Judge: forced catheterization is unconstitutional

In South Dakota it's more likely the macho, booze-soaked legislature will legalize prostitution before it will reform cannabis laws. Policing for Profit has allowed the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to provide military armaments for the law enforcement industry throughout the state even as suspected incel Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg pleads for more resources for his minions. Republican-glutted states like South Dakota are the drunkest, kill the most kids, are the most obese and most addicted to opioids and meth.

South Dakota has the most draconian cannabis laws in the US and until now the law enforcement industry could even force catheters into urethras to test possession by ingestion.
In a sharp rebuke to the practice, Chief Judge Roberto Lange of the U.S. Federal Court for the District of South Dakota said that the process of involuntary catheterization is a violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable police searches and seizures. Lange declined to dismiss the case brought by six individuals who sued the cities of Pierre, Wagner and Sisseton, as well as various law enforcement officers who oversaw forced catheterizations. The lawsuit followed a 2017 Argus Leader investigation into the practice, which found that even children had been subject to forced catheterization.
Read the rest here.


Kelley: Keystone pipeline work not essential

Don Kelley is a cool guy: as a fellow Kucinich watcher on a western South Dakota burro, windmills often become mutually quixotic destinations. The Vietnam-era former pathologist and nurse wife, Kim have built a small farm along one Black Hills elk migration route within prime mushroom habitat just off the Merritt Estes Road between US385 and the Nemo Road on the border of Pennington and Lawrence Counties. They have been part of Dakota Rural Action, Solarize South Dakota and off-grid builders for at least two decades.

Attorneys for the Trump Organization will stop at nothing to erase Barack Obama's legacy including accelerating the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a warming climate and an eventual American Indian rebellion to protect treaty lands. But building the KXL pipeline will depress oil prices even more and anger Trump's handler, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Montana and North Dakota have both suffered the effects of man camps that prey on women and girls where rapes and murders committed by white walkers have become commonplace.
A recent federal court injunction bars water crossings by TC Energy, the Canadian company planning to build the KXL pipeline. Previously, in a late March press conference, Gov. Noem assured us that TC Energy would not build in the state during the COVID-19 outbreak, so the danger from imported work crews entering South Dakota during the pandemic seemed to be averted. However, sizable “pre-construction” work crews are indeed here, and active on the project. The distinction between “pre-construction” and “construction” means nothing when it comes to the possibility of virus dissemination in parts of our state where health care facilities are relatively sparse and easily overloaded. By working in groups, these crews pose a danger to themselves and to the local folks they deal with. When other non-essential workers are being encouraged or ordered to stay home throughout the nation, it is hard to see justification for this exception. This is one of those instances where public health is surely more important than the profits of a foreign corporation. [LTE, Don Kelley, M.D., Deadwood, SD]


Tribal nation trapped in South Dakota defying racist governor

We already know South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is a racist and in past years the Trump Organization has used the federal courts to punish tribal nations who built casinos Donald Trump said were competition. Today the White House is deploying COVID-19 as a biological weapon in Indian Country but one Tiospaye is fighting back.
As COVID-19 began to spread across the country in late March, the tribal chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe ordered checkpoints on that would limit non-reservation travelers into the Cheyenne River Indian Reservations. Chairman Harold Frazier had a reason for the checkpoints: He wanted to protect his tribal citizens and limit the virus from spreading on the reservation. The checkpoint where the U.S. Highway 212 enters the reservation drew the attention of Bureau of Indians Affairs (BIA) Director Darryl LaCounte in Washington, D.C. Last week, several South Dakota tribal officials expressed their concerns that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has not acted strongly enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 as have other state governors. So far, she has not instituted a stay-at-home order, banned evictions and power shut-offs, or closed nonessential businesses.
Read the rest here.


Parker: Montana Senate race looking up for Bullock

As if the Clinton campaign threw the 2016 election to destroy the Greedy Old Party national Republicans are on full tilt as Donald Trump torpedoes the ship of state.

