Rounds debate schedule mirrors Daugaards

Republican US Senate Candidate Mike Rounds speaking in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema

Republican US Senate Candidate Mike Rounds speaking in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema

About a month ago I mentioned that Rounds and Daugaard were already trying to minimize their unscripted exposure to voters. At that time Daugaard had mentioned he would schedule four Gubernatorial debates: DakotaFest, SD State Fair, KELO, and SDPB-TV. A simple copy/paste could show the same schedule just announced by Rounds for the US Senate debates: DakotaFest, SD State Fair, KELO, and SDPB-TV.

Here are the ‘details’ from the Rounds announcement:

Dakota Fest
August 20, 2:00pm
Mitchell

South Dakota State Fair
August 29, 10:00-11:00am
Huron

South Dakota Public Broadcasting
October 23, 8:00-9:00pm
Vermillion

Keloland News
October 29, 7:00-8:00pm
Sioux Falls

I covered most of my thoughts on this topic in the earlier post. But I would like to add one more thought: we the voters should refrain from voting for any candidate that outright avoids debates or town hall events. I know of at least a half-dozen other events that are being planned over the next few months which hope to host a US Senate debate. Pressler has just accepted an invitation to debate by the Native Sun News and United Tribes Technical College. These other events are likely less controlled than the four accepted by Rounds. What this basically means is these other ‘smaller’ debates give voters a chance to hear candidates talk on a variety of issues they might not otherwise get to hear from a candidate.

In my mind Rounds is on the ‘not worthy of a vote’ list simply because of his campaign’s effort to avoid talking unscripted. To anyone saying “well he’s the front-runner so he would be crazy to debate” I would ask a question: Did you feel the same way when someone of the other party was the front-runner? The need for more debates has nothing to do with parties. It has to do with getting as much information to voters as possible. When front-runners decide to limit debates they also have decided voters are not worthy of more information. Thus my statement saying candidates wishing to limit debates are not worthy of votes.

Remy inspires a taxman Playlist

Remy has released another great music video. This time he takes on the coincidence involved in the multitude of IRS agents that had failed hard drives during the period of time Congress needs to review emails. Here is the video Remy released a few days ago:

Yeah… Concidental.

Speaking of coincidence. Back in 1973 President Nixon was taking some heat from the press for ‘accidentally’ deleting about eighteen and a half minutes of a tape audio recording from the White House. Coincidentally the 1967 hit protest song from Arlo Guthrie was about that long.

Now for this weeks playlist. This playlist has been inspired by the ‘taxman’.

The Beatles – Taxman

This classic song sums up the mentality of the taxman. “If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet”.

Cheap Trick – Taxman, Mr. Thief

Moving on to a little bit harder classic rock, but still focusing on the taxman, is Cheap Trick. “You work hard, you went hungry, Now the taxman is out to get you.”

The Replacements – Bastards of the Young

This song highlights how the Gen-Xers were little more than an income tax deduction. I believe that is even more true for the millennials. Leave it up to a progressive tax code to completely twist the reason for having kids. “income tax deduction, what a helluva function.”

Lucky Dube – Taxman 

OK, back to talking about the taxman. The great Reggae start Lucky Dube created this song asking what good the taxman is. “You take from the rich, take from the poor”.

The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon

Time to finish this playlist with one of my favorite groups. This song highlights the consequences of dealing with the taxman.

Categories: IRS Tags: ,

Some thoughts about Weiland’s town hall in Aberdeen

Democrat US Senate Candidate Rick Weiland speaking in Aberdeen, SD. Photo by Ken Santema

Democrat US Senate Candidate Rick Weiland speaking in Aberdeen, SD. Photo by Ken Santema

Today Democrat US Senate Candidate Rick Weiland held a town hall meeting in Aberdeen. In this post I will look at some of what Weiland had to say during the event. Most of this will be passing on what he says; then I will add my thoughts about his stances. I was happy to see a fairly good attendance, most events of this type rarely seem to get over a handful.

