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Rep Tom Tancredo Emboldens Enemy; Endangers Troops

Where is the right-wing outrage and demands for apologies from Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO)? On Friday Tancredo said this in response to a question about what the United States could do to respond to a terrorist attack here.

"You could take out their holy sites."

The interviewer then says "Your talking about bombing Mecca." And Tancredo responded "Yeah."

Now the right-wingnuts are all out on ledges after Sen. Durbin suggests that there is mistreatment of prisoners at Gitmo, saying that as soon as Durbin utters these words they are on Al-Jazzera and the enemy sees him and hears his words and it emboldens them and puts our troops in danger. Tell how threatening all Muslims, not just those terrorizing us, but all Muslims with blowing up their Holy Sites is good for our troops.

Consider these two recruiting campaigns by the terrorists.

"Join us in Jihad, they are mistreating our brothers in arms who have been captured and sent to Cuba."


"Join us in Jihad, they are going to blow up Mecca even you are don't, so you may as well join us and get some payback."

I know those are somplistic, but you get the idea.

Dick Durbin was trying to right a wrong. Trying to get this country to live up to it's great past. Tom Tancredo was simply making irresponsibile, wreckless remarks that can only be seen as a pander to the far right by a politician who has been on the other side of the White House on high profile issues like immigration and now wants to run for President in 2008.

Tom Tancredo should apologize to our troops and to all peace loving Muslims in the world and then never be heard from again.

I guess it's fianlly happened, our government is being run by Ann "Invade thier countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" Coulter. Hide under
your bed.


Top 5 Republican Blog Rants

OK, I'm going to try something new here. Each Monday I will take a look back at the previous weeks Conservative blogs and present the Top 5 crazy, cooky, whacked-out posts. The hardest part about this is going to be limiting it to five. Here we go.

5. In Sibby's continuing effort to dumb down South Dakota, he offered up a post entitled "
Hildebrand and Iowa AG Tom Miller". In the post Sibby tries to say that there is some sort of conspiracy between Daschle and Iowa AG Tom Miller in an attempt to damage John Thune by bringing down Dan Nelson. As "proof" of the conspiracy Sibby offers this,

"Gore already has received the endorsements of Christie Vilsack, (the wife of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack), U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell (Iowa's sole Democratic congressman), state Attorney General Tom Miller and more than two-thirds of the state's 64 Democratic state legislators.

According to Gore's Iowa state manager, Steve Hildebrand, the endorsement is significant not only because Harkin is the highest-ranking Democrat in the state and the only Democrat to be elected three times from Iowa to the U.S. Senate, but because of Harkin's closeness to key Democratic groups in the state. Gore needs to keep those groups within his camp to fend off a challenge from Bill Bradley."

Say, that is amazing. A Democrat AG endorsed a Democrat Vice President in his bid to become President, and on top of that a Democrat ran said VP's campaign in Iowa. Talk about your smoking guns! On that theory I must be involved too. I am a Democrat. I voted repeatedly for Tom Daschle. I endorsed Al Gore for President. I live in a state that shares a border with Iowa. Connect the dots.

4. SD Politics has an interesting little post entitled "Patriot Fact". You can click on the link, but here is the entire post.

"According to a new poll reported in the London Times (see Real Clear Politics), the British Public backs strong new laws to prevent terrorist acts. This should sober the American Left. Its all well and good to worry about FBI agents combing through our library records, but the American People aren't yet worried about terrorism, not really. They know that most of us are about as likely to die in a terrorist attack (of the recent kind) as we are to perish of excessive exercise.

But one of these days something may happen that will put the fear of the reaper into hearts deep in the heartland. If it does, we may be willing to accept virtually anything that will make us feel more secure. If you want avoid such reactions you have to prevent that terrible event. Maybe if the Democrats spend as much time worrying about that, they'd be better serving civil liberties."

So just to recap. Americans are not worried about terrorism. That explains the WAR ON TERROR I guess. Why not just ask Americans to "inform" on their friends and neighbors who are acting un-American? You know, things like questioning the President, questioning John Thune, reading Catcher in the Rye, subversive stuff like that. It almost seems SDP is rooting for something to happen to put the fear of the reaper into our hearts. Cool. Very patriotic.

