Monday, September 3, 2012


As an avid hunter and fisherman, animals have always held a special place in my heart.  Perhaps it was growing up near Quivira NWR seeing millions of ducks and geese each year, and seeing endangered whooping cranes coming overhead in the fall.  Perhaps it was learning to hunt pheasants and quail as a kid.  Whatever it was, I have learned that most hunters, like myself, care a great deal about protecting the wildlife they hunt.  Colorado is a special place for conservation as we have both hunters and environmental activists with the same general mood regarding our wildlife. 

In 1933, during the governor’s conference, the states gave special permission to the national government to enact legislation for conservation districts within the states that the Constitution didn’t specifically allow for.  They were set up under temporary emergency legislation.  We can look at history to see how they have worked, and if it is time to reclaim conservation rights. 

In the 1930s farmers had access to large machinery but the technology was new.  We hadn’t learned how to farm large swaths of land effectively.  With minimal irrigation, the results were devastating.  The dust bowl nearly consumed the Great Plains.  Fast forward past the advent of irrigation, strip till, no till, and a slew of other management practices and we are no longer in the same league as then.  In the midst of the worst drought in U.S. history, our farmers have managed to keep the land in production and it hasn’t blown away.

My family farm is in central Kansas and grows corn, sorghum, wheat, and soybeans.  We have several fields still enrolled in the Crop Reserve Program from the 1930s which were utilized for hay last year during the drought.  We are a typical farm for the area.  We can safely compare our farming practice with the practices of the dust bowl to know whether we need government intervention.  When I was a child it was a treat to see deer.  It was almost unheard of to see turkeys.  Today, when I go back for hunting season, I regularly take 2 to 3 deer to fill my freezer.  Wild turkeys are common place at our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.   We host pheasant and quail hunts that rival the Dakotas.

Was this the result of government programs or farm practices?  When I get to run the combine for my father it is rare to make a pass without seeing pheasants, quail, rabbits, deer, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, and many other animals running out of the field.  They have become a smorgasbord for hungry critters.  Efforts to reduce flooding have led to many fields having permanent ponds and drainage ditches in place.  These are filled with baby ducks in the springs and the winter migration uses them as stopping points until they freeze.  Obviously, best management practices for farms are best management practices for wildlife.

We can also look to federal wildlife programs to see if they have been as effective.  The poster-child of the Endangered Species Act, and a personal favorite of mine, is the whooping crane.  In 1941 there were only 21 birds left planet wide.  After an extensive rehabilitation program the Wood Buffalo-Aransas flock, which stops through my home town on the migration, has gone from 15 birds to nearly 300.  This is an amazing recovery led by the government. 

There is a separate program that started in 2001 leading cranes from Minnesota to Florida.  This program is labeled as a non-critical subset of the species and is free from Endangered Species Act regulations as far as removing people from the land if a bird lands or nests on it and allowing people to interact with the birds.  As such, workers are able to raise the chicks in the safety of a pen using special costumes to make them think they are adult whoopers.  The workers lead the cranes on their first migration in a glider they have been trained to follow.  These birds learn the route quickly and establish themselves as wild the first year.  This group has about half of the whoopers that the Wood Buffalo-Aransas flock has.  It has been around for 1/7 of the time though.  When government regulations are removed, and experts are allowed to be experts, the results are much more encouraging.

Colorado is primed for ending the permission for federal control over our conservation and leading the nation on restoring wildlife to its original glory.  We have historic nesting and migration routes of a number of species including whistler swans, whooping cranes, canvasback ducks, wolves, grizzly bears, lynx, and others.  If our farmers were recognized for the conservation work they do, rather than hindered from it, and our conservation groups were allowed to do the work they know best, we could see huntable populations of now extirpated species in the near future.  Who knows, maybe even the offspring of those original 21 whooping cranes could someday migrate overhead for our children to see?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Real funding for real farms

We have a farming crisis in this country. There are a remarkable number of crops that can be grown in Colorado, which is why this state in particular needs a better program to not only protect our producing farmland, but to help a new generation take to the fields. The average farmer is 55 years old. They will retire soon. In many instances, their children don't have enough credit or operating capital to carry on the family legacy. The U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers loan programs to beginning farmers, but these programs have serious limitations and don't help many aspiring young people start farming. There simply isn't enough money in one of these loans to start a sustainable farm operation. The new farmer has to qualify for a bank loan first then ask for the FSA program to cover the loan. These farmers (the ones who keep farming) squeak by with minimal investment in the family farm until their parents retire.

