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Haruko Haruhara On February - 27 - 2011

This year, riding a fervor of Tea Party “down with big government, down with Obama” rhetoric, a number of Tea Party candidates were elected to the State House. The State House had a 68-32 Republican edge (after being fairly close to 50-50 before the election.)

The Tea Party candidates campaigned on jobs, the economy, lowering taxes and somehow stopping “Obamacare” from being implemented. It was obviously a successful strategy.

But, the Montana State Legislature has hit its halfway point, and here is what the Tea Party Republicans have done so far:

√ Passed a bill out of committee that would have required women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound first. Doctors would have been required (under threat of criminal prosecution) to show the women the ultrasound, but women would have been allowed to “avert their eyes” from the ultrasound image without fear of prosecution. This bill failed in the House.

√ Passed a bill out of committee requiring people seeking divorce to undergo marriage counseling first … even in marriages in which a partner was subjected to emotional or psychological abuse. (Physical abuse would have been exempted.). Failed in the full House.

√ Passed a bill to overturn a city ordinance in Missoula (a college town) extending civil rights protections in housing and employment to members of the LGBT community.

√ Passed a bill to “nullify” the Endangered Species Act in Montana. This specifically is about wolves. This act will cost the state more than $1 billion a year in federal funding, which would be withheld if the state refuses to acknowledge (and enforce through the state wildlife agency) the ESA. (For this same reason, Montana was forced to impose a statewide speed limit or face having federal highway funds withheld.).

√ Proposed a bill to create armed paramilitary “citizen militias” in the state. This bill specifically mentions that such militias would not answer to the federal government. This bill failed.

√ Passed bills overturning a citizen-passed measure (with 62 percent in favour) legalizing medical marijuana statewide and a city initiative in Missoula making marijuana a low law enforcement priority.

√ Passed a bill to weaken the state’s environmental laws regulating mining.

√ Passed a bill requiring school districts to get each parent’s permission before a sex education class.

√ Introduced a bill to put Montana back on the gold standard and declaring the Federal Reserve void.

√ Introduced a bill declaring that global warming is good for Montana and its economy because it would create a longer growing season and exempting Montana from any federal greenhouse gas regulations. (Apparently this legislator forgot about the blistering hot and dry summer of 2006, in which 500,000 acres of Montana went up in smoke.)

√ A tea party Republican argued in favour of keeping the state death penalty because state prisoners with AIDS have been known to spit on prison guards to give them AIDS, and any prisoner who did such a thing should be put to death. This got thousands of hits on Youtube.

√ Passed a resolution regarding Montana’s “declaration of sovereignty.” One of the points in this resolution say that “states retain the right of protecting all freedoms of individual persons from federal incursion.” (What the bloody hell is the definition of “federal incursion?”)

√ Introduced a bill to — you guessed it — require people running for president to show their birth certificate. Anderson Cooper had a field day making fun of the ijiot who introduced this bill. When shown Barack Obama’s birth certificate on air proving that he is a citizen, he responded, “that’s your opinion.” He also claims his bill has nothing to do with Obama. He also claimed the 14th Amendment is not valid and that Obama cannot be a citizen because both of his parents were not born in America.

None of these measures have anything to do with jobs or the economy. (Though some legislators say weakening environmental laws will create jobs; I personally don’t buy that.) Not one. They campaigned on jobs, the budget and the economy, and have done nothing at the halfway point of the legislature. In fact, the ESA bill will cost the state over $1 billion a year in federal funding. How is that good for the state’s economy?

Instead, their whole agenda appears to be on social issues and somehow lashing out at the federal government. These freshmen legislatures are really into something called the “nullification” movement, which is essentially, if you don’t agree with the federal government, states can simply ignore the feds. Boy, a lot of states in the Deep South would’ve liked to have gotten away with that approach in the 1950s and 60s, huh?

One legislative discussion panel at the University of Montana estimated that at least 92 of these bills are patently unconstitutional. They have wasted time introducing, debating or actually passing 92 unconstitutional bills.

Here is an article last with a subjective, yet truthful and chilling quote:

“Their (The Tea Party) state would be a place where officials can ignore U.S. laws, force FBI agents to get a sheriff’s OK before arresting anyone, ban abortions, limit sex education in schools and create armed citizen militias.”

