Political Gossip, Satire, and Analysis from MT's Capital City "…a viral sensation…"–Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos "Among the best state-based political blogs in the nation."–Washington Post "MT Cowgirl gets more scoops than anyone. The online voice of the left in Montana." –Billings Gazette
Twelve Montana lawmakers are backing a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the Affordable Care Act in Montana. The state legislators voiced their support for such a scheme in a survey from Ron Paul’s “Campaign for Liberty” TEA Party, on which they indicated they will either vote for or sponsor such a bill.
These TEA partiers also say they support a nonsensical and unconstitutional dogma called “nullification” that holds that states can ignore the federal health care law–and other federal laws–if they choose. Two sitting lawmakers, Rep. Jerry O’Neil (RTEA-Columbia Falls) and Rep. David Howard (RTEA-Park City), both known imbeciles, were foolish enough to admit they would actually sponsor such legislation.
Rep. David Howard has called for a new, modern-day Civil War and dedicated his entire Facebook page to racist, bigoted, bizarre and anti-gay posts. Republicans elected him Chair of the House Human Services Committee of the Montana Legislature. He is running this year for a four-year term in the Montana state senate.
[N]ullification also has a controversial history. It was invoked by South Carolina lawmakers seething over tariff laws in the antebellum South, and again during the civil-rights era, when states opposed to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954 used the idea of interposition, nullification’s kissing cousin, as a mechanism to resist integration.
Out of over 200 candidates and legislators running for office this year, 34 loons answered the Campaign for Liberty questionnaire, as you can see here. Besides the twelve sitting legislators who back the arrest and nullification bill, an additional 18 candidates for the Montana state house committed to support it. Meanwhile six candidates went on record saying they will sponsor the legislation. Only four legislative candidates refused to answer or admitted they oppose the manhunts for federal health care officials.
Rep. Kerry White (RTEA-Bozeman) says he had hoped to join Cliven Bundy in his armed stand-off against public employees in Nevada.
Every single one of these legislators and candidates should now be asked for specific explanations of why they support arresting anyone for implementing federal laws.
After all, the list of those up for arrest would be rather large. All of the state’s navigators and certified application counselors are actually federal officials who have been given grants paid with federal dollars to sign people up for the Affordable Care Act. The biggest chunk of these officials are community health center, tribal clinic, and hospital employees. Additionally there are hundreds of insurance agents who were were certified to offer Affordable Care Act policies through the exchange using official federal funds and resources, and there are hundreds more state public employees whose work to implement the federal health care law is paid for with federal funds and required under federal statute.
Rep. Jerry O’Neil, RTEA- Columbia Falls says public beatings will save taxpayer money.
As of this posting, the legislators have not said whether the penalty for these hospital and health care workers would be jail time and fines or “humane whippings,” as Rep. Jerry O’Neil as previously proposed.
A Montana case is the next battle in the fight to keep elections from being for sale to the highest bidder by keeping campaign finance limits in place.
Now, a group of leading national legal non-profit advocacy groups including Free Speech for People, former Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson, the American Independent Business Alliance, the American Sustainable Business Council, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Justice at Stake and the League of Women Voters are joining Montanans in the fight to keep Montana’s campaign finance limits in place.
The groups joined the defense of Montana’s campaign finance limits with an amicus brief and and amici brief in Lair v. Motl. They are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to overturn a District Court ruling that struck down Montana’s political campaign contribution limits. Earlier, a District Court disregarded both Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court precedent to overturn Montana’s limits on contributions to state candidates, including judges, from individuals and political parties.
In Lair v. Motl, American Traditions Partnership board member Doug Lair wants campaign finance limits abolished. Several prominent Republican office holders and candidates in Montana caught up in the infamous Meth House Scandal, in which documents belonging to the infamous American Tradition Partnership (ATP), were found in a Colorado meth house. The documents incriminated TEA Party Senate leader Art Wittich, Mike Miller, Derek Skees, Pat Wagman, Jerry O’Neil, Bob Wagner, Dan Kennedy, Scott Mendenhall, Wendy Warburton, Ed Butcher, and Tom Burnett to name a few. Wager, Burnett, Miller, O’Neil and Wittich are currently running for office.
