Tagged: Derek Skees

Posted: March 26, 2014 at 8:12 am

Past Hostility Toward Women’s Clinic from Local Anti-Choice Activists Uncovered

The Montana Human Rights Network has uncovered another connection between Hope Pregnancy Ministries/Clear Choice Clinic, Michelle Reimer, director of the Hope Pregnancy Ministries, purchased All Families Clinic’s former building location and kicked Susan Cahill out ten years ago. Susan Cahill then was forced to find another location for her clinic–only to have her clinic destroyed by vandalism–leaving her again unable to operate.

“We knew that Hope was more politically anti-choice then they let on. Now with the connection of the accused vandal, Zachary Klundt, to Hope and knowing that Hope’s director bought the clinic’s building out from under Susan, we think there is reason to question if Hope is engaged in a concerted effort to deny women their constitutional rights by making reproductive health care inaccessible in the Flathead Valley,” said Rachel Carroll Rivas, Co-Director at MHRN, in a press release.

The Montana Human Rights Network also reported first on the organization’s Facebook page about the connections of Zachary Klundt, the man who was arrested today in connection with the break-in and vandalism of a women’s clinic in Kalispell, Montana. Nothing was stolen from the clinic, instead, “extensive damage” was found.

Zachary Klundt is the son of a woman named Twyla Klundt, who is on the board of Hope Pregnancy Ministries which is affiliated with a fake women’s clinic called Clear Choice–which is a so-called “crisis pregnancy center,” MHRN reports.

Skees works for Hope Pregnancy Ministries [screenshot] as the so-called crisis pregnancy center’s Resource Director. She is running for legislature in House District 7 in Kalispell against Frank Garner in a GOP primary. Skees is the TEA Partier in that race.

A crisis pregnancy center, in case you aren’t familiar with them yet, is basically a fake doctor’s office run by an anti-choice organization which poses as a medical clinic to get pregnant women seeking abortions or medical care in the door. Once women are inside, the staffers often then give women a Walmart pregnancy test out of the box and make them watch films with fake claims about the evils of abortion. There are all kinds of horror stories about these places, and there are several in operation in Montana. Some states have passed “truth in advertising” laws the prohibit these places from posing as medical clinics.Anyway, as the Montana Human Rights Network’s researchers report, “In 2010 white supremacist April Gaede solicited donations for Hope Pregnancy Ministries.”Even if you haven’t heard of April Gaede, you’ve probably heard of her twin daughters, Lamb and Lynx, who used to have a white power musical group called Prussian Blue. The two girls have been referred to as the “Nazi Pop Twins,” the Human Rights Network reports. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Gaede “a neo-Nazi stage mom” and includes a picture with her profile.

Gaede has posted on the white supremacist website Stormfront that she‘s given to Hope Pregnancy Ministries in the past, and that she believes giving money to that organization is a good way to “help save White babies.” I won’t link to Stormfront, nor should anyone.  As MHRN reports:

Gaede‘s posting continued by saying she has ―personally met many of these people (Ministries‘ staff). She told her peers to tell staff members that they were supporters of Stormfront, the  white supremacist website where Gaede made her request, when making a donation. She included the mailing address and website address for the Ministries.

Gaede encouraged her fellow white supremacists to send funds, because “our local population is over 95% White so they would be ―pretty much guaranteed to be helping to save White babies.”

Recall that Zachary Klundt, the man charged with four felonies in connection with the vandalism of a women’s clinic in Kalisepell is the son of a woman named Twyla Klundt, who is on the board of Hope Pregnancy Ministries.

Ronalee Skees is the wife of Derek Skees, the former TEA Party Republican legislator and nullification nutjob from the Flathead who proudly marched in a Memorial day parade wearing the confederate flag and is running this year for the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in Montana. Skees was profiled in TIME magazine because he has  been trying to make himself into a national figure in the ultra-right wing crowd.

To be sure, this new information about the Hope Pregnancy Ministries ties may or may not inform the investigation and or the case. Only time, good investigative reporting, law enforcement investigations, and the courts will tell.

Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Urgent Emergency

Steve Daines and Ted Cruz at a TEA Party caucus press event.
Steve Daines and Ted Cruz at a TEA Party caucus press event.

As you all know, Montana Republicans are a nativist and xenophobic crew, who hurl “out-of-state” as a nasty insult and love to tout the number of generations back that their lineage has lived in Montana.  Many a pale chest is thumped mightily as if these men had a role in choosing the location of their births.

So we should assume that the GOP power brokers are currently holding an emergency meeting in a smoke-filled room somewhere, urgently trying to decide how to handle a shocking development within the party: Continue reading

Posted: January 6, 2014 at 10:44 pm

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

Posted: January 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Look Who’s Back

2014 is going to be a great year for blogging.

The former TEA Party Republican legislator and nullification nutjob from the Flathead who proudly marched in a Memorial day parade wearing the confederate flag says he’s running for the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in Montana.

