Monday, November 11, 2019

Cannabis initiative advanced by Democratic former US Attorney awaiting decision from SDSOS

The group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has submitted to a Republican secretary of state over 50,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure that would allow adults 21 and older to possess and distribute up to one ounce and cultivate up to three plants for personal use. If accepted and passed the measure would also direct the South Dakota's extremist legislature to establish therapeutic and industrial cannabis (hemp) programs.
“We are proud to have submitted petitions on behalf of over 80,000 South Dakotans who believe that voters should decide our state’s marijuana and hemp laws,” said Brendan Johnson, a former United States Attorney who is the sponsor of the legalization ballot initiative. “Right now, there are South Dakotans with serious health conditions who are forced to break the law in order to access effective medical treatments that allow them to live healthier and more productive lives, and that is unacceptable,” said Marijuana Policy Project Deputy Director Matthew Schweich, who has worked on successful marijuana reform ballot initiative campaigns in Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Utah. [press release, Marijuana Policy Project]
Democrats have been leading and running election campaigns on destigmatizing cannabis and legalizing for adults for decades.

As Partner Attorney at Robins Kaplan LLP, Brendan Johnson, former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota and son of retired Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, helped the South Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union win the Constitution and Libertarian Parties' lawsuit against Republican former Secretary of State Shantel Krebs.

It's widely believed Johnson will enter the 2020 Democratic US Senate primary in South Dakota.

More about South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws linked here.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Holm: South Dakota Republicans are destroying rural health care

Rick Holm is the Prairie Doc. His program airs on KBRK radio in Brookings, on Bill Janklow's idea of public teevee and his column appears in my hometown paper the Elkton Record, in the Brookings Register and about sixty other rural South Dakota newspapers. By not expanding Medicaid under Obamacare South Dakota Republicans are decimating rural health care.
In the July 2019 issue of South Dakota Medicine, a survey of family physicians practicing in this state found much lower burnout rates in family docs practicing in rural areas (25 percent) compared with those practicing in larger metropolitan areas (51 percent). Evidently, some social aspects of rural practice seem to confer a protective effect against burnout. This new data should be helpful when young physicians are looking for the most satisfying places to practice. [Holm, Vermillion PlainTalk]
South Dakota's medical industry triopoly operates without scrutiny and at least one Sanford Health executive believes it's time to expand Medicaid in the state.

If South Dakota's policy makers had any balls whatsoever they’d bring legislation that would compel the medical industry to post the costs for all procedures. So if these hospitals are monopolies like utilities are, or even oligopolies in their markets, why isn't there a voter-elected public commission to regulate pricing?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

People's Republic of Brookings gets more federal pork


Let's see: the city owns a research park, the hospital, the liquor store, the water, the phone company, the power company, an entertainment venue, the golf course, it's home to South Dakota's largest public university and a federally subsidized cheese and dairy industry.
Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds and Rep. Dusty Johnson applauded the USDOT’s decision and sent out the joint press release to announce it Wednesday afternoon. The announcement follows requests from the delegation to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao for the project’s funding. “With the help of the infrastructure funding awarded by DOT, the City of Brookings will be able to move forward with this important project, which will relieve congestion, improve safety, and spur economic growth,” Thune said. [Brookings gets $18.7M grant for I-29/20th St. S. interchange]
These clowns won't support combating bulging jails and prisons but will wholeheartedly jump on the bandwagon to save a town where a Democrat could win a legislative seat unless Republicans practice a little more socialism.

Yes, socialized agriculture, socialized dairies, socialized cheese, socialized livestock production, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service, socialized freight rail, a socialized nursing home industry and now a socialized internet are all fine with Republicans in South Dakota but then they insist single-payer medical insurance is socialized medicine.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Welfare ranchers worried Tester bill will expose American meats as contaminated


Every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in South Dakota is contaminated with neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFOs, E. coli, Shigella, Legionella and other toxins. That's probably true everywhere in the United States. Country of Origin Labeling was repealed in 2015 to shield American meat from scrutiny.
Montana Senator Jon Tester has introduced a resolution to reinstate Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Policy Division Vice Chairman Todd Wilkinson says while his group backs voluntary COOL, but having the mandatory designation reinstated could prove costly for America’s cattle producers. He says since Mandatory COOL was struck down by the World Trade Organization reinstating the program could trigger retaliation from Canada and Mexico, which are top markets for U.S. beef. [WNAX]
In countries that import American meats concerns are mounting that chronic wasting disease (CWD) and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) have made their way into the food web.

