Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Is about legacy - II

This is almost like my previous Owyhee is going to happen because it's about legacy. But I never mind to get repetitive where it helps to gain certainty. Otherwise, it's Malheur where the Bundy militia challenged the federal government in an armed standoff. This is why this proposed monument is so interesting.
Phil Taylor (E & E) {

Date = February 16, 2016
Source = Refuge occupation muddies bid to protect Ore. canyonlands

But a monument designation should be a no-brainer for Obama, other conservationists said, as it would cement his legacy of preserving lands for future generations to enjoy. With an Owyhee designation, Obama would likely pass President Clinton for the second-most acres preserved using the Antiquities Act. President Carter enjoys a healthy lead at No. 1.

Obama has invoked the Antiquities Act 22 times and set aside nearly 4 million acres. Clinton designated 5.7 million acres, and Carter designated about 54 million acres, all in Alaska (see related story).

"The question is, did the Bundy's really win something?" said Andy Stahl, executive director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. "If I'm the administration leaving office, I'd say, 'Hell no!'"

Proponents have two main arguments for designating the monument despite local objections.

First, the Owyhee Canyonlands area is owned by all 320 million Americans, not just the 31,000 people in Malheur County or the 7,000 in neighboring Harney. The designation enjoys broad support nationally, and the president was elected to represent all Americans, they argue.

"It's called a national monument for a reason," Stahl said. "It's not a Malheur County monument."
Here comes an indirect reference to the intra state urban rural divide - state capital siding with the fed government over rural areas.
Second, Obama won Oregon handily in the 2012 election, edging Mitt Romney by 12 percentage points thanks to Democratic support in heavily populated Portland and other coastal areas. While a monument designation would make him even more unpopular in rural eastern Oregon, it's not going to jeopardize his party's standing in the Beaver State.

Plus, the Antiquities Act offers Obama unfettered power over a Republican Congress that has stymied his major environmental initiatives and a Supreme Court that recently blocked his signature Clean Power Plan to combat global climate change.

"This is low-hanging fruit for an administration that's going to have a hard time filling its fruit basket," said Stahl.


It's unclear whether the White House is actively considering the Owyhee proposal.

But the Malheur occupation is unlikely to sway Obama, Kerr predicted.

"Monuments are good politics," he said. "But especially they're good legacy." }

The Beginner Guide to dooming in South Africa

This article is so good that I ended quoting a good deal of it without providing any commentary. I only rearranged quotes to give a slightly different flow and direction to the narrative. However, it may still be necessary to say a couple of words on why South Africa matters. This basically pertains to the concept of paradigmatic collapse. That is, South Africa is an important symbol globally. It's a symbol of racial co-existence, a living proof that such a co-existence works.

The unraveling of South Africa would be comparable to the fiasco of the Arab spring that laid waste to the idea of democracy as a kind of magic wand that works its magic like a clock in every part of the world. If the Arab spring had turned a resounding success, this could have seriously undermined the opposition to immigration from the Middle East in Europe. As it is now, however, anti immigration movements can easily draw parallels between the failure of Arab countries and their thesis about the inability of the bulk of Muslim immigrants to integrate into modern Western society.

For unclear reasons, people often appear unable to acknowledge the importance of their symbols. But regardless, the demise of the Rainbow Nation of Nelson Mandela is likely to become an epochal event to reverberate far beyond South Africa and Africa in general.

Kevin Sieff (Independent) {

Date = 17 February 2016

Source = Death of two black farmers prompts a racial reckoning in South Africa


White farmers say they are the ones under threat, their farms raided and their families attacked in crimes that often feel like the expression of racial outrage. In 2014, black men in Parys raped an elderly woman and put her body in a freezer, where she died. The previous year, a white farmer was killed when intruders dragged him behind his truck. Last year, members of a primarily white group, the Transvaal Agricultural Union, complained to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that white farmers in South Africa were a persecuted minority. Sixty-two people were murdered during 270 farm attacks in 2015, according to the farmers, who say the number is growing.

“In some ways it feels like there’s more tension now than there was during apartheid,” said Wynn Dedwith, a farmer in Parys. “All it takes is a little spark to ignite a keg of dynamite.”

“For us, the reality facing farmers can sometimes lead to an overreaction,” said Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive of AfriForum, an Afrikaner advocacy group helping to defend the accused farmers. “You have a friend who was killed, or you know the lady who was put into the freezer, and maybe you think, ‘Finally, we caught the bastards.’”

Qokotha, Mr Tjexa’s mother, heard the news from a friend. “The whites think they can do anything here,” she said. “It’s still apartheid.”

The whites called into their local Afrikaans-language radio station, Koepel Stereo, and spoke about the threat of more farm attacks and their sense of insecurity.

“We’re being killed like flies,” said the host, Sakkie van der Schyff. “The only reason you aren’t seeing a revolt by the whites is that we’re good Christians.”

The blacks called into Lentswe Community Radio, their own station three miles away, furious that the four farmers were granted bail. “If these guys are acquitted, there will be revenge,” said Seun Tladi, its newsreader.


Mr Tangasha was part of the generation that would profit from the rainbow nation, his grandmother remembers thinking. He would go to university. He would own a house, maybe a business. But, like most black South Africans, he dropped out of a crumbling public education system before he turned 16. He found work on a farm, earning about £6 a day. He was never paid on time, his relatives said.

