The SDGOP spin machine is really working hard to deflect the Club for Growth’s criticism of Rep. Kristi Noem for not firmly opposing the Trumpy Border Adjustment Tax. Club for Growth claims that Smoot-Hawley measure would cost middle-class families $1,700 a year in increased prices on imported goods.
But Pat, Grover, Republicans, your response does not challenge the thesis of the Club for Growth position. Whether the Border Adjustment Tax is part of a larger tax-cut package or a standalone plan, passage of the BAT means average families will have $1,700 less in their pockets at the end of the year than they would if Kristi would just say, “BAT is bad,” right?
Democrats, if Ravnsborg is the SDGOP’s only offering for Attorney General, your chances of winning the Attorney General’s seat in 2018 just increased 50%. Any smart, articulate young Dem with a law degree can easily outshine Ravnsborg on the campaign trail and in debates. Let’s start recruiting!
Less than two weeks after lawbreaking Saudi agent Lederman wrests the SDGOP chair from sitting chair and mainline SDGOP pick Pam Roberts, Ravnsborg announces his bid for a nomination that will be decided at the Lederman-controlled 2018 SDGOP convention.
Making the Internet rounds this week is an e-mail that, according to multiple sources, comes from Republican Dusty Johnson drumming up cash and word-of-mouth for his freshly announced U.S. House candidacy. Perhaps dampening some of that support will be his mention of who’s handling his online tech needs:
There is a lot to do, much more than I am capable of handling on my own. Dakota Wesleyan student Amanda Halsey has agreed to handle some finance and administrative tasks, attorney Reid LeBeau is handling campaign finance filings, Pat Powers has handled initial email and domain set-up, Kelsey (Webb) Smith (a leader of the “Johnson for PUC” and “Daugaard for Governor” campaigns) will eventually help in a senior position, and a number of others are serving as advisers [Dusty Johnson, campaign e-mail, 2016.11.16].
Hmmm… looks like we’d better take any blog coverage from Powers on Johnson’s run as Lauck-Thune-esque astroturf rather than objective coverage. And if Johnson really is positioning himself for a House race against the current, reasonably effective and scandal-free Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, he might want to reconsider tying himself to the partisan bumbling of her disgraced predecessor Jason Gant.
“Gant Scam Continues!” hoots an eager reader in my inbox.
Why, yes, it does. Along with drafting reforms (and a couple deforms) to election and petition law, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs had the unpleasant duty Thursday of informing the Board of Elections that her predecessor Jason Gant’s contemptible mismanagement of the office is still causing trouble for the state, now in the form of a federal audit that is asking questions she can’t answer, due to Gant’s failure to keep records:
The audit is looking at how South Dakota had used hundreds of thousands of dollars received through the federal Help America Vote Act program that was established after the 2000 presidential election.
Powers first tries to cloak his dog-whistle bigotry in faux equanimity, saying he’s not sure why that Sioux Falls paper would make “a big deal” out of Democratic District 9 Senate candidate John Koch‘s Muslim faith. (The original version of Dana Ferguson’s article noted that both Koch and Democratic District 9 House candidate Michael Saba are Muslim; mention of Saba appears to have since been stricken from the Ferguson article.)
If Powers were sincere, I could share his annoyance at headlining a political candidate’s religion. Where and how Koch prays should not be view as any more relevant to the qualifications for political office than John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism was in 1960 or than Hillary Clinton’s womanhood should be today. Yet in the “Don’t see that every day” department, a Muslim running for office in majority-Christian South Dakota is news. Dana Ferguson notes that fact, but rather than dwelling on religious minutiae, focuses on the inclusive message of Koch’s candidacy:
“Muslims have been talked about a lot in some of the political campaigns that are going on so I think that it’s important for people to be aware of the Muslims in their own community and I think it’s important for Muslims to define ourselves within the larger community,” Koch said. “We live here and we want to have a positive impact on our state and our community” [Dana Ferguson, “Muslim Candidate Hopes to Bring New Voice to Pierre,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.09.27].
