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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.


Thune Pot Dome and the Murdo Subway Project

There is some good stuff about Sen. Thune on blogs out there. Here is a sampling.

I love this. A comment by "
The Observer" on Mount Blogmore asks that we come up with a more original name for MetaGate than MetaGate, and then offers a great suggestion...Thune Pot Dome. I'm going with that from now on.

Arbitrarily Tom notes that SD's Homeland Security Director John Berheim stated yesterday that the increased terror level for mass transportation really won't affect South Dakota since...well...we don't have any. Yet. "though Senator Thune has gotten $43,000 in funds to start building the subway in Murdo."

Political Forecast now has a "Thune scandal" section at the top of their links section and they say this.

"We in the blogosphereonline publishing world tend to get caught up in all the different stories and editorials that we issue.

So, hopefully on a weekly basis, or every few days at least, I'm going to remind you guys to keep important things on the forefront of political action and discourse. Tonight's two issues are the Downing Street Memo and the John Thune fiasco.

Rob posts on the DSM
here and SD Watch reports that the SD MSM has decided to get involved. Keep up the good work folks."

In An Alternative Universe makes this observation,

"a slick used car dealer and an equally slick politician created what appears to be a mutually beneficial relationship that is reminiscent of the conflict of interests in the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal."

Rapid City Journal Reports Thune/MetaGate

The Rapid City Journal has a story today about Thune/MetaGate, much like the story on Kelo TV last night. They do have an interesting statement from a Thune spokesman though.

"Thune communications director Kyle Downey said the senator would not respond Thursday to Olson's statement. Downey issued a short statement on Thune's behalf Thursday evening that rejected the implications of any wrongdoing.

While a private citizen, John Thune served on the board of directors for MetaBank with utmost integrity. During this service he was unaware of any legal or financial problems surrounding Nelson's companies,' Downey said. 'To suggest, as some former employees of Sen. Thune's previous political opponent are doing, that John Thune acted improperly are baseless and false. These attacks are part of an ongoing campaign against Sen. Thune.'"

My favorite part of the quote is the part about some former employees of Thune's previous political opponent. They can't even say his name. It's TOM DASCHLE! And not everyone working this story is a former employee of Daschle, as if that matters. Again, like with Greg Belfrage, Sen. Thune and his supporters had no problem with then candidate Thune paying bloggers to hit Daschle and his family, don't forget that, his family, with a daily barrage of attacks while concealing the fact that these guys where being paid by Thune.

Grow up and at least act like a Senator even if you have no idea how to really be a senator.

Belfrage on Thune/MetaGate...It's Nothing

This morning on Kelo AM Thune mouthpiece Greg Belfrage "reported" on the Thune/MetaGate story. First, he left out the fact that Nelson ran some of Thune's earlier campaigns. Then he didn't get into the timeline of the events that raise the as yet unanswered questions about Thune's involvement. Belfrage then questioned the motives of Kelo TV in running the story and asked who was pushing the story, saying that Thune has many political enemies (bloggers) who are probably behind this attack. He concluded by saying he is sure this is much ado about nothing.

Funny Mr. Belfrage never raised the same concerns during the election when the Thune Blog A-Lie-ance launched daily attacks on Sen. Daschle and his wife and bullied the Argus into carrying water for Thune while all the while being paid by Thune (except for Sibby, I know you haven't received a red cent).

In case you want to drop him a note Belfrage can be reached at greg_belfrage@mmi.net.


Kelo TV Finally Breaks the Ice

Kelo TV finally ran a report on Thune/Nelson/MetaGate tonight. Basically they brought everyone up to speed with what we have all known in the blogosphere since the vast Left-wing conspiracy broke the story last week. Not really much new and most disappointing, still no comment from Thune.

One would think that at some point he is going to have to at least deny any wrongdoing.

Meta Financial Groups stock price went down .55 per share today from $19.05 to $18.50. In the last week it has gone down 8.09%.

Also, as it turns out I am Meta Financial Stock holder. My 401(k) uses Vanguard and one of the funds in invest in is the Vanguard Balanced Index Fund which owns 3,000 shares of Meta Financial. This whole shady deal is delaying my retirement on top of everything else.


Thune, Nelson & MetaBank Continued

A little more information is coming out now, check out PIADW, Clean Cut Kid, and Don't Worry About The Government. One of the interesting items revealed in the bankruptcy documents filed yesterday was that two different loan agreements where reached in October of 2004 when Thune was still on the Board of Directors of what would become MetaBank and Nelson was aware that the Iowa AG was investigating his business practices.

