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Doug Camblin: Republican Party Must Work Together To Avoid Socialism

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I have some thoughts on our Republican Party. The Republican Party is the party that has historically brought forth the most positive profound changes to our Great Nation.

The list is to long to mention them all but fighting to end slavery, promoting civil rights, building a strong military, ending our involvement in Vietnam, and building a robust economy under President Reagan, the Bush’s and yes President Trump are worthy of mention, the Republican model has helped make the United States the fantastic nation it is today.

The Party is facing difficult times and I have no doubt we will once again rise to the challenge. I believe we are still operating under a Big Tent.

We are hearing debates from the full spectrum of Republican opinion. In any vigorous debate all sides are trying to convince the others that their argument is the right way and we all should follow their lead, that their course of action is the best way to achieve the end goal.

The tried and true method of teamwork is the only way to grasping the prized championship ring. 

Directing our energy at the opposition, which in our 2 party system is the Democrat party, is vitally important to keeping our Constitutional Republic viable.

Without our Party working to together as a cohesive unit we are in danger of slipping into a socialist style of government. In reality we already have many forms of socialism working in our society and government today.

I will encourage everybody to work together in a respectful manner. I encourage all Republicans to shy away from any movement that tries to degrade and downsize our party by hateful rhetoric and name calling.

Any movement that solicits your support that resorts to grading how Republican you are is not working as a team and not helping achieve our end goal. 

My personal goal is to support and elect intelligent individuals to local, state and federal positions. Individuals who have the ability to understand how our complicated system works.

Individuals who understand the importance of Laws and are willing to follow them. Without Law there is Chaos. We are very close to Chaos in our Country and Party today.

The policies of the last for years have been fantastic. The economy was the strongest in history, Records were set and broken repeatedly. We need to continue to support and implement those policies today. We need to focus on policy not personality.

Policies are what change directions and creates economic growth. Personalities come and go. Personalities are subject to human frailties. 

Teamwork, We need team leaders that will be independent enough to not be lead off in the direction of fringe elements.

Leaders who are strong enough to see the importance of the pendulum hanging in the middle. Finally leaders who can listen to all sides and make decisions that are best for the whole of our society.

Camblin is a rancher, small businessman, and precinct-man for the Republican Central Committee in Campbell County. He is one of the founders of the Frontier Republicans.

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Jim Hicks: And Then It Got Cold . . . And We Mean Really Cold . . .

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By Jim Hicks, columnist

A week ago it got cold in Buffalo. 

And then each day seemed to be a little colder as the low temperatures sank past the minus 20 mark.

Finally it looked like Sunday might be a bit better (warmed to 4 below), but along came wind with gusts of 30 miles per hour.

Going outside to do any chores gave a new meaning to “wind-chill.” 

And this week it warmed all the way into the low 30’s and it seemed like summer was back. We’re surprised we didn’t see some wearing shorts.

Younger people are able to ignore this kind of weather. They load up the snow machines or strap on skis and have a good time.  We can remember those days.

Now winter catches most of the older residents by surprise. We suddenly realize we are moving slower that before . . . and that was already pretty slow.

Nobody says things like . . . “let’s run to the grocery store.”  Now it involves a planning session with “list making”, checking prices in the newspaper insert and taking an inventory of the refrigerator because we can’t remember what looked at for more than 10 minutes.

But senior citizens are almost always positive and believe they will be full of energy when it warms up next June.

That’s when a “new adventure” will begin. Most seniors we know value every day, and also know that wealth has less to do with the bank balance. It’s more about family and friends.

After a discussion on this issue, the Bench Sitters came up with a few thoughts about the “fourth quarter” of life.

One remarked he realized he was getting old when his kids started looking like him and his grandkids had turned out to be perfect.

We all know going out is fun, but coming home is even better.

It’s alright if you forget names. Most of those people thought you had died years ago anyway.

It’s this time of life when you become aware you are not going to be any better at doing puzzles, figuring out how much to tip or playing golf. In fact, you know you are no longer really good at anything.

It’s when you know there were certain things always at the top of your bucket list, and now you don’t give a darn if you do them anymore.

When did you start sleeping in the recliner with the television at 400 decibels? Then you wake up at 2 a.m. and stagger off to bed . . . where sleep is now impossible. You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed.

