Pierre, S.D. (April 18, 2023) – Today the South Dakota Freedom Caucus has taken a stand against the RESTRICT Act, sponsored by SD Senator John Thune and has issued the following statement:
As a group committed to protecting the Constitutional rights of South Dakota citizens, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is deeply concerned about the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act. While the Act is intended to protect national security, we believe that it could have a detrimental impact on the Constitutional rights of our citizens.
We believe that the RESTRICT Act could violate several Constitutional rights, including the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, the First Amendment right to free speech, and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. As we have previously stated, the Act would require certain technology companies to disclose their proprietary information to the government, which could potentially infringe on the privacy rights of citizens. Additionally, the Act would prohibit the use of certain technology products and services, which could limit the ability of citizens to communicate and access information, thus impeding the right to free speech. Furthermore, the Act could grant broad authority to the government to make determinations about which companies are allowed to provide certain technology products and services, potentially leading to arbitrary and discriminatory decisions and infringing on the right to due process.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
It is important to note that the sponsor of the RESTRICT Act, Senator John Thune, has a history of introducing legislation that infringes on the Constitutional rights of citizens. For example, in 2012, Senator Thune introduced a bill that would have allowed for warrantless surveillance of American citizens. The bill was widely criticized for violating the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Similarly, in 2017, Senator Thune introduced a bill that would have weakened protections for online privacy by allowing Internet service providers to sell users' browsing data without their consent. This bill was also met with widespread criticism for infringing on the privacy rights of citizens.
Previously the Supreme Court has challenged legislation introduced by Senator Thune that infringes on Constitutional rights. For example, in United States v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that warrantless GPS tracking of a suspect's vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment.
In conclusion, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is deeply concerned about the RESTRICT Act and the potential impact it could have on the Constitutional rights of citizens. We urge Senator John Thune to reconsider his support for the Act and to uphold his oath to protect the Constitution and the rights of citizens. We also call on all citizens to remain vigilant in protecting their rights and to hold their elected officials accountable for upholding the Constitution.
Ristrict Act- S.686 -Fails to mention TikTok, on its way to creating another bureaucracy exempt from transparency
Feb. 04, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal
WASHINGTON D.C- Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) has introduced "The Restrict Act" (S. 686) as a bipartisan effort to "ban TikTok." However, the bill has since received heavy criticism from both sides of the aisle, uniting opposition from the far-left to the far-right.
The unified opposition stems from the broad language in the bill, which actually doesn't specify TikTok, but includes any online platform with over one million users. The bill has been read twice and was just referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
S. 686 authorizes the creation of a new agency-like committee that operates at the pleasure of the President, under the Executive Branch's Secretary of Commerce. This un-elected body would be given an unlimited budget for staffing and resources, have the sole and unreviewable discretion to determine a "foreign adversary," make FOIA-exempted decisions based upon past and present online activity, and then impose penalties of "not more than one million dollars," or "if a natural person, 20 years in prison."
Section 2 is broken into sub-sections that define whom and what the law will apply to.
The definition of an Entity for example, can easily be applied to nearly every U.S Citizen;
Section 2(6) ENTITY.—The term “entity” means any of the following, whether established in the United States or outside of the United States:
(A) A firm.
(B) A government, government agency, government department, or government commission.
(C) A labor union.
(D) A fraternal or social organization.
(E) A partnership.
(F) A trust.
(G) A joint venture.
(H) A corporation.
(I) A group, subgroup, or other association or organization whether or not organized for profit.
Section 2 Ss 3(a-b)
"Covered Holdings" - Regardless of how or when such holding was or will be obtained or otherwise come to have been held, a controlling holding held, directly or indirectly, in an ICTS covered holding entity by a foreign adversary (see i,ii,iii)" AND includes "any other holding, the structure of which is designed or intended to evade or circumvent the application of this Act, subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary."
Section 2 Ss 4(C)
"NON-EVASION"— The term “covered transaction” includes any other transaction, the structure of which is designed or intended to evade or circumvent the application of this Act, subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary."
The last line leaves the interpretation of "intent to evade or circumvent," open and subject to the regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
Many have pointed out that this section could be used to surveil and penalize U.S Citizens who use a VPN while online, if the platform they are accessing is currently under review by the Secretary.
Being that the actions and findings of the Commerce Secretary are exempt from;
The Paperwork Reduction Act (Section 15(a)), Judicial and Administrative Review (Section 12), and the Freedom of Information Act (Section 15 Ss F), there is actually nothing in this bill that would require notification to the American public in advance, or even after they, or a platform they might be using, has come under review.
This lack of process has the potential to act as a backdoor into the online activity of every U.S Citizen, giving the federal government the authority to spy on Americans through Ring door cameras, web-cams, SMART devices and more.
