Tagged: Tea Party

Posted: March 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

TEA Party Tax Dodger Seeks Legislative Seat

TEA Party Republican Joseph Large says his “fiscal and governmental views are more in line with what the good people of the 9th district are looking for.”

But this is highly doubtful, since Large has managed to amass more than $20,000 in state and federal tax liens and civil judgements.

Joseph Large liens

If he can’t manage his own money and pay his own taxes, he can’t be trusted to manage ours.

Senate District 9 includes Toole, Pondera, and some of Glacier County. Large doesn’t live in any of these counties, so he’s not even legally qualified to run here unless he buys a house and moves to one of them.  He was recruited to run by TEA Party Republican Ed Walker (R-Exxon) of Laurel, who is managing the GOP’s legislative races and recruitment. So, it appears that the state party’s current legislative leaders believe that candidates like this would be so valuable in the next session that it has recruited them to run against their own incumbents.

Large faces Republican Sen. Llew Jones of Conrad in the primary.  The democratic candidate in this race is Joan Graham.  There’s also a TEA Party candidate running as a fake democrat in this race, David Brownell.

And speaking of fake candidates like Brownell, there is also a rash of TEA Party Republicans and neo-confederates running in Maryland this election cycle.  Jonathan Hutson has a rundown on the outbreak here, and sheds some light on the motivations behind the plot to deceive voters, which could also be in play in Montana.

Hutson’s in-depth post is worth a read. Maryland’s fake candidates call their scheme to deceive voters a “strategic plan,” called “Operation DINO” for Democrat in name only, which the tea partiers say will have a “devastating effect” on the next election.

Posted: March 14, 2014 at 7:16 am

Wittich Tells Whoppers; Trashes Mainstreet GOP Member

Art Wittich, sick and tired of serving the public.
Art Wittich, TEA Party state senator

On March 4th, Rep. Jesse O’Hara, a longtime Montana GOP pro-jobs, pro-mainstreet legislator, wrote a thoughtful piece standing up for teachers, schools, and rural healthcare, and criticized the Tea Party Extremists in his own party as a bunch of hijackers, singling out a few individuals such as Art Wittich.

In the piece, he writes:

Somewhere along the way, extremists have anointed themselves the arbiters of all things Republican. The failed leadership team of Sens. Art Wittich and Jason Priest, along with their mouthpieces, Jeff Essmann and Edward Walker, illustrated their 10-year plan to purge the party in a series of leaked emails….

….The Republican Party I began with would never gut Montana services so brutally that classrooms are crowded, schools are shuttered, roads aren’t paved, predators walk the streets, rural health care disappears and infrastructure collapses…

Predictably, Art Wittich this week responded with a vitriolic personal attack on O’Hara, belittling O’Hara for being a teacher “who leaves his beach chair only to collect his teacher’s pension and state healthcare benefits.”  Wittich also makes the sketchy and borderline-racist claim that anyone in Montana who does not have health insurance is “able but not willing to work.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 150,000 Montanans without health insurance–and 100,000 of these are employed. Another 32,000 are not actually in the labor force–that’s because they either aren’t old enough to have a job, are retired, are a stay at home parent, or disabled, or in the military. Only 13%–20,000 of the uninsured–are without work, and unless Wittich has asked every single one of those people whether or not they are willing to and looking for work, well….

Wittich also says that moderates like O’Hara joined Democrats in legislature to give Title X planning funds “to Planned Parenthood to perform abortions.”  In fact, the federal government provides money to family planning clinics, like Planned Parenthood, local county clinics, and others, so that women and men who do not have health insurance can get care at reduced rates, or in some cases free, depending on their family income at the time of their visit. Title X allows these clinics to supplement birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, testicular cancer screening for men, and other reproductive health services.

This program does not pay for abortion care. It is against federal law for the funds to be used for abortions. From the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 108-7 (2003)

(“[A]mounts provided to said [Title X] projects under such title shall not be expended for abortions, that all pregnancy counseling shall be nondirective, and that such amounts shall not be expended for any activity (including the publication or distribution of literature) that in any way tends to promote public support or opposition to any legislative proposal or candidate for public office”). See also, 42 C.F.R. § 59.5 (Title X projects must “[n]ot provide abortion as a method of family planning”).

So what O’Hara might have said, that would have been fully accurate, is that Wittich is not only an extremist, but is also a liar, and an asshole.  I will say it here.

Posted: February 23, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Political Quick Hits

Unanimous No

Suzy Foss, from her websiteInteresting doings at the Hamilton City Council this week. Every single member of the city council voted against allowing embattled TEA Party Republican Suzy Foss, Continue reading

Posted: November 10, 2013 at 8:27 am

The TEA Party’s Selma

TEA Partier Urges No Seat Belts Civil Disobedience to Fight Obamacare

Former Republican congressional candidate  is urging fellow TEA party activists to fight Obamacare and “gun control” by refusing to wear their seat belts, getting ticketed, and joining him at his seatbelt ticket trial in Sanders County, MT.  Yes, French using classic TEA Party logic, French is arguing that you should put yourself at risk of a deadly or disfiguring car accident to fight against your own ability to be treated should such an accident occur.

