The Sage Grouse

Wyoming lays groundwork for what? Secession?

What’s weirder: Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons or Wyoming floating an aircraft carrier? The first is real while the second is only senseless.

China bought a junked aircraft carrier for refurbishment; maybe Wyoming can do a joint venture with the Chinese navy. We can trade uranium fuel for flight deck space.

Whoa, what’s going on here? Believe it or leave it, folks,Wyoming is going into the national security business. See HB 85 “Government Continuity,” which not only actually made introduction in a budget session that has seen more current needs go unmet, but now has been amended to authorize a task force to study a statewide military draft, create four branches of a state military establishment and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

No, I am not making this up. Truth is much stranger than fiction. Maybe we should go back and listen to Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 “For What It’s Worth.”

The mis-titled “Government Continuity” bill was sponsored by a group of Republican legislators who would be the ones most likely to criticize government authority most days of the week. They are;

Rep. David Miller (R-Riverton)

Rep. Donald Burkhart (R-Rawlins)

Rep. Kathy Davison (R-Kemmerer)

Rep. Amy Edmonds (R-Laramie)

Rep. Allen Jaggi (R-Lyman)

Rep. Kendell Kroeker (R-Evansville)

Rep. Robert McKim (R-Afton)

Rep. Frank Peasley (R-Douglas)

Rep. Lorraine Quarberg (R-Thermopolis)

Rep. Matt Teeters (R-Lingle)

Sen. Kit Jennings (R-Casper)

Sen. Ray Peterson (R-Cowley)

The idea is to be prepared if the federal government loses control of the dollar, the economy or social order.

Granted, it’s worthwhile to prepare for interruptions in food distribution, shortfalls in the state budget, earthquakes, forest fires raging through our dead forests, terrorist attacks, tornadoes and other disasters.

But if the Federal Reserve Bank fails, I don’t think we can create a Wyoming Reserve Bank to take its place. If the dollar collapses, what would Wyoming create to back a new Wyo-Dollar? Lacking state reserves of gold or silver, perhaps we could use coal. The spot price of Powder River Basin coal is about $9.50, or a little less, per ton, so you could turn in your official ten-spot Wyoming Coal-Dollar Certificate for a ton of coal to barter for fuel and food. That would create comfortable security to stabilize commerce, right?

Does this topic actually deserve the attention of a task force?

The task force would have to study potential collapse of the dollar, rioting, a “constitutional crisis” [Note to readers:  I think we already have one of those], military coordination, disruption in food and energy distribution.

Not satisfied with the extreme breadth of this extraordinary charge, Rep. Kermit Brown (R-Laramie) successfully introduced an amendment which would require the task force to study whether “the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.”

I have to think Kermit did this with tongue in cheek, but in a further indulgence of playing grownups in fantasy land, the committee actually passed the amendment. Kermit Brown’s amendment was stripped, and the bill advanced in the House on Monday.

Now what?

This all reminds me of the alien invasion of Wyoming at Devils Tower; maybe we should pass a bill to get prepared for that, too.

Seriously though, the principle underlying this legislation is that we may need our government to protect us from financial ruin, civil disturbance, disruptions in economic allocation of resources and foreign threats. Our state government.

One could use this to poke fun at the conservative sponsors for drafting an outline to increase the power of the government which they usually oppose, or more realistically, to acknowledge the fact that there are legitimate roles for government to play.

But raising a navy or creating a new currency are not roles our state governments should pursue. If other states raise their own armed forces, I wouldn’t want North Dakota and Idaho marine forces menacing our borders when social unrest leads to breakdowns in commerce and desperate behavior. We have a National Guard which already coordinates with federal military and Homeland Security; let’s keep it that way.

Of course, if Wyoming has an aircraft carrier and attack jets, from whom will we rent dock space? We’ll just all have to get along anyway.

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Published on February 28, 2012

{ 15 comments }

Casey Craig March 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

Anonymously naming names Wyoman, so courageous. I really doubt you have any idea who any of us are or what we believe. I am sure you consider yourself enlightened and open minded, someone who would never stereotype or allow such pregidous thoughts to cloud your thinking.

It is OK though, all through out history there have been people who saw potential future problems and then took steps to fix them and there have also been people who stood on the sideline and said the ones making preparations were “wacko”…

Let me ask you wyoman. Have you put any thought at all into the issue? What is your suggestion? What about the financial crisis? Did you see it coming? Did you prepare in anyway? Are there things the state could have done so it could be better prepared for the situation? The WY Army National guard has been cut from about 1850 personnel to 1700, many of whom are deployed at any given time. Further cuts are pending. Would it be smart to look at these cuts and study whether or not they are a good idea? Maybe take a look at what kind of response the guard could mount in the case of civil unrest….. At the risk of being deemed a wacko, criminal, I think its a great idea.

Isaac Bickerstaff III March 5, 2012 at 4:39 am

Our local militia stands at the ready to serve the people of Weston County. I hereby offer up my services and will be ready to assume command of the Thunder Basin Coast Guard Reserve on April 1st 2012. We are selling popcorn to raise money for a fleet and will have a bake sale sometime in April.

wyoman March 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

A bigger problem is that we have wacko citizens like Randy, Casey, and Patrick who think this is a good idea. I wonder if they are transplants from the Montana Freeman days? If Wyoming is the only state that has anything after the apocalypse then everyone who has nothing will be on their way here to take what Wyoming has. What a wonderful scenario!!

Paul Mollon March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

So the plan is to replace the tyranny in Washington with a tyranny in Cheyenne? And this will improve things how, exactly?

DeweyV February 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Why oh why did we let the Feds take back our fifty MX Peacekeeper nuclear missiles from their hidey-holes around Chugwater ?

