Daily Archives: June 9, 2013

Rumblings Of Secession: Northern Colorado Counties Mull Forming 51st State After Governor Passes Unpopular Laws

Seal_of_Colorado.svg

ibtimes.com | Jun 8, 2013

By Maya Shwayder

If all goes well for the denizens of Weld County, Colo., come November, there will be an item on their ballots asking them to vote on a new brewing issue: seceding with eight other Northern counties from the state of Colorado and forming America’s 51st state, Northern Colorado.

Apparently, they’re not bluffing. On Tuesday, Weld County’s commissioners raised the issue quite seriously at a bi-annual meeting of the state’s county commissioners. Sean Conway, one of Weld’s five commissioners, said the idea had first been raised about two to three months ago by a group of concerned citizens.

“It started very informally,” Conway said. “There was a group of citizens who were and still are very frustrated with being ignored and politically disenfranchised by the political leadership in the state capitol.”

When the group of voters first approached Conway and his fellow commissioners about seceding, Conway thought they were “a little out there.” But once he looked into it, he said secession began to look like a possibility.

There are many issues, including Second Amendment rights and Colorado gun control laws — and oil and natural gas regulation and fracking — motivating this group to want to secede. But the biggest issue — what the group of voters consider the ultimate betrayal on the part of their governor — is Senate Bill 252.

The bill requires Colorado’s counties to use renewable energy for 25 percent of their energy consumption by 2020. Opponents of the bill, which was signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper recently, say it places unequal financial burden on rural counties.

Conway said that opposition to the bill was strong in Weld County, which sent some officials down to Denver to meet with Hickenlooper. “He kept saying he wouldn’t let this happen,” Conway said. “They [the voters] feel he’s violated their trust.”

Trent Bushner, a Yuma County Commissioner and farmer, said Bill 252 will cost him an extra $15,000 to $20,000 a year on his utility bill. “The eastern counties, as a rule, are Republican strongholds,” Bushner said. “Yuma is about 70-30, Republican to Democrat. We are a very agriculture-related county, very conservative. The problem we have is that the state legislature is not that way.”

The process of creating a new state, like any major political upheaval, is not an easy one, but Conway pointed out that it’s been done five times before in the history of the U.S.: The states of Vermont, Maine, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia were created by using legal process secession. If the citizens in the counties in question pass the November referendum, the issue will go to the Colorado State Senate. If it passes in the State senate, it will go to Congress, which would have the final say.

Conway said he was optimistic, and when the news first broke about secession, State House Speaker Mark Farrandino told the Coloradoan that “if the voters of those counties vote that way, one thing about democracy that you have to respect is the vote of the people.”

A spokesman for Farrandino emphasized that “the votes that will count, if it gets this far, will be the vote of the state legislature and the US Congress in Washington.”

Conway said he’d heard from other counties across the state, including some traditionally Democratic ones, and he said that many of them want to lend their support. However, although Bushner said he’s been fielding calls from a steady stream of constituents who support secession, he said that Yuma, at least, “has not taken formal action.”

“This was something that we floated a few months ago over a beer,” he said. “But we feel it is a viable option.”

For Bushner, trying to form a new state isn’t exactly his main goal; instead, he wants to make the state’s urban and suburban politicians pay attention to the state’s farmers. “Quite honestly, this is an idea that wouldn’t ever have traction, but we’ll shoot a shot across the bow, telling them they’re not representing the whole state,” Bushner said. “If we thought it had snowball’s chance in hell, we’d do it anyway. I still think it has a lot of merit.”

Conway said that at the meeting where secession was raised on Tuesday, there were between eight and 13 counties that discussed the matter. For now, the serious contenders for secession are Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson counties, which are mostly located in the northeast corner of the state.

Gene Bauerle, county commissioner in Sedgwick County, was closemouthed about Tuesday’s discussion, but he acknowledged that Sedgwick was “looking into it.”

“The main thing is that our voices aren’t heard,” Bauerle said. “There are some things happening within the state that’s stymying economic development in the area. The situation has been festering for quite a while.”

Bauerle also said most of the commissioners in the discussion on Tuesday were united in their determination to see the plan go forward.

A spokesman for Washington County said he had been approached to support the movement but hasn’t met with anyone to discuss his county’s involvement.

Randy Schafer, County Administrator for Phillips county, another secession candidate, said he felt the legislative issues happening in Denver didn’t “reflect the values in our part of the state.”

“They’re not listening to our concerns,” he said. “But it’s not a joke, it’s serious. Colorado’s changed a lot … we feel that the state as a whole is no longer reflecting the values of the rural agricultural economy.

“It is serious, but we have a lot of hoops to jump through to make it happen,” he admitted.

The Governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

World leaders in ‘secret society Bilderberg meeting’

653309-bilderberg
A person uses a copy of the Daily Mail newspaper to shield their identity from the demonstrators and the media as they arrive at The Grove hotel, which is hosting the annual Bilderberg conference.

AP | Jun 7, 2013

IT’S a busy weekend at the luxury Grove Hotel, favoured haunt of British soccer players and their glitz-loving spouses.

More than 100 of the world’s most powerful people are at the former manor house near London for a secretive annual gathering that has attained legendary status in the eyes of anti-capitalist protesters and conspiracy theorists.

The guest list for the Bilderberg meeting includes Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. British Prime Minister David Cameron is due to drop by Friday.

The Bilderberg Group was set up in 1954 to support military and economic co-operation between Europe and North America during the Cold War.

Named for the site of its first meeting – the Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeek, Holland – the forum for prominent politicians, thinkers and business leaders has been held annually at a series of secluded venues in Europe and North America.

What happens at Bilderberg, stays at Bilderberg. There is no media access and the public is kept away by a large security operation. The group says that “there is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.”

But in a move toward slightly more openness, the group now has a website, which lists attendees and key topics for discussion, including the economy, US foreign policy, “cyber warfare and the proliferation of asymmetric threats” and “major trends in medical research.”

Invitees include British Treasury chief George Osborne, Goldman Sachs chairman Peter Sutherland and Thomas Enders, CEO of aerospace company EADS.

Publication of these details has done little to ease the concerns of protesters, who sense a shadowy global elite at work in the secretive meeting.

“When 130 of the leaders from all across the West get together, and many of these are billionaires, they are people who are immensely wealthy and immensely powerful,” said Michael Meacher, a lawmaker from Britain’s Labour Party.

“And when they all get together, it’s not just to have a chat about the latest problem, it is to concert plans for the future of capitalism in the West. That is on a very different scale.”

Others go even further, putting Bilderberg at the heart of a global web of conspiracy. The protesters in Watford include US talk-radio host and September 11 “truther” Alex Jones, and former professional soccer player David Icke, who believes the world is run by a race of reptiles in human form.

Demonstrators plan to hold a “Bilderberg fringe” festival outside the hotel until the conference ends on Sunday.

A Bilderberg spokesman – reached by email since no phone number is listed – said there is nothing sinister about the gathering.

“We disclose the date, the location, the participants and the key topics of the conference,” Xander Heijnen said. “Many groups of people meet without announcing it publicly at all, without disclosing who is taking part and without giving any key topics.

“The meetings broaden the participants’ range of viewpoints, help them to gain insights and exchange views,” he said. “It seems illogical to argue that a meeting of individuals designed to give and obtain fresh insights, somehow ‘undermines democracy.'”

That message has not swayed protesters like Judd Charlton, a ventriloquist from London who showed up on Thursday to jeer at cars with blacked-out windows entering the hotel compound.

“We are basically here to bring down the parasites who are drug dealers and bank collapsers who seem to want to destroy this world,” he said.