Posts Tagged ‘Jon Caldara’

The Left’s proudest moments. But it wasn’t…

January 1, 2014

This year might have marked the high point for the Left in Colorado.After a decade of well-funded, well-coordinated advances, the Left got most of what they wanted. With renewal energy mandates on rural electrics, attacks on fracking, legalizing voter mischief, and anti-gun laws, 2013 should have been the Left’s proudest moment. But it wasn’t.Thanks in great part to the multi-year efforts of the Independence Institute, anti-guns bills–like a ban on concealed-carry on campus–failed. The Left‘s massive “for the children” educational tax increase, Amendment 66, went down in humiliating defeat. Education reformers were re-elected in Douglas County, and reformers were swept into office in Jefferson County and Loveland school district. And for the first time in state history, State Senators were recalled.The message of 2013 was loud and clear – real Coloradans, not urban elitists funded by Michael Bloomberg, control the destiny of this freedom-loving state. Could this be the turning point in Colorado history? Well, that largely depends on you. Those who have invested in Independence over the years made these 2013 victories and so many others possible. We thank them all. I want to be thanking you in coming years for even greater victories that YOU made possible by investing TODAY! Please invest in the Independence Institute right now by making a tax-deductible contribution HERE.And remember, every time you give to Independence, a Leftist dies a little inside. Happy New Year!

Straight on,

Jon Caldara

Mothers Against Debt (MAD)

May 17, 2010

A Message from Mothers Against Debt (MAD): From Transparency Czarina Amy Oliver,

This what we have done to our children with our reckless spending and massive national debt. Sadly this video is already out of date. Since this video was made, our national debt has climbed another $1700.

Please share this wonderful, but frightening video with as many people as you know. It’s about time we start talking about the massive amount of crippling debt we are enslaving our children and grandchildren with.

Don’t Be Like California (Or Greece): Writing about the fairly frightening similarities between Greece and California over at Reason Online, Tim Cavanaugh asks, “What do Europe’s most bankrupt nation-state and America’s most bankrupt united state have in common, aside from being bankrupt?”

Good question. Cavanaugh continues:

…it turns out that Greece, that sun-drenched paradise on the Aegean, and California, that sun-warmed El Dorado on the Pacific, are the worst places to do business in their respective economic zones.”

So how did California come to resemble a fiscally-wrecked European social-welfare state that needs a massive bailout? Independence Institute Senior Fellow Barry Poulson gave a heads up last year in the Denver Post


The Golden State’s GANN Amendment, a precursor of TABOR, limited the growth of state revenue and spending to the sum of inflation and population growth. In the late 1980s, the California legislature abandoned the GANN Amendment. As a result, state spending in California increased more rapidly than personal income and taxes were increased to one of the highest levels in the country. Business investment and jobs left the state for other states with better tax climates.

The moral of the story is of course, don’t be like California.

RSVP’s Welcome for the 8th Annual ATF Party! Registration for the most politically incorrect event of the year is now open – this year’s Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms party! The event is set for Saturday, July 17th at the swank Kiowa Creek Sporting Club. This year’s guest speaker is the brilliant and always straight shooting editor-in-chief at Reason Magazine, Nick Gillespie. Come on out and drink, smoke, and shoot with us… while it’s still legal! RSVP here online or call us at 303.279.6536.

What Fresh Obama Care Hell Is This? So here’s a nasty little surprise from deep in the bowels of Obama Care:

Section 9006 of the health care bill — just a few lines buried in the 2,409-page document — mandates that beginning in 2012 all companies will have to issue 1099 tax forms not just to contract workers but to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year. The stealth change radically alters the nature of 1099s and means businesses will have to issue millions of new tax documents each year.

It’s things like this that help explain Nancy Pelosi’s motivation when she said, “But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” Look for more unbelievably bad tidbits to emerge now that the “fog of controversy” has been lifted from the Obama Care bill.

Free People, Free Markets – the Tuesday Night edition: Many of you asked for a Principles of Liberty course to take place on a weeknight, instead of on Saturdays. You also asked that we hold the class somewhere in the south metro area, instead of here at the Independence Institute offices in Golden. Well, you’re in luck! The Spring Free People, Free Markets classes will be held on 5 consecutive Tuesdays at 6:30pm, starting May 18th, down in the Denver Tech Center. Classes will be at the Colorado Contractors Association building at the intersection of I-25 and Arapahoe Road (map). For more information, click here for the official class flyer.

