Wish to send a rebuttal? Post a comment in rebuttal?
Have credible sources please. Our page desires are: to allow a platform to explore the issue of national security as it relates primarily to Islam, and also, to invite all of any stripe, to join in productive searches of the various serious topics associated.
Thank You [Americans First, Task Force; Facebook post; 2017.09.01]
That no one in the task force threw a “credible sources” flag at Loudon during his speech is hypocritical. That about a hundred Aberdonians and a few Republican legislators listened is embarrassing and alarming. That attendance is down from previous AF,TF hate rallies is only mildly encouraging.
For Americans, this is an exciting time. A new spirit of optimism is sweeping our country: in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people and enhance the security of our wonderful friends and allies — many of whom are here today [Donald Trump, speech to leaders of 50+ Muslim countries, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as transcribed by CNN, 2017.05.21].
Creating jobs? Actually, in the only organization over which Trump currently has direct control over job creation, the federal government, Trump has imposed a hiring freeze and shed 8,400 jobs. Across the economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports monthly net changes in employment in 2017, January through April, of 216,000, 232,000, 79,000, and 211,000. If we give Trump credit for President Obama’s chunk of January to make up for not having data for May yet, those four figures add up to 738,000, less than three quarters of a millions. The average monthly net change in jobs in 2017 is 185,000, which is lower than the average monthly net change in jobs in every year of President Obama’s second term.
In touting “record investments in our military,” Trump mistakes wishes for horses:
He’s getting ahead of developments on military spending, with no budget passed. He also not proposing a record increase in military spending as his remarks might imply.
The 10 percent increase he called for in his March budget outline has been exceeded three times in recent history – the base military budget went up by 14.3 percent, in 2002, 11.3 percent in 2003 and 10.9 percent in 2008, according to the Pentagon. Looked at another way and deeper into history, military spending consumed 43 percent of the economy in 1944, during World War II, and 15 percent in 1952, during the Korean War. It was 3.3 percent in 2015, says the World Bank [Calvin Woodward and Christopher S. Rugaber, “AP Fact Check: Trump Exaggerates Record While Abroad,” AP via Hudson Valley News 12, 2017.05.22].
We can’t believe Trump on jobs, the economy, or the military. There may be no war of civilizations, but Trump continues his war on facts.
South Dakota Right to Life VP and fellow educator Spencer Cody contacted me last week with this request, which I assume he is sending to all of my fellow Legislative candidates:
Hello, August 15th is your deadline to email a statement to me to be included in the general election voter guide. This voter guide will be sent to over 6,000 pro-life households in every district in South Dakota and sent through our email contact list and posted online on our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Please send me a statement on your pro-life views or any points that you want to make concerning abortion, infanticide, and/or end-of-life issues that is not over 50 words total, please. We will try to print as much of your statement as is possible. If you choose not to participate, we will print whatever information we already have on your positions concerning life issues without your statement. We hope that you take advantage of this opportunity to participate. If you have any questions, please contact me. Thanks [Spencer Cody, Vice President, South Dakota Right to Life, Facebook message, 2016.08.04].
Fifty words, and maybe they’ll print it in its entirety. There’s the problem with the pro-life/pro-choice “debate”. Certain activists and voters are looking for ridiculously brief, over-simplified mottoes to excuse them from examining the full panoply of complicated practical and moral issues affecting the general welfare of South Dakota. Cling to one bromide, and let cleverer devils in Pierre pick our pockets. That’s bad politics.
But if I have to play, for the record, here’s my full fifty-word response:
I’m pro-life. I deeply value human life and dignity, as does every sane South Dakotan.
My respect for life and dignity also makes me pro-choice. It’s not my place as a man or a legislator to impose reproductive choices on any woman or on all women by force of law.
That handles 0.1% of the issues facing our state. Now back to the other 99.9%.
The most challenging part of this is the social aspect…. —Andy Griffith, U.S. Department of Energy,
on the Deep Borehole Field Test, 2016.04.28.
