Plea for executive clemency for POW Peltier being heard

The United States' longest war wasn't in Afghanistan; it was against Indigenous Americans and ran from about 1785 to at least 1973. Leonard Peltier is a prisoner of that 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. 

Leonard Peltier is guilty of far, far lesser offenses.

After being convicted in 1977 then sentenced to two life terms for being present at the killing of 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 78-year old tribal citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Our Lady of the Arroyo and her man watched Thunderheart again last night; it's a film that reminds viewers just how fucked up the American justice system and the Federal Bureau of Investigation can be. This interested party believes Pres. Barack Obama feared Peltier would be murdered by white nationalists if he’s released.
As far back as 1886, in US v Kagama, the Supreme Court noted that the state in which they reside is the “deadliest enemy” a tribe has. It is unlikely the justices would have made mention of this in a noted decision were it not an inherently relevant aspect of any tribe’s relationship to a state. An attempt was made by the state of South Dakota in 1964 to pass a referendum that would have established state jurisdiction within reservation boundaries but when the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled the state would have to assume all jurisdictional responsibility, not just police the roads, the tribal sovereignty-hostile proponents of the state-wide referendum had to scramble like mad to defeat their own referendum, which they did. [Creeping jurisdiction is a real threat to Indian Country]
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.
But Peltier is not in prison for murder. The government could not justify a murder case, so it switched gears and today Leonard Peltier is Inmate #89637-132 serving at the United States Penitentiary, Coleman, in central Florida, on charges of “aiding and abetting” the murder of federal officers, plus a seven-year sentence for an escape attempt. Indeed Peltier has already served a longer sentence than most principals in murder convictions. There is no way to look at the evidence and come away with any conclusion other than Peltier is being punished for crimes that could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. [Mark Trahant, Leonard Peltier's 46 years in prison: ‘What else do you want?’]


State legislatures still hiding predator priests

For decades, yea centuries, survivors of abuse from Roman Catholic clergy have been silenced by a sweeping conspiracy in the hierarchy.
In 33 states, clergy are exempt from any laws requiring professionals such as teachers, physicians and psychotherapists to report information about alleged child sexual abuse to police or child welfare officials if the church deems the information privileged. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not immediately return a request for comment about its campaigns against state bills seeking to do away with the clergy-penitent privilege. [Associated Press, Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting]
So, it's not like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (NAZI- GA) is always wrong about groomers.
“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 is 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 since the law was enacted.

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.
Since then, there have been several bills introduced in the New Mexico Legislature aimed at clarifying language in the reporting law. Only one would have eliminated the clergy-penitent privilege. It died in committee. “We have repeatedly asked the Legislature to strengthen reporting requirements in schools and religious institutions,” state Attorney General Hector Balderas told the AP. He said unreported child abuse is a major problem “resulting in tremendous amounts of trauma.” [AP]
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.
A priest stood up and asked Ed Gavagan how he found hope after all that he’s endured. As a room full of Catholic clergy looked on, Ed told the priest that he had none. None at all. Gavagan had been trying to get his alleged abuser, retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart, to be held accountable for 20 years. Because Wyoming has no statute of limitations, Hart could still be prosecuted, even though the allegations were decades old. [Bishop Hart accuser discusses abuse with clergy at Wyoming film screenings]
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.


