Horsted photo shows pine overcrowding in Castle Creek area

Lifted from Paul Horsted's Facebook page the two photos were taken 145 years apart but the same fire-charred snags appear in both. Check out the infestation of ponderosa pine in this portion of the Black Hills where it hasn’t been a natural forest since 1863 when a nearly Hills-wide fire (possibly set by humans hoping to clear pine) opened grazing for distinct historic ungulates.

In 1874 when the Custer Expedition came through the Black Hills bringing invasive cheatgrass for their horses stands of ponderosa pine were sparsely scattered but a century and a half of poor ranching and land management practices have created an unnatural overstory best controlled by the mountain pine beetle, prescribed fires and periodic wildfires. After a century of destructive agricultural practices exotic grasses infest most of western South Dakota.

The absence of prescribed burns and the persistence of cheatgrass on the Black Hills National Forest and on other federal and state ground are just more examples of the intense lobbying efforts of Neiman Enterprises and from welfare ranchers addicted to cheap grazing fees. Instead of allowing native aspen to be restored, stands of doghair ponderosa pine, ladder fuels that feed wildfires, cover much of upper Castle Creek. Ponderosa pine only reached the Black Hills less than four thousand years ago yet spurred by the Neimans the Black Hills National Forest is still planting it in the Jasper Fire area.

$20 bucks says the black bears, wolves, and moose sighted in the Black Hills are migrating from the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming down the Tongue River across the Powder to the Pumpkin Buttes where the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche Rivers begin then go up Beaver Creek near Newcastle into upper Castle Creek and down Rapid Creek to the Black Fox/Rochford area.

The Rocky Mountain Complex and the Black Hills have been home to a much larger aspen community in the fairly recent past. Ponderosa pine sucks millions of gallons from aquifer recharges, needles absorb heat and accelerate snow melt. Clear the second growth ponderosa pine, conduct fuel treatments, restore aspen and other native hardwoods, build wildlife corridors and approximate Pleistocene rewilding using bison and cervids.


North Dakota therapeutic cannabis patients to have more access

In 2016 North Dakota voters passed Measure 5 then the legislature drafted rules and a Republican governor signed it into law. The Botanist in Fargo is the first of eight planned therapeutic cannabis dispensaries in North Dakota for 130 patients or caregivers and the state is processing another 120 applications. Now seven other North Dakota cities have been named for dispensaries.
The most recent cities to be added to the list of dispensary sites are Minot, Devils Lake, Jamestown, and Dickinson. They join Grand Forks, Bismarck, and Williston as future homes to medical marijuana dispensary sites. There are currently 14 conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment. They range from cancer and glaucoma to epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease. [It’s about high time]
Republican Gov. Doug Burgum supports decriminalization but there is concern among activists that Republican operatives will provide names of patients to the Trump Organization that would prevent them from purchasing firearms.

North Dakota's failed poorly-written Amendment 3 that would have legalized for all adults also included language that would have forced the expungement of the records for some cannabis convictions yet in its repressive nanny state neighbor to the south if you're even suspected of ingesting cannabis members of the law enforcement industry will force a catheter into your urethra and seize your assets.


More wildlife pix uploaded

Cattle egret, Bosque del Apache

Turkey tom and harem, Bosque del Apache

Blue heron, Bosque del Apache

Pronghorn near Magdalena, New Mexico

Scott's Oriole near Red Rock Road, Santa Fe County, New Mexico

The Three Sisters are winter squash, maize, and climbing beans - food staples originating in Mexico but traded to the Mandan, Iroquois and others for thousands of years. Neighbor Lori is adding their spirits to the casita.


Republicans, Rounds continue to blame military for flooding

One image shows why President Thomas Jefferson used an executive order to defy the US Constitution, began the Native American Genocide and purchased the Louisiana Territory from a country that didn't even own it.

