Civil Disobedience Part II: A Potential Path Forward for Radical Liberty and Individualism

By Bradley Harrington

“There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.” — Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” 1849 —

TTP Column #7 Illustration -- Chinese Man Stopping TanksSo, Dear Readers: After that spew I gave the DOR ladies on Monday, it’s now time to discuss a few things.

First, Let’s Start With Some History

Back in 1776, when old Tom Jefferson wrote that “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance,” he was referring directly to Britain’s King George III and his minions. For, throughout the 1760s’ and 1770s’, the British had been ramping up their taxes on, and tightening their control over, the colonists and their rights to free association and free trade.

A quick-and-dirty list of British interferences, taxations, regulations, usurpations and other acts of aggression throughout that time period: The Proclamation Act, 1763; the Sugar and Currency Acts, 1764; the Quartering and Stamp Acts, 1765;  the Declaratory Act, 1766; the Townshend Acts, 1767; the Boston Massacre, 1770; the Tea Act, 1773; the Intolerable Acts, 1774; and the Boston Port Bill, the Administrative Justice Act and a new Quartering Act, 1775.

So, come April 19, 1775, when the duly-constituted British authorities showed up in Lexington and Concord to seize the colonists’ weapons and arms, the war — literally — was on.

By the time old Tom penned the Declaration in June of the following year, the path of the new nation was clear: (1) Complete and total independence from Great Britain. (2) A declaration that the new government’s role in that process was to be … “– That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”

And here we have the Founding Fathers’ greatest achievement: Not simply that they threw off Britain’s oppressive yoke, but that they acted to outlaw the formation of a new, home-brewed tyranny to replace it with. It wasn’t Great Britain’s King, per se, that was the problem: It was the oppression and tyranny instead. As “Common Sense” author Thomas Paine so eloquently put it: “We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.” (“The American Crisis No. 4,” 1777.)

In the American view of government, the power of “society” to control the lives and property of individuals is just as limited, and just as subject to, the standards controlling personal discourse. — That “society,” as such, has no rights, above and beyond the individual rights of all of its members, and that the very purpose of society, indeed, lies in the peaceful organization of individuals and their property.

THIS was the achievement of July 4, 1776, and the importance of that accomplishment simply cannot be overemphasized in regard to its impact on personal liberty. Your individual rights are yours by right, not by anybody else’s permission – and, in the American view, the very purpose of government lies in the protection of those rights.

After the Revolution, and with having some serious problems with the original Articles of Confederation as a blueprint for a successful self-governing society, it was decided in 1789 to establish a Constitution of the United States to fulfill that role instead, as the “Supreme Law of the Land.”

Whether or not the Constitution actually DID fulfill the ideals delineated in the Declaration is highly debatable, however, and there were many — the “Anti-Federalists” — who thought not. It was Congress’s power to tax that killed the proposed Constitution for most of them, along with its lack of a Bill of Rights.

For whatever particular reasons the “Anti-Federalists” rejected the Constitution over, however, their common, more fundamental, theme was clear: They ALL believed that the Constitution, as written, contained too much arbitrary power for government capriciousness, too many loopholes for government to use to grow and intrude itself upon areas never meant for its purview, and too few checks and balances to keep those two tendencies at bay.

All of them, therefore, predicted that, over time, the intentions of the Constitution would be slowly eroded away until it got to the point where the now-national, not “federal,” government would seize control of the entire political apparatus.

Regarding that then-potential abuse of power, perhaps the most salient warning came from the “Father of the Constitution” himself, James Madison, at Virginia’s Ratifying Convention in 1788: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

Typically enough, though, it was the “Anti-Federalist” Patrick Henry, at that same Convention, who put it best: “Virtue will slumber,” he said. “The wicked will be continually watching: Consequently you will be undone.”

So, What Happened?

Now, fast-forward nine generations: The few but highly-significant flaws in the Constitution have now been widened, like the ever-growing initials carved into the trunk of a young tree, until they have all but engulfed the original structure.

Now, if you don’t believe that’s true, consider the 10th Amendment, which states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The idea here is clear: The federal government is to retain its specifically enumerated powers … And that’s it! All other government functions were to be left up to “the States respectively, or to the people.”

Yet here we have just a quick-and-dirty listing of national, not “federal,” bureaucracies, every one of them existing in violation of the 10th Amendment: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Bureau of Land Management; the Dept. of Education; the Dept. of Energy; the Dept. of Labor; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Economic Development Administration; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Federal Communications Commission; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the Federal Trade Commission; the National Council on Disability; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Securities and Exchange Commission; and a whole host of others that, if just listed comprehensively, never mind including a description of their functions, would consume far more pages than the Constitutional text itself.

And here we have a quick-and-dirty list of national, not “federal,” interferences, taxations, regulations, usurpations and other acts of aggression: the National Banking Act, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Tea Importation Act, the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Meat Inspection Act, the Revenue Act, the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act, the Workingmen’s Compensation Act, the Flood Control Act, the Food and Fuel Control Act, the Volstead Act … And that just takes us up to the Great Depression!

Yep, a “multitude of New Offices” now pollute this land, just as they did 243 years ago, with one very important difference: THESE “Offices,” along with the “swarms of Officers” sent hither to “harass our people, and eat out their substance,” are follies of our own creation.

In every area of our society and on every level of government, we now suffer under a tyrannical yoke of taxation and control far in excess of anything King George ever imposed upon us.

The Founding Generation would be appalled at our herd-like approach to social issues and our pathetic willingness to tolerate nearly any form of regimentation and control, whether that be the cattle-like lines at your nearest TSA airport or the Wyoming DOR’s gross infringements on your rights of life, liberty and property. Quite frankly, I’d be willing to bet that most of the Founders would have been shooting dictators and bureaucrats by now.

So, can this moral and political rot ever be reversed? That, too, is highly debatable; $130 trillion, after all, is a helluva lot of money to pay back, and that’s just one of the less-crippling issues we are being confronted with. There are a number of us who believe — and I number myself in that category — that it’s entirely possible that the only way this national wreckage is ever going to be cleared out of the way will be through complete social, political and economic collapse.