Rewild the West First! Dave Foreman walks on

This blog was established in 2010 as a vehicle for rewilding the American West.
If Democrats wanted to bring teaching moments to young people disheartened by powerlessness in the political process, bringing a flash mob to disrupt traffic during rush hour or to the end of a shift at an arms manufacturer or like EarthFirst! plans for megaloads destined for the ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings or at the Montana-Dakota generating plant in Rapid City, anyplace where younger voters could have their consciousness raised about how the consequences of capitalism impact the Earth, maybe we could make sure they are registered to vote. [interested party, 2011]
The following month a protest at the Montana Capitol in Helena was the culmination of an Earth First! rally near the Montana/Idaho border in the Lolo National Forest. Gov. Brian Schweitzer met with some seventy protesters who occupied his office and demanded he renounce his support for a new pipeline project.
Dave Foreman put words like biodiversity and extinction on the map. The former Tucsonan launched two groundbreaking environmental movements: the radicalism, civil disobedience and “monkeywrenching” of Earth First in the 1980s, and the “rewilding” movement to protect massive blocks of nature for wildlife in the decades since then. Foreman died in his Albuquerque home after a several-months battle with a lung illness. In the late 1980s, while living in Tucson, he faced federal felony charges and a high-profile prosecution that he led a plot to destroy power lines and damage nuclear power plants — charges leading to a plea deal that ultimately left only a misdemeanor conviction on his record. First exposed to the wild as a Boy Scout, Foreman earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico as a history major. In college in 1964, he supported arch-conservative Barry Goldwater for president and formed a UNM chapter of the conservative Young Americans Freedom. He joined the Marines after graduating during the Vietnam War, but was dishonorably discharged after a couple of months for going AWOL. ['Eco-warrior,' former Tucsonan Dave Foreman dies at 75]
Urban sprawl, accelerated global warming and drought are reducing productivity on the remaining grasslands of the High Plains and Mountain West so if some Republicans are angry about rewilding means it's the right thing to do.
There's no doubt that Earth First! has a reputation, deserved or not, for violence, but can the smiling, articulate man now sitting in a hotel coffee shop in Tucson really be dangerous? "A human life has no more intrinsic value than an individual grizzly bear life. If it came down to a confrontation between a grizzly and a friend, I'm not sure whose side I would be on. But I do know humans are a disease, a cancer on nature. And I also know I am far more interested in the plight of the spotted owl than I am in a logger in Oregon. I have a problem with glorifying the downtrodden worker." [Protector or Provocateur?]


'Significant nexus' focus of SCOTUS WOTUS test

Throughout its history the US Army Corps of Engineers has had purview over water that flows into bodies that can support navigation and in 2014, through the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama White House moved to identify more closely the sources of non-point pollution. Despite a judge's ruling EPA went forward with a new federal rule protecting small streams, tributaries and wetlands.  

Waters of the United States or WOTUS legislation seeks to give authority to EPA and the Corps to use some teeth to enforce the rights of people downstream to have clean water. But Republicans and their toadies cry government overreach while WOTUS architects regroup for another round in Congress. Sackett v. EPA is in the Supreme Court spotlight in a test of the authority of the agency to regulate wetland protection. 

So, fifteen Earth haters in the US House of Representatives want lawmakers to wait on new Clean Water legislation in anticipation that a Trump-packed Supreme Court of the United States will reverse environmental protection for a majority of American citizens and enable the corporatocracy to pollute at will.
In particular, the Sacketts have asked the Supreme Court to consider whether the so-called "significant nexus" test is the right method used when it comes to wetlands. Significant nexus is established if there is a connection to a downstream waters of the U.S. and if an area in question has an effect on the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of traditional navigable water. [House Members Seek WOTUS Rule Delay]
In a related story the Corps has delayed releases downstream from the Fort Peck Dam in Montana because of expected snowpack deficits.


IHS moves to recover from Trump era ethnic cleansing

Hey Democrats, most Native Americans don’t want Medicare for All; they want a fully funded Indian Health Service.
Roselyn Tso takes over as IHS director after leading the agency’s operations on her own Navajo Nation. Life expectancy for Native people fell by more than six years from 2019 to 2021, the biggest drop found by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s now 65 years old. The U.S. average is 76. Without a full-time IHS leader, tribal nations and other Native health care providers struggled to raise and address the issues they were facing amid the pandemic, the National Council of Urban Indian Health said in a statement. [After 609 days, the Indian Health Service has a new leader]
Adjusted for age and population Trump killed many more American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) per capita than he did whites.
For every 100,000 in the population, 737 AIAN people have died of COVID-19 versus 105 whites. [Brookings]
Starting in New York Donald Trump targeted the Mohawk and Oneida Nations for annihilation then his Tulsa trip and his campaign rally in occupied South Dakota spread disease throughout Native America. Trump even killed the White House Tribal Nations Summit because he loathes Indigenous Americans and he committed crimes against humanity throughout Indian Country not only by slow-walking resources to reservations during a pandemic but by undercounting Indigenous populations during the 2020 Census. Trump’s erasure of protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments was cruel retribution targeting Indigenous peoples.

