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Hageman: I Followed Same Progression As Most Wyomingites With Trump, Cheney

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By Harriet Hageman, guest columnist

Five years is a long time in politics. And if you’re reading this, there’s an excellent chance you’ve followed the same path as I have.  

Like many Wyoming voters, in 2016 I was skeptical about Donald Trump, a New York businessman and TV personality.  I worried that he didn’t understand Wyoming, our issues, challenges, or industries.  

Also in 2016, like many Wyoming voters, I supported Liz Cheney for our only seat in the House of Representatives. She promised to pursue our conservative values while fighting the Democrat establishment in Washington, DC.    

I was wrong on both counts, but I wasn’t alone. Most Wyomingites shared my views in 2016 and most of them agree with me now. In fact, I followed the same progression as many of my fellow Wyomingites, starting five years ago and leading up to today.

In 2020, Wyoming voted for President Trump and Liz Cheney by similar large margins, about 70 percent. We elected them to serve as a team to look out for and represent OUR interests. Cheney turned on Trump, but Wyoming and I have not.

I was a Ted Cruz Delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention as were most of my fellow Wyoming Delegates.  Senator Cruz was a Texan who understood western issues, a strong constitutionalist, and a committed conservative. But when Trump became our nominee, we rallied behind him to defeat Hillary Clinton.  

The night of November 8, 2016 was beyond exciting; the corrupt Clinton Machine had been defeated. Over the next four years, President Trump proved himself to be a truly great president, and I wholeheartedly support his America First Agenda.

He proved that he did understand Wyoming: our desire to be left alone by Washington, our demand for regulatory reform, our need to control our own property rights and destiny, and the importance of the responsible use of our abundant natural resources to attain energy independence.  

Today I am honored to have President Trump’s endorsement of my campaign for Congress. We remain in regular contact with him and his team, receiving words of encouragement and expressions of confidence in our victory next year.

In contrast, my dissatisfaction with Liz Cheney began before the 2020 election, when she showed that her first instinct was to attack President Trump without knowing the facts.  The New York Times ran a story alleging that Russia was paying bounties to militants to attack American troops in Afghanistan. Liz Cheney then did exactly what the press and the Democrats wanted her to do: she attacked President Trump and fed the false narrative. We now know that the Times story was baseless, but it exposed something disturbing about Liz and foreshadowed what we have seen since the 2020 election.  

Anyone with a lick of sense knows how corrupt the press has been in covering President Trump, with many false stories planted to prevent him from succeeding.  The question is: Why would Wyoming’s lone Representative allow herself to be used by the media and Democrats to further a false narrative?

Further, as a Constitutional attorney, I cannot fathom how Cheney could side with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in an impeachment proceeding that denied the President of the United States the due process to which he was entitled.  Her vote for impeachment betrayed Wyoming, the Republican Party, and me.  

At a time when we needed all hands on deck, Liz Cheney jumped ship, dogpaddled to the other side, and started shooting back at us. When it counted, we couldn’t count on her.  Her ongoing attacks against President Trump are, in reality, attacks against the vast majority of Wyomingites, and she knows it.

I regret that I supported Liz Cheney when she ran first for Senate and next ran for Congress to represent the great State of Wyoming.  She has pursued an agenda that neither I nor the majority of Wyoming supports.  

The point of having an election every two years is so that we can hold our elected officials accountable and to correct course as necessary.  We have the right to do that with Liz Cheney, as many of us once supported her but no longer do. She doesn’t represent Wyoming and she doesn’t represent us.  

Think of it this way: Liz Cheney was last elected with nearly three-quarters of the votes cast by our 280,000 registered voters in Wyoming. According to Leslie Stahl of CBS News, her approval rating is now at 30 percent. She has lost the support of over 100,000 voters in Wyoming, including me.  Ask yourself if you fall in that camp as well.  

The facts are simple:  Wyoming went one way and Liz Cheney went another. She should be held accountable, and we are entitled to vote her out of office.

Harriet Hageman is a Wyoming native, an attorney, a former Republican National Committeewoman from Wyoming, and a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Wyoming.