Here’s how Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech For People, explains it: “Campaign contribution limits are justified by an interest in ensuring political equality for all, regardless of access to wealth. When political equality is jeopardized, democracy itself is at risk.”
Justice James Nelson, a former Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, and on of the court’s most respected justices, said, “Candidates for political office and elections should not be for sale to the biggest spenders. The Supreme Court has decreed that money equals speech; and contribution limits help to level a playing field tipped in favor of the big spenders by Citizens United.” I could not agree more.
The District Court overturned the Montana’s candidate contribution limits applicable to individuals and PACs, even though the limits have already been upheld by the Ninth Circuit.
In addition to the limits on candidate contributions from individuals and PACs, the lower court struck down Montana’s limits as they apply to contributions from political party committees. Montana does not limit the amount that any individual or PAC may give to political parties, but instead restricts the “aggregate” amount a candidate can receive from his or her political party.
Surprisingly, the issue hasn’t been covered by Montana news outlets, even though its the next step in a nationwide battle to protect America’s and Montana’s elections from corruption.
After all, this case comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, which struck down longstanding limits on the total amount of money wealthy individuals could contribute to federal candidates in an election cycle. As with the Citizens United ruling which now allows unlimited corporate dollars into our elections, the high court’s McCutcheon decision is unleashing further money into the political process from wealthy interests.
The vice-Chair of the state Republican Party, Sen. Jennifer Fielder promoted the gathering of an extreme anti-government group appeared as a keynote speaker at the group’s event. But when a reporter showed up, “she quickly distanced herself from [Defend Rural America leader Kirk] MacKenzie when asked about his extreme rhetoric and ideas,” which included that “neo-environmentalists” are “domestic terrorists.” Fielder said that the group ideas weren’t what she thought they would be.
So now she knows, and there’s no longer a way to claim ignorance.
But Sen. Fielder must not be too upset about the group’s views. She’s invited yet another Defend Rural America speaker, Doyel Shamley, to present information to a legislative hearing this Wed, Jan 8. You can see that he appears under Fielder’s portion of the Environmental Quality Council agenda.
Shamley appears on the MT EQC agenda, billed as a “natural resource consultant.” But Doyel Shamely is so much more.
Shamely is the host of a somewhat creepy conspiracy theory program which posits that politicians, lawmakers, members of the royal family, the illuminati and others have created a “New World Order” through which they attempt to control the thoughts and beliefs of everyday people–of course, there is connection to UFO’s and aliens visiting planet Earth.
Is there a New World Order? Are they trying to control every part of our lives? Are we treated like sheep?…Are they politicians, company directors, religious leaders, royalty, lawmakers, or all of the above and more? How old is their rule? And what secret organization do they belong to?
Perhaps more importantly, are UFOs actually visiting our planet? Have they been here for thousands of years? All this and more is constantly investigated by thousands of people around the globe and nobody more than the Hour of Our Time Show*[hosted by Shamely]…Are they trying to control our minds? Are they lying about the Alien Threat? You decide.
Indeed Fielder has decided that Montana’s lawmakers need to hear from this consultant–apparently no other natural resources speaker would do.
Yes, the truth sometimes has a way of coming out, but that hasn’t stopped Fielder from tried hide from and disassociate herself from the extremist views of these “expert consultants” she consorts with.
For example, Sen. Dick Barrett (D-Missoula) provided her with an email with information about the watershed consultant hired by TEA partiers to block a tribal water rights agreement negotiated by the state of Montana and the CSKT. Kate Vandemoer (yes, this is the Usurpathoner) has a birther blog with some pretty extreme, marginal views–and some writings that reflect the soundness of her judgement. But Fielder got angry and insisted that the contents of Vandemoer’s “personal” blog (whatever that might mean) were not relevant. But in the same breath, she claimed that she had never read the blog. I encourage you to read this informative chain of emails below the fold.
