Tag Archives: Birther

Give Me Your Crackpots, Your Liars, Your Befuddled Faction Yearning to Drink TEA

by Cowgirl

It looks like Billings Mayor Tom Hanel got into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn’t looking.

Lee Newspapers photo

How else to explain that Hanel cast the deciding vote to keep discrimination legal in Billings, Montana’s largest community.  By doing so, Hanel put the crackpot ideology of certifiable nutjob Jeff Laszloffy over the views of most people in Billings–people Hanel is supposed to represent.   Laszloffy is head of the “Montana Family Foundation.” He’s the guy  who led the fight to allow discrimination against LGBT Montanans.

To be sure, readers may note that I have found it necessary to call people nutjobs fairly often, since I live in a state where elected lawmakers introduce bills to declare that global warming is good and plan to demand that the federal government prove in court that the National Parks were lawfully acquired. But even amongst these world-class minds, Jeff Laszloffy still appears to have been napping in the nutpile the day the man upstairs was cracking nuts.

So let’s take a look at the man whose views Mayor Hanel valued most when it came time to make city policy. This was certainly a very poor calculation on Hanel’s part.

Hanel listened to a proven liar

Earlier this summer, Laszloffy was the subject of a documentary exposé on influence peddling in the Montana legislature. He was caught lying on camera when he claimed that there was “no connection, absolutely none” between the public school privatization bill he backed last session and the corporate front group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, which was pushing this same bill nationwide.

The PBS documentary uncovered multiple connections between Laszloffy and ALEC, including how Laszloffy’s bill to force taxpayers to subsidize sectarian religious schools is almost a word for word copy of ALEC’s bill. Laszloffy claims in the documentary that charter schools aren’t for-profit corporations, and was caught in another lie. The exposé pointed out financial and investment news reports outlining the high profitability of these private charter schools. ALEC even funded the PR campaign Laszloffy used to push these private charter schools in Montana.  And even though Laszloffy said he had nothing to do with ALEC, PBS also uncovered jointly funded surveys by ALEC and the Family Foundation–and jointly funded articles trumpeting the Family Foundation’s private school push, all of which appear in Laszloffy’s groups’ own legislative testimony.  You can watch the entire expose online here.

Hanel listened to a birther

Laszloffy went live from Birtherstan in 2011, when he actually supported the infamous birther bill, Bob Wagner’s House Bill 205 which would have required all candidates to produce birth certificates–especially a certain black candidate. Laszloffy testified:

We’ve gone over 200 years without this being a problem and it just became a problem in the last election cycle. And I think the circumstances surrounding this are frankly bizarre. There is question as to whether the president was born in the United States, we all know that…The president could fix this by simply releasing his birth certificate and that would get us past this little road bump.

Hanel listened to a certified crackpot

Yep, the mayor of Billings chose to listen to a man who sent his daughter to a school which claims it can teach how to bring people back from the dead.

Hanel listened to a man who celebrates discrimination 

Laszloffy also organized a small group in celebrating their hatred of gay people by throwing a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.  The day was marked by bringing gay-haters together to teach their kids that discrimination against others is something to celebrate–preferably with stale fast food from 1000 miles away.  Just the kind of person you want to be playing a key role in making city policy right?

Hanel listened to a man who led the fight to allow religious boarding schools to operate without regulation despite terrible allegations of child abuse.

Laszloffy lead the fight to allow religious boarding schools in Montana like Pinehaven Ranch to remain unregulated. These religious schools, which have no licenses, no accreditation and employ teachers who are not certified,  are now dealing with allegations that staff used violence to discipline students. And yet the Montana GOP has voted, under Laszloffy’s direction, to allow such schools to continue to go unregulated. CNN ran a big story about it  on the Anderson Cooper 360 show.  Rep. Ellie Hill’s HB 236 would have addressed the problem. Laszloffy lobbied hard against Hill’s bill, convincing the GOP majority to let these kids suffer free from protection.

So yeah, this is pretty bad policy making, and its pretty ridiculous that Billings Mayor Tom Hanel went so wrong by listening to this guy instead of his own constituents.  He should be replaced at the earliest opportunity since he has demonstrated such poor judgement.

