5/31/21

Rare earth elements recycled from coal waste could spare Wyoming Black Hills

In January of 2016, the US Forest Service suspended the Draft Environmental Impact Study for a Wyoming Black Hills mountaintop-removal mine that would extract more minerals containing elements like neodymium and praseodymium from the Belle Fourche watershed. In 2017 Rare Element Resources said its mine just upstream of the South Dakota border in the headwaters of the Redwater River, a tributary of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne, announced financial backing from General Atomics and applied for enough water for the mineral separation process despite widespread contamination in Crook County wells. 

Acid mine drainage can kill or cause birth defects in the birds and mammals that happen into contaminated standing water on these sites but Wyoming Senator John Barrasso and other Earth raping Republicans are working overtime to defund environmental protection, especially on public lands. 

Without further permitting from the Forest Service Europe’s GA Umwelt-und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH (UIT) proposes to use a $22 million award from the US Department of Energy to move rare-earth oxides mined in 2015 and stored in tanks near Sundance. A demonstration-scale separation and processing plant is expected to cost $35-40 million and a site in Upton, Wyoming near the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) was confirmed earlier this month as the location for the facility.

Americans are beginning to get religion on existing rare earth stocks and we have more buried in landfills than all other developed countries combined but recycling rare earths in the US is virtually nonexistent. Japan recovers most of her needs from the waste stream but China currently dominates the rare earth market. 

A dying strip mine near Gillette and Upton is gearing up to harvest minerals containing the rare earth element dysprosium from coal waste.
The Bureau of Land Management estimates there are close to 5,200 abandoned coal mining sites yet to be fully reclaimed nationwide. “We’re already actively reclaiming a lot of these abandoned mine sites,” said Virginia McLemore, the senior economic geologist for New Mexico’s Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. “If it should be that rare earths are in those wastes, then it becomes attractive.” [The plan to turn coal country into a rare earth powerhouse]

5/30/21

Small town editor blasts Republican South Dakota governor

Democrats should end the filibuster then if they fall into the minority the lame duck Senate can restore it. Bipartisanship is a losing cause. Why Democrats in the Senate even tackled the commission vote is a complete mystery when a special prosecutor is the best answer in the first place. 

During the height of the pandemic Earth hating Republicans wanted to ditch masks and get kids back into schools. But most now even admit they want to end social studies and turn students into mindless wage slaves. Teachers' wages in red states like South Dakota surf the bottom because Republicans are Balkanizing education amid a fight over critical race theory and in my home state academic freedom is under attack from a reactionary, Earth hating, self-dealing, authoritarian governor

We all know Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem (KLAN) is a racist so now she is exploiting ethnic cleansing to advance her national aspirations.
Critical race theory is not something that was thought up by far-left academia. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that people of color were not allowed to vote. Prior to passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, South Dakota allowed Native Americans a limited right to vote, but only if they severed ties with their tribe, and as determined on a case-by-case basis. In 2001 a federal court ruled that South Dakota violated the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act when it approved a statewide redistricting plan that diluted the voting power of Native Americans. Isn’t politics dictating what our children are allowed to learn counter-productive to their developing opinions and ideals? Why is it dangerous to allow our young people to think for themselves? Are we afraid that our children will learn there is more than one manner in which to view the world? Isn’t banning critical race theory a form of censorship and indoctrination? These are the questions that we should be asking. [excerpt, Katie Zerr, Mobridge Tribune]
Learn more about the rise of Republican thought police at NPR.

5/28/21

Vermillion, Clay County ripe for consolidation of services


How are 65 county seats and their bureaucracies either conservative or sustainable? They're not; but, it's the way Republican cronyism and patronage built barricades to democracy by providing benefits of the public dole to those who say they deplore big gubmint in a state that hates poor people. 

I remember having a conversation back in the 90s with none other than Bill Janklow on SDPB when Dakota Midday was still called South Dakota Forum about consolidating counties and making two regental universities community colleges. He said he carried a "bloody shirt" for bringing a similar suggestion to the legislature and regents.

On June 8 voters in Clay County will either approve or reject spending $41 million to move services out of the courthouse built in 1912. Money has already been set aside to stabilize the historic structure that needs a new roof and tuck pointing. 

The board of directors of the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company is encouraging voters to pay for the construction of a new jail, a new law enforcement center, new court space and new government services offices then sell the courthouse to a developer for adaptive reuse without another site yet determined. 