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Chris Brown: Wind Works for Wyoming

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By Chris Brown, guest columnist

In his recent column, Kip Crofts asserts that wind and solar energy in Wyoming need to pay more taxes.

Wyoming has always had a strong belief in promoting entrepreneurship, welcoming business investment and protecting the rights of our ranchers and farmers. Because of that, it’s hard to understand why Mr. Crofts would encourage a path of more taxes. In Wyoming, we should be encouraging new ways to bring in revenue, we should promote business growth, and we should respect our ranchers’ and farmers’ rights to utilize their land as they best see fit.

The fact is wind energy developments in Wyoming already pay significant taxes – contributing to our state and local economies. Wyoming is the only state in the country where wind pays a tax on the electricity generated, a property tax, and a sales tax.

Under these three taxes, wind development has brought in significant revenue to our communities. In 2020, statewide sales tax collections fell by $7.1 million, but wind investments generated a surplus of $3 million for Carbon County, $1.4 million for Laramie County, and $9.2 million for Converse County.

Wind projects currently being pursued in Wyoming will bring in an additional $10 billion in investments. If realized, that translates into $739 million in property taxes, $410 million in sales and use taxes, and $452 million in generation taxes – all of which support schools, first-responders, infrastructure, and other critical services that we all rely on.

Finally, the Consensus Estimate Revenue Group (CREG) July report projected a loss of 7.3% in statewide sales and use tax collection. Instead, thanks to wind contributions and increased consumer spending, Wyoming saw an unexpected increase of 7.7% — $34.5 million for our state.

Wind is already working for Wyoming and bringing in essential economic diversification at a critically important time. If we push wind even farther – taxing it more – projected investments will not be economically feasible and will simply be realized in our surrounding states. We already know it costs less to develop wind energy in New Mexico, Montana, and Colorado than in Wyoming, according to a study conducted by the University of Wyoming.

And while solar isn’t yet a booming industry here, let’s not give the industry any reason to think we aren’t just as excited about the opportunities it would provide.

More tax on wind in Wyoming will not equate to more revenue for our state.

We don’t control demand for electricity outside of our state border, but we do control whether we capitalize on investment and remain an energy leader.

The wind doesn’t discriminate where it blows… and we shouldn’t discriminate against this essential revenue coming our way.

Chris Brown is the Executive Director, Powering Up Wyoming chris@poweringupwyoming.org

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Dave Simpson: So Much For ‘Bringing Us Together’

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By Dave Simpson, columnist

More entries to the “Who’d A Thunk It?/You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file:

– If you were surprised to learn that a person who once assisted people who spiked trees to endanger loggers now heads the Bureau of Land Management, you might be even more surprised to learn who has been nominated by feisty President Joe Biden to be comptroller of the nation’s banking system:

A person who wants to dismantle the private banking system, so that the Federal Reserve would hold all bank accounts. A person who wants a central bank digital currency, like Venezuela and China are adopting. A person who deleted her masters thesis, “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in the Capital” from her resume, and refuses to give a copy to the Senate committee considering her nomination.

A graduate of Moscow State University who attended on a Vladimir Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. (Now there’s a school Wyoming won’t be meeting on the gridiron anytime soon. You never see t-shirts from that school around town.)

That person would be Professor Sarle Omarova of Cornell University.

And here you thought the plan to make banks report all transactions over $600 in your account to the feds was extreme. Kind of pales in comparison to China/Venezuela-like digital currency, don’t you think?

This from the man who promised to bring America together, to have us eating S’mores and singing Kum Bah Yah around the campfire. This from the president who was going to bring “the adults in the room” back to Washington.

No, the Bureau of Land Management head (Tracy Stone-Manning) and now this comptroller nominee reveal the true in-your-face nature of the Biden Administration, courtesy of the most ardent nut-ball extremists of the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Makes you wonder what comes next, don’t it?

– Also along the lines of the In-Your-Face Movement is the revelation last week from Attorney General Merrick Garland that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will now be turning its attention to parents who kick up a fuss at school board meetings.

Now, instead of getting in dutch with the school security guard, or a local cop, sheriff or prosecutor for speaking your mind too enthusiastically, you could be in trouble with J. Edgar Hoover’s G-men and G-women. (G-persons?)