Again, that’s five consecutive Tuesdays, May 18th to June 15th from 6:30 to 9:30 in the Denver Tech Center. Call us at 303.279.6536 to RSVP!

Must See TV: A higher education marks an important chapter in one’s life, but what happens when this chapter is being distorted by a demonstrable lack of intellectual diversity and debate? Author Robert Maranto joins me to discuss a number of the problems, the scope, and reforms for higher education that are in his new book The Politically Correct University. Jessica Peck-Cory of Independence Institute steps up to discuss some of the issues surrounding the civic direction of CU at Boulder. Don’t miss this important discussion on the issues of higher ed this Friday night at 8:30PM on KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Tuesday evening at 5PM.

Must hear podcast: Is there anything that reasonably can be done to change the overwhelming Left-leaning bias of faculties at American colleges? Lead editor of the new insightful volume The Politically Correct University, University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform professor Bob Maranto discusses the problem and possible solutions with Education Policy Center analyst Ben DeGrow.

Perspective: In this week’s op-ed, health care policy analyst Brian Schwartz questions your “compassionate” politics. Brian wonders when it became compassionate to take other people’s money away and give it to charity, rather than your own. Forced charity is not really charity.

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

obamacare: Fatal Attraction?

March 5, 2010

Remember that scene from the movie Fatal Attraction?  The crazed, psycho-bitch Glenn Close is drowned in the bathtub and we all have this sigh of relief – she’s dead, it’s over, we’re saved.  And then she pops up, knife in hand, ready to kill again. Didn’t you feel that same sigh of relief when Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts – Obama Care is dead, it’s over, we’re saved.  But now popping up from the bathtub is Reconciliation. Glenn Close with a butcher knife looks tame by comparison.

Here’s a fun, six-question Health Care Reform survey on Facebook.  Check the results when you are done.

Must Attend Events: What are you up to on March 10? I hope you can join us at these two very important events. The first is the Taxpayer Day at the Capitol. From noon to 1pm on the west steps of our State Capitol, we at the Independence Institute will be joined by other taxpayers to show the legislature we — the taxpayers of Colorado — are the most important special interest group!

The second event followed on the heels of Taxpayer Day is our Health Care Policy roundtable discussion co-hosted with the Heartland Institute. This will take place from 2 to 5 PM at the Denver Public Library downtown. You can RSVP online here or call us at 303.279.6536 to register for any event, anytime.

The Audacity to Ignore Results: Obama likes to believe that he’s the audacious type. And what could be more audacious than facing quantifiable clear results in one state and ignoring them completely? In this Wall Street Journal piece, the devastation of Massachusetts’ Romney Care is revealed: “…average Massachusetts insurance premiums are now the highest in the nation. Since 2006, they’ve climbed at an annual rate of 30% in the individual market. Small business costs have increased by 5.8%. Per capita health spending in Massachusetts is now 27% higher than the national average, and 15% higher even after adjusting for local wages and academic research grants. The growth rate is faster too.” And what does our audacious president think about this mess? He wants to take the incredible Massachusetts health care failure and apply it to the entire United States! It’s the health care “big dig!”

Why are We Always Stuck in Traffic?? Senior fellow Randal O’Toole presented on the future of transportation in Colorado just last week. If you were not able to make the event, you can watch it all here on this YouTube playlist. Randal presents devastating facts against “high-speed” rail, RTD’s vision, and the overbudget and underfunded FasTracks debacle. With these critiques come Randal’s suggestions on what ought to be done to reduce congestion, reduce pollution, and get us where we need to be going faster.

A 2nd Look at 21st Century Learning: Speaking of events you may have missed, check out this YouTube video playlist from our February 11 event with guest speaker Randy DeHoff from the State Board of Education. See what 21st Century Learning is, how it fits into Colorado’s new academic standards and future assessments, and whether it’s a passing fad or the wave of the future.

Transparency Update: The Denver Post editorial board has joined the transparency party we’ve been having the past couple years! To that, we say “Welcome!” I wrote a blog entry about the Post‘s investigations into our three biggest school district’s spending habits. Even the Post can’t overlook spending thousands upon thousands on Starbucks, pizza, and trips to Vegas.

Also regularly check out our Colorado Spending Transparency (COST) blog, where transparency czarina Amy Oliver-Cooke keeps us updated on how state and local government spends your money.

