Friday, March 31, 2017

Wilson on glide path to soft landing at Air Force


Although New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee the person he defeated for the seat, Heather Wilson, was introduced at her hearing for Air Force secretary by South Dakota's two earth hater senators.

“My nomination was unexpected. I did not anticipate returning to federal service,” she said. In her written testimony Wilson basically asked Congress to send more money to defense firms she used to work for. She has disclosed at least some of her ties to the military/industrial complex.

Wilson has been a compelling figure in NM politics but it's her after-congress record that's under scrutiny.

As university president Wilson has an annual salary of $373,819 at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, draws $200,333 a year as a board member of Peabody Energy and $46,000 annually from Sioux Falls, SD-based Raven Industries. Raven received $17.5 million from the Air Force between 1981 and October 2016.

Nutball Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe opened the proceedings saying he is an "active commercial pilot." How he does that as a senator remains a mystery. South Dakota's junior senator, one of the least effective members of Congress said of Wilson's nomination, "South Dakota's loss will be our nation's gain." Rapid City-based Black Hills Energy has given generously to her campaigns.

When asked by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) why Lockheed settled the Sandia Corp. lobbying case in 2015, Wilson said to ask Sandia. Reed pressed her on whether she kept records of her work for national labs but Wilson evaded saying she complied with her contract.

During Thursday's hearing John McCain (R-AZ) called Air Force fighter platform cost overruns a scandal. Boasting a $400,000 pilot's helmet the F-35 is history's first trillion-dollar weapons system. The Air Force could pay pilots as much as a half-million dollars to stay in uniform. Wilson refused a promise to keep the F-15 in service.

During testimony Wilson showed some familiarity with hazardous chemical residues on Air Force bases.

When Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) asked Wilson about LGBT rights the rumored closeted Wilson responded that she does not intend to overturn existing policies. Wilson received the most fire from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Firebrand Warren told Wilson to expect written questions about ethics issues.

Nutwad Joni Ernst (earth hater-IA) succeeded in making Wilson look like the smartest woman in the room.

South Dakota's senior senator has said socialized air service is essential to his red moocher state.

Wilson is the first of Trump's military service nominees to move forward in the process. His picks for Army and Navy withdrew.

It does make one wonder what Trump's Kompromat Cabinet will do to America.

She is expected to be confirmed. A transcript of the hearing is linked here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Disease ravaging western ungulates after red states slaughter apex predators

Republican former South Dakota legislator Betty Olson writes a mostly-weekly column for the Rapid City Journal. She never misses a chance to rail against big government, climate science and apex predators especially if it boosts her bottom line.

The attached photo is lifted from her Facebook page and as we can see she was a drop-dead, stone-cold fox in earlier days. Her daughter is in her arms as her mother photo-bombs in curlers.

Betty blames deer for bovine tuberculosis while praising the destruction of the cougars, coyotes and wolves that control deer.
Irean is 93 years old and has just written a paperback book about her father who was a government hired wolf hunter from 1898 to 1912. He rode horseback up from the Sand Hills in Nebraska to Bixby, S.D. and worked for Ed Lemmon for seven years, cowboying and wolf hunting. He learned how to hunt wolves from Charles Bollinger at Camp Crook and hunted for all the big cattle companies in seven counties in South Dakota and into the southern edge of North Dakota. Mike Kintigh and John Kanta with Game Fish and Parks held a meeting with Harding County folks in Buffalo this week to explain the TB testing of wildlife in the quarantined area. Veterinarians from the Animal Industry Board will do the testing and some of them came to answer questions from the crowd. GF&P will bring in the APHS [sic] plane and a helicopter to help with the gather. Starting this Monday, they planmed [sic] to test 100 white tail and mule deer, 100 antelope and all the coyotes, fox, raccoons, and small mammals they can get. [Grand River Roundup]
In her previous article she wondered why Game, Fish and Plunder hadn't slaughtered every wild critter in northwestern South Dakota.
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks put out a draft of its 2017-2023 Deer Management Plan last week and it calls for increases in mule deer populations throughout the western half of the state. The latest population directives from 2016 indicated that GF&P wanted to see the mule deer population grow "substantially." Mule deer, as a species, have a slower growth rate than white-tailed deer. [Rapid City Journal]
It's not that Betty has lousy aim: she has called South Dakota's christianic LGBT hating governor "Dennis Do-nothing who sells out South Dakotans every chance he has and lies" so she has that going for her.

And from the Jackson Hole (Wyoming) News and Guide:
The arrival of chronic wasting disease in Sublette County became official in mid-February, when Wyoming Game and Fish Department technicians whose job is to sweep the countryside for the malady sampled a dead mule deer doe at a home near the Pinedale Airport. National Elk Refuge officials are bracing for the disease’s arrival and have said they believe the initial detection is inevitable and possible at any time. [story]
Wildlife Services, part of the US Department of Agriculture and the APHS in Betty's article, has wanted to exterminate a wolf pack that killed nineteen elk in a Wyoming refuge that feeds and over-winters the ungulates. Elk in the region are dying en masse from CWD that researchers say results from the federal government feeding of elk in close proximity.