If elected, I will champion a Long Term Farm Stability Program, which will allow new farmers to issue a bond to the state, similar to how large corporations fund projects, rather than taking out a conventional loan to start farming. Bonds will be used rather than loans because they are set up for yearly coupon payments and are also repaid relatively quickly. Farmers will be able to be debt free within 10 years as opposed to 30 years or more for most land banks loans.

The SBA has a loan program for small businesses that can completely fund a startup. Farms are excluded from the funds. The caps on SBA loans can be more than 10 times that of an Aggie Bond or other starting farmer loan. This program will fix the gap in funding for our most critical business - food production. Some important differences will make these funds easier to procure and keep our farmers from relying on banks. The current Aggie Bonds are capped significantly lower than the cost of even buying into a working, economically sustainable farm, let alone purchasing a new one, and the state does not issue the money.  The state promises to cover the interest on the loan if the borrower can't. This program will allow the state to directly issue money through the treasurer via a farmer issued bond and secure it through the purchased property and taxes. With the exodus of food production overseas, we can't afford to allow our banking and credit system to deny our farmers access to land. Unlike other farm startup loans this bond is allowed to fund operating costs ending a likely future of bank reliance before it starts.

A good capital investment for a new small farm operation will easily be $1 million or more. These are some basic numbers for $1 million bonded to a new farm. A conventional loan with a 5 percent annual interest rate and a 10 year payoff will generate around $273,000 in interest. It has to be paid monthly to keep the interest that low. This gives just over $127,000 in yearly payments. The bond will have a face value 5 percent, or $50,000, over its purchase price, which will go back to the state rather than a bank. This gives a $223,000 savings to the farmer over 10 years. The farm will be exempt from all state and local taxes as he will now be responsible for $50,000 in income to the state.  Bonds for grain, forage, meat, and farm service industries will be a 10 percent return for face value over market price at maturity and will generate $100,000 in revenue to the state.

The money saved each year by not paying principle and interest to a bank will be saved by the farmer in a savings account. A disciplined farmer should have no problem saving enough money generated by a well organized farm to pay the coupons on the bond. State income tax laws will also be re-written so that the money saved can be used as operating capital for the next season without being taxed as income, saving the new farmer from using seasonal operating loans from a bank. I will work with our national legislature to see that the IRS sets the same tax rules. Overall, the interest saved will be substantial enough to allow smaller farms to be economically sustainable. This is critical as our farm size has spiraled out of control with rising prices; commodity prices may be going up but input costs are rising just as fast. Each year it takes more land and capital investment to make money as a farmer than it did the year before. This will reverse the trend. With the emphasis on smaller farms, we create more jobs with this style of lending. Putting more people on farms will result in an increase in the local service industry, too. This will create more than just farm jobs - farmers have to buy fuel, groceries, clothes, etc.

Each farm dollar circulates through the local economy a number of times before dying out. Current estimates show between $5 and $9 are recirculated through the local economy for each dollar a farm spends. The 1-1-7 rule proves mathematically that a $1 dollar farm investment (or any other resource investment) generates $1 farm revenue and $7 off farm revenue. With a savings of $223,000 in interest (not including how much is saved by not having yearly operating notes) each million dollars bonded at 5 percent return generates $1.115 million on conservative estimates and up to $2 million back to the local economy. This is just the extra money generated through savings over a similar loan from a bank.  Obviously this extra money can be taxed and can generate much more revenue for the state as well, helping to pay for the cost of purchasing the bond.

