Bored Noem eying Senate seat

In 2014 Jean Rounds pleaded with her husband not to run for the US Senate but Reich Mike Rounds knew he had to run to stall then-US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Brendan Johnson from opening an investigation of Rounds' role in Bendagate to the public. 

In 2015 Bob Mercer's request to see Richard Benda's autopsy report and investigation proving he was shot in the abdomen was denied by a Republican-owned court in South Dakota. 

In 2019 to treat Jean's aggressive tumor near her sciatic nerve the Roundses headed to a Minnesota hospital well known for its excellent reproductive health care service but she died anyway.

Today, Kamala Harris is destined for coronation and Rounds is facing massive Republican losses in Congress. Donald Trump is driving his political party into the sewer and Kristi Noem has nothing else to do but post pictures on "X" and Faceberg of her looking busy while Rounds spends his days posting pictures of his grandkids. 

Mrs. Noem failed on a COVID response and has failed on flood decisions. To bury her past criticisms of Trump she deleted her old twitter feed so if Rounds resigned today she would simply appoint herself to the seat.  

None of this is lost on Dana Hess.
“You really are the heart of every single community,” Noem told about 30 people who worked for newspapers. “It really is important work.” The mood in the room changed swiftly when Noem was confronted by her own words in a political fundraising letter. In part, the letter said: “You know as well as I do that we can’t trust the liberal media to tell the truth.” It’s odd to hear Noem espouse that freedom, since a couple of times earlier in her book she took credit for banning critical race theory from the state’s universities. [Praising free speech while trampling on it]


Sturgis bracing for another racist Rally as Noem, LEOs turn heads from child sex trafficking and meth

South Dakota is all about the money that video lootery, 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 Republican Party destroying lives, depleting watersheds and smothering habitat under single-party rule. 

We all know Kristi Noem is a racist so she orders the cops to just turn away from the misery of forced prostitution that often plies kidnap victims to become playthings for abusive white men. The same is the case during the Rally where girls as young as ten are bought and sold like methamphetamine, Wild Turkey or souvenir Trump t-shirts. 

So 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. Gangs of armed men with mental illnesses and addictions to meth power their way into western South Dakota every year; and, an accepted outlaw biker culture routinely traffics illicit behaviors that would otherwise be subject to legal interdiction.
Human trafficking takes place every year at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Experts say it seems to only be getting worse and Indigenous girls are a common target. [Sturgis, hunting season a hotspot for trafficking of Indigenous women]
Learn more about red state failure at South Dakota News Watch.


Indigenous water protectors band with non-Natives to stanch Black Hills bleeding

Organizers from the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, NDN Collective were part of a 2023 community meeting that gathered to oppose F3's assaults on the southern and central Black Hills. 

Using up to ten thousand gallons of water from a municipal source (probably Newcastle, Wyoming) every day, out of state F3 Gold plans to execute the Newark Exploratory Drilling Project on the Hell Canyon Ranger District west of a South Dakota town named for a war criminal. Land seized from the Great Sioux Nation had been remanded to the tribes under the Treaty of Fort Laramie but Congress broke the agreement to pay down Civil War debt then exploited the Custer Expedition's discovery of gold in the Black Hills.

Water protectors from Indigenous group NDN Collective again joined area residents and others opposed to the attack on public lands citing fears of polluting groundwater after the Black Hills National Forest approved the scheme to drill some 390 5000-foot holes in the heart of Indian Country.
“Through our shared opposition to F3 Gold’s exploratory drilling project, local Native and non-Native communities realized we have similar ideals about how this land should be cared for – and that the only way for us to protect ourselves from toxic mining is to band together as a united force,” said Taylor Gunhammer, organizer at NDN Collective and member of newly formed community board opposing the Newark project. “By pushing F3 Gold’s Newark project through, The U.S. Forest Service has eliminated both environmental review and meaningful tribal consultation altogether.” [NDN Collective]
Colorado's mineral extraction industries have effectively stolen over $500 billion from the Apache of Oklahoma, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Comanche, Kiowa, Northern Arapaho, Northern Cheyenne, Shoshone, Ute Tribe of Utah, Southern Ute, and Ute Mountain Ute. Read that here.


Despite Noem brags energy and medical costs make South Dakota toxic for many

Not only has the South Dakota Republican Party failed American Indians by not expanding Medicaid it has failed farmers, veterans and the elderly: its historically loyal voter base. And what are the Trump Organization and its political party doing about it? Accelerating the end of all life on Earth, of course. 

The failed red state even has the second highest number of West Nile virus cases, measles has returned and Republicans are tapping an $81 million surplus to build another prison! South Dakota has benefited greatly from the Biden years yet Sioux Falls and Rapid City are second and sixth of US cities where rent is cheap but 122nd and 113th in quality of life according to WalletHub. Why? Because utilities are not your friends and drive energy expenses into the ozone while medical costs are among the highest in America. 

Source: WalletHub

South Dakota's Trump-drunk Republican governor has been selling the state as one of the freest in the United States but continual sobriety checkpoints have done little to discourage inebriated drivers from operating motor vehicles in Mrs. Noem's state according to Forbes while diabetes remains unchecked. Progress has been made under current school lunch rules but as industrial agriculture lines Republican pockets South Dakota's women and children will continue to suffer from elevated risks to obesity and to moral hazard.
About one in four farmers in the United States turn to binge drinking in response to high stress levels, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia. The study authors also surveyed producers about their perceived stress and mental health stigma. The farmers surveyed reported overall high stress levels, as well as concerns about social stigma and financial costs connected with seeking mental health services. [Study: Link Between Ag Stress, Alcohol]


GOP Veep pick hates American Indians too

Donald Trump's long con of vilifying, suing, slandering, libeling, sickening and killing American Indians has hoisted another ethnic cleansing brevet.