The most cursory review of Vandemoer’s very public blog (Dr Kate’s View) shows that Vandemoer uses it not only to promote her multitudinous and bizarre birther conspiracy theories, she also uses it to share her views on water and watershed politics.
In a post entitled “Watershed Politics” Vandemoer writes the following. (Apologies for the long passage but they illustrate this “expert’s” state of mind.)
the landscape of our America was shaped by our Constitution, the very blood and water of our country…Upon this hallowed ground–nothing more than a chessboard to some– a dark rain has fallen for decades…it is falling and now drenching. I remember being in the wilderness for weeks on horseback, wondering what the black ‘goo’ was on the vegetation and the rocks…This foreign rain, and the raging torrents it produces, are attempting to capture that stream and dream known as America. It is trying to erode our landscape, our system, in order to capture liberty and train it into a controlled system of slavery, where the course of everyone’s life is determined by a single train of thought–communism, new world orderism. The NWO has intentionally created these devastating torrents to undermine sovereignty, liberty, and freedom…indeed I have felt that the very foundation of our country is threatened…and with increasing force.
Does the NWO think it is God, such that it can flood the world with poison rain and torrential rivers to destroy all of creation, and refashion it to its liking (and control)?
She uses the blog to share her belief that climate change is a diversionary tactic to keep the public from looking into a list of conspiracy theories: such as “weather modification by geoengineering“–Vandemoer believes the government is creating natural disasters so that it may “take over our lives.” There’s also HAARP (a secret weapon conspiracy nuts think is used for weather modification. And don’t forget “chemtrails, and microwave pulses.”
So even if Fielder doesn’t scramble to distance herself from the conspiracies, or Vandemoer’s belief that, “the Rothschilds (translated ‘Red Shield), Rockefellers, and many other monied JKhazar Jews, who together form a cabal acting like a synagogue of Satan that is in full gear enforcing its agenda on America, including Agenda 21.” Even if Sen. Fielder does not believe that these views call “Dr. Kate’s” judgement into question, Vandemoer’s views on water as a water consultant should give any sane person pause.
For tomorrow’s legislative meeting. Fielder has invited another extremist to town. She’s asked Ken Ivory to the legislative committee tomorrow. Ivory is the Utah legislator who carried a bill requiring the Federal government to cede much of its land in Utah to the state.
This guy Ivory has already appeared in Ravalli County. Actually, he’s been touring around pushing this idea to other states at ALEC conferences too–legislative language is conveniently available now in ALEC boilerplate. Montanans will remember this idea as one of the infamous nutjob bills of the 2011 legislature, sponsored by Derek Skees.
Unfortunately for Ivory (and ALEC), Utah’s Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel had to go and point out a pile of pesky case law with regard to public lands going back to the 1870s that gives the bill “a high probability of being declared unconstitutional.” And the Salt Lake Tribune has called Ivory’s effort “tilting at windmills.” Arizona rejected it. The bill was vetoed by TEA Party Governor Jan Brewer. In Montana, the bill didn’t even make it out of committee.
But the GOP loves to throw these kinds of pointless proposals out there, in spite of the fact that it is a complete waste of public resources to do so. It’s political grandstanding to rally the extreme-right conservative TEA Party base and to feed their antigovernment conspiracy narrative.
His name was found in a box of documents in a meth house which later became the subject of a brilliant work of national investigative journalism. In a full-hour exposé of Montana politics and the secretive right-wing group, PBS’s show Frontline revealed that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found in a meth house, showing extensive communications between these and perhaps other legislative candidates and the American Traditions Partnership, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.
The list of others who could be investigated because documents and campaign materials with their names were found in the meth house includes–but is not limited to–current and former legislators Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Wendy Warburton, Jerry O’Neil, and Derek Skees. Rep. Dan Kennedy (R-Laurel) is already under investigation.