Of course there will have to be limitations to this program. The idea is to get more farmers onto the land so access to capital for farms that don't generate enough revenue to exist on a smaller scale, both acreage and total net value wise, will be restricted. The focus will initially be on vegetable and fruit production. Grain, fodder, and livestock farms, such as the cattle ranches that already exist in large numbers in Colorado will have higher face value over purchase price on the bonds, as well as less capital available. Greenhouses and other systems that generate more produce per acre than normally possible in our climate will be favored. Any type of farm that conserves water will also be given preference. Hydroponic and aquaponic facilities will also be given preference. The farming practices won't be looked at as much, but sustainable (not organic) fertilizers and pesticides, as well as minimal or no till will be preferred.  The program will also apply to anyone willing to help set up local marketing programs similar to U.S.D.A. terminal markets.

This program will be funded through current taxes on roads and cigarettes.  Money will also be directed from other less efficient farm programs such as aggie bonds. It will save money over current programs our state offers farmers and will ultimately help fund itself through increased tax revenue from the healthy communities it creates and repayment of bonds. 

The criteria to get a bond will be much different from the qualifications to get a bank note. It will not be based on credit scores. The applicant will need to show a quality business plan and cash flow analysis based on current market prices for the farm they want to start. If they will be renting land they will need a guarantee for a 10 year lease. The applicant will either have an agriculture related degree with 2 years of farm experience, or have 10 years of experience farming. He will also need a letter of recommendation from someone currently employed in the agriculture industry, whether a farmer, co-op employee, or someone who sells farm products. This will eliminate restrictions that prevent people capable of farming from receiving a loan due to lack of collateral or credit scores.

This program will build a long term, sustainable local farm atmosphere in Colorado. We will gain food independence through the implementation of this.  Economic stability and downward mobility of wealth will result.  Colorado needs this program.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

War, National Emergencies, and the Dissolution of Freedom

I have been studying the Constitution and U.S. law for most of my life.  Granted, I only possess an associates degree and part of a bachelors, but I have studied more than most Ph.D. level Constitutional law students ever read.  I always have to laugh when I read what a brainwashed law student has to say about interpretation of the Constitution.  I nearly cry when I see what our magistrates have to say about it.  There are really only 3 books that one must read to gain a complete understanding of what our most sacred document says: Formation of the Union (Madison papers and others from the convention), Federalist Papers, and the Anti-Federalist Papers.  You quickly realize that the Constitution is not open for interpretation.  This is why there is a clause for modifying it.  Months were spent hashing out the finest details of the wording to give the government exact powers and shape.  Our founders formed one of the strongest, most unified governments in history, while maintaining independence of the states.  At the time, no other government existed which took its rights from the people.  The Magna Carta was given to the people by the King and did little to restrain him.  How then did our republic degrade into the cesspool of politics that we see today?

A careful study through the years brings us from a republic, where Presidents and states overturned legislation they disagreed with by not executing it, to one where Presidents passed legislation the Congress wouldn't through executive order and fiat.  The Supreme Court maintains a list of notable cases which have been found unconstitutional that provide excellent reference for the person interested in Constitutional law.  Perhaps there are some specific laws that can be looked into for a starting point into how we arrived at the mess we have today?

We can look to specific periods in history and find a common theme that is followed when power is grabbed from the people.  Many times there are emergencies that have some economic nature so lets start there.  The worst economic period in our history was the great depression and a great many new government agencies were created to get us out of it.  These started popping up within days of Franklin D. Roosevelt taking office as President.  We find that on March 6, 1933 he issued a proclamation that declared there was a state of national emergency and demanded all banks close until their finances and loan policies could be restructured.  Congress wouldn't simply let him do this, so on March 9, 1933 he called a special session of Congress to pass what is now called the Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933 as well as the March 6 declaration of emergency in a single act.  Reading it, we find that it granted extraordinary powers to our President and the Secretary of Treasury. 