Recall that while speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast President Barack Obama counseled Americans to remember that Christians are disproportionately guilty of genocidal atrocities? JD Vance wants the attacks on Natives to continue.
In disavowing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, he found himself on common ground with Trump, who has been taking shots at American Indians and Alaska Natives for decades, often relying on racist stereotypes and offensive depictions of Native peoples. Vance also wants to override tribal sovereignty without consent with S.2738, the Freedom to Breathe Act. The bill bars tribes, whose peoples have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, from enacting their own mask mandate laws in schools and in public transit on their lands. [Trump selects Republican who called Indigenous Peoples’ Day ‘fake’ as running mate]
Learn more at the Washington Post.


Republicans still driving Natives from the polls

President Joe Biden restored the White House Tribal Nations Summit after the former guy declared war on Indian Country and undercounted Indigenous Americans because Republicans want citizens to believe democracy isn’t for everybody

But blocking the vote in Indian Country is hardly a new phenomenon since South Dakota and Montana have been doing it for decades. Groups like Four Directions have recorded voting rights abuses against Native Americans including in South Dakota.

Now, under orders from the American Legislative Exchange Council Republicans are doing it again with something called the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act sponsored by Representative Chip Roy (Earth hater-TX) but Pres. Biden has pledged to veto it.
“This bill is designed to intimidate, discourage and prevent eligible tribal members from registering to vote,” San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler said in a press release. “This legislation is an unconstitutional attempt to suppress the Native American vote and comes after the high turnout in the 2020 election decisively impacted federal election results in Arizona.” [San Carlos Tribe Opposes Legislation Passed by the House that Would Require Photo IDs to Vote]
Donald Trump hates American Indians so deeply after losing a 1993 casino case under the 1988 Indian Gaming Act he deployed Covid as a biological weapon in 2020 to annihilate as many people as he could and so far he has gotten away with attempted genocide.


Demolition Ranch just one Republican outlet breeding domestic terrorism

Recall that the Boston Marathon bombers studied American white wing extremism before their attack and the guy who killed some 60 people in Las Vegas was a white supremacist bent on starting a race war.

Just weeks before Donald Trump led an attempted autogolpe Stewart Rhodes was inciting the Oath Keepers to civil war. Rhodes formed the white supremacist militia in 2009 after Barack Obama was elected POTUS but is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for seditious conspiracy for his role in Trump's insurrection. 

Let's review. Adam Lanza was 20, James Holmes was 25, Seung-Hui Cho was 23, Jared Loughner was 22. Dylann Roof was 20. Salvador Ramos was 18. Thomas Matthew Crooks was 20. All these men were victims of bullying, isolation and ostracism. All had histories of extensive teevee usage, many of video game exposure and of easy access to firearms. Distrust of government was a factor in most, if not all of the episodes for which they are infamous.
Authorities noted that Crooks was wearing a T-shirt from Demolition Ranch, a YouTube channel known for its firearms and demolition content. The channel, hosted by Matt Carriker, boasts millions of subscribers and features videos that explore the capabilities of various firearms and explosive devices. ['Demolition Ranch' Owner Responds to Thomas Matthew Crooks Shooting Trump]
So which Republican Trump rival wants to take him out? Crooks was the real martyr and came just inches away from saving American democracy but after the incident in Pennsylvania Trump’s disciples turned on the media.

Yes, bullying can lead to massacres and when the US ended the draft in 1973 the number of mass shootings began to rise so Congress should enact compulsory military service or police training as one way to slow gun violence. Enlistment could look like the Swiss model where soon after high school eighteen year olds would join for two or three years then re-up or enroll in the college or vocational training of ones choosing.


Harris/Whitmer ticket best course for Democrats

Joe Biden is an interim or caretaker POTUS who should serve a single term. 

President Biden struggles for the approval of a majority of America's voters hovering near 41 percent while Democratic senators are overwhelmingly favored in their own states. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are doing great jobs according to pollsters at FiveThirtyEight. And although the best choice in 2020 for President of the United States was Al Franken Senator Klobuchar had this columnist's early primary endorsement to be our party's nominee. But after it was revealed she had wrongfully prosecuted Myon Burrell when she was Hennepin County's top prosecutor her aspirations to hold higher office evaporated. In 2020 Minnesota commuted Burrell’s sentence. 

And, while Michelle Obama would crush the orange orangutan she's shown zero interest in running.

So, I’ve seen enough. It’s time to make some history by nominating Kamala Harris our choice for president and Gretchen Whitmer our Veep pick because Michigan is in play.
As a Senator, her brightest moments were when she attacked during hearings. She would aim a litany of Socratic-style questioning at an expert or nominee and methodically back them into a corner. Remember when she did it to Jeff Sessions? “I’m not able to be rushed this fast,” he broke down during one exquisite line of questioning from Harris during his confirmation for attorney general. “It makes me nervous.” Harris did it again to eventual Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation hearings. She asked if he agreed there were “both sides to blame” for the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that left one woman dead, as then-president Donald Trump insisted. Kamala Harris is, as many of her critics have noted, a trained prosecutor who spent the first two decades of her career enforcing the rule of law. [Either Way, Kamala Harris Can Help Beat Trump]


Trump, Noem killing decorum in Custer County?

Just before Christmas in 2013 Brady Folkens of Brookings died in state custody after a botched diagnosis by an unqualified medical attendant at the former State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy in a South Dakota county named for a war criminal

After a public whimper petered out the death camp was shuttered and the sprawling property carved from the heart of Indian Country put up for auction. The stigmatized site was sold four times at sequentially reduced prices after the first buyer bounced a check to the state, the financing was unworkable or the scope of work proved too great. The State of South Dakota had been removing asbestos, lead paint and other hazardous materials even before Brady Folkens died but progress has been slow as the state's gutted environmental division is ill-equipped to advise developers.