Miller announced the investigation on his own Facebook page, saying. “Well, before the press breaks the news, (or MT-Cowgirl), former MT Rep. John Ward has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices over the 2010 primary, alleging coordination with Assembly Action Fund and ATP (WTP).” Screenshot.
He said he is “not commenting further at this time on the merits of my case.” Screenshot. However he added,
“One could wonder in the Kennedy case if a candidate buys something (paper) on sale at say WalMart and Staples has the same item at a higher price, just what is the fair market value of that item. Or if a candidate buys stamps at Costco at a 25 cent discount if Costco is making a corporate contribution to the candidate as it is less than the US Post Office charges which one could assume the CoPP would think was the “fair market value.”
Former Rep. Scott Mendenhall (R-Clancy) blamed the investigation on “More divisiveness out of the self-proclaimed ‘Business Republicans.'” Those alleged to have illegally coordinated with ATP are in the TEA Party camp.
Evangelizing to the far-right rather than actually representing constituents is “eroding the effectiveness of some of our elected state representatives,” says a Republican and former Montana state legislator.
Following yet another embarrassing legislative session, a panel of lawmakers have been tasked with finding “ways to restore trust, respect, faith and confidence in the legislative branch.” The panel discussed ways to keep the legislature in Helena more often (the worst nightmare of anyone who is not a sitting legislator.) Continue reading →Tweet
Montana’s head elections regulator ruled this week that American Tradition Partnership illegally coordinated with a GOP legislative candidate, Dan Kennedy R-Laurel. Now, Montana’s top election regulator says he’s launching an investigation into other candidates ATP may have coordinated with.
ATP is the right-wing political attack group that was instrumental in bringing us the nation’s most bat-crap crazy state legislatures in 2011 and 2013. Kennedy’s primary opponent was but one of several GOP candidates who complained about ATPs activities to elect hard right-wingers over more moderate republicans.
Montana lawmakers who have spent the entirety of their paltry careers voting against equality now find themselves on the wrong side of history. In the wake of the upcoming supreme court decision on equal marriage, no one who reads a newspaper can come to any other conclusion. Even Rush Limbaugh says marriage equality is inevitable.
The nutjob wing of Montana’s Republican Party aren’t just wrong, they’re way out in right field, and soon to be there alone. Montana is one of only four states that has a law on the books that makes being gay an imprisonable offense. This fact alone is despicable, but when you consider what else the Montana Legislature has done you start to wonder if the Montana legislature isn’t among the most bigoted in America.
Consider this: During the past 21 legislative sessions least 32 bills have been introduced to make all Montanans equal under the law. Some, like Sen. Facey’s SB 107 attempted to repeal the “deviate sexual conduct” law, others would have prevent discrimination in housing, or stopped the bullying of young people in schools. Many have been introduced by Sen. Christine Kaufmann, of Helena.
Not a single one of these bills has ever passed in the history of this state.
But it’s worse than that. The Montana legislature isn’t content with blocking equality bills. They’ve tried year after year to make things worse. Look what they did in 1995, when Republican Senator Rick Holden added an amendment to a bill to require gay men and lesbians to register as felony sex offenders. Democrats tried to remove the amendment, but 32 of 50 Senators voted to keep it in.
It was only after twenty-four hours of scathing national press coverage from CNN that the Republicans were finally forced to take the sex offender amendment out. But not before Billings GOP Sen. Al Bishop decided to share his beliefs with the world. He said consensual activity between people of the same sex was “a worse offense than rape.” (The bill was HB 214 and predates the online legislative search.)
Anyway, the Chick-Fil-A munching bunch was not happy to be denied a “felony sex offender registry” of gay citizens. A couple of days later anti-gay slurs and graffiti were “scrawled across the doors of the capitol, and a famous statue was defaced. With no sense of irony, and no mention of the anti-gay nature of the spray-painted slogans, Senators introduced a bill to make defacing the capitol a felony.”
