Category Archives: Sovereignty, States Rights & Secession

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.

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Secession 2.0: States Seek to Drop Dollar For Own Currency

policymic.com | Feb 13, 2013

by Ernest Ludwick

texasAt least a dozen states have introduced legislation to implement or at least study the concept of creating an emergency currency to serve as a medium of exchange should there be a breakdown of the federal government’s currency or their ability to distribute it to the states. Could this work? Some examples:

— Texas, which receives 1/3 of state revenue from the federal government and has many dependent retirees, is considering a “Self Sufficiency Act” to keep goods and services flowing.

— Virginia is authorizing a commission to study the use of gold and silver currency.

— Utah has already authorized the use of gold and silver money.

— Wyoming is considering an alternative currency in the event the US dollar becomes useless.

— Other states have included in their disaster preparedness plans various forms of replacements for federal money in the event of a political or economic meltdown.

There are serious legal and/or constitutional issues involved in making one’s own money. The Constitution originally only authorized states to create gold and silver coins as money (maybe because the Revolution was financed with what became worthless, un-backed, paper “continentals”). Article I, Section 10, says, “No State shall … emit Bills of Credit ….” (paper intended to circulate as money but not redeemable in gold and silver). Another part of the same Article reads, “No State shall … make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts …” We soon began to print gold-backed dollars to augment our gold and silver coins. Legal tender laws later allowed unredeemable paper to circulate as money. The first dollar notes were printed in 1792 but by 1862 we switched to fiat dollars to finance the Civil War. Since then, the U.S. has returned to gold-based money several times only to abandon it in favor of paper notes during every major war.

Before standardized bank note “dollars,” there were many privately issued kinds of paper money. Lightweight, portable, standardized U.S. dollars came to predominate despite resistance. Madison and the other framers of the Constitution were deeply concerned not with states’ independent currencies but with the threat of un-backed notes that they had seen used to enrich despots and ravage economies elsewhere.

The un-backed paper push was led by commodities brokers in the 1800s that saw that their markets would give the appearance of constantly rising as long as more dollars were being created. Things haven’t changed much — today’s securities brokers enjoy the same benefit of apparent prosperity in our stock markets due to the huge influx of “funny money.”

The unfortunate dependency on ever increasing rates of return in our pensions, investment portfolios, and in credit-financed government handouts has made our thirst for more and more inflation insatiable. As the ruler elite came to realize, this could not be sustained forever. But instead of acting to stem the flood of red ink, our Congress and several presidencies took the cowardly way out and sacked the Treasury to buy favor and enrich their cronies. Executive Order 6102, enacted during the Depression, aimed to limit private gold ownership to prevent hoarding. It has since been abused by the most notorious limiter of metal as money, Richard Nixon, who enacted the latest decoupling of dollars from gold in order to finance war and curb the drain of gold from the U.S. by speculators.

Inflation becomes real against the fixed measuring stick of bullion. Unlike the times when coins were part of everyday commerce a modern 2.3 gram dime made of gold would today have a value of $150. Easy to buy a cart of groceries but you’d need a coin the size of a pinhead if you wanted to just grab a gallon of milk.

At today’s price the U.S. owns about 2 cents of gold for every dollar in circulation. This, some states feel, leaves us very vulnerable to a precipitous drop in the value of our paper money. Ignoring abstract currency reserve considerations and other assets contributing to U.S.’ solvency this implies no real-world floor of support for the dollar until it reaches a devaluation of 1/50 its current buying power ($100 for a loaf of bread).

So in the event of a global loss of faith in dollars, a back-up system makes sense. But with all of these limits on state and private issuance of money, how are they getting away with these emergency acts? Most of the state measures set up “studies” or “commissions” or “emergency plans,” so no unlawful issuance of money will actually take place until the emergency kicks in.

Utah’s law limits the use of gold and silver as currency to federally minted coins but importantly they can be exchanged at their intrinsic value rather than their face value.  They plan to follow up with a law allowing foreign coins to be treated similarly, possibly paving the way for acceptance of coins minted by other states?

As Ron Paul famously pointed out in the 2012 debates, you could buy a gallon of gas for one silver dime ($4.00 then, now worth $5.00 apiece at bullion price). In Britain, pound coins are used for many larger purchases. It’s not that impractical to trade in metal money especially when the paper alternative offers no way to know from day to determine its worth. My Argentine friends tell stories of how shopkeepers would add zeros to the numbers on the money with felt tip pens to keep up with government proclamations.

