Welcome to Rick’s “Take it back” Blog
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“So let us stand for justice and jobs and against special privilege.
From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America.
“From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America.
From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick — come home, America.
Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward.
Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for this “is your land, this land is my land — from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters — this land was made for you and me.”
July 13, 1972
Our family wishes you peace, prosperity and good health in the coming year. We thank you for your encouragement, kindness, generosity and friendship.
We must never lose our inspiration and belief in the promise of America. Together we made a difference and are looking forward to continuing the journey that beckons America home.
WISHING YOU A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON
Rick, Stacy, Nick, Adam, Carter, Samantha, Emerson, Taylor and Alexandra
Do Unto Others?
On this Thanksgiving holiday, we Weilands pray that our nation of immigrants may find the wisdom to do unto others as others have already done unto us.
When immigrants landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, they were not greeted with concertina wire and deportation notices. Instead, Native Americans of the Wampanoag Tribe joined with them in thanksgiving for the bounty of the land they shared.
How can it be that we today deny asylum to young children sent by their parents to escape near certain death at the hands of druglords, when we ourselves reside here because others opened their arms to our forefathers’ flight from religious persecution? Do our leaders really speak for us when they tell us 21 young children so threaten we South Dakotans that they must be deported immediately?
Of course America cannot welcome everyone. But why can we not come together to adopt an honest, education based immigration law that would honor, not degrade our heritage?
Why not offer citizenship based on demonstrated knowledge of what freedom means, and the educational attainment required to live freely in America? Go to school, then come to America, not pay some criminal to bring you to America, then hide like a criminal.
Big money loves undocumented immigrants they can hire for peanuts.
But next year, when we give thanks, how much better would it be were we able to give thanks for a nation truer to its beliefs than to its desire for cheap undocumented immigrants to wash its clothes and pick its grapes?
Freedom is America’s gift. We Weilands wish it for you and yours this Thanksgiving holiday.
May it be ours forever, and may we share it with as many as we can.
I wanted to share with you an article that Pete Stavrianos recently wrote that has been making the rounds with some of the progressive blogs and various media outlets. Pete is a long time friend/advisor and served as a key political strategist to Senators McGovern, Abourezk, Daschle and Johnson. I thought you might appreciate his take on the SD Senate race.
An analysis of the 2014 South Dakota Senate Race
by Peter Stavrianos
Most Democrats ran hard toward the muddled middle in the 2014 elections. Once there they quickly discovered the truth of the old Texas observation that the only things in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos.
But in one red state, South Dakota, Rick Weiland ran progressive from wire to wire. He openly channeled Elizabeth Warren. He even said publicly that his campaign was a laboratory for experimentation with ways to deliver the Massachusetts progressive’s message with a Midwestern twang.
Middle of the roaders, smarting from criticism their strategy was a colorless pablum that led to double digit defeats, have pointed out that Weiland also lost by double digits. Their claim – it was just a mid-term election in the 6th year of an unpopular presidency, so all Democrats suffered regardless of their message.
But observers who know South Dakota would beg to differ. The reason is the independent candidacy of former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler.
Yes, Weiland lost 50-30 to two term former Governor Mike Rounds. But did his progressive, anti-big money politics message really lose by 20%?
In fact it lost by just 2%, an astonishingly close result in a state where the Democratic candidates for Governor and House, on the same ballot as Weiland, lost by 45% and 33% respectively.
This conclusion is not wishful progressive thinking. It is based on a PPP tracking poll completed just two days before the election.
That astonishing survey showed Weiland trailed Rounds by just 2% in a race without Pressler, and was the second choice of the overwhelming majority of Pressler voters.
This was hardly surprising since the independent Pressler ran as a liberal reform candidate, loudly proclaiming he had voted for Obama twice, supported Obamacare, gay marriage, and had marched with Martin Luther King.
In a race without Pressler, Weiland and his message were 30-40% closer to victory than his ballot mate Democratic candidates for Governor and Congress.
Weiland’s message was also closer to winning than were the candidacies of big name incumbents in states far friendlier to Democrats than South Dakota.
In Kentucky, for example, where national Democrats spent tens of millions of dollars on a race so timid the previously popular statewide officeholder was not even allowed to say whether or not she had voted for Obama, that unfortunate middle of the roader took her big bankroll, and her timid message, and turned a tight race into a 15% loss.
In South Dakota, by way of contrast, Weiland, an unknown, two time political loser, took an old car, and a new populist message on the road. With less than zero help from his national party he turned a 30% deficit into what would have been a very narrow loss, or conceivably even a win, had independent Pressler not grabbed 17% of his vote.
Rick Weiland and his Take it Back campaign against big money control of both national political parties struck real sparks in South Dakota. The sparks Weiland generated speaking Warrenese in a red state way may have been obscured by the effect of an aging ex-Senators back in the day windmill tilt, but close observers know what really happened in South Dakota in 2014.
If you don’t believe it, just watch 2016 and see how many savvy seekers of public office copy Grimes, and how many copy Weiland. Those numbers, like those from South Dakota in 2014, may surprise you.
Mr. Stavrianos served as COS and in other positions with South Dakota Senators George McGovern, Jim Abourezk and Tom Daschle from 1962-1995. Stavrianos holds a BA and MA in political science from Harvard and UC Berkeley respectively. He has been retired since 2005 and served as an occasional adviser to the Weiland campaign.
Talk About Just Plain Stupid!
The only crock bigger than the Keystone Pipeline is Senate Democrats dumping on our environment to try to save one of their own.
Talk about business as usual, talk about midterm lessons unlearned, talk about just plain stupid!
You’ve already lost the Senate. Polls show that Mary Landrieu, whose runoff election you hope to influence, has absolutely no chance of winning. So what do you do, backstab your president, our Native Nations and the entire environmental community on behalf of a pipeline that will not only not create jobs or any energy security, but will pour additional billions in profits into the hands of the big money special interests who just spent a fortune to crush your party at the polls.
That’s genius, DC Democrat style. And it is the reason my campaign is not over. In fact, it has just begun. As a political party, and as a country, we have one chance and one chance only. END THE HAMMERLOCK BIG MONEY HAS ON BOTH OUR POLITICAL PARTIES.
If you would be willing to help us, click here.
For 18 months we ran for Senate with little more than my videographer son Nick, myself, a lot of shoe leather, and the help of a handful of friends with more passion and skill than common sense.
I want to keep that team together, retire our small debt, and get back into the fight, right now. If the DC Democrats selling us out on Keystone XL doesn’t show why we can’t wait, what will?
Please, send just a few bucks and stay tuned. We may have gotten washed over by the same wave that drowned so many Democrats. But unlike them, we’re not rolling over, belly up and bloated, we’re fighting on.
We are going to make South Dakota a demonstration project, and a nationwide beacon for the fight against big money.
And if you don’t think that matters to you, think about this. Does Elizabeth Warren’s voice matter beyond the boundaries of Massachusetts, or Bernie Sanders beyond Vermont, or did Paul Wellstone make any difference outside of Minnesota?
We have assembled a merry band of very low maintenance truth tellers out here on the prairie. Keep us going with a buck or two and you’ll get the most entertaining, noisy, truth to power megaphone in America. Maybe you’ll even get a new song or two!
So stay tuned. We are not done yet, and Keystone XL shows why.
The fight for a constitutional amendment and other reforms to drive big money out of politics and put the most constitutionally ignorant Supreme Court in American history back in the jack in the box from which it sprang has got to be won or it will be Keystone XLs and stolen Presidential elections as far as the eye can see.
While we came up short of our ultimate destination last night, I couldn’t be more proud of the race we ran and the incredible journey I’ve experienced over the past 18 months.
I will always remember the literally tens of thousands of South Dakotans I met along the way. I will remember the young Native American children on our reservations fighting for a better life against a government that puts the needs of big corporations ahead of them.
I also will remember all the folks I talked to who are working two minimum wage jobs just to try to put enough food on the table to feed their families.
I will remember the seniors I visited with who wouldn’t give up their Medicare for anything and can’t understand why Big Money wants to turn it into a voucher program so millionaires can get a $200,000 tax cut.
I will remember the veterans I visited with who can’t understand why they can’t get the care they need when they return home from combat while they watch the richest one percent of this country pad their pockets even more with all kinds of help from a government that is no longer on their side.
We came up short last night in our effort to take back our country. But, when you look at history, the big battles are never easy. But, I still believe that when individual citizens, the people who make this country go, get good and riled up, real change is possible. I will continue to fight for that change and I hope you will join me.
The fight for getting Big Money out of politics has to go on.
There are simply too many people, too many lives at stake and too many kids who need to have the same opportunity I had growing up.
No retreat. No surrender.
Thank you all so much.
Martin Luther King had a dream.
Well, tonight, I have one. Not in the same league as his admittedly, or really the same universe. But important enough to me personally to wish with all my heart that he were here right now to help me bend the arc of history its way.
I dream of a politics where NONE OF THE ABOVE did not have to be the right choice.
A country freed from the thumb of power and privilege on its government, fighting together to end plagues, not isolate those who seek to end them.
None of the above.
Today a cry of despair from citizens fed up with EB5, tired of the scandals, financial and moral, that inevitably break out all along the fault where politics and money grind together.
Were none of the above on the ballot this year, I would immediately withdraw and throw my support to her.
Lacking that choice, or that great man to guide me, the best I can do tonight is to promise if elected I will form a “None of the Above Caucus” in the United States Senate.
I will ask every Member of the United States Senate to join it. I will ask Elizabeth Warren to lead it, and to run for the office of Majority Leader of the United States Senate as its leader.
If she will not do it I will ask Bernie Sanders, or Dick Durbin or any other leader from either side of the aisle willing to step forward to do it.
And if none steps forward this year, I will ask again in the next Senate, and the next.
Will it work three months from now, when the new Senate convenes? Obviously it will not. Only a handful now have been able to resist selling their offices to big money for campaign cash.
But the none of the above idea I struggle to refine tonight will be on the march.
Imagine a Senate controlled by the victors in none of the above campaigns like ours.
Just ask yourself this. In your state, be it South Dakota or any other, were none of the above on the ballot this year how would she do?
How would Mr., Mrs. or Ms. None of the Above, looking out at the voters from their televisions and iPhones and iPads through ads paid for by small money, and therefore free to offer a none of the above platform, fare at the polls this election day?
A none of the above platform demanding justice without borders.
No more scandal plagued EB5-style sales of the American flag to the highest bidder.
No more retirement systems where all of your money is taxed to pay for them, but only one one-thousandth of the billionaires is so taxed.
No more wages so low taxpayers must choose between ponying up to keep those who earn them alive, or just letting them go homeless and hungry, or turn angry and dangerous.
How would that None of the Above candidate fare in your home state this year?
In South Dakota, he or she would win 75% of the vote, probably more.
Imagine a free Senate, one composed of men and women who had been elected because they had been funded well enough to ask on the radio, if you want no part of Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid, vote for me.
