10/31/20

Guns, ammo flying off shelves as Whites tempt civil war

Doom scrolling, 
Zoom trolling, 
Gloom polling: 
This is why we can never have nuthin' nice.

In the early twentieth century after President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to the White House white supremacists began erecting statuary commemorating and celebrating treason in the United States. 

After Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds on Halloween Adolf Hitler cited the ensuing panic as "evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy" then modeled his final solution on the Native American Genocide. General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin actually used the radio play to his advantage. 

Recall that the Boston Marathon bombers studied American white wing extremism before their attack and South Sudan was founded by christianic terrorists. US imperialism created the Somali refugee crisis where ISIL chickens are coming home to roost in Minnesota and Syrians are fleeing another Israeli/American war of aggression.

The sovereigns are overwhelmingly white christians using maladapted interpretations of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to rationalize its commitment to a pending race war using links to the federal storming of Ruby Ridge in Idaho and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas culminating in the Oklahoma City bombing. Many are either convicted felons no longer able to vote or have been marginalized by those who believe that the democratic process is ineffective especially since a person of color was President of the United States. The guy who killed some 60 people in Las Vegas was a white supremacist bent on starting a race war.

After a 2019 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas asked the NM Legislature for funding to form a "special investigative unit to guard against hate crimes and terrorism." Balderas' office has also been investigating predator priests. Empowered by spiteful, vindictive bombast from Donald Trump the hate group New Mexico Civil Guard has abandoned lawful protest and started shooting protesters.

Today, Walmart has pulled guns and ammunition off shelves and some ammo is simply not available anywhere. 
Mike Giglio writes about one such militant group, the Oath Keepers, that he says has tapped into a deep current of anxiety that could cause a surprisingly large contingent of people with real police and military experience to consider armed, political violence. Giglio got access to a leaked database of the Oath Keepers membership from 2009 to 2015. Nearly 25,000 people were on that list. About two-thirds of them had a background in the military or law enforcement. About 10% was active duty. He also interviewed the group's founder and leader Stewart Rhodes, who has warned crowds to be ready for war. This is a prospect that Giglio finds especially disturbing because he's covered civil wars in Syria, Ukraine and Iraq and has witnessed the suffering they've caused. He's also the author of a book about ISIS called "Shatter The Nations." [Fresh Air, NPR]
Republican is not just another word for earth hater; it's another word for Nazi. The American Left poses no violent threat to the United States while the hate-filled white wing of the Republican Party always will.

10/29/20

Oglala Lakota Nation ends cannabis prohibition

Republican leadership is an oxymoron.

If either or both of the cannabis ballot initiatives pass and the Neanderthal legislature had any integrity or ethics (they don’t) they would empower the tribal nations trapped in South Dakota to be the sole industry producers in the state (they won't) but Republicans will find an activist judge like Larry Long then sue to have them struck down in court.
 
A 1986 amendment to federal law allows tribes to acquire off-reservation land to serve the needs of its people so the Oglala Lakota Oyate bought property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. The Isanti Dakota Oyate or Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation has also taken steps to resume their cannabis initiative. A former chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is a tribal liaison for a cannabis development firm and South Dakota Secretary of Tribal Relations Dave Flute is also a former chairman of the SWO.

As President Joe Biden is taking the Oath in January US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Ron Parsons will be leaving office freeing tribal governments to better exercise their sovereignty.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe is the first Native American tribe to move forward to legalize marijuana use in a state that has yet to similarly regulate it. [NORML

10/27/20

Patient belongings: suicide still ravaging South Dakota's Trumpers

 In 2018 the Rapid City Journal blamed the South Dakota Republican Party for spikes in suicides and depression then a Sanford Health executive did the same in 2019. South Dakota is ranked 6th highest in the nation for suicides reporting more than 22 self-administered terminations per 100,000 people or an increase of 59% since 1999 and the 11th highest increase in any state. 

So, what’s not to like about six (seven? eight?) month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature, living in a chemical toilet, sacrifice zone, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area? 

Veterans are killing themselves because of America's imperialist endless wars but farmers in South Dakota and in greater Trumpistan are ending their lives because of Herr Trump's failure to lead.

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, a socialized internet and now socialized gas well remediation are all fine with Republicans in South Dakota but then they insist single-payer medical insurance is socialized medicine.