Former judge and current Clay County legislator, Art Rusch, one of the few Republicans in South Dakota with any brains whatsoever opposes the bond issue. According to a source, Senator Rusch believes the facility can be renovated for about $15 million that might not bring the building up to code and staff would have to be relocated for three years during the retrofit. As presiding judge there for thirty years he’s probably thinking about his own place in county history.

It's the view of this interested party the consolidation of Vermillion and Clay County services is an idea whose time has come. Butte and Silver Bow County, Montana did it in 1977 where it has saved taxpayers millions in overlapping services. The City of Los Alamos, New Mexico and county of the same name merged in 1969. Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, New Mexico have considered consolidation at least twice so have Omaha and Douglas County, Nebraska. Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County, South Dakota thought hard about it in 2005.

The sale of the Clay County Courthouse to a dedicated and conscientious developer who would restore it for office space and more is one third way. Last year the Deadwood historic preservation fund awarded some $50,000 in outside grants, maybe even enough for more inclusive access.

It's true that South Dakota is no longer a safe place for Democrats but sanctuary cities or counties may help to keep the flight of talent to a bare minimum.

For a 30-year general obligation bond, the annual tax levy would be $157 per $100,000 of house value. If the bond fails to pass at the election, the current jail facility will be closed, and a tax increase will result regardless. Over the lifetime of the 30-year bond, $40 million would be spent covering the costs of transporting and housing inmates in neighboring counties. [VCDC Board Encourages A ‘Yes’ Vote On County’s $41 Million Bond Issue]

Learn more about South Dakota's brain drain at Bill Janklow's idea of public radio.

5/26/21

Fight over Critical Race Theory really about breaking teachers' unions


Teachers' wages in red states like South Dakota surf the bottom because Republicans are Balkanizing education amid a fight over Critical Race Theory.

But, even the president of the Sioux Falls school board who is married to the son of a former Republican governor is resisting moves by Governor Kristi Noem to whitewash the attempted eradication of Indigenous Americans from South Dakota. One reason Republicans don't like Common Core history standards is that the curriculum long-ignored by textbooks includes genocide and near-extermination of American Indians by European colonialism. 

In South Dakota white people steal money slated for American Indian education and murder their families when the jig is up then place a complicit attorney general at the head of the investigation. Native journalist, Tim Giago has even called for a boycott of South Dakota.

Despite a University of South Dakota study that shows the state's electorate is far less nuts than the legislature is the extreme white wing of the Republican Party still wants to rewrite history

During the height of the pandemic Earth hating Republicans wanted to ditch masks and get kids back into schools. But most now even admit they want to end social studies and turn students into mindless wage slaves. 

The events of the last decade have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, the impacts of criminal justice policy in the 1990s, and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans. But there is much less consensus on what the government’s role should be in righting these past wrongs. Add children and schooling into the mix and the debate becomes especially volatile. The conservative American Legion, beginning in the 1930s, sought to rid schools of progressive-minded textbooks that encouraged students to consider economic inequality; two decades later the John Birch Society raised similar criticisms about school materials. As with CRT criticisms, the fear was that students would be somehow harmed by exposure to these ideas. [What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?]
Yes, in red states police unions get the cash and teachers' unions get the shaft. 

Some school boards, teachers’ unions, and history education groups have already voiced opposition to these new laws. In Oklahoma City, the school board voted to formally disavow the state’s law. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, set up to commemorate the hundred-year anniversary of the event this year, removed Oklahoma’s Gov. Kevin Stitt from the group last week, after he signed the bill into law. [Four States Have Placed Legal Limits on How Teachers Can Discuss Race. More May Follow]

A third of qualified teaching grads leave South Dakota while the remainder struggle with certification. 

Learn more about the history of race theory at NPR's Fresh Air.

Photo: Republican former South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard describes Melody Schopp's breast implants.

5/25/21

Chaco Canyon another step closer to protection from oil and gas

When now Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was the US Representative for New Mexico's First District she was one of the sponsors of the Chaco Culture Heritage Protection Act of 2019 that would have codified the 10-mile buffer zone around Chaco Canyon. 