Weiland began the event talking about traveling to all the towns in South Dakota. No matter how I feel about him on issues, I respect the heck out of Rick for having made the effort to hit every town in South Dakota, especially the small ones. Just today on the way to Aberdeen he stopped in the following towns to meet with people: Esteline, Clark, Redfield, Mellette, and Warner. Weiland got more than a few nods in agreement from the audience by using his line about campaigning in Dallas, SD, while Rounds was seeking special interest money in Dallas, TX.

Traveling during this campaign has given Weiland a chance to answer questions about Obamacare. It has also given him a the chance to promote his solution for healthcare. Weiland has not been a fan of Obamacare because it mandates people buy private insurance from big corporations. Instead Weiland wants to provide an option that would allow anyone to buy into Medicare. By doing so, says Weiland, the prices of insurance would drop and people would not have to deal solely with insurance companies. I really don’t like his option. But it is an interesting approach that fits well into his populist campaign. I think his proposal might do well in front of the masses.

Weiland says he got into politics because “big money is writing public policy”. He called out the healthcare industry in particular. Obamacare forces people to buy private insurance from the healthcare industry. Another example he brought up was Ag. He was amazed to find out 75% of farm programs go to the top producers in the US. None of those top producers live in SD as far as he knows. These are two issues I agree with him on. We may have different solutions, but it is refreshing to see US Senate candidates that sees the problems with big health and big ag in politics.

He kept his main speech very short, so as to allow more time for QA. Here are some quick bullet points of other things Weiland mentioned during his speech:

  • Weiland said the current VA scandals would be a non-issue if the VA had been funded properly.
  • Weiland said his “take it back” slogan is about taking the country back from billionaires and corporations.
  • Weiland believes investing in head start now will save the country money in the future.
  • He can’t wait to debate.
  • He believes that South Dakota refusing to expand Medicaid “unconscionable” and “unforgivable”
  • He also said his campaign was about “spreading the truth from my perspective”. I actually liked that line. It addresses a problem I’ve had with him in the past. A year ago I didn’t really feel he listened to other perspectives. Now he seems more focused on hearing all perspectives, including those he disagrees with. Maybe I was wrongly harsh on him earlier today.

The first question of the town hall asked how partisan Weiland will be. That is a question I was interested in. Basically will he do whatever Senator Reid tells him to do? Weiland says his job as a Senator would be to vote in the best interest of the State. Weiland focused on the fact that he is not beholden to special interest groups. Not being beholden to special interest groups leaves him the freedom to vote on behalf of constituents. He went on to mention that Rounds has spent more time trying to get money visiting Texas; while Weiland has actually been visiting every South Dakota town and plans to keep doing so if he is elected to office. To finish off this question Weiland described himself as an “Independent Democrat” that isn’t afraid to go against the party or big money when it is the right thing to do.

The topic of debates was mentioned. Weiland is willing to attend all debates, whether or not Rounds commits. He believes debates should be a normal part of the political process. He would like to see a debate commission setup. This commission would have the power to require candidates participate in debates and the media would be required to cover the debate. This is an issue I partly agree with him on. Candidates should be debating and the media should be covering these debates. But I don’t like the idea of a commission unless it is voluntary and doesn’t use government power to enforce its rules. I think a better option is for we the voters to simply not vote for candidates such as Rounds that feel they are above debates.

Immigration reform was of course brought up. Weiland mentioned the Senate had passed a comprehensive immigration bill last year that the House has refused to take up. He wondered if the current crisis would have been averted by its passage. I personally think the current crisis would have happened either way, but he does raise a valid question worth pondering. It was also mentioned the current law dealing with children from non-contiguous countries (immigrant kids from places other than Mexico or Canada) was signed into law by Bush. In this case Obama asking for the extra money is actually a case of the President following a law set out by the same Republicans that are attacking Obama now for following that law. I agree with Weiland’s assessment. The DC Republicans cannot simply change their stance because the President has changed hands. Weiland did say children need to be sent back, but also mentioned there may be cases where some of the children qualify for refugee status. That was the actual reason the Republicans passed the law in the first place.