It’s called ethnic cleansing even genocide elsewhere but in Trump’s America it’s called MAGA. 

There is a growing movement among Democrats and others to fund Medicare for all but I like the idea of rolling the funding for Obamacare, TRICARE, Medicare, the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Health Administration together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax.


South Dakota admits defeat in mussel melee

After massive failures of the legislature and state agencies the Republican-controlled South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder is throwing up its hands on zebra mussels.

Endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish and most other aquatic organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury throughout the South Dakota portion of the Missouri River so as those species are extirpated or even go extinct zebra mussels have colonized most of the system. Lewis and Clark Lake is at least thirty percent full of toxic sediment but that impoundment and Lake Sharpe can’t spend money fast enough to reverse the infestation of the imported bivalves in hydroelectric equipment and water courses.

Diving ducks like the Canvasback, Redhead, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup and the Common Goldeneye feed on the invasive mussels that have been plaguing the mainstem dams in the Missouri River since at least 2004 but they're part of over a hundred species at risk to the South Dakota Republican Party. To prop up the pheasant industry the state's Republican governor put bounties on raccoons and skunks also known to feed on the prolific invaders.
“What we do know right now is we cannot stop the spread of zebra mussels,” Tom Kirschenmann said. Zebra mussels have been increasingly found in South Dakota in the past few years, from Pactola Reservoir in the southwest; to the lower two-thirds of the Missouri River system in the central and southeast regions; to a variety of northeastern lakes including Kampeska, Cochrane, Pickerel, Blue Dog and most recently Enemy Swim. [No way to remove zebra mussels: SDGFP official]
The death of the Missouri River ecosystem in South Dakota began with the European invasion, was accelerated by the Homestake Mining Company and sealed with the construction of the mainstem dams. Today, the Corps has cancelled Spring Pulses on the Missouri River not because of low flows but because the silt is so poisonous it would kill the very species it says it's trying to preserve. 

Nearly a century of residue from 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.

Zebra mussels are showing up in Montana and Colorado, too.

Photo: Caleb Gilkerson.


Gila National Forest at risk to Canadian miners

The US Forest Service is often powerless to stop the extractive industry from permanently altering sensitive watersheds because of the General Mining Law of 1872. Repeal or even reform of the 1872 statute has been thwarted repeatedly by the earth hating Republican Party. 

Surface mines in SE Arizona owned by Morenci and Miami are despoiling watersheds and reducing entire mountain ranges to piles of waste rock. Silver City, New Mexico became a quieter town after strip mines there came to a grinding halt during the Trump slump and just like during the last Great Depression Democrats led the way to financial help for workers. 

But, about seventy five miles northwest of Silver City another Canadian miner wants to plunder Mexican spotted owl habitat within the Gila National Forest in the Mogollon mining district—named for a military officer appointed governor by the Spanish crown.
William Tooahyaysay Bradford serves as Ikegee Nant’an, or vice chief, and beh goz ani, or attorney general, for the Chiricahua Apache Nation. He said his people have been fighting against mining since the 1700s when the Spanish brought it to the area. Additionally, opponents to Summa Silver’s plan point to the proximity of the mining claims to the nation’s oldest designated wilderness area—the Gila Wilderness. Bradford said the Chiricahua creation story centers the area where the mining claim is located. It was there, he said, that coyote, a trickster and joker, created perpetual darkness. [Advocates say new mining claim near Mogollon threatens ecosystem and sacred sites]


Falangists R Us: the march to uncivil war

Class struggle was the root of the Spanish Civil War fought between 1936 and 1939 but at that time Republicans were part of the academic and social justice wing fighting for democracy while the Nationalists were religious conservatives and Falangists led by a military junta with Generalissimo Francisco Franco serving as field marshal. Translated as the Spanish Phalanx of the Councils of the National Syndicalist Offensive, the Falangists represented mostly Roman Catholic integralists rooted in Spain's religious identity and many consider the conflict a prelude to World War II

As a youngster this interested party lived in Spain for three and a half years toward the end of Franco's reign as the US military propped him up with B-52s and other armaments.