In 2017 beef products dispensed in South Dakota vending machines were recalled by the US Department of Agriculture after a routine inspection revealed Bovine tuberculosis. During that outbreak in South Dakota Republican former legislator Betty Olson blamed deer for bovine TB while praising the destruction of the cougars, coyotes and wolves that control deer. She wondered why Game, Fish and Plunder hadn't slaughtered every wild critter in northwestern South Dakota.

Rodeo stock were ultimately established as the carriers.

Photo: cattle are depositing manure contaminated with bovine growth hormones and antibiotics into a critical Black Hills watershed.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Dakota Rural Action still suing Republicans over water quality


South Dakota's GOP/Koch-owned Public Utilities Cartel (SDPUC) is expected to shoo in TransCanada's permit to seize water and land as they do with each utilities' requests for rate increases.
Three permits are for the taking of public water from rivers (the Cheyenne, Bad, and White), and two permits are for use of previously-appropriated water permitted for livestock watering that would serve as back-up supply for TransCanada’s construction worker man camps. Dakota Rural Action and other contesting parties recognize that this water belongs to the people of South Dakota, and that the Water Management Board, as trustee of our water, has the authority to say no. And, through the course of these hearings, we are building a powerful case that the Board has the responsibility to say no to a foreign corporation with a devastating history of spills and leaks that have damaged land and water in this state and others in which they operate. [Dakota Rural Action]
Nearly every moving stream, intermittent or not in South Dakota, has supported a pre-settlement Amerindian or European explorer pulling and propelling a canoe over it. Most of it is impaired today.

Royal Dutch Shell is abandoning its efforts to drill in the Arctic in part because of tanking oil prices but another Republican donor continues its land grab in South Dakota. So-called 'Americans for Prosperity' a Koch-funded group with a lobbyist based in Sioux Falls signaled to legislators that they will lose campaign funding from the Kochs unless they act to reverse the progress the US Environmental Protection Agency has made in South Dakota.

Genesee & Wyoming, the parent company of the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad, conducts the business on the west end of its holdings and operates on the right of way that intersects the proposed Keystone XL pipeline at Philip. Had the Quinn Dam just upstream of a RCPE washout failed one of its first casualties could have been the Keystone XL pipeline where it's proposed to cross the Bad River.

Rail cars carrying diluted bitumen could be loaded there then be transported through Pierre, Huron and maybe Brookings then south through Sioux Falls to the depot at Cushing, Oklahoma; but, the same geology that thwarts railroads and forces engineers to rebuild I-90 between Reliance and Rapid City and I-94 between Mandan, North Dakota and Billings, Montana every year also makes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline untenable.

Running a bomb train through white towns won't fly when you can build a leaky pipeline through stolen treaty ground so it's hard to imagine these projects going through cemeteries where people of European descent are buried.

Friday, November 1, 2019

More West River residents losing their minds


Which parts of seven month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature and living in a chemical toilet escape you people?
Farm bankruptcies in the United States jumped 24 percent in September to its highest level since 2011. The trade war and two years of adverse weather have been tough on producers. [WNAX radio]
A study recently published in the Journal of Rural Health found the suicide rate for farmers is not only the highest of any occupation in America, it's spiking because of a lack of ready access to mental health care services. Last year the Rapid City Journal blamed the South Dakota Republican Party for spikes in suicides and depression. So has a Sanford executive.
"The National Council for Behavioral Health came in and sent consultants to look at the community and what the needs and the availability of mental health services in Rapid City," said Dr. Katy Sullivan, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Regional Behavioral Health Center. "What it could mean for us as a mental health community would be greater collaboration and more of a chance to find ways to think outside of the box and find different, effective, and more cutting-edge treatment. [KEVN teevee]
Rapid City Regional enjoys a virtual medical industry monopoly in western South Dakota.

Still another study just concluded cannabis is an effective antidepressant therapy for some patients while keeping it illegal creates paranoia, anxiety and stigmatization. Cannabis is an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Kansas therapeutic cannabis model likely topical for South Dakota legislature

It is the view of The Dakota Progressive that edibles should only be available to patients suffering from debilitating diseases, disorders or conditions and be dispensed by pharmacists and taxed like other prescriptions.

