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Rod Miller: Confused About Ivermectin? Ask Me, Doctor Cowboy

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By Rod Miller, columnist

I am not a doctor. I’ve never even played one on tv. So I’d be the wrong person to ask for advice on human health care.

I’m just a simple cowboy. But I’ve always taken great pride in keeping the critters in my care healthy. Good animal husbandry is just as important a skill for a cowboy to have as good ridin’ and ropin’.

And the reason isn’t just economic. While its true that a sick cow or a dead cow won’t make much money, its more of a pride thing with me. I’d be ashamed to have folks think that I didn’t do a good job caring for my livestock.

I’m hearing that some people are dosing themselves with Ivermectin, a very effective preventative of parasites in cattle. But these knuckleheads are using the stuff to prevent Covid, and I immediately want to shake some sense into them. I want to tell them to stop taking medical advice from talk radio, and simply ask a cowboy.

Don’t get me wrong, Ivermectin is great stuff and much safer than Warbex, which we used a few decades ago. A thin line of Warbex poured along a cows back would keep lice and grubs at bay for a year. But you’d always need to keep a few doses of epinephrine with you in case someone got this reeking liquid on their skin and went into anaphylactic shock.

Ivermectin is much better in that regard. But I really doubt Ivermectin will do much to protect you from Covid. And I sure as hell wouldn’t ingest it.

That said, if you or someone you know is concerned enough about the Covid vaccine and puts more trust in bovine medicine, then you should see a professional. Call up a cowboy like me.

I’d be happy to get you in my squeeze chute and put my expertise to work.

First, I’d guesstimate your weight and pour the proper dose of Ivermectin between the shoulder blades. It’ll sting for a few minutes, but that’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from living a louse-free life safe from Covid.

Then I’ll hotbrand a big ol’ “R” or “D” on your ribs, so folks can clearly see your political affiliation. If you are excessively horny, I’ll dig those nubbins out with my dehorner and staunch the bleeding with sulfa and pine tar. That will REALLY sting!

To avoid gender confusion on the part of the brand inspector, I’ll notch your left ear if you’re a heifer, and your right if you’re a bull or a steer. There are only two ears to work with, but that’s not my fault. (Note to the steers: you’ve already donated your oysters for breakfast, so I’m done monkeying around with your genitalia.)

Since this is a family newspaper, I won’t go into much detail about preg checking you if you’re a cow or semen collecting if you are a bull. Just close your eyes and think about Wyoming.

I’m almost finished. Just a few injections to keep you safe from blackleg, brucellosis, Texas Fever and other nasty stuff that you don’t want to get, and I’ll loosen the chute, pop the headgate and off you go. I guarantee that you’ll show up for shipping in the Fall fat, sleek and healthy!

So, don’t dose yourself with treatments from the vet who trims your poodles toenails just because the Lumpy Pillow Guy tells you to. If you want to treat your body like a cow’s, call up Doctor Cowboy.

And don’t worry about Medicare, co-pays, or any of that other complicated health insurance stuff. I gladly accept payment in Pabst Blue Ribbon and Copenhagen.

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Rod Miller: Rumsfeld’s Legacy — Our Longest War

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By Rod Miller, columnist

There is no doubt that the United States was justified invading Afghanistan’s sovereign territory to eliminate Osama bin Laden. He had masterminded and executed the 9/ll attack from his sanctuary there while he enjoyed Taliban protection. It was absolutely the right move to collect his scalp.

While rubble from the Twin Towers was still smoldering, President Bush promised the country and the world that the perpetrators would be brought to swift justice.

We began the operation shortly after 9/11 by bombing the bejeezus out of Taliban airfields, communication centers and command infrastructure. You watched all of this unfold on television, in that eerie green-lit footage of smart bombs and cruise missiles finding their targets.

The smoke had scarcely cleared before a few 12-man teams of U.S. Special Forces and a sprinkling of CIA paramilitary warriors were inserted into the country, opening up a family-sized can of industrial-strength whoop-ass on the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Less than fifty days after the first American boot hit the ground, U.S. forces, partnered with Northern Alliance warlords, had retaken most major cities, driven Al Qaeda back into Pakistan and broken the back of the Taliban. Bin Laden and his minions were pinned down in caves near the Pakistani border in Tora Bora in the Hindu Kush.