Montana is awaiting the results from the 2020 US Census that could add a congressional seat where Democrats are increasingly hopeful the party will flip both a US Senate post and a US House chair. Professor David Parker is Chair of the Political Science Department at Montana State University in Bozeman.
How does the singular coverage of a crisis by the media potentially generate a rally effect? Executives are the actors who receive the bulk of the coverage during the crisis. How does this matter for the U.S. Senate race here in Montana? It could very well matter a lot. Why? Because in a period where electioneering is challenging at best, Governor Bullock is dominating earned media. And that earned media is overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, positive. Steve Daines, on the other hand, is receiving almost no coverage by comparison. [Parker, Big Sky Political Analysis]


"Plutocratic populism" is the glop that binds Trump and McConnell

In 1980 Mitch McConnell ditched his feminist first wife vowing to marry a rich woman and now he is one of the wealthiest white men in Congress while Kentucky remains one of the poorest states. He not only loathes Donald Trump, he detests Alabama's Roy Moore, too.

Lee Atwater is one of the architects of the Southern Strategy that brought the Dixie crackers into the Republican Party. Newt Gingrich authored the earth haters' handbook and it's still the official little red book of the Greedy Old Party.

It's becoming increasingly apparent that Republicans are suffering from mass clinical depression comorbid with suicide ideation. Yesterday, Trump told Republicans to shoot up bleach and quaternary ammonia then look at the sun for an hour or so to kill Covid-19. Every single Republican should do that then they should just eat each other. Trump makes Jim Jones look like humanity’s savior.
So the political scientists are Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson. And they've got a new book coming out that's called "Let Them Eat Tweets." And what it talks about is this phenomena that they call plutocratic populism. The idea is that the plutocrats in the country, the big money, have an agenda in the Republican Party - tax cuts for the super-rich and deregulations on polluting industries. And that sort of thing is just not broadly popular. And so to win elections, they've got to form an alliance that broadens the coalition to get voters. [Jane Mayer, excerpt, Fresh Air]


Racism drives cannabis arrests

As most Americans know, if you're Black and/or Brown in the United Snakes you're more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession. My home state of South Dakota is infamous for it where a state trooper routinely spent his time systematically profiling cars with license plates from states with legal cannabis until a Washington man stood his ground. Cannabis is legal in Washington but South Dakota convicted African-American Donald Willingham with multiple counts in Pennington County after Trooper Zach Bader illegally profiled the vehicle in which he was riding on Interstate 90.

The overwhelming number of people profiled from legal cannabis states on I-90 are persons of color as is the population in South Dakota’s jails and prisons. Black man Yiel Wuol of Spokane, Washington and Joshua McLean of Raymond were arrested and convicted in South Dakota after being pulled over for driving TWO MILES AN HOUR over the speed limit!

New Approach Montana is suing a Republican secretary of state over a ban on electronic signature gathering where legal cannabis for all adults is likely headed to the ballot. Despite legalizing therapeutic cannabis Montana is the worst for race-based arrests while Colorado and other legal states experience the least disparity.
Racial profiling among law enforcement is directly to blame for these disparities. Police often target people (for stop and frisk, search, and arrest) based on their actual or perceived race rather than reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. States must legalize marijuana, and do so as a matter of racial justice. This means not only legalizing marijuana with the specific goal of undoing some of the harms of decades of racist criminal legal policies, but pursuing broader reforms in the criminal legal system to ensure that the harms of the war on marijuana do not simply re-materialize in other ways after legalization. [A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform]
Yes, say it with me: cops' lives suck. Little wonder they abuse their families, alcohol, drugs, food, power, detainees and occasionally murder their wives.


Tribal member strikes flag of treason

Yes, it never ceases to amuse how Republicans paint Democrats as the party of slavery then praise the slaveowners who penned not just the Bill of Rights but the Declaration of Independence, too. Confederate flags routinely fly in Rapid City showing support for racism in like-minded states, South Carolina and Mississippi. Many more come out during the Sturgis Rally as bikers flaunting their racist bents fly the flag of slavery.


Montana Democrats Bullock, Williams outraising earth haters

As Montana awaits results from the 2020 census that could add a congressional seat Democrats are increasingly hopeful the party will flip both a US Senate post and a US House chair.
Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of the year show Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock raising $3.3 million in March, which included his first three weeks as a candidate for Senate. Incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Daines reported net contributions of $1.3 million for the quarter. [Billings Gazette]
Some polls are showing each seat leaning Democratic.
“Matt” would be Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale who leads all Republican House candidates in first quarter fundraising with $249,032. “Kathleen” would be Bozeman Democrat Kathleen Williams, who financially bested every candidate in the field, with $486,476 raised in the quarter, putting a little more donation distance between herself and Rosendale. Williams’ lead is no small feat.
Read that here.