Must See TV: We’re about a third of the way through the 2010 Colorado legislative session: Does your wallet feel lighter yet? On this Friday’s Independent Thinking, reporters Ed Sealover from the Denver Business Journal and Eli Stokols from Fox 31 News join me to discuss the legislative session thus far. If you are a Colorado politics junkie, be sure to tune in and get your political fix from the reporters who cover the Capitol. That’s this Friday at 8:30 PM on KBDI Channel 12, Denver.

Must Hear Podcast: House Bill 1330 would create an “all-payer health claims database” in Colorado. Bill supporters claim government can reduce health care costs through “transparent public reporting of health care information.” In fact, the bill is a transparency Trojan Horse. It will make your most personal actions transparent to government officials, officials who have no business keeping track of what kind of health care you buy or what you pay for it. Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman sits down with Transparency Czarina Amy Oliver to discuss this privacy-smashing bit of legislation. Give a listen here.

Perspective: In this week’s op-ed, Linda Gorman reveals the privacy nightmare in House Bill 1330: The Transparency Trojan Horse. Just because a piece of legislation has the word “transparency” in it does not mean it is actually promotes transparency. Unfortunately, the word has been co-opted recently to mean the government spying on us citizens, not the other way around.

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

Happy Birthday I2I !

November 19, 2009

Happy birthday Independence Institute! Your detractors are many, and you just keep on treading along. Indeed, as so many cry out that you are insignificant they have to create counter organizations to oppose what you stand for.

Story HERE, and be sure to read the comments! 😀

And just what does the Independence Institute have to say concerning Obamacare? Well, here is a very small part…

© 2008, Benjamin Hummel. To see more cartoons like this go to

TABOR Defense War Room, and More

October 15, 2009

Things are heating up in Colorado politics that’s for sure. Must be that Algore global warming thing. Just don’t mention all that snow, and record low temps. Enjoy!

And just what is it that our friends in Golden are up too?

TABOR Update: Are the proponents of higher taxes and bigger government gearing up for an assault on Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights? You bet they are. Is the Independence Institute ready to educate the uninformed about the many benefits of our tax and spending limitations? Absolutely we are. Anytime and anywhere. In fact, our resident TABOR rock star Barry Poulson has been doing just that.

Read: Barry’s new Issue Paper, “A Fiscal Roadmap for Colorado.” In it, Barry presents some important measures to preserve and strengthen Colorado’s fiscal constitution.

Read: Barry’s recent “TABOR Amendment has Saved Colorado” op-ed in the Denver Post.

Watch: Barry on this episode of Independent Thinking, along with State Representative and TABOR Warrior Kent Lambert.

Listen: Barry on the David Boze radio show, 770 KTTH, Seattle, Washington.

Seeking Technology Advisors: The Independence Institute is currently looking for advisors to assist the organization in the advancement of technological innovation. We are specifically interested in individuals who have market experience in the areas of software engineering, network administration and online marketing, and who share the Independence Institute’s free market and individual liberty philosophy. If you feel that you may fit this role, please apply here.

Charter School Victory: Last week brought a rare bit of uplifting news from the Colorado Supreme Court: The state’s top justices said they weren’t interested in hearing the Boulder Valley School District’s legal challenge to the Charter School Institute (CSI), the special state authorizer for many Colorado charter schools. As noted on our GoBash blog, this was a good decision. Listen as our Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno and CSI chairman Alex Medler discuss the legal victory for families and charter schools on a new iVoices podcast.

Must-Attend Western Slope Event: “Prison spending, Sentencing and the Colorado Budget: How many more prison beds can we afford?” That is the topic of an upcoming panel event in Grand Junction co-sponsored by the Independence Institute and Club 20. The all-star panel includes Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, Colorado Department of Corrections Director Ari Zavaras, Colorado Department of Public Safety Director Pete Weir and State Senator Morgan Carroll. That’s October 22 from 4:00 PM-6:30 PM at the Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction. The event is free and will fill up fast, so RSVP quickly to Angeline Roles at (970) 242-3246, or

Save The date: Can you believe it, the Independence Institute turns 25 years young this year!! So save the date and book your seats now for our 25th Annual Founders’ Night Dinner with keynote speaker P.J. O’Rourke…it’s going to be huge! That’s Thursday, November 19, at the Infinity Park International Ballroom in Glendale, CO. Details and RSVP info here. Or you can call Mary at (303) 279-6536, or email her at Hurry, this event is filling up fast.

