The “Phony” War On Rural Colorado Is Still Not Real

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R).

Senator Sonnenberg, President Pro Tempore of the Colorado Senate, has a new piece up in Colorado Politics decrying Governor Polis’s appointment of Ellen Kessler to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.  The basis of his complaint: Ellen Kessler posted on her social media that “4-H clubs teach children that animal lives don’t matter.”

I have had more arguments than Jerry Sonnenberg has had with Ellen Kessler. I don’t agree with her on a bunch of stuff. But guess what: I don’t engage in hyperbole by claiming Jared Polis declared war in Colorado simply by appointing her to an administration position when she has merely said some disagreeable things.

If that were the standard for “war”, then anytime any democrat or republican office holder appointed/hired any person who had any disagreeable opinion on any topic – without actually having the ability or power to effectuate that opinion – that would be war. So Sonnenberg hires somebody who said in the past that marriage should be between a man and a woman or simply says they like Chick-Fil-A. War declared against anybody who is gay. Or Sonnenberg hires somebody who says they believe IVF is morally wrong for parents wanting a biological baby but unable to conceive because it violates the Personhood dogma? War declared against infertile parents. Or Sonnenberg hires somebody who believes that there is a second amendment right to have a functioning hydrogen bomb? War declared. Even if none of those people have not even a smidgen of power to effectuate any of those opinions in the post they are hired to.

Moreover, Sonnenberg needs to come to terms with the fact that more and more Coloradans are into considering the possibility of animal rights or even vegetarian/vegan food option while having a steak for dinner. I eat a shit ton of meat/dairy. That isn’t going to change. I also like eating and cooking vegan food. Partly as a change of pace, partly because my daughter has food allergies, and partly because I have religious family who can’t always eat meat due to concerns of it being kosher or because of a religious holiday. Guess what: Jews, Muslims, and Catholics all have that issue from time to time. It isn’t “war” on ranchers to give religious people more culinary options or to ensure the animal rights community has a voice, though Sonnenberg suggested the former in the past.

Ultimately, this is exactly the sort of hyperbole that is driving our country apart. I had worked with Sonnenberg on some stuff years ago. I believe that he is better than this hyperbole. Let’s hope he proves me right.

Limited Immigration Reform May Be A Go – Nativists Have Already Conceded That It Would Not Be Amnesty

According to Alex Nowrahsteh of CATO, bipartisan immigration reform of the infamous 3/10 year bar may still be passable this year.  As described in the linked article, the three and ten year bar:

"requires that any immigrant who stays in the United States illegally for more than six months but less than one year may not leave and reenter for three years. Any immigrant who illegally stays for more than a year may not leave and reenter for 10 years. Also known as the 3/10-year bar, any immigrant who violates it triggers a twenty-year ban from reentering the United States – for any reason. Some unauthorized immigrants, mainly the spouses and parents of U.S. citizens, can currently apply for a green card. However, they can only do it after leaving the country. Since most unauthorized immigrants have been here for more than a decade and leaving would make the 3/10-year bar apply to them, this legislative catch-22 prevents current law from legalizing many of them."

So one would expect the anti-immigrants to immediately start crowing about this.   However, they have a small problem: one of the chief restrictionists, Mark Krikorian of Center for Immigration Studies, has already conceded that drastically reforming this bar would not be amnesty.  I have attached linked audio from the Spring of 2010 when I had the chance to get Krikorian on the record on Ross Kaminsky's radio show.  In it you can clearly hear Krikorian declare that allowing the spouse of a US citizen to stay in the country after a very minor penalty for overstaying would not be amnesty and also that he is not a "big fan" of the bar in the first place.  In fact, Krikorian stated he would support replacing the 3/10 year bar with a 6 months/1 year bar.

So how will the anti-immigrants handle the latest proposal?  My prediction: they will pretend Krikorian never conceded that it would not be amnesty.  Any bets on whether I am right?

