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Redwoods, public land
Last month, the Republican National Committee resolved at its winter meeting to support a wacked-out campaign to grab tens of millions of acres of federal lands and turn them over to the Western states. They would then, in effect, turn them over to corporations so they can drill and dig fossil fuels and minerals without all the supposedly terrible delays and regulations they are forced to go through to fatten their profits at the expense of the public and the environment.

The chances of such a move by the states being constitutional are nil, critics say. But the fact that the RNC has chosen to make this fringe effort the GOP line is one more example of why "please proceed" ought to be one of the Democrats' leading messages for at least the next couple of election cycles. Extremists are running things at Republican HQ, and nearly every time they open their mouths they prove it. Like Rush Limbaugh, they seem to be working under a mandate to come up every few months with something even crazier than before.

For those who have forgotten, here's the timeline leading up to this project: First, steal the land from the indigenous peoples, give away huge chunks to the railroads and small bits to settlers, let people mine it, drill it and graze it for pennies, cut timber from it, build dams on it for cheap or free irrigation water and then demand MORE! MORE! MORE! while whining that the feds are stingy bastards. And communists.

Please read more on this story below the fold.

To be fair, the idea of the states taking over protected federal lands isn't new, although the method proposed for acquiring them is slightly more aggressive than it was in the 1970s when the so-called "Sagebrush Rebellion" was launched. This was aided by the likes of advocacy groups such as the right-wing Mountain States Legal Foundation, co-founded and initially helmed by James G. Watt, later to be the notoriously anti-environmental worst Secretary of Interior of the 20th Century. And a crook, to boot.

Bigoted mouthiness brought Watt down, but the Sagebrush Rebellion succeeded in some ways, then petered out in the late '80s, although efforts were made to revive it via the Orwellian-named Wise Use Movement.

The newest version of this attempted rip-off, as Jessica Goad, Outreach Manager for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress co-wrote with Senior Fellow Tom Kenworthy last year, is, at least in part, a product of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch Industries'-founded and -funded Americans for Prosperity. As we've learned time and again, ALEC writes model right-wing legislation that it tries to get enacted in as many states as it can. Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Idaho have all introduced or, in Utah's case, passed, legislation demanding federal transfer of lands:

In March 2012, for example, Governor Gary Herbert of Utah (R) signed a bill demanding that the U.S. Congress turn federal public lands over to the state by 2015, or the state will sue (legislators have appropriated $3 million of taxpayer money to fight this legal battle). [...]

Many legal scholars believe state land seizure movements are constitutionally indefensible, because when states entered the Union, the federal government assumed the rights over federal public lands. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution “gives Congress authority over federal property generally, and the Supreme Court has described Congress’s power to legislate under this Clause as ‘without limitation.’” And, Utah’s own Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, said that Utah’s legislation had “a high probability of being declared unconstitutional.”

John Leshy, a legal scholar who was the Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior under President Clinton, noted that “Legally, it’s a ridiculous claim. It would be thrown out in federal court in five seconds … [and] is all just about cranky, symbolic politics.”

Given the conservative leanings to be found in most of these states, the RNC endorsement of the scheme might seem likely to gain wide support. In fact, however, as a year-old study shows, most citizens in those seven states—71 percent, to be specific—reject the idea of selling off public lands.

If they are informed what the impact would be of turning these lands over to the states—which might maintain nominal ownership while letting the developers run wild or might choose to actually sell the land and resources outright—it seems unlikely those citizens would change their minds. But, the study also showed, only 34 percent of those surveyed knew for certain that public lands are already being drilled for oil and gas and 56 percent said environmentally sensitive lands should be permanently protected.

This division presents a messaging challenge for foes of the unfettered development that these descendants of the Sagebrush Rebels favor. Not because their current tactic has any chance of fruition but because these guys are relentless and always looking—like forced-birthers and right-to-workers—for some fresh means to get what they want to enhance private gain at the expense of common good.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:26 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Utah's lawsuit just wingnut welfare for lawyers. (18+ / 0-)

    I hope getting all that public money doesn't make lawyers lazy, you know, like Obamacare.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:38:29 AM PST

