The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

19 May 2007

Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants, Talk Radio


Over Amnesty For Illegals, Talkers Fired Up

*** Fresh post- Imus Boston updates here ***

Up and down the dial this past week, talkers from one coast to the other were consumed with one topic: amnesty for illegal immigrants.

And with a mammoth bill featuring an suspiciously peculiar blend of bipartisan supporters on Capitol Hill, hosts found an overwhelming amount of material to digest. How many will really have time to read this bill in its final, 1000 page form?

In contrast to some recent issues, conservative talkers have been virtually unanimous in their opposition to the congressional proposal, as were several GOP presidential candidates. In fact, it's hard to remember the last time many of them were this fired up about any issue.

Here's a sampling of what some hosts had to say:

RUSH LIMBAUGH: This thing is 700-plus pages. One of the things that I think is crucial here: this is not going to go to the Senate floor for debate, not going to be much of that, either, until Monday. So from now through the weekend, and all through the Sunday shows, we're going to be hearing about a piece of legislation that hardly anybody has ever seen, yet they're going to be talking about it as though they are experts and as though it's etched in stone. There are walls of opposition that are being built on all sides to this. Frankly, some of the most irritating things...

There's a big story in the New York Post today, there's the story in the Los Angeles Times. When you want to find an illegal to interview 'em, somehow you can, and they pop up, and they'll give you their names and so forth. They're telling people they're not happy with this. Now, yesterday and the day before, one of the points I made about this whole thing is it doesn't make sense to me. We're acting like we're the lawbreakers, and we're acting like we owe them something because we're mistreating them. We're acting like we're the criminals here -- and they have taken the bait.

You can't blame 'em. They're being promised a brand-new, giant, welfare state paid by the rest of us, and they're out there saying, "I don't like this. I don't like having to go home. I don't like having to go back. I'm not sure I want to pay these fines." Don't worry! You're not going to have to go home. You're not going to pay any fines. It's not going to happen. Once this bill passes, they'll be talking about, "It will split up families! We can't split up families," and of course you can't pay the fine because the libs will say, "Well, we're taking food out of the mouths of poor children by making their parents pay these ridiculous fines," even though it's in the legislation.

You might wonder, why are the Republicans doing this? I'm going to get into this in great detail as the program unfolds. There are different reasons for different Republicans, depends on who you're talking about. I once told you that you could legalize rape in this country if you simply called it the Civil Rights Act of 2007, because nobody on Capitol Hill's got the guts to vote against anything that claims to be broadening or creating civil rights. It's codeword. What's happening here is that the proponents of this -- and it's not new. They've actually been laying the groundwork for this.

"If you oppose this, why, you're a racist! Why, you're cold-hearted. You're cruel. You're mean-spirited. You don't like people of color," and, of course, you start telling an elected official that he's a racist and a bigot and anti-Hispanic or whatever, he's going to turn on a dime, because the last thing in the world he wants or she wants is to have that said about them, and to show up in a campaign ad the next time they come up for reelection. Then you have people like Senator McCain. I'm going to just read this, and see what I have very quickly here with McCain. I'm going to read it. McCain said, "We can and must complete this legislation sooner rather than later. We all know that this issue can be caught up in extracurricular politics unless we move forward as quickly as possible." Now, that is unbridled, unknown arrogance. Can I define a term for you here? When he says, "We all know that this issue can be caught up in extracurricular politics," that means you -- YOU -- can stop this, the American people. You start debating this, and you are "extracurricular politics." What that means is, "We in the Senate, we in this exclusive club, we are not going to listen to you. We don't care what you think about this. You are extracurricular politics. We gotta move forward as quickly as possible before you people find out what's in this bill and get really mad and stop it." It's too important. Senator Kennedy is saying the same thing. Here's Kennedy. Grab audio sound bite number five and not number four. Here's Senator Kennedy yesterday. The Senate held a news conference out there.

KENNEDY: We must strike while the iron is hot. I've been around here long enough to know that opportunities like this don't come very often. The American people are demanding a solution.

RUSH: They're not.

KENNEDY: The president is committed, Senator Reid has made this a priority. Senators from both parties are now determined to solve this crisis. Politics is the art of the possible, and the agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders, bring millions of people out of the shadow and into the sunshine of America.

RUSH: All you gotta do is send journalists to where they live and they'll come out of the shadows. You don't have to give them free access to our hammocks and our welfare state. But here you have it, "We must strike while the iron is hot. I've been around here a long time." He's right. He's been there 47 years! It is too long, folks. These people are dinosaurs. The Senate is becoming Jurassic Park. "The American people are demanding a solution." Yes, but not yours! "The president's committed." Yes, and I'll tell you why in a moment. Senator Reid has made this a priority. Oh, by the way, Dingy Harry and Nancy Pelosi are also in the crowd, saying, "Well, I'm not sure we like this," and that's just strategic maneuvering. The reason they're doing this is, they want the bill to appear to be moderate -- and with Senator Kennedy involved, of course, it's moderate. So they're out there objecting to it. "Ah, there are provisions in here I don't like here." They're just trying to toughen it up. They're trying to make it even more unwieldy, but it's a strategic maneuver. They love this. It's going to have some problems in the House, if it gets out of the Senate in its current form.

