RLC endorses a Colorado candidate in 2014 US Senate race, will there be a South Dakota endorsement coming
Earlier today the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) released its endorsement for Colorado state senator Owen Hill as their candidate of choice in the 2014 Senate Race. This is the second person the RLC has endorsed for the 2014 US Senate race. The first was for Lee Bright in the South Carolina race to take out Lindsey Graham. Now that the endorsements are (slowly) starting to come out it will likely bring speculation as to whether any South Dakota candidates will gain attention from the RLC. Here are the four Republican candidates in the race and my thoughts for each of their chances (full disclosure, I support Stace Nelson in this race, but I don’t believe my opinions below would change if I wasn’t officially supporting him). This list is ordered from least to most likely to receive an endorsement.
- Mike Rounds – It is unlikely Rounds could ever get an RLC endorsement for this race after being called “too liberal” by the Senate Conservatives Fund. Plus the RLC is strongly opposed to government subsidies to businesses, which is exactly what the Aberdeen Beef Plant was. I think everyone can agree Rounds will never get the RLC endorsement.
- Annette Bosworth – Bosworth is saying all of the right conservative things to try getting an endorsement from a group like this. And part of me hopes she can still come up with a good perspective as a doctor as to why Obamacare must go away. Yet at the same time there are potential scandals that may or may not be true. I really can’t see a group such as the RLC support a candidate that has an unproven public service record mixed with potential scandals.
- Larry Rhoden – Early in the campaign Rounds released a scorecard showing Rhoden was not conservative (the same scorecard was later updated by Nelson, and ironically Rounds supporters say it is unfair to use such a scorecard?). That scorecard may hurt Rhoden’s ability to prove himself as the type of conservative liberty activist the RLC would support. Plus Rhoden is a very low-key speaker. That is something I can relate to, but isn’t necessarily the type of candidate the RLC could get excited about.
- Stace Nelson – Stace is the most likely recipient of the RLC endorsement. He definitely has been able to garner a lot of grass-roots support from liberty groups in South Dakota. But at the same time he is somewhat less polished than the typical candidate the RLC would support in an US Senate race. Personally I believe Nelson exemplifies the stances and principles supported by the RLC and Nelson has the best chance of that important endorsement.
- Nobody – There is always a chance the RLC will support nobody in the South Dakota primary race. Since South Dakota is likely to go R anyhow they may choose to focus on liberty candidates around the country that can take out current Republican Senators who are known to be bad in regards to liberty. The races for Senator Graham’s seat and Senator McConnell’s seat are perfect examples. These races will likely take a lot of resources (money) from the RLC and leave little for races in states like South Dakota.
Right now I believe the RLC will wait until near the end of the primary season to see if they support a candidate in South Dakota. A couple of the national conservative groups have done that recently in special elections. Hopefully the RLC doesn’t wait so long to make an endorsement that it becomes beyond the point of helping a candidate. Even if they don’t give monetary support (through the RLC-USA PAC), an endorsement from the RLC could amplify the chances of a candidate actually winning the Republican nomination. It will be interesting to see what the RLC does.
This Thursday, Dec 12, Dr Annette Bosworth will be the guest speaker for the Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch. Here is the info released by the BCR:
Come join fellow Republicans at the next Reagan Lunch. It will be at Mavericks Steakhouse, next to Target, starting at 12 noon, December 12th. Dr. Annette Bosworth who is currently running for US Senate for South Dakota will be our guest speaker. Come hear her tell us why she should be the next Senator. A buffet and menu choices are available. The lunch is casual and social.
I have also been told she will be in Ipswich that same evening. Bosworth is holding a 6:30pm meet and greet at the Yellowstone Trail Café on S Main St in Ipswich. Both are good chances for those of us living in the Hub City area to meet this Senate candidate. Even if you already support another Republican in the primary I would urge everyone to come to this event. It is always good to learn more about each entry in the Senate race.
Looking further to the future the Brown County Republicans will have Dusty Johnson, Governor Daugaard’s Chief of Staff, as a guest for the Reagan Lunch on January 9, 2014.
Today an open letter has been posted in major newspapers from eight tech giants asking for government surveillance reform. Here is the letter in its entirety:
Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,
We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.
For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.
We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com
AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo
The tech companies acknowledge they do deal with users private data and what steps they have taken to secure that data. But, as they point out, government surveillance practices by government programs are an attack upon individual rights. I often hear people say things such as “you trust a company with your data so why are you afraid of the government having it?”. That question misses the difference between companies having data and the government having data.
