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CISPA, Ranch Welfare, Fire Planes: Faux-Conservative Noem Backs Bigger Gov’t

Rep. Kristi Noem is showing her non-conservative stripes again. Ken Santema notes that South Dakota's lone Congresswoman voted for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) Thursday:

Looking at today’s vote in the House I can’t help but notice South Dakota’s lone representative voted YEA. With this vote Representative Kristi Noem has shown herself to be against the 14th Amendment. Noem and the 287 others that voted YEA to CISPA chose to put acting tough with regards to cyber-security over the privacy rights of citizens.

All is not lost however. CISPA must still make it past the Senate (which failed to pass it last year) and President Obama. Obama has already threatened to veto CISPA. Hopefully the President will keep his word if the bill reaches his desk [Ken Santema, "SD Representative Noem Votes YEA for CISPA, and Against Your Privacy Online," SoDakLiberty, 2013.04.18].

I love it when Libertarians see more hope in the Democratic Senate and President Barack Obama than in the Republican House.

Rep. Noem also continues to believe in welfare... for people who look like her. She has reintroduced legislation to re-establish corporate welfare payments for ranchers down on their luck:

Noem’s bill would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Program and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill for five years, as well as retroactive coverage for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

Noem introduced similar legislation a year ago, which was later merged into the farm bill that stalled in Congress. The disaster assistance measure likely will be included in the farm bill again this year. Noem said a markup on the farm bill is expected in late May.

“Right now we have nothing,” Todd Wilkinson, a vice president with the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, said in an interview after meeting with Noem. “If you have a disaster you have a disaster. You have no way to recover from that” [Christopher Doering, "Kristi Noem Introduces Disaster Assistance Bill for Livestock Owners," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.04.17].

Mighty generous of Rep. Noem. Liberally generous. Regular working folks have disasters they can't recover from all the time—layoffs, medical emergencies, deaths of breadwinners—but I don't hear her advocating retroactive unemployment assistance or medical bill forgiveness.

And to top off her big-government week, instead of supporting the United States Air Force's plan to save us some money by retiring the C-27J Spartan transport plane, Rep. Noem wants the Forest Service to keep those planes flying... and to base them at Ellsworth Air Force Base. I guess the free market just doesn't produce enough jobs or fire fighters in South Dakota.


  1. Charlie Johnson 2013.04.20

    Rep. Noem voted against federal aid for Hurricane Sandy. Yet she wants federal aid for ranchers. She cries loud and far about the deficit in the federal budget but doesn't mind expanding debt to provide federal crop insurance(which isn't need-I farm for a living)! Long cry our federal Welfare Queen.

  2. Vincent Gormley 2013.04.20

    The Lesser Prairie Gnome strikes again.

  3. Bob Mercer 2013.04.20


    You might want to scratch a little deeper into the plane matter. That actually seems like a potentially sound idea. The planes that have been used for bombing forest fires with slurry are ancient in aeronautical years and, for the pilots, sometimes deadly. Aerial slurry is an important tool for fighting forest fires. As for EAFB, its location seems to make it a potential natural choice for a new wing of slurry bombers. (I don't know yet what the Air Force thinks.)

  4. Bob Mercer 2013.04.20

    By the way, the slurry bomber plan is endorsed by all three of South Dakota's congressional delegation -- Democrat Tim Johnson, Republican John Thune and Republican Kristi Noem.

  5. Owen Reitzel 2013.04.20

    Should the ranchers be drug tested?

  6. Rorschach 2013.04.20

    Rep. Noem's Cognitive dissonance. We need to cut federal spending!!! No! We need to INCREASE federal spending*

    Our next member of congress is the person who can get the point across that Rep. Noem is a typical politician, and that Rep. Noem is part of the problem - not the solution.

    *Only for South Dakota

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.20

    Good idea or not, Bob, the C-27J plane plan is another example of the emptiness of Noem's "we have a spending problem" rhetoric. She pretends she wants to cut spending and the deficit, but she keeps finding new SD-vote-getting pork on which she wants to spend that money.

    On the merits of the plane plan itself: is there sufficient need for those planes to justify basing them at Ellsworth, or would there be another location (Cheyenne? Fort Collins?) that would be more central to more areas of high forest fire risk?

  8. larry kurtz 2013.04.20

    DHS is assuming a much larger role in fire management as the risks of weaponized wildfire increase: they have far more clout than than any other stakeholders. Bill Gabbert and I are having a little disagreement about policy but he covers the topic extensively:

  9. Bill Dithmer 2013.04.20

    Meanwhile the ranch that my grandfather settled has never been without water. We have a live creek that can water the whole ranch twelve months out of the year. It is those with short sighted agendas that are having trouble making it during the drought.