So, for those of us who understand what is happening right now, right before our very eyes: What can we possibly DO about it?

Well, we could take the route of the Founders and kick off a Second American Revolution, for exactly the same reasons as the first. That, however, would pose serious problems on the face of it, for the American people have already, and very foolishly, allowed their government to become far more capable of waging war against them than they are against it.

If there were just some way that the individual “NO” inside a man or woman’s mind could somehow be translated into social action … If there were just some way that the energy of those solitary “NO’s” could be combined, and channeled into a common direction …

Civil Disobedience as a Tool for Course Corrections

As a civilization stumbles further and further down the road to serfdom, larger and larger percentages of citizens become disaffected with that society and culture — but offer up no active resistance.

A much smaller percentage of those disaffected souls DO, however — and their numbers, too, grow with that civilization’s devolution. Sometimes that number grows fast enough, as in Poland — and sometimes it doesn’t, as in Nazi Germany.

And, as history makes clear, it doesn’t take many to start the spark. Indeed, on rare occasions, nationally and internationally, it’s only taken ONE man, initially, to do so.

Consider, for instance, the work of Gandhi in India. Whatever you may think of his religion or politics, there’s no doubt he was an expert at employing the tools of civil disobedience. Consider, for instance, his “Salt March” of 1930, in protest of Britain’s salt monopoly … Which, ultimately, led to India’s independence from Britain in 1947.

Or think about Poland’s Lech Walesa of Solidarity, engaging in strikes and other forms of civil disobedience in the depths of communist slavery all throughout the 1980s … which led, in 1989, to the first popularly-elected non-communist Prime Minister in Poland since the Soviets began occupying it during World War II.

So, there’s no doubt that civil disobedience can, if employed properly, be an incredibly capable tool for resisting State tyranny and oppression, and I suspect that very few people actually understand the degree to which social systems can be agitated, or even toppled, by it. Even fewer understand the very small percentages of the population that’s required to pull it off.

You see, when push comes to shove and citizens start shouting that “No!” in their minds, they sometimes reach a certain point where there’s just no voluntary cooperation any longer.

Once citizens reach that critical flash point of consciousness, they are then impervious to the rules of the State. You can jail them, you can shoot them, you can chop their heads off, you can steal their wealth and plunder the wealth of their families, you can beat them with clubs and kill them on their Salt Marches — but you can’t make them follow an order. And, trust me, in every instance of dictatorial rule on this planet you care to name, the rulers live in constant fear that ultimately, one day, the allegedly mindless peasants out in the fields will figure that out, pronounce that “No” in their minds, and … Wipe their rulers off the face of the Earth.

So, What’s Next?

Hell, who knows? I’m certainly aware that Barbie and I are in complete violation of several statutes. Tsk, tsk, Dear Readers, for let me tell you: We, like Gandhi’s Salt Marchers or Walesa’s strikers, have now reached the point where we just simply REFUSE to obey unjust and intrusive laws any longer. And anybody who doesn’t like it can just come and arrest us. And we’ll be mouthing off the whole time until then, for however short or long that time of “freedom” will be.

Now, to get an idea of the incredible energy present in a potentially-occurring civil-disobedience operation, just imagine if: 100, only 100, business owners in this state were to stand up and tell the Wyoming DOR the same thing I did this last Monday. Are they going to jail and kill us all?

At what point, as an exercise in social psychology, does the resistance to such tyranny reach the point where the Rule of the Thug simply collapses on itself? 200? 250? 500? I guarantee you that if only 1,000 business owners in this state took our stand, the Wyoming DOR would be so flooded with problems of cooperation and enforcement that they’d probably not even be able to function any longer. In computer lingo, think of it as a “Denial of Service” attack.

Or, you can do as I did for so many years: You can put up with the slavery and control. Take warning, however: That’s what most of the population did during the consolidation of the Nazi regime in Germany throughout the 1930s’, and I’d be willing to bet, could such people be asked, that a whole lot of them would have resisted sooner if they had only realized the direction in which their nation was headed. Unfortunately, by the time they did, it was TOO LATE.

So: If it is now the policy of a large majority of my fellow Americans, to say nothing of our American government itself, that the State and Federal Regimes are now entitled to plunder our pockets at will, to regulate and interfere with our lives and to destroy the liberties the Founders fought for — then this country is most likely doomed anyway. Why would I ever want to sign on to that? Of what use is it to pursue values, when they are stolen from you at every turn?

So, Dear Readers, here’s the only solution we’ve got: The few of us who understand the issues, or who are just sick and tired of being treated like cattle by the people supposed to be supporting and protecting our individual rights — need to actively engage in civil disobedience if anything is ever going to change.

In the words of Frederick Douglass, former slave and virulent Abolitionist: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” (“West India Emancipation Speech,” 1857.)

So, Dear Readers, any time you get sick of it, you really can fix it. That’s what we’re doing, and it would be great to have some company.

And, if not, we’ll just sit in jail and pay our respects to the United States of America that used to be …

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He also blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email: bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on August 3, 2019.

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Civil Disobedience Part I: The Day I Told the Wyoming Dept. of Revenue to Go Pound Sand

By Bradley Harrington

“Unjust laws exist: Shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” — Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” 1849 —

TTP Column #6 Illustration -- Pound SandA stirring question indeed, on Mr. Thoreau’s part — and at this point of my life in regard to such laws, I’ve now chosen to “transgress them at once.” And this blog post is going to tell you exactly why.

But first, Dear Readers, fair warning: This rant is a double-tap, and both parts are about three times longer than they should be. My apologies for that, but some things take more time than others to discuss.

And more: You are hereby given notice that you are about to encounter thoughts and ideas that, potentially, exist in contradistinction to the standards of your reality-tunnel. Or of the standards of the large majority of the other reality-tunnels around you. I’d therefore suggest, should you be happy with your current world-picture, that you mentally strap yourself in and get your shields up — for the sudden and intense exposures of some of these ideas on unprepared minds has, on rare occasions, resulted in radical realignments of fundamental thoughts regarding politics, ethics and society. And we certainly don’t want that, now do we?