Without prior notice, a mom who runs a daycare in rural South Dakota could come under surveillance because she accepted payment for daycare from PayPal. The things that are legal today, could change overnight and without notice, making normal actions subject to surveillance, without prior notification.
According to Congressman Rand Paul, "it's the Patriot Act on steroids."
🚨The RESTRICT ACT S 686 is a massive violation of our 4th Amendment Rights and an complete Nationalization of the internet. @SenateGOP if you attempt to pass this Bill, you will be sealing the nail in the coffin of Freedom and expect a 80 + Million Americans to be as pissed as… pic.twitter.com/HALpqBydK9
Given the broad sweeping definitions, and lack of public notification, in its current form the language could open any American up to surveillance if they currently or have previously; used a VPN, purchase online goods, mine or buy cryptocurrency if a node exists in a country of concern, play online gaming sites/ in-app purchases, purchase from Etsy if the item originates in country of concern, or otherwise engage in any action deemed to be against the "national interest" by the Commerce Secretary. Penalties for these actions include 20 years in prison, civil penalties of up to $250,000, and even civil or criminal asset forfeiture which are outlined in the bill as being specifically applicable to a "natural person, including a citizen or national of the United States."
According to Senator John Thune, criticism of the bill is misinformation as the bill would only apply to foreign adversaries, and not to American citizens. "The RESTRICT Act responds to foreign-adversary technology threats of today by giving the force of law to former President Trump's nearly identical effort, and it prepares for the threats of the future so the United States isn't forced to play Whac-A-Mole every time a platform like TikTok rears its ugly head. The bill targets foreign countries like China and Russia, and it protects American consumers from the threats posed by these adversarial nations," Thune said in a statement sent to the Washington Examiner.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
According to the definition of "person" in the bill itself, and the penalties that are specifically applicable to a "person," Thune may not fully understand the bill he has sponsored.
Section 2 Ss 13- the Definition of "Person."
—The term “person” means a natural person, including a citizen or national of the United States or of any foreign country."
Now apply the definition of "person" to every penalty outlined in Section 11 of the bill;
In particular, the language outlined within Section 5 lists nearly every aspect of crypto mining, and distributed ledgers in addition to pretty much all online activity. In addition, the powers conferred to the Secretary would allow for the committee to add a country, platform or foreign adversary ad hoc and via ex parte decision. Again, the committee is exempt from the Paperwork Reduction Act(Section 15(a)), meaning at no point in time would the government need to notify the public that an adversary had even been identified or added to a list.
According to the procedures outlined in Section 6(b)- notice shall be given, "not later than 15 days before the date on which the Secretary makes or removes a designation..." "By classified communication, notify the President pro tempore, Majority Leader, and Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and the relevant committees of Congress, in writing, of the intent to designate a foreign government or regime as a foreign adversary."
At the most basic level, thousands of Americans rely on TikTok for revenue, some having dedicated their entire career to building massively monetized followings on the platform.
Regardless of what people think of TikTok, organizations from the left to the right are calling this bill the end of free speech. Twitter has been trending with #RestrictThis, and #TrojanHorse as thousands flock to spaces to learn more about the bill's broad language. While the most commonly expressed sentiment is that people no longer trust the federal government "Uniparty," and have lost faith in Congress's ability to make good policy, the bill is also uniting people from across the political divide and inspiring new allies to work towards solutions.
Editor's Note- Update made at 12:49 to fix a coding error.
Right to Republish- Article's published to The Dakota Leader are free to republish in-part or in-whole, with proper citations and a clear link back to the original content.
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Pierre, S.D. (March 23, 2023) – A fight over an update to South Dakota’s commercial law, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), has heated up since the veto of the UCC update, HB 1193, by Governor Noem, with some pushing to override the veto this coming Monday, March 27.
Now the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is pushing back against what they call “disinformation efforts to mislead our colleagues,” and today released a publication called “Debunking the Spin on the UCC Updates” with hopes to set the record straight.
“It’s unfortunate that this can’t be an honest debate on the issue,” said Freedom Caucus Treasurer Representative Tina Mulally, “the people pushing for this have stooped to name calling, instead of attacking the issue - and that is the redefinition of money and what that means for everyday people.”
The 7-page document released by the Freedom Caucus today lists twenty arguments made by advocates for the UCC updates, that according to the Freedom Caucus “are designed to mislead the public on this issue.”
“We want to discuss the facts,” said Freedom Caucus Treasurer Representative Tina Mulally, “and the fact is, the UCC update redefines money, cementing that definition to include a central bank digital currency as a currency under this law, while eliminating other currencies that are available.”