Yikes.

Maybe you thought it was a good thing that parents are showing up at school board meetings across the country, getting involved in their kid’s education, showing community involvement. After all, haven’t we been scolded for years for not getting more involved in our pubic schools?

Not, however, if you plan to ask icky questions about what they’re teaching your kids. Or if you have a politically incorrect opinion about masks or vaccines. Or if you want your kids to have a choice about vaccines, like some teachers do.

(I’m glad the FBI wasn’t involved when I attended school board meetings back in Illinois, trying to stand up for retired folks on fixed incomes attempting to hold onto their homes in the face of property tax increases. A school superintendent once told me he thought the schools might be able to get along on annual increases of twice the rate of inflation, but it would be tough. Twice what that guy trying to hold on to the family home gets in Social Security increases. Think about that.)

Mind your manners, Mom and Dad, when you attend a school board meeting. The attorney general, school authorities, the teachers unions, and now the FBI are watching, and they’re not amused by your antics.

And to think, Garland could have ended up on the Supreme Court.

– And then, of course, there’s the frantic full-court press by the Nuts in Congress Caucus to heap $3.5 trillion on top of the trillions already spent on every crazy rat hole Bernie Sanders and his wild-eyed pals can pound borrowed dollars down. Except Bernie doesn’t think $3.5 trillion is nearly enough. Think about that, too.

And the message from Dissembling Joe: He doesn’t care what you think. Get used to it, pal. Suck it up. Elections have consequences.

Together is about the last place these adults in the room are bringing us.

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Sam Galeotos: A Call for Civility and Leadership

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By Sam Galeotos, guest columnist

Just like many of you, I’ve been busier than heck lately. Let’s face it, we are all busy, and there’s a lot going on around us. Some of which we should be paying very close attention to. Through all the hustle and bustle, I couldn’t help but notice one of the most disappointing episodes unfold right here in the great State of Wyoming over the past few weeks. 

Apparently by all accounts, a Park County Republican Precinct Committeeman by the name of Troy Bray, sent one of the most despicable, vulgar and repugnant pieces of correspondence to State Senator Tara Nethercott (Laramie County). Within the letter, Mr. Bray suggested Ms. Nethercott kill herself, and referred to her in the most vulgar of terms any man could use toward a woman. I will not repeat them here, but you can easily find them with a simple search of the internet.

I want to draw everyone’s attention to this matter, as it appears many folks are unaware of it occurring, and there are others, whom I believe should be more aggressively pressing for the censure and resignation of Mr. Bray, based on his conduct as a precinct committeeman.

This is truly a Watershed moment for the Wyoming Republican Party, and for that matter the State of Wyoming.

Mr. Bray’s vulgar communication is indicative of the decorum we are witnessing outside of Wyoming, it is unacceptable behavior measured by any standard, and is something we should not tolerate here in Wyoming. Political or otherwise.

Bray should resign his Precinct position immediately. After being called out for his inexcusable behavior, Mr. Bray says he has apologized to Ms. Nethercott, but states he will not be bullied into resigning by what he calls “leftist/RINO class scum”.

What should be even more bothersome to state republicans, is what I would call a tepid response at best, by Republican Park County Chairman Martin Kimmett and Republican State Party Chairman Frank Eathorne. In fairness, both have stated they do not support Mr. Brays comments, but qualify their response by stating he is in an elected position and they can do nothing about terminating his service as a precinct committeeman. I beg to differ, since he will not resign, they should censure Mr. Bray as soon as possible. History is full of individuals in elected positions stepping out of line and ultimately resigning due to pressure from their constituents. Kimmett, Eathorne, and other state party leaders need to step into the public venue with a strong call for Mr. Bray to resign, and distance himself from the party. Let’s hear it loud and clear Republican Party leaders. Remember the “fish rots from the head down!”

There is another troubling scenario that causes concern. It has been reported, that through his Facebook posts Bray received Facebook “liked” support from three legislators: Senator Troy McKeown (Campbell County), Representatives Dan Laurson (Powell), and Robert Wharff (Evanston). Without judgement, I would ask these men what they intended in their posts?