Not only has the South Dakota Republican Party failed American Indians by not expanding Medicaid it has failed veterans and the elderly: its historically loyal voter base. And what are the Trump Organization and his earth hater party doing about it? Accelerating the end of all life on Earth, of course. 
The number of suicides in South Dakota is up significantly over the past decade, increasing by 40%. At the same time, hospitalizations and emergency room visits for self-inflicted wounds nearly doubled. Falling commodity prices, bad weather, trade wars and isolation are just a few of the problems that farmers are facing today. Net farm income is down significantly over the last several years. Crops are planted, not knowing if they will be harvested at a profit. In the meantime, bills come due and loans must be repaid. The Dykshorn children attend the nearby Christian school. [A growing concern: stress, suicide on the family farm

10/26/20

Senator Wismer often the only adult in the South Dakota Legislature



When this blog asked Susan Wismer to run for governor in 2014 she told me Cory Heidelberger and Madville Times were just too radical for her, hence Heidelberger supported Joe Lowe in the primary so that weblog never really got behind Wismer as a gubernatorial candidate. Even today dry drunk atheist Heidelberger's newest blog just hasn't delivered for Democratic voters. 

Former Argus Leader reporter, David Montgomery believed Wismer was a fantastic candidate with the skills to govern but she had no chance because she didn't have the cash resources to fight the gubernatorial battle on teevee. Ultimately it was Wismer's choice of running mate that sank her campaign. State Senator Wismer has acknowledged the risk of earth haters holding supermajorities in the legislature and has also warned the state is living in the "dark ages." But today the South Dakota Democratic Party has never been less powerful. 
Here’s the number one reason I’m best candidate. I’m an authentic, respected, experienced rural voice for our rural district. District 1 legislators have historically been counted on to be a voice of reason. Sometimes, as the only Democrat in the committee room, I am the only one who can speak truth to power without fear of a backlash from far-right elements of the Republicans or the governor. In what has become dangerously close to a one-party system, it’s important that District 1 continues to provide that balance. You don’t see me wasting precious legislative time with bills telling school boards which bathrooms their students may use or telling doctors how to treat women or LGBTQ patients. We know a democracy is best served by good listeners with open minds, and that’s who I have strived to be. [Sen. Susan Wismer, Aberdeen American News]
Photo: gubernatorial candidate and then Representative Susan Wismer with running mate Susy Blake enjoying a close moment at the 2014 Democratic Convention in Yankton.

10/23/20

Trump's Forest Service expected to pick Neimans over Norbeck


Photo shot of 2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire from '59 burn: spot fire on Pillar Peak, at least a mile downwind of main fire


Dendroctonus ponderosae or mountain pine beetle predates by millions of years Pinus ponderosa in the Black Hills which only reached that region less than four thousand years ago. Native Douglas fir, limber and lodgepole pine have been mostly extirpated from He Sapa, The Heart of Everything That Is and after a century of destructive agricultural practices invasive grasses infest most of western South Dakota. The Island in the Plains has been broken for decades but the collapse of select Black Hills ecosystems has been evident since at least 2002. 

The absence of prescribed burns, 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 the BHNF.

Spurred by the Neimans the Forest Service is still planting pine in the Jasper Fire area. Much of the 2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire outside Deadwood occurred on ground owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the 60th anniversary of the 1959 Deadwood Hill Fire was just recently commemorated but because of Senator John Thune (NAZI-SD) costs of conducting prescribed burns are now thousands of dollars per acre instead of hundreds.

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 Dusty Johnson, Jim Neiman and the former Republican Party now the American Nazi Party. 
A divided advisory board on Wednesday rejected Forest Service research calling for less logging in the Black Hills National Forest and instead recommended more logging. On Wednesday during a virtual meeting, the group presented its recommendation to the advisory board: Instead of being reduced, logging should be increased to 181,000 CCF [hundred cubic feet] annually. Paul Pierson delivered the working group’s presentation. He works for Neiman Timber, the main sawmill company in the region. South Dakota State Forester Greg Josten chairs the working group. He agreed with Pierson. Working-group member Bob Burns was the other dissenting member of the group. As a member of the Meade School Board, he was appointed to represent local governments. He’s also a member of the South Dakota Family Forests Association and a conservation group called the Norbeck Society. [Bill Janklow's idea of public radio]
The good news? After Herr Trump is ejected from the White House President Joe Biden's Secretary of Agriculture will take action to 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.