Proponents of the UCC update have said that the Freedom Caucus, along with the South Dakota Governor, Florida's Governor, Congressman Warren Davidson, Glenn Beck and over a dozen conservative national organizations, are spreading what they call “misinformation.” But the Freedom Caucus rebuffs that allegation, claiming that they’re only, “quoting the authors of this legislation and what they’ve said about this new definition,” said Freedom Caucus Chair Representative Aaron Aylward.
The South Dakota Legislature will reconvene this coming Monday, to reconsider the UCC update, along with other bills, and can override the Governor’s objections if they get a two-thirds vote to do so.
“We’re not backing down,” said Representative Aylward, “we’re taking a stand to support our Governor and her veto of this dangerous legislation.”
Pierre, S.D. (March 20, 2023) – Today Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called on the Florida legislature “to pass legislation to expressly forbid the use of [a Central Bank Digital Currency] within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code," He noted, “that there is a concerted effort across America to backdoor provisions for the use of [ a CBDC ] through individual state Uniform Commercial Codes,” an effort that initially passed the South Dakota legislature earlier this year, but was vetoed by Governor Noem.
The South Dakota Freedom Caucus openly opposed this UCC backed legislation and at their urging, South Dakota Governor Noem vetoed the bill. The legislature will convene next week, where the South Dakota Freedom Caucus will be fighting to sustain the Governor's veto over the objection of liberal Republican House and Senate leadership.
“Governor DeSantis clearly understands that it is not enough to just stop
permissive legislation for a CBDC, which we are still fighting to do,” said
Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, “but it needs to be put
down and outlawed outright. We call on Governor Noem to push for legislation prohibiting the use of a CBDC in South Dakota".
Most people think of South Dakota as a land of ranchers and horses, of endless prairies and the beautiful Black Hills, of buffalo and Indian tribes, of the Badlands and Crazy Horse Mountain. For those of us blessed to live, work and raise our families here in the Black Hills, it is all of these and much more, truly the term “the land of the free and home of the brave” are among the best words that describe “The Mt. Rushmore State”.
As a retired military aviator and board member of the Black Hills War Monument Association, I have had the opportunity to research the rich and long military history and legacy of duty, honor and country that is an integral part of the history of the Black Hills. From the first World War, through the decades of conflicts in Europe, Asia, the Persian Gulf, etc. military members from the Black Hills have done their part to keep American free.
During WWII, Rapid City Air Base (today Ellsworth AFB) trained B17/B26 bomber crews who helped defeat Japan and Germany with relentless bombing missions over Tokyo and Berlin.
In fact, Capt. Don Smith from Belle Fourche, SD, piloted the #15 aircraft (known as “TNT”), during the Doolittle Raid. The flight took off from the deck of the USS Hornet, and gave us hope in the dark days after Pearl Harbor. Over 2000 pilots for USAAC bombers where trained in Spearfish SD at Clyde Ice Field, supplying desperately needed airmen to turn the tide against the Axis powers.
Black Hills POWs were on the Bataan Death March, in Japanese and German POW camps, on Japanese Hell Ships, and in prison camps in North Korea and Vietnam. Black Hills military members died at Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Arizona, at the bloody battles at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa and Iwo Jima; our sailors died at the Battle of Midway and the Coral Sea and died delivering atomic bomb parts to the aircrews that bombed Hiroshima (aboard the USS Indianapolis); our local heroes died at Chosin Reservoir in Korea, at the battles of Hue and Khe Sanh in Vietnam, at Fallujah and Baghdad in the War on Terror.
Ellsworth AFB in nearby Box Elder, SD was instrumental to our nation’s war effort during the Korean War (1950-53), the Cold War (1946-1991), the Vietnam War (1964-1975) and the Global War on Terror (2001-present). Formerly known as Rapid City Air Base, during WWII our airmen learned to fly B17 and B29 bombers; then in the 1950s and 1960/70/80s flew RB36 and B52 bombers. Over the past 40 years Ellsworth has been home to the premier AF bomber, the B-1B, and now the base awaits the arrival of the B21, expected in the next 3-5 years. In addition, the 44th Strategic Missile Wing operated ICBM silo sites that played an integral part of the nuclear triad that deterred Soviet aggression and ultimately defeated communism during the Cold War.
Camp Rapid in Rapid City, is home training base for the SDNG, saw action in World War I as the 147th Field Artillery Battalion. In World War II, the 109th and 132nd Engineer Battalions were among the first US units to see action in the war against Germany. Since then, National Guard units have deployed countless times during wartime in support of national war efforts.
Taps is our final farewell to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.
