Tag Archives: Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs police win round one against socialists, convince local jury that free speech obstructs order.


CONVICTED! The March 26, 2017 arrests of socialist marchers finally came to trial last Friday. We were all found GUILTY! OF MARCHING! YES! Because that’s a crime in Colorado Springs. It’s disguised as a misdemeanor offense called “Obstruction.” On the other hand, all four defendants were acquitted of the more serious charge of Failure to Desist or Disperse, of which we were equally culpable, if you consider the police dispersal order lawful.

While a complete not-guilty verdict would have been more comforting, and of course just, the silver lining is that we can now appeal this decision to a higher court.

Appeal
Next time round, the judge’s prejudice, the prosecution’s dishonesty, the police misconduct, and the impropriety of applying an obstruction ordinance to curb protest, can be reviewed by adjudicators with more authority, whose decision can set legal precedence. Though appealing to higher wisdom in Trump’s America has become a crapshoot.

The kangaroo aspect of municipal courts does get tiresome. Our railroading was well oiled so our court scheduled only one day of trial. Six to ten officer testimonies, plus ours, plus the various surveillance and body-cam videos, seemed sure to expend more than a day. We played along, hoping to spare the charade no more time than it deserved.

We were also confident a jury could not fail to see through the preponderance of bullshit. Ours seemed a sympathetic jury with smiles and eye contact. They rolled their eyes at the police overreach. We sympathized with their having to upend their schedules to listen to the bullshit and so we wanted to hurry it along for their sake. We abbreviated our testimonies and our cross-examinations of the idiotic cops to spare the jury excess misery. At the same time we feared a contempt charge from the judge if our testimonies strayed into subjects the judge had forbidden us to mention to the jury. Like the Outrageous Governmental Misconduct.

Censored topics
The verdict should not have been a surprise. Earlier in the week the judge forbid defense attorneys from instructing the jury about the First Amendment. And so Friday’s jury had only to decide, were they out on the street or not? None of us disputed being in the street, which the prosecutors defined as obstructing traffic, therefore we were found guilty.

Judge Kristen Hoffecker’s rationale for eliminating the standard First Amendment jury instruction, and prohibiting defense lawyers uttering the phrase “First Amendment Rights” was because prosecutors argued the charge of obstruction had nothing to do with free speech. But what charge does? If a law overtly infringes on free speech, it would be held unconstitutional. As a result, police and city prosecutors use tangential offenses to criminalize protesting. Obstruction is a local favorite.

If police officers don’t understand the First Amendment enough not to violate it, and city lawyers don’t respect it enough to persist with prosecutions, and judges don’t know enough to throw out abusive charges, are we really to expect common citizens sitting in the jury box to know where they’re supposed to draw the line?

Obstruction
By chance I have some familiarity with the obstruction pretext. The prosecutor kept telling the jury that had we marched on the sidewalk, we would have avoided citations. Had she asked me directly, I could have answered: not true. I have frequently been threatened with arrest for OBSTRUCTING THE SIDEWALK. And there’s more to that story obviously.

Likewise, walking in the street is not the only way to be targeted with obstruction. I’ve been charged with obstruction IN A VEHICLE ON A STREET. Both examples happened at protests. Police can accuse you of obstruction, on the street or off.

Obstruction is be a legitimate violation of course. If you’re preventing someone driving by, in this example, or walking by, or a government function, or a commercial activity, etc. However, if the accusation of obstruction is the pretext to obstruct YOU from expressive activity, that’s an abuse of the ordinance.

An indication of such abuse might be if police allow others to do what they’re disallowing you, perhaps because of your ideology. In Colorado Springs, authorities have allowed numerous political marches on the street without arrests or threat of arrest. Some recent examples include #MeToo, the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, Anti-Fracking, Critical Mass, Occupy, to name demonstrations which have taken our downtown streets without arranging permits beforehand.

Those who’ve sought permits, by the way, learn they cost $7,000. Events have been cancelled for failing to fundraise the required fee. That very literally is not free speech.

Jail
Back on the stand, if I had been able to recount being charged with obstruction of a sidewalk, I could have emphasized I was JAILED for it.

Jail was another topic we were forbidden to broach. A jury is not supposed to consider the potential penalties to result from its verdict. Our jury had no inkling we could be jailed for our protest march. I say this because even our lawyers discounted its likelihood. But the first thing Judge Hoffecker did after dismissing the jury was to schedule all defendants for a Pre Sentencing Investigation. PSIs are unusual for misdemeanor convictions, though standard for felons, addicts and sex offenders.

The trial flaunted other indignities.

Objections
The jury pool from which we chose our jurors included an African American Teamster who spoke proudly of protest, even if it might block traffic. We wanted him on our jury and he was the only black person in the group. Naturally the city eliminated him first, without regard for the federal law which gives protected status to minority jurors. The judge repaired to her chambers and conjured another pretext to overrule our objection.

Two of our defendents exercised their Fifth Amendment right, not to testify, and as we all know, not to have that used against them. In her closing statement, our city prosecutor brought up the fact they’d chosen to avoid incriminating themselves. That’s a red letter all caps NO-NO which should produce a mistrial. Our judge ran to her chamber to consult the law (likely make a phone call) and reemerged steeled to shrug it off.

Lawful order
As I said, we were acquitted of Failure to Desist and Disperse. Most of us didn’t hear or understand the garbled commands which the police officers testified were lawful orders. Listening to the audio on the bodycam footage in court made it clear to me why those orders were not conveyed.

It turns out, instead of saying “This is Officer Keller with the Colorado Springs Police, I’m ordering you etc, etc”, the police were actually yelling “Get on the sidewalk! Get on the sidewalk!” We mistook them for hecklers responding to our chant of “Off the sidewalks! Into the streets!” And of course “Whose street? Our street!”

I didn’t hear the police barking at us on March 26, but I would recognize it now. I have since come to witness how police in their cruisers use their intercoms to communicate with the urban poor. They pull up on the homeless and from their cruisers dispense with all formality. “Get up! Stand up!” They yell to homeless not abiding by the new no-sitting ordinance. “Move it! Pick up your things!” They yell as they sweep the public parks and homeless encampments. Those apparently are lawful orders. If they say it twice, that counts as two warnings.

CSPD Intelligence doesn’t have much

Lt. Mark ComteCOLORADO SPRINGS, COLO- Like the term Military Intelligence, “police intelligence” is an oxymoron. At least that’s the old joke. Wednesday’s hearing about the CSPD’s undercover operation against the Colo. Springs Socialists reinforced the adage. The good news is that Metro VNI, that is, Vice Narcotics & Intelligence, doesn’t have much intelligence, as in smarts, haha, OR constructive data. The impetus of CSPD’s efforts to infiltrate local activists has been to track ANTIFA, a nefarious worldwide anti-fascist organization apparently. Lieutenant Mark Comte, who heads Metro-VNI, testified to what they know so far. ANTIFA members wear black and cover their faces. When protesters do that, they’re Antifa.

Springs municipal judge gives blessing to lucrative yet illegal I-25 speed trap.


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.- Local municipal court judge Matthew Ramirez was presented with evidence today that the city is operating an UNJUSTIFIED SPEED LIMIT TRAP in the construction zone at the intersection of Highway-24 and Interstate-25. Though drivers are regularly cited for exceeding a 30mph speed limit, the posted speed does not meet the 85% compliance rule, nor the “pedal test” for enforceable speed reductions. Both are characteristics of improper and legally unenforceable “speed traps”. Plus, it turns out, 30pmh is not even the minimum speed required to cross under I-25 before the traffic light turns red.