The Taliban, whom ironically the U.S. had armed and trained to fight the Soviets after the “79 invasion were ready to negotiate a cease-fire and return to secular government. The to-do list of military objectives in response to 9/11 was nearly completed.

All this was done by a few hundred American warriors, and with surprisingly few casualties among the good guys. The operation to avenge 9/11 was almost complete. All that remained was to prevent bin Laden from escaping into Pakistan, then bring him to justice.

But, when U.S. commanders on the ground requested a company of Army Rangers be airlifted to the border to keep bin Laden from getting away, Rumsfeld refused. Putting more troops in country would have gone against Rumsfeld’s personal doctrine of a “leaner and meaner” military that relied more on smart munitions than troop concentrations.

This FUBAR decision by Rumsfeld allowed bin Laden to escape to fight another day. Political leadership had thwarted a military objective and one of the most dangerous terrorists in history was once again roaming the world.

In the blink of an eye, our reason to be in Afghanistan vanished.

Compounding this egregious error, neo-cons within the Bush administration and in think tanks convinced Bush and Rumsfeld that, since bin Laden had escaped, the U.S. should stick around in Afghanistan and do some experimental nation building. This deadly experiment is just coming to a messy end after 20 years, a trillion dollars and the deaths of 2500 American soldiers.

After two decades of the U.S. military training the Afghan forces, and U.S. attempts to establish a western-style democracy in a place that has never really been a nation, a resurgent Taliban has sliced through our efforts like a hot knife through soft butter.

All of this mess can be laid squarely at the feet of Donald Rumsfeld who lacked the wisdom or will to eliminate bin Laden when he had the chance. Rumsfeld died before history could grade his experiment a red “F”.

But perhaps we can draw a couple of lessons from Rumsfeld’s deadly fiasco. The first lesson being, “when you get the shot, pull the trigger.” The second, and more important lesson, for the U.S. would be, “not everyone in the world wants to live like us, and we have no business trying to impose our way of life on others.”

School is till in session, and the final bell hasn’t rung yet. I hope we are paying attention.

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Rod Miller: County 24 and the World As It Should Be

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By Rod Miller, columnist

When I lived in suburban Buford a few years ago, my neighbors and I would sit around drinking beer and philosophizing about the political world around us. That very rural area, near the summit and the old town of Sherman, is populated with outlaws, ne’er-do-wells, iconoclasts and people who just want to be left along. My kind of folks.

We talked about starting our own county, County 24, and naming it “Mom Lets Us Pee Outdoors”. Come to find out, its not that daunting a task to start a new county in Wyoming. In retrospect, we should have followed through.

We just didn’t realize how much raw power counties in Wyoming have, particularly if there is a fire-breathing Republican Party based therein. It didn’t dawn on us at the time that such an organ can basically re-write history merely by passing resolutions.

Witness the recent resolutions by the Park and Carbon County Republicans to “fire” Rep. Liz Cheney. With a few keystrokes, the GOP in those counties removed a duly-elected member of Congress, vacating Wyoming’s only seat in the House. Man, THAT is power!!!

Fantasize with me for a minute that my neighbors at the top of the Gangplank had pulled the trigger and created County 24. The GOP in that new county would suddenly acquire political power coequal to that in Park and Carbon Counties, and could therewith mold the world around them by mere fiat.

We might see resolutions something like this:

“The Republican Party of Mom Lets Us Pee Outdoors County expresses its anger that diabetes (widely reported on NewsMax as a communist plot) took the life of our Honky Tonk Hero, Waylon Jennings, and hereby resolves to rescind his death and reinstate him on stage alongside Willie.

Furthermore, we Republicans of Mom Lets Us Pee Outdoors, recognizing that blue states have historically hogged more rain than they deserve, hereby resolve that henceforth Wyoming will receive thirty six inches of gentle rain annually and, if socialist parts of the country need moisture, they can bring in a trainload of frogs from China and beat the spit out of them.

