Former legislator Stan Adelstein, a sponsor of this blog, reminds us that refugees provide great service to the country that welcomes them. In this case, the refugee in question is the mother of Adelstein’s children:
75 years ago my children’s mother arrived on the last refugee ship from Europe in New York City, after fleeing for 18 months. Her parents, herself and brother and sister were barred by a quota – not very different from a quota now proposed.
…Two of her two sons, born in freedom, committed their careers two public service. Her oldest, a West Point graduate, Special Forces Lt. Col. and senior staffer for Sen. Mike Rounds; her youngest a Commissioner of the US Federal Communications Commission, as well as director of the Rural Utilities Service. Two US SD US Senators, of different parties told me that they were the most effective and committed members of their staff.
Who might be those gifted servants of America, never to be born, because their mother was not permitted to enter this promised land of freedom [Stanford Adelstein, “A Mother’s Day Tribute to a Refugee Mother,” A Way to Go, 2017.05.09].
When we turn our backs to refugees, we turn our backs to more than our American principles. We turn out backs to future patriots.
The number one quality for the next President of the United States is to be honest, the ability to tell the American people the truth. The only one I can count on to tell me the truth is one of our own, Gary Johnson [attributed to Stanford Adelstein, in campaign video, “Supports of Gary Johnson for President 2016,” 2016.10.07.
The video is cheap and sloppy, unable to accurately name the campaign committee producing the advertisement. It misuses multiple apostrophes. It needlessly directs viewers to learn more about North and South Dakota at their respective official state government websites—wasteful, because a campaign video for a candidate should do relentlessly add value to the candidate’s campaign, and sending voters on a wild Google chase to learn more about North and South Dakota will never result in a voter saying, “Hey, great, now that I know about road conditions in South Dakota, I really want to vote for Gary Johnson!”
Overarchingly, the video engages in the strange conceit of labeling Gary Johnson a “Dakotan.” Verbally, shoehorning Johnson’s birth in Minot and his upbringing in Aberdeen into one word may be accurate, but culturally, “Dakotan” is meaningless. I have never heard anyone use that word to describe his or her identity without a “North” or “South” on the front. I doubt our Indian neighbors use it; they will say “Dakota” just as they will say “Lakota” to describe their tribal affiliation. In Minot or Aberdeen, saying, “I’m a Dakotan!” is a sure way to say that you aren’t, North or South.
If Team Johnson is using this video, they should cut everything before 0:48 and everything after 1:05 and focus on the seventeen seconds that matter, Republican Stanford Adelstein’s endorsement of Libertarian Gary Johnson. That endorsement from a prominent South Dakota Republican carries more weight than any of the other fluff in the video.
Adelstein advocates the option I footnotingly mentioned Sunday: instead of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s and Senator John Thune’s wishy-washy* calls for Donald Trump to withdraw from the race, Republicans can get behind a more tolerable candidate with more classical conservative credentials than Trump or Clinton who is on the ballot in all 50 states and thus can conceivably win the Presidency… if Republicans get their poop in a group and backed him.
So, Republicans, are you going to listen? Adelstein is offering you a moral path. You can wash your hands of Trump, cast a vote in good conscience, and, as the video suggests, show that you can put principle over party.**
South Dakota Republicans for Gary Johnson—think about it, Dennis, John, SDGOP. *Literally! wishing for something that it’s too late to do, trying to wash away their moral culpability for facilitating Trump’s rise.
**An image comes to mind: Republicans abandoning their Presidential nominee would be like the Russians abandoning Moscow in 1812. The Russians retreat, Napoleon marches into Moscow, hangs around for a month, then runs away with his collapsing, lice-ridden army. Replace “Trump” with “Napoleon,” “Moscow” with “GOP nomination,” and “army” with “Trump supporters.”
As if sponsoring this blog isn’t enough, former Senator Stanford Adelstein shows his good non-partisan sense by endorsing Amendment V, the open non-partisan primary proposal. Adelstein says he wants all voters to have a say in picking legislators and statewide officials, just as we do in our city and school board elections.
My reasons are simple and grounded in the basic fundamental freedoms we hold dear: that every voter, including 115,000 independents in South Dakota, should be able to cast a meaningful vote for their elected officials; and that those elected officials be public servants, not party servants [Stanford Adelstein, “Amendment V Gives Everyone a Vote,” Rapid City Journal, 2016.08.27].
