Archive for the ‘Hate crimes’ Category

by jhwygirl

When bigots and racists are allowed in the very institutions that implement law on the public individual, the whole legal system is called into question.

Makes me also wonder about what we don’t hear. This latest story from Great Falls Tribune Helena bureau reporter John S. Adams leaves me with the startling realization that the people employed at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency making decisions over who to investigate and prosecute for immigration violations can be bonafide bigots.

Last September, ICE officer Bruce Norum sent Helena immigration attorney Shahid Haque-Hausrath a long-circulated Islamophobic email titled “You worry me.” Shahid is a Muslim and a natural born citizen of the United States, raised by parents who immigrated from Pakistan. He is also a well-respected attorney who has been honored for his pro bono work assisting low-income Montanans.

Haque-Hausrath details the event, and subsequent suspension-pending-investigation of ICE officer Brude Norum on his blog. Go read it in his own words. He also links to the GFT John S. Adams news articles.

Last Monday, as Adams reports in today’s paper, Haque-Hausrath and his attorney met with ICE officials who told him that Bruce Norum would be reinstated in his same supervisory position. They offered nothing more than the explanation that it was a personnel matter.

While local ICE officials did not return calls, an ICE spokesperson out of Dallas said that they would look into it – but hadn’t responded to inquiries to that progress as of late Friday.

Haque-Hausrath isn’t pleased. Neither am I as I read this – Norum is the senior most ICE official here in Montana. He oversees immigration operations here in Montana and makes decisions on whether to arrest or investigate suspected undocumented aliens or to detain or deport individuals.

Apparently you can be a racist, work in ICE enforcing U.S. immigration law, and also openly espouse unconstitutional views.

