By JANE WHITE - The Billings Outpost
Eight people from Whitehall, Big Timber and Billings identified themselves as everyday people who are so frustrated with corruption in the Obama administration that they stood on the South 27th Street overpass with signs emblazoned with “Overpass – Impeach Obama,” on the last Saturday of July.
Josh Daniels, 37, a precinct committee man in the Republican Party – which allows him to attend conventions and vote on the Republican Party platform – and Jim Buterbaugh, 58, not affiliated with any political party, said, “We are not fanatics. We are just regular people who care about America.”
Truckers honked their air horns, and drivers gave thumbs up, smiled and waved at the protesters. Smaller vehicles beeped as they drove by the sign-waving group.
Buterbaugh estimated that the crowd had gotten 200 beeps from the constant stream of traffic. The small group split up to ensure that about four people remained on each side of the overpass for many hours on July 27. The group members said they found each other on a Facebook site called Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment.
One man, Kyle Hartman, 23, a retail employee who carried a huge American flag from Big Timber, said, “We want to raise awareness about how Obama is crushing our constitutional freedoms.”
Can a president be impeached for potentially violating a citizen’s constitutional freedoms? Can the president be said to have been guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the Constitution requires for impeachment?
A Billings lawyer who asked not to be identified said that the House of Representatives initiates the impeachment process and the Senate prosecutes the impeachment via a trial. After the president is removed from office, another court would be required to continue the legal action by another trial and conclude with conviction or acquittal or another appropriate punishment.
Mr. Daniels said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Fast and Furious” operation, which resulted in the death of an ATFE agent – via U.S. guns that they shipped to Mexico in an attempt to determine which gangs were trafficking in guns - should be prosecuted as murder.
Other items that the group cited included 33 witnesses under gag orders (a judicial order not to speak about an issue under investigation) crucial to the outcome of the ongoing Benghazi investigation, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative 501 (c) 4 political organizations given special tax benefits, the collection of information belonging to private citizens by the National Security Agency, the refusal of the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule cannabis from a drug with no medical value to a drug for medical use in appropriate circumstances and, finally, raids on a slew of Washington state dispensaries, where voters approved the legalization of cannabis. Possession, distribution and intent to distribute cannabis remain illegal under federal law.
Mr. Daniels said, “This is in response to blanket spying on U.S. citizens, the recording of their private phone calls … . Under the Fourth Amendment, [the clandestine monitoring of] U.S. citizens requires a search warrant from a special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. If you don’t have a warrant, that’s a crime.”
He added, “I am furious that the DEA has not rescheduled cannabis and has raided 18 dispensaries in the state of Washington, where voters passed by 55 percent the complete legalization of marijuana.”
A Billings cannabis activist, Elizabeth Pincolini, said that authorities in Washington, D.C., are circumventing the Constitution.
Cannabis should be rescheduled from a Schedule I narcotic (a highly addictive dangerous drug with no medicinal value) to something with medical significance, she said.
“Instead of going through proper channels, they just put the DEA in charge,” she said. “Back during Prohibition, a constitutional amendment was required to make alcohol illegal [on a federal level]. It is ridiculous to make a plant that grows wild illegal.”