Several political veterans are pretty much aghast at what’s going on. One of their points is … like it or not, states just do not have the authority to simply “nullify” federal law they don’t agree with.

Other quotes:

“This talk of nullifying is pretty toxic talk. That led to the Civil War.” — Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who also called some of these bills “kooky”

“It would be hard for anyone to top what is going on here in terms of the insanity of it all. One could be amused by it, except it is too dangerous.” — Retired political science professor Lawrence Pettit

“You are scaring the you-know-what out of them with this kind of talk. This needs to stop and stop now. Stop scaring our constituents and stop letting us look like a bunch of buffoons.” — Walt McNutt, veteran House Republican

The good news is, other than the measure weakening state environmental laws, none of these measures have any chance of becoming law. Even if they passed the Senate, and I doubt few of the measures will, Schweitzer would veto them. In fact, Schweitzer, who has only vetoed a handful of bills ever, registered a cattle brand recently with “VETO” in the logo.

The bad news is, the Legislature has gotten virtually no legitimate work accomplished after 45 days. All the time and energy has been spent on these insane bills. Montana has one of the lowest wage levels in the country and has serious economic problems with several large mills having shut down throughout the western half of the state the past two or three years, and the legislature barely spent five minutes on these issues.

The tea party candidates campaigned on these issues to get elected but once in office showed their true colours, which is they are obsessed with other people having anal sex and what goes on in women’s uteruses. Wolves come in third place, followed by Barack Obama is somehow going to knock on their door demanding their guns. Jobs and economy maybe make the top 10 of their actual concerns. Maybe.

Montana is getting a bad rap nationwide over this. There’s been articles in papers nationwide over our kooky tea party Legislature and the talk of “state sovereignty” and “nullification.” Cooper made a complete horse’s ass out of that birther legislator.

Of course, it isn’t just Montana where it’s happening. Several states have proposed “birther bills.”

√ In Texas, they are considering a bill similar to Montana’s that would require women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound. They could avert their eyes, but they would have to listen to the baby’s heartbeat.

√ In South Dakota, a legislator proposed a bill called “the defence of fetuses act” that would have legalized killing abortion doctors (a similar bill exists in Nebraska).

√ In Georgia, a legislator proposed a bill saying Roe v. Wade has no jurisdiction in that state and that any woman having a miscarriage would be investigated and she would have to “prove” it was a natural miscarriage. Also in Georgia, a legislator proposed a bill proposing that rape victims could no longer be referred to as “victims,” but as “accusers.”

Make no mistake, this is what the tea party really cares about. They’re not a joke and they’re not funny anymore, and they aren’t “fringe.” Some of these bills reek of pure misogyny.

They have taken over state legislatures around the country and are doing their damnedest to pass these insane bills that have nothing to do with jobs or the economy or state budgets. They are all about taking the country back to the Stone Age, or some mythical Ronald Reaganesque “happy age” where women are barefoot, pregnant and compliant, gays remained locked in the closet where they belong and immigrants stayed on the other side of the border. They are definitely doing their damnedest to slowly try and chip away at Roe v. Wade. They know they can’t overturn it, at least not anytime soon, so they will do everything in their power to undermine it, sabotage it, and undermine and sabotage a woman’s right to choose, including cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, when abortion referrals is just one of many, many services PP offers.

Most of all, they are wasting everyone’s time and wasting taxpayer dollars on their own salaries. And are launching an all-out assault against the rights of women and gays.

Categories: GOP, News & Politics

41 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    I have an old friend who is a Dem. legislator up there. She has had NOTHING pass, and even had stuff dumped at the desk upon introduction. Her bills are sensible, not sensational, and yet this is the crap that moves? I could get through MOST of this stuff with merely a snort but not the “militia” one, since the Montana Militia -- self styled and radically anti-government (and anything else that moves)- is one of the most dangerous groups in the US. This is a license to unleash them as a storm troop force. Uh-uh. No WAAAY.

    These people are not just screwy. They are dangerous. What IS the matter with people anyway?

    • david p canada says:

      choicelady, I’m curious as to your opinion on Julian Assange and the “Anonymous” computer hacker group.

      They seem to have a very similar attitude toward govt as the Right-wing militias.

