No Non-Resident Politicos Needed

If one is to believe the romanticized tales routinely printed in virtually all of the state’s publications or aired on television, the citizens of South Dakota are an independent bunch. We don’t follow trends or search for the next big deal (obviously); we live by old-school common sense.
For a state that brags about its independence, we sure let a lot of outsiders influence our politics. To be fair, some of these are out of necessity. It makes sense for those running for national office to hire experts from bigger campaigns. Quite often, though, it leads to some embarrassment. Take the case of Jeff Gannon, the gay escort who was hired by John Thune’s campaign to create anti-Tom Daschle propaganda for conservative blogs.
Outsiders are now putting their marks on the state’s laws. A good percentage of the anti-abortion crowd comes from out of state. According to one Representative that I chatted with last week, they’re pests that plague their entire tenure in Pierre. They follow them around town; they send daily mass emails; they even interrupt discussions of any other political topic. “Just once I’d like to eat lunch in peace”, he told me.
In the past, these pests have for the most part stayed in the background, allowing locals such as Leslie Unruh to do their bidding. This year, however, they’ve become much more open and outspoken. At last week’s Senate hearing on the proposed bill to completely outlaw the procedure, Planned Parenthood’s beautiful and talented Kate Looby was outnumbered by anti-abortion crusaders from all over the country. Why should they even have a say in our state?
Outsiders are also a major player in the most controversial ballot issue of this year. The Judicial Accountability Initiative Law, aka J.A.I.L., is an amendment to the state’s constitution that would create a Special Grand Jury composed of South Dakota citizens who would put so-called “activist judges” on trial by those who claim to have “complaints of judicial misconduct”.
Technically, this ballot issue was put together by South Dakota citizens, including one Tea resident who claims to have spent over $130,000 of his own money. But the campaign has hired a California lawyer,, along with a Nevada company to run the petition drive.
But the actual language of the amendment came from an initiative designed by California resident Ron Branson and his JAIL 4 Judges organization. According to the daily paper’s David Kranz, their initiative was originally planned for the California ballot but it “required too many signatures to be successful”. They immediately looked at South Dakota because, as Branson himself said, was “initiative-friendly”, and the resulting publicity could help them raise the money to move on to bigger states.
Want to know how wacky these people are? Just check out the J.A.I.L website. Jack McLamb is supposedly a retired military veteran and peace officer who claims that Russian, Chinese, and Cuban militaries are gearing up to combat the U.S., and their plan is to cause martial law. His wacky views go on and on, but let’s just say that Tom Cruise won’t be starring in the movie version. Even he’s not crazy enough to fall for this.
Another J.A.I.L. friend, Irwin Schiff, is one of those guys who doesn’t believe that he should pay income tax, and has a lengthy rant that claims it’s the fault of the judge. Ooookay. And Branson himself is missing a few screws. He dreams of a national J.A.I.L. organization with “military-esque ranks and titles”. Of course, he’s the National J.A.I.L. Commander-in-Chief, a sort of five-star general.
These people are scary, and from what I’ve read on other blogs, they show no mercy for anybody who doesn’t agree with them. After the state legislature condemned this initiative last week, some members of the legislator complained that they had received emails from J.A.I.L. backers accusing them of acts of treason and that they should be “punished by hanging”. A so-called “survey” that I received a few weeks ago asked me the same question at least two dozen times to get me to abide by their beliefs.
The political landscape in this state is scary enough when it’s left to its own devices. It becomes downright evil when people with no true vested interest in the state demand political clout. It’s time for the Hudsonland border patrol to keep these clems away from our great state. At least then we have only ourselves to blame for our screwups.


JK said…
If you are talking about that phone survey they did a couple weeks ago- I agreed to be surveyed, was asked the same set of questions, which basically came down to "how can we word it to trick you into supporting the initiative". I got so tired of it, I asked the girl "If I just say yes, can we be done?" and then didn't finish the survey.
Anonymous said…
Talk about non-resident politicos.

How much of Branson's plans have you read about? Have you read what Branson plans to do if the amendment passes?

He and his JAILers from all over the nation are going to "purposely drive to South Dakota...just for the privilege of getting a traffic ticket so you can demand a jury trial. I anticipate traffic courts to be among the first courts to all but totally close..."

Read it here:

This is not about judicial accountability. This is about Branson's conspiracy theories and his plans to shut down the South Dakota courts with his little JAILers from all over the country coming here to SUE OUR JUDGES.

Popular Posts