“You just can’t make this stuff up.” (US Sen. Elizabeth Warren yesterday in an interview)

Preface:  For many years, everytime George Brett came to bat (whether the Royals were playing the Twins or not), in the moment, I cringed and expressed how I didn’t “like him.”  But, when I looked at the box score and his stats over the course of the season, I had to always admit the guy could hit and was a heck of a baseball player.  No matter the pitcher’s strength (fastball, curve, slider, etc.), Brett had a strategy to take that strength away and augment the pitcher’s weakness.

So it is with Trump.   Hyperbolically, it seems 9 out of 10 times Trump opens his mouth, I cringe and often times disagree with him.  But, when I look at the “boxscore,” I have to admit the guy knows how to play to HIS strength and make the other side play to their weakness.  Like Brett, sometimes I just have to grudgingly give Trump the respect he earns by the results.

I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.  A FEW DAYS AGO, TRUMP TOOK A BIG SWING AND MISSED, DARING THE DEMOCRATS TO RESPOND IN A PARTICULAR WAY.  AND, DANG IF THEY DIDN’T THROW A FASTBALL DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE PLATE AND TRUMP HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK.  Yesterday on my drive home, I had on MSBC radio on to hear what they were saying about the Democratic Convention.  Rachel Maddow was having a conversation with Senator Warren (wasn’t really an interview).  Anyway, Maddow throws what she intended to be a softball to Warren about Trump’s call for Russia to release (if they have them) the 30,000 personal (not turned over to the government) emails from Clinton’s personal email server.

A)  Warren goes off on it is treasonous to for Trump to ask a foreign country to hack a high ranking government officials computer because of the risk to national security.  

  1. The server is in the hands of the FBI and can’t be hacked any more.  If they have the emails, Russia already committed the crime and wouldn’t it be better off knowing they have the information?
  2. I thought the emails were only about Clinton’s appointment with her hair stylists, emails to her daughter about her grandchild, and to her husband.  According to Hillary, there is nothing on those emails which are a risk to national security.  But, to Senator Warren they are a risk to national security.  What does she know that we don’t know?

B)  Warren goes off on the illegality to ask Russia to directly influence our sovereign election.  Ummmmm, It is against both US and Israeli law for the US government to influence an Israeli election.  Where was Senator Warren’s outrage when both Obama campaign funds and State Department funds were used to try to defeat Netanyahu in last year’s Israeli election?

However, I admit it is the nature of politics for one side to tactically respond to the tactics of one’s opponent.  And, in a vacuum, Warren’s response could be characterized as “par for the course” and not surprising.

But, the standard tactical response must contemplate the larger strategy, which for the Democrats is to address Hillary Clinton’s high unfavorable rating with the public (which at its core is Hillary is not considered trustworthy).  And the two biggest factors working against Clinton is her lack of forthrightness on her own personal email problem and most recently the revelation from emails that the Democratic National Committee didn’t follow its own rules of neutrality in the Clinton-Sanders primary (resulting in Hillary lapdog leaving her “neutral” position as head of the DNC directly to the Clinton campaign).

Strategically, ANY discussion of emails, foreign hacking, etc. feeds the Trump narrative.  The Democrats took Trump’s bait “hook, line and sinker.”  In addition to Warren, nearly every speaker yesterday RESPONDED to Trump which had the effect of reminding people about the emails, enhancing Trump’s gravitas, and making Hillary look small.

What is the major news story in the major papers and on the news channels?  Not a narrative from the Convention on how Clinton presidency would be good for Americans but emails and treason.  I’m not sure Trump could have gotten a better result if he had written the script himself.  Warren is right.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  

Bonus News Item #1:  President Obama’s speech was essentially a plea for Democrats to come together to preserve the work and legacy of his Presidency even if Democrats don’t want to do it for Hillary.  It was a glaring admission of how small Hillary is on her own.  Contrary to Hillary who openly admits she NEEDS Obama, Sanders, et. al., Trump has made it clear he doesn’t need the endorsement of Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, or anyone else to win this election.  He is willing to stand on his own. Warren is right.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  

Bonus News Item #2:  When the ink isn’t even dry on his endorsement of Hillary at the Democratic Convention, Bernie Sanders announced he is leaving the Democratic Party and returning to his historical Independent Socialist (caucusing with the Senate Democrats).  Bernie’s decision/announcement before the Convention even closes will be seen by many of his supporters as a signal Hillary and the Democratic Party didn’t move enough and their home is not here.  Warren is right.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  

Press Release: New Poll Shows Marsy’s Law Has Overwhelming Support Across South Dakota

marsys law

New Poll Shows Marsy’s Law Has Overwhelming Support Across South Dakota

A new scientific poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies shows South Dakota voters support Marsy’s Law, also known as Constitutional Amendment S, to expand rights for crime victims by an overwhelming 70%-18% margin. The poll also shows that when voters are given more information about Amendment S, support climbs to 84%-12%.  The poll further shows that even after voters hear the likely back-and-forth messaging points on either side of Amendment S, nearly three-quarters of South Dakota voters say they’d vote yes with a margin of 74%-18%.

“South Dakota has some of the weakest crime victim rights in the nation. We are pleased to see South Dakotans overwhelmingly support Amendment S,” said Jason Glodt, Former Assistant Attorney General and State Director for Marsy’s Law. “Voters in South Dakota believe that crime victims in our state deserve the same constitutional protections as their offenders. Nothing more, nothing less. Tens of thousands of South Dakotans have already signed petitions to put Marsy’s Law on the ballot and we are continuing to build on that support. We are confident we will keep this overwhelming support through November.” said Glodt.

