Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland launched an ad last week attacking his GOP opponent Mike Rounds for selling U.S. residency to fund his Northern Beef Packers boondoggle and other economic development projects in South Dakota. Weiland's ad provoked much screeching and wailing from Team Rounds. That's a lie! shouts a video from the Rounds campaign. Mike never sold citizenship!

That's true. Rick Weiland and I and other observers occasionally err in our choice of words. The EB-5 visa investment program allows wealthy foreigners to buy their way to front of the immigration queue for $500,000. It does not buy them citizenship. It buys them green cardspermanent residence, which if maintained for five years allows an immigrant to become a U.S. citizen.

Weiland accurately used the term "U.S. residency cards" in his ad. The voiceover then said, "Rick Weiland believes citizenship shouldn't be for sale...." We can spend all weekend debating whether that statement is a lie, an error, or an oversimpification, rectified by saying, "The opportunity for citizenship through permanent residency shouldn't be for sale."

But when Mike Rounds himself finally comes out from under his rock and hyperventilates over that legal/semantic distinction, he will still have to admit to the core of Weiland's critique: selling the privilege of immigration to America was a central part of Mike Rounds's economic development efforts.

Mike Rounds's own EB-5 investment manager, Joop Bollen, said so under oath in 2008:

  1. In 2001, SDIBI initiated recruitment of European dairy farmers to South Dakota to construct and manage large state-of-the-art dairy farms in the eastern portion of the state. SDIBI was successful in recruiting 15 such projects whose owners all legally entered the United States of America to settle in South Dakota on E-2 non-immigrant visas.
  2. The Regional Center Program is an investment visa program designated as EB-5 which grants legal permanent residency to foreign nationals who create 10 direct or indirect full-time jobs by investing at least $500,000.00 in an area with a low population or a high unemployment rate. Such areas are designated as "regional centers."
  3. In 2003 SDIBI applied for regional center status, which was approved by United States Citizens [sic] and Immigration services (USCIS) in April of 2004.
  4. SDIBI obtained regional center status in order to provide more security to the European investors that had settled in South Dakota and to provide South Dakota with a competitive advantage over other states which were also recruiting European dairy investors, but were not able to offer permanent residency as they did not have regional center status [emphasis mine; Joop Bollen, Declaration, Darley International vs. South Dakota International Business Institute, Case No. CV08-05034 DDP PLAx, 2008.08.22].

Weiland and other critics of South Dakota's exploitation of the visa investment program should avoid saying "buy citizenship." They should instead use Rounds's man Bollen's own terms: South Dakota sold "permanent residency" to gain a "competitive advantage." Under Mike Rounds, South Dakota treated entry into the United States as a mere commodity, for sale to bidders more interested in buying green cards than in scrutinizing the hyperbolic business plan Rounds's pals floated for Northern Beef Packers.

38 comments

Zut alors! The South Dakota Legislature's Rules Review Committee has found a way to make English the official and exclusive language in a few dusky corners of our state: the Deadwood card tables. In its continuing response to allegations of high-stakes collusion among poker players, the state Gaming Commission got the Rules Review Committee to say that speaking anything other than English at Deadwood's poker tables is verboten.

I can't wait until some femme fatale enjoying a taco and champagne sneezes and the unlucky yutz next to her instinctively says, "Gesundheit!"

The mischief-maker in me wants to believe there's a court challenge coming: discrimination against Native Americans speaking Lakota, an Americans with Disabilities Act violation excluding folks who speak sign language, something. But the Gaming Commission's lawyer says the linguistic exclusion is kosher:

“The reason we can is because gaming is a suspect activity,” said Mike Shaw, the commission’s attorney. “It is not subject to the same protection that other activities are.”

Sen. Jim Bradford, D-Pine Ridge, said it would be unfair, for example, if two players spoke Lakota at the table and the other players didn’t.

“Same with any language; you could manipulate the game,” Bradford said.

After the meeting Eliason said the “English only” rule is not an attempt to create an official language.

“Its purpose is to prevent collusion among poker players,” he said. “It is the same reason that we prohibited texting and other forms of communication that other players can’t understand or hear or see” [Bob Mercer, "New Deadwood Card Game Rules: No Phones, and English Only," Rapid City Journal, 2014.07.09].