…and the policies driving Koch’s campaign:
He said he hopes to support Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to expand Medicaid in the state and oppose measure that could reduce rights of LGBT people.
“I didn’t want to see that opening go unfilled because I don’t think the Republicans in Pierre have done a good job for the people of South Dakota,” Koch said [Ferguson, 2016.09.27].
Powers faults Ferguson for not treating Sharia law as a big issue. Hmm… perhaps that’s because Sharia law is only a big issue for the bigoted Trumpist-base ragers whose fact-averse imaginations spinsters like Powers like to stoke. Koch’s own statement to Ferguson on fighting for LGBT rights makes pretty clear he’s not pushing any weird Islamic theocracy. Asking Koch about Sharia law is about as relevant and appropriate as asking Mike Rounds and Tim Kaine if they’re angling to make Pope Francis our President.
Ferguson covered what Koch is about; Powers is trying divert us from the relevant policy questions District 9 voters should ask (Gee, Senator Peters, why has your party left us out of the Medicaid expansion windfall for three years? Golly, Senator Peters, why does your party keep attacking LGBT South Dakotans?) with a dog whistle tuned to bigoted simpletons who can replace honest discussion with one religious test.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States [Article VI, United States Constitution].
Does it give you goosebumps? After all these years, it is still inspiring. We can focus on different parts of it, but as a progressive, the part that resonates most strongly with me is “promote the general Welfare”. One of the fundamental reasons we are bound together in this society is to promote the general welfare. This can of course mean many things to many people. It can mean promoting universal education. It can be the basis for infrastructure funding. It can be the constitutional legitimacy for providing health care for all.
In a day and age we our health care system has advanced so far beyond the ability of individuals to pay for care, the government absolutely has a role in making sure that we all have access to care. If I am chosen to represent the people of South Dakota in Pierre, I will do my best to promote the general welfare [John Koch, “Constitutionalist,” campaign blog, 2016.09.25].
Dang—I’m grouchy that Ferguson didn’t put that in her article.
Market forces keep saying small South Dakota towns aren’t worth air service, and Republicans like Rep. Kristi Noem keep cheering socialism to land planes closer to their homes. Our crypto-socialist Congresswoman was on hand last week to applaud the completion of Aeordynamics Inc.’s first round-trip flight from Watertown to Pierre and Denver and back:
Summing up the magnitude of the moment, Noem said, “This is a great day for Watertown, but really, it’s a great day for all of northeast South Dakota. I’m thrilled to see this airport filled up with people. I caught a lot of flights out of this airport, and I hope to continue to catch many more.
“I hope everybody encourages their family and friends to use this,” Noem added. “This is a wonderful thing to have in a city and it benefits our entire state. It will really help us develop economic growth as well” [Dan Crisler, “Watertown Air Service Goes Airborne Again,” Watertown Public Opinion, 2016.08.16].
Whether we fly or not, you and I are paying $6.79 million a year for two years to help Aerodynamics not lose money on the Watertown-Pierre-Denver route. With twelve flights a week, that’s almost $11,000 per flight in in tax support. Many of the passengers on the inaugural flight appear to have used that inaugural $11K just so they could spend 90 minutes looking and lunching around the Denver airport before flying right back to Watertown.
To demonstrate the great economic development potential of this subsidy, SDGOP spinster Pat Powers, who pretends to loathe all things socialist, flew the socialist skies himself last week to go see Huey Lewis and the Go-Gos in concert and visit family in Denver. His lips are sealed on any capitalist critique; instead, like a good Bernie Sanders socialist, he cheers that “the first two bags for us were free,” ignoring the fact that our taxes paid for his tote. He praises the “lightning quick jet” in which our taxes whisked him across the Great Plains in place of cheaper turboprop planes. Head over heels in socialist intoxication, Powers broadcasts to terrorists that “getting through the TSA in Watertown is a breeze,” then grouses that a ticket foul-up subjected him to more rigorous security theater in Denver.