You Can Run from the Wingnuts, But You Really Can’t Hide

Sen. Jennifer Fielder R-TEA Noxon

Sen. Jennifer Fielder R-TEA Noxon

The vice-Chair of the state Republican Party, Sen. Jennifer Fielder  promoted the gathering of an extreme anti-government group appeared as a keynote speaker at the group’s event. But when a reporter showed up, “she quickly distanced herself from [Defend Rural America leader Kirk] MacKenzie when asked about his extreme rhetoric and ideas,” which included that “neo-environmentalists” are “domestic terrorists.”  Fielder said that the group ideas weren’t what she thought they would be.

So now she knows, and there’s no longer a way to claim ignorance.

But Sen. Fielder must not be too upset about the group’s views. She’s invited yet another Defend Rural America speaker, Doyel Shamley, to present information to a legislative hearing this Wed, Jan 8. You can see that he appears under Fielder’s portion of the Environmental Quality Council agenda.

Shamley provided training and workshops for Defend Rural America’s secessionist county organizing drive in California.  He ran one of the Defend Rural America’s pilot projects, featured in this DFA white paper.

Shamley appears on the MT EQC agenda, billed as a “natural resource consultant.”  But Doyel Shamely is so much more.

Shamely is the host of a somewhat creepy conspiracy theory program which posits that politicians, lawmakers, members of the royal family, the illuminati and others have created a “New World Order” through which they attempt to control the thoughts and beliefs of everyday people–of course, there is connection to UFO’s and aliens visiting planet Earth.

His audio book, New World Order: The Battle for Your Mind and the Truth to the UFOs, is available for $10.95 at Amazon.com, but for some reason has no customer reviews.

Is there a New World Order? Are they trying to control every part of our lives? Are we treated like sheep?…Are they politicians, company directors, religious leaders, royalty, lawmakers, or all of the above and more? How old is their rule? And what secret organization do they belong to?

Perhaps more importantly, are UFOs actually visiting our planet? Have they been here for thousands of years? All this and more is constantly investigated by thousands of people around the globe and nobody more than the Hour of Our Time Show*[hosted by Shamely]…Are they trying to control our minds? Are they lying about the Alien Threat? You decide.

Indeed Fielder has decided that Montana’s lawmakers need to hear from this consultant–apparently no other natural resources speaker would do.

Yes, the truth sometimes has a way of coming out, but that hasn’t stopped Fielder from tried hide from and disassociate herself from the extremist views of these “expert consultants” she consorts with.

For example, Sen. Dick Barrett (D-Missoula) provided her with an email with information about the watershed consultant hired by TEA partiers to block a tribal water rights agreement negotiated by the state of Montana and the CSKT.  Kate Vandemoer (yes, this is the Usurpathoner) has a birther blog with some pretty extreme, marginal views–and some writings that reflect the soundness of her judgement.  But Fielder got angry and insisted that the contents of Vandemoer’s “personal” blog (whatever that might mean) were not relevant.  But in the same breath, she claimed that she had never read the blog.  I encourage you to read this informative chain of emails below the fold.

The most cursory review of Vandemoer’s very public blog (Dr Kate’s View) shows that Vandemoer uses it not only to promote her multitudinous and bizarre birther conspiracy theories, she also uses it to share her views on water and watershed politics.

In a post entitled “Watershed Politics” Vandemoer writes the following. (Apologies for the long passage but they illustrate this “expert’s” state of mind.)

the landscape of our America was shaped by our Constitution, the very blood and water of our country…Upon this hallowed ground–nothing more than a chessboard to some– a dark rain has fallen for decades…it is falling and now drenching.  I remember being in the wilderness for weeks on horseback, wondering what the black ‘goo’ was on the vegetation and the rocks…This foreign rain, and the raging torrents it produces, are attempting to capture that stream and dream known as America.  It is trying to erode our landscape, our system, in order to capture liberty and train it into a controlled system of slavery, where the course of everyone’s life is determined by a single train of thought–communism, new world orderism.  The NWO has intentionally created these devastating torrents to undermine sovereignty, liberty, and freedom…indeed I have felt that the very foundation of our country is threatened…and with increasing force.