If you’all want to see what a Wyoming Aircraft Carrier would look like on our cherished waters, check out my Flickr photostream at

flickr.com/photos/planetcody/

I posted a photoshop illustration of the W.S.S. ” Steamboat ” carrier on sea trials in Buffalo Bill Reservoir. I christened the carrier after Stubb Farlow’s horse on the ubiquitous Wyoming bucking horse logo. Stubb gets all the press. I felt it was time we gave some praise and a worthy title to his timeless steed. What better name for a Wyoming aircraft carrier than ” Steamboat” ?

This Wyoming Doomsday Bill is proof yet again that the national media and Hollywood need to pay more attention to Wyoming, for the entertainment value and a possible new reality TV show based on our sage solons in Cheyenne, namely the ” Cowboy Congress: Waltzing With Wingnuts” .

Inky February 29, 2012 at 7:38 am

As a former Boy Scout, I applaud planning for contingencies. The Wyoming Doomsday bill, however, reflects whacko extreamism (as well as, apparently, some sublime tongue-in-cheeck satire that could have been written by the inspired loons of The Onion).
Sadly (for comedians and pundits everywhere), the aircraft carrier amendment was turned down, as was the entire bill itself. But I have every confidence that the Wyoming Legislature will reliably come up with new, whomper-jawed lunacy again and again and again,….

Bill Mitchell February 29, 2012 at 6:45 am

RT, Some of the comments regarding this column are startling and sound quite serious. Where is all this bs coming from???

Warren Beitel February 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I guess they will add an amendment to that Bill , so the Legislature Members can now draw their Farm Subsidies from the new Wyoming currency

Patrick February 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I applaud the Wyoming legislators for being forward thinking. It is not at all implausible that the federal govt could collapse, and I am sure that Wyoming, due to the wealth of and demand for its natural resources, would be well able to contribute to the defense of the entire country and itself by funding and floating its own Carrier, or Destroyer, or whatever, and making contingency plans for such an unlikely event is wise. I am sure that Texas, with like interests and similar independent histories, would lease a Port to the Cowboy state for that purpose, So, in an age when anyone with money could feasibly own a carrier, and a few planes, and a private army, what is the big problem? Shortsightedness? Yeah, I see.

That is what they said when Patrick Hundley founded the Wyoming Society for International Law in 1994, at the UW Law School, most laughed at that stupid idea, but when two members won second place in Beijing at the World Mock Trial Championships in International Law, no one laughed too loud anymore. Don’t limit yourself or your influence on national and world events, homeboys. Simpson, Cheney, and many others have played an important and significant role in our nation recently. Kudos to Wyoming. You ought to be proud of your state. They also thought you were stupid, and they laughed, when you were the first State to allow women the vote, and later the first State to have a female Governor.

Casey Craig February 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Have you seen pictures coming out of Greece lately? Do you remember all the rioting in France? There is nothing wrong with having a contingency plan in case the dollar collapses or the Federal government fails. At current levels of deficit spending our economy collapses sometime before 2027 (as per the CBO), I see nothing wrong with having a couple people plan ahead and think about what the repercussions of such an event would be, and what the state could do to ease the burden on its citizens. We are 15 years out (assuming the economy doesn’t take a dive, spending doesn’t accelerate, and CBO projections are not overly rosey) . When is the proper time to start thinking about such things? Why wait?

Personally I think it is a great point that Wyoming has no gold reserves, this is the type of issue that should be addressed, most modern portfolios have Gold and other commodities included. Maybe we should look at putting that mineral trust fund into Gold…. There are a lot of people who would buy some Wyoming minted gold too, I would be up for having Gold Bucking Horse!

P.S. @ Inky–Global warming (I prefer climate change because there has been cooling for about 15 years, and there will probably continue to be ups and downs in our future) will change a lot of things across the state, some positive some negative. Regardless, it is a hell of a lot easier to adapt to spring floods lasting a week longer or the range holding fewer or in some cases more livestock, then it will be to a loaf of bread increasing in price 1000% over night, or gasoline all of a sudden not being available, and/or living off a giant pot of soup mad with a single potato, with 10 other people for a week (this is what my grandfather endured growing up in the after math of WWII)…. Just saying, keep things in perspective man.

joe February 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm

As long as we are at it, why not our own FBI, CIA, NSA, FAA,
FDA, NTSB, and maybe a constitution police and a fashion police.

Seems like there should be more pressing issues that our leglators could be spending their time on.

Oh, forgot Coast Guard…….you never know

Randi Reiter February 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

If you do not like what Wy does, move to some place else, NOW.

Inky February 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Yes, our problems are bad, but these goofs make it worse by ignoring the most likely catastrophe that will strike Wyoming: global warming, replete with drought, flood, wildfires and mass extinctions. But the goofs down in Cheyenne (and I assume Mike) will not, cannot consider consider global warming as worthy of study because it doesn’t exist, according to the shills of the carbon-based energy industry, which is pretty much the majority of Wyoming citizenry.

Mike February 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

Read the bill. The currency would be gold, silver, or barter. The problem with authors like this, is that you don’t have a clue how bad our situation is. 23% unemployment, Constitution being shredded, and all the idiots can say is that they’re parroting fox/limbaugh? People need to wake up, read a Constitution, and compare to NDAA, Patriot Act, SOPA, Food “Safety”, Heathcare Mandates, drones in our airspace, cameras everywhere, etc, etc…

Inky February 28, 2012 at 6:07 am

The Republicans have finally taken their whackidoodleness so far that they’ve now entered satire. Can’t wait to see what Stewart, Colbert or the rest of the late night comedians can do with this!
I’m just wondering if Wyoming voters can start realizing how poorly served they are, by a bunch of goofs who’ve memorized all the Fox/Rush talking points and have little to no interest in responsible governance.

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