Mercer reports that Nevada and New Jersey have English-only rules like this. Most (but not all) online poker outfits have similar rules. Rules requiring that card players interact in a single common language and medium thus appear to be normal and court-challenge-proof. So all you linguists hoping to impress the ladies will have to save your French for the bar. Quel dommage! Un autre chocolat, mon petit chou?

(Oh yeah, and the new gaming rules ban using cell phones during the game, meaning Pat Powers will squeak again about texting freedom.)

Tangentially Related: Kevin Woster swings the baguette and dishes some French in his essay on Chad Haber.

9 comments

Bosworth grafitti presser not evil 20140527Legal team, clean-up on Aisle 1....

Let's begin with the pretense that I'm not evil.

—Annette Bosworth, press conference, Sioux Falls, SD, 2014.05.27, timestamp 07:15.

On June 4, Attorney General Marty Jackley will feel free to indict fifth-place primary finisher Annette Bosworth on perjury and any other crimes that have come to his attention. In Bosworth's attempt to exploit the press furor over the Isla Vista shootings, the fake U.S. Senate candidate signaled the two prongs of her legal defense.

Bosworth grafitti presser brooding 20140527

...because campaign signs are much more effective spray-painted and tacked up in a dark office than placed out on the highway.

First, Bosworth apparently plans to say that Attorney General Jackley and reporter David Montgomery (yes, she attacks him from the mic, around 14:15) and anyone else who questions her are all misogynists. Bosworth has apparently been paying attention to Kathy Scott, the former Corinna Robinson campaign volunteer who blames me and my misogyny for her sloppy work.

For the record, the majority of sources who have helped me tell the story of the crime and corruption of Annette Bosworth and her husband Chad Haber are women. The two people taking Bosworth to court right now for unpaid wages are women. The person who told the press that Bosworth forced her family onto food stamps by not paying wages is a woman. In the Channette world where everything is a scam and everyone is out to get someone, it is more likely that AG Jackley and I are simply the weak-willed dupes of some persuasive Amazons out to destroy a fellow warrior princess.

Bosworth grafitti presser clueless 20140527

Don't be fooled by this paper. I'm making this up as I go along.

But this isn't the Channette world. Annette Bosworth is simply full of cowcrap. (I wouldn't want to say bullcrap, because that's probably patriarchal.)

The second legal defense gets more specific. Recall that the charges Bosworth and Haber will face most likely include perjury for signing a false oath. Bosworth and Haber submitted nominating petition sheets with their names at the bottom as circulators. Some of those sheets included signatures dated when Bosworth and Haber were in the Philippines.

Amidst great dancing to avoid answering direct questions from multiple reporters, Bosworth said sure, she was in the Philippines when the voters in question, including her sister, signed her petition back here in South Dakota. She says sure, she signed the circulator's oath "at the end of the campaign." She says her signature on the circulator's oath certified that she recognized her sister's signature. She says... well, see what she says in this exchange with reporter David Montgomery:

Bosworth: Did I know the people that signed the petition? Yes. Are they South Dakotans? Yes. Do they support me? Yes.

Montgomery: But you didn't directly circulate that petition?

Bosworth: Let's take the one of my sister, which sat there in my office. And she signed it. And I affirmed, thank you for signing my petition, that it was dated the night before they were due, that I signed that [Annette Bosworth press conference, Sioux Falls, SD, 2014.05.27, timestamp 10:27].

Bosworth grafitti presser mug 20140527

Nothing says "I'm your next Senator!" like standing in front naughty words with your hands full of mics and a mug.

Actually, as I review the petition sheets in question, I find that Annette signed one of them the night before they were due, March 24, but the circulator's oaths on the other sheets in question were signed on January 20, February 11, and March 25. In other words, Annette can't even keep her cowcrap straight, let alone the truth.

But more to the point is that, just as Annette isn't answering the reporters' questions, she answering the question of law. What does a circulator's oath affirm?

I, under oath, state that I circulated the above petition, that each signer personally signed this petition in my presence, and that either the signer or I added the printed name, the residence address of the signer, the date of signing, and the county of voter registration [emphasis mine; SDAR 05:02:08:00.03].

South Dakota law does not ask petition circulators to affirm that they know the signers. It does not ask them to affirm that the signers support them. It does not ask them to thank signers. South Dakota law requires that circulators walk around with those petitions in their hands and eyeball every single signer as he or she signs it.

