Tag Archives: nullification

Twelve MT Lawmakers Call for Rounding Up and Arresting Federal Officials

by Cowgirl

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.

And what a group of legislators they are. Gordon Vance, Nancy Ballance, Cary Smith, David Howard, Kerry White, Sarah Lazloffy, Nicholas Schwaderer, Daniel Zolnikov,  Jerry O’Neil, Art Wittich and Mike Miller are all on record backing legislation to declare the Affordable Care Act illegal and to allow police to arrest federal officials who take steps to implement it in Montana.

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.

David Howard

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.

As Time Magazine reported in 2011 after TEA Party poster boy and perennial candidate Derek Skees began pushing the concept of nullification in the 2011 Bat Crap Crazy Montana legislature,

[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-of public employees in Nevada.

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.

Jerry O'Neil

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.

 

Senate District 29′s Big Anti-Gay Obsession

tinfoilcapitol 2A rumble between two Republicans infamous for their anti-gay remarks will soon be underway in the Sweetgrass, Columbus, Park City area, where two TEA Party hotheads are going to tangle for state senate in a very conservative district. Rep. Joanne Blyton (R-Red Lodge, birther) has also filed for the seat.

The first candidate is state Rep. David Howard, chair of the House Human Services Committee, a man who has scoured the internet for world’s least credible anti-gay propaganda sites and furiously posted them to his Facebook page, night after night.

Here is his latest post:

Howard fbHoward’s post links to this article.  Howard must spend a lot of time on such sites–his Facebook page is dedicated almost entirely to anti-gay postings. (And occasional donkey porn apparently.) Even as the rest of the world has started to finally realize that marriage equality and recognition of committed loving relationships is an important civil right, the Republicans anti-gay propaganda just keeps getting more embarrassing.

Rep. Howard is also on the record saying he believes a Civil War is imminent. He also believes that “the godless liberals are forcing America’s kids to be sitting ducks” for mass murderers, and that medical marijuana leads to death. And it just gets wackier–and creepier.

Howard is expected to face TEA Party Sen. Jason Priest in the primary, although he has yet to officially file. Priest is the lawmaker who was forced to apologize for anti-gay remarks he made on his Facebook page, the Billings Gazette reported.  Priest used his “hateful, homophobic talk” to argue his dislike for paying taxes.

Jason Priest anti-gay remarks

Priest worked with a group of America’s most far-right activists who are pushing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to do away with our union as we know it--a constitutional amendment that would allow states to nullify federal laws by a vote  2/3 of state legislatures. Montana State Senator Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is one of the movement’s leaders.  Priest says:

“Montanans are a liberty-minded people and I will proudly sponsor the Article V application for the Repeal Amendment in the Montana Legislature to send a clear, strong message to Washington that we are a sovereign state with Montana-made solutions to today’s challenges.”

Priest had been listed on the movement’s website among the dozen or so leaders of the amendment, but the site has suddenly been taken down now that Priest is in a race for GOP leadership against Ravalli County TEA Partier Fred Thomas. Billings Sen. Jeff Essmann (R-TEA Billings), is running for house and seeking a house leadership position.  There is no non-TEA Repub in the running for GOP leadership at the time of this posting, although Sen. Llew Jones has been mentioned as a likely leader for his abilities to work with all sides.

The concept of nullification was a key feature of the most extreme legislature in Montana history–nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority “null and void” or unenforceable in Montana were introduced by Republicans during the 2011 session.  However, Democrats and moderate Republicans joined forces to defeat the nullification bills time after time.  Governor Schweitzer called the bills “anti-American.”

Priest has drawn national attention before.  Speaking to group of Tea Party followers, apparently unaware of a running camera, Priest said,

“I live in Red Lodge where I’m that guy that nobody agrees with, and I don’t mind. I have to talk to them about things that are important to them in ways that aren’t offensive to them. That’s a good lesson to learn. I would rather tell them they’re insane… Is that camera on?”

Priest has also taken heat for making his considerable wealth from the medical debt of people who can’t afford health care.

An interesting letter to the editor was published in the Billings Gazette during the 2011 legislative session which asks about the conflict of interest incurred by state Senator Jason Priest. Priest sponsored a bill that could reap financial benefits for the medical debt collection industry he comes from.

For years Sen. Priest was the CEO of a company that specialized in collecting unpaid medical debts owed to hospitals.   The LTE reads:

State Sen. Jason Priest is the founder and president of Medipent, a New York company that relies on the huge mountain of personal debt generated by our broken health care system for its existence. Yet, as a representative of the people, he aligns himself in opposition to health care reform — a program that intends to eliminate the debt that sustains him and his company. How is his involvement not a conflict of interest?