Continue reading

Posted: November 5, 2013 at 7:35 am

When Hate is not Just a ‘Virtue,’ It Makes You a Viable Candidate

The man that may become the nation’s most wackjob candidate for U.S. Senate is also the darling of Montana right-wingers.

Texas pastor and nutjob radio host David Barton, dubbed “Ted Cruz 2.0″ by Politico, when the news magazine reported this week that he was being recruited to run against TX Sen. John Cornyn, who has fallen out of favor with the TEA Party crew. Barton was brought to Montana this year as the keynote speaker for the so-called 2013 Montana “Governor’s” Prayer Breakfast. (The event is not affiliated with the state government in any way, in spite of what Judy Martz may have wished).

In case you haven’t heard of Barton, he claims that the slaughter of American Indians was justified as “a defensive war against tribes who ‘declared war on all the white guys.’ ‘We had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said ‘Oh, got the point,’ Barton said, claiming that the tactics were only necessary because Indians were resisting missionaries who were trying to ‘civilize’ them.”

He also believes that demons control parts of the U.S. capitol, that schools turn kids gay, and that the Bible opposes minimum wage. He holds a slew of other hateful and wackjob things, its definitely worth reading this whole list.

So this was no mainstream event–in fact the organizers of the “Governor’s Prayer Breakfast” made a point of refusing to read a letter from Montana Governor Steve Bullock [click here for the PDF] because he said that providing health care to poor people was consistent with biblical teachings. Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich has made a similar argument for the Medicaid expansion.

Not this guy’s Bible apparently. Barton says “tolerance is a bad thing and hate is a good thing.” “We’re tolerating a lot stuff that destroys our families, that destroys our own character and we can’t tolerate that stuff. We have to get back to the point where hate is a virtue, at least certain kinds of hate.” Barton said climate change is caused not by fossil fuels, but by a curse we brought on ourselves by permitting abortion rights. Yes, because the U.S. supports allowing women to choose whether and when to have a child we “‘opened the door to the curse,’ which includes floods, tornadoes, murder and pedophilia.”

Tim Fox, now Montana’s Attorney General, served as co-chair of the event to bring Barton to Montana. Scott Mendenhall, a Republican who represented House District 77 in Jefferson County for four terms, was the events chair. The Helena IR covered the event, and controversy, at the time, but for some reason neglected to report some of Barton’s most infamous beliefs and statements.


Posted: October 22, 2013 at 7:50 am

Look Who’s Back

[This spoof article about former state legislator Tom Burnett's new 2013 "study" called "Deceptions in the Hunger Crusade," in which he purports to prove that no one should help hungry children get something to eat is making the rounds via email. While the quotes appear to be satirical, these are the same arguments Burnett actually makes in his new study. The credo is Burnett's exact wording.]

RepTomBurnettOfficialCowgirlBlogHeadshotFormer state legislator Tom Burnett (R-TEA Bozeman), Montana’s leading crusader for barring hungry kids from receiving food,  reached out to food banks today claiming he has new groundbreaking research to prove there is no such thing as childhood hunger.

Writing from an undisclosed bunker in Gallatin County, Burnett said “I embarked on this crusade with a simple goal: to keep basic low-cost food out of the reach of ordinary Montana children who God chose to punish by bringing them up to parents who don’t make a lot of money. And while a battle was lost when voters booted me from office, that dream—that precious, cherished dream—will live on.” Continue reading

Posted: October 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Montana Republicans May Have Found Their Man

Politician from 1970s is running for Congress

Lost amid the shutdown shuffle was a big political scoop: the Montana GOP has found itself a congressional candidate, possibly US Senate but House at a minimum.

Who?  He’s Larry Williams, who ran unsuccessfully against Max Baucus and John Melcher, for the Senate in the 70s and 80s.  Williams is a perfect GOP candidate: a former Wall Street commodities trader, who was indicted for federal tax evasion and currently lives in the Virgin Islands.  Now if that isn’t a good candidate profile for Montana, I don’t know what is. Continue reading

Posted: September 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm

TEA Partier tries to Ruin Constitution Day, but Gets Smacked Down

Tuesday was a nationally recognized anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution.

To honor the day, the Daughters of the American Revolution (many of whom have ancestors who came to America on the Mayflower) held a celebratory service in the Capitol Rotunda.  There was music, and there were readings and many speakers including politicians of all political parties, teachers and ministers.  And there were about a hundred elementary school children in attendance too.  They were there to learn about the importance of the Constitution.