In 2019 South Dakota’s NAZI District 30 legislators, Reps. Tim Goodwin, Julie Frye-Mueller and Sen. Lance Russell held court with administrators and board staff from three counties. Nearly everybody in the room said they felt helpless as they lose local control to Pierre.

In 2020 judges in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court boycotted the Custer County Courthouse which they deemed "unsuitable and insufficient due to safety concerns." 

In 2021 at the courthouse in that South Dakota county named for a war criminal members of a religious splinter group bought the 140 acre compound built in 2005 by now-jailed polygamist Warren Jeffs 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. 

A state park, a peak, a county and a town in the Black Hills are named after a murdererous war criminal. Veteran South Dakota reporters and columnists, Kevin Woster and Tom Lawrence agree that it's time to erase another killer's name from South Dakota maps.

And it's not just Wyoming where local governments are under threat of violence stoked by a felon, the South Dakota governor and a Wyoming US Representative so just forty miles east of Newcastle the South Dakota county named for a war criminal is coming unglued, too.
The ever-increasingly contentious political climate we see on the national level continues to trickle down into local politics, as more and more you can read stories about or see videos about people going to their local county, city or school board members and creating a scene while being downright nasty. 
From time to time you can see it even here in Custer County. Anybody who was at the Buffalo Gap Town Board meeting last week saw it first hand. The meeting vacillated from organized to chaotic, as tensions boiled over multiple times, leading to shouting matches between various members of the public and town board members, or between members of the audience. There were shouts of liar, insults and even people telling other people to go back to where they presumably came from before living in Buffalo Gap. 
At one point in the meeting in Buffalo Gap town attorney Lance Russell stood and implored those gathered that it was important to show decorum at the meeting, and we couldn’t agree more. That’s not how we run governments in this country (despite growing evidence to the contrary). 
And this isn’t just to pick on Buffalo Gap. Hermosa Town Boards have grown frequently contentious, the Custer County Commission occasionally has some steamed citizens that have to be calmed down, and there was a time nearly every Custer City Council meeting had people at each other’s throats. It’s one thing to be passionate, it’s another to be a disruptive jerk. [Decorum is important]
Learn more at South Dakota News Watch.


Violent Black Hills county is even scaring Republican Wyoming legislator

Ogden Driskill is an Earth hating Wyoming legislator running cattle near Devils Tower National Monument in the Belle Fourche River watershed. 

In 2023 Driskill was co-sponsor of a resolution that called on the federal government to amend the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and allow horses wrangled from public lands to be diverted to meat processing domestically for shipment abroad. But even Driskill isn't white enough for some Trumpers and faced a solid write-in campaign from a former chair of the Crook County Republican Party. 
All but one of the legislators who represent Weston County in the Wyoming Senate and House of Representatives were present to provide updates on legislative matters and answer questions from attendees at a town hall held in Newcastle on June 26 at the Weston County Event Center at the fairgrounds. “I will have nothing to do with the Weston County Republican Party and the far right that non-stop attack me,” he told the News Letter Journal, claiming the party chose not to support him after he won the Republican primary in 2022. [Town hall truant]
James Wesley Rawles coined the phrase American Redoubt in 2011. From his SurvivalBlog (dot) com he supposes Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, eastern Oregon and Washington are survivalist havens for the christian nationalist movement. As recently as 2017 he used a post office box in Newcastle, Wyoming as his mailing address and credits the late Susan Callaway as his Black Hills connection. 

Republican welfare ranchers ginned up by the likes of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Wyoming's US Representative Harriet Hageman, disgraced former Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, American Stewards of Liberty rabble-rouser Margaret Byfield and others are plotting violence against public land managers in the West.
Fifteen Wyoming clergy members and faith leaders recently denounced a “rising tide of extremist rhetoric poisoning our debates and discussions in the Equality State.” They raised their concerns in a letter sent last week to Gov. Mark Gordon, Senate President Ogden Driskill, House Speaker Albert Sommers and University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel, asking them to take a stand. The religious leaders named Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray, the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, Turning Point USA and its founder Charlie Kirk as contributing to the rhetoric and “openness to political violence.” [Wyoming clergy speak out against political extremism]
Tension is high in the Mountain West so local Bureau of Land Management offices and employees are on alert for militant zealots bent on violent disruptions or worse as the agency assesses resource management plans.


Local horse shelter on alert after cougar kills two foals

In 2018 a trail camera on this property caught a cougar drinking at the trough under our windmill so when The Horse Shelter just east of Cerrillos reported two foals were killed last week nobody was very surprised. 

An Appaloosa mare in our care that foaled in 2023 showed up without it several weeks later so the logical conclusion was that a cougar took it. She is ready to deliver again any day now and the herd has doubled in size hooking up with another probably from the Kewa Pueblo.

After consulting with The Horse Shelter and an equine veterinarian an area couple decided that the best way to protect some of the free-roaming horses is to buy hay when forage is scarce and three stallions were gelded but two of the Spring foals still need to be treated. 
“We are completely devastated by this loss and in response have taken as many precautions and actions as possible,” Susan Hemmerle, executive director of Santa Fe-based nonprofit The Horse Shelter, said in an email. She said the shelter has moved its other mares with foals, and a pregnant mare, off its ranch in Cerrillos “as they are at the greatest risk.” [Albuquerque Journal]
Federal land managers removed about 50,000 free-roaming horses and burros from public ground across the West from 2020 to 2023.

Colorado could outlaw the trophy hunting of cougars but red state Wyoming would pay to kill them.