Cougars are in the cross hairs, too.

We all know this: unless the West embraces rewilding on portions of the Missouri River basin west of a north/south line from Oacoma, South Dakota through the CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge to Yellowstone National Park then to the Yukon water wars will clog the courts leaving violent armed vigilantism to settle disputes.

We have met the road kill...and he is us.

The feds should buy out landowners unwilling to lease for wildlife corridors.

It's time to tear out the Missouri River dams and rewild the West.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rapid City Journal ends racist reader comments

The Rapid City Journal listened to me. Starting today, the online edition will no longer publish comments on any news articles other than obituaries.
Each day, editors at the Journal spend a significant amount of time reviewing the comments prior to publication, weeding out those that include personal attacks, unsavory language or are simply hateful. That process in its own right has drawn the ire of readers who take the time to write, and then may be disappointed when their comments are rejected. It no longer feels like time well spent. [Bart Pfankuch, editor of the Rapid City Journal]
Historically in the bag for ethics-free wrong-wing extremists and earth haters like Steve Daines, John Thune, Greg Gianforte, Kevin Cramer, Liz Cheney and Mike Rounds Lee newspapers are media cripples.

The Rapid City Journal perpetuates hatred by allowing outrageous racist comments in their feedback section under articles published there and censors journalists like Jim Kent. Veteran reporters and spouses Mary Garrigan and Kevin Woster fled the Journal in 2013.

That pretty much leaves Bob Mercer and Bill Janklow's idea of public radio to write the gloomy news from South Dakota's capital city.

In 2015 Lee Newspapers of Montana eviscerated their Capital bureau.
What began as a noble experiment in conversation has been mired in name-calling, epithet and trolling. There have been at least four iterations of commenting on The Billings Gazette's website since it began. Each had a limitation on how much control it could exert. Few commenting strings stayed civil. That's why beginning Tuesday, we're turning off comments. The Gazette is not the first to do it. National Public Radio decided it was time to pull the plug on comments last month. We're not even the first in our company to do it — the Quad Cities Times is about two weeks ahead of us. [Billings Gazette]
Mike Dennison left Lee and went to a Montana teevee station. Former Lee reporter, Martin Kidston recently launched the Missoula Current. Chuck Johnson has been covering Helena during the 2017 legislative session for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

The Missoulian should be the next Lee paper to end reader comments.

The Gannett Company should buy Lee Enterprises which owns the Rapid City Journal and 45 other daily newspapers; but, Lee Newspapers of Montana could survive as part of a Bismarck Tribune, Rapid City Journal, Casper Star-Trib marriage and not become part of a Gannett takeover.

LEE is trading at $2.58 at post time while GCI is trading at $8.15.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Genocide, ecocide, suicide driving Indian Country to the brink

The emergence of warrior societies led by veterans of the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, and Kosovo has unified young people in North America's tribal regions. Movements are growing from the Mohawk Nation in Quebec and New York to the Lakota strongholds in South Dakota, among the descendants of the Arapaho in the Mountain West, south to the Navajo Nation and into the border regions of the Tohono O'odham.

In the US, where sovereignty rights, culture and language resurgence and growing capital resources from burgeoning black markets are building alternatives to hopelessness, suicide, and repression in Indian Country, deaths from firearm violence are higher than in any ethnic group.

North and South Dakota are in the cross hairs.
The company building the Dakota Access pipeline said Monday that the project remains on track to start moving oil this week despite recent "coordinated physical attacks" along the line. [Bismarck Tribune]
Attorney General Eric Holder was in South Dakota July, 2011 to keep the smoldering cold war with aboriginals from a flash point. Mary Garrigan provided readers of the Rapid City Journal with background:
Thirty U.S. attorneys from around the country, including U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson of South Dakota, will be in Rapid City to participate in the joint Native American Issues Subcommittee and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee meeting.
From Al Jazeera English:
In recent years in particular, Canada's indigenous communities have shown the will and potential to grind the country's economic lifelines to a halt through strategically placed blockades on the major highways and rail lines that run through native reserves well outside of Canada's urban landscape. There are more than 800 outstanding native land claims held against the Canadian government. And in many First Nations communities there is deep crisis, with poverty, unemployment and overcrowding the norm. According to figures from the Assembly of First Nations, more than 118 First Nations lack safe drinking water and some 5,500 houses do not have sewage systems. Almost one half of homes on native reserves are in need of "major repairs", compared with 7 per cent of non-native homes. Natives suffer a violent crime rate that is more than 300 times higher than Canada's non-native population, while natives represent 18.5 per cent of the male prison population and one-quarter of the female population, although natives only constitute 4 per cent of the total population.
Even as the Trump White House threatens funding for programs on public radio, especially those designed for Native audiences, producers bring the war on tribes to the air waves every day and people are frustrated, angry and increasingly militant.