We won’t talk about the sick jokes Mother Nature plays on your body as the aging process moves along. You know — veins that stand up on the back of your hand, the crepe skin, vanishing muscle mass and thin or disappearing hair.

Freckles have changed to “liver spots” bruises appear with no memory of an injury while toenails grow so fast they seem to need clipping twice a week.

Your clothes closet is packed, and less than a quarter of those items will fit anymore. That’s OK because most of it is out-of-style.

This is the time of life when the actors in movies that are on the television seem to all speak in “whispers”, and so do a lot of people you meet.

It’s hard to find a television program you like. So mostly it’s a diet of re-runs of M.A.S.H., All in the Family, Everybody Loves Raymond and Golden Girls.

Any music later than the 1980’s doesn’t have a melody, and “rap” is an absolute mystery.

But you remember when there were lots of stores downtown . . . places where you could buy dresses, shoes, suits, shirts and even pajamas. When you stopped at Ellis Hardware the items you bought were in a paper bag and not sealed in plastic so tough you need a hammer and a cleaver to open it. It was the same at the grocery stores.

But the best part of these days is the absolute knowledge that old songs, old movies, and old friends are the best.

We’ve got to stop writing about grey hair.  People are going to get the idea it’s on our mind too much. Be happy, don’t worry about aging and we’ll write again next week.

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Bill Sniffin: Cheney’s Trump Snub Sparks Opinions Down At Coffee Shop

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

A dozen gray-haired guys in Lander meet every morning for coffee and political discourse. Here is what three of them had to say about the recent events concerning Wyoming’s lone member of Congress Liz Cheney’s vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump:

Dave Kellogg, a retired IBM representative and chairman of the Wyoming Catholic College board: “As I reflect on the actions of Wyoming’s lone U.S. Representative, Liz Cheney, I have come to a somewhat more modified view of her part in the impeachment of former President Trump. 

“I do realize and believe that her vote was retribution for Trump’s attack on her of a couple of weeks prior, even though it was contrary to the wishes of the majority of her constituency. Human nature being what it is, I at least understand that.  

“What I do not understand is her willing participation in what can only be called a corruption of due process.  An impeachment is an accusation of wrongdoing (not a conviction).  The House of Representatives took the impeachment action on a mostly partisan and arbitrary vote without any basis of facts. It was all based on dislike for Trump, false assumptions, and misrepresentation of facts (or at least of the facts that have so far been presented in the media).

“It concerns me that a person with a legal background, as has Liz Cheney, would take part in an accusation that had prepared no formal evidence, had conducted no open hearings, and had refused to review any defense.  It gives me pause when I consider this might be some kind of pattern of snap judgments and vindictive actions that, at some point, could be detrimental to her sober and reasonable consideration of other controversial issues, especially ones that have an emotional side to them. 

“I am sure this lapse of judgment will reflect on her future which might consist of an opportunity to be Speaker of the House if the Republicans do take control of the US House of Representatives in 2022 (or perhaps a 2024 or later run for the Presidency).  It might also, however I doubt it, have an impact on her future as the US Representative from Wyoming.”

Another coffee shop attendee County Commissioner Mike Jones said:

“Good points Dave, I have a few thoughts rattling around.  Whether this was a corruption of the process or not is unknown, nor can it be known without judicial review. 

“There are lots of opinions but for a layman to decide on the issue is difficult.  I think there is a case to be made that this was very strategic decision for her, for whatever she sees as an endgame.

“I don’t see her taking impulsive actions. Strategically, she called for a secret ballot vote regarding her leadership with house Republicans because she knew she would win it (rather than a roll call). Kevin McCarthy is a B player at best and she outplayed him.   

“As a lawyer, she knows that the only true decisions regarding  legal opinions of law are made and proven in court. I also believe she knows Trump is not, nor will be the leader of the party as he was during his presidency, at least for the next four years. If one wants to modify the conversation of the party, now is the time.

“Trump simply does not have the office to wield pressure. She also knows that McCarthy is weak.  Who else would force a direction of the Republican conversation?