According to someone who was in attendance and related to story to me, all was going well until a man named Jim Buterbaugh, from Whitehall, got up to speak.  Somehow, he had been put on the speaking program, under a section called “Comments from a Citizen.”  He was the citizen.

Except he didn’t last long.  He got up and started complaining about the teaching of civics in public schools.  He seemed to believe it was a liberal plot.  This was his way of commemorating the signing of the Constitution on Constitution Day.

But he didn’t get a chance to go on for long.  After speaking for about 20 seconds, he was yanked.   The master of ceremonies, Jane Lee Hamman of DAR, walked up to the podium, pushed the blathering imbecile aside, apologized to the audience, and noted that many of the children in attendance had been getting civics education in school, and seemed to be doing just fine as young citizens.   She thanked him, told him to leave, and moved on to the next speaker, to applause.

Who was this man? He is apparently the TEA Party Leader in Whitehall, Montana who has called for the president to be impeached.  A website of his has entries such as “Shamefully Saluting the Flag of ObamaNation” and other such literary content.

Good for Ms. Hamman for kicking this ass’s ass.


Posted: August 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

The Montana GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award Goes to…

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox

Fox is talking about the so-called “navigators” hired to help with the new health care law. He told the Billings Gazette that, “The federal government’s lackadaisical approach to handling Americans’ private information doesn’t pass muster under any standard, and in particular Montana standards.”

But Fox was utterly silent about the exact same kind of navigators helping people with the massive government health insurance program known as Medicare that have been operating in Montana and across the nation for 20 years. That’s a hypocrite for you.

The existing navigators are called State Health Insurance Assistance Program (or SHIP) counselors, and they’ve been helping people choose options and navigate the Medicare program without trouble for decades. In fact, the Obamacare “navigator” program is modeled after the existing State Health Insurance Assistance counselor program.

Fox signed a letter with twelve other TEA Party attorneys general saying that when it comes to these helpers the federal government “has no realistic plan to prevent identity theft or to provide recourse to consumers when it inevitably occurs.”

“We don’t want your grubby government hands in our health care” Fox and friends yell, not comprehending the irony of the demand. The reason they don’t get how funny they are is because the TEA Party is spreading these lies as fast as they can.  Perhaps loosening their grips on their pitchforks would help.

The fact is the Medicare navigator program works, and if people find that out, the TEA Party (and the politicians like Fox passing out the pitchforks) will be shown to have stepped in it yet again.

But count on Tim Fox to make sure the facts don’t get in the way of a good press opportunity.   That’s why he’s this week’s hypocrite.  He will be making many return appearances, you can be assured of that.

Posted: May 14, 2013 at 5:58 am

Small Claims: Wittich sues former client for $93.99 of unpaid bills

Art Wittich, sick and tired of serving the public.

Art Wittich, the Montana Senate Majority Leader and Tea Party stalwart, has been in court lately to try to get what he believes is rightfully his.

Wittich, a lawyer, had once provided legal services to a Bozeman couple. There was an outstanding balance of $93.99 that the couple had not paid Wittich.  Wittich was not going to abandon the matter, and not only collected the debt but got himself a tidy reward, an additional several thousand dollars.

It appears, as best I can tell from a not-very-clearly-drafted court opinion (the link to the decision is below), that Wittich quietly got a default legal judgment against the couple, for the $93.99, even as his office was in talks with the couple over possibly arriving at a settlement over this piddling amount of money.  After successfully getting the judgment, he began efforts to collect it.  After some time, he managed to persuade the court to award him not only the $93.99, but $2,900 more for “fees, costs and interests” that he claimed to have incurred as a result of spending his time trying to collect the $93.99.

A divided state Supreme Court, shockingly, upheld the judgment.  Justice Cotter dissented, calling the decision [UPDATED pdf] “unconscionable” and an “affront,” scolding Wittich for “financial carnage wreaked upon [the Bozeman couple] for their refusal to pay a disputed $93.”  Justice Baker grudgingly voted in favor of Wittich because there was apparently a contract, which Wittich had gotten the couple to sign, including a clause that allowed him, ultimately, to get this outrageous amount of money from them in the event of a collection action.  But Justice Baker strongly cautioned him to review the rules of the State Bar which address lawyers and their billing practices, and are designed to prevent lawyers from fleecing their clients.

And Cotter notes that when the dust finally settles, the couple will probably owe north of $5,000 to Wittich, because Wittich will try to recoup additional costs from them, namely, his costs in litigating the case of the $93.99 in front of the Supreme Court.

In essence, Whittich did what he could, not what he should.  Nice guy.

Oh, and one other point, which goes without saying: if Wittich ever thought he could run for statewide office, that dream he can now kiss goodbye.