5/16/22

Wildfire paranoia puts BHNF at risk

As many readers are aware the first US Forest Service timber sale took place in the Black Hills near Nemo but only after nearly all the old growth of every native tree species had been cleared for mine timbers, railroad ties and construction. Native Douglas fir and lodgepole pine are virtually extirpated from the Hills creating a dense understory of ladder fuels.

After a prescribed burn got away from the Black Hills National Forest in the 1980s and from the US Park Service in New Mexico in 2000 a moratorium on non-mechanical fuel treatments just exacerbated fuel loads on public lands.

In 2002, the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA) named the BHNF the third most endangered; nevertheless, the Forest has been "just beat to hell" after Republican donor Jim Neiman pressured officials to overlog anyway. In Lawrence County, South Dakota where Neiman is threatening to close another sawmill, increases in sales of timber have so far been deprioritized in the BHNF's revised plan.

Neiman waited until Donald Trump was forced from the White House then shuttered his sawmill in Hill City, South Dakota and blamed the Forest Service. One needs to look no further than the BHNF for how politics has completely altered a landscape but there are plenty other public lands examples that illustrate the red state, blue state divide. Neiman purchased Montrose Forest Products in Colorado in 2012 but in 2018 after the Trump Organization gutted the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Neiman shipped twelve loads of timber from the San Juan National Forest to mills in South Dakota. Neiman wants to log 20 million board feet of ponderosa pine per year in Colorado for the next 20 years. 

Knot-free old growth ponderosa pine is coveted by door and window manufacturers like Pella, Marvin and Andersen. The Biden administration has been slow to restore the NEPA rules Earth hating Republicans like South Dakota's John Thune and Wyoming's John Barrasso want to suspend. So, as expected, Hulett, Wyoming-based Neiman Enterprises could enjoy the fruits of socialism as the two Republican US Senators introduce a bill to inject taxpayer dollars into the Black Hills timber monopoly. They call the bill, The Save Jim Neiman's Ass Act

According to former US Forest Service timber cruiser Dave Mertz there haven't been any litigators to sue the Forest Service allowing Republicans to infiltrate management of the Black Hills National Forest.

The Intermountain Forest Association is a timber and wood products lobby with an office in Rapid City, South Dakota and Executive Director Ben Wudtke’s clients include Hulett, Wyoming's Neiman Enterprises. And if Tri-State Livestock News is for it, it's for industry exploitation and not at all Earth friendly.
In 2021, Wudtke testified before the Senate Ag and Natural Resources Committee in a hearing on forest management, forest products and carbon. Senator Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, questioned Wudtke about prescribed burns. “Prescribed fire plays a critical role in forest management,” said Wudtke. But he explained that prescribed fires are not safe in overgrown forests. The New Mexico senator responded, “That’s exactly what we’ve found in many of these places where it may cost $1,000 an acre to treat something. To maintain it with prescribed fire is dramatically cheaper so creating those conditions for healthy maintenance really sets the stage for decades into the future.” [Tri-State Livestock News]
If you live in the wildland-urban interface government can't always protect you from your own stupidity. Recall the 2016 Crow Peak Fire affected mostly Republican landowners who built in the WUI and begged the feds to protect their properties—same with the Schroeder Fire in March, 2021.

Today, fire managers have climate change guns to their heads so it’s usually damned if you do and damned if you don’t conduct prescriptive burns. But it’s probably a straight line from the previous administration’s Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and crashes in morale within the US Forest Service to current wildfires and conditions on the Black Hills National Forest.

ip photo: a wood lily graces the verdant forest floor near Camp 5 on the Black Hills National Forest after the 2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire.

5/15/22

Another attempt to replace 1872 Mining Law grinds through Congress



The Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming are hardly the only public lands plundered by foreign companies under cover of the General Mining Law of 1872, enacted to settle Civil War debt and rob Indigenous people of their human rights.

A Canadian miner paid a settlement to mitigate and remediate portions of Colorado's San Juan County where the 2015 Gold King Mine spill occurred. 

In 2019 we motored to Oracle, Patagonia and Bisbee from Santa Fe and were shocked by the ravages of surface mining in SE Arizona where operations owned by Morenci and Miami are ravaging water supplies and reducing entire mountain ranges to piles of waste rock. 

Comexico, an American subsidiary of Australian company New World Cobalt, wants to drill test holes into the Sangre de Cristo mountain range on the Santa Fe National Forest in the Jones Hill area north of Pecos, New Mexico. 

Silver City, New Mexico became a quieter town again after strip mines there came to a grinding halt and just like during the last Great Depression Democrats are the leaders who got financial help for workers. Silver City, South Dakota is under assault from Canadian miners, too. 

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 so EPA has allocated more resources to clean up sites in that state.

Today, thanks to the Trump Organization the United States is in debt to the tune of $30 TRILLION so the US encourages mining companies from outside the country to drill more holes in the Earth looking for gold and silver.

Repeal or even reform of the 1872 statute has been thwarted repeatedly and the US Forest Service is often powerless to stop the extractive industry from permanently altering sensitive watersheds because of the 1872 law.
Democrats in Congress are hoping to overhaul the nation’s 150-year-old system for mining the elements needed for battery manufacturing, as high gas prices and Russia’s war in Ukraine underline the need to transition from oil and gas to renewable energy sources. U.S. House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico have each sponsored bills that would set environmental and reclamation standards. Defunct mines can leach chemicals into the nearby water and soil, Heinrich said. He referenced the Gold King Mine wastewater spill in Colorado that turned waters in New Mexico “the color of Tang” because of heavy metals and other contaminants. [Democrats from the West push update of 150-year-old federal mining law]
ip photo: a desert sentinel near Tucson might be 300 years old.

5/14/22

Disaster fatigue hits home


The dew point is so low in parts of New Mexico the relative humidity is 1% or as dry as physically possible. Under the smoke plume of the country's largest wildfire Angel Fire was the coldest place in the lower 48 Friday morning dropping to a low temperature of 16° but it's not just New Mexico. Disaster fatigue is driving the entire globe into madness.

This scribe just did a 2000 mile loop to Vermillion, South Dakota and back again where the number of cattle feedlots in Kansas, Nebraska and eastern Colorado draining the Ogallala Aquifer is staggering. The Arkansas River is dry at Dodge City, Kansas.

