Sunday, November 29, 2015

Emily Tsitrian Writes From Mexico City--And Makes A Case For An Open Border

     Note:  My daughter Emily was born and raised in Rapid City, SD.  She's a graduate of Rapid City Stevens High School and the University of California, Berkeley.  This is from her facebook page, posted today.  ("DF"=District Federal, aka Mexico City)


     Musings after my first trip to Mexico City: A five-day vacation in Mexico City confirmed what I’ve
Emily Tsitrian
South Dakota-bred, World-educated
(photo from dad)
previously suspected - that this city is extraordinary, friendly, clean, and cosmopolitan. Many folks here are young, educated, hip, relatively wealthy and well-traveled, and have no interest in moving to the   United States. There is this idea north of the border that Mexicans would “flood the border” if they could and that’s simply not true, especially in DF. Citizens of DF are fascinating, indeed. Though many are more European descendants than Mestizo, they are proud of their country's history, both pre-Columbian, and post-Revolution. Remember: this is a city where, even before the rise of the Aztec empire in around 1300 AD, there were 150,000 inhabitants with nearly 30,000 participating in the daily trading at the city's markets. Sit with that fact for a minute. Yes the cities of Boston, Philly, DC are fantastic destinations for history buffs, but if you are really looking for North America’s first true city look no further than DF. Nowadays, Mexico City is beyond livable and it joins my list of possible places to live as an ex-pat someday 
smile emoticon It’s experienced a dramatic drop in crime, is full of world-class museums, restaurants, bike-friendly zones, parks, and schools, is a gay-friendly city (same-sex couples proudly hold hands and can marry here), and should be a destination on every North American’s bucket list. Why isn’t it? Many North Americans would rather isolate and vacation in the sterile, no-Mexicans-allowed destinations such as Cancun. This is a real shame, as Mexico City is a short flight away, easy to navigate, and an important part of North American history. I was even struck by, at times, how much more “American” Mexico feels than “Latin American” - perhaps that’s an effect of having lived so much of my life in California.
     Everyone we met was pleasant and helpful, and why shouldn’t they be? A smile and a bit of the local language always goes a long way to facilitate happy exchanges. Every time I travel internationally, I am reminded that people are just, well, people with the same basic needs and desires and fears.
     Social class divisions are evident here as most places. The lifestyle of many DF citizens is evidence of a burgeoning Mexican middle-class that can and should be embraced and encouraged to participate
Mexico City
Distrito Federal
(photo from wikimedia.org)
in the world economy and culture. In addition to the powerful middle class in DF, there’s evidence everywhere of the mass migration that took place post-NAFTA. Rural indigenous folks who have no option to farm anymore sell trinkets and snacks on the streets, no doubt many of them tried their luck crossing “la frontera” and were deported - much like one of the taxi drivers we had. He had worked in California for twenty years (sin documentation), picking grapes in the Mojave and washing dishes at Chinese restaurants in Temecula, sending wages back home until he was discovered in a raid. Now he drives a taxi in DF and is scared of what Donald Trump represents. He described him as “loco” “racista” - and I had to agree it’s a scary thought of the aggravated geopolitical divisions his popularity represents. Both the US and Mexico are much stronger as a united front as we have many common interests and cultures. I was glad to be able to be an example to him that not all US citizens feel that way towards Mexicans.
     I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have a virtually open border with Mexico, easy ways to obtain temporary work permits (for both sides!) and much better collaboration in the fight against the violence of the cartels and economic assistance for rural farmers in need of help (which are completely related - cartels have been capitalizing on the desperation of the rural poor by providing economic security in order to “win” them over). Drug cartels have terrorized Mexicans for years now, aggravated by the last two presidencies, and yet the mass beheadings and shootings somehow do not meet the terrorism definition and do not thusly receive the attention they deserve. I think both countries could do a much better job of collaborating on common interests, but unfortunately the xenophobic rhetoric that plagues our political culture at this moment is not incentivizing politicians to take this on.
     Finally, for anyone who made it through this entire post, I tell you this: I believe traveling the world is one of the most important things you can do, especially as an American. Honestly, it felt almost like a political act to travel out the country during an official State Department warning about international travel in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, but please keep in mind that things of this nature are EXTREMELY RARE - a statistical zero! We are all much more likely to die in a car accident or mass shooting in our own country, and basic precautions in any large city, international or not - go a long way to keep the vast majority of travelers safe. I also believe that travel does make the world a safer place because the exchange of goods, ideas, culture, and identity brings us all closer to the humanity we all have in common.
     
