeply held beliefs, prescribe or fill a prescription for the lethal drug. Providers are given some opportunity to opt out, but are also forced to participate in part of the process (such as turning medical records over to another doctor to prescribe the drug.)


No on Proposition 107: Presidential Primary Elections
A proposed Amendment to the State Statutes
Proposition 107  diminishes the value of the caucus system, a goal by Progressives by adding a potentially contentious election right in the middle of the caucus and assembly season. It would also be a recipe for significant political mischief.  Letting individuals from outside a political party help pick that party's nominee is an a terrible idea.

Proposition 108: Unaffiliated Voter Participation in Primary Elections
A proposed Amendment to the State Statutes 
This is not necessary, and will cause unnecessary confusion. Unaffiliated voter can choose to affiliate on the same day as voting, and there is nothing to keep that voter from switching back to unaffiliated after casting the ballot. 

MY THOUGHTS ON LOCAL BALLOT ISSUES:

Town of Palmer Lake -NO on 2A
Destroys the purpose of TABOR's tax-limitation restraints
It misstates that there will be no tax increase.  In reality, when the two current tax increases voted on in 2006 and 2007 expire, taxes should automatically reduce.  INSTEAD, 2A proposes to keep those prior tax increases.  It is a lie that it is not a tax increase!
Finally, the proposed uses of the new tax increase are too general.

Town of Palmer Lake - NO on 2B
Like 2A, 2B removes TABOR's tax-limitation restraints. It also removes future decisions related to this new excise tax from citizens and places them with the town Board.  Taxing marijuana will increase the size of government as well as foster black-market conditions.  If you do not want your town to be beholding to the marijuana industry for its revenue, you must vote NO.

Town of Palmer Lake - NO on 2C
One more effort to circumvent the tax-limitation purpose of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).  If you want to vote on future tax increases, you must vote NO. 

Town of Palmer Lake - NO on 300
One more tax on marijuana.  This will certainly lead to a greater black-market condition.  Also, if the Town Council needs more money for roads, etc.  they should request the residents for a specifically-related tax increase, not a specific business.  Receipt of money from taxes on marijuana will make it nearly impossible to not desire increasing marijuana sales to increase those taxes.

Town of Green Mountain Falls - NO on 2E
One more attempt to do an end-run on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).
"If you want less of it, tax it."  If you want less tourism then tax it.  Since tourism is good for Green Mountain Falls, vote NO. If you want beautification of Gazebo Lake Park, drainage issues, etc.,  vote specifically on those items at a future time.  Always easy to force others to pay, but is it right?

El Paso County School District No. 20 (Academy).  3A
Our education system continues to be co-opted by Teachers' Unions as well as Federal Government Regulations and Directives requiring implementation of immoral standards (bathrooms, and curriculum, viz. Common Core).  Until School Boards, including D20 refuse these "mandates" and reassess the true role of K-12 Education, no additional tax dollars should be forthcoming.

Falcon School District 49 -  3B
No recommendation
Colorado Springs School District No. 11 - 3C
No recommendation
Colorado Springs School District No. 11 - 3D
No recommendation
Hanover School District 28 - 3E 
No recommendation
Green Mountain Falls-Chipita Park Fire Protection District 4A 
No recommendation
Triview Metropolitan District - 5A 
No recommendation
Paintbrush Hills Metropolitan District - NO on 5B 
This appears to provide the unlimited ability to totally disregard the TAXPAYER BILL OF RIGHTS (TABOR) in the future.  The taxpayers would be giving the Establishment the right to keep funds from any source regardless of whether or not it exceeded TABOR
Stratmoor Hills Fire Protection District - NO on 5C
This ballot item IS a tax increase because it allows the Fire Protection District to keep funds that would, under TABOR, be returned to the citizen.  It is impossible for any government agency to want to live within any tax restraints.  The taxing district should allow the tax to lapse and then request a new tax to the voters.
El Paso County 1A Allows County to Invest in Broadband
Vote NO!!!
Don't you just love the words used to make it sound like it is free?  That it is fair?  That voters "value" public/private partnerships?  That it is good to extend (government) services to everyone, including the "underserved?" That there is an "opt-out" provision (instead of an opt-in)?  Let's understand that government's job is not to make everyone equal in all respects by forcing those that "have" in order to "give" to those who don't.  Cities and counties can assess their voters to provide funds for whatever service is desired without asking other communities to "chip in" for their benefit.
Much could be said about this socialist-leaning ballot initiative.  Please VOTE NO.