Mailer Touts TEA Partier’s Role in Nutjob Bills

A bizarre mail piece appeared in Whitefish arguing that voters should support Tim Baldwin for legislature because he wrote one of the worst nutjob bills of the 2011 session.

The piece actually brags about Baldwin’s work to write HB 414, one of the infamous nullification bills, an idea so nutty it made national news.  As TIME magazine reported in its profile of Montana’s wacky bills, nullification has a sinister 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.

Like nullification fanboy Derek Skees, (R-TEA) who currently holds the HD 4 seat Baldwin is running for, Baldwin is a states-rights fanatic.  He believes that the fifty states individually can, should and must override federal law when they please. He admittedly does not recognize the supremacy clause of the US Constitution, saying it is a tool of “socialist and nationalist ideologues” designed to bring “state annihilation.”

The concept of nullification was a key feature of the most extreme legislature in Montana history–nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority “null and void” or unenforceable in Montana were introduced by Republicans during the 2011 session. Gov. Brian Schweitzer in his veto of this particular nullification bill, HB 414, wrote:

“The 2011 Legislature may best be remembered for its efforts to “nullify” numerous federal laws and set records for the greatest number of unconstitutional bills in a legislative session -as identified by its own legal staff.”

Spear-hunting, war on women, nullification and militia bills have taken their toll on the Montana legislature, with polls showing that 61 percent of voters don’t approve of what the lunatics in the state house did, while only 24 percent of voters approve of their behavior.

Baldwin recently moved to Montana from Florida and lives in Kalispell, another trait he shares with Rep. Skees.  Baldwin has lived in Kalispell for two years and has never lived in Whitefish.

Contrast that with forester Ed Lieser who has served Whitefish for 22 years.

Montana TEA Party Campaigns for Pro-Nullification Supreme Court

The Montana TEA Party jumped into the Montana Supreme Court race this week. A shadow group for TEA Party Republican Jason Priest has put out a mailer on behalf of right-wing Supreme Court candidate Laurie McKinnon.

Yet while Priest depicts McKinnon has the rule-of-law candidate, her biggest supporters–Priest and the TEA Party–are intent on forcing a law that would mean the exact opposite.  I’m talking about nullification. Montana State Senator Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is one of the nullification movement’s leaders.

The concept of nullification was a key feature of the most extreme legislature in Montana history–nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority “null and void” or unenforceable in Montana were introduced by Republicans during the 2011 session.  However, the fact that the Supreme Court would declare the bills unconstitutional helped Democrats and moderate Republicans join forces to defeat the nullification bills time after time.  Governor Schweitzer called the bills “anti-American.”

Besides seeking a nullification-friendly Supreme Court, TEA Party Republicans are also pushing a constitutional amendment to let state legislatures nullify federal laws. They’re calling the amendment the “Repeal Amendment”. 

Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is listed among the dozen or so supporters of the amendment.

Priest says:

“Montanans are a liberty-minded people and I will proudly sponsor the Article V application for the Repeal Amendment in the Montana Legislature to send a clear, strong message to Washington that we are a sovereign state with Montana-made solutions to today’s challenges.”

Priest is the TEA Party Republican who made national news for posting comments to Facebook using  “hateful, homophobic talk” to argue his dislike for paying taxes.

Priest set up a shadow group to put out the mailer with the innocuous sounding name  “Montana Growth Network.”  It has the look and feel of a mailer put out by a mainstream group so as not to alert the public about the impetus behind it. Speaking to group of Tea Party followers, apparently unaware of a running camera, Priest said, it was important to talk to non-TEA Party types “in ways that aren’t offensive to them. That’s a good lesson to learn. I would rather tell them they’re insane… Is that camera on?”
Priest’s mailer does not mention the ethical questions surrounding McKinnon’s campaign tactics raised in a recent Billings Gazette article.
Click the mailer below to enlarge.

The TEA Party Doesn’t Represent Helena

Montanans have a strong candidate in the race to take back the seat held by TEA Party nutjob Liz Bangerter.    

Long-time Helena leader Kelsen Young (pictured) says she’s running for office because she believes “we need more strong, independent and progressive voices at the State Legislature.”  So true.

Bangerter is a Republican first-term legislator campaigning for re-election to Helena’s House District 80.  She was elected to represent a liberal district by pretending to be a moderate. Then, she turned out to be one of the most conservative GOPers out there.   Bangerter voted for Derek Skees’ unconstitutional scheme to create an eleven person panel to nullify federal laws and voted to allow hunting with silencers.   Worse, she actually sponsored the bill to legalize insurance company discrimination against women.