“I would also bet she is willing to push the pro-Trump part of the Republican party to the brink of divide to expand the more traditional moderate base.  She knows, and they know, a split Republican party is a dead Republican party in Presidential politics. Again, she has the strategic high ground.  I just don’t see snap judgements in her make up.  As for the Wyoming Republican party, a little less extreme would not hurt us.

“Congress is a stage.  From what I have seen of her, she plays it very well and 95% of the time represents the Republican party and Wyoming well.  To try and punish her for one bit of theater is, in my humble opinion, part of this black and white view that seems so prevalent in the U.S. today.  No one is 100% of anything. The litmus test our Wyoming Republican party wants to hold  everyone to is completely counterproductive.  

“I don’t support her action of impeachment.  I just don’t see the sense in the censorship or recall direction.  If a strong candidate shows up in two years, I will consider, as always.  In the meantime, she has not stopped supporting the conservative POV, and I support her for that.”

“Dead on, on all points,” said John Brown, an IT specialist and Republican activist: “Liz is definitely playing a longer game here.”

“It might help to look at the situation and why she did what she did if you consider what her long-term strategy might be.

“For example: If you were going to run for President in 4 years, what would you try to do to win that Trump couldn’t do? Maybe try to pick up more Independent votes, win those soccer moms over in the Virginia suburbs, and appeal to those more moderate GOP votes in purple swing states like North Carolina and in the Industrial Midwest.

“What does voting to impeach Trump get you? A lot of those Independent voters as well as those soccer moms and moderate GOP votes. It also denies the Democrats a campaign issue they could throw in a competitor’s face if the Republican candidate for president was seen as being ‘too cozy’ with Trump.

“FYI, the scenario I just painted above is derived from my own thoughts. I do NOT have any special “inside” information regarding her motivations.”

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Rod Miller: In Praise of Whistleblowers

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Any large, modern and complex organization – be it government, religion, corporation or any other institution – operates under a contradiction. They rely upon the support and acquiescence of individuals in order to perform, and they also thrive on keeping secrets from individuals.

The secret acts of institutions are intended to further the aims of that institution, not to better the lives of people. Knowledge of that fact needs to be kept from the individual for the safety and well-being of the organization.

When a courageous individual, through a crisis of conscience, reveals to the world the inner workings of a government, religion or corporation, that person is labeled a whistleblower and is immediately accused by the organization of treachery.

That person gets a bullseye on their back for doing nothing other than speaking the truth.

Lets draw a clear distinction here between treason and whistleblowing, because that distinction is often blurred by the accusing organization.

Nobody can support or condone someone giving sensitive military secrets to an enemy that is armed and ready to harm the United States. Behavior like that deserves sanction and punishment.

But treason is materially different than, lets say, a whistleblower in a major tobacco company publishing scientific information that dispels Big Tobacco’s myth that cigarettes really aren’t all that harmful to you.

Do you see the difference? A traitor’s actions cause people to die, a whistleblowing tobacco executive’s actions prevent people from dying.

Mark Felt, whom you may know by the moniker Deep Throat, was a former FBI Deputy Director and whistleblower par excellence.

Moved by patriotism, he helped expose corruption in the Oval Office that eventually brought Nixon down. People went to jail, but nobody was killed. For that, he deserves praise. Our country is better for his courage.

There are others; Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Frank Serpico and many more. Each had the personal bravery to expose wrong-doing in their organizations, and each suffered the wrath of those organizations.

They put their financial, professional and personal lives at risk to tell the truth. Sort of like pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, if that rings a bell for you.

Chiseled into stone over the entrance to CIA headquarters is John 8:32, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”; the words of Jesus, another whistleblower who spoke the truth about the world around him and suffered for speaking.

Why do governments, religions and corporations fear the truth that much?

I think the answer is fear. Large, impersonal organizations fear the individual.

They realize that they can do what they want only when a mass of people are ignorant of what that organization is doing to them. When an individual moves to free others by speaking truth to power, then power feels fearful and goes on the defensive.

Secrecy has a very limited place in our civic life, and when it is needed, it has to be justified on the basis of doing good for the individuals affected. That should be a very high bar, indeed. Its not good enough for an organization to tell us, “You don’t need to know. Just trust us.”

