Press "Enter" to skip to content

Video: Ron Branstner’s People Get Mad When I Explain Aberdeen Workforce Demographics

Looks like Pat Powers is catching the lying bug from Ron Branstner. Powers says I was an uninvited guest at Branstner’s Two-Hour Hate last night here in Aberdeen. Powers is incorrect: all materials related to the program made clear the public was invited. Several members of the media were present taking photos, video, and notes. For example, see the meeting flyer posted by Ken Santema, which says “All are welcome and everyone is encouraged to attend.”

Powers also is catching Branstner’s slander bug. Just as Branstner accused me of violating the law by signing an affidavit instead of showing ID to vote, Powers says I was “inciting a riot.” I reject his claim that I was “directing, advising, encouraging, or soliciting” anyone to “any use of force or any threat of force or violence.”

Powers needs no infection to continue his chronic illness of false headlines. He claims I “pick[ed] a fight with an unfriendly crowd.” I asked the speaker for permission to comment. The speaker granted that permission. I offered a list of facts about a blog post and about statements by Aberdeen’s economic development director that the speaker had gotten wrong. I offered a different point of view, not a fight.

But hey, let’s go to the videotape, and let you decide. The recording opens with Naomi Ludeman Smith, Presentation College Arts and Sciences chair and member of an Aberdeen task force working on helping immigrants become part of our community, asking Branstner about the sources of his funding and his information. I then speak, and then several members of the audience speak. I’d show you the whole confrontation, but someone in the audience grabbed my camera and turned it away from where individuals from confronting me… or maybe the individual messing with my gear just wanted to capture Rep. Al Novstrup’s reaction on camera (watch for he red shirt):

Sorry about the swearing. I did catch one more outburst from that angry man, who apparently is a first-generation American:

“It was a great country” when America let this man’s father in. Apparently it isn’t a great country (or won’t be—neither verb tense nor fact get much consistency with these folks) when we let future Americans’ fathers in.

Readers, let’s see how you put that in a little article. The floor is open for comment. I promise not to tinker with your electronic equipment or call you an SOB.

(By the way, Ken Santema has uploaded two hours and twenty-five minutes of the Branstner show. Watch and groan… but enjoy at 2:13:29 when a Lakota man reminds us that “Everyone here is an illegal immigrant.” Tell me again, who’s uninvited?)


  1. Traci 2016-08-12

    Way to go Cory! I am so glad that you were at that hateful and divisive lecture yesterday! I am so ashamed of South Dakotans for embracing this. I have very good friends who are completely in line with this thinking, and also are convinced there were as many Chinese as black slaves, that Sandy Hook never happened, on and on and on. I don’t know how you stood the lecture, and then to have him quote you out of context, WOW! I applaud you standing up and setting the record straight. So disheartening to hear of all this, but very glad you took a stand!

  2. Darin Larson 2016-08-12

    Cory goes where angels fear to tread! Kudos to the fearless blogger!

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

  3. Flipper 2016-08-12

    A room full of old, scared white people. How sad. Ain’t nothing gonna change their minds but I’m glad you tried.

  4. Donald Pay 2016-08-12

    Those folks need to go back to their country of origin. They aren’t Americans.

  5. Jenny 2016-08-12

    Did you catch the woman at the end saying “we don’t want them here!”
    Such good Christian soldiers they are, aren’t they.
    By the way, can SD get any older and grayer! No wonder it’s majority Republican. No intelligent millennial would attend this event.

  6. Rita 2016-08-12

    That was insane. I’m glad you posted the video. You didn’t do anything wrong, they just can’t handle the truth. Thanks for getting the truth out there, Cory!

  7. Jenny 2016-08-12

    I thought the old one running up the aisle was going to fight you, Cory, then when he said “you SOB!” ROFL! SDs finest Christians!

    You should have had those socialist Presentation Sisters there with you, Cory. The Catholic Church is a huge, huge supporter of refugees.

  8. Jenny 2016-08-12

    South Dakota, these videos are why young people and Democrats are leaving the state in droves. Who wants to live in a state so closed-minded?

  9. Jenny 2016-08-12

    South Dakotans are so worried about immigrants using social service and welfare, well speak for yourself!! So Dakota is the 7th highest welfare/subsidy user amongst the states. SD loves its govt welfare handouts.

  10. Darin Larson 2016-08-12

    The irony of the self-proclaimed first generation American whose father was an immigrant to America now saying we need to shut the door on immigrants and him asking rhetorically “what do you think is going to happen to our country, you [S.O.B.]?”