Powers apparently doesn’t want government making him take his shoes off, but when he wants a quick vacation, he’s happy to go-go on dollars taken out of our pockets. You’re welcome, Pat.
I watched Donald Trump’s acceptance speech last night, all one hour and 28 minutes of it, and I can only describe it as a very scary speech. Tic-toc….. ” I will protect you from ‘them’ “……Tic-toc…..”I will make you safe” .….. Tic-toc…. “I will make you strong “….. Tic-toc….. I will make America great again”…… “Trust me because I am strong…I will be strong for you.”
It all seemed too familiar but unable to put my finger on it I turned to my trusty Merriam-Webster:
Definition of fascism
often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control…
Bonus Election Shamanry: Throw Secretary Krebs into a four-way 2018 GOP primary, and she eats Mickelson’s Sioux Falls lunch and Noem’s faux-cowgirl lunch while demolishing Jackley on charisma. Krebs 44%, Mickelson 21%, Jackley 19%, and Noem 16%.
2. Stace Nelson’s victory in District 19 showed once again that Governor Dennis Daugaard lacks primary punch. Neither the Governor’s cash nor his special robocall could push Finck over the top. (Now if Democrats could just figure out how to capitalize on the Governor’s weakness….)
3. Nelson’s win shows the broader weakness of the GOP establishment, which rallied behind Finck with a spendy fake newspaper littering the local weeklies and masquerading as some sort of independent endorsement. Meanwhile, lesser and more radical conservative primary challengers snuck by two incumbent mainstreamers elsewhere—Roger Solum in District 5 and Bill Shorma in District 16—who should not have lost.
4. The more wingnuts who upset the GOP mainstream apple cart, the less far left we Democrats have to run to distinguish ourselves. Against guys like Nelson, Solum’s vanquisher Neal Tapio, Shorma’s beater Kevin Jensen, and stinkers like Lance Russell and Phil Jensen, we Democrats can easily present ourselves as sane, practical alternatives. I contend that more wins for guys like Nelson in primaries can mean more wins for Democrats in the general.
The GOP does not provide direct cash assistance to candidates as they had in the past, which leaves Nelson’s monetary sources limited, which could crunch him for cash in the face of a serious opponent. For some, letting the seat go to a mildly ineffective Democrat may be preferable to backing someone who will be verbally abusive to his colleagues and causing the kind of drama that arose during his last stint in the legislature.
Powers couches his call to betray the GOP in mays and somes and other vague language (so glaringly akin to the “some argue” and “people who suggest” dodges of the ballot measure filler in that fake pro-Finck newspaper that some may argue that Pat Powers could have authored both), but he is inviting Republicans to vote against their nominee and pick a Democrat. Hilarious: Powers still hasn’t rejected GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose grasp of and fealty to the Republican platform is honestly debatable, yet he is willing to tell Republicans to vote against a Republican State Senate nominee whose only intra-party crime seems to be demanding that fellow Republicans strictly adhere to their party platform.
If Nelson can drive Pat Powers to encourage Republicans to vote Democratic on his blog, then we Democrats should be thrilled to have Stace Nelson on a ballot.
Not only has Nelson destroyed Powers’s party loyalty, but he has also exposed another great example of Powers’s blogging inconsistency.
7. In case Powers isn’t sick in bed already, Stan Adelstein backed Stace Nelson with $250. If the pragmatic and moderate Republican Stan Adelstein, who also sponsors this liberal blog, can find Nelson worth his money, then Nelson must have some merit as a legislator.
8. Against Caleb Finck, a decent Demcorat might have felt compelled to pull a punch or two, for fear of looking like we were being too hard on the greenhorn. Nelson, of course, had no such compunction… and his relentlessness as a campaigner should free his Democratic challenger to campaign as the unbound, unabashed Democrat that we need to be to win across South Dakota.
9. Harkening to my #5 point on Nelson and Republican purity, I hear that Stace refuses as a Republican of principle to endorse Donald Trump. We can use more Republicans like Stace saying things like that on the campaign trail this fall.