I should point out the quick response from Senate President Dan Dockstader and House Speaker Eric Barlow, who both quickly denounced Brays actions.

No matter what side of the aisle, or whether you are considered conservative or liberal, every Wyoming resident should be concerned with this type of behavior, political or otherwise.

Please join me in encouraging a more forceful cry for censure and resignation from Kimmett, Eathorne, statewide elected officials, legislators, and the Park County community.

I would also highly encourage the Laramie County GOP, where Ms. Nethercott is a respected representative, along with other republican county committees, to standup and demand censure and resignation.

Pursuing accountability for this current situation will discourage similar episodes in the future, and go a long way toward promoting civil debate as a continuing standard in Wyoming.

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Dennis Sun: It’s Fall At Last

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

I’ve been waiting for fall all summer. It is my favorite time of the year and I’m not a hot weather person. This year, we’ve had around six months of summer. They say the weather always balances out and I sure hope it is easy on us in the coming months.

While the calf markets have been going sideways or dropping a little lately, one can find some positives out there and some of those positives are pretty strong. 

To the average rancher or farmer, rising land prices are usually not a good occurrence, but I feel they are a good indicator for the health of the industry. If those who are buying land as an investment think land is a safe buy, this should help at the bank.

The demand for productive agricultural land nationwide has ballooned over the last couple of years. In essence, what landowners have, others want also. The result is real estate values for pastureland, cropland and farmland has increased across the nation. 

According to the National Agricultural Statistical Survey (NASS) Land Values 2021 Summary, farm real estate values – a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on U.S. farms – averaged $3,380 per acre for 2021. This is up $220 per acre or 7.8 percent. 

Rangeland, the largest component from an acreage standpoint of the three, jumped 5.7 percent. The average value of an acre of pastureland is at $1,480 per acre, an increase of $80 per acre. This figure would be straight pastureland without any recreational values. 

Some of the reasons for the rising prices are government programs enacted in response to both the pandemic and the trade war with China, which have benefited farmers and other landowners.

Another positive for cattle producers is the rising value of the cattle by-products. The hide and offal have really jumped in recent months. 

Steer hide and offal values have risen from around $6.93 per hundredweight (cwt) on a live fed steer basis in July 2020 to an Oct. 1, 2021 value of $15.44 per cwt, an increase of close to 120 percent. This increase is led by hide values brought on by demand for leather car seats, for edible and inedible tallow and other by-products like tongues, livers, hearts, cheeks, tripe and meat scrapes. These minor items add another 9.3 percent to the total by-product values and are mostly exported. It all adds up. 

Finally, the smart consumers at grocery stores are realizing fake meat products are not the solution to climate change. Those who view climate change as a major issue may have fallen for the mistaken reasoning that alternative proteins are a solution. Consumers, because of ranchers and farmers telling their story, are recognizing that in order to make real change, beef and lamb producers must be a part of the solution. 

“Every food has an impact, so simply changing from one to another will never be a productive solution,” says Chuck Coffey, a guest columnist in The Oklahoman. And now, the science is disputing the claims of the alternative protein companies as their false marketing doesn’t hold water. 

Have a great fall.

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit wylr.net or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Jonathan Lange: The Marriage Penalty Unjustly Penalizes The Children

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Wyoming’s senatorial delegation has joined 31 other senators in sending a letter delivered to Senate Majority Leader, Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Wyden (D-OR). It protested inequitable tax hikes designed to punish married people.

The marriage penalty is buried in the $3.5 trillion budget bill that was recently rammed through the House and is now the subject of feverish backroom negotiations with senators Manchin (D-VA) and Sinema (D-AZ).

“As you know,” the letter details, “current marriage penalties occur when a household’s overall tax bill increases due to a couple marrying and filing taxes jointly. A number of other federal programs, such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Section 8 housing assistance, also create marriage penalties by eliminating or reducing benefits for couples who marry.”

Astoundingly, these marriage penalties are already written into current law. That’s bad enough. What is worse, the current budget that was rolled out under the so-called American Families Plan “takes an existing marriage penalty in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes it significantly worse.”