The threat of severe inflation or hyperinflation is real and in the opinion of many prestigious economists inevitable. If a state’s seismologist gave a warning of a 50%-60% likelihood of an imminent earthquake or tsunami the state would be remiss (and liable) if they failed to create emergency preparations. It appears that the Constitution trumps some of the later Tender Acts.

As a practical matter, the preparation of a money system based on scrip, coin, vouchers, or even a state currency has many precedents. The “state currencies movement” is not a form of protest like the secession movements that popped up following the recent election. It is a wise protection of the states’ citizenry against having their economy reduced to a Stone Age barter system if the federal system fails.

Tibetans to mark centenary of independence from Manchu dynasty

TNN | Feb 2, 2013

by S Gopal Puri

Stop-Killing-TibetansDHARAMSHALA: Exiled Tibetans would mark the centenary of the proclamation of their independence on February 13, 1913 with online campaigns and street vigils across the world.

Tibetans says 13th Dalai Lama’s proclamation of independence a century ago undermines China’s claims that Tibet was always its part. They are busy painting placards and posters describing Chinese Manchu dynasty’s invasion of Tibet in 1909 that had prompted the 13th Dalai Lama to escape to India.

“But the Manchu dynasty succumbed to the Chinese revolution and Tibetans seized the moment and expelled their troops from Tibet. Then the 13th Dalai Lama returned to Tibet and issued a proclamation to mark the restoration of Tibetan independence,” said an activist. “Since 1913, until his death, the 13th Dalai Lama worked for independence of Tibet. His undying spirit will be the moving force behind this campaign.”

Students for Free Tibet national director Dorjee Tseten said February 13 would be the day to remind China and the world that their country was a great nation, with its own government, wealth and army. “Tibetans raised the national flag high in 1913. Though we are in exile now, we will do so again on February 13.”

Tseten said they would unveil the historic document on the proclamation made 100 years ago. “This document should give Tibet international recognition as a free country. The text of this proclamation has survived, though the original document did not.”

Another activist Gangkar Lhamo said the campaign will educate Tibetans and supporters of its history. “It will tell stories of our past, exhibit old Tibetan artifacts, including Tibetan money, postage stamps, passports.”

Breakaway Scotland ‘would have to register itself as new country’

scotland-breakaway

SNP rejects UK Coalition lawyers’ claims that independent country would have to reapply to join EU

independent.co.uk | Feb 10, 2013

A breakaway Scotland would be a “new state” under international law and have to renegotiate membership of the European Union and the United Nations, according to legal advice obtained by the Government.

The monumental challenges facing a newly independent Scotland are disclosed in a 57-page dossier published today that represents London’s opening shot against separation.

The paper claims that Scottish ministers would need to wade through 14,000 separate treaties that have been signed by the United Kingdom, and apply afresh to join international bodies.

If the people of Scotland vote to leave the UK in 2016, their country would have a similar legal status to South Sudan, which became the world’s newest country when it obtained independence from Sudan in 2011, the report indicates.

The legal advice on disentangling the 305-year-old Act of Union is published days after Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, set out plans to declare independence in March 2016 in the event of a vote in autumn 2014 in favour of separation.

According to the legal advice commissioned by Whitehall, the “overwhelming weight” of precedence points to Scotland being treated as a new state rather than a “continuing state”. That would mean Scotland having to apply afresh for membership of a host of international bodies.

An independent Scotland’s potential status within the EU has proved highly controversial. The SNP insists it would automatically join the bloc, while critics have claimed it would have to reapply for membership, which could well be blocked.

The new legal advice was drawn up by Professor James Crawford, of Cambridge University, and Professor Alan Boyle, of Edinburgh University, who are experts on international law.

“If Scotland became independent, only the remainder of the UK would automatically continue to exercise the same rights, obligations and powers under international law as the UK currently does,” they say.

One Whitehall source pointed to the number of treaties to be examined as evidence of Mr Salmond setting out an unrealistic timetable for independence. “Some of the treaties are obviously obsolete, but they would need to go through all of them,” the source said. “To take one example, if you wanted to sign a new extradition treaty with America it would take a long time with lots of meetings with lawyers – it would be a very complex process.”

The paper is the first product of a drive by Whitehall to examine key policy areas to make the case to stay in the Union . Others include currency policy, taxation, welfare spending, defence and North Sea oil revenues.