We may not have had the Governor in Redfield for last night’s public meeting on the Deep Borehole Field Test, but we did have a governor:
Harvey Wollman, who, among other things, governed our state for half a year, offered perhaps the calmest and most reasoned comments from the floor… and certainly the most statesmanlike. He spoke of the strong emotions evident in his neighbors’ questions and arguments. He spoke of the understandable fear roused by anything remotely associated with the word nuclear. Wollman said he doesn’t have a problem with the science of the Borehole project. However, he said that arable land is precious, and that “just invading it with a pipeline upsets me.” To overcome that emotion, Wollman said Battelle has to help his neighbors understand this project, understand the need for research on nuclear waste disposal, and understand that this project poses no danger to their sacred (Harvey used that word) land:
“Please understand the mood of my Spink County people here. They are not crazy, they are not irrational, they’re just protective of this beautiful area, and they are very cautious about it becoming something they do not want it to become,” he said.
Receiving equally vigorous applause was a woman who blamed the media for misinforming everyone about nuclear waste coming to Spink County, then said we should welcome this project because Redfield is dying. Redfield can’t recruit professionals, she said, only meth-heads who sponge off welfare. Applause.
Much of the rest of the two-hour-plus question-and-answer session had the experts from Battelle, the Department of Energy, and the School of Mines patiently repeating reasonable responses to people who came convinced that they couldn’t believe anything they heard anyway and who thus played Matlock or Erin Brockovich, mingling recitations of Web printouts with rapid-fire yes/no cross examinations, trying to box the witnesses into a lie.
DFP Friday Series on the Deep Borehole Field Test Meeting in Redfield:
Three key logical fallacies rose from the audience:
First, much nodding and affirmative rhubarb-in-the-suburbs greeted one woman who established the veracity of her opposition to the Borehole project by citing her status as a veteran and by noting the thickness of the stack of online articles she printed—I used up a whole printer cartridge! She read maybe a paragraph or two from those few dozen papers, then abandoned her rich paper-and-ink investment at her seat when she left. (When I glanced at the papers, I’m pretty sure a big chunk consisted of my comment section. Thank you for reading!)
Second, several members of the audience sought to paint the project leaders into a paradox. Opponents contended that it is impossible that anyone would ever drill this kind of deep borehole just for science, that Battelle and USDOE have to be doing it with an intent to place nuclear waste here. They then demanded that Battelle and DOE promise that they would do this project just for science. I’ll be generous and merely deem it tricky to say that the only way to prove one is not lying is to promise to do the impossible.
Third, the greatest rhetorical challenge of the evening was responding to opponents who said, “But how can you guarantee” that no one would ever bring nuclear waste to the Spink County Borehole site. Multiple times, the project backers explained the legal, regulatory, contractual, and natural factors that preclude the Department of Energy from placing nuclear waste in Spink County, and multiple times, folks in the audience basically dismissed those statements as meaningless. There’s no winning that argument.
“How are we going to stop them from coming in and putting in nuclear waste?” folks kept asking. USDOE’s Andy Griffith and Battelle’s Rod Osborne seemed to make the answer to that question pretty clear: the single best guarantee that the people of Redfield, Spink County, and South Dakota have against nuclear waste coming here against our will is our political will. The Office of Nuclear Energy has put on the record its consent-based siting policy. If no landowner will sign the five-year lease, if the county commission won’t grant the necessary zoning change and permit, if the people don’t want it, Battelle won’t drill. Even if Spink County permits the Borehole, the five-year contract will prohibit any nuclear activities and require that the hole is filled with cement and clay, and the only exception to that protection again depends on public support.
I understand the protectiveness of which Governor Wollman spoke. I love this state as much as he does, as much as Lana Greenfield does, as much as anyone else in the Spink County 4-H hall with us last night does. This land is sacred to me. (Why else would I spend an entire day writing about one plan to dig one hole in South Dakota bedrock?)