South Dakota's legislature can write a bill that would adopt legislation similar to Minnesota's medical cannabis law but worthy of Federal Drug Administration scrutiny where real medicine could be sold by pharmacies.
When it comes to medical marijuana, Kansas may end up looking more like Ohio than Missouri — with edibles and topicals only, no smoking. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, who testified against loosening regulations around the drug last week, said the committee’s recommendations don’t address one of law enforcement officers’ main concerns — the lack of federal regulation of medical marijuana. “Let's get the FDA involved,” he said. “Let's get this stuff tested.” [Kansas City University Radio]
Every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in South Dakota is contaminated with neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFOs, E. coli, Shigella and Legionella. Industrial cannabis (hemp) grown in the state would be no different. CBD products being sold in South Dakota and other states are little different from raw milk, preserves, pies or juices that are often tainted with hormones, pesticides and worse but sold at farmers markets anyway. Giving the products as gifts is one thing but selling untested product especially through interstate commerce is completely different.

Contaminated dietary supplements, vapes, ointments and edibles are unacceptable in a country with a long history of snake oil salesmen. Cannabis is a safe, effective palliative but black market cannabis not tested or subject to regulation makes America and South Dakota less safe. Legalization, state inspections and regulation of a product that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy that would align with our life safety goals.

Even in New Mexico the absence of markets is the biggest obstacle for industrial cannabis growers. It costs at least $50,000 to plant 20 acres of genetically engineered CBD-rich hemp. South Dakota's grain harvest is being delayed due to horrible soil conditions driven by climate catastrophes so imagine how much money industrial cannabis producers would be losing after planting that experimental crop.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Spearditch hatchery still struggling with self-reliance

For at least two decades South Dakota's Republican congressional delegations have been obstructing attempts by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to streamline the agency as it weans support from a hatchery notorious for introducing invasive species to Black Hills watersheds and into the waters of the United States. These clowns won't support combating bulging jails and prisons but will wholeheartedly jump on the bandwagon to save a Spearditch tourist trap in a town where a Democrat could win a legislative seat.

It's hard to imagine the Service continuing to support the release of hybrid and non-native trout by South Dakota's Department of Game, Fish & Plunder when native species are being threatened in the Missouri River basin. Finescale dace was the only fish identified in Black Hills streams by the Custer Expedition in 1874 but the creek chub and white sucker are also native. Rainbow trout have recently been released into Lake Sharpe but the USFWS should block introduction of these fish into any part of the system.

This NPR story verbalizes the decision of one progressive to flee a town once touted as western South Dakota's destination of choice after fourteen years raising two children who escaped hours after their own high school graduations in 1991 and in 1995 for the University of Wyoming. It was good, too. Our meticulously preserved 1902 Furois-built arts and crafts on Canyon Street was adjacent to Spearditch's magical city park.

But today Spearditch has become a scary little town. Recall Mary Garrigan's piece in the Rapid City Journal that the stupid little hamlet wants to erect a Ceement Jaysus:
Rand Williams, a Spearfish real estate entrepreneur, said he is envisioning a multimillion-dollar statue along the lines of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer, a 125-foot tall statue that draws tourists to the Brazilan city, that would sit on a two-acre parcel of city land.
Williams is a slum lord who rents to earth haters like John Dale. Dale joins fellow egomaniacs Sam Kephart, Gary Coe and others who have parachuted into Lawrence County expecting to change the good ole boy network Rand Williams actually helped to create. The 2016 Crow Peak Fire affected mostly Republican landowners who built in the wildland urban interface and begged the feds to protect their properties.

The resultant soaring median age of the retirees seeking deliverance from the cultural diversities thriving in Colorado, California, Minnesota, even Arizona and Oregon drives the exploitation of South Dakota's regressive tax structure and reinforces the racially insulated Nazi enclave that Spearditch is today. Harley owners, some of whom have ties to clubs with nefarious pasts and many of them pre-1970s graduates of Spearditch High School, cruise the streets in summer and then recuse themselves from the brutal Lawrence County winters for warmer white compounds in Sedona or Mesa. Often, there are elderly parents in one of the ubiquitous long-term care facilities and cemeteries.

Kristi Noem and her other white meat supporters purport to be small-government conservatives but they're really just helping themselves instead of finding a way for communities to finance rearing for private ponds and begging the feds for more moral hazard money while pretending to be self-reliant.