Imagine a Congress elected on a none of the above platform that simply laid before the voters the policy choices offered by the wholly owned subsidiary of big money that is our Congress and our government today and said, “enough, none of the above!”
That is my platform in South Dakota. That, and a positive vision of a country cured of the big money pestilence loosed upon it by the Citizens United Supreme Court and committed to simple justice for all in every aspect of our lives.
That is my platform and we have come out of nowhere, with nearly no money, to within a whisker of winning.
Were we able to propel this none of the above vision forward on television and computer screens, on car and tractor radios, in small and big town papers this last week of election year 2014, we would win.
We would win because none of the above is the right choice for America right now. America knows it in their bones and wishes mightily it could scream it at the ballot box.
You know that is true. Everybody does.
The only problem is that America does not have that choice.
The None of the Above caucus I will form in the Senate next year will be the first small step toward giving them that choice. I have offered South Dakota this None of the Above choice with everything I have.
In the week ahead, I will sharpen that choice in debate and across my state.
None of the above is what I believe. It is the only answer to the political choices we are offered today.
Win or lose, in the Senate, or wherever I may be, there will be a None of the Above caucus. Be it a caucus of one or one million, a bend in the arc or just a tiny imperfection, it will be my cause.
America can do so much better. The way to make it better must start with a ringing NONE OF THE ABOVE next Tuesday.
I hope you will join me in delivering that message.
They need to hear it!
Time To Stand Up For Equality
Growing up in Madison, my Mom Terry ran a tight ship. Taking care of seven children and helping her husband start and run a small business grows more incredible every time I stop and think about it.
I’ve been fortunate in my life to have strong, capable women help me along the way my entire life. In addition to my Mom, my wife Stacy is a small business owner herself and an incredible mother to our five children.
My campaign advisers tell me that I shouldn’t call myself a feminist. But, consider a definition of feminism: A movement for granting women political, social, and economic equality with men. That’s about as straightforward as you can get and it certainly captures how I feel towards my mother, my sister, my wife, my daughters and granddaughter.
Women have come a long way since they finally secured the right to vote ninety-six years ago. The problem is progress has been too slow and our elected leaders have been too reluctant in embracing common sense legislation that would truly put women on equal footing with their male counterparts.
In a nutshell I believe the following:
• Women should be paid the same as their male counterparts for the same work.
• Women should make their own health care decisions.
• Women should have the same access to funding to begin businesses as men.
I pledge to continue to work as hard as I know how, not just for my Mom and family, but all South Dakota women.
Response To Rounds Attack Ads
Last week, Mike Rounds began airing two negative ads that distort Rick’s positions on a number of issues. Below is a point-by-point response to the inaccuracies in Rounds’ television commercials:
1. Raise Taxes
Mike Rounds claims Rick will raise taxes. Mike Rounds supports Paul Ryan’s plan that would give a $5.7 trillion tax cut to millionaires and big corporations. Under Mike’s plan, the average millionaire would receive a $200,000 tax cut. This is as far from “South Dakota common sense” as you can get. Rick favors closing loopholes that allow big corporations to avoid paying taxes and changing the tax treatment that allows hedge fund managers to pay less in taxes than working families.
2. Supports Obamacare
Mike Rounds says Rick supports Obamacare. Rick has said from the beginning that Obamacare is flawed because it isn’t affordable enough. Rick favors giving all Americans the option to buy into Medicare. A Medicare option would provide real competition for the big money private insurance companies, drive down prices and strengthen Medicare.
3. More Gun Control
Mike Rounds wants you to believe Rick does not support the 2nd amendment. Like most South Dakotans, Rick knows hunting is a way of life. Rick also believes in the right to own guns for protection. Like more than 90% of gun owners, Rick supports background checks so that we do not sell firearms to criminals or to the mentally ill. But Rick will always fight to preserve the Second Amendment.
4. Opposes Keystone
Rick opposes Keystone because it doesn’t create any permanent jobs for our state. It doesn’t provide any oil for the United States. All the oil goes to China. All the money goes to big oil. And, the fact of the matter is Keystone will do nothing to alleviate the rail car shortage. He believes that that is a big money lie. The oil companies in North Dakota have said they prefer to use rail because they want the flexibility to send their oil to refineries all across the country. In a nutshell, Keystone gives us no jobs and no oil and all the risk of heavy tar sand oil polluting our ground and water.
Rick for Women
Consider the definition of “feminism”: A movement for granting women political, social, and economic equality with men. That’s about as straightforward as you can get and it certainly captures how I feel towards my mother, my wife, my daughters and granddaughter. And, that’s why I am proud to call myself a feminist.
I’ve been fortunate to have strong, capable women help me along the way my entire life. Having my Mom, Terry, in Madison supporting me is a big plus for our campaign. Terry raised a family of seven children and helped my father Bud start a small business that is still thriving today. My wife, Stacy, is a small business owner herself and an incredible mother to our five children.
Women have come a long way since they secured the right to vote ninety-six years ago. Yet progress has been too slow and our elected leaders have been too reluctant to embrace common sense legislation that would truly put women on equal footing with their male counterparts.
In a nutshell I believe the following:
Women should be paid the same as their male counterparts for the same work.
Women should make their own health care decisions.
Women should have the same access to funding to begin businesses as men.
Join me to support the incredible women in South Dakota. As your Senator, I will fight to give women a level playing field.
Mike Rounds’ Record Speaks for Itself:
Voted Against Appropriating Funds to Domestic and Sexual Abuse Shelter Programs (2/16/93) SB 195
The bill allocated $125,000 for domestic and sexual abuse shelters. The bill passed 26-9.
Voted Against Appropriating Funds to Domestic and Sexual Abuse Shelter Programs (2/7/94) SB 249
The bill allocated $250,000 to the Department of Social Services to award grants for domestic abuse and sexual abuse shelters. The bill passed 23-12.
Voted Against Allowing Expert Testimony on Battered Person Syndrome (3/3/93) HB 1161
The bill allowed expert testimony on battered person syndrome in criminal cases to establish requisite belief of imminent danger of death or great bodily harm or impairment of reason. The bill passed 28-3-4.
Voted Against Protecting People in Dating Relationships from Domestic Abuse (2/6/96) SB 148
The bill would include “persons who are in a dating relationship” in the definition of “family or household members” for purposes of domestic abuse. The bill passed 27-7-1.
Voted Against Requiring Health Insurers to Cover Mammograms (2/25/91) HB 1407
The bill required all Medicare, group health, non-profit and corporate health insurance policies to cover mammography screenings for women. The bill called for coverage of one baseline screening between the ages of 35-39 and one screening every other year between the ages of 40-49 and annual screenings at age 50. The bill passed 23-12.
Mike Rounds vetoed a bill that would have expanded the definition of domestic abuse as Governor. (HB 1105 – 2/15/2005)
Signed most restrictive abortion bill in state’s history.
Supports Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.
Larry Pressler’s Record Speaks for Itself:
Voted For Strict Restrictions allowing federally-funded abortions only to save the mother’s life…not in cases of rape or incest. (Schweiker Motion. 9/24/1979)
Voted to Prohibit federal funds in life-threatening situations or for victims of rape or incest. (Weicker Amendment. 10/3/1984)
Voted For Denying Women in the District of Columbia from funds for abortions, except to save the life of the mother. (Simpson Motion. 11/7/1985)
Voted Against raising the income ceiling for food stamp eligibility. (Stafford Amendment. 11/12/1985)
Voted to Maintain restrictions on funds for the District of Columbia for the payment of abortions except to save the life of the mother. (9/16/1986)
Voted to require mandatory AIDS testing of all immigrants. (Danforth Motion. 5/21/1987)
Voted against allowing women in the District of Columbia funding for abortions except when the mother’s life is in danger. (Harkin Motion. 9/30/1987)
Voted to continue debate preventing a vote to provide unpaid, job-protected leave to parents of newborn children. (Byrd Motion. 10/7/1988)
Voted to oppose the dependent care tax credit and to make it refundable. (Mitchell Substitute Amendment. 6/22/1989)
Voted to support persons convicted of or charged with a sexual offense involving a minor from coaching, teaching or serving as a role model to minors within the District of Columbia. (Armstrong Motion. 3/1/1990)
Voted to support the exclusion of private, non-profit organizations performing abortions from receiving direct federal funding under Title X of the Public Health Service Act of 1970, a state block grant program. (Hatch Amendment. 9/25/90)
Voted to confirm Clarence Thomas as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. (10/15/1991)
Voted to oppose requiring bilingual balloting for certain language minority populations. (8/7/19920)
Voted to support President Bush’s override of a bill forcing employers to give workers up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for newborns or ill family members. (9/24/1992)
Voted to oppose an override of President Bush’s veto of a bill allowing taxpayer-funded family planning clinics to advocate abortion as a family planning method. (10/1/1992)
Voted to oppose Family Medical Leave Act. (2/4/1993)
Voted to oppose states and local governments from providing general welfare assistance to able-bodied individuals unless they are participating in workfare programs. (6/22/1993)
Voted to support an amendment to prohibit the promotion or distribution of condoms without parental consent. (2/8/94)
Voted to oppose the FY95 Clinton budget. (3/25/1994)
Voted to oppose making peaceful obstruction as well as violent intimidation outside abortion clinics a federal crime subject to civil damage awards. (5/12/1994)
Voted to oppose expansion of government-mandated and government-defined “standard benefits package” included in the Clinton Health Security Act to include coverage of various specific preventive services for pregnant women and their babies. (8/16/1994)
Today, all Americans will spend some time reflecting on the anniversary of the attacks that occurred on American soil thirteen years ago today. All of us can remember where we were that morning in vivid detail. In the worst of times, we saw the best of America in the hours and days after the attacks.
The world remains a dangerous place as the presence of ISIS and Russian aggression in the Ukraine clearly demonstrate today. Staying vigilant in the combatting of terrorism remains a critical job for our intelligence agencies and military branches. The courage on display every day by America’s fighting men and women all around the world is breathtaking.
As a country, we have a contract with our full-time service members and National Guard members. They take care of us during our greatest time of need and it’s incumbent upon us to take care of them when they return home. We need to take a lesson from the days after September 11th and work on taking care of our veterans in a truly non-partisan manner.
It’s the least we owe them.
Fact Check — Mike Rounds On The Ryan Budget
Mike Rounds doesn’t appear to know where he stands on Paul Ryan’s budget because he is saying one thing during the primary and a completely different thing through paid political spokesman Dick Wadhams. This spring, he said:
“I commend Representative Ryan for what he has done….Did you know that between 2012 and the year 2021 they plan on taking 732 billion dollars out of the Medicare trust fund to prop up Obamacare? Representative Ryan understands that and he understands that we have to reform it and the sooner we get started on that the better. I commend him for his efforts and I look forward to working with him.” — Mike Rounds at the South Dakota Newspaper Association Debate, April 12, 2014
“Now within government itself, I think the reality is you have to start slowing down social welfare programs. You have to slow down Medicare growth. You have to slow down Social Security growth.” - Mike Rounds on KSOO radio – April 30, 2014
But now his high-priced out of state spokesman Dick Wadhams, went as far as to say about the SDNA debate that: “Rounds responded that while he respected Congressman Ryan’s efforts to balance the budget, he could not support that specific plan.” As the above quote shows, Mike Rounds never said that. Mr. Wadhams is clearly trying to paint over Rounds’ comments at the newspaper association debate. If Mr. Rounds has changed his mind about this aspect of the Ryan plan, he deserves to let voters know.
