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Colorado News Miner 117

Alan Berg's murder, Colorado's KKK church, theocrats, Libertarians, Democrats and Israel, Threads, legal actions on rents and tickets, stinky factories, and more.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
July 7, 2024

Alan Berg's Murder

Peter Boyles, who worked closely with Alan Berg, writes about Berg's murder by neo-Nazis. Berg was Jewish and he used his radio program to blast anti-Semitism. Boyles sets up the background:

As the "King of Agriculture," KOA received many small-town newspapers and farm and ranch reports from all over Colorado. I loved to read them. One day after the show, I came across the Primrose and Cattleman's Gazette. The paper was published in Fort Lupton by a man named Rick Elliott. Elliott had printed in the Gazette The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which alleges a global Jewish plot to run the world. The article was "written" by Colonel Frances Farrell. Anyone who has read European history knows The Protocols were a fabrication.

This led to Elliott appearing on the radio with Boyles and Berg, which Boyles believed contributed to to the eventual murder plot against Berg. Boyles also appeared on the CityCast Denver podcast to discuss the matter.

A question: Is there any way to make Berg's old radio shows available online?

Last year, History Colorado published some audio from Berg's old shows along with commentary and recent interviews with others.

Craig Silverman (who is no fan of Boyles) also wrote about Berg's murder, for the Colorado Sun. Recently Silverman discussed Berg on his podcast and interviewed Kevin Flynn, co-author of The Silent Brotherhood: Inside America's Racist Underground, a book that discusses Berg. In his column, Silverman also mentions Stephen Singular's book about Berg, Talked to Death. And for his July 5 podcast, Silverman hosted Berg's former wife, Judith Berg, who complains about Boyles's account.

As Silverman also mentions, History Colorado and Jewish Colorado also have pieces on Berg.

Related: The Order is a forthcoming film, starring Jude Law, based on the book coauthored by Flynn that is partly about Berg.

Colorado's KKK Church

Starting in 2018, Meg Dunn wrote a series of articles for Northern Colorado History on the Colorado Ku Klux Klan. Two of these, "Colorado Women of the Ku Klux Klan" and "Bringing Religion Into It," deal with the embrace of the Klan by various churches. (The image is from her report.)

Beneath a large sign saying Jesus Saves, the pastor of a Colorado church surrounds himself with hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan.

As Dunn reviews, a key figure in bringing the Klan into the church was Alma White, founder of the Pillar of Fire Church. The POF church in Denver continues to bear the name "Alma Temple."

Dunn writes:

With a growing movement across the United States, Alma was well situated to spread the tenants of the Klan when she embraced the movement in the 1920s. By that point Alma had also collected a great deal of wealth and she used it to support Klan activities through donations and by providing free meeting spaces. Though the Pillar of Fire name came about before the rebirth of the Klan in the 20s, it was a convenient connection that likely gave added meaning to the frequent cross burnings on church properties.

Alma was also an asset to the Klan because she frequently used her pulpit as a platform to espouse her political beliefs, including her adherence to white supremacy. In 1925, she offered a six part speaking series in Longmont on the theme “What does the Ku Klux Klan stand for?” Topics covered were, in order: 1) The tenets of the Christian Religion, 2) White Supremacy, 3) Closer Relation between Capital and American Labor, 4) Protection of Our Pure Womanhood, 5) The Right of Peaceable Assembly, and 6) The Limitation of Foreign Immigration.

Then, as now, we see bigoted authoritarians wrapping themselves in the Bible and the flag while proclaiming liberty. Dunn includes this image from a Pillar of Fire publication.

Illustration from a Pillar of Fire publication of a KKK member ringing the Liberty Bell, with the American flag and the Bible in the background.

In Hooded Empire, Robert Alan Goldberg writes of a proposed 1924 Klan event:

Those who looked for anti-Klan champions among Denver's white Protestant organizations despaired because only a few groups such as the men's Bible class of the Central Presbyterian Church publicly condemned the order.

Goldberg continues:

Visitations and contributions to Protestant churches reinforced the Klan’s image of piety. . . . To determine more clearly the denominational support of the Denver Klan, the stance of individual Protestant congregations was examined. A Denver church was designated as Klan-supporting if (1) its minister was a Klansman, (2) it advertised in the Klan newspaper, or (3) its trustees allowed fake ex-"nun" Mary Angel to speak to the congregation. If these criteria are employed, thirty Denver churches, almost 20 percent of the Protestant total, are tarnished. One-third of the Methodist, one-fourth of the Baptist, and five of seven Disciples of Christ churches had Klan links. The Congregationalists and Presbyterians emerge only slightly less tainted. None of the city’s Episcopalian or Lutheran churches succumbed to Klan blandishments.

