Far-right politicians label lockdowns anti-constitutional
In this Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 file photo, Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, gestures as he gives a speech in front of the liberty state flag at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., during a rally held by people advocating splitting Washington state into two separate states and questioning the legality of Washington's I-1639 gun-control measure. Prominent state lawmaker Shea says the coronavirus is a foreign bio-weapon and claims Marxists are using the pandemic to advance totalitarianism. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

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Extremist politicians say public health measures resemble martial law.

In deeply conservative eastern Washington state, a prominent state lawmaker kicked out of his Republican Party caucus labels the coronavirus as a foreign bio-weapon, accuses Marxists of using the pandemic to advance totalitarianism and rails against lockdown restrictions imposed by the Democratic governor.

A California teleconference last week to consider sport fishing limits in rural areas unprepared to handle influxes of anglers descended into chaos — with callers branding state officials as “fascists” and declaring it was time to “make fishing great again.”

Across the U.S., elected officials from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma suspicious of big government and outraged with orders to close churches, gun stores and other businesses deemed non-essential insist that the public health response is being used as an excuse to trample constitutional rights.

The shutdowns reinforce long-held beliefs by some that governments would eventually use a national emergency to limit civil liberties and the vitriol is particularly strong across the pine forests of eastern Washington state — where conservative Rep. Matt Shea is a co-founder of the Coalition of Western States, a loose federation of politicians suspicious of big government, plus militia supporters.

Its goal is to “stop unconstitutional actions against United States citizens,″ according to a December report into Shea’s activities paid for by the Washington state House issued just before his own caucus exiled him.

After Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issued the earliest U.S. mandatory closing of schools and businesses, Shea questioned whether Inslee would use the state’s National Guard to enforce his orders and if he would force inoculation of residents after a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.

”Quarantine is only supposed to be for sick people not mandatory for healthy law abiding people,” Shea wrote on Facebook. “Otherwise constitutionally and legally that starts creeping into martial law territory.”

Joining Shea in the vast expanse of eastern Washington, hundreds of miles and political light years away from ultra liberal Seattle, was Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, who wants to deny Inslee a third term. Culp is the police chief of the town of Republic and author of the book “American Cop: Upholding the Constitution and Defending Your Right to Bear Arms,” praised by rocker Ted Nugent.

“If I choose to peacefully assemble, go to Church, go to a gun shop, take my family fishing, open my business, enjoy the outdoors, or exercise any of my constitutional rights, I should not be restricted from doing so by a would-be dictator,” Culp told supporters during a recent conference call.

Shea’s efforts were lambasted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which said in a statement that he was promoting fear mongering and providing “legitimacy for a network of extremists” in western U.S. states “at a time when hundreds of Washingtonians, and thousands more Americans, are dying from coronavirus”

The lockdown order criticism isn’t limited to states led by Democrats. From northern Idaho, where suspicion of government also runs deep, Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler demanded in a letter that Republican Gov. Brad Little reconsider his statewide stay-home decree.

Wheeler’s letter questioned the reliability of World Health Organization coronavirus information and said “now it is time to reinstate our Constitution.”

“You can request those that are sick to stay home, but, at the same time, you must release the rest of us to go on with our normal business,” Wheeler wrote.

Little allowed restaurants to continue drive-through services and deliveries, but that didn’t appease arch-conservative members of his party, like State Rep. Heather Scott, also from northern Idaho.

She called the governmental response to the virus “a way to chip away at the foundations of our Constitution to push a global, socialistic agenda while in the midst of a national emergency.”

The criticism has stretched to Pennsylvania, where Republican State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe blasted Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf for his stay-home order and business closures.

“You were not elected to be our master or dictator but a servant leader in the executive branch,” Metcalfe wrote. “You have no authority to imprison any citizen in their home.’’

North Dakota’s closure of businesses and schools ordered by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum even managed to draw ire from a doctor-politician, Republican Assemblyman Rick Becker.

“Government itself is going to be causing far more damage to America by its reaction to coronavirus than the coronavirus itself,”″ Becker told the conservative One America News Network.

Politicians angry with lockdown orders had a meaningful impact on policy last week after Republican state lawmakers overturned Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order limiting the size of religious gatherings to 10 people. The gathering limit was upheld Saturday by the Kansas Supreme Court.

Even mostly liberal California saw a rebellious sign last week, when angry anglers disrupted a teleconference with state regulators who had planned to discuss a potential limited ban on freshwater sportfishing in several rural countries. Many callers mistakenly thought a statewide ban might be imposed.

Officials ended up canceling the Fish and Game Commission meeting to decide whether emergency powers should be granted to a governor’s Department of Fish and Wildlife appointee because local officials feared visiting anglers could spread the virus.

