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Newquist: Corruption Dominates South Dakota Culture

Curmudgeon does not begin to plumb the depths of commentator David Newquist's disgust toward the corruption of South Dakota politics. In his latest blog post, Newquist examines the difficulty South Dakotans have in facing the corruption in their midst:

People in the state speak of being “South Dakota nice,” which is the façade of bonhomie which covers a resentful insularity toward people who don’t conform to and endorse the South Dakota attitude. The so-called EB-5 scandal, which should properly [be] called the South Dakota tradition of corruption, produces the response of many people that they are tired of hearing about it. Some simply do not want to face the fact that there is a huge blemish of corruption on that face of niceness. Others, a plurality, support, endorse, and enable those who practice the creed of greed, power, and corrupt relationships with their corporate gods. They cannot or will not face the looming fact that dominant culture in the state supports and enables corruption, nor can the plurality accept the fact their attitude bears final responsibility for promulgating and protecting the corruption. The corporate gods beam down on them through Mike Rounds’ smile [David Newquist, "The Seeds of Corruption Produce Bumper Crops in South Dakota," Northern Valley Beacon, 2014.10.27].

South Dakotans, do yourselves a favor and prove David Newquist wrong. Show that you can recognize and reject corruption when you see it. Vote accordingly.


  1. Greg 2014.10.29

    No good choices here, either send corrupt Rounds or Weiland so he can be a servant for the corrupt Obama Clan.

  2. Bill Fleming 2014.10.29

    Greg, then do yourself and the rest of us a favor and leave that spot on the ballot blank. That way you won't have to feel all sleazy next Wednesday morning ;-)

  3. o 2014.10.29

    Bill, does there need to be a "no confidence" option on the ballot for those who really believe no candidate is worthy of a vote - a way for those who feel disenfranchised to take power instead of give it away?

  4. JeniW 2014.10.29

    O, I wish that was an option.

  5. Steve Sibson 2014.10.29

    "Vote accordingly."

    That means vote for Independent limited government conservatives/libertarians. A vote for Weiland is a vote for the Buffett crony railroad corporatists that Obama is supporting.

  6. lesliengland 2014.10.29

    larry pressler repeating to self..."ralph nader (47-48-25%), ross perot (47-33-18%)


  7. lesliengland 2014.10.29

    2%, not 25..........................

  8. Bill Fleming 2014.10.29

    O, ironically (or perhaps just coincidentally) I think that's what leaving four goose eggs would be for. :-)

    But I have a hard time understanding why someone like Greg can't find someone among the four worthy of his vote. I hope he's not making perfect the enemy of the good.

  9. Bill Fleming 2014.10.29

    Sibby, why in the world would anyone want people who hate government to presume running it? It would be like electing you as chairman and executive director of the planned parenthood/atheists coalition.

  10. o 2014.10.29

    Steve, here is where I think some of your philosophy has jumped the tracks (see what I did there with your "crony railroad corporatists" remake): I want to get the money out of politics, you seem to want to get the money out of government. I still believe that government can do great things, as an extension of the people's will, if it were not beholden to corporate interests.

  11. Owen reitzel 2014.10.29

    Low information voters. Too many South Dakotans listening to Fox News

  12. Chris S. 2014.10.29

    I'm pretty sure Nevada has a "None Of The Above" option on its ballots, which is just stupid. Someone on the ballot is going to win the seat. Sometimes you have to be an adult and evaluate which option you think is best, even if you don't really like any of them. Or, you can leave the race blank if you want. However, a "None Of The Above" ballot option doesn't accomplish anything except toddler-level therapy for people who view voting as self-actualization, not a civic duty.

    Otherwise, it's like a toddler being given the choice of pizza or macaroni for supper, and saying "No! I want Cocoa Pebbles." The adult says, "We don't have Cocoa Pebbles. You can have pizza or macaroni." The toddler responds, "NO! COCOA PEBBLES!" The adult says, "I'm sorry, but that's not an option. You can have pizza or macaroni, or else go to bed hungry." Tantrum ensues.

  13. 96Tears 2014.10.29

    David Newquist hits the nail on the head. There is, and always has been, a public acquiescence to public officials of a certain political party to act corruptly. For an objective primer on the founders of our state, and criminal behavior of people whose names are now the names of counties and cities in our state, read Howard R. Lamar’s “Dakota Territory 1861-1889; A Study of Frontier Politics.” You might find it on Amazon or various receptacle libraries, including the state library in Pierre. It was published by the Harvard Press in 1956. (That might be older than Sibby!)

    It goes back to the first territorial governor and first attorney general. They shared the same cot in Yankton.

