now that we have a black president in the Oval Office who signed a health-care bill, the militias areonce again on the rise. Now one Montana lawmaker wants to bring the militias from the fringe into the mainstream. Think Progressreportsthat, “in a nod to extremism, Montana state Rep. Wendy Warburton (R) is introducinga bill to … creat[e] what she dubs 'home guards' to provide services in case major emergencies (sic).”The
noted that the bill “would allow the 'home guard' organizations to be formed incompanies each with their own uniforms, flags and identities. Its language also would allow them toform into 'infantry companies.'"The "home guard" would not be subject to federal oversight and a company would only berecognized if certified by the governor. Creating the paramilitary groups would cost thestate about $45,000 per year for the first few years, and the state would be required to payfor damaged equipment used by the groups during active duty.Montana's Human Rights Network says there's little doubt that the unregulated militias would be amagnet for “anti-government extremists.” Similar bills are being considered in Arizona and Oklahoma.
4. Let's Pay China's Central Bank and Default on Grandma and Grandpa
The fun isn't limited to state houses. At the federal level, we will soon face a very silly pissing matchover whether or not to raise the debt ceiling – the limit on how much public debt the government cantake on. Nobody really believes that the GOP will heed the calls from its most extreme members to block the increase.But newly minted Senator Pat Toomey is nevertheless making preparations for that possibility, offeringlegislation that's not likely to appeal to the older Tea Party types who helped him to victory. TalkingPoints Memoreportsthat Toomey is preparing a bill that would “force the U.S. government to reroutehuge amounts of money to China and other creditors in the event that Congress fails to raise its debtceiling.”If passed, Toomey's plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreigncountries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to SocialSecurity beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury -- that is, if the U.S.hits its debt ceiling.The best part, according to TPM, is that “according to the Treasury Department, his plan wouldn'tactually avoid a default, or its catastrophic consequences.”
5. Texas 'Birther' Offers Bill Criminalizing Health-Care Reform
We've heard a lot about “criminalizing politics” – Tom Delay's defenderscontinue to insistit was thisdastardly trend, rather than his wanton violations of the criminal code, which was responsible for thedisgraced former Speaker's conviction. Now another Texas lawmaker's taking the idea to the extreme. State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, really,
doesn't like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress last year. In fact,he likes it so little that he's offered up a bill that would make it a felony – punishable by up to five yearsin prison – for a federal official to implement the law duly passed by the United States Congress lastyear.
6. Slew of Birther Bills
That wasn't Berman's first legislative foray into the fever swamps of far-right politics. Just weeks after the midterms, heintroduced a “Birther bill” requiring presidential (and vice presidential) candidates to