Fact Check — Mike Rounds Is No Friend Of Renewable Energy
Mike Rounds likes to say that he has been a friend of the alternative energy and renewable fuels industry. But, the facts are completely different in that regard:
As a state legislator, Mike Rounds Voted Against Tax Credits for Ethanol Producers (2/24/92) HB 1009: The bill provided a .20 per gallon tax credit for ethanol producers. The tax credit was in the form of a transferable motor fuel tax credit certificate. The bill passed 30-5.
As Governor, Mike Rounds proposed a new tax on ethanol producers: “Gov. Mike Rounds’ administration has essentially raised a tax without legislative approval, the Legislature’s executive board charges in a letter approved Monday. The Executive Board letter expressed “deep concern” over the tax form and said the issue was “discussed and debated before a legislative committee extensively and … the message of the Legislature was clear. That message was to leave the tax and reporting structure as it is currently promulgated.” Read The Full Story Here
As Governor, Mike Rounds vetoed a bill that would have helped jump start our state’s wind energy industry: “South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds has vetoed a bill that would have given special tax refunds to construction projects involving the generation of electricity from wind.” Read The Full Story Here and Here
As Governor, Mike Rounds gave $30 million to a Big Money, Foreign Oil Company to build a pipeline through South Dakota that already had to be built here with or without the $30 million of state money.
As a Senate candidate, Mike Rounds has taken tens of thousands of dollars from Big Oil including Exxon Mobil, Devon Energy, Newfield, Tesoro, Valero, Whiting Petroleum, Western Energy Alliance and Continental Resources which is owned Harold Hamm, the man considered to own more oil land than any single American citizen. Rounds also has taken $3,000 from COAL PAC.
Fact Check — Mike Rounds On Balanced Budget & Growing The Size Of The State Government
Mike Rounds likes to say that “here in South Dakota, we balanced our budget every year.” Too bad he didn’t balance the budget.
When given the opportunity to reign in government, cut spending, and get our state government back on the side of everyday South Dakotans, Mike Rounds expanded the size of government, increased spending, and left a $127 million deficit to his successor, Governor Daugaard. (Read the Full Story)
In fact, 7 of the 8 budgets Mike Rounds submitted were in deficit (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). It is safe to say that Mike Rounds is the biggest, most irresponsible, spender to ever be elected South Dakota governor. Mike Rounds is making a habit of saying one thing when the truth is completely different.
The truth is, Mike Rounds expanded the size of the South Dakota government by 1,500 employees. 7 of the 8 budgets he submitted were in deficit and he and left office with a $127 million deficit that his successor had to clean up.
Meanwhile, Mike Rounds aided his largest campaign donors and made sure they got millions of dollars in no-bid state contracts. He purchased airplanes. He spent $300,000 renovating the Governor’s vacation home in the Black Hills where he also refused to release the names of guests who stayed there. And, all this massive growth in state government occurred during a time when the state’s population essentially remained unchanged. Is that South Dakota common sense?
Fact Check — $716 Billion Medicare Lie
“Did you know that between 2012 and the year 2021 they plan on taking 732 billion dollars out of the Medicare trust fund to prop up Obamacare?” – Mike Rounds at the South Dakota Newspaper Association Debate, April 12, 2014
Mike Rounds spent hundreds of thousands of dollars broadcasting this claim across South Dakota during the Republican primary. He is still saying it today. The only problem, it is patently untrue.
Just ask Pulitizer prize winning organization Politifact: “We just really don’t find this one all that true,” and “the claim isn’t accurate” (Read The Full Fact Check). Or you can ask KELO. Or Politico. Or Politifact again.
The truth is the Affordable Care Act has extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund an additional 14 years. (Read For Yourself)
The Affordable Care Act doesn’t steal money from Medicare to pay for Obamacare and the Medicare Trust Fund is now more stable than it was before the ACA. Yet Mike Rounds still keeps repeating the same misleading claim to cover up the fact that the only solution to Medicare solvency he has supported is the disastrous Paul Ryan plan that would destroy Medicare as we know it.
Fact Check — Mike Rounds On EB-5
Mike Rounds talked about EB-5 during the debate today. He has said repeatedly over the course of this race that EB-5 is good for South Dakota – even after multiple multi-billion dollar bankruptcies. Mike Rounds believes America should be selling citizenship to the highest bidder. Rick Weiland disagrees.
EB-5 is a program that has fast created a culture of corruption where middlemen and lawyers profit, and investors lose money. Rounds continues to maintain that South Dakota lost “no taxpayer money” on Northern Beef Packers. The facts suggest otherwise:
For more information about the troubled EB-5 program Mike Rounds wants to extend, please read the links below:
Rapid City Editorial: “The legislative panel should subpoena members of both the Rounds and Daugaard administrations who were involved in the EB-5 visas-for-investment program so the public can hear for themselves what was going on rather than be told what happened by parties who may have an interest in controlling the flow of information.”
Aberdeen American News: “We can’t believe that state legislators know all there is to know about how the state used EB-5, and who could have stopped its misuse.”
Capital Journal Editorial: “It seems to us that partisan politics and a South Dakota aversion to openness are among the things keeping us from getting to the bottom of EB-5.”
Fortune: EB-5 “is one of the least explored of the many dark corners in America’s deeply troubled immigration process.”
Weiland Announces Hiring of Steve Jarding As Senior Advisor Sioux Falls small businessman and U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland announced that Steve Jarding of Rapid City has joined his campaign. Jarding will serve as a senior advisor and spokesman for the balance of the race.
“I’m incredibly excited to welcome Steve to our team. His credentials speak for themselves. He has provided counsel for a number of populist Democrats including our own Tim Johnson and Nebraska’s Bob Kerrey.” Weiland said. Jarding, a native of Alexandria, South Dakota and a graduate of Mitchell High School has a long record of accomplishment in the political, public policy and academic arenas. Jarding’s political career includes helping candidates win statewide races that were considered difficult races to win in South Dakota, Nebraska and Virginia. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of South Dakota and a Master’s degree in Government from Oklahoma University. For the past 11 years, he has been a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. “The people of our state need Rick’s voice in Washington fighting for us every day. Rick owes big money interests nothing. He is a breath of fresh air, of reason and of hope. I am delighted to be on his team working to elect a leader for all of the people of our state so that we can take our country back from those who go to Washington who have sold out to political and big money special interests,” Jarding said.
RICKSTOCK is a music event in support of Rick Weiland for US Senate in South Dakota. Rick Weiland and the “Take it Back Band” will be joining several Black Hills area bands for a day of a lot music and a little bit of politics. Singer/songwriter and special guest Michael Johnson will be playing at 7 PM. There is a lot at stake in this election, but why not have some fun in the process? Hope to see you on the 16th! Click below for a special audio invite from singer/songwriter Michael Johnson.
1:00 PM – MUSICAL JAM
BRING YOUR INSTRUMENT AND PLAY WITH RICK WEILAND AND THE TAKE IT BACK BAND
4:00 PM – MIKE REARDON BAND
5:00 PM – LONELY RANGERS
6:00 PM – ACOUSTIC COLLISION WITH KENNY PUTNAM
7:00 PM – MICHAEL JOHNSON
8:00 PM – GROOVEDADDY
Directions & Map:
Traveling to Rickstock from Rapid City:
- Take I-190 N stay on I-190 N for 1.3 miles until Exit 1A.
- Take exit 1A on the left to merge onto I-90 W towards Gillette stay on I-90 W for 2.2 miles
- Take exit 55 for Deadwood Ave
- Turn right onto Deadwood Ave N, stay on Deadwood Avenue for 2.8 miles.
- Turn right onto Erickson Ranch Road, stay on Erickson Ranch Road for 3.1 miles.
- Turn left onto Lofty Pines Rd (the House will be on the left about 3/4 of a mile up the road)
- The house is 5045 Lofty Pines Road.
(It is roughly a 20-minute drive.)
Rick Weiland On Agriculture Policy & Rural Development
Today Rick Weiland released his plan to support agriculture and rural development in South Dakota. His plan can be found below. Please post a comment and let us know what you think about Rick’s plan and what you think we should add.
As I traveled to all 311 of South Dakota’s incorporated towns during the first eleven months of my campaign, I came away more convinced than ever that small towns are the backbone of our state. In my estimation, both parties have ignored the needs of rural America, and, as a result there are tremendous challenges facing many South Dakota small towns, that I have seen over and over in my trips across the state. If rural America is going to survive, we have to change course, and I plan to take the case for those course-changes to the United States Senate. Some people will say that the task of creating and sustaining a vibrant economy in rural America is an impossible one. I disagree. South Dakota’s small towns and communities represent a way of life worth fighting for and I believe every candidate for the Senate should tell you how they plan to strengthen rural America. Here is my plan:
I believe rural South Dakota needs to pursue a dual strategy — finding ways to strengthen the traditional bases of agriculture and small manufacturing while simultaneously building the infrastructure to allow these communities to compete and win in the new economy. Additionally, there are some priorities that we need to fight for with regard to farm policy in the coming years. The challenge, as you will see below, is that we are battling Big Money on almost every one of these issues and that’s why meaningful campaign finance reform is a must to improve all areas of public policy.
Here are my ideas on how we can move rural America forward:
1. Expand E-30: Spreading the good word about E-30, the renewable fuel that is already here and providing a less expensive, less toxic, higher quality fuel, is something we can do immediately without having to wait for legislative action or the slow-moving, big-money influenced EPA to accomplish. After talking to some of South Dakota’s renewable fuel pioneers, I made the decision to fill our Take it Back van exclusively with E-30 when and where it is available. We need to work with the industry and the regulators to expand E-30. It’s better for the environment, consumers and, of course, South Dakota corn producers.
2. Provide incentives for companies to build out high-speed broadband to rural South Dakota. High speed Internet is a critical economic development, health care and education tool. Successful farmers heavily rely on it and it’s a must-have for small business owners and schools. South Dakota companies have played an important role in providing this service to many parts of our state but there is more work to be done. I will also fight to preserve “net neutrality” so that rural states interest are not at a competitive disadvantage to big corporations.
3. Complete the funding and build out of the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System. With all apologies to our country’s obsession with oil, clean and potable water is the most vital natural resource in our part of the world. Lewis & Clark’s starts and stops are the result of an appropriations process in Washington that has been taken over by Big Money. While the appropriations process is certainly saddled with boondoggles like the “Bridge to Alaska,” the fact is this country has important infrastructure needs. Projects like Lewis & Clark are caught up in this perception game that has delayed the implementation of this critical project.