Today, the goal of the New Apostolic Reformation, cult member Ginni Thomas, the Council for National Policy and others in the Republican Party is to use the packed Supreme Court of the United States to undo constitutional rights. 

Dominion theology proposes that christians must control the seven “mountains” of government, education, media, arts and entertainment, religion, family, and business in order to establish a global christian theocracy and prepare the world for Jesus’ return and they know Donald Trump is the anti-christ.

Influenced by the theosophists, the Klan, John Birch Society, the TEA movement and now by the extreme white wing of the Republican Party Falangist crusaders are rousing the rabble again.

It seems important to add that until Justice Clarence Thomas’ tenure the late Justice Antonin Scalia had been the longest serving member of the Court, resided in McLean, Virginia, and was a devout, traditionalist Catholic uncomfortable with the changes in the Church caused by Vatican II. Scalia prefered the Latin Mass and drove long distances to parishes which he felt were more in accord with his beliefs.

Buoyed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and General Michael Flynn are modern Falangists financed by the John Birch Society. Many catholic schools are in the Hillsdale bubble because the curriculum ignores the church’s role in the Native American Genocide because Opus Dei is a cult of Fascists.
When the AP and FRONTLINE asked Flynn in February if he is ascribes to Christian nationalist views, he dodged. He first asked what the term meant, then said he was “an Irish Catholic” then a “follower of Jesus,” before criticizing the reporter: “That was a stupid question to ask me,” he said, “because that means that you really have not studied Mike Flynn.” [Michael Flynn: From Government Insider to Holy Warrior]


Furnish: fuel treatments on Jasper Fire were ineffective

Ponderosa pine only reached the Black Hills less than four thousand years ago yet spurred by the Neimans the Black Hills National Forest is still planting it in the Jasper Fire area. Smoke and haze from wildfires burning farther to the west made conditions for photography less than optimal but in August, 2015 I captured some eighty images of returning native greenery especially Populus tremuloides in the 2000 burn scar north and west of Jewel Cave National Monument. 

So, Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is correct when she said the Black Hills National Forest has been poorly managed. I maintain that has been happening since 1899 and Forest Service Case Number One. A century and a half of domestic livestock grazing and care less land management practices created an unnatural overstory best controlled by the mountain pine beetle, prescribed fires and periodic wildfires. Native Douglas fir and lodgepole pine are virtually extirpated from the Hills but the BHNF is trying to restore native limber pine (Pinus flexilis) in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.

Jim Furnish was deputy chief of the US Forest Service from 1999 to 2002.
Notably, the burned terrain exemplifies what we consider the best way to fire proof a forest. This mature forest of small sawtimber had been previously thinned to create an open stand intended to limit the likelihood of a crown fire. Yet, the fire crowned anyway and raced across the land at great speed, defying control efforts. Much of the area remains barren 20 years later, while the Forest Service slowly replants the area. I cite this example, because it represents precisely what agencies posit as the solution to our current crisis: 1) aggressively reduce fuel loading through forest thinning on a massive scale of tens of millions of acres (at a cost of several $billion), while trying to 2) come up with sensible answers about how to utilize woody material that has little or no economic value; and 3) rapidly expanding the use of prescribed fire to reduce fire severity. These solutions are predicated on the highly unlikely (less than 1%) probability that fire will occur exactly where preemptive treatments occurred before their benefits expire. These treatments are not durable over time and space, and only work if weather conditions are favorable, and fire fighters are present to extinguish the blaze. We need new thinking and new approaches that see fire management in context with climate change, forest carbon sequestration and storage, biodiversity, clean water and good air quality. [Response to “Commentary: Counteracting Wildfire Misinformation, by Jones et al 2022”]
Every forest in the National Forest System is different so single-minded approaches are not only ineffective, they're dangerous.