Recall South Dakota's quisling earth hater former governor Mike Rounds built a house in a swamp that flooded then received a generous self-reimbursement from insurance coverage underwritten by his own company knowing Lake Sharpe is filling with silt. He's been blaming the US Army Corps of Engineers for that fraud ever since and has been grandstanding in Pierre trying to overcome his lack of effectiveness in the US Senate.
South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says he has long been critical of the forecasts coming from the Corps. Rounds says he continues to push the Corps to follow up on their proposal to put a real time snow pack monitoring system on the plains. Rounds says the money allocated for the system hasn’t ended up where it was intended. [WNAX]
The corps might be finally getting through to the little guy. There is nothing healthy about six dams in a threatened ecosystem.
The risk to upper basin states and Indian tribes is that once water is regulated as surplus water, and once it is consumed by end-users, it becomes that much harder to later re-institute the original legal, as well as declared beneficial uses of the water. [David Ganje]
Lewis and Clark Lake is thirty percent full of toxic sediment. The impoundment is dealing with newly-discovered invasive species which are causing problems to equipment.

Nearly a century of residue from Black Hills Mining District affects millions of cubic yards of riparian habitat all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Although the Oahe Dam was completed in 1962 sequestering most of the silt the soils of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers are inculcated with arsenic at levels that have killed cattle. Endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury throughout the South Dakota portion of the Missouri River.

The withdrawal of Jim DeMint elevated water warrior Senator Roy Blunt (earth hater-MO) to lead his assault from the lower Missouri River basin so the path leads right to Blunt's front door. The death of the Missouri River ecosystem in South Dakota began with the European invasion, was accelerated by the Homestake Mining Company and sealed with the construction of the main stem dams.
Not many South Dakotans have prospered as professional fishermen, but there was a time when you could make a living by clamming on the James, Big Sioux and Vermillion rivers. The clam industry dwindled in the 1940s due to over-harvesting, environmental changes in the rivers and, of course, the invention of plastic buttons. Huge fish were also reported by dam-builders when the reservoirs were built along the Missouri. Some divers saw fish 15 feet long floating at the bottom of the muddy river. [Katie Hunhoff]
The closest Mike Rounds has ever gotten to military service is acting as commander-in-chief of South Dakota's National Guard. South Dakota's earth hater junior US senator is also leading a crusade to block the US Environmental Protection Agency from identifying non-point sources of pollution deposited into watersheds by his GOP donors.

It's time for South Dakota's press to investigate the collusion between the state and polluters instead of pandering to the South Dakota Republican Party as it destroys watersheds by deconstructing the Waters of the United States rule protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act.

Rivers often disperse the extra sediment from behind a dam within weeks or months of dam removal. Removal of the Fort Edward Dam on New York’s Hudson River released so much contaminated sediment that the river was later named a Superfund site. A similar fate would befall the Missouri River if dams were not dredged before being decertified and removed; but, migratory fish would recolonize newly accessible habitat within a matter of days.


Diversity absent from SD College Republican elections

It's impossible not to notice that the white people who influence the South Dakota Republican Party continue to brainwash their own kids to sell tyranny and exclusivity to the voting populace. Who else is old enough to remember when petty pug Pat Powers accused Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of pimping her young son in a campaign advert?

At his blog, Dakota War College obese Brookings blogger Pat Powers routinely smears principled conservatives who don't bend the knee to the South Dakota Republican Party establishment. Portly Powers not only salts his blog comment section with a seemingly infinite variety of aliases that threaten or jeer his political enemies he routinely pimps his own afflicted spouse, kids and daughter to raise sympathy and operating capital.

That SDGOP condones, encourages and even pays Powers to threaten, malign, bully and libel women while their party standard-bearers preach the protection of women is a measure of hypocrisy that entirely defies the human capacity to comprehend it. He has long been banned from this and other South Dakota related sites because of a constant stream of bigotry, misogyny and other hate speech.

In 2012 then-US House Representative Kristi Noem (NAZI-SD), got richer by pimping her children and relatives in her campaign videos then raised four times more moola than her Democratic opponent, Matt Varilek. Republican Second Amendment activist Kaitlin Bennett sums it up succinctly.