On Thursday afternoon Gaia smashed through that entire region covering much of it in dust from haboobs. 
Jim Miller, a farmer from northeast Nebraska, told Brownfield radio he was planting when a wall of dust closed in on him. "I turned the lights on the tractor and I couldn't see 20 feet in front of the tractor. I've never seen a dust storm blow in like that before. It made the whole tractor rock. I was kind of worried that I was in a tornado even," Miller told Brownfield. [Progressive Farmer]
Brookings County and my own home town of Elkton even sustained severe damage. According to the National Weather Service seven tornadoes went through northeastern South Dakota alone: two EF2s, four EF1s and one EF0. The strongest twister had an estimated peak wind gust of 135 MPH which is nearly an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

A tornado hit her home town of Castlewood and Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem praised her god for sparing her campaign war chest because science karma chickens came home to roost where the governor is a climate change denier. 


Yes, this is how Republicans who preach small gubmint fund crumbling infrastructure in red states. Recall Mrs. Noem repeatedly voted against disaster aid after Hurricane Sandy and other climate related catastrophes. She doesn’t respect self-reliance because she’s wedded to moral hazard.

Social media rumors that I personally ordered an unprecedented weather event intended to punish the inhabitants of Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota are entirely unfounded. Ignore them.

Thoughts and prayers, indeed.
 

5/13/22

Cult known for child rape lists property again in South Dakota county named for a war criminal

Sharia Law? Nah. Sons of Perdition. 

Recall the mother of former legislator, now Republican Fall River County State's Attorney Lance Russell sold property to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) where minor girls have been trafficked and raped. 

In South Dakota where corruption drives the Republican Party the FLDS uses Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars to bleed the beast. It's a community where counterfeit plural marriages of children to old white men are not only accepted they're encouraged. 

But in 2021 at the courthouse in a South Dakota county named for a war criminal members of the splinter group bought the 140 acre compound for $750,000 despite its $9 million valuation. The cult was not delinquent on property taxes but the acreage was sold at a sheriff's auction to settle a $2.1 million judgment against the FLDS, the towns of Hildale, Utah and Arizona City, Colorado. Buyer, Patrick Pipkin is manager of Blue Mountain Ranch of Colorado — a summer camp for at risk adolescents, no less.

Now, Pipkin, Andrew Chatwin and Claude Seth Cooke are cashing out and listing the stigmatized property in occupied South Dakota for $6.9 million.
The property has nine parcels and 140 total acres. There were $106,726.10 in property taxes paid on the property last year. Parcels of the property include: 
• Ten acres of baseland and an orchard 
• Five acres with three tanks 
• Five acres with a fourplex and a 9,855 square-foot log apartment building with 12 baths and 14 bedrooms
• Fourty [sic] acres with a 6,362 square-foot building with 14 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, and another smaller log home with four bedrooms and five bathrooms 
• Twenty acres with a duplex that has 14 bedrooms and eight bathrooms 
• Twenty acres with a 13,860 square-foot lodge that has 26 bedrooms, 26 bathrooms, as well as a meeting house with 15 conference rooms and 10 bathrooms 
• Ten acres with a shed, roof cover and milk barn 
• Ten acres, guard tower, cat walk, greenhouse, well houses, shop and lots of tanks 
• Twenty acres with a house, 6,660 square-feet building with seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a two-car garage, warehouse/equipment building/storehouse and a poultry house.
Learn more at War Criminal County Chronicle.

Many readers remember that in 2011 Russell was censured by the state's judiciary for leaking grand jury testimony. 

5/12/22

Powerball winner still trying to liquidate ranch in occupied South Dakota, flee state


Citing a lack of use and hoping to flee the chemical toilet 2009 Powerball winner Neal Wanless has been struggling to sell a ranch northeast of Mato Paha in occupied western South Dakota. 

After taking home some $88 million Wanless bought the parcel on the banks of the polluted Belle Fourche River and even moved a thousand feral horses diverted from Bureau of Land Management pastures onto the sprawling property. Including some four thousand acres of leased BLM land it's now been reduced to a mere $37.5 million from the $41.5 million it was listed for in 2020. Wanless is selling the property after marrying a Canadian and spending much of his time between British Columbia and Arizona

In 2011 a fencing contractor sued tight-fisted, but self-proclaimed christian, Wanless for breach of contract. 

In 2013 a Meade County resident who lives near a ranch owned by Republican former South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley's family lied to the Farm Service Agency about livestock losses after a blizzard buried parts of western South Dakota then spent time in federal prison and paid civil penalties.

As part of President Joe Biden's America the Beautiful Initiative BLM recently purchased about twenty acres of an old mining claim on unceded Lakota ground just outside the Deadwood city limits. 

Today feral horses and burros on public lands number nearly 100,000 or about four times what the landscape can sustain without damaging habitat. In Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and seven other states the BLM adopts out, seeks private pastures for, and feeds the horses. 

$20 says every well on Wanless’ Bismarck Ranch is contaminated with nitrates and heavy metal oxides. Nearly a century of residue from the Black Hills Mining District affects millions of cubic yards of riparian habitat all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Although the Oahe Dam was completed in 1962 sequestering most of the silt the soils of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers are inculcated with arsenic at levels that have killed cattle.

Endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury throughout the South Dakota portion of the Missouri River.

No doubt South Dakota’s regressive property tax factored into Mr. Wanless’ choice to sell. A bill that would decrease that tax failed in the last session of the state’s deranged legislature.

ip photo: a schoolhouse for white kids falls down near Mato Paha in western Meade County.

Learn more about the degradation of the Belle Fourche River watershed linked here.

Statement on incident in Vermillion released

After enduring a loud, incoherent and slanderous attack on my integrity at my youngest daughter’s university graduation gala in Vermillion, South Dakota my intended but hastily-devised feint meant to amuse inadvertently and regrettably impacted on a serial home wrecker’s errant proboscis.

  -30-

5/11/22

New Mexico fires linked to Trump administration failures, Republican Perdue

Fire managers have climate change guns to their heads so it’s usually damned if you do and damned if you don’t conduct prescriptive burns. But it’s probably a straight line from the previous administration’s Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and crashes in morale within the US Forest Service to current wildfires and conditions on the Santa Fe National Forest.
A Santa Fe National Forest crew ignited what was supposed to be the 1,200-acre Las Dispensas prescribed burn April 6, and officials have since said “unexpected erratic winds” fanned embers beyond the perimeter of the burn site. The prescribed burn was previously scheduled for mid-March, but officials called it off due to snow on the ground, according to a statement at the time. In May 2000, the National Park Service ignited a prescribed burn near Los Alamos. Winds also spun that fire out of control, eventually destroying hundreds of Los Alamos homes and causing $1 billion in damage. [U.S. Forest Service defends prescribed burn that caused Hermits Peak fire]
New Mexico has been home to much larger aspen communities in the fairly recent past and because it reproduces clonally underground from adult trees aspen (Populus tremuloides) is one of the first plants to reestablish after fire. Fuel treatments on the Santa Fe National Forest helped contain the Medio Fire in 2020 and have been accelerated after President Joe Biden took the oath of office. 