The filthy words in front of which Bosworth posed today have nothing to do with the wording of the law. The law is clear. Bosworth and Haber broke the law. No manipulation of language or martyrish shouting of misogyny! will change that fact or stop the court from declaring them guilty... assuming AG Jackley gets around to bringing them to court.

*   *   *

Watch the full presser below, if you can bear it. The best part is the first 90 seconds, where we can't hear anything Bosworth is saying.

136 comments

Republican John Tsitrian and I have both said Mike Rounds's claim that the Affordable Care Act reduces Medicare benefits is bogus. No seniors are losing benefits, and the Paul Ryan budget makes the same cuts.

Now regular journalist David Montgomery weighs in, saying Rounds is mostly wrong:

It’s true that the Affordable Care Act will spend about $718 billion less on Medicare during the next decade than would have happened without the law — around a 10 percent reduction. The overall budget for Medicare still is expected to go up over this time — just less quickly than it otherwise would have.

...It’s also true that while the money will be removed from future Medicare budgets, it won’t be withdrawn from the Medicare trust fund, as the ad’s use of the word “taken” could imply [David Montgomery, "A Closer Look at Medicare Claims in U.S. Senate Ads," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.05.14].

The ACA was passed in 2009. It started imposing savings on Medicare Advantage in 2010. The "cuts" (read Montgomery again: funding still increasing, just not as fast as it would have sans ACA) Mike Rounds talks about are already happening. What bad things have happened to seniors? None, says Politifact:

So far, Obamacare hasn’t harmed Medicare Advantage. Coverage has stayed largely the same, premiums have been flat and enrollment has gone up since the legislation became law [Joshua Gillin, "Political Attacks in Governor's Race Make Medicare Claims Confusing," Politifact.com, 2014.04.09].

Post-ACA, Medicare Advantage is covering more people, not fewer. Politifact, which Montgomery cites in his report, deems Rounds-like Medicare claims made in other races around the country Mostly False. But straining to be fair and to avoid any 2004-like accusations that the paper is in the tank for Democrats, Montgomery says that Rounds can get by with his claim by resorting, as is his wont (q.v.: EB-5, structural deficit) , to semantics:

Rounds’ ad, though, is phrased carefully. It says the $700 billion cut “can” end up limiting health care for seniors — not that it definitely will. On Tuesday, Rounds said he thinks that’s a “very likely” outcome but isn’t necessarily certain.

This keeps the ad’s claim factually correct, though the ad omits important context about the cuts. Some similar claims about the Medicare cuts that fact-checkers have ruled untrue have used stronger language saying seniors will suffer, not that they might [Montgomery, 2014.05.14].

Rounds gets a pass because he does the can-can. Great. I can say that Rounds is threatening senior citizens by not dedicating more money to asteroid defense, because an asteroid impact can end up limiting health care for seniors, but I don't see anyone leaping to take away health insurance from up to 27.7 million people just because of that can.

Republicans, do truth a favor, and kick Mike Rounds's can to the curb.

85 comments

Illegitimate U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth calls me vulgar? She's having a bad case of pottymouth this week. Look what she posts on her Facebook page to attract supporters:

FB Fake donor name 20140501

I don't think I saw that name on her invalid petition. Maybe I should double-check.

I'm embarrassed to post Bosworth's vulgarity, but hey, she's the one who says such things matter, and she's the one who says she wants to be a Senator.

In further vulgarity, Bosworth continues to flip the bird at decent, hard-working fellow citizens who happen to use food stamps, saying they are all weak-willed losers. And she's now saying it's perfectly fine to start conversations with crude statements denigrating veterans, retirees, and children.

Carry on, Base Connect. I'm sure that message will play with at least a few people on your mailing list.

49 comments

Black Hills blogger Bob Ellis bleats that Governor Dennis Daugaard has betrayed the Republican Party by criticizing Senator Phil Jensen (R-33/Rapid City). To support this claim, Ellis points to a letter to the editor in which Glenn T. Freeman of Kadoka accused the Governor of issuing a "pro-gay rant" in the March 20 Rapid City Journal.

Whoa—if anyone in South Dakota is making a "pro-gay rant," I want to hear it!