Via Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review Online:

(Salem syndicated talk host) HUGH HEWITT blogged: “John McCain's antics throughout 2005-2006 cost the GOP the majority in the Senate. Now he’s going to do for Smith, Sununu, Coleman and others what he did for DeWine, Talent and Santorum.” Ouch.

(ABC syndicated talker) MARK LEVIN, on Wednesday night, implored: “Do these Republicans ever learn? . . . Do they understand that a majority of the American people, whether they’re Democrats, Republicans, or nothing, have had it up to here with illegal immigration and they don’t want to subsidize it?”

It would seem not. And so I’ll make mention of my e-mailers flirting with consideration of the i-word (yes, as in “impeachment”).

The base, of course, will eventually calm down — a bit. The question is, how much? Was this the last straw? If conservative media is any indication, recovery will be slow.

(TRN syndicated talker) LAURA INGRAHAM began her show Friday announcing “I'm trying not to be demoralized.” But after playing tape of Ted Kennedy “waxing triumphant” Thursday, the mood was reminiscent of the morning after Election Day 2005 all over again. And now you can kiss the Senate goodbye, too, if this bill goes through, she said.

By Friday, your Radio Equalizer heard one host predict the issue would soon burn itself out, but with the bill still on the front burner and public opposition to amnesty building by the day, it may instead fuel an unusually heated Summer season for talk radio.

Photoshop image: David A Lunde

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  • Ex-lawmaker charged with rape
    Klaudt accused of sexual contact with foster kids, pages

    By Terry Woster
    Published: May 19, 2007
    PIERRE - Former Republican Rep. Ted Klaudt could spend the rest of his life in prison after turning himself in to authorities Friday on felony charges that include eight counts of rape involving foster children and former legislative pages.

    Five girls told authorities they were assaulted by Klaudt, court documents state, although charges filed Friday involve only two of the girls.

    Four of the girls said they were accosted in Klaudt's hotel room in Pierre, where he stayed while serving in the South Dakota Legislature. Two of the girls were legislative pages when they were attacked, they told investigators.

    He's accused of performing "ovary checks" and "breast exams" under the guise that he was helping young women donate their reproductive eggs, according to court records.

    House Speaker Thomas Deadrick, R-Platte, accompanied Klaudt in court Friday, saying he was acting as Klaudt's lawyer only for Friday's court hearings.

    "I'm here as a friend who happens to be a lawyer," said Deadrick, who served four years with Klaudt in the House.

    Terry Pechota of Rapid City, a lawyer who has represented Klaudt, said he would not be able to comment on the case.

    Additional charges of stalking, witness tampering and sexual contact with a minor were filed Friday. Charges were filed in Hughes County, which includes Pierre, and in Corson County, where Klaudt, 49, lives near the rural community of Walker.

    The Department of Corrections said Friday it is reviewing its foster care program in light of the allegations. The foster children were removed from the Klaudt home Feb. 2 on advice from the Division of Criminal Investigation as its agents investigated possible crimes.

    "I am horrified at the allegations made regarding the abuse of children placed in the DOC Foster Care program," Corrections Secretary Tim Reisch said in a statement.

    Klaudt was taken to Deadwood for an initial court appearance Friday, according to Attorney General Larry Long.

    Klaudt made that court appearance and was released on bond after being formally served with the complaint and arrest warrant. He was being brought to Hughes County to go through the same process, the attorney general's spokeswoman, Sara Rabern, said.

    News shocks district
    News of the charges spread rapidly in the vast northwestern legislative district that Klaudt served for eight years, said Rep. Betty Olson, R-Prairie City. She was elected to Klaudt's House seat last fall. He was term-limited and lost a bid for the Senate.

    "I am floored," Olson said.

    She said she saw a brief report of the charges on an online news site and then got a call from a neighbor about the case.

    "You could have knocked me over with a feather," she said. "I thought I knew him."

    Sen. Ryan Maher, D-Isabel, defeated Klaudt in November. "Everybody in this area will be talking about this," he said.

    The eight counts of second-degree rape include four filed in Corson County and four in Hughes County.

    Court documents say each of the Corson charges and three of the four Hughes charges involve the same girl, described as Klaudt's foster daughter. The fourth Hughes County charge involves a second girl, also identified as a foster daughter.

    The girls are identified only by initials, as are three other girls mentioned in a 26-page affidavit Long filed with the charges.

