Thune on Shinseki Resignation: Necessary First Step, But Crisis Doesn’t End There

Thune on Shinseki Resignation: Necessary First Step, But Crisis Doesn’t End There

John_Thune_official_photoWASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) made the following statement regarding the resignation of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki:

“Secretary Shinseki’s resignation is a necessary first step, but the VA crisis is bigger than any one person at the top. We must hold accountable all who played a role in this national embarrassment. In order to fix this systemic, widespread management failure, I’m calling for the VA inspector general to conduct a top-to-bottom nationwide investigation. Additionally, it is critical that actions are taken to improve the quality of care for our veterans by providing greater choice, while ensuring increased accountability and transparency at the VA.

“The same VA leaders who have called for the closure of the Hot Springs VA have now resigned in the wake of systemic, VA-wide failures to provide for our veterans. The administration should immediately halt the Environmental Impact Statement it has started for the closure of the Hot Springs VA. At this time, the VA must focus all of its resources on addressing the current crisis and ensuring that our veterans have the care they need and deserve.”

On May 12, 2014, Thune introduced legislation (S.2316) that would direct the VA inspector general to expand its current limited review (currently at 42 facilities) to a nationwide investigation of veteran wait times.


Nelson Presser.. lots of rhetoric, but a false charge by Nelson brings a sharp reply.

Nelson_presserI had a last minute campaign material delivery in Sioux Falls today, so I made a point to go to the Nelson Press Conference this morning.

I was hoping to hear something new, but unfortunately, it was a lot of the same material that we’ve heard out of Nelson for the rest of the campaign. (And I will post the video later, but bear with me, this kind of thing can take a while to render & upload.)

Stace did touch on the VA, briefly, and went out of his way to frame a scenario where he believed Rounds could be blamed for the VA threatening to shut down the Hot Springs home.

And then there was a response to a question posed by Jon Ellis of the Argus Leader which provoked a very sharp response from the Rounds camp, which later had Nelson trying to claim he didn’t say.

The claim coming from Nelson was that the Rounds Insurance agency was a navigator for Obamacare. This drew a fairly fast response from the campaign who accused Nelson of not knowing what he was talking about.

The words used by the Rounds people were that the Nelson statement that Rounds’ Insurance Agency was an Obamacare navigator was “a complete fabrication.” And they pointed out that under federal law, it is actually illegal for insurance companies to serve as navigators.

As I tweeted a synopsis of the above, Nelson was very quick to fire back:

It was probably a poor choice of words for Nelson to use, as I did check.  And, as you can see, he very clearly and distinctly made the accusation:

It is interesting that Nelson was quick to deny the statement against the Fischer Rounds Insurance agency, as it’s not unheard of in South Dakota for private companies who are drug into political rhetoric to bring legal action against the candidate offering false statements against them, as noted in this 2006/2007 lawsuit:

Brady Phelps, an SDSU professor of psychology has issued a “Retraction” that brings to an end the lawsuit of Drs. John E. Cook and Frederick Fisher against him that started in response to a “Speakout” (“Opening of pain center raises ethical questions about Munsterman”) he wrote. It appeared April 1, 2006, in The Brookings Register. Cook and Fisher, board-certified anesthesiologists, charged that Phelps’ letter had hurt their business.

While Mayor Scott Munsterman, a Brookings chiropractor, was not named in the lawsuit, he was on the periphery because of business connections with Cook and Fisher. Gary Aguiar, an SDSU associate professor of political science, came into the picture also when it came to light that he wrote the Speakout letter that Phelps signed. And also to be factored in was the April 11 mayoral race in which Munsterman was reelected in a four-way race; Aguiar came in second.


A monetary payment is also part of the terms of the settlement; but it is confidential.

Read that here.

So, there’s a good reason Nelson was quick to deny it – there is recent precedent for Nelson’s statement against the Fischer Rounds insurance agency, accusing them of activity that’s illegal under federal law,  coming back to haunt him after the campaign.