Therapeutic cannabis being considered for New Mexico inmate patients

Opioids are now killing more Americans than guns and car crashes so last month the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended that both opioid and general substance abuse disorders should be qualifying conditions for cannabis as therapy.

Now, after Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 406 into law interpretations of the seminal Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act might apply to patients incarcerated in the state's corrections facilities.
Jessica Gelay, New Mexico policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, said her group would like to see inmates have access to any needed medication, including cannabis, but also said she would leave it up to state officials to interpret the law. “The Drug Policy Alliance firmly believes that people should not lose their rights when they are incarcerated and should not be prevented from using medicine that they need,” Gelay said. “Medical cannabis patients face discrimination in all walks of life, which is why protections are needed in policy in order to dismantle stigma and permit access.” [Interpretation of updated medical cannabis law could allow all inmates access]
Keeping the industry from the clutches of a monopoly has been contentious and lawmakers in New Mexico's Democrat-dominated legislature rejected a Republican plan that would have established state-run cannabis retail operations but they did decriminalize possession of up to one half ounce.

Ketamine, a Schedule III substance long considered a 'street drug' by some lawmakers and the law enforcement industry, is now being used to treat depression.

Tweaker Ed Laird's addiction to meth drove him to burglarize a still unknown number of properties to feed his madness so perhaps his rehabilitation will include therapeutic cannabis while he serves his sentence.

New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis program is nearing 71,000 patients.


Kennecke sucks up to Noem, abandons Brady Folkens

South Dakota truly is a chemical toilet.

A privileged white woman lost her daughter to an industry that helped elect another Republican governor whom she then thanks for being there. Angela Kennecke just proved again that a squeaky wheel on a Lexus gets more grease than one on a victim's Kia. Somebody was arrested, convicted and sent to prison for contributing to Kennecke's daughter's death by her own hand but Brady Folkens' killers are being protected by an entrenched Republican bureaucracy. Folkens died in South Dakota state custody after a botched diagnosis on December 21, 2013.
Negligent medical care, a false autopsy, forged letters from the state licensing board, and an indifferent wall of silence mandated by the state risk managers are only the tip of the iceberg in this young boy's unnecessary death. South Dakota's leadership (the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and their appointees) and their co-conspirators (the Avera leadership in Sioux Falls) have cruelly stiffed the mother of Brady Folkens in her unrelenting struggle to seek closure. Never since the moment Brady unexpectedly died at Avera McKennon Hospital has any one of these enablers ever reached out to Dawn Van Ballygooyen to express sympathy, give condolence, or comfort her for her loss. Their conspiratorial silence and evasion of credibility is simply stunning and, very frankly, basically un-American...Lars Aanning MD, retired surgeon...


Johnson nearing decision on US Senate run

As Partner Attorney at Robins Kaplan LLP, Brendan Johnson helped the South Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union win the Constitution and Libertarian Parties' lawsuit against Republican former Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. A former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota and son of retired Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, he is representing tribes in their suit against opioid manufacturers. It's widely believed Johnson is developing the resources necessary to mount a run for the US Senate against Nazi earth hater Mike Rounds, one of the least effective members of Congress.

At the end of last year Sen. Johnson's Political Action Committee had just over a half million dollars in cash on hand.

Photo: Senator Tim Johnson addresses the 2014 South Dakota Democratic State Convention in Yankton.


Daughter #2 welcomes Beto to Morningside

Just the thought of a daughter living in Sioux City Fucking Iowa is nightmare-inducing.


Silver City residents balk at plan to rape BHNF

Rochford area residents say Vancouver-based Mineral Mountain Resources destroyed Black Hills National Forest Service Road 184A during their drilling of some 7,500 acres in the Homestake Gold Belt on public lands and at a private site known as the Standby Mine Target.
It was a standing room only crowd on Tuesday night in the Silver City Schoolhouse. Community members showed up in full force to hear from a company looking to explore for gold near Pactola Reservoir. Many in the overflow audience are concerned about the environmental impact of their operations, saying the gold exploration could be a slippery slope to a full-scale gold mine. “A lot of people are concerned about the possibility of exploration for gold at the inlet at Lake Pactola,” said Black Hills Clean Water Alliance Member Lilias Jarding. “Pactola is Rapid City’s water supply. We have some people here from Rapid City like myself, and we want to know whats going on.” [KNBN teevee]
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has passed resolutions condemning what they say are abuses of the General Mining Law of 1872 that led to the Custer Expedition's discovery of gold in the Black Hills. In 2016 Montana environmental policy advocate Bonnie Gestring told an audience observing World Water Day at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City that tribal nations should support proposed regulations and two new federal companion bills that lead to reform of the 1872 law.