10/22/20

From 50 plants for seed stock to a $25 million operation, industrial cannabis still a gamble in New Mexico

According to Duke Rodriquez, CEO of Ultra Health, New Mexico has more patients in its therapeutic cannabis program than Colorado does. Speaker of the New Mexico House Brian Egolf not only supports legalization for all adults he serves as legal counsel for the state's cannabis volume leader, Ultra Health. 

Industrial cannabis (hemp) seeds with decent CBD-producing genetics are a buck apiece costing about $50,000 to sow 20 acres. One grower gets $5 a seed, a pretty spendy investment for any farmer but putting any cannabis industry into the hands of a few oligarchs is stupid policy. 
This year, another high-profile entrepreneur also came on board, former gubernatorial candidate Jeff Apodaca, who had been operating a business that provided harvest, finishing and marketing services for hemp producers. They've scraped up what they say is $6 million and are working on another $25 million they plan to invest in a large facility for drying and processing hemp at the Mesa Del Sol development southwest of Albuquerque. The topmost flowers are cured for smoking. Of the 169 outdoor growing permits granted this year, the average number of acres of hemp per grower is 12, for a statewide total of an estimated 2,037 acres. [Hempire, Santa Fe Reporter]
As New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis program nears 100,000 patients the legislature is poised to legalize cannabis for all adults despite the state being the most water-stressed in the entire US. 

With the help of an Indigenous firebrand a Chinese syndicate had been growing cannabis on the Navajo Nation so the tribal council has changed the definition of marijuana to include the entire plant, industrial or otherwise.
Matt Rankin is a firm proponent of the hemp industry and its potential to revolutionize Wyoming in several ways, but he says that growing hemp in 2020 would be disastrous for many farmers who might be looking at hemp as their financial salvation. 

10/21/20

Parsley: Daugaard education task force hasn't followed through


Republican former Governor Denny Daugaard describes Melody Schopp's breast implants

K-12 Achievement: D (65.2), Status: D- (62.5), Change: F (57.6), School Finance: D (66.3), Spending: F (48.6) and a third of qualified teaching grads left South Dakota while the remainder struggled with certification: that's what education looked like during the Daugaard years.

Ashamed of being the only state without at least one gold or silver medal school under Daugaard South Dakota education officials were too embarrassed to even provide permission to US News to publish the state's Advanced Placement results in their rankings.

'Common Core' is just a poor choice of words to describe education standards chosen every seven years, according to Republican former SD Secretary of Education Melody Schopp. Many called for her resignation after Scott Westerhuis killed his family and himself after yet another scandal rocked education funding. 
Val Parsley Age: 68. Town: Madison. Political Party: Democrat. Occupation: Retired from 34 years in secondary public education. Education: BA from South Dakota State University in English and German secondary education and MA from the University of South Dakota in secondary administration. Family: Husband, Scott. Three adult children: son Nick, daughters Caitie and Chrissy, and grandson Archer.
 The Blue Ribbon Task Force in 2016 worked to increase funding for education. A half-cent sales tax increase had been approved to go to education with the majority earmarked for teacher pay plus a 3 percent annual raise in state support to education or the cost of living, whichever was less. Since 2017, the state hasn’t followed through with the law. If the legislature had followed through, education would be sufficiently funded by now. It is unsettling that we have so many people suffering from mental health issues that are not being recognized or addressed, and suicide rates continue to climb. According to sdsuicideprevention.org, suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in our state, but is second among 15 to 34-year-olds. In 2019 alone, there were 185 suicides in South Dakota. Mental health practitioners need more support from state government.
Read the rest at the Moody County Enterprise.

Editor's note: Scott Parsley and The Dakota Progressive have cousins in common.

10/20/20

Western South Dakota, Rapid City to endure more military aircraft noise


As suicides in the US military continue to spike Combat Raider exercises over the Powder River Training Complex are suspended because of the poor condition of bombers stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, South Dakota. Ellsworth is also a Superfund site where airmen rape local women.