Santa Fe-based Wild Earth Guardians joined other interested parties in suing the Trump Organization's Bureau of Land Management to stop oil and gas encroachment on Chaco Culture National Historic Park. New Mexico's congressional delegation celebrated the US House passage of then US Representative for New Mexico's Third District now Senator Ben Ray Lujan's amendment to halt drilling on public lands near the monument but the bill did not make it through Mitch McConnell's Earth hater controlled Senate

Now New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich has asked Sec. Haaland to end leasing within a 10-mile radius of the park. Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo just one of New Mexico's Indigenous Nations who consider the Greater Chaco Wash as sacred. Chaco is an International Dark Sky Park at risk to oil and gas flaring. In partnership with the Bureau of Indian Affairs the BLM completed a draft resource management plan amendment last year but a decision has yet to be released. 

The BLM, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service and at least 15 other federal agencies also suffered hits to morale from the Trump White House.

The seat vacated by Haaland is expected to stay in Democratic control where Melanie Stansbury has a massive lead in early voting.

5/24/21

Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority wooing Idaho, North Dakota

The board of directors of the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority has approved Carbon County, Montana as its thirteenth member. Now, the authority is tempting Morton County, North Dakota and Kootenai County, Idaho hoping to resume passenger rail service through Bismarck, Mandan, Fargo and Sandpoint - where Amtrak had a depot until 1979 when the North Coast Hiawatha ended service. Democratic Montana Senator Jon Tester sponsored funding for restoration of the North Coast Hiawatha in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The effort is for a 'corridor train' and is not intended to compete with the Empire Builder. 

It's not in President Biden's rail plan but if someday Amtrak, Colorado's Democratic congressional delegation and the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission connect the Chief at Pueblo or Trinidad to the Empire Builder at Shelby, Montana through Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming it would intersect the North Coast Hiawatha at Laurel or Billings, Montana. 

ip photo: the Southwest Chief chugs its way between Trinidad and La Junta, Colorado.

5/23/21

Land swap in the Crazies exposes the folly of private ownership


At some landmark along the 914 mile-long carbon footprint that I used to smear on one or another path connecting Basin, Montana with my home town of Elkton, South Dakota it always dawned on me that some two hundred years ago, in what took a REALLY intrepid pathfinder at least three weeks on a horse (or more likely, two months on foot) to traverse, I would do in about fifteen hours. 

I-90, now just another American entitlement, stalks the Yellowstone River between Livingston in the west then abruptly abandons her just east of Billings and plunges southward into the Apsáalooke or Crow Nation. 

Despite being sacred to the Apsáalooke the federal government has twice proposed the Awaxaawapìa Pìa or Crazy Woman Mountains sometimes called the Crazies as a location for a national park but half the land and every alternate section was owned by the Northern Pacific Railroad or was otherwise privately held. 

Today, most of the public land is shared by the Custer Gallatin and Lewis and Clark National Forests but even tribal access has been blocked by the descendants of European settlers. The Montana Wilderness Association or MWA wants that to change.
On a brisk fall day in 2016, Bozeman resident Rob Gregoire received a trespassing ticket while hunting on a trail that’s appeared on maps of the Crazy Mountains for at least 80 years. Gregoire is now a member of the Crazy Mountain Access Project (formerly the Crazy Mountain Working Group), which includes about a dozen Montanans representing various interests — landowners, conservationists, hunters — who are developing a land swap proposal to resolve disputes over public access along the mountain range’s eastern flank. Crazy Peak is an important part of the spiritual landscape for Crow Indians, and access to it would allow them to fast and pray there in the tradition of Chief Plenty Coups. Switchback Ranch owner and Yellowstone Club member David Leuschen has agreed to give Crow tribal members access to Crazy Peak if the swap goes through. Finally, MWA would like the Crow Tribe or the Forest Service to have first right of refusal on any private lands that come up for sale within the forest boundary. [Checkerboard chess in the Crazy Mountains]
Crow Peak or Paha Karitukateyapi just outside Spearditch is translated as "the hill where the Crows were killed" stemming from a battle between the Lakota and Crow Nations. The Crow allied with Custer and the United States Army believing they would reclaim the Black Hills.

ip photo.
 

5/22/21

Reid: trust science, not little green men

After Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds 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.