Much to the frustration of locals, the US Environmental Protection Agency moved most of the contaminated soil from above Rimini, Montana to a mine in upper Basin Creek where it was encapsulated.
The community of Rimini was added to the Superfund list in 1999. Contaminated soil in residents’ yards was replaced, and the EPA has provided bottled water for a decade. But polluted water still pours from the mines and into Upper Tenmile Creek. Estimates of the number of such abandoned mine sites range from 161,000 in 12 western states to as many as 500,000 nationwide. At least 33,000 have degraded the environment, according to the Government Accountability Office, and thousands more are discovered every year. In 2017, the EPA proposed requiring companies still operating mines to post cleanup bonds or offer other financial assurances so taxpayers don’t end up footing cleanup bills. The Trump administration halted the rule, but environmental groups are scheduled to appear in federal court next month in a lawsuit that seeks to revive it. [US mining sites dump 50M gallons of fouled wastewater daily]
Recall that in 2011 a portion of the highly toxic slag pile owned by Canadian miner Barrick collapsed into Whitewood Creek below Deadwood. The force of the cave-in caused ejecta to partially block the adjacent roadway and dammed the creek for approximately thirty feet.

After an interested party reported the incident to the Lawrence County Sheriffs Department Stan Michals from South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder called me and said he had only just heard of the incident from my voicemail to him. He said the Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination dispatched an inspector and GFP would act on its recommendations. DENR's words to Michals were that the metals in the slag are "not very mobile" and "they don't immediately impact the fishery." The creek ultimately pushed through the dam spewing slag down the streambed.

The Board of Minerals and Environment is an arm of the South Dakota Republican Party that ceded regulatory authority to EPA for uranium mining after the state's moocher state legislature realized there is no competent oversight from state agencies.

Acknowledging there will always be acid mine drainage the board recently met in Pierre to announce its plans to continue the war on the Black Hills Gilt Edge Superfund site as EPA becomes a tool of the extraction industry.

If the slag in Whitewood Creek was harmless or benign it would be added as aggregate to concrete destined for highway repairs.

Nearly a century of residue from the Black Hills Mining District affects millions of cubic yards of riparian habitat along the Missouri River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico even after the Oahe Dam was completed in 1962. The soils of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers are inculcated with arsenic at levels that have killed cattle while catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury.

Not just at risk to Canadian miners Silver City, Rochford, Hill City, Keystone, Rockerville and Edelweiss above Pactola could easily be wiped out by wildland fires driven by red flag conditions.


Franken emerging as elder statesman

Socialized agriculture, socialized dairies, socialized cheese, socialized livestock production, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service, socialized freight rail and now a socialized nursing home industry are all fine with Republicans in South Dakota but then they insist single-payer medical insurance is socialized medicine.

There is a growing movement among Democrats and others to fund Medicare for all but I like the idea of rolling the funding for Obamacare, TRICARE, Medicare, the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Affairs together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax.

Bernie Sanders' wife kept him from being Hillary Clinton's veep choice and if she'd really wanted to win she'd have chosen Al Franken or Amy Klobuchar as her running mate instead of Tim Kaine. My first choice for 2020 was Al Franken but it seems unlikely unless he can recover in time. Senator Amy Klobuchar supports the therapeutic cannabis laws in Minnesota and opposes federal interference with the state's authority to regulate the industry. It's impossible to imagine either Trump or Pence running in 2020 so she'd have to be able to beat the GOP nominee.

Other than Weld, Kasich and Flake who will the earth haters run?