The Trump Organization had planned 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 the base in occupied South Dakota. Why? Because the Republican government shutdown and the 2013 sequester to embarrass President Barack Obama ripped into military readiness. 

Even if it's ever completely funded the B-21 'Raider' isn't expected to be delivered until maybe 2030. 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 PRTC 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.

So, as part of war games scheduled from October 19-27 the 28th Bomb Wing will extend its operating hours and the ear-shattering pandemonium will include early morning sorties over many Black Hills communities.

10/19/20

SDGOP continues to splinter



Recall Saudi-funded SDGOP chair Dan Lederman paid Gordon Howie a five figure sum to abandon his third party insurgency. Now the chasm separating the establishment Republicans from the principled conservatives in South Dakota is widening even more. Longtime Republican stalwarts like Phil Jensen, Charlie Hoffman, Betty Olson, Florence Thompson and at least fifteen others threw up their hands in desperation with first term Representative Howdy Doody Dusty Johnson and backed Elizabeth Marty May in the Republican US House primary.

Republican former State Senator Lyndi DiSanto spent loads of air time raising awareness of the abuses committed by the Children’s Home Society near Rapid City, South Dakota in the wake of the disappearance of Serenity Dennard. The Children’s Home Society has been under the regulatory microscope before for violations of trust. One former executive director is none other than Republican former South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard. Mass incarceration fuels the white foster home industry: a pet project of Daugaard’s wife. Billionaire Republican Denny Sanford has given millions to the Children’s Home Society and as the story of his pedophilia broke Carmel, Indiana-based private investigator Veracity I-I-R confirmed that they were hired by Serenity’s family to revist the steps that led to her disappearance and explore likely outcomes. 

Frustrated with Republican obfuscation in his adopted step-daughter’s likely abduction Brian Gentry is running an unaffiliated race for the South Dakota Legislature supported by those same disaffected Republicans. Even the SDGOP mouthpiece is apopleptic calling the defectors RINOs or Republicans in Name Only. That porcine prevaricator Pat Powers uses apostrophes where they're not called for is simply more evidence of his ineptitude. 

Over a year later there are only three possible outcomes for Serenity Dennard's "disappearance:" she hooked up with a Jeffrey Epstein-type character or with a representative of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) Church where minor girls are trafficked and raped or since South Dakota routinely falsifies lab records the state will pin Serenity's death on a mountain lion so Game, Fish and Plunder will just go out and kill one then close the case. 

Ideological purists loathe Lederman because sleaze and crime built his business. He spent $50,000 to buy a seat in South Dakota's corrupt legislature flaunting the same class by throwing it away resigning after the 2015 session then forcing his way into the chair of South Dakota's earth hater party. That he would steer criminals like Mohammed bin Salman into South Dakota is completely within his crooked wheelhouse.

10/15/20

Democrat Abdallah supports legalization


Nipple Butte is just north of Lookout Mountain near the stupid little white ditch

South Dakota has been a net inbound demographic for several years running. A Republican secretary of state is purging voter rolls and much of 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.

A 2009 NPR story solidified the decision of one progressive to flee a town once touted as western South Dakota's destination of choice after fourteen years raising two children who escaped hours after their own high school graduations in 1991 and in 1995 for the University of Wyoming. It was good, too. Our meticulously preserved 1902 Furois-built arts and crafts on Canyon Street was adjacent to Spearditch's magical city park. But today Spearditch has become a scary little town.

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 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. These obese Republican slackers taking advantage of the dynasty trust industry are now preparing to flee the frozen tundra in their RVs ahead of another six-month winter and strings of below-zero days.

For at least two decades South Dakota's Republican congressional delegations have been obstructing attempts by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to streamline the agency as it weans support from a hatchery notorious for introducing invasive species to Black Hills watersheds and into the waters of the United States. These clowns won't support combating bulging jails and prisons but will wholeheartedly jump on the bandwagon to save a Spearditch tourist trap in a town where a Democrat could win a legislative seat.

