US prepares to give sacred Native land to Australian mining firm

Congress may be about to trade Federal public land in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest that includes a sacred Native American site to a subsidiary of the giant Australian mining company Rio Tinto for copper mining:

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Saturday criticized a last-minute addition to a major defense policy bill that would hand 2,400 acres of land in Arizona to an Australian mining corporation.
[…]
But the land also includes sites sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe, including Apache Leap, where warriors once leapt to their deaths rather than being killed or captured by U.S. troops moving west through the frontier.

The proposed land exchange had failed several times before, including once in 2013 when House Republicans scheduled a vote while Native American leaders were meeting with White House officials in Washington. Tribal activists pressured lawmakers into spiking the vote.

But it returned again this week, in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass bill that sets the nation’s defense policy.

 
San_Carlos_Apache_sealThis is a yet another demonstration that Federal abuses of the Native American people are still ongoing (and Native interests and voices are still callously disregarded), rather than such treatment being some relic of a harsh but distant past. Interior Secretary Jewell called the provision “profoundly disappointing.”

Activists have launched an official WhiteHouse.gov Petition called Stop Apache Land Grab in an effort to get the provision removed.

April 21, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 81

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Description | Topics: Bundy Ranch standoff, Allen West, HBO’s Veep. People: Bill, Nate, Greg, and guest Daniel Fidler.

Talking Points:

– Why Cliven Bundy owes the Federal government a million dollars in back taxes (and why he believes the United States doesn’t have any authority over him)
– What Allen West’s latest anti-Muslim rant tells us about American views on governance and the Framers’ intent
– Political Pop Culture: Why you should be watching HBO’s “Veep,” now in its 3rd season.

Part 1 – Bundy Ranch Standoff:
Part 1 – Move Your Cows, Bundy – AFD 81
Part 2 – Allen West:
Part 2 – Allen West – AFD 81
Part 3 – Daniel Fidler on HBO’s “Veep,” season 3 [Spoiler Alert]:
Part 3 – Veep Review – AFD 81

To get one file for the whole episode, we recommend using one of the subscribe links at the bottom of the post.

Related links

Read more

#MoveYourCows, Bundy

As a preparation for a segment in our upcoming episode of Arsenal For Democracy this week, I’m posting a bit of background information on the case of the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who is refusing to pay his grazing fees on Federal land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently started trying to remove his cattle from the Federal ranges, and this brought in the anti-government militia types, resulting in an impasse.

The core of Bundy’s refusal to pay his grazing fees for over twenty years — that’s how patient the BLM has been — is this claim he makes:

“I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”

 
He believes the lands belong to the state of Nevada, rather than the Federal government, because he doesn’t accept the latter’s existence in the first place (as we’ll discuss in much greater detail on the episode coming out this Wednesday), and so he feels he doesn’t need to pay any fees.

That position runs into an immediate problem (beyond all the Federal court rulings against him), pointed out in The Atlantic, which is that it’s impossible to claim to be abiding by Nevada’s laws and constitution, because Nevada’s Civil War-era constitution demands fealty to and cooperation with the Federal government above all else:

the Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and no power exists in the people of this or any other State of the Federal Union to dissolve their connection therewith or perform any act tending to impair, subvert, or resist the Supreme Authority of the government of the United States. The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existence, and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.

 
Woops. Time to move your cows or pay up, Bundy.

For the rest of you more law-abiding citizens, check back on Wednesday night for our radio discussion of this situation, which we just recorded tonight. We take this apart from all angles and look at some of the historical circumstances that brought us to this moment.

Update 4/24/14: Listen to the segment below:
Bundy Ranch Standoff:
Part 1 – Move Your Cows, Bundy – AFD 81

Find the rest of the episode here.

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