How much worse? The new plan could increase the marriage penalty by 72 percent. In 2019, a couple with a combined income of $42,000 and two children would save $1,578 per year by divorcing and filing taxes separately. Under the new plan, that same couple’s marriage penalty would rise to $2,713. For this family, earning only $300 per week above the federal poverty level, over $52 per week is taken by federal income tax.

Is this what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez means by “Tax the Rich?” This is more than an inequity. It is a crime against children. When couples with children decide against marriage, the children suffer in concrete ways.

In 1990, the United Nations published the work of its Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Preamble states, “Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community . . .  the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”

Based on this foundation, Article 7 simply states, “The child shall [have] the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.” All children have this right because all children have this need.

According to ThemBeforeUs.com, an international movement for the rights of the child, “Children are wired for daily, ongoing connectivity with their mother and father and they are most likely to receive it when their parents are married.  Marriage offers the most stability in a child’s home and the best chance that both parents will be permanently involved in their lives.”

Sarah McClanahan and Isabel Sawhill published research titled, “Marriage and Child Wellbeing Revisited.” They concluded that children who experience parental breakup are affected in their “cognitive and social emotional development in ways that constrain their life chances.”

This is why the International Convention on the Rights of the Child pressed state actors to shape every policy—from direct marriage laws, to divorce laws, to tax policy—toward the singular purpose of encouraging the biological parents of every child to create a stable and loving home for that child through marriage.

This is why 33 senators wrote, “We believe marriage is a vital social good. It is misguided and unfair for the government to build bigger barriers for couples to marry.” Rather, they admonished, “Federal policy should be designed to foster strong marriages, which are the foundation of strong families and strong communities.”

Marriage is the greatest social program ever devised. For the entirety of human history, societies that successfully upheld the institution of marriage, prospered; and those that did not collapsed. For too long, we have seen debates about marriage and sexuality that focused on the desires of adults. Children were not allowed to have a say. It is time that we reversed this trend.

Wyoming should be proud that our senatorial delegation is both unified and far-sighted to speak boldly in support of marriage. In doing so, senators Barrasso and Lummis are standing for the rights of children everywhere.

As the 2022 legislative season approaches, let us hope that our state senators and representatives will follow suit. Whether discussing budgets, schools, taxation or social welfare, the rights and needs of children, not the desires of adults, should drive every law and policy. It is time to put children’s rights above adult desires.

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Bill Sniffin: Here was the time when I missed The Best Part of America the most

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

The rain was falling in sheets. The wind was howling. The temperature was 40 degrees and I could see my breath. My raincoat was soaked through and my umbrella was inside out. It was late at night and I was standing on a street corner in Cardiff, Wales, waiting for a bus. 

And I was thinking about The Best Part of America.

Those Wyoming mountains in my mind were looking mighty good about then. Wyoming’s low humidity and bright sunshine were only distant a memory — but in between shivers, it kept me going.

That was 35 years ago this month.

My visit to the Centre for Journalism Studies at the University of Wales was about over. And although it had been a great experience, it was time to leave. The Cardiff faculty had invited me to join their mid-career Master’s program in the fall of 1986. The program included journalists from all over the world. 

There were newspaper editors, television newscasters, magazine editors and government media people. They came from as far away as China, Malaysia, Korea, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Qatar, New Zealand, the United States and other countries, too.

While there, my duties also included serving as a guest lecturer to grad school students from the United Kingdom. 

But that night in the rain, all I could think about was my Wyoming.

These people wanted to know about America. They liked America and they liked Americans.

My philosophy has always been to be polite when visiting another person’s country.  I rarely bragged about my home and always complimented them on everything.

Once you get beyond the politeness, inevitably the conversation would turn to my part of the country.  They wanted to know about this mysterious place called Wyoming? Cowboys, Indians and mountains fascinated them. I told them about the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express and Yellowstone National Park and Frontier Days.  

And how Wyoming was just one of 50 states and how our state had 23 counties. And how Fremont County was larger than Wales. And despite all that land, just 39,000 people lived there. And how there were 40 places in my county over 13,000 feet in elevation.  

I also told them about incredible mountains like the Grand Tetons and Devils Tower. And our vast distances and how Wyoming was the least populated state in America — about the same population of Cardiff.