I
n the words of my hero Frida Kahlo, “Viva la vida!"

Monday, November 23, 2015

Trump Is Nuts. Libertarians Need To Watch Out For This Guy. Gun-Toters Should Be On The Alert Too.

     Donald Trump's weekend sputterings were plain crazy.  First off there's that wierd bit about
What Next, Trump?
A Registry For People With Flyaway Hair?
(photo from hinterlandgazette.com)
thousands of Muslims dancing in the streets ("I saw it with my own eyes") of New Jersey while watching the twin towers collapse on 9/11.  I'm not sure if Trump has backtracked on that whopper yet, but his megalomaniacal stubborness makes me doubt that he will.  The evidence for such an event occurring is, of course, non existent. Until now I didn't even know the story had reached the status of "urban myth," but apparently it's been out there circulating for many years, snaring any number of  gullible fools who choose to use it as support for their fear and loathing of Muslims. 

   And that, obviously, would include Donald Trump, whose second bit of rhetorical madness reeks of the worst political effluvia I've ever smelled. Trump apparently is open to the idea of registering Muslims.  At least that's what the National Review concludes (some media analysts think he favors the notion unequivocally)  after parsing the confused and nebulous list of comments that Trump has made on the subject in the past week or so. That Trump won't categorically reject the idea is enough to get my Libertarian hackles up, because this whole idea of registries suggests a course of action that can lead to much mayhem in any society.  
     I mean, once we develop the technology and precedent of keeping databases that will track
Government Registries?
No Thanks
(graphic from bulletsfirst.net)
specific groups of people, who can possibly dismiss the idea that tracking won't be applied to any number of sub-populations in this country?  
The whole thing is just plain creepy to imagine. Wholesale registrations of Muslims sets the worst possible scenario into motion, the one that gives government the ability to identify, investigate, harass and control entire groups of Americans.  And those groups don't necessarily have to be identified on the basis of race, religion, national origin or ethnicity.  They could have, say, gun ownership in common.  Considering that any number of recent polls show that a strong majority of Americans favor gun registration, what's to stop a political movement based on those attitudes from extending Muslim-style registration to those who own guns? I'm against it on principle  . . . and one thing I know about the National Rifle Association--it abhors the notion of gun registration.  With the unequivocally independent spirit that drives much of the NRA's ideals and positions, I have much in common. Registration?  We don't need no stinkin' registration.

     
     
       
   
     
     

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Anti-Corruption? Yes. Publicly Financed Elections? No. Initiated Measure 22? Can't Support It.

         I didn't know Justin Smith from Justin Bieber, but now I know (thanks to Cory
Government Reform?  Yes
Election Reform Is Another Thing
(graphic from Center for Public Integrity)
Heidelberger and his excellent blog Dakota Free Press) that Smith is
 a Sioux Falls lawyer and lobbyist who's been outspoken about his opposition to Initiated Measure 22.  A vigorous word war has erupted on DFP between Smith and Heidelberger, well worth reading as a primer to what IM 22 is all about.  First off, the SD Secretary of State has yet to review the petitions required to get the measure on next November's ballot, but given the 25k signatures submitted, which is almost twice the number needed to make the ballot, chances are very good that voters will be considering it next year. IM 22, labelled the South Dakota Government Accountability And Anti-Corruption Act is probably too long (at 34 pages) and too detailed (with 70 sections) to get many voters to carefully read and understand it.  I wish they would because for the most part it does a good job of reforming government operations and exposing them to the light of public scrutiny.
       If IM 22 had stopped there, I'd be an enthusiastic supporter.  But damn it, the folks who put this thing together had to go and throw in a poison pill that has nothing to do with government reform. On that basis, they can include me out. Why?  Because I think publicly financed elections are a way to force me to support candidates I don't like, which is baloney. How?  Because it wants public financing of elections (see sections 42 through 62) via a "democracy credit fund" amounting to $12 million (with built in inflation adjustments) to be distributed to participating candidates.  According to the measure, this is to "minimize corruption or the appearance of corruption in government; to promote broad, diverse, fair, and undistorted influence and participation by South Dakotans in state electoral politics; to better inform the public about candidates running for office; and to promote meaningful and open discussion of political issues in the context of electoral politics."
     Noble goals, indeed.  Fulfillability is another matter. That neither the measure nor its supporters address the issue of how much extra strain it puts on a state budget that is already scrambling to cover
Noble, Needed
Not Going There With IM 22 
such basic costs as infrastructure repair and decent teacher salaries is more than a poison pill--it's a fatal flaw. That it also steers the measure away from government reform to election reform--big difference in my book--diverts the rhetorical energy required to address operational issues and ethics of government.  We need reform and oversight in this state, which is where the focus of this measure should have been. As a practical political matter, I believe my reservations about IM 22 will be widespread throughout the electorate and that the measure probably doesn't stand much of a chance at the polls. While it's a shame that money remains the mother's milk of politics, I would have preferred a separate measure focused on campaign--not government--reform.  Much as I admire the overall intent, the IM 22 effort itself will probably go for naught.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