At 30pmh it takes a motorist 8.75 seconds to cross the intersection from West to East. But the traffic light allows only 2.75 seconds! No wonder drivers don’t want to slow down. Upon seeing the video, instead of calling traffic engineers to set appropriate speed restrictions and adjust the timings, Judge Ramirez instead put his stamp of approval on CSPD’s very lucrative speed trap.

YES, I got a speeding ticket. Haha. And yes, today I was found guilty. I’m not upset so much as disappointed that the judge made himself complicit with the city’s scheme.

I know that “speed trap” has come to designate anywhere that police monitor traffic speeds, sometimes in hiding, and issue tickets. But I’m not using the term in the general sense. “Speed trap” has a legal definition which describes a scenario where police are ticketing motorists who have been forced, by circumstances under the control of the police, to violate the law and thus become eligible to be asked to contribute to the local administration’s fee based tax. “Speed traps” are abuses by law enforcement to maximize citation revenues without having to come across and apprehend offenders operating autonomously to local fundraising schemes.

On August 31 of this year, I was clocked going 43mph in a 30mph construction zone. Except for a vague feeling that I had not been “speeding”, I had no intention of fighting the ticket. I support the enforcement of speed limits and I accept that being pulled over is more or less a random hazard of going with the flow. No objection. But my recent attendance at municipal cases brought against activists has meant a lot of time spent in courtrooms where I couldn’t help but notice that many, many drivers were being cited for the same ticket as me, crossing the same intersection, their fines doubled because it’s a construction zone, almost all of them taking a plea.

My decision to plead not guilty led to a fruitful survey of legal abuses perpetrated by our traffic courts; on the part of the city attorneys, on the part of the police officers, and on the part of the judges. It was worth the fight and I assure you it’s not over.

Hundreds, if possibly thousands, of motorists have been ticketed, and are still being ticketed, like I was. Unless they’re riding the brake as they approach the intersection, they are considered speeding. Often, hitting the brake at that approach means upsetting drivers around you impatient to build speed for the on-ramp or impatient to cross the long intersection. To slow to 30mph when surrounded by others causes you to “impede the flow of traffic”, which is itself a driving offense in Colorado. Yes, driving the speed limit, when it impedes speeders, is illegal because the disruption it causes is considered unsafe. A traffic instruction that causes a driver to commit a worse infraction is not enforceable.

Likewise, if you have to choose between maintaining your speed to cross an intersection legally, before the light turns red, or lingering in the middle at risk of colliding with cross traffic, the safest recourse is also clear.

Judge Ramirez rejected the necessity defense, which protects accused if their infraction is incurred while trying to avoid more hazardous violations. He did not find it troublesome that local drivers were being forced to decide between speeding or running a red light, knowing they could be punished in either case.

Colorado Springs traffic ticket revenues are relying heavily on drivers being fraudulently stopped and fined. At ten dollars per mile over the limit, doubled for the construction zone, the fines add up. These penalties are for driving the intuitive speed calculated by the engineers who designed the motorway, in this case also by the engineers who time the traffic lights to facilitate flow.

A FOIA request will probably reveal the revenue to number in the millions, coming from local citizens feeling wronged. And if they took their case to court, feeling further wronged by the unjust process.

To begin with, they won’t show you the evidence against you. And it gets worse from there. With just this case I’ve documented abuses to rival the ACLU’s condemnation of the corrupt court system of the Colorado town of Alamosa. Their chief judge resigned in disgrace.

Check back as I update this article to recount the unending duplicity of the city attorney’s office. Then there are the dishonest public safety managers. And the police officers who outright lie. Aided and abetted by judges who know better. It’s a long story and all the more ugly because it could happen to anyone. And if Judge Matthew Ramirez has his way it will happen to you.

Who is this El Paso Sheriffs undercover infiltrator provocateur? We don’t care!

El Paso County Sheriffs Undercover OperativeCOLO. SPRINGS– Lawyers for the city are fighting defense team efforts to expose who, how, when and why local law enforcement agencies infiltrated a campus political activist group. The 2017 undercover operation was revealed in CSPD bodycam videos, but city courthouse lawyers and judges are preventing the evidence from being made public.

Alerted to the October 17 evidentiary hearing meant to shed light on the bodycam video, journalists and news crews instead witnessed stonewalling by city attorneys but made to look like a disorganized defense. They saw municipal Judge Kristen Hoffecker blame the defendants for not submitting to a sham proceding, when the judge should have confessed that the defense’s subpoenas had not been honored.

Today the city learned that our defense team went around them and served the subpoenas directly, requiring the responsible law agency parties to testify as witnesses at an evidentiary hearing on November 3. Now the city wants to use a November 1 status hearing to quash the subpoenas.

What’s the big deal? The city asserts the confidential identity of its undercovers is a stake. That is of course the least of it.

The city’s own evidence against the defendants, accused of marching in the street on March 26, 2017, documents police officers deciding to issue tickets. What’s clear from the video is that the police issued tickets, not to cite wrongdoers, nor to halt law-breaking, but to 1) “identify everyone”, 2) arrest an undercover agent, and 3) disperse a lawful assembly. It’s all on tape.

When defendants first grasped what they were seeing on the bodycam video, they brought it to the attention of the various municipal court judges who take turns directing the daily court matters. Asked to produce the written reports generated by the officers on the video but missing from the discovery evidence, the judges declined. Asked to subpoena the officers involved, the judges declined. After each defendant’s pro se arguments were rebuffed, one motions hearing after the other, the defendants sought legal help. Actually Judge Hayden Kane II did eventually grant a hearing to look into the video, but he told us he’d already watched it in private and was not inclined to find it relevant, so defendants were not encouraged that his opinion would change.

In the meantime civil rights lawyers were highly interested in the police activity documented by the video. They submitted 20 pages of argument for the dismissal of charges against the defendants, citing outrageous police misconduct in violation of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 23. They requested that the sheriff, the police chief, the commander of CSPD intelligence, and others named and unnamed, be subpoenaed to testify at an evidentiary hearing on October 17. That didn’t happen, as everyone saw. The subpoenas didn’t even go out.

The October 17 hearing misfire was simply the latest of months of attempts by the defendants to bring this story to light.

This time around the city wasn’t given the chance to sit on the subpoenas, they’ve been served directly. On November 1, will Judge Hoffecker invalidate the subpoenas two days before the witnesses are compelled to appear? The question reporters can ask is should she?

The city’s argument will be that the police undercover operation, however illegal, does not have anything to do with the guilt or innocence of the socialists charged with marching in the street. Outrageous police misconduct is a matter for federal court, that’s true. But have a look at the video. Notice that the first marcher fingered for arrest, the only one assigned an arrest team, was the undercover “Mark Jackson.” When the police shouted their warning that all who remained in front of City Hall would be issued citations, their only unequivocable target was Jackson.

Without the motive of arresting Jackson, whether it was to provoke the crowd or to embed their infiltrator, and until the order “LT wants everyone identified”, the police weren’t going to make any arrests. What does that say about the supposed guilt of the accused?

The police had already told the socialists “you’re free to carry on with your rally so long as you don’t step back unto the street.”

What the socialists were doing on March 26 was the essence of protected speech. But senior officers not on the scene had a crime of their own up their sleeves, and they needed an arrest or two to set it into motion.