Roll the tape, and let's review what Governor Daugaard said in response to Senator Jenson's controversial statement in defense of the Ku Klux Klan against government civil rights enforcement. First, here's the statement Senator Jensen made:

Jensen goes so far as to say that businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer's race or religion – whether that's right or wrong, he says, can be fairly addressed by the free market, not the government.

"If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them," he said [Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, "Phil Jensen: South Dakota's Most Conservative Lawmaker?"Rapid City Journal, 2014.03.16].

...and here's the Governor's response, four days later:

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Wednesday distanced himself from Jensen in a statement released to the media.

“I found his comments to be completely out of line with South Dakota values," he said. "I don’t agree with him and I haven’t talked to anyone who does” [Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, "Governor Distances Himself from State Senator's Ku Klux Klan Remark," Rapid City Journal, 2014.03.20].

And here's Glenn T. Freeman's interpretation of the Governor's text:

Daugaard's anti-business, liberal, pro-gay position clearly shows Republican insiders shift to the left. Our political party has deserted many of the faithful.

Daugaard is unique. I cannot recall any previous governor who has so brutally used the bully pulpit of South Dakota's highest office to seek political destruction of elected fellow Republicans [Glenn T. Freeman, letter to the editor, Rapid City Journal, 2014.03.28].

Hmm... the context and the headline make clear that the Governor was addressing Senator Jensen's KKK remark. Only the most extreme gay panic can lead Freeman and Ellis to interpret the Governor's response to Jensen's buffoonery as a "brutal" "pro-gay rant." I'd better not invite Freeman and Ellis over for hot dogs; they'll probably cry rape!

As I've noted with disdain before, Governor Daugaard's criticism of Senator Jensen feels more like a political safety dance than any flowering commitment to civil rights for homosexuals. The Governor offered no commentary on Senator Jensen's holy anti-gay crusade during the Legislative session; only after legislators went home did he hazard even muted criticism of the session's headline-grabbing but abortive homophobia.

Glenn T. Freeman and Bob Ellis are hearing things. Governor Dennis Daugaard has never issued a "pro-gay rant". His criticism of Senator Phil Jensen is far from "brutal"... and not being brutal in response to Jensen's retrograde politics betrays principles more important than the planks in the Republican platform.

26 comments

27% of registered voters in Spearfish and Spearfish Valley showed up at the polls yesterday to reject the city's proposed annexation of some of the nicest not-quite urban, not-quite rural agricultural land in South Dakota. On a 54.6%-to-45.4% split, referendum voters chose to keep the split between the city proper and that island of anti-municipal anarchy between campus and I-90.

Mayor Dana Boke sighs plaintively over this split:

“As we move into the future still a divided city, it becomes more and more imperative that leadership groups focus on communication, collaboration, and ensuring that the decisions made are focused primarily on the benefit of the people we serve,” she said. “While the division continues, we must find a way to work together — the people of the city and the people of the valley — the future of Spearfish depends on it” [Heather Murschel, "Public Votes No on Annexation," Black Hills Pioneer, 2013.12.10].

But Mayor Boke isn't exactly speaking a soothing balm to bring those her disagree with her back to the bosom of brotherly community-building:

“I believe in our democratic process, and I accept the decision of our voters,” Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke said. “While the Council determined that all Spearfish residents should share equally in the necessary costs of operating our community, it is clear from this election that the majority of the residents of the City do not feel the same way” [Murschel, 2013.12.10].

Translation: I believe in sharing things equally, but you jerks don't. 

Try that management style out for size in your office, see how that works with your team.

31 comments

Pip pip, cheerio! Here's more wholesome nutty goodness from Republican Senate candidate Annette Bosworth, responding to Todd Epp's question about health care:

We have a federal responsibility to take care of those who can't take care of themselves. We do not have a federal responsibility to take care of the whole bloody nation [Annette Bosworth, interview with Todd Epp, Northern Plains News, 2013.10.17].

Sigh.

  1. Doctors usually recognize a responsibility to take care of everybody.
  2. Senators swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution, which is all about the common defense, the general welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty for, yes, the whole darn nation.
  3. We ordained and established that Constitution after throwing tea off a boat and fighting a Revolution to free ourselves from having to bow to the British. Talking like the British makes any American but especially a Senate candidate sound silly. It also leaves the audience wondering what word you really wanted to say.
6 comments

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