Tag Archives: Tea Bagger

A Wingnut and Prayer

TEA Party Republican Joe Balyeat

Joe Balyeat has resigned from the Bat Crap Crazy Legislature to become the new leader of the Montana TEA Party. The Washington D.C. TEA Party booster club Americans for Prosperity has struggled with keeping and finding leaders since it started meddling in Montana politics in 2009.  Now, the group has quietly instated its fourth new leader in less than three years. Henry Kriegel, Jake Eaton, and  Scott Sales, have all come and gone,  making the organization less about pretending that the TEA Party is a grassroots phenomena and more of a contest to see who can be America’s Next Top Crackpot.  So Joe Balyeat it is.

Balyeat’s first acts as the new TEA Party leader include sending out a robo-call on behalf of TEA Party Dennis Rehberg, which can be heard here.  A leaked photo of Balyeat’s remodel of the TEA Party offices can be seen below. (Don’t tell anyone where you got this, I don’t want AFP to know I have a tipster on the inside.)

Montana Cowgirl Blog readers know Joe Balyeat well.  For some reason, however, the TEA Party’s official biography of Balyeat does not mention that he’s the author of “Babylon: The Great City of Revelation,” (from $7.95 used on Amazon.com) which attempts to make the teabaggers’ case that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, “not only will hell prevail against us, but abortionists and homosexuals and humanists and pornographers and tin-horn TV networks will as well.”
A leaked photo of Joe Balyeat's first work as Americans for Prosperity director

Shortly after Balyeat’s world class work of non-fiction was published, Balyeat became vice-president of the Christian Coalition of Montana.  This was the group that fought to uphold Montana’s unconstitutional law that actually made it illegal to be gay in our state.  When a Montana court struck down the law making it illegal to be gay in the 1990s, the Christian Coalition was outraged, saying that the law making gay people illegal was “a necessary health and safety statute.”  Balyeat is also known for introducing a bill to require creationism to be taught in schools.  His bill failed in committee even though Republicans controlled the legislature by a wide margin.

Balyeat’s TEA Party bio doesn’t mention Balyeat’s attempts to declare war on Montana voters with a myriad of failed and legally flawed ballot initiatives.  In 2006, Balyeat was behind the infamous ballot initiative scandal in which three initiatives were stricken from the ballot after a judge cited “pervasive fraud in the signature gathering process.” (CI-97 would have arbitrarily limited state spending, CI98 allowed for recalling judges for any old reason, and I-154 would have made governments pay corporations if they passed consumer health and safety laws which the big wigs claimed limited their profits.)  This year, the courts rejected two more of Balyeat’s ballot measures: to restrict the ability of every Montanan to vote in all Supreme Court justice races and to gut the Montana budget with a tax give-away to big corporations.

Anyway, it seems Balyeat’s former pursuits weren’t wacky enough so he went looking for another fringe cause.   He definitely found it in Americans for Prosperity.

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.

TEA Party Legislator: Birth Control is “Death Nail in Coffin of our Republic”

TEA Partiers huddle at a GOP event, perhaps to discuss how glad they are that few women are present. Pictured are Eric Olsen, Krayton Kerns (center) and Dennis Rehberg

The folks at the Western Ag Reporter understand that what goes on inside the mind of TEA Party Republican Rep. Krayton Kerns is important.   So important,  in fact, that his words merited front page real estate in the last edition of the paper.  This way, we can all get a peek at how a mind of this caliber thinks.  (Hint, it barely does.)

More than anything,  Krayton Kerns is angry.

He’s angry that Sandra Fluke dared to say that birth control was $1000 per year, a great expense for many.

Krayton’s idea of illustrating how angry we should be about Fluke’s statement is to wax nostalgic about his own life experiences. He tells us of a dog he knew in vet school that earned that amount each month in stud fees.

Krayton Kerns is angry because he believes that birth control is the “death nail in the coffin of our Republic.”  And, he’s angry because he believes that it was Mitt Romney who made birth control the focus of the 2012 elections.  Now, because of this, Krayton Kerns says the conservatives are “screwed.”

A PDF of the entire piece can be read here. WARNING: Reading his column means losing four minutes of your life you can never get back.

The Montana TEA Party Hypocrite of the Week Award Goes To…

Cyndi Baker (left) and Rep. Cleve Loney R-Great Falls (right) at a TEA Party Rally in Great FallsGreat Falls City Commission candidate Cyndi Baker, who campaigned against school district spending, then turned around and sought a district paycheck.

But it’s worse then that, as the Great Falls Tribune reports, Baker tried to threaten the local government for taxpayer funded payola in the form of a position as “ombudsman” to the local TEA Party anti-government activists. Here’s how the threat worked.   Baker  had been complaining for some time that it was “illegal” for district employees to criticize her opposition to district funding.  Baker said if she were hired, she’d keep the “illegal” activity quiet.  She did not explain how the proposed ombudsman position would work with people who are divorced from reality.