Trump virus surges in Indian Country

The Obama Administration cut funding to the lab in Wuhan after teams from Australia, the US and China discovered this novel coronavirus strain then publshed a paper in 2017 but it took Donald Trump to weaponize it. In past years the Trump Organization has used the federal courts to punish tribal nations who built casinos Trump said were competition but today the White House is deploying COVID-19 as a biological weapon in Indian Country. 
Data provided by the Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area Indian Health Service and Navajo Epidemiology Center reflects 698 confirmed cases from counties where individuals live on the reservation, including the non-contiguous chapters of Alamo and Tóhajiilee. [Farmington Daily Times]
The Tóhajiilee portion of the Navajo Nation is a location for both the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul teevee series. Our neighbors to the west, the Cochiti and Zia Pueblos, the Santo Domingo and San Felipe reservations, are also being hit hard where tribal authorities are restricting travel for non-members. New Mexico is home to nineteen Indigenous nations.
On Tuesday afternoon, state officials said the numbers were even higher, identifying clusters of COVID-19 cases at San Felipe Pueblo, 52 cases, and Zia Pueblo, 31 cases, both in Sandoval County, where community spread has been identified. [Santa Fe Reporter]
Attorneys are gathering evidence that Trump is committing crimes against humanity not just in New Mexico but in all of Indian Country.

ip photo: the Sandia mountains as seen from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument which is co-managed with the Cochiti Pueblo.


Rapid Creek named America's seventh most endangered waterway

ip photo: beaver dam in upper Rapid Creek

On Tuesday, American Rivers released a report that named Rapid Creek in South Dakota the seventh most endangered waterway in America, identified mining as a major threat, called on the US Forest Service to go beyond regulation outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and "do more thorough environmental impact statements on proposed projects and potential impacts, including formal consultation with 16 tribal nations."

The Forest Service is often powerless to stop the extractive industry from permanently altering sensitive watersheds because of the General Mining Law of 1872. In 2018 the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe passed resolutions condemning what they say are abuses of the 1872 law passed to pay Civil War debt leading to the Custer Expedition's discovery of gold in the Black Hills.

In 2015 researchers found shiga, a dangerous toxin often associated with E. coli, in the waters of Rapid Creek near Canyon Lake and below the water treatment plant in west Rapid City. A tributary, the Victoria Lake area above Rapid City, is contaminated with lead and is a Superfund site in the making. Rapid Creek pours into the Cheyenne/Belle Fourche system, a tributary to the Missouri River: named second most endangered waterway in America.

Read the American Rivers report on Rapid Creek linked here.

Indigenous gardens build on tribal self-reliance in times of moral hazard

Yes, we built an A-frame greenhouse here at the ranch, too. It's made of 2" salvage galvanized pipe from our windmill repair, eleven sheets of polycarbonate, shade cloth and an old screen door. We got some EarthBox containers and two rusted out steel horse tanks from Neighbor Arlen for raised beds. There are radishes, cilantro, basil and carrots in the tanks and ten cannabis starts in big pots so far. The containers will grow lettuces and other greens that would otherwise burn up in the garden. Squash, asparagus, tomatoes and melons do well in the New Mexico sun if the garden plot doesn't get rained out in a gully washer like it did last year.

As the Trump Virus is driving more banks into moral hazard and white farmers into dumping milk and plowing crops under while herding city dwellers into food lines tribal nations trapped in South Dakota and pueblos in New Mexico are growing bigger community gardens to boost self-reliance.
There was wagmu (squash), tinpsilazizi (carrots), phangi sasa (beets) and mastincatawote (lettuce). Along with strengthening connections to culture and community, the garden is helping solve another issue on the reservation – addressing health challenges. Master Gardeners and university extension experts have volunteered their time and advice, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides support and funding through soil health programs. The garden is tended with organic methods, using fish emulsion and compost for fertilizer. It also brings youth and elders together, sharing a positive outlook while producing something for the whole community. It connects people with land and community, giving them knowledge to pass along wherever they go. [Garden brings community back to its roots]
From the confluence of the Cheyenne and Missouri Rivers to the White River and Rio Grande Indigenous people will plant for their health.
Milo Yellow Hair, who lives in Wounded Knee, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Reservation, is hard at work preparing 8,000 seedlings of local varieties of squash and corn — hearty crops with a short growing time — to plant in people’s yards. [How Native Americans Are Fighting a Food Crisis]
A New Mexico Farm to Foodbank program compensates growers to produce.
Organizers of the Ancestral Lands program at Acoma Pueblo, for example, requested seeds, and they’ve promised to then provide a portion of the crops to the pueblo’s senior center. Sonya Warwick, communications director for Roadrunner Food Bank, said although Roadrunner is struggling more to find nonperishable goods in bulk rather than produce, the efforts of Farm to Foodbank are greatly appreciated. [From farms to food banks: New initiative seeks to benefit food growers as well as the hungry]
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.