Despite such possibilities, however, I’d suggest you follow along for a bit anyway … If you haven’t already been irreparably “adjusted” by your school or TV programming, that is. For the implications for all of us, on just these issues, in every area of our lives, are direct and immediate. So …

First, Let’s Set the Table

As people who know me know, I do computers for a living. Whatever you need. Whatever it takes. Hardware, software, networking, operating systems, you name it. And I’ve been at it since 1986.

Realizing I’m a lousy fit for the corporate “team player” role, however, my wife Barbie and I decided to go independent a number of years ago, when we first started up Liberty Computer just outside of Portland, Ore. back in 2003. When Barbie and I moved back to Cheyenne in 2008, we closed Liberty Computer there — but, a few years later, we “re-opened” a new rendition of it here in Cheyenne back in 2014.

Naturally enough, since we’ve always paid the relevant sales taxes on our hardware purchases (if applicable; Oregon didn’t have a sales tax), we’ve never doubly taxed the consumer that amount too, but simply rolled it into the price of the product. And we’ve never charged sales tax for labor either.

Well, that approach got us into hot water with the Wyoming Dept. of Revenue (DOR) last year, who audited us and determined that — for the three-year time period of 2015-2017 — Liberty Computer Service had failed to collect Wyoming sales taxes for our work over that period.

Consequently, when the audit was all said and done, the DOR handed us a bill for well over $25,000 for the taxes we had failed to collect. Plus penalty assessment. Plus late fees.

My first gut-level emotional inclination, after being handed that bill? To tell those people to go piss up a rope. BUT … (As my thinking began kicking in) … If I did that, then I’d be bringing serious problems … Problems like: (1) Property liens; (2) Seized bank accounts; (3) and, last but certainly not least, jail or prison for continued non-compliance.

So, I kept my mouth shut and signed off on the bill, and we’ve been paying the DOR $550 per month on that debt since. And, back in December, I applied for a sales tax license — so, in January and with a very bad taste in my mouth, I began to charge a 6-percent sales tax on all work performed.

Except that … I quickly discovered that every time I went to pay the sales tax bill, my monthly tax debt payment was already overdue, so … I’d pay that instead. When push comes to shove, as it often does with sole proprietorships for a variety of reasons, I simply didn’t have that much of an income or that advanced of a cash flow.

(Nor, at that time, had I yet been educated by several of my friends that the secret is to set aside that 6 percent as it is collected into a separate bank account that exists for that purpose only — as I’ve been thoroughly educated on since. And then pay the bill as it comes due. Sorry, folks … I was too busy fixing computers to give it much thought.)

Consequently, we’ve accumulated a sales tax debt for the taxes I’ve actually collected since January of about $3,000, while I’ve been paying down the previous 3-year audit debt … And, as you might imagine, I’ve been catching a huge amount of grief from the DOR for that failure to pay.

Thinking Things Over

After the last phone call from the DOR last week, it was clear to me that this was a very dynamic and quickly-evolving problem, and that I needed to get a handle on it immediately.

So, I began considering ALL of the options and potentialities present in this situation. And, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all of my grief stemmed from one huge mistake: My 2018 sign-off on a three-year audit debt that I didn’t even owe. Hadn’t even ever collected.

It was a tremendous error for two reasons: (1) That action gave the State the political authority it was completely lacking prior to it, as I had — literally — signed off on it, thereby granting my voluntary consent to the arrangement; and (2) much, much worse, that signature gave serious sanction to the idea that the State had some kind of a “right” to my earnings, or to control my rights to free association and free trade.

Late Saturday evening, it finally sunk into my somewhat-slow brain: Like it or not, regardless of consequences, it was time to fish or cut bait. Time for me to stand up and torpedo both of those bad ideas completely — for I would never be able to look at myself in a mirror again afterwards if I didn’t.

So, on Monday afternoon, I walked into the DOR’s lobby and told Rita Stauffer, my “representative,” who was manning the front desk: “We need to talk.”

In the Belly of the Beast

A few minutes later, I found myself in an office with Rita and two other ladies. I introduced myself and was given their names — but truth be told, I was so emotionally hyped-up at the time I simply don’t recall them. The older of the two, behind the desk, was obviously the one in charge. I looked at all three of them, then I said:

“I’m trying very hard to think of a way that I can actually explain things to you such that you will grasp what’s going on here, in a way you can actually understand. I suspect that some of the concepts I’m about to discuss will be quite alien to your way of thinking, since we don’t teach this stuff in our schools any longer and haven’t for decades — but I’m going to give it my best effort.

“From the time of this country’s founding, American citizens have always possessed the right to free association and free trade. Indeed, it was Britain’s attempts to usurp and restrict those rights that led to the American Revolution … Which led to the Declaration of Independence … Which led to the Constitution.

“Those two documents are America’s animating life-force and the direct ideological source of our American exceptionalism. The Declaration was our blueprint for a free and civil society and the Constitution — for the most part — was the erection of that structure in our body politic. Both consistently and repeatedly stressed government’s mission: To secure and protect the rights of the individual. And it is those documents and ideas that form the basis for all I’ve got to say today.

“It appears, ladies, that we have a problem. The reason I haven’t paid the sales taxes I’ve collected since January is because I’m too busy paying you $550 a month for a debt I don’t even owe. And, as I review my finances and budgeting, shy of a huge jump in business I have no right to expect, there isn’t any way I’m going to be able to pay down both in the near future.

And yes, I understand that I got into this failure-to-pay-what’s-been-collected mess as a result of my own ignorance. Still, that doesn’t alter the financial realities of the situation now. Therefore, I’ve made a few decisions, and I’m here to inform you of them, and to let you know exactly what you can expect from me from this point forward.”

Needless to say, I had the undivided attention of all three ladies, who continued eyeballing me.