  •  what these guys forget is that when the states (7+ / 0-)

    were created, the feds retaining a good chunk of the state's area was part of the deal, especially in the west. take Alaska for example. when it was admitted into the Union, the state was given about 100 million acres to use , the other 275 million was kept by the feds. the feds own about 70% of the state and most of that 70% is protected in one form or another. Theodore Roosevelt once considered setting aside all of Alaska as a park when he was President. While I am an avid conservationist-- as my National Park diary series shows- you also have to leave room for people to live, for cities to spring up and leave land for people to farm, harvest trees and mine for precious minerals.70% is right about the limit for the feds to own, in my view. Nevada has about 85% of its territory owned by the feds, which is a problem, anytime anyone wants to build anything out there they run into federally owned land. the states trying to force the feds to hand over land is not going to pas muster, nor would attempts to exempt themselves from  the antiquities act. Wyoming is pretty much exempt and Alaska limits uses to 5000 acres. Both of those limits need to be abolished, since the AA is not used until Congress refuses to act to protect certain areas. congress already has the power to abolish or defund monuments, but since public support for them is high, abolishing them is not a political winner. there are still many areas in the west that deserve protection, and frankly Congress needs to recognize this and increase the budgets for the Park Service, Forest Service and Fish and wildlife Service significantly. the states found out the hard way during the shutdown that running their parks and monuments isn't cheap, and for the pittance these agencies get in budgets, they produce a return of 16-fold.

    •  I'm not sure what you're asking for. (0+ / 0-)

      Mining operations? Timber operations? Housing development? Is that what you're calling for?


      "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

      by Pescadero Bill on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 07:08:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This should have been done years ago. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magic Menk

    There's a ridiculous amount of federal land in western states, which should have been turned over to the states a good century ago.  It prevents the land from being used, and the federal government ends up paying the states because of the lost revenue anyway.

    84.5% of Nevada is federal land.  There's barely any "state" in that state!

    It's not going to be fixed, because the east coast apparently views the West as one big federal park they get to control.

  •  Yeah, well the Kochs (12+ / 0-)

    were here in New Mexico, in the last 6 months or so, meeting with our rethug governor.  I can only imagine what they discussed as NM is 80% (exageration here) federal land.  I know there is a fight in my area to bring in a pipeline to meet up with another pipeline and my husband says that once that comes in, they will begin fracking in NM.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

    If you acknowledge it, you can change it.

    by Raggedy Ann on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 07:01:30 AM PST

  •  See "This Land Was Your Land": (18+ / 0-)

    by Christopher Ketcham in American Prospect. It's an excellent discussion of today's public land grab in Utah and the West. It's long, but well worth the read. Ketcham is a great writer.

    He also had this reflection:

    The writer Edward Abbey, a radical conservationist and probably the wittiest defender of Utah wilderness, went out of his way in his novels and essays to have fun characterizing the Sagebrush Rebels of the 1970s. He described them as “operatives for the C. of C.”—the Chamber of Commerce—their “hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators,” who “look into red canyons and see only green, stand among flowers snorting at the smell of money, and hear, while thunderstorms rumble over mountains, the fall of a dollar bill on motel carpeting.”
    See also: http://www.christopherketcham.com/

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 07:05:07 AM PST

    •  There's a picture of Ed on the wall where I'm (9+ / 0-)

      sitting now -- a research facility where he spent some of his last months. He's right about the CofC: here in AZ they are behind every legislative move to grab federal land, which of course the state never wanted until they realized there were minerals or other means of exploitation.

      Cameron AZ is named after an early land grabber, a man who thought the Grand Canyon belonged to him (he had a toll booth on Bright Angel Trail). When the feds "took" the Canyon, Ralph Cameron successfully ran for the US Senate so he could sponsor bills to get "his" land back in order to mine the big gorge. Happily, that didn't work. Just imagine ...

      stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

      by Mother Mags on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:24:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cameron sued after the Grand Canyon was made a (8+ / 0-)

        park, his case was first test of the Presidents power under the Antiquities Act. in 1920 the SC unanimously ruled against him, and codified the power of the President to set aside large areas as monuments. so basically the President can set aside monuments that are hundreds of thousands, millions or even tens of millions of acres, if he(hopefully soon she) so desires. the largest monument in the system is  in Northwestern Hawaii, it covers nearly 90 million acres. The Maine North woods covers 10.5 million acres, so a 10 million acre monument(roughly 95% of the area) is possible. Bristol Bay would be millions of acres. the Red Rock area in Utah is millions of acres, The Great Lakes as well.

