Mountain, plains flooding driving death of Gulf

Yes, tornadoes, flooding, habitat destruction, wildfire potential and now another eight month winter returns to the chemical toilet, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area that is South Dakota.
After a year that has seen some of the worst flooding ever in parts of the Midwest, concern is already rising that the spring of 2020 may bring more high water to places that still haven’t fully recovered. Eight months later, parts of the Missouri River are slightly above flood stage at a time of the year when river levels traditionally run low. Adding to the worry is the weather service’s December-February forecast which shows a significant chance of above-normal precipitation in the upper Midwestern states that feed water into the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. [River watchers already wary about 2020 spring flooding]
The US Army Corps of Engineers has cancelled Spring Pulses on the Missouri River not because of low flows but because the sediment is so poisonous it would kill the very species it says it's trying to preserve. Endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury throughout the South Dakota portion of the Missouri River.
It begins innocently enough. Farmers use fertilizers to increase the output of their crops so that we can have more food on our tables and more food to sell to the rest of the world. But it is this agricultural runoff combined with urban runoff that brings excessive amounts of nutrients into waterways that feed the Mississippi River and starts a chain of events in the Gulf that turns deadly. [NOAA, Happening Now: Dead Zone in the Gulf 2019 ]
Iowa contributes some 40% of the pollution killing the Gulf of Mexico. Recall a judge appointed by Republican South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard heard the 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 regressive tax structure and lax environmental oversight. 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. Branstad was then picked by the corrupt Trump White House to replace Montana's Max Baucus as Ambassador to China. BPI donates generously to Republican candidates like Steve King and to South Dakota's GOP delegation.

Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls gets a wrist-slap from South Dakota's Republican-owned Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination (DENR) nearly every year for discharging toxic pollution into the Big Sioux River. This year it was a mere five figure sum.

Every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in South Dakota is contaminated with atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFAS, E. coli, Shigella, Legionella and other toxins. That's probably true everywhere in the United States. Country of Origin Labeling was repealed in 2015 to shield American meat from scrutiny.


Capitalism is destroying another Native private enterprise

The World Wildlife Fund, Defenders of Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy teamed up with the National Park Foundation, Badlands Natural History Association, Badlands National Park Conservancy and the National Park Service Centennial Challenge fund to expand the bison range at Badlands National Park by nearly 35 square miles. Led by The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that began buying land there in 2007, sold some land in 2012 to Badlands National Park. Conata Basin is on the top ten ecotourism sites chosen by the University of Nebraska's Great Plains Center.
In 2006, almost a decade before General Mills acquired Epic, social entrepreneurs Mark Tilsen and Karlene Hunter started making the Tanka Bar, the first commercial meat and fruit bison bar, on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The goal was to create a product sourced from and produced by Native people who would help reduce the reservation’s unemployment rate, which hovers around 65 percent. The second goal was cultural. The co-founders hoped demand could be the economic driver that would restore the buffalo’s place in the lives of the Oglala Lakota people. It matters because both companies, in their own ways, are making the claim that they better the world through food. But though the two products have superficial similarities, they couldn’t be more different. Their two divergent fates—an underdog struggling mightily to correct intractable social issues on its own terms, and a media-beloved startup trying to change a leading food multinational from within—do much to illuminate the challenges of making “good” food today. General Mills bought Epic pledging to build the grass-fed bison supply chain, quickly reneged on its promise, and left a generation of suppliers in the lurch. [Bison bars were supposed to restore Native communities and grass-based ranches. Then came Epic Provisions.]
Although the term “socialist” wasn’t widely used until the nineteenth century it's of little consequence as it has existed in its purest form for nearly all of human history. Indigenous cultures lived in collectivist economies long before migrating to this hemisphere. Collectivism is arguably the most important feature binding every surviving human culture on the Earth today yet modern purely socialistic societies have struggled with longevity. Why? Probably because US capitalists have warred against any and all efforts at pure socialism around the globe since it was defined in the modern sense even as those wars are bankrupting America today.
But researchers have found that bison in Yellowstone National Park are not only surfing the green wave, they're also creating their own nutritious lawns and reducing their reliance on the wave. It turns out that the very act of a bison chomping down on the grass encourages it to keep growing, similar to mowing a lawn. Add the nutrients from the bison's waste, and the grass is just as good for the bison as new spring grass. Traditionally, animal migrations are thought of as animals following the best food. But bison create the very food they're seeking and aren't as reliant upon following the wave. [UW Researchers Find That Bison Have Major Ecosystem Effects]
The Black Hills hasn’t been home to 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.