As the Tribune reports, while the district’s criticism may not have been flattering to Baker, there was nothing illegal about it.  What the Tribune didn’t report is that Baker is the leader and spokesperson for the Great Falls TEA Party. Apparently Ms. Statue of Liberty (Baker’s preferred costume when at TEA Party rallies) is engaged to TEA Party Republican legislator Cleve Loney (who prefers to dress as George Washington, among other things, as you can see from this KRTV video).

So there you have it folks.  Another city commission candidate seeking your vote as a platform to spew right wing nonsense in public meetings, in the newspapers and on our airwaves.


Americans for Prosperity Sends Its Luxury Bus Over the Cliff

It is every astroturf special interest front group’s worst nightmare: the moment when, despite their best efforts to carefully orchestrate each facet of the campaign, reality comes crashing down–sending the movement careening into crackpot-ville for good.

This is that moment for Americans for Prosperity, the group funded by the Koch brothers to trick people into thinking that the TEA Party was a grassroots uprising. Rumors are circulating that the front group has selected a new leader for the Montana chapter. Henry Kriegel is to be the group’s new figurehead, replacing Scott Sales, if the rumors are true. Right now, Kriegel is the organization’s number two, but word is he’s getting called up for prime time.

Montana Cowgirl readers know Henry Kriegel well.  He’s a right-wing nutjob, former New Yorker, radio-host, and the leader of the Bozeman TEA Party.

A few years ago, Henry Kriegel was busted by the IRS for failing to pay a fortune in income taxes.  Somehow, he got a bankruptcy court to let him off the hook on a large portion of it. Kriegel told reporters that he didn’t believe his tax history should keep him from speaking out about tax reform (in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 15, 2009).  It may not keep him from speaking out,  but it keeps him from doing so with any credibility. Having Kriegel lead the charge against taxes is like tapping Bernie Madoff to campaign against tighter securities regulation.

That’s not the only skeleton in Kriegel’s closet. It turns out that  Kriegel has been a high-ranking member of the Church Universal and Triumphant, also known as CUT. In fact, Kriegel was actually featured a while back in an LA Times article about people who wander off and get caught up in cult-like religious movements.  An “out-of-stater” (to use a Republican phrase), Kriegel is from New York and left the east coast on a soul search, came to Montana, and joined up with CUT.  During the 1990s, Kriegel spoke out against the deprogramming efforts of anti-cult activists, saying he was the “victim of an attempted deprogramming” by people opposed to his CUT membership. (Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 15, 1992.)

Wikipedia says that CUT members worship, among other things,

“esoteric mysticism, the paranormal and alchemy, with a belief in angels, elves, fairies, and other beings…such as Sanat Kumara, Maitreya, Djwal Khul, El Morya, Kuthumi, Paul the Venetian, Serapis Bey, the Master Hilarion, Lanto, Lady Master Nada, Godfre, Lady Master Lotus, and Lanello, Enoch and Elohim.”

But even better, CUT was the bunch who believed that the world was going to end of a nuclear holocaust at a particular hour and minute on April 23, 1990. They built a massive underground bomb shelter up near Gardiner, MT and stocked it to the rafters with illegally purchased semi-automatic weapons, in preparation for The End (as reported by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Feb. 27, 1995; Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 14, 1995).

But I guess none of this was enough wacky for Kriegel, so he went looking for another fringe sect.   He definitely found it in Americans for Prosperity.

Montana TEA Party Leaders Call for Violence Against Political Opponents

The leader of the Billings Montana Shrugged TEA Party and a TEA Party Republican state lawmaker have been caught posting remarks online that imply support for shooting their political opponents.

The incident comes on the heels of another Montana TEA Party scandal.  TEA Party leader Tim Ravndal was forced to resign after his comments about lynching gay people Matthew Shepard style were reported on blogs and in the state and national media.  The latest exchange, which was captured today via screenshot after it caught the sharp eye of Billings politico Kayla Corcoran, is pasted below.  Here’s the screenshot.

James Knox
Up in thought this AM. I often get up early and read, write and so on. Some of my most productive and peaceful moments are between 4 and 5 am… then the sun rises and I want to attack socialists!!!

Jennifer Olsen Totally agree. I’m the same way.

James Knox Kindred souls! Got ammo?

The TEA Party has a penchant for referring to its political opponents as socialists.  As the exchange continues, it becomes apparent that this isn’t rhetorical ammunition she’s talking about.  Here’s the Billings “Montana Shrugged” TEA Party leader again:

Jennifer Olsen Actually, I just bought more :) stocking up. For what…..I’m not entirely sure yet.

Jennifer Olsen That along with rice and beans is going in my safe. Haha, can’t barter with gold.

Ms. Corcoran calls them on the rhetoric.  One would think that this would be the time someone who wasn’t serious would apologize or attempt to clarify the statements as “jokes.”  Instead, Ms. Corcoran is told by Olsen and Knox that she’s the one in need of a reality check.

Kayla Corcoran Mr. Knox, you should be ashamed of yourself. This type of rhetoric is unacceptable, especially from an elected official.
Jennifer Olsen Kaya [sic] – are you serious? ·
James Knox Kayla go to someplace safe…..for your [sic] not in the real world!


