“Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana should have been an easy case for the Montana Supreme Court. At issue was the state’s 99-year-old ban on corporate spending in political campaigns,” writes Reason’s Damon Root.
“Because the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down a nearly identical federal restriction on political spending by corporations and unions for violating the First Amendment in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Montana court was duty-bound to follow this precedent and nullify the state law.”
“But instead something else happened. “Unlike Citizens United,” the Montana court asserted in its ruling last December, “this case concerns Montana law, Montana elections and it arises from Montana history.” It’s a clever argument, but it doesn’t hold up. Since its 1925 decision in Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment applies to both federal and state governments. That’s because the 14th Amendment, which declares that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” incorporates the First Amendment (and other protections from the Bill of Rights) against the states. Montana officials may not like it, but they’re bound to obey the First Amendment just like every other state is bound to obey it,” writes Root.
So-called “green” energy takes another hit as more endangered species, habitat ordered destroyed to protect environmentalist profits.
“In a precedent that has horrified wildlife experts, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has authorized the “take” (meaning harassment, displacement or even death) of 10 endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep – five ewes and five lambs” East County Magazine reports, near the Ocotillo wind energy project. The Obama administration approved the killing, as well as the construction of the wind farm that required the bulldozing of vast areas of sensitive forests and sacred Indian grounds.
“The decision comes after federal wildlife officials were provided photographic evidence that the endangered animals were seen in recent weeks on the site of the just-approved Ocotillo Express wind energy facility…There are only about 950 Peninsular Bighorn Sheep left in the U.S. as of 2010. Their numbers had steadily declined prior to being declared an endangered species in 1998, according to the Bighorn Institute.”
“The ‘take’ authorization is found in a Biological Opinion issued by the Carlsbad, California office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on April 25, 2012. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a final Record of Decision last week authorizing the Ocotillo wind facility. His decision relied on the USF&WS document, among others,” East County reports.
The decision is not surprising. Because trees create win turbulence, the U.S. Forest Service has issued orders on how to clear-cut entire forests near “green” wind projects. Wind turbines also kill hundreds of thousands of birds each year, including many critically endangered species.
And new scientific research show wind energy makes the atmosphere dirtier by forcing other power plants to run at lowered efficiency to accommodate the weak, unpredictable amounts of power they add to the energy grid.
The project has also destroyed valuable Native American heritage sites.
“Robert Scheid is spokesman for the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, one of several Indian tribes fighting to halt the project due to threats to Native American remains, artifacts, ancient geoglyphs and sacred sites. Scheid has called the Ocotillo project a ‘land grab of public lands by private corporations.’
“The Quechan tribe on Friday asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order to halt the devastation, after forensic dogs hired by tribes found six additional apparent cremation sites.”
American Tradition Partnership (ATP), a nonprofit 501(c)4 grassroots lobbying organization, won a critical victory for First Amendment freedoms today in Montana. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell today ruled in favor of ATP in a motion for summary judgment on several claims, finding that the state could not prohibit corporate contributions to groups engaging in independent political speech, require ATP to include certain disclaimers on their communications, or prohibit political speech about candidate voting records the state judged ‘false.’
“This is a victory for the free speech rights of all Americans, and a loss for Montana politicians trying to squelch the voices of grassroots citizens challenging their power,” said Donald Ferguson, Executive Director of ATP. “The court today recognized that burdening ATP and other citizen groups with unnecessary, intrusive, and unwarranted regulations on speech is an affront to the First Amendment.”
ATP filed the lawsuit to prevent the State of Montana from enforcing unconstitutional restrictions on its speech. The judge ruled that ATP’s challenge to Montana’s excessively low contribution limits ($160 to a candidate for state legislature, $630 to a candidate for Governor) will proceed to trial, and ruled in the State’s favor that the ban on direct contributions from corporations to candidates was constitutional.
The case is Lair et al v. Murray et al, case number 6:12-cv-00012-CCL.
Mary Kennedy, wife of environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has reportedly passed away today in the Kennedy home at the age of 52.
American Tradition Partnership extends prayers of comfort to the Kennedy family at this time.
More than 70 people were packed a Gallatin County commissioner’s meeting that went until after 9 p.m. to voice their concerns over wolf predation, the Bozeman Chronicle reported.
“Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional manager Pat Flowers said wolf populations have increased about 15 percent in the last year. He said elk populations are declining, below objectives or stable in Gallatin County,” the Chronicle reports.