    In the last ten years I have seen more pipe being laid for livestock water then ever before. I have seen more grass grazed to the ground without a chance to recover then ever before in my lifetime. We just drove down to our summer pasture and we have knee high grass left over from last year. Why are we so lucky?

    Well that answer is simple. You don't graze to the ground, ever, and when you buy land you had better make damn sure that there is sufficient running water to make your grazing operation work no mater how dry it gets. I know ranchers that have grass but no water, and I know ranchers that have water but no grass because they already grazed it to short before.

    Every time the politicians do something like this it helps those that don't think ahead but it also keeps the land like we have here on Pass Creek seem to be just more of the same when it is self sufficient.

    Let me put it this way. When you have a piece of property appraised it doesn't make any difference if you have water from wells, dams, or a live creek, they all count equally as water. But when there is a drought cross those dams out unless they are spring fed, very few are.

    We are lucky here for a dam that has at least seven springs and never goes down more then a foot even during the worst dry spell. WPA.

    Those wells are not free they require work every year to keep water in front of those cows. The water table here is going down from years of drought. Wells aren't sustainable for years and years without recharging from some where.

    Some creeks go dry when its dry. That's just the way it is. I was lucky again that my grandfather saw this creek first because he knew that there would be water all the time here. I might add that even on this creek this is the only ranch that has running water every day even in a drought.

    Most of the time a piece of property will give back more then is taken from it. But if there is a shortage of either water or grass and you make just one mistake it will take years to recover. There are people right now paying over forty dollars a cow calf pair a month to run their cows.

    When money like that is running around ranchers do some dumb things like graze to short. If you water from a dam that isn't spring fed you are always wondering "will there be enough water to make it through another month." For many of those seeking federal help it is circumstances like these that led to their problems in the first place. It isn't the lands fault, or Mother Nature's, it's the continued need for more money to make ends meet that drives people to do things that harm first their land and then through extension themselves.

    Although I see a need for help when things are bad. If you have a history of grazing to short, and then expect the feds to bail you out when you don't want to sell any cattle then I'm not sure you should get any help.

    Our recent snow storm gave us and most around us the chance for a cutting of hey. For us that means we will again have enough hay in reserve to last two years without getting hay. I might add that has never happened here and we aren't even haying the sub irrigated bottoms on the creek anymore.

    This is the only twelve month creek for miles around here, most people have to get their water from wells when the dams go dry. And we are thinking about fracking. WTF is going on with these people? Why isn't the government, both federal and state, worrying more about what that will do to our ground water then subsidizing for other things?

    Its about priorities people. The time is a coming when there will be wars fought over water. Why take the chance?

    Well again I've said enough to get into trouble. Its about common sense, before, during, and after a drought that makes this land continue to produce the red meat that the people of this country want. Its about wanting someone else to pay for your bad decisions, over grazing, and for some it's about greed. Nuff Said

    The Blindman

  10. Bill Dithmer 2013.04.20

    I have to disagree some with this statement Cory.

    "Regular working folks have disasters they can't recover from all the time—layoffs, medical emergencies, deaths of breadwinners—but I don't hear her advocating retroactive unemployment assistance or medical bill forgiveness."

    Aren't you talking apples and oranges here? After all the same things you are saying apply to ranchers and farmers to. And lets face it you cant just go out and buy more land when there is a drought. There just isn't any more land to buy that isn't affected the same as that which you are setting on now. I don't know a single rancher, right now that is operating completely out of debt. So much for the rich rancher thing.

    If you have a big enough debt, and most do, the only answer is to stay as long as you can and hope that things improve. If you sell then the bank, you, and the communities you live in take the hit because there are no jobs there either.

    I know it is a vicious circle but it is the way things work. If you want to continue to eat relatively cheap food it is the only option that you have.

    The Blindman

  11. Les 2013.04.20

    I have had a "steak" in the ranching business for the 60 years I've been on this earth. I've yet to see more than a little cost share on trees or a cross fence and a pipe line.
    I'm not complaining, that is just not comparable to a farmer that can insure against almost all odds that can confront him/her. I'm not going to even start on the ethanol/corn industry and what it has not done for the cattleman.

  12. Bill Dithmer 2013.04.20

    Les, of course your right. When the government hands out subsidies it does weigh heavy on the farmers side. It's like the feds think ag, is ag, and nothing could be further from the truth. It's one size fits all, only for farmers the fit is like a coat and for a rancher its like a moo moo.