In 2011 Fresh Air's Terry Gross interviewed Annie Jacobsen who described the events leading up to the creation of Area 51. Jacobsen had done numerous interviews of her own including one with an eyewitness to the extraction of the deceased preteen pilots who had been surgically altered by Stalin hire, Josef Mengele to look like extraterrestrials after a vectored thrust aircraft crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
The Horten brothers were involved in the flying disc crash in New Mexico. And that is from a single source. ... There was an unusual moment where that source became very upset and told me things that were stunning that's almost impossible to believe at first read. And that is that a flying disc really did crash in New Mexico and it was transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and then in 1951 it was transferred to Area 51, which is why the base is called Area 51. [excerpt, Fresh Air]
When he was a US Senator, Harry Reid saw human built aircraft at Area 51 that would impress even little green men.
Focusing on little green men or conspiracy theories won’t get us far. Of course, whatever the science tells us, some portion of the public will continue to believe in the reality of otherworldly U.F.O.s as a matter of faith. Ultimately, the U.F.O. debate can be broken down into a sincere belief in science versus a sincere belief in extraterrestrials. I side with science. [Harry Reid: What We Believe About U.F.O.s]
Today, Roswell is a Republican stronghold where a tourist industry has arisen from the UFO myth.

Photo: Star Trek, Memory Alpha.

5/21/21

Defeat of Roe could Balkanize women's medical care

New Mexico is the political inverse of my home state. It's where if the lopsided Supreme Court of the United States overturns Roe v. Wade women will still be free to exercise their reproductive rights because Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Respect New Mexico Women and Families Act that repealed the 1969 state statute banning abortion. In New Mexico Medicaid covers abortions and even transportation in rural areas to get to clinics in Albuquerque. 

1. A pregnant woman is the patient. 
2. Ectopic pregnancies kill women. 
3. Rich women have full reproductive rights while women at the lower income margins suffer chilling effects on those rights. Women in Alabama, Georgia and South Dakota who can afford it simply jump on a plane and fly to Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Denver or elsewhere for their procedures. Imagine a woman on the Standing Rock or Pine Ridge doing that. 
4. South Dakota’s repeated attempts to restrict access to medical care are not only mean-spirited, they're discriminatory anti-choice extremism. 
5. "Pro-life" is simply code for white people breeding. African-Americans terminate pregnancies at about the same per capita rate as white people do but don’t take their jobs. Latinas, however, have fewer abortions per capita but the extreme white wing laments it's hemorrhaging jobs to Latinos. 
6. No foetus in the United States has any civil rights until the third trimester. Republicans preach civil rights for human zygotes but deny the protections of the First, Fourth and Ninth Amendments to people who enjoy cannabis. 
7. Ending reproductive rights in red states will Balkanize women's medical care.
1. American racism is a principal component of modern fascism. 2. Cops are the most organized and effective force of fascist reaction. 3. Balkanization is a war of racism. 4. Power in the streets. [Four Theses on American Fascism]
New Mexico's flag has been named the coolest in America. The above image was captured at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the occupied Black Hills.

5/20/21

Poll: South Dakota Republicans love Republican fascism and authoritarian governance


In South Dakota local control is Republican control.

A poll conducted by South Dakota News Watch and the Chiesman Center for Democracy at the University of South Dakota has revealed that Republicans in the failed red state revel in authoritarianism when Republicans are in power and loathe democracy and progress when Democrats govern. 

The respondents were 45.3% Republican Earth haters, 21.3% were Democrats, 27.6% identified as "independent" and 5.8% were undeclared. 83% were white. Most believe democratic institutions and media are suspect but support police and military. 

The results are easily verified by simply perusing the Dakota War Toilet and the Faceberg accounts of all the South Dakota Republicans who post about politics. 

It's obvious this phenomenon is no accident: it has been manufactured to make the state a corporatist tax haven for an exclusive set of Republicans while some $4 trillion languishes in South Dakota banks. 

Chiesman has known about voter disgust in South Dakota for some time. 

Read the results at South Dakota News Watch.

5/19/21

Noem's powerlessness exposed

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is holding the South Dakota Republican Party for ransom.

Think about it. If Governor Kristi Noem had any power whatsoever killer and incel Ravnsborg would be in jail. 

There is certainly no doubt in my mind Jason Ravnsborg is a sociopath so he must have dirt on every Republican in South Dakota and the Governor’s Office of Risk Management will simply settle with Joe Boever’s family out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. Making Mr. Boever a martyr is just the latest horror in Pierre’s culture of corruption on parade.

