WHERE ARE THE PROTECTORS OF MONTANA'S PEOPLE?
By Timothy N. Baldwin, JD.
June 24, 2011
The People and the Message
Recently, a conservative, non-organized, grassroots group in Flathead County, Montana, known as The Flathead Liberty Bell, organized and administered what was called a Preparedness Expo as a community event. The purpose of the Expo was to help educate citizens of Montana (and others who would attend) regarding personal preparedness and political issues of our day. The Expo was held on June 18, 2011 from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. It was in fact very well attended. There were over 1,000 people who attended this Expo throughout the day with approximately 40 different vendors, live music, games for children, food and drinks, among other events.
The Expo offered hands-on workshops, which were designed to help the community become more self-sufficient and prepared in cases of emergencies or natural disasters. There was a variety of vendor focusing on things such as, making your own candles, canning your own food, knowing economics and politics (such as my book, Freedom For A Change), making your own alcohol or fuel, using natural herbs and medicines, etc. Practically considering, the workshops were similar to what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advances through their education efforts.
There were also notable speakers throughout the day at the Expo, including Washington State Representative Matt Shea (R), former 2008 U.S. Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes, and former Sheriff Richard Mack. Each of these men has a clear and undeniable message: restore the principles of the Constitution of the United States of America because it has been progressively usurped.
The Attack of Constitution-Promoting People
With the Expo being as successful as it was and with the agenda of those who disagree with the message presented at the Expo, the attack upon the leaders and speakers of the Expo is equally clear. The attack can be summarized: “they advocate for a restoration of the militias of the States, the restoration of the States’ sovereignty, and the elimination of federal bureaucracies such as the Internal Revenue Service, etc. In short, they are potential terrorists and threats to our security.”
In forefront of the attacks is none other than the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a self-described law firm “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.” SPLC’s routine actions and statements reveal, however, they are in reality dedicated to destroying the people who hold true the principles of America’s founding. With the same shot, they intend to destroy the message of the United States’ organic constitutional government itself.
Consider the AP Associated Press article Yahoo.com carried on its home page entitled Extremists Finding Fertile Territory in Northwest US where it describes Montana as a “hotbed” for a “number of hate groups and patriot groups”. In this article, SPLC is cited as a legitimate source on the subject, saying SPLC “tracks extremist groups and individuals”, not calling into question bias, motive or ideology held and demonstrated by SPLC. In other words, the AP report gives undeserved credibility to this prejudiced-proven group of big-government-loving, statists extremists who attack anyone they think threatens their agenda.
Perhaps the credence given to SPLC in this article broadcasted nationwide would be of no mention except for a few very alarming circumstances.
1. SPLC’s Implication and Connection. The AP report mentioned above attempts to draw a philosophical or doctrinal implication and connection from David Burgert recently “accused of opening fire on sheriff's deputies”; “Idaho-based neo-Nazi Aryan Nations”; “anti-government and white supremacist groups and individuals”; “radical right groups”; “hate groups and patriot groups”; “extremist groups and individuals”; “violent extremists”; the “Unabomber”; “The Montana Freemen”; “Aryan Nations member Karl Gharst”; and “White supremacist April Goede” to the Flathead Liberty Bell, Chuck Baldwin, Stewart Rhodes, Richard Mack and Matt Shea—and by implication or association, myself.
After going through its version of “extremism” in Montana, the AP report draws it connection stating,
“A patriot group called Flathead Liberty Bell held a convention just last weekend, featuring right-wing speakers and sale of survival gear for what organizers believe is a coming showdown with federal authorities. It was a flashback to the 1990s, when groups like the Militia of Montana regularly held such expos”, quoting “Travis McAdams, executive director of the Helena-based Montana Human Rights Network, an anti-hate group.”
The AP report’s description was given by McAdams (not by those actually involved in or having personal knowledge of the Expo), whose ideology is seemingly similar to SPLC and who is given assumed credibility similar to SPLC regardless of political ideology or agenda. The article continues to draw its connection:
“Others include patriot leader and former Constitution Party vice presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, who believes the U.S. is headed for a fight between big-government globalists and independent patriots; Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, which wants law enforcement officers and military personnel to sign an oath against a one-world government conspiracy” (interestingly, the AP report fails to acknowledge Chuck Baldwin was also the presidential candidate in 2008 and only mentions his V.P. candidacy in 2004).