It turns out that Bangerter actually serves on ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force.  For those of you not familiar with ALEC, here’s the deal.  Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators like Bangerter exact changes to the law they want passed.

What kind of bills?  Often these are changes to the laws that will make the corporations more money.  They are also often bills that the GOP will introduce only to attack Democrats in the next election, based on their votes.  The pre-drafted ALEC bills are all wrapped up with neat little talking points and press releases so the legislator doesn’t actually need any brain cells.

Besides legislators like Bangerter, only corporations have full membership standing in ALEC. Corporations sit on all ALEC task forces–like the one Bangerter is on.  The corporations vote with legislators to approve “model” bills–the only difference is that the corporations get veto power over any legislator ideas.

And so, Bangerter is one of the last people we need making Montana laws.  Thankfully, with a top quality candidate like Kelsen in the race, it looks like Bangerter’s is one more seat that the Republicans won’t be keeping.

To find out more about Kelsen, visit her website.  Kelsen grew up in Havre and Helena and has spent the last 15 years working to end domestic and sexual violence. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, which is a statewide non-profit.

Scary Types in the Flathead: Realtors Have Some ‘Splaining to Do

A national AP article ran across the country last week, highlighting the right-wing nut-jobs that are gravitating toward the Flathead Valley and particularly Kalispell.

These include Chuck Baldwin, Randy Weaver and a long list of others who are on various watch-lists of human rights groups like Southern Poverty Law Center and Montana Human Rights Network.

But there is a great irony to it all.

The business that suffers most from this trend is real estate. To have a community become known as a haven for lunatics is a sure way to cause real estate prices to suffer.  And the Flathead valley does not need a drag on real estate right now, because the national real estate crash has hurt the Flathead, and hurt ancillary businesses there like wood products and construction and electricians and so on.

The irony? Realtors are partly responsible for the right-wing colonization effort in the Flathead.

For starters, the National Realtors Association had an enormous influence in creating the Montana Tea Party legislature, having spent over $2 million on Montana this past election cycle to get ultra-right-wing Republicans elected in the legislature by blanketing the airwaves with a series of campaign ads about impending taxes.

It brought new faces in the legislature like Derek Skees, who in turn started actively seeking the spotlight for himself and his crazy buddies and causes in the Flathead.  Skees, in fact, was just featured in TIME Magazine, which did a profile about him being the national leader of the nullification movement, headquartered out of the Flathead.   And there have been other disturbing articles in the national press, like the recent Associated Press piece, about how right-wing crazies are getting elected in, and moving to, the Flathead valley.  Not a good way to keep real estate values high.

John Sinrud, Realtors AssociationBut it gets worse.  Right-wing Republican John Sinrud (pictured), the current head of the Northwest Montana Realtors (the major real estate group in the Flathead), is the man who assembled the Western Tradition Partnership, a group that spent roughly $700,000 of secret, unreported funds on the 2010 legislative races (this was in addition to the $2 million that the National Realtors brought in). Sinrud has also been active in county and local races up there as well, something that the NWMR group doesn’t seem to mind at all.

So be careful what you wish for. The Realtors came to the 2010 legislative elections loaded for bear. But they are now being chased by a giant, runaway elephant, and might be regretting having gone hunting at all.

Natelson’s Nixing

It was reported this week that Rob Natelson was denied the title of “emeritus” by U of M faculty members.  Natelson is known as “the top legal expert” for the TEA Party – a group which is known for espousing legal theory and beliefs that do not measure up to academic standards.

Take what Time Magazine today calls the classic example of the GOP’s march into the fringe: nullification  – an extremist (and dubious) theory still being doggedly touted by TEA Party poster boy Rep. Derek Skees (R-Whitefish Kalispell):

“Montana that has emerged 
as the epicenter of the nullification movement and the purest laboratory for 
the Tea Party’s model of governance.”

As Time reports, the concept of nullification has a shady history based in racial politics:
“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.”
While Natelson, like Skees, is a defender of nullification, it is a movement with a history that no academic institution would want to align itself with.  Indeed, the crocodile tears from the TEA Party complaining that Natelson was rejected because the U of M is a leftist institution are off base.  Just last year, Carroll College cancelled a “TEA Party Town Hall” appearance by Natelson, and no one could call Carroll College a liberal institution.

Natelson is also the one known candidate to receive a political contribution from the KKK organizer who is running for Congress in Montana.    Natelson received a contribution from Mr. Abarr of $100 when Natelson ran for Governor.