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 7.16.35 PM

Skees is also the creator of the 2011 election cycles most…interesting political ad.  He lost big to Monica Lindeen for state auditor that year. So we’re likely to see more such hilarity in 2014.

Crackpot Derek SkeesHe made national news as a TEA Party nutjob and states-rights fanatic. He believes that the fifty states individually can, should and must override federal law when they please. He admittedly does not recognize the supremacy clause of the US Constitution and believes Abraham Lincoln was the villain and cause of the Civil War, that the Southern States had the right to do what they wanted, including own slaves, without interference from the federal government.  Such ideas were explicitly expressed by Skees in an e-mail to a supporter in 2010, which was published in the Flathead Memo at the time but has so far received little coverage from major newspapers in the state (which raises disturbing questions).

Derek Skees, Guy Fawkes, and unintentional irony on a couple of levels.
Derek Skees (right) at a TEA Party rally in Kalispell.

Montanans aren’t very fond of right-wing radicals nor people who wear confederate flags.  Plus the current PSC is already over-stuffed with angry right wingers like the infamous Roger Koopman, whose early history is chronicled nicely at A Chicken is Not Pillage.  So the addition of Skees would leave the PSC even more unbalanced.

What’s also interesting is that Mr. Skees is implicated in the American Tradition Partnership illegal coordination scandal. Montana’s top election regulator says he’s launching an investigation into candidates ATP helped to elect in 2010, and the results of the investigation could become public at any time.  Skees could be on the list of candidates who will be investigated because documents linked to Mr. Skees were uncovered in a brilliant work of national investigative journalism PBS did last year. In a full-hour exposé of Montana politics and the secretive right-wing group, PBS’s show Frontline revealed the secret stash of incriminating documents which was found in a meth house, showing extensive communications between several GOP legislative candidates and the ATP, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them, such as this letter.

The democratic candidate for the seat is state Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh (D-Helena). Hollenbaugh has been in the state legislature since 2006 and the voters have returned him to office in each election since then. He’s vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee and a member of the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation.

Skees, thankfully, was a one-termer.  He also ran unsuccessfully for state auditor in 2011.  Skees also promotes his “classes” on the propaganda book “The 5000 Year Leap”, written by racist W. Cleon Skousen.  Skees says all legislators should use the book’s principles to decide how to vote.

Posted: January 2, 2014 at 9:21 pm

TEA Partiers Try to Run from Ideas They Say They Still Plan to Implement

TEA Party republicans are attempting distance themselves from a group they promoted and for which they appeared as keynote speakers after a local reporter started asking questions.   However, in the same news story, the lawmakers say they plan to implement the very group’s ideas. Here’s what happened.

Continue reading

Posted: November 15, 2013 at 7:36 am

Mike Miller Latest Republican Under Investigation

State Rep. Mike Miller (R-Helmville) is the latest Republican legislator under investigation for illegal campaign activity, the AP reported.

His name was found in a box of documents in a meth house which later became the subject of a brilliant work of national investigative journalism. In a full-hour exposé of Montana politics and the secretive right-wing group, PBS’s show Frontline revealed that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found in a meth house, showing extensive communications between these and perhaps other legislative candidates and the American Traditions Partnership, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.

The list of others who could be investigated because documents and campaign materials with their names were found in the meth house includes–but is not limited to–current and former legislators Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Wendy Warburton, Jerry O’Neil, and Derek Skees. Rep. Dan Kennedy (R-Laurel) is already under investigation.

Miller announced the investigation on his own Facebook page, saying. “Well, before the press breaks the news, (or MT-Cowgirl), former MT Rep. John Ward has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices over the 2010 primary, alleging coordination with Assembly Action Fund and ATP (WTP).” Screenshot.

He said he is “not commenting further at this time on the merits of my case.” Screenshot. However he added,

“One could wonder in the Kennedy case if a candidate buys something (paper) on sale at say WalMart and Staples has the same item at a higher price, just what is the fair market value of that item. Or if a candidate buys stamps at Costco at a 25 cent discount if Costco is making a corporate contribution to the candidate as it is less than the US Post Office charges which one could assume the CoPP would think was the “fair market value.”

Former Rep. Scott Mendenhall (R-Clancy) blamed the investigation on “More divisiveness out of the self-proclaimed ‘Business Republicans.’” Those alleged to have illegally coordinated with ATP are in the TEA Party camp.

Posted: October 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

ATP’s Tangled Web May Snare Others

Montana’s head elections regulator ruled this week that American Tradition Partnership illegally coordinated with a GOP legislative candidate, Dan Kennedy R-Laurel.  Now, Montana’s top election regulator says he’s launching an investigation into other candidates ATP may have coordinated with.

ATP is the right-wing political attack group that was instrumental in bringing us the nation’s most bat-crap crazy state legislatures in 2011 and 2013. Kennedy’s primary opponent was but one of several GOP candidates who complained about ATPs activities to elect hard right-wingers over more moderate republicans.