3. Ryne McClaren was trying for a Weird Al-type parody with this one I guess, but let's just say he missed. A special note for Sibby on this one, Ryne uses the word "shit" and the word "ass" in this post, and I know how sensitive you are to bad language on blogs so you might wanna skip this one.

"A long, long, time ago I can still remember how they thought we never lied; And I knew when we had our chance We could make it up in advance And their Presidential chances would be fried; And then them bloggers made me shiverWith every correction they'd deliver Truth was at their fingers Their criticism lingers; I can't remember if I spit When Dan Rather's career went to shit The bloggers boots in my ass they hit The day the scandal died
So bye bye to the CBS eyeWent to MoveOn to get my groove on but I didn't know why; And them basement boys hookin' up to WiFiSingingThis is not the day that you lie; This is not the day that you lie............"

2. I hate to pile on Sibby, but it's just so easy. Here is one called "Dan Nelson Caught on Technicality". Yeah, funny how the law is just some technicality.

"In Iowa they have some kind of technicality that requires certain filings be done in the same county the person resides in. That was what Dan Nelson apparently failed to do correct

I'm sure SDP would be willig to overlook a "technicality" like the law in the name of the Patriot Act, but fortunately the Iowa AG isn't.

1. The craziets Republican Rant of the week goes to...Sibby! This one is called "Ellsworth, Dan Nelson and ears". In it basically Sibby says that Dan Nelson bears no responsablity at all for his business going bankrupt and that Democrats hate poor people because we think it's wrong to allow them to buy a car at four times it's value and at rock bottom 25% interest rates. You'll just have to read it, but here is part of it.

"Instead it is the Democrats who may have created more poverty that results from people losing their jobs. And the Dan Nelson bankruptcy is a case in point."


"What the Democrats refuse to talk about is how the actions of a pro-Democrat operative in Iowa resulted in the loss of South Dakota jobs, jobs that were provided by Republican supporter Dan Nelson."


"The Democrats claim the are for the poor. But they seem to care less about the jobs lost when the doors to all of Nelson's business were shut down"


"Perhaps it was due to Steve Hildbrand having Tom Miller's ear that the lost of South Dakota jobs occurred."

I hope you enjoyed this first installmentent. Please send me your nominations for next week.


Democrat Senators Shamelessly Act Like Republicans

Sen. Clinton and Sen. Lieberman are making it abundantly clear that they are running for President in 2008 and that they intend to get there by acting like Republicans. And not just your regular run-of-the-mill Republicans, but crazy, whacked-out Republicans.

The Senators are up in arms about pornographic content "hidden" in a video game called "Grand Theft Auto". This reminds me of that age old Zen question of "if pornography is hidden, is it really pornography?"

Here is how it works,

"The content can be unlocked by using the "Hot Coffee" code modification widely available on the Internet. By installing the modification, gamers can have their drivers find different girlfriends in the game who will have a "cup of hot coffee" -- a euphemism for sex -- with them."

All these years my wife has been telling me she is meeting friends for a "hot cup of coffee" and now it turns out she is really using a euphemism for sex!

The games makers offer up an interesting defense.

"A spokesman for the game's maker, Rockstar Games Inc., said the "Hot Coffee" modification was the unauthorized work of people in the "modder community" -- the group of intense gamers who often add content to games."

I'm no expert, but how can a group of intense gammers add content to a game without the maker of the game knowing?

Lieberman is miffed.

"Lieberman (D-Conn.) asked Rockstar president Sam Houser to submit the game to independent analysts to determine how the content was put in.

'I am asking you to bring this matter to light and resolve this serious controversy by voluntarily submitting your game to independent concerned and responsible parties for such technical analysis,' Lieberman wrote in a letter to Houser."

And Clinton is equally appalled.

"The disturbing material in 'Grand Theft Auto' and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children, and it's making the difficult job of being a parent even harder," Clinton said.

Yeah. Silly me. I thought that terrorists flying planes into buildings in our country, followed by our leadership concocting a lie so we can wage war in Iraq allowing our President's friends to reap the spoils of that war while regular Americans are actually fighting and dying in said war, coming home to find no job and no VA healthcare, but finding tax cuts for the rich who are not off fighting and dying in the war, and record high gas prices and a sluggish economy and another terrorist attack in England where stealing the innocence of our children and making the job of being a parent harder, but I guess I was wrong. It's all "Grand Theft Auto's" fault.