Should we get to the bottom of this story, or let the city pretend it didn’t happen until the defendants get to turn the tables in federal court?

One presumes that undercover agents are only performing the intelligence function of surveillance, monitoring protest activity for hints of criminal behavior. At worse, we call them agent provocateurs, trying to encourage illegality, and believe that everyday nonviolent activists should know better than to be entrapped into illegal acts.

But undercover officers are much more disruptive than that. Undercovers sow dischord and mistrust among strangers who’ve come together to advocate for a common cause. Infiltrators pit activists against each other and confound organizers with sabotage. They volunteer for responsibilities then drop the ball. They complicate discussions with irrelevant, impractical, or illegal suggestions. When their ideas are rejected they express frustration by demeaning their fellow participants for being unmotivated. When “Mark Jackson” was found out, and it took many weeks for everyone to become convinced he was an undercover, he berated everyone for every personal failing in the book. He accused individuals of paranoia, ineptitude, or lacking courage. “Get back to me when you decide you want to DO SOMETHING” were his parting words.

Police infiltration harms every citizen effort to organize. The Code of Federal Regulations mandates that police agencies have suspicion of real crime before embedding infiltrators.

If CSPD or the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office or the Department of Homeland Security or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has proof of a crime brewing among the Colorado Springs Socialists, wouldn’t we all benefit to know about it? We would if their motive is truly crime prevention.

The real identities of “Mark Jackson” and his partner “Aimee Walter” doesn’t matter at all. Who they work for is paramount. Are they “with the Sheriffs” or contracted or embedded from another agency? As the video shows, Jackson’s jittery hyperactive behavior while detained in the cruiser doesn’t give one much confidence about who law enforcement is entrusting with a loaded weapon in a crowd they hope to be inciting to riot.

The city’s determination to quash the question of whether or not such evidence exists points to police malfeasance, not the Socialists’.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Colorado Springs police infiltration operations against social justice activism should be brought to heel sooner rather than later.

OCTOBER 27 UPDATE:
According to Judge Hoffecker’s order: November 1st at 2:30pm will be the city’s next chance to quash the subpoenas. If they do not succeed, the evidentiary hearing is scheduled for November 3rd at 8:15am.

City plan to snuff socialist infiltration hearing blows up in courtroom’s face

El Paso County undercovers
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO– If you attended today’s evidentiary hearing about the police infiltration of a local student group, you are no doubt left wondering what happened. Where were the defendants and why was the judge so angry? The outcome was not what either side wanted, but still it was a huge false step for the city. The defense was not provided the police witnesses it requested, but the prosecution was prevented from quashing those subpoenas outright. As a truant co-defendant, I had a unique vantage point on today’s anticlimax and I apologize I was unable to explain it in person.

Today’s hearing, it turns out, was supposed to exclude the defendants. The review of evidence relating to the police infiltration operation was intended to happen outside of public view. The lawyers signed the setting slips, not the defendants, who were kept uninformed of the October 17 hearing. The judge had specified lawyers only, to keep the details and identities of the undercovers confidential.

Can courts exclude defendants from their own hearings? Not really, but anyway.

It turns out the judge wanted privacy because she had no intention of conducting the hearing at all. Without an audience to offend, this judge planned to summarily quash the defense motions to make police administrators testify and that would be the end of it. Objections be damned, let the lawyers take it up on appeal. Push this hot potato off a year or two.

However, through documents obtained directly from the courthouse, the defendants did learn about the hearing. So the defendants made plans to attend the hearing regardless of a judge’s preferences, and they publicized the event for what it promised to be, a scandalous exposé of CSPD intelligence overreach. Subpoenaed to testify were El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey, Lieutenant Mark Comte of the CSPD Intelligence Divison, and Sergeant Clayton Blackwell, among others.

Colorado Springs prosecutors did not inform the defense team that they had no intention of honoring those subpoenas. Instead they planned to motion to quash the subpoenas and truncate the hearing. The city attorneys did not file those motions beforehand nor give the defense any indication they were contesting the subpoenas.

I can only surmise that the city prosecutors began receiving calls from the media about the anticipated testimony of the sheriff and chief of police, because it wasn’t until late morning on the day of the hearing, after our press release went out, that the city emailed the defense team to say that “Sgt Blackwell is on vacation.” Blackwell wouldn’t be attending the hearing, they said, and by the way, his was the only subpoena delivered.

To which I imagine our legal team said: WTF?! Now we needed a hearing to learn why the city thought it could unilaterally decide to whom to deliver our subpoenas.

It’s one thing to disrespect the rights of defendants. Our municipal court does it ALL THE TIME. Everyday, sadly. In fact, it’s done it repeatedly to the very defendants in this case, before we got lawyers. But it’s quite another thing to trample on our rights when a civil rights attorney is involved.

If Blackwell was on vacation, the case needed a continuance. And if subpoenas were going to be quashed, we needed a motions hearing. Oddly, the judge was demanding our defense attorneys show up in person. To arrange a continuance?! Riiiiiight.

Our lawyers quickly let us know there was to be no hearing. Since the defendants weren’t supposed to attend today’s hearing anyway, we deemed it prudent not to attend the prosecution’s switcheroo. Without defendants, whatever the prosecution planned couldn’t proceed. Meanwhile the defense lawyers weren’t going to abide a Podunk Springs Judge Roy Bean throwing the law book out the window. If subpoenas aren’t going to be honored, you have to present the legal basis beforehand. Them’s the rules, Hayseeds.

So the courtroom audience, including journalists and media crews who had to leave their television cameras outside, were left to witness a Colorado Springs judge fuming at being out-thunk. The defense lawyers weren’t there to let her quash away with her gavel, without regard for the Colorado Rules of Proceedure, and the judge’s original scheme excluded the defendants so as a result there were no defendants present to accept her rulings. The judge could do nothing but seethe and lecture the audience about big lawyers disrespecting municipal courts. Nevermind that our courts are corrupt mechanisms that trample rights for breakfast. (The ACLU recently released a report damning Alamosa’s city courts: Justice Derailed. Believe me, the identical abuses of power occur in Colorado Springs.)

Nevermind too, what today’s court hearing was supposed to be about: Outrageous Conduct on the part of CSPD and EPCSO, and violations of the Code of Federal Conduct. Today’s defendants were arrested on March 26, 2017, but not for walking in the street. The socialists were arrested because the Intelligence Division wanted to “arrest” an undercover officer, maybe two, in order to give them deeper cover as they infiltrated a student-led group just formed in Colorado Springs. The CSPD body-cam video released to the defendants already proves this. We wanted the decision makers responsible to explain it.

Instead of a comedy of errors spotlighting local law enforcement ignoring the people’s Bill of Rights, the courtroom audience today saw another facet of our corrupt judicial system. They witnessed a judge prepared to ride roughshod over further rights that protect citizens from authoritarian zeal. You may not care how police abuse “socialists” but the whims of a municipal court despot affect everyone caught in their dragnet, be it a ticket or a zoning dispute. Even with an expensive lawyer, you are powerless to object when a judge pretends there are no rules.

What the judge saw today was a courtroom filled with supporters of the defendants and a media interested in their story. She saw that she and her gavel are not going to make this story go away.