“He said 74 cattle, 11 sheep, two dogs and one horse were killed by wolves in 2011.”
Carey White, of Citizens for Balanced Use, cited several incidents of wolf attacks on humans in Canada, and “several local incidents of wolves killing pets and provided commissioners with gruesome photographs,” the Chronicle reports.
“Agriculture is under attack,” White added.
American Tradition Partnership supports reforms allowing Montanans to defend their property and livestock from these invasive foreign wolves, who are not native to Montana, by any mean necessary.
A Houston-area family escaped harm when their house suddenly went up in flames, and fire investigators say an electric car is to blame.
Jeremy Gutierrez pulled his Fisker Karma electric vehicle into his garage, parked it, and went inside. Three minutes later his garage, and home, were consumed in fire.
Gutierrez, his wife, his mother and a child escaped without injuries not, but his home suffered $100,000.00 in damage.
His child’s bedroom burned in the fire.
“The Karma was the origin of the fire,” said Fort Bend County chief fire investigator Robert Baker.
The Karma was a post-recall model. It was only a few days old and had just 200 miles. Gutierrez reports just before the fire began he could smell burning rubber.
Fisker, as you may recall, was given a $529 million taxpayer-financed loan by the Obama administration. Obama has hailed Fisker as an example of his successful U.S. economic policies.
However, Fisker builds its vehicles in Finland, not the United States. So far Fisker has sold poorly, was forced to recall vehicles and had its cars break down during Consumer Reports testing.
Fisker refuses to accept the findings of the fire investigator that their admittedly faulty vehicles were the cause of yet another electric car fire. What’s downright stunning is their implication Gutierrez used fireworks to burn his child’s bedroom with his family in the home, claiming “fraud or malicious intent” may be to blame.
An upset Gutierrez released the following statement:
On the afternoon of May 2, 2012, Mr. Jeremy Gutierrez’s brand new Fisker Karma hybrid electric vehicle caught fire while parked in his garage, setting fire to his home while his wife, mother, and child were inside. Thanks to the fast action of Mr. Gutierrez, he was able to evacuate his family from the home moments before portions of the house were engulfed in flames, including his child’s bedroom.
The Fort Bend County Fire Department immediately responded to the scene and as able to contain and extinguish the fire before total destruction of the Gutierrez’s family home. The fire department recently completed their investigation and determined the origin of the fire was, in fact, Gutierrez’s newly purchased Fisker Karma hybrid electric vehicle that he just took possession of two weeks earlier. Chief Investigator for the Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office Robert N. Baker has concluded that the fire was accidental in nature.
Since the date of this incident, Mr. Gutierrez has been fully cooperative with public safety officials, as well as insurance adjusters and the vehicle manufacturer’s investigators. In fact, Mr. Gutierrez fully accommodated the precise and somewhat peculiar demands of Fisker Automotive, who sent their self-proclaimed “SWAT Team” of engineers and inspectors (that included their own forensic cause and origin investigator) to the Gutierrez home within 24 hours of the fire. They descended upon the Gutierrez home in alarming numbers and immediately demanded a 24-hour lock-down of his home, including the remains of the Fisker Karma vehicle. They also cordoned off portions of the Gutierrez home with non-transparent tarps to block the view from the public. Fisker even had access to eyewitnesses, who were interviewed by Fisker investigators and those investigators were shown video footage of the Fisker vehicle on fire before and other part of the garage. Mr. Gutierrez accommodated every request with the hope of have a full, fair and open inquiry into the cause of the Fisker vehicle fire that set his house ablaze and endangered his family.
Despite the fact public safety and law enforcement officials have determined Mr. Gutierrez’s home and vehicles are not a crime scene, Fisker Automotive released a public statement on May 8, 2012 implying fraud or malicious intent were open questions. The family is stunned by this implication. The Gutierrez family has afforded every accommodation to Fisker and access to all evidence that public safety and law enforcement official examined. Fisker’s statement is a grave disappointment, especially in light of the damages the family suffered and continues to suffer.
The Gutierrez family has suffered enough. They are temporarily displaced from their home, and have lost three vehicles. They value their privacy and wish to have this investigation completed immediately so they can return to their home.
Join ATP, Stop Gang Green!
American Tradition Partnership (ATP) is a no-compromise grassroots organization dedicated to fighting the radical environmentalist agenda. We support responsible development of natural resources and rational land use and management policies. Only together can we protect access, private property rights, and affordable energy for all Americans!