District 19 has a Democrat on the ballot, Russell Graeff. He got arrested for DUI last month, but arrested isn’t convicted, and even that arrest record appears no worse than a former GOP golden boy whom Powers eagerly endorsed. I feel fine saying I’ll back pretty much any District 19 Democrat with the guts to run for office against a local and properly labeled powerhouse like Stace Nelson.
But if the primary candidates in the GOP District 19 Senate primary were my only choices, then when we step onto the Senate floor next Session, I’d rather face an independent opponent who honestly votes for his constituents and his conscience and who can help us challenge the corrupt one-party regime than an unseen Establishment ventriloquist making some young kid’s lips move.
Two South Dakotans who circulated the petition for Initiated Measure 21, the real 36% rate cap on payday loans that we get to vote on in November, tell me a man came to their homes today to ask them questions from the following script:
The source of these questions, Give Us Credit South Dakota, was the first ballot question committee formed by the payday lending industry to fight the 36% rate cap. Led by Rapid City man Bradley Thuringer, this committee has received nearly every dollar of its funding from Rod Aycox of Select Management Resources, parent company of North American Title Loans, a big player in the payday lending industry. Thuringer reported (year-end and pre-primary) spending over $646,000 of Rod Aycox’s money as of May 27, 2016, on efforts to oppose IM 21. (That’s in addition to the over $1.778 million Rod Aycox gave to Lisa Furlong, year-end and pre-primary, to get his decoy measure, Amendment U, on the ballot to confuse voters and sabotage IM 21.)
Rod Aycox must be sending more money, because Bradley Thuringer appears to be sending out a worker to interrogate IM 21 petition circulators and dig for evidence that could be used in a court challenge to the petition that could remove IM 21 from the ballot. The Secretary of State already rejected the payday lenders’ first specious petition challenge; Thuringer appears to be using Aycox’s money to gather evidence for a specious court challenge. Such a challenge may not succeed in revoking the will of South Dakota voters and protecting the payday lenders from the wrath of the electorate, but it could distract the IM 21 ballot question committee from connecting with voters and drain their time and money in a messy court case.
So who’s knocking on circulator’s doors and trying to coax them into doing the payday lenders’ dirty work for them?
Both circulators with whom I spoke identified their interrogator as Rapid City resident Michael Napier.
Napier is a good Republican, taking time to post this shot of himself with Senator John Thune in early April between positive posts about Donald Trump.
What does Napier do when he’s not interrogating petition circulators and posing with Republicans? He works for a Republican in the poverty industry:
Another bail bondsman working for Dan Lederman is Pat Powers of Brookings. When he’s not pulling defendants out of the county jail and into unnecessary debt mandated by government, Powers writes absurdist critiques of Initiated Measure 21, the latest contending that the grassroots South Dakota effort to cap payday lending rates is really part of an out-of-state culture-warrior conspiracy to shut down payday lenders. Similar absurdity appeared in a fake newspaper circulated on behalf of District 19 Legislative candidates whom Powers strongly favored: that campaign flyer included an essay which dinged IM 21 for receiving less than a third of its money from out-of-state donors but which said nothing about the effort to defeat IM 21 being funded almost 100% by an out-of-state corporation.
Powers has worked for Lederman previously on propaganda efforts for Lederman’s Rushmore PAC.
Lisa Furlong used to live in Dakota Dunes before moving to an apartment up the road in the less swanky part of North Sioux City. Dan Lederman’s house in Dakota Dunes is less than a mile away from the Furlongs’ old place.
Dots, dots, dots… and a few more connections. Hmmm….
Michael Napier, Rapid City bail bondsman and Dan Lederman employee, is working for the payday lenders to undermine the real 36% rate cap. He will likely fail in his efforts, because, unlike the lying mercenaries Rod Aycox hired through Lisa Furlong to circulate the fake rate cap petition and disrupt the IM 21 petition drive, the folks who put the 36% rate cap on the ballot are real South Dakotans who know the rules and respect the petition process.