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 raid on 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.


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.


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.


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.
Here are some facts few know. We have 1,324 video lottery “casinos” in South Dakota. In every town and almost every C-store, they are unavoidable and far too convenient. On average, each one took $87,000 out of the local economy last year and sent it to Pierre. That’s money that if left in our towns would have bought groceries and paid rent, or purchased clothing, appliances, pizza or anything else. South Dakotans lose $630,000 per day playing video lottery! We have an estimated 19,000 problem gamblers in South Dakota, and economists say each one costs the state over $15,000/year. Combined, that’s $285 million in cost and almost three times the revenue the state gets from it. Financially, video lottery is a business we can’t afford to keep. [SD Representative John Mills (R-D4)]
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.


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.


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 district 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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.