Cattle on the Forest are browsing on aspen shoots because fine, flashy fuels and creosote are the only other choices.

These aren't natural forests where wildland fires are raging: they're largely second-growth pine monocultures allowed to overrun aquifer recharges after a century of fire suppression. Federal agencies always coordinate prescribed burns with local and state officials while using weather models to optimize fuel treatment effectiveness. 

The native bison, elk and deer have been hunted to near extinction in most of the Southwest or killed in collisions with motor vehicles and the Forest Service is scrambling to clear fuels Indigenous used to burn off every year. Pre-European Indigenous cultures in the Jemez Mountains raised turkeys, beans, squash and maize. That cattle have been allowed into national forests and other public ground for pennies a head is a crime that needs to end.

The cost per acre of conducting a prescribed burn can top $2,000 per acre but because of contributions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other sources wildfires can cost less than $50 an acre to manage. Lightning-struck fires are usually allowed to burn as resource benefit or fuels reduction but are best for hardwood release.

Nevertheless, numerous bills have been introduced in the US Senate to shackle the Forest Service including S.1100: the Prescribed Burn Approval Act of 2015 that was intended to embarrass then-President Barack Obama in favor of the timber industry.
Steve Inskeep talks to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue about what the federal government can do to help reduce the risk from wildfires, like the ones devastating California. 
INSKEEP: One other thing, Mr. Secretary. A couple of years ago, I got a chance to interview Robert Bonnie, who was then a top Agriculture Department official. He oversaw the U.S. Forest Service during the Obama administration. He named two big problems. One of them is fuel loads, which is what you and I have been talking about. The other is climate change. What is the role of climate change here? And how, if at all, does the legislation address that? 
PERDUE: Well, we know that our forest fires in the last few years have gotten hotter. The humidity's gotten lower. Whether that's a cyclical change, we also - there are also data and history, Steve, that show back in the '30s there were huge major forest fires that make these look small even today. So we do know that we're back-to-back record years, and whether it's permanent climate change or a cycle of low humidity and hot air and wind currents, then it remains to be seen. [NPR]
"Hot air," indeed. 

Democracy is messy business. The feds are shooting feral goats in the Tetons and feral cattle on the Gila because domestic livestock are so destructive on public lands. It takes political courage to just say no to domestic livestock on public lands and pass legislation that pays reparations and some through land repatriation but bravery is a trait conspicuously absent in Congress right now.

At post time it is being reported that during extreme wildfire conditions embers from the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire have spotted some four miles from the main burn.

Learn more at the Santa Fe Reporter.

5/2/22

Cerro Pelado Fire testing former burn scars

 


We've been lucky so far as smoke from the now 22,000+ acre Cerro Pelado Fire in the Jemez Mountains has yet to move into our space despite the most active portion of the wildfire is only about twenty miles from the ranch. 

The blaze is moving in burn scars from the 2019 Conejos Fire, the 2017 Cajete Fire, the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire, the 2011 Las Conchas Fire and in the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire. There are numerous slash piles along currently-closed NM4 in the higher elevations and places where low intensity fire has been recently introduced. The most visible portion from Red Rock Road is burning ponderosa pine (in an area called Ponderosa, no less) in steep terrain in the most western areas of the fire. 

Los Alamos National Laboratory is not being threatened at this time although many locations within LANL are experiencing smoke and nearby Bandelier National Monument is closed.

Red flag conditions with strong winds and low relative humidities are testing resilience throughout the Santa Fe National Forest system.

The fire would have to cross the Rio Grande and I-25 to get to us.

Images captured in 2014 of the Las Conchas burn scar are linked here.

4/30/22

Rapid City Bandido raid linked to 'Operation Say Uncle'


Somebody's talking.

In one of his last efforts before he left as US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Ron Parsons announced the indictment of 37 people including Bandido-linked Kelly Barker who has been peddling cannabis and other banned substances in the Black Hills since I moved to Deadwood in the late 70s. In February, US District Judge Jeffrey L. Viken sentenced four people in connection with that large-scale meth trafficking network bust called “Operation Say Uncle.” 

It’s important to note Thursday's raidon the Bandidos' fortified compound in Rapid Valley didn’t happen when a Trumper was the US Attorney for the District of South Dakota. Despite a massive police action that included personnel from the US Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives nobody was arrested. Computers and files were likely seized and a strong message was telegraphed to the Bandidos leadership.

Hells Angels, Bandidos and other syndicates own property in the Black Hills area to serve as bases of operation for sex and meth trafficking much of it through what appear to be legitimate businesses.  It's not unlikely the Bandidos torched the Full Throttle Saloon in 2015 that was blamed on a pinched appliance cord.

A 2015 shootout in Waco, Texas between the Bandidos and Cossacks resulted in the deaths of and injuries to several members of motorcycle clubs encouraged by a law enforcement industry that benefits from programs like Policing for Profit. Nobody was ever convicted because Texas has a "stand your ground" law.
And while the police made a show of the 151 guns recovered at the scene, bringing a firearm to Sunday brunch isn’t necessarily evidence of much in a permissive open-carry state. Steve Cook, a police gang-unit veteran from Kansas City who runs outlaw-motorcycle-culture training seminars, told me: “You don’t see the Kiwanis and the Lions Club running up on each other at Twin Peaks and getting into a gun battle, because guess what? They’re legitimate fraternal organizations that aren’t running a criminal enterprise.” [The Waco Biker Shootout Left Nine Dead. Why Was No One Convicted?]
Cops usually just turn away from the misery of forced prostitution that often plies kidnap victims to become playthings for abusive men. The same is the case during the Sturgis Rally where girls as young as ten are bought and sold like methamphetamine, Wild Turkey or souvenir t-shirts. Thanks to selective enforcement white thugs have carte blanche to commit flagrant criminal acts during the Rally. A long history of lawlessness can make the event highly virulent attracting common parasites who breed in the cesspools of human existence.

Motorcycle clubs and the South Dakota law enforcement industry use the Sturgis Rally as a sort of pyramid scheme clearinghouse. During pre-Rally meetings they exchange the names of individuals who will ultimately be targeted for arrest to place moles into the state's jails and prisons and to provide cops with the appearance of relevance.
The ex-members also said the Bandidos’ periodic motorcycle runs or rallies to places like Galveston, Red River, New Mexico, and Sturgis, South Dakota, serve, in part, to discuss the club’s criminal endeavors, from discipline of wayward members to dealing with rivals — often with violence. [El Paso Times]
That Serenity Dennard was lured away by Bandidos with help from the Children’s Home Society crossed my mind very early in her disappearance. 