As KUFM’s Dan Boyce reports, an investigation into illegal campaign activity

“is now expanding to include Continue reading

Posted: June 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

GOP Floats New Strategy

Crackpot Derek SkeesRepublicans have taken heat recently because their backward platform and failure to embrace science is repelling voters.

But a new proposal from a Montana Republican could change the game this weekend at the state GOP convention in Bozeman. Continue reading

Posted: November 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm

TEA Partier Explains “Awesome” Campaign Strategy

A week before the election, TEA Party Republican Derek Skees wrote a lengthy defense of his campaign strategy after the TEA Party blog PolyMontana pointed out flaws in his tactics.

Skees said there wasn’t a problem with his campaign for statewide office, rather “things are just where I want them.”   Thesaurus firmly in hand, Skees explained that the facts did not support “the conclusions you are blindly flailing for.”  He said his critics had no idea “how well received I am state wide.”

Skees explained that he wasn’t raising money and contacting voters on purpose.  He said he is so reviled by the left that were he to campaign it would actually harm his chances.

Suffice to say, the left hates me, and would have rallied HUGE against me were I to come out swinging big in emails, press releases and social media, as well as massive early fund raising.

I will not circulate email blogs that would just frenzy the left: I have left them in the dark and bask in the quiet of the blogs while the press hammers home the fact I stand against Obamacare, all the while spelling my name as it appears on the ballot perfectly. Awesome!

Skees predicted that in the unlikely event that he lost, it would be the fault of those who question this awesome strategy:

If I lose, it will be attributed to failed political pundits like yourself questioning my ability to win for any of a hundred reasons, convincing just enough people to ballot fatigue me down ticket.

You can read Skees’ entire response on the PolyMontana blog. It’s also pasted below in case they take it down.  Skees lost to current state auditor Monica Lindeen 53-46.

Continue reading

Posted: November 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Some Folks Might be Heading to the Pokey in Montana

In a brilliant piece of investigative journalism, the PBS show Frontline has revealed the seedy underbelly of secret money in elections, with a full-hour expose of Montana politics and a secretive right-wing group known as American Tradition Partnership, or ATP.

Numerous Republican candidates might have worked too closely with ATP, and could be in trouble legally if not electorally.  They might be going to the pokey (meaning the clink, the one in Deer Lodge.)

The short story is that the 2010 election, in which the Tea Party swept into control of the Montana legislature, may have featured massive illegalities.   Under state law, third party groups, the ones like American Tradition Partnership which spend masses of unregulated, unreported money, are legally barred from coordinating with candidates.  But several legislative candidates and the ATP have been caught red handed, working together, in violation of the law.  The Frontline documentary reveals that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found, showing extensive communications between Republican legislative candidates and the ATP, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.

Wendy Warburton's behavior should be investigatedThe Havre Daily News, for example, reported today that GOP legislator Wendy Warburton appears to have been in direct communication with the group, even going so far as to send them a “signature stamp,” presumably so they could send out mailings on her behalf, using her signature.  That’s likely to be found illegal under Montana law.

Files on Mike Miller, Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Joel Boniek, Jerry O’Neil and Derek Skees were also featured on Frontline.  Again, groups and candidates cannot coordinate on campaign communications.

Candidates might be subjecting themselves to a range of penalties, including removal from office, fines, or worse.  The question is whether there is a prosecutor out there who is willing to begin looking into this stuff.  Generally, county attorneys stay away from political stuff, leaving it to the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Worse, the ATP’s headquarters is revealed by the documentary to be nothing more than a P.O. Box at a UPS store in Washington DC, even though the group is spending tens of millions of dollars on elections around the country and is the most influential source of money in Montana politics.  They were estimated to have spent well over a million bucks on just a handful of state legislative races in 2010.  They’d send mail to voters, which looked very much like electioneering material, something that is illegal if you are hiding who your donors are.

Not all ATP’s donors have been able to hide.  Investigative journalist Paul Abowd this week uncovered a document that revealed one of ATP’s largest bankrollers-a Colorado anti-union group called Coloradans for Economic Growth.

And I would say that this documentary, above all, is an outright humiliation for the Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who this summer rejected a request by Montana to reconsider the Citizens United ruling in light of the ATP’s shady, unreported, anonymously funded activities in Montana.  In rejecting Montana’s plea, Kennedy offered a single paragraph describing why he (the swing vote on the court) was refusing to consider the matter. He wrote that there was nothing that led him to believe that the ATP’s activities could lead to “corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

Kennedy, if he watched Frontline this week, probably wishes he could have that one back.  Because he is now revealed to be not a brilliant jurist but a stupid old man, who got duped by a bunch of bad actors.  Soon, groups like ATP will completely own our state and federal governments, using corporate money, installing candidates into office, from a P.O. Box, never revealing who the donors are.  And the Supreme Court  believes that this is all perfectly okay.