Does the NWO think it is God, such that it can flood the world with poison rain and torrential rivers to destroy all of creation, and refashion it to its liking (and control)?

She uses the blog to share her belief that climate change is a diversionary tactic to keep the public from looking into a list of conspiracy theories: such as “weather modification by geoengineering“–Vandemoer believes the government is creating natural disasters so that it may “take over our lives.”  There’s also HAARP (a secret weapon conspiracy nuts think is used for weather modification. And don’t forget “chemtrails, and microwave pulses.”

So even if Fielder doesn’t scramble to distance herself from the conspiracies, or Vandemoer’s belief that, “the Rothschilds (translated ‘Red Shield), Rockefellers, and many other monied JKhazar Jews, who together form a cabal acting like a synagogue of Satan that is in full gear enforcing its agenda on America, including Agenda 21.”  Even if Sen. Fielder does not believe that these views call “Dr. Kate’s” judgement into question, Vandemoer’s views on water as a water consultant should give any sane person pause.

For tomorrow’s legislative meeting. Fielder has invited another extremist to town.  She’s asked Ken Ivory to the legislative committee tomorrow.  Ivory is the Utah legislator who carried a bill requiring the Federal government to cede much of its land in Utah to the state.

This guy Ivory has already appeared in Ravalli County.  Actually, he’s been touring around pushing this idea to other states at ALEC conferences too–legislative language is conveniently available now in ALEC boilerplate. Montanans will remember this idea as one of the infamous nutjob bills of the 2011 legislature, sponsored by Derek Skees.

Unfortunately for Ivory (and ALEC), Utah’s Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel had to go and point out a pile of pesky case law with regard to public lands going back to the 1870s that gives the bill “a high probability of being declared unconstitutional.” And the Salt Lake Tribune has called Ivory’s effort “tilting at windmills.” Arizona rejected it.  The bill was vetoed by TEA Party Governor Jan Brewer. In Montana, the bill didn’t even make it out of committee.

But the GOP loves to throw these kinds of pointless proposals out there, in spite of the fact that it is a complete waste of public resources to do so.  It’s political grandstanding to rally the extreme-right conservative TEA Party base and to feed their antigovernment conspiracy narrative.

Tomorrow, we’re the one’s paying for it.
Continue reading

Birthers Plan Second “Usurpathon” Attempt to Arrest President, Overthrow Government

Birthers Undeterred by Montana Woman’s First Usurpathon Failure

It seems that yet another group of birthers are planning a coup to overthrow the government and arrest President Obama, or as birthers call the leader of the free world, “the Great Usurper.” The tea partiers say they’re taking the President and locking him up in a Florida prison because a “citizens grand jury” sentenced him to 10 years for having a fake birth certificate. Continue reading

Noted Birther Wins First Prize for “Best Editorials”

This is not a joke.

The Montana Newspaper Association has awarded Frank Miele, the top editor at the Flathead Daily Inter Lake and a frequent contributor of arch-conservative birther editorials which he pens under his own name, first place in the “Best Editorials” category.

Meile is most famous for having written an impassioned, roughly 2,000 word piece defending the birther-nut Bob Wagner and his birther bill, and firing back at Anderson Cooper on whose show Wagner appeared during the 2011 legislative session.

Miele sees Wagner’s birther bill as eminently reasonable and necessary, and he was outraged at what he saw as Cooper’s shameful and biased treatment of Wagner. In Miele’s view, the CNN interview was an “ambush…by a left-wing extremist”, with Cooper doing nothing other than trying to insinuate that Wagner “has a vendetta against President Obama — when in fact the law would be applied equally to all candidates, and would neither target nor favor Obama.”

Rather than print multiple excerpts, I will suggest that you read the full idiotic column to fully appreciate it, but I warn you that you will shudder to think that on a daily basis, this man is the arbiter and shaper of the majority of print-news that is consumed by voters in the Flathead Valley.  And there is one juicy plum, toward the end of Miele’s editorial rant, which I will definitely print here.  This must have made even a good percentage of Republican readers cringe:

“If you want to take the time to research this, you will see that there is considerable reason to believe that in 1961 it would have been possible to register the birth of a baby even if he was not born in Hawaii.”