An image of Breaking Bad’s Walter White and Jesse Pinkman was posted on the Faceberg page of Barker’s co-defendant, Darwin Toof. In 2019 another white biker told Faceberg he’s a meth dealer then got popped for being a meth dealer: South Dakota stupid on parade.

4/28/22

Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers agents of Satan: Georgia rep

For decades, yea centuries, survivors of abuse from Roman Catholic clergy have been silenced by a sweeping conspiracy in the hierarchy. 

But under a not so secret agreement with President Biden's career criminal predecessor the international crime syndicate that is the Roman Catholic Church got some $3.5 billion tax free under the Paycheck Protection Program to continue paying down lawsuits for its ongoing sex abuse scandals despite assets of an estimated $30 billion. Joe Biden or not that congregation believes their pederastic officiants can transubstantiate bread and wine into the body and blood of a Jew who has been dead for some 2000 years then offer that to a Mass. How is that even normal? 

So, it's not like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (NAZI- GA) is always wrong.
“What it is, is Satan’s controlling the church,” Greene declared. "We are supposed to love one another, but their definition of what love one another means, means destroying our laws,” she continued. “It means completely perverting what our Constitution says. It means taking unreal advantage of the American taxpayer. And it means pushing a globalist policy on the American people and forcing America to become something that we are not supposed to be."
Watch the whole thing here.

Ireland, Australia and France are leading calls to prosecute the cult's leaders and as lawsuits and the US Department of Justice swamp the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers the future of the religionist mob isn't looking very rosy. 

The Roman church has been behind the seizures of hundreds of American Indian children in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act where Catholic congregations and state legislatures have engaged in obstruction of justice for decades. Like over a dozen other US Roman churches have done the Helena, Montana chapter of the sect faced 362 claims of sexual abuse and filed for bankruptcy. 

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has also been investigating predator priests and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was forced to file for bankruptcy because of the high number of lawsuits. The Wyoming attorney general has decided against charging retired bishop, Joseph Hart despite cases brought by the Cheyenne Police Department after victims or their family members came forward.

Marcin Garbacz had been bleeding the beast, though. When it was the bishopric of Bob Gruss, Garbacz liberated at least $260,000 from the Rapid City Diocese. A former South Dakota priest who is already in prison, Garbacz has now pleaded guilty to a sex charge after he secretly shot videos of a teenage boy in the shower.

4/27/22

Runners raise awareness of America's longest-held prisoner of war

In 1974, President Richard Nixon issued a limited presidential pardon to convicted killer William Calley of My Lai Massacre fame after he and American troops, some under his command, raped and butchered some 500 unarmed Vietnamese people in 1968. 

Prisoner of War Leonard Peltier is guilty of far, far lesser offenses. Peltier is a prisoner of the United States' longest war—waged against Indigenous Americans since 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.

After being convicted in 1977 then sentenced to two life terms for killing two enemy combatants under the fog of war on a battlefield inside the Oglala Lakota Nation in occupied South Dakota in 1975 Peltier applied for compassionate release in 2018 and again in 2020 but was always denied because Donald Trump despises American Indians. 

In a letter dated April 24, 2021 former New Mexico US Representative from the Third District Deb Haaland now Secretary of the Interior and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ, 3rd District) asked Pres. Joe Biden for a grant of clemency and the release of Peltier, a 77-year old tribal citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

This interested party believes Pres. Barack Obama fears  Peltier will be murdered by white nationalists if he’s released.
With a little help from Rio Arriba County sheriff's deputies, the first-ever prayer run for imprisoned American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier got underway around 9:30 a.m. last Saturday (April 16) in Velarde. Bobby Valdez, member of Laguna Pueblo and president of AIM Albuquerque GrassRoots, and Albuquerque chapter vice-president Deborah Jirón, an Isleta Pueblo member who also sits on the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, were among the American Indian Movement members who gathered in Velarde to lead the event. [Canyon runners pray for Peltier's release]
Peltier has six surviving children and his eldest son, Chauncey is co-founder of the Indigenous Rights Center in Albuquerque but lives in Portland, Oregon. Efforts led by the Democratic National Committee's Native American Caucus to convince the Biden White House to grant clemency are ongoing.

4/26/22

Video lootery still plaguing South Dakota: WalletHub


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?

Despite lies from the South Dakota Republican Party video lootery, suicide, 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. 

Matt Walz works for Keystone Treatment Center, the only inpatient gambling addiction treatment center in South Dakota and has been told the best place addicts can buy meth is at the bars with video lootery terminals. “'As for suicide,' Walz continued, 'compulsive gamblers have the highest rate of suicide than any other addiction.'” In 2020 the Rapid City Police Department took their complaints to the public because it was overwhelmed with crimes of opportunity driven by meth and gambling. Even the extreme white wing of the South Dakota Republican Party has called video lootery a "scourge."

Now, according to WalletHub, gambling has become a leading source of anguish and despair in my home state with few avenues for treatment. The state is tied for first in the number of casinos and machines and second in overall addiction to the poison.

The reasoning is hardly mysterious. It’s all about the money a too big to jail banking racket, a medical industry triopoly, prostitution, the Sturgis Rally, policing for profit, sex trafficking, hunting and subsidized grazing bring to the SDGOP destroying lives, depleting watersheds and smothering habitat under single-party rule.

Learn more at Bill Janklow's idea of public radio.

4/25/22

Passenger rail news coming in fits and starts

Eighteen Montana counties plus the Confederated Salish and Kootenai, Northern Cheyenne and Apsáalooke Nations have joined in the Big Sky Rail Authority's march towards the restoration of the North Coast Hiawatha. 

It's not currently in President Joe Biden's rail plan but if Amtrak and the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission connect the Chief at Pueblo or Trinidad, Colorado to the Empire Builder at Shelby, Montana through Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming it will intersect the North Coast Hiawatha at Laurel or Billings, Montana and serve the state capital in Helena.
The Front Range Passenger Rail District was created by legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2021, and tasked with “planning, designing, developing, financing, constructing, operating, and maintaining a passenger rail system” along the Interstate 25 corridor. Through a combination of federal grants and appropriations from the state Legislature, rail commissioners and staff at the Colorado Department of Transportation have secured funding for certain preliminary planning work expected to be completed between now and 2024. The Front Range rail proposal has long been identified as a top candidate for federal Amtrak funding. [Passenger rail board’s first meeting begins work on ‘rapidly’ bringing service to Front Range]
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express has cut fares, all one-way, day passes and monthly passes by 75% through the end of July as gasoline prices remain high.

