Extremism in the Defense of Big Fossil…

June 20, 2019

..is apparently no vice.

The message that the Fossil dominated Trump administration is sending to congress is that we, the instruments of the wealthy and powerful, are not subject to your puny laws and constitution.

In Oregon, a legislator takes it up another notch.

The current chaos in global politics is a direct outgrowth of the fossil fuel industry seeking to prolong its destructive reign of greed, from Texas to Moscow.


Oregon is poised to become the second US state after California to impose a cap and trade program aimed at reducing industrial carbon emissions.

But ahead of a vote on the legislation Thursday, all 12 Republican state senators fled the capitol in a bid to delay the process. Several claimed to have left the state, beyond the reach of state troopers dispatched by the governor in order to get the legislative session back on track.

Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger Jr wrote in a statement that the walk-out was “exactly how we should be doing our job”. In a speech on the Senate floor, a visibly frustrated Senate president Peter Courtney begged his colleagues to return. “This is the saddest day of my legislative life,” he said.

If passed into law, the clean energy jobs bill would place a cap on emissions from power, transportation and other industries in the state, and establish a system to auction and trade them.

The program would begin in 2021, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 45% of 1990 carbon levels by 2035, and 20% of 1990 levels by 2050.

Oregon Live:

Tensions were already smoldering in the Oregon Senate Wednesday, when Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, poured gasoline on the situation, suggesting he would shoot and potentially kill any state trooper sent to haul him unwillingly back to the Capitol. 

After Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. said Tuesday that his caucus was “prepared to take actions” to prevent passage of a major climate change bill, Gov. Brown announced on Wednesday that she was ready to answer Republican stonewalling by calling lawmakers back for a special session.

Brown hinted that she would be willing to send state troopers to round up Republicans if they walk out in the final days of the regular legislative session, saying in a statement that she is “in close communication with Oregon State Police.” That’s an option Democratic senators and the governor did not use earlier this year, when Senate Republicans first brought the Senate to a standstill by walking out and preventing the necessary quorum.

The governor’s hint that she would consider sending troopers in the event of a second walkout triggered an aggressive response from Boquist, which was captured by a KGW news team at the Capitol. 

“This is what I told the superintendent,” Boquist said, referring to OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton. “Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”

A spokeswoman for the Oregon State Police did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday afternoon about whether the agency is investigating Boquist’s threat. Baertschiger’s spokeswoman also did not respond to a request for comment. Senate President Peter Courtney’s spokeswoman said she might have a comment, but had not responded by 6 p.m. 

In an email to The Oregonian/OregonLive Wednesday afternoon, Boquist stuck with his earlier statement and rejected a reporter’s characterization of his threat to troopers as “thinly veiled.” 

“Nothing thinly veiled,” Boquist wrote. “I have been in political coup attempts. I have been held hostage overseas. I have been jailed politically overseas … Not going to be arrested as a political prisoner in Oregon period.”

As Willamette Week has reported, Boquist is a U.S. Army veteran whose businesses include military training and an international operation that journalists described in the 1990s as a paramilitary force of armed American and Russian ex-military officers. 

Boquist contends that state troopers only have the power to enforce criminal violations and arrest warrants, not to compel absent lawmakers to return to the Capitol during a legislative session. 

In recent emails with Boquist, legislative lawyers have provided copies of their earlier legal opinions that the Legislature has the ability under the state Constitution to have a sergeant at arms or — with the governor’s approval – the Oregon State Police arrest absent members in order to compel their attendance at the Capitol.


7 Responses to “Extremism in the Defense of Big Fossil…”

  1. Don Osborn Says:

    “Boquist … businesses include military training and an international operation that journalists described in the 1990s as a paramilitary force of armed American and Russian ex-military officers”.

    Kinda says it all right there. This is the best the Repubs can get??

    • greenman3610 Says:

      that did jump out at me.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Apparently—-and a bit of googling of Boquist reveals comments that some people think he looks (and perhaps acts) like a certain German of old, particularly if he worked on his moustache. Putsch time in Oregon?

  2. ubrew12 Says:

    “Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger Jr wrote in a statement that the walk-out was “exactly how we should be doing our job”” I wish he would elaborate. To me, they can vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’. If they do neither they aren’t representing their constituents. More specifically, on this bill, a ‘yea’ vote is a Democrat, a ‘nay’ vote is a Republican, and a ‘nobody-gets-to-vote’ vote is an Anarchist. Nobody sent Republicans to Congress to act like Anarchists. Next I suppose they’ll be torching the state capitol.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      the goal here is rule by a nutsy minority, on behalf of fossil fuel oligarchs. What they can’t dominate by force they’ll gum up with actions like this.
      Not clear on what the rule is that allows them to stop the process by not taking part, but hopefully voters will know what to do in 2020

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        The rule is that a minimum quorum of ‘legislators is required to be in the vote to
        validate the ‘vote’. Prevents a small group secretly ( suddenly or otherwise) gathering a temporary majority. Obviously not designed for this, disgusting. The USA is not the only country with self serving politicians. Make one feel better or worse?

  3. Gingerbaker Says:

    My take?

    Bullies bluster. OTOH, a whole lotta death by cop would make the voting go faster.

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