“It was a bad blunder for me to have signed off on that audit debt YOU ladies say I owe. I should have challenged you then, and it’s been eating at me ever since. And all of this horrible situation I am finding myself in right now flows directly from it. Therefore, let’s correct that problem.

“That tax bill you say I owe, that I’m paying you $550 a month for? Well, guess what: I ain’t paying it!

“As far as the fact that I signed a contract with you DOR people to make those payments — well, that “contract” was signed under duress, under threat of force, and any judge in the country, were they to be actually honest for a change, will tell you that such conditions void any such “contract.”

“Now, the sales taxes that I have collected since January, are a legitimate debt, so here’s what we’re going to do:

“(1) I will have, in your offices here by Friday, an honest and accurate assessment of my monthly owes on those already-collected-taxes, counting their late-payment penalties, January through July, 2019;

“(2) Those monthly returns will add up to somewhere around $3,000 or so, and I will begin applying my $550 payment I’ve been giving you for a debt I never owed to the payment of that legitimate tax bill instead;

“(3) Since the payments I have already given you were based on a null-and-void contract, I think it’s only fair that I now apply those previous payments, as return credits, to the debt I actually DO owe; don’t you?

“(4) Therefore, along with the rest, I will also be giving you an accounting of that credit application to the existing debt, and a payment plan of $550 per month until the remainder of that debt is settled in full.”

I stopped for breath and looked around. To say there were at least a couple of eyes as big as dinner plates would not be an overly-large exaggeration.

The boss behind the desk looked at me over her glasses. “Did you challenge your original audit?” she asked.

“No, I did not,” I replied. “The information arrived at was accurate enough, and — again — I was frozen by the fear of too many negative consequences, not to mention new and additional lawyer fees I had no resources for.”

She gestured for me to continue.

“So, ladies, this is exactly what you can expect from me: Total non-compliance. I will continue to exercise my rights to free association and free trade, just as I have been for years. I will continue to repair computers in this town, and I ain’t applying for any license in order to do it. And I sure as Hell ain’t asking you for your permission. Nor will I, from today forward, ever function as your unpaid tax collector ever again.

“You DOR people rely on your laws and your statutes and your government guns to cow people into line — and, for fear of aggressive governmental action, nearly all of us nod our heads and go along.

“You are about to find out, however — at least in regard to me — that you actually depend far more upon my voluntary cooperation and actions than you realize.

“And all of that voluntarism — my willful consent to your actions — just disappeared into the bit bucket. From now on, when we deal with one another, it will be at the point of your gun.

“If you DOR people think you have some kind of a “right” to take my money through government force — if you believe you have some kind of a “right” to coercively interfere with my rights to free association and free trade guaranteed to me by both the Declaration and the Constitution — then bring it on. Let’s see you break out your guns openly, for once. No longer will I help you disguise the true natures of your actions.

“Seize my bank accounts and come and arrest me. For that’s what it’s going to take to stop me. At this point, I completely REFUSE  to take part in, or sanction, your schemes of thuggery and control. Take whatever actions you deem necessary against me, but realize this: You’ll be needing force and you’ll be dragging me everywhere.”

I stopped again and looked around again. The boss had a clear look of disdain on her face as she looked at me. Crooking a finger towards her office door, she said: “OK, we’re done listening to you … Which means you can go now.”

Well, quite frankly, I was a bit surprised that I’d even gotten as far as I had. It was enough, nor did I need to wonder whether I’d made my points frightfully clear; they were echoed clearly on the faces before me.

“Make it a great day, ladies,” I said as I headed out the door.

OK, that might not be exactly what I said, word for word. Like I said, I was emotionally agitated. But it’s close enough. And that was the day I told the Wyoming DOR to go pound sand.

Next:Civil Disobedience Part II: A Potential Path Forward for Radical Liberty and Individualism.”

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He also blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email: bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on August 2, 2019.

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Apollo 11: The Triumph of the Human Mind

By Bradley Harrington

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 mission, as he stepped onto the Moon’s surface, July 20, 1969 —

TTP Column #5 Illustration -- Apollo 11 MontageVery well do I remember those words as Commander Armstrong uttered them, for — with thanks to the miracles of a beat-up black-and-white Magnavox TV — my Dad and I heard them with our very own ears, exactly 50 years ago to this very day.

 

Yep, that old Magnavox was all we needed to see the whole show. Which, since we had just moved to Detroit from Pasadena a few weeks earlier, we watched sitting on orange crates. Not that we noticed.

TTP Column #5 Illustration -- 'Have Space Suit -- Will Travel'I’d been following Project Apollo almost since I was old enough to read — or, at least, since I’d read Robert Heinlein’s “Have Space Suit — Will Travel” a couple of years earlier. Heinlein’s books, along with a host of other classics such as A.E. van Vogt’s “The Universe Maker” and Isaac Asimov’s “Pebble in the Sky,” had permanently warped my mind with a love of all things spatial and mathematical ever since, and I gobbled up Apollo the way most kids ate their breakfast cereal.

Nor was my generation alone in that regard — for it was the generations previous, the kids who had grown up on that kind of a reading diet as it was being published back in the 1940s and 1950s, who were responsible for this whole show to begin with.

 

TTP Column #5 Illustration -- Slipstick

A “slipstick,” i.e., a “slide rule,” i.e., a “mechanical analog computational device” that only a nerd would ever be caught dead with.

Those slipstick-headed kids (“slipstick” was slang for a slide-rule, the “mechanical analog computational device” us nerds used before calculators came along), you see, whose parents were busy telling them they were “escaping from reality” by reading such trash as man-on-the-moon stories, decided that those kinds of stories should be more than just science fiction.

So they went to college and they learned math and physics and astronomy and engineering — and a whole lot of them were just itching like crazy, craving like you wouldn’t believe, to get us into space.

 


So they went out and they got jobs at places like NASA and CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — and they started working on just those kinds of projects.