David Cameron said ahead of the paper’s launch: “The Scottish people still have many months to think about this decision and they are hungry for facts, evidence and expert opinion to help them make up their minds.”

But Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, retorted: “This is an act of breath-taking arrogance by this Tory-led UK Government, which completely shatters their claim that Scotland is an equal partner within the existing UK – it will only serve to boost support for an independent Scotland.” She said other eminent legal authorities had reached very different views about Scotland’s status if it votes to pull out of the UK.

Scottish Independence: The questions Alex Salmond must answer

International Would Scotland open embassies abroad? Could it join the European Union and other international institutions immediately?

Welfare How would it cope with the demands of a rapidly ageing population?

Business and infrastructure What would be the effect on major firms operating across the UK? How would Scotland fund large transport projects?

Economic performance Would Scotland’s economy fare better inside or outside the UK? Would it lose from having direct access to the rest of the UK for its goods? As a small country, would it be more vulnerable to economic turmoil globally?

Currency What currency would an independent Scotland adopt?

Debt and borrowing How much of the UK debt would Scotland inherit?

Tax and spending How would Scotland maintain its level of services outside the UK?

Banking What would happen to its financial services if Scotland went it alone? What would be the impact on Scottish-based life insurers and mortgage providers who do most of their business south of the border?

Defence What would Scotland’s armed forces look like? What would happen to UK military bases, equipment and manpower in Scotland – and to Faslane, home to Britain’s nuclear deterrent?

Borders Would border checks be carried out between Scotland and England? Would there be a Scottish passport?

Oil revenues How much of the oil money would flow to Edinburgh? Would Scotland be able to maintain services as revenues declined?

Culture and heritage What impact would Scottish independence have on the shared history of the UK? Would the Queen remain head of state? What would happen to the BBC?

David Cameron begins propaganda war against Scottish independence

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Mr Cameron says the government papers – likely to be disputed by Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party (SNP) – would provide “expert-based analysis to explain Scotland’s place within the UK and how it might change with separation. Photo: GEOFF PUGH

David Cameron has praised the “unbreakable bonds” between England and Scotland as he launches a new phase of the campaign against Scottish independence.

telegraph.co.uk | Feb 10, 2013

By Patrick Hennessy

On Monday, ministers will fire the opening shots in the propaganda war by publishing the first in a series of government documents designed to show how being in the UK benefits Scotland.

The papers will examine key issues in the independence debate ahead of the planned referendum, which is likely to be held in the autumn of 2014, including the economy, the currency, defence, foreign policy and welfare.

In an article published on the Downing Street website, the Prime Minister restates his “passionate” belief in retaining the historic Union between the two countries, declaring: “I will make the case for the UK with everything I’ve got.”

Mr Cameron argues that the case for the Union depends on the head as well as the heart, claiming: “Our nations share a proud and emotional history. Over three centuries we have built world-renowned institutions like the NHS and BBC, fought for freedom and democracy in two World Wars, and pioneered and traded around the world.

“Our ancestors explored the world together and our grandfathers went into battle together as do our kith and kin today – and this leaves deep, unbreakable bonds between the peoples of these islands.”

Polls north of the border suggest support for an independent Scotland is stalling, at around 23 per cent.

Mr Cameron states in his article: “Put simply, Britain works. Britain works well. Why break it?”

Mr Cameron says the government papers – likely to be disputed by Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party (SNP) – would provide “expert-based analysis to explain Scotland’s place within the UK and how it might change with separation. We don’t shy away from putting facts and evidence before the Scottish people.

“I know those arguing for independence are already preparing their separate transition plan, as though they’ve got this in the bag, but to me that is wrong. It’s last fast-forwarding to to the closing credits before you’ve been allowed to see the movie.”

The Prime Minister’s intervention came after Mr Salmond outlined transitional arrangements if Scotland voted to go it alone – with Independence Day likely to be in March 2016, and the first elections to a stand-alone parliament two months later.

Mr Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, said last week: “We’re putting forward what we think is the best future for Scotland, the best way to do it. We’re putting forward how the processes will unveil.”

Belarus accuses U.S. of human rights violations for suppressing Texas’ secession

blog.chron.com | Feb 5, 2013

Should Texas ever secede from the United States, it already has found its first international ally: Belarus.

The former Soviet republic — the last Stalinist-style dictatorship in Europe — is accusing the United States government of human rights violations for suppressing Texas’ independence movement.