And who could forget what happened ten years later in 2005, when the all-day kindergarten was opposed by religious right Repubs, who claimed bill was part of the “gay agenda.” “The purported evidence given by these groups was that gay activists were NOT at the hearing, proving it was part of the activists’ secret agenda.”
Public sentiment is now so firmly behind equality that the reaction to democratic politicians who announce their support at this late date ranges from “who isn’t” to “where were you earlier.” The Montana Senate even voted, finally, to erase our “anti-sodomy law” which makes it an imprisonable crime to be gay. Although invalidated by our state supreme court in 1997, the law has remained on our books because Republicans have always refused to go along with efforts to scrap it.
Now, SB 107, a measure to strike the offensive language from our statutes finally passed the senate. That said, the vote was far from unanimous. Ten Republicans voted no.
Any day now the bill will be voted on in committee, and then on the Floor of the House. No assumptions can be made about body which includes Verdell Jackson, Krayton Kerns, David Howard and Jerry O’Neil, so start contacting the lawmakers in the House of Representatives, which you can do via this online form. FYI, you can always use the back button after submitting your message, which allows you to skip retyping all your info when you contact multiple legislators. Or you can cut and paste this list of House GOP legislators.
Conservatives were on the wrong side of history with women’s suffrage, they were on the wrong side of segregation. Let’s see whose side they’re on now.
Survivalist, doomsday prepper and gold standard advocate Jerry O’Neil has made the society pages. He very graciously gave up his reserved legislative parking space to an employee of a Democrat, as was reported in today’s IR.
Let’s all enjoy the moment of shared humanity that this brings us. These are the small slivers of political life where it all goes out the window and people interact with one another on real, human levels. It’s a beautiful thing and it deserves to be lauded and app-lauded.
But what of the other thousands of pregnant women in Montana toward whom he apparently feels no obligation?
In 2011, Rep. O’Neill voted for HB 167, HB 283, HB456, and SB 176, all of which had one thing in common – they made it more difficult for women to access, utilize, or understand the myriad of healthcare and reproductive services available to them. These bills attempted to limit abortion services by criminalizing the death of a fetus, allowed insurance companies to consider discriminate against women when setting insurance premiums, and kept comprehensive sex education out of the hands of young women and men who need it most.
In the current year he is again making such policy decisions. He has voted for HB 239 (which seeks to limit access to sex ed) and HB 104 (which opens pregnant women to prosecution for harm to a fetus).
You would be hard-pressed to find proponents of any of these pieces legislation who have any interest in protecting of the rights of Montana’s women. These proposed policies don’t support, help, or further women’s rights or health. They seek to control, constrain, and change the face of women’s rights into something that the Right believes they should have been all along: virtually non-existent.
So Mr. O’Neil’s penny of chivalry does not outweigh his pound of offense to Montana’s greater female population. When, Representative, are you going to start showing the same respect and compassion for the rest of Montana’s women?Tweet
It might surprise you to hear this, but right-wing Republicans actually agree with President Obama that America needs a radical change in our gun laws. It’s just that they have a different idea of what those changes should be.
In the Montana Legislature this month, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and a scourge of national gun violence, Montana Republicans have moved quickly to introduce a series of bills to deal with what they believe is society’s most pressing gun problem: it’s not easy enough to shoot someone.
There are dozens of proposals, each one stupider and sillier and more childish than the next. Here are few of my favorites:
First is a bill to change our concealed weapons laws. In Montana, concealed weapons may not be carried in churches, schools, banks, bars, colleges, hospitals and a few other specified areas. Republicans have proposed a bill to eliminate these restrictions completely.
The author of the bill, House Bill 304, is none other than the state chair of the House Judiciary Committee. A police officer showed up to a hearing to testify against it, saying he’d “never seen a bar fight that ended well with a concealed weapon.” The Republicans were unfazed by this testimony and are moving forward with the legislation. There’s also a companion bill, House Bill 384, that specifically addresses the injustice suffered by high school students who are denied the right to bring rifles and shotguns onto school grounds. The bill would forbid school officials from punishing such students.