That Makes 2 Of Us, Anyway. Another Republican Combat Vet Stands With Me On Accepting Syrian Refugees

                                                                                                                         
Congressman Russell
He Commanded An Army Infantry Battalion In Iraq
     O
klahoma's 5th Congressional District U.S. Representative, Republican Steve Russell, has a thing or two to say about accepting Syrian refugees.   From the floor of the House of Representatives he notes that turning away Syrian refugees makes us like ISIS.  I guess there's something about the willingness to stop bullets in defense of this country that keeps somebody like Russell from being particularly paranoid about giving a welcome assist to some of the most miserable human beings on the face of the earth.  The C-Span link is 4 minutes long, well worth the time.
     
     

Monday, November 16, 2015

Might As Well Not Take Any Refugees If We're Going To Start Singling Out Syrians For No Admittance

     The sudden upthrust of  xenophobia masquerading as caution is understandable enough, but the wholesale refusal to take in Syrian refugees by a number of state governors is a
Syrian Kids
Scary, huh?
(photo from peacechild.org)
wasted effort.
There are now 10 Governors (probably more will jump on this bandwagon by the time I finish this piece) who won't accept Syrian refugees after the Paris massacre a couple of days ago.  As one among many of those "huddled masses" who came over here as a refugee in 1950 from the "teeming shores" of postwar Europe, I'm finding this exercise in holding all Syrians at arm's length
 contrary to the best angels of our American nature.  
     First off, it's utterly ridiculous, even by intent.  While a small minority (13%) of those who inhabit Syria are Christians, these people are for the most part Muslim Arabs who happen to reside in a "manufactured" political entity called Syria, which didn't even exist until it was part of the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, in 1919 at Versailles.  Before that, it languished for centuries as part of the Ottomans' vast land holdings that spread north into the Balkans and east and south from what is now Turkey, going all the way down the Arabian peninsula and over into Egypt. In '07 I was in Syria and shopped at the Souk Hamideh in Damascus, so named after the last Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The Ottoman presence is still pervasive in Syria, which was under French control from 1920 until 1936, when it gained independence.  By ethnicity, language, culture, religion and history, the vast majority of Syrians are the same as their fellow Arabs throughout the middle east.  
     Trying to single out Syrian Arabs from their brethren in the rest of that post-Ottoman region is a fool's game, as the only token of their Syrian status is a piece of paper called a passport.  For an Arab of Syrian residence to obtain a fake passport is an easy task, so I doubt very seriously that a determined terrorist from Syria would have much trouble entering this or any country with a passport that makes him a Jordanian, a Saudi Arabian, or any number of other national identities that are essentially Arabs first, nationals second.  Meantime, thousands of the most miserable human beings on the face of the earth, most of them--contrary to what that breathtakingly ignorant presidential contender Ben Carson has said about most refugees being young males--are women.  The number of males aged 18-59 amounts to 21% of the total.  
     Meantime, the United States has accepted a relatively tiny number of Syrian refugees since the civil war there started in 2011.  So far we've taken in 1,500 of the nearly 4 million who have fled.  Upping the ante a bit, President Obama has authorized a total of 33,000 refugees to be admitted this year from the "Near East/South Asia," which
We Can Find Space For These Folks
We're A Big Country With A Big Heart
(photo from geographyeducation.org)
includes Syria but also means that many refugees will be coming from other parts of that region. These are relatively small, manageable numbers that can stand all the official vetting and scrutiny required by security and common sense.  In context, consider that in just one day in 1907 nearly 12,000 immigrants passed through Ellis Island.  