It seems that almost right away Nelson didn't live up to his part of the loan agreements and eventually filed bankruptcy.

Also sort of curious is the fact that it seems Dan Nelson is no longer an owner of Dan Nelson Automotive Group. He sold his 75% share to partner and fellow Thune cronie Chris Tapken for the princely sum of $50.

In the meantime SD Watch has not gotten a reply from Sen. Thune's office to his letter asking for comment on the situation. Very surprising don't you think.

Meanwhile, it seems that JD Byrider (the former name of Nelson's dealership) is also in trouble with the Kentucky AG as of December of 2004.

"Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo today announced the filing of a Consumer Protection lawsuit against national used car dealership franchisor, J.D. Byrider, Inc. and the Louisville J.D. Byrider franchise owned by James Maguire. Both Maguire and his son, J. Marc Maguire, are named as defendants along with several corporations and limited liability companies (LLC’s) owned and controlled by the Maguires. The suit was filed today in Jefferson Circuit Court."

It also seems that this branch of the company got some special favors from friends in high places.

"Kentucky State Police say they are investigating whether the Louisville J.D. Byrider franchise may have given the former head of the attorney general's consumer affairs office in Louisville favorable deals on used cars, and whether he in turn went easy on complaints against the dealer."

What kind of "favorable deals" you ask?

"In one deal, state records show that on Oct. 12, 2000, Byrider gave Winlock a $6,995 trade-in credit on a 1991 Ford Taurus with 103,285 miles that had a trade-in value at the time of $1,375, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

In the most recent deal, Byrider on Dec. 15 gave Winlock a $5,000 trade-in credit on a 12-year-old pickup with 129,382 miles. That was $3,330 more than the truck's trade-in value listed by the National Automobile Dealers Association."

Nice! What where Winlocks duties in the AG office?

"As the head of the Louisville office, Winlock said in the May interview, he supervised investigators who responded to complaints against car dealers and sometimes talked with dealers himself."

I wonder if this kind of thing is in the franchisee handbook?


When Did Alberto Become Al?

I noticed that in the last day or two the White House has taken to calling Alberto Gonzalez, "Al". And they seem to have sent the memo to other Right-wingers as well. I wonder if this is a concerted effort on their part as some sort of plan to soften his image leading up to a Supreme Court nomination? Al. Everyone has an uncle Al. Al is the guy who bags your groceries or does your taxes. Al has no pretense. Al is non-threatening. Al. Alberto is different. Not everyone knows Alberto. Alberto. Yep, that's different. More aloof. Alberto is not everyman. Alberto is a fancy pants lawyer. Al is...well...Al. Maybe it's just something they started for no reason at all, but it's weird.

"'Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine,' Bush told USA Today. 'When a friend gets attacked, I don't like it.'"

Dan Bartlett with Britt Hume tonight,

"He is serving his country well. He served his state of Texas well. And I think, if given a choice again, President Bush would do just the same, and that's defend his good friend, Al Gonzales"

The FRreepers have a thread titled "Al Gonzalez for Sandy O'Conner and a Justice to Be Named Later"

Even RedStates.org apparently got the memo,

"I hate to write this. I've heard from several sources today that Al Gonzalez has been moved onto the WH short list for the Supreme Court."

Spooky ain't it?

Thune and the Flag

I came across a column I guess you'd call it, written by Sen. Thune at Dakota Voice published yesterday. The piece is about his need to protect the flag and it is classic Thune.

"Sadly, we are all too familiar with the scene on the nightly news or accounts in newspapers where a group of protestors douse an American flag in kerosene and set it on fire."

All too familiar? The problem Johnny is that those groups of protestors are not in the United States. They are in places like Iran, and Syria and Saudia Arabia and North Korea or maybe even France.

I feel silly explaining this to a United States Senator, but a constitutional amendment banning flag burning is only the law of the United States, the rest of the world does not care and it will not stop them from burning the flag.

I know I've asked this before, but when was the last time you saw a flag burned in America anyway?

Believe it or not it actually get's even more absurd.

"When I recently attended the annual meeting of the South Dakota American Legion, I was reminded that their highest legislative priority is the flag amendment."