So, what conclusion of connections does this article attempt to make (which Yahoo.com felt was homepage, nationwide newsworthy)? Answer: any person who undermines, fundamentally questions or denounces the authority and power of the federal government and its thousands of bureaucracies over the reserved authority and rights of the individuals and States is an extremist, antigovernment, full of hate and a potential terrorist. To effectuate their conclusions, SPLC produces and disburses potential terrorist threat lists. This brings me to my second point of disturbing concern.
2. SPLC Connection to Law Enforcement Nationwide. SPLC has a well-established inside connection with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States--from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to County Sheriff’s Offices. SPLC feeds their analysis and conclusions on people they determine are “threats” to the “security of the nation,” This “watch list” type of information is spread from agency to agency (thanks as well to the effects of the Patriot Act and similar “anti-terrorism” federal laws).
I have seen the effects of this “watch list” approach first hand since I have lived in Montana where law enforcement agencies are put on “heightened alert or security” because a speaker--say, Chuck Baldwin--is speaking at a public event on political issues. It is sickening. Speaking of Chuck Baldwin, he has also experienced the effects of such a “watch list” when the state of Missouri released what is known as the “MIAC Report,” naming supporters of Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin as potential terrorists.
The origin of these effects is well known: SPLC and the like. How could this monopoly of statist agenda go unimpeded throughout the United States except that those in very powerful positions of politics (federal especially) are in bed with these supposed “experts” on terrorism? Power security is the name of the game SPLC plays with these folks.
What happens to a supposed free society when the executive branches of federal and state governments (charged with executing the laws) accept (dis)information a group like SPLC spreads and execute therefrom? Which neighbors will come to the defense of those the government deems “home-grown terrorists”? Which co-workers will be happy to provide “incriminating” information to the government who calls for people to report “home-grown terrorists”, as defined by groups like SPLC? Which pastors would quickly denounce these so-called terrorists, hiding under Nimrod’s favorite misuse of Scripture (Romans chapter 13)?
Who in law enforcement even questions that SPLC is a private company with private interest with an obvious anti-constitutional political agenda? Who in the other political branches of governments would check this misuse of discretion and power? How many even perceive this twisted display of “fighting justice”?
Our governments are instituted by us to comply with their constitutional forms and protect the rights of the citizens. However, they seem to (re)act upon the bias, prejudice and hatred spread by this private statist extremist group, SPLC and the like. This leads me to the third disturbing concern.
3. Montana Government Shirking Responsibility to Protect Citizens (So Far). No one in Montana’s political branches of government has publically called into question the reports like the one mentioned in this article, which attack and disparage the integrity and essence of what it means to be a citizen in this great State. Chuck Baldwin is a citizen of Montana; Flathead Liberty Bell is a non-incorporated, grass-roots group of Montana citizens; Stewart Rhodes is a citizen of Montana; Tim Baldwin (this author) is a citizen of Montana; Matt Shea is a sister-state representative, having similar interests as Montana citizens; Richard Mack is a former chief law enforcement officer who was named together with a Montana sheriff (Printz) in the famous, victorious State rights suit against the federal government known as Printz v. U.S., 521 U.S. 898 (1997); the people who attended the Preparedness Expo were mostly citizens of Montana—not to mention every person holding similar fundamental beliefs as those mentioned. Each one of these people has been either explicitly or implicitly deemed extremists and potential terrorists by SPLC and those who subscribe to its absurd premises and conclusions.
SPLC is on a witch hunt, and they have named the witches for trial. These accusations cannot go unanswered by State representatives whose duty and obligation it is to protect the citizens of Montana from unwarranted attacks by a group which has not only an obvious political agenda, but also the ears, eyes and minds of law enforcement agencies—in Montana—with the power of executing upon this type of information.
Will the elected officials in Montana publically stand up for the dignity and constitutional rights of these citizens? Do they see their duty as such? Are they afraid they too will be labeled in such a fashion? Are they scared the SPLC who is in bed with the federal government will also identify them as extremists and potential terrorists? Are they afraid they will harm their political career by standing up for these people and denouncing SPLC’s unfounded attacks? Are they ashamed of these Montanans SPLC deemed dangerous?
If there is one person in Montana’s political branches who sees the seriousness of the AP report highlighted in this article and who sees the appropriateness of responding to the allegations made by SPLC against Montana’s citizens and freedom-loving individuals, let him or her speak now.
© 2011 Timothy N. Baldwin, JD - All Rights Reserved