JUDGES

Vote NO on Appellate Judge Berger, who voted to retain the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's ruling against Masterpiece Cakeshop owner for electing not to frost a wedding cake for two men. 
Vote NO on Judge Hood, the Colorado Supreme Court justice who voted to uphold Berger's decision. The Masterpiece Cakeshop case is an example of the "antidiscriminationism ideology" that has ravaged American society.
Clear The Bench Colorado has a great analysis of the decisions by each of the Judges up for retention.  I consider the analyses by CTB to be well worth reviewing before determining your vote.  Click here for that info.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

E-voting: A reckless threat to voter privacy and election security



Thanks to legislation sponsored by Senator Owen Hill and Representative Dan Nordberg out-of-state military voters and overseas civilians will now have greater access to securely exercising their right to vote in their hometown elections with extended time to return their mail ballots. However, after tense negotiations just before House Bill 1130’s final passage, a bipartisan committee rejected Internet voting for municipal elections. Despite a unanimous House vote for Internet voting, and ignoring Secretary of State Wayne Williams’s unwise support for email voting, the legislature ultimately and wisely rejected Internet transmission of voted ballots in municipal elections.

As a former state legislator, my committee assignments included hearings that limited Internet voting in 2006. Observing escalating cyber-security risks since then, I was shocked this spring when the House supported Internet voting and Senate Republicans, who ultimately stopped the effort, had such difficulty doing so. Secretary Williams, in lobbying for email balloting, assured lawmakers that it would be secure and “The concern that the system is hackable is a nonstarter….” Security experts, legislators, and voters were baffled by Williams’s stance, given the frequent headlines of Internet and email hacking.

After Williams’s failed legislative effort to apply Internet voting to municipal elections, he moved to then expand email voting for military and overseas voters in federal and state elections by using his purported rule-making authority. Critics allege that he exceeded his authority because the rule conflicts with the legislative intent to strictly limit the use of email voting to extenuating hardship circumstances, as agreed in the legislative hearings. In the 2011 hearings, Secretary Gessler testified that email ballots would not be accepted.  But Williams would seemingly give “convenience” for voters and election officials preference over election security, accuracy, and election integrity.

Most Americans desire enthusiastic voter participation, but making convenience a major goal is certain to undermine the security and verifiability of elections. Not voting is a wise, legitimate choice for those who are not engaged and have not studied the candidates or issues. Our state’s push to force-feed ballots to all voters via mandatory mail ballots and Internet schemes risks canceling out the legitimate votes of eligible, informed voters. Internationally-known election experts John Fund (National Review Online) and Hans von Spakovsky (Heritage Foundation) have called out Colorado and Secretary Williams to their national audiences for this wrong-headed expansion of Internet voting.

With significant numbers of military voters, Colorado Springs and El Paso County are tempting targets for purveyors of Internet voting schemes. Continuing vigilance by local voters and governing boards is required to curtail abuses and risks. In the 2013 recall election, Williams, then clerk of El Paso County, supported a temporary election rule to permit email voting for all absentee voters because all-mail balloting could not be used for that election. Fortunately, the public outcry helped defeat that proposed rule.

Colorado Springs municipal elections now appear to encourage any out-of-state military member or dependent to vote by email, whether or not postal mail is available. With the passage of HB1130, Colorado Springs can implement early ballot mailing times and permit military and overseas voters to vote by email ballot only in truly extenuating circumstances. I urge voters to halt convenience email voting.

In addition, Colorado should ban the state’s privacy-invading online application that voters’ privacy by capturing the voter’s identity and votes. Unbeknownst to most voters who vote by email, their private choices are collected by a commercial vendor, defying secret ballot laws. The opportunities for abuse of this data are alarming and could place an entire election in question.

The situation is likely to require legislation or litigation to stop Secretary Williams on this ill-advised path that puts military and overseas votes and election results at needless risk. In the meantime, voters should insist that county clerks honor the lawmakers’ stated intent to limit Internet/email voting. Hard-won voting rights should never be compromised or subject to tampering at the hands of malicious hackers.

Protect your vote by challenging your county clerk to obey the clear intent of the law, and put voting integrity ahead of convenience and budget considerations. Finally, urge your legislator to introduce and/or support 2016 legislation to curtail the use of Internet/email voting.

Former state Sen. David Schultheis, R–Colorado Springs, served in the General Assembly from 2001 to 2010 and was a member of the 2006 House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, which conducted hearings on Internet voting.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Log Cabin Republicans denied booth at Texas GOP Convention


What did the Texas GOP convey to the Log Cabin Republicans when asked to have a booth at the 2014 Texas GOP Convention?

We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit.  Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.  Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable  'alternative' lifestyle, in public policy, nor should "family" be redefined to include homosexual 'couples.'  We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state or origin.  Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values." 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Coerced Oaths vs. Coerced Silence, by Whitney Galbraith


In his essay on House Bill 1425, which would compel all military oaths of allegiance to include "... So help me God," Barry Fagin laments (Gazette, April 23) that it would force military personnel "who cannot say those words in good conscience must either disobey, lie, or be drummed out of the armed forces as unfit for military service."