He started voting for the Economic Freedom Fighters, the party led by firebrand Julius Malema, who said in a speech last year: “We want a total overhaul of the state. We want a state that is not scared of the white minority.”

“Farmworkers imagined that when we had a democratic government with black politicians in power that their exploitation would go away,” said Moeletsi Mbeki, a political economist. “But that’s never what the democratic struggle was about.”


When the four accused farmers had a bail hearing in their murder trial last month, whites and blacks gathered at the courthouse, separated by barbed wire.

“I could see the anger in their eyes,” said George de Beer, a white farmer.

“They looked at us like we were nothing,” said Ruth Qokotha, Mr Tjexa’s mother.

The whites sang the apartheid-era national anthem and held the flags of the 19th-century Boer Republics.

The blacks shouted: “Kill the Boer! Kill the farmer!” - a reference to South African whites of Dutch descent. }

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Bundy rebellion as a rural white Ferguson

This is a great piece that saves me the job of constantly repeating myself (Yes, I like to repeat myself). I admit it's not clear to what degree his observations apply, but there should be definitely a large chunk of population on both sides of the divide that conforms to his analysis.


1. The standoff has likely exacerbated even further the negative perception of the countryside among city dwellers. Other writers worried that any criticism of the federal land management is now going to be conflated with Bundism.

2. He actually did a much better job than me with his psychological analysis of the other side to the clash by drawing interesting parallels with Ferguson and the Occupy protests.

3. Stricter terror laws can actually speed up the march towards the abyss.

BY ROCKY BARKER (Idaho Statesman) {

Source = Malheur Refuge occupation ending shows rural-urban divide

The messy-but-not-bloody ending to the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge gave the nation a peak at the growing radical anti-government movement in the nation.

Final-occupier-out David Fry’s lack-of-medication rantings got a larger audience than usual for one of the many bizarre far right internet radio and video streaming channels that have cropped up. The ease of access to technology to spread a message worldwide has not only allowed Radical Islamic groups like ISIS access to a wide audience. Now ideologies espousing an alternative reading of the Constitution, questionable histories about the founding of the United States or the common-law myth that a county sheriff has the highest authority in government are thriving.

For many Americans, their view of rural life comes from reality shows like Duck Dynasty. So the crazy antics of Jon Ritzheimer, who did a video displaying the sex toys the occupiers had been sent, and of Fry and Sean and Sandy Anderson in the final streaming YouTube video, fit their storyline. But for many rural westerners, the sad narrative of how the Hammonds were sent back to prison because of the mandatory minimum sentence for arson under anti-terrorist law overshadowed most of the behavior of occupiers.

They saw the occupation of the refuge as the moral equivalent of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Occupy protesters who sat on the lawn of the old Ada County Courthouse in 2012. Many ignored the Malheur occupiers’ threats and their clear message that if the government moved in to remove them, they would defend themselves with the weapons they had stockpiled.

Finicum’s shooting by an Oregon State Police trooper became the rural white version of the Ferguson, Mo., shooting of Michael Brown. The FBI video appeared to show Lavoy Finicum go for the loaded pistol he carried after he had evaded police and almost run down an FBI agent.

But people who generally supported the aims of the occupiers saw the video differently and called Finicum’s death murder, just as African-Americans considered Brown’s death indefensible.


The end of this occupation will not curb the growth of the militia movement, as the Oklahoma City bombing of the federal building in 1995 that left 168 people dead did... Already, the Department of Justice is considering going to Congress to extend a law used for international extremist groups to domestic ones.

Officials now can charge individuals who support groups that present a “clear and present danger” to the United States like ISIS. They want the same power for domestic groups they see the same way.

Already the law has prosecutors convicting Muslim American teenagers, who express support for ISIS during their vulnerable social stage. Groups that appears to have participated in the Burns occupation, such as the Pacific Patriot Network, could get such a tag. }

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The train of historic legacy has left the station. And there is no going back

Two reports. They pretty much cap everything we know until now plus some new stuff. Highlights:

1. The scene of the presidential plane overflying the conservation legacy the president is leaving to posterity speaks for itself. I think this particular aspect of the situation is obvious now.

2. Interesting detail about the expectation that the next republican president will try to change the Antiquities Act. This may be another reason why Obama feels the sense of urgency to press forward with the conservation areas.

3. Since the fallout of 1996 in Utah no president tried to ram conservation areas thru despite local opposition. This president is being given ample warnings not to do it. The congressional team from Utah warned Obama that the resistance in the state will be fierce. It's also very indicative that the two democratic senators are not on board with the Canyonlands proposal in Oregon. They sure know that the measure is going to provoke fierce local response.

4. We now know Skinner's sources. Two democratic senators and a republican congressman from the state told him that the Canyonlands is coming.

Date = FEB. 12, 2016

Source = With 3 California Sites, Obama Nearly Doubles Public Land He’s Protected

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Eric Schultz, the White House deputy press secretary, said the designations built on “the administration’s commitment to protect our land and water for future generations.”

As Mr. Schultz spoke, the presidential plane was flying over some of the land, near Joshua Tree National Park, that Mr. Obama had designated. The pilots had deviated slightly from the normal route between Los Angeles and Palm Springs to give Mr. Obama and his passengers a view