Minnesota dam breach released 12 million cubic yards of poisonous sediment

This blog has covered waterway impairment in South Dakota since 2010 while watching as contamination from mining, industrial agriculture, coal burning and livestock pollution steadily worsens across the entire state in nearly every stream and lake. 

But, the death of the Missouri River ecosystem in South Dakota began with the European invasion, was accelerated by industrial agriculture and sealed with the construction of the main stem dams. Because of ag chemicals South Dakota led the US in breast cancer rates in 2016 but now Iowa has taken the lead in that infamous development.  

The Mississippi is the third most polluted waterway in the United States and six of the tributaries of the Minnesota and Mississippi River system rise in South Dakota where Big Stone Lake is filling with poisonous silt. The amount of lethal sediment behind the Oahe Dam is likely billions of cubic yards and the US Army Corps of Engineers counts almost 90,000 dams in its database as the federal government acknowledges and assesses the harm dams have caused to Native communities. 

Recall one of South Dakota's Earth hating former governors built a house in a swamp that flooded then received a generous self-reimbursement from insurance coverage underwritten by his own company knowing Lake Sharpe is filling with silt. Lewis and Clark Lake in southeastern South Dakota is thirty percent full of toxic sediment while Republicans and their toadies cry government overreach and waters of the United States or WOTUS architects regroup for another round in Congress.
More than a century's worth of sediment was unleashed downstream into the Blue Earth River after the partial failure of the Rapidan Dam last week. There was an estimated 11.6 million cubic yards of sediment behind the dam. And it was high in phosphorus and nitrogen because of nearby agricultural runoff. [Rapidan Dam partial failure sent more than a century’s worth of sediment pollution downstream]
We all know South Dakota is a perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area even as the Heritage Foundation works to install a Republican executive at any cost and the corrupted Supreme Court of the United States guts environmental protections. 


Catholics are leading the crusade to destroy American democracy

Catholicism is hope like gonorrhea is charity. 

Paul McCown became Chief Financial Officer at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander after fellow 'Cowboy Catholic' Kevin Roberts left to become president of the Heritage Foundation.
When Kevin Roberts took over as president of tiny Wyoming Catholic College in 2013, few people outside of its Lander base even knew the school existed. But in just three years, the media-savvy Roberts managed to put the conservative campus in the national spotlight by embracing the term “Cowboy Catholics” and by refusing to accept federal grants and student loans that he felt would compromise the school’s independence and religious freedom. Its original dismissal of Trump as a legitimate candidate forced Heritage to scramble for influence. Roberts and Heritage have vowed not to let that happen again. To lead the “Project 2025” team, Roberts hired two former Trump administration insiders. [Wyoming’s ‘Cowboy Catholic’ could remake government if Trump wins]
Roberts is also a principal in the Council for National Policy and a member of Opus Dei, as is Rick Santorum and Trump attorney general, Bill Barr. 

McCown is serving a 63 month sentence in federal prison for fraud.
According to federal court filings, the fraud began in the spring of 2020 when McCown received $841,863 from the federal coronavirus relief program, or CARES Act, that was administered by the Wyoming Business Council. Alerted to possible fraud by online tips, the Wyoming Business Council conducted an audit in January 2021 and reported its concerns to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. [Former Catholic College CFO sentenced in Lander fraud case]
The Council for National Policy was created in 1981 by the extreme white wing of the Republican Party. Mike Pence is a member of the CNP as is Ohio Representative Jim Jordan (NAZI-OH) so was the late Wyoming resident, Foster Friess who gave $500,000 to a gaggle of religionist organizations in South Dakota just before he croaked. Robert Mercer, the blow-it-all-up Cambridge Analytica guy with billions stashed in South Dakota and ties to Faceberg and Maria Butina is a major donor to CNP. Members have included Oliver North, Jerry Falwell, Steve Bannon, Ginni Thomas, Betsy DeVos, Leonard Leo, current Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and other Earth hating notables. 

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 and Opus Dei is a cult of Fascists

A long-simmering schism in the Roman Church came to a boil after another Trump worshiping prelate got sideways with His Holiness.

Learn more at POLITICO.


"Blessings of liberty" would undermine food safety, forest health

After the last farm bill was enacted in 2018 Trump era Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue gave away a pool of cash in the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at buying off welfare farmers.

So today, agriculture is the leading source of pollution in the waters of the United States and the latest round of flooding in farm country has just made it worse. Desertification driven by livestock grazing and industrial agriculture has turned parts of the high plains into scorched earth. Moral hazard is the flip side of self-reliance and the heavily subsidized industry knows emergency declarations will provide bailouts for those who choose risk because Republican welfare ranchers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is notorious for conflicts of interest and denying the human effects on a warming climate while lobbying extensively for crop insurance in the federal farm bill and against WOTUS rules while ag bankers and biochemical cartels enslave landowners.

Real conservatives at the Heritage Foundation have called for subsidy reform for decades yet both Kristi Noem and Mike Rounds have taken over $5 million in federal handouts because South Dakota truly is a perpetual welfare state and a permanent disaster area.  
According to Project 2025, a second Trump White House–and by extension, an already Trump-loving Congress–should enact a wholesale overhaul of the 2018 Farm Bill and its implementing agency, the 163-year-old U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Continued foot dragging by today’s House leadership to even schedule a Farm Bill vote and a long-stalled Senate already has Washington discussing another extension of the 2018 law until after–you guessed it–January 2025. [Alan Guebert: Farm Bill politics 2024 lean toward Project 2025]
South Dakota's Earth hating congressional delegation frequently calls for a socialized Black Hills timber industry to placate Hulett, Wyoming-based donor, Neiman Enterprises while spouting the "blessings of liberty." In the ag portion of the Project 2025 text is an outline for unlimited corporate access to national forests despite a timber glut and sawmill closures. 