    Abe Lincoln is credited with the land grant colleges throughout the United States, including South Dakota’s, but he also turned loose an army of buggers who expected their share of government largesse when the Republicans finally won a presidential race. The best spoils went to the most elite and powerful Republican panderers. You can guess what class of GOP panderers got the spoils in Dakota Territory: The bottom of the political spoils barrel panderers.

    Agriculture was not an industry in those early days. It was the system of army forts in the region that were built to contain and control the native populations.

    Attention in Washington in those years was, except for the Great Sioux Uprising, focused on winning the Civil War and then on Reconstruction. What the GOP buggers did in Dakota Territory didn’t matter at all to those in charge 1,500 miles to the East.

    The economic development strategy of our state/territory depended 100 percent on maintaining high populations of soldiers who bought goods from the earliest non-military residents of the region. To maintain those high populations in the forts, it was necessary to piss off the tribes and keep them agitated by the same non-military residents who bartered them crappy blankets and other items.

    It was not until the 1880s that anyone thought of agriculture as an income source in Dakota Territory, and when the railroads figured it out, they built the lines, created the towns, helped speculators erect bogus structures on homesteads and hauled out the Scandinavians, Germans, Russians, German-Russians and other white immigrants to buy the homesteads or go further west to make their own stakes. That brings us up to 1890 when the last band of pissed off natives got their come-uppance at Wounded Knee.

    On the 125th anniversary of statehood, when Gov. Daugaard recognized the achievements of the first State Treasurer robbing the State Treasury and running off to Mexico, this state hasn’t evolved much spiritually.

    Anyway, read the book. You’ll find Republican blog hack Jon Lauck’s recent tripe “The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History” to be a much more charitable homage to the crooks who set the trend of rigging and fleecing the system in our state’s early days, or as his book description on Amazon says, “American democratic ideals, civic republicanism, public morality, and Christianity were the dominant forces at work during South Dakota's formative decade.”

    Our State Motto: Keep the little people’s minds on Heaven, the Hereafter and the Bible while their elected officials fleece their state government. It’s a time-honored tradition out here in South Dakota.

  14. Jaka 2014.10.29

    Boy, 96Tears, a REAL history lesson!!!! Like the Pharisees in Christ's time, Repub followers in SD can't open their eyes to truth. But, fellow believers mine, let's not forget that Dems have held power similarly in some other states and wielded their power in like manner. It's our human nature of greed unchecked.

  15. leslie 2014.10.29

    this is true. temptation for any bookkeeper to start writing checks.

    crony capitalism is just people being people.

    it is law breaking like EB5 that requires controls, and humble civil servants who don't run for office to enrich themselves.

    GE Capital doesn't pay taxes. HAHAHAHAH. might need some laws like dodd/franks, the previous law that got ditched, FEC, SEC, USAG need teeth. White collar crime doesn't get prosecuted (politically elected) while you and me WASTE AWAY in jail if mentally il if yah can't afford an O.J. defense team, including addiction.

    Chris Christie paid $1 mill. taxpayer dollars to his law firm to successfully escape MSNBC relentless "prosecution". How much has Daugaard/Rounds Cover-up paid in taxpayer dollars to DELAY/DISTRACT/COVER-UP EB5?

    these are the civics lessons we are being taught.

  16. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.29

    Brain washed and low information Republican voters will likely vote for Rounds simply because of the R after his name. After reading comments on various blogs, these voters do not consider EB-5 scandal but simply a Rounds misstep and defend Rounds without knowing the full EB-5 story.
    They continue to be spoon fed with issues like the 2nd Amendment, socialism, fascism, etc. You know the routine.
    For them, Rounds is an anti-Obama, anti-Reid, and anti-Pelosi and that is good enough for them.
    They have not bothered to read understand that Rick Weiland's Populist agenda best serves them.
    They rail against Washington corruption and big government while turning a blind eye to the same and possibly worse, corruption and big government here in South Dakota.

  17. Lynn 2014.10.29

    Roger they say Rick Weiland avoids the issues and never mention what he stands for in his commercials but never take the time to go to his website and where is position on issue is there where it should be.

  18. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.10.29

    I wish the Professor was wrong, but I think he's right. Hence, here I am in Minnesota. Many other South Dakotans have left for similar reasons.

  19. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.10.29

    Human struggles with greed for money, possessions, power, etc., are not limited by political party, religion, race, or anything else.

    However, that struggle does sometimes seem to rest heavier on certain groups. In my opinion, secrecy on the part of the corrupt, and ennui by the rest, especially the press, are the biggest culprits.

    Sigh. Those conditions will continue to keep expatriates such as myself away until substantial change occurs.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.31

    Vital history, 96. Will you be writing the rebuttal book to Lauck's hagiography of our corrupt Republican founders?

    Deb, I hope for more than the sake of the Republican that we can bring you and the other ex-pats back someday.

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