And they were surprised to hear about how the sun shines 300 days per year and the humidity is so low, the sky is always blue.  And how you can’t count all the stars in the sky at night.  And how easy it was to see more than 100 miles on a clear day.

And then there was all our wildlife plus our wonderful fishing.  And I raved about the Red Desert with its wild horses and shifting sand dunes. And how just a century ago, cavalry and buffalo were roaming these valleys. 

Now remember, I believe in being polite when in a foreign country.  It took a lot to get me to talk about my home.  But they wanted to know more.  They just couldn’t get enough information about this land called The Best Part Of America.

I couldn’t help smiling when talking about our clean air and clean water or even how wide our streets are. And the great condition of our roads and highways along with all the walking and hiking trails. And our tax situation was almost non-existent compared to theirs.

Hearing about public lands that were available to everybody surprised them.  I told them about my spread, the three million-acre Shoshone National Forest that was just 10 minutes from my home.  And how our family shared that spread with millions of other Americans.

My tales of the Shoshone and Arapaho Indians drew a rapt audience.

And I talked about my family back there in 1986. And how most Americans are friendly and Wyoming people are the friendliest of all. And how Americans always believe in the “American Dream” — that if they work hard and don’t give up, they will almost always come out on top. Americans believe the best in people and in situations and how optimism is a national disease in our country.

And as I was standing there in the rain that chilly night many years ago, I thought about all those things.  It was then that I realized that I really did live in The Best Part of America. 

It was good to know that. 

And it was time to go home.

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Jonathan Lange: Defend The Conscience Rights Of Those On The Front Lines

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

Desmond Doss believed that it was against God’s law to kill another human being. He applied as a conscientious objector in World War II. Exempted from carrying a rifle, he was made an army medic, and became the first man in American History to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. The movie, Hacksaw Ridge, tells his story.

He is not the only one. Thomas Bennett served as an army medic in Vietnam. Killed in action, he became the second conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. That same year (1969) Joseph LaPointe Jr. also posthumously became the third such hero.

These three held doctrinal positions that are not representative of all Christians. But, when recognizing the right of conscientious objectors, civilized societies do not evaluate the rightness or wrongness of the belief. Rather, they uphold the right of every man to be guided by his own conscience and not another’s. 

Logic alone teaches that we, who have minds persuadable by words, must be so governed. Coercion to harm others knowingly violates human nature. This principle is also taught in the Christian Scriptures. St. Paul makes clear that, even if an activity is permissible in the eyes of God, no one should be made to participate in action that he believes to be sin. You can read his reasoning in 1 Corinthians 8:4-13.

As Doss, Bennett, LaPointe and thousands of other examples show, those who follow the dictates of their own conscience are superior citizens and braver soldiers than those who violate their own principles. This is why generals should resign their commissions rather than execute orders that violate their sense of justice. It is why just societies accommodate conscientious objectors. It is why healthcare workers must never be forced to fill prescriptions, perform procedures, or participate in treatments that they believe to be harmful to the patient. And it is why patients should never be forced to submit to a procedure without informed consent.

The principle behind conscientious-objector status has also produced laws like the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City policy that protect taxpayers from supporting the abortion industry. One of the most important conscience laws is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed almost unanimously in 1993. It requires that any American who has a sincerely held religious belief be protected from government coercion. 

If a citizen has religious qualms about following any governmental law, policy, or regulation, RFRA gives him his day in court. There the government—not the citizen—has the burden of proof. 

According to the Department of Justice, it must prove, first, that the policy at issue addresses a “compelling government interest.” If it can demonstrate this, it must further show that the policy accomplishes this interest in the way that is least burdensome to those whose conscience is violated. This usually involves some sort of accommodation for those who have religious objections to the “one-size-fits-all” policy of the government.

All these strong conscience protections are currently under assault. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3755. This bill, together with H.R. 5, passed by the House in February, would force doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other entities to participate in harmful medical procedures without recourse to the courts. Specific language strips RFRA protections from anyone who might object to the destruction of healthy babies, the amputation of healthy organs and the prescribing of harmful drugs.

Also last week, whistleblowers leaked a memo from the Department of Defense that instructs chaplains to participate in the persecution of anyone who might seek a religious exemption from military “vaccine mandates.” This violates the First Amendment in two ways. 