4/24/22

BLM adds land outside Deadwood for 30x30 initiative



As an imperative to preserve public spaces the Biden administration has directed nearly $5 billion to steer the country on a path of protecting at least 30 percent of the occupied territory and 30 percent of adjoining ocean areas by 2030 (30x30). 

So, as part of the 30x30 Initiative the Bureau of Land Management has purchased about twenty acres of an old mining claim on unceded Lakota ground just outside the Deadwood city limits. The parcel abuts the Grizzly Gulch burn so visitors can drive up Terrace Street to a future trailhead. 

Horses and mountain bikes will be allowed but off highway vehicles and snowmobiles will still have to access Forest Service and BLM through Spruce Gulch. According to Chip Kimball at the BLM Field Office in Belle Fourche the City of Deadwood wouldn’t grant an easement compelling this acquisition. Black Hills Trails is developing a system of footpaths.

Most of the vegetation on the 274,000 surface acres of BLM in the South Dakota is prairie grassland or juniper woodlands but the trees at the Fort Meade Recreation Area are mostly ponderosa pine and bur oak. Around Lead and Deadwood pine and oak are mixed with spruce, birch, and quaking aspen. Much of the 2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire occurred on BLM ground.

The twenty year anniversary of that Black Hills Energy-caused wildfire is coming this July and watching it for 24 hours was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life. The heat was so intense whole trees were lifted then sent downwind for nearly a mile setting spot fires on Pillar Peak. Using Mt. Moriah as a gauge I estimated the flames rising to 800 feet above my vantage point near where The Lodge at Deadwood is today. Had the wind not switched and sent the fire toward Galena, it could have very quickly marched into Whitewood or Sturgis or both. 

One could almost reach up and touch the bellies of the slurry bombers after they deployed their cargo over south Deadwood at an elevation below me then flew over my position. 

In two hours during the following May I harvested over two hundred pounds of morels which carpeted the dozer lines and old skidder trails. A hard rain made another thousand pounds compost for what holds soil in place up there today.

In 2012 raspberries, serviceberries, aspen and oak were exploding into the hills where pine once infested those draws and buttes now Bighorn sheep seem to be doing well in the burn. The animals are proliferating and waiting to jump in front of the drunken bikers who attend the Sturgis Rally.

4/18/22

Another dinosaur fossil found in Indian Country

If dinosaur fossils are being excavated from unceded lands in Indian Country why aren't the proceeds from their sales being shared with Native Nations? 

Citing discovery on Indian trust ground a Republican politically motivated acting US Attorney for the District of South Dakota upended local control and seized a thunder lizard named Sue in 1992 from Pete Larson and the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in Hill City. 

A team led by Larson excavated and restored another Tyrannosaurus named Stan and creates replicas of what some call the world's second-finest T. rex fossil. Stan's fossilized bones were found by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison in the Hell Creek Formation near Buffalo, South Dakota in 1987. After a public feud and lawsuit the first Stan was awarded to Pete's brother, Neal who then teamed up with geologist Walter W. Stein Bill. In 2020 Stan sold for nearly $32 million to an anonymous buyer and today is in a museum in Abu Dhabi. 

A Triceratops fossil was unearthed from the Hell Creek Formation in 2015 and restored in Italy then sold for $7.7 million.

Pete Larson has since co-authored and published findings from a study of the effects the Chicxulub asteroid impact had on Laramidia after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction and on the Hell Creek Formation near Tanis, North Dakota.
The claim is the Tanis creatures were killed and entombed on the actual day a giant asteroid struck Earth. "We've got so many details with this site that tell us what happened moment by moment, it's almost like watching it play out in the movies. You look at the rock column, you look at the fossils there, and it brings you back to that day," says Robert DePalma, the University of Manchester, UK, graduate student who leads the Tanis dig. The big question is whether this dinosaur did actually die on the day the asteroid struck, as a direct result of the ensuing cataclysm. The Tanis team thinks it very likely did, given the limb's position in the dig sediments. [Tanis: Fossil of dinosaur killed in asteroid strike found, scientists claim]
Dragons have existed in literary mythology at least since Beowulf. A Texas fossil unearthed in 1971 and reported in a story on NPR before they archived on the Web, had me thinking about the dragon myth. Now scientists have constructed a reproduction of a creature named Quetzalcoatlus.

Learn more from the National Park Service.

4/17/22

Pueblos, tribes speed language preservation as colonizers fret CRT

Critical race theory unmasks American history. 

Republicans don't like Common Core history standards and have targeted critical race theory because the curricula long-ignored by textbooks includes genocide and the near-extermination of American Indians by European colonialism. Indigenous American intellectuals insist the updated standards are crucial to providing education to propel Native children beyond colonization. 

New Mexico endures multitudinous symbols of conquest and genocide.The Royal Road of the Interior that extended 1600 miles from Mexico City to Santa Fe was established some 400 years ago by Spanish Conquistador Juan de Oñate, infamous for the 1599 Acoma Massacre. Southeastern New Mexico is home to many descendants of the Confederacy.

Today, after consultations with stakeholders New Mexico's Public Education Department hopes to provide instruction that is relevant to English language learners and Indigenous students alike by adding ethnic, cultural and identity curricula to the state's social studies standards by emphasizing tribal sovereignty, social justice and sustainable futures. 

Laguna Pueblo citizen and former New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland is Secretary of the Interior with oversight of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and land repatriation as part of her wheelhouse. Her pueblo's dialect of Keres is Kawaika and Áakʼu is Acoma's.
Phillip Quintana arrived for his first day at a Head Start classroom to find the teacher delivering instructions he couldn’t understand. At 5 or 6 years old, Quintana knew only Keres, a language shared by seven pueblos in New Mexico, each with its own dialect. But a growing movement in New Mexico aims to revitalize the Indigenous languages that schools once tried to extinguish. The legislation – passed without a dissenting vote earlier this year – is set to boost the pay of educators certified to teach a Native American language. Brenda McKenna, a Democratic state senator from Corrales and member of Nambé Pueblo, has been working with her mother and linguists at UNM to build a dictionary of sorts to record the pueblo’s language: Nanbé’ Tewa. Quintana, the Cochiti governor, said the pueblo will never write its language down. The tribe’s dialect of Keres is passed down only through oral stories, incorporated into songs, dances and prayers. The importance of the language is difficult to express in English, Quintana said, but it connects community members to the land, provides a sense of belonging and promotes gratitude for their blessings. [‘It’s about cultural survival’
The Santa Fe School Board has submitted written comments in favor of adopting the curriculum despite New Mexico Republican Party falsehoods associating the standards with CRT. The extreme white wing of the Republican Party wants a not so civil war over CRT because oligarchs fear an admission of guilt implies liability and they will be compelled to pay reparations to Indigenous and to the descendants of enslaved people.
House Minority Whip Rod Montoya is encouraging New Mexico schools to defy new social studies standards. In a letter, he calls the standards a quote “poorly disguised effort to indoctrinate students with critical theory and critical race theory.” [State lawmaker asks New Mexico schools to defy social studies standards]
Despite its perennial defeat in South Dakota's racist legislature Lakota language immersion is flourishing in reservation schools and even in Rapid City.