But now that the Supreme Court of the United States has given President Biden ultimate power over the US Constitution POTUS has the opportunity to order anything he wants including the imprisonment of those who would undermine the solidarity of the food chain

Learn more at Progressive Farmer.


SD exports down more than 11% as energy prices soar

Source: WalletHub

Midwestern Trump states are still near growth-neutral and manufacturing supply managers report that poorly-run South Dakota is exporting eleven percent less in June than it did last year according to Creighton University's Ernie Goss. 

Bankers remain gloomy as farmland prices fell, farm equipment sales sank and the overall Rural Mainstreet Index slumped for the tenth straight month while regional exports of agriculture goods and livestock for 2024 year-to-date were down 4.1% from the same period in 2023. 

Failed red state South Dakota also suffers the ninth highest energy costs in the United States because of Earth hating Republicans giving free rein to monopolistic predators like Black Hills Energy and Summit Carbon Solutions masquerading as your friends and bilking South Dakota residents while filling lakes with mercury and suing landowners for access.
The June RMI for South Dakota slumped to 45.5 from May’s 47.9. The state’s farmland price index rose to 50.1 from 48.4 in May. South Dakota’s June new hiring index declined to 48.1 from 50.3 in May. According to trade data from the International Trade Association, exports of agriculture goods and livestock for 2024 year-to-date were up 24.5% from the same period in 2023. [Rural Mainstreet Economy Down for 10th Straight Month; Farmland Prices Fall for a Second Consecutive Month]
Learn more about red state failure at South Dakota Searchlight.


Corn acres down but hemp's budding

The Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant isn't wildlife but it is a canary in a chemically and genetically engineered corn mine since the pesticide industry that greases Republican politicos doesn’t give a whit about anything but profit.

But, unless it replaces corn acres this blog hasn't supported widespread growing of industrial cannabis (hemp), especially on tribal lands because it is an invasive species capable of overgrowing native grasses. It was introduced to the western hemisphere by the Spanish in the south and in the north the colonizing Europeans began seeing the Powhatan population growing it around 1609. Thomas Jefferson would not plant tobacco because he believed it to be bound to the capitalism he abhorred and chose cannabis as his crop of choice for its utilitarian applications. 

Pastures in Brookings and Moody Counties and the ditches along the I-29 of my youth were adorned with feral cannabis from Sioux Falls to Omaha, descendants of an agribusiness destroyed by a racist and xenophobic law enforcement industry now dealing with bulging prisons.

After it was legalized by the 2018 farm bill a jury in Montana awarded more than $65 million to hemp growers in 2021 in that state after being screwed by Canadian and American businessmen yet replacing the ecocidal corn/ethanol subsidy in South Dakota with hemp acres is a bridge too far for Republicans who run for office on habitat destruction. Besides, why anyone would want to buy genetically engineered seed from Bayer Crop Science/Monsanto or some other Earth hater every year remains a mystery especially since pollen drift can destroy therapeutic and "recreational" cannabis crops

The good news? Welfare farmers planted less corn in 2024 while ninety-four percent of all corn acres planted in the United States are genetically modified, up from 93% in 2023 according to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Farmers grow three different varieties of hemp in South Dakota: CBD, fibers, and grain and seed. South Dakota reached No. 1 for grain and seed acres in 2022 and now reached No. 1 for fibers this year. [South Dakota No. 1 state in nation for hemp production]
ip image.


Fast-tracking Tower name change in the works

In 2015 with the Oglala Lakota Nation as an interested party Chief Arvol Looking Horse submitted a request to the US Board on Geographic Names saying the words “Devils Tower” are a malapropism since it has been called Mahto Tipila or Bear Lodge for centuries by the Lakota.  

In 2021 Colorado changed several offensive place names and in 2022 First Peoples' Mountain in Montana lost a racist's name. 

George Custer, Phil Sheridan, George Crook and William Harney all committed crimes against humanity yet their names still besmirch numerous government and geographical features. Crook City near Whitewood, South Dakota and Crook's Tower, one of the 7000 footers in the Black Hills, were named after a war criminal. 

A state park, a peak, a county and a town in the Black Hills, a county and national forest in Montana are named after a murderer. 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. 

Since at least 2021 Wyoming's two Earth hating US Senators have introduced legislation that would cancel Indigenous culture at America's first national monument.
Immediately upon taking office as the first Native American to serve as the Secretary of Interior, Deb Haaland in November of 2021 directed the National Park Service to create a new Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names on behalf of the Department of the Interior. If the U.S. [Board on Geographic Names] doesn’t act within a reasonable time, then the Interior Secretary has the authority to rename a geographic feature. The Subcommittee said it is time for the Secretary to rename the geographic feature, as well as the unincorporated populated place, given the time that has passed and the support of 20 sovereign Nations. The National Park Service says that maps from 1857 to 1901 mark Devils Tower as Bear Lodge or Bears Lodge. [Committee asks to fast track Devils Tower name change to Bear Lodge]
Even failed red state, South Dakota has removed derogatory monikers from geographical features but it's not that Black Elk Peak has been renamed for a Lakota holy man that irks Earth haters it's that the mountain was renamed for a warrior who rebuked the Roman Church. 

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Land board blocks Montana overreach in APR bison case

American Prairie (APR) near Malta in north-central Montana got its first bison from Wind Cave National Park in occupied South Dakota in 2005. 