Falling behind in emissions goals Colorado probes geothermal power generation

Last year the US Department of Energy awarded $12 million to seven projects intended to accelerate development of geothermal potential including $2 million to the University of New Mexico and $1.5 million to Montana State University. Geothermal mining has been a topic of keen interest in Montana for decades where radioactive decay heats groundwater.

Colorado could even tap orphaned oil and gas wells to supply hot water for electricity generation according to KUNC especially now that the state is falling behind on its own self-imposed emissions-reducing mandates.
Earlier this summer, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat who chairs the 22-member Western Governors’ Association, announced the group would be launching an initiative to explore expansion of the “underdeveloped” resource. The association will study permitting challenges, workforce issues, markets and mapping, among other factors. “[Wind and solar] will likely continue to be the biggest workhorses of powering the grid, but we see a role for low-cost geothermal electric as part of that baseload solution as we phase out coal and natural gas,” Polis said in an interview. “There’s no doubt in my mind that it will play a significant role in the energy future of the West.” [Geothermal Bubbles Up as Another Way to Fight Climate Change]
In 2021 the Bureau of Land Management sold a geothermal lease in Hidalgo County, New Mexico despite a 2016 blowout near a $43 million geothermal electricity plant erected by Cyrq Energy in 2013 when Republican Susana Martinez was governor. Cyrq Energy has four working geothermal projects including Lightning Dock Geothermal Power Plant near Animas. It's a 15.3 MW binary geothermal plant with two production wells and 7 injection wells that sells power to Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) with firm baseload power.
Conceptually, hot dry rock (HDR) heat mining is quite simple. As demonstrated at the Los Alamos Fenton Hill site (above, right) HDR system is operated by circulating water through the engineered reservoirs at a pressure somewhat less than that used during its creation. Under these conditions the overall volume of the engineered reservoir is relatively stable. In the closed-loop operation, the injection pump, working like the human heart, provides the entire motive force for the circulation. Nothing except a small amount of waste heat is released to the environment. [Los Alamos National Laboratory]
Naming a dark matter lab 5000 feet below Lead after a lecherous, usurious Republican billionaire sticks in plenty of craws in South Dakota yet real science is getting done there. The Homestake Mine represents 8000 feet closer to the geothermal potential capable of powering much of the region. New Mexico's Sandia Labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory, South Dakota School of Mines and others are collaborating on exploring that potentially limitless resource.


RC Central grad who was Noem intern turned away at UNM

After students of color holding tickets were denied entry to an event sponsored by an extreme white wing group Rapid City Central graduate and Republican former intern for then-US Representative Kristi Noem, Tomi Lahren was driven from the University of New Mexico Student Union Building’s Ballroom B. Lahren is a white supremacist who was booked to speak on the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month at a predominantly Hispanic-serving institution in a state where the hate group New Mexico Civil Guard abandoned lawful protest and started shooting protesters. 

UNM schedulers expected protests but booked Lahren anyway even knowing the decision would be seen as normalizing hate speech.
Students at the event, including speaker Juile Bettencourt, said that they will continue to protest at Turning Point-hosted events on campus and their presence at UNM. [Students of color denied entry at Turning Point event at UNM]
In 2019 sleepy Vermillion became ground zero for Donald Trump's war on America in South Dakota.