Very nice waste of time from Democratic Senators pandering to the right to try to win a Presidential election. I have four words for you...Mark Warner in 2008.

Are We Numb To Violence In Iraq?

A little more than a week ago apparent suicide bombers killed over 50 people in London. Of course I don't need to tell you that. Everyone already knows. It reminded us all of 9/11 (although it's not as if you could possibly forget 9/11 as long as President Bush is making speeches) and was simply horrific.

Let me ask you something, did you know that an almost identical attack happened in Iraq today? Maybe you did, maybe you didn't. The point is everyone knows what happened in London, not everyone is aware of the atrocity in Iraq. There where no major networks breaking in on coverage of the British Open or the Yankees/Red Sox baseball game (I know because that's what I was watching) to tell us of the terror. Instead I found out about the
blast that seems to have killed at least 58 people and injured nearly 90 more, on the internet.

Of course my point is not that too much was made of blasts in London, but that too little is made of the daily terror attacks in Iraq. In addition to the big blast, a smaller roadside bomb killed three British troops on Saturday. It seems these attacks go, for the most part, un-noticed here in America. I don't think I'm going out too far on a limb when I say that I'm sure there will be no candle light vigils in American cities for those lost Iraqi's from today's terror attack.

I think the danger in all this is that less and less shocks us about the war in Iraq. In the same story about the bombings, there is another story of more prisoner abuse by the American Military. That too has become business as usual in this war. (Just as an aside, what I find intriguing about that story is that the same people who told us John Kerry was "Unfit for Command" because he had told congress about prisoner and civilian abuse by American troops in Vietnam, now tell us that all of this prisoner abuse is just part of war and we need to toughen up buttercup. I need a scorecard to keep up with all the Republicans stories.) I mean think about it. At this point what would it take to shock you in Iraq? Sadly, I think the answer for most of us would be a huge loss of American life. We have already come to accept the daily loss of Iraqi life. Apathy has set in. Apathy is dangerous on so many levels. When we become apathetic we stop holding our leaders accountable. We stop asking them tough questions. The stakes in Iraq are simply too high for all concerned to allow apathy to se in. We have to remember ourselves and remind others that 58 Iraqi's being killed is just as much of a tragedy as 58 Londoners being killed or 3000 Americans. It is dangerous to let yourself become desensitized to loss of life.

UPDATE: A reader left a comment with a link to his blog called "Truth War Photo Blog" It is very graphic so visit at your own peril, but it is very eye opening to say the least.


Social Security Smoke and Mirrors

So this is the best the Republicans could come up with? A plan that would extent the solvency of Social Security for two entire years at a cost of only $851 billion over the next 11 years. You know I just can't think of a better way to spend $851 billion than to allow people to invest $770 in a private account.

"The bill calls for establishing personal retirement accounts for workers under age 55 and stocking them with Treasury bonds equal to the surplus Social Security taxes the government will collect each year through 2016. Next year alone the program expects to receive $84.5 billion more in payroll taxes than it needs for monthly benefit checks."

The Republicans who back this bill tout it by saying the following,

"The GROW Accounts Act will stop the raid on Social Security by ensuring that Social Security taxes are spent the way they should be only on Social Security," Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) said.

What is the current Social Security surplus raided to fund? Funny you should ask. Silly things really like, "Currently such money is spent on other government programs or budget priorities, including tax cuts or funding for the war in Iraq"

So great, this will keep the GOP from raiding my Social Security to give Bush's oil buddies a tax break or funding the illegal war in Iraq. Instead they will use some Enron accounting to be all things to all people.

"While the bill's Republican sponsors describe the legislation as 'stopping the raid on Social Security' taxes, it would allow Congress to continue spending the surplus money through 2009, to ease the financial transition. At that time, a new central administrative authority would be empowered to expand the ways the money can be invested, as well as to propose an alternate means of financing the accounts.

That has prompted accusations by Democrats of duplicative accounting, as well as criticism that the accounts are merely a backdoor attempt to establish the private accounts favored by President Bush. Those accounts would be financed with a direct diversion of payroll taxes, not just surplus funds. So far the Bush plan has received a lukewarm reception both from the public and members of Congress."

I'm sure the White House's "Point Man" on Social Security John Thune will run home and tell us why this would be a great deal for us. I won't hold my breath.

More Thune in the Blogosphere

I had so much fun seeing what others are saying about our esteemed freshman senator that I decided to do it again.