Colo. Springs police disperse March 26 anti-imperialism rally because it was easier than listening to socialists

Colorado Springs Socialists
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- Local socialists assembled at City Hall on Sunday to “March Against Imperialism”. After a brief march and an half-hour rally while encircled by CSPD, the socialists were informed they were “free to carry on with their assembly” but whoever lingered would be issued a citation for having been in the street. Making no distinction for who had and who hadn’t, the police began handcuffing participants and the couple dozen others quickly dispersed. Five socialists were issued citations for “pedestrian in the highway” and “failure to disperse” while another was arrested and detained for failing to show an ID while filming the police. That person was taken to the downtown police station and held until officers finally informed her of the charges for which she was being cited, after which she identified herself. Throughout her detainment, multiple officers kept up a harassment of questions, refusing her requests that she contact her lawyer. CSPD never issued an order to disperse, a fact that is borne out by witness video. But in effect that is what the officers accomplished. They threatened the legal assembly with citations, for failure to disperse!

CSPD cruiser gunboat diplomacy

It made a funny scene. Around thirty self-declared socialists, blockaded by eight sometimes more CSPD cruisers, in a standoff that lasted until the police lost their patience. Socialists spoke against imperialism, the police officers being their main audience that quiet Sunday downtown. Immediately as the march had ended the police had announced that anyone stepping back into the street would be arrested, and so no one did. But a half-hour of speeches proved too much for the officers to bear and so they interjected again, this time to discuss the problem they had with what had happened earlier. We told those officers they were of course free to discuss such matters individually with whoever they considered a person of interest, BUT AFTERWARD, because they were otherwise interrupting our legal assembly. But the officers persisted in their interruption, deciding after the fact what charges to bring, regardless that they’d forgotten to provide the evidence to back them up. “See you in court” they laughed! We’ve heard that before.

On a serious note. What happened Sunday could have a chilling effect on the nascent kick-ass Colorado Springs Socialists. Unwarranted police attention is an unhappy tradition for socialist organizers, from anarchists to trade unions. Sunday’s denouement confirms all their parents’ worst worries, the folly of declaring yourself to be a socialist in a regressive backwater like Colorado Springs. People were arrested? Handcuffed?! Now you’re on a police watch list! I remember my father’s alarm when he learned his college sophmore had a subscription to Mother Jones Magazine.

Fun as it was, Sunday’s event was essentially uneventful: no altercations, no property damage, not even rhetoric to threaten infrastructure. Minus any media attention, or much of an audience at all on a sleepy Sunday evening, these socialists were determined to parade their dissent where and how those around could see, and reaped more law enforcement than the circumstances required.

While you might say the outcome was predictable, it needn’t have been. Students from the wealthier Colorado College have free range on downtown streets, protesting racism or election outcomes on the street without arrests or citations. Every full moon CC students ride the length of downtown’s main street on bike, skate or skateboard, without even police escort. Sunday’s fledgeling socialist organization is a student club of the UCCS campus. UCCS is more working class, for many a commuter campus, and obviously isn’t shown any deference by city administrators.

Compared to the liberal arts curriculum of Colorado College. UCCS is considered more conservative. UCCS hosts business and military related classes. It even has a Brazil-esque Department of Homeland Security -um- Department. So I think it’s all the more admirable that UCCS has spawned a bonafide socialist group that dwarfs even their school’s Young Republican franchise. I’ve no doubt those socialists I met on Sunday will not be cowed by CSPD’s preemptive aggressions. Hopefully their more timid members will take heart.

Public protests are regularly given use of the streets, which like parks are considered traditional free speech zones. The Tea Party and Occupy took to the streets of Colorado Springs without incurring arrests. More recently people have marched for Black Lives Matter and for solidarity with Native Americans fighting oil pipelines. These have produced zero arrests.

In the meantime it will be important to debrief on what happened and unify the legal strategies. All defendants face the traffic offense of being a pedestrian on the highway [sic] and the misdemeanor of failure to disperse, no doubt tacked on to be a droppable charge as fodder for plea bargains. The recalcitrant videographer faces an added charge of misdemeanor interference for failing to produce her ID. They give her no extra credit for providing a pretext for interrogation because she wouldn’t say zilch without a lawyer present, except to explain where and when they were violating her rights. It used to be that cops had to read us our rights.

Police can issue all the tickets they want when there’s probable cause. They can’t threaten to issue tickets for the solitary purpose of disbanding a legal assembly. In the end, the only socialists who got citations were punished not for being in the street but for standing their ground in front of City Hall.

Two arrested at Colorado Springs bank, asking Wells Fargo to divest from DAPL

Water Protectors Jerima King and Karyna
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO- Water Protectors Jerima King (on left) and Karyna Lemus were arrested inside a downtown bank on Friday while trying to convey a message to Wells Fargo Bank to divest its interest in Energy Transfer’s controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Protesters were denied entry into the Wells Fargo main location but marched to a nearby branch and entered its lobby before police were called. Several dozen Springs activists participated in coordination with protests at Wells Fargo banks across the country.

Protest outside Wells Fargo Bank
The bank doors were locked against the Water Protectors, who’d been asked to act in support of the Standing Rock encampment which is actively trying to block the construction.

Police threatening sitters with arrest
CSPD officers emerge to warn protesters that those who remain seated will be arrested. Before the protest had even begun, a CSPD paddy wagon was parked on the sidewalk next to the bank, to intimidate the activists. Earlier police officers circulated to tell everyone that they’d be allowed to enter, and be arrested if they wish. The police said they’d seen Facebook references to the desire to be arrested. They wanted to know specifics of what to expect to ensure that no one would have to be hurt getting arrested.

When the group tried to enter, the same officers blocked our way. They said “you can’t come in.” When I disagreed and pushed past them, they physically ejected me out the door. Then commanded me to rebove my foot from holding the door ajar.

So much for the pre-arrangements touted by those protesters who’d taken their council. Since there was no gameplan to discuss, meaning there was no way to tell the police what to expect, the police were effectively disseminating the warning that being arrested unpredictably would mean getting hurt. And there was never an intention to allow the demonstrators to enter the bank atrium, no matter how peaceful.

Jerima King and Karyna told they faced arrestThe new CSPD warning was conveyed to Karyna and Jerima. But everyone remained, whether seated or standing.

After a brief rally at the front door. The water protectors discussed visiting a Wells Fargo branch four blocks to the south. Over the bullhorn we feigned disbanding, thanking everyone for joining in, then going to our cars. Except we appeared to have left our cars, all of them, in the same direction. CSPD did not take note and we were able to reach the branch location and enter its lobby.


There was not room enough for everyone in the tiny lobby. Note the bullhorn.


Officers arrest the two water protectors who stayed behind after the bank employees locked the doors.


Water Protector Jerima King is led out in handcuffs.


El Paso County Green Party upstart Karyna Lemus is taken in handcuffs.


Arrestees were taken to CSPD HQ in a police van.

The History of Violent Protest in Colorado Springs, in a Nutshell.

JesusGET THIS. I heard a reverend-person yesterday lecturing newish activists about their need for nonviolence training, which she was volunteering to lead. She was also offering rubber wristbands for her graduates to wear at demonstrations, so that police could differentiate between protesters. She told us she’d ask officers to scrutinize those not wearing bands as being the potential troublemakers. This, she assured everyone, would make it more difficult for outside groups to waylay the action. I kid you not. And she’s a church leader praised locally as something of an activist! HA! That’s a RAT!
 
I recognized the Springs “outsider” buggaboo so I thought I’d relate where it came from in a little piece I’ll call The History of Violent Protest in Colorado Springs. Ready? It won’t take long.