Also sacred to me is democracy. That’s where we find our guarantee. Instead of asking others to guarantee our government’s words, I recognize that we are our own best bulwark against government bullcrap. Our best response to the public servants backing the project is to say, “Thank you. We will take you at your words, and we will hold you to those words every day, forever. We will watch you. We will blog you. We will demand answers and action from you. And if you take any action we don’t want, we will protest and petition and vote and run you out of your offices to protect our sacred land.”
That social aspect of the project, the constant attention we must pay to public affairs to keep our government in line with our will, is harder than the geological and technological aspects of this remarkable and potentially useful engineering project… but no one said democracy is easy. We must overcome our mistrust of government by recalling that the government is us.
The Deep Borehole Field Test is not about putting nuclear waste in South Dakota. Batelle, Uncle Sam, and Governor Dennis Daugaard have told us so. We have their word. Our guarantee that they will keep their word is our democratic vigilance.
When I heard the news about Speaker Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday on the state of American politics, his rejection of “makers vs. takers” rhetoric and his call for debate about ideas instead of identity politics, I thought, Holy cow! Could Donald Trump drive Republicans back to decency and sanity?
Speaker Ryan repeated his renunciation of his “makers vs. takers” rhetoric from his time as Mitt Romney’s ticketmate:
I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you I have always met this standard. There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. “Takers” wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.
So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong [Speaker Paul Ryan, speech, 2016.03.23].
This kinder, gentler statement isn’t new; Ryan first laid it out in a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed and included it in his 2014 book The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea. He reminds us that we should not view food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and the rest of the social safety net as us-versus-them issues on which we can pretend to be morally superior to our unfortunate neighbors… especially not in an America in which nearly 60% of us stand a good chance of falling into poverty at some point in our lives. People receiving government benefits aren’t enemy leeches; they are neighbors. They are us. That’s not a new sentiment from Speaker Ryan, but it bears repeating, especially among Republicans who keep forgetting that we are all in this together.
(And hey, if Speaker Ryan really means it, if he really can get the Republican Party to stop villainizing recipients of government benefits as drug-using welfare queens, I’ll stop teasing Republican South Dakota for relying so heavily on federal money.)
What really would have been new and useful from Speaker Ryan is an explicit repudiation of Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner who threatens our democracy with more than mere demonization of the poor. Speaker Ryan failed to go there, offering instead some pablum about niceness that doesn’t mention Mussolini but blames the Axis and the Allies for meanness:
Looking around at what’s taking place in politics today, it is easy to get disheartened. How many of you find yourself just shaking your head at what you see from both sides? [Ryan, 2016.03.23]
Both sides, Speaker Ryan? There’s only one fascist leading the primary race for the Presidential nomination, and he’s not on my side.
Ideas, passionately promoted and put to the test—that’s what politics can be. That’s what our country can be. It can be a confident America, where we have a basic faith in politics and leaders. It can be a place where we’ve earned that faith. All of us as leaders can hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and decency. Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. Instead of playing the identity politics of “our base” and “their base,” we unite people around ideas and principles. And instead of being timid, we go bold [Ryan, 2016.03.23].
The timidity of Ryan and other GOP leaders has allowed a bold amoral actor to scoop up their party’s voters, hijack their nomination, and put the Republic at risk. Only a bold response that sheds Ryan’s false-equivalency partisanship will defeat that risk.
Senator Deb Peters (R-9/Hartford) raised a couple of questions about HB 1008 (why exempt private schools? why specify “elementary” and “secondary” schools but not “middle” schools?), then said she would vote against HB 1008 because for the kids she talks to, including the boys and girls on her sons’ cross country team, “This isn’t an issue that’s an issue in the high school. Kids don’t see this as a hot topic in their school.” After supportive comments from Senator James Bradford (D-27/Pine Ridge), Senator Omdahl rose for this oppositional exchange with Senator Peters:
OMDAHL: Of what I understand, you have boys? You don’t have any girls? Is that correct?
MICHELS: Senator Peters, do you care to answer the question?