Now, Kristi’s even bellering at the US Park Service to allow pyrotechnics at Mount Rushmore National Memorial over the advice of experts. Noem is flailing over stuff she can’t control while the tribal nations trapped in the failed red state exercise their sovereignty. Only two of nine tribes have said they will attend Noem’s so-called "Governor's Round Dance" in Pierre.
Chief Judge Roberto Lange of the federal district court of South Dakota hasn't ruled on whether the tribe can join the suit. He indicated that he'll decide by June 2 whether to issue a preliminary injunction to force the Park Service to allow the fireworks this summer. The governor's daughter, who worked as a federal liaison for her mother for last July's event, said in a court filing that the governor's office had invited tribal leaders to provide their perspective on it. [Associated Press]
As the SDGOP caves on immigration after Noem said she won’t accept migrants workers in South Dakota could make real social justice change by walking off their jobs, then calling for a general strike and tourism boycott to bring Kristi to her knees. 

Learn more about Noem's powerlessness at KELO teevee.

5/17/21

Wind River tribes next to test cannabis sovereignty

Two tribal nations in New York state are advancing their cannabis initiatives as are the Eastern Cherokee in North Carolina. Despite Montana Republicans messing with the wills of voters the Apsáalooke Nation will wean itself from coal and move forward on building its cannabis industry.

Industrial cannabis (hemp) in Wyoming has entered its second season so as revenues from oil and gas collapse two tribal nations landlocked in deep red Wyoming will test their cannabis sovereignty. The Northern Arapaho Tribe voted last week in favor of decriminalization and the Eastern Shoshone General Council has just passed a binding resolution to operate tribal-owned cultivation and extraction facilities for cannabis-based products.
To change the Law and Order Code on the Reservation, both tribes must be in agreement. Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Jordan Dresser told a Wind River Radio Network Audience Thursday that the vote is the first step in a long process that he said could take some time. “It really made me feel good that we reached a quorum of 150 members on a cold and windy Saturday,” he said. [Wind River Radio]
Learn more at Wyoming Public Radio and at the Casper Star-Tribune.

5/15/21

Noem in Texas as national GOP splits


My home state of South Dakota will suffer brain drain for years to come and New Mexico has it’s own set of challenges but living where the Republican Party is virtually powerless and Democrats rule is well worth it.

Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem joined her fellow Earth haters in Texas Friday as a pimp for the New Mexico GOP. The rally was held there to protest face covering mandates and to slime Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Since 1993 Donald Trump used the federal courts to punish tribal nations who built casinos he said were competition so his administration slow-walked resources to reservations effectively deploying COVID-19 as a biological weapon in Native America where he and Republicans like Kristi Noem targeted Indian Country for annihilation. His Tulsa trip and the Sturgis Rally in occupied South Dakota spread the virus all over Indian Country. It's called ethnic cleansing even genocide elsewhere but in Noem's South Dakota it’s called MAGA. 

Despite Noem's denial of anthropogenic climate disruptions citing astrological influences instead, political watchers believe she will enter the Earth haters' 2024 presidential primary. Firebrand Wyoming US Representative Liz Cheney is also being pressed to enter that race. 

The other day during the WBUR program On Point analyst Jack Beatty called the GOP the party of blocking because it doesn't know how to govern. It's clear there isn't a single member who isn't reactionary or ridiculous.

The New Mexico Republican Party’s convention, which runs through Sunday and features keynote addresses from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, both outspoken Trump supporters, comes on the heels of GOP lawmakers stripping Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney of her House leadership post after she criticized Trump for his unproven claims of election fraud and then voted to impeach him in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. As the GOP wrestles over whether it’s the party of Trump, some Republicans have discussed the possibility of leaving the party altogether, though it’s a small faction. [Daniel J. Chacón, Santa Fe New Mexican]
Learn more about the widening chasm in the Earth hater party linked here. More about Kristi Noem's attack on American history linked here.

The faster Earth hating Republicans die the better off America is. 

Editorial cartoon lifted from Native Sun News Today.

5/14/21

Sundance landmark to be razed

Steve and Jinx Hilty moved to Sundance, Wyoming after growing up in Cleveland and they opened their restaurant in 1987 when I was working for Twin City Fruit in Deadwood. 

Their daughter Callie told an interested party on Faceberg Messenger Thursday morning that after closing in August, 2020 they sold the building that housed Higbee's Café just months ago and retired. Steve had run the kitchen and Jinx ran the dining room and wrote the checks. Callie and her brother Alec worked there, too. 

The building was a turn of the century mercantile then an auto parts store before it was Higbees’ dining room. The Hiltys lived in that attached two story on the left in the photo until the kids were older. 