4. Protect access to railcars for grain and ethanol producers. For far too long, South Dakota’s grain and ethanol producers have fought an uphill battle in an effort to ensure consistent and affordable access to rail transportation for their products. Our next U.S. Senator needs to hold railroads responsible for losses producers sustain because of delays in rail cars. Preferential treatment for coal and big oil producers is unacceptable. We have to continue to hold the national Surface Transportation Board and the railroads accountable and should look at providing incentives to railroads that work proactively in improving rural rail infrastructure. And, in the interim, we need to strengthen the marketing loan program for producers forced to hold onto existing harvests while waiting for this situation to be resolved.
5. Increase collaboration between private capital, local elected officials and the federal government. While it may seem odd, oftentimes these economic development projects happen because of who somebody knows – the old, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The simple fact is that communities and states that have professionals with strong social networks are better positioned to build the organizational planning required to spur new businesses and improve existing ones. Fortunately, there are already examples of how this is being done right here in South Dakota – East River Electric in Madison established the Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund in 1996, which uses collaboration as a keystone to coordinating funding between multiple parties and spurring economic growth in rural South Dakota.
6. Establish a Federal/State Infrastructure Trust Fund to rebuild outdated and dangerous roads and bridges in rural America. A recent study by TRIP, a non-profit research center highlights the dangerous conditions that have developed in the past decades as too much federal money has been directed to huge American corporations while we’ve neglected to make necessary investments in the roads and bridges that connect rural America with the country’s larger population centers. In South Dakota specifically, 21% of rural roads and bridges are classified as structurally deficient, the 12th highest rate in the country. The nation’s economy depends on these roads and bridges, and just as importantly our citizens drive on them every day. We need to adjust our spending priorities in Washington to address this situation. It will save lives, improve economic efficiency and provide good jobs for local employers.
7. A moratorium on the closure and reduction in hours of all rural Post Offices pending a review of legislation requiring prepayment of pension program. The Post Office is essential to the economy of rural America. It remain an integral part of the lives of many rural Americans, especially our senior citizens. Universal service is critical to ensuring the flow of commerce and communication. The current requirement that the United States Postal Service pre-pay the pension program 50 years in advance has created the perception of insolvency and crippled the USPS cashflow.
With regard to future Farm Bills and Ag policy, I will focus on the following:
1. Reform the Farm Commodity Program. A safety net for true family scale farm operations is critical to rural America and is well-understood by taxpayers and the general public. However, many people are rightly outraged that too many of the Farm Bill benefits go to corporate interests. Since neither Congress nor the Obama Administration will address the “actively engaged” loophole, the existing farm program limits are a mockery. I will fight to make sure that Farm Bill payments go to actual family-sized farm operations and not vertically-integrated corporate giants.
2. Reform the Crop Insurance Program. This is another area where both the Administration and the Congress deserve blame. The issue with the current program is that one large corporation farm could literally farm the entire state of South Dakota and the federal government would pay close to 60% of their entire crop insurance bill. Congress should have capped the premium subsidies at a certain level to prevent huge corporate operations from gaming the system, but big money, unfortunately, won the day.
3. Increased federal funding to USDA’s rural development programs. I will propose legislation that will cut subsidies to America’s biggest corporations and direct those dollars toward increasing the USDA’s rural development budget. The USDA provides direct loans, loan guarantees, technical assistance and other valuable tools to help start-up businesses and improve existing ones, but the need is greater than the capacity right now because of our misplaced spending priorities coming out of Washington – a direct result of Big Money’s impact on our policymakers.
In summary, while focusing on ways to get our college graduates to stay in state or come back to South Dakota is important, we also need to focus on the people who are already here, working in agriculture or manufacturing, and how we can strengthen those areas and put more money into their checking accounts. Let’s focus on how we can improve the status quo in South Dakota while at the same time building the tools we need to give our towns and our people a chance to compete for jobs in a rapidly transforming economy.
After hearing about the alleged discrimination in Yankton this past week, Rick Weiland did not remain silent. He issued the following statement:
I’m told that taking the side of a gay person is too controversial – not smart politics in South Dakota.
Maybe it isn’t smart politics to stand up for a young man reportedly forced by his employer to wear a name tag reading “Gaytard.” Given the deafening silence of other candidates, that would seem to be their judgment.
My question to them is, what if that were your son being forced to publicly humiliate himself to keep his job? Do you really want to be elected so badly you are willing to turn away from ugly, hurtful discrimination against a young man who may not be your son, but easily could be?
I do not want to be a United States Senator that much. So let me be clear.
If what’s been reported about this story is true, it was a crime. That no other candidate has said boo about it is truly sad.
I hope they will soon find their voices, and their courage, and speak out against this atrocity, because, whether saying so is good politics or not, gratuitous public humiliation of one human being by another is always wrong.
Rick Weiland’s South Dakota Democratic Party Convention Speech
Hello, I’m not Johnny Cash…. My name is Rick Weiland and I’ve just been to more than 400 towns. I’m here tonight to tell you that there is a fire smoldering out there on the prairie! It’s a smoldering anger. A fierce resentment of a government that panders to the powerful, and to the privileged.
And we are Democrats. The party that is not supposed to pander to the powerful and the privileged. That is our heritage and that heritage is the match — if we have the courage to light it — that will carry us to victory in November.
But we have to light it.
Tonight! Right here! Right now! We must find the courage to light it.
No more pretending in hopes we will get a few scraps off the big dollar table. No more playing doormat for big money and its party.
Because we are the party of the people!
Our good friend and Senator, George McGovern did not take us from literally nowhere to a majority by rolling over. He stood up and fought against big money agriculture, and that created a whole new generation of Democratic winners.
I am running because I believe that is what we have to do again.
People are furious out there. You can feel it!
They know their government has been taken over by big money and they are ready to “TAKE IT BACK!”
Taxes aren’t fair. Politicians are bought off. The big boys get ALL the opportunities because they have rigged the game.
In Pierre and Washington both!
Their anger is exactly the same tinder McGovern lit by standing up to big money power.
That is why I have driven farther than around the world this past year – 25,000 miles and counting.
Because we have got to light that match.
And the only way we can do it is by showing the people of this state we are not standard issue politicians — that we have not been bought off.
We stand with them still and always will.
And that is not an easy sell. How could it be when people have watched 30 plus years of government of, by and increasingly for, only the wealthy and the powerful?
The default belief out there is that all politicians are the same. Regardless of party they all play the same game.
Talk pretty in public. Pander hard in private. Rake in the bucks, buy your office, then call the guys with the bucks and ask them what they want you to do.
So how do we break that vicious cycle of money buying the power to create privilege.
There is only one way. Work harder and talk straighter.
Show the people you believe what you say by saying it to them in person.
And tell it to them straight.
On every single important issue “big money’s” big footprint is on their neck and we have to show them how.
This is not about a bunch of complicated programs, it is about making it understandable, and crystal clear, the way big money tries to rig the game on issue after issue…so they win — and we lose.
And if there is one program above any other that exposes the pandering to the big money that endangers our democracy — it is EB-5.
That’s right EB-5. Not EB-5 the scandal. EB-5 the program — the whole big coast to coast Federal program that has rocked our state and insulted our common sense.
Now I have no idea whether my opponent mismanaged or profited from — or did anything at all right or wrong where South Dakota’s EB-5 program was involved. That’s for the investigators to determine based on the facts.
My problem with Mike Rounds, my fundamental disagreement with him and his EB-5 program, is over the sale of US residency. I think it is wrong. He argues it is right and said so last April. I want to get rid of it. He wants to expand it.
Well, Mike, I absolutely disagree with you on that.
Because the sale of US residency to the highest bidder goes against the grain of the good old South Dakota common sense you like to talk about.
It is money buying privilege gone wild — big money foreigners buying the privilege of US residency by handing over a half million dollars to Americans and cutting to the front of the immigration line.
That is not economic development. Our South Dakota businesses can compete just fine without taking what amounts to little more than legalized bribes from rich foreigners.
EB-5 may be the purest example of government in the employ of big money. But it is far from the only example we can use to show the public why we — and they must take our government back.
Our students pay ten times more to borrow money than a bank does. Why? Because the bank donates ten times more money to politicians than they do.
62,000 hard working South Dakotans earn a minimum wage that is a disgrace. Why? Because the billionaires pay the politicians to keep that wage disgraceful so they can keep their own wage in the millions.
Foreign uranium miners and oilmen threaten our land and our health and — rewrite our laws for their own profit. Why? Because their huge political contributions buy them the muscle to do it.
48,000 South Dakotans are denied health care through Medicaid. Why? Because big money Tea Party PACS don’t like it, and Republican politicians are in their hip pockets.
American corporations hide 2.1 trillion dollars offshore to avoid paying taxes. Why? Because that is how ‘big money” politicians get elected.
If we have the courage to tell those truths we have a chance. Nobody is going to be giving us 9 million dollars to tell the truth on TV, though. We have to go right to the people out there and do it ourselves.
And I have got to tell you, when you do that — you just absolutely know we have a chance to win.
For over a year now, I have been given a great gift by the people of this state. In every town I have been given a gift I never expected to receive – the gift of hope.
I’ve seen the quiet strength that built our state and it has given me strength.
I’ve been humbled by the humility of men and women far stronger than I – just trying to make ends meet.
I’ve been made wiser by their wisdom and more caring by their caring for one another.
South Dakota is a hopeful and a caring state. When politicians in the employ of big money seek to neuter us by turning us, one against the other, they may temporarily succeed, but they insult our sensibilities.
We Democrats truly are South Dakota, because the politics of hate and division are not South Dakota values AND they certainly do not represent the South Dakota common sense approach we need to meet the challenges ahead.
We need not pander in fear of power and money because the voters who will judge us — do not.
What we need to show them is that we really are different.
We need to tap into their hope and draw our courage and strength from them.
They, after all, are the ones who vote. And there are 100 of them for every one big money donor.
That is our hope. Show them the courage to truly be the party of the people. George McGovern’s Party. Jim Abourezk’s Party. Dick Kneip’s Party. Tom Daschle’s Party. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s Party –and Tim Johnson’s Party.
That is who we are. The party that fights against the power of privilege. The party of equal opportunity for all.
Because we Democrats believe that unearned privilege is wrong.
It is discrimination against all the rest of us.
And be it discrimination based on race, or gender, or religion, or age, or sexual orientation, or anything else…including not having a million dollars to donate to politicians, our Democratic Party is against it.
That is why we truly are South Dakota. A party and a state united in hope. Built on the honesty and the hard work of ordinary folks.
That is what we stand for and what I am honored to represent as your candidate for the United States Senate.
Rick Weiland Statement on South Dakota GOP Resolution To Impeach President Obama
“Mike Rounds and his support of the South Dakota Republican Party State Convention’s impeachment of the President are an embarrassment to our state and a disservice to the people of South Dakota.