Photo: bison clear invasive grasses at Wind Cave National Park.


Girl accuses Rapid City cop of excessive force

When Garrison Keillor opened A Prairie Home Campanion in the Rapid City Civic Center Theatre on November 20, 1999 he cited a statistic that Pennington County has the highest per capita gun ownership in the United States. A nervous chuckle rolled through the audience.
The slap heard round the world, or at least Indian Country, has caused quite the commotion in Rapid City, and the girl struck by the RCPD police officer has denied the charge of assault in juvenile court. Despite the uproar the fight and strike had caused, one of the girls in the fight whom we will refer to as “G” for the sake of this article, had gone to juvenile court on Thur., November 14 in Rapid City. The officer G. was referring to was Officer Richard Holt of the Rapid City Police Department. In the videos, it appears that the officer had struck her along the side of the head, but G. said it caught her in the face and this is what made her nose bleed. “It makes me feel sad. People don’t know the full story. I just don’t feel safe around cops.” [Native Sun News Today]
Tim Giago sees little difference between Rapid City and Ferguson, Missouri where Michael Brown's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against that police department. Daniel Tiger chose to take out two Rapid City police personnel with him rather than be gunned down in cold blood like Christopher Capps was. Former Lakota Country Times editor Karin Eagle spoke out after another American Indian was killed in Rapid City. After another high profile racism incident the Rapid City Rush has an alcohol-free family section in the civic center.

The number of experiences that i have had in gun and pawn shops in Rapid City that have taken me aback are too numerous to count. Two are vivid: a fifteen year old with mother in tow pointing at a Glock in a case saying, "that one" and a man buying five AK-47s with cash.

The South Dakota Republican Party thrives on violence and a white nationalist cop who managed 'a bunch of racists' became Rapid City's mayor.

The people involved in this skirmish are not the first casualties of this war and they won't be the last.

Image captured in a Rapid City parking lot.


Wyoming wants to move Black Hills land into public domain

Forty years ago I logged in the Buckhorn and Moskee, Wyoming areas of the Black Hills when much of it was owned by Homestake Mining Company. At that time it was home to some of the last old-growth ponderosa pine stands in the region.

In Wyoming if a federal or state parcel is surrounded by private land it is closed to the public.
A date has been set for the public hearing related to the State Board of Land Commissioners’ plans to purchase a chunk of land in the Grand Canyon area of the Moskee in Crook County. The acquisition would see over 4319 acres of private lands return to public ownership and has been in progress now for three years. The 60-day comment period for the project began this week. The hearing has been scheduled for December 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the courthouse basement. The acquisition is then expected to go before the Board of Land Commissioners on February 6 for a final decision. [Sundance Times]
In 2010 after Barrick acquired Homestake it returned some Wyoming holdings to the tribes; and, after it takes responsibility for its complicity in the destruction of the Missouri River Basin it should divest of its remaining holdings in the sacred Black Hills remanding them to the owners by treaty.

In 2012, Wyoming Public Radio’s News Director Bob Beck began an interview with Senator John Bare Asso (earth hater-WY) asking the question: "Senator, why do you hate the environment?" Needing a new boogeyman the Republican Party began hating the Earth in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Add the very high number of private inholdings within the Black Hills National Forest that make the wildland urban interface (WUI) very large to one of the highest road densities in the entire national forest system and Region 2 to lots of logging, hardrock mining and pesticides like Carbaryl then understand why over a hundred species in South Dakota alone and a million worldwide are at risk to Liz Cheney, Dusty Johnson, Jim Neiman and the Republican Party.

Preserve the legacy pine by saving them from the Neimans, clear cut without building new roads especially where doghair chokes aspen, birch or hazelnut, convert it to biodiesel, and burn, baby, burn.