Montana's constitution mandates Indigenous language and culture instruction.

Hollywood, broadcast radio and commercial teevee are to blame. Fake cowboys killing fake Indians with fake guns and fake bullets sanitized events like Acoma, Indian boarding schools, Wounded Knee and Juneteenth just so white people might forget about colonization then scholars mucked it up with critical race theory.

ip photo: a tiny dancer performs at the Santa Fe Indian Market. The centennial market is scheduled for 17-21 August.

4/13/22

Republicans, Thune join Democrats for socialism, ecocide

Koch is one of four corporations that control the production and sale of nitrogen-based fertilizer in the US. The others are Yara-USA, CF Industries and Nutrien so the Family Farm Action Alliance, a 501c3 non-profit group has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the avaricious rises in fertilizer prices. 

The United States gets much of its nitrogen fertilizer from Morocco, Belarus and the Persian Gulf but a Trump era tariff and Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico slowed the movement of product to markets up and down the Mississippi River. Nitrogen fertilizer is normally applied to subsidized corn then ends right back in the Gulf of Mexico where it kills whole ecosystems. 

Koch Industries has given loads of cash to Republicans like John Thune.
Corn-state lawmakers cheered the Biden administration’s decision Tuesday to allow the year-round sale of gasoline with up to 15 percent ethanol, while the head of a petrochemical trade group questioned the legality of the maneuver and environmentalists said it would increase ozone pollution. Congressional Republicans from the Midwest, including Sens. Roger Marshall of Kansas, John Thune of South Dakota and Joni Ernst of Iowa, also cheered the announcement. “The president is right to take this step, and I will continue to press for biofuels to play a significant role in a truly all-of-the-above energy strategy that can restore American energy independence,” Thune said. [Biden scores points in Midwest with ethanol announcement]
The Ogallala Aquifer, also called the Great Plains Aquifer, is being depleted at a far faster rate than its recharge flows and nearly all the groundwater sampled from it is contaminated with uranium and nitrates from industrial agriculture. Koch Industries' relationship with the late Republican Kansas Senator Bob Dole allowed the company to build an ecoterrorism empire.
In a recent telephone conversation, a southwest Kansas farmer casually noted that he had stopped growing irrigated corn some years back because “it cost too much.” Most years, he said, he had applied about 18 inches of water per acre to produce a 200-bushel crop. “That was about 2,500 gallons of water per bushel, and I just thought that was too much. So I went back to wheat and milo," he said. Or, in this case, use 10,000-year-old groundwater to grow a subsidized commodity crop in an increasingly arid region of the country to likely feed a meat animal or an ethanol plant. As public awareness of private water use grows, so does the pressure on how local, state and federal governments allocate today’s dwindling supplies. More importantly, because of agriculture’s overall thirst – 70% of water usage worldwide is sucked up by farming and ranching – agriculture is the biggest, fattest, slowest target in every effort or idea to reallocate it. [Alan Guebert: 2,500 gallons of water per bushel of irrigated corn is 'too much']
In 2021 Thune and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reintroduced the GREET Act, legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt the Argonne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model for ethanol and biodiesel.

Ethanol has only two thirds the energy density of gasoline or diesel and less than half of what natural gas contains but has an immensely larger carbon footprint. Nobody farms with gasoline powered equipment and ethanol is being grown with diesel fuel so how is that either conservative or sustainable?

Pulse crops like lentils, split peas, pintos, black beans and chickpeas or garbanzo beans are legumes that restore lost nitrogen to corn-damaged soils.

4/11/22

Native Nations Cannabis a model for Picuris Pueblo, others

The State of South Dakota receives revenue from the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe through a compact with the 423 member Isanti Dakota Oyate but disputes over cannabis, liquor and gaming have been ongoing for decades. 
The Santee Sioux weren’t interested in negotiating a compact with South Dakota. That’s because Native American tribes historically have an antagonistic relationship with that state government — the Keystone Pipeline fight is probably the most dramatic recent example of those tensions — and the tribe did not want to hand over any of its sovereign rights to tax and regulate their own businesses. [Tribes left behind by America's marijuana laws]
Meanwhile, the FSST’s dispensary is limiting patients to an eighth ounce of flower to avoid running out of product, constructing two additional cultivation facilities that will nearly triple its current production and tribal attorney, Seth Pearman says the pursuit of a compact with the state is ongoing.
The Flandreau tribe is currently working with dozens of others across the country and across South Dakota, with the goal of creating a network of Native Nations Cannabis. Native Nations Cannabis says their goal of making safe medical cannabis more accessible and affordable for patients is another reason their brand is growing so fast in the national cannabis industry. [Native Nations Cannabis creating national affiliates]
The Picuris and the Pojoaque Pueblos have entered agreements with State of New Mexico to market cannabis product outside tribal borders. Picuris has been battling with irrigators in the Mora Valley for water since 1820 when the first diversion from the Rio Pueblo de Taos, a tributary of the Rio Grande, became an acequia into the Mora, a tributary of the Canadian and Arkansas Rivers. 

Craig Quanchello is governor of the three hundred member Picuris Pueblo.
Quanchello explained that the Picuris are considering growing cannabis off tribal land — a solution that will offer them more protection from the federal government, but which may mean they cannot use their historic water rights, a hot commodity in New Mexico that is one of the few economic legs up that pueblos have in the state. [POLITICO]
Sales in New Mexico have gone over $10 million in just its first week of legal cannabis.
“If you were to come look at the forest area, it's dying… our traditional herbs, our traditional practices, our traditional ways are dying as a result of this water being diverted,” Quanchello said. He hopes the Office of the State Engineer and the U.S. Forest Service can help find a solution to restore water to Picuris. He said his community has tried sharing water with Mora, but those efforts have failed. “We tried sharing. We've been doing this for five years now. We're done sharing," he said. [Picuris governor talks the future of cannabis sales]
Members of the Yankton Sioux Tribe hope to have their dispensary, Indigenous Budz, ready to open in Lake Andes sometime this summer.