Promises made, promises broken: outbreak curbs Trump's march to dictatorship

It looks like there's at least one silver lining to the coronavirus outbreak.

Most of Donald Trump's odious offerings have dribbled out of his diaper and drizzled down his leg except that fascist takeover of the federal judiciary he promised.
“If we’re not there, it’s hard to push them through,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “There have been several that have been nominated now for the circuits that have to have confirmation hearings, and that means we’ve got to be in session in order to be able to move them. It’s definitely affected the schedule that way.” [Politico]
The images of John Thune just get darker and creepier. He knew Trump was a career criminal from his longtime basketball buddy Jim Comey. That's right: the vast white wing of the Republican Party was going to beat Hillary Clinton at any cost even if it meant conspiring with a sworn enemy of the United States, destroying the presidency and taking down the republic.
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, gave financial support to several Republican senators over the last two decades, including Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Thune (R-S.D.). [Open Secrets]
Senator Thune has some $13 million in the bank but his popularity has dropped this year from eighth to tenth place among his constituents. He can't ever seek any higher office than he has now and unless he's indicted his term doesn't end until 2023. There are no media in his home state that aren't beholden to the Republican Party and although he went to DC with little more than the shirt on his back he had over $14 million in the bank last year. He's a sleaze who was handpicked by his fellow sleazes for "public life." Wondering where he spent $1.4 million since he's not up for reelection until 2022? Lawyers and hush money, my guess. Not just the Dan Nelson scandal, Thune had a long-time affair with Nancy Naeve formerly of KSFY teevee but who knows who he's hooked with up now.
But by over-promising what private sector companies would do — and in some cases, without adequate consultation about what they could do — the White House left other pledges that day unfulfilled. [A Month After Emergency Declaration, Trump's Promises Largely Unfulfilled]
It's almost as if Trump's spectacular failures were prophesied before the 2016 election, init?

Thank you, Nino Scalia, for reminding us why Democrats need to control not just the federal bench but every court and every jurisdiction.


Commentary: BHE a predator

In 2018, Black Hills Energy sold some of its 700 oil and gas wells in New Mexico and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to help finance a $70 million monolith headquarters in Rapid City. It was built there on the backs of subscribers without choices because out of state Republicans who write the tax law own South Dakota and because the state ended environmental oversight. BHE raised much of its construction cash on Colorado cannabis.

The Trump Organization wants three thousand new oil and gas wells in the area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park in the Four Corners Region because regulators and market forces are driving utilities from coal-fired electricity generation. And today a majority of Pueblo, Colorado residents wants the city to end its agreement with BHE and create a municipal electric utility.

Frances Koncilja was a member of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for four years.
First, save millions of dollars in interest payments. Black Hills charges you $18.5 million of interest every year on $350 million of debt at 5.29 percent. Interest rates have been at historical lows for almost 10 years, but Pueblo does not benefit. Black Hills assigns to Pueblo the higher, in some cases, the highest interest rate. Other Black Hills entities get the benefit of lower rates. Second, eliminate almost $1 million of holding company costs that Black Hills collects from Pueblo every year. Third, eliminate the costs of natural gas purchases. Black Hills has passed onto ratepayers its hedging losses on gas purchases of $31,547,135.

Black Hill’s business model is predatory: Buy utilities in small communities, usually poorer with less money to spend fighting at the PUC; acquire more customers; pay 30 percent premium to book value for these utilities; cut back on maintenance and then ask the PUC to order huge rate increases to pay for the deferred maintenance. The residents of Pueblo have been at the mercy of Black Hills and these draconian policies and prices for more than 12 years. A prudently run electric utility is your only hope to reduce rates and you will not get it from Black Hills. [Koncilja: End Black Hills’ predatory business practices]
Utilities are not your friends.