The group hopes to have native animals grazing on some 5000 square miles or about 3.2 million acres of private land including 63,000A. in Phillips County connected with corridors to federal land stewarded by the Bureau of Land Management and to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Total land including the purchase of 36 ranches is as big as the State of Connecticut or the size of Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks combined. Adjacent is the Fort Belknap Reservation where the Nakoda and the Aaniiih manage a range with more than a thousand bison so building a tourist destination helps economic development for the entire region

Two recent acquisitions totaling 12,534 acres bring APR's deeded and leased property to more than 475,000 acres despite an appeal by the State of Montana and a bunch of Earth haters who failed to stop the non-profit from grazing bison on eighteen BLM allotments in five counties. 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. 

That Republicans in Montana's executive branch and welfare ranchers are angry about the ruling means it's the right thing to do.

We all know this: unless the West embraces rewilding on portions of the Missouri River basin west of a north/south line from Oacoma, South Dakota through the CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge to Yellowstone National Park, north to the Yukon and south to the Rio Grande water wars will clog the courts leaving violent armed vigilantism to settle disputes.

Learn more at American Prairie.


Earth hater Burgum embraces CO2 pipeline that splits GOP

In 2016 Donald Trump won North Dakota by a 36 percent margin but in 2017 the Trump Organization blew off Governor Doug Burgum's request for a major disaster declaration that would have helped cover some of the estimated $38 million gift to the law enforcement industry who busted heads and chilled the civil rights of water protectors trying to stop the Dakota Excess pipeline. 

Now, Summit Carbon Solutions wants to dig a $5.5 billion pipeline that would rip up some 2000 miles of colonized tribal lands where thousands of Indigenous Americans are buried. But, industrial agriculture is ecocide and for those of us who love the Earth shucks like Summit’s are subsidized corporate greenwashing and ironically many Republicans actually benefitting from caching greenhouse emissions decry them as caving to the Green New Deal. So Summit turned to using eminent domain to condemn land for private enterprise provoking resistance from many Republican landowners and their surrogates. 

But, Burgum is championing the CO2 pipeline project that aligns with President Joe Biden’s push for the Green New Deal.
While Burgum has outlined plans to make North Dakota carbon neutral by 2030, he’s steered clear of describing the pipeline or other carbon capture initiatives as environmentally friendly. Instead, he touts them as a lucrative business opportunity for North Dakota that might ultimately assist the fossil fuel industry. [A potential Trump VP pick backs a controversial CO2 pipeline favored by the Biden White House]
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed SB 201 which some call the "Landowner Bill of Rights" further splitting the South Dakota Republican Party.
The two Republican parties consist of one group of traditional conservatives and another group that’s even more conservative and not at all traditional. One group is interested in steering the ship of state while the other would rather run it aground. [Dana Hess, Primary upsets could cause a hard right turn in the Legislature]
Recall that in response to that citizen resistance in a neighboring state Mrs. Noem signed a bill that revived that state’s criminal and civil penalties for rioting and incitement so had Donald Trump led his insurrection in South Dakota he would have run afoul of her riot boosting law. But in the eyes of some that as Commander in Chief Trump clearly failed the State of North Dakota for not removing the protesting citizens from land managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.


Weaponized wildfire likely in southern New Mexico blazes

Weaponized wildfire has not been ruled out as residents return to their properties in Ruidoso, New Mexico where the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking public assistance in identifying the cause and offering $10,000 leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible for the South Fork and Salt Fires. 

Since at least 2001 the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have disrupted many domestic terrorists and lone wolves who intended to launch attacks on the United States with explosives and other weapons. 

Southern and southeastern New Mexico is home to many descendants of the Confederacy who back a convicted Republican felon as unitary executive and are quick to point fingers at the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for wildfires. 

Disgraced Republican former Otero County Commissioner and Trump disciple, Couy Griffin broke into the US Capitol, plotted the violent overthrow of the federal government, alleged voter fraud when there was none, arbitrarily defied the Lincoln National Forest's plan revision and threatened Democrats with murder. He is barred from ever holding office again after being prosecuted under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment when he was convicted in a case brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in 2022. 

Over a half million wildfires are started by arsonists every year in the US and if you live in the wildland-urban interface government can't always protect you from your own stupidity.
Hopefully they will be as successful in preventing foreign-inspired pyroterrorism and will become better at preventing massacres by deranged white domestic terrorists with stockpiles of weapons. [Wildfire Today]
Learn more at KRWG.


Today in red state failure: BHNF being ripped apart over wildlife extermination

Kill off apex predators like cougars, spray atrazine, neonicotinoids and glyphosate on everything then wonder why cervids like deer and wapiti contract a prion contagion like chronic wasting disease?

Now, the Bearlodge Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest in northeastern Wyoming is shopping for Earth haters who want to be outfitters and guides for hunting deer, wapiti, cougars, and wild turkeys. Each ranger district has this option but it tends to happen most often where congressional delegations are Republicans and Crook County is a colony of whiny anti-government welfare ranchers

420 permits are issued for over 24,000 head of cattle to graze the BHNF for pennies a month in June through October and according to some alarmists wapiti can spread brucellosis and wild turkeys can transmit avian flu to fragile livestock.

Meanwhile, research scientists are sounding the alarm for bats after white nose syndrome was discovered in two species at Devils Tower National Monument in 2021. Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) is the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome and in part because of WNS the US Fish and Wildlife Service extended Endangered Species Act protection for the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) despite protestations from Republicans. Insects coated with industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals in water supplies are weakening immune systems spreading WNS to bats as part of Earth's anthropogenic-driven sixth mass extinction. 