Rapid City biker, Colorado associate sentenced in massive meth case

Got meth?
A Rapid City man accused in a conspiracy to move large quantities of methamphetamine from Colorado to South Dakota has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. Authorities say 29-year-old Sebastian Hoff was one of several distributors in the ring led by Dana Faulkner, also known as Diablo. Faulkner is accused of transporting up to 99 pounds (45 kilograms) of meth to be sold in the Rapid City area in the summer of 2017. Hoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 17 years and five months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised released. The 41-year-old Faulkner, of Aurora, Colorado was sentenced last month to 25 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and branding a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. [KOTA teevee]
So, a biker tells Facebook he's a meth dealer then gets popped for being a meth dealer: South Dakota stupid on parade.

Cartoonist skewers Noem

See more of Brent Plooster's work here.


Rep. Killer: Native and Black communities must stand in solidarity.

Democratic former Representative Kevin Killer backed the name change to Oglala Lakota County from one based on white conquest. Receiving strong support both at the ballot box and in a petition drive leading up to the election, Killer helped get the issue passed in 2015. He is a recipient of a Bush Foundation grant.

After taking part in the August 400-Year Return trip to Africa hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) he posted a reflection of his sojourn.
Every year, I take friends to the Wounded Knee Massacre site to share this important story about my Oglala Lakota Nation. On December 29, 1890, more than 300 men, women, and children were killed by the U.S. Cavalry on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. As different as the histories of Native people and enslaved Africans are, I wanted to bear witness. As we walked in the footsteps of people who were enslaved, I thought about how powerful it could be if our communities can work toward a more accurate historical narrative. This narrative change work happens everyday with our Oglala oyate (people) through language preservation efforts and traditional ceremonies held throughout the year. And that narrative must be one that honors the sacrifices and contributions of Native people through loss of life and land, and Black Americans through loss of freedom during slavery. [From South Dakota to West Africa: Following the slave trade's legacy]
Pandering to the extreme white wing of the Republican Party South Dakota's junior US Senator says he doesn't support rescinding Medals of Honor for the soldiers who butchered Big Foot's band at Wounded Knee.

Thank you, Nino Scalia, for reminding us why Democrats need to control the federal bench. Democrats have to retake all three branches of the federal government, drive the buyouts of the welfare ranchers who occupy the Mountain West and High Plains then offer tribal nations reparations through land repatriation.


White retirees still driving South Dakota tourism

Okay, Boomer.
Visit Rapid City was not surprised at some of the key findings, but were curious about the high number of “Boomers” that visit. “Boomers” make up 44 percent of leisure tourists, and the average age of tourists is 53 years-old. [KNBN teevee]
South Dakota has been a net inbound demographic for at least two years running. United Van Lines is reporting upticks, a Republican secretary of state is purging voter rolls and the resident electorate is withering under overwhelming disgust and hopelessness. Voter turnout is dismal in Indian Country mostly because tribal nations trapped in South Dakota flounder as they compete with the stingy red moocher state government for resources.

The resultant soaring median age of the retirees seeking deliverance from the cultural diversities thriving in Colorado, California, Minnesota, even Arizona and Oregon drives the exploitation of South Dakota's regressive tax structure and reinforces the racially insulated Nazi enclave that Spearditch is today.

Harley owners, some of whom have ties to clubs with nefarious pasts and many of them pre-1970s graduates of Spearditch High School, cruise the streets in summer and then recuse themselves from the brutal Lawrence County winters for warmer white compounds in Scottsdale, Marana, Sedona or Mesa. Often, there are elderly parents in one of the ubiquitous long-term care facilities and cemeteries. These obese Republican slackers taking advantage of the dynasty trust industry are now fleeing the frozen tundra in their RVs ahead of another six-month winter and strings of below-zero days.

New Mexico's flag has been named the coolest in America. The above image was captured at Mount Rushmore National Monument in the occupied Black Hills.


Midwesterners emerge as the adults in the room

Last night Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg emerged as the candidates who look like the most sensible Democrats to beat the Republican Party nominee but Cory Booker won the night especially after he forced Joe Biden to flip on cannabis legalization.

My first choice for 2020 was Al Franken but Senator Amy Klobuchar supports the therapeutic cannabis laws in Minnesota and opposes federal interference with the state's authority to regulate the industry. Mayor Buttigieg would make a tremendous Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.

Klobuchar/Castro is still my dream ticket because Trump won’t be their nominee and Warren can’t win Super Tuesday. Liz comes off as a screechy old lady and our nominee needs be a sensible litigator with experience as a mom. As her veep choice Julián Castro can deliver Texas for the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders' wife kept him from being Hillary Clinton's veep choice and if Clinton had really wanted to win she'd have chosen Al Franken or Amy Klobuchar as her running mate instead of Tim Kaine.