    Well, what happened when the country let his father in? I’m sure there were people at the time right here in America who were saying don’t let immigrants in because they are different than us. The lack of self-reflection boggles the mind.

  11. Jenny 2016-08-12

    I wonder how many of those old farts in the audience have taken hundreds of thousands and maybe millions in farm welfare?

  12. Jenny 2016-08-12

    Cory, do you know who the lone intelligent lady in the first part of your video that was speaking?

  13. Jenny 2016-08-12

    Oh Cory, I was I would have been there to support you. I hear how he knocks MN in being #1 in immigrants coming in. Well, I notice he doesn’t say MN is #43 in Govt handouts – waaayyyyy behind SD at #7.

  14. Moses11 2016-08-12

    First generation red neck It sounds to me.

  15. Caroline 2016-08-12

    I admittedly do not know very much about the issues of economic development in Aberdeen. I’m going to make the assumption that there is a shortage of workers in Aberdeen. I am also going to assume that immigrants would be welcomed to fill many job openings in the city. If the group of people attending that hateful meeting do not want immigrants in their community, perhaps they should be recruiting their white grandchildren to fill those job openings.

  16. owen reitzel 2016-08-12

    sounded like a John Thune town hall meeting Cory.

    Good job. Took courage to do that and Powers is a moron for slamming you. Maybe he should have the guts to come on here and comment on it.

  17. Dave 2016-08-12

    Kinda looks like Cory was swimming among Aberdeen’s bottom feeders at that meeting.

  18. Roger Cornelius 2016-08-12

    Sometime back we had a discussion of how I admired politicians that knowingly walk into the lion’s den, your proved my point by attending that hate rally yesterday. Who knows, maybe you earned some respect from some of those attendees.
    You more than likely knew you would be a minority, but felt compelled to tell truth to a bunch of old diehards.
    As far as political damage to your campaign, I doubt it will be much. You have already defined yourself quite well and never had a chance to win any of those old racist votes to begin with.

  19. Robin Friday 2016-08-12

    Jenny, why do you assume the attendees were farmers? Is it now time for bashing farmers again?

  20. Francis Schaffer 2016-08-12

    So much for dialogue, dueling monologues rules the day.

  21. Joe Nelson 2016-08-12

    LOL, your video shows how I feel sometimes when I make comments on your blog, or when I see even more conservative people comment. There have been plenty of times I have seen commenters gang up on someone here in the combox.

    I think you made the same mistake that I sometimes do; that people listening, attending, and reading actually want to have an intelligent discussion about an issue, and politely discuss differences in thoughts and opinions. (although there have been rare occasions where it has happened!)

    I pity those people in the video that have been blinded by this snake oil salesman. Hopefully commonsense will kick in, and they will leave the cave.

  22. Gloria 2016-08-12

    I was at the New Americans Task Force meeting on Thursday morning as an observer. Ron Brantsner was in attendance as well. The difference between the two was Ron came and observed a meeting and did not raise a ruckus or comment in any way. He allowed them to have their meeting the way they so chose. We heard Naomi speak and didn’t interrupt her or create problems. However, at the Americans First Task Force meeting, that was not the case in that you were a guest with an opinion who tried to overtake the entire meeting. Why is it that when people who do not agree with you try to have an assembly, you have to show up and cause chaos, but Ron came and listened and left in a quiet non confrontational way. If we don’t want refugees coming to our city, why do you care? What’s in it for you?

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-12

    What’s in it for me, Gloria? Preservation of the basic values that make America great. I asked to make a comment; Ron said go ahead. I tried; others interrupted.

  24. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-08-12

    My hat is off to you Cory! You are a brave soul. Definitely keep up the fight…. I know you will.

    If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that this event in Aberdeen was a Trump rally or at least a Trump tribute rally. Check out this video from the NY Times about Trump rallies and their participants or “voices:”

  25. Darin Larson 2016-08-12

    Gloria, Cory went to a meeting open to the public where the speaker was arguably misusing Cory’s information and the information from others. Cory waited until the time for questions and comments and politely asked to speak and was granted that right. The crowd that favors Brantsner’s brand of fear mongering and hate got mad and got in Cory’s face and shouted him down. And you are blaming Cory?

    You are also seriously arguing that because Brantsner and you didn’t speak up at one public meeting that means Cory should not have spoken up at the public meeting which referenced his article and used it for misinformation? If I was espousing unAmerican views like Brantsner I wouldn’t speak up either.

    Maybe your hate group should not have a meeting open to the public if the light of free speech is too harsh for it to operate in.