This first one is from a blog called
Me4Presisent2008 and it's a pretty funny site.

"Although I didn't like Daschle, you somehow found a way to elect a guy who is a bigger jackass than he was. While driving to the Black Hills, I saw more signs up saying that this is the home, birth place, and childhood home of your Senator than I have ever seen anywhere. I have driven through states with presidential ties that don't have as arrogant a moron who needs his name up on every billboard. I don't care which town has John Thune's favorite restroom."

John Thune...The Supreme Court Obstructionist? According to "The Lonely Centrist" he thinks it might happen.

"But there are others who could be peeled away from a nominee in the right circumstances - gang of 14 members Warner, DeWine, and the aforemention Graham; Hagel, Coleman, Murkowski, and Voinovich; maybe even Elizabeth Dole or John Thune, the latter of whom has shown he is not afraid to play hardball with the President, and use nominations as a bargaining chip in doing so."

Yeah, that would play well with the SD base wouldn't it?

Belfrage and Kelo AM

Last week when I posted on Greg Belfrage's take on the Thune/Nelson matter, I was both taken to task for being too hard on Belfrage and praised for reporting what he said early one morning when most people are still asleep. I had no idea a local right-wing talk-radio host would illicit such a heated response. Anyway, in the Argus today another Belfrage listener takes Greg and Backyard Broadcasting to the woodshed.

"Being a long-time listener of KELO-AM, I am alarmed at the new direction Backyard Broadcasting feels it needs to follow. KELO has become increasingly a proponent of a radically right-wing agenda rather than a news organization.

Case in point: A recent morning's topic on Greg Belfrage's show cited polls indicating that most Americans do not believe U.S. involvement in Iraq is worth it and has not made America safer, that we have lost more than we've gained.

Belfrage mirrors the Bush administration's myopic view that we belong there. Listening to his rhetoric, I found Belfrage's most misleading statement was calling Iraqi insurgents "terrorists," insinuating they are the same group that attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9-11. They are not. They are Iraqis defending their territory from attackers: the U.S.

Backyard Broadcasting may as well be called Dubya Radio. With a radical right-wing lineup including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Engram, and locally, Greg Belfrage, and now Fox Network news, KELO has an obvious agenda.

Why do I listen when I know KELO is wrong? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. To do what is right, it helps to know what is being done wrong. KELO does it wrong."

-Cho Senn, Sioux Falls

Now for those on the right who accused me last of week of obviously not listening to Belfrage on a regular basis, let me say that I know "Cho" calls in to Belfrage's show often, and Belfrage always takes his calls and for the most part let's him make his points. Usually after Cho hangs up, subsequent callers and Belfrage pile on Cho, casting him as some leftwing crazy. That is just the nature of the beast. When a liberal calls a talk radio show, the next ten callers will beat up on him. I'm happy Cho is fighting, or in the case, writing back.


Tapken's Mother Bows Out

Kelo TV is reporting tonight that SD's acting US Attorney is going to great length's to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest (I wonder if that sound's familer to our freshman senator?) in the Dan Nelson debacle. What conflict of interest you ask? Well, it turns out that the acting US Attorney is none other than one Michelle Tapken, mother of former Dan Nelson Automotive owner Chris Tapken.

Here is part of the statement.

"Due to the publicity surrounding the bankruptcy of Dan Nelson Automotive owned by Dan Nelson and Christian Tapken, the Acting United States Attorney, Michelle Tapken, wanted to assure that there would be no appearance of impropriety in any potential investigation and therefore the matter has been referred to officials in the Department of Justice and no one associated with the United States Attorneys Office for the District of South Dakota would be involved in this matter."

This doesn't mean there is not an investigation, only that it won't be conducted by Tapken's mother.

Senator Thune said "I don't see how anyone could think this would be a conflict of interest. I mean just because they are mother and son doesn't mean anything. I hear Chris hasn't talked to his mother in like the last six months." OK, I made that part up.

I say Bravo Michelle Tapken! See how easy it is to avoid a conflict of interest.


What Investors are Saying

Following are comments left on a message board at Yahoo Financial about Meta Financial.

"This was a loan made with incredibly poor judgement by the companies board and hopefully investigations will take place into Mr. Nelson's alleged criminal activity and Sen. Thune's possible back scratching of an old friend using money of a publically-traded company."