Like his fellow Rapid City Republican Chuck Parkinson, Adelstein feels party primaries discourage too many South Dakotans from participating in elections. Adelstein would have settled for something like the open-primary bill he proposed in 2011, which would have kept partisan primaries but allowed unaffiliated voters pick one party’s ballot and vote. Adelstein is willing to embrace the more far-reaching Amendment V because nonpartisan elections work just fine in South Dakota’s local elections. He also rejects as “complete nonsense” the “scare tactic” his party leaders are plying to make voters think V somehow would “hide” candidates’ party affiliations:
We already use nonpartisan elections for local elections. And candidate affiliation is public information that will be publicized by the media, the candidates, the parties and, of course, by the opposition candidates. Ensuring all voters have a voice is the real transparency that our state and country desperately needs [Adelstein, 2016.08.27].
Adelstein prioritizes his principles properly: the state’s interest in encouraging every citizen to vote outweighs the parties’ interest in having the state promote party brands. Republicans, Democrats, and our other always fledgling parties can select their candidates and promote their ideals without the state paying for their primaries or their labels on the ballot. Amendment V invites more people to vote more often while leaving parties free to conduct their affairs as they see fit.
Just three days after nominating their electors, South Dakota Libertarians have landed their first big endorsement from a never-Trump Republican. Appalled by Donald Trump’s attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, not to mention his failure to represent his party’s “spiritual, political, or constitutional values,” long-time Republican legislator and money man Stanford Adelstein is urging his fellow Republicans to vote for the Libertarian Presidential/VP ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld:
The Johnson-Weld ticket will appear on the ballot in all fifty states for the Libertarian Party. In Johnson we have opportunity to vote for a leader whose values are in-step with our own. With Johnson on our ballot we can enter the voting booth with excitement to cast our vote for a president with the experience, heart, and judgement that this country needs [Stanford Adelstein, “Attacking a Patriot Mother’s Tears,” A Way to Go, 2016.08.02].
Adelstein hasn’t shied away from equating Trumpism and fascism. Now he says Trumpism is bad enough that Republicans should abandon their nominee and vote Libertarian.
Libertarians, are you ready to ride that wave? Team Hillary, are you?
This is the candidate of my party?, of the party of Lincoln?, of the party that sent this now grown up jewish boy of 12—but spared from gas—to the Capitol of South Dakota to help make laws??????????????
If a single delegate from South Dakota refuses to abstain from voting for this monster, that person is has not the values of our great people, and they should be shunned when they return the return to the home of Mount Rushmore. Our Governor the delegation chairman, who spent his life saving children of eleven or twelve, should refuse to answer when Paul Ryan calls the words of this wonderful, magnificent, magic place SOUTH DAKOTA [link mine; Stanford Adelstein, Facebook post, 2016.07.06].
I agree with Adelstein that It Can’t Happen Here. But the American values that keep It from happening depend on each of us actively standing up for those principles against aspiring tyrants. Governor Daugaard, the former Senator from Rapid City makes your duty clear. Do it.
Related Reading: The Daily Wire reports that the effort to unbind the GOP delegates proceeds apace.
*Correction 12:18 CDT: A commenter below reminds me that two more Jewish men, Marc Feinstein and Dan Lederman, won seats in the Legislature after Adelstein, bringing the historical total to five.
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.
Let me be clear: conscientious objectors do not forfeit their right or ability to participate in government. When our country has had a draft, we have created legal avenues by which citizens may refuse to participate in what they view as unjust killing. We should not ostracize or punish citizens who have honestly taken such a position.
…During the Vietnam War, while his peers stepped up when drafted doing their duty in combat and non-combat roles, Phil Jensen objected to serving in the military. But Phil didn’t just object to combat—he wouldn’t wear the uniform at all, not even in a non-combat role (that was an option, there was a classification for that). He answered no and was assigned community service in a parking garage safe at home [Stanford Adelstein, “While Others Served—Jensen Wouldn’t Wear Our Country’s Uniform,” A Way to Go, 2016.05.24].
Seth Tupper talked to Jensen about Adelstein’s accusations and got contradictory answers. Tupper did get Jensen to offer this reason for seeking conscientious objector status:
Tupper also checked in with Jensen’s primary challenger, Rep. Jacqueline Sly. She seemed to support Adelstein’s attack:
The Journal also asked Sly why Jensen’s 44-year-old draft status is relevant to this year’s race for the Republican nomination for the District 33 Senate seat.
“Every decision that we make in our lives has an impact on other decisions we make,” Sly said. “Whether we’re 18 or 40 or 65, all of those things reflect who we are as individuals, and when we’re making decisions for the state, I think who we are and what we’ve done and who we are inside is reflected. We’re representing people in our district, and if we don’t believe in defending our country, I think our country is in trouble” [Tupper, 2016.05.27].