More than 500 participants jammed the teleconference after a group of conservative politicians, sheriffs and media outlets told social media followers that the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, was planning the statewide ban, the Sacramento Bee reported.

After the teleconference, Republican California U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa wrote on Facebook that “using this quarantine period to advance government control that would never sell otherwise is a breach of trust,” the Bee reported.

The developments across the U.S. worry Eric Ward, executive director of the Portland, Oregon-based Western States Center progressive civil rights group.

He accused the politicians of “performative drama and exaggeration that puts their constituents at more risk.″

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Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Associated Press


6 comments

  • Larry Gillis, Cape Coral

    April 14, 2020 at 7:24 am

    “THE CONSTITUTION IS THE LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDRELS” (article by AP)

    Your article should have the above headline. It has a curious and profoundly disturbing premise, that our Constitution is being used as a cudgel to prevent Government from doing things that are allegedly for our own good.

    If a Government is violating the Constitution, it is acting illegally. Its actions are to be resisted, using … the Constitution.

    You need to go back to school. (And, please, not one of those madrassa-like schools that litter the landscape, the ones that are being funded with MY tax dollars. Go to a real school)

    Larry Gillis, Libertarian

  • John Kociuba

    April 14, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Dear Floridians

    Re: Government Tyranny

    So let’s get this straight because I’m stupid. The Constitution of the United States is supreme law above all law. God’s law from the King James Bible. Codified law nor judicial ruling not one word withstanding.

    The Constitution of the United States says “Only in acts of IN ASION or Rebellion (meaning unlawful rebellion because citizens can rebel in cases of tyranny like this one).

    Is there Invasion? No!
    Is there Unlawful insurrection? No!

    Futhermore the President of the United States has all the authority in the world to stop illegal immigration (invasion) even to arrest judges and elected officials as collaborators.

    Yes. So if citizens don’t want to follow Fabian Communist Establishment Rockefeller Republican Party or Treasonous Menshevik/Bolshevik Communist Democrat Party than the media will label you FAR-RIGHT!

    Did the FAR-RIGHT close your businesses? Unconditionally steal your wealth? Allow massive Invasion of illegal aliens? Rape the public treasury for war profiteering? Break up families? Permit drugs on every corner?

    REVOLUTION IS INEVITABLE! We must break from Washington D.C. and this vile lawless 2 party system.

  • John Kociuba

    April 14, 2020 at 7:43 am

    States are blocking FOOD SEEDS from being sold! WTFU!

    Infowars.com Banned.video Theepochtimes.com Zerohedge.com Openthebooks.com Usdebtclock.org Townhall.com Govexec.gov

  • Andrew Nappi

    April 14, 2020 at 8:03 am

    FlaPol does a great job covering state and local politics. It has done an abysmal job with it C19 coverage. Ya’ll have embraced every tragedy, every negative story, every death with almost glee in reporting it. And this article? Anyone citing the corrupt and highly bigoted SPLC as an authority should really go back to journalism school… and ask for a refund. I hope this disease runs its course soon so you can go back full time to doing what you are competent at which is political reporting. You really suck when you’re outta your depth even if it’s your choice of fillers.

  • John Kociuba

    April 14, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Revolution

    They will use this tyranny over and over! Foreas government agents “creatures of statute” engaging in treason against the people to Establishment “indoctrination” that they are the supreme law not God’s law!

    Everyone working in government is now your enemy!

    Communism will never stop. Will continue growing like weeds strangling all freedoms and life around it until one day met with a massive unpredictable overwhelming overly aggressive force.

    I wonder what government will use next time? Maybe take your kids? Kidnap people unlawfully? Seize your bank accounts? They already suspended FREE SPEECH on social media. Hell, Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, Amazon control your voice & movement now…

    “I never met a Communist that wasn’t a multimillionaire.” ~Hon. Steve Plezenik

    This is the lesson of history!

  • John Kociuba

    April 14, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Americans have no choice but to immediately expand state milita now!

    As citizens, we cannot wait for a 2nd wave of tyranny!

    I’m still trying to figure out where “essential business” is in our Constitution? WWE is “essential business” cause they BRIBE COMMUNIST OFFICIALS!

    Your business isn’t “essential” because the omnipotent state doesn’t recognize your Constitutional rights to exist.

    There’s an army of Communists in America now. Your kids. Fathers. Mothers. Sisters. Brothers. Cousins. Wearing all kinds of uniforms.

    AGAINST COMMUNISM PACIFISM IS A PLAGUE OF DEATH!

Comments are closed.


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