    "It appears there was a common course of conduct, and it got farther in some cases than others," Long said.

    That conduct, the affidavit states, involved performing "ovary checks" and "breast exams" by saying he was helping the girl donate eggs. Such exams allegedly happened both at the Klaudt farm in Corson County near the North Dakota border and in the former lawmaker's hotel suite in Pierre during legislative sessions.

    Michael Winder of the state Department of Corrections said that Connie Klaudt (listed in the South Dakota Legislative Manual as Ted Klaudt's spouse) had a contract with that agency as a licensed foster care provider. The contract dates back to November 2001, Winder said.

    "However, we have not had any children placed there since Feb. 2, 2007," he said in an e-mailed response to a question.

    Emily Currey of the state Social Services Department said her agency licensed the Klaudt home for foster care. She said all of the children placed at the home were placed by the Department of Corrections, not her agency.

    "None of our children have ever been placed in that home," Currey said.

    She also said the Department of Social Services license was suspended Friday.

    To be licensed, foster parents must complete 30 hours of training and undergo a series of medical and criminal background checks, she said. The department screens for reports of abuse and neglect, completes a family profile and conducts an on-site home study.

    "This is for all prospective foster parents," she said. "Any and all have to go through this."

    Asked whether that included a state lawmaker's home, Currey said, "Any and all."

    Allegation made in '06

    According to a criminal affidavit filed Friday, Klaudt learned that a report of sexual abuse had been made to the Department of Social Services in 2006.

    Fearing the allegation would ruin his life, Klaudt made one of the foster girls call the Department of Social Services to recant the report, which she did, according to court documents.

    The court papers do not indicate how the social services agency responded when the girl called them to recant the sexual abuse report.

    Currey said the department launched an investigation after receiving a complaint. But that investigation was dropped after the girl recanted.

    "She came back to us and said she lied to us," Currey said. "Who knows what was happening behind the scenes."

    What was happening, according to court records, is that Ted Klaudt was telling the girl she would be sent to juvenile prison, would not graduate and would not be able to come home if she didn't recant the story.

    Long's affidavit said when one of the girls cried during the examinations, he would give her beer or alcohol to relax her.

    The girl said Klaudt had done exams twice during the 2005 legislative session and once during the 2006 session, when she was a page and 17 years old, staying in Klaudt's hotel suite. The exams were performed "numerous times in both Pierre and at Klaudt's house in Walker" from late 2004 or early 2005 through August 2006, the affidavit states.

    Division of Criminal Investigation agents interviewed Klaudt on Feb. 2, the document says. That's the same date that DOC says it stopped placing juveniles in the foster home in Walker.

    Klaudt initially denied performing any exams, the records say. Confronted with contents of e-mails he's accused of sending the girls, he changed the story, the documents say. The affidavit says he said "maybe I did some things I shouldn't have."

    Second page scandal
    While Klaudt is no longer a legislator, the allegations that some of the offenses happened during the session and with a legislative page makes the case the second in a year involving accusations of impropriety between a lawmaker and a page.

    Sen. Dan Sutton, D-Flandreau, was accused last year of fondling an 18-year-old male page when they shared a hotel bed during the 2006 session. Sutton denied the charge, which became public before the November election. He won re-election. The Senate conducted hearings into the allegations and voted to reprimand Sutton after a vote to expel him failed.

    Besides serving on the Appropriations Committee, Klaudt became chairman of the Government Operations and Audit Committee during his final two years in the Legislature. That committee has become active in recent years in reviewing budgets, audits and programs of many state agencies. During summer 2005, the panel held extensive hearings involving the state's child protection services.

    Two of the second-degree rape charges in Corson County carry possible 50-year sentences, Long said. They stem from alleged incidents that happened after legislators changed provisions of the state criminal code.

    Other second-degree rape charges in that county, and the charges in Hughes County, carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, Long said.

    Total time that could be served is about 265 years.

    "The investigation is ongoing," Long said. "We don't believe that we're at the bottom of it yet."

    Meanwhile, South Dakota Juvenile Corrections Monitor John Ellis is conducting a review of the Department of Corrections' foster care program. It will include personal interviews of all juveniles now assigned to the program as well as juveniles who were formerly assigned to the program.

    There are 32 youths in the program, including 23 boys and nine girls.

    It was created in 1998 to serve children committed to the Department of Corrections who are unable to return to live with their family after completing their treatment programs.

    Staff writer Jonathan Ellis, correspondent Denise Ross and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Terry Woster at 605-224-2760.

    By Blogger gregrocker, at 19 May, 2007 20:35  

  • Former Republican Rep. Ted Klaudt needs to lay off the Kripsy Kremes.

    How dare Republicans claim moral high ground on matters of family values.

    By Blogger elmonica, at 19 May, 2007 20:58  

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