Oh – and harass private individuals with hate-filled emails.

~~~~~~
Montana sure isn’t a strange to these kind of brazen hate mongers – chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Richard Cebull sent out racist anti-Obama email last February, and defended it, saying that he simply didn’t like President Obama and that he didn’t send it because of the racists content (which he acknowledged.)

I’ll note that supermontanareporter John S. Adams broke that story, too.

Cebull eventually apologized but it took a few days. Multiple human rights entities petitioned for his resignation. Two ranking Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee have since called for a congressional hearing into Cebull’s email, and a judiciary panel has been investigating the matter since April.

Cebull is still sitting on the bench – we’ve yet to hear if the panel will find him in violation of the ethical standards befitting a judge. I’m sure that panel is just hoping it’ll all fade away. I doubt it. National attention has been thrust upon Cebull, with Mother Jones questioning his ethics, the Washington Post reporting on the investigation, and even the New York Times called for his resignation.

Montana has racists, sure it does – and it’s America with ’em in its courts and Department of Homeland Security.

by jhwygirl

When I think of the amount of time this man and his ugliness were given in committee at the State Capitol in Helena this past session – the treatment he got as an expert on every matter he testified on – I shake my head at the majority of House members who deferred to this man in committee and in public.

Reverend Himes has a long history written here on these pages, all of it most assuredly documenting the ugliness he spreads. He is a hater. A bigot in the lowest of senses.

The video below gives you a taste of his full-on bigotry on near daily exhibit this past session. Missoula Representative Ellie Hill questions him on his testimony, and Himes proudly quotes Leviticus in advocating for the death of gays:

Now we come to find out that not only is he that, he’s a common criminal who supports he’s hate-spreading gospel by ripping of members of his church. Caught this story on the the-best-at-local-coverage KPAX News tonight. Then I headed on down to the Ravalli Republic which had this piece along with information on who issued the arrest warrants – Montana’s Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.

From the sounds of it, Reverend Himes may be on the run. At least that’ll save the Montana GOP from all that uncomfortable silence the next time he walks into the room.

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar! at Left in the West gets the hat tip on this one.

From Friday’s hearings, detailed in several posts below. Watch Superstar State Representative Ellie Hill (HD-94) take on the Montana’s Christian Taliban’s Reverend Harris Himes.

Rep. Hill? THANK YOU.

This is a civilized society. It seems that some of the GOP running these committees forgets these things. Every statement does not fall under “free speech” and inciting violence is not anything that should be tolerated.

And Rep. Ken Peterson, of Billings? 10 minutes is not a public hearing.

You represent ALL, not just those than elected you. You are a disgrace to the state bar (if you hold it); a disgrace to the House Judiciary; and a disgrace to the Montana Legislature.

And pulling for seventeen executive actions in House Judicary on Monday morning, in less than 4 hours? That leaves no time for meaningful discussion between legislators – but that’s exactly what you want now, isn’t it?

You are a disgrace to democracy.

by jhwygirl

In this episode we refer you to Rep. Kristin Hansen (R-Havre) who introduced her pro-discrimination bill HB516 to the House with a first reading on Saturday.

A woman. How refreshing.

Hansen’s bill is designed to prohibit local government ordinances geared at promoting equality. It applies retroactively.

How’s that for conservative small-government? Jobs Jobs Jobs?

Rep. Hansen’s bill would violate the Montana Constitution along with the federal government’s based on current multiple Supreme Court precedents.

Will the GOP speak out to this hateful legislation? Isn’t there anything in this legislation that some true small-government privacy loving conservative doesn’t find offensive?

I do honestly make an effort to try and not lump all GOP together. It is becoming increasingly hard for me to do that. This is one bill where I certainly have an expectation for someone anyone in the GOP to come forward and speak out against this kind of hateful horrible legislation.

Certainly there are a few of you Republicans that think this sort of thing is wrong?

Failing that, it makes it hard not to lump ’em all together. There are dangerous ideas here that need confronted. This is one of them.

As for Rep. Kristen Hansen? You can bet she’s no lawyer (but she’ll be able to play one here in the State of Montana if she wishes after this session, if the GOP get’s their wishes.)

Both Missoula and Bozeman have passed local ordinances geared at protecting and promoting equality in their respective communities. This bill is a direct slap at these communities…and it is also a slap at any other community that may want to embrace a message of acceptance for their citizens.

by Jamee Greer

One.
This weekend in Serbia, a gay pride celebration was disrupted by almost 6000 rioters throwing molotov cocktails, stun grenades and bricks – and chanting slogans like “death to homosexuals!”.

“Serbia will guarantee human rights for all its citizens, regardless of the differences among them, and no attempts to revoke these freedoms with violence will be allowed,” Tadic said.

Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas said damage was estimated at more than euro1 million ($1.39 million).

Right-wing groups say the gay events run counter to Serbian family and religious values. Most of the rioters Sunday were young football fans whose groups have been infiltrated by neo-Nazi and other extremist organizations.

Serbia is seeking membership in the European Union, which requires certain human rights standards be met before they can join.

Two.
New York State gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, told a gathering of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Sunday that children are being “brainwashed” into believing homosexuality was acceptable and normal.

“That’s not how God created us,” he said, reading from a prepared address. “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t.”

And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.”

Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted that statement when he gave the speech.

Paladino went on to say to the media, “Don’t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie.”

Three.
Another gay teen has taken their life, this time in Norman, Oklahoma. The 19 year old had attended a City Council public hearing earlier in the week which included discussion on the receipt of a mayoral proclamation recognizing October as Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender History Month in Norman. The proclamation was approved 7-1, after three hours of graphic, homophobic testimony.