The Emergency Banking Relief Act modified an earlier act that regulated commerce with enemy nations and their nationals during the first World War.  The aptly named "Trading With the Enemy Act," TWEA, allowed the President to issue all kinds of regulations with regards to finance with any nation with whom we were at war.  It explicitly defined the term enemy, and explicitly excluded American citizens from said regulation.  The modifications to it included removing the exclusion for citizens.  American citizens weren't defined as belligerents in a war, but they could be regulated as if they were.  This is important to remember as the courts have upheld some distinct definitions of war and national emergency which we will cover later.  The Federal Reserve Act was also modified to allow the Secretary of Treasury to confiscate gold or silver coin from the citizens during a time of emergency and compensate them with any other form of money he saw fit.  The act read that those powers were applicable during "time of war or any other period of national emergency".  The Bank Holiday of 1933 which was issued on March 6, 1933 by FDR provided the national emergency to grant those powers to the President.  Our banking system had been placed under a wartime power and is codified in the U.S. Code under both Title 12, Chapter 2, Subsection 95, and the Appendix to Title 50, War and National Defense.  The modification is as follows:
“During time of war or any other period of national emergency declared by the president, the president may... investigate, regulate, or prohibit, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, ...transfers of credit between or payments by banking institutions as defined by the president,... and export, hoarding, melting, and earmarking of gold or silver coin or bullion or currency, by any person within the United States or any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof; and upon such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe such interest or property shall be held, used, administered, liquidated, sold, or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States.”

It becomes abundantly clear that in order to deal with a national banking crisis that our money was nationalized (President given authority over it, as noted above), taken from the people (held), given to the Federal Reserve (sold… in the interest of the U.S.), and replaced with paper (prior to Federal Reserve Notes being issued on March 12,1933 there were gold and silver certificates).  What isn't immediately clear is what other power was conferred to the President through this act.  We need to look through the statutes that modified these acts, court decisions, and the congressional record to see that.  The first place to look are early court cases determining the authority of the TWEA in the fist place.  It was first passed on October 6, 1917 during the first World War.  The very first sentence in it when reading from the U.S. Code,
“The Trading with the enemy Act was expressly exempted from the operation and effect of Joint Res. Mar. 3, 1921, ch. 136, 41 Stat. 1359, declaring that certain Acts of Congress, joint resolutions, and proclamations should be construed as though the World War had ended and the then present or existing emergency expired,”
 explains that though hostilities ended in WWI, the emergency continued.  Moving forward to 1921 we find a number of cases regarding this act.  Central Union Trust Co. v. Garvan makes it clear that Congress has the powers of seizure during a time of war.  Stoehr v. Wallace states
"the Trading With the Enemy Act, originally and as amended, is strictly a war measure, and finds its sanction in the provision empowering Congress "to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water." 
Was our banking system re-organized under a wartime emergency?  We will need to look to other court cases to determine that.

Black's law dictionary provides a good reference for most legal terms, and "emergency powers" is no exception.  It states that our courts have held under Brown v. Bernstein that there is no distinction between a war and a declaration of emergency.  Looking into this case we find shocking revelations of just how far the courts have allowed emergency powers to move.  This case was tried in 1943 against a beef packer who sold his product against price regulations set by the Office of Price Administration which was established by declaration of emergency by F.D.R.  prior to the start of World War 2.  Despite the defendant fighting a regulation set by emergency fiat prior to congressional declaration of war, the "court takes judicial notice that a state of war exists".  Regarding the TWEA and other cases they found
"In these statutes and in the order in which they are listed the following phrases are used synonymously, "During the existence of war or of a national emergency"; "During time of war or during any other period of national emergency"; "In time of war or threatened war"; "In time of war or when the President shall so direct". The various Acts of Congress authorizing the President to take action in the event of a National Emergency show that congress throughout the years made little or no distinction between a State of National Emergency and a State of War." 
The courts decided that because the President thought there were circumstances to declare an emergency that he had powers as if war were actually declared.  The courts even made it clear that there were no limits they were willing to set on his powers and that he was free to declare them as he saw fit.
"If it be a limited power, the question arises, by whom is the exigency to be judged of and decided? Is the president the sole and exclusive judge whether the exigency has arisen, or is it to be considered as an open question, upon which every officer to whom the orders of the president are addressed, may decide for himself, and equally open to be contested by every militiaman who shall refuse to obey the orders of the president? We are all of opinion, that the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen, belongs exclusively to the president, and that his decision is conclusive upon all other persons." 
When a President can determine his own emergency and legislate under it we call that a dictatorship.