Tim Walz will appoint Klobuchar’s replacement and winning Texas is within our reach. We need Liz Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie and Booker in the Senate, Steve Bullock needs to run in the Democratic US Senate primary in Montana, Beto needs to run for Cornyn’s seat in Texas and Joe should go home and write a book.

Despite South Dakota's intransigence tribes moving forward on cannabis industry

A 1986 amendment to federal law allows tribes to acquire off-reservation land to serve the needs of its peoples.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Arapahoe Tribe of Oklahoma teamed up and bought 1,020 acres of ranchland north and east of Mato Paha (Bear Butte) adding significantly to their holdings West River. Last year the Oglala Lakota Oyate bought off-reservation property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. The Fort Peck Tribes in occupied Montana have legalized therapeutic cannabis and the Northern Cheyenne have been mulling the concept. As co-owners of Pe'Sla the Minnesota-based Shakopee Mdewakanton Nation could bring that state's medical cannabis and reproductive rights freedoms to the Black Hills. Lower Brule has struggled with synthetic cannabinoids but that community has off-reservation property in Fort Pierre to test their sovereignty.

Recall President Tony Reider and officials of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation advanced their cannabis initiative after an Iowa casino on the border cut into the tribe's gaming business but reportedly destroyed their crop after threats from federal party-poopers. It's pretty clear why Republican former Governor Denny Daugaard supported more gambling at the casino owned and operated by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. The State of South Dakota receives revenue from FSST through a compact with the Isanti Dakota Oyate.

The road to legal cannabis for all adults in South Dakota is paved with hemp but tribal nations should be the primary beneficiaries of industry growth there.

A former chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is a tribal liaison for a cannabis development firm.
Tex Hall, the former chairman of the oil-rich Three Affiliated Tribes, and Robert Shepherd, former chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe in northeastern South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota, are trying to recruit and assist tribes in producing high-grade marijuana products. [Associated Press]
South Dakota Secretary of Tribal Relations Dave Flute is a former chairman of the SWO.

Since South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has admitted white people are too stupid to grow cannabis, industrial or otherwise, tribal nations trapped in the state are on the path to economic growth. State law doesn’t apply to sovereign nations so the Flandreau Santee and Oglala Lakota Nations have filed applications with the US Department of Agriculture to grow industrial cannabis (hemp).

Minnesota towns like Pipestone, Luverne, Worthington, Lake Benton, Ortonville and Hendricks near the South Dakota border could reap the coming cannabis whirlwind as Governor Tim Walz urges legalization.


Got meth?

Most, if not all, meth in South Dakota is trafficked by white Trump-worshiping motorcycle gangs. These hordes are essentially domestic terrorists operating with the blessings of the prison/industrial complex. The Sons of Silence, Bandidos and Hells Angels control organized crime in the Black Hills area where members have infiltrated nearly every community even operating Rapid City's Cornerstone Rescue Mission for a time as a front for their activities. Former Cornerstone director, Dan Island, build a Lawrence County mansion and together with his brother Frank built a cocaine and meth empire before their deaths.
Donald J. Trump: I thought I’d bring it up while we’re here. I went for a physical on Saturday.
Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman: Medically speaking, for your height, your weight puts you in what we call—
DJT: Perfect. I always say.
CP: Fortunately, there are solutions. For example, crystal meth has been shown to be very effective.
South Dakota Department of Social Services: I’m on meth.
DJT: So am I.
SDSS: I’m on meth.
DJT: So am I.
SDSS: I’m on it too.
The annual criminal costs of video lootery in South Dakota have soared to $42 million and the social costs an estimated $62 million. $9 million were lost because state and local sales taxes weren’t collected. When video lootery began in 1986 104 charges were filed for robbery, grand theft and aggravated theft. There were 1,037 cases in 1990 and in 2017 they went past 4,000 yet South Dakota continues to raise revenues off those least able to pay.

Despite lies from SDGOP video lootery, payday loan sharks, domestic violence and homelessness are inextricably linked putting children at risk to more catastrophic consequences far more often than has happened in states that have legalized or lessened penalties for casual use of cannabis.