Cattle oilers laced with insecticides are placed near water supplies on public lands where livestock graze contributing to the deaths of susceptible bats.  
The northern long-eared, little brown, and tri-colored bat are three of the species Northern Hills Ranger District Wildlife Biologist Amy Hammesfahr describes, when she says bats are hanging by a loose thread. [Black Hills Pioneer]
During one season in the Black Hills a white trophy hunter illegally slew a three-month old, fourteen pound cougar kitten. The idiot was cited for a class one misdemeanor improper tagging, which carries a penalty of fines to $1,000, one year in jail and loss of hunting privileges for a year. That particular incident is par for the course in Lawrence and Crook Counties where firearms and alcohol mixed with meth chasers are as common as sibling marriages.

ip image: cattle shitting in a sensitive public watershed in the Northern Black Hills.


"South Dakota Amtrak: Feasible, defensible, and much-requested! - SD1"

From my inbox.

My Fellow South Dakotans,!!

The final round, Round 4, workshops of the FRA Amtrak Long Distance Service Study have wrapped up! 

All proposed new long-distance routes are feasible and defensible, including the routes through South Dakota. Now it will be on us to make sure Congress works to enact these nationally-critical, nationally-essential, passenger rail service routes. The routes through South Dakota are likely to perform similarly to other long-distance routes.
FRA Long Distance Study- Round 4 Workshops 
The concept of expanded passenger rail has continued to gain widespread attention and support. The project team received over 47,000 comments in the month after the Round 3 workshops, with 99% supportive of passenger rail. 

The Minneapolis/St. Paul- Denver route was one of the most commented on routes after the workshops, generating almost 300 comments alone. As we have seen these past few months, South Dakotans are keenly interested in the possibility of Amtrak and understand how this investment could also greatly benefit freight rail and economic development opportunities across the state. This interest was matched by comments elsewhere.
Even though there would need to be significant coordination and construction, both routes through South Dakota rate in the middle of the weighted priority list developed by the project team. Support from our Congressional delegation (Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, and Representative Johnson) would bring these routes to fruition, after having been talked about (but unrealized) for decades. 

The construction activities alone would yield billions of dollars of economic benefits in addition to the on-going direct and indirect economic benefits once the services are operating. The economic stimulus could very well rival building of the US Interstate Highways or the Missouri River Dams. Again, these routes would perform comparably to other long-distance routes. 

Federal Investment and [Dis]Favoritism 
It is important to emphasize how Federal investments (or lack thereof) have long disadvantaged South Dakota's railroad system. Starting in the territorial era, generous land grants (subsidies) were given to the railroads building through what are today North Dakota and Nebraska. South Dakota, in comparison, received almost nothing.
In the 1970s Congress bailed out the Northeast Corridor and northeastern United States railroad network (after the glorious implosion that was the Penn Central Railroad) but allowed the collapse of the still-viable but horrendously mis-managed Milwaukee Road Railroad, impacting South Dakota severely (even forcing Governor Janklow to call a special session of the state legislature, to Pierre, in August, (without air conditioning!!) to react to this crisis. 

More recently in 2007, the Federal Railroad Administration denied the $2 Billion loan (about $3.5 Billion today; a loan mind you...) for the DM&E Railroad to build their powder basin coal line extension. This would have significantly enhanced much of the track the Twin Cities to Denver train would run on across South Dakota. Ironically FRA Administrator Joe Boardman, who denied the loan, would later go on to lead Amtrak.... 

"National Network or Nothing" - Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) 

The chronic cost escalations for projects on the Northeast Corridor and other national projects would have more than paid for the route across South Dakota multiple times. The need to complete important (but costly) projects elsewhere does not take away from the needs we have in rural America. We not only deserve service, we deserve good service. And we deserve it ASAP! Over 50 years is too long to wait for what we're already paying for. The amount of Federal funding this would mean for South Dakota would completely blow the meager STC Grants out of the water. 

An attack on one route, current or proposed, is an attack on all routes. That includes the routes through South Dakota. 

South Dakota's Call to Action 
There has not been a better time in the 53+ years of Amtrak to call for Federal investment in our railroads. It is upon us to make sure Congress works to enact these essential rail services. On-going economic development projects like Schwan's in Sioux Falls and the Black Hills Industrial Center deserve public investment as their federally-subsidized highway and aviation competition enjoy. If we want to turbo-charge these economic opportunities for our state, we should call for the implementation of these passenger routes that will upgrade railroad lines while also enhancing freight & economic development opportunities. With the eventual building of Federally-backed US Highway Interstate 27 over the Heartland Expressway (Highway 79/85 West River), our critical and growing importance to Washington D.C. is well recognized! 

What you can do 
Again, send your comments of support to the FRA Project team, our Congressional delegation, SD State legislators, and the SD State Railroad Board. Tell them to support these investments in our future.
The Federal Dollar will go much further, and be more meaningful at creating lasting sustainable opportunities, being spent on an expanded long distance passenger rail network in rural America; being spent on areas like South Dakota. 

"People live here!" It's time that we demand the Federal investment long denied us! 

Dan Bilka 
Co-Founder & President, All Aboard Northwest 
Coordinator, Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Coalition

Editor's note: my proposal for passenger rail from Minneapolis to Denver is a multi-modal route from the Twin Cities to Mankato on the right of way owned by the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad to Brookings, South Dakota and Pierre then to Rapid City and to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks at Alliance via Chadron, Nebraska then to Cheyenne and Denver. Service to Sioux Falls and Omaha could diverge at Florence, Minnesota. 
A route in the I-90 median between Sioux Falls and Rapid City should also be explored. 

In August, 2017 this blog proposed an interstate highway that would connect I-25 at Trinidad, Colorado to Rapid City, South Dakota. 


Today's intersection: the unitary executive, John Eastman, SCOTUS and environmental protection

When the US Constitution was written the Federalists argued for a strong central government with co-equal branches but today neo-Federalists advocate for a weaker central government with a strong unitary executive — well, if that executive is a Republican anyway.