Now that the precedent for using emergency to pass any needful legislation has been thoroughly discussed, we can look at some of the other laws which have arisen.  A particularly prominent law which caused a lot of fighting amongst congressmen as it was passed was the original Agricultural Adjustment Act of May 12, 1933.  The congressional records show that Congressman Beck said
"I think of all the damnable heresies that have ever been suggested in connection with the Constitution, the doctrine of emergency is the worst. it means that when Congress declares an emergency, there is no Constitution. This means its death. It is the very doctrine that the German chancellor is invoking today in the dying hours of the parliamentary body of the German republic, namely, that because of an emergency, it should grant to the German chancellor absolute power to pass any law, even though the law contradicts the Constitution of the German republic. Chancellor Hitler is at least frank about it. We pay the Constitution lipservice, but the result is the same." "But the Constitution of the United States, as a restraining influence in keeping the federal government within the carefully prescribed channels of power, is moribund, if not dead. We are witnessing its death-agonies, for when this bill becomes a law, if unhappily it becomes a law, there is no longer any workable Constitution to keep the Congress within the limits of its Constitutional powers." 
The unhappy law was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Butler but a nearly identical version passed just 2 years later once the court was under control of the President.  Remember, under Brown v. Bernstein the court found it was not their duty to question when the President decided to bypass the Constitution.  Congressman Beck's fears came true, the Constitution is dead.

Surely something has been done to stop this.  It would be nearly impossible to conceal the fact that our President has dictatorial powers for this long.  In fact, in 1973 our Senate was concerned about President Nixon taking full advantage of these powers and formed a committee to review emergency legislation.  The Special Committee on National Emergencies and Delegated Emergency Powers wrote Senate Report 93-549.  Their findings took up 1200 pages and covered nearly every conceivable power which could be given to an individual.  It starts
"A majority of the people of the United States have lived all of their lives under emergency rule. For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have, in varying degrees, been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency. The problem of how a constitutional democracy reacts to great crises, however, far antedates the Great Depression. As a philosophical issue, its origins reach back to the Greek city-states and the Roman Republic. And, in the United States, actions taken by the Government in times of great crises have - from, at least, the Civil War - in important ways, shaped the present phenomenon of a permanent state of national emergency...Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens."

The committee sent the laws passed under the various emergencies to each agency affected by them and asked whether they should be repealed, continued as emergency legislation, or codified.  A great many things that had no Constitutional basis were codified into a permanent law and swept under the rug.  When dealing with 4 main emergencies Senator Church of the committee found
"in other words, it would take a joint resolution in which the President would have to concur, so that the termination of these emergencies does now in fact depend on the concurrence of the President...Or the passage over his veto."
While discussing the Constitutionality of these legislative powers they found
"If we are talking about inherent constitutional power, no.  I don't think you can either add to or detract from the President's constitutional powers by legislation.  You can't do it by definition, in fact." 
The Courts had already upheld the powers as legitimate and the Senate had little recourse.

An important thing to know here is that prior to 1936 most of the New Deal legislation was shot down by the courts.  U.S. v. Butler explicitly defined what the Constitution called a tax, what powers it granted to the legislature, and what rights the citizen had in asking the court for remediation against unconstitutional laws.  A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States found that
"Congress is not permitted by the Constitution to abdicate, or to transfer to others, the essential legislative functions with which it is vested." 
After the threat of a court packing law in 1937 the courts changed their mind.  Several cases rewrote the understanding of the Constitution and Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins overturned nearly 150 years worth of the Supreme Court trying common law per the 7th Amendment to the Constitution.  Erie went so far as to claim
"There is no federal general common law. Congress has no power to declare substantive rules of common law applicable in a State whether they be local in their nature or "general," whether they be commercial law or a part of the law of torts. And no clause in the Constitution purports to confer such a power upon the federal courts. Except in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by Acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the State. And whether the law of the State shall be declared by its legislature in a statute or by its highest court in a decision is not a matter of federal concern." 
Interestingly enough, the federal government's own law of torts was just used by the courts to rule the military beyond the reach of the courts.  This set the stage for claiming the Bill of Rights did not apply to our federal courts and basing all future decisions on case law rather than determining constitutionality.