But, a red moocher state like South Dakota is powered by sin: video lootery, a loan shark industry that preys on the least fortunate and a too-big-to-jail banking racket fill in the gaps created by lobbyists who enjoy the protection of single-party tyranny. Desperate to pay off those who benefit the entrenched Republican establishment criminals can always expect to have champions sitting as governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Want to slow meth in South Dakota? End the Sturgis Rally and adopt my cannabis template.


Stace Nelson giving up on corrupt Pierre

It looks like Republican Governor Kristi Noem will have a hand-picked legislature.
Stace Nelson, who is known for challenging establishment politics and was responsible for introducing legislation in 2018 that led to chislic being named the official state “nosh,” is stepping aside as a District 19 Senator serving in the South Dakota Legislature. In an email sent to area newspapers Sunday afternoon, Nov. 17, Nelson said he is retiring from politics, effective Dec. 10, for reasons that include being slowed by military service-related injuries. “It is with regret, but relief of having survived South Dakota’s corrupt politics, that I will retire permanently and completely from politics,” he wrote. [Freeman Courier]
Few dispute the reasons educated people continue to flee my home state of South Dakota. The state is struggling to keep white workers, infrastructure is crumbling, industrial agriculture is failing, South Dakota churches are girding for gun violence, meth is replacing alcohol as the state’s drug of choice, Pierre’s culture of corruption and rape violence threaten open government, socialism is quietly replacing free enterprise, pheasant numbers are dwindling, environmental degradation is increasing, wildlife are being exterminated to make way for disease-ridden domestic livestock and exotic fowl, jails far outnumber colleges, ag bankers continue to enslave landowners and the state’s medical industry triopoly operates without scrutiny.

Republican District 19 State Senator Stace Nelson is a conservative christian (go figure), albeit a decorated Marine, who spent a career brutalizing the people within his charge as a monolithic executor of forced compliance through intimidation.

His anger and controlling personality are pathologies, contraindications of the power drug he uses to fog a world that doesn’t conform to his delusions. He shoves his creation superstitions down the throats of his virtual victims and crams the hose of his coerced military patriotism into any orifice that his captives leave unprotected. The glaring difference between Nelson, a former military police investigator, and Ted Klaudt is that Nelson offended legally under the auspices of the Marine Corps.

Yes, eight month winters, tornadoes, flooding, habitat destruction and now wildfire potential returns to the chemical toilet, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area that is South Dakota.


Wyoming moving closer to expanding Medicaid?

Like South Dakota and because of the race hatred projected at an African American president and at American Indians Wyoming is another red state that would rather die of cancer, mercury and lead poisoning instead of adopting Medicaid expansion. That is, until now.
Under Section 638 of the Indian Self Determination Act of 1975, government agencies like the Indian Health Service can enter into contracts with federally recognized tribes and allow them to manage funding for their own programs. [Eastern Shoshone Tribe Considers Taking Over IHS Clinic Management]
Gillette is a scary place. It's where ecocide is encouraged and mercury from coal burning power plants is released into South Dakota's watersheds and beyond. The Campbell County Hospital in Gillette has written off millions in noncollectable debt.
The legislature's Joint Revenue Committee approved a proposed bill that will ask Gov. Mark Gordon to explore options for Wyoming's participation in expansion and determine whether it's financially viable for the state. Eventually lawmakers would need to approve a Wyoming plan. The Wyoming Department of Health says some 19,000 Wyomingites could get health insurance under expansion. [Legislative Committee Endorses Medicaid Expansion Bill]
From 2015:
Specifically, the CBO determined that maintaining sequester-level cuts would lead to 500,000 fewer jobs and 0.4% less growth in 2016, and 300,000 fewer jobs and 0.2% less growth in 2017. Many Americans have been led to believe the emerging crisis is solely about Planned Parenthood funding, and that may be somewhat true. However, at the rate Republicans love killing Americans’ jobs and retarding economic growth that the CBO warned is the result of not addressing sequester cuts, pundits should consider the real impetus for the looming crisis is the GOP’s rejection of eliminating their precious sequester.
Read that here.
The “unimaginable horrors” comment came from U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., during testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in Washington about his bill to force the Indian Health Service to undergo a wide-ranging audit. The tribe is alleging that the federal government has failed to uphold its legal obligation to provide health care to tribal members, in part by temporarily closing the Rosebud emergency department in 2015.
Read the rest here.