We further recognize that the NCAA football championship is a deep state plot backed by George Soros and Bill Gates against the bedrock rural state of Wyoming, and we resolve that henceforth the Wyoming Cowboys are recognized as perennial national champions.

In solidarity with our conservative brethren below the Mason-Dixon Line, the Republican Party of Mom Lets Us Pee Outdoors County hereby resolves that the War of Northern Aggression was a draw, and that rumors that Jefferson Davis attempted to escape capture dressed in petticoats are nothing but carpetbagger lies.”

It should be comforting news to everyone that a county political party has this awesome level of power. If there is something going on in your life that is threatening or even annoying, there is no need to do anything other than to ask your GOP to pass a resolution against it.

Your kid didn’t make the honor roll? Get the GOP to resolve that she did. You didn’t win the lottery? No problemo, simply contact a representative of the Republican Party. Your doctor diagnosed you with Ebola? Don’t worry or waste money on treatment, just call in the GOP.

By merely passing resolutions, a county Republican Party us omnipotent to change your world.

As Pharoah Ramses II said to Moses in Cecil B. DeMilles film The Ten Commandments, “So let it be written, so let it be done.”

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Rod Miller: Cut the Apron Strings!

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By Rod Miller, guest columnist

Apparently, ex-president Trump doesn’t like how we in the sovereign state of Wyoming conduct our elections. He recently took the state to task for not passing a runoff election bill favored by the Wyoming GOP intended to thwart Liz Cheney from winning next years U.S. House election.

Trump would like Wyoming to follow his model in our elections, a model that provided the vibrant leadership and economic success of such ventures as Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal, Trump University and Trump Steaks. Screw him.

Trump, in his rant against our election code, gave nods to Wyoming Senator Bo Biteman and Representative Chip Neiman for their efforts to bring about a runoff election statute pimped by Donald Trump Jr.

Why on God’s green earth would anyone from the Cowboy State pay attention to this drivel from east-coast elites? Why would anyone holding an election certificate from the great people of Wyoming stoop to being a puppet for a demagogue like Donald Trump?

It has everything to do with how the State of Wyoming roped itself into being administrative staff for our major political parties. It has to do with deciding what is best for Wyoming citizens versus what is best for a political party. And getting folks to realize that those are two distinctly different things.

The inter-connectedness of the business of the political parties in Wyoming and the statutes covering our public elections is dangerous. The very fact that it exists tempts political parties to use our laws as a means of consolidating internal partisan power. And its a temptation that they’ve proven they can’t resist.

I offer as evidence of that fact ex-president Trump’s public whine. And countless examples of Wyoming political parties whining about our laws.

One logical solution to this conundrum is to completely sever the apron strings that bind political parties to state government. Repeal every statute that gives state government any involvement whatsoever in partisan politics, or that gives political parties leverage over elected government.

With state government totally out of the business of telling political parties how to conduct their affairs, and political parties having no statutory excuse to tell the state how to conduct our elections, I predict life will become a lot simpler for Wyomingites.

And I have to believe that political parties would welcome this solution. Its like handing the car keys to your 16 year-old, telling them “You’re on your own now. Buy your own gas.”

I’m not sure what the original impetus was to so tightly interweave private political organizations with the government of our state. It must have seemed a good idea at the time, but that time is long gone.

If the government of the State of Wyoming wants to insulate itself from the often malign machinations of political parties, then the scissors are close to hand. Cut the apron strings. Its time we were honest enough with ourselves to admit this relationship just isn’t working.

If the major political parties in Wyoming are ready to assume their full stature as certified Pure-D cowboys, and stand up on their own hind legs, then I can’t think of a better time than now. Go Grasshoppers!

Go run your meetings as you want, and elect your officers as you wish. Do all the work of a truly independent political party free from government influence. Have straw polls, caucuses or spitting contests, but have your candidates name to the Secretary of State in time to print the ballots. And stop whining.

Lets get this foolishness behind us, and get on with the real work at hand.