And so, even though I don’t like to say I-told-you-so, it is important that I do so here.  When you all read here, back during the 2010 campaign, that the reporting in the Flathead Valley was all very pro-Republican and candidates like Derek Skees were getting free rides because the media up there were suppressing evidence of their extremism, now you know what I was talking about. The Daily Inter Lake’s political coverage must be presumed to be Fake Flathead News, all the way.

And while Miele wrote his editorial because he wanted us all to believe that it is Anderson Cooper, not Bob Wagner, who is the nut-job, in fact it is Miele and the ownership of the Daily Inter Lake who allows him to run the paper, who are the nuts-jobs.

From time to time I hear rumors of progressives with deep pockets who are sniffing around the state, trying to gage the market for a new daily newspaper, statewide, that would combat the right wing rags.  The Flathead Valley should be their number one target.

Top GOP Official Suspects Obama was “Foreign Exchange Student”

More birther nonsense from the Montana GOP leadership this week, under a new iteration.

The GOP House Majority Leader, Tom McGillvray, tweeted this week (from his official Twitter account) that President Obama must release his college records so as to prove that he was not a “foreign exchange student” while he studied at Columbia and Harvard.

I’m sure that Billings residents will be encouraged to know that their state representative is hard at work, tending to important matters.

McGillvray, by the way, is the nutjob who introduced a bill in the Montana legislature in 2011 that would have made divorce illegal unless the couple had gone through state-mandated marital therapy.

So his tweet, actually, is nothing out of the ordinary.

Baloney

The leader of a local right-wing group claims in a podcast that gay people are not the targets of violence and that actual cases of anti-gay violence don’t exist.

Pointing to one case of a young adult in Missoula who made up the story of being attacked because he was gay, Montana birther Jeff Laszloffy tells us (clip) “these false claims are becoming all too frequent because actual cases don’t exist”:

The notion that it does comes from repeated claims by groups like the Montana Human Rights Network. The reason this latest case  got so much publicity was that the promoters of anti-gay discrimination ordinances thought that they finally had an actual case that they could point to. (clip)

Laszloffy, head of the far-right Montana Family Foundation, wants us to believe that non-profit organizations are ginning up fake claims of anti-gay violence in Missoula to to pass a non-discrimination ordinance in Helena.

He points to two other cases of anti-gay violence in Montana that he says were made up.

Though Laszloffy declines to cite his sources, presumably he means the 2001 case of the Carroll College student who,

was hit in the head with a bottle, knocked unconscious and further beaten, according to a report filed by the student with school administrators. The words “Die Fag” were written on his body, and the student later required surgery because of the cuts on his eye.

The 2001 Helena IR report on this case is pasted below the fold.

He claims that police believed that a lesbian couple in Missoula actually set their own house on fire. The couple was forced to escape through a window with their infant son.

Laszloffy presents no evidence to back up his statement that these people committed crimes by making false reports to police.   Instead, he says we should be suspicious of them because they left the state after the attacks.   However, as the Helena IR reports, the Carroll student left because he feared for his safety, “fearing for his safety, he withdrew from Carroll and returned to his Spokane-area home.” And in the case of the Missoula couple, the prosecutor, a Missoula County Attorney, found no evidence to back up the claims of those who said that they had made up their story.

Laszloffy doesn’t think we understand that people move away after becoming a hate crime victim because they want to distance themselves from that terrible experience. Who wants to be known mostly as a public reminder of fear and the existence of bigots?  They move away because they don’t want to be reminded every day of what happened to them and to avoid having to encounter the perpetrators.

Here’s where his remarks really go south. Laszloffy says that the Helena non-discrimination ordinance is not to protect people who are gay but rather to “put churches and those who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds at risk for  harassment.”   He says that, “The gay community is now pushing those in the faith community not only to accept what they see as sin, but to participate in it as well.”