As BLM builds western directorate Earth haters turn on Director Stone-Manning

Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning has called nearly every Trump era ruling illegal including its failure to manage mustangs safely while blows to morale and an exodus of employees have contributed to horse mortalities during gathers. So, a year ago Interior Secretary Deb Haaland released the outline for a restructured BLM promising to return its main headquarters to DC while increasing its role in the Mountain West by improving a demoralized Grand Junction, Colorado presence.
Stone-Manning said the Grand Junction office will include a new Senior Executive Service position who will work closely with her and other top-level BLM staff as a liaison in the West “to ensure we are meeting our commitment to capitalize on the benefits of having leadership in the West that can engage frequently with stakeholders and reinforce the Western, on-the-ground perspective as a part of agency decision-making.” Stone-Manning previously has said the BLM’s National Conservation Lands and Community Partnerships assistant director and deputy assistant director positions will anchor the western headquarters. Her email this week said that divisions of that “directorate” are currently scattered around the West, with positions in Grand Junction; Salt Lake City; Reno, Nev.; and Santa Fe. [BLM chief outlines role for western headquarters staffed 'to full capacity']
In 2002 Tracy Stone-Manning lectured on the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act or NREPA at the University of Montana where she earned her Masters of Science in Environmental Studies. In 2007 she became an aide to Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) then ran the state’s Department of Environmental Quality and in 2014 she became chief of staff for Montana Governor Steve Bullock. As Director of the Clark Fork Coalition she guided dam removal and river cleanup and has been co-chair of Missoula's Open Space, Rivers and Farmland. 

But after first supporting her confirmation as BLM Director Montana's Earth hating At-large US Representative Matt Rosendale, now running for a newly created second congressional district and home to American Prairie, flipped and gaslighted a House committee citing Stone-Manning's role in a 1989 tree spiking incident.
It’s very unlikely Stone-Manning would have been considered for BLM director without her tenure as Montana’s top environmental regulator, which Rosendale approved. [Rosendale blasts BLM director as 'eco terrorist']
Earlier this year Director Stone-Manning spoke to David McCumber with Lee Newspapers of Montana telling him, "[w]e don't manage culture, we manage landscape outcomes." 

Yes, Montana's Earth haters are wielding the power of government to stifle free enterprise in a state where freedom used to be paramount. Realtors in Montana are even capitalizing on racist paranoia amid Donald Trump’s calls for the End Times. But, Republicans aren't just fearful of government overreach; they're frightened public lands will be remanded to the First Nations.


Santa Fe County short-term rental ordinance likely doomed as written

About eighty people attended the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners first meeting opened for public comment on a proposed ordinance that seeks to license and regulate short-term rentals. Our attendance represented a tiny fraction of property owners in the county who rent for fewer than thirty days at a time. Among the complaints are frustrations with absentee corporate owners who buy up properties only to lease to sometimes rowdy short-term renters as Santa Fe County sees exponential population growth. 

We list our remote grid-free casita at Airbnb and could be subject to a $375 inspection fee and $300 annually ostensibly to cover upkeep on county roads and relieve pressure on water supplies. I maintain our public road through private property for about four miles and monitor our wells and septic systems. 

Airbnb passes the gross receipts and lodging taxes to our guests but gouges them with additional charges often driving the cost of staying at our place beyond the reaches of many although their fees held from us include a generous liability package.

This interested party spoke from the audience last, thanked the Board and added another voice to those whose livelihoods would be adversely affected or even eliminated if the ordinance is adopted. A majority of commissioners said it will be rewritten with a focus on density and consideration for those of us who are self-reliant. 

The hotel/motel associations are undoubtedly peeved about increased competition and less regulation so definitions demand refinement.

Another hearing is scheduled for 27 September.


Wyoming poised to be rare earth sacrifice zone

Ores containing lithium are hideously carbon intensive to mine and the General Mining Law of 1872 allows foreign companies to exploit public lands instead of sharing the pecuniary rewards with landowners. But some decommissioned coal fired power plants are being remediated in part by harvesting needed minerals from coal waste. 