  •  The rich steal using any tool at hand.... (19+ / 0-)

    ....If the "free" market doesn't given you power enough, conscript the power of the state to take what you haven't gotten through barter.  Then bitch about class warfare when the rest of the population tries to use government to fight back.

  •  what can we do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    to get some action on this?

    Is there a House member we can support on this issue?

    you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing. And that's how you know who won.

    by GideonAB on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 07:29:53 AM PST

  •  Utah's "management" of its land is not encouraging (16+ / 0-)

    Under Utah state law, certain lands it received from the federal government when it became a state are to be managed for the benefit of school children. Known as SITLA lands, they are strewn in checkerboard fashion in much of the state. Under the law the state has sought to maximize the economic return on the lands by developing the coal, gas, oil and other carbon reserves under them. This has led to what has been called Lots for Tots---or Tar Sands for Children

    One avenue SITLA is taking to make money in the Uintah Basin is through tar-sands development. Wildly unpopular with environmental groups, tar-sands developments often use steam, which relies on water or a solvent process, to separate the oil from the rock. The website of U.S. Oil Sands, the Canadian corporation that leased the SITLA land, says the company will separate the oil using a citrus-based solvent technique that is less water-intensive.

    Even so, fears remain that tar-sands developments in Utah will sap valuable water resources from the second-driest state. According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a group that lobbies on behalf of the tar-sands industry in Canada, where most of the world’s tar sands exist, it takes 3.1 barrels of water to produce a barrel of oil.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 07:31:08 AM PST

  •  Secretary Jewell's Year of Action: (7+ / 0-)

    The Center for Western Priorities just released its (PDF) Five recommendations for Secretary Jewell
    to take this year to protect our federal public lands:

    1. Protect land with high recreational, cultural and ecological values. 

    2. Ensure oil and gas development is done responsibly 

    3.Address Climate Change

    4. Mitigate development impacts and manage public lands on a landscape scale

    5. Harness America's Great Outdoors as an Economic Engine

    See report for detail.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 07:54:00 AM PST

    •   I would add La Bajada Mesa in NM (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, Eric Nelson, RiveroftheWest

      and Bristol Bay in Alaska to those 4 areas mentioned as areas deserving of protection.

      •  Yes. And Greater Canyonlands in Utah (7+ / 0-)

        which is one of the largest remaining unprotected wilderness areas in the continental United States, and is brimming with archeological and Native sites.

        Because Utah is run by Republicans, who are enabled by the thankfully-retiring Jim Matheson, the 25-year effort to get this land protected through federal legislation (currently sponsored by Richard Durbin and many other members of Congress) has been roadblocked. The only way to do it now is through National Monument designation. Durbin's good friend can do it with a stroke of the pen.

        Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

        by willyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:22:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well regain the House and many of those areas (0+ / 0-)

          would be protected. just do an omnibus bill adding monuments in every state, and have the bill fund them for 10 years, with each state  getting the same amount. you hire people to set up those areas so visitors can visit them, the backlog in the current system is eliminated, and the overall economic health improves in the country. the park service could afford to manage 600 areas if its budget was 25 billion a year.

        •  You are going to miss Jim Matheson (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          willyr, Eric Nelson, Mokislab, ban nock

          when you get to know Mia Love. Just sayin...

          Of course Matheson is more popular in Utah than the odious Mike Lee so there's that.

          And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

          by high uintas on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:24:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No I'm not. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            high uintas

            Matheson has been beyond the pale. And my pale is pretty far away.

            I wish you luck with whatever he's got planned for you.

            Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

            by willyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:40:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He is beyond the pale but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              willyr

              like I said, wait till you get to know Mia Love. ugh

              When asked Matheson said that approved of the courts' weighing in on marriage equality and will be good with what they decide. What do you think Love would say?

              The way I see it comes from the fact that Matheson is, well Matheson but Orrin Hatch! Mike Lee! Jason Chaffetz! and the dude that represents me in my newly gerrymandered district who I can't remember and refuse to look up right now! Matheson's bad, but they are evil.

              And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

              by high uintas on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:47:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes. All true. But Matheson gives Dems cover (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                high uintas

                to be anti-environment, anti-public lands, anti-wilderness.