So what violence have I seen in my fairly full-time participation over a dozen years, multiple wars and as many elections? ZERO. That’s right. I’ve seen a lot of brutal handling by police, but by the hands of protesters? Nothing.

Yep. The History of Violent Protest in Colorado Springs. The End.

For as much as local church leaders harp on nonviolence training, which includes, by the way, nonviolence bounderies that forbid even confrontational speech, you’d think they’d seen a need for it. They haven’t. For EVERY preacher and or disciple regurgitating nonviolence edicts, I’ve never seen ONE counterpart advocate for, nor commit, violence. It’s almost a laugh, if the practice wasn’t so damaging to public demonstrations. Colorado Springs street protests have been defanged to nothing, police needn’t bother to show up and they don’t. As a result, neither do protesters.

And it isn’t just that nonviolence dogma declaws the public beast. Religifying activism alienates intellectuals and atheists who woud prefer not to suffer the foolish god-justified claptrap. Monotheism is the engine which has always perpetuated privilege, enslavement, colonization and capitalism. Wtf.

Not satisfied to deputize citizens with the equivalent of TSA pre-boarding approval, clergy want to deprive their charges of the element of surprise. The Springs antiwar community keeps direct contact with law enforcement. I’m guessing protestations, if any, are now simply phoned in.

I JUST WANT TO PUNCH these nonviolence religion freaks for mutilating the impetus of budding activists. A newcomer’s anger is what drew them to protest in the first place. Of course as ministers that is their function. Social injustice is job security to church employees. They are about as likely to remedy inequity as the Pope. Sermons aim to temper their sheep’s natural anger at injustice. But enough about those assholes.

No matter the issue, antiwar, the environment, racism, homelessness, in Colorado Springs I’ve seen absolutely no public demonstration escalate to violence. Why then the ready queue of spiritual nuts so eager to innoculate every next wave of concerned citizen before they can even take to the street? It goes back to something that happened at an antiwar demonstration in 2003, although the lesson being drawn is not based on what really happened. That’s the bugaboo.

Palmer Park, 2003
In 2003 George W. Bush was about to initiate an illegal war against Iraq and public demonstrations were coordinated across the globe. In Colorado Springs nearly 2,000 people assembled in Palmer Park along Academy Boulevard. The Springs rally looked to eclipse the antiwar events planned in Denver, so some people came from Denver, or so it’s believed. In reality, the Springs antiwar community had an average age of 75 and hadn’t seen new faces for decades. The sight of younger participants led many to believe they were from elsewhere. Plus some of the younger protesters wore black, so word spread they were Anarchists. Scary.

For the usual reasons, the CSPD decided to close Academy Boulevard. When rally-goers realized their protest wasn’t being seen because motorists were no longer driving by, some decided to lead the crowds southward toward an intersection where traffic was still passing. Being that Academy Boulevard was cleared of cars, the most obvious route was on the street. There was no sidewalk and the park was congested with the parked cars of the attendees. No matter. The police formed a line and ordered the marchers back.

The police began to spray tear gas as the protesters retreated. Clouds of gas enveloped the crowds as they dispersed and struggled to get in their cars. The cars were gased with families and small children inside them, unable to drive away.

Across the globe that day, only two cities used tear gas against their antiwar protests: Athens and Colorado Springs. That’s how old timers like to tell the story. They’ll add that the police crackdown was prompted by unruly outsiders being violent with police. By which they mean, refusing to get off the street. Being assertive of one’s rights somehow became translated to mean impermissively violent.

Had these Emily Posts ever seen the footage of Selma?! These nonviolence sticklers are MLK idolators, yet just like Selma’s whites, they blame the victim.


Palmer Park, 2003

Protests in Colorado Springs immediately diminished in popularity and never again drew large numbers. Apparently when organizers called their members the apprehension was always “will it be safe?”

And so from that day, nuns and other clergy met regularly with Colorado Springs police to talk to them about protest plans, lest CSPD be surprised and overreact. That hasn’t stopped police from dragging us across streets or assaulting us in parking lots or on sidewalks. Oh to have merited it even once!

NOTE: I have omitted a couple of insider details about the 2003 rally because I wanted to relate the experience of the average participant. Yes, the event was advertized statewide and drew opponents of Bush’s war from along the Front Range. And yes, there was a strategy among frontline protesters to try to block an intersection. Most attendees didn’t know either of these facts. The local peace community was so insular that all new faces were looked upon as interlopers. But my point remains, there was no violence. Our freedom to assemble, wherever two thousand people need to go, is not abriged by congress nor by traffic laws. Rebuffing law enforcement’s attempt to disrespect civil liberties by standing, walking, sitting, or shouting, is not violence.

St Patricks Day, 2007

Nonviolently submitting to state violence is supposed to move onlookers to empathy. In 2007, was the Colorado Springs public moved by the police brutalization of nonviolent 70-yr-old Elizabeth Fineron, who later died of complications of her injuries? No, they cheered the police.

Sacrificing yourself may work in democracies with an empowered populace, but against fascism, as against the Mongols or Manifest Destiny, it’s abrogation of responsibility and suicide.

Nonviolence
Incorporating the dogma of “nonviolence” into what would otherwise be straightforward protest becomes problematic when nonviolence folks want to differentiate themselves. Those who are “othered” are then presumed to be planning violence. That’s a very serious charge. Inciting a riot is a crime. Plotting to overthrow a democracy is sedition.

Non-nonviolence does not equal intending-violence. For example, I do not advocate violence, I advocate solidarity.

I do not oppose people asking for NV training, or undertaking it, though I would prefer that nonviolence wasn’t marketed to newcomers who wouldn’t have thought to have needed it.

Why should “nonviolence” even have to come up, for example, at a discussion about a SIT-IN? Agreeing to sit is already a gesture which has capitulated the option to resist. A crowd can’t charge from the seated position. You can’t even defend yourself. The nonviolence is inherent.

Religious NV training is really about nonviolent communication, a whole other can of rotten worms. There is no evidence that Gandhi, MLK or the Flint factory sit-ins practiced that aberration.

If the challenge is to show public opposition to the sit-lie ordinance because it further oppresses the homeless, public energies need not be exhausted by habitually passive religious leaders and their idea of what direct action needs to be.

Yes, the anticipation of the supremacy of nonviolence over state violence is a religious expectation. Against fascism you’re asking for a miracle.

If preachers were activists they would lead their flocks into the street. Circulating among activists, those church leaders are opportunistic missionaries, looking for recruits among the disenchanted.

To be earnestly inclusive of faiths and non-faiths, leave you diety at home. Show respect for the “others” who don’t need the voodoo rationalizations you require to muster moral courage.

Pikes Peak Community College teaches climate denial to meteorology students


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.- Overheard on FM 89.9, PPCC’s radio station: a spot for the General Meteorology Course MET-150, where students can learn about the earth’s cyclic temperature rises, how after this year warming is expected to level off, and how 99% of world scientists are dissatified with the way Climate Change is being reported in the media. Here the statistic is reinterpreted to mean: scientists agree with PPCC students and Springs radio listeners, and think our worries are overblown.

Springs mantra: Enough with COStupid

Colorado Springs City Council
Forget “I HEART COS”, our long-overdue bumpersticker is “Enough with Stupid!” If you think that’s rude and won’t win hearts and minds however pea-brained they are, this isn’t about convincing elected officials about climate change. Their positions are dictated by the coal industry that financed them. This game is called PULL THE DONKEY BY THE EARS!