That’s why we, as citizens, need to be very skeptical of secrecy within our common institutions. We need to respect the individual over the organization. Its also why we should hold whistleblowers in high regard and praise them instead of punishing them for speaking the truth

What does that have to do with Wyoming? Each of us has to decide that for ourselves. But its certainly something to keep in mind if a political party that purports to represent you demands that you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before it lets you participate in your own political life.. Selah.

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Dave Simpson: Like An Incredibly Tough Old Truck

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By Dave Simpson, Cowboy State Daily columnist

If you need proof that “they don’t make ’em like they used to,” look no further than the venerable American B-52 bomber.

When I hitched a ride on one way back in 1981, they were already considered old and near the end of their useful lifetimes. The plane I flew on was built not long after some members of the six-person crew were born. New, more modern bombers were in development.

And yet, a 60-year-old B-52 flew over disputed airspace 100 miles off the coast of China in February of 2020, making the point that it was “a United States military aircraft conducting lawful military activities in international airspace.”

Similar flights of the eight-engine bomber – designed in 1948 with slide rules instead of computers – projected American power last August over the Ukrainian coast, and last month over the Persian Gulf.

Last month the Wall Street Journal reported on the latest role of the B-52. It reported that the newer B-1B bomber developed problems with its adjustable wings after missions over Afghanistan and the  Mideast.

And the stealth B-2 bomber was scaled back to 21 aircraft from a projected 132 due to its $2 billion cost per plane.

Both will soon be phased out. A new B-21 is expected by 2025, joining the old reliable B-52s, which will be retrofitted and are expected to fly until 2050 – an incredible 90 years after the first models were built.

“It is like an old truck that was built when they actually built them tough,” Gen. Charles Q. Brown, the Air Force chief of staff, told the Wall Street Journal.

I flew on a B-52 on October 28, 1981, after spotting a news release warning private pilots in Wyoming that low-level training missions would be flown over the state, at around 500 feet of altitude at a rate of about six miles per minute.

Through our congressman at the time – a guy named Dick Cheney – I arranged to go along on one of those training flights out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S.D., with “the Black Hills Bandits.”

(I wore cowboy boots at the time, so they had to outfit me with regular air crew footwear, so I wouldn’t look like Slim Pickins in “Dr. Strangelove.”)

Before we took off, the pilot explained that they have two kinds of emergencies – a “controlled emergency,” in which I would be directed to bail out of the belly of the plane, and an “uncontrolled emergency,” in which case, “you will suddenly be all alone on the plane,” the six-man crew having ejected. He strongly urged me to bail out if that occurred – there would be plenty of openings.

We did airborne refueling as we headed west over the Wyoming/Colorado line. Flying that close to another aircraft was sobering, and I remember seeing the face of a crewman aboard the tanker, who directed the refueling vane down to our plane. With a clunk, we took on fuel.

We took a right turn around the Wyoming/Utah line, flew up toward Yellowstone, then angled back across Wyoming to South Dakota, where we did a sharp U-turn and dropped down to enter the low-level portion of the flight.

At 300 to 800 feet, and with eight engines roaring on a plane bigger than a Boeing 707, you could pick out people on the ground, their mouths agape as we blasted overhead.

The fall foliage, up close, was spectacular.

We did simulated bomb drops on targets near Douglas and Powell, Wyoming.

When we got back to Ellsworth, after a long day aloft, there was a delay in landing, as a light that was supposed to indicate that the landing gear was down failed to come on. It took a while, but the light ultimately came on, and we landed.

On the ground, the pilot said, “Let me show you something.” In the area in front of one set of wheels, there was red hydraulic fluid sprayed all over the compartment. “That’s why it took us a while to land.”

Hard to believe that those planes are still flying, projecting American power almost 40 years after my flight, a testament to American design and durability.

I’m betting they got that landing gear problem fixed.

Dave Simpson can be contacted at davesimpson145@hotmail.com

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Jim Willox: Leasing Ban Will Impede Counties’ Ability To Provide Essential Services To Wyoming Communities

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By Jim Willox, guest columnist
Willox is the President of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association and Chairman of the Converse County Board of Commissioners

In Wyoming and across the West, counties—serving as the legal arm of state government—are responsible for delivering essential services to communities.