This was originally posted by me at the Colorado Independent

Tim Neville’s Statement Does Not Make Suspicions Of Link Between Him/RMGO And Nathaniel Marshall Unfounded

(Worse and worse – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Independent has been investigating the circumstances that led to Nathaniel Marshall, a person with significant ties to white supremacism, to enter the race for Colorado HD-23.  As an early result of that investigation, the Independent's John Tomasic reported yesterday that signs had emerged indicating that Tim Neville – a person with significant ties to Rocky Mountain Gun Owner's Association ("RMGO") – recruited Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The signs relied on by Tomasic's article consisted of the following:

1) Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, specifically claiming that Marshall admitted he was recruited by Neville at the Jefferson County Assembly ("Enstrom's Statements")

2) Dudley Brown, RMGO's Executive Director, admitting that per RMGO political director Joe Neville, Tim Neville spoke with Marshall at "an event" ("Brown's Statement")

In response to Tomasic's article, Tim Neville last night put forth the following statement on Facebook (accessible here):

"Regarding the leftist hit piece published today posing as a news story in the Colorado Independent:  I spoke with its author John Tomasik [sic] and told him I had no connection with Mr. Marshall's campaign– not as an endorser or financial donor or supporter.   I suggested Mr. Tomasic retract his story because it’s false.  Then he asked me if I ever met Mr. Marshall and I had to explain to him that I meet hundreds of people each week on the campaign trail.  Then he hung up on me.  Shocked?  No, but I'm very disappointed that a Republican like Rick Enstrom would spread such a story without even a phone call to me.  I believe he knows my number, since his campaign had no problem finding me when I helped him as a volunteer to walk his precincts in 2012.     These types of attacks only embolden me to fight even harder for you.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your calls and emails of support tonight.Iron sharpens iron. Together I look forward to taking back Senate District 16 this November and winning a Republican majority.   Game on!" (emphasis added)

While Tim Neville may wish that his mere claim that a story is false is sufficient to demonstrate that a story is in fact false, that is not the case.  Here, there is evidence to indicate that Neville – and through him potentially RMGO – recruited White Supremacist Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The first two pieces of evidence are the Enstrom and Brown Statements.  In addition to those statements, last night Nathaniel Marshall revealed that he had been invited to an RMGO fundraiser as a candidate and that now they were throwing him "under the bus".  Moreover, recruiting Nathaniel Marshall would fit within a perceived pattern of RMGO supporting candidates who repeat its party line but who are poorly vetted – the chief example being former pornographic novel writer Jaxine Bubis.


Further Evidence Of HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall’s Possible Ties to White Supremacism

POLS UPDATE: Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Bill Tucker demands that Nate Marshall resign as a candidate. From the Denver Post:

The chairman of the Jefferson County Republican party is demanding that candidate Nate Marshall resign after learning he has ties to a white supremacist group and a criminal record.

Marshall, 42, was the only Republican to run during the Jeffco GOP assembly on Saturday for the House seat now held by Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood.

Marshall did not initially respond to the Post for the initial story above, and it may be hard to convince him to get out of the race now. Marshall was nominated by the Jeffco GOP, so as long as he doesn't resign in the next four days, he becomes their candidate in HD-23 by default. We're guessing that a guy with Marshall's background isn't exactly impressed when a county Party official demands a resignation.


Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Yesterday, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post raised the possibility that HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall is involved with White Supremacism.  On March 5, 2014, Nate Marshall filed his Candidate Affidavit to run for HD-23.  That Affidavit lists his Email Address as and his webpage as .

Searching for takes us to this linked post from March 22, 2013 on the white supremacist Stormfront Webpage by user “NateTheWatcher” telling Stormfront users that he is “putting together an event to unite groups in Colorado as well as everywhere on June 15-16. We will have a rally, a general session and breakout sessions to plan several actions involving the political and activism fronts.”  For contact information, NateTheWatcher tells people to contact him and .  If that information looks familiar, there is a reason for it – it is the same information that Nate Marshall, candidate for HD-23, listed in his candidate affidavit.  On this basis, it appears that Stormfront user NateTheWatcher is HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall. 

