Political Quick Hits

Closed Primaries

At the Flathead Memo, James Conner explains why Republicans are unlikely to adopt Monforton’s closed primary resolution.  As usual, it’s a good analysis.

Freedom Fighters

At the Missoula Independent, reporter Ted McDermott has an incredible piece on a Montana militia member who organized militia types from around the U.S. to descend on Cliven Bundy’s ranch and claims to have led Bundy’s militia battles during the Nevada rancher’s standoff with the BLM.

The militia member, an Anaconda man named Ryan Payne who lives “off the grid” with his grandparents, also shares his troubling conspiracy theories.  These include his belief that slavery never took place in the U.S., and why he believes his fight was “just the first battle in the fight to reclaim America.” Here’s Freedom Fighter.

Brought to You by ALEC

Anyone who cares about politics should watch the new expose by Montana PBS, Brought to You by ALEC which sends a reporter along with Montana legislators  to a conference of the  American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC. As Cowgirl readers know, ALEC is the bane of workaday Montanans’ existence. It’s corporate America’s mainline to corrupting the lawmaking process.  At resorts in closed-door “summits” they write “model bills” and instruct GOP state legislators to force them through back home.

The PBS expose includes some telling interviews with Republican state legislators Sen. Roger Webb (R-Billings) and Rep. Dan Salomon (R-Ronan).  Roger Webb is the guy who was convicted of beating and shooting his neighbors’s pets Katie and Alli, both black labs.  Salomon is known for his outrage over the fact that Congress dared to ask a few ALEC members and donors for their views on “stand your ground” legislation, which was an ALEC boilerplate bill.  ALEC found itself facing a mass exodus of major donors after it became public that the stand your ground laws were ALEC’s doing.

Anyway, the documentary has some great moments. There’s the clip of Dan Salomon at 11:25 starting to explain how the public isn’t allowed into the ALEC tasks forces. He then catches himself midstream and says the actually doesn’t know if the public is locked out.

Then there’s the moment at 7:05 when Roger Webb admits the bulk of ALEC’s revenue comes from corporate donors with a vested interest in the legislation they’re pushing.  He says this doesn’t bother him in the least, because to him ALEC funding this is no different than businesses supporting Girl Scouts and Little League – two organizations that, I would point out, don’t make state law.

Screen shot 2014-06-13 at 6.19.36 AMThen there are the several shots of TEA Party leader Art Wittich lunching at the ALEC conference.  Wittich is not interviewed in the video.  Presumably he was smarter than Webb and Salomon and refused.  To be sure, the report should have included footage of Wittich refusing to be interviewed on camera.  It also should have looked more into all of the various ALEC bills introduced in Montana, instead of just focusing on one.

But overall the expose was well done.  By far the best part of the video comes toward the end, where Montana Family Foundation leader Jeff Laszloffy claims on camera –over and over again–that there was “no connection, absolutely none” between his public school privatization campaign and bill last session and ALEC.

The reporter then shows how Laszloffy’s bill is almost a word for word copy of the ALEC model bill.  When Laszloffy tries to claim that charter schools aren’t for-profit corporations, and the piece shows financial and investment reports showing the high profitability of these private charter schools. The documentary also exposes how ALEC funded the PR campaign Laszloffy used to push these private charter schools in Montana–and many other connections between ALEC and the Montana Family Foundation.

These connections include jointly funded surveys by ALEC and the Family Foundation and articles trumpeting the Family Foundation private school push, all of which appear in Laszloffy’s groups legislative testimony.    The ALEC bill Laszloffy was caught on tape lying about was sponsored by Austin Knudson.  You can watch the entire expose online here. Kudos to Montana PBS reporter Anna Rau and all the PBS staff involved in this report.



24 Comments on "Political Quick Hits"

  1. Not meaning to be argumentative, but I think it was a different Bundy of whom you write. Anyhow, the misguided louts that think rancher Bundy is some type of hero need to realize that he is nothing more than a deadbeat.