                The times I've talked to Democratic members of Congress and their staffs about Utah public lands issues, and specifically America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, and they've said, "well, we're with you on this...we're really really really pro-environment...but Jim Matheson's against it, so I can't support it," are legion. He's been a one-man roadblock to Democrats getting out there on Utah federal lands.

                I'm not expecting Dems to say, " well...Mia Love's against it, so I'll have to pass".

                I'm sure Matheson is a perfectly nice guy, loves his dog, etc., but I'm very glad he's going back to Utah and hope he stays there.

                Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

                by willyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:04:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think he's going to run against (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  willyr

                  and may beat Mike Lee.

                  As you said those Dems you are talking about are using him for cover, but the truth of the story is that Matheson was being about as Democratic as he could get away with. If he wasn't there the people you spoke to would just use another excuse.

                  Matheson is not and has not ever been strong enough to roadblock anything, he's just easy excuse.

                  And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

                  by high uintas on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:32:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well if he beats the OdiousLee more power to him (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    high uintas

                    and I hope you're right that he isn't strong enough to roadblock anything, because in the Senate it will be worse if Matheson even hints at objecting to something.

                    Maybe he'll find his InnerWayneOwens---the Utah Democrat who originally introduced America's Red Rock Wilderness Act---and become a champ. One can only hope.

                    I thought Mathy might be more interested in running for Governor...

                    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

                    by willyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:56:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "InnerWayneOwens"? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      willyr

                      Gawd! Wouldn't that be awesome?

                      From polling I've seen it looks like Lee is the more vulnerable of the two, but I don't know what is in his plans. I'm only guessing.

                      Side note. This is from Chris Matthew's Book "Life's a Campaign". It is why I have a soft spot for him. (AA refers to administrative assistant)

                      A few days later, I renewed my campaign. This time I won what I’d set out to achieve so many times before—an interview with a real life AA. His name was Wayne Owens and he would change my life. Wayne ran the office for Senator Frank Moss, a well-known Utah Democrat. He had worked as Robert F. Kennedy’s western states coordinator during RFK’s ultimately tragic presidential campaign, and later as a top aide to Senator Ted Kennedy. I would soon learn that Wayne was planning his own race for Congress in his native state of Utah.
                      There is more here if you're interested.

                      And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

                      by high uintas on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:03:41 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Path of least resistance: ALEC+State (9+ / 0-)

      It seems to be overlooked by some here that freeing up land to the State for management is exactly what ALEC has engineered - and know that legislators at the State Level are cheaper to buy or smear.  

        We have 2 very recent examples of this:  West Virginia and  North Carolina.      These States don't seem to give a hoot about regulations from anywhere and then we have yahoos in DC who want to give them more control over the public lands.  

        How many people have to die to show that States are more than willing to poison people for profit.

  •  Privatizing the public commons (11+ / 0-)

    has always been the method by the wealthy of buying-low selling-high.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:31:01 AM PST

  •  Of course they want to sue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, RiveroftheWest, high uintas

    They know "The Constitushun" in depth because they attended to Glenn Beck University.

    Organized ignorance is just killing us these past few decades.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:36:55 AM PST

  •  James Watt lives on (9+ / 0-)

    His perspective was soooo wrong it's hard to even begin to understand it;

    Watt periodically mentioned his Dispensationalist Christian faith when discussing his method of environmental management. Speaking before Congress, he once said, "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."
    his legacy is secure;
    In a 2001 interview, Watt applauded the Bush administration energy strategy and said its prioritization of oil drilling and coal mining above conservation is just what he recommended during the early 1980s.[27] "Everything Cheney's saying, everything the president's saying – they're saying exactly what we were saying 20 years ago, precisely ... Twenty years later, it sounds like they've just dusted off the old work."