Of course, Sly has never worn the uniform, either. She and Jensen both wrap themselves in the uniforms of family members, which makes me think (a) how has having family members in the military made either Sly or Jensen better legislators, and (b) do state legislators really spend so much time legislating national defense issues that the uniforms they or their family members have worn should be a primary voting issue?
Powers should be all over this attack on one of his least favorite legislators. He should be happy to sit up and bark for GOP mainstreamer Rep. Jacqueline Sly, who is challenging Senator Jensen for his seat in the June 7 primary. And given his willingness to cloak really bad arguments in “Support the Troops!” hogwash, Powers should have no problem skewering Jensen on even the slightest failure to play good soldier.
But since the accusations come from someone else Powers hates, former Senator Stanford Adelstein, Powers can’t really embrace the attack. Powers still broadcasts the attack, but he also dismisses Adelstein as a fading and cranky old man who meddles in elections with his PAC money. Powers then shrugs it all away with this offhanded excuse for conscientious objectors:
The issue may resonate for Vietnam Era Veterans and their families, or possibly veterans in general, and they have every reason to feel that way. But beyond that, It’s a political attack using 44 year old information because someone, when they were 18, didn’t really want to go to fight in a controversial war during a turbulent time in our country’s history.
You know, this is one of those cases where you can’t find yourself compelled to root for anyone. And I’m not sure how effective it’s going to be in moving voters. Jensen supporters will likely excuse it, and Jensen haters are still not going to like him.
Well, there you go. When the GOP spin machine can’t spin an issue without affirming the position of someone he doesn’t like, Powers works himself into an excuse for not supporting the troops. With cowardly agnosticism, Powers declares the whole fracas boring… but makes sure he posts the fracas in detail for all to enjoy.
Let me try to offer a clearer assessment of the attack and the coverage:
I can understand a citizen’s choice to conscientiously object to military service. I do not think such objection disqualifies anyone from being an effective public servant in other offices.
However, when Republicans regularly post pictures of themselves in their military uniforms and tout their service as a reason they should be legislators, it is perfectly consistent for a Republican to point out to Republican voters that one of their primary candidates refused to wear a uniform during a war.
Those four blog posts alone make a more substantial and detailed contribution to public policy discussion than the entire body of press releases and petty insults posted at the SDGOP’s mouthpiece blog over the same time period. (I say this not because Adelstein sponsors Dakota Free Press but because it is true.) Adelstein’s posts on funding the Blue Ribbon task force’s proposal shows how public figures can use the blogosphere to develop public policy openly and invite all citizens (at least all of us with Internet access) to participate.
Adelstein joins Rep. Lance Russell, Rep. Lee Schoenbeck, and this blog in beating Governor Dennis Daugaard to the punch in offering specific plans for realizing the raises for teachers proposed by the Governor’s own task force. Perhaps Governor Daugaard (who says he’ll offer his teacher pay proposal Tuesday in his State of the State address) should send someone to Adelstein’s press conference to take notes.
Adelstein begins his press conference at 11 a.m. MST at Rapid City’s downtown public library (610 Quincy Street, just a couple blocks down from the Alex Johnson and Tally’s—reporters! you can take Adelstein to lunch afterward!), in meeting room B.
Adelstein would sock farmers for $77.7 million because they’re already getting a far greater subsidy from the state via sales tax exemptions:
The agriculture sector doesn’t pay sales tax on many purchases and receives a sales tax exemption benefit greater than any other group. For example, the agriculture sector doesn’t pay sales tax on parts & repairs to farm machinery, agricultural services, seeds, fertilizers & pesticides, livestock, feed, nondomestic animals, fuel, and more. In a 2013 South Dakota Department of Revenue report, Summary of State Sales Tax Exemptions, the 2010 sales tax loss from the agricultural sector was estimated at $221,911,821. That’s a $221,911,821 subsidy to agriculture in sales tax alone, in 2010 alone.
The $221,911,821 was based on the current 4% state sales tax. If the state sales tax were increased by 1% it would mean an additional $55 million subsidy to agriculture interests—yet another state revenue source where agriculture isn’t paying its fair share [Stanford Adelstein, “The Fair Way to Fund the Blue Ribbon Task Force Recommendations,” A Way to Go, 2015.12.17].
The Department of Agriculture likes to brag that agriculture is “a major contributor” to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in economic activity. Adelstein’s $77.7-million property tax levy is 0.3% of that economic activity. Can agriculture support the pay raises that South Dakota teachers need?