Entries Tagged '1st Amendment' ↓

Where is Mayor Paul?

To tell you the truth, I really don’t care. I think all mayors have a right to take a night off, whether that is for a ‘date night’ with the wife, or to look in the mirror and take selfies with his latest trucker hat. I really don’t think the mayor should be running the council meetings anyway, so good riddance.

Before I get to his absence, I have to tell you watching the discussion about a city ordinance about political signs in your yard with the city council meeting tonight is extremely laughable and a waste of time. The 1st Amendment protects political speech, and if you want a political sign in your yard for 100 years, the city can’t do a damn thing about it. Get over yourselves.

As for PTH, I really didn’t pay much mind, but the ‘rumors’ have been flowing in, here they are and take them with a grain of DaCola;

• He is on his yearly trip to Haiti for missionary work. Good for him. I also hear a local bank is funding the trip. Also, good for them (if true).

• He is at home avoiding an uncomfortable conversation about refugees and discrimination. Can’t blame him. Having public conversations about these things takes courage . . . that’s why my chickensh*t ass is at home watching this online. But I was very proud of this city tonight, and the testimony given. Embracing others is something we should all strive for.

Both resolutions passed as I suspected. And some people understood what I meant about having more ‘teeth’. It means budgeting for education programs that combat hate and discrimination. Councilor Brekke brought this up, and I am glad she did. I actually was very impressed by the conversation, but what most should understand is the freedom you were allowed tonight to speak on this issue is truly what it means to be American, freedom of speech. It gives you the right to denounce these things, it also gives those who hate us to do the same, unfortunately. I stand by what I have been saying about this over the last week. Use your rights to change minds and to educate others, but don’t limit your dissenters. Because the louder you are, they will soon be drowned out, and they will realize they have only abused their rights to send a message of self destruction. I know it is corny, but only Love conquers Hate, not speeches or resolutions.

GOP controlled South Dakota Legislature continues to pass unconstitutional laws

Isn’t it sad? Riot boosting, petitioning, etc. Why does our state legislature continue to pass laws that are violations of our 1st Amendment rights? I will tell you why, because we are allowing a super majority to legislate us.

I have often been baffled by how South Dakotans vote for initiatives that overturn the foolishness and inaction in Pierre yet continue to send these same fools to Pierre.

Want to have fewer initiatives on the ballot? Start electing legislators that pass laws that benefit you and that can hold up to a constitutional smell test.

I told Cory when he first announced he was suing the state over this issue he would win, I considered it a ‘slam dunk’ and if you read the opinion of the judge, it is very apparent. Cory pointed out to me that this paragraph says it all in the ruling;

And that’s all our legislature really does, put’s regulations on our rights to petition the government. And instead of apologizing and vowing to stop passing these restrictions they argue they are right;

Rep. Jon Hansen, a Republican from Dell Rapids, sponsored the bill to regulate petitioners last year. He disagreed with the ruling and said the law was intended to prevent out-of-state petitioners from influencing South Dakota laws.

If Hansen and his fellow lawmakers were so concerned about out of state influence, maybe they should stop taking marching orders from ALEC and the NRA. The party and it’s members also receive millions in donations from out of state entities. I would go so far to say that Noem could not have been elected if it weren’t for out of state contributions. It’s the norm with the SD GOP, it’s okay for them to not follow the rules, but the rest of us minions have to. This time they got their butts handed to them, and rightfully so.

‘Total Fabrication’ Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson and Belfrage have a twisted view of the 1st Amendment

I can’t count the number of times I fell over laughing while listening to this conversation between councilor Erickson and Belfrage on his show this morning. They have a very jaded viewed of what is right and what is wrong. One of the better moments is when Erickson continues to talk about the ‘Freedom of the Press’. She knows that SF Biz is a for profit website that charges businesses and organizations to post articles. Hardly the ‘Free Press’. It’s no different than a paid advertisement from a political candidate. Which brings us to the number two problem, tax money was being used to promote a candidate. Sure, his name was only mentioned once, but it was mentioned, and it doesn’t matter if the article had 1,023 words (Erickson admits in the interview she counted them) or if it is a novel. A taxpayer funded entity PAID for an article that promotes a political candidate. All the fluff and puff in between is laughable.