Following the Senate's report, the next session passed a law that limited national emergencies.  Public Law 94-412, the National Emergencies Act specifically excluded 4 national emergencies that the special committee found were beyond the power of congress to repeal.  Public Law 95-223 Title 1 Amendments to the Trading With the Enemy Act repealed the exclusion of the TWEA and codified it into a permanent state of declared emergency.  Superficially it changed the wording so the President only has power during time of war and removed "any other period of national emergency".  Keep in mind however that our courts had already found zero distinction between the 2 so the only thing this law did was remove unneeded language.  One thing that must happen under the National Emergencies Act is the President must renew the emergency from time to time.  Reading the Appendix to Title 50, we find our president has dutifully renewed our emergency since 1976.  What is important to remember here is that even though the wording generally says something about renewing an emergency declared under the TWEA, the TWEA IS the emergency and is what is really being continued; the so called emergency declared in the letter of continuation is simply the pretext.  The most recent continuation was signed by President Obama September 2011 and continued the TWEA because of the emergency of Cuba.

So just how did all of this start?  We can look at the archives of each state and find a proclamation authorizing the President to act outside of prescribed Constitutional bounds.  Colorado's states:
"I need not call your attention to the banking crisis which confronts Colorado, as well as every other state in the Union.  I have full confidence that you will, acting upon the best advice from National and State leaders, enact without delay emergency legislation to protect the depositors in our banks and aid in bringing about a revival of business activities." 
That was just part of a lengthy proclamation issued by the Governor on March 8, 1933.  Prior to that, on March 6, the Governor issued a telegram to Admiral Byrd
"Colorado solidly behind President Roosevelt Will issue proclamation and take such other action deemed advisable to help situation." 
A telegram from the Governor's Conference that was happening at the same time read
"Complete success of program of simultaneous proclamations by all governors of states..." 

We no longer can claim that our states are sovereign to each other, united only by a national government to offer equal protection under the law.  We have relinquished those rights and allowed our congress to give legislative power to the President. U.S. v Darby issued a judgement on whether the states now retained 10th Amendment rights in 1941. 
"The amendment states but a truism that all is retained which has not been surrendered."
Our courts have given the Executive a de facto control over legislative functions.  Some decisions have been reversed but the rulings over emergency powers stands today.  As you can see from the quoted federal and state documents, we are living under a dictatorship by every conceivable definition of the word. 

Appendix to Title 50 U.S. Code  (Trading With Enemy Act as amended is subsection 5(a))

Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933

Central Union Trust Co. v. Garvan

Stoehr v. Wallace

U.S. v. Butler

Brown v. Bernstein

Acts of Congress Held Unconstitutional In Whole or In Part

Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S.

U.S. v. Darby

Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins

National Emergencies Act

Public Law 95-223

There are no online links to view Senate Report 93-549 or the congressional record of May 12, 1933.  They can be found at any federal archive and at most state law libraries.  The proclamations issued by state governors can be found in the state archives.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Voting rights???

With the election coming up, states have been struggling to pass their voter ID laws prior to 90 days before the election.  Now that it is within 90 days, the voter registration lists are set.  The President and Department of Justice have filed suit against a number of states because they feel the voter ID laws discriminate against minorities.

We can look to previous court cases to determine exactly what authority the states have in the matter, and what authority the federal courts have.  An early case came in 1875 shortly after the passage of the 15th Amendment.  We also have amendments that cover voting for women and anyone over the age of 18 that have passed since.  All in all the Constitution now protects the rights of people based on race, age, and sex.  Otherwise voter rights are left up to the laws of the state.  United States v. Reese confirmed this.

Reese found "The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution does not confer the right of suffrage, but it invests citizens of the United States with the right of exemption from discrimination in the exercise of the elective franchise on account of their race, color, or previous condition of servitude, and empowers Congress to enforce that right by "appropriate legislation."

It also finds "The third and fourth sections of the Act of May 31, 1570, 16 Stat. 140, not being confined in their operation to unlawful discrimination on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, are beyond the limit of the Fifteenth Amendment and unauthorized."

What does this mean for today?  It means that if a state doesn't willfully discriminate against age, sex, or race in its voting laws that they are legal.  Asking a voter to provide an ID does not discriminate based on any of these because the states that have enacted the law will give a free ID to anyone who can prove they are a legal citizen of the state.  Those are the only people with a right to vote anyway. 