Back in Montana on Planet Earth, people who are gay can be denied housing and employment, fired, or kicked out of establishments — all because of their sexual orientation.  Religion is a protected class by both bias-crime laws and non-discrimination laws in Montana.  This means laws already protect people from being discriminated against because of  their faith.   And if a religious person was attacked in a bias-based crime, the assailant would receive a sentence enhancement.

To find out more about Helena’s non-discrimination ordinance and how you can help, visit the Montana Human Rights Network website here.  

 

 

 

How to Dispose of a Tea Party Imbecile, For Good

Bye Bye, Birther

Bob Wagner, Montana Republican LegislatorLast week, we saw the demise of a right wing lunatic.

You may remember Bob Wagner, the Montana state legislator, for his appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 in which he defended his special birther bill which would have forbidden President Obama from appearing on the Montana ballot in 2012.

Wagner was indeed riding high two years ago, swept into office on the 2010 Tea Party wave and happily making an ass of himself in the Montana legilsature, going on national talk shows with his nutty ideas, speaking at Tea Part rallies, sponsoring crazy bills (in addition to his birther bill, he tried to reintroduce the Gold Standard), and generally being an ass.  But Wagner did not know that he would walk into a trap, in which he would be ensared and hoisted and which would end his political career. He would be unable to chew his leg off to free himself.

Like a good Tea Partier, Wagner voted against every single appropriation of money put forward by the legislature, including a bill that arrived on Governor Brian Schweitzer’s desk last April which contained grant money for local communities (including Wagner’s district), for things like sewer upgrades, fire department repairs, and the like.

Schweitzer–who is known to enjoy mixing it up with right-wingers–saw an angle.  He noticed that Wagner had voted against the bill.  So, Schweitzer used his “line item veto” power and selectively crossed out the funds that would have gone to Wagner’s district.  Schweitzer did this to several legislators who voted against the grant bill, stating as he deleted the items that if Wagner and others voted against the bill, then their constituents must not have expressed much interest in getting the money.

Montana Representative "Birther" Bob WagnerBut as you might expect, community leaders in Wagner’s district hadn’t even been aware that Wagner had voted against it.  For when he voted against the bill, Wagner had been on a frolic of his own, and not representing the interests of his district.  Wagner figured that the bill would pass anyway, and so he could flex his Tea Party biceps while knowing that Democrats and moderate Republicans would turn in sufficient votes so that the grant bill would survive.

But he hadn’t counted on Schweitzer calling out his bullshit.

When the folks in Wagner’s district learned of Wagner’s vote and of the consequent loss of funds, they were outraged.  Wagner then tried to save face by suing Schweitzer, claiming that the item veto had been illegal.  Well, that didn’t go over very well with the Tea Partiers who reside in Wagner’s district, because they don’t think Government should ever spend money at all.

So Wagner ended up in the headlines, first proudly decrying government spending, then being revealed as having denied his district important funds, and finally suing the Governor to try to get more government spending for his district.

Alas, caught in these crosscurrents, the flimsy hypocrite Wagner was beaten last week in his GOP primary, by a Republican moderate (or at least what passes for a moderate in Madison County, Montana) who used all of these points against him very skillfully and vocally.

Goodbye, Birther Bob.

Schweitzer Jumps into Presidential Race

The Governor of Montana had choice words for Mitt Romney today, saying that while he will probably win Montana, he will suffer in states where Latino votes are required for victory.

Schweitzer also made a somewhat unusual point: that Romney, who has degraded and insulted hispanics during his Republican primary, will be unable to discuss his personal Mexican heritage as a way of making himself more palatable to Latino voters.

Romney’s grandfather lived in Mexico in a Mormon colony, and Romney’s father was born there. That’s right: by some interpretations (including the 14th amendment theories espoused by most Republican Montana state legislators), Mitt Romney is the son of a Mexican.

Schweitzer, in the Huffington Post article, says he believes that Romney will shy away from discussing this interesting connection to Mexico. Why? The Mormon colony that Romney’s father was born into was a Polygamy colony. Indeed, Romney has four grandfathers, but dozens of grandmothers.