     Taking in refugees is so definitive of the essence of America that arbitrarily rejecting a whole class of them because of the awful nature of a handful who can probably slip through the system anyway is a pretty crass rejection of our own identity.  Tightening up the process is probably long overdue, but saying to those who, like me, were once the "wretched refuse" of their native lands "no, you can't come because of who you are" is a heartbreaking turn, a hardening of our hearts, a sorry capitulation to our most reptilian fears.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Blue Ribbon Task Force On Education Report Just Came Out. Save The Drum Rolls.

     The State of South Dakota Blue Ribbon Task Force On Teachers And Students was
How We Stack Down
As Yucky Now As We Were In '13
(graphic from rapidcityjournal.com)
convened by Governor Daugaard this year as a way of coming up with solutions for our state's ongoing teacher salary problem, which is widely regarded to have evolved into a crisis.  
BRTF came out with its final report yesterday, claiming in its cover letter to be a "bold" set of recommendations.  On review, the result seems to be a fairly pedestrian recapitulation of the obvious, without much in the way of conclusions or recommendations that seem to be particularly "bold." That doesn't make them irrelevant, of course, nor does it mean that the time and effort of those engaged is unappreciated. I offer a big "thank you" to those engaged. I understand and think BRTF had to work within the parameters of political and economic reality, which precluded them from thinking outside the box of the possible
, and as we all know, politics is indeed "the art of the possible."
     Leadership, however, is the art of the possibilities. On that score, the task force report is disappointing and disheartening.  It's disappointing because even though it correctly calls attention to the wage gap between SD teachers and their counterparts in surrounding states, it doesn't understand that the crisis is focused on what kind of teachers we'll have in coming generations if the only applicants for SD jobs are those who are sub-qualified to work in places with higher wages.  We could have an entire generation of teachers who are here only because they aren't good enough to get better paying work elsewhere.  This is the crisis.  As to disheartening, BRTF's "Recommendations for New Funding for Teacher Salaries" (about $75 million/year) are limited to a) using "existing funds to the greatest extent possible," and b) increasing "the state sales and use tax for additional ongoing revenue."  
     There are ways of generating revenues for schools that don't rely on what is probably the politically impossible effort to raise sales taxes.  Overhauling the sales tax exemption list  which in 2013 had nearly $600 million worth of special interest  exemptions could have some productive results. Nearly 2/3 of them fall into the business--not agricultural--category.  If you scan the list provided in my link you'll see that a lot of these seem to have no purpose other than protecting select businesses from having to charge sales taxes because . . . well, you'd have to ask somebody other than
BRTF Meeting, Final Report In
Solution Is Still A Work In Progress
(photo from sdpb.org)

me.  Plenty of them just make no sense. On another front, Rapid Citian Stan Adelstein makes a compelling argument for a fairer application of property taxes (he says statewide that $78 million would accrue to SD school districts as a result) in South Dakota. Stan's case is a good one and needs to be considered. Another possibility is the collection of corporate income taxes for those businesses making substantially more than a typical family-run operation, using net income starting at a threshhold of say, several hundred thousand dollars, as a point where earnings become taxable. Considering that these businesses probably depend on a well-educated South Dakota workforce in order to survive, I'd see their tax liability as more  of an investment than an  expense.  An analysis by the State of South Dakota on just how much revenue could be raised by such a tax would be nice. I'm confident that the result would be in the millions.  
     No doubt some creative approaches that I haven't even thought about exist.  Despite its lack of "boldness," the BRTF's final report makes for a good springboard from which some movement can materialize. To see "bold" happen, we next turn to Governor Daugaard for some leadership on this.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

South Dakota Gets A Great Big FAIL On Integrity And Corruption. Meanwhile, The State's GOP Disses Efforts To Change The Status Quo.

  Trying not to laugh . . . Amid Seth Tupper's excellent piece in today's Rapid City
Last Or Close To It Again
We Can Do Better
(graphic from ksfy.com)
Journal on South Dakota's awful showing (47th out of 50) in the non-partisan Center For Public Integrity's ranking of states in terms of "laws and systems in place to deter corruption," SD Governor Dennis Daugaard's son-in-law (who serves on the public payroll as Daugaard's Chief of Staff) Tony Venhuizen makes the fatuous observation that the state hasn't enacted these measures because South Dakota "has very little history of corruption." 