We could take it a step farther.  The Constitution prohibits poll taxes.  It also guarantees the RIGHT to bear arms.  We have a great many laws which require lawful gun owners to pay a fee and they have to go through restrictive background checks.  Using the same logic the left wing people have applied to the 2nd Amendment, we could say the courts would have to uphold the voter ID even if the voter has to pay for the ID.  What works for the goose works for the gander.

I don't favor restricting any right by having to pay for it.  What I do favor is limiting who can cast a vote in our country.  The word "democracy" isn't used in a single founding document.  Only in a democracy is voting access unrestricted.  We are in fact, as guaranteed by the 4th article of the Constitution, a republic.  There is nothing in the Constitution to limit someone from voting who receives government stipends, works for the government, is mentally handicapped, does not know the issues, lacks an education, or a multitude of other problems. 

I urge you to look at the facts before you make a decision on what the courts should do to the states.  Pay attention to the Constitution and what has been decided by our courts in the past.  Perhaps you may change your mind.

Robert Petrowsky

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Political Bio

As I reach out to the voters, they have been asking why I am qualified to run for the State House so I'd like to share with you a bit about my life and why I can represent this district better than everyone else.
I grew up on a corn farm in Kansas when prices meant farms were a not-for-profit endeavor. While others were learning how to make something work by spending more money, I was learning how to make something profitable with zero money.  I quickly learned that economic pressures could lead to better practices much more efficiently and quickly than simple government regulation.  My family farm switched to no till practices as they came out and turned a profit, we didn't wait to be regulated into it.

Poor prices led my family to join the newly formed American Agriculture Movement.  We lobbied the U.S. Congress for better farm protection. Eventually we started researching how the government had gotten the power to regulate every aspect of American food production.  While others were learning history as written in the school books, I was digging through the actual history in the state and federal archives, helping my father highlight things that were of interest to our eventual Supreme Court case.  I didn’t learn history as (falsely) taught, or that money was the solution to hard problems.  I learned that history has to be researched and that hard work pays off.
When I was in college my father and three others filed the “four farmers” lawsuit.  It quickly went to the Supreme Court, demanding injunctions against USDA price fixing and sought higher prices to ever suffering farm businesses.  While thousand of farmers were complaining, we took action directed toward the root of the problem.
All of this led me to a lifetime interest in politics, not just in the garbage taught in political science classes, but in the true inner workings of a functional government, and the transformation from a republic to the bickering over useless laws we see today.  Two years ago I followed in my father's footsteps and wrote a ballot initiative. For those of you who remember Prop 50, which didn’t quite get enough signatures for the ballot, it was a direct attack at underlying state laws and proclamations that allowed the federal government to operate outside of normal Constitutional bounds and has been seen by the Supreme Court as a de facto Constitutional amendment (West Coast Hotel v. Parish, Wickard v. Filburn). 
I am a student of our Founding Fathers.  I have studied all of the documents pertinent to our early history and have compared what was meant with the long history of the Supreme Court gradually ceding power to our president and legislature.  Rather than just being upset at problems, I have studied how those problems came to be vested in the government in the first place, and how to end them.
After a lifetime of political education based on actual government action, I'm ready for the next step.  I'm young — 30 years old — yes, but it's time for a fresh outlook and new blood in our government.  And so I'm asking for your vote. I am ready to take the government back for the people of this district. You can reach me at


Monday, July 30, 2012

Protecting our water

As I go door to door campaigning I have been giving out flyers with some of the things I intend to work on while in office.  The 2nd thing listed is protecting western slope water from the front range.  Nearly everyone who sees this says it is a very important issue to them and will vote for someone who offers their protection.  What then, can be done to protect our water?

Our state constitution sets the precedent for the ways our water will be protected.  Domestic use is first, followed by agriculture then industrial needs.  The courts have upheld water law protects rights on a first come first serve basis.  Unfortunately many shares of western slope water are owned by Denver or other front range communities.  They will keep getting their protection unless something is done.

Colorado is fortunate to have an easily amended constitution.  The first step is to change it so that domestic uses such as watering laws can be restricted in favor of agriculture.  Unfortunately this wouldn't go to the public until the 2014 election, but I will make sure that amendment is on the ballot.