Since at least 2013 I've taken my proposal to mirror state gaming statutes and make Deadwood the non-tribal cannabis market to mayors and several council members but they have always blown me off because they want the sports betting gig. So my position today is that the tribes must have exclusive production and distribution privileges. If either or both of the ballot initiatives pass and the Neanderthal South Dakota Legislature had any integrity or ethics (they don’t) they would empower Indigenous communities to be the sole producers and marketers of legal cannabis in the state. But, since the perpetual welfare state is owned by the out of state Republicans who make the laws an attorney general probably guilty of manslaughter will sue to block either or both of them from taking effect.

Spearditch real estate agent and Lawrence County Democratic Party Chair Brooke Abdallah is running for State Representative in District 31 where she was interviewed by a local newspaper. 
Two ballot measures before the public this year are the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. Do you support either ballot measure? Why or why not? 

I support legalization. These initiatives would bring revenue to the state, diversify our agriculture economy, and relinquish some responsibilities from our hard working law enforcement officers, and from the taxpayer burden associated with incarcerating non-violent offenders who are in prison for marijuana related charges when they could be filling job vacancies, raising their families, and contributing to our economy. [Black Hills Pioneer]

10/13/20

Neighbor Nancy passes

Our neighbor Nancy Morris was diagnosed with an aggressive sarcoma last December and as his family and friends were just finishing up laying Arlen Asher to rest she passed into the next cycle of the universe. Our Lady of the Arroyo and Nancy attended nursing school together at Creighton University in Omaha then built two houses and a ranch on Red Rock Road.

Nancy’s sister Linda has been here for the last several weeks assisting with her care.

"I lost one of my best friends yesterday. My sister Nancy passed away after a nearly yearlong fight with cancer. I spent Nancy’s last few weeks with her. She was so brave in dealing with a very aggressive cancer that could not be stopped. Fortunately, her last day was peaceful and pain free. She loved her family unconditionally. Her loss leaves a huge hole in my heart. But I take comfort in knowing she is now hanging out with other family and friends, especially with Doug who she loved nearly as much as I did! (45 years ago she told me if I didn’t get on the ball and marry him, she would!! ❤️) and her beloved dogs, who passed away before her. I want to send a special thank you to her lifelong friend Donnamarie Jones who helped her through this last year when I could not due to distance. You will always be a part of my family DM (and Larry too!). Rest In Peace Nancy, I will love and miss you forever. ❤️❤️

I have had quite a few people ask me where they could make a donation in memory of my sister, Nancy Morris. Below is the link to the site for Nancy’s friend Beverly Antaeus who runs a sanctuary for dogs who cannot be in a regular home setting. I have met Bev several times and she is an angel. She currently is housing, feeding, and providing medications and vet visits for 23-24 dogs using donations and the rest out of her own pocket. My sister would be thrilled for Bev to receive donations in her memory. Thank you for considering making a donation in Nancy's memory." -Linda Morris Roszel 

"I am heartbroken at the loss yesterday afternoon of a very dear friend of over 50 years. We were at Whittier College together, knew each other since freshman year in Stauffer Residence Hall, and had many wonderful adventures, visits, and conversations over the years. Nancy Morris was one of the Hanover Honeys (there were 5 of us, now, sadly, only 3 are left), a group of 4 who lived our senior year in a college-owned house across the street from Stauffer where I was an RA; I used to escape freshman madness by walking across the street and sitting on the porch. Nance grew up in nearby Pico Rivera and was generous in sharing her family and friends. She was a gifted NICU nurse in Albuquerque until she retired a few years ago. We had our last Hanover Honeys trip last year. Nancy and I also had two great international trips together: SE Asia in 2012 and Galapagos in 2015; my Denver traveling friends took to Nancy immediately. My heart goes out to her family, especially her dear sister Linda Morris Roszel who cared for her in her final days and kept us informed about Nancy's health. We love you, Nancy, and hope you are already cooking up new adventures with Jane-o." -Amy Pulver
Nancy and Amy attended the 2018 Women's March in Denver. 

10/11/20

South Dakota law enforcement industry would lose millions to legal cannabis

South Dakota has the most draconian cannabis laws in the US and until recently law enforcement industry henchmen could even force catheters into urethras to test possession by ingestion. Jamming a tube into someone's urethra without consent is rape, even torture. The practice had been encouraged by disgraced Republican former South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Policing for Profit has enabled the Division of Criminal Investigation to provide military armaments for the industry throughout South Dakota where most believe prostitution will be legal before cannabis laws are amended. But in my home state the school to prison enterprise is worried cannabis reform will lead to less revenue for police departments so expect Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg to be exonerated after killing Joe Boever with his car and if either cannabis measure passes he’ll immediately sue to have them struck down in court

Democratic former US Senator Tom Daschle, US Attorney Brendan Johnson and public radio personality Rick Steves are urging voters to end the prohibition on cannabis.