Kinda makes you sick, init? Yes, the South Dakota Republican Party is a death panel. Jean Rounds, the wife of South Dakota's junior senator went out of state for medical care.

I like the idea of rolling the funding for TRICARE, Medicare, the IHS and the VA together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax. Reproductive freedoms should be included with conditions just like the military does under TRICARE.


Salmon are spawning in most contaminated waters in South Dakota

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 mainstem dams. Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers has cancelled Spring Pulses on the Missouri River not because of low flows but because the sediment is so poisonous it would kill the very species it says it's trying to preserve. Endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury throughout the South Dakota portion of the Missouri River.
And there's probably more salmon to be found in unusual places in South Dakota because of this year's flooding, said Geno Adams, fisheries program administrator at South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. An angler submitted a photo to the state agency this week of a salmon caught in Firesteel Creek, a tributary of the James River near Mitchell. "We encourage people to harvest those salmon if they catch one, if they want to. You can throw it back, there's nothing illegal about it," he said. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
As South Dakota's GOP congressional delegation seek to block efforts by the US Environmental Protection Agency as it works to identify the sources of pollution the state's residents are getting scared.
The Firesteel Creek watershed begins in the Wessington Springs area and ends at Mitchell. The farming community along this watershed is likely responsible for the high concentration of nitrogen from crop fertilization runoff. This nitrogen is responsible for the yearly algae bloom in Lake Mitchell. Recently it has been noted the lake also has a high concentration of fecal bacteria. That indicates livestock along the creek are also poisoning our water supply. Farming and land management preferences do not trump the safety and well-being of 15,000-plus citizens. [LTE, Lake pollution needs to be fixed]
Working with EPA, South Dakota's US Attorney stepped in after the state's Republican-owned Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination (DENR) discovered a California man's damming of Bear Butte Creek violating federal Clean Water rules. But if you think DENR is going to come down on GOP donors you have another think coming.

David Ellingson and his Ortonville, Minnesota-area honey-producing family sued the EPA for not regulating the neonicotinoids killing their colonies. I worked for their operation one summer between semesters at South Dakota State University. It was one on the most fascinating lessons of this life. South Dakota beekeeper Adee Honey Farms also blames neonicotinoids for colony losses according to WNAX.

Every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in South Dakota is contaminated with atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFOs, E. coli, Shigella, Legionella and other toxins. That's probably true everywhere in the United States. Country of Origin Labeling was repealed in 2015 to shield American meat from scrutiny.


Cannabis initiative advanced by Democratic former US Attorney awaiting decision from SDSOS

The group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has submitted to a Republican secretary of state over 50,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure that would allow adults 21 and older to possess and distribute up to one ounce and cultivate up to three plants for personal use. If accepted and passed the measure would also direct the South Dakota's extremist legislature to establish therapeutic and industrial cannabis (hemp) programs.
“We are proud to have submitted petitions on behalf of over 80,000 South Dakotans who believe that voters should decide our state’s marijuana and hemp laws,” said Brendan Johnson, a former United States Attorney who is the sponsor of the legalization ballot initiative. “Right now, there are South Dakotans with serious health conditions who are forced to break the law in order to access effective medical treatments that allow them to live healthier and more productive lives, and that is unacceptable,” said Marijuana Policy Project Deputy Director Matthew Schweich, who has worked on successful marijuana reform ballot initiative campaigns in Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Utah. [press release, Marijuana Policy Project]
Democrats have been leading and running election campaigns on destigmatizing cannabis and legalizing for adults for decades.

As Partner Attorney at Robins Kaplan LLP, Brendan Johnson, former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota and son of retired Democratic Senator Tim 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.

It's widely believed Johnson will enter the 2020 Democratic US Senate primary in South Dakota.

More about South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws linked here.


Holm: South Dakota Republicans are destroying rural health care

Rick Holm is the Prairie Doc. His program airs on KBRK radio in Brookings, on Bill Janklow's idea of public teevee and his column appears in my hometown paper the Elkton Record, in the Brookings Register and about sixty other rural South Dakota newspapers. By not expanding Medicaid under Obamacare South Dakota Republicans are decimating rural health care.
In the July 2019 issue of South Dakota Medicine, a survey of family physicians practicing in this state found much lower burnout rates in family docs practicing in rural areas (25 percent) compared with those practicing in larger metropolitan areas (51 percent). Evidently, some social aspects of rural practice seem to confer a protective effect against burnout. This new data should be helpful when young physicians are looking for the most satisfying places to practice. [Holm, Vermillion PlainTalk]
South Dakota's medical industry triopoly operates without scrutiny and at least one Sanford Health executive believes it's time to expand Medicaid in the state.