"Imaginary threat to religious freedom?" "Higher standards within the professional of arms?" "Freedom of conscience" for military members? The "horror of suffering, carnage and death " of co-mingling religious ends such as the "Crusades....and to ISIS?" I like to think, Barry, that you and I have read many of the same "history books that should not be ignored." But just what are those lessons?

You are no doubt correct that such legislation will not pass constitutional muster and that many of your fellow Americans will share your vision that the American military should not become an "Army of God."

But, is it fair for us to ask what motivates such a legislative initiative, even if "misbegotten." Could it be that HR 1425's sponsors share your vision of freedom of conscience and religious expression and fear for our liberties precisely as you do? Are they reacting just as you are reacting to perceived injustices?

Take, for instance, Navy Chaplain Lt. Commander Wes Modder, who was arbitrarily "fired" and physically removed from U.S. Naval Weapons Station, South Carolina, for daring to uphold his Christian beliefs regarding marriage and human sexuality.

Or, the campaign by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, whose mission is to give a “world-class human relations education” to convince military personnel that "The Bible, the Constitution and the Declaration Of Independence, All Perpetuate Sexism" and should not be referred to within the ranks.

Or, the Houston National Cemetery preventing Christian prayers from being said at military funerals and where the honor guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars was prohibited from referring to "God."
Or, the Chief of Staff of the U. S. Air Force issuing a service-wide memorandum "Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion" forbidding commanders to "openly support" chaplain-run events which might lead to a "unit's morale, good order and discipline."

Or, when Walter Reed Medical Center attempted to physically ban the presence of Bibles as part of its official patient and visitor policy.

Or, when deployed soldiers in Afghanistan were ordered to remove crosses and cross-shaped windows on chapels while being ordered to keep chapel "religiously neutral (!)"

Or, when Army Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers, a U. S. Army Band member at Fort Myer, FL, was ordered to stop reading books by Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh "while in uniform" and to refrain from serving Chick-Fil-A at his home promotion party.

Or, when an Army Chaplain's assistant in Colorado Springs was forced to remove from her personal Facebook account her "hostile and antagonistic" opinions regarding homosexual behavior and "holding to orthodox Biblical instruction."

Or, when Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk was relieved of his duties at Lackland AFB and denied further access to base facilities, and subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for refusing to endorse same-sex marriage when ordered to by his commander, a self-proclaimed "lesbian."

Or, when a Catholic chaplain at the U. S. Naval Submarine Base at Kings Bay, Georgia, was threatened by the Department of Defense with arrest for celebrating Holy Mass on the base.

Or, when soldiers attending a counter-intelligence pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood were told by the command that soldiers who contributed to Christian or Tea Party organizations were "tearing the country apart" and that the soldiers would be subjected to disciplinary procedures under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Or, when two chaplains were subjected to "months of abuse and ridicule" by the director of the San Diego VA-DOD Clinical Pastoral Education Center for their Biblical beliefs, forcing the two to withdraw from the facility.
Or, the DEOMI forcing the 158th Infantry Brigade at Camp Shelby, MS, to stop using the word "Christmas" to promote a Christmas football tournament.

Or, the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, GA, refusing a student choral group permission to sing Christmas carols to veterans.

Or, the VA Medical Center in Dallas rejecting Christmas cards for veterans because of "unacceptable" language of "Merry Christmas" and God Bless you."

Or, a cadet at USAFA forced to remove a quote from Galateans 2:20 from his personal white board because it violated the Academy's "leadership" standards.

All of which, Barry, is but a sampling of the episodes that for many Americans represents a strategic frontal assault by the Department of Defense and unhappily the Services themselves, a campaign orchestrated by the Barack Obama administration whose command five years ago to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell is reaping its bitter fruit. You refer to ISIS metaphorically to describe what excessive religion can lead to. Allow me to walk that line with you for a moment. Do we dare to imagine a shortening of the gap between what is happening to Christians in the Muslim world and what we are seeing happening to Christians in our own country, in an attempt to redesign society itself by placing people of faith defined by their time-honored convictions in a ghetto from which they can never return - at least alive?

Tell us, Barry, as a seasoned political scientist with your understandable reaction to coerced oaths, where, in as pure a cause-and-effect paradigm as either of us can imagine, we should place your vocabulary of "threats," "good conscience," "higher standards," "horror of suffering," and "drumming out of the service." Should all the above service members enjoy the same "optional" speech, as is "....So help me God?"
Let's talk!

Whitney Galbraith
Colorado Springs