Of course, the South Dakota Democratic Party should urge President Trump to dissolve the Black Hills National Forest, move management of the land from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior; and, in cooperation with Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildfire Management, rename it Okawita Paha or He Sapa National Monument eventually becoming part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Mato Paha (Bear Butte), the associated national grasslands and the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest should be included in the move.

While the Palestinian homeland looks like holes in the slice of Swiss cheese analogous to the illegal Israeli state, progress toward resolutions of Native trust disputes would have far more political traction after tribes secede from the States in which they reside and then be ratified to form one State, the 51st, sans contiguous borders with two Senators and two House members.

Tribal nations have been terrorized by genocide and ecocide for over three hundred years in the US. Why should they just lay over and take it?

Rewild the West.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Today's intersection: pink slime and Steve King

A judge appointed by Republican South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard will hear a case brought against ABC News for its role in dubbing so-called lean, finely textured beef "pink slime."

Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products says it was forced to close three of its four plants and erase hundreds of jobs after consumers realized what is in the crap. Using ammonia to reduce bacteria BPI had a processing plant in Iowa but moved its headquarters to South Dakota to take advantage of the state's regressive tax structure.
As the “pink slime” coverage played out, Beef Products endorsed a USDA move to allow voluntary labeling so consumers would know which packages of ground beef had LFTB and which didn’t. [Wall Street Journal]
According to court documents released to the Associated Press the slaughter house was in the business clique that raised concerns about a state official GOP Iowa Governor Terry Branstad tried to force from office.
In a legal deposition, Branstad denied allegations levied in a lawsuit that he targeted former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey because Godfrey is gay. Branstad repeatedly defended the company’s product in the deposition, bristling when attorney Roxanne Conlin called it “pink slime.” [Associated Press]
Branstad has been picked by the corrupt Trump White House to replace Montana's Max Baucus as Ambassador to China.
Iowa voters are strongly opposed to Governor Branstad's proposal to privatize Medicaid. Just 22% of voters are in support of it, with a 52% majority against. Both Democrats (7/78) and independents (25/49) are firmly against it and even Republicans (36/26) are only narrowly in favor. Steve King is an unpopular figure on a statewide basis- only 30% of voters have a positive view of him to 41% with a negative one. But he breaks even in his own district at 41/41, which has been good enough to keep getting him reelected. [Public Policy Polling]
BPI donates generously to Republican candidates like King and to South Dakota's GOP delegation.

King believes the Supreme Court of the United States has no authority to rule on marriage equality, routinely waxes poetic about his white supremacist proclivities and makes pink slime look pure...mostly. Iowa deserves King: he is one of the least effective members of Congress and suffers some of the lowest approval ratings in the US.

Oh. The other larder in the photo above is Mr. Pink Slime himself: Dakota Dunes' own earth hater, bail bondsman, Zionist and recently self-installed Exalted Cyclops of the South Dakota Republican Party, Dan Lederman.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Socialized agriculture driving Spring wildfire season



The Anthropocene has tripped a trophic cascade even as Oklahoma's Scott Pruitt, newly minted Earth hating administrator of an environmental protection agency at risk to the Trumpocalypse, watches his state go up in flames because of a warming planet.

Just a hundred and fifty years ago bison would be clearing the grasses driving the 2017 wildfire season.
Kansas rancher Greg Gardiner got into some of his scorched pastures for the first time Wednesday and surveyed what he likened to a battle zone: carcasses of dead cattle everywhere. Most of the burned land is in Kansas, where more than 1,000 square miles has been consumed in a series of blazes, including one believed to be the largest in the state's recorded history. Ranch hands were among those who have been killed in the fires. In the Texas Panhandle, three ranch hands died trying to save cattle from fires that have burned nearly 750 square miles. [Rapid City Journal]
Desertification driven by overgrazing has turned parts of the high plains into scorched earth.

John Thune (earth hater-SD) has rolled out his farm bill template for moral hazard and socialized agriculture while South Dakota's lone US House member and her fellow earth haters support it.

Moral hazard is the flip side of self-reliance and the livestock industry knows emergency declarations will provide bailouts for those who chose risk instead of burning off dry grasses minimizing losses.

Domestic livestock have contributed to catastrophic wildfire conditions and Republican welfare ranchers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them.

Not talking about fuel treatments during a wildfire is the same thing as not talking about firearms management during a mass shooting.

The Wolf fire in southwest South Dakota was the largest blaze to occur during the month of March since the year 2000.

Had Sen. Tim Johnson been successful in passing S. 3310 as a part of the doomed Omnibus Wilderness Bill the land burned by the Cottonwood and Wolf fires would have been placed within the stewardship of Badlands National Park and much, if not all, of the federal land scorched by the Cottonwood Fire would have been burned off prescriptively in increments instead of being managed by some careless rancher or passing motorist.

Tribal representatives attending a recent drought conference have water quality/quantity projects funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency, some solely through EPA. Most of them are concerned the Trump regime has abandoned Indian Country.

If human activity has released countless tons of mercury, would it not follow that we have also released proportional amounts of carbon?

Rewild the West.