The data collected by these companies is done so voluntarily. Users of the services offered by these companies can opt not to use their service or not to give them any data. Also, when these companies have privacy breaches or go beyond acceptable ethical practices the market reacts.
Government surveillance programs work just the opposite. The NSA has been caught collecting personal data well beyond the limit of that needed in targeted investigations. NSA’s PRISM program has become a virtual warehouse collecting the private communications of all Americans. There is no option to simply ‘opt-out’ of the surveillance. If not for Edward Snowden we still wouldn’t even know about this secret program. So instead of asking why are people worried about government programs collecting their data I would reverse the question to what really should be asked: “If government program administrators feel the collection of data is so important why must they keep it a secret from the American citizens they are spying on?”
There are many of us that feel government surveillance of citizens is not only unconstitutional, but it is also unethical. Unfortunately as individuals we cannot simply choose another government when we feel government programs have been used in unethical means. Even replacing the politicians in DC would not be a quick or easy fix. The powers already given to these out-of-control agencies such as the NSA and DEA (they have their own database) will be very hard to reign in. The heads of these agencies should be replaced with people who show competence at dealing with ethics in the modern world. Currently the ethical code of these agencies appears to be ‘the ends justify the means’. That is NOT the proper ethical stance for government agencies to utilize. As citizens we should demand people in charge of these agencies show a moral character that is better than the terrorists they are trying to fight against.
Hopefully this letter will improve the chances that legislation will pass in DC that actually reigns in the surveillance state. Representative Amash was close to getting something passed last spring; but too many in the House listened to the fear-mongering of the NSA and the Heritage Foundation over the protests of their constituents. I feel a vote today would go in favor of civil liberties. Yet DC must be watched to see what they actually try to do. Recently we’ve seen Senator Feinstein try to reign in the NSA by giving them more power. Any step taken to reign in the surveillance state must have actual substance. Maybe now with large tech firms joining the fight against the surveillance state our elected officials will feel enough pressure to actually make changes.
UPDATE 12-9-13 – The video is temporarily down. The HSLDA website it will be back up late on 12/10/13
In February of 2014 the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) will be releasing an investigative documentary about the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Here is the trailer for this documentary:
Personally I am looking forward to the movie when released. I hope the HSLDA will avoid many of the misconceptions that both sides of the Common Core debate seem to focus on. The HSLDA is a single-issue advocacy group, and that should be taken into account when the documentary comes out. Hopefully they will overcome their own bias and create a movie that can be used by those of opposed to Common Core in showing others the dangers of this educational monstrosity.
- Mike Myers, Independent
- Lora Hubbel, Republican
- Curtis Strong, Constitution
- Joe Lowe, Democrat
One person that has not confirmed their entry in the race is Daugaard. He will wait until after the 2014 legislative session to make his re-election announcement. Politically I think that is a good move. It allows him to work with legislators in Pierre on a series of populist, yet likely meaningless, bills that will make his re-election go smoother. People like governors that ‘get things done’, one way to do that is to make it appear he works well with the South Dakota legislature. Plus, waiting until then may allow most of the EB-5 scandal to blow over. I don’t like that approach, but believe it is a good strategy for him to take.
Even though I have been somewhat critical of Daugaard’s big-government ways when it comes to economic development, I hope he does enter the race. In that event I would hope the Building South Dakota program passed by
Daugaard’s legislative staff our elected Legislator’s this last session will be the main topic for the Governor’s race. The Building South Dakota program is a large-government type of program. It is also a program South Dakota voters rejected in 2012 on the ballot when Referred Law 14 was shot down. Since Daugaard felt he knew better than the people of South Dakota he had the legislature pass SB235, aka Building South Dakota.
This last week Daugaard gave his budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. An interesting approach in this budget was to use creative shuffling of one-time moneys and give an unexpected $30 million to the Building South Dakota program. With this move Daugaard is doubling down on the Governor’s office choosing winners and losers in South Dakota’s economy. Will the voters of South Dakota see this as good fiscal policy? Or will the voters of South Dakota seen this as crony capitalism? Hopefully we will see enough debate on the topic in the next year to find out.
PS. Some have asked me why I don’t do constant posts on the EB-5 scandal. Basically I think there are a few reporters and bloggers in the state already doing a good job on this topic. I would rather focus on the policy side of whether government officials should be intervening in the economy at all. To me the scandals may actually help Rounds and Daugard by keeping focus on outlying topoics, instead of on whether the policies behind those scandals are fiscally sound.