The late Herb Haist was the General Commissioner for the City of Sundance in the mid-1980s before being hired as the Deadwood City Planner and he introduced me to the family.

The Sundance Times is reporting the buildings will be demolished after serving the community, tourists and the Sturgis Rally for over a hundred years.

FSST mum on off-reservation land purchase

The Isanti Dakota Oyate or Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation has taken steps to resume their cannabis initiative and has purchased a parcel in the heart of the commercial district in Sioux Falls. 

Recall that in 2015 President Tony Reider and officials of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation advanced an adults-only cannabis initiative after an Iowa casino on the border cut into the tribe's gaming business but destroyed their crop after threats from South Dakota's former attorney general.

Tribal Attorney General Seth Pearman is declining to divulge the Nation's intention for the property.

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. In March of last year that Nation voted overwhelmingly to legalize cannabis. 

Despite Montana Republicans messing with the wills of voters the Apsáalooke Nation will wean itself from coal and move forward on building a cannabis industry.

Minnesota's House of Representatives has voted to legalize cannabis for all adults and that bill will likely die at the hands of the Republican Senate. Nebraska's unicameral has killed even a basic therapeutic application. 

South Dakota's Republican governor believes white people in the state are too stupid to grow or regulate the herb, industrial or otherwise. Nevertheless several South Dakota communities are pondering zoning ordinances in anticipation of decisions by the state's Supreme Court and by a governor who would simply jury rig a mechanism that allows pharmacies to dispense edibles and topicals but no flower or smoking.

5/12/21

Feds scramble to repair damage, reverse ecocide caused by border wall disaster

Etched into the rhyolite on Signal Hill in Saguaro National Park about 800 years ago by the ancestors of the modern-day Tohono O'odham are their petroglyphs and rock art which are probably directions to water sources and hunting. Their Nation straddles the US/Mexico border.

Just hours after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden issued the Proclamation on the Termination Of Emergency With Respect To The Southern Border Of The United States And Redirection Of Funds Diverted To Border Wall Construction. 

Yvette Herrell is a member of the Cherokee Nation and the Republican New Mexico Representative from District 2 but her support for Herr Trump's border wall has strained the ties to her Indigenous heritage. Now, efforts to undo the damage to jaguar and ocelot habitats have begun in earnest while courts sort the fraudsters.
Environmental activists and tribal leaders say some of the damage is permanent, from the blasted mountains to the millions of gallons of water that can’t be put back in the ground. But they believe other effects of the wall can be reversed and they want the Biden administration to go further than stopping construction. [Arizona Republic]
Even North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel conspired with Trump and his henchman, Steve Bannon to defraud the United States. Fisher Industries is a major campaign contributor to Earth hating Republicans and is being investigated for substandard work on the US/Mexico border.
While not under federal control or part of any repair, a privately funded border wall built separately directly on the Rio Grande riverbank by federal border wall contractor Fisher Sand and Gravel is the subject of ongoing litigation between the U.S. government and the company, with a hearing held on May 5 in U.S. District Court in the southern district of Texas related to its construction. [Engineering News Record]
Just north of the border long-time environmental activist, Ted Turner has teamed up with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of New Mexico to foster a pair of endangered Mexican gray wolves and their pups on his 243 square mile ranch near the Gila National Forest.

Learn more about the recovery of the rarest subspecies of gray wolves linked here. Plan to save jaguars linked here.

ip photo: Saquaro National Park near Marana, Arizona.

5/11/21

Lawrence County bear at risk to Republicans


If history is any guide, locals will just kill the offending bear like they do with moose, elk, cougars and their kittens. 

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

So, if there are moose, wolves and bears in the Black Hills why doesn't it automatically make them candidates for endangered species protection?

5/8/21

Hate at Aberdeen Central hardly anything new

Right to life? Not if you're non-white or nonconforming in South Dakota. 

It's impossible not to notice that the white people who influence the South Dakota Republican Party continue to brainwash their own kids into cancelling culture, selling tyranny and preaching exclusivity to the voting populace. 

In 1888 L. Frank Baum of Oz fame began editing the South Dakota newspaper The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer where he advocated for the extermination of American Indians.

In 2017 a South Dakota school board voted unanimously to cancel homecoming activities that would have featured a football game between the Sturgis Scoopers and the Pine Ridge Thorpes after a car bearing hate speech and a symbol painted on it that some said resembled a swastika was smashed by Sturgis students. 