Weiland then somehow got into a rant about Citizens United and McCutcheon. Just like his town hall a year ago, I still feel he is wrong on this issue. I agree big money buying legislators is a problem. But restricting free speech is not the fix to that problem. He mentioned in a later question that he fears the Supreme Court will remove all contribution limitation.

Some other items that came out of the QA from various questions:

  • Weiland thinks federal transportation spending is a good economic development program
  • Weiland says many politicians are tired of fundraising all the time.
  • Weiland wants to meet with every member of the Senate and House one on one in order to determine where they stand on issues.
  • Weiland says he has nothing against success or people doing good in business, but the system has been rigged by big corporations.
  • When talking about class warfare, Weiland mentioned that even the 1% should be outraged that the middle class is disappearing. With no middle-class, there will no longer be a 1%.
  • He was unhappy with the first Iraq war. He also made it sound like he is unhappy we are once again increasing our troops there now.

Overall I still disagree with Weiland’s campaign being focused upon curtailing free speech. But he did do much better at this town hall than the one I attended a year ago. I don’t see him getting the libertarian vote, but I do think his populist message can resonate with a lot of people if he can get in front of them with his message.

Plan to attend the Dan Kaiser for House block party on Sunday in Aberdeen

South Dakota District 3 Representative Dan Kaiser

South Dakota District 3 Representative Dan Kaiser

This Sunday, July 27, there will be a block party and fundraiser for District 3 Representative Dan Kaiser. The event will be held from 6pm-9pm at  1415 Nicklaus Drive. The Facebook event for the block party can be found here.

The District 3 house race is going to be very competitive this year. Anyone worried about government transparency and accountability should be looking to keep Kaiser in office. As we get closer to the election I will do a full post on Dan (and other Dist 3 candidates), but for now here are some quick bullet points as to why I feel Kaiser is a good candidate to support:

  • Kaiser believes in transparency at all levels of government. Even as an elected official he believes in true transparency. Each day when the legislative session ends Dan goes on to his Facebook page and posts the results of his voting for the day. He is not afraid to let people know how he voted and why he voted that way.
  • Kaiser believes in the free market; and more importantly Kaiser believes the State Government should stay out of choosing winners and losers in the market.
  • Kaiser is committed to funding public education as set out in the South Dakota Constitution. He has not made this issue about parties, rather he has made it an issue of following the framework that legislatures are supposed to follow.
  • Kaiser actually reads the bills he is going to vote on. He is the only legislature that took the time to find out what TPP was all about when a resolution came to the floor.

I think even people that aren’t Republican can find commonality with Kaiser. I would urge everyone in the Aberdeen area stop by to show support for and/or speak with Dan on Sunday. If nothing else stop by to ask him some questions or let him know what you think.

Independent Gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers not allowed to change running-mate

Mike Myers and Lora Hubbel at Presser in Sioux Falls. Photo from Mike Myers for Governor Facebook Page

Mike Myers and Lora Hubbel at Presser in Sioux Falls. Photo from Mike Myers for Governor Facebook Page

Over at Madville Times it has been reported by Cory Heidelberger that SD Secretary of State Jason Gant is not allowing Myers to change his running-mate on the ballot. This was a poor decision on Gants part. Originally Myers had Caitlin Collier chosen as his running-mate. But due to family issues Collier had to pull out of the race and Myers then chose Hubbel as her replacement. The letter to Hubbel from Gant can be read on Cory’s post. Basically it says because SD codified law does not allow for independent candidates to replace a Lieutenant Governor; therefore Collier has to stay on the ballot.