The fact is: because of an absence of leadership far many more people have died of COVID-19 in South Dakota in 2020 than have died this year in Colorado fatal car crashes linked to cannabis but the Trump Organization is bribing Republican governors like Kristi Noem to repress cannabis rights
The money sent by Congress as part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus was a major windfall for South Dakota, a state that prides itself on low taxes and a minimal state budget. Its share is equivalent to roughly a quarter of the state budget. But the funds came with the stipulation that they be used in addressing the pandemic and anything unused would be returned at the end of the year. Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration opted to use the money to pay salaries for law enforcement officers. So far, the state has used $4.5 million to pay salaries and benefits in the Department of Public Safety, which mostly went to highway patrol officers. The state is also making $200 million available to city and county governments, and they can pay police officers’ salaries from the fund. [Associated Press]

10/7/20

Remi Bald Eagle emerging as a force in SDPUC race

Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Remi Bald Eagle is the Democratic candidate for South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. Bald Eagle joined the United States Army right out of high school and served with the Engineer Regiment for 22 years. Unusual this election cycle is that the Libertarian candidate will siphon enough Republican votes from Earth hater Gary Hanson so Bald Eagle could emerge victorious. 

Utilities are not your friends. 

The Big Stone Power Plant in northeastern South Dakota spewed tons of mercury and other pollutants into the headwaters of the Minnesota River until an upgrade in 2016. Owned by Otter Tail Power, Montana-Dakota Utilities and NorthWestern Energy this monster burns 3,500 tons of subbituminous coal every hour so those companies spend millions every year greasing Republican politicians and poisoning waterways. 

No corporate taxes, a compliant regulator, a dearth of environmental protection and cheap labor make South Dakota the perfect dumping ground for earth killers like coal and eyesores like wind farms. But according to Republican Public Utilities Cartel Commissioner Chris Nelson the amount of wind power generation may have reached its plateau. In an interview with WNAX Radio Nelson said he believes there will be rapid development of solar power production facilities. South Dakota's GOP/Koch-owned PUC is expected to shoo in the Keystone XL pipeline as they do with each utilities' requests for rate increases.

 Avangrid, Inc., a US-based subsidiary of Spanish energy firm Iberdrola with a base in my home town of Elkton, South Dakota plans to spend at least $216 million on a wind farm. That amount of cash would take nearly 17,000 electric subscribers completely off the grid. $100 million spent on subsidizing, manufacturing, transporting, erecting and maintaining the Prevailing Winds project would take some 8,000 Basin Power subscribers off the grid. That's right: primary power purchaser Bismarck, North Dakota-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative is an oligopoly paying Prevailing Winds, LLC to rip up land and disturb cultural resources sacred to numerous Indigenous peoples for a grid that has never been more vulnerable to attack and to climate disruptions. 

In 2000 now-dead Republican South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow sold the state cement plant in Rapid City to Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC). Democratic legislators voted against Janklow's folly because GCC was exempted from mineral severance and was allowed to mine on ground owned by School and Public Lands. Limestone-rich state trust land near Dewey was leased for a dollar for 99 years and could be renewed twice so for three bucks GCC received the mineral rights for 297 years and school kids got screwed. During the 1980s and 90s the cement plant returned about $11 million a year but in 2013 the legislature had to kick in $4 million to the plant's retirement system and South Dakota still surfs the bottom for America's education dollars. Today, West Rapid routinely endures blowing dust and air quality alerts from GCC's quarry operations. 

According to Democratic former legislator, Kathy Tyler the Mexico-based land raper has bought up most cement companies in South Dakota with operations in Huron and even in little Holabird east of Pierre. She said the previous owners had no choice; they either had to sell or GCC would put them out of business. 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. Now the two monopolies have teamed up to bilk taxpayers.

Microgrid technologies are destined to encourage self-reliance, 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.