If South Dakota's policy makers had any balls whatsoever they’d bring legislation that would compel the medical industry to post the costs for all procedures. So if these hospitals are monopolies like utilities are, or even oligopolies in their markets, why isn't there a voter-elected public commission to regulate pricing?


People's Republic of Brookings gets more federal pork

Let's see: the city owns a research park, the hospital, the liquor store, the water, the phone company, the power company, an entertainment venue, the golf course, it's home to South Dakota's largest public university and a federally subsidized cheese and dairy industry.
Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds and Rep. Dusty Johnson applauded the USDOT’s decision and sent out the joint press release to announce it Wednesday afternoon. The announcement follows requests from the delegation to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao for the project’s funding. “With the help of the infrastructure funding awarded by DOT, the City of Brookings will be able to move forward with this important project, which will relieve congestion, improve safety, and spur economic growth,” Thune said. [Brookings gets $18.7M grant for I-29/20th St. S. interchange]
These clowns won't support combating bulging jails and prisons but will wholeheartedly jump on the bandwagon to save a town where a Democrat could win a legislative seat unless Republicans practice a little more socialism.

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


Welfare ranchers worried Tester bill will expose American meats as contaminated

Every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in South Dakota is contaminated with neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFOs, E. coli, Shigella, Legionella and other toxins. That's probably true everywhere in the United States. Country of Origin Labeling was repealed in 2015 to shield American meat from scrutiny.
Montana Senator Jon Tester has introduced a resolution to reinstate Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Policy Division Vice Chairman Todd Wilkinson says while his group backs voluntary COOL, but having the mandatory designation reinstated could prove costly for America’s cattle producers. He says since Mandatory COOL was struck down by the World Trade Organization reinstating the program could trigger retaliation from Canada and Mexico, which are top markets for U.S. beef. [WNAX]
In countries that import American meats concerns are mounting that chronic wasting disease (CWD) and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) have made their way into the food web.

In 2017 beef products dispensed in South Dakota vending machines were recalled by the US Department of Agriculture after a routine inspection revealed Bovine tuberculosis. During that outbreak in South Dakota Republican former legislator Betty Olson blamed deer for bovine TB while praising the destruction of the cougars, coyotes and wolves that control deer. She wondered why Game, Fish and Plunder hadn't slaughtered every wild critter in northwestern South Dakota.

Rodeo stock were ultimately established as the carriers.

Photo: cattle are depositing manure contaminated with bovine growth hormones and antibiotics into a critical Black Hills watershed.


Missoula Democrat wants to restore passenger rail through southern Montana

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and this blog follow each other on Twitter. As rail coal traffic dies Tester wants to restore the North Coast Hiawatha line after Amtrak ended service in 1979 or about the time an interested party moved to Missoula from Deadwood.
But Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier is continuing his decade-long pursuit of bringing rail service back to the southern portion of the state, this time by forging a coalition of counties interested in seeing the locomotives pass through their areas of the state once again. The rail line Strohmaier is focused on would connect Missoula, Helena, Bozeman, Livingston and Billings to other lines leading to major hubs like Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and Chicago. [The Missoulian]
Two congressional neighbors now newly elected Democratic governors in Colorado and New Mexico have been pledging to develop passenger rail along the Front Range and southern Rockies.
The poll found 85 percent of people supported the use of passenger rail on the Front Range, with 88 percent of northern Front Range respondents supporting the idea. Some members of the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission would like to see it put on the ballot next year, an accelerated timeline for the plan. CDOT just hired a contractor to look into key questions about the project's feasibility, including which preexisting rail lines the train would use and who would oversee it. [Colorado Public Radio]
Amtrak struggled with service on the Empire Builder through Montana during the Bakken boom and still suffers congestion through North Dakota. Douglas and Gillette, Wyoming continue to kill people and strangle traffic so passenger rail would bring some order to that chaos. Meanwhile the Trump Organization and the Koch Brothers are pledging to kill passenger rail service while vehicle traffic between the Black Hills, Cheyenne and Denver continues to increase just like it is between Denver, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Many get the idea of a future I-25E but now is the time to connect the Southwest Chief to the Empire Builder at Shelby, Montana through Denver, Cheyenne and Gillette, too. It would intersect with the North Coast Hiawatha line at Laurel, Montana.