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Rod Miller: Outlived His Usefulness

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By Rod Miller, guest columnist

Very recently there occurred a dust-up between Joey Correnti IV, an official with the Carbon County Republican Party, and the Laramie County Clerk. Correnti took the County Clerk to task for a clerical mistake in the Clerk’s office that left out a couple of names on the ballot for GOP precinct committee positions in Laramie County.

Doesn’t seem like too big a deal, until you ask yourself the question, “why is a public official doing clerical work for a private organization?” The Laramie County Clerk IS a public official, and the Republican Party IS a private organization.

While our Wyoming Constitution doesn’t mention political parties, and our statutes didn’t create them, the major parties do enjoy a lot of benefits granted under Wyoming Statutes Title 22, Chapter 4. These statutes weave party politics tightly into the fabric of our civic like and, like that gnarly outlaw in the western movie, might have outlived their usefulness.

The acid test of any law is whether or not it is good for the state, and that is a question that should be asked often. Its time to ask whether having private organizations so tightly enmeshed in our public elections is a good idea.

Political parties should have a very limited role in our civic life but, as Madison warned, they by their very nature seek to aggrandize themselves. Think about it! When was the last time that the Democrats built a school or the Republicans fixed potholes?

People who identify with either party did that work, but the parties themselves remained pretty useless. And schools don’t give a rat’s ass who builds ‘em, and potholes are apolitical.

Partisan political organizations are no more public entities than the Elks Club or the Hells’s Angels. And yet, by statute, the State of Wyoming is responsible for conducting their elections, and directs the parties how to choose leadership, where and when to meet and how to communicate.

The State of Wyoming grants to the bylaws of the major political parties a legal status, even though the Wyoming Legislature does not draft those bylaws. That’s why someone like Joey the 4th feels justified in hollering at a County Clerk when things don’t go his way.

Its gotta be so annoying for a political party in Wyoming, to have the state’s nose all up in your business like that. The parties should go together and hire a bunch of smart lawyers to get ‘em out of this nonsensical situation.

But I think the parties enjoy this cozy relationship with the state. They are protected, and they have a daddy to whine to when they skin their knee.

If they had the cojones the political parties in Wyoming have all the stroke they need to repeal every statute that puts the state in the position of interfering in their business. They have within their respective organizations the means to conduct their own internal elections without bureaucratic monkeying around. Nothing is preventing that other than political will within the parties.

The savings to the state and counties would be considerable, as well. What better place to cut government spending than in something they shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

A not-inconsiderable side benefit would be the time and effort that our pubic officials could dedicate to the real work of our state when they aren’t expected to hand-hold and coddle party officials with their knickers in a twist.

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Rod Miller: Finish the Wall…in Gillette!

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By Rod Miller, columnist

You’ve probably heard about the incident in Gillette a couple weeks ago wherein a transgender magician was scheduled to perform at the Campbell County Library, but was forced to cancel due to irate pushback with not-so-veiled threats against the magician and library staff. The resistance to the show was led, in large measure, by Scott Clem, former legislator and pastor of Gillette’s Central Baptist Church.

As one would expect, the event generated a whole bunch of reaction on social media. In one recent Facebook post, there were 350 comments. Distilled, the comments frame the old argument about the separation of church and state.

One commentator claimed that, “The U.S. Constitution is based upon God’s law”. The implication being that religious zealots are justified in abridging a citizen’s right to free speech on religious grounds and with legal impunity. History argues otherwise.

Delegates to our Constitutional Convention met from May through September in 1787 to craft our Constitution. That would have given them a whole summer to cut & paste from the Bible if their intent was to create a theocratic government. But they didn’t.

Our Founders failed miserably if they wanted to create a theocracy. Instead they crafted an elegant secular, enlightened and humanistic earthly government, innately suspicious of legislating “God’s Law”.

They were all aware of history. They all remembered examples of governments operating under religious urges…examples like the Crusades, the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition and the English Civil War. Our Founders knew that, under God’s Law, peace is elusive.

In fact, the Framers only mentioned “religion” once in the entire body of the Constitution, prior to the inclusion of the Bill of Rights. That mention occurs in Article VI, and states that “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”.