I may load this interview on my I-Pod so when I am having a bad day I can have a good laugh about how ignorant these two are about freedom of speech.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly was on the attack yesterday, and it was the ‘Good Fight’

First, the obvious – The First Amendment DOES not protect free speech when comes to using tax dollars to promote a political candidate. This doesn’t even take a Constitutional scholar to figure it out. This is why Trump was impeached in Congress. He was withholding tax dollars to help his presidential candidacy.

While I understand a local entrepreneur casually mentioning a city council candidate he is helping out in an article funded by two institutions that receive some tax funding (state and city) may seem not as grand as what our president did, it is still worth talking about and correcting.

I was extremely irritated that some elected officials on the council chose to defend this obvious violation of free speech rights and state law.

Just because you violate campaign rules ‘a little bit’ doesn’t make it alright. That essentially was their argument.

While what councilors Brekke, Stehly and citizen Bruce Danielson said may have been uncomfortable, it was very appropriate to say and the right time to say it, in a public meeting. No one was advocating to arrest anyone, no one was going to throw some one in jail or fine them. This was simply an effort to ‘nip it in the butt’ before it became common place. People make mistakes, we get it.

Over the past day, I have told several people that Matt Paulson (Alex Jensen’s quasi-campaign manager, treasurer and fundraiser) did nothing wrong, neither did Siouxfalls.business. Stehly wasn’t attacking them, she was simply telling the Sioux Falls Development Foundation (and I guess DSU) that moving forward they should not promote certain candidates because they receive public money.

This isn’t an attack, it’s a fact, and many journalists and citizens agree.

We know what’s going on here, and we have been seeing this across the state for several years. The Republican establishment (a very small elitist group) has controlled our State House for almost 50 years, and they are trying to take control of our County Commissions, State’s Attorney offices and other non-partisan government entities like city councils and school boards. I want to clarify, I have voted for ‘good’ Republicans (like Stehly, Brekke, Staggers and Jamison) on these non-partisan bodies, because they have integrity and want to keep party affiliation out of politics. The group I am referring to is a very small group of ‘know it all’ elitist, establishment Republicans that want to control their business interests, and they see an opportunity here, though their actions look more like ‘amateur hour’.

I have said it already, they are using candidates like Jensen for city council, Cynthia Mickelson for school board and State’s Attorney candidates like Haggar and Bengford to stack the deck and implement their pro-corporate welfare of government, these are NOT Republicans in the sense of tradition, these are elitist greed mongers that only pray to one God; money. Don’t believe me? Why else would the South Dakota GOP Chair, a Jewish Iowa businessman lobby for an Islamic theocratic government? Because party doesn’t matter, only money and greed.

So yes, Stehly was on the attack yesterday. She was attacking greed, corruption, partisanship, lack of integrity and lack of open government. And not just ‘a little bit’ but a lot.

The Worst Politicos of 2019

We are all screaming for ice cream. Made with hemp of course.

I guess I could go on and on about Trump. But I won’t. Let’s focus on Sioux Falls and South Dakota.

Aaron McGowan takes the prize locally. The fiasco he has left Minnehaha County is embarrassing. What is even more embarrassing is the lack of intervention by the commission until it was too late. I’m not sure if I am so disappointed in him as I am with the commission and lack of general oversight.

In second is Paula Hawks who fought tooth and nail to become the chair of the SD Democratic Party only to resign a few months later because she didn’t cash a couple of checks laying in some desk drawers. I have a feeling we will be hearing from Paula in 2020. Pray for her, but more importantly, pray for the Democratic Party.

The number one prize goes to Kristi Noem, who has embarrassed female politicians across the state as the first female governor. She has confused industrial ag products with drugs. She has made a mockery of drug policy in the state. She has zero comprehension of the 1st amendment and 2nd amendment. She has taken nepotism to a new level. She has taken a dump on public education. And she has done it all with a wink and a smile. She is truly disgusting on soooooo many levels. She has shown to be one of the hugest failures in local government in 2019, and the Snow Queen rodeo star’s reign is not over. Screw impeaching Trump, we should be impeaching our governor. 

And you thought Janklow sucked!

Honorable Mentions;

• Minnehaha County Commission (Beating up on the treasurer over monthly reports while the State’s Attorney was absent).

• Paul TenHaken. For a guy who used to run a communications company, he struggles with communicating.

• Dan Lederman, the GOP Party chair. Besides the fact that he does his business in Iowa, he is paid to be a lobbyist for the Islamic Saudi government. He also had very little to do with Representative Saba (a Democrat) bringing in a trade deal with the Egyptians, and had zero to say about it.