One man said he moved to Norman because he thought it was the kind of place that would never accept the GLBT community with open arms. A woman, who described herself as “bi-racial,” said she was tired of the GLBT plight being compared to Civil Rights.

Some of those who opposed the proclamation claimed that members of the GLBT community would use it to infiltrate the public school system, essentially allowing the “gay lifestyle” to become a part of the curriculum.

Others claimed that council recognizing October as GLBT History Month was a waste of their time. Some members of the audience even suggested that any council members voting in favor of the proclamation may have trouble getting reelected.

Numerous residents also claimed the Bible was their guiding light, citing the ancient text as their primary reason for opposing the proclamation and the GLBT community in general.

And for those in attendance, it was hard to ignore the intolerant grumblings, the exasperated sighs and cold, hard stares that followed comments from supporters of the GLBT proclamation.

by jhwygirl

All I’m going on is this report, from KPAX, which I picked up via its twitter feed.

The man told Missoula police that he was assaulted by close to 10 individuals behind Red’s Bar. He said he doesn’t remember much of what happened, but does recall hearing anti-homosexual remarks while he was being attacked.

During the assault, some personal items were taken from the victim, so police are calling the incident a strong-arm robbery.

The police are “calling the incident a strong-arm robbery”? Sure sounds like a hate crime to me.

Don’t we have The Matthew Shepard Act signed into law?

Because if all that haters have to do is steal something while they’re committing their hate crime to avoid the penalties associated with committing a hate crime, well, boy…..what to say about that.

Years ago Missoula experienced a round of assaults that came with anti-gay overtones. Many felt there was a downplaying by the police of the nature of the crimes.

Let’s hope that isn’t happening again. Missoula Police should be investigating all aspects of this crime as presented by the victim.

by jhwygirl

In April, Missoula City Council will take up a proposed city ordinance that will ensure equal protection for everyone regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

See? Is that a big deal? Or maybe the question is Why is this a big deal?

This is such a no-brainer for me to support, my mind sometimes has a hard time “supporting” stuff like this because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people can want to treat certain people differently based on who they are. How can people can think that way? Where to begin with such ignorance?

Tonight I first came across this. I’m reading the comments there, and frankly, I’m amazed at the openly bigoted and blatantly ignorant things people will publicly say and put their name and face to it.

Then I get to Missoula Red Tape where I read about a website titled NotMyBathroom.com, where the lies and misinformation continue. They purport – and notice the careful wording there – to be “an alliance of 17 organizations with members within the City Limits of Missoula as well as dozens of concerned citizens.”

Could that mean “An alliance of 17 organizations spread out over North and South American, with 2 members with the city limits as well as dozens of concerned citizens living in northern Idaho”?

These Mel Gibson fans even had the gumption to send out a press release.

I truly hope that the press picks up on that…someone like that, going through all that trouble to create two webpages and issue a press release deserves all the attention their little twisted brain desires.

by jhwygirl

Well, Ana wanted to see pics? Here’s just a choice few.

This one was so proud of her sign, that she had it wrapped in plastic:
proud supremacist

The sign over there on the right in this one, below, says “Typical White American Working Mobster” typical white american mobster

Of course, some still can’t resist the references to Osama bin Ladin. What do you want to bet this person had never even heard of Osama bin Ladin before September 11th? Yet alone that they even know how bin Ladin got to where he is? obama bin lyin

Did I hear someone say President Ronald Reagan?

Birthers were there too – check out the brown sign smack dab there in the middle: “Where’s the Birth Certificate?”
birthers were there too

So were seniors that have been fed the “nonsense” Obama spoke of the next day in Colorado Springs…do not kill grandma2

Oh – here’s one more. Let’s hope the pic picks it up up – what we have here is a sign that says “Congress, You Are In Our Site (sic)” which replaces every “o” with the cross sight of a rifle scope.you are in our site

by jhwygirl

Well, this guest post from Cynthia Wolken has garnered about half the attention it deserved…with a whole bunch of traffic incoming from resistnet.com/montanaresistance. There’s this link, too, and this one, also – so apparently, it’s quite the topic of discussion over there with them.

No – I’ve not dared to register, but if anyone does, please let us know what is being said behind those walls…

I never did a post on the local coverage – my one post on the event summed up the national coverage…but supermontanareporter John S. Adams, of the Great Falls Tribune, has offered some additional insight to what he saw on the ground in Belgrade during President Obama’s visit on Friday. He’s got a post up at The Lowdown, and this video:

Jay’s got some funny pics, too, up at Left in the West…oh, and he’s finally joined the world of Twitter.

(Cynthia, a Missoula resident, was on the ground for more than 5 hours at President Obama’s town hall meeting in Belgrade yesterday. Contrary to national media reports, events on the ground were downright hostile at times. I thank Cynthia for taking the time to write this post. – jhwygirl)

by Cynthia Wolken

I was one of the pro-reform protestors in the free-speech zone outside of President Obama’s town hall meeting yesterday on healthcare reform in Belgrade, Montana. I am shocked and disappointed at the mainstream media’s coverage of the protest and declarations that both sides acted ‘civilly’. Many of the anti-government protesters used violence, threats of violence, and intimidation to stifle the pro-reformists in the exercise of their first amendment right to assemble and protest.

In context, there were two groups with permits to protest on a few acres outside the Gallatin Field Airport that were set aside as a free-speech zone. The pro-reformist group was comprised of protesters supporting some form of healthcare reform – from those supporting the President’s proposal to those advocating for a single-payer system. The other group, organized by the Gallatin County Tea-baggers, was ostensibly there to oppose any legislation reforming the current healthcare system. I say ‘ostensibly’ because it was clear by their signage and rhetoric that most tea-baggers were merely using the forum to further an anti-government agenda by using violence and intimidation to stifle a true public debate. Their members included members of the Republican Party, right-wing extremists, and skinheads. Their messaging was on everything from abortion to second amendment and militia rights.
Continue Reading »

by Pete Talbot

This picture says it all.  The online photo doesn’t do justice to the Missoulian’s print version, but you get the gist.  These guys put the word bitter in Bitterrooters.