Like the former Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail bed from Edgemont, South Dakota to Deadwood has become the Mickelson Trail the former southern Montana right of way is home to the Route of the Hiawatha Trail.

There are 43,560 sq.ft./acre; a 50 ft. x one mile railroad right of way is 264,000 square feet or about 6 acres; the Santa Fe Southern Railway is 18.1 miles long or around 110 acres. How expensive could it be?

Imagine a time when portions or all track is elevated for wildlife egress through a future corridor between El Paso, Texas, the Canadian River in New Mexico and the Amtrak station in Shelby then on to the Yukon River in Alaska intersecting with a tunnel under the Bering Strait connecting South and North America to Russia and the rest of Eurasia.


Dakota Rural Action still suing Republicans over water quality

South Dakota's GOP/Koch-owned Public Utilities Cartel (SDPUC) is expected to shoo in TransCanada's permit to seize water and land as they do with each utilities' requests for rate increases.
Three permits are for the taking of public water from rivers (the Cheyenne, Bad, and White), and two permits are for use of previously-appropriated water permitted for livestock watering that would serve as back-up supply for TransCanada’s construction worker man camps. Dakota Rural Action and other contesting parties recognize that this water belongs to the people of South Dakota, and that the Water Management Board, as trustee of our water, has the authority to say no. And, through the course of these hearings, we are building a powerful case that the Board has the responsibility to say no to a foreign corporation with a devastating history of spills and leaks that have damaged land and water in this state and others in which they operate. [Dakota Rural Action]
Nearly every moving stream, intermittent or not in South Dakota, has supported a pre-settlement Amerindian or European explorer pulling and propelling a canoe over it. Most of it is impaired today.

Royal Dutch Shell is abandoning its efforts to drill in the Arctic in part because of tanking oil prices but another Republican donor continues its land grab in South Dakota. So-called 'Americans for Prosperity' a Koch-funded group with a lobbyist based in Sioux Falls signaled to legislators that they will lose campaign funding from the Kochs unless they act to reverse the progress the US Environmental Protection Agency has made in South Dakota.

Genesee & Wyoming, the parent company of the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad, conducts the business on the west end of its holdings and operates on the right of way that intersects the proposed Keystone XL pipeline at Philip. Had the Quinn Dam just upstream of a RCPE washout failed one of its first casualties could have been the Keystone XL pipeline where it's proposed to cross the Bad River.

Rail cars carrying diluted bitumen could be loaded there then be transported through Pierre, Huron and maybe Brookings then south through Sioux Falls to the depot at Cushing, Oklahoma; but, the same geology that thwarts railroads and forces engineers to rebuild I-90 between Reliance and Rapid City and I-94 between Mandan, North Dakota and Billings, Montana every year also makes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline untenable.

Running a bomb train through white towns won't fly when you can build a leaky pipeline through stolen treaty ground so it's hard to imagine these projects going through cemeteries where people of European descent are buried.


More West River residents losing their minds

Which parts of seven month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature and living in a chemical toilet escape you people?
Farm bankruptcies in the United States jumped 24 percent in September to its highest level since 2011. The trade war and two years of adverse weather have been tough on producers. [WNAX radio]
A study recently published in the Journal of Rural Health found the suicide rate for farmers is not only the highest of any occupation in America, it's spiking because of a lack of ready access to mental health care services. Last year the Rapid City Journal blamed the South Dakota Republican Party for spikes in suicides and depression. So has a Sanford executive.
"The National Council for Behavioral Health came in and sent consultants to look at the community and what the needs and the availability of mental health services in Rapid City," said Dr. Katy Sullivan, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Regional Behavioral Health Center. "What it could mean for us as a mental health community would be greater collaboration and more of a chance to find ways to think outside of the box and find different, effective, and more cutting-edge treatment. [KEVN teevee]
Rapid City Regional enjoys a virtual medical industry monopoly in western South Dakota.

Still another study just concluded cannabis is an effective antidepressant therapy for some patients while keeping it illegal creates paranoia, anxiety and stigmatization. Cannabis is an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).