• Greg Neitzert. His rage and anger for Stehly is overwhelming. He makes Rick Kiley look like a pussy cat and Curt Soehl look like Rhodes Scholar. I don’t think dunking him in a 55 gallon drum of hand sanitizer could help.

Belfrage misses the point of releasing the TenHaken voicemail

You can hear the discussion. She did have a defender during his segment.

I will say this first. I don’t like how this has been going. In fact I think everyone involved is acting horribly, I do agree with Belfrage that it is a little out of control. I wish people on both sides of this issue would just respect each other’s comments and opinions. They are all elected by the constituents, you are NOT going to agree with each other all of the time. That’s okay. That is how good government gets done. Having disagreements is healthy, also having open, transparent meetings to discuss these disagreements is healthy. Do people’s feelings get hurt? Sure. That’s what they call ‘making the sausage’. So I hope they all can just apologize to each other and move on. Including Theresa, the mayor and several other councilors.

But let’s look at the FACTS, just for clarification;

Belfrage first talks about how Stehly posted on his FB page about the issue over the weekend and he was upset about it. A couple of things I would like to fill Greg in on;

• Facebook and the internet is 24/7, 365 days. It doesn’t shut off when you are not blabbing on the radio.

• His FB page is his show’s FB page. He claims he is part of the media. While that is a stretch, it is true.

If someone is posting a comment on your FB page that is part of your show, there is NOTHING irregular about it. In fact, if a local politician wanted to post an issue there, that would be the appropriate place to do it. If this would have been a personal page, he would have a right to be upset, but it wasn’t.

The second issue is the whole point of posting the voicemail by Paul wasn’t to show he was ‘mean’. He wasn’t mean, he was actually calm and respectful. The point is that the mayor LIED. He made this comment on FB after Stehly said she had the VM;

‘There are no mean emails, voicemails, or the like here.’

Yeah, once again it wasn’t ‘mean’ but a voicemail does exist. That was her point. Instead of calling Theresa, or emailing her to ask to hear the VM, he just automatically denied it existed. That was the entire point folks.

Did Theresa probably go about it the wrong way? Yeah, probably, but as I have told people, I don’t control how Theresa operates. I can ‘try’ to give advice (I have told her several times to get the f’ck off of FB and start a blog instead so she can moderate the commentary a little better, or HAVE no comments at all, just make it informational in nature).

So what is the ‘bigger’ lesson here? Some people in city government don’t get along, we see it every week in the smirks and commentary at the city council meetings. Not sure that will ever change. Some of them simply don’t like each other. The mayor himself vowed to make sure certain people get elected to the council next time around. Theresa isn’t on that list. Sorry, I don’t have a secret VM confirming that, but unless you have been under a rock the past two years you can see that is pretty obvious.

I’m begging all elected officials in city government and local and state government to get off of Facebook and talk to our actual faces. That would solve a lot of problems. Transparency in government will always win the day.

UPDATE: Stace Nelson case will be one to watch

I have been thinking about this today, A LOT!

Soon to be resigning Republican state Senator Stace Nelson is being sued by a second-year University of South Dakota law student in Vermillion for kicking him off his Facebook page.

Jeff Church says in the complaint filed in federal court in Sioux Falls that Nelson’s Facebook page is a public forum.

Church says by not letting him comment on his posts, Nelson is denying him his First Amendment rights.

It may be a pretty cut and dry case;

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court said that President Donald Trump could not block his critics on Twitter and this is account was a “public forum.”

I think where it could get complicated is if Jeff was threatening physical harm to Nelson or his family (actual harm NOT hyperbole) he could have a case. But as I told an elected official tonight who asked my opinion on it I said, “Whether that is you, Mayor TenHaken, Councilor Neitzert or Nelson, if you are using your FB page as a public forum to get out public information, you have opened yourself to a public platform, and as a public official, you can’t curb free speech.” We also talked about what I said above, if people are actually threatening you, you have a different case. But I do know for a fact that Councilors Neitzert, Stehly, Erickson and Mayor TenHaken have all blocked commenters they don’t agree with. This case may overturn all that ‘blocking’. I don’t know enough law to make an educated guess, but it seems the Federal ruling may stand.

I have suggested to Stehly in the past she just put up a blog like I have so you can moderate the idiots. Because on FB, it is a FREE for ALL for idiots, and why ANY politician would want to start a discussion on an issue over there is beyond me.