It substitutes hate for reason, impeachment motives for rational discussion and impeachment itself for the casting of ballots — and represents the very opposite of the South Dakota common sense that Mike Rounds claims to be representing.
It is incredibly sad and disappointing when an extreme minority within a party proposes something so extreme and misguided that entire county delegations, who were at the South Dakota State Republican Party Convention last week in Rapid City, actually voted against it but the purported leader of the party sat by and did nothing to stop it.
I challenge Mr. Rounds to come out from behind his big money campaign and the special interests bought and paid for big money campaign commercials and tell the people of South Dakota what kind of common sense he thinks it is to put the country through another gut wrenching impeachment fight.
How can you say with a straight face that you want to represent South Dakota common sense and then vote to rip the country apart with an obviously politically motivated impeachment proceeding? The type of action the state Republican Party convention endorsed last weekend is how they do things in a banana republic, not the United States.
There are two things a democracy like ours should never do – one is shut down the government and threaten to default on our debts — and the other is to pursue an impeachment over political differences, instead of high crimes and misdemeanors. Mr. Rounds is now on the record supporting both of these extreme efforts.
As I continue to travel to every one of our South Dakota towns for the second time, I can assure, there isn’t a lot of support for impeaching the President of the United States. People are fed up with this poisonous partisan bickering and want their elected leaders and future leaders to work together to address the many challenges facing our state and country.
I’m calling on Mr. Rounds today to stand up against this kind of extremism and publicly oppose this impeachment resolution.”
Rick Weiland on The Ed Show
Rick talked Ed Schultz about the recent South Dakota GOP resolution calling for the impeachment of President Obama. Rick’s segment starts at 12:40
“Everywhere Man” airs on KELO
When South Dakota businessman and Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Rick Weiland released his Johnny Cash cover “Everywhere Man” three months ago, it quickly became the most watched widely watched Internet video of the South Dakota Senate race. This evening we had the unique opportunity to air a very special one-time showing of the music video on KELO News.
Rick’s “Everywhere Man” video is a great example of Rick’s boots on the ground strategy that has take him to over 430 South Dakota towns. It’s easy to talk the talk, but Rick is truly proving that there is a candidate among us that is walking the walk. Be sure to check out the lyrics below!
“Everywhere Man” Lyrics
I was on my way to meet with voters at the local coffee shop
When my opponent called and said “when are you gonna stop?”
All this listening to what voters say
Don’t mean a thing, you know my money will rule the day
I said you can raise all your millions by the sack
The time has come for us to take our country back
I’m goin’ everywhere, man
I’m goin everywhere
Our country needs repair, man
Gotta make it all more fair, man
I’m runnin’ ‘cause I care, man
I’m going everywhere
I’m going to:
Millboro, Flandreau, Lodgepole, Bloomingdale
Provo, Roscoe, Dakota Dunes and Yale
Scenic, Frederick, Smithwick, Red Shirt
Black Hawk, Dimock, Hitchcock, Holabird
Dupree, Hurley, Emery, Westerville
Selby, Gregory, Goodwill, what a thrill
I’m going to:
Madison, Lebanon, Harrison, Corona
Jefferson, Arlington, Marion, Ramona
Creighton, Raymond, Avon, Belvidere
Cleveland, Hetland, Rutland, Fort Pierre
Parmalee, Wounded Knee, Waverly, Willow Lake
Long Lake, Clear Lake, Timber Lake, what a break
I’m going to:
Centerville, Northville, Grenville, Iroquios
Lesterville, Shadehill, Mission Hill, Tolstoy
Springfield, Mansfield, Clearfield, Fort Mead
Bonesteel, Firesteel, Ideal, Little Eagle
Buffalo, Toronto, Ludlow, Rowena
Aberdeen-a, Estelline-a, see what I mean-a.
I’m going to:
Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Strandburg, Westport
Deadwood, Castlewood, New Underwood, Frankfort
St. Charles, St. Francis, St. Lawrence, Olivet
Chamberlain, McLaughlin, Roslyn, Orient
Astoria, Aurora, Fedora, Rapid City,
Trail City, Hill City, Garden City, what a city
Rick on ‘The Ed Show’
Rick turned in a dynamite performance on “The Ed Show” Friday, June 6. Ed was impressed with Rick’s Medicare Choice Act idea and said it was refreshing to visit with a candidate who isn’t afraid to give straight-up, real answers to tough questions. That’s the essence of Rick’s town to town campaign. You have to go out, listen to the people, tell them where you stand and earn their vote. That’s what Take it back is all about.
Rick Weiland Message on Memorial Day
This week Rick called on Secretary Shinseki to resign as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but noted that one resignation is not nearly enough to solve the problems that our veterans face.
Rick said: “Making changes at the top of the Department of Veterans Affairs is useless unless the culture of indifference that exists in the United States Congress is changed. Many in Congress are pointing fingers at Shinseki and the Department, but it’s not only mismanagement at the VA that has caused these outrages, it’s also the financial indifference of Congress that has caused the VA’s failure to provide care on a timely basis.
When the pleas of veterans are repeatedly unheard–and the VA is constantly underfunded–the end result isn’t going to be a surprise. And that is unacceptable.
I call today for the resignation of Secretary Shinseki. But anyone who does not understand that it is the penny-pinching stupidity and arrogance of the ‘shut it down’ politicians in Congress that is the real problem is either blind or willfully ignorant. I’ve been to 400 towns across South Dakota now, and I challenge anyone to find a single veteran in any one of those towns who thinks the VA leadership in Washington is a well-run, properly funded organization. I hope veterans demand more than Secretary Shinseki’s resignation, but also demand that Congress stop pretending their refusal to properly fund the VA isn’t one of the root causes of veterans’ ill-treatment. Our veterans deserve better.”
Will Progressives Step Up To Support An Unapologetic ‘Class Warrior?’
Recent, the blog Wry Wing Politics posted a great article about why Rick is a candidate worth supporting. So many candidates know that big money has taken over our government and that the American Dream is slipping away.
In fact, the United States now has the most unequal distribution of wealth of any advanced economy in the world. Rick is running specifically to address this gross inequality. Check out the whole article for yourself:
Wry Wing Politics: Will Progressives Step Up To Support An Unapologetic ‘Class Warrior?’
For the last several years, too many political debates have gone roughly like this:
A progressive pol points out the obvious, that wealth is getting too concentrated, and that the wealthy donors are controlling the political system as a means to accumulate still more wealth.
Then, conservatives, moderates and conservative-controlled news outlets cry in unison ‘Class warfare,’ and ‘both sides do it.’
Then, the progressive politician timidly drops the subject, and agrees to their risk averse consultants’ demands that they henceforth sugar coat their campaign rhetoric.
This familiar scenario has played out hundreds of times over many decades, and that is why the United States now has the most unequal distribution of wealth of any advanced economy in the world.
Let that fact sink in for a moment. The home of the American dream now has the most unequal distribution of wealth of any advanced economy in the world. Is that really okay with us?
It’s not okay with South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland. He looks to be a rare exception to the rule of political cowardice in the face of, gasp, ‘class warfare’ accusations.
From the beginning, Weiland?s ‘Take It Back’ campaign has been focused on battling the influence of big money. For instance, he has said that the first bill he will introduce in Congress will be a constitutional amendment to limit campaign donations and spending. The language of the amendment specifically calls out the need to limit the excessive influence of the wealthy.
This is not okay with the blog Constant Commoner, which is a more thoughtful than most conservative blog in South Dakota. In a piece titled ‘The Problem With Prairie Populism, Rick Weiland Style,’ the Commoner recently shot this across candidate Weiland’s bow.
“Where Weiland’s message is out-of-synch with reality is the way it lumps wealthy interests into some sort of monolithic, unified political juggernaut bent on making life miserable for ordinary Americans. This actually is way off the mark. The politics of big money simply don?t congeal that way. CNBC’s Robert Frank writes a nice critique and analysis of the study I reference and calls attention to the fact that for every right wing rich guy promoting schemes that Democrats abhor, there?s probably a wealthy leftie advocating the opposite. As Frank notes, for every Koch there’s a Buffett.”
Historically, this is the point when progressive politicians would always obediently slink back to the mushy middle of American politics, like a scolded lapdog who had been caught pissing the Persian rug. But Weiland didn’t do that. Instead, he went right back onto the blogger’s home turf to politely but assertively call bullshit:
“Warren Buffet understands big money’s total triumph in public argumentation perfectly when he says, ‘There’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.’
I’m sure Mr. Buffet has met Mr. Soros, and knows full well of the wide range of opinions within the billionaires club. But Mr. Buffet also understands the bottom line, and knows that the actual, factual distribution of wealth is the bottom line.
I agree with Warren Buffet. I believe the bottom line proves that the ‘big money’ big foot against which I am campaigning hard not only exists, but is the fundamentally incorrect and unfair set of policy assumptions which must be slain before we can hope to right our course.
It is not true that the right to buy politicians is big monies free speech right.
It is not true that granting tax free status to offshore profits, and billionaires grand kids piggy banks, or bundling bad mortgages, helps spur productive economic growth.
The results of these untruths, propagated by our refusal to challenge the ascendant political myths of big money, are stunting our economy and defrauding our middle class.
Like Seymour’s plant in Little Shop of Horrors, their myths have been allowed to grow unchecked for far too long, and they must be pruned.
That is why I am campaigning against ‘big money.’”
I’ve been waiting for a long time to see a courageous politician under pressure from the defenders of the status quo reply: ‘Class warfare? Hell yes I?m engaging in class warfare, on behalf of 99% of the rest of us!’
I saw it, and it was said exceptionally well. Weiland is not only an unapologetic ‘class warrior,’ but his campaign carries the optimistic tone of a ‘happy warrior,’ in the tradition of Minnesota’s happy warrior Hubert Humphrey.
Finally, here’s a gritty leader who has a strong enough spine to declare himself an unrepentant class warrior, and he’s doing it in a wicked tough environment — a deep red state versus a billionaire-backed conservative Governor. If progressives around the country don’t step up to financially support this kind of progressive eloquence and courage under political fire, and instead continue to fund the same old milquetoast timidity they have for decades, well, then they deserve what they have been getting from Congress.
Rounds stuck under 40%, issues play well for Weiland
PPP, one of the most accurate pollsters in 2012, recently conducted a poll in South Dakota. It found that Rick was within 10 points of Mike Rounds! The best part is of the people who have heard of both Weiland and Rounds, Rick leads 38/36! Check out some of the key findings of the poll below:
Public Policy Polling’s newest South Dakota survey continues to find Mike Rounds stuck under 40%. Right now 38% of voters say they intend to vote for him to 28% for Rick Weiland, 15% for Larry Pressler, and 4% for Gordon Howie. There are several encouraging findings for Weiland within the poll results:
-Most of Rounds’ early lead is based on having higher name recognition than Weiland, and Weiland actually has the advantage among voters who have heard of him. 82% of voters are familiar with Rounds compared to 67% for Weiland, but among the group that has heard of Weiland he leads 38/36. That bodes well for his prospects as he becomes better known.