  26. Dave 2016-08-12

    Powers is slamming Cory purely out of jealously. There’s so little content in Powers’ rag of a blog that no one bothers to read it, let alone quote from it.

  27. Rita 2016-08-12

    I agree with Darin 100%! Cory waited until an appropriate time to address that his article was misrepresented. One woman interrupted him and it quickly turned into a mob screaming at him to shut up and leave. If they can’t handle the author’s rebuttal then maybe they shouldn’t use his articles to make a point. This was a public meeting and comments from the public were allowed that is until it’s something that goes against Brantsner’s narrative. The anger and hatred spewed at Cory was just a taste of what immigrants and minorities are subjected to in this state. And it was absolutely gross. The people in District 3 need Cory, he’s got the facts on his side. He isn’t afraid to go toe to toe against fear/hate-mongers and blatant racists. We need more like him in this state.

  28. Jenny 2016-08-13

    Robin, farmers are big welfare people, that’s why. Gee what’s with the attitude. I’m a farmer’s daughter also, so nothing against farmers. I can just openly admit that my family takes govt welfare.

  29. Jenny 2016-08-13

    Robin, it is obvious with some of the elderly men wearing farm hats that some of them must be in the ag profession and they are familiar with all the generous govt welfare that the Feds offer farmers.
    But, when you hear this radical speaker talk about how all immigrants are given govt welfare and social services, it pisses me off. Do immigrants not deserve it any less than farmers, many of them already wealthy?

  30. Mark Winegar 2016-08-13

    You are a brave man Cory and I’m proud of you.

  31. MikeSD1 2016-08-13

    Really interesting footage. Sad to see that kind of ignorance in our state. Keep up the fight Cory!

  32. mike from iowa 2016-08-13

    Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster none of the crowd was packing or this might have gotten real ugly,real fast.

  33. jerry 2016-08-13

    With that kind of hate in Aberdeen, it does make you tip your hat to Joop and Rounds for having the ability to create a cesspool of corruption there with the EB5. How much money did these two have to throw at Aberdeen in order for the powers to be to embrace the immigrants that would need to come to work there? This room full on nothing had to have been on board for the scheme to work, how did they do it and at what cost? In this empty room, there could not possibly be anyone there that has ever done a days work for what the masters expect now. Even the old farts are not that old to remember those days, surely not this newer crop of nothings. It seems like there Medicare Part D has really been doing its job of keeping them high and pissed off for being that way.

  34. Darin Larson 2016-08-13

    Cory, if you haven’t already added the title of “muckraker” to your bio, after this incident, you are entitled to it.

    Muckraker: The term muckraker was used in the Progressive Era to characterize reform-minded American journalists who wrote largely for all popular magazines. The modern term is investigative journalism, and investigative journalists today are often informally called “muckrakers.” They relied on their own reporting and often worked to expose social ills and corporate and political corruption.

    Wikipedia, Muckraker definition.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-13

    Jenny, I wonder how many of those audience members have tried to stanch the tide of immigrant workers by applying for jobs at Molded Fiber Glass and Northern beef Packers/Demkota Beef, or, as Caroline suggests, encouraged their grandkids to apply for those jobs.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-13

    Jenny, the lady at the beginning of the video is Dr. Naomi Ludeman Smith, chair of Arts and Sciences at Presentation College.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-13

    Joe, I can see the possible overlap. But hey, at least here, you can enter your comment in full without interruption. And I will not call you an SOB and demand that you leave just because you make a factual response that disagrees with my statements.

  38. Darrell Reifenrath 2016-08-13

    Kudos to you Cory!

  39. Clara Hart 2016-08-13

    I am compelled to respond to Mrs. Gloria’s statement about why Cory is compelled to speak up on behalf of Refugees. His response to you is appropriate. One does not have to have a motive to speak up on behalf of those who are in need. We should not forget that we were all once Refugees of some sort. I humbly and respectfully ask you to remember to fight for justice and equal rights for all regardless of ethnicity etc. This land belongs to the Lakotas.

  40. oldguy7850 2016-08-13

    CAH I support you and even agree with you but thought you went too far. I think you should have made a comment then just left. It sure looked to me , anyway, like you didn’t just want to just make a comment.

  41. Clara Hart 2016-08-13

    Cory, after watching those two videos I wondered if these people actually live in this Great State of South
    Dakota. I still want to believe that those are just 1% and they do not represent 99% of South Dakotans who are generous and kind. I wish and hope that greed and fear-mongering is replaced with love, kindness and reason.