April 7th, Let Us All Set Colorado Springs on Fire!

— Local selections are coming up, and we shall see an obscenity take place once again as local Colorado Springs …ugh.. ‘pragmatists’ move into inaction in mass. YES! -We know their game plan here, as it will be ‘voting for the supposed lesser of 2 evils’ time once again for America’s most clueless political lemmings. The Democratic Party morons who always call themselves ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ will be voting for who they see as the lesser of evils in our beloved Fort Springs. And who will that be? LMAO at their idiocy…. It will be for a registered Republican! It’s just so very very ironic really….

OK…OK… Nationally last time they voted for a Clintonite fake-o called Barracks O’bombs-away, who is actually Republican in policies covertly, while being gliberal overtly…yada yada yada and vomit ola… But here at home these same fools, who always think of themselves as being ‘liberals’, ‘pragmatists’, and ‘progressives’ are actually planning to vote for a registered Republican this time, all because her last name is ‘Makepeace’. Myself, I would favor this woman becoming an honest lady and changing her name to Mary Lou ‘Do-nothing’ instead. But that simply will not happen, I am absolutely sure it won’t. It just won’t /// Honesty really takes place very seldom in politics.

So what is all this about setting Colorado Springs on fire come April 7th? Well it is quite simple actually. Fed up with a life time of personally repeatedly observing our phony pretend ‘democracy’ and pretend ‘elections’ in the US, always always totally totally manipulated completely completely by Big Corporate Money, I will be personally setting myself on fire election day, April 7, in front of the municipal bldg, downtown. And you know what? You can too! In fact the more of us who do so, the more we will be talking ‘truth to power’ and also making a low cost light show ahead of the annual Fourth Of The Same Old Bullshit celebrations coming up soon. It’s not really ‘protest’… It’s direct participation in our fabled Democratic system here in Unthinking Shitards of Assholelandia…. USA! USA! USA!! Let us showcase our great land! Fire it up!

So show your patriotism and light up the city this election day! A hundred of us setting ourselves on fire all at one time, would make the world notice just how democratic our beloved USA really really is! So go to it, Patriots! Light up the deep dark night of the US of A! Snoring away and ‘voting’ for ‘Do-nothing’ will do absolutely nothing.

Office of Colorado Springs N.A.A.C.P. bombed for some reason but whose?

NAACP office in Colorado Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- Someone tried to firebomb the Springs office of the NAACP yesterday. A pipebomb failed to ignite a can of gasoline left leaning behind the building located in Hillside, the city’s traditionally African American community. The FBI claims to be interested in a white male with a beat up pickup truck. Across the state activists are alarmed at the subdued media response and lack of outrage. I’d like to explain why this bomb, a typical racist MO, has yet to resonate here.

Colorado Springs is a cesspool of racism and institutionalized Jim Crow, but as usual the drama is complicated and local minority leaders are hesitant to point the finger. As befits the Springs’ conservative nature, the local NAACP is headed by a card-carrying member of the TEA PARTY! You heard that right! For a decade this NAACP chapter has been estranged from its black community, mostly poor and neither elitist nor libertarian. Dr. James Tucker, publisher of the African American Voice, accuses this NAACP of complacency, malfeasance and worse. He claims they are under investigation so it’s hard to predict whose interests might be served by torching the office.

I’m certainly not suggesting that Colorado Springs bigots are not also too stupid to attack an ineffectual organization, but taking the high road means profiting from no accusation until the facts are in.

Outsiders may want to protest, but locals also don’t want to be mistaken for supporting this chapter, which has actively de-escalated calls for solidarity with Ferguson. Actually the national NAACP too deployed counter-insurgency tactics to calm the Ferguson rebellion.

Whether yesterday’s bombing was authentic or not, we don’t need to get to the bottom of it before repudiating the usual pattern of racist acts of domestic terrorism against colored institutions. Of course we must also protest that the corporate media looks the other way. But let’s not get distracted from figuring out that today’s N.A.A.C.P. has no Association with the Advancement of Colored People unless they’re bourgeois.

TEDx comes to Dumbville, or, Colorado Springs reads Horton Hears a How

COLO. SPRINGS- TED-TalksTM likes to say it offers “a spa for your brain” and when I saw that an X-variant was coming to Colorado Springs (“TEDx”s are unaffiliated affiliates. Yeah, uh-oh.) I wondered if a spa might only be as good as its mineral water. Or its mud, or masseurs, whatever. Yes, I foresaw the inevitability of Dumbass Springs confirming its nature, but the lure of a train wreck was strong. I confess my expectations were lower still because incessent shared posts on Facebook have inoculated me with an aversion to the TED motivational formula, no matter the click-bait hyperbole they are AHA-moments For Dummies.

Typically a TED theme holds water for about as long as it takes to incubate a viral meme, but I wondered if in unedited presentation form, do they permit the scrutiny of live input from the audience? They are popular after all. A complementary pass offered the chance to see, and our local franchise had sold out. Could I gag the reflex of skepticism about TED’s curated plethora of inspirational vehicles? To my mind they never fail to carry water (Let’s cross the metaphors) for the neoliberal false-Left, its outside-of-the-box thinkers never truly asserting a POV remote from Capital’s doomed ship whose last exertions mimick being radically progressive enough to impersonate credibility, cross fingers spark hope. TED’s appearance of being crowd-sourced has already been eroded by its gatekeeping against populist lay disciplines. Its novelty was its social media distribution model, otherwise TED is merely another consent-manufacturing think tank of unchanged spots for the pedestrian academic. Will a local TEDx event outsource its attractions or will it local-source from luminary wattage? I ask because our backwater tradition is to elevate dimbulbs. When we mob Ticketmaster it’s for star talent of our ilk. Upcoming exhibit A: Dennis Miller. Ok TED, a full report to follow.

Will Act of God close Drake coal plant?

Colorado Springs Drake Power Plant
[FULL TEXT OF LETTER SUBMITTED TO CS INDEPENDENT MAY 14] Two years ago Colorado Springs lost 346 homes to the Waldo Canyon fire which precipitated floods expected to haunt the westside and Manitou for years to come.

The next year saw a wildfire in Black Forest that took an unprecedented 500 homes. That’s unprecedented for Colorado, although with global warming it’s certainly a portent of cataclysms to follow.

You’d think two fires in a row might have motivated city leaders to seize the chance to act on climate change, and not just symbolically. By coincidence Colorado Springs Utilities had been equivocating about whether to reinvest in an aging coal-fired power plant located in the center of town.

Imagine how we might have redeemed our city’s national reputation if Colorado Springs had announced a decision to close the Drake coal plant, prompted by wild fires to reduce the burning of fossil fuels! Instead the utilities board laid out only long term options, most to sustain Drake, and only one which included a token investment in renewable energy.

This year saw another coincidence. This is of course conjecture on my part. Seeing his two previous acts unheeded, local favorite God surprised everyone with a third fire where Colorado Springs backward thinkers would be sure to get the point. Last week the Drake coal plant itself caught fire, certainly the least expected and most poetic of global warming victims.

We’re told it’s going to take over a billion dollars to bring Drake back online. I’ve got an idea and I’m not even religious. LET’S CLOSE IT! Let’s spend that billion on a solar array or a wind farm! Naysayers should be ashamed to pretend we don’t have a plentitude of both.

