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Ms. Di Santo,

We have read your response to the abhorrent post you had at the top of your Facebook page for 12 days and find it to be equally abhorrent. Your statement is anything but an apology for your obvious disdain for people using their first amendment rights to express their views. It is also an obvious slap at the Black Lives Matter movement.

In your statement to the Rapid City Journal you say, “I am sorry if people took offense to it and perceived my message in any way insinuating support or condoning people being hit by cars.” Your statement places the blame on the person who, “took offense”, rather than squarely on your shoulders where it belongs. The picture in the post clearly shows people being hit by cars and there is very little room for misperception. You further clarified your intent when you typed your own caption, “I think this is a movement we can all support #alllivessplatter.” We are sure you are intuitive enough to see where we might “perceive” the slap at the Black Lives Matter without us spelling it out for you.

You went on to say that you, “Perceived it differently. I perceived it as encouraging people to stay out of the street.” We are not sure how you translate a visual threat of violence into encouraging people to stay out of the street. This is especially true considering that it has been just a little over a month since Heather Heyer was killed in this very same fashion in Charlottesville. A much more professional way to get that message across would be to simply say, people should not try to block traffic during protests as it can be dangerous.

Your post and your statement defending your post are not acceptable for an elected official. While it is fully within your first amendment rights to say or post whatever you like there will still be consequences for your choices.

Indivisible Rapid City

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Once again the Pennington County Republican Party is promoting an event which spreads the seeds of hate in our community.  This time it is by way of promoting the Family Heritage Alliance's (FHA) Annual Fundraising Banquet Rapid City on October 10, 2017 [1, 2]. The keynote speakers at this banquet are  twin brothers, David and Jason Benham. Although they both played minor-league baseball they are most known for losing their reality television show on HGTV because of their extreme views on homosexuality. Of the two, it appears that David is the most vocal about his beliefs but Jason is always by his brother's side agreeing with and reiterating the ideas David expresses. They market themselves as a pair, so it is fair to take the ideas expressed by one as belonging to both.  

Their father is Flip Benham, an Evangelical Christian minister and director of Operation Save America (OSA), an aggressive anti-abortion organization which claims to, "employ only Biblical principles" [3]. Flip Benham was convicted of stalking an abortion doctor in 2010 after putting up "Wanted" posters  the doctor 's picture, name, and his address. Exactly where is that found in Biblical principles? He has been known to hold open casket "wakes" for aborted fetuses and to disrupt services in churches which allow abortions. He also espouses the evils of homosexuality with statements like, “You see, the homosexual community doesn’t want to just get you fired or something like that, they want to destroy you! They want to destroy everything because inside of them, their heart is raging against the Lord and they can’t ever get satisfied because God thwarts the cravings of the wicked" [4]. His son's are continuing in the same vein as their father.

David Benham speaks regularly about the evils of homosexuality. GLAAD does well to sum up many of the disparaging and ridiculous statements he has made [5]. Both brothers appealed to the Charlotte, NC City Council to deny a permit for the Charlotte Pride Festival in 2004 [6]. They actively supported North Carolina's Amendment One bill to change the State's constitution to define marriage as, "...between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State," in 2012. The amendment was passed but later deemed unconstitutional in federal court. In an interview with Glen Beck they claim to, "love gays but hate Satan's demonic agenda to suppress the truth" [7]. The brothers held a prayer rally in Charlotte in 2012 because, "America’s Christian majority must repent for tolerating abortion rights, no-fault divorce, legal pornography, 'homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation' and the 'demonic ideologies' that he says have taken over the education system" [8]. The two even state that Hurricane Irma was a message from God telling us to "repent" for breaking God's moral boundaries by breaking the boundaries of gender, sexuality and marriage [9].

Much of their fame came from when they lost the reality television show on HGTV because of their extreme views. In an interview with Erin Burnett on CNN [10] they try to fall back on the old Christian standby, hate the sin and love the sinner. The problem with this is that they diligently work to deprive the rights they have from others based on their personal religious beliefs. So does the Pennington County Republican Party and Family Heritage Alliance when they invite people like this into our community.















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Indivisible Rapid City has worked very hard to bring attention to anti-Islam presentations brought to our community. It has come to our attention that yet another one will be held on Monday, September 11, 2017 in Memorial Park at the band shell. The event is being billed as a celebration of Patriot Day to pray for first responders, government, church, military, families, education, media and business. While Indivisible supports all of our first responders, our government, military, families and everyone's right to practice their religion of choice, we also recognize that this is a very thin veil being used to cover their true purpose. 


The speaker will be Kamal Saleem, who is identified as a, "rabid islamophobe" by Southern Poverty Law Center. Some of his claims are, "83% of American mosques teach radicalism, " "Obama is a Muslim", "in 20 years America will be a country of lost liberty," and "radical Muslims are set to penetrate every level of American society." [1] Saleem claims that he was born in Beirut, Lebanon (1957) and was raised to hate and want to kill non-Muslims. He says he was recruited into the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) when he was 7 years old. So his recruitment would have been in 1964 or 1965. The PLO was not known to be in Beirut until the 1970s so this claim is quite questionable. He also claimed to be a member of both the PLO and the Muslim Brotherhood however, the groups are arch rivals. [2] Saleem has also made assertions that the Muslim Brotherhood has placed a large bounty on his head. He says that in 2007 he reported to police that his hotel room in Chino Hills, California was broken into and a group of “Middle Easterners” were after him. The local police deny having any record of a report along these lines. [3] In January of 2017 Saleem is quoted saying, “Placing Ellison in charge of the DNC is a signal by the Democrats that they want radical Muslims to step forward and stand beside us and fight against this conservative movement in the United States of America. And in the perspective, the Muslim Brotherhood are stepping in and now the DNC is thinking this is a smart move because these people are ruthless, they’re shrewd, they’re strong and they’re terrorists, they will make the difference for them and now they will conquer the nation back for them.” [4] 


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On 29 July Senator Rounds had an article in the RC Journal titled "Obamacare is Killing Health Care". It was an attempted to defend the Republican position on health care and was totally misleading. He talked about a competitive market based system as the way to achieve affordable health care. After decades of a system driven by the desires of industry we can compare the affordability of our system using data provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In 2015 the average of 10 other rich nations was $5,000 per capita. In that year the US spent $9,500 per capita. They had universal coverage and we had over 30 million uninsured. In 2009 a Harvard Medical School study estimated that 45,000 people died unnecessarily due to a lack of health insurance. Additionally hundreds of thousands are driven into bankruptcy by medical bills.


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Bob Wilfong and others at Health Care Protest at Sen. Rounds' Rapid City Office on 7/6/17


 By: Bob Wilfong  

You will sometimes hear Republicans say we have the best health care in the world. Perhaps that's true if you are able to go to a top notch facility. The issue is not how well our best medical organizations perform but how well our health care system performs in the service of the entire population. And, by that measure, the performance of the U.S. health care system is last among developed nations. Our unregulated free market system has been failing us for decades. A July 2017 Commonwealth Fund study report titled "Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care" found the performance of the U.S. system was last when compared to 10 high income nations.

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