-Weiland (+6) has a higher net favorability rating than Rounds (even). 36% of voters see him favorably to only 30% who have a negative opinion of him. Meanwhile voters are evenly divided on Rounds with 41% rating him positively and 41% with an unfavorable view.
-On several issues that will be key in this race, voters side with Weiland’s view over Rounds’ by a wide margin. After being read a description of each candidate?s views on Medicare, South Dakotans say they agree more with Weiland’s position by a 15 point margin, 45/30. And when it comes to the Ryan budget 53% of voters say they side more with Weiland’s point of view, compared to only 29% who go with Rounds.
On both of the issues the independent voters who will be key to Weiland’s campaign overwhelmingly side with his perspective- 53/26 on the Medicare issue and 62/20 on the Ryan budget one.
Big Money is Real
Recently, the blog The Constant Gardner posted an article that doubted the effect big money has on our government and our country. Rick sent the following explanation about why big money is real. Check it out for yourself:
You Constant Commoners out there in Rapid trade some of the most thoughtful ideas coming out of South Dakota these days. It’s a frequent treat for me to log on for some adult thinking after a day dueling with the kinds of hormonal thinkers who frequent the War College.
I must, though, take mild exception with your leader’s recent post, “The problem with populism, Rick Weiland style.”
John’s argument is that my battle with “big money” ignores the fact that “big money” is not a monolith. That, of course, is technically correct. Soros, Koch and Adelson all actually exist. But John extrapolates from that obvious fact that my campaign for the Senate, “is really missing the boat.”
Sometime around our nations 200th birthday the hard right invented the welfare queen as a symbol for its belief that, after 35 years of New Deal policies, their nation had gone too far in seeking to accommodate and empower the poor. They new full well that “the poor” were not some “monolithic, unified political juggernaut,” bent on defrauding hard working rich people of their well earned rewards. But their “Great Communicator” synthesized what they believed was the overall effect of two generations of attention to the needs of the poor and the lower middle class into a powerful symbolic “person.” That successful synthesis has changed American politics and public policy for two generations.
2014 is almost exactly as far removed from 1976 as 1976 was from 1929. Today we are reaping the whirlwind of two generations of public policy attention myopically focused on the needs of the wealthy and the powerful for policies that allow them to unleash their talents and ambitions with full force in our economy. Those talents and ambitions are in fact a formidable force for progress. I do not in any way agree with those who believe you can confiscate their fruits and your economy will walk away unharmed.
But after two generations in which the ideas of the rich and powerful have routed those of the middle class, the result has been predictable. What began as an unchaining of productive genius has congealed into protection of raw power and already earned big money. What at first helped the inventor starting out in the little garage market his or her inventions, to the immense benefit of our economy and our public, now helps the inventors grandsons and granddaughters amass unheard of riches with ponzi schemes of negative value to the public, or simply send their billions offshore, while head start programs are shuttered because their billions go untaxed.
Big money is an understandable public symbol for the kind of people, and the kind of thinking, that have dominated American public policy for the last two generations.
Warren Buffet understands big monies total triumph in public argumentation perfectly when he says, “There’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
I’m sure Mr. Buffet has met Mr. Soros, and knows full well of the wide range of opinions within the billionaires club. But Mr. Buffet also understands the bottom line, and knows that the actual, factual distribution of wealth is the bottom line. Because he studies statistics, and thus knows the real economic and political world perhaps more accurately than any other human being now alive, Warren Buffet can see that “big money” has seen it’s share of our nation’s wealth rocket up in lock step with its share of the money with which politicians get elected. He understands the bottom line never lies, and that the bottom line today is that close to 100% of the increase in America’s total wealth over the last 30 years has gone to the wealthiest and most powerful 1% of Americans, while the other 99% of us have gotten next to nothing.
Unless you can argue that the free market economy has changed so fundamentally over the last 30 years that this result is a fair reflection of open competition, a ridiculous assertion on the face of it, Mr. Buffet feels there is only one conclusion possible, the one he presented in his famous class war quote.
I agree with Warren Buffet. I believe the bottom line proves that the “big money” big foot against which I am campaigning hard not only exists, but is the fundamentally incorrect and unfair set of policy assumptions which must be slain before we can hope to right our course.
It is not true that the right to buy politicians is big monies free speech right.
It is not true that granting tax free status to offshore profits, and billionaires grand kids piggy banks, or bundling bad mortgages, helps spur productive economic growth.
The results of these untruths, propagated by our refusal to challenge the ascendant political myths of big money, are stunting our economy and defrauding our middle class.
Like Seymour’s plant in Little Shop of Horrors, their myths have been allowed to grow unchecked for far too long, and they must be pruned.
That is why I am campaigning against “big money.”
As Warren Buffet understands, the people and ideas that phrase synthesizes have gotten mightily greedy. As Ronald Reagan would well understand, labeling them is absolutely necessary to be effective in the world of public communication.
The thinking of Buffet and Reagan, each a much wiser man than I, is the basis of my campaign against “big money.” It is a base with which I am quite comfortable.
Weiland says Mike Rounds Medicare Ad is Factually False
In case you missed the KELO fact-check of the new Mike Rounds ad (which you can watch at the bottom of this post), KELO and the Pulitzer Prize winning publication PolitiFact called Rounds’ new ad “inaccurate” last night.
Mike Rounds’ claim that current law will take more than 700 billion dollars from Medicare is, frankly, not true. As KELO TV just reported, and as impartial observers agree, current law will reduce the amount of payments that are going to privately-managed Medicare Advantage plans because they are reimbursed at a higher rate by the government than actual Medicare is. Instead of racking up profits for big insurance, we will keep those 700 billion dollars in the Medicare program. This will strengthen, not weaken, Medicare.
Rick Weiland had this to say about the new ad: “Mike Rounds’ ad was paid for by tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from the insurance industry, big drug companies and their lobbyists in Washington, so it is no surprise what Mike says is exactly what the industry favors. Repeal guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, repeal the ban on lifetime limits on medical benefits, let insurers kick kids off their family policies after college instead of at 26, that’s what Mike Rounds’ ad favors and what big insurance wants.”
The contrast is stark. The choice is important. And the voters of South Dakota, as they should be, will make the call. But this ad gets to the exact question that South Dakotans will have to decide: Do South Dakotans prefer big money lies presented in pretty TV ads paid for by big money contributions, or straight facts presented to their face by a candidate working town to town to earn their support?
Today Rick was traveling to Clear Lake and Watertown to continue his SECOND tour of every South Dakota town. The contrast is stark. Watch the KELO news piece yourself and decide:
Reflections on McGovern Day and Saying Goodbye to Senator Tim Johnson
This weekend was one of the best McGovern Day events I have ever attended. A crowd of nearly 800 people paid tribute to an extraordinary South Dakota family. It was an honor to share the stage with Senator Johnson.
Tim is a man who has stood up for everyday citizens throughout his 34-year political career and simply one of the most fundamentally decent people who has ever served in the United States Senate. Tim and Barb Johnson have always recognized that action speaks much louder than words. The courage both of them have shown in the past decade and in against-the-odds political campaigns are inspiring to all of us.
I appreciated having the opportunity to pay tribute to them Saturday evening. Below is the text of my speech my the McGovern Day dinner:
I’m excited and honored to be standing before you this evening and a bit humbled by the task ahead – but I want you all to know that I am 311 town serious about winning this race come November 4th.
And I’ve never been more proud to be a South Dakota Democrat.
It was the South Dakota Democratic Party that put raising the minimum wage on the ballot this November and gathered over 25,000 signatures to give 62,000 of our fellow South Dakotans a chance at a better life.
Our campaign was proud to play a small role, working with Party Chair Deb Knecht, Executive Director Zach Crago and staff, and State Fed President Mark Anderson and Organized Labor – in collecting some of those signatures.
And, despite all the propaganda you hear, the vast majority of minimum wage workers aren’t teenagers flipping burgers. 78% of them are adults working full time to keep food on the table, a roof over their head and clothing on the backs of their kids. No one working 40 hours a week should be living in poverty – period.
It was also our Democratic Legislators in Pierre, with the leadership of Bernie Hunoff and Jason Frerichs who fought tirelessly to expand Medicaid to provide 48,000 of our fellow South Dakotan’s health insurance – against a Republican dominated legislature and a Republican Governor who just said “NO” – and for no other reason than they didn’t want to see the Affordable Care Act and our President succeed. How else can you explain turning away over 200 million dollars and a resulting 2 billion dollar impact on the state’s economy.
And it was those same legislators who refused to sign on and embrace legislation that would have turned gay and lesbian couples into second-class citizens. Not one Democratic Legislator sponsored SB128, not one – because we Democrats value ‘equal rights’ and abhor discrimination of any kind. Turning away a same sex couple from a restaurant or from any other business because of sexual orientation is wrong – the ghost of Jim Crow is the only one we should be turning away here in South Dakota.
So the fight goes on, as it should and I’m excited about our Party’s prospects this November.
Since 1962, for over 50 years, South Dakota has had at least one Democrat in the Washington delegation: George McGovern, Jim Abourezk, Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin – so mark my words, we are going to do it again come November.
And the reason is simple – we owe it to that man, over there, our friend and Senator, Tim Johnson – to keep his seat in the hands of someone who will continue to stand with everyday South Dakotans, not the rich and the powerful.
You know Washington DC has a way of changing people.
Well, let me tell you this – Washington DC hasn’t changed Tim Johnson. Not one bit.
For 28 years Tim and Barb Johnson have lived what they believe, not just talked about it. That’s probably why Tim is the undefeated, undisputed, heavyweight champion of the South Dakota Democratic Party.
In the face of 28 years of temptation, when he could have gone Washington fancy, Tim Johnson has not.
In the face of incredibly tough personal challenges, when he could have given up, Tim Johnson has stayed strong for ordinary folks.
And all the while, Tim has stayed true to himself and his belief that there should be equal opportunity for everyone who tries hard, not just for the powerful and the privileged.
Those are the reasons Tim Johnson never lost an election.
And, if we stay true to those same values and work hard, we can honor Tim and Barb by keeping this seat in the Democratic column.
Thank you Tim! Your work has been extraordinary!!!
We’ll I am going everywhere, man. I’ve already visited every town in South Dakota and then some – and I have some numbers to prove it:
-381 Towns, 66 Counties, 9 Reservations visited to date!
-I have shook well over 20,000 hands and driven over 25,000 miles.
-We currently have over 2000 South Dakota donors and always looking for more.
-I’ve held 157 public meetings, drunk 1440 Cups of Coffee, eaten 452 pieces of pie, and slightly wounded 1 deer.