First, this memo violates the free-exercise clause by requiring the applicant to be grilled by a chaplain and a doctor with theological and medical argumentation. If a soldier even mentions some non-religious consideration in the process of explaining his sincerely held religious belief, the chaplain is required to document the slip and use it against him. Similarly, if a soldier ever once sinned against any sincerely held religious belief, the sincerity of all of his beliefs are to be treated as suspect. These false moral equivalencies make the theological orientation of the interrogator more important than the conscience of the soldier.

Second, the memo violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause by threatening chaplains with discipline and dishonorable discharge if they help conscientious objectors navigate this draconian process. Thus, they are required to be the preachers of a particular version of religion established by the government. Chaplains who follow the dictates of the memo are no longer ministers of the Word of God, but only of the word of the DOD.

These cascading attacks on religious freedom are, of course, harmful for conscientious soldiers, chaplains, and medical professionals. But it is not only they who are harmed by such policies. All of American society is weakened by these attacks. Conscientious service, whether in the military, medicine or in society is a force multiplier. It turns the eyes of soldiers and citizens to see their service as service to God Himself. The mundane becomes divine. And ordinary people become extraordinary heroes.

That is why we should welcome and encourage those who are standing up against the onslaught of attacks on conscience provisions. All Wyomingites should applaud the board of the Campbell County Health that publicly vowed to stand against the “gross federal overreach” of vaccine mandates that the U.S. Department of Labor is threatening against its 1,100 employees. Other hospitals should do the same.

Wyomingites should flood Senators Lummis and Barrasso with calls, letters and emails thanking them for standing against H.R. 5 and H.R. 3755, now under consideration in the U.S. Senate. Ask them, not only to vote against these draconian bills, but also to use whatever influence they have with fellow senators to oppose any bill that would undermine long-standing conscience protections.Finally, while the Department of Defense can only be reined in by the federal government, the Wyoming National Guard remains in the complete control of its Commander and Chief, Governor Gordon. Contacting him and Adjutant General, Greg Porter, can encourge them shield Wyoming’s soldiers and chaplains against many blatant violations of federal law. Together, we can defend the Republic that Doss, Bennett and LaPointe defended with the resolve and ferocity that earned them the Medal of Honor.

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Dave Simpson: Which Wyoming Town Is The Most ‘Typical’ Of The Cowboy State

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By Dave Simpson, Cowboy State Daily columnist

“Where is the most typical town in Wyoming?” 

My grouchy neighbor asked that last week.

I’ve written about this guy before. Out of our little settlement of about 50 cabins high in the Snowy Range, I am this guy’s only friend. 

My other neighbors identify him by saying, “You know, the guy nobody likes except Dave. Dave is his only friend.”

He admits that other than me, he has no friends on the mountain. That’s because when he was building his cabin – a hurry-up deal because he wanted it closed in by snowmobile season – he would tell folks who came by to welcome him to the neighborhood that he didn’t have time to waste talking. He can be rude. Yells at kids who get too close when he’s felling trees.

I just laugh when he says something rude. The last thing I want is a fight with a neighbor. We’ve become pretty good friends.

He has deep Wyoming roots, and his question intrigued me. He knows I have a daughter in Gillette.

“Gillette is not a typical Wyoming town because of the coal boom,” he said. “The boom brought a bunch of Okies and Texans to Gillette as well as Midwesterners looking to make some good money. A lot of ’em stayed and the place benefited from huge inflows of outside money.”

It took a while, but I’ve come to agree with those buttons Mike Enzi and his delegation wore to the state Legislature back in the 1980s that said, “I kinda like Gillette.” It’s a hard-working community where you can wear your work clothes to just about any restaurant in town and fit right in. I used to compare Gillette to Rawlins, but these days it’s more like Laramie, with plenty of nice restaurants, a great rec center, and lots of traffic on Highway 59.

(And two granddaughters.)

But, it’s not your typical Wyoming town.

Neither is Laramie, where I lived for six years back in the 1970s. There’s nothing typically Wyoming about our only university town, where 11,000 students goose the dickens out of the economy every August through June. And it has one of the best downtown business districts in the state.