After Ravndal was expelled from the Helena TEA Party for his violent bigoted remarks, Olsen spoke up.   But instead of condemning the call for violence against gays, Olsen expressed her support for Ravndal, as you can see from the screenshot here.   Olsen’s is the final comment in the thread.

Olsen signs the TEA Party blast emails and boasts of leading a group of some 3,000 activists.  She was a candidate for vice-chair of the Montana Republican party in 2011 and has filed to run in a contested seat for the Billings City Council.  The Montanafesto Blog also reported that Olsen is the administrator of the Ken Miller for Governor Facebook page. James Knox became one of the most radical TEA Party legislators in the state despite the fact that he was elected to represent a moderately democratic district in the Billings Heights in 2010.

A tip of the hat to Kayla for catching this.  Reader tips are the essence of this blog.  Send your tips to the tipline email here.

TEA Party Anti-Jobs Mentality On Display

Interesting doings over at the Whitefish Facebook community Informed Whitefish, where TEA Party Republican Derek Skees (R-Whitefish Kalispell) has blanketed the site over the past few days with his unique TEA Party views.

Unfortunately it seems instead of getting in line with the views of his constituents, Skees’ idea is get online and berate the citizens.  It’s his way or no way.   But a House Representative is supposed to…well…represent the district, and the Whitefish district is a liberal one.  Mostly Skees has figured out that even moderate Republicans’s are upset with his extreme ideology.  There are rumors that Skees may not run for HD 4 again now that Tom Muri is in the race.  Though Skees isn’t saying he’ll abandon the seat, rather, when the topic came up in the forum:

Skees isn't saying whether he'll run or not.

Then Skees expresses support for a project that his own bill would have eliminated:

Skees touts a project that his own bill would have eliminated.

If Rep. Skees bill to to kill green energy jobs had passed, Zink Air would never have been able to strike a deal with wind farms.

Whitefish citizens like windmills and hydro power as indicated by the city having its own hydro plant.  And Rep. Skees wanted to repeal energy efficiency standards….come on, this self proclaimed TEA fanatic is out of touch with the main street values of anywhere, not to mention Whitefish.

There are many more Skees rants on the page, which is definitely worth a read.  Skees makes up and misuses words (he couldn’t have really meant that he opposes “obvious biases towards one’s own potions” could he?):

Skees is against biased potions.

There’s even ranting about civil war era weap0ns and what are presumably obscure war philosophy books.  Some of this stuff he’s since edited, hence the screen shots.

Skees on civil war era weapons.

And don’t forget your standard TEA party insults toward constituents:

Skees insults community members.

Republican Compares Montana Citizens to Hijackers

Montana Republican Jeff Essmann’s campaign for Governor hasn’t exactly taken off,  and there is no sign of things getting better for him any time soon.

Take his recently uncovered remarks to the TEA Party convention in Helena during the 2011 Legislative Session, which Essmann used to denigrate the hundreds of Montanans who came to Helena to oppose the GOP for denying small raises for workers; food and care for the elderly, sick and disabled; and quality public school classrooms for kids.  The cuts of course turned out to be totally unnecessary.  

Here’s Essmann telling the TEA Party about it in the video below, who can be heard laughing heartily at the anticdote.

Jeff Essmann compared the citizens who opposed the draconian and unnecessary GOP cuts to criminals, hijackers even.  Essmann said the GOP legislators that Republicans were the victims in the situation, saying they suffered from “Stockholm Syndrome” if they started to sympathize with their constituents who lined up for hours to speak out against the Republicans’ actions.

The fact that the current legislature is this disconnected from the needs and concerns of Montana citizens shows the need to for a complete overhaul of the legislative makeup–an ousting of the TEA Party legislators who think so little of those they are supposed to represent.

Whitefish Leader to Challenge TEA Party Poster Boy Derek Skees

Good news for democrats today from the Whitefish Pilot.  A Whitefish attorney, city council member, and judge has announced he will run for the Whitefish House seat (HD 4) currently held by TEA party Republican Rep. Derek Skees, (R-Whitefish Kalispell.)

Kudos to Mr. Tom Muri, who has lived in Whitefish for more than 45 years, for stepping up to the plate to better represent the people of Whitefish.  He also has a 20-year military career that includes serving as a judge-advocate officer for the Navy.

The extreme and wacky nature of the 2011 Legislative session is expected to attract other strong candidates to follow Muri’s lead and step up to the plate and run for these seats.

Knox Bound for Nashville

Rep. James Knox (R-TEA Billings)The man who brought us every type of racist, sexist, and homophobic bill or vote this legislative session (as well as other wacky tea baggery and antics) is taking his act to Nashville, probably not as a country western star.

There are three things that indicate he’s leaving.  First, in a letter to his business customers, Knox writes that he is shutting down the business (the entire letter is pasted below the fold):

For over six years KBS has had the honor of serving Montana as one of the premier IT service providers. After a tough year and a half and pursuing some personal interest including politics, I have decided to close KBS.

I have loved the time here in Montana and the people I have met throughout the state. You will be missed.

On his Facebook page, Knox says he’s having a moving sale at his house





Finally, a post about Nashville Tennessee.





The entire letter from Knox is pasted below:

Continue reading