PETERS: It’s pretty evident, but, obviously, yes, I only have boys.
OMDHAL: I guess my point is, I’ve got a nine-year-old granddaughter. She’s an innocent girl. And girls – I’ve talked to teachers about this – girls are conscious of their little bodies. They don’t even like to shower together. So I ask you, please, please support this bill. These young, innocent girls don’t need to be exposed to the male anatomy at that age. Thank you [South Dakota Senate, floor debate, transcribed in Kealey Bultena, “Transgender Bathroom Bill Moves to Governor’s Desk,” SDPB Radio, 2016.02.16].
How did Senator Omdahl violate decency and Senate decorum in this attack?
Senator Omdahl attempts to use an aspect of a fellow Senator’s personal life to discredit that fellow Senator’s testimony.
Senator Omdahl uses this personal attack to dodge the substance of Senator Peters’s statement, that real kids, the kids Senator Peters knows very well, perceive none of the threat to their innocence that Senator Omdahl projects onto them to justify HB 1008.
Senator Omdahl presumes to understand female psychology better than Senator Peters and implies that Senator Peters does not understand the concerns of innocent nine-year-old girls, completely ignoring the fact that Senator Peters has more experience as an innocent nine-year-old girl and a female than Senator Omdahl ever will.
Senator Omdahl promulgates patriarchal sexism, portraying females exclusively as defenseless and males like himself as their brave protectors.
Senator Omdahl’s insulting sexism fit a broader pattern of patronizing rhetoric from HB 1008 backers, who portrayed opponents as emotional (thus, not reliable) and called for respect and civility in the debate (implying that they hold a moral high ground in this discourse and that their opponents are somehow misbehaving in their passionate and far better reasoned and evidenced responses). But Senator Omdahl’s personal attack on Senator Peters epitomized the arrogant insensitivity and male insecurity (you want to dish? we can dish, Dave) motivating HB 1008.
Expanding Medicaid in South Dakota is a good idea. Governor Dennis Daugaard and Republican legislators have steadfastly blocked this good idea for three years, largely because they can’t bear to sign onto a good idea hatched by President Barack Hussein Obama.
I am glad Governor Dennis Daugaard has finally gotten over his Obamaphobia just enough to propose expanding Medicaid. But this weekend’s article on progress toward the Medicaid/Indian Health Service tradeoff reminds me of a fundamental contradiction in his position. Governor Daugaard and other Republicans long justified their opposition to expanding Medicaid with the argument that we can’t rely on the federal government to continue funding the Medicaid expansion or the Affordable Care Act in general. The Governor appears to have completely abandoned that position, instead basing his entire Medicaid expansion on the federal government’s ability to increase funding for Indian Health Services to take South Dakota’s Indian residents off our Medicaid rolls.
I’m glad the Governor has taken the silly argument of federal funding unreliability off the table and aligned his thinking with the policy practicality under which South Dakota depends on federal dollars for roads, food stamps, water projects, university research, Ellsworth Air Force Base, and maybe F-35s in Sioux Falls. But it seems odd that in this case, the Governor is counting on a federal program toward which Senator John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem have shown outright fiscal antipathy. Governor Daugaard is trying to expand Medicaid by getting the feds to spend more money on a program that the feds have neglected since its inception.
State Rep. Elizabeth May (R-27/Kyle) remains skeptical:
State Rep. Elizabeth May, R-Kyle, said no matter how much IHS says it plans to change – with or without Medicaid expansion – she’s skeptical that the agency will keep its word. She said she’s seen inadequate care from the agency for years, which has led to death of friends’ family members. And while the agency has long said it would get better, without a financial incentive to improve care options there wouldn’t be any improvement, May said [Dana Ferguson, “Daugaard: Medicaid Talks a ‘Win’ Before Expansion,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.01.30].