NateTheWatcher (again, very possibly Nate Marshall) has another post on Stormfront date June 13, 2013 that popped up from a simple websearch for the website listed on Nate Marshall’s candidate affidavit.  This post, titled ”The Aryan Revolution.. 40 hours to go!” states:

“The Aryan Revolution begins in just over 40 hours. It is time to rise up and defend our race, heritage, and existence!

I thank and congratulate those of you who have in the past and now and in the future have made the courageous decisions to risk everything for your race.. a one for all and all for one mentality!

We will need to continue to fight hard.. the enemy has wounded us in the past and will again.. but even if we lose some battles we will win the war! MAKE NO MISTAKE WE WILL TRIUMPH!

There can be no doubt to our resolve.. our determination and our total and complete victory! Future generations will treat us as founding fathers of a greater world where once again freedom, equality and justice will prevail for our race! The wrongs of the past will be righted and our race will stand united against our enemies including ideology, parasites and the unwashed, unkept, unethical and pathetic jews!

Join us… give us your time, dedication and what you can sacrifice and we will bring you every dream possible as reality!

Thank you again! “


Lessons Learned From HB1258 – Namely Due Process Less Important Than Political Expediency

So I attended and gave testimony on HB1258 yesterday afternoon, which was the bill that was designed to bring due process rights to IEC Respondents.  As expected, it died in committee on a party line vote.  What was not expected though was the following:

1) Overall Weakness of Opposition's Arguments

Throughout the hearing, the Opposition to HB1258 had a moving target of trying various arguments to cover their ultimate decision, which failed one after another.  Starting off, the Opposition argued that the bill was not necessary as due process was already protected under IEC procedure.  That argument failed though when documentary was presented showing that (a) in the Gessler case, Gessler was essentially convicted of violating State Fiscal Rule 5-1 under the final IEC Order; (b) that State Fiscal Rule 5-1 is a lengthy rule (version given to committee was 14 pages and version here is 10 due to formatting) ; (c) That this Prehearing Order was the notice that Gessler received of what he was ultimately to be charged with and its sole mention of the 14 or 10 Page Fiscal Rule 5-1 is one sentence in Part (2)(f); and (d) that that same Prehearing Order also reserved the right, in the beginning of Part 2 of the order reserved the right to convict Gessler of "additional standards of conduct and/or reporting requirements, depending on the evidence presented, and the arguments made at the hearing in this matter" (in other words, he could be convicted of legal offenses raised for the first time at his "trial").  To rebut the issue that this due process issue was just a one time occurrence and that this was a problem isolated to Gessler, the County Attorney for Eagle County came and gave testimony regarding this Complaint.  He initially pointed out that the commissioners he represents are Democrats (either majority or exclusively).  He next informed the Commission that the Complaint, as spelled out in the County's Response, was barely understandable yet the Commission initially agreed to proceed with it without giving notice what the IEC Respondent in that case would be charged with.  Instead, he testified that the IEC indicated willingness to proceed with charging the Commissioners with conduct that violated a "smell test" before ultimately backing down. 

The next large argument raised was that it was inappropriate to make the IEC commissioners liable for their willful and wanton actions that violate due process rights.   A quick proviso on this argument – the bill that was debated was amended from what had been previously posted.  Under the amended bill, liability would no longer attach to violations of "clearly established rights".  Instead, it would have attached only in the instances where the IEC Respondent failed to receive an attorney and/or failed to receive written and electronic notice of the elements of the charges against him, and even then, only when the violation was willful and wanton.  Struggling against these changes, members of the Committee sought to argue that this could still dissuade people from serving as IEC members.  Their argument fell apart when the amendments' additional provision was discussed: for liability to attach under the amended bill, the Respondent would have to provide written notice of the violation 14 days after it occurred, upon which the Commission would have 28 days to have a mulligan by vacating the hearing/decision and redoing it if it so chose.  Only if (a) the Commission failed to notify a respondent of right to attorney or provide elements of charges; (b) the Respondent complained in 14 days; and (c) the Commission refused to do anything to atone for the mistake would liability thus attach.  On this background, the anti-liability argument substantively fell apart.