Goldberg mentions several religious leaders who denounced the Klan. However:

The Klan built strong bases of support in the Reverend T. C. Collister's Northern Avenue Methodist Church near Bessemer, the Reverend George Lowe's East Side Baptist Church, and the Broadway Christian Church. Lowe was especially influential, serving as the local klavern's Exalted Cyclops.

Quick Takes

Hutchins: Thank you to Corey Hutchins for mentioning my article on the Southern Policy Law Center "hate group" report. See also my related article on news coverage of Colorado groups.

Theocrats: Christian performer and activist Sean Feucht, who recently came through Colorado, previously said, "We want God to be in control of everything. We want believers to be the ones writing the laws. Yes, guilty as charged. We wouldn't be a disciple of Jesus if we didn't believe that." Heidi Beedle quotes Right Wing Watch. Feucht appeared at the Colorado event with state representative Scott Bottoms and U.S. representative Lauren Boebert, who suggested that recognizing that a child can be transgender is a "lie from the pit of hell."

Furries Forever: Good grief. Rich Guggenheim of Protect Kids Colorado and Gays Against Groomers (the name of which defames transgender people) recently claimed on the radio, falsely, "Kids [at schools] are using litterboxes and doing their bathroom duties like they would if they're a cat or a dog." Certain Republicans and conservatives have been making this claim for years. It remains complete bullshit. In other news (still citing James O'Rourke's article), Erin Lee claimed that the popular Warrior Cats series of youth novels is a gateway to a furry or transgender lifestyle, which is ridiculously stupid.

Housing and Religion: McKenna Harford: "The Rock Church . . . lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Colorado, argues the Town of Castle Rock is violating the church's religious freedom by prohibiting it from offering short-term shelter to people in need." The core issue is that the city is violating the church's property rights. The city should respect people's property rights whether or not they are religious.

Libertarians Beclown Themselves: The state party is running RFK as its presidential pick, even though RFK's platform is pervasively anti-libertarian. But RFK is a well-known conspiracy monger, and apparently that is good enough for today's "Libertarians." See also video, if you can stand it.

Democrats Wrestle Over Israel: CPR: "Colorado Democrats vote against Gaza ceasefire resolution." See also the fiery op-ed by Stefanie Clarke and Dawn Reinfeld: "Ever since Oct. 7, 2023, progressive Jews have been sidelined by the very party we helped to build. From the moment Israel was attacked by Hamas, before the war even started, we were alienated, ostracized and demonized by the far left of the Democratic Party. People we worked with for a decade took to the west steps of the State Capitol to chant antisemitic slogans like, 'From the river to the sea,' and 'Globalize the intifada,' one a call for the eradication of the Jewish state, the other a call for the murder of Jews worldwide."

Threads Blocks Clark: Top Colorado news journalist Kyle Clark reported that congressional candidate Richard Holtorf "compared [Lauren] Boebert's outfits to prostitutes walking Colfax." Which he did. Threads removed that post on these grounds, "It looks like you threatened or harassed others, or targeted them with content or messages that shame or disrespect them." When Clark appealed, Threads doubled down on its obviously idiotic policy. Sheesh.

Rent Setting: Two leftie groups want state government to go after owners of rental properties for "price fixing" of rents. This is so stupid. The fundamental reason that rents are high is that governments have outlawed much construction and use of residential properties. Government trying to control rents does not alter the fundamental dynamics of supply and demand. Government artificially lowering rents does not increase the amount of rental housing available; it only assures that existing housing stocks will be used inefficiently and not replenished as robustly. Government cracking down on the "fixing," i.e., relative uniformity, of rents will only result in rents set more capriciously. We don't need more government controls of the housing market. We need government to free up the housing market. (Again, the legislature has made important steps in that direction, but there hasn't been time yet for builders to respond.)

Concert Ticket Suit: Here is John Wenzel's opening paragraph: "Colorado joined a multi-state federal lawsuit against concert mega-promoter Live Nation Entertainment on Thursday, alleging the company that owns Ticketmaster holds a monopoly over live events that has harmed consumers." It is not until his fourteenth paragraph that Wenzel lets slip this detail: "Colorado is the rare state where Live Nation and Ticketmaster have far less reach than rival promoter AEG Presents, founded and owned by Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz." Apparently the fact that Colorado's antitrust claim is bullshit does not merit the lede in the Denver Post.