South Dakota is most lucrative state to practice medicine. Sanford, Avera and Rapid City Regional now Monument Health enjoy a virtual triopoly so why isn’t there a commission like SDPUC to regulate medical care costs?

South Dakota voters who believe a green energy economy is the future can donate to Bald Eagle's candidacy at Act Blue.
 

10/4/20

Guest post: Maestro Arlen Asher exits stage


With heavy heart I have to announce the passing of our wonderful friend and neighbor, Arlen Asher. He passed away peacefully around 10:00pm Friday. A sweet, kind and gentle person, incredibly talented and intelligent, he was loved by all that knew him. He was 91.

He was a cameraman at KNME when the station first started in the 1950's, performed in many Jazz bands over the years and taught hundreds of children how to play and love music as he did, including my son Phil who received his BA in music from UNM thanks to Arlen. Many didn't know it but Arlen was a licensed pilot! When we first met he was talking about a spot on his land where he could have a runway so he could fly to gigs further away! He was also an excellent photographer. 

He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Joetha and beloved son Terry. He's survived by his son, Kelly; daughter in law Donna and granddaughters Melissa and Kathleen. I wish them comfort in knowing that he led an incredibly full life. He will remain indelibly in the hearts and minds of all of us who loved him. He made the world a better place. I'm betting that his only regret was not being able to cast his vote against Trump! We love and miss you Arlen!

Philip F. Taccetta

Editor's note: born Milton Arlen Asher, he is a lifelong musician who joined the United States Army Band, toured the world and is a recipient of a New Mexico Music Award. An interview with Maestro Asher is linked here. ip photo captured at Arlen's 90th birthday celebration at SITE Santa Fe.

10/2/20

Ignoring blogger's advice Rapid City, Allender losing homelessness battle



From the days of card tables and stock pots filled with steaming soups every Sunday on the banks of Rapid Creek Deirdre Monahan, Pat Zent and their intrepid group of Food not Bombs volunteers provided an alternative for people otherwise subjected to persecution at the hands of the christianic religionists who operate the Cornerstone Mission and shared goodies with as many as seventy people each week.

After the 1972 Flood that wiped out Teepee Town and killed some 238 people, mostly poor American Indians, the feds gave Rapid City rent supports to house those displaced by the disaster but today the Rapid City Police Department is staffed by white supremacists and bigots. A former police chief now Mayor Steve Allender has been accused of managing "a bunch of racists." Now he's saying it costs Rapid City some $15 million every year to address homelessness.

American Indians in the RCPD are ridiculed, reviled and rejected by their relatives.  

Back in 2013, NPR's Planet Money reported on an experiment in Kenya.
The results from the study are encouraging, says Johannes Haushofer, an economist at MIT's Poverty Action Lab who was one of the study's co-authors. "We don't see people spending money on alcohol and tobacco," he says. "Instead we see them investing in their kids' education, we see them investing in health care. They buy more and better food." Getting money made people happier, less stressed out. [What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?]
Rapid City's population is about 11% Native but South Dakota's jails and prisons are overwhelmingly warehousing American Indians. Journalist 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. After another high profile racism incident the Rapid City Rush has an alcohol-free family section in the civic center. 

Homeless veterans are often refugees from combat and despite lies from the South Dakota Republican Party 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. 
According to the South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium, there were 353 homeless people counted in Rapid City in January 2020 in a 24-hour time period, which is about 33% of the total homeless population in South Dakota. There were 1,058 total homeless in the state, as of January 2020. The data shows for the second year, American Indian or Alaskan Native made up about 77% of Care Campus admissions, 12% were White, 8% did not specify, 3% were Black or African American and 0% were Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latina and two or more races. Allender said enabling homelessness through free food must stop and it puts those who are homeless at additional risk. “That full belly won’t mean anything to them when the temperatures dip and the winds come up and they’re out there alone,” he said. “We stand by, ready to help those in need, but this is not an exclusive government responsibility.” [Growing homeless population straining city resources, mayor says]
Even Palestinian refugee and Muslim Hani Shafai wants to house Rapid City's perpetual homeless population. 

Hey, Mayor Allender: expand Medicaid for these people then offer a $3000 stipend to those who qualify, more for families and veterans then encourage people to flee South Dakota's unforgiving winters