So, by the time JFK proposed, back in 1961, the goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth” by the end of decade, there was already an entire tier of bright, energetic, dedicated and extremely capable scientists and engineers right there, in place, to turn loose on that goal.

 


In this context, it doesn’t matter that the entire Apollo program was government-funded. (Should government be funding such projects? Only insofar as they relate to potential military applications; it certainly isn’t government’s job to determine the directions of scientific research or to establish control, via taxpayer dollars, over independent thought.)

But those slipstick-heads, you see, didn’t care about who was signing their paychecks. They had a mission and they tackled it with everything they had. They got it done and they put those rockets into space … And, a half-century ago today, those incredible mental efforts resulted in “the Eagle has landed.”

 


And, back in 1969, which I remember well enough because I was too young to be taking part in any of it, there was plenty of other competition for the news spotlight. The full force of the “1960s revolution” was in full swing by then, and we had all kinds of other things going on around us.

Militant “free speechers” were taking over university campuses; our soldiers, God bless their souls, were fighting a “war” in Vietnam they should never have been tasked with; inner-city riots had been sweeping both the Los Angeles we had just left as well as the Detroit we’d just moved to, for years; and orgiastic herds of hippies were all getting ready to descend their unwashed little bodies upon the Woodstock festival.

 


The magnificent energy of the Apollo 11 moon rocket blew right up and through all of that social noise like it wasn’t even there, as waves of light effortlessly sweep away the dark clouds before them. First as Apollo 11 lifted itself up into the heavens on top of a fiery arrow of crystallized logic — then as it landed two men onto the surface of another celestial body — there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who witnessed any of it: THIS was the triumph of the human mind.

Apollo 11, both physically and philosophically, was a tremendous beacon in the sky for anyone who could think: THIS is what’s possible to man on Earth when he chooses to USE, not abandon, his rational faculty.

So, why not continue those journeys, in both regards? Not only with the further development (through the private sector) of space flight, but on a much wider level as well … Imagine, if you will, that we might someday learn to apply the same principles of science and logic that worked so well for Apollo — only this time we do it to the way we organize ourselves socially and politically? For, now that another half-century’s come and gone, isn’t most of Earth still existing in the same sub-human squalor it was experiencing back when Apollo 11 flew overhead?

Don’t we need to fix that, too?

Ah, but that’s just another slipstick-headed dream …

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He also blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email: bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on July 20, 2019.

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Cheyenne’s “Economic Development Officer” Position Needs the Axe

By Bradley Harrington

“Growth requires four ingredients: Domestic private investment, sound money, private property and free markets.” — Mark Thorton, “The Ingredients of Economic Growth,” 2014 —

TTP Column #4 Illustration -- Cheyenne Business OwnerSince we’ve been discussing the “economic development” racket for the last few rants, what better place to land next than the City of Cheyenne’s own schemes in this arena?

And, trust me, when it comes to “economic development” and just how you should be taking care of your property, the city’s got plenty of schemes up its sleeves.

Consider the city’s new “Chief Economic Development Officer” position Mayor Orr just created, for instance:

“Brendan Ames … will join the city in January as her chief economic development officer, [Mayor] Orr announced in a Friday news release … He’ll make $90,000 per year …” (“Cheyenne hires real estate agent as economic development chief,”  “Wyoming Tribune Eagle,” Dec. 1, 2018.)

And just what does a “chief economic development officer” DO? We’ll let Mr. Ames tell you himself:

“He said his job is two-fold: Ensuring city planners are communicating with developers and being flexible on regulations — two qualities developers have criticized the city for lacking in the past — and following up with businesses interested in building in or expanding to the city, and connecting them with incentives and other resources.” (“Ames: Economic development in Cheyenne a ‘work in progess,’” the “Wyoming Tribune Eagle,” June 30.)

And, from Ms. Mayor: “Ames’ job is [to] make sure that the process is as streamlined as possible in that developers and business owners essentially have one person they need to (see to) get that work done.”

Hmmm … Let’s think about that first part for a minute or two:

■ Just how much “flexibility” does Mr. Ames possess, and have those duties of “flexibility” been objectively defined and delimited? Can Mr. Ames waive portions of the City’s Unified Development Code (UDC), for instance? And, if so, what determines how Mr. Ames will deal with one developer/property owner vs. another? His Lordly whim?

That’s a recipe for arbitrary and non-objective control if there ever was one, and it’s in complete violation of the most fundamental precept of American government we’ve got: That the laws deals with all of us equally. “Flexibility,” in this context, is just another word for the level of coercion Mr. Ames chooses to exert over the property of others.

■ If it’s now obvious that City Hall already possesses way too much power over the non-aggressive economic transactions of others (otherwise it wouldn’t be Mr. Ames’ job to be “flexible” in order to mitigate the negative consequences of it) — then why doesn’t the City just start abolishing all the nonsense out of its city code?

Nonsense like THIS, for instance:

Ground cover and non-tree landscape features. The sum of all ground cover and non-tree landscape feature points, as defined in Table 6-9 below, from ground cover and non-tree landscaping features used in the landscape must exceed the square footage of the required internal landscape area divided by 500.” (“Cheyenne UDC,” Section 6.3.4b.)

Whatever happened to the days when city governments made sure your buildings weren’t going to burn down and affect others, and had codes in place for those types of protections — but otherwise left property owners alone to develop their land as they see fit? NOW, we have the city telling us what types and quantities of vegetation our business properties require? Are you kidding me?

Garbage like this doesn’t need to be “flexible-ized,” Mr. Ames: It needs to be wiped off the books completely! Why don’t you get busy on that? Go through the entire 292 pages of the UDC and eliminate everything but safety violations. Trust me, you’ll have a much thinner document when you’re through (and a lot more “friendlier” of a business climate as well).

But then, who would need YOU and your “flexibility”? You’d have to go back to selling real estate for a living.

As for you, Mayor Orr: You don’t “streamline” things by adding TO them, you do it by TAKING THINGS AWAY.

