South Dakota Top Blogs

News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Friday, December 31, 2021

Let Brandon go.

 As young soldier who roamed through West Germany in the late 1950s, I was always aware of a dispiriting aspect of the landscape.  Part of that came from the gloom of the Rhine River valley where I was stationed.  My unit landed there early in December and we didn't have a sunny day until mid-January.  I experienced fogs so dense that men would get totally disoriented and lost when they got ten or fifteen feet away from a building.  Another aspect was that bombed ruins were left in place as reminders of World War II.  

Near the town where I was stationed were the remains of a bridge over the Rhine River that had been blown apart.  Our cadre who had served in Germany during the war were not  sure whether it had been bombed by allied air forces or by the Nazi forces to impede the invasion of allied armies during their final push into Germany.  Or both.  The bridge remains were guarded by the Bulgarian labor service, which was composed of refugees who had left their homeland to escape Soviet rule.  The bridge remains were guarded to prevent tampering and injury to people who might venture into them.  In addition to the bridge ruins, the countryside was dotted with the remnants of pillboxes, concrete-bunkers placed throughout the land used as guard houses and gun emplacements.  The Nazis used them to maintain surveillance over the local people.

Those remnants of war served as  reminders of one of the worst atrocities in the history of the world that had taken place on that land, the Holocaust.  One was constantly reminded of humanity at its worst, its ultimate degradation.  A German student said the ruins were left "so we would walk in shame."

The United States is doing its shame walk.  Instead of war ruins, it walks among the graffiti of juvenile belligerence.  The democratic environment is littered with the phrase "Let's go, Brandon."  When Jared Schmeck received a call from President Biden during the annual Santa tracking event sponsored by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, he wished the Bidens a merry Christmas and then said "Let's go, Brandon," the code words for "Fuck Joe Biden."  Partisan politics is, of course, at issue in this occasion, but the offense goes much deeper.  Christmas is a Christian based holiday, but it has become accepted among many cultures and religions for its essential message of peace on earth and good will toward all people.  When Schmeck confronted the President with a message of "Fuck Joe Biden,"  he was rejecting the offer of peace and good will with a display of malice and disrespect.

The troubling part is that Mr. Schmeck and people of his ilk are too stupid and ignorant to understand what he did.  In the tradition of Donald Trump, he chose to be mean of character and malicious of mouth, and to violate all that Christmas stands for.

Then, on the local level, this occurred:

The Winner Advocate, South Dakota weekly newspaper, with a banner headline saying "Good Christian Men Rejoice" puts a photo top center with a man holding a sign that contains the code words for Fuck Joe Biden.  One must acknowledge the effectiveness in the mockery of the spirit of Christmas.  Ill will and hostility prevail, and the most fundamental premise of Christianity is shown to be a fraud.  As one of my colleagues who retired to another state put it, "Let's go South Dakota!  If you're mean and hateful, this is the place for you."

When such messages appear on the front page of a newspaper as a Christmas greeting, the moral discord obliterates any claims to good will.

One cannot escape what the utterance of the phrase says about the people who utter it.  It is the expression of juvenile belligerence, the seething mindless tantrum of mentalities that will destroy everything around them if they do not get their way.  It is a phrase that denies all the positive traditions of American democracy,  It is the slogan of its failure.

Obnoxious.  Deranged.  Perversely stupid.  It signals the possibility of America's future as it confronts us as we walk in the shame of it.

Is America intellectually and morally strong enough to let it go?

Monday, December 27, 2021

Lunacy is bad for your health.

A newspaper I worked for had a stringent rule:  Never print something that is not true as a fact.  That included quotations from news sources consulted.  If quoting a statement that is not documented and verifiable, a reporter was obligated to note if there was contending information and cite it.  And if an influential source made a false statement that was important enough to quote, the story had to point out its falsity and cite the corrective sources of information.  The rule was to never allow the newspaper to be the source of false or misleading information.

Letters to the editor received special handling in this regard.  Our editor, who was a part-owner of the paper, read every letter personally.  Letters which contained no problems would go directly to the editorial page editor for printing.  The editor would save the problematic ones and distribute them among the editors to resolve the problems,  which might range from atrocious grammar and incoherent writing to bad information.  An editor might simply return a letter to the writer explaining that it contained too many errors to qualify for publishing.  If a letter contained a valid viewpoint, the editor would try to work with the writer to correct any errors and make it presentable.  On frequent occasion, letter writers could not accept that an editor would find fault with their writing, and reject any editorial suggestions.  They often threatened to cancel their subscriptions if we did not accept their letters as is -- and did so.  

There are always people who hold disparaging attitudes against the media.  If the media does not conform to their biases, then it is termed deficient by those people.  The stupid always know more than anybody else, and experienced news people identify criticism based on error and prejudice.   They know the futility of trying to engage such people in informed, intelligent dialogue.  As a managing editor put it, let the idiots bounce off their own walls.

For some reason, the editor usually parceled out the problem letters on Friday afternoon.  That gave us the weekend to review the problems with the letters and anticipate some unpleasantness with a would be letter writer.  We had early morning editorial conferences to plan each day's edition, and we reported the status of the problematic letters so that the editors would all be informed.

I came across a letter to the editor this week that would have gotten any editor who let it get into print fired.  It violates every standard of integrity, intelligence, and coherence.  Here is the spectacle of some poor idiot bouncing off his own walls:

Today's story begins with the largest and most widespread deception perpetrated on mankind.