Must Hear Podcast: The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take another crack at the Second Amendment and hear a case involving Chicago’s gun ban. Over at, Jon Caldara sits down with Second Amendment Project Director Dave Kopel to find out what this might mean for the Second Amendment and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Give a listen here.

Must See TV: Health insurance mandates like in Massachusetts? Or maybe health care rationing like in Oregon? Check out ex-Colorado State Senator Ken Gordon and Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman on Independent Thinking as they join host Jon Caldara to talk about the state of the health care debate in Colorado. Tune in this Friday night at 8:30 pm to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Perspective: Colorado’s tax and spending limits are under attack, just as they once were in California. Check out our resident TABOR superstar Barry Poulson in the Colorado Daily newspaper as he asks the all important question: Do we really want to follow California’s disastrous abandonment of fiscal discipline? Barry’s answer is obviously a resounding no.

Check out the whole thing here.

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

Independence Institute: Newsletter

September 18, 2009

From the bastion of freedom and free markets in Golden, Colorado!

Save The Date: Can you believe it, the Independence Institute turns 25 years young this year!! So save the date and book your seats now for our 25th Annual Founders’ Night Dinner with keynote speaker P.J. O’Rourke…it’s going to be huge! That’s Thursday, November 19th at the Infinity Park International Ballroom in Glendale, CO. Details and RSVP info here. Or you can call Mary at (303) 279-6536, or email her at Hurry, this event is filling up fast.

He’s Not My Doctor! Remember those anti-Bush bumper stickers that read, “He’s not my President”? Well, I am pleased to announce that we at the Independence Institute recently debuted our new awesomely awesome “He’s Not My Doctor” bumper stickers. If you’d like to show the world that Obama is not your doctor, email Mary MacFarlane at and send her your name, address, and primary email account, and we’ll send you a brand spanking new bumper sticker – free of charge! PS – Due to the overwhelming demand, please limit your requests to just 2 per household. Thanks!

Free Our Health Care: Our brilliant Health Care Policy Center director Linda Gorman alerted me to a couple great health care links. First, we have the Free Our Health Care Now online petition, that some 732,000-plus people have already signed. Let’s help spread the word to our elected officials that we do not want a government takeover of our health care. As much as some may want to see doctor’s offices resembling the DMV, I prefer that didn’t happen.

Second, we’ve got the Conservatives for Patient’s Rights website, which has a large amount of important links and resources.

And of course don’t forget our Patient Power Now blog, written mostly by health care policy analyst Brian Schwartz, with special guest appearances by Linda Gorman herself. Be sure to check out the John Goodman Health Policy Blog, where Linda is a featured writer.

Must Hear Podcast: Over at Jon Caldara sits down with Dave Kopel to discuss free speechand some of the historical limiters to speech, leading all the way to McCain-Feingold of present day. There is a new challenge to McCain-Feingold headed to the courts. How does Dave think it will turn out? Give a listen here.

Must See TV: Want to know who’s up and who’s down in Colorado’s political races? How about the ongoing efforts to close a state budget gap? Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels and Tim Hoover join host Jon Caldara for an end of summer wrap up of state polics and the budget debate. Tune in this Friday night at 8:30 pm to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m..

Perspective: Ben DeGrow from the Education Policy Center thinks northeast Denver’s demand for more schools deserves some outside the box solutions. Check out his latest, “Stapleton School Shortage Needs Creative Thinking.”

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

Freedom Underground – Pre-ATF Party Nanny State Panel

June 10, 2009

Freedom Underground – Pre-ATF Party Nanny State Panel

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Warwick Hotel, 1776 Grant Street, Denver, CO

***Don’t forget to sign up for the ATF Party the next day!***

Listen to Jon Caldara and Amy Oliver talk nannyism, the ATF party, and this great panel event!