"As I thought, this baby is headed the wrong direction. Car dealer debacle will force this weak management team out of the S&L business. Notice the staff shakeout after the disclosure of bad loans."

"Look out below. Friday's announcment of huge exposure to bankrupt car dealer is bad news for this organization."

I have no idea who these people are, but I assume they are simply investors with no political stake in this situation. I just found the comments interesting.

And Now This From the "Party of Personal Responsibility"

I found this little gem on a SD righty blog today. It's really pretty revealing.

"John Thune had nothing to do with the bankruptcy of Dan Nelson Automotive. A once profitable and job-providing business now destroyed, and by the actions of Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller, a pro-Democrat operative at the national levels of his party. Perhaps it was due to Steve Hildbrand having Tom Miller’s ear that the lost of South Dakota jobs occurred."

Wow. Yeah I guess Dan Nelson bears no responsibility at all for lying to and cheating hunderds possibly thousand of customers. Nope. Dan Nelson is a saint of man who ran a perfectly legit business that just happened to screw a load of people while lining his own pockets and giving money to Thune's campaigns.

A caller on the Rush Limbaugh show today made what I think is a very good point. Conservatives hate news. They love what Limbaugh and Hannity and Belfrage do, which is to dress up opinion and propaganda to look like news, but they don't really have any interest in actual news, or in taking any of their much talked about personal responsibility. If nothing else we are getting to see the true nature of the GOP in SD through this process.


Some Thoughts on Thune/Nelson/MetaBank

Some right-wing bloggers have started to weigh in on the Dan Nelson/John Thune story, and to be honest I have found some of their defense of Sen. Thune compelling, but I also think they miss the mark, or try to move the target on a few points.

First. Taking their cue from the Senator himself, all the Right-wing bloggers feel obliged to specifically mention that at the time of the loan Thune was a private citizen. Why does that matter? Only a Senator can find shady ways to help a friend out of a financial pickle? Or is it that it's only a news story if it's a Senator instead of a candidate for Senator? I've tried to figure out why this matters, and I can't come up with a reason.

Second. They try to make a big deal out of the fact that Nelson and MetaBank had a longstanding banking relationship prior to the loan in question. Again, I don't know why this matters. This loan was the only loan Nelson received while under investigation by Iowa AG and while Thune was on the board.

Which brings us to my third point. Everyone seems transfixed on this notion that somehow Thune forced through a loan to Nelson over the objections of all the other board members and bank employees tasked with approving loans. I think we can all agree that would be, at the least very difficult and probably closer to impossible. The real issue, the real question, is did Thune have knowledge of the Iowa AG's pending legal action ahead of the public announcement of that lawsuit and at the time Nelson was applying for the loan in question? If he did have advance knowledge of the lawsuit, then it seems to me (and I'm not a lawyer or a bank executive) that as a MetaBank board member he was duty bound to share that knowledge with those ultimately making the decision on the loan. If he had advance knowledge at the time of the loan application and kept quiet, that is as reprehensible as actively forcing through a loan.

Fourth. How do we know if Thune had knowledge of Nelson's legal and financial problems at the time the loan was applied for? Well, the short answer is we don't and we probably won't. Sen. Thune says he has spoken with Nelson only once in the last six months while former
Nelson employees say Thune and Nelson spoke on an almost daily basis. What else is Thune going to say? If he says he talks to Nelson all the time, nobody is going to believe that Nelson didn't confide in him. The former DNA employees are, after all, former employees. Todd Epp believes them to be credible, and I take his word for it, but it's not hard to imagine people who lost their job on Friday, lashing out at their former employer on Saturday.

As with most things, the truth is probably somewhere in between what we on the left have been pushing and what those on the right want to believe. Will we ever know if Thune sat on his hands while the bank that it was his job to protect approved a loan that he knew was destined to never be repaid? I don't know? I hope so, whatever the answer is, but I doubt we will. That doesn't mean it's not a legit news story. And nobody will ever make be believe that if the Sen. on that bank board was named Johnson or Daschle and the loan was made to one of their long time friends and political supporters that the Right-wing bloggers wouldn't be filling Randell Beck's email box on a daily basis demanding they write the story and we on the left would be finding ways to back up our man.

Welcome to the SD blogosphere.

As I've said before, if you judge a man by his friends, then you have to question John Thune judgment if not his character.