Counties maintain safe road networks across the state, provide fire protection, manage courthouses, keep libraries open, and operate landfills, hospitals, airports and public health and senior citizen centers, among other charges.

For nearly a year now, counties have provided these services while also serving on the frontline of a pandemic response, and all while seeing their budgets cut and resources diminish.

Crisis or not, counties are the government closest to the people, responsive to their everyday needs and concerns.

Providing these services requires revenue. In Wyoming, as in many western states, states and counties rely on funds generated from the development of oil and gas resources to cover the costs of governing.

And because the federal government owns significant land and mineral resources in the state—the Department of the Interior controls nearly half of Wyoming’s surface acreage and over two-thirds (42.9 million acres) of the mineral estate—much of Wyoming’s oil and gas is produced from public lands.

This means that Wyoming’s ability to generate revenue is subject to the winds and whims of federal politics—a point made that much clearer by President Biden’s moratorium on oil and gas leasing.

Revenue derived from oil and gas constitute a significant portion of state and county budgets.

Property taxes associated with oil and gas production generated over $665 million statewide in 2020. Counties received approximately 17.65% of this money or $117,372,500.

In recent years, severance taxes from oil and gas development contributed over $6 million annually to county budgets. In all, counties annually receive over $123 million dollars in direct revenues associated with oil and gas taxes, accounting for more than 15% of county budgets statewide.

Moreover, on a statewide level, Wyoming collected over $457 million in royalties from oil and gas development on federal lands. A portion of this helps counties pay for essential services as well.

In Campbell County, where almost 83% of Campbell County minerals owned by the federal government, the effects of this ban will be especially acute.

Campbell County has been resolute in seeking and encouraging new industries to replace rapidly declining coal revenue and jobs.

As Commissioner Colleen Faber explains, “this second hit banning federal oil and gas leasing will create revenue impacts making it difficult to meet basic services at an acceptable level, with no capacity to pursue new business opportunities for our county.”

Oil and gas operations also provide significant job opportunities in our communities. In 2019, the oil and gas industry employed over 19,000 people at an average annual wage of $57,495.

These well-paying jobs, and jobs ancillary to oil and gas production, will dry up without development of federal minerals. 

In this conversation, it is also important to remember that counties are not legally allowed to impose property taxes on lands owned the federal government.

To account for this loss in tax base, Congress provides payments in lieu of taxes, or PILT payments, to local governments. Unfortunately, these funds—which counties must fight to receive each year—are woefully below the assessed value of the lands and resources.

This leaves public lands counties at yet another disadvantage in their ability to provide essential services.

Considering these facts and figures, it is no surprise that the leasing ban will have devastating economic impacts on Wyoming and its counties—impacts which the President’s order entirely ignores.

According to a recent University of Wyoming study, a leasing moratorium will cause the state and its counties to lose $304 million in average oil and gas tax revenue on an annual basis. Losses like these will likely force counties to cut or reduce services on which our residents and visitors rely.

Wyoming is a multiple-use state with a long history of producing this nation’s energy at an affordable cost to consumers.

We’ve provided these resources while protecting natural and environmental features of national importance, providing recreational opportunities of a lifetime and feeding families across America.

As Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman points out, Wyoming has “led the nation in in reducing emissions from existing energy production and developing new technology to further reduce emissions and make progress on carbon capture.” We do it responsibly and we do it right.

Wyoming counties want to be—and must be—part of the solution to the issues this country faces when it comes to energy and climate.

However, a unilateral executive order drafted in the District of Columbia that fails to recognize the cultural and economic value of energy production in the West leaves us on the outside looking in. It leaves our communities without essential resources and services. This is not a unified and sustainable path forward.  

We urge the Biden Administration to rescind the leasing ban and to engage in meaningful, specific and direct dialog with those an action like this will impact, including the government that is closest to the people—our counties.

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Becky Costantino: GOP Central Committee Does Not Speak For All Republicans

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By Becky Costantino, guest columnist
Costantino was Wyoming’s Republican State Chairman from 1999 – 2003

The Wyoming Republican Central Committee voted to censure Rep. Liz Cheney for her vote to impeach President Trump.

Recent social media posts, letters to the editor, and interviews appear to speak for all Wyoming Republicans. They do not speak for me. 