It’s too late to convince the world we’re brilliant, let’s show we’re not idiots. The collective decision to act on climate change begins at home if you have a publicly owned coal-fired power plant. Communities across the world have stopped burning coal, are we with them or against them?

The Drake coal plant didn’t just spew carbon, its emissions included lots of toxins we were forced to breath. Heart disease and asthma were two measurable harms which any doctor could attribute to Drake, scrubbers or no scrubbers. The coal ash accumulating south of town is another threat altogether, of which the recent ash spill in North Carolina serves as a heartbreaking warning.

Even if we reinvest a billion in Drake, we have several months of clean air and cleaner consciences to think more clearly about it. This summer America the Beautiful Park will be the healthiest it’s been in fifty years, when the old “cloud-maker” got its start.

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be a shame not put every next penny into renewable, sustainable, healthy energy, starting with this first billion?

I’d like to think people can decide to save the environment for their own health and for their children, but if it takes an Act of God to close Drake, so be it.

While Denver activists hold six rallies in solidarity with Gaza, Colorado Springs is content to mourn the dead

cos-gaza-vigil-nmt
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.- A passing motorist can be excused for mistaking that gathering for a prayer vigil, and it’s typical of Colorado Springs, nothing escapes the Christian crutch. Notice how no one’s banners faced outward. This is what preaching to the choir looks like for the hearing impaired.

Will Colo. Springs raise energy bills by 3% to give 50% raise to utilities CEO?

COLORADO SPRINGS residents are left to wonder what kind of leverage the public utilities CEO holds over his board of directors. City Council wants to raise Jerry Forte’s salary to half a million in spite of the coal-black hole in which he put the city’s energy portfolio. They won’t consider investing in renewables lest it bump utility rates by 1%, put they will raise the rates by 3% to resolve a payables problem, austensibly, (They want to act quick while higher winter usage means the rate hike will yield more) and I guess for the CEO’s raise.

City For Champions? Colorado Springs is city of blood-doping Olympian cheats

Colorado Springs is not home to an Olympic Training Center because of our competitive nature, proclivity for classic games, nor certainly athletic bloodlines — it’s our high altitude that draws athletes in training so they’ll hit the games with a competitive advantage against the majority of teams stuck at sea level. Boosters who look to promote the city’s Olympic identity ought maybe admit its true character before taking for granted that people want to celebrate it.

Springs Democrats hope democracy loses to State Senator John Morse

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- International news headlines read “G-20 Summit Overshadowed by Syrian Crisis” but not in Colorado Springs! Here every politically active Democrat was working to defeat a recall of state senate leader John Morse, a democrat though barely. Morse is a duly elected, if unlikely, representative of conservative El Paso County, being assailed by a mutinous GOP majority angered by his stewarding of gun control legislation. The NRA has backed a blitzkrieg recall campaign, aided by local Republican officials and judges who connived election parameters designed to coax a recall victory. But who’s on the side of right, presumably with the people?

Democrats are crying foul. They’re cursing corporate money and lobbyist-villain NRA, complaining that recalls shouldn’t be motivated by ideological reasons. Really? Are recalls only for impropriety? I’d prefer corruption be answered with criminal charges, and scandal should produce resignations. I’d say ideology would be the most appropriate reason for a recall, especially if it’s about a difference of opinion about the idea of representational government.

Ironically, the underdog’s usual complaint is that incumbents are always impossible to unseat, even when they act in total defiance of their constituents. Don’t you hate that? The irony is compounded because no one will deny that the overwhelming majority in these neighborhoods oppose any abridgement of the Second Amendment right to wave guns. Senator Morse acted in defiance of that interest. Undemocratic, is what he was, as his critics accuse.

We like to vilify the NRA as the worst of special interest lobbies, but one can’t accuse them of being corporate, they’re famously supported by members! The NRA is probably the single MOST democratic of lobbying outfits. The fact that the corporate media loves to demonize the NRA should give one pause about who’s looking after who.

What’s very odd is that the NRA-backed Republicans are targeting a term-limited Democrat who has only a year left in office. What’s that about? Pundits speculate that an NRA win would be symbolic, so it’s worth the money they’re spending. Maybe. It certainly will reinforce the corporate narrative that legislators daren’t cross the NRA. How convenient.

But the recall campaign, a national story now, is not so mysterious if you think about the Kabuki nature of our two party theater. The defense campaign contrived for Senator Morse is a disquietingly artificial shade for grassroots. Against “People Against Morse” the Democrats countered with: “A Whole Lot of People For Morse”, which is certainly a catchy slogan for a politician looking to highten his visibility for a run at a next office, but for locals it lacks the ring of authenticity. What viewers outside the area don’t know is that John Morse has been a superlatively minor functionary, with a reputation for backstabbing more than leading, and certainly no one to bother defending or applauding, even if his name came up, which it rarely did.

Before this recall, people hadn’t cared enough to even think about John Morse, except to spout the usual lesser of evils rap, when there is consensus, it’s that Morse isn’t the creepiest person they knew, depending on who you asked. Now the louse has “a whole lot of people” behind him, how odd. That’s a whole lot of people who don’t care that Morse misrepresented his district, who don’t care that he’s been a war-monger right-of-center pro-industry shill. Because he’s of their party, Democrats want to propel Morse upward. And this is how malignant anti-democratic corporate bureaucrats roll into power.

To judge by the press, and the surge of effort to combat the recall effort, it appears John Morse does have “a whole lot” of support. Propaganda and amnesia.

If the recall succeeds, Americans will be shown that money does influence elections and special interest groups are adversaries to be feared. Sounds like an honest lesson. If the recall succeeds, the displeasure of the gun-loving voters of Colorado Springs will have been heard. If the recall fails, you’ll have Democrats unironically cheering against what Democracy is supposed to look like. In either event, John Morse comes out looking like somebody likes him, and that’s a step in the wrong direction for those of us without a political machine.

Prince Harry displays British hypocracy to uneducated Colorado warmongers

Prince HarryWant to know where you can find Prince Harry on his war cheerleading US tour? Half of it is in Colorado. On Friday he’ll be at a UK Consul-General’s reception at the private Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia. Between Denver and Castle Rock, that’s the Castle Pines exit off of I-25. He’s staying overnight in Colorado Springs and leads the opening ceremonies of the Warrior Games at the US Olympic Training Center at Union and Uintah. He concludes his Colorado visit on Sunday at the Air Force Academy on Sunday before flying east for a polo match. How unseemly for American media to be fawning over a British royal, and what a slap in the face for Colorado Springs Tea Partiers, if they weren’t so uniformly stupid, to celebrate a monarch for which they claim so much credit for having expelled. Nathan Hale would have hung a second time and a third and forth presumably to have had the chance to show smug twits like Prince Harry the door. Harry pretends to continue the work of his mother Lady Diana, ridding the world of land mines, yet how much credit does he get when he advocates for their root cause, war?

My impatience with not so anti frackers

I’d tell you I’ve had it up to here with moderate turncoats, but of late I’ve resolved to keep them well underfoot. Take the local fight against FRACKING.
 
We’ve built a pretty determined group of fractivists in Colorado Springs, with healthy allies statewide, and in the interest of growth began to make alliances with less hardy participants who have unseemly strong opinions considering their otherwise unproven skills, stamina, and motives. Their most common denominator however is that they do not hold firmly oppositional positions to the oil & gas industry; they consider themselves more diplomatic than radical which by their own assumption will prove more successful. Except, no.