Two days before Donald Trump's attempted takeover of the United States in 2021 John Eastman was summoned to the Oval Office to share some exotic extralegal scenarios then in 2022 as he left a Santa Fe restaurant he was frisked by federal agents who seized his iPhone Pro 12 presumed to contain incriminating evidence of Trump's attempted autogolpe. An unindicted co-conspirator, Eastman knew Jeffrey Epstein through impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor and through Alan Dershowitz, also believed to be a pedophile. 

But, in 2023 with direction from Eastman and others the Trump-packed Supreme Court of the United States reversed environmental protection for a majority of American citizens and enabled the corporatocracy to pollute at will. Today, Republicans and their toadies cry government overreach while waters of the United States or WOTUS architects regroup for another round in Congress as Eastman and other christofascists work to install a Republican executive at any cost and kill the legal doctrine called the “Chevron deference.”
But before getting sucked into the gravitational force that is Donald Trump, Eastman, 64, was the sort of conservative legal figure whose name one might forget, a law professor with a cushy job and a chairmanship at a practice group of the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society. He epitomizes the type of anti-regulatory, Federalist Society–bred legal mind you can expect to see elevated by Trump. Many environmental lawyers see the preservation of rivers, lakes, forests, and the air—which cross state lines—as an issue of inherently federal concern. [Fish, Toads, and John Eastman: Inside the Conservative Project to Undo Federal Environmental Laws]
Yes, the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Fish and Wildlife Service are within the Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief the president could simply order the Army Corps of Engineers and all to stand down.

Trump's lawyers are arguing that a unitary executive could launch the extraordinary rendition or worse of anyone anywhere anytime without due process because he can. But SCOTUS is in a box: if it rules the unitary executive is immune to prosecution President Joe Biden could call for the removal of every Republican who incited insurrection. And while Trump is a clear and present danger to national security and his imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay an intriguing goal house arrest, a gag order and loss of passport is probably adequate if POTUS Biden orders it.

ip image: East Pecos Baldy in the Santa Fe National Forest not far from where an American subsidiary of Australian company New World Cobalt was granted twenty federal permits to drill test holes.


SDGOP not so civil war drawing blood, flinging feces, hurting women

I am no fan of Earth hater, Lee Schoenbeck because he helped to cover up catholic crimes against children and vulnerable adults so when a lame duck like he is turns on his own party members it’s pretty obvious nobody pays any attention to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment anymore especially in a failed red state like South Dakota

Go pop some popcorn then read through the comments under Mr. Schoenbeck’s screed linked below and see for yourselves how broke and broken the South Dakota Republican Party is. Be aware that Pernicious Pug, Pat Powers, who makes a stopped clock look like a well-greased machine salts his blog comment section with a seemingly infinite variety of aliases that threaten or jeer his political enemies and even his readers.
All of the money went to people on the extreme end of the political spectrum. Only candidates that [sic] would support the political careers of Jon Hansen, Fred Deutsch, Scott Odenbach and Spencer Gosch were worthy of seeing our misappropriated donor dollars. 
What these people have done with our donor dollars is much worse than this looks. We always were about pro-life. Now, [South Dakota Right to Life] spends our dollars to oppose 100% pro-life public servants. Only those that are part of the “tin foil hat” world view, so they will support Jon Hansen for Speaker and Scott Odenbach for Majority Leader, were deemed worthy of getting our misappropriated funds. 
We pro-lifers, that [sic] aren’t part of the “tin foil hat” world need a place to send our funds in support of the sanctity of life. There are thousands of us in South Dakota. Hopefully a trustworthy new option will surface. We still have much work to do to reach the hearts and minds across our whole state on the sanctity of human life. Time to go hug our kids and grandkids and pray for our future. [Schoenbeck, Dakota War Toilet]
1. Abortion is health care and a pregnant woman is the patient. 

2. Ectopic pregnancies kill women. 

3. Rich women have full reproductive rights while women at the lower income margins suffer chilling effects on those rights. Women in Texas, Wyoming and South Dakota who can afford it simply jump on a plane and fly to Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Denver or elsewhere for their procedures. Imagine a woman on the Standing Rock or Pine Ridge doing that. 

4. South Dakota’s repeated attempts to restrict access to medical care are not only mean-spirited, they're discriminatory anti-choice extremism. 

5. "Pro-life" is simply code for white people breeding. The extreme white wing of the Republican Party is driving the abolition of women’s rights because they’re wedded to the Great Replacement Hypothesis. African-Americans terminate pregnancies at about the same per capita rate as white people do but don’t take their jobs. Latinas, however, have fewer abortions per capita so the extreme white wing laments it's hemorrhaging jobs to Latinos. 

6. No foetus in the United States has any civil rights. Republicans preach civil rights for human blastocysts but deny the protections of the First, Fourth and Ninth Amendments to people who enjoy cannabis. 

7. Republican politicians drive their anti-woman crusade to raise campaign dollars so ending reproductive rights in red states is Balkanizing women's health care. 

8. A blastocyst is no more an unborn child than it is an unborn grandparent. Foetal development is undefined in US Constitutional law so if someone calls it a baby that's an opinion and not a legal definition. 

9. There is no foetal heartbeat until at least ten weeks into a pregnancy. What an ultrasound “hears” at six weeks are cells beginning to built a cardiac system entirely dependent on amniotic fluid produced by a person with actual civil rights.

10. States that ban or punish women from going out of state for their procedures or medications are violating the Commerce Clause enumerated in the United States Constitution. 

11. One fifth of all pregnancies end in miscarriage or as some would call God working in mysterious ways but when a person chooses to terminate a pregnancy the creator doesn’t condone that decision? How does that work?