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:04:40 AM PST

  •  not gonna stop it by playing brand politics (0+ / 0-)

    at some point, it must become clear that if we start assigning these things to BRAND professional rethugs as something different and distinct from their counterparts, BRAND and professional dems, we lose.

    because we will, funny enough, continue to vote and raise money for and support most Dems and it turns out we've been voting against our own interests. isn't that ironic? because WHAT HAS IMPROVED?

    yeah... like the 45% who voted to slash food stamps in Congress and the limp dem Senators (except for 9)  and who have allowewho are no more interested in us grunts on the ground

    how about West Viriginia, or JP Morgan, or Snowden or Afghanistan or .............

    at what point do we put aside the silly ass labels and focus on the issues that we need to understand and find ways to resolve?

    national politics ain't it. sorry. voting for Hillary will not stop this. and Liz sounds great, but when does she get us in this game? give us sound ideas how we help improve lives, install sane regulations, activate citizens... when do we stop wasting time? and start connecting to communities using eminent domain, figuring out how to make local/regional laws work to safeguard civil rights, how to use the justice system locally, how to nullify NDAA and the rest of the crap.

    we need to change our language and get back to civil service and civil servants... no more what party is in POWER or who WINS.... but who is elected and what is their track record?

    i'm truly sick and tired of the outdated people in charge of the world. i'm truly sick and tired of us not moving away from them but insisting that SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER somehow means something .... it doesn't and it is a waste of our valuable time.

    /rant.  

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

    by pfiore8 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:13:27 AM PST

    •  You and I will never agree that speaking truth... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, KayCeSF, high uintas

      ...to power is a waste of time. Doing so is not for the purpose of  eye-poking the powers-that-be, it's to expose hoi polloi to what they didn't know and to remind them of what they have forgotten. Without that, all that important local activism you endorse (and I agree) will never bear fruit.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 01:47:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  srsly? truth to power enligthens the hoi polloi? (0+ / 0-)

        it isn't their lack of data or knowledge. they KNOW what the data says. but, as with all addicts, they somehow have separated themselves from any relationship to the pain of their policies. in fact, they deny it. they rationalize it because we'll fix it later. yeah... they have the power and think they can make anything happen or more aptly, unhappen.

         i mean how do you suppose all of these people simply ignore Fukushima? or environmental damage via pipelines? do you think they are really concerned that, indeed, you can fish the last fish out of the sea?

        you do understand we are dealing with addictive like behaviors, right?

        THEY DON"T CARE. Obama is as smug and useless as George Bush. Bill Clinton is almost as clueless as Reagan was. and Hillary may be alot more like Bush 1.  and while Liz sounds like a champion, she is missing one key ingredient: inciting citizens to act. there are pressures we can bear and if she acts as conductor, we can push banks to return to the days when student loans didn't accrue interest until graduation and the post grad rates were low. and i'm still waiting for something to materialize from all of these great things she says... and Sanders too.

        let me make one prediction about ACA okay? let's revisit this next year: i'm betting that its template was NAFTAesque in that we'll find language imbedded that further weakens the position of the citizen and their rights against a health care INDUSTRY. btw: i don't care how many people are insured. i want to know how many people get the care they need w/o losing their homes. insured people don't equal people getting access to health care. imo.

        the very few people deciding how this game is played may be brilliant, but they have no sense and seem to me to act pretty much like borderline personality types.

        one last thing: do you really think Nye won the debate against Ham? Nye won in the eyes of those who agreed with him... just like Ham did.

        we don't need to talk true to power. we need to deprogram it.

        “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

        by pfiore8 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 04:37:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  hoi polloi = the masses; commoners ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          willyr

          ...You have them confused with hoi oligoi, the 1%ers, ruling class, or whatever you want to call them.  

          When I speak truth to power, talk about, say, the consequences of the intentional failures of the powers-that-be to regulate corporate activity effectively or to provide mechanisms favoring alternatives to such activity, I am not talking to those powers . I am talking to a different audience, the people who are curtailed and damaged and exploited by hoi oligoi and can sometimes be motivated to do something about it. This can range from trying to elect candidates who will take their interests as guidelines for action to engaging in street politics designed to end terrible policies and condoning of terrible corporate behavior to a whole basket of other political action, direct and indirect.