In April 2019 sleepy Vermillion became ground zero for Donald Trump's war on America in South Dakota by hosting Charlie Kirk. 

West River is home to the most rabid of the extreme white wing of the Republican Party and just last month the Faith High School Rodeo Club tried to hold a “Slave/Branding Auction.”

While incidents like the one at Aberdeen Central are hardly uncommon in South Dakota white nationalist incitements have intensified because of Trump's history of sexual violence, hateful lies and propaganda. South Dakota's Republican governor spins the hate wheel every day because  Republican is not just another word for earth hater; it's another word for Nazi.

But Charlie Kirk might be right about one thing. At a time when gender fluidity is more common than foot fungus fake journalists like those who curate the Dakota War College and Dakota 'Free Press' can even call themselves brain surgeons if they want to.

5/6/21

New Mexico yardbirds enchant

 

Mr. and Ms. Scott's oriole are nesting nearby.

The photos of a black-headed grosbeak and western tanager are shot through the porch screen, so sue me.




Okay, here's a better image of the tanager.

Coverup of Brady Folkens' wrongful death continues

Brady Folkens of Brookings died in state custody after a botched diagnosis at the former State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy in a county named for a war criminal on December 21, 2013 then the State of South Dakota’s Office of Risk Management and Republican Avera lawyer, then-Lt. Governor Matt Michels helped to bury the evidence of negligent homicide. 

After a public outcry the death camp was shuttered and the sprawling property put up for auction. The stigmatized site was recently sold for a fourth time at a substantially reduced price. 

The state has a history of poor choices made by state employees. Fourteen year old Gina Score died after a forced run in 1999 then the state settled with Score's family for just over a $million without accepting guilt for her death. 

A cynical observer might see Republican former South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard's decision to close two state-owned boot camps as a vehicle to drive kids into the clutches of the Children's Home Society where he enjoys a financial interest. 

No doubt Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is enjoying similar cover. 
Dawn Van Ballegooyen and I found this interesting letter in Brady Folken’s file at Gary Thimsen’s law office at Woods, Fuller, Schultz, and Smith in Sioux Falls. Thimsen was hired to defend South Dakota authorities from liability in the death of 17-year old Brady. Notice the letter was date stamped by both the Office of Risk Management (run by Craig Ambach) and by the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office (run by then-AG Marty Jackley) – under the aegis of then-governor [Daugaard]. Proves to us that the South Dakota authorities made Brady’s cover-up a very high priority – so high that the law firm of Heideprim, et al., backed off. [Dr. Lars Aanning, Faceberg post]



5/4/21

Factory farm facing furor

Here's a story that condemns the decision to end environmental protection in the chemical toilet, sacrifice zone, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area that is South Dakota. 

Dwayne Beck is a soil scientist who manages South Dakota State University's Dakota Lakes Research Station. He has taken on irrigators and the main stem dams killing the Missouri River but now he has taken aim at food giant General Mills who developed a 30,000 acre factory farm in the center of the state. 

Breaking West River ground for the Keystone XL pipeline will end with the same result. 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.
Take Gunsmoke Farms, a vast property that covers 53 square miles just northwest of Pierre, S.D. "It scared me, because normally organic [farming] entails lots of tillage, and those soils are very fragile," he said. He collected photographs of the damage: small drifts of wind-blown soil in a roadside ditch, and a country road that disappears into a brown cloud of blowing dust. General Mills doesn't own Gunsmoke Farms or control it directly. It signed a "strategic sourcing agreement" with an investment firm called TPG, an early investor in Uber, which acquired the land to supply General Mills with organic wheat, peas and other crops. TPG then spun off another firm, Sixth Street, which currently owns Gunsmoke. [Dan Charles, NPR]

5/2/21

SDSU researcher: climate change disrupting bison sustainability



If cattle grazing is the key to preventing wildfires why is Republican ranch country still suffering near daily high or even extreme grassland fire danger indices so often even during winter? 

After the Soviet Union fell Republicans began their war on the environment in 1991 substituting a new Green Scare for the old Red Scare.

Today, urban sprawl, accelerated global warming and drought are reducing productivity on the remaining grasslands of the Great Plains, writes Dr. Jeff Martin. He's the Director of Research at the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies at South Dakota State University.