The cost of subsidizing, manufacturing, transporting, erecting and maintaining just one wind farm turbine bat and bird killer would take a thousand subscribers to energy self-reliance. Microgrid technologies are destined to enhance tribal sovereignty, free communities from electric monopolies and net-metering only gives control back to utilities enabled by moral hazard. Ice storms routinely knock out electric power on American Indian reservations often resulting in lost lives and the inevitable cyber attacks on the US will take down the grid for days, even months causing food shortages and mayhem.

The average cost of a household photovoltaic system is about $3/watt or around $12,810 before tax credits are factored in. Leaving the grid has never been easier so anyone who can afford to it should do it now and with Trump still in the White House it's never been more urgent.


Montana issues rape permit to another foreign miner

Skeletons of mining in a past era fall down at an abandoned site in Comet, Montana.

The US Forest Service is often powerless to stop the extractive industry from permanently altering sensitive habitat because of the General Mining Law of 1872. 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.

Not far away Barrick operates the Golden Sunlight Mine near Whitehall, home to another open pit. Effluent from that mine goes into the Jefferson River also a tributary of the Missouri and much of it lies in repose within Canyon Ferry Reservoir. Repeal or even reform of the 1872 statute has been thwarted repeatedly by the earth hating Republican Party.
Clancy Creek, a tributary to Prickly Pear Creek, used to be a fine little Westslope cutthroat trout stream between Butte and Helena. About 1,000 feet of it is now confined to a 16-inch plastic pipe, precariously perched on the edge of an open pit left behind by the defunct Montana Tunnels Mine near Jefferson City. [Missoula Current]
So, lemme get this straight: if allowed to do so by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality an Australian company would disembowel roughly 440 tons (400 million metric tons) of copper-rich concentrate every day for fifteen years from private property in an endangered Montana watershed, load it onto rail cars then ship it outside the US?
Conservationists, sporting groups and environmental advocates have campaigned to shut down the project, concerned that it will harm the Smith River, a blue-ribbon fishery that is so popular the state holds an annual lottery for permits to float the river. The DEQ's permit also requires Tintina to store water that comes into contact with acid-producing minerals in a double-lined, cemented tailings facility, to backfill mined areas with a mix of tailings and cement as work is completed and to seal mine tunnels and entryways to prevent groundwater flows across acid-producing minerals. The state will set and review bonding requirements to ensure it has enough money to remediate the mine if Tintina fails to do so. Bonding amounts will be set within 40 days. [Helena Independent-Record]
Further litigation is likely.

Record of Decision here.


Trump border wall man camp moved from NM town

Earth is female; rape is forever.

Man camps are vectors for disease and violent crime. Montana and North Dakota have both suffered the effects of the camps that prey on women and girls where rapes and murders committed by predatory criminals have become commonplace.

Out of state laborers being housed in a New Mexico hamlet while destroying wildlife habitat for the Trump Organization's border barrier and apparently not subject to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's self-quarantine order have been forced out of town after public outcry.
The congregate trailer housing, or "man camp," was arranged by the Texas-based SLS Company, the contractor awarded $963 million in contracts for border wall construction along 72 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, per the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., an opponent of the border wall, called for a temporary halt on construction until the COVID-19 emergency passed. After initial reports of 10 trailers assembled on the lot, two more were installed on the same lot last weekend. [Las Cruces Sun-News]


Republicans hesitant to call out donors who are screwing ranchers

Yes, this interested party was pretty much done with South Dakota politics but my youngest daughter has transferred to USD and expects to take the LSAT. The good news? With Bernie dropping out it looks like the blog got one thing right.

Live cattle prices are in free fall and boxed beef prices are soaring while consumers are hoarding but slaughterhouses are idling because of the Trump virus. Now vulnerable Republican candidates risk biting the hands that feed them. Meat packer Cargill has given big bucks to Republican Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds and to Governor Kristi Noem. Smithfield has a plant in Sioux Falls and Tyson has given Reich Mike Rounds a load of cash this cycle and contributes overwhelmingly to Republicans. Smithfield 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. Last year it was a mere five figure sum. Workers there should simply walk out on strike.