4/7/22

Nanny state Republicans want to reverse course on Montana's legal cannabis

A new year on the Gregorian calendar brought legal cannabis for all cash-paying adults over 21 in Montana. 

Purchased flower of no more than 35% THC plus edibles, tinctures, vaporizer cartridges, concentrates and topicals produced only in Montana are placed in reusable "exit bags” to prevent children and potentially triggered Republicans from seeing what's inside. Patients in the state's therapeutic cannabis program are exempt from the 100mg of THC cap in edibles. 

All product is tested in Montana-based labs for bacteria, mold, heavy metals, potency and other compounds. Rigs and CBD products purchased at the dispensaries can be manufactured outside of Montana and expungement of past cannabis offenses is being implemented slowly. Adults may grow two mature and two seedlings at home as long as they’re where Republicans can’t see or smell them.

Green counties tend to be in Democratic western Montana while red counties where sales are forbidden tend to be in the Republican east. 

Go figure. 

27 Montana counties have yet to legalize for all adults and Yellowstone County will even vote whether to reverse legalization in June despite sales there outpacing all other counties. So far in 2022 the State of Montana has generated some $10 million in revenue combined from patients in the therapeutic program and from other adults who enjoy cannabis. 

But, despite Republicans messing with the wills of voters the Apsáalooke Nation will wean itself from coal and move forward on building a cannabis industry.
Montana providers have sold $72.9 million in cannabis products, including both medical and recreational, since the start of 2022, according to figures released Wednesday by the Montana Department of Revenue. Recreational cannabis had its biggest month yet in March with nearly $15.9 million in sales. Medical sales came in at $9.8 million. [Montana cannabis sales outpacing projections, opposition targets conservative counties]
At the federal level the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement was passed by the US House on April 1 but Republicans in the Senate are expected to either kill it or amend it into oblivion.

Learn more at Montana Free Press.

4/5/22

BLM extends APR protest period as Kochs bring anti-Earth shill to Yankton


As an imperative to preserve public spaces the Biden administration has directed nearly $5 billion to steer the country on a path of protecting at least 30 percent of its land and 30 percent of its ocean areas by 2030 (30x30).

But Earth haters funded by the Koch and DeVos cabals through Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund and scattered in the American West are aiming to derail President Joe Biden's America the Beautiful Initiative. 

In January, Bowman County, North Dakota Sheriff Frank Eberle began rousing rabble after a local Farm Bureau attacked the initiative and a Texas group calling itself American Stewards of Liberty with ties to the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion has presented anti-Earth resolutions to a receptive Otero County, New Mexico Commission. Members of the San Juan County Commission are scheduled to hear two resolutions dealing with land use issues Tuesday night after watching Margaret Byfield's dog and pony show in March.
About 315,000 acres of southern New Mexico land owned by billionaire media tycoon Ted Turner were protected from development in a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and New Mexico Land Conservancy. The deal saw a conservation easement added to Armendaris Ranch, owned by Turner, due to perceived cultural significance and biological diversity on the land in Sierra and Socorro counties. [Ted Turner-owned land in southern New Mexico conserved in federal military deal]
American Prairie (APR) near Malta, Montana hopes to have 1,000 bison grazing on some three million acres of federal land owned by the Bureau of Land Management connected with corridors to a half million acres of private ground. During the last legislative session Montana Republicans tried to stifle free enterprise in a state where freedom is paramount and Realtors are capitalizing on racist paranoia amid Herr Trump’s calls for the End Times. 
Party officials contend American Prairie is a threat to traditional agriculture, the state’s largest industry. The BLM noted in its decision that it has, "also permitted bison on allotments in other areas of Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming," so American Prairie's request is not unusual. [GOP lawmakers ask BLM to extend comment period on bison grazing decision]
According to WNAX radio Margaret Byfield appeared in Yankton, South Dakota Monday night. Listen to her rant here.

Extremely critical grassland fire danger will affect nearly every Republican county on the High Plains from Mexico to Canada again today.

4/4/22

Republicans are balking at cheap bison grazing rates on public lands


If grazing cattle is the key to preventing wildfires why is ranch country still suffering from near daily high even extreme grassland fire danger indices? 

After calling nearly every Trump era ruling illegal Montana's Tracy Stone-Manning became Director of the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of Interior. 

American Prairie (APR) near Malta in north-central Montana got its first bison from Wind Cave in occupied South Dakota in 2005 and hopes to have 1,000 animals grazing on some three million acres of federal land owned by the Bureau of Land Management connected with corridors to a half million acres of private ground. A recent decision by the BLM allows for 7,969 animal unit months at $1.35 per AUM of permitted use with a 1:1 conversion from cattle to bison. 
Aside from the larger issue of the APR’s creation of a de facto nature reserve involving thousands of acres of public land, two main issues are intertwined in the bison grazing controversy. The first is the BLM’s decision to authorize grazing permits or leases for “privately owned or controlled indigenous animals” (including buffalo or bison) even when those animals are not used in production agriculture. The second is the BLM’s contention that the livestock industry’s view that the Taylor Grazing Act reserved BLM lands for production agriculture is a “misinterpretation” of the 1934 grazing law. That BLM has authorized a bison conservation herd under its livestock grazing permit authority remains a core issue, according to attorney Karen Budd-Falen, who pledged the livestock industry will appeal the BLM decision. [BLM Okays Prairie Reserve Bison Grazing]
That Republican welfare ranchers are angry about the ruling means it's the right thing to do.

In March Director Stone-Manning told a Republican livestock group the BLM is changing grazing rules to better protect habitat for the greater sage grouse.
The government watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) used BLM data to develop an interactive digital map that found 54 million acres of federal lands the bureau leased for livestock grazing failed land healthy standards for basic physical and biological factors (E&E News PM, March 14). While Stone-Manning did echo BLM’s comments earlier this month that the bureau “disagreed” with some of the conclusions in the PEER report, she acknowledged the backlog of environmental reviews on permit renewals, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. “The second study that was out there that talked about the stale NEPA on a bunch of our permits is true,” she said. “It is just not OK that everybody on this screen has permits, in some cases, that are 20 years old; it’s not OK.” [Stone-Manning: BLM sage grouse changes, grazing rule coming soon]
States are scrambling to preserve habitat for bison, wapiti, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, deer, the greater sage grouse and all the other wildlife at risk to the GOP but how are public pastures for feral horses and burros either conservative or sustainable?