With this military legacy and history in mind, in 2022 the Black Hills War Monument Association (BHWMA) was formed as a non-profit group by several retired military veterans. Our vision was to erect a war monument that listed the names of ALL Black Hills military who died in service to the nation from World War I to the present, a period of over 100 years. Their goal was to ensure our citizens NEVER FORGET the sacrifices and selfless service of hundreds of Black Hills military members who went off to war and never came home.
Today, the Black Hills War Monument nears completion, with six granite walls listing the names of almost 700 fallen military from WW I, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Global War on Terror, and all POW/MIAs from each of those conflicts. In addition to the six walls, the six military service flags fly proudly, three on either side of a 40ft US flagpole, complete with SD state flag and the POW/MIA flag.
The War Monument is located in Memorial Park, near downtown Rapid City and the Civic Center, at the intersection of Omaha St and 6th St. It is easily accessible and the walls have night lighting for viewing 24 hours per day. For more information, see www.bhwma.org. A visitor can scroll down on the website to Walls of Honor, and view the name of each fallen member, with links that show the military history/legacy of all 694 names on the granite walls.
On May 29, 2023, the official dedication of the War Monument will take place, honoring our war dead. A Color Guard will post the colors, the national anthem will be sung, along with Taps, and a three volley salute with rifles in honor of the fallen. Many Gold Star families will be present to speak on behalf of the fallen.
--For more information contact the BHWMA by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 605-209-6283.
Only one week remains in the main run of the 98 th legislative session. When the gavel
comes down on Thursday, all that will remain is to re-convene March 27 to consider any
bills that are vetoed.
We will have one veto to deal with for sure, as Governor Noem has vetoed HB1109.
That bill would have allowed communities to double the occupancy tax that hotels and
motels charge from $2/night to $4/night. I had voted against this bill and so was glad to
learn that she vetoed it. Her veto letter to the legislature reads in part “South Dakota
residents are traveling every day for business, medical visits, youth activities, weddings –
the list goes on. South Dakotans vacation in South Dakota as well.” I believe that she
was correct to write that this tax increase would hurt our citizens. I plan to support her
veto on this one.
Another surprise development this past week was the defeat of HB1116. This bill would
have prevented the use of state or public resources and buildings to host "lewd and
lascivious content." The bill was in response to an event hosted at SDSU last fall. That
event was a drag show with advertisements saying "bring your $1 and $5 bills to tip the
performers," and that it would be "kid friendly" so "bring the family."
The bill was amended in the House State Affairs committee so that it only applied to live
performances and then passed out of that committee with a strong 11/1 vote. In the
House, Representative Reisch and myself joined the majority in a strong 60/10 vote of
In the Senate, the bill hit a wall of resistance and was killed on Thursday when
it failed to get enough votes to be placed on the calendar for debate. Many wonder,
how can a bill be so strongly endorsed in one chamber, and then crushed in the other.
In this case, I think it’s a sad testament to how far we have slipped from moral decency.
It is also a source of deep frustration to those who want our world to truly be more "kid
friendly"- especially when it comes to how we use public resources and money.
I have mentioned before, there is an excellent resource available to connect with your your legislature. Sdlegislature.gov is the place to locate your legislators, find their
contact information, hear debate and see how legislators vote. Every step for every bill
is recorded. I encourage you to check what your elected officials say and how they vote.
An informed public is key to good government.
To share your views with me please use my state email- John.Mills@sdlegislature.gov
In service to God and you.
Rep. John Mills
--Representative John Mills (Madison)
In a seemingly retaliatory move, Sen. Tom Pischke has been expelled from the Republican Caucus upon seeking and being denied remedy
March 06, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal
Pierre, S.D. – On Friday Feb. 24, 2023, Senator Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids) was promptly removed from the Senate Republican Caucus upon submitting affidavits to the Hughes County Court. Pischke sought criminal charges against fellow Senators for preventing Senator Julie Frye-Mueller from meeting, a class 4 felony under SDCL § 2-4-6, and casting a vote(s) on behalf of her district, a class 1 misdemeanor under SDCL § 2-4-7.
LaMie and A.G Marty Jackley have since concluded, “that neither the state’s Executive Branch nor Judicial Branch have any role in the internal workings of the Legislative Branch.” Events have left District 30 voters frustrated, and now District 25, as Sen. Pischke has been expelled from Caucusing in a seemingly retaliatory move.
In response to these events, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus has issued the following statement today:
"The South Dakota Freedom Caucus denounces the recent efforts by the Senate Republican Caucus to silence and intimidate Republican Senator Pischke by expelling him from the Republican Caucus for exercising his freedom of speech and his right to file criminal charges.