(My old pal Greg Bean – remember him? – once said you always think you’ll run into someone you know in Laramie, but you never do. Lots of turnover.)

Rawlins has the penitentiary, and when I lived there the coal mines in Hanna were booming, so you can’t say it is typically Wyoming. I met some nice folks in Rawlins during my year as editor of the Daily Times. But typical? Not a town with a Death Row.

You’d be crazy to suggest that Jackson is typically Wyoming. A business editor at the Star-Tribune once said of the Tetons and Jackson – “I want to go there when I die.” Typical? No way. Same goes for tourist mecca Cody.

Former Star-Tribune Editor Phil McAuley used to make fun of Sheridan’s polo fields, and connection to British royalty, so we can cross it off the list. Nearby Buffalo could have been a contender, until it was dubbed the best place in America to retire in a Wall Street Journal story. What a non-typical burden.

Cheyenne isn’t typical because of state government, the air base, the railroad, and close proximity to Colorado. An old friend from Casper calls folks like me who live in Cheyenne “greenies,” and “jet butts.” Lander? Don’t they all wear those waffle-stomper boots and eat granola? Not typical.

I always liked Casper because it seemed like a city that didn’t need a state facility to keep it alive. But I think it’s too diverse and big to be a typical Wyoming town. Rock Springs could be a contender, except it benefits from mining and the power plant.

“So where is the most typical town in Wyoming?” my grouchy neighbor asked. “Gave this some thought and came up with – open the envelope – Riverton. Place is mostly untouched by tourism, no nearby attractions, diverse ranching and farming economy and populated by ordinary Wyomingites. Lusk came in second.”

My guess is some will disagree. But, beware.

This guy can be pretty rude.

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Kip Crofts: Why Would We Not Consider Putting A Tax On Wind And Solar?

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By C. A. “Kip” Crofts, former US Attorney

I found a recent statewide news story that is perplexing and disturbing.  It described how Senator Cale Case proposed to the Revenue Committee what sounds like a reasonable plan for the State of Wyoming to gain some revenue from alternative energy sources like wind and solar.

  But the Committee voted against the proposal 9-4.  I can’t tell if they failed to explain their “no” votes or if the reporter failed to report that, but I am confused and concerned by that action.  Isn’t the purpose of the “Revenue” committee to find “revenue” for the State?  So, what is their plan?   

Do they intend to just hold stubbornly to our obsolete mineral severance tax and hope that someday the coal industry will be saved?  That ship has sailed and even the coal companies are making alternative plans for energy.

If Wyoming is going to be the source of wind and solar energy for California and other places, to the point where every vacant acre of Wyoming has a wind turbine, a solar farm, or a transmission line, then what is wrong with having those users of our energy pay a significant tax to us in exchange for our giving up our scenic landscapes?  

Already you can hardly find a place in Wyoming where there is not a wind turbine on the horizon.  And one day, when they learn that these energy sources are not economical without government subsidies and tax credits, or when they wear out, we may yet again see bankrupt companies who are unwilling or unable to clean up the mess they leave behind in Wyoming.   

We have seen that already with abandoned wells and mines.  We are such naive fools always looking for some magic solution, and our Legislators seem to be so rabidly “anti-tax” that they are willing to sacrifice our well-being to support that naive position come hell or high water.

Car companies are falling over themselves to convert to electric vehicles, but neither President Biden, Climate Czar John Kerry, the car companies or anyone else seems to be working on a plan to supply all that electric power that will be required, and I fear that once more Wyoming will be seen only as the power source for the rest of the country.  

That’s fine if they pay for it, but the money must not go only to the big power companies.  Wyoming and its people deserve to be paid for enduring that as well from a fair but significant tax structure. 

Next thing President Biden and that angry girl from Sweden will be demanding that Americans give up the central furnaces that heat our homes with natural gas, propane or oil, and convert those to electricity as well. 

Once again, where is all of that electric power going to come from?  Much will come from Wyoming but we won’t get anything for it if these Legislators continue to hide their heads in the coal dust and refuse to insist that we get paid a fair revenue for our huge part in filling this national need.

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