This Wyoming Republican Party and State Central Committee do not represent my views and experience. They were elected or appointed by a minority of registered Republicans in the state. There are Republicans in Wyoming who believe as they do. Many others do not. 

Many Republicans, including myself, are frustrated and disappointed with the results of the November Presidential election. I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and again in 2020.

I was surprised when he won in 2016 and not surprised he lost in 2020. I wanted him to be re-elected and to carry on the successful policies he’d put in place for our country, but he was not.  

I am horrified by the January 6 march and assault on the Capitol. What has happened since then has seriously split the Republican Party.  The State GOP’s vote to censure Rep Liz Cheney isn’t helping resolve the division within the party.

Rep. Cheney has worked hard for Wyoming and represented us well in her four years in Congress. She will continue to do so. She has reached a position of leadership and influence in the US House. 

During this time she has voted with President Trump 90% of the time, but she has voted for Wyoming interests 100% of the time.  

When Rep. Cheney has disagreed with President Trump, she has been strong and courageous enough to vote her conscience.  I believe she voted her conscience again when she voted for his impeachment.

I am confident Rep. Cheney will continue to work hard for Wyoming and support policies for our benefit.

It is wrong to try to remove her from office because of anger over one vote taken during an emotional and volatile time for the entire country. She is in the right place at the right time for Wyoming. 

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Jonathan Lange: Cheney Must Regain The Consent Of The Governed

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

The Declaration of Independence was not an exercise of raw political power. It was, rather, an assertion of principles. It had no legal standing in a British court. Nor was there any standing army to enforce it. Its only power was the power of persuasion. Its authority depended entirely on whether its words were, in fact, true.

The American colonists could have taken up arms against Britain without a single word, as Japan infamously attacked Pearl Harbor. But that would have been wrong. It is not that some international law requires insurrectionists to justify themselves in writing. It is, rather, an internal law—written on the heart. They were motivated by “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”

There is a common and universal sense of justice shared by every human being. This common sense reflects the judgment of “the Supreme Judge of the world.” The founders appealed to him to judge their actions. As Abraham Lincoln would put it decades later, “my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.”

Universal truth, justice before the Supreme Judge, and respect for a common sense of these things—these are the fundamental principles of the American Republic. On this foundation America was built.

Our founders’ “respect to the opinions of mankind” was not only for foreign countries. It was primarily about American citizens. After a brief introduction, the opening words of the Declaration assert three “self-evident” truths: 1) “that all men are created equal;” 2) “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights;” 3) that “Governments… [derive] their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.”

There are two kinds of right and wrong. The first is that which is self-evident. These are universal principles that known by all through our shared humanity. The second are laws and customs that are necessary to the functioning of society but are neither universally true nor perceived by some common sense.

“Thou shalt not kill” is a principle of the first sort. “Drive on the right side of the road” is a law of the second sort. The consent of the governed bridges the gap between these two kinds of laws.

This universal principle is necessary because “all men are created equal,” and no single person, or class of persons, has an inherent right to dictate laws of the second sort. Rather, equal citizens give consent to certain representatives to negotiate such necessary but variable rules.

Power exercised without the consent of the governed is tyranny. It doesn’t matter whether that person was duly elected, fraudulently elected, or seized power by force. Elections are the usual way to determine the consent of the governed. But an election is not a substitute for that consent.

If those governed no longer consent—or never did—there may be laws that allow for a recall petition. Such is the case with Governor Newsom in California. In Wyoming there are no such laws. Is that the end of the story? Not in principle.

Principled representatives do not need to be coerced into the right thing. The right thing is to maintain the consent of the governed. This principle precedes elections and outweighs any subsequent question of policy.

Last Saturday, the GOP’s state central committee voted overwhelmingly to censure Representative Cheney and to petition her to resign. This unprecedented action seriously calls into question whether our duly elected representative still has the consent of the governed.

If the question were answered purely by the power of man-made laws, and divorced from the principles of the Republic, Cheney would simply ignore the voters of Wyoming and continue to exercise the power of her congressional seat for two more years.

But if the question is about principle, Cheney should then want to do everything in her power to ensure that Wyoming’s lone representative in Washington regains the consent of the governed. That, and only that, would constitute “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.” This should be true of any representative of the people’s will—from the president on down to the precinct committeeman.