The dreaded flu -- ehr, COVID-19 had befallen us. We were told early that it was something new and we had better pay close attention to the Chicken Littles proclaiming we're in great peril. 

While there is a small segment of the populace that should take extra precautions, for the majority of us, this acorn falling from a tree does not spell doom. If it were the case as told by the sycophants in the media, bodies would be piling up in the streets. But the total number deaths in the U.S. is down from 2019.

"How can this be?" says Henny Penny.

The answer is simple. We've been lied to from Day One.

The incidents of COVID-19 deaths are reported to be high, while deaths from all other morbidities are almost nonexistent.

"That doesn't make any sense!" says Ducky Lucky. 

There is a huge increase in vaccine-related side effects and deaths since the roll out of the shot is tracked by the government, but that data is squelched.

The number of deaths associated with COVID-19 vaccines is greater than the number of deaths associated with all other vaccines combined since 1990.

The most current data:

  • 927,738 adverse effects.
  • 99,943 hospitalizations.
  • 3,148 miscarriages.
  • 31,652 permanent disabilities.
  • 19,532 deaths.

"That is shocking!" says Foxey Loxey.

        The sky isn't falling, at least not from this virus.

This unconscionable suppression of truth and amplification of lies by much of the media is the real threat to freedom. 

If you want the truth, open your eyes before all of your freedoms are lost. 

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both," said Benjamin Franklin. 

Fear no man, only the Lord. 

               Eric Dutenhoeffer, Gettysburg

The major problem is the inaccurate data this man cites.  I ran multiple computer searches for the data cited.  They turned up no published information that lists the statistics given in the letter.  The U.S. Center for Disease Control maintains a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). It has no statistics which match those cited in the letter.  Johns Hopkins University maintains a data resource on Covid. It has nothing comparable to what is cited in the letter.  The conclusion is that the writer has some "unique" source of information.

A rough search for information about the credibility of the letter writer revealed that he is a member of a church which published cartoons in its  bulletin that ridiculed wearing masks to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.  That indicates  a mindset regarding Covid-19 in his community.

However, the citing of questionable data is not the only aspect of the letter that rings alarm bells about the mental acuity of its author.  His distorted, undocumented, and malevolent portrayals  of the national response to the coronavirus pandemic (unconscionable suppression of truth and amplification of lies by much of the media) reveals a mind possessed by unprovoked hatred.

The spurious parallel to the Henny Penny folktale with made up bits of dialogue may seem clever to the writer but adds an element of pointless incoherence for the reader.  It is further evidence of a disordered mind.

The statements about the lethality of the vaccine, however, reflect on the publishing paper.  While  the medical community and government officials are promoting vaccinations as the essential way to get control over the coronavirus, the newspaper published a letter that denied the pandemic and contended that the vaccines are unsafe.  In questioning how such a serious journalistic error could be made, I was told that the newspaper was seriously understaffed.  But that does not relieve the newspaper of the journalistic obligation to insure the truth and accuracy of information stated as facts whether it be in the news or opinion columns.

This is a case when believing something you read in a newspaper could get you killed.  And in most news organizations, some hapless editor fired.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

They documented their own election fraud

GOP members in Wisconsin held a secret session during which they forged documents naming themselves  as the electors from the state for the 2020 presidential election.  The forms authorized under the Constitution and Wisconsin law had already been drawn up and processed according to the required legal procedure.

These articles from the complaint against them provide the narrative of what they did.

3. In an open meeting broadcast live by Wisconsin Eye (the recording of which is now available on the Wisconsin Eye website), the Presidential Electors conducted the business prescribed by state and federal law: they called the roll to ensure all were present, elected a chairperson and a secretary, cast and counted the necessary ballots, signed the necessary papers, and sent valid, official documents reflecting the lawful disposition of Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes to the President of the United States Senate, the Wisconsin Secretary of State, the Archivist of the United States, and the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. These documents included official copies of the Certificate of Votes, which reflected Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes cast for Biden and Harris. 

15. At the same time that the duly appointed Presidential Electors were convening, a separate group of individuals gathered elsewhere in the Wisconsin State Capitol. These individuals meeting attendees included: Andrew Hitt, of Appleton, Wisconsin; Robert F. Spindell, Jr., of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Bill Feehan, of La Crosse, Wisconsin; Carol Brunner, of Franklin, Wisconsin; Edward Scott Grabins, of Verona, Wisconsin; Darryl Carlson, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Pam Travis, of Neillsville, Wisconsin; Kelly Ruh, of De Pere, Wisconsin; and Mary Buestrin, of Mequon, Wisconsin.

20. At their meeting, the fraudulent electors executed documents that they would later hold out as official documents casting Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes for candidates who lost Wisconsin’s statewide November 2020 election and therefore had no legal entitlement to those electoral votes. 

22. The fraudulent electors then proceeded with their business, as reflected in the documents they produced. In these documents, the fraudulent electors:

a) falsely claimed to be “the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Wisconsin”;

b) declared that they had met “to perform the duties enjoined upon us,” even though the only obligation they had under the Wisconsin Statutes was to refrain from meeting, given that the candidates to whom they were pledged had not won Wisconsin’s election; and

c) each signed their names to “certify” that Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes were cast for Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence, though they knew that was not true and that their documents were fraudulent.

An original news story from February can be viewed at this link.
The story from the Winona Daily News includes links to the legal documents and the forgeries.

 Rachel Maddow covered this story 12-21-2021 on MSNBC.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States