This was the wrong decision by Gant. Cory sums up my thoughts pretty good in his post:

I recognize the need for the secretary of state to be a stickler for rules, and Secretary Gant has demonstrated that he can be a stickler when he wants to be. But in this case, Secretary Gant is needlessly punishing Hubbel (a known bête noire among Gant’s Republican friends), Myers, and the voters. No votes have been cast. No ballots have been printed. No dispute exists over the practical facts of Collier’s withdrawal or Myers’s selection of Hubbel. No fraud has been committed by anyone in seeking to place Hubbel’s name on the ballot next to Myers’s, and no harm will be done to anyone by the stroke of the pen that would align the November ballot with reality.

According to SDCL §12-8-6, a party committee can fill vacancies that have occurred for a position that was previously nominated. The vacancy must be filled by the second Tuesday in August. There is no similar law for Independent candidates. As Gant interprets the situation Collier must stay on the ballot.

Here are the two steps I believe SOS Gant should have taken:

  1. Allowed the change of running-mate to happen. The reasoning would be for equal access to the ballot based upon 1st Amendment protections. Specifically “the right of the people…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. This portion of the Bill of Rights has been used in the past force election bodies into creating equal ballot access laws for all. It is also the path Gant should have chosen.
  2. Gant should then have proposed legislation for the 2015 session that would create a permanent fix in codified law. Even though Gant is gone at the end of this year, he still has some work to do. Actually he has a lot of work to do. During any downtime Gant should be reviewing the current election laws and guidelines to ensure equal access is given to the ballot by all candidates; whether or not they are part of a party.

Since Gant didn’t take the path it will now cost the state and Myers a lot of unnecessary money going to court. This from the Myers campaign on Facebook:

We’re going to take the state of South Dakota to court! We’re being treated unfairly in light of Caitlin’s personal matter. I’m not allowed to replace my running-mate, although the Democrat and Republican candidates would be able to if they were in the same situation. This is unfair and we’re going to challenge the constitutionality of Secretary Gant’s decision.

I agree with that statement completely. The Myers campaign was not asking for special treatment. They were asking for the same equal treatment that other candidates receive in the race. There isn’t much time for Myers to actually challenge Gant’s decision in court. Hopefully this situation will be used as the catalyst to actually fix many of South Dakota’s restrictive ballot access laws.

None of the Above looking like a good option for SD Libertarian AG

vote_no_iconThe South Dakota Libertarian Party is holding its state convention in Sioux Falls on August 9th. One of the agenda items for this convention is filling the Attorney General slot so current AG Marty Jackley does not run unopposed this fall. Whoever the Libertarian Party runs has to be true opposition, and not someone doing so for political opportunism or a publicity stunt. I have heard there are a couple of lawyers who are entertaining the idea of entering the race. That would be welcome. Unfortunately there are other options that make me cringe.

First there is Chad Haber; husband of former Republican US Senate candidate Annette Bosworth. Right now he appears to be a bad candidate. I won’t go into all of allegations against him. Anyone can do a Google search for ‘Chad Haber scam’ and come up with a variety of potential scandals involving Haber if he were to become a candidate. If these allegations are all false and Haber is the victim of political targeting then he needs to work on clearing that mess up first. But as of right now he is a candidate that brings more harm to the Libertarian Party banner than any potential good he would bring. Because I do try to be fair I will speak with and listen to Haber at the Convention. Maybe he has some piece of information I am missing that will make me change my mind. I doubt it, but it is possible.