Now I don't want to call Sen. Thune a liar, but I find it very hard to believe that the American Legion has made protecting the flag their "hightest legislative prority."

No, I think they are probably more worried about say having verteran's healthcare fully funded, something Johnny and his posse seem to be unwilling to do unless forced.

Thune ends with this.

"Veterans from across South Dakota have asked me to step up and defend the flag of this great nation and I am answering that call."

I think the Senator may have misunderstood what those veterans where asking of him. I think they actally wanted him to enlist and get his chickenhawk ass over to Iraq.


SD Watch on MetaGate

As always, SD Watch has been very active on the whole MetaGate controversy. Todd has sent a letter to Randell Beck asking the Argus to cover the story, written a letter to Thune asking for comment, and found out that at least one member of the SDMSM is currently working the story with it's release to come in the next day or two.

Just because I like to see Sibby lose his mind, I really hope it is the David Kranz working on the story. You know, the vast leftist conspiracy and all.


Another Republican Lawmaker in Trouble

While we here in South Dakota are consumed with our own freshman senator's burgeoning scandal, there is another ongoing legal drama involving Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a California Republican. Cunningham's home in California and the yacht he lives on while in Washington where simultaneously searched by federal agents earlier this week. "Duke" seems to be flaunting his wrongdoing right out in front of everyone. From the San Diego Union Tribune.

"It has been known for at least two weeks that the FBI and a federal grand jury in San Diego are investigating Cunningham's ties to Mitchell Wade, founder of MZM Inc.

On June 12, a story in The San Diego Union-Tribune revealed that the defense contractor bought Cunningham's Del Mar-area home in 2003 and later sold it at a $700,000 loss. Shortly after selling the house, Cunningham purchased his Rancho Santa Fe home for $2.55 million. Cunningham also lived aboard Wade's 42-foot yacht while in Washington."

So, MZM never had a government contract from it's inception in 1993 until 2002 then, as if by magic, from 2003 until now they have received $163 million in government contracts. Odd how that date coincides with the owner of MZM buying Cunningham's house and letting Cunningham live on his yacht in Washington. Oh and this is cute, the name of the yacht? The Duke-Stir.

Did he really think all of this would not get the attention of the authorities?

In case you've forgotten, this is the same Randy "Duke" Cunningham who is pushing the flag burning amendment in the House and is the author of this
ridiculous quote,

"Ask the men and women who stood at the top of the Trade Center. Ask them and they will tell you, 'Pass this amendment.'"

Really? They would? Does he really think those people care even a little bit if some nitwit burns a flag? I don't think he does, I think he is trying to use the victims of the 9/11 attacks for political gain, which is what all Republicans do. In fact, as the above linked article points out,

"The survivors of the World Trade Center attack regularly appear before Congress and none has urged passage of a flag-burning amendment."

That's another thing about good Republicans, they never let the truth get in the way of a radical agenda.


Meta Bank CEO Gave to Thune, SD AG Still Silent

In light of the financial difficulties the Dan Nelson Automotive Group bankruptcy appears to be causing Meta Bank (tip of the cap to PIADW) I wonder if Meta Bank's Chairman of the Board James Haahr is re-thinking his decision to donate $2000.00 to Thune's campaign in September of 2004. Just before his bank made the ill-fated loan to Dan Nelson Automotive for a cool $28 million.

As pointed out by
Thune Watch, the central questions about Thune's connection to this story are essentially how much did he know and when did he know it, and did he follow Meta Bank's stated policy of avoiding any actual or apparent conflicts of interest between personal and professional relationships?

I wonder when SD AG Larry Long is going to get around to investigating Dan Nelson?

I found this list of "Duties and Responsibilities" in regards to consumer protection on the
AG's website. The bold items would be of the most interest in this case.
  • Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices
  • Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the public and legitimate business community
  • Enforce statutes relating to buying clubs, telephone solicitation, telemarketing, and sweepstakes
  • Advise consumers of their basic rights under consumer laws
  • Distribute consumer education materials
  • Assist in the preparation of legislation designed to protect consumers
  • Participate in multi-jurisdictional actions with other state and federal law enforcement agencies
  • Advise consumers of complaints on file against specific companies

By the way, if your interested in contacting the Larry Long, he can be reached the following ways:

Address:Office of the Attorney General500 East Capitol Ave.Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Phone (Routine Business): (605) 773-3215

Fax: (605) 773-4106

E-mail: atghelp@state.sd.us