"We believe that Senator Pischke has an inherent and explicit right to 'freely speak, write and publish on all subjects,' as is stated in our sacred South Dakota Constitution, under Article 6 § 5. The Legislature, and our government as a whole, is here to protect such rights, not to impede the exercise of them, as SD Const. Art. 6 § 1 states, 'to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'
"Further, it is not for the Legislature, or any of its members or bodies, to interfere in the judicial process in determining the legal validity or invalidity of such criminal charges, or to make such determinations themselves, as such 'judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system,' or our courts, as stated in SD Const. Art. 5 § 1. Any such argument that such judicial power would extend beyond the judgment of the “qualifications of its own members” is a perversion of SD Const. Art. 3 § 9, and would in effect render the legislative branch to be immune from its own laws and the influence of the judicial branch, thereby rendering such checks and balances without meaning or effect.
"These principles are embodied in both our national and state Republican Party Platforms, and should be respected and adhered to.
"Such interference as is seen is akin to criminals intimidating their victims to stay silent after they’ve been abused and is unbecoming of the esteemed and honored body of the South Dakota Senate.
"The decision to pursue criminal prosecution or not is solely within the hands of the judicial branch, and such interference in this process is a clear violation of the separation of powers that our forefathers that founded our great state and country wisely prohibited, in order to prevent the influence popular passions at the time may have over such impartial and unbiased decisions that must be made for the sake of justice to be served.
"That is why we, as the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, implore the Senate Republican Caucus to cease and desist in such actions."
Silicon Valley, Newsom, and Bay Area Democratic careers have been built upon the stolen lands of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe
February 24, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal
CASTRO VALLEY, Calif.—The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is locked in a century-old holding pattern, fighting to be restored to federal recognition. The fight began in 1927, when an Indian Affairs Commissioner with conflicts of interest, purged Bay Area tribes from the federal registry. Originally recognized in 1906, the Muwekma Ohlone’s genealogy has been traced back to the Verona Band of Mission Indians, nearly eradicated after Spanish contact in 1769. The tribe was hunted, first by the Spanish, and then by California’s first Governor, Democratic slave-owner Peter Burnett, who issued scalping bounties when gold was found on tribal lands. Burnett however, is perhaps most famous for the "Burnett Lash Laws," implemented during his time as an Oregon senator.
In an attempt to reconcile the atrocities of racism, multiple broken treaties, genocide and the homelessness of indigenous peoples, Congress created the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). Congress then passed new laws and appropriated funding, requiring the BIA to buy land for “homeless indians.”
However, the government never found land for what they called the Verona Band tribes, and similar to what is happening today, the tribe took a back seat to the special interests protected by local power brokers. Essentially, a loophole has been exploited that exists within the registry system; any tribe not recognized by the federal government is neither entitled to lands or services.
As a result, none of the contemporary Indigenous groups whose ancestors lived in the central San Francisco Bay Area or Monterey Bay areas are recognized as tribes by the federal government.
Today, the more than 600 enrolled members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe remain committed to the reclamation of their ancestral lands, bones, and artifacts. Unfortunately for the tribe, these lands essentially encapsulate parts of the San Francisco Bay, and Silicon Valley–arguably the most expensive real-estate market in the State of California.
Chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, Charlene Nijmeh, has been touring the Bay Area and Washington D.C. in her push for justice. Recently, Nijmeh shared the story of her people, the history of near-extinction, and the conflicts of interest still influencing continued colonialist behaviors, during a U.C Berkeley TedTalk.
Ironically, congressional Democrats, who have campaigned on reparations and anti-racism, are now at the forefront of Muwekma oppression and “colonialism,” demanding the Tribe forfeit economic development rights in order to attain federal recognition. In other words, no nation-building, only access to select government services.
Eshoo, who famously demanded the censorship of political opponents as “misinformation,” has refocused her oppression to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, as they fight for their right to nation-build. According to a press release from the tribe;
“Chairwoman Charlene Nijmeh was invited to a meeting that became unexpectedly hostile with five members of the Bay Area congressional delegation, in which one of the members claimed she was 'aiming arrows' at the members by communicating discrepancies in members and staff claims in public and private communications. Another purported the Tribe doesn’t adequately understand colonialism, and another mentioned he didn’t know the Tribe.”
Pennsylvania born and raised Congressman Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said that the Tribe didn’t understand colonialism as much as he does. Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., claimed that it would be hard to work on helping the tribe if they “aim arrows,” at Congress–in an upset related to the tribe's communications with the press, exposing recent events. And Congressman Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif, claimed he didn’t know who the Tribe was, which is either dismissive or ignorant of Bay Area history.
One source explained the situation on background, and later provided a statement; “it’s kind of difficult when you are working for someone you believe in and they pull this kind of embarrassing behavior, especially to this Tribe, simply fighting for justice. I thought it’s what we are all here for.”