A second option comes from the flagship liberal blog in South Dakota known as Madville Times. Blogger Cory Heidelberger throws his name into the hat for Libertarian AG. I think he is doing this a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I’ll address his potential candidacy anyway. I agree with Cory in that he has been doing a great job with posts highlighting why Jackley is a bad AG. And I also think he has done some great political investigative blogging over the last few years in which I have followed his blog. But nothing leads me to believe he would be a good choice to be an AG. Especially an AG representing a party he only half agrees with. Cory doesn’t bring the baggage that Haber does; but ‘lack of baggage’ and ‘good blogger’ do not add to being a good candidate for the top legal office in the State. Personally I wish he would have run in the State Auditor position against Barnett for the Democrats, but that is a different post…

Luckily today Bob Newland pointed out on Facebook that  “NOTA” (None of the Above) is an option in during the convention. Here is the relevant section from Article V of the SDLP By-Laws:

Section 5. Majority Rule. In any Party or ExCom election, the members always have the right to vote for “NONE OF THE ABOVE.” If “NONE OF THE ABOVE” wins a majority of the voters cast, nominations will be reopened. The office may be filled by reopening nominations and holding another vote.

Before knowing about this option I had thought about putting my name out there; basically to ensure Haber doesn’t make the ballot. This is a much better option. NOTA can actually prevent a candidate from being nominated. If nobody is found to run against Haber I could see voting for NOTA. An unopposed Jackley actually sounds much better than ‘Libertarian candidate Chad Haber’. Now if Cory runs that might get some people to vote for him. I wouldn’t, but I will admit Heidelberger being a Libertarian Party candidate would be much less damaging to the SDLP than Haber would be.

It is going to be an interesting convention to be sure…

Pressler’s independent honesty and proposed legislation

Looking back at the last week I see Independent US Senate candidate Larry Pressler has two items which are worth mentioning in a blog. First he released a statement proposing legislation for an International Native American Holocaust Memorial Museum in Wounded Knee. Then he released a two-minute video highlighting himself as the ‘Independent Honesty’ candidate.

I find it odd that Pressler’s first order of business in DC would be to propose legislation for an International Native American Holocaust Memorial Museum. Actually I think the idea is a good one. As noted in the press release Wounded Knee is the “site of perhaps the worst cold-blooded massacre in American history”. Such a Museum would hopefully serve as a reminder from the past of a dark period in our history and also pay respect to the Native Americans that senselessly lost their lives. This museum/memorial sounds like a great idea!

But should that idea be the first order of business for someone in the US Senate? Is this really his first priority? Sadly it looks like Pressler is doing this as a publicity stunt to gain Native American votes. Too bad. Part of the idea is good and could be a boost to the state. Here is a paragraph from his release that highlights the good and bad of his museum priority:

Pressler said such a holocaust center would need initial startup funding from the federal and state government. It might occupy about 40 acres and have a large private hotel and other facilities so tourists could use it as a base for touring the Black Hills.

I agree with the large private hotel and other facilities for tourists. Such a place would likely become a world-renown tourist destination if done right. But at the same time he wants the federal and state government to fund what will eventually become a private business. If he had just stuck with promoting the idea I think it would have been a winner. Instead he wants to use taxpayer dollars for economic development. That is the exact type of corporate welfare that people looking for alternatives to Rounds are trying to avoid. To me it seems like Pressler is trying to take corporate welfare to a whole new level and make Rounds look like a mini-crony.

Hopefully some group in the future will be able to use this idea and run with it. It would be good for Native Americans and the State of South Dakota. But I also hope whatever group goes with this idea will keep government dollars out of it. If not this will become just another opportunity for government officials to line their buddies pockets with taxpayer dollars. I don’t think cronyism really fits well with the whole concept of this museum.

In other news.. Pressler released his “Independent Honesty’ video a few days ago:

The mini-bio really focuses on him working with people from all parties. He connects himself with Reagan, dictators, Bill Clinton, and George McGovern. From a liberty standpoint that doesn’t leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling. It reinforces the belief that Pressler wants to bring back the days when both parties of Congress got to spend as much taxpayer dollars as they wish on pork-barrel projects.

One final thought. If Pressler really wants to become a US Senator from South Dakota again, shouldn’t he be holding public meetings of some sort? Shouldn’t’ he be hitting the road like Weiland is? Personally I don’t think Pressler even wants to win. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was Presslers way of showing certain people he is still alive; in hopes of getting an ambassador appointment.

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