How can this principle be upheld? First, Cheney should come home and stand before her constituents. If the rightness of her stance is solid, she can confidently expect to regain the consent of her constituency. If not, resignation would be the only honorable thing to do.

Resignation would allow her to stand by her own principles while also upholding an even higher principle. By it, she could reaffirm that the consent of the governed is a principle more fundamental to the Republic than any subsequent person or policy.

Without the consent of the governed, the Republic itself will cease to exist.

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Joshua Wood: Parachutes Or Boots On The Ground?

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By Joshua Wood, Saratoga Sun

It’s a warm, fall afternoon. Summer doesn’t feel quite over, but school is in session and students are watching the clock on the wall wishing for it to move faster and end the school day.

As the teacher continues on with the lesson, it begins to sound somewhat like a trombone in a classic cartoon.

His voice trails off as he wanders towards the windows of the classroom. The students, finally paying attention now that their teacher isn’t talking, look out the windows.

The blue, nearly cloudless sky, is filled with men and women in parachutes landing in the open field outside the school.

The people coming to a graceful landing, as their parachutes drift to the earth, are in suits and carry pens, notebooks and recorders. Some of them also have cameras and camcorders.

Emblazoned on their suits and their equipment are various symbols that are easily recognizable if anyone has been on the internet or has watched television.

Welcome to parachute journalism.

Wyoming, like many other states in ‘flyover country’ is very familiar with parachute journalism, though most people may not have known what to call it.

Whenever rural America makes national news, often through tragedy or following a presidential election, national news organizations send reporters for a quick story and some useful quotes.

The most recent example of this can be found on January 28, when Representative Matt Gaetz (R – FL) attended a rally in Cheyenne to speak out against Wyoming’s own representative, Liz Cheney in a now defeated attempt to oust her from House Republican leadership

This attendance by Gaetz follows Cheney’s vote, along with nine other House Republicans, to impeach former president Donald Trump. It also follows a series of votes by county GOP committees, with Carbon County leading the way, to censure Cheney for her vote.

Of course, it wasn’t just Gaetz—sweater vest and toothy smile—that arrived in Wyoming. National news organizations, from the New York Times to Politico, arrived en masse.

When the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives draws the ire of the Trump family, it is apparently national news. With little information and understanding about the area, journalists from outside Wyoming parachuted into the state and looked for a story.

Arguably the most read one came from Politico, in which Tara Palmeri wrote about how she ventured forth into Cheyenne to find someone, anyone, who would voice support for Cheney.

In her article/column in Playbook, Palmeri wrote that she visited a biker bar (also known as the Outlaw Saloon), a vape shop, a hardware store, a gun shop, a steakhouse, a pawn shop and a dentist’s office. 

From this, apparently, large sample size Palmeri had determined that it was nearly impossible to find anyone who would voice their support for Cheney.

Though, from what I understand, there were a handful of counter-protestors at the anti-Cheney rally. After a few hours in Cheyenne, Palmeri left and wrote her piece on her “wild day” in Wyoming and was even on MSNBC to talk about her experience.

Nevermind that there are currently a handful of experienced statehouse reporters that regularly speak with Wyoming’s delegation and cover the quick moving Wyoming Legislature who could provide context for national outlets. Beyond the politics, there are many  journalists that cover everything from local government to energy to health and education.

“In the pressure-cooker climate to get in fast, get the story first-and, by the way, explain What It All Means (by 10 o’clock please)-the assumptions, short-cuts and stereotyping can be rampant. Even without pressing deadlines, some journalists’ biases about certain regions can simply go unchecked,” wrote Marjie Lundstrom for Poynter in 2001. “Put it together and … presto! A new reality, one even the natives can scarcely recognize.”

It doesn’t have to be like this. While I understand the desire, as a new organization, to produce original content what good does it do when it barely scratches the surface of the issue gaining national attention?

How helpful is it to those reading, or watching, a report on a current event that doesn’t quite get it right?

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial, to both the national news organization and the local newspaper, to rely on the local reporters who will still be around after whatever has captured the national attention fades away?