  2. SequimBob2 says:

    Haruko -- Thanks for the great article.

  3. ClassicalGas says:

    Great article, Haruko -- it’s mind-boggling that the party of tea is still seen by their followers as being beyond reproach. The only thing I can deduce from this is that not only do they lie, but their followers are good with it. “By any means necessary” -- wasn’t that a 60’s counter-culture theme?

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      There came to be a rift in the counter culture. I believe the phrase, “By any means necessary,” came from the Yippies, not the Hippies.
      The Hippies were nonviolent and believed in nonviolent protest. The Yippies, were more than willing to use violence to justify their ends. Abby Hoffman and Jerry Reuben were leaders of the Yippie movement and were not above using violence.

  4. PocketWatch says:

    I have a suggestion…

    Instead of “TeaParty,” maybe we need to call these guys the “B&B Party”

    (Burquas & Beards Party)

    You gotta know that mandating how women dress and men wearing beards is coming real soon!

  5. And yet people will still label the West Coast states as a bunch of kooks.

    Yes, California has some issues when it comes to their legislature. There is more to that than can be addressed in a comment or even a single article.

    Yes voter initiatives have gotten a bit out of control. I wish the man who is trying to make divorce illegal in California luck, though (and wonder what happened to the guy in Washington who was trying to forbid marriages to couples who are unable to procreate).

    • choicelady says:

      The anti-divorce guy, Andy Pugno, did not even qualify his initiative, then he ran for a vacant Republican-controlled Assembly seat, and LOST to a newbie Dem, an Asian-American pediatrician. You gotta WORK to lose that GOP held seat. I mean WORK at it.

      And Andy came through -- he was SO weird almost no one would endorse him. Now in CA -- that’s WEIRD. He lost by so much, he’s still trying to shovel himself out of the hole.

      Very, very pathetic is our Andy.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      I firmly believe that any legislation that stems from religious doctrine, or belief, should never be introduced, let alone pass.
      The founders had very good reasons for wanting to keep religion out of government.

      • choicelady says:

        Well hang on here -- all the civil rights laws began as moral statements. They rested on Constitutional issues, as they should have done, but I think you’re adding a dimension you don’t intend? What you might want to say, I think, is that no doctrine or creed should be the SUBJECT of the law, not that it cannot be the motiavation or background for introduction. It’s not wrong to speak FROM a faith point of view in service of democracy and the Constitution, but it is ALWAYS wrong to impose doctrine on our legislative or electoral system. At least I HOPE that’s what you meant.

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        I agree wholeheartedly!

  6. KillgoreTrout says:

    Good job Haruko. This line really got me, “…….ban abortions, limit sex education in schools……..”

    Amazingly stupid. Yeah let’s keep our kids in the dark about contraception and safe sex, then force them to give birth when they get pregnant, because they didn’t know about contraception and safe sex.

    Where do these Neanderthals come from?

    • jdmn17 says:

      KT

      And not surprisingly I think the largest percentage of teen pregnancies come from the least educated part of the populace. And naturally the wealthier are more prone to get birth control for their underage children and young adults. They know how teen pregnancies can devastate the “career” path of their minions. So they get their kids birth control and if illegal, fly them off somewhere for a quiet abortion disguised as a visit to “grandma in Sweden” and still pontificate against pre-marital sex.

    • choicelady says:

      Kalispell.

    • Since everyone is born knowing what abstinence is, they figure that is enough.

      Because “Just Say No” worked so well with drugs.

      • Artist50 says:

        One of the problems is that people are getting married later also. Forty years ago many people married right out of high school, but that’s a rare occurrence now. Even if they don’t go to college they aren’t getting married and are waiting later to start their families. Our bodies were made to start having babies much younger than we are- it’s just not natural and it’s unrealistic to think that young people aren’t going to be having sex so let’s give them some good education and encourage them to take it seriously and make good decisions.

        Our society ignores it and then when our young people are disrupting their lives with pregnancies and STDs we act like we’re shocked. It’s the adults that need to grow up so we can treat this is in an mature nature.

        • choicelady says:

          My God -- you want to mix sex and REASON???? What’re you -- a commie?