This comes immediately after the requirement for public officials to swear or affirm and oath to the Constitution, not to the Bible.

The next mention of religion in our Constitution appears in The First Amendment, which opens with a prohibition on Congress establishing any religion, followed by a clause guaranteeing freedom of religious expression.

You can read this amendment to say something like….this government has no business monkeying around in religion, and you are free to practice your religion as long as it doesn’t interfere with government. A couple centuries of legal scholars have split this hair a thousand ways, but that’s how I read it.

And, Thomas Jefferson would likely agree with that interpretation.

When the Danbury Baptist Association wrote to President Jefferson in 1802, they claimed that “Religion is the first object of legislation”. Jefferson, using the phrase for the first time, responded that our Constitution “builds a wall of separation between church and state”.

So lets finish that wall. And there’s no better place to put the last brick in place than Gillette. Lets make sure that the Central Baptists have as much luck as the Danbury Baptists in using our government for their religious purposes.

Let us, in our affirming our own rights to free speech, zealously protect the freedom of speech of transgender magicians and anyone else that might not think like we do. Our Constitutions, both U.S. and Wyoming, require that of us. And those documents, not any religious text, is the supreme law of the land.

It is written.

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Rod Miller: Crossing a Line to “Protect” a Border and Scratch an Itch

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By Rod Miller, columnist

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is sending a hundred or so National Guard troops to Texas, purportedly to help deal with the crisis on our border with Mexico. She is paying those troops with a million dollar donation from a private individual, transforming the South Dakota National Guard into paid mercenaries no different than the infamous Blackwater thugs.

Noem is crossing a line. And she’s stepping over that line not because South Dakota is at risk of being overrun by illegal immigrants who are fixin’ to trudge more than a thousand miles to occupy Spearfish, but for purely political reasons.

I’ll freely admit ignorance of South Dakota’s Constitution or statutes governing the state militia, but I can clearly recognize a symbolic political move when I see one. In her zeal to endear herself to the Trump wing of the GOP, Noem has debased her own state and its National Guard.

Its troubling enough to see the governor of Wyoming’s next door neighbor act out like this. Its even more disturbing to learn that Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon is considering a similar move, albeit funded by Wyoming’s taxpayers instead by of a hefty bribe from a well-heeled right wing donor. At least as far as we know.

I have no bellyache with Governor Gordon dispatching Wyoming National Guard troops to a sister state to help with a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, if asked. That transcends symbolism.

But, for the Wyoming National Guard to suddenly become Border Patrol agents does give me serious pause. And Governor Gordon should think long and hard before he signs that order.

Here are a few things for him to consider. Control of the United States’ borders is, under Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, the responsibility of the federal government, not the individual states. Congress passes immigration laws, and the Executive Branch enforces said laws. As Tony Soprano would say, “End of subject”.

Our Wyoming Constitution, under Article 17, provides for a state militia (National Guard), and places it under the command of the governor. Wyoming’s governor, as commander-in-chief, may call out the militia “to preserve the public peace, to execute the laws of the state, to suppress insurrection or repel invasion”.

Nowhere is it mentioned that the Wyoming National Guard is authorized to patrol the border in the Arizona desert, or along the Rio Grand in Texas. Maybe South Dakota’s Constitution permits their National Guard to perform that function. Ours sure doesn’t.

Wyoming statutes, however, do give a tad more leeway to our National Guard. Under Title 19-8-103(b) they are authorized to engage in “fresh pursuit of insurrectionists, saboteurs or enemy groups beyond the borders of this state into another state until the military or police forces of the other state have had a reasonable opportunity to take up the pursuit of such persons.” Again, no mention of patrolling our national borders.

Nowhere in our Constitution or our statutes is there a provision for our governor to mobilize our National Guard to scratch a partisan itch that bothers a political party. Trust me, I’ve looked. But if anyone can point to something I’ve missed, then I’ll stand corrected.