It’s Teabagger II and it was held Monday in Missoula at the offices of Sens. Baucus and Tester.  It was attended by about 60 people from south of the Missoula-Ravalli County line. 

There’s an interesting mix of issues that’s making these folks cranky: bailout packages, stimulus spending, federal hate crime laws and health care reform — all of which lead to “authoritarian socialism.”

Now they don’t offer any solutions to our economic woes or failed health care system.  They imagine the economy will right itself — an undying belief in the free market that got us into this mess.

I’ll also bet that there are a few in that crowd on Medicare.  They just don’t want other folks to have public health care benefits.

And I don’t recall their anger when George W. was racking up huge deficits from the ill-fated Iraq War.

One of my favorite quotes comes from a Corvallisite: “As far as I know, Baucus has gone along with everything Obama wants.” That’s not entirely true but for the most part, Baucus has voted ‘yea’ on the Obama platform.  What’s he supposed to do?  Vote the Dick Cheney platform?  Max got something like an 80 percent margin in the last election.  I’m sure he believes he has a mandate.

Anyway, if Max and Jon won’t agree to go to Ravalli County and “answer our questions,” the teabaggers will start a recall petition. That should keep them busy for awhile.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Via Mark T. over at Piece of Mind, here’s what happened to someone who didn’t want to celebrate the life of a virulent, noxious bigot:

Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, defying a directive sent to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley…When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to [Jesse] Helms.

State officials claim they didn’t force Eason to retire. Regardless, Jesse Helms was a disgrace to the nation and an embarrassment to North Carolina. A master of the southern strategy (something our Republican friends like to argue doesn’t exist, despite the example here before us), Helms used his career in public service to sow hatred and discord. He doesn’t deserve to be honored. And his life certainly shouldn’t cause another, better public servant to lose his job.

by Rebecca Schmitz

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I wanted to post a link to what is, in my opinion, Dr. King’s most moving speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop“. He gave it the night before his assassination on April 4th, 1968.  Beacuse of that, his final words are some of the most poignant in American history.

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!

If you have the time, I really encourage you to listen to the audio file (others are available here). The words above are beautiful, but Dr. King’s delivery is meant to be heard.

by Rebecca Schmitz

I’ve been accused of using hyperbole to make a point by a couple of our readers, so I’m not immune to criticism. I know Jay’s officially retired the “creep” category, so hopefully the level of discourse can remain above personal attacks. But sometimes a blogger can’t resist, because this, this is priceless:

Cook for a living and forget to put pickles on a gay persons hamburger, you’ll be thrown in jail and charged with a hate-crime (obviously you hate gays because you didn’t forget the pickles on the hetero’s burger).

I’ve heard a lot about the fabled Homosexual Agenda, but sweet Elton John’s feather boa, I had no idea it was so far-reaching as to include burger fixings. I’m sure your heart, like mine, quails at the thought of the blood that will run in Missoula’s streets when someone forgets to put the slice of pepper jack on Jamee’s cheeseburger.

by Jamee Greer

Roughly three hundred Missoulians came together for We Are Missoula, a rally in response to the recent anti-gay violence here in the Garden City. Monday’s rally began at five, and by 5:01 the L-shaped floor of my favorite establishment, the Badlander, began to fill with a perfect cross-section of Missoula.

Speakers from the political realm included Senators Christine Kaufman and Dave Wanzenried, Representative Michele Reinhart (an honest roll-model for young Montanans), Mayor Engen and County Commissioner Jean Curtiss… and statements were read from Montana Senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, as well as State Representative Diane Sands, who wasn’t able to make the event but wanted to show her continuing support for civil rights. Members of the Missoula Police Department, which has made amazing progress in working effectively and openly with the city’s queer community, made rounds through the crowd offering hugs of support and reminding folks of the importance in reporting every act of violence. Mayor Engen was first to take the stage, urging survivors to discuss their stories—and reminding the attackers that hate is not welcome in our town.

Many of the speakers centered on the importance of hate crimes legislation inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation, something the Montana Legislature has been unable to pass despite efforts back into the early nineties.

Statements from both Montana Senators were read:

(Senator Tester’s statement was kept short and sweet)

In Montana, personal freedom isn’t a luxury. It’s a God-given right. Here—and any place where personal freedom and privacy are sacred—there’s no place for violence spurred on by hate or fear.

Know that I support legislation making attacks like these hate crimes. I’ve done it before. And I’ll do it again.

Montanans deserve no less. They see good in each other, do good for each other and respect each other despite their differences. That’s the Montana way.

(…and from Senator Baucus)

I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but I applaud your efforts. As Montanans and Americans, we value freedom and individual liberties. We respect those who have differing views, and we know that personal freedom and privacy is paramount.

That’s why I’ve supported hate crimes legislation in the Congress. And that’s why I stand with you today to make sure that no Montanan has to live in fear.

Jess Keith, a survivor of the attacks on November 4th, took the brave and courageous step of speaking before the crowd. She was introduced by her friend, Melissa Darnell, who made a trip up to Missoula for the rally from California. Reading her poem to the attackers, An Open Letter, Melissa thanked them for igniting a passion to fight such injustice, ending with:

to you I say:

your hate
your fear
your bigotry
your violence

empowers me
energizes me
encourages me
ignites me

and I am not alone.

Love.
Is.
Love.

and that is much
much
M U C H
stronger

than the f o u r
of you

(the piece is available in entirety on her blog.)

As a queer Montanan, I can’t begin to express the feeling of solidarity and support I felt standing with my fellow Missoulians. People were shocked. They were frightened. And they were full of resolve to make a difference in the lives of others they hardly knew anything about. There is still so much to be said of that evening, and so much more to be done in our struggle for civil rights. But I’ll end my first post on 4and20 with one realization from the rally,

I am not alone.




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