    There are regulations for farming governing how and what they can do with their land. Unfortunately ranchers have to live by the same rules as the farmer even though they don't represent near the risk to the environment that the farmers do. The squeaky wheel gets the most grease, and farming has always had a squeaky wheel that needed greasing while ranchers just went ahead and did what had to be done.

    Like you I'm not complaining. Farming has some risk that ranching doesn't have. And on the other hand ranching has risk that a farmer would never think of. But because of the regulations we all share we have a symbiotic relationship, one depending on the other where congress is concerned.

    I'm reminded of a quote here.
    George Washington McLintock: "There's no such thing as free land. You make these homesteads go you'll have earned every acre of it. But you just can't make 'em go on the Mesa Verde. God made that country for buffalo. Serves pretty well for cattle. But it hates the plow. And even the government should know you can't farm 6000 feet above sea level!"

    And this.
    "The government never gave anybody anything. Some years back a lot like you come in. Had a pretty good first year. Good summer. Easy winter. But the next year the last rain was in February. And by June even the jack rabbits had sense enough to get off the Mesa. "

    Western South Dakota is a lot like the Mesa Verde, along with most cattle country there is. Not good enough soil to farm but real good for cattle. Yet we coexist.

    Sure we pay lower taxes out here in ranching country, but to say we are getting something for nothing is a stretch. The only people that talk like that have never worked a ranch for a living.

    The Blindman

  13. Bill Dithmer 2013.04.20

    This is a slow weekend so I'll post something that I wrote a couple of years ago. It is as true today as it was then. It will be in a book called THE CHURCH OF BILL

    I don’t know anybody out in this neck of the woods that think of themselves as “landed gentry”. Most of the farmers and ranchers out here tend to think about making a living on the land they have way way more then they think about being someone special. Most of the people that I know would go out of their way to help someone broke down on the side of the road.

    I don’t currently know a single farmer or rancher that is involved in an act that is intentionally breaking the law. I have to admit that with new government regulations coming along all the time and having to deal with a whole bunch of different governments and their different and sometimes conflicting rules it might not be to hard for that kind of thing to happen without knowing about it.

    Take for example out here where our ranch is. We have to deal with the federal government, the state government, the county government and the Tribe.

    We deal with things like the federal governments rules when applied to creeks and streams and what can and cant be done on the banks of those streams. Wetlands have become a popular topic for conversation, and that to is regulated by the federal government. Then add to that soil contamination, animal diseases and the transportation of those animals and you have just a start of what the US government does for the landowner. Oh and by the way we have moved our mail box three times in the last fifteen years because the federal government cant decided where they want the darn thing.

    The state well lets see here. They are now running the brand board. It looks like the only people that it is really working for are those cattlemen that live east of the river. If you are new to this brand board adventure ask a west river rancher what the problems are and he will be glad to tell you. Add that to the state veterinarian telling people what they can and cant breed and raise on their own land including certain kinds of goats, and Russian wild boars. Just ask Ace Kary over by Norris SD what can happen when you jump through all the hoops as far as testing and confinement goes with wild boars. As the state said it wasn’t a problem at that time but a perceived problem that might arise in the future. I only need to say one word and I can get both the feds and the state up out of their seat.” HEMP” need I say more?

    Local government well here we go. What some of you city and town folks take for granted the landowners in the country have to worry about every day. Law enforcement. How long does it take for an officer to get to your house if you call him? Here it would be over thirty minutes if they were on their way down the road already and it didn’t involve a member of the tribe.

    Fire protection. Depending on who gets the call and if they can find someone to go from the all volunteer fire department made up of farmers and ranchers out doing work just like you are, it could be thirty minutes or an hour, that’s not the departments fault its just the way it is.

    The ambulance would be the same as the police department as far as time if the road going into your place was in good shape, it’s a county road. Remember we pay those taxes the same as you do for roads and police. The difference is the amount of time it takes to get those services is reflected in the insurance policies we have to pay that are much more then you do if you live in town where the law the ambulance and the fire department can be there in ten minutes.

    Now the tribe and what they want. The landowner has to know the difference between Trust ground, tribal ground, deeded ground and federal government ground. Those who don’t learn the difference will pay in one way or another. You have to learn who has a right to be on your land. And no I’m not just talking about GF&P here but natives or their representatives that have land that they need to get to and the only way is across your land. You have to deal with tribal leases arcialogical sites and the game on your land that is thought to be owned by both the tribe and the state of SD. There are tribal cops, BIA cops, county sheriffs, state patrolmen, FBI, DEA, DCI, and the little women that wants to know what color the fuel is in your pickup either on the highway or in a parking lot at the sale ring.