The final large argument that was raised that this bill was "unfair" because it was IEC Complainants that needed more resources, not politicians and state employees through a publicly paid for attorney.  The Committee asked a series of questions inquiring as to when a government employee or official could obtain a public attorney to respond to an IEC complaint.  Ultimately, those questions were answered through public testimony: it is the decision of each agency/governmental entity as to whether they wished to defend their officials/employees from and IEC complaint.  And, unlike a complainant who has chosen to initiate the process and can walk away from it at any time, a Respondent has no choice but to either fight it out at great expense or sacrifice his/her good name.   Moreover, attorney Mario Nicolais pointed out that this provision was in the bill due to both the gift ban (officials and employees cannot accept gifts, including moneys for legal defenses).  While Nicolais acknowledged that there were limited instances in which the IEC has permitted legal defense funds, donations to such funds could still be viewed as "contributions" for campaign purposes and limited to several hundred dollars – or an hour or two of attorney time per donation.

2) Liability Was Not The Issue

Although some on the Committee tried to hide behind the position that they were going to kill the bill due to liability, Representative Amy Stephens removed that fig leaf when she offered to have liability removed as a "conceptual amendment" and simply have the Committee approve bill's due process protections.  The Committee Chair denied the attempt to amend the bill and the Democrat Committee members voted against it, repeatedly stating (without explanation) that it went "too far".  If liability were really the problem and not a fig leaf, the Committee Chair would have allowed the amendment to protect IEC Respondent rights to due process.

3) The Democrats Who Killed The Bill Felt Guilty For Doing So

Throughout the hearing, it was readily apparent that the Committee members who ultimately voted against the bill were struggling mightily with their upcoming decision.  Not only did their facial reactions and questions display an understanding of the serious due process issues with the IEC that the public testimony revealed, but multiple committee members opposed to the bill said their opposition was only for "today".  Several even stated on the record that they would be willing to consider a "late bill" on the topic as a bipartisan measure and would push their Democratic Party leadership to allow it.

So that is my report.  As should be clear, I am hardly unbiased in writing this – I have been a major proponent for this bill and consulted in its creation.  But despite today's vote, this issue isn't going anywhere.  The IEC continues to have major problems and use of it is continuing to spike as partisans on all sides see advantages in using it for political aims.  As such, we can expect that a form of this bill will be returning sometime in the near future.

This post originally appeared on the Colorado Independent – it is my own original work. 

The Colorado Independent Gets It Wrong On HB1258

I am writing this to briefly rebut several points made in the Colorado Independent’s February 28, 2014 report on HB1258.  For those of you who are not aware, HB1258 is a bill sponsored by Representative Amy Stephens, which mandates various procedural due process rights that a respondent has in a proceeding before the Independent Ethics Commission (“IEC”).  Such rights include the ability to have a state-provided attorney and to be informed of the elements of the offense an IEC Respondent is charged with.  As an enforcement mechanism to protect these rights, and any other right clearly established under federal or state law, any IEC Commissioner who recklessly, intentionally, or willfully violates such rights will have personal liability.

The points that I will be rebutting are as follows:

Contention #1 (by Robert Wechsler): HB1258 Will Allow Citizens To Be Sued For Bringing A Complaint
Reality: This is absolutely false.  The bill creates liability for IEC commissioners (not complainants) who willfully, recklessly, or intentionally violate clearly established rights of IEC respondents.

Contention #2 (by Luis Toro): The IEC is being singled out for doing their job.
Reality: The IEC’s job, under Colorado Constitution Article XXIX is “to hear complaints, issue findings, and assess penalties, and also to issue advisory opinions, on ethics issues arising under this article and under any other standards of conduct and reporting requirements as provided by law.”  Just as a Police Officer’s job duties of keeping the peace do not require him to violate the rights of suspects in his custody, an IEC Commissioner’s job duties do not require him to deny such basic due process rights as providing an attorney or informing a respondent of the elements of the offenses such a respondent is charged with.