If we can’t get South Dakota to pay the mere 10% of the cost of Medicaid expansion itself, I’ll settle for the Governor’s plan to have Uncle Sam foot the entire bill by shifting Indian Medicaid patients to a better-funded Indian Health Service. But pardon me is I sit down for a moment to recover from my dizziness as the Governor spins from not relying on federal funding to banking on increased and ongoing funding for a long-neglected black-sheep federal program.
Something must have frozen over this morning—I wake up, read the papers, and have to admit that Donald Trump is proposing a healthy and inclusive vision of what it means to be an American.
In last night’s Republican Presidential candidates’ debate on the Fox Business Network, moderator Maria Bartiromo asked Senator Ted Cruz to elaborate on his contention that Donald Trump “embodies New York values.” Here is the transcript from Washington Post of Cruz’s response and Trump’s crushing counterattack:
… let me follow up and switch gears.
Senator Cruz, you suggested Mr. Trump, quote, “embodies New York values.” Could you explain what you mean by that?
CRUZ: You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are.
BARTIROMO: I am from New York. I don’t.
CRUZ: What — what — you’re from New York? So you might not.
But I promise you, in the state of South Carolina, they do.
And listen, there are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men and women in the state of New York. But everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro- gay-marriage, focus around money and the media.
And — and I would note indeed, the reason I said that is I was asked — my friend Donald has taken to it as (ph) advance playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”, and I was asked what I thought of that.
And I said, “well, if he wanted to play a song, maybe he could play, ‘New York, New York’?” And — and — you know, the concept of New York values is not that complicated to figure out.
Not too many years ago, Donald did a long interview with Tim Russert. And in that interview, he explained his views on a whole host of issues that were very, very different from the views he’s describing now.
And his explanation — he said, “look, I’m from New York, that’s what we believe in New York. Those aren’t Iowa values, but this is what we believe in New York.” And so that was his explanation.
And — and I guess I can — can frame it another way. Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I’m just saying.
BARTIROMO: Are you sure about that?
TRUMP: So conservatives actually do come out of Manhattan, including William F. Buckley and others, just so you understand.
And just so — if I could, because he insulted a lot of people. I’ve had more calls on that statement that Ted made — New York is a great place. It’s got great people, it’s got loving people, wonderful people.
When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York. You had two one hundred…
… you had two 110-story buildings come crashing down. I saw them come down. Thousands of people killed, and the cleanup started the next day, and it was the most horrific cleanup, probably in the history of doing this, and in construction. I was down there, and I’ve never seen anything like it.
And the people in New York fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death, and even the smell of death — nobody understood it. And it was with us for months, the smell, the air.
TRUMP: And we rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made [Sixth GOP Presidential candidates’ debate, North Charleston, South Carolina, transcribed by Washington Post, 2016.01.14].
Good grief—can no one land a punch on Donald Trump without knocking himself to the floor?
Ethan Marsland lived up to his early press and announced his candidacy for District 33 House yesterday. Rather than waiting for South Dakota Public Broadcasting to shoot its Legislative candidate videos next summer, Marsland fires up YouTube himself with his raison d’être candidat:
On aesthetics, I still revolt at vertical video, but if we can shoot portrait photos, why not portrait videos? Vertical orientation has some interesting sci-fi movie precedent (remember Total Recall?). Marsland is framed neatly here, and there’s probably nothing going on to his immediate left and right, so why not? YouTube, time to offer a vertical embed option so we can get rid of the brackety-black!