No one, including the BIA, disputes the tribe’s ancestry. According to the tribe, they just want their ancestors' remains returned, and the right to prosperity and nation-building, not handouts.
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council is reportedly in communication with the California Attorney General’s office. The Tribe’s spokesman Jonathan Lockwood, penned a letter to AG Rob Banta, whose father walked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK was a staunch ally of the indigenous peoples, and the letter underscored that support, in an inspirational appeal to an honorable man.
“Attorney General Rob Banta has the opportunity to stand up for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, and not only insert ethics into the Bay Area political machine, but correct atrocities of the past,” Lockwood writes. “The Bay Area delegation is perpetuating colonialist policies by attempting to extort the tribe and put conditions on their federal recognition. People don’t know the ugly foundation of the West Coast as a white supremacist haven of slave-owning Democrat politicians."
“Their frameworks are still in place, being weaponized against marginalized groups, and upheld by the current politicians who enjoy the benefits of building their careers on Muwekma lands, while denying the Muwekma people justice, as they campaign on equity and justice for all,” Lockwood concluded.
Lockwood pointed to the fact that not only have the attorney general and Bay Area delegation built their careers on Muwekma lands, but so has California's Gov. Gavin Newsom. According to Lockwood, Newsom’s office has been made aware of the political battery faced by the Tribe, yet has heretofore remained silent on the issue.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the Tribe is hopeful that their relations with the AG’s office will produce results, as Banta’s office could have a tremendous impact on the outcomes.
While the Tribe has vast support from the community and its leaders, the road to recognition has still been an uphill battle, even in 2023 with advanced societal awareness. Recently, Democratic operatives have whispered about Chairwoman Nijmeh’s political motivations and are concerned about her desire to run for Congress. Nijmeh dispelled those murmurs, sharing that her current focus is the Tribe’s recognition. The San Francisco Chronicle’s self-important Shira Stein cheapened the Tribe's fight for recognition as a ploy for gambling rights, echoing Lofgren’s propaganda. Stein even went so far as to speculate that federal recognition would give the Muwekma Ohlone an unfair advantage, claiming a casino would come next. Fortunately for the Tribe, other papers in the Bay Area have countered the Chronicle’s blatant bias.
Lockwood says if Nijmeh did run she’d have vast support from constituencies needed to win in California, and that she would get national support too.
“Chairwoman Nijmeh is a formidable leader, she has alliances from the Muwekma Lands to the United States Capitol,” said Lockwood. “Everywhere we go, people say she should run. People in the Bay Area are outraged and sick of failed leadership, corruption and entrenched career-politicians.”
Despite these apparent attempts to undermine their efforts, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has not lost support, backed down or succumbed to political suppression. Undeterred, Nijmeh and her staff are heading to the United States Capitol in March to continue congressional relations amid its push to attain the restoration of their federal recognition.
According to Nijmeh, the delegation will also be joined by advocates including; academics, faith leaders and students from Bay Area schools and universities.
“The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is thankful for the vast amount of support we have in the Bay Area, and we are looking forward to bringing the message of Justice for Muwekma to Washington, D.C.,” said Nijmeh. “The California delegation has the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past, restore our recognition, honor their commitments and create a freer, more just future.”
In addition to meeting with the state’s senators, Nijmeh will be rekindling talks with the Bay Area congressional delegation. While meetings with Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Congressman Jay Obernolte, D-Calif., went well during the Tribe’s last trip, the meeting with the congressional delegation from the Bay Area was a departure from their districts’ support of the Tribe.
“The Bay Area is behind the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. The congressional delegation should listen to their constituents and uphold agreements with us,” said Nijmeh. “I think we can move on from colonialist diatribes and racist policies, and that starts with legislation to restore our federal recognition without economic sanctions.”
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Editor's Note- While this article deviates from the Dakota Leader's usual focus on South Dakota State policy, we believe this story is vital to recognize in the broader context of water and land rights. As Congressional Candidate and member of the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Tribe, Bruce Whalen, has stated many times over, "what has happened to our people is now happening to every American across the country." --Breeauna Sagdal
This past week the budgeting process began to move to center stage. The Governor
proposes a budget each December, but final budgeting authority rests with the
legislature. The Joint Committee on Appropriations (JCA) that I serve on leads that
This past week, the Bureau of Finance and Management, from the executive branch,
and the fiscal staff of the Legislative Research Council, from the legislative branch, each
provided a detailed revenue forecast to the committee. The committee listened,
reviewed the data they provided and asked lots questions. Then a subcommittee met
again, asked further questions and decided what to recommend. For our current fiscal
year, which ends June 30, 2023, the sub-committee recommended and the full
committee adopted a revised revenue target of roughly $2.3 Billion.