Keep in mind that these are the same lawmakers who proposed Senate Bill 279 which was a bill to allow legislators to carry guns–both concealed and open–in the state capitol building last session. Apparently they think that this will make the capitol a safer place. I’m sure the many government employees who work in the Capitol will feel secure in knowing that a few crusty old Republican men–who start drinking at 10 am and spend the rest of the day snoozing at hearings or ogling high school pages–will serve as a security force in the event the building is attacked.
And if you think Republicans do not believe in guaranteed access to healthcare, think again. A few GOP legislators have just introduced House Bill 459, a bill to guarantee the provision of medical care–to anyone who is armed. The bill makes it a felony to deny someone health care if the denial is based in any way on the fact that the person is in possession of a weapon, and refuses to answer the doctor’s question about said possession. Said another way, this bill ensures that you can bring a weapon to your doctors office, and the doctor may not ask you to leave the premises if you refuse to answer the doctor when you are asked “is that bulge under you clothing a concealed weapon?” It also forbids pediatricians from asking other questions about guns that they routinely ask, about whether the parent owns weapons and, if so, whether the parent is safely storing them in the house, out of reach of the child.
These legislators should themselves seek out a pediatrician, because they are overgrown children who somehow became legislators.
There are many more such bills, including:
HB 302 by Rep. Krayton Kerns would prohibit state enforcement of any federal ban on semi-auto firearms/magazines
HB 215 by Rep. Edward Greef declares the Winchester rifle “The gun that won the west.”
HJ 5 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil amends the U.S. Constitution to prevent President from entering into any arms treaties that infringe on gun rights.
LC1639 by Rep. Scott Reichner would prevent local governments from restricting firearms.
HB 27 by Rep. Ted Washburn would allow the use of silencers when hunting “large predators,” while
HB 205 by Krayton Kerns would eliminate the prohibition on firearm sound reduction devices in the field altogether.
HB 240 by Rep. Cary Smith seeks to allow guns on college campuses.
HB 468 by Rep. Alan Doane would encourage manufacture of ammunition in Montana to ensure availability.
HJ 3 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil calls for an amendment to the US Constitution which “gives the states the right to make whatever guns they want so long as [firearms] stay inside the[sic] own borders.”
SB 304 by Rep. Roger Webb would establish a “firearm protection act.”
HB 292 by Rep. Randy Brodehl would revise laws related to pawn shop stolen gun procedures
When the Daily Inter Lake asked Rep. Jerry O’Neil yesterday about the Newtown school shooting tragedy, the Columbia Falls Republican responded with his concerns about divorce.
O’Neil noted that Connecticut gunman Adam Lanza, 20, was from a divorced home. Lanza apparently got the weapons he used from his mother, who enjoyed shooting sports. He shot her to death in her bed and then went to the school.
O’Neil claimed his divorce law would keep more families together, but it never passed.
Rep O’Neil believes that it is too easy for women to get a divorce in Montana. He was a big supporter of House Bill 438 which has been repeatedly voted down by his own colleagues. Under the proposed law, women would be required to remain married to drug addicts, those who gamble away the family’s life savings, drug dealers, criminals, and just plain bad people–until they had undergone eight weeks mandatory counseling.
To be sure, Rep. O’Neil believes divorce isn’t the only cause of school shootings in America. He believes they are caused by too few, rather than too many, guns in schools. He supports legislation to turn teachers into armed soldiers.
But O’Neil doesn’t stop there. The Montana Republican told the birther website World Net Daily today that he is pushing for two new amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The amendments would make it more difficult for the federal government to regulate firearms and to sign international arms treaties.
O’Neil is concerned about “the growing power of international treaties” and wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to prevent international treaties from being “used to override the U.S. Constitution”–and its second amendment. O’Neil says his other proposal “gives the states the right to make whatever guns they want so long as [firearms] stay inside the[sic] own borders.”Tweet