Contention #3 (by Luis Toro): HB1258 is a “messaging bill” that does not address any of the “real” problems with the IEC
Reality: Given that Luis Toro did not specify what the “real” problems of the IEC are, whether the bill addresses them or not in his view is impossible to evaluate.  To the extent observers believe that this bill is merely a dog and pony show, they should review the policy reasons behind why we have due process in this country.

Contention #4 (by Luis Toro): IEC Defendants have received a “Cadillac” legal defense in the past
Reality: Just as politicians are bound by Colorado Ethics Rules under Article XXIX, Attorneys are bound under the ethics rules found in the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct.  Under Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3, Comment 1, “A lawyer must . . . act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client’s behalf.” (emphasis added)  Although Luis Toro’s comments are unclear, it appears he would term a dedicated legal counsel as “Cadillac”.  Practicing attorneys, on the other hand, usually term it as providing what is “ethically required.” 

Contention #5 (by the Colorado Independent): the bill is all about Scott Gessler.
Reality: Progressives have long claimed that Gessler violated substantive ethics law, and was not subsequently done in by any procedural “gotcha” tricks in the IEC prosecution, by attending an election law class at a partisan organization.  HB1258 does not change substantive ethics law.  Thus, under Progressives’ assumptions, this bill should not have had any effect on Gessler’s ethics case.

If I am missing any points, please feel free to message me and I will seek to address them.  My email is ElliotFladen at gmail.

Note -this is my own original work that I posted originally at the Colorado Independent

Jon Stewart Rips on Colorado’s “Brosurance” Ads

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)


The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook



Several weeks back, ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative put out some ads seeking to encourage younger adults to sign up with Connect for Health Care Colorado.  


They also wrote about those ads here and here

Jon Stewart's show weighed in on these ads this Wednesday (link b/c embed isn't working for me):

Frustrated With Elliot Fladen? Join PCG in kicking his (my) butt in fantasy football

(PCG Note: You know you want to whoop up on the North Colorado Armed Fetuses, don't you?)

PCG and I have both responded to a Twitter/FB invite to join a fantasy football league for Colorado Politicos. It's open to anyone involved in Colorado politics. So if you ever wanted to wring my neck on something I posted, here is a better way: mercilessly destroy my team week to week.

The League is here – so have fun!  The idea is to have two leagues, with prizes for "all around winner" and "best of opposite political affiliation." Of course if not enough people from either division join up, the commissioner may be forced to move people. 

The Commissioner is collecting $10 dues which will be used 100% as prize money (see league rules). She says she will contact new signups to collect their $10. Draft is this Saturday at 1:00 PM

ACTION ALERT: ICE to Deport the Dreamer 9 (Originally Dreamer 8) ASAP

(PCG note: Developing story, the best information source I've found is a Twitter search for #Dream9. There's also a NYT piece for background.)

Although my fellow allies on the right have been routinely criticized for our aggregate opposition to immigration reform, the fact remains that Obama has overseen record numbers of deportations

In my Inbox:

"ATTN: ICE is planning to deport our friends as soon as possible, who are currently detained at Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. TODAY is D-Day. We need calls to your Congresspersons asking them to sign on TODAY to a letter in support of the ‪#‎Dream9 currently circulating in the House.

DO NOT back down — DO NOT buy "the Member supports immigration reform" and other horseshit that helps them escape culpability for 1.7 million broken families. The lives of our friends are on the line here. Do it for our friends or for someone you love because WE ALL DESERVE TO BE AT HOME, no matter where that is. WE ALL NEED TO GO HOME. ‪#‎bringthemhome

Look up and call your Representative:

"Hi, I was calling to ask the member to not just sit by and watch as the 9 DREAMers who crossed the border in Nogales are being held at the Eloy Detention Center. Will the member send a letter of support? Make a statement on their behalf? Make calls asking for their release via humanitarian parole? Does the member support undocumented immigrants or not?""