It sounds like Mr. Ames is a pretty bright guy and I’m sure he’d be a major asset for any company to have that he might decide to go work for. From a strictly political/economic standpoint, however, his city position is nothing more than a $90,000-a-year dead weight around the necks of every Cheyenne taxpayer. Where’s the “growth” in that, other than government growth?

If you truly want to “streamline” things, Ms. Orr, I’d suggest that you sit next to Mr. Ames at the UDC table and just start hacking away. Get it done and get it in front of the council and get it pushed through.

Give THAT a try, Ms. Mayor — then we MIGHT start taking your “streamlining” attempts seriously, as something more than the political posturing and grandstanding they qualify as now.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He also blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email: bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on July 18, 2019, under the title of “City economic development officer is a waste of money.”

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Thomas Jefferson Spins While Government’s Gravy Train Rolls On

By Bradley Harrington

“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” — Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to William Ludlow,” 1824 —

TTP Column #3 Illustration -- Gravy TrainSo, after the Cody Labs crash-and-burn we discussed last week (“Cody Labs fascism collapses around our ears,” “Truth to Power,” July 6), you’d think Wyoming would learn a lesson or two about the dangers of economic interventionism.

If you thought that, however, you’d be wrong:

“Plans to develop a $17.8 million manufacturing plant in Cheyenne are moving forward … The Wyoming Business Council board on Thursday recommended the state approve a $9.35 million loan for the construction of an 80,000-square-foot biomedical facility on the city’s east side.” (“Business Council recommends $9.3M for Cheyenne manufacturing plant,” “Wyoming Tribune Eagle,” June 21.)

So, who’s the new “darling on the block” in the Business Council’s eyes? Who’s the next outfit in line for a ride on the government’s gravy train?

A California-based company named Innovive, “registered as WYTEC locally.” Innovive, it seems, is “working with economic development groups to design and build a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in the Cheyenne Business Parkway within two years. Cheyenne LEADS, which owns the business park, would sell the acreage to WYTEC.”

That should be sending off a volley of red flares, right there: Any company interested in honest production would simply buy the land, build the facility, open for business, earn its profits and be done with it.

Is it a shortage of capital? If so, and if Innovive’s proposed facility is such a great idea and truly does pose all the opportunities for “economic development” and “diversity” everyone says it does — then why wouldn’t a bank look to be making a tidy profit off such a low-risk loan?

The story does mention that “WYTEC’s bank  would put up $4 million,” but this proposed facility’s capital requirements are substantially more than that. Why won’t Innovive’s bank take it into the end zone? Or why couldn’t Innovive consort with another bank or banks for the remainder of the needed funds?

Instead, it’s a quest for a government handout. (Sure, such “loans” are supposed to be paid back. Tell that to the taxpayers, who are still awaiting their $2.5 million reimbursement for what the Business Council blew on the Cody Labs warehouse construction.)

So, for educational purposes only, let’s continue laying out the general outlines of the “economic development” game. So far, we’ve got:

The Looters — the Wyoming Business Council in this case, with their economically corrosive “programs” offering “grants” and “loans” to businesses as it deems appropriate, seeking to suspend the normal market operations of supply and demand;

The Moochers — Innovive/WYTEC, in this case, who sponge off “the system” and gain “profits” through force not production (to the extent their operations rely on such “revenue”);

The Facilitators — and, finally, you’ve got the “Good ‘Ole Boy Network” organizations, Cheyenne LEADS in this case, who operate in the background, serving to bring the first two groups together, while arranging tidy “profits” for themselves in that process.

And the news story itself gave away the clues on one way this last strategy can be made to work:

(1) Buy up a bunch of land; (2) Get government “economic development” funding (“the City of Cheyenne, Laramie County and the Cheyenne-Laramie Joint Powers Board”); and (3) Sell your land parcels, at greatly increased prices, to the companies you’re able to cajole into relocating here.

LEADS CEO Randy Brun and Company are laughing all the way to the bank! Who says there’s no money in “economic development” schemes?

And, to cap it all off, this constant back-and-forth “shell game” of “economic development” between all of these various factions is all made possible by one thing and one thing only: YOUR tax dollars being extracted from you by force.

YOU, Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer, have had both your money as well as your market choices robbed from you. By what right? By what standard?

If old Thomas Jefferson thought the sandwich and glass of milk offered up by his 1824 government was out of control, what do you think he’d think about the orgy of state smorgasbord pork we’re confronted with now? And how many revolutions per second is the old boy spinning in his grave?

Wyoming could actually be a leader amongst states when it comes to tax cuts, deregulation and property/contract protection, and such policies would result in instant consequences: Real jobs, real production and real economic development.

Instead, we’re supporting a bunch of taxpayer-funded economic hooliganism by means of a non-market system best described as fascist cronyism. And those policies too, Dear Reader, will have their consequences as well.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He also blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on July 11, 2019.

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Cody Labs Fascism Collapses Around Our Ears

By Bradley Harrington

“The essence of the interventionist policy is to take from one group to give to another. It is confiscation and distribution.” — Ludwig von Mises, “Human Action,” 1949 —

TTP Column #2 Illustration -- Economic InterventionSince we spent our introductory rant (“Getting Fired From the WTE — and Revving Up for Another Ride,” June 24) discussing, in part, the fascistic realities of government “economic development” schemes — “fascist” because they involve extensive state economic control without property nationalization — what better place to land immediately afterwards, than with the story of Cody Labs?

For those who might recall, “Less than two years ago, Cody Laboratories was home to 135 higher-paying jobs, planning a massive expansion and praised by local and state leaders as an example of how Wyoming could diversify its economy. But by the end of this summer, the pharmaceutical manufacturer will cease operations and close its doors.” (“Cody Labs to close, dozens being laid off,” “Casper Star Tribune,” June 16.)

For those who might not recall, however, there’s a bit more to it than that. Not once, not twice, but three times had come Cody Labs, hat in hand to the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB), looking for “free” government “economic development” money:

■ 2012 — $2.5 million — (“State Loan and Investment Board approves over $6 million in business ready grants,” www.wyomingbusiness.org, April 12, 2012);

■ 2016 — $11 million — (“SLIB approves $11 million for Cody Labs,” “Cody Enterprise,” Oct. 10, 2016);

■ 2017 — $12 million — (“Pharmaceutical company lands new state loan,” “Wyoming Tribune Eagle,” Oct. 6, 2017).