11:00a.m. — Registration

11:30a.m. — Lunch
Keynote Speaker: David Martosko, Center for Consumer Freedom

1:00p.m. — Morality and Philosophy of Nannyism

  • Radley Balko, and Reason Magazine
  • David Harsanyi, author of the Nanny State and syndicated columnist
  • David Kopel, Independence Institute Research Director
  • 2:15p.m. — Economics of Nannyism: Sin Taxes and Litigation

  • Terry Gallagher, President of Smoker Friendly
  • Jordan Lipp, attorney Davis Graham & Stubbs and of the Colorado Civil Justice Leage.
  • Linda Gorman, Independence Institute Health Care Policy Center Director
  • 3:30p.m. — Break

    3:45p.m. — Fighting Nannyism:

  • Andrew Boucher, Boucher Strategies and
  • David Martosko, Center for Consumer Freedom
  • Andrew Breitbart, The DrudgeReport, and Big Hollywood
  • 5:00p.m. — Break

    6:00p.m. – Dinner
    Keynote Speaker: Andrew Breitbart, The DrudgeReport, and Big Hollywood

    8:00 p.m. – Cocktails & Cigars

    This is a can’t miss event! Give us a call @ 303.279.6536 or RSVP online here to reserve your spot!

    JBC vice-chairman: ‘Ref C wasn’t designed to fix anything’

    January 28, 2009

    The big lie, and don’t say that you were not warned. Jon Caldara may have led the charge, but the soldiers of economic freedom were slaughtered at the polls by leftest lies. Want some proof? Read on…

    During a Joint Budget Committee presentation before the House Agriculture Committee last week, legislators were discussing the state’s budgetary woes. As it often happens under the Capitol dome, conversations about the budget inevitably lead to questions about Referendum C.

    PommerState of Colo.

    Specifically, people want to know what happened to the billions of dollars that filled state coffers as a result of the statewide measure passing in 2005.

    When voters approved Referendum C by 52 percent, they did so based on promises that the estimated $3.7 billion generated over the next five years would be used to fund higher education, health care, and transportation. Voters were also told they were fixing a “glitch” in the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a 1992 constitutional amendment that limited annual growth in government spending.

    So we were shocked to hear JBC vice-chairman Rep. Jack Pommer, D-Boulder, assert during last week’s discussion that “Ref C wasn’t designed to fix anything,” and that “Ref C was an arbitrary amount of money.” (Click the player above to hear the audio yourself.) Pommer went on to admit that just last year the CEOs of higher education were asking “what happened to our money?” He told them revenue from Referendum C was just to keep them from “shutting down.”

    Calls to Pommer went unreturned before press time.

    We’re not sure if Pommer is just exercising selective memory or if that’s truly the way he sees it, but Referendum C was very much sold to the public as a way to fix the budget. And the measure was not an “arbitrary” amount of money. State estimates pegged the new revenue at $3.7 billion, but it has brought in nearly double that amount. Not a small chunk of change.

    We would hope a member of the powerful JBC, the vice-chairman no less, would know better.

    Note: The first voice in the audio clip is that of Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, who asks a question then answered by Pommer.


    Accountability in Government?

    July 28, 2008

    Jon Caldara opens up a can of worms yet again over at Colorado’s Independence Institute. It seems that we will be re-visiting the idea of government accountability. It is to bad that the organizations below are so late in getting onto the band wagon. Jon has been at it for years!

    Early this week, the Denver Post made an issue out of accountability in government.   This is the kind of thing that gets me excited!  The editorial is one part in a series called Open Government 2008 by the Colorado Press Association. At the end of the article there are links to the other pieces, all discussing open and transparent government. A few of the articles state that Colorado is ahead of the curve with our Sunshine Laws and Open Records Act. (Sidenote: Take a look at Colorado’s page on the Sunshine Review website). Pioneer or not, Colorado still has a ways to go in terms of accountability and transparency. As Justin Longo points out, yeah it’s great that we don’t have a huge and intrusive NJ style state government. Instead we’ve got over 3,000 local governments here in Colorado running around doing what they want, and it’s difficult to keep our eyes on each and every one of them. I’m thrilled that this is an issue to both the Denver Post and the Colorado Press Association, and I hope it continues to stay a hot topic as we continue to work on it here at the Institute.


    Colorado Civil Rights Initiative

    July 24, 2008

    This November, Colorado voters will decide if the state can discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public contracting, or public education. Jessica Corry, executive director of the Colorado Civil Right Initiative, the force behind Amendment 46, and Brad Jones managing editor of Face the State join me on Independent Thinking to discuss the ballot measure and why it enjoys huge support in Colorado. Opponents of Amendment 46 either declined to participate or didn’t respond to repeated invitations. Tune in tonight at 8:30 p.m. to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Tuesday evening at 5 p.m.

    Discrimination based upon color, creed, or orientation is immoral. Let’s end all of it in a single swoop. No preferences at all, of any kind, for anyone, anywhere.


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