Pet Food Factory Suit: No doubt the Nestle-Purina Petcare plant stinks; you can smell it as you drive by on I-70. Now a couple people have lodged a class-action suit. Here are my preliminary questions: Who was there first, the factory or the houses? Did not the people buying those houses know what they were getting into? How did the houses come to be built there in the first place? No doubt if a plant comes into an existing residential area and starts spewing horrible smells that is an obvious property-rights violation. But who did what first matters. If that general area is more valuable for residential use, perhaps the way to go is to pay the plant to move or to install better pollution controls. To reach a firm judgment I'd have to see a great deal of evidence about the relevant history.

Manure and Water: Here is another important dispute over localized pollution, this one pertaining to manure from "factory farms" and their potential impact on local waters. Animal welfare is a background issue.

Bigots: Katie Langford: "Aurora police are looking for two people suspected in a bias-motivated vandalism, including tearing down Pride flags and damaging a vehicle and home."

Youth Mental Health: Jenny Brundin: "Though researchers still consider youth mental health a crisis, the latest state survey looking at the problem shows a drop in youth who seriously considered suicide and sharp declines in youth substance use." The pandemic and school closures seem to have been huge problems for youth mental health. See data from the study.

End-Of-Life Changes: Elisabeth Slay: "Gov. Jared Polis has signed a bill that aims to make Colorado's End-of-Life Options Act accessible to more people with terminal illnesses. Senate Bill 24-068 waives mandatory minimum waiting periods for patients likely to die within 48 hours of requesting medical aid to end their lives."

Caldara on Ballot Plans: Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute (which publishes my column) says polling did not support his idea to shorten the legislative session or even to cut the income tax rate. "We'll be spearheading a better initiative to greatly expand transparency and open meetings next year," he writes.

Ski Resort Negligence: John Ingold (from May): "Liability waivers—standard click-through agreements that are a common part of buying a ski pass in Colorado—cannot be used to shield ski resorts from all negligence claims, a divided Colorado Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision." See also my article on liability laws in Colorado.

Geothermal: Michael Booth: State-backed geothermal and hydrogen projects are moving forward.

Punk Ass Vandals: San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters "is offering a $500 reward to anyone who has information leading to an arrest of the 'punk-ass clown'" who graffitied a wall near a hiking area and otherwise vandalized the area.

GOP Flailing: Sun: "Fourteen of the 18 candidates endorsed by the Colorado GOP lost their primary elections Tuesday, most of them by double-digit margins." That the state party is even endorsing candidates in the primaries is ridiculous.

Smarter Primary Takedown: The Get More Smarter podcast has a good review of Colorado's primary elections. These guys know the political mechanics. A nit: The pair claim that only one Democratic Socialist endorsed candidate won in Colorado, Mike Weissman. But Weissman does not list such an endorsement on his web page. A Denver DSA document recommends a vote for Weissman "as a strategic vote." I'm only seeing two candidates, Lindstrom and Hernández, formally endorsed.

About Right: Dave Williams is an "asshole's asshole," which goes a long way toward explaining why he lost.

Kyle: Michael Roberts has an article about Clark. A theme that shouldn't surprise you: He works very hard. The problem with this sort of sycophantic journalism is that it increases the chances that (as Roberts writes) "a big station in a larger market or a major network might poach him."

Article V Conventions: Constitutional scholar Robert Natelson, along with Karla Jones, wrote in to the Times Recorder to explain how an Article V Convention would work. Natelson and Jones explain that such a convention could be used only for narrow amendments, not to rewrite the entire Constitution. The Times Recorder (i.e., Jason Salzman) holds that "the view that the U.S. Constitution would definitely not be dismantled at a convention may or may not be true, in part because the role—if any—of the judiciary in the process is not clear." Interestingly, some conservatives also fear such a convention because they think leftists would use it to rewrite the Constitution.

Shoplifting: Kristian Lopez: "A group of businesses in Denver's Montbello neighborhood say they're seeing a spike in retail theft and must take extra measures to avoid being targeted." If only we had some sort of tax-funded agency responsible for stopping such crimes and catching the perpetrators.

Jail Conditions: Kevin Vaghan: "A former police officer [Randy Roedema] convicted in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain will continue serving his sentence in a jail work-release program, rather than on in-home detention, 9NEWS Investigates has learned. Attorneys for [Roedema] . . . asserted that he was living in 'constant fear of being attacked' and experiencing extreme anxiety in the county jail." No one should have to endure violent or dangerous conditions in jails or prisons.

Deputies Drop Man on Face: Brian Maass: "Jefferson County agrees to pay Colorado inmate $500,000 after video shows him dropped on his face" by jail deputies. I watched the video in question, and I strike this up to incompetence rather than malice. Still!

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