    Even with all these thing going on we manage to keep the city slickers supplied with a nice assortment of wild game to hunt. These critters are no different then the cattle and horses we ride and work every day. IF you ever see a ranch or farm without wildlife you are looking at a very unsuccessful operation indeed. In fact most landowners that I know brag about the wildlife that they have and would never think of it being any other way. Most of us look at a big buck not in terms of in front of the sites of our guns but as a thing of beauty in our pasture. When we have a big storm we don’t wonder if the birds made it because of the dollars they represent to the rest of the people in the state but because we know what it takes to stabilize a bird population that we can enjoy looking at whenever we want to.

    Most of you wont ever know the feeling of setting on the deck with a cup of coffee and seeing a turkey hen that you saw on a nest in the draw by the house come out in the open with eight chicks for the first time. Or an old doe trying to get her fawns to cross the creek for the first time in their lives. Maybe it would be something that very few people get to see, a bobcat climbing a tree trying to get a turkey supper. Or it might be seeing a hundred Canadian Giants lifting off of the dam only to circle around and land while you are fishing.

    Yup some of us are selfish. We see those creatures as living breathing animals with personalities and family problems just like us humans. Not as food on the table or a mount on the wall. Sure we know that in order to keep the wildlife population healthy there must be hunting. And hunting is now as it has been for years a time for renewing old friendships and making new ones. Most of us don’t have anything to do with “Pay To Hunt” just because of that reason. But we do understand those that do use that to supplement their income.

    On this ranch we have never taken a penny from a hunter. We don’t get money from the government for subsidies. And we still have great game populations of a lot of both animals we hunt and those we don’t ever hunt. We pay taxes just like you do, both sales and income and jump through more hoops then a dog at the circus. And still there isn’t any place where we would rather live even if given a chance.

    The Blindman

  14. bret clanton 2013.04.20

    Well said Blindman......

  15. mike 2013.04.20

    how about a website called ?

    Start tallying up her BS.

  16. mike 2013.04.20

    Charlie! great point!

    No to hurricane relief but yes for ranchers. Can someone say she's a hypocrite?

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.21

    Come on, Mike. Noem understands that horseriders in South Dakota are crucial to national security, while engineers and cops whose homes get flooded in New Jersey are not. ;-)

  18. Roger Elgersma 2013.04.21

    Midwesterners grew up with a farm bill and see that as normal and right. The same people look at the city and see people grew up with welfare and are disgusted that those people think they can assume assistence is normal. Kristi is not different. She is a product of her environment as are most people.
    We can complain all we want about the bad government not having a normal brain good enough to balance a budget and pay for what we need. But until the people see the problem and change themself, the government will not change.

  19. Bill Dithmer 2013.04.21

    Roger what you say sounds nice but I'm curious. How do you change the system without jeopardizing everyone's individuality and lifestyles? Do we let the food growing machine die? Do we let those on welfare run the streets and steal and beg for food?

    Believe me I understand what people want, cheap food, places for everyone to live with the opportunity to advance in life, and safety.

    While I'm not for all farm subsidies, I understand that they need to be brought back into alignment with the needs of the people by stopping payments for doing nothing. I also understand that without some payments food would be much higher priced then it is now.

    Without some protections there aren't many farmers that would take the risk of farming. After all the farmer doesn't determine the price that he gets for his product, someone that doesn't have anything to do with farming does that. The price to farm continues to go up by leaps and bounds while the prices that are paid for farm goods are about the same as they were in the seventies. At the same time the buying power of the dollar is about a seventh what it was in the seventies. They do a pretty good job when you look at it that way.

    What do you see as a more favorable option then what we have now?

    The Blindman

  20. Charlie Johnson 2013.04.21

    There needs to be more risk in farming. Federal crop insurance is guaranteeing not just bushels but revenue also. That absence of risk is being capitalized in higher and higher land sales and rents. Then the cycle continues-more costs because of higher rents and then federal crop raises the guarantee. Then the land rents go up....................... Younger, smaller, more diversified farms would be able to operate and compete better in a more risky environment. As to farm prices, farmers can start using collective marketing.

  21. Bill Dithmer 2013.04.21

    "Younger, smaller, more diversified farms would be able to operate and compete better in a more risky environment. As to farm prices, farmers can start using collective marketing."

    Charlie please explain how this would work in principal. First the risk would be the same no matter what the size of the farm is. No crops, no money, no land payments, and out of business. Remember it takes a lot of land for a family to live on out here. Smaller farms might have worked fifty years ago but not anymore. Not in the real world.

    And please explain collective marketing. It's not going to make any difference how many farmers get involved in the marketing of their grain if there is someone out there with more money willing to offset that total investment by playing the market. The commodity market as it is now is weighted toward the investor broker, not the farmer or farmers. Without some drastic changes in how commodities are traded collective marketing wont work any better then what is going on now.