  2. Thanks for catching this. Indeed I mean Cliven Bundy and have updated the post.

  3. I wonder when the ALEC expose will next be reshown on local PBS.

  4. In addition to watching online, you can also watch it on PBS on these upcoming air dates:
    Sunday 6/22 at 10:00am
    Thursday 7/24 at 7:00pm
    Tuesday 8/12 at 9:00pm

  5. I hate it when corporations come in and buy votes and write legislation for us.

    If we’re going to have ALEC write the laws then I’d just assume fire all the legislators so the state can save money. After all, what are they good for when corporations are pulling the strings and they do nothing to stop it?

  6. Dear Cowgirl,
    For over a decade now we in America have been educated about sinister organizations that operate at the fringes, have little transparency in not disclosing their members or their sources of funding, and do what they can to destabilize the democratic process. In the Middle East they’re known as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In America they’re known as ALEC-Qaeda and ATP (American Taliban Partnership). We should be pursuing the latter with the same zeal to destroy them as the former.

    John Marshall

  7. Home with a sick kid and just finished watching this. It should be noted how incredible it is that ALEC’s sweaty PR flack gave such a long interview to Montana PBS. Well done!

  8. I appreciated the commenter on the Indie site who wrote something like: “Crime fighters fight crime, Firefighters fight fire, so what do freedom fighters fight?”

  9. Bravo PBS and every bill should be picked apart this coming session to EXPOSE it’s corrupted ALEC roots, and EXPOSE the GOP ‘rubes’ promoting this disgusting corporate quest for absolute power!

  10. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | June 14, 2014 9:19 AM at 9:19 AM |

    Dear Sgt. Payne, thank you for your service………………

    AT THE BUNDY RANCH! down there in Bungholeville, Nevada!


    No, seriously, dude, you kept Murca safe for deadbeat Mormon welfare ranchers! I mean, just stop and think about that for a moment. THAT is what made this country great! THAT is what the Founding Fathers intended! THAT is what makes you dudes in the First Inbred Irregulars such patriots!

    And wow! Now you’re recruiting Inbred Irregulars from all across the country to come to Montana and join UP with all you OTHER mlisha dudes from outta state! Did you ever know that you’re my hero?? I mean, an uneducated dude from southern Kalifornyeeha is gonna SAVE us Montanans from the evil federal gummint! AND “the negro”! Geez, I never KNEW that there was no such thing as slavery in this country, ’cause as you so cogently state, the blacks actually ENJOYED slavery! Boy did I have it wrong all these years. Genius, pure genius! I’m sure that “the negros” in this country will appreciate you clarifying that for them! Reparations hell! They should be paying US back for full employment!

    But on a more serious not, sgt. payne, I see that you’re quite familiar with the second amendment, and possibly the first. But might I be so bold as to suggest that you brush UP on the fifth amendment?! For you see, if you keep spouting off, you just might end up sharing a jail cell with your new best friend Big Bubba. And then, you can explain all your historical racial theories to Bubba while you two are bonding! I’m sure he’ll be all ears!

    “We locked them down,” Payne says. “We had counter-sniper positions on their sniper positions. We had at least one guy—sometimes two guys—per BLM agent in there. So, it was a complete tactical superiority. … If they made one wrong move, every single BLM agent in that camp would’ve died.” sgt. payne of the First Inbred Irregulars.

    Carry on, soldier! There’s lots more Murca savin’ to be done, and God wants you to do it!

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | June 14, 2014 9:27 AM at 9:27 AM |

      There’s a reason that stupid people make very poor revolutionaries. Che Guevara, medical doctor. Fidel Castro, lawyer. sgt. payne, home schooled or no schooled dumbass from southern California who has no job and lives with granny and gramps! Yep. I’m sure the feds are trembling!