And the purpose of this $25.5 million orgy of taxpayer-funded foolishness? To “create jobs,” according to Cody Labs President Bernhard Opitz, who had said previously that the company’s goal was to spend “$50.5 million while creating 57 jobs.” (“Cody business seeks loan from state of Wyoming,” WTE, Oct. 2, 2017.)

So, now, consider this trio of taxpayer-funded SLIB loans that had been granted to Cody Labs. Formerly praised to the skies by everybody from the Mayor to the Governor as the greatest thing since sliced bread for Wyoming economic development, what does our crowd of “economic development” cheerleaders have to say now?  You can hear the crickets chirping up in Balcony C.

What happened to all the glitter, the jobs and the “economic diversity” promises, people? Wouldn’t NOW be a good time to discover how such a brilliantly-engineered spectacle of government intrusion transformed itself into a $25.5 million money-pit instead?

Well, to begin with, for anyone capable of simple long division, the numbers never added up in the first place. As I pointed out back then, “The taxpayers, allegedly, can expect to receive 57 jobs in return for having their pockets plundered to the tune of $23 million, which means: Each of those jobs costs $403,508.77.” (“Cody corporate ‘welfare’ fiasco: Fascist to the core,” WTE, Oct. 15, 2017.) Hardly what I’d call an engine of “jobs creation.”

And that’s the rub, Dear Readers, the “nature of the beast”: Even at their best, fascist “economic development” schemes are all losses right out of the gate. None of them can ever hope to produce an amount of wealth even equal to the size of the hole its seizure left behind.

And, in this case, things were decidedly not at their best, were they? Mix in a few multi-million-dollar lawsuits about price-fixing, then blend in a stiff downturn in demand due to the “opiod crisis,” and you’ve got … A guaranteed recipe for more loss and failure.

Significantly but not surprisingly, the local news outlet lamented the Cody Labs crash-and-burn — but, characteristically, it failed to understand the significance of their own words. In an editorial (also reprinted by the WTE  on June 25), the “Cody Enterprise” said:

“Businesses come and go. Some economic development projects are successful, some are not.” (“Loss of Cody Labs jobs is a blow,” www.codyenterprise.com, June 19.)

All of which completely misses the point: In a market economy, it’s the people who put up the money that either reap the rewards or pay the price, not some defenseless taxpayer being forced to fund government’s idea of what “economic development” should consist of.  

Let me repeat that, folks: This is YOUR money these schemes of thuggery and political power are being played with! Through the legal power to tax, it’s YOUR money that’s being taken from you through coercive action. You are not being asked whether these practices are acceptable to you, nor are you being asked who you think should be the beneficiary of your plundered dollars. No, you’re being forced, lied to and stolen from instead.

No true capitalist would ever dream of acquiring wealth in such a fashion. For the “economic development” fascists, however, it’s “business as usual” — and your ignorance of their games, Dear Reader, is the only limit they see in sight.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He also blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on July 6, 2019.

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Getting Fired From the WTE — and Revving Up for Another Ride

By Bradley Harrington

Editor’s Note: For those who’ve wondered about why I don’t run in the WTE any longer, read the rant below. Afterwards, I decided to take an extended writing break and focus on other things for awhile.

Now, however, the vacation’s up and it’s time to get back to work. Former WTE Executive Editor D.  Reed Eckhardt and I have teamed up together to launch a new blogsite, “Truth to Power” at www.bulldogwithteeth.blogspot.com, and this rant was my first contribution. (Yes, Reed and I hatched the blog idea together, but let’s give credit where it’s due: Reed first proposed it and Reed does all the work. I’m just there, basically, to fill the right-winger chair for liberty, individualism and capitalism (since it seems to be decidedly empty).)

Reed and I both want the blog to represent a diversity of opinion and to serve as a clearinghouse for comments on local society and government, and we want readers of all types to find at least a few things of interest there. I seriously believe that “Truth to Power” is shaping up to fulfill that objective — again, with many thanks to Reed and his hard work. Go check it out for yourself!

I’ll get around to fixing the other references I need to update on other portions of this blog over the next few days — and you, Dear Readers, can expect regular posts both here and at “Truth to Power” from this point forward, on a relatively weekly basis at minimum. So sit down, strap in and hang on for the ride! — BTH

********************

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.” — Frederick Douglass, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, American Slave,” 1845 —

TTP Column #1 Illustration -- The Soul of the WTESo, for those few of you Dear Readers out there who may have noticed my absence from the editorial pages of the “Wyoming Tribune Eagle” since last September, the explanation is quite  simple: I got fired.

Well, “fired” might not be the best word to use, as I was never an actual paid employee of the WTE — simply a free-lance commentator. But I was certainly told by Managing Editor Brian Martin, in a phone call a couple of days after my last WTE rant ran back on Sept. 2, 2018, that my words were no longer desired for WTE publication.

When I asked Brian about the reason for the termination, all he would tell me was that he had received a “large” number of complaints about my most recently-published columns, through both phone calls and email … And that, as a consequence, the item came up to a vote by the WTE’s Editorial Board. A vote which I lost.

“Did I misquote somebody, or get my facts wrong?” I asked Brian after he conveyed that information.

“No, nothing like that,” he said. “No one challenged your facts. They just basically expressed that they were tired of what you have to say.”

“No problem, Brian,” I told him. “If the WTE is not interested in my columns any longer, then that’s your right, as a private company, to make that choice.”

More than one person suggested to me, in the weeks immediately following the WTE’s decision, that by refusing to run my column in their newspaper any longer, the WTE was interfering with my First Amendment rights.