          VERY good points, Artist, and why this good sense solution eludes these wingnuts escapes me. It’s THEIR families (a la the Palins) who keep ending up with more and more unplanned and uncared-for babies. You’d think some better judgment would be eagerly sought, but noooooo.

          • PocketWatch says:

            choice -- several studies have shown that HS kids in areas that have made an “abstinence pledge” have MUCH higher rates of teen pregnancies and STDs than areas where there is comprehensive sex ed… go figure!

            I guess “Just Say No” doesn’t go over too well.

            In addition, I know LOTS of very religious and hard core conservatives that have gotten their daughters abortions on the “down low” while advocating this pledge nonsense and no sex ed.

            Logic is NOT a part of their makeup!

      • KillgoreTrout says:

        Exactly. As far as abstinence goes, it is not in harmony with our natural instincts. The drive for sex is natural. abstinence is not.
        Of course it is good if kids could wait until they mature a bit, but we all know that is not usually the case.

  7. jdmn17 says:

    Excellent as always. Wish I had time to comment more but I’ve some tables that are begging for urethane so they can go out Tuesday.

    More anon

    jd

  8. ParadisePlacebo74 says:

    Excellent article, Haruko! With any luck, the label of “American Taliban” will become more and more obvious to the swing voters. Over the next two years, let’s hope that each and every one of their ridiculous acts turns out to be another round they’ve fired at their own feet.

  9. Buddy McCue says:

    Very good summary of the things important to the Tea Party.

    I’m not surprised at all that so much of it is focused on the “red meat” social issues, even though the MSM has spent so much time and effort assuring us that it was not their focus.

    All the while the Tea Party was getting started and gathering momentum, I kept hearing the pundits and news “analysts” emphasize the idea that the focus of the Tea Party was on fiscal issues, and not on social issues.

    I remember listening to KCRW’s “Left Right and Center” program where all the panelists agreed (for once) that the Tea Party was a legitimate political force from the grassroots, coming together to argue against government spending and other economic issues.

    Looks like very little of that was true. I suspected all the while that if they ever got people elected to office, their attention would turn toward the social issues to the exclusion of most other things. It wasn’t hard to predict.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      On the O/T page a wrote a little comment about the teaparty and how they reminded me of the Republican progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

      Social issues were a huge focus of that movement, more so than economic ones…although AT least the progressive movement of the time, was headed by educated people, and really was a middle class movement…whereas I don’t think that is the same with the current tea party.

      • Buddy McCue says:

        I saw that comment.

        It made me want to read more about that period of history, and to try to find the points of comparison between that movement and this one.

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          It is actually very fascinating especially when comparing the parallels of today. There is so much going on NOW that is reminiscent of THAT turn of the century, as well as the last one.

          It seems that the transition between centuries, seem to provide an great opportunity for change and upheaval, as well as kooks of all stripes to gain momentum.

          The 18th-19th century saw major change and revolutions….and the 19th to 20th was rife with issues as well. So it seems the 20th-21st is simply following a historical trend.

      • jdmn17 says:

        And who was responsible for prohibition? I wasn’t even a glimmer in my fathers eye but I know it changed this country forever

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          Exactly. The Republican progressives, and that we are up against again today. The more things change the more they remain the same. The names may change but the ideas don’t seem to. {sigh}

        • ADONAI says:

          jdmn17, The Protestants were responsible for Prohibition.

          One of the “religious right’s” many short lived victories.

  10. Beatlex says:

    Good Post HH!

  11. Caru says:

    Good article. I wonder if one could calculate exactly how much money that they’ve wasted, then shove those figures in the face of their tea-party supporters.

    • Haruko Haruhara says:

      Well, it pales by comparison to the $1 billion in federal funds they’re completely content to simply piss away.

      • KB723 says:

        HH Good Morning, Great article. I have heard of a Lake in Montana that is so polluted that birds die if they swim in it. Is that True? Maybe them folks (Elected Officials) have dicided the Kool-Aid just wasn’t cutting the mustard and have been drinking the water instead?

    • Truth says:

      Excellent idea, Caru. It’s also good to keep track of their record the way Haruko did here. This combined with the amount of the costs for their desperate attempts to walk backwards should give good advertisement material for Democrats, especially when holding it against the backdrop of what they were running on.
      Well done, Haruko.


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