  11. Drunks for Denny | June 14, 2014 6:16 PM at 6:16 PM |

    Thank you for the link to the Ryan Payne story, CG. Much appreciated.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | June 14, 2014 10:32 PM at 10:32 PM |

      Think of it as comic relief, drunk dude! It ain’t EVERY day that a moron like sgt. payne comes along from southern Kalifornyeeha to lighten the mood ’round here. Gotta have fun with the inbreds while we can before they’re rushed off to the big house to bond with Big Bubba!

      I wasn’t kidding when I advised sgt. dumbazz payne to bone UP on the fifth amendment before Big Bubba does some bonin’ up of his own on sgt. payne in the federal iron bar hotel! It ain’t EVER day that an inbred incriminates himself with the help of the Mizoo Fox Dependent! “Yep! I was a’gonna waste all them evil BLM dudes. ALL of them! Ever last one of them!
      ‘Cause I’m from Montany. Thas what we inbreds DO up there. Ever heard of A River Runs Through it? Well, that caused lots of folks to protect the Blackfoot. We inbreds have our OWN book called Cow Shit Runs Through It! And that caused lots of us inbreds to head down there to Bungholeville, Nevada to protect deadbeat Mormon welfare rancher, Clivescum Scumby and all his cow shit! See, the enviros love a beautiful river. We like COW SHIT! It’s beautiful when it’s runnin’ over public lands! Yes sireee, Cow shit runs through it! Kinda poetic, ain’t it! See, I done had me some book larnin’ too!”

      Yes you have, sgt. payne. And the Mizoo Fox Dependent is a willing accomplice to help you incriminate your outta state ass! What a paper. What a paper!

      Say, whatever happened to the bizarro editor dude they had? He was pure Kockhroach brother material! The Mizoo Fox Dependent. What a joke of a newspaper. Why would they give this buffoon an article? Do they REALLY feel that someone dink from southern Kalifornyeeha has something to offer us? If so, WHAT???…….besides comic relief! Good job, Mizoo Fox Dependent! Maybe they’re planning a new feature called Dink of the Week! Next week, Birther Bob or Kristy Hansen! The list is endless!

      (can an interview with sally mockery be far behind?)

  12. ALEC is the bane of workaday Montanans’ existence. It’s corporate America’s mainline to corrupting the lawmaking process.

    I love it when Cowgirl goes deep. Sadly, this is as deep as she goes. Were she to look a little closer into the “lawmaking process,” she’d find that it is already corrupted behind repair, and that America’s mainline for corrupting it is not ALEC, but rather the bought whores and hookers of the Democrat and Republican parties. What are Jon Tester and Steve Bullock if not paramours of the timber lobby? Max Baucus, that paragon of liberal values, whored not just for AHIP, but for Goldman Sachs and anyone else willing to pony up the dough. He was for sale, his only scratch of dignity that he went to high bidders and not low ones. He was high class Wall Street hooker.

    Cowgirl went deep here, and I chuckle, as she does not understand that she is paid not to know anything else, and is really good at her job.

  13. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | June 16, 2014 1:07 PM at 1:07 PM |

    Let us remember, as Iraq falls, that SOME of us had it right all along! Why should we elect the ReePube war mongers to anything ever again?


  14. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | June 17, 2014 9:29 PM at 9:29 PM |

    One of sgt. payne’s First Inbred Irregular Militia maybe?? And THIS is the same type of upstanding, patridiotic inbred that payne, the southern californyeeha transplant, is inviting to Montana to join UP with him and his inbred mlisha? Wonderful. craigy’s people!


    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | June 17, 2014 9:38 PM at 9:38 PM |

      p.s. And we’ve got plenty of these southern Deliverance inbred types squatting on land over by Cascade and other regions around GF. I’m sure that the rest of Montana is the same. No shirt, no shoes, no teeth? NO PROBLEM! Find a nice chunk of land in Montana and SQUAT! It’s your god given right to do so! And you can join up with payne’s pansies, the Montana First Inbred Irregulars! Have gun, will travel……….TO PROTECT COW SHIT!

      REMEMBER THE ALAMO, AND CLIVEN SCUMBY! Cowshit is worth fightin’ and dying for!

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