Rounds says he wants a federal investigation into allegations of antitrust violations by packers and for Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) to be reinstated. Recall MCOOL was repealed during the second Obama term to shield American commodities from scrutiny because every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in the United States and South Dakota is contaminated with atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFAS, E. coli, Shigella, Legionella plus other toxins and pathogens.
The “Big Four” meat packers – Cargill Inc., Tyson Foods, JBS USA and National Beef – together control more than 80% of the nation’s beef supply. Meatpackers face growing scrutiny as farm-state lawmakers point to the large price disparity between live cattle and boxed beef. The packer/feeder cash margin spread for the week ending March 28 was $530 per head in favor of packers. A year ago, cattle feeders found cash profits of $150 per head the last week in March, while packers saw profits of $132 for a packer/feeder spread of $18 in favor of feeders. [Buffalo (Wyoming) Bulletin]


Purdon admits no Democrat can win in North Dakota

US Attorneys for the Districts of North Dakota and South Dakota, Tim Purdon and Brendan Johnson left their posts in 2015 to join Minneapolis-based Robins Kaplan, LLC. Both are enjoying successful law practices and could win statewide elections in their home states with their pants around their ankles. But, leaving the lucrative tort whirlwind is far more profitable than public service is.

No Democrat qualified for their South Dakota US House primary but it's not impossible Johnson will run as an unaffiliated candidate in the general election. Or is that Ashley Madison scandal real?


Taxpayers continue to pour money down mass destruction rat hole

Let me just say at the beginning of this post that it's been refreshingly quiet without the drone of aircraft traffic here in the approach for the Santa Fe Regional Airport.

The Trump Organization plans to spend at least half a billion taxpayer dollars on each new B-21 bomber and some $1.4 TRILLION on a proposed Defense Department budget instead of really making America great again. Republicans are whining about the poor condition of the obsolete B-2 and most B-1B Lancers some of which are stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in occupied South Dakota. Why? Because the Republican government shutdown and the 2013 sequester to embarrass President Barack Obama ripped into military readiness. EAFB was an alternative emergency landing site for the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Space Transportation System or Space Shuttle.

Trump wants to put the B-21 in red states to avoid confrontations with Democratic governors and if the system for weapons of mass destruction survives the Powder River Training Complex over parts of four states will continue to threaten habitat and wildlife, not to mention skeptical Republicans in ranch country. Meanwhile, deteriorating B-1B Lancers are eating up the resources needed to fight a virus outbreak in the homeland and the seventy year old B-52 continues to rain death on civilians in war torn countries on stages in the usual theaters of war. Instead of rattling impossibly expensive sabers Trump should be accelerating the cleanup of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminating nearly every military base in the United States and in the other countries subjected to American imperialism.

Combat Raider exercises over the Powder River Training Complex are suspended because of the poor condition of B-1 bombers stationed at Ellsworth. The B-21 'Raider' isn't expected to be delivered until maybe 2030.
An environmental impact study looking toward the roll out of the B-21 bomber is putting aspects of Dyess Air Force Base here and Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota under the microscope, despite coronavirus-related setbacks. A series of scoping meetings required by the National Environmental Policy Act to help define the main operating base of the new B-21 bomber were scuttled because of concerns about public gatherings. [Environmental study of Dyess, Ellsworth Air Force Bases looks toward B-21 arrival]
With red state politicians salivating over the bones being tossed to them the Air Force is mulling the "elements of B-21 Main Operating Base 1 (MOB 1) 'bed down.'" Read that here.


Wildfire season begins in the time of Trump

For the past several years Spring wildfire seasons have begun in eastern Colorado, western Kansas, the panhandles of Oklahoma, Texas and other Republican-held areas where moral hazard and poor ranching practices have decimated the high plains. Dead grasses are potentially explosive in a region where bison would have been clearing fine, flashy fuels just 150 years ago.

The Trump Organization has blamed California wildfires on the lack of logging with statements typically devoid of facts but the real culprits are downed power lines and a warming climate. Over a half million wildfires are started by arsonists every year in the US and if you live in the wildland-urban interface government can't always protect you from your own stupidity. If counties and states just burned off their road and highway rights of way every year that creates substantial fire breaks.

Volunteer fire departments are irreplaceable as first responders to unexpected blazes and if the Federal Emergency Management Agency survives a Trump presidency Democrats should convince Congress to make sure the resources are there to sustain rural fire departments. But Trump's Forest Service chief who despite spending 26 years as a wildland firefighter and was emboldened last year is too bullied this year to manage fuels on national forest ground.