          In other words, I view speaking truth to power mostly as inciting citizens to act, spurring them to push change, and very little as trying to persuade our entrenched overlords of the private and public sectors that they must change. They will not be changed without pushing and they can't be pushed unless we have more people passionately engaged across a broad range of political action across many fronts.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:36:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, we may speak "truth" about power (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wonmug

            and that is different.

            we can confront power. and i'm not talking about "empowering" people but unleashing the power we already have.

            again and again and again i say it: we need strategies of doable, measurable actions. like if people switch their direct deposits from big banks to credit unions that offer student loans as low rates and no interest until graduation? how do we change the para militarization of police/privatization of schools and prisons? these are mostly local/regional controlled. we can get sane people on school boards. and we can use eminent domain to fight against foreclosure.

            however, i don't believe in "truth" because we the people, the hoi polloi, tend to act on what we believe is true. and that's why Nye's exercise didn't dent the creationist. Nor did Ham dent those who thought Nye pulled off a slam dunk. He really did not... far from it.

            what would make more sense, to me, is to find a way to challenge the brain into thinking outside its normal and accepted belief systems.

            but, i must say, the Moral March in North Carolina had me beaming... so who knows, maybe we are waking up.

            “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

            by pfiore8 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 01:46:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  ~~~ have... have some h.a.p.p.y~~~ (0+ / 0-)

            “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

            by pfiore8 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:13:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Constitutional??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    Hell that quit being a problem during the Bush regime, and it hasn't gotten better.    The .001% and their owned politicians are strip mining the country and us with it.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 10:04:22 AM PST

  •  hard for me to understand (0+ / 0-)

    If the Federal government allows drilling and ore exploitation on its public lands, it is as bad as the Federal government handing over that land over to the States and  State governments then allow in turn their public land to be sold and exploited by private corporations as well.

    Both federal and state governments are in the pockets of corporate interests. The whole governmental system is more than vulnerable to  be "owned" by for- profit entities and their aggressive, unregulated, preying technologies and I wonder why I should trust any of two, state or federal governments, to protect us from having our environement destroyed.  

    Though, as I learned here, that historically the state governments have been much worse are much easier to be bought out by corporate interest, who want exploite the heck out of it, than the Federal government, I never am sure, who is the bigger evil doer here.  

    I have no trust in either of them. Neither protects the environment from abuses of corporation technologies to go wild.

    Too many things I don't know. Hope I will find out for sure one day.

    •  Actually, the federal government, whose record... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mimi, Eric Nelson, KayCeSF, high uintas, emelyn

      ...is way far from what it should be in this regard, is better by a long shot than most state governments. There is a reason Republicans in Congress want to transfer as much environmental, safety and health regulations from the feds to the states. It's not because they think the legislatures will do a better job of protecting land, people and resources. Rather they expect them to protect corporate interests better.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 01:41:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, I got that, it still doesn't want to enter (0+ / 0-)

        my conscience and the "long shot better" of the federal government isn't enough to calm me down and make me happy, but I do understand which side to choose. Plenty of examples of the state governments that prove your statement.

  •  And republicans claim "they built that", when.. (3+ / 0-)

    ..in fact the extraction industrie(s) they shill for have been shrinking the public space with every move they make to grab steal, exploit, gut and sell to the highest bidder what all people have a right to NOT  exploit, gut and sell but to just live with in peace.

    This is hotlisted for the info. and lessons of history:

    Sagebrush rebellion

    some excerpts:

     • put large parts of the federal holdings- the public lands of the West--into the hands of states, localities, individuals [the 15ers], and corporations. It was a populist land reform promoted by rural conservatives against their age-old enemy, the federal government.

     •  Ronald Reagan said, "'Count me in.'"

     • loosening federal regulation rather than transferring the ownership of federal land [the public space]

     • Western business executives recommended to Herbert Hoover that federal lands be divested to the states and the private sector, though not necessarily for homesteading.

     • Since 1926 the Interior Department has conducted a highly effective program to transfer land to local governments, corporations and individuals for recreation
    and other public purposes.

     • The Sagebrush Rebellion marks a transition back to what will probably be a lengthy period of disposal brought on by new land demands, and new extraction and construction technologies. Nevertheless, the environmental movement, its laws, and its protective technologies are deservedly here to stay.

     - emphasis added

    Although (imo) much of the tone of this article is one of 'how and to whom' land will, and in some cases must be "disposed of" (disposed of?), and that the " permanent frontier' remains to be..
    The problem of the public lands has always been the problem of disposal; the trick has been to find those whose opportune disposal benefits both the disposee and the nation.
    ..an acceptance that the land will and had yet to be 'disposed of' (which sounds too much like the land's importance is that of a resource for extraction) it is a real eye opener.

    For years I have wondered how the big land developers have been able to do things that the small builder cannot do.