The conviction of moderates is so strong that they compromise not one iota, and isn’t it the same with every political issue? The centrists rule the roost, blind to the fact that their promises deliver absolutely nothing, every time. Yet their goals always look more attainable because they’re “reasonable.” Fuck ’em. Maybe they don’t even know it but they serve to preserve things as they are.

Some of these types appear highly effective in their personal affairs and so reach positions of influence in activist circles, ironically because they have gained a lot of that experience running in place. Some of them are professional, they’re paid whether they get anywhere or not, and it’s not difficult to deduce that their jobs are gone if the mission is accomplished. It’s also not beyond the pale that some are obstructionist, by nature or contract, but to speculate is irrelevant because the solution is much easier and occurs to anyone who’s true to his or her principles: dismiss all the semi-principled outright.

What I do find tiring is having to explain to newcomers, stepping into the conflict between activists and inactivists, that such implacable moderation does not get movements anywhere, it’s a lazy option that detracts from our real efforts, and very likely it wasn’t what drew newcomers to the movement either.

In truth before I joined the fight, there was opposition to fracking, it was faint, it was token, and it was prepared to capitulate. Those voices are around still, at the ready to wave the white flag. Why we welcome them as allies I do not understand, they are worse than worthless. By which I mean they are every bit as harmful as the corrupt administrators, the greedy frackers, or the pro-industry buffoons. And let’s also not dismiss the evidence that industry operatives are manipulating the divisions between community organizers, making the effect of the vacillators worse. Now I’m ready to give you the skinny on our city’s anti and not so anti fracking forces, so you’ll know where to lend your energy when the next assault begins.

Colorado Springs gay pride festival 2013 moves back into the closet

Haven’t we seen this countless times before: a nonprofit buys bigger britches forgetting that there was a reason it wore tight pink shorts, esthetics being the governing factor in neither case. Local Pride organizers may tell you they needed a larger park, but for what? The world’s loudest private barbeque? Over the span of two decades the annual Colorado Springs pride festival became the preeminent outdoor festival, dwarfing Spring Spree and Cinqo de Mayo in attendance and charm. The city even tried to dislodge it with its own “Diversity Fair” in lieu of formally endorsing Pride. And the authentic pride event took place where this traditional homophobic city had to look at it, smack dab in the middle of downtown, at town center, the square block of Acacia Park. This was also convenient for the pride parade which marched to it from blocks away. Convenient because the Springs gay community may fill a park, or a parade, hardly both, with barely enough leftover to be spectators. This year the festival is installing itself into America The Beautiful Park, formerly Confluence Park, formerly the unpaved ramshackle neighborhood in the lee of the coal power plant, adjacent too, as recently profiled in the local newsweekly, a toxic cleanup site. But mostly it’s a park invisible to anyone not going there and nearly inaccessible to them, by virtue of its single entrance and minimal parking. To ameliorate and confound access it’s going to be surrounded by police cruisers, so gay pride will be a guarded closet. Will enough of the gay community turn up to man the booths, trek 1.5 miles to the parade staging ground, and or attend along the parade route? Crowd enough to leave everybody feeling pride? Let’s hope so, this year of victory for gay marriage.
 
I haven’t been a loud advocate of gay marriage, not while grievous inequities mount worldwide, and especially as American gays clamor for the right to join the war making not end it. I was also disappointed by pride organizers in San Francisco who declined to name Bradley Manning as honorary grand marshal in response to the brilliant campaign by Bradley supporters: “Parade Marshal not Courts Martial!” What are the chances of that flying here? Last year we marched with a sign saying “I am Bradley Manning” and they took it literally, asking “And?”

Threat of Atmel plant closure prompts city council to rescind support of solar farm, on Earth Day

COLO. SPRINGS- I told the gentleman from Atmel who trolled the city council meeting, this would be my headline: ATMEL KILLS SOLAR IN COLORADO SPRINGS. Prompted by his threat to ship Atmel jobs to Malaysia if a 0.25% utilities rate hike went into effect, the Colorado Springs City Council voted today, inauspiciously the day after Earth Day, to rescind their minuscule subsidy of a community solar farm program. Apparently Atmel is the city’s largest utilities customer, so when Atmel whines, CSU grovels. Actually their rep turns up at every discussion of renewable energy or water restrictions and he’s against everything. Colorado Springs is the coal ash belching, Fountain Creek polluting, burnt foothills, diminished community services, low-tax haven it is today thanks to Atmel and its Tea Party posse.

Working a token solar power start-up into the utility grid would result in a rate increase of 10¢ for monthly energy bill of $100, or 60¢ per $200. Semiconductor manufacturer Atmel faced a potential $6,000 increase per month, enough to jeopardize the multimillion dollar operation according them. It’s the same Powerpoint presentation they conjure when the city’s inquiring about wind turbines or scrubbers on the aging coal plant or solar or water rate hikes.

An Atmel facility in California sources its energy from solar, at a rate of 16¢ per whatever, but our local rate of 3¢ is too high for our local Atmel. He kept saying he was “for solar” but when pressed he answered “but not in Colorado Springs.” You wonder if his headquarters knows their Atmel guy is being such a regressive douche. I plan to inquire.

The vote today meant that Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) will not implement its tariff planned for May 1st, which solar startup SUNSHARES had been counting on for its financing.

The public turnout at today’s meeting was two thirds in favor of solar power and one third against. (Measured by body weight the two sides were equal. It’s probably no surprise that environmental minded citizens know how to eat sustainably too. The two factions kept to separate sides of the room which was how I formed my size-ist observation.) The pro-solar folk represented themselves, common citizens, but those speaking against solar bore titles with advocacy groups like Americans For Prosperity, Citizens for Affordable Energy, and, get this, the Clean Energy Coalition, which bills itself as the largest advocacy network for renewable energy, but surprise, they’re against solar! Well, not one dared to say they were against solar, in fact they all prefaced their remarks with “I’m for solar, but–“. Their coordinator, noxious AFP henchman Sean Paige explained that climate science is “faith based” and in fact, resistance to fracking is also faith-based. All the anti talking points were boilerplate climate denial crap. Manufacturing solar panels pollutes (what about manufacturing fossil fuel equipment?), renewable energy costs jobs, yada yada. There was even an economics professor from Colorado College, who asserted that solar power was bad for the economy. Weird.

Of course the new slate of city councilors bought it. What has already emerged to be a cabal of mouth breathers conceived of this plan yesterday, EARTH DAY, to rescind their initial foray into solar energy, and today they entertained informed comments from the public and ignored them.

Little bully Colorado Springs tries to incite war with North Korea

Belligerent pip-squeak Colorado Springs is doing all it can to rouse our nation to attack North Korea. First our ignoble congressman Doug “Tar Baby” Lamborn leaks a Defense Department document that announces North Korea has nuclear capability enough to strike the continental US, which most of the intelligence community denies, then it’s announced that four US cities are being targeted, among them COLORADO SPRINGS, and get this, they point out, it’s marked in the wrong place on the map. North Korea doesn’t even know where Colorado Springs is, these warmongers laugh, as if anyone in the world, least of all North Korea, cared.

Conservative Hero

Unknown-29

“I’m a rodeo clown. It takes great skill.”
Glenn Beck

Yes, Glenn… and it takes a really stupid cluck like yourself to today still entertain the hordes of conservative dittoheads as well as Rush once did it with his mean and asinine commentaries way back during the ’80s.

Now just who is this Conservative Heroine and what city does she play from?

michelle_malkin_true_face