Some things that can be focused on in the meantime are interstate compacts and agreements between water right owners.  I will work on agreements to move less water across the divide for the purpose of keeping a desert lawn green.  Golf courses are a point of contention with me but they do have a right to conduct business.  I will work to ensure they use less water than they currently do. 

I will also work to ensure that water isn't wasted by mismanaging our irrigation.  Where I am from people get fined for watering roads.  I see that going on every day during our summers.  Runoff from overwatered lawns and golf courses should also be regulated.

Years ago Colorado lost resources to maintaining stream flow to down river states such as Kansas, Arizona, and California.  We need to re-open those talks and renegotiate the compacts to allow more use by agriculture. 

Water is integral to our sporting community and those uses need to be considered as well.  Trout depend on seasonal stream flows and our endangered cutthroat will not survive if we keep impounding streams.  While our reservoirs are important to supporting a large population, we need to occasionally open them up and was the sediments towards the ocean.  I will work with reservoir owners and the Army Core of Engineers to ensure we allow a few seasonal floods to do their job in maintaining stream life.

This can't all be done at once, but I will work hard to set up a healthy long term plan for the health of this vital resource.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dangers of Centralized Planning

Centralized planning is a word our citizens need to be more familiar with.  Most people know what a "one world government" is but this simple term is often overlooked and legitimacy is given to a government when it isn't due.  Central planning has been in full force in our national government since 1933 and has grown in leaps and bounds every year since. 

Simply put, centralized planning is using a government bureaucracy to decide how business will be conducted rather than letting those involved in it decide.  We can see centralized planning in our day to day lives.  All we have to look at is the multitude of farm programs, oil and energy controls, tax incentives, and a multitude of other programs designed to direct the economy to the likings of our elected elite.

This has not been beneficial to our economy at all.  The right to do business has been replaced with a convoluted tax code, business licensing process, and rules for conducting business which stifles our economy.  In some cases our infrastructure was even replaced with things that would live up to government expectations.  In eastern Colorado the farmers used to grow beets.  Under the Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA) of 1933 and again in 1938 these beets and the storage facilities were replaced with corn farms which could be regulated more fully under the usurped commodity markets.  Farmers have to go through various conservation programs to be told what they can grow and how much of it they can plant.  They have to report every detail of their farm to government agencies to receive a stipend that keeps prices artificially low.  This has eroded away the right to farm and the right of people to eat a locally grown food.  If you think the farmers wanted to grow corn we can look at a Governor's telegram in 1936 begging for FDR to return control of farms to the local population.

Centralized planning is most evident in lands which are owned by the national government.  These lands are home to some of the most abundant resources in our country.  The contain our precious metals, oil, coal, timber, headwaters to streams, and ores.  The government has an obvious right to control access and production on any land it owns, as do all other land owners.  This allows the government to create energy shortages, dead forests, water crisis and unrealistic gold prices all through fiat.  National legislators and presidents have kept Colorado from mining coal, drilling for oil and cutting timber without ever having seen our state.

By creating these problems, our government can also convince us that we must look to countries such as China or Iraq to supply the things we need.  By limiting resource production and forcing us into exports we are slowly bankrupted.  Every dollar we spend abroad which isn't in turn spent back into our economy is gone forever, unless we produce more valuable products to replace it.

Our Supreme Court once upheld that conducting business was a right invested in private contracts.  U.S. v Butler overturned the first AAA and set the government back on its true path.  This was overturned through Wickard v Filburn in 1941, which decided that our government has so much central planning authority that it could prevent people from having a garden due to it keeping them from buying that product.

The only way to battle this problem is to regain ownership of these lands and to remove government agencies from private contract markets.  The Constitution strictly limits government ownership of land to military related lands and post offices.  It doesn't include land rich in resources and of course regulating commerce "among" the states doesn't include regulating the means of producing said commerce.  We know this by looking at the failure of the Articles of Confederation to regulate foreign commerce when it wasn't given any power of interstate commerce.  Our state needs to stand up and demand a return of these lands and demand the USDA divest itself from our commodity markets.

Only through an unregulated market will our prices ever stabilize, our exports increase, and our energy be produced locally.  I know my family farm has barely weathered the storm of government interference.  How has your life been affected by centralized planning?