     Why "fatuous?"  Not so much because of the recent EB-5 and GearUp imbroglios that come immediately to mind (I have to respect the presumption of innocence and wait for the justice system to prove corruption), but because Venhuizen, speaking for Governor Daugaard, blithely dismisses the need for codified and institutionalized measures that can do much to prevent unethical and criminal behavior.  Some basic oversight that would have stifled conflict-of-interest potential in both of those brouhahas might have spared all of us South Dakotans from watching millions of dollars go unaccounted for, not to mention the tragic aftermaths of suicide and murder that seem to be directly related to both affairs.  
     It would actually be nice for Governor Daugaard himself, who has already acknowledged that he believes some "mishandling" of money occurred in the EB-5 situation,  to explain to us
Interesting
Time For A Change
(graphic from rapidcityjournal.com)

just exactly why he hasn't pressed for stronger oversight of these matters. Meantime, I find it rather disgusting that my Republican Party's leadership is ridiculing efforts to change the status quo by petitioners who've taken matters into their own hands by putting  measures on to the November 2016 ballot that would remove partisanship from primary elections, then scoffing, via the GOP's most prominently supportive blog in the state, at a measure that would make compehensive changes in electioneering, oversight and financing of elections.
     Though I'm enthusiastically supportive of the first measure and dubious about the contents and prospects of the latter, both proposals are a response to a status quo that has proven itself incapable of making  South Dakota particularly efficient or open--or moving us upward in our standing among states on so many fronts.  That Republicans here are pooh-poohing these efforts without proposing much in the way of substantive changes themselves is a telling revelation of the party's attachment to business-as-usual.  Governor Daugaard leads a party that is overripe with self-satisfaction.  
     
     
     
      
    
     
     
      
     

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is A Good Deal For South Dakota.

     There are lots of times when I wish we could turn the clock back and re-create the family
TPP Countries
Some Big Markets For SD Out There
(graphic from montrealinternational.com)
farm
-dominated rural state that South Dakota once was, but those moments of wistfulness are usually short-lived. As a business guy with a fairly long history in grain and livestock production (mainly as a cattle feeder), trading and brokerage, I have to deal with the realities in front of my face. The most persistent one is the fact that agriculture in this state, this country, and the rest of the developed world is an industry that stacks up in power, money and influence with the biggest of the world's industrial and financial behemoths.  Though I empathize with my many friends who would have it be otherwise, my inclinations lean toward public policies that encourage and support modern ag production and the many thousands of South Dakotans who depend on the industry for a living.
     So for that reason I'm a big supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that awaits approval by majorities in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.   The agreement's full text  is encyclopedic in size and detail, but good breakdowns are available from supporters and antagonists alike.  On the political front, there seems to be strong support from Republicans and mixed support among Democrats, whose most notable champion of TPP is President Obama himself. Meantime, in what I believe is a bow to the the progressive wing of the party, Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton opposes it, after having praised the deal when she was Secretary of State.   I think it will ultimately pass if only because of the split among Dems and what seems to be fairly strong popular support, with Pew Research last May noting "there is broad public agreement that international free trade agreements are good for the United States." 
SD Hogs On The Move
Next Stop?  Pacific Rim?
(photo from www.porknetwork.com)
  
    As to the question of what's in it for us, it looks to me like South Dakota stands to gain much from this deal.  The list of ag industry groups supporting TPP is impressive, if not altogether daunting, including as it does all the mainstream grain, oilseed and livestock producer organizations I can think of.  Their support is based on the general principle that freer trade opens up markets for farm and ranch goods by reducing tariffs, which has the effect of driving rural economies and creating more jobs, an undeniably positive outcome for an ag-dominated state like South Dakota. SD in particular has seen strong growth in grain and livestock markets in east Asia in recent years, a trend that will likely continue if TPP is passed, an outcome that South Dakotans should favor.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Have We Been Overestimating The Intelligence Of Brain Surgeons?

     Probably not, but presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson's last bit of lunacy does make me
Dr. Carson
Doesn't Know Much About Grain Storage.
(photo from nationalreview.com)
wonder a bit. 
Reacting to a question about a 1998 speech in which Carson stated that he believes the pyramids in Egypt were built by the biblical patriach Joseph in order to store grain, Carson answered yesterday that "it's still my belief, yes." That response  pretty much eliminates the chance that some contextuality surrounding the '98 speech needs to be addressed.  The man actually believes that Joseph was responsible for building the pyramids, never mind the centuries of archeological and historical research that render Carson's belief impossible to support with facts.