Gridlock has become quite a buzzword lately for the media and big-government type politicians. Lately there have been repeated claims of a ‘do nothing congress’ and opinions provided that gridlock is holding back America’s economy. Here is an interesting chart published by USA Today showing the numbers off laws that have been passed by Congress since 1947:
The Progressive 2.0 (No Labels) crowd believes this situation is bad. This from the USA Today story:
“Some will say that this is the new normal, that the era of big reforms brought together through bipartisan compromises is over,” said Clarine Nardi Riddle, a former congressional aide and co-founder of No Labels, a nonpartisan group that advocates for congressional reforms and increased bipartisanship, “We’re certainly hopeful. We want to be part of turning it around.”
Does the No Labels crowd really want to return us to the point where hundreds of bills are passed each year? With our current economy being burdened by the regulatory state, it is hard to take such a stance serious.
Of course fewer laws does not mean there has been less overreach by Congress into the economy. This from Nick Gillespie over at Reason:
There’s certainly been no shortage of landmark legislation that has passed this century, almost all of it awful from virtually any perspective. The PATRIOT Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, Medicare Part D, TARP, Obama’s stimulus (as distinct from Bush’s smaller yet equally awful 2008 legislation), Dodd-Frank, The Affordable Care Act – these are ginormous laws whose lasting effects seem to be bankrupting the country and eviscerating all remnants of limited government.
With such large over-reaching laws being passed in modern times we should be thankful for this ‘do-nothing’ Congress. It is scary to think about what a ‘productive’ Congress would get done! With that thought in mind I say we continue to push for gridlock in Congress. Now if only we could get a ‘do-nothing’ President to keep the executive branch from unilaterally enacting bad laws…
Earlier this week the US House of Representatives sneaked in a vote to pass an extension of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 (HR 3626) for another 10 years. The law in question bans guns that can’t be detected by metal detectors and X-ray machines. I have two problems with this vote. First I am opposed to plastic guns being banned. But second, and more important, I am opposed to how the vote was conducted.
As to my first objection with this vote I cannot see any clear constitutional reasoning for banning plastic guns. Back in 1988 it was still basically sci-fi to think people could simply ‘print’ a gun in the convenience of their own home. Now 25 years later this has become reality. This law will do nothing to prevent criminals from taking undetectable weapons onto airplanes or any other public place where guns are prohibited. Instead the law will prevent law-abiding citizens from creating a means of self-defense in their home. I’ve written before about how 3D printing will essentially negate gun control. All the extension of this law will do is make ‘criminals’ of people who are exercising their Second Amendment protected natural right of bearing arms.
Now my second objection to this bill being passed is that the vote happened when most members of the House were in conference. Here is what Representative Massie posted on Facebook about the vote:
The plastic gun ban (H.R. 3626 – To extend the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 for 10 years) just passed the US House of Representatives on a voice vote with about ten members on the floor. As far as I could tell, I was the only no vote.
Wow, talk about a chicken move by Republican leadership in the House. Republican House leadership picked a time to pass the bill when their caucus would not have to go on record with their yes or no votes. Unfortunately I’ve seen too many bills the pass the House in this manner.
Many people replying to Congressman Massie’s post were wondering about how a vote can be made with only 10 members present and why he didn’t stop it. Here is his answer:
Actually I’ve witnessed laws being passed with as few as three members present. I was shocked too. This is never explained in the news, but it happens almost every week. It is possible for any member present to raise a “point of order” with the speaker that “a quorum is not present.”. In which case the speaker should acknowledge that a quorum is not present, and then postpone the vote until a quorum is called. Even with a quorum present though, it takes 20 percent of the members present to demand a vote by recorded device. I could have raised a point of order that a quorum was not present, but it was obvious that (1) if a quorum had been present the 20% threshold would not have been met, and (2) the bill was going pass regardless. I did my part and showed up for the vote.
Personally I wish he would have at least tried to make a point of order that no quorum was present. Yet at the same time I’ve seen that tried in similar circumstances and it never seems to work. Massie is likely right when he said he wouldn’t be able to stop it. House leadership knows how to do this maneuver well (and this is not just a Republican leadership issue, Pelosi took similar actions when she was speaker). This is not how the American people think bills are passed. There was no debate or vote allowed for all members of the House.
The Senate will not be able to do the same. Yet I have a feeling the bill will pass with little or no opposition. Before the bill passed the House there was expected to be a lot of debate so Democrats could add other gun-control amendments. Now I don’t think that will happen. Reid will be able to pass the extension as-is in the Senate with few problems. That will give DC Democrats a ‘win’ in gun-control and DC Republicans a ‘win’ because they are not on record allowing a gun-control bill to pass. The main losers in this bill being passed is those of us who believe bills should never be passed in such a deceitful manner.