Sorry, but — while I appreciate the sentiments, I’d respectfully disagree. The First Amendment guarantees that we cannot be persecuted by government for our statements or beliefs — it does not mean that we have to be provided with newspaper commentary space, bull-horns or university lecterns by those who disagree with our views, nor does it mean we’re above being challenged on our statements. It means: Freedom from government persecution. PERIOD!! As a privately-owned company, the WTE can run anyone’s opinion as it sees fit … Or not. Finis. End of story. The “Big 30.”

Just because I’d never legally challenge the WTE’s right to run whatever commentary swill they find palatable, however, doesn’t mean that I don’t have thoughts about how those selections are made — nor does it take much imagination to figure out what actually happened behind the scenes regarding my weekly rants.

Consider, to begin with, as anyone who has ever read me regularly can attest to, that the fundamental thrust of all my columns has always been to combat government overreach, waste and ineptitude wherever it might be found, as well as to challenge government’s unconstitutional involvement in  the myriad sectors of our society and economy best left, in both reason and morality, to the workings of the free market.

Then, let’s add to the mix the fact that the most often-frequented target for my  exposés was: The “economic development” schemes always being hatched, presented and engineered by local “leaders,” whether they be attempts to force county taxpayers to fund “Children’s Museums” (shot down in 2016), for example, or the corporate-“welfare” handouts distributed by the Wyoming Business Council.

Such adventures are always cast in the light of “development” for our economy (“We created 13 jobs with this subsidy!”), but none of the proponents of such schemes ever tell us how they intend on producing wealth by stealing it first. Nor do they ever bother to explain the role in actual wealth-creation those forcibly-extracted tax dollars would have played had they been left alone to do their work in the private sector instead.

Then, let’s also point out that I spent most of the summer of 2018 beating up on all the political hacks running for the Wyoming governorship on the Republican ticket, most of whom claimed to be “free-market conservatives”  but most of whom were receiving a taxpayer-funded handout of one kind or another instead (such as now-Governor Mark Gordon’s USDA farm subsidies for his Merlin Ranch, for instance).

So, roll it all up together and what do you get? A lot of people, with both political and economic interests in maintaining and expanding government control over such “economic development” boondoggles, who wanted me to SHUT UP. Yep, I’m quite sure that the local “Good ‘Ole Boy Network” was “tired of what I had to say” alright!

So, do I have to be a fly on the wall to figure it out? No, at least a few of the GOBN got together, obviously, and decided to launch a complaint campaign against me. And, given the WTE’s spine status as that of a wet noodle, once such a “large” number of complaints were received, the WTE acted to excise my opinions from their pages.

Notice that no one bothered to actually pen a commentary themselves and refute, publicly, the facts I’ve always pointed out about such fascistic “economic development” schemes (schemes the WTE generally support editorially, by the way). No, that would require work, consistency and integrity, and the fascists would much rather simply shut me down instead.

(Sidebar: Remember, Dear Readers, that “fascism” is actually a precisely-defined word, not just a generalized name to call someone and hurl about, and what it actually means is: “a governmental system with strong centralized power, permitting no opposition or criticism, controlling all affairs of the nation (industrial, commercial, etc.) …”

Observe that Mussolini and the rest of his Italian fascists did NOT nationalize factories or advocate the abolition of private property … They merely controlled such property instead, manipulating the marketplace for their own ends with handouts to their boot-licking cronies and further controls on their enemies — and all of it paid for by prior plunderings of the productive members of the population they ruled.

So, to the extent to which our local “leaders” advocate the same type of “economic development” schemes for the same reasons, and act to fund them in exactly the same manner — well, then, they qualify as “fascists” as well.)

Well, to Brian Martin and the rest of the WTE’s Editorial Board, as well as the “economic development” fascists who decided they couldn’t tolerate my opinions any longer: Yes, you can silence my voice in the WTE, but that doesn’t alter the facts of reality by one atom or erg of energy. Your schemes still conflict with what’s real. You can’t take money you haven’t got from people at the point of a gun, then hand it out to your cronies, and then call that “economic growth.”

Even more telling, however, is the fact that instead of rebutting the charges I’ve made repeatedly over the years, which you are all apparently unable to do — you have simply sought to gag me instead. Operating on the epistemology of savages, who don’t worry about what they don’t see right in front of them, you people seem to think that muzzling my public voice means muzzling the facts of reality as well. Sorry, but that’s not the way the world operates; blank-outs never work.

Nor, speaking strictly now to the Editorial Board of the WTE, does your cave-to-so-called-public-opinion approach speak well for your journalistic integrity: Whatever happened to objectively analyzing the facts? Or to acting out on the media’s role as a watchdog over out-of-control government’s constant meddling in our lives? Rather than challenging such practices, you advocate and encourage them instead.

No, instead of courageously acting on such principles, you WTE folks prefer to declare that they don’t exist, or are irrelevant in our lives. When you could have stepped up to the plate and actually done your job, you chose to allow public opinion polls to become the barometer of your soul — a soul which now, in the words of Ayn Rand, is little more than a “shapeless piece of clay stamped by footprints going in all directions” (“Philosophy and Sense of Life,” 1966).

The WTE constantly claims that it supports a “diversity of viewpoints,” but firing me makes the reality clear: That “diversity” only occurs within the framework of the mixed-economy systems so prevalent in the United States today. Challenge that model, Dear Readers, and you’re in big trouble down at the WTE.

The surprise, quite frankly, is that I was allowed to rant in the WTE as long as I did. I’ve always known my approach to socio-politico-economic issues has flown in the face of both conventional “wisdom” and WTE editorial philosophy, so whatever run I was ever able to get away with was “good to go” with me … And I’ve always known that that ride would be cut off eventually.

Neither the Editorial Board of the WTE nor the local “economic development” fascists control this blog, however, so, Dear Readers, be on notice that — after a much-needed break — we’re about set to resume our exposés on government graft, manipulation and corruption. And you can just call that “doing the job the local news media refuses to do.” Are you people ready for another ride??

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on June 20,  2019, under the title of “Local Newspaper Tried to Gag Me. It Won’t Work.”

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