I called up Cory Gardner's office at (202) 225-4676.  His assistant did not know Gardner's position.  I also called into Coffman's office at (202) 225-7882.  His office was unable to commit as well.  I urge all of you to consider calling your representative, and if you are so inclined, to advocate for the following: the granting (if legal) of advance parole for these Dreamer 9 Kids so long as they pass a background check to demonstrate that they are neither a security threat or a risk of being an economic burden. 


Obama has denied the Dream 9 humanitarian relief. 

Live Stream of the Dreamer 8 at the Border

PCG note: The live stream of the attempted re-entry has ended, but the post contains some helpful numbers to call to advocate for the DREAMers' safe re-entry. 

Several days back 8 DREAMers left the country to bring attention to the CIR bill's failure to provide adequate opportunities to allow those who have been deported under Obama to come back to the country.  They are at the border now and trying to re-enter.  Here is the livestream (now ended).

Updates:  This was posted on Twitter:

CBP spokesperson: DREAMers aren't detained, they're being processed for reentry- via @DRMAction. @PresenteOrg @americasvoice #BringThemHome

Additional Update:
I received this in my inbox:

Updated phone numbers of who to call.

"We need phone calls, phone calls, phone calls!"

~ Mohammad Abdollahi

Call Peter Vincent @ 202-732-5000

Call Patricia M. Vroom, Chief Counsel @ 602-744-2412

Ask them to grant parole:

"Hi, I was calling to ask that you release the DREAM 8 into the U.S. by granting their request for humanitarian parole. This is their home. Re-unite them with their family. Why is the Port Authority planning on arresting and deporting all of them?

Call Senator Durbin @ (312) 353-4952 or (202) 224-2152

"Hi, I am calling to ask Senator Durbin to give a statement and letter in support of Dreamers coming back home.

Call Rep. Grijalva @ (202) 225-2435 or (520) 622-6788

Call your Representative:

"Hi, I was calling to find out why the member is going to just sit by and watch as the DREAMers, crossing the border in Nogales, are being arrested and deported. Does the member support undocumented immigrants or not?"

After you call hang-up and call back again and again and again until you get word that the DREAM 8 are safe and sound."

I've called up the numbers above and stressed that if the Dreamer 8 are verified to be neither burdens nor threats, that I'd hope the recipient of the call would use any available legal means to allow them to enter the country.  

BREAKING – Gardner and Coffman vote to defund DACA

(PCG Note: Hey, Coffman, enjoy the commercials on Spanish-language TV stations explaining how you voted for this…)

POLS UPDATE #2: The Denver Post's Allison Sherry:

The vote, which all the other Colorado House Republicans supported as well, is interesting because Coffman has tried in recent months to rebrand himself as more sympathetic to his Latino constituents…

Coffman recently said he supported parts of the Senate immigration bill and told people in a town hall he favored legal status for illegal immigrants.

Coffman’s office didn’t have an immediate comment on the vote.


POLS UPDATE: The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports:

Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman joined other Republican members of the House in voting to lift the executive order issued by President Obama last year that suspended deportation of undocumented immigrant youth and offered them the opportunity to apply for work permits.

The amendment was attached to a Homeland Security appropriations bill by Iowa Rep. Steve King, a leading hardline opponent to any immigration reform that doesn’t prioritize border security.

The vote comes as debate on Capitol Hill heats up around an immigration-reform proposal written by a bipartisan group of senators that many Republican strategists, reeling from electoral drubbing in 2012, had hoped would win at least enough support on the right to soften the party’s image as unsympathetic to the concerns of ethnic minority and immigrant communities…


Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa)'s amendment to an appropriations bill passed narrowly. According to America's Voice Online:

The amendment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill would restrict DHS from using any discretion in immigration enforcement, which would have the effect of undoing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and placing all DREAMers (even those who have received DACA approval) at risk of deportation.

Colorado Representatives Gardner and Coffman voted for it in its passage.