    When I took my first flight lesson out of Amelia Reid Airport; San Jose area; I was kind of stunned at the new developments that were being put out in the middle of surrounding grass lands.

    Turned out it was the beginning of those closed in communities.

    Privatizeing the public space for those rich enough to pay nothing

    Thx MB
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I hotlisted, facebook 'liked' and shared, but had to physically grab the URL and load if onto a facebook page.

    It seems that I'm doing something wrong, because  It used to take just hitting the facebook like button and then confirming the like and an option to share appeered.

    I'm not good at facebook and don't visit it much but do share really good stuff so..

    If anybody knows how to share Daily Kos stories with a single click I'd love to learn how - consistently that is - sometimes the option to share appears and sometimes it does not. Sometimes it's just like & confirm like otion

  •  In Alaska, they use "Mental Health Lands Trust (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    Authority" for State to privatize public lands, boost mining and industry, and wreck watersheds.

  •  I've been dealing w/these dimwits (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willyr, Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

    all my adult life. You can not reason with them. You have to beat them in court, stand in front of the dozer, fight. They are immune to any kind of sensible argument.

    I have to say this, it does those of us out here in the hinterlands no good when Dems complain about the Federal money that flows into states like Utah or Idaho. It's no fun to fight to the front and to the rear. All of that Federal land costs, it's worth it.

    The President should name more Monuments and Parks, IMO. Go ahead and piss 'em off because it isn't going to matter electorally anyway. Grab the land and lock it up, keep the shovels away.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

    by high uintas on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:13:02 PM PST

  •  sagebrush alliance stupidity (0+ / 0-)

    the Republicans fought everything good about social "engineering". They fought seat belts in cars.
    Helen Chenowith, a congressperson from Idaho, was a nominal leader of the "Sagebrush Rebellion", a group of mainly ranchers who wanted the "Freedom" to rape and pillage the West. They fought new awareness of how bad their policies were, especially free-ranging cattle on public lands. They wanted to use public lands for their profit, while getting dirt-cheap rentals from that hated "Big Government." Hypocritical and stupid all at the same time.
    Helen Chenowith died in a one car accident. She was thrown through the windshield, because she didn't have a safety belt opn. Oh, the irony! But, she was holding her niece in her lap, Her niece was also thrown through the windshield, probably breaking it in front of Helen, but the child lived.
    I think Chenowiths dead carcass should have been scraped up, hauled to court, and tried for child endangerment.
    Modern Republicans are putting a price on Freedom. They see a loss of Freedom in a small tax increase on the wealthy. Craven bunch of morons. I swear, using their logic, that they would feel a little more free if I flip them a buck.

  •  Our record is better than Argentina's (0+ / 0-)

    When I was an undergraduate I found a book in the library, copyright late 1870's, pages stuck together and never opened, by General Julio Roca, which I read and wrote up a book report for my Argentinian history class.  Roca detailed native American outrages against peaceful settlers, and then Roca advocated as a solution to this problem the conquest of the pampas and the extermination of the indigenous population.  He then detailed how he was going to do it.  After he published his book, he carried out his published plan, very thoroughly, and then was elected President of Argentina.

    The Argentinian government then had the issue of what to do with the newly conquered land.  Instead of a Homestead Act, the government sold the land to whoever had the pesos to buy it - and as a result the president and the members of Congress sold the land to themselves with the result that the pampas were owned by only a few wealthy landholders well into the Twentieth Century.

    We can condemn our treatment of the Native Americans, but it was marginally better than the Argentinians, and the Homestead Act was one of the great socialist acts enacted anywhere to ensure that numerous small land holders of modest means would own the farmland of the prairies.  

    "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

    by Navy Vet Terp on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:17:29 PM PST

    •  The Homestead Act was racial imperialism... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Navy Vet Terp

      ...and the Southern Homestead Act was a failure. Few blacks homesteaded compared with their proportion of the population and, of course, the Homestead Act required the clearing of indigenous people from the land. In Oklahoma, supposedly set aside exclusively for Indians already living there or cleared from other parts of the country, land was allotted to individual Indians in the 1880s and the "surplus" given over almost completely to white Homesteaders.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:48:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Need to remember ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Navy Vet Terp

        ... that by the time the homesteaders got to the West, 90% of the natives had died out from the diseases brought in by the explorers of the 1700s and early 1800s. All those famous Indian battles of story and legend were pretty much the final acts in a drama that had begun a long time earlier.