Marsy’s Law for South Dakota is a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Ann Nicholas. Marsy was a beautiful, vibrant University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after Marsy was murdered, her mother Marcella and her brother Nick walked into a grocery store after visiting her daughter’s grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. They had no idea that he had been released on bail.

From Public Opinion Strategies:


▪ There’s overwhelming support for Constitutional Amendment S.

By an overwhelming 70%-18% margin, South Dakota voters support Constitutional Amendment S, the amendment to expand rights for crime victims. Support for this Amendment extends across every key South Dakota demographic and geographic group:

▪ Once South Dakotans learn more information about this Amendment, often called Marsy’s Law, support climbs even higher.

After voters get the following information about Marsy’s Law, support for Constitutional Amendment S increases to 84%-12%:

“This Amendment, often called Marsy’s Law, is named after a 21-year-old college senior who wasmurdered in 1983 and was written as a result of the experiences her brother and parents faced after her murder when they were often treated as though they had no rights.

Under current South Dakota law, those accused and convicted of a crime are granted specific rights and protections, while victims of a crime ARE NOT given these equal rights. This proposed Amendment would guarantee that victims of a crime are notified, heard and granted standing to ask that those rights be protected.

In addition, this measure would ensure that victims of crime are notified of bail hearings, as well as any parole, release or escape of a criminal. And, it would create equal rights and standing for crime victims and finally grant victims and their families the voice they deserve.”

▪ Finally, even after testing statements AGAINST Constitutional Amendment S, support remains well above 70%.

After voters hear the likely back-and-forth messaging points on either side of this Amendment, nearly three-quarters of South Dakota voters say they’d vote YES (74%-18%). This demonstrates the significant positive feelings toward this Amendment, and the difficulty any NO campaign would have in defeating it on the ballot this Fall.


Constitutional Amendment S looks headed toward a resounding victory this Fall, as voters are strongly inclined to support it initially, and after hearing about its connection to Marsy’s Law, the YES side climbs even higher. And, even after voters are presented with some messaging points against the Amendment, support for this ballot issue remains well above 70%.

MAIN Coalition Applauds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Decision to Approve Permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline

MAIN Coalition Applauds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Decision to Approve Permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline

July 26, 2016

DES MOINES – The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) coalition today applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s approval of the final permits necessary to construct the Dakota Access pipeline project in areas under their jurisdiction. Construction has already begun on other segments of the 1,172 mile project, which was approved by the four state regulatory bodies in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois earlier this year.

Members of the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now – a coalition of local businesses, labor unions, and agriculture, and other local economic development interests along the pipeline route – have long advocated for the project’s timely approval given the significant economic, employment, and energy security benefits derived from the project.

“As a local farmer, I have long supported construction of this project and am pleased that today it becomes a reality,” Chairman of the MAIN Coalition and Iowa farmer Ed Wiederstein said. “It will provide untold benefits to the security of our nation and our economic future. The agriculture industry, in particular, relies on affordable, easy to access energy and the Dakota Access project will provide value for decades to come for the thousands of farmers across our region.”

Bill Gerhard of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades also applauded the Corps’ decision: “Thousands of American workers from labor unions throughout the Midwest are already benefiting from this project, and these final permits will secure their jobs for the entirety of construction. I’m proud of the men and women building this pipeline for adhering to best safety practices during construction and ensuring that the job is done right the first time.”

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, added his support as well: “The Dakota Access Pipeline has already provided a multitude of benefits for manufacturers throughout the Midwest and will continue to do so long after construction is complete. By sourcing raw materials from American companies Dakota Access has created an enormous market for American suppliers. After construction is finished, the affordable resources delivered by the pipeline will help to further power America’s industry. I’m very pleased to see these final permits approved.”

About the MAIN Coalition:

The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) is a partnership of entities from the agriculture, business, and labor sectors aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits associated with infrastructure projects in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, with members in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois – the states crossed by the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline.

“Paula who?” Hawks poor fundraising handicapping her race.

An article in the Argus today notes something that we’ve been talking about all along; that Paula Hawks isn’t Getting the job done in her campaign: 

Jon Schaff, a political science professor at Northern State University, said Noem is benefiting from her status as the incumbent and ability to raise money, an area she has excelled in since she first ran for Congress. He estimated Hawks, who has raised a total of $316,672, would need to at least double that figure to be able to meaningfully boost her name recognition and hire additional staff.

“It’s getting to the point where I bet her name recognition in the state, I’d be surprised if it’s over 30 percent,” Schaff, said. “If by the middle of September people are still going ‘Paula who?’ That’s a real problem. People are not going to vote for someone they’ve never heard of.”

Read it here.

Old friends on the trail

Just ran into former South Dakota State Auditor & Treasurer Vern Larson at the Vivian rest stop/tourism kiosk just adjacent to his hometown.

Since leaving politics, he’s been doing this for quite a few years and enjoys being an ambassador for South Dakota for the passing motorists.

It was pretty busy when I stopped, so we didn’t have time for much more than a few words of greetings. But it was good to see him nonetheless.

Road trip!

It must be that time of year, because it’s time for me to go on another annual training for one of my jobs out in Sturgis.

So, I’ve loaded up the truck and I’m doing my best to bring most of my office with me, as well as some camera equipment.

I’ve got all day to head over there, so I’ll see if I can snap some photos of the political signs on the road as I meander my way across the state from East River into God’s country.