Nationwide, local newspapers are in a near constant struggle to keep their doors open and keep their communities informed. Approximately 1,800 newspapers have ceased production since 2004 and, in the first few months of 2020, nearly 60 newsrooms were shuttered.

Larger newspapers, like the Washington Post and the New York Times, meanwhile, reported increases in subscriptions in recent years.

Additionally, newspapers like the Post and the Times will run articles on the decline of local news while, arguably, contributing to its decline by not relying on local journalists and local newspapers to provide much needed context.

The idealist in me would like to see these larger newspapers, the ones who can afford parachute journalists and international correspondents, help out their smaller peers by not only relying on their reporting, but compensating them for that reporting.

I’ll keep dreaming.

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Bill Sniffin: Dumb Idea With Bad Timing — Canceling Newspaper Public Legal Notices

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Using both tight budgets and a Covid pandemic as excuses, the dumb idea of limiting printed public notices in Wyoming newspapers has reared its ugly head again in the Legislature in Cheyenne. 

Wyoming citizens should be both outraged at this proposal plus the fact that their taxes are paying for the lobbyists who are pushing for it. Crazy. 

Here is a fact: There are some people in government who like working out of the public’s eye. They do not like reporters or, worse yet, pesky citizens poking their noses into their work. To many of our city and county officials, the idea of not having to disclose what they are doing to the public sounds like a dream come true. 

Here is another fact:  The cost of printing public notices is a tiny fraction of city or county budgets. Often it is less than one-half of 1% of their budgets. Wouldn’t you assume that letting the public know what its government is doing is worth being publicized? Especially in difficult times?

Here is the most disturbing fact:  The lobbyists who are working to convince the legislators to do this are being paid for by your tax dollars. Just about every town, city, and county in Wyoming pays dues to organizations (the Wyoming Association of Municipalities and Wyoming County Commissioner Association). These dues pay for lobbyists who then lobby the legislature to pass laws covering up what they are doing. This has a foul smell.

Luckily, not all legislators are fooled by these arguments by lobbyists. 

All citizens in Wyoming should be upset about this and should contact their legislators and tell them this bill (SF 17) is bad legislation. Urge your lawmaker to not be an enemy of the people by hiding what the government is doing from its citizens. 

As recently as the 2018 gubernatorial race, transparency was one of the biggest issues of the campaign.  Following that race, the new Gov. Mark Gordon and the new State Auditor Kristi Racines put into place some amazing new systems to help citizens find out where their money was being spent on state government.

As much as their efforts were a forward move for Wyoming, bills like this one are backward moves. We are better than this.

Public notices are the best way for the state’s public entities — groups allegedly working on behalf of the people who pay their bills — to report on what they’ve been up to. The notices they put in the state’s newspapers are their reports to their stockholders. 

They cover salaries, minutes of what has been done in their meetings, public calls for bids so the public can see what work is being planned, plans for zoning so people know if a livestock barn can open up next to their homes, and many other items. 

Public notices are put into newspapers because newspapers are tangible, permanent things. They don’t change at someone’s whim. They are a permanent record of our world. You can go back to the 1890s and find records of what happened in Cheyenne. Public notices published in the 1950s have been read in court as recently as the 1990s. 

Public notices are put into newspapers because newspapers are invited into the home. Placing notices into a newspaper allows them to be seen by even the most passive reader. 

Placing notices on websites makes it much less likely they will be seen by the casual reader. Very few people peruse their local government’s website for fun. It is a fact that the most popular government website in any community has far less views than the local newspaper has subscribers — or even than the local newspaper’s website has views.

When you’re confronted by an unprecedented budget crisis, the worst thing you can do is make government spending less obvious. WCCA and WAM are arguing that it isn’t “fair” that they have to publish salaries and minutes when school districts follow less stringent rules. It’s crazy that it hasn’t occurred to the legislature that school spending has been harder to control – in large part – because school districts don’t have to publish things like minutes.

This ill-timed piece of legislation comes at a time when the people need to know more about what their government agencies are doing – not less.

Citizens should let their legislators know they oppose this attack on transparency.

The legislative committee that passed this bill should be ashamed for contributing to future cover-ups.

(Note: Sniffin’s columns appear in many newspapers in the state. He provides those columns for free.)

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