        First the Indians. Then the homesteaders. Then the cattle barons. Then the railroads. Then the miners. The West wasn't so much won as it was stolen. More than once.

        •  The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Navy Vet Terp, mimi

          ...that was the first big round of land giveaways was passed the same year as the Homestead Act. The cattle barons got their greatest live from the railroads. The worst slaughter by disease of Indians occurred in what is now the U.S. in the 1600s. And while it was clear the indigenous people had lost before the turn of the 18th century into the 19th, the final battles that cleared out the tribes of the West were carried out simultaneously with all the rest of this, with the bison herds under steady attack from the 1860s through the early '80s, with an act of Congress specifically passed to slaughter them to deprive the Plains Indians of their sustenance.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:10:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  But at least 20 families (0+ / 0-)

        Didn't grab up all the land, turning would be homesteaders into serfs.

        "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

        by Navy Vet Terp on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:41:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yup this article is so right on it hurts (0+ / 0-)

    I knew that was the purpose of this legislation as soon as I heard of it.

    Capital interests have assumed all rights and liberties.

    There is no natural resource that belongs to all the people that will not be turned into private capital and then left like a festering wound on the hillside.

    The first time I saw a clear cut mountain I thought 'Mastectomy'

    If this is not stopped there is no hope for the future generations in the loins of people having sex right now.

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

    by Hermenutic on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:22:38 PM PST

  •  Don't think for one second this isn't (0+ / 0-)

    about one of the Koch brothers or their kind not having a mansion under El Capitan. They will desecrate this land just like they desecrate the private lands being fracked to death. Every spot on public land is sacred simply because it is public. There is plenty of private land for them to destroy. They have no scruples and there is no end to their greed.

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:26:07 PM PST

    •  Looks like you beat me to it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mokislab

      I re-commented and you got in ahead of me. lol

      There is  ALEC, which I understand to be a  a legislative conspiracy, to remove  the peoples rights to the earth from them.  The earth is our, the peoples,  right and it is not the right of private interests.

      However the inverted values of this society have decided to nullify those rights.

      "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

      by Hermenutic on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:33:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know of what I speak (0+ / 0-)

        I lived in Central Utah for many years, I am moving back soon. Americans have free run of the area for hundreds of miles. No one can say get off my land, nor can you say it. It belongs to everyone.You know... Freedom. There is nothing a rich asshole hates more than freedom.  They will lay this land to waste without a second thought. If we allow it to happen, we are not worthy of it.

        “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

        by Mokislab on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:56:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  An uninformed public is a grave danger to itself (0+ / 0-)

    From the article:

    "If they are informed what the impact would be of turning these lands over to the states—which might maintain nominal ownership while letting the developers run wild or might choose to actually sell the land and resources outright—it seems unlikely those citizens would change their minds. But, the study also showed, only 34 percent of those surveyed knew for certain that public lands are already being drilled for oil and gas and 56 percent said environmentally sensitive lands should be permanently protected."

    This is just shouting get the word out and don't stop getting it out.

    Information can mobilize people as well as disinformation mobilizes people.  We've seen what disinformation by ALEC and the Koch goon squads can accomplish.

    Information is the key. Get it out and do not stop getting it out.

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

    by Hermenutic on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:31:41 PM PST

  •  their most important weapon for privatization is s (0+ / 0-)

    still 1200 unchallenged rw radio staitons

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:27:13 PM PST

  •  unsuitable for developement (0+ / 0-)

    The main problem and the only savior for public lands out West is water, or the lack of it. The Colorado is tapped out. It doesn't even make it to the ocean any more.The land will not support development.  That wont keep an oligarch from possessing it to keep others out to stroke his own ego. That's what this is about. The common people won't possess these lands.

     Most people don't understand unspoiled because they have never seen it. There is true power in unspoiled places.  It is ok for there to be no human footprint. Do we have to foul everything? Can't we just leave something alone for fuck's sake? Once it's gone, it's gone.

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:11:51 PM PST

  •  We could help by not shooting ourselves in the (0+ / 0-)

    foot in the states that have massive amounts of public land.

    People from the coasts imposing themselves on places they've never been and often never heard of doesn't help. Wyoming gets two senators just like California.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:34:21 AM PST

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