-Unbeknown to me at the time, I tried to convince 1 Congresswoman’s Husband and 1 Opponent’s Mother-in-law to vote for me – fingers crossed…
-And I met Mike Rounds 0 times on the road…
– and I’m starting all over again. I was recently in Dallas, South Dakota shaking hands with folks at Frank Day’s Place while Mike Rounds had been to Dallas, Texas shaking down big money.
I believe to the bottom of my sole that ‘big money’ has taken over our county and that is time to “take it back”.
We would have gotten better healthcare reform had it not been for the ‘big’ health insurance companies and the ‘big’ drug companies calling most of the shots. I say let people of any age buy into Medicare and the Affordable Care Act will be affordable for everyone.
We need an energy policy that isn’t dictated by Big Oil’s “big money”. We need more renewable sources of energy and a keener focus on conservation and protecting our environment. Climate change is real and Keystone is wrong.
We also need a farm policy in this country that protects family farmers and helps build industries like we have here in the state. We certainly shouldn’t be subsidizing ‘Big Ag” and driving our farm families off the land.
And please don’t tell me that we can’t afford to fulfill our trust obligations when it comes to fully funding Indian Healthcare services and providing the resources needed to ensure our kids can get a decent education and an opportunity to realized their human potential.
We need to make educating our kids, on and off the reservations, at the state and national level — a top priority. Investing in our schools and in our kids and in our teachers is investing in the future of our country.
And let me just this about Paul Ryan’s Budget that the House recently passed and that Congresswoman Noem voted for – it is nothing more than an all out assault on the middle class – it cuts Pell Grants, raises interest rates on Student loans, voucherizes Medicare, cuts Head Start and child nutrition programs, further cuts food stamps, unemployment benefits – all the while reducing taxes on the wealthiest of the wealthy and ‘big money’ corporations.
It’s time we start demanding that billionaires and big business stop hiding their trillion dollar profits in offshore back accounts to avoid paying taxes and start paying their fair share.
We are at a crossroads here in South Dakota and have everything on the line. We can win in November but we have a lot of hard work ahead of us.
My wife Stacy and I — and the entire Weiland family are all in and we need you to be all in.
It’s time to “Take it Back!” – lets take back our country and reclaim our government so that it is truly of, for and by the people again!!!
U.S. Corporations Now Hold Over $2 Trillion In Untaxed Profits Overseas
Last fall, our Congress, under the control of big money special interests, had to shut down the government and cut programs like Head Start and threaten veterans benefits payments.
Additionally, sequestration forced cuts in Pell grants, low income heat assistance and the like. And, of course, this year House Speaker John Boehner successfully led an effort to massively cut the Food Stamp program.
All of these cuts were justified because the federal government simply didn’t have enough money to pay for them anymore.
For months, Rick’s campaign has been telling folks that we need to take our country back from the big money folks who have hijacked our government and put it on the side of billionaires and big corporations. Want proof in the pudding?
This story in the Huffington Post highlights the fact that the amount of profits parked in foreign banks has doubled in the last five years to over 42 trillion dollars. Read it here
Maybe Worse Than Dred Scott
In a statement released this afternoon the South Dakota Democratic Candidate for Senate, Rick Weiland, whose “Take it Back” campaign is based on the belief big money is taking over our government, and that we need to take it back, blasted the McCutcheon decision handed down today by the United States Supreme Court.
Weiland’s statement follows:
“Today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court to strike down any real limit on the purchase of our democracy by big money may be the worst decision made by any Supreme Court since the Dred Scott case reaffirmed slavery in 1857.
In fact, the two cases are strikingly similar in the indefensible power they give one group of human beings over another.
In Dred Scott, the Court said people with money had the constitutional right to purchase and enslave other human beings. In its line of “money has the right to free speech” decisions, including today’s McCutcheon decision, the Court is saying that people with unheard of amounts of money have the constitutional right to enslave our democracy.
As we speak, the inevitable result of this Court’s willingness to grant great riches unlimited power is playing out in Las Vegas. Leading candidates for the Presidency of the United States have been summoned there by a billionaire who has made his money preying on the gambling addiction of millions of Americans and they are being made to grovel for his ill-gotten billions courtesy of the United States Supreme Court’s decision that money has the right to buy anything it wants, including our democracy.
Today’s decision destroys the free speech rights of every American who cannot contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians. It gives billionaires the unlimited right to completely drown out the voices of ordinary citizens with their billion dollar bullhorns.
This decision is particularly damaging because it means that billionaires can not only buy presidential candidates, but can also buy entire political parties.
Today the Supreme Court said that any as yet unconvicted mafia Don or druglord, literally any citizen with enough money, can contribute $5,200 a head directly to every one of the 468 Republicans or Democrats running for Congress every year. That is $2,433,600 from one person directly to every single Federal candidate of a political party, plus more to as many party committees as they can find. So, if you are an ordinary South Dakotan wishing to have your voice heard in our democracy, your ten dollar opinion will be competing with the $2,433,600 voices of the handful of billionaires who are buying our democracy. Who do you think will be heard by politicians needing money for their campaigns?
Today I am as proud as I have ever been of the proposed constitutional amendment I have printed on the back of every business card I have handed to the thousands of South Dakotans I have met in the 338 towns I have campaigned in since May of last year. It reads: “So that the votes of all, rather than the wealth of the few, shall direct the course of this Republic, Congress shall have the power to limit the raising and spending of money with respect to federal elections…”
If I am elected, despite the additional millions today’s McCutcheon decision means can be raised and spent by Mike Rounds against me, I reaffirm that my first act in the Senate will be to introduce this amendment to end big money purchase of our country and return it to its rightful owners, the people.”
Bob Schieffer Gets It
“We no longer have any campaigns laws that really matter.” That is what Bob Schieffer had to say about the McClutcheon v. FEC ruling that opened the door for billionaires to max out to as many politicians as they want to every single year. The Supreme Court decided that money, not the people, should be what decides elections.
They think that limiting the amount on money you can send to politicians served no purpose. Glad to see people like Bob Schieffer see this for what it is – just another way for Big Money to buy our government
Who’s Buying Our MidTerm Elections?
Rick has been talking about the need to get big money out of politics for more than 10 months now. He has talked about the corrupting influence big money has in Lemmon, Vermillion, Mobridge, Pine Ridge, and more than 340 other communities across South Dakota.
People across the country are starting to come around and agree with Rick about the need to get Big Money out of politics if we are ever going to get anything done. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that allowing people to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to elect the politicians of their choosing, the politicians who will best represent their interests, is bad for the country.
The video below from the Bill Moyers show has some great information about how Big Money has taken over government. Kim Baker, a reporter with ProPublica, had this insightful quote:
“I would argue that if you’re wondering why your government is so broke and you can’t really get anything passed through Congress, campaign finance has a lot to do with that.
I think it means that a candidate for office has to wake up in the morning and not just worry about what his or her opponent is doing. They have to worry about what his or her opponent’s outside money group is doing and what their own outside money group is doing. So you have this sense that as soon as you get into office, you have to start raising money for the next election. It means you can’t take a stand on an issue that might prove unpopular. It means that you have to go hand in hand with what your party thinks. It just sort of means that we’re going to get more of the same, more of this gridlock, which benefits a lot of these same billionaires that are putting money into the system in the first place.”
Watch the whole thing and let us know what you think
Another Prairie Populist?
In the middle of Rick’s 60 town tour of southern and western South Dakota, he stopped by and talked with the Rapid City Editorial Board. Just like he has done hundreds of times over the last ten months, Rick talked about the need to get big money out of politics. He talked about what drove him to run for the Senate.
The Rapid City Journal wrote an editorial about the meeting and said of Rick: “George McGovern was the original Prairie Populist. In Rick Weiland, we can see a reincarnation of the political philosophies that kept McGovern in Congress for 22 years.“
Rick is a Prairie Populist. In the Senate, he is going to stand up to the big money interests who were literally in the room helping to write the Affordable Care Act and ensured it protected their bottom line and prevented all Americans – regardless of age – from buying into Medicare. That is why he has a constitutional amendment on the back of his business cards that reads: “So that the votes of all, rather than the wealth of the few, shall direct the course of this Republic, Congress shall have the power to limit the raising and spending of money with respect to federal elections.”
Who Will Actually Fix The ACA
National commentators are beginning to pick up on Rick’s Medicare Choice Act idea. While Republicans continue to attack the Affordable Care Act, they continually fail to propose any alternative. Rick is proposing solutions, where no one else is. Howie Klein compares Rick’s solution to Thom Thillis’ – a Republican running for Senate in North Carolina – lack of solution:
“According to Weiland, “The flaw in both Obamacare and the old system it replaces is the same, neither of them offers people the Medicare option that would keep the big insurance companies honest and their prices down. The Medicare Choice Act,” which he says he will introduce when he is elected, “by simply allowing people to choose what they want, will make our entire health care delivery system cheaper, more responsive to the needs of patients and health care providers, and less responsive to the demands of either big money insurance giants or big government bureaucrats… Competition is the key. The Medicare Choice Act will limit big insurance price gouging and big bureaucracy bossiness in exactly the same way, by challenging each to offer its product to the public and letting the public decide.” His bill will give “every American a choice between buying into Medicare, keeping his or her private insurance, or a combination of both.” That’s a lot easier to understand– and stand behind– than whatever Thom Tillis and other hapless GOP candidates are mumbling.”
The Koch Brothers’ Dark Money Man
Here’s a very sobering story from Pro Publica on how Big Money is driving the train. The Koch Brothers dropped in $137 million alone in the 2012 campaign. Voters in those states had no idea how much money was spent or who was paying for the advertisements on their airwaves.
An excerpt; “But his story shows how the Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 Citizens United ruling has given rise to a new breed of power brokers who control a growing pool of money raised in secret and spent to influence politics in ways that voters can’t always trace.”
Rick Repeats Call To All Senate Candidates To Say Where They Stand On Minimum Wage Hike
Speaking at townhall meetings in Huron and Madison, Rick Weiland told voters that every candidate for this year’s US Senate seat should tell voters exactly where they stand on the proposal to raise South Dakota’s minimum wage.
“There are seven candidates seeking Tim Johnson’s Senate seat, myself, five Republicans, and one former Republican now claiming to be an Independent. Each and every one of them has a responsibility to tell the people of South Dakota where they stand on the issue of raising the minimum wage,” Weiland said. “Candidates owe South Dakota voters the knowledge of where they stand.”
Today, Rick will be sending a letter to every candidate asking them that very question – where they stand on raising the minimum wage. Right now, CEO salaries are skyrocketing and the government is merrily spending hundreds of billions of dollars on subsidies and tax breaks for the very, very rich. Meanwhile, the bridge for everyday South Dakotans to reach the middle class and a decent paying job is being blocked by a minimum wage stuck so insultingly low it is hard to see how anyone can call it a “wage” without laughing.
Rick is running for the United States Senate to try to put our government back in the service of us, instead of big money. The place to start that job is by finally raising the present absurdly low $7.25 minimum wage. Rick has a petition where you can show your support for raising the minimum wage in South Dakota. Sign it here.