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

Without further permitting from the Forest Service Europe’s GA Umwelt-und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH (UIT) proposed to use a $22 million award from the US Department of Energy to move rare earth oxides mined in 2015 and stored in tanks near Sundance. A demonstration-scale separation and processing plant is expected to cost $35-40 million and a site in Upton, Wyoming near the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) was confirmed in 2021 as the location for the facility.
The company, a U.S. subsidiary of Australian exploration company American Rare Earths, acquired Halleck Creek a little over a year ago. It figured, from surface data, that the deposit’s roughly 350 million metric tons of mineralized rock contained up to a million metric tons of rare earths. If all goes to plan, the very high concentration of rare earths and very low levels of radiation could enable Western Rare Earths to secure fewer permits, take fewer precautions and process smaller volumes of rock compared with many of its competitors. [Rare opportunity: Albany County rare earth deposit shows promise]


'Cropaganda' driving eminent domain, corporate greenwashing

Most of the corn grown in the US is fed to domestic livestock but a third of it will be processed for ethanol this year and subsidies of up to $700 an acre are the incentives to plant even more next year. 20 of Iowa's 99 counties are devoted exclusively to food that is ultimately burned for automobile fuel.

In Iowa voluntary buffer strips and other conservation practices have simply failed desertifying parts of the state and causing the Raccoon River to be named one of the most endangered waterways in the United Snakes so Summit Carbon Solutions wants to dig a $4.5 billion pipeline that would rip up over two thousand miles of unceded tribal lands where thousands of Indigenous Americans are buried. According to Iowa State University some land impacted by pipelines never recovers from the disturbance. 
But that’s exactly what the co-hosts of the Iowa-based podcast, "We All Want Clean Water," offered in the first episode of their second season. According to the three, cropaganda marries old fashioned farm mythmaking to modern farm advocacy in Big Ag’s effort to maintain the status quo. [A no-ethanol future doesn’t mean a no-profit future: Alan Guebert]
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. Few farm with gasoline powered equipment and ethanol is being grown with diesel fuel so how is that either conservative or sustainable

At post time Summit had yet to file for permits in North Dakota.
Among those fired up in South Dakota is Dennis Wolf, who farms in McPherson County. He has been put off by what he says are "bullying tactics" by Summit. In letters to South Dakota landowners dated June 4, 2022, Summit references state law 21-35-31, which gives entities seeking a pipeline permit access to property to survey it, even if the property owners have refused access. But in McPherson County in northern South Dakota, Sheriff Dave Ackerman said his office has been called about a half-a-dozen times by landowners wanting Summit survey crews to leave. [Landowners facing lawsuits over surveyor access for Summit Carbon pipeline in North Dakota, South Dakota]
Industrial agriculture is ecocide and for those of us who love the Earth shucks like Summit’s are subsidized corporate greenwashing but ironically many Republicans actually benefitting from reduced greenhouse emissions decry them as caving to the Green New Deal.


Wyoming latest state to consider ICWA provisions

In November the Supreme Court of the United States will hear Brackeen v. Haaland to determine whether the Indian Child Welfare Act or ICWA violates the constitution by considering placement of Indigenous children solely based on race. Tribal nations are recognized by the federal government as political sovereigns, not a racial group.
New Mexico has joined nine other states in enacting their own version of the Indian Child Welfare Act, a national policy that aims to keep Native American children with their families and communities. New Mexico’s new law even gives Indigenous nations the opportunity to take jurisdiction over cases and investigate through the tribal court system. “We’ve seen states slowly chip away at tribal sovereignty, through gaming compacts, land rights issues,” said Micha Bitsinnie, policy fellow for Bold Futures, who advocated for the act. [The platinum standard of the Indian Child Welfare Act]
According to attorney Kate Fort ICWA is constitutional so it's not impossible Justice Neil Gorsuch will side with the sane members of the Court like he did in McGirt v. Oklahoma.
During the Select Committee on Tribal Relations interim committee meeting on Aug. 29 Clare Johnson, lawyer for the Northern Arapaho, explained the importance of the federal law to tribes in Wyoming, noting she was dealing with 62 child welfare cases at the time of the hearing. [With Indian Child Welfare Act at risk, Wyoming lawmakers mull action]
Republican former South Dakota Governors Daugaard and Rounds and Attorney General Marty Jackley covered up their state's abuses. In 2011 NPR took on the Daugaard Duck Dynasty in a three part exposé. Pennington County's behavior has been called shocking and Democratic former US Senator James Abourezk even urged the federal government to sue the State of South Dakota after the Guardian published a long piece on the plight of thousands of American Indian children seized by the South Dakota Department of Social Services.