If Governor Gordon is seriously concerned about the situation on our southern border, then he shouldn’t stoop to a symbolic act. He should use the considerable weight of his office, and work with the Western Governors’ Association and the National Governors’ Association to hold Congress’ and President Biden’s feet to a very hot branding fire to convince them to get off their collective asses and do their job.

The situation on our border is serious and calls for serious action on the part of the federal government, not cheap, partisan political tricks by governors

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Rod Miller: “We the People”, Mob Rule and Wyoming Town Halls

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Way too many of us stop reading the U.S. Constitution after the first three words. That’s like closing the Bible after the first three words. You miss the point entirely.

I have been in countless political conversations with folks who struggle to articulate an intelligent point and always fall back so easily on “We the People”. That is a cop-out.

That phrase is frequently used in town hall meetings in Wyoming, wherein an elected official is roasted for their voting record because “We the People” don’t like it. Its about the only part of the Constitution that is quoted in these diatribes.

Absent the rest of the Constitution, “We the People” is nothing more than a mob. The balance of the Constitution describes a political process in which a mob becomes a nation under the rule of law. And the end of the Preamble has “We the People” ordaining and establishing that process.

By doing so, “We the People” rose above the mob.

This is what Plato had to say about mobs: “Mob rule is a rough sea for the ship of state to ride; every wind of oratory stirs up the waters and deflects the course. The upshot of such a democracy is tyranny or autocracy; the crowd so loves flattery, it is so hungry for honey, that at last the wiliest and most unscrupulous flatterer, calling himself the ‘protector of the people’ rises to supreme power”

“We the People” in the context of our Constitutions means that we reject mob behavior in favor of a system of common governance. It means that we have entrusted that system with our own political power.

It means that, even though demagogues may try to sway our emotions to their point of view, our Constitution prevails over emotions. Everything after the first three words says so.

It means that we favor elections every couple of years over storming down some dark street with pitchforks and torches to guillotine politicians when they don’t do what we want. Our Constitution is not mean to protect politicians from mob rule, its meant to protect us from ruling by mob.

Our Constitution all but guarantees that pissed off citizens will always be present in our republic. We live in a system that promotes opposition instead of suppressing it. How those angered citizens express their anger is how they define themselves as “We the People” in our Constitution, or the mob.

Keep this in mind while you talk with your fellow citizens about our political life together. Pay attention to the level of political discourse around you, and when you hear an appeal to mob behavior, remember that our Constitution has 4,400 words, not just three.

When you hear someone pull that “We the People” crap on you, tell ‘em to read the whole goddamn thing.

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Rod Miller: Political Espionage & History

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Nothing surprises me any more in politics. The recent revelation by the New York Times that the ultra-right wing of the Republican Party sent political spies to infiltrate their opponents in both parties wasn’t a surprise. Just a disappointment.

There’s nothing new about political skullduggery, but this is an entirely different animal we’re seeing here. This isn’t Dick Tuck or Donald Segretti doing a little political rat-f******. This isn’t trying to screw with one election, or one candidate.

This is something else. Something much more sinister. This is a frontal attack on an entire system of civic life, and this happened in Wyoming.

It appears that the spies involved were set upon their mission by a network of hard right wing GOP activists that includes Erik Prince (of Blackwater fame), Susan Gore (of camping fame), and a shady British spy among others.

Both Prince and Gore have residences in Wyoming, and broad contacts with the national GOP power structure, so maybe they thought that the Cowboy State would be a good laboratory to field-test their ideas. They hired the British spook to train a couple of young, right-wing recruits, then they turned Boris and Natasha loose on Wyoming citizens who didn’t share their worldview

Their mission was to bore into opposition groups to get the names of opponents, and to get intelligence on the groups and individuals that could be used against them. Let me repeat that: they were gathering names.

Much like Mao Tse Tung did during China’s Cultural Revolution when Mao had spies in every little village to report on their fellow citizens, and to enforce party discipline. Just like Ho Chi Minh did by infiltrating NLF and Viet Cong spies and enforcers into every hamlet in South Vietnam.

Like Reinhard Heydrick’s Gestapo, blending into the German population to watch, listen and bust heads. It is not hyperbole to draw comparisons to these despots.