At the very least, it may force Nelson to dine on a large serving of crow at this evening’s Minnehaha County Lincoln Day Dinner.

Bosworth sponsored debate closed to press. So, why bother?

Just got a revised release, and the Bosworth debate is closed to the media.


Sioux Falls, SD, May 30, 2014– The South Dakota Senate Candidate Forum location, time, and guidelines have been announced. The forum will take place today, May 30, 2014 at the Wegner Library at 1400 W. 22nd Street in Sioux Falls, SD. The forum will begin at 2pm and is only open to the candidates and their staff.

The forum will adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Each candidate will have a one minute opening.
2. Each candidate will submit one issue to be discussed for two minutes by each candidate.
3. Each candidate will have a two minute closing.

# # #

Really? Then why have it at all? Then it’s just a campaign video.


The tweet is gone, but we might have a clue what tomorrow’s Nelson presser is about.

This tweet was removed from the @repstacenelson account a little while ago after being sent out earlier today in conjunction with tomorrow’s press conference:

tweet_goneOddly titles “Stace Nelson announces campaign team” with a link to the announcement for tomorrow’s presser, it would appear that he might be announcing some staff changes…. 4 days before the election.

I’m not sure if it’s going to make a lot of difference.

My suspicion is that he’s going to announce a campaign position for Ken Crow, (formerly associated with the Ravnsborg campaign), in light of silly allegations that Crow & people affiliated with Nelson camp have been making about Jason Ravensborg being a “plant.”

….Because people completely upend their lives to run for US Senate on a lark because someone asked them to.?  Ugh.

The fact is that in this race, ‘plant’ rumors have been thrown out by people surrounding Team Nelson about nearly every candidate who isn’t Stace Nelson or Mike Rounds.  And it’s as utterly ridiculous as it ever was.

Argus Leader proofers working overtime.

ArgusproofreaderPoor Lora Hubbel. You’d think the Argus would make sure they’re spelling the name of their guest correctly on the image they’re superimposing above her head.

Of course, in the interview, she also reaffirmed that laying babies on their back makes them more susceptible to government control. …. and she indicated that laying babies on their back is part of Obamacare.  (about 20 min or so in)

My misadventures with Poo, somewhere other than the thousand acre woods.

Had a phone call this morning, while I was sitting with my father in the Doctor’s office for an appointment.  It was a phone call to talk about poo.

No, it wasn’t a reference to A. A. Milne’s beloved character who lived in the thousand acre woods and played with Christopher Robin.  It was a phone call from Tom Parsons of Pierre. And he wasn’t very happy with me about a post I wrote.

*sigh* So, what did I do now?

Tom went on a bit about an article I’d acknowledged about him being prosecuted for mailing feces.  It vaguely rang a bell, with me noting that “I recalled it, but it was months ago.” He must have had it in front of him, as he rattled off the exact date I wrote it.  So I let him go on for a bit, until I asked the inevitable question “Why are you calling me?”

The reason he was calling? He was calling to insist that I take the post down.  I was to take it down on the basis that, according to him, the government ‘withdrew the charges‘ and apologized to him ‘because he didn’t mail any feces.’  According to Mr. Parsons, supposedly the Argus Leader also took the story down because it was false.

And it just so happened that by my leaving the post up, “it was slander,” and he didn’t suppose I was going to post his side of it.

I replied “I’ll take a look at it.”  which left him exclaiming “AND- I- AM- RECORDING- THIS- PHONE CALL….  *click*”

Hmph. So, that left me having to go dig the post up from a year ago, which I rediscovered that my sole editorialization was “Unhappy with a government official? Don’t do this.”  The rest was a snippet from the article, which noted that Federal Prosecutors charged him, and pointed out the contents of the indictment.

In other words, what I’d call a throw-away article. Something mildly funny which had a relationship to South Dakota government.