  42. T 2016-08-13

    PP has turned his blog into hate and controversial material at best. The Scott hoy segment on scott hoy’s shirt was disrespectful and has nothing to do with politics. The free Leonard Peltier was biased and uneducated for a part time that ww weren’t there, nor have no business commenting on as to the “murderer” there were a lot of murders that two week period, …. Just saying on both sides. Point being his writings are parallel to society these days, hate instead of solve.

  43. Moses11 2016-08-13

    Cory do we have a name on that first generation that called you a foul name,m y hat goes off to you for sticking up to those right wing farmers.To bad photo op wasn’t there you could have debated him.

  44. mike from iowa 2016-08-13

    Jeanne Devon, the young woman who started and owns started her blog as AKM-Alaska Muckraker. So there is precedence for Master to be called muckraker (wear it proudly).

  45. John 2016-08-13

    Sadly my second hometown is circling the drain. Likely its becoming as irrelevant as other James River valley communities. The only thing missing from the host and most in the audience were white robes and hoods. Such is the lot for those who allow others to tell them what to think. You can bet the vast majority of the children and grandchildren of those attending long left this state and will never resettle here.

    Kudo’s to Drs. Smith and Heidelberger.

    Research suggestion. Consider naming the area newspapers, publications, churches, businesses that published or conducted operations in “foreign” languages. We know from editions of, A South Dakota History, and a New South Dakota History that from the 1880s to WWI-era that more than a dozen newspapers and far more churches operated using “foreign” languages. Point being of such localized research will drive home to those who’ve “forgotten” that it often requires a decade/generation/sometimes two generations for national/cultural assimilation. Help these folks point with pride to embrace their past – often found in the obscure rural, nearly or abandoned cemeteries – such as where my forebearers lie south of Bath. Aberdeen NEEDS a welcoming, vibrant first-second-third generation immigrant community to weather the challenging 21st century economics – or it risks oblivion such as Huron foisted upon itself, plummeting from the 4th most populous in the state to sub-tenth – and now slowing rebuilding – through immigration.

  46. grudznick 2016-08-13

    The fellow, young but older than most, in the shorts that came and yelled at Mr. H seemed to be a little imbalanced. You have to wonder about gentlemen like that wearing baggy shorts to a suit and tie event.

  47. Traci 2016-08-13

    Totally agree John. I am among the minority who is happy that Aberdeen is becoming more diversified, but there is a large segment of the population who isn’t. Perhaps it’s because I’ve lived in many big cities, and relish the cultural differences that diversity provides, and that enriches our lives, but it’s also on a human level. Those folks are like us, wanting to improve their lot in life and provide for their families. Of course there are always exceptions, and some bad apples, which people (as you aptly described as merely missing the hoods) are quick to point out. What they fail to see, and stuns me, is that there are PLENTY of Caucasians who have committed crimes, but they don’t look at themselves and think that there is something wrong with white people. I think it’s a very interesting suggestion to find out how many papers were published in another language. I used to do home care and worked with a lot of elderly people, and they often told me their parents did not speak English very well. You’re so right too, about how we need to embrace newcomers, lest we die out. It’s not like we’re on an interstate where a community has a greater likelihood to grow; we instead have to be proactive, and welcoming. I just hope that the newcomers already here realize this isn’t everyone. It would also be interesting to have our mayor and city manager address this whole fiasco in the newspaper. It needs to be nipped in the bud, as much as is humanly possible.

  48. Darrell Reifenrath 2016-08-14

    I believe we may have documented another unpleasant side effect of Viagra.

  49. mikeyc, that's me! 2016-08-14

    You educated jerks had to show up and ruin the ignorance & hatred convention.
    A mini Trump rally.

  50. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-15

    Moses, a neighbor tells me the SOB shouter and first-generation American is Reuben Hoffman.

  51. Jon H 2016-08-16

    I am glad they did not have the tar and feathers going in the back. Are you sure that meeting wasn’t filmed in Alabama or Mississippi?

  52. mike from iowa 2016-08-16

    This guy ever explain why South Dakota needed to be saved from immigrants and who chose him as saviour? Again, I ask, what did South Dakota do to encourage California nuts to invade your state?

  53. T 2016-08-16

    Mike from Iowa, wo mentioning other names, how about the left over Williston riff raff, I’m not talking good truck drivers looking for work, I’m talking the sex trade industry, the one guy from the “overnighters”(Netflix documentary) was caught, now in our prison system I believe, but lost track, cannot keep up with the info. where are the saviors protecting the public against this? You won’t hear him talking bullet points on this. I have never heard of this guy until dakotafreepress thanks for article CH. agree with Mike from Iowa, there are far more damaging, dangerous “intakes” than most of these people.

Comments are closed.