This attack was not upon political opponents, really. It was an attack upon a political system that guarantees opposition. It was an attack on the rights of every U.S. citizen that wants to think for themselves and act for themselves.

My disappointment is this: it’s sad to see any major political party in the U.S. begin to act totalitarian, regardless of the motivation. That means that they have lost confidence in democracy as practiced in our country, and in pluralistic government.

A party that behaves as the GOP just did, isn’t going after their political opponents, they’re going after us as a society. They’re not out to undermine opposing candidates, they are out to destroy freedom of thought and expression.

The tactic employed is meant to sow discord among us as citizens, to pit neighbor against neighbor, to impart their own mistrust of democracy to us. No matter what party you belong to, this is an attack on you.

Here’s where we justify the confidence placed in us by those who passed down our republic and the system that keeps it alive. Here’s where we, as individual citizens, resolve within ourselves to oppose any party or person tho threatens our political freedom.

Here’s where we (and in deference to my editor, I won’t use the phrase that I want to) tell idiots like Erik Prince, Susan Gore and anyone like them, to go to hell.

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Rod Miller: Election Integrity and Freshman Errors

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By Rod Miller, columnist

When Representative Chip Neiman presented his pledge to fellow Republicans to sign (see last week’s column), he offered this rationale, “for decades Wyoming has struggled with primary election integrity”. Lets fact check that statement.

Since the 2014 election cycle, according to my county clerk, there have only been four or five examples of voter fraud in Wyoming. And every one was caught. These cases involved a few individuals who, having been convicted of a felony, tried to vote without having their voting rights restored.

That’s it, a handful of fraudulent votes among the million and a half votes cast by legitimate Wyoming voters since 2014. The numbers themselves prove Rep. Neiman’s claim about election integrity is a falsehood.

“Election integrity” is a term used as a straw man, or red herring, by the Wyoming Republican Party power elites in their attempts to do away with crossover voting in our primary elections. The security of our voting process has nothing to do with it. Its all about consolidating power within one of Wyoming’s political parties.

Lets be honest; the practice of crossover voting is completely legal under our election code, but its also a gnarly burr under the GOP’s saddle. And Neiman’s ill-advised pledge is but one more dead rabbit the GOP has pulled out of its hat in its attempt ban it to gain an electoral edge.

To be fair, its not the entire Wyoming GOP that supports this nonsense. It is a brittle, populist wedge of the party that is behind it.

But, when a Wyoming Republican pokes fun at their brazen tactics, they are immediately labeled a RINO. This has absolutely nothing to do with election integrity, but everything to do with intra-party politics.

Neiman and his ilk claim that recent elections wherein moderate Republicans have been elected have not “represented the will of Wyoming people”. Horseshit!

Every one of the million and a half votes cast since the 2014 election has been cast by a registered Wyoming voter. Well, except tor those four or five knuckle-headed felons we already discussed. So, to claim that the political will of Wyoming’s people was not expressed during recent elections is simply a lie.

To cloak their drive for partisan hegemony, the arch-conservative wing of the Wyoming Republican Party spouts off about “election integrity” and that should offend every honest voter in Wyoming. We should be doubly offended by the GOP’s attempts to use Wyoming’s election code for partisan advantage.

Our Wyoming Constitution states in Article 1, Sec. 3, “… the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction.” That’s bad news for felons, and for political parties that want to use our laws to gain an edge.

But don’t expect Rep. Neiman’s gambit to be the last attempt. Neiman rode into office on a small wave of populist candidates who pledged to toe the line of the GOP hierarchy, and he was their flag-bearer on this fiasco. There will be more attempts by a private political organization to use our public laws to negate political opponents.

To characterize Neiman’s pledge as a freshman error is to gloss over the real threat to election integrity in Wyoming – one political party trying to hijack our electoral process. THAT is dangerous stuff, friends and neighbors.

And the word around the ol’ campfire is that Neiman has his eyes on Senator Ogden Driskill’s seat, wanting to bring his populist brand of politics to that upper house. Forewarned is forearmed.

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