    I'm sure open to suggestions on this but I have not seen anything in writting that would change this system for the better that would actually work.

    Machinery cost money, people wont work for a dollar an hour anymore, insurance is a nessessity, and a family of four still needs a certain amount of money to live. Diversification only works if, each one of the different products produced can pay the bills when the others fail. Small and diversified sounds good but in reality dont come close to paying for a college education.

    The Blindman

  22. John 2013.04.22

    Bill, most collecting farm subsidies do not grow food. They grow feed. Huge difference. Look around grocery carts at check out. Very little field corn and soybeans in them - even accounting for the lousy health effects of ubiquitous corn syrup (which is present because of several other economic distortions caused by our lousy policies). Unfortunately little to nothing from my cousin's farm that gets in my grocery cart: no field corn (corn syrup contributes to obesity); no soybeans; no wheat (see "Wheat Belly"); little if any beef, pork, or chicken (laced with antibiotics and growth hormones).

    If we are going to subsidize agriculture we should subsidize healthy foods and diets to reduce obesity, present, and future medical costs. You are right about one thing: modern farming is about "playing the market" - which is a far cry from providing healthy food in the land where obesity and diabetes are the new normal.

  23. Bill Dithmer 2013.04.22

    "Unfortunately little to nothing from my cousin's farm that gets in my grocery cart: no field corn (corn syrup contributes to obesity); no soybeans; no wheat (see "Wheat Belly"); little if any beef, pork, or chicken (laced with antibiotics and growth hormones)."

    Right now you are talking about a perfect diet in your grocery cart. How much more are you willing to pay for that, double, triple? I'd like to see more fruit and vegetables that are fresh but living out here has some disadvantages, distance and time.

    "You are right about one thing: modern farming is about "playing the market" - which is a far cry from providing healthy food in the land where obesity and diabetes are the new normal."

    When is everybody going to realize that farming and ranching aren't any different then any other occupation. Both industries are in the business of making money. If you sell cars you are in the business to make money. If you sell insurance you are in business to make money. If you build bikes you are in the business to make money. That healthy food that you talk about comes at a price. It cant be grown just anyplace, in most cases it degrades rather fast, and it takes special handling to keep it marketable.

    Farmers and ranchers raise those things that have a ready market with as little risk as they can to minimize losses and maximize profits just like any other business.

    We buy our beef and hogs from someone that we know that feeds four or five at a time. It comes at a price but we know how good it is. We buy a whole beef and when we can get them whole hogs. We never get any meat cured. That is the extent of what we can buy that doesn't come from the store.

    PS we had gardens hailed out four years in a row so now we don't even plant one anymore.

    The Blindman

  24. Les 2013.04.22

    I had a note on this when my ipad went dead last night and this won't be nearly ads good I'm sure;).
    The collective marketing you're talking about Charlie is no different than what some were griping about with Munsterman. Keeping Jr from a good meal?
    I am as much against corporate farming as anyone here, but. The workers are gone. In my family neighborhood the families were no less than five plus two parents. Most of the current farm families such as mine have no desire to come back to the farm and leave their incomes for the uncertainty of hail, drouth and markets. I to, enjoy a rent payment rather than a risk, plus a much better outside income than my small ranch would provide.
    We hailed out 6 years out of the 60's, 2 years out of the 70's, 1 extremely bad hail plus another minor in the 80's and I proceeded with an outside business after that. That doesn't include the drouths, hoppers, alfalfa beatle, wheat rust, fires, blizzards, harsh calf killing springs, deadly scours in the mid 70's that put us at a 25% calf loss until we started using a canine med not approved for beef...
    If customers like John will put 20-30% of their income into healthy foods, what he wishes for could happen, and I believe it will if we don't destroy what's left of our country getting to that point.
    Right now the subsidies spent on insuring farm production don't come close to the return on that investment even if it is feed and alcohol, etc. The exports from ag are truly one of the legs our country is standing on.
    Wheat bellie. How many unprotected varieties of wheat remain in circulation? A friend says one. I've got a small quantity of another I need to propagate back into existence. HFCS.? The consumers need to demand a change. We've been fighting without the help of the consumers for country of origin labeling(COOL). The Monsanto everyone loves to hate(I cant imagine life without Roundup, Dad thought the same of DDT) wouldn't exist to the degree it does, if the consumer was truly health driven, at least not in the western world.
    Fat and happy, I'm to blame as much as anyone. Now back to that ranch welfare, could someone point me there, after sixty years I'm still looking for a welfare check in that world.

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