The grassland fire danger index will reach the extreme category in much of Montana for the next three days.

Learn more at Yellowstone Public Radio.

4/1/22

Former NM Governor Gary Johnson surprised legalization took so long

Democratic then-Representative from New Mexico's First District, now-Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham worked with Republican-now-Libertarian former Gov. Gary Johnson to legalize cannabis for some patients but Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, signed it into law in 2007. 

Born in Minot, North Dakota Johnson also suffered through several Aberdeen, South Dakota winters as a kid. Both having fled the Republican Party Johnson and his running mate former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, campaigned in South Dakota during the tainted, likely illegitimate 2016 election. Weld talked in Spearditch as part of his whirlwind tour and Gov. Johnson did very well in Lawrence County - 7.9% was the best in the whole state. 

Having won 9.34% of the 2016 vote in New Mexico Johnson still enjoys pretty good support in the state and some analysts say Johnson's name on the ballot in Colorado won that state for Hillary Clinton. Confident Secretary Clinton would win New Mexico in 2016 Gary Johnson got my early vote for president at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds despite this blog's view he was out of his depth in 2016, often seemed poorly advised on current events and even lost in the weeds during the campaign. He has since told supporters he's finished with politics. 

These days Taos-based Johnson skis and rides his bike but says he no longer smokes.
Longtime legislator Mimi Stewart recalled it this way: “I think Johnson just seemed like a weirdo back then to all of us.” More than two decades later, as New Mexico prepares to begin retail sales of cannabis Friday, Johnson said he always knew legalization at the state level would require a long journey. In a 1999 legislative meeting, Senate Republican Leader L. Skip Vernon said Johnson “has had some bad ideas and this, frankly, is the worst one I’ve seen.” [Albuquerque Journal]
In January, Dope King and owner of Ultra Health, Duke Rodriguez, told the the Albuquerque Business Journal he wants to control 40-60% of all cannabis sales in New Mexico. 

Today, my home state of South Dakota just hired Big Dope to track the still iffy therapeutic cannabis industry as New Mexico and two Pueblos enter a compact. Compacts are critical to tribal communities to operate any cannabis enterprise outside reservation borders at least until legalization happens in Congress.

3/30/22

Today's intersection: predatory capitalism and the human trophic level

The food web starts at level one so the more meat an organism eats the higher the trophic level and top (apex) predators are at 4 or at 5 where birds of prey reign.

So, about the "management" of apex predators: why is cougar and wolf slaughter the only answer to curbing marauding livestock killers while predatory Bayer Crop Science, Koch Industries, et al. are allowed free range?
Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level. In this situation, by controlling densities and/or behavior of their prey, predators indirectly benefit and increase the abundance of their prey's prey. Trophic cascades are powerful interactions that strongly regulate biodiversity and ecosystem function. Trophic cascades were originally thought to be rare, but now we understand that they occur across diverse terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and are common features of many green plant communities, including vascular plant assemblages, long thought to be resistant to consumer control. Although we know that trophic cascades can be more powerful under certain conditions, for example climate stress and nutrient enrichment in salt marshes, much research is needed in this area to refine our understanding of when and where trophic cascades will be important. [Nature]
If the free market is such a cool deal, why aren’t cougars and wolves protected instead of slaughtered en masse?
Elaine Brice and Dan MacNulty, from Utah State University’s Department of Wildland Resources and Ecology Center, and Eric Larsen, from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point’s Department of Geography and Geology, outlined their research in the Nov. 8 publication of Ecology Letters. At its core, the research questions the methodology used to measure aspen for the earlier research, saying the choice of which trees to include skewed the study. One of the problems of relying on only the tallest young aspen trees is that elk are very discerning about which aspen they eat. Using a random sample, the researchers still found evidence of a trophic cascade. Wolves aren’t the only predators of elk. From 1995-2002, the late cow elk hunt near Gardiner, just outside Yellowstone’s northern border, removed between 940 and 2,465 elk a year. [Billings Gazette]
Coyotes are mesopredators and will eat anything yet Citibank is too big to fail.
Large carnivores have been frequently extirpated from many ecosystems worldwide as consequence of human persecution or the loss of their habitats and food resources. However, a rewilding process is leading to the recovery of their distribution ranges. Apex predators are at the top of trophic chains and can lead to the so called, top-down effects, this is the modification on the abundance and behaviour of species from lower trophic levels, critically influencing ecosystem structure and functions, what is known as a ‘trophic cascade’. [Journal of the British Ecological Society]
Humans tampering with the ecosystem has resulted in a trophic cascade where the slaughter of cougars, wolves and other apex predators has allowed mesopredators like coyotes and bobcats to flourish only to depress grouse numbers.
Every year, John Formby spends weeks flying in a plane above New Mexico’s forests, looking for trees with signs of insect damage and stress from heat and drought. The state forest health specialist’s latest report shows damaged forests increased by about 240,000 acres in 2021. “I fear that over the next few years, we may start getting into some dire circumstances as far as piñon and ponderosa go,” Formby said. [Albuquerque Journal]
Global warming has been accelerating since humans began setting fires to clear habitat, as a weapon or just for amusement. Evidence that we humans have eaten or burned ourselves out of habitats creating catastrophes behind us is strewn throughout the North American continent. 
Allowing Mexican gray wolves to inhabit north-central New Mexico would help restore genetic diversity to the Mexican population, all 186 known members of which in the United States are descended from just seven wolves rescued when the subspecies was on the brink of extinction in the late 1970s. The Fish and Wildlife Service said it’s too soon to know how the two programs in New Mexico and Colorado might interact and cooperate moving forward. [Taos News]
The Anthropocene is a trophic cascade, humans have altered and continue to alter every food web and the Trump Organization distorted the science to appease Republican ranchers.
“We’ve known for some time that bison don’t spend as much time in wetland areas as cattle do, but what we didn’t understand was how this difference was going to influence biodiversity. When we looked at areas where bison were reintroduced, and compared them to similar areas with cattle, we found that the vegetation along small streams changed in ways that are associated with more diverse bird communities and increased use of these areas by native ungulates like white-tailed deer. Bison reintroduction is resulting in healthier more biodiverse riparian environments, which is great news for tons of other prairie species.” [American Association for the Advancement of Science]
Reproduction is the reason; food is the fuel. "Modern society" is a product of the forbidden fruit--agriculture.


Is a human trophic level just the larder for a pack of predatory oligarchs who feed on miserable and quarrelsome superconsumers? 


It’s no secret that capitalists want to manipulate the food web and its supply chain but maybe they have some natural enemies after all.