Because that revised revenue target exceeds our original budget, and because of other
savings, there is more than $300 Million available for one time spending. These dollars
are limited for use on one-time capital projects. Projects likely to be financed with one-time
money this year include
a new prison for women in Rapid City,
a land purchase and design to replace the prison for men in Sioux Falls,
a major upgrade to the accounting system for state government and
a variety of smaller projects.
We will be able to do many good things because of the surplus.
Using all of the financial data provided, the JCA also set the revenue target for the next
fiscal year (FY’24) at $2.389 Billion, anticipating conservative growth of $3.8 percent above the
previous year. With this revenue target, we have roughly $320 Million available to
increase funding for our on-going needs. The new budget will be able to provide
welcome increases in support for our schools, improve compensation for state
employees, and consider several overdue funding adjustments to ensure that people
are cared for and vital state work continues.
Strong revenues also provide the confidence that a tax cut is possible.
Three tax cut ideas are actively under consideration. For the remaining three weeks of the session, a tax cut will be decided, the budget details will be discussed and debated, and the final pieces of the puzzle will be put in place.
There are many other bills being debated. It is a busy time in Pierre. I hope you are
To share your views with me please use my state email- John.Mills@sdlegislature.gov
“I have read this bill, I don’t suggest that you do,” Brett Koenecke advised lawmakers.
PIERRE, SD- HB 1193 recently passed the House and will be heard in the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee this week, with little understood about the new amendments the bill proposes to the Uniform Commercial Code. In fact, during the committee hearing on HB 1193, lobbyist for the South Dakota Bankers Association, Brett Koenecke, advised lawmakers that he "doesn't suggest," reading the 117 page document. Fortunately, Rep. Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish) and Rep. Jon Hanson (R-Sioux Falls) did read the bill and have subsequently brought to light some very serious issues.
The bill seeks to bring South Dakota "into code compliance," with the "long anticipated," 2022 amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code, according to prime sponsor Rep. Mike Stevens (R-Yanton).
In order for the proposed amendments to take effect, all 50 states would need to agree to the new terms ahead of the projected July 1, 2025 implementation date.
As outlined in the bill, the amendments and additions to article 12 would completely alter key definitions such as "money," and "electronic," while creating the legal framework for CER (Controllable Electronic Records), and incorporate a Central Bank Digital Currency into today and tomorrow's retail economies. Although the prototypical CER is bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, the new UCC Article 12 has been designed to work for technologies that have yet to be developed, providing rules intended to apply to various (currently known or unknown) intangible digital assets. Which leads us to the new definition of "Electronic" for example.
(16A) "Electronic" means "relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities." Per the commissioners who have authored the amended UCC, this language has been placed to incorporate future unknowns like A.I, bio-security and things we haven't even considered yet.
Likewise, the definition of "money," if passed, may have very broad implications for privacy, surveillance, and control.
(24) "Money" means "a medium of exchange that is currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more countries. The term does not include an electronic record that is a medium of exchange recorded and transferable in a system that existed and operated for the medium of exchange before the medium of exchange was authorized or adopted by the government."
According to Edwin Smith, the Chair of the ULC (Uniform Law Commission), who currently serves as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the new amendments are needed to incorporate Central Bank Digital Currency, and have been intentionally left broad to account for future and unknown technologies. Under these new definitions things like decentralized crypto currencies could no longer constitute a medium of exchange. As concerning as it may sound to lose money due to government intervention, another more pressing concern exists for the centralization of power under the Bank for International Settlements (the global central bank).
Similarly, the U.S Central Bank (Federal Reserve) has just launched its own pilot program for FedCoin, a central bank direct currency where the money would be a liability of the Fed. However, it is unclear how CBDC bank accounts would work, given that central banks like the Fed, do not house personal bank accounts. Essentially this means all money would be in digital form, and therefore alleviate the need for third party processors like PayPal e.g.
Emmer warns that "CBDCs that fail to adhere to these three basic principles could enable an entity like the Federal Reserve to mobilize itself into a retail bank, collect personally identifiable information on users, and track their transactions indefinitely,” Emmer said. “Not only would this CBDC model centralize Americans’ financial information, leaving it vulnerable to attack, but it could also be used as a surveillance tool that Americans should never tolerate from their own government.”
“Requiring users to open up an account at the Fed to access a U.S. CBDC would put the Fed on an insidious path akin to China’s digital authoritarianism,” Emmer said. “It is important to note that the Fed does not, and should not, have the authority to offer retail bank accounts. Regardless, any CBDC implemented by the Fed must be open, permissionless, and private. This means that any digital dollar must be accessible to all, transact on a blockchain that is transparent to all, and maintain the privacy elements of cash.”