Only 3 percent of the Earth's surface remains untouched by human development and a sixth mass extinction is underway. Putting the country on the path of protecting at least 30 percent of its land and 30 percent of its ocean areas by 2030 (30x30) is imperative to preserving public lands and moving the US Forest Service from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior would be just one step toward that goal. 

That Republican welfare ranchers are angry about rewilding means it's the right thing to do. 

In 2019 Democratic then-New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland led a House subcommittee hearing on anti-government extremism emphasizing that the violent ideologies expressed by the Bundy clan were spurred by white elected Republicans in the Mountain West. Now, under Interior Secretary Haaland the Bureau of Land Management has even hired a security specialist to outline strategies to defend federal employees and property. 

Herr Trump's first Interior secretary blamed wildfires in the West on those he called “radical environmentalists” despite most acres burned occur on private ranch land in Republican counties. On the final day of Trump’s presidency his last Interior secretary even restored a grazing permit to the Hammond Ranch whose prescriptive burn escaped onto federal land. Only a tiny fraction of public lands offered by the Trump Organization to the extractive industries were even leased yet Republicans see the Biden White House as hostile to their causes especially after the Hammonds' grazing permits were again rescinded. 

David Treuer was born of a Holocaust survivor and Ojibwe mother. He wrote in The Atlantic that he believes that most land held in America's national parks should be remanded to Indigenous peoples but it's my view that the land held in the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service should also be part of that trust. 

Indigenous peoples set at least 47% of fires in the Interior West between 1776 and 1900 because smoke from cultural fire has been long-applied to control tree pests and just 150 years ago over 10 million bison would be clearing the grasses that drive large range fires but just 600,000 bison still exist in the United Snakes today. 
“Climate change directly affects bison by increasing thermal stress and decreasing forage and water availability, issues that also challenge range beef cattle,” Martin says. “Indirect consequences of climate change include increasing distribution and intensity of parasites and several diseases that are known to reduce reproductive success. These stresses have been estimated to collectively reduce bison body size by 50% if global temperature warms by 4°C near the end of the 21st century.” “Currently, 90% of grasslands and 85% of bison are privately owned, which justifies the need for robust private land conservation strategies to maintain this iconic species and its grassland habitats,” Martin says. [Brookings Register]
Photo: bison graze Wind Cave National Park in occupied South Dakota.

5/1/21

30x30 Initiative a road map to rewilding the West

Indigenous peoples set at least 47% of fires in the Interior West between 1776 and 1900 because smoke from cultural fire has been long-applied to control tree pests and just 150 years ago over 10 million bison would be clearing the grasses that drive large range fires. 

After the Soviet Union fell Republicans began their war on the environment in 1991 substituting a new Green Scare for the old Red Scare.

This blog was established in 2010 as a vehicle for rewilding the American West. 

In 2019 Democratic then-New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland led a House subcommittee hearing on anti-government extremism emphasizing that the violent ideologies expressed by the Bundy clan were spurred by white elected Republicans in the Mountain West. Now, under Interior Secretary Haaland the Bureau of Land Management has even hired a security specialist to outline strategies to defend federal employees and property. 

If cattle grazing is the key to preventing wildfires why is Republican ranch country still suffering near daily high or even extreme grassland fire danger indices so often even during winter? 

Herr Trump's first Interior secretary blamed wildfires in the West on those he called “radical environmentalists” despite most acres burned occur on private ranch land in Republican counties. On the final day of Trump’s presidency his last Interior secretary even restored a grazing permit to the Hammond Ranch whose prescriptive burn escaped onto federal land. Only a tiny fraction of public lands offered by the Trump Organization to the extractive industries were even leased yet Republicans see the Biden White House as hostile to their causes especially after the Hammonds' grazing permits were again rescinded. 

Today, only 3 percent of the Earth's surface remains untouched by human development and a sixth mass extinction is underway. Putting the country on the path of protecting at least 30 percent of its land and 30 percent of its ocean areas by 2030 (30x30) is imperative to preserving public lands and moving the US Forest Service from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior would be just one step toward that goal.

That Republican welfare ranchers are angry about rewilding means it's the right thing to do.

David Treuer was born of a Holocaust survivor and Ojibwe mother. He wrote in The Atlantic that he believes that most land held in America's national parks should be remanded to Indigenous peoples but it's my view that the land held in the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service should also be part of that trust

Editorial cartoon: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune.

Learn more about the 30x30 Initiative linked here. More about connectivity conservation strategies here.