Yes, it was not on the Argus Leader website anymore. But they also changed their website in the last few weeks, leaving old articles in the vapor somewhere.  So, I googled the story, and found a dozen or so articles on it, with far more detail than mine.

But I also came across a more recent article on the saga which had long been forever thought forgotten, now thrust back in my face:

An Order to Dismiss was filed May 2 in Pierre Federal Court for the case involving Tom Parsons. That means that Parsons is no longer facing charges.

In April, 2013, Parsons was charged with one count of sending Injurious Articles as Non-mailable. He was accused of sending chicken feces in an envelope to the Dewey County Treasurer.


Documents were filed at the end of last month stating that Parsons had successfully completed the diversion program.

Read it all here.

Wait a minute.  Maybe it’s just me, but “Agreement for Pre-Trial Diversion”  and “had successfully completed the diversion programwould have a different meaning to me than “the prosecutor said that they were wrong.”

In fact, just in case I was operating under an incorrect assumption, I contacted South Dakota US Attorney Brendan Johnson, who was nice enough to confirm my suspicions, noting that “You are correct with your assumptions about what a PTD is and isn’t.”

And a member of his staff provided the appropriate documentation:

Parsons Diversion

In my reading of this.. I’m not seeing anywhere in the documentation where the US Attorney is saying he didn’t do it.   In fact, it would appear to be the complete opposite.

If you read page 2, Parsons expressly signed the pre-trial diversion agreement in part “accepting responsibility for (his) behavior,” in addition to agreeing to stay out of trouble for the next year.

It doesn’t mean it magically didn’t happen. It just means that based on his admission and good behavior, they have far, far bigger fish to fry than someone who mailed poo.

So, the moral of the story? Firstly, don’t mail poo. Secondly, don’t get all snippy that someone pointed out your story a year ago, now wanting to make sure things are accurately portrayed.

Because you might just get your wish.

This must be the week for Press Conferences.

Stace Nelson for US Senate to Hold Press Conference

Stace nelsonFulton, SD – The Stace Nelson for US Senate Campaign will hold apress conference tomorrow (5/30/14) at the Main Library in Sioux Falls.

What: Stace Nelson for US Senate Press Conference
When:  10:00 am, Friday, May 30th, 2014
Where:  200 N. Dakota Ave., Sioux Falls, SD


Is there anyone who isn’t having a press conference this week?

If Stace is planning to revise his position on supporting Republicans after the election, it might be worthwhile.   (But, I’m not holding my breath.)

The awful campaigns of Joe Lowe & Susan Wismer. Not even close to a Billion.

Susan Wismer tweeting ironically today:

Yeah… it looks like all three are mobbing her.

This is just awful. But if you check out Joe Lowe’s campaign, he’s not much better. It’s clawing it’s way towards mediocrity as well.

You have to keep in mind that these two Democrats fighting to the top of the Democrat’s sacrificial altar are a far cry from the candidates that the SDDP has put forth before.

In fact, let’s take a look at the last time the Democrats had a primary for Governor – in 2006. The victorious candidate was Jack Billion. Here’s what his pre-primary report noted:

Jack Billion Pre-Primary

A good chunk of it was a loan from himself, but he put over $167,000 into the race these 8 years ago, with 65k being raised.

Wismer’s tally? $22,496 raised:

Wismer Preprimary

And how ‘Lowe’ did Joe go? $33,497:

Lowe Preprimary

$22,000 & $33,000…. these aren’t numbers put up by candidates running for statewide office. These are numbers put up by people running for the State Legislature. Even put together, they didn’t hit what Billion raised, and that’s minus what he put into it himself.

Sorry, but it’s hard to take these candidates seriously when it seems they don’t take their races seriously.

After the primary, Billion struggled to gain traction against Republican incumbent Mike Rounds, after running his primary election in a serious manner, and then trying to press the attack against the Republicans.

If he couldn’t do it running a real Gubernatorial race, it remains to be seen how after running an awful primary contest, either Lowe or Wismer can make any headway against a very popular Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard, who is at the peak of his game.

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