On delivery, Marsland aspires to statesmanly oratory, but this pitch needs some rehearsal. Marsland has good lines and delivers some well, but he’s still stuck to the script. I know video is a pain, but if we’re going to the trouble of putting forward a candidacy document like this, we can go to the trouble of another take to get rid of the fumbles (“Leddies—”? Dang, I was hoping to here where that internal vowel spoonerism was going to take gentlemen.) Those little slips undermine the solemn tone for which Marsland aims. That same tone also seems too big for the small screen, as well as the chair and apparently small room. Orators stand for words like these! They take to their feet and command the stage and a big house full of listeners! Keep this script, internalize it, and break it out when there’s a big hall and an audience to resonate with it. For sit-down videos like this, adjust to a gentler, Tom Daschle-style
On policy, Marsland clearly grasps the connection between student debt, rock-bottom teaching salaries, and South Dakota’s teacher shortage (unlike the Blue Ribbon K-12 task force members, who are stacking the record to persuade themselves there is no need to work on recruitment). He speaks firmly for guaranteed family leave, rebuilding infrastructure (roads and rail… now what about more bike trails, Ethan?), and LGBT rights:
It has become clear to me that some legislators seek not only to legalize discrimination but to protect it under state law. These acts are not only shameful, immoral, and a violation of the U.S. Constitution, these ridiculous displays of hatred are a waste of taxpayer money, a waste of time, and would only put up walls that will divide our communities, families, and friends [Ethan Marsland, campaign announcement video, 2015.08.22].
Marsland appears to be taking aim at Rep. Rev. Scott Craig (R-33/Rapid City), whose HB 1220 last session was another unsuccessful attempt to cloak discrimination in religious freedom. (Hey, Ethan! Don’t forget to critique Rep. Rev. Craig’s disdain for college students in general, gay or straight!)
We now have two Democrats—Ethan Marsland out west, Ellee Spawn back east—making early announcements for the Legislature. Just 103 more candidates, and we Democrats will have a full slate!
…I also feel there is a segment of our population who is undeserved in the current legislature. That is the working poor. Not the homeless or the jobless, they have plenty of advocates. The ones I’m talking about are the people you call and yell at because you can’t watch the ball game, or the guy who changes your oil while you enjoy a latte. These don’t have time for politics, they busy holding down jobs, earning a paycheck, paying bills and raising families. Most of them don’t want anything from the government. These people are the ones who pays taxes and deserve to be heard.
In the current legislature there are small business people, teachers, and mix of other, but not one currently works in a call center cube farm.
I want to serve them, the hard working families of South Dakota [Michael Clark, Facebook post, 2015.08.16].
“Hard working” is apparently the adjective that every politician is required to use to campaign for office, as if everyone supporting the other side is a bunch of lazy bums. “Hard working” is not a unique class; that descriptor applies to individuals in every conceivable demographic bracket: rich and poor, urban and rural, Indian and white. Clark might as well be saying that his constituency is “nice people.”
Clark’s rhetoric reaches for the resentment of Joe Six-Pack against the perceived elites, which is funny, since I thought only we Democrats played class warfare. That anti-elitism shows he’s not dropping corn in the jar for Donald Trump, who probably has two lattés and a pedicure while Clark’s hard-working constituency changes the oil on his helicopter… but that same anti-elitism could strike a nerve with all those working folks who don’t have time for politics and thus are cheering Trump’s run only because they recognize the name and catch his noisy memes in their Facebook feeds.
Clark tries to spin his working-family-ism as conservatism—”most of them don’t want anything from the government”—but he’s wrong. Those working folks want as much from government as the rest of us. They want their public schools to offer good teachers, good lunch, and good after-school programs so they don’t have to pay for daycare out of their own pockets. They want their streets paved and plowed on time. They want the police and fire department and National Guard to show up when disaster strikes. They want their parks mowed and sprayed and ready for their all-too-infrequent recreational getaways. They want government to provide all those public goods and services so they can enjoy the fruits of liberty and democracy just like (or at least kinda like) the Trumps and other lazy elites living off the rent on their accumulated capital.
In other words, they don’t really want South Dakota Republicans, who pretend government is a tyrant to be slain. They want people who believe in government as a force for practical good, as a tool that we citizens use in collaboration to make liberty and prosperity possible for all South Dakotans—homeless and mansioneer, worker and manager, oil changer and latté sipper, call center drone and university professor.
We need government to work… and in a democracy, we all need to work at government. Rather than facilitating the idea that some people are too busy for “politics” (which leads to dangerous men like Trump leading national polls for President), Clark and anyone else seeking public office should work to convince all South Dakotans that government matters in their lives.