     Grain storage is a big business in South Dakota, and having once been an active grain trader and broker myself over a period spanning a couple of decades, I wonder if Carson has a clue about the physical components of grain storage facilities.  First off, grain bins are huge hollow enclosures with relatively tiny openings at the top, not solid blocks of rock with narrow passageways like those of the Egyptian pyramids.  Second off, outside of Old Testament (Genesis 25-50) references about storing grain in preparation of an expected famine that allude neither directly nor indirectly to pyramids, there's nothing in the scientific record to indicate that those monoliths were used for anything other than royal tombs.  Readers who have contra-information are welcome to provide it here in the comments section.  Yes, per the Old Testament, Israeli slaves were required to build bricks out of mud and straw, and it is possible that those bricks were subsequently used to build pyramids, but the connection between those bricks and grain storage facilities doesn't show up
The Dashur Pyramid
How Do You Store Grain In Here?
(photo from www.bibleplaces.com)
in the Bible.

     That's a conclusion inferred by Carson.  I don't fault the man for his beliefs, but I do question his willingness to convert literal passages of scripture into conclusions that have no basis in scientific fact, historical evidence or practical reality.  
     Not having any background or knowledge of the requirements for grain storage doesn't stop Carson from making statements about their history and development. I'd love to see Dr. Carson come to South Dakota, inspect a grain storage facility, and explain how the pyramids could have been used as storehouses for crops of any kind.



Addendum:  Added on 11/5/15 @1348  In a 2010 piece in U.S. News and World Report, Amihai Mazar, a professor at the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University at Jerusalem, noted, "No Jews built the pyramids because Jews didn't exist at the period when the pyramids were built."
     

Monday, November 2, 2015

Is Governor Daugaard Clueless? Last Week He Was Blowing Off EB-5. This Week He's Determined To Get Back In.

       Vacillation is one thing, but a complete about face on a major federal program that can
Why Is This Man Laughing?
Is There Something Funny Going On?
generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and investment capital to South Dakota is another.
Last September 28, the Department of Homeland Security's immigration arm (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services--USCIS) gave South Dakota a "Notice Of Intent" to terminate South Dakota as a regional center for administering the "cash for green cards" program known as EB-5.  There was a serious list of deficiencies within the notice that required refutation by last October 31 in order for USCIS to reconsider its decision to kick South Dakota out of the program.  

     Soon after the news of the notice began circulating (October 23, to be precise), Governor Dennis Daugaard seemed perfectly content to allow the program to lapse in South Dakota.  He told KCCR Radio in Pierre that he "doesn't see a time where we are going to need investment capital from foreign sources" and that "there's (sic) lots of investment capital sitting on the sidelines right here in America."  Daugaard concluded that the domestic money could "be found without the use of this kind of program." Seems simple and conclusive enough.  With the October 31 deadline approaching I doubted that his braintrust at the Governor's Office Of Economic Development (which had the responsibility of handling the SD regional center's duties involving oversight and management of the program and its contractor SDRC, inc.) could come up with a point-by-point response to USCIS's formidable list of the inadequacies it found.  
    I turned out to be wrong on both scores.  First off, a mere 7 days after Daugaard dismissed the
Still Under Scrutiny
When Do We Get The Whole Story?
EB-5 program as an unnecessary source of investment capital, officials in Pierre were aggressively responding to the Notice of Intent and putting everything they had into a refutation that takes up 113 pages of arguments and exhibits.  They want this program back. If you scan it, you'll probably have as many doubts as I do that the compilation was prepared in the week between Daugaard's kiss-off of EB-5 and the response cooked up by his officials (who pretty much pin all the inadequacies on the contractor, SDRC, inc.).  Even if they did get it done on such short notice, it's hard to believe that Governor Daugaard didn't know it was in the hopper.  After all, it is the GOVERNOR'S Office of Economic Development.  Was Daugaard lying when he told KCCR that we don't need investment capital from foreign sources, which is what EB-5 is all about?  Or was he just clueless about the frenetic activity going on in his own Office of Economic Development?  I doubt that he was lying, so I conclude that he was just clueless.  It would be nice to get an explanation from the Governor's office.