Racism still alive 145 years after the assassination of Crazy Horse

A little house breaks on the prairie near US 212 just east of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana

The Fort Robinson monument in Nebraska commemorating Crazy Horse is inlaid with precisely cut slabs of red catlinite.
Around midnight on this date in 1877, Oglala war chief and spiritual leader Crazy Horse was killed by a soldier's bayonet after attempting to avoid arrest at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. A year after leading Lakota and Cheyenne forces in a decisive victory over Gen. Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse had surrendered to U.S. troops in order to aid his cold and hungry people. Crazy Horse resided in a village near the Red Cloud Agency, but escalating tension between he and the U.S. soldiers made him the object of distrust from many of the officers. On this date, Crazy Horse was turned over to guards. Suspecting that arrest was imminent, the 37-year-old Indian struggled to escape. In the subsequent melee, most eyewitnesses agree he was stabbed by a soldier. He died later that night, and his place of burial is still a mystery. [South Dakota Magazine]
During the Battle of Greasy Grass on the banks of the Little Bighorn River in Montana George Custer attacked the encampment where the elderly, women and children were hidden and during the Washita Massacre he held a similar contingent as hostages and human shields.
Irish Central Newsletters provides an account of how Custer abused the beloved old Irish drinking song. The headline reads: “Irish song ‘Garryowen’ played before Custer’s massacres now banned.” For the Cheyenne and Sioux, the drinking song with a marching cadence “is akin to what ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ is to the Jews, a hated reminder of an evil past,” according to the newsletter author. Custer’s band played “Garryowen” for the last time in 1876 on the way to the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Yet, we, the descendants of those who were murdered to the strains of “Garryowen,” shouldn’t have sit at a modern-day banquet and be subjected to it. [Clara Caufield, ‘Garryowen’ retired by some after Custer’s use as death song]
George Custer, Phil Sheridan, George Crook and William Harney all committed crimes against humanity yet their names still besmirch numerous government and geographical features.


Montana Republicans headed for Helena hand basket

In 2020, because of poor ranching practices the nearly 50,000 acre Huff Fire burned through the white supremacist town of Jordan, known as the home of the Montana Freemen. Today, much of Montana will burn again because it’s overrun with dry invasive cheatgrass but as a Republican stronghold few land managers want responsibility for prescribed burns that escape planned boundaries. 

A wildfire burning on Mount Helena is proving Republicans are poorly equipped to fight blazes even in their own backyards after a blaze began in grass, moved into timber then threatened a neighborhood.
“This has been the hottest August on record so far,” Joe Messina, National Weather Service meteorologist said on Wednesday. "Even without data from the 31st – which I believe we are looking at a potential record for today as well – it's still been the hottest record as far as average temperature. The daily average temperature, the mean temperature for the month of August, is 73.8 degrees, and that beats the old record of 71.5 set in 1971.” [Helena Independent Record]
Yet, the state's Republican dystopiocracy filed an appeal to reverse American Prairie's bison restoration in the most fire prone parts of Montana. Yes, Montana's Earth haters are wielding the power of government to stifle free enterprise in a state where freedom is paramount. Realtors in Montana are even capitalizing on racist paranoia amid Donald Trump’s calls for the End Times. 

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 including 63,000 in Phillips County 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.

Trump's first Interior secretary, Ryan Zinke blames wildfires in the West on those he calls “radical environmentalists” despite most acres burn every year on private ranch land in Republican counties and despite a federal probe after he abused his office to block a tribal casino he's ahead in polls to go to DC again. Zinke is just another political opportunist in the extreme white wing of the Republican Party whose career has been financed on the public dole.

Just a hundred and fifty years ago bison, wapiti, bighorn sheep, pronghorns and deer cleared the grasses driving Montana's fire years. If grasses remained in the fall tribes burned the rest.