Press Release: Weiland to outline “Medicare Choice Act”
“Medicare Choice Act will give all Americans a choice between Medicare, private insurance, or a combination of both.”
If elected, Weiland pledges to write, introduce, and fight hard to enact a new health care law that will give every American a choice between buying into Medicare, keeping his or her private insurance, or a combination of both.
Weiland, who said his idea is based on literally thousands of conversations in hundreds of towns across South Dakota over the last 9 months, said “people everywhere have told me two things, ‘we want solutions, not political name calling,’ and, ‘we want more health care choices.’ “
“This ‘Medicare Choice Act’ proposal is my best shot at doing both of those things,” Weiland said. “It replaces name calling with a positive proposal designed to let the American people decide what they want, Medicare, private insurance, or a combination of both.”
“The flaw in both Obamacare and the old system it replaces is the same, neither of them offers people the Medicare option that would keep the big insurance companies honest and their prices down,” Weiland said. “The Medicare Choice Act, by simply allowing people to choose what they want, will make our entire health care delivery system cheaper, more responsive to the needs of patients and health care providers, and less responsive to the demands of either big money insurance giants or big government bureaucrats.”
Competition is the key,” Weiland stressed. “The Medicare Choice Act will limit big insurance price gouging and big bureaucracy bossiness in exactly the same way, by challenging each to offer its product to the public and letting the public decide.”
The Ghosts of Jim Crow: SB128
We recently ran into the ghost of Jim Crow roaming the halls of our South Dakota State Legislature. He was just as ugly, just as mean, and offensive to the idea of America, as he was when Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, and four innocent little Alabama girls met him in the 1960′s, or when hundreds of Oglala Sioux were massacred by his identical twin at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890.
Some things you can walk on by. Others you simply cannot ignore and still look yourself in the mirror at night. This is one of those times.
Here is the exact language of SB 128, a bill introduced by Republicans in the South Dakota legislature.
‘Section 2… The Legislature finds that any federal recognition of any specific sexual orientation as a protected class does not apply in South Dakota… No person or entity may bring suit against a business for refusing to serve a person or couple based on sexual orientation.’
Rick was in Pierre on Friday addressing the joint Democratic Caucus, just hours after learning of this latter day Jim Crow legislation. Here is what he said:
“As a candidate for Federal office I normally would not weigh in on a bill in front of our State Legislature, but SB 128 is so offensive, so extreme, so potentially damaging to our state, and to every person in it, that it must be opposed.”
“If you are gay or lesbian, and you walk into a business run by someone who objects to your sexual orientation, you will be refused service if this bill is enacted.”
“Substitute the words ‘gender’ or ‘race’ for the words, ‘sexual orientation,’ and a bill otherwise identical to this one would legalize discrimination against African Americans, Native Americans and women.”
Incredibly, at least two of the five Republican opponents for South Dakota’s United States Senate seat support this terrible legislation, and the other three, as of this writing, have made no comment about it despite our specific public request that they do so.
If you agree that this extremist agenda has absolutely no place in the United States Senate, then get involved today. Come volunteer with the campaign. Donate some spare change to help keep us on the road. Whatever you do, don’t stay on the sideline and remain silent.
Letter: Put money on Weiland
We always hear the old adage “money talks.” Republican candidate Mike Rounds has raised $1.6 million, more than 10 times the combined total of his three rivals for the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Tim Johnson. Rounds said many of those contributions come from people he has made connections with over the years he was governor.
Those include retirees, commercial banks, securities and investment firms, oil and gas industry and Republican senators.Mike Rounds said his bigger goal is to raise $9 million by the campaign’s end. Nine million dollars? Does he think that will be enough? Where will all that money come from? Much of it out of state? I know, that scares me, too.
How The 0.01% Underwrites & Undermines Politics
In the 2012 campaign cycle alone, political campaigns raised and spent 6.3 BILLION dollars. 40 percent of that – or 2.5 BILLION dollars – was raised by the top .01 percent of campaign donors. No one can look at this and say this is the result of a fair and just political system.
Read the whole article here. It is well worth your time. Does anyone really believe that someone like Sheldon Adelson would spend $150 million and not expect a return on his investment? Billionaires and Special Interests are spending billions of dollars trying to get their favored candidates elected. Politicians are not representing everyday Americans – they are representing the tiny group of people who contribute billions of dollars to help them get elected.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Message
The passing of Nelson Mandela last year, like today’s birthday of Martin Luther King, remind us of two great men. Each of these men is rightly celebrated for having moved us closer to the day when all humans are judged as individuals, on their personal merits or demerits, not their membership in some larger group.
But there is another thing each of these individuals showed us, something of extraordinary importance, particularly to our children.
In this world of more than six billion people, in this age of cynicism and about public service, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King showed us that one individual can still make a difference.
Like the greatest figures in the history of humankind, they struggled mightily. And with their success each proved that the single human being is not irrelevant. No matter how long the odds, no matter how many have struggled before and failed, their lives show our children that great deeds can still be done, and the history of all six billion of us truly changed, by the actions of a single human being.
Today we are thankful to Martin Luther King. May we all be inspired by the lesson of his life, lifted toward achievements we might not have thought possible but for the examples he, and the other truly great human beings we have been fortunate to have history place among us, have set for us all.
Rick speaks out against inequality
Everyday South Dakotans and Americans across the country aren’t getting a fair shake. We are facing an explosion of inequality that is just flat out wrong, and too many people in Washington just don’t get it. Rick still remembers his father, Bud, telling him at the kitchen table – “it’s not welfare for the poor that will destroy this country, it’s welfare for the rich.” Frankly, Bud would be dumbfounded today.
The politicians who do big money’s bidding simply don’t get it. They don’t care that middle class Americans haven’t seen a real raise in 30 years. They don’t care that the American Dream is growing further and further out of reach for millions of Americans. They don’t care that the family farm is dying.
They repeat the same old empty rhetoric, but offer no ideas to help everyday South Dakotans. They don’t see anything wrong with 400 Americans having more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans, combined.
The Washington politicians who are demanding an end to unemployment compensation need a mirror and some serious moral counseling.
The idea that people who are actively seeking employment–but who remain unemployed in what remains the worst long-term job market since the Great Depression–should be thrown under the bus to pay for continued tax breaks for multi-millionaires is, frankly, obscene. What you see in the mirror after saying that has got to be frightening, and it should be. It is the philosophy of power and privilege over right, a philosophy of unbridled greed that is opposed by every religion known to man, and it is absolutely wrong.
Mitch McConnell is demanding “spending cuts” to pay for unemployment compensation benefits and turning a blind eye to both off-shore tax havens, huge loopholes in the federal tax code and massive federal subsidies to corporations. McConnell and his big money allies claim with a straight face that we cannot afford a few dollars for the unemployed but that we can afford to let big money players escape taxation by parking their profits overseas or falsely calling them capital gains. Those tax dodges cost taxpayers, who have to make up for the money they let the rich not pay, billions and billions of dollars. If the Congress were not in the pocket of big money it would vote tomorrow to close those loopholes and use the funds raised to pay for unemployment compensation for Americans who cannot find work, and for lower taxes on everyday Americans who are lucky enough to have a job.
Rick is running against big money so he can be for the people on issues like this. He will vote in favor of Federal unemployment compensation so long as our unemployment rate remains at historically high levels, and will vote to close tax loopholes for the very rich to pay for it. That is what hard working South Dakotans deserve and it is what I believe is the right thing to do as well.
Have you had enough of the tax and truth dodging coming from big money?
Weiland Storms Past 250 Town Mark
Weiland told chilly, but hardy voters in each of the 9 towns he visited yesterday that the contrast between his traveling to more than 250 South Dakota towns while his opponent, ex-governor Mike Rounds, is traveling the country soliciting big money en route to his announced goal of raising nine million dollars, “pretty much says it all about the difference between Mike and me.”
“After 10 years in the legislature and 8 years as Governor Mike Rounds has gone all in on the tired old idea that the only way to get elected is with big political contributions from big political donors,” Weiland said. “My entire campaign is a challenge to that idea. I believe you can still get elected with a little money and a lot of hard work.”
“It’s up to the people of South Dakota to decide,” Weiland said. “Mike Rounds will use his out of state money to show you lots of political ads on TV. I will use my car to show you myself and talk with you in person. Then you decide.”
“Come on out and join me,” Weiland challenged Rounds. “Don’t let big money buy your campaign and put South Dakota’s Senator in their trophy case along with all the other Senators they have bought. Let’s barnstorm the state together and let the people decide.”
On January 9th and 10th, Weiland visited 20 additional towns: Roscoe, Hosmer, Java, Bowdle, Selby, Mound City, Herreid, Glenham, Mobridge, Akaska, Lowry, Hoven, Tolstoy, Onaka, Faulkton, Seneca, Lebanon, Gettysburg, Agar, and Onida. He has now visited 266 towns in South Dakota.
Help gather ballot petitions!
For the past six months, Rick has been driving around the state of South Dakota, convincing folks that we have the power to take our country back from big money special interests.
As Americans, there may be a tendency to take free, democratic elections for granted. After all, we’ve grown up with them our entire lives. One day every two years, it doesn’t matter how much money someone has or who they know, it’s still one person, one vote – straight up democracy and it’s what makes our country great.
We would be honored if you could help our campaign by circulating a nominating petition for my candidacy. A strong early showing of support is critical to our grassroots effort. We will be badly outspent in this race, but we will not be outworked.
If you could please take the time to have your friends and family sign my nominating petition, we would be extremely grateful. Rick has already been to more than 240 communities and this week he is heading to the Mobridge area to visit another 20 new towns.
Big money has had its way long enough. It’s time for the people to decide and the first step towards that goal is getting on the ballot.
The Best Government Money Can Buy
$33 million. That’s how much the oil and gas industry spent on lobbying Congress during the first nine months of 2013. It’s an incredible amount of money but, for the five major oil companies, it’s a drop in the bucket. Get this: in the third quarter alone, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips turned a combined profit of $25 billion!
Big money has a stranglehold on our country. These oil companies are pouring money into lobbying efforts and political campaigns to preserve an assortment of tax subsidies that provide billions of dollars in revenue each year. Of course, this lost revenue has to come from somewhere, and so we cut dollars to programs like Head Start and cancer research to maintain Big Oil’s preferred status. It’s shameful.
From cuts in important investments that would protect and expand the middle class to our current Congress’ unwillingness to raise the minimum wage, big money is riding roughshod over everyday South Dakotans. A few days ago, I was interviewed by the New York Times about the minimum wage issue. It’s an interesting story and you can read it here.
Big money funds the scare tactics that lobbyists use to oppose raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour would inject almost $10 billion into our economy, and there is major consensus among economists that raising the minimum wage has zero impact on job growth. That it will cost jobs is simply a myth that big money perpetuates, one which they will keep spouting it until we make them stop.