We will see if Schweitzer is right. Given his personality, it’s no stretch to envision Romney trying to convince voters that he is both a Mexican and an anti-immigrant American.

A Birther is Back

Montana Representative "Birther" Bob WagnerOne of America’s top TEA Party imbeciles has called for President Obama to prove that he is eligible to be on the Montana ballot, or else have his name removed from it.

Bob Wagner, the Montana state representative who once told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that a person is ineligible to run for president unless both parents were born in America, is back at it again.  Reviving Birtherism, Wagner has sent a letter to the Montana Secretary of State (she oversees elections), commanding her to
“prove that Obama is eligible to hold the office he usurped in 2008, or take him off the ballot.”
Wagner believes that Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud; and that even if the certificate were authentic, Obama would still not be a true American citizen because his father impregnated his mother while visiting America.

Alas, Wagner’s letter is the last thing Montana Republicans need right now.  They swept the legislature in 2010 in a whirlwind of Tea Party hysteria, only to be utterly humiliated by Wagner and his crowd of Tea Party loons as they coopted the legislature and began passing crazy legislation, calling for an end to the United Nations and a reversion to the gold standard. It eventually proved such disaster for the GOP that the moderate Republicans fled the scene, and voted with Governor Schweitzer and the Democrats.

Schweitzer, meanwhile, had a field day kicking Wagner and his right-wing pals in the ribs.  He even staged an event on the lawn of the Capitol building, where he pulled out a red hot cattle iron that said “VETO” and used it to “brand” a few crazy bills, Wagner’s among them.  Rachel Maddow did a funny segment on it, highly recommended.

And there’s an even larger problem for the Montana GOP, a dark cloud on the horizon.  If Jon Tester wins his race for the US Senate, there is a good chance that for the first time in history, Montana will not have a single state-wide Republican officeholder.  Right now, the state’s at-large congressman, Dennis Rehberg, is the last GOP statewide politician, and he’s chosen to give up his house seat to challenge Tester for the Senate.  All of the other nine state-wide politicians in Montana are Democrats, even though just over half of the state remains solidly and strongly conservative (Gore and Kerry got 33 and 36 percent in Montana respectively; Obama got 46, but its unlikely he’ll get much over 43 this time around.)

And with the continued antics of nutcases like Bob Wagner, Democrats have a bright future in Big Sky Country.

The Bridges of Madison County (and a Tea Party Imbecile)

Montana Representative "Birther" Bob WagnerRepublican Bob Wagner, legislator from Madison County and a half-literate rube Tea Partier who likes to draw national attention to himself, is in the news again.

You will recall that as a legislator, he sponsored a “birther bill” to prevent Obama from being legally allowed to run for president in 2012. He even appeared on Anderson Cooper 360, but forgot to rehearse answers to basic questions and ended up humiliating himself in front of a national audience and turning the Montana GOP into a national joke.

Now, Wagner has outdone himself. A while back, the Governor line-item-vetoed some money the legislature made available for Wagner’s district, for local projects lie bridges and water treatment. Why? Because Wagner voted against the funding. Presumably, if a legislator doesn’t want money for his district, it is because his constituents have expressed to him that they don’t want it either. So Schweitzer figured if the folks in Madison county didn’t want the funds, why not save the money and keep the budget balanced? So he used a line-item veto to delete the funding.

But it turns out that Wagner’s constituents aren’t too happy. They were banking on the funds for a local project. So it appears that when Wagner voted against the funding, he was not voting the wishes of his district but was rather on some sort of frolic of his own.

Indeed, it seems that Tea Partiers were voting against any and all funding and spending of any kind during the legislature, as a matter of principal, while quietly hoping that the votes of more moderate legislators would be enough to pass the funding.

So now, The Madisonian reports, Wagner’s constituents have sued Schweitzer to try to get their money, claiming that he had no authority to veto the spending. Several other Tea Party legislators did the same thing as Wagner, and now these imbeciles, like Wagner, are also feeling heat from local officials in their districts.

You gotta love these guys. One wonders if these legislators, who apparently enjoy saying one thing when they are in their districts, but doing another when they are in Helena, will be invited back for another term.