Early season wildfires are not unusual in New Mexico either. 2018's fire season began in March because ponderosa pine sucks millions of gallons from aquifer recharges, needles absorb heat and accelerate snow melt in a state that has been home to a much larger aspen community in the fairly recent past.
With the northern regions of New Mexico now in conditions ranging from abnormally dry to severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the State Forestry Division is anticipating what it calls normal fire activity. What isn’t normal are the new guidelines firefighters must follow to help prevent them and members of the public from spreading or becoming infected with the novel coronavirus. Even in the wilderness, firefighters must continue social distancing and hand-washing, practices intended to slow the spread of the virus. The State Forestry Division also will get help this year in its wildfire response effort from Santa Fe technology firm Descartes Labs. The company has developed a rapid wildfire alert program that can detect temperature increases using satellite data, according to a news release. [Wildland firefighters prep for new guidelines to protect against virus spread]
Even Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today who is based in a South Dakota county named for a war criminal is scared shitless. You can read that here.


Welfare ranchers are killing endangered wolves in Southwest

In January the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump Organization's Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and its local representatives saying the agencies are allowing cattle in restricted areas along the Gila River and its tributaries in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. Investigators from the Center discovered cattle on the Gila National Forest in excluded riparian zones in violation of a 1998 legal settlement. Because of pollution from cattle grazing American Rivers named the Gila the nation’s most endangered river in 2019.

Today in the Gila the Mexican gray wolf population in New Mexico and Arizona has increased by at least 24 percent according to the Center's Michael Robinson. He spoke to the Silver City (New Mexico) Daily Press.
While wolf mortalities are down — unaccounted-for “wolf disappearances” notwithstanding, Robinson noted — instances of conflicts between wolves and ranchers have increased in New Mexico, according to both environmentalists and ranchers. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish was unable to provide numbers for total reported cattle depredation incidents in Catron County, saying the “data resides with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service”; the Fish and Wildlife Service did not respond to the Daily Press’ request by press time. Robinson said it’s the policies of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that are to blame for the increased depredations. [Report: Wolf count, cattle kills increase]
In September we motored to Oracle, Patagonia, Bisbee and Morenci from Santa Fe and were shocked by the ravages of surface mining at Silver City and in SE Arizona. Operations owned by Morenci and Miami are ravaging water supplies and reducing entire mountain ranges to piles of waste rock. These are Republican enclaves where the rules of law are simply suggestions.

Kill off apex predators like wolves and cougars, spray atrazine, neonicotinoids and glyphosate on everything then wonder why cervids like deer and wapiti contract a prion contagion like chronic wasting disease.

Photo: adobe ruin at the original townsite of Harshaw near Patagonia, Arizona.


Trump visit to occupied South Dakota increasingly in question

Recall that during President Barack Obama's first term pyrotechnics were banned at Mount Rushmore National Memorial because of repeated wildfire starts during red flag conditions and residual chemicals leaching into groundwater supplies. Now the Trump Organization is threatening the French and Battle Creek watersheds again.
Gov. Kristi Noem announced in May 2019 that South Dakota and the U.S. Department of the Interior would be working together to return fireworks to the monument on July 4, 2020, and her press secretary said on Wednesday that Noem would attend the July 4 event to which Trump is invited. [Rapid City Journal]
Anyone who believes a single word coming out of the Trump White House is delusional and Trump is certifiably unwell but remember christians believed Barack Obama would bring the Second Coming then Herr Trump would deliver them from it. The good news? Trump is a career criminal stumbling pell-mell into madness and very easily could be thrown out of office before July.
The stress of seeing customer traffic dry up is taking its toll on business owners like Sandi McLain, who operates the Big Thunder Gold Mine in Keystone. After a down year last year due to poor weather, McLain and others were gearing up for a great summer. They expected a bounceback from the possible return of fireworks to Mount Rushmore and the Carrie Ingalls 150th birthday party planned for July, and from big crowds expected at the 80th Sturgis motorcycle rally in August.
Read the rest here.

Important to remember these are mostly Republican-owned businesses destined for Trump Organization bailouts so why worry now?


Desperate Republicans sue to block mail-in voting

Republican Nazis in South Dakota and Alabama are chortling that Democratic Party organizations in those states are struggling but in blue New Mexico where Republican former Governor Susana Martinez is being investigated for corruption the opposite is true. And, despite oil and gas spending some $11.5 million in campaign contributions from 2017 to 2020 New Mexico Republicans continue to flounder.
Commentary: Today the Republican Party of New Mexico and the House and Senate Caucuses filed a lawsuit in the New Mexico Supreme Court to block efforts to hold a statewide mail-in Primary Election. Nearly all Republican legislators and six county clerks support the lawsuit. [New Mexico Republican Party]