Belarus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted the alleged anti-Texas human rights violations in its recently published report entitled “Human Rights Violations in Certain Countries in 2012.

A map of Belarus (Source: CIA)

The sharply worded report is a slap at Western nations that have compared 58-year-old Belarusian strongman Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko to former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

“‘The idea behind this report is to draw attention to the violation of human rights violations in those countries that traditionally represent themselves as ‘developed democracies.’” the Minsk regime writes.

The existence of the human-rights treatise was first reported by Foreign Policy magazine.

Belarus, whose government has often been scorned by Western countries for its own human rights violations and repression of opposition groups and media, blasted the U.S. government for suppressing human rights, highlighting a Texas petition to secede from the U.S. following last year’s November election.

The White House in mid-January rejected the electronic petition signed by 125,746 people. The Obama administration also rebuffed secession petitions from other former Confederate states including Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The Belarusian report said the Obama administration’s unwillingness to consider the petitions “can be regarded as violation of the right to self-determination.” It also echoed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s criticism of Obama administration economic stewardship.

“The Texas’ petition gathered more than 125,000 signatures,” the report noted. “The petition points out that the U.S. economic travails resulted from the federal government’s failure to reform fiscal policies.”

In a long list of human rights violations, the report also points to the police crackdowns on the Occupy Wall Street movement and anti-NATO demonstrations last year, concerns over government unauthorized wiretapping, Washington, D.C.’s lack of representation in Congress, and the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes.

The U.S. State Department declined to offer an immediate response.  A department spokesman said he was unaware of the Belarusian report until contacted by the Houston Chronicle.

A little secession is good for the soul

stltoday.com | Jan 30, 2013

By Chris Morrill

The online petition advocating the secession of Missouri did not garner the 25,000 signatures required to trigger a response from the White House. Similar petitions from several other states (most notably Texas) did get enough signatures, however. Perhaps not surprisingly, the White House recently responded and essentially said “no.”

I have mixed feelings about the secession petitions. They had no legal standing whatsoever. And while an independent Missouri might be roughly the size of Uruguay with an economy about the size of Chile, we would be landlocked and surrounded by potentially hostile neighbors.

The whole thing also might look like a temper tantrum after an election didn’t go the way some wished. This is not necessarily a recipe for a young nation’s success.

While I don’t think secession is a great idea at this moment, I support the concept in general. Submitting a petition tacitly concedes that permission is needed to break away, which I reject.

Per Texas v. White (1869), it is already the stance of the federal government that secession is not legal. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Texas (and thus all other Confederate states) never had any right to unilaterally secede, thus in fact they had never actually left the Union at all.

This directly contradicted other stances of the federal government from that area, such as the absence of the southern states during the 1864 election, Reconstruction, the process of “readmitting” former Confederate states. Why would any state need to be “readmitted” if they never left in the first place?

The ruling seemed rather anticlimactic after over four years of war and over 600,000 lives lost. The court was not the true arbiter of that dispute; the war was. The ruling was just their imprimatur after the fact.

But while the Supreme Court says unilateral secession can’t (and never did) happen, in reality, secession occurs all the time. Otherwise, the United States may still belong to the United Kingdom, West Virginia may still belong to Virginia, St. Louis City may still be part of St. Louis County, etc. Look at world maps through history, and they change all the time. Even in my lifetime.

Two current U.S. states (Texas and Hawaii) were once indisputably independent countries. Can we seriously say that even they can never leave and become independent again? Would they have ever agreed to join any other nation under such restrictions?

When one party holds all the power in a relationship, it is almost certain to abuse it. This is true of marriages, and it is true of government. The “marriage” of the states was never meant to concentrate so much power at the federal level, or in certain sectional factions. Over time we have corrupted the arrangement, and occasionally threatening divorce may be one of the only way to keep things honest.

There is already a word for using force to make parties do something against their will. It’s “coercion.” This flies in the face of such very American concepts as self-determination and free association.

While detractors of secession say the Union is “perpetual,” “indissoluble,” or even “eternal,” few things really are. There isn’t a contract on this planet that can’t be abrogated. Certainly, there are penalties for breaking contracts. Such penalties do not usually involve state sanctioned violence and death.

The concept of eternity is best left to religion. It has no place in government. Unfortunately, for many, government is religion.

Chris Morrill is a fraud analyst for an insurance company. He enjoys Hawaiian shirts, Stag beer, humor, politics and South City weirdness.