In light of the heated arguments and policy concerns outlined, the Fed has publicly stated it would await authorizing law and language prior to launching a retail coin.
“We would not proceed with [a digital dollar] without support from Congress, and I think that would ideally come in the form of an authorizing law, rather than us trying to interpret our law to enable this,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said. However, that hasn't stopped the Fed from launching two pilot programs to test the technology and market viability of digital dollars like "FedNow," which the Fed is calling upon financial institutions, service providers, and software companies to adopt by next spring.
According to ULC Chair Smith, the UCC amendments are specifically required to support emerging technologies known and unknown, and the infrastructure for intangible central bank digital currency. In other words, it would appear that the Federal Reserve has found its authorizing laws and language, assuming that all 50 states agree.
With more questions about privacy, liberty and surveillance than answers, and a new UCC that essentially authorizes a monopolized or centralized digital currency without clear oversight mechanisms, several organizations in South Dakota are sounding the alarm and calling upon Gov. Kristi Noem to intervene. The South Dakota Freedom Caucus first launched a petition last week calling attention to the issue, and the potential for misuse. That petition has since been followed by a press release by Citizens for Liberty, outlining further concerns with the amendments.
RAPID CITY, SD- SD Citizens For Liberty, a statewide grassroots organization based in Rapid City, is announcing NON-CONSENT to the proposed amendments and redefinitions to the Uniform Commercial Code, believed to have been created in less-than good faith, and without full disclosure. HB 1193 is rapidly moving through the South Dakota State Legislature and is expected to have its first reading in the Senate this week, despite concerns raised during committee by Rep. Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish), and Rep. Jon Hanson (R-Sioux Falls).
At issue are the following amendments to section 12 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which must be agreed to by all 50 states, before it can go into effect on July 1, 2024.
Section 1-24: seeks to redefine “money,” to EXCLUDE; “an electronic record that is a medium of exchange recorded and transferable in a system that existed and operated for the medium of exchange before the medium of exchange was adopted and authorized by the government.”
Section 57A-1-201 subsection 16(A) seeks to redefine the term “electronic,” to mean; “relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.”
Given these new definitions, our understanding if passed, is that this legislation would enter the State of South Dakota into a binding agreement for contract and commerce that centralizes future currency and assets into an electronic system [meaning optical, wireless, magnetic, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities] adopted and authorized by the government. Given the added context of the Federal Reserve Coin, and the Executive Order From President Biden authorizing the use of a Central Bank Digital Currency, we have grave concerns for the potential use or misuse of a digital currency system.
We the people of South Dakota constitute a free and sovereign state, where we must be given full and honest disclosure, and have the right to negotiate or decline the terms of any contract. The terms set forth in the U.C.C creates an agreement for contracting and commerce that all 50 states must agree to prior to becoming uniform.
We hereby register our non-consent, as these terms are neither transparent nor are they agreed to, as we believe they have been negotiated in less than good faith. We urge our elected representatives to recognize and register our non-consent on the floor of the Senate. And, we urge our Governor, Kristi Noem, to take a stand against tacit agreements which have the potential for digital totalitarianism.
CBDC has been a highly debated topic over the last year, since the U.S. Federal Reserve released its discussions on the matter. The main concern from opponents to the currency comes from a government’s ability to control people’s purchasing, as described by International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Bo Li this last September, when he stated, “programming CBDC, that money can be precisely targeted for what kind of people can own [CBDC] and for what kind of use this money can be utilized, for example for food.”
“The ability of a free people to determine the means of exchange and which transactions they engage in is what makes them free,” said Vice Chair Representative Tony Randolph, “and without it, you don’t have a free people.”
The issue over the creation of CBDC in HB 1193 was first raised by District 31 Representative Scott Odenbach during debate over the bill in House Judiciary last Wednesday. Rep. Odenbach pointed to an area in the bill where it establishes“an electronic record that is a medium of exchange recorded and transferable in a system … authorized or adopted by the government.” Even with Rep. Odenbach’s opposition, and three other committee members, HB 1193 passed committee by a vote of 7 to 4 and that following Monday, passed the House by a vote of 49-17.
“We just can’t afford to let something of this magnitude pass unchecked,” said Freedom Caucus Treasurer Representative Tina Mulally, explaining why the Freedom Caucus’s sudden push against the legislation.
The bill is now set to appear before the nine-member Senate Commerce and Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. David Wheeler. With growing opposition, groups like the Freedom Caucus are hoping to round up five votes in that committee to kill the legislation. No date has been set for the hearing of this legislation in the committee.