Sunday, January 10, 2016

Kevin Bacon, Ammon Bundy and Kim Davis

By Bob Ferris

From The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children by Katherine Stewart. 
Someone once gave me the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  It was tough game to play but a brilliant idea that really raised peoples’ awareness of connections and Kevin Bacon who has had a remarkable career (and is a noted Atheist .  I think about this game now as I dig around in the guts of the constitutional twisting exercise being undertaken to justify the actions of the Bundy brothers and their allies.  This process and the “game” playing started for me with the below video by “constitutional lawyer” KrisAnne Hall.

In this video Ms. Hall a former assistant state attorney in Florida and darling of the Tea Party rolls out a lot of the standard arguments about restrictions associated with the “Enclave Clause” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 17) of the US Constitution and how it restricts federal ownership in terms of size and purpose of properties.  This, of course, seems like a gold nugget to those wanting to do away with federal landownership (like the Bundys) until someone rightfully points to the “Property Clause” (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2), a ton of time-honored practice, important case law—including some dealing specifically with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (1,2)—and some state constitutions in the West that memorialize the "Property Clause" with restrictive language about federal property (see below).  This has all been covered before (1,2,3,4) and what I am more interested is the connecting dots.
So Ms. Hall is married to a religious rascal named Chris “JC” Hall who used to be a Baptist Pastor but is now free-lancing the God-thing and teaming up with his wife in their Liberty First Ministries enterprise.  Mr. Hall, part of the ministry’s “constitutional education” team, has taken his show on the road and even appeared on conservative shock jock Pete Santilli’s program, though it amazes me that any current or former clergyman would appear with a radio talk show host who famously claimed he wanted to shoot a gun in Hillary Clinton’s vagina just to watch her suffer .   But as Mr. Santilli a city-boy from Cincinnati is now a spokesman for Ammon’s crew in Oregon, we have made the link to Bundy in two people steps.

Mr. Hall is also a proud member of the so-called Black Robe Regiment a group of clerics wanting to bring moral and political change to America.  But if we shake the cassock of this black robe group just a little we find that the owner of this URL is one David Barton who runs WallBuilders the nebulous Christian Dominionist empire (1,2).

From WallBuilder 2014 IRS Form 990.
I say nebulous because WallBuilders is a for-profit LLC, but also an IRS 501c3 non-profit under the name WallBuilders Presentations, Inc.  The non-profit part of this becomes a little sketchy when we see that board is loaded with direct relatives (David and his mother, wife and son); does not always use its money efficiently (only 35% of revenues went to programs in 2009);  runs multiple organization from the same address (1,2,3,4); has a strange financial relationship with its CEO (see above); and is strongly and deeply associated with the party politics of its leader.  But I digress.

For those who have been paying attention and reading my posts, David Barton in the yahoo who sat in a car with Glenn Beck and explained how God’s Law trumps the US Constitution and that is why Kim Davis could not be held in jail legally.   His hypothesis was proven wrong, but the Ammon to Kim connection is made.  I think that I did it in less than 6 people steps.

From The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children by Katherine Stewart.  Click link here and read down the document.
My point in all of this is connections, because we are hearing the same constitutional claptrap here and on Fox News and even in the proposed legislation to steal our federal parks, refuges, grasslands, and forests written by the Koch brother-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).   These fringe interpretations of the US Constitution by Libertarian neo-originalists and Christian Dominionists working synergistically to steal lands owned by all of us, do away with cornerstone environmental protections, and re-inject the theocratic principles the Founding Fathers worked so hard to remove is causing no end of trouble from a relatively small universe that all seems to be connected.  It is no mistake that Ammon Bundy thinks he is on a mission from God and cloaks himself in religious imagery handed to him just as taxation, health care and economic messaging was feed to Tea Party folks by those wanting riches enlisting the intellectually vulnerable and angry to their cause.
For the most part I could give a flying wombat about the nuances of constitutional theory, but when it stands to materially lower my quality of life and that of my friends as well as compromise my health and my access to the wild places I have spent most of my career protecting, I take notice of even the most catastrophically esoteric legal theories and others should too.  We all need to know about the interconnected nature of the attack on this country and our future.  Read up and get active because it is important to understand that the militia, Sagebrush rebellion, white separatist movement, federal land grab and others are all fruits of the same poisoned tree and our ancestors would be wickedly perturbed were we to not understand how this puts the ideas of liberty and choice along with individual rights and happiness at risk (1,2,3,4).

(Note: In this I suspect that I am a little like Kevin Bacon in that I do not believe but am fine with others believing.  That said, there is a huge difference between religious freedom or tolerance and this full-court press being undertaken by those who will employ almost any tactic or say most anything to create a Bible-based culture regardless of the consequences to this country.)


Dear All:

Within the next few days I am going to write a piece in GREEN DREAMS that starts to frame what we—the actual owners of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge—think that the occupiers have done wrong legally and that requires punishment. I would ask folks to speculate on exactly what charges should be leveled and what rational punishment should be applied and to whom. Please let me know what you think and your ideas in the comments section of this post and others. I know that these might range from firing squads to atomic wedges, but this is a serious set of questions that we should address and by doing so and by conducting a public dialog on this issue help those trying to assess the public appetite for doing something. Thank you for your help and interest in this important concern.

And please enter the public dialog on Jail the Bundys, Now and encourage others to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Nice piece, Bob. So true...and thanks for sewing it all together.