The irony of all this is that Cameraman Bruce and I have told the TenHaken administration several times to NOT use Facebook to get out information or start a ‘public’ discussion. They should use the city’s official website FIRST and SECONDLY hold a PUBLIC press conference or open house to have a discussion with the public and the media.

And for the record, I don’t block many comments. If you are being libelous about someone or you call me a fat little idiot, you will probably be deleted of even blocked. In fact I have blocked OR edited many of my main commenters several times. Ironically they have thanked me in an email by saying “Thanks for deleting/editing my comment, I wasn’t thinking.” And on FB, there isn’t a lot of thinkers.

UPDATE: I have told Stehly not to block people’s opinions, but I really got a chuckle out of this;

Councilors Christine Erickson and Greg Neitzert say they’ve also been blocked by Stehly. Stehly asserts those two blocked her first, though both Neitzert and Erickson insist they do not block anyone from seeing their Facebook pages.

“I will say I have no one blocked nor do I recall ever blocking her,” Neitzert said.

Yeah, Greg, and monkeys fly from my ass. Like I said already, I don’t care if it is Theresa, Greg or any other elected official, you shouldn’t block citizen’s comments on a public forum when you are a public official (comments AND friends both). But to say he is innocent is a stretch. Neitzert shut down sfmeetings.org earlier this year without the consent of co-creators of the site. I won’t go into any more detail than that, but let’s just say, all the damn hand sanitizer in the world won’t clean Lady MacNeitzert’s hands.

The ‘Living Mans’ case gets stranger by the day

In another weird twist I was NOT expecting (my predictions on this case have been way off . . . really way off), The Living Man was given NO additional jail time AND is allowed to confront the mayor at public meetings as long as he does not get within in 15 feet of the mayor (he wouldn’t want to scuff his sneakers 🙂

So why do I think the judge decided this, oh, it may have to do with that pesky 1st Amendment that so many politicians struggle with. Mayor Selfie had this to say in his letter to the judge (full transcript below the story);

“It was clear to me that Mr. Bruce’s disapproval of my leadership had crossed the line from a policy debate and delved into a pattern of threatening and harassing communication that included not just me, but my family,” the letter said.

While it pains me, I will agree with Paul on one thing, even if you know it is hyperbole, don’t use words like ‘bullets’ when addressing politicians. I know our own leader of this great nation has stooped to that level, but there is never a need to confuse the delicate leaders of this great city with our POTUS’ offensive language, or at least language they believe is threatening, that being said, I really think that TLM was well within his rights, and not having a record of ever hurting anyone in the past, except their feelings, the judge really had no choice.

As a person who has followed 1st Amendment cases, and is a proud member of the National Coalition Against Censorship, I take this sh*t seriously. Elected officials may not like you playing imaginary violins in the back row at council meetings, but they signed up for this, they have taken an oath of office to highest law of the land, the US Constitution, and if they don’t like it they have two choices, 1) they can practice the same rights afforded to them and debate their accusers in a public forum OR 2) resign. But jailing people because your feelings are hurt is what they do in countries like Russia.

I’m going to enjoy TLM’s public inputs moving forward. I really need to start selling popcorn in front of Carnegie and make a little money from all this corruption.

Not sure who drew the spikes around the city seal, but it was a nice touch 🙂

SFPD receive care package

Misinformation being spread about Friday’s incident

I have watched the video of Mark Burgress being arrested several times, and there seems to be a lot of misinformation about what is actually in the video. We all know Mark was a cussing moron, that’s apparent. We also know that a judge could find him guilty of disorderly conduct (if police can actually prove he was interfering in their investigation), but some people, including Belfrage are trying to say there are other things happening in the video that are not.

For instance he said Mark was preventing the police investigation of the traffic accident. I didn’t see that. He was standing on a public sidewalk cussing, and they were actually about ready to leave the site before arresting him. Not once did I ever see Mark walk into the scene and try to physically interfere.

He also said they were questioning him, watch the video, they were trying to grab him even though they had no reason to. There is a difference between keeping a safe distance and questioning someone and trying to detain them. At no point did Mark ‘threaten’ the police with violence or with a weapon.

Belfrage also says that you should always follow police instructions. Not the case. While police have a right to ask bystanders questions, you have a right to NOT answer the question. Immediately after asking Mark a question they try to detain him before he can answer. Refusing to answer a question, as Mark did, is not a reason to arrest or detain someone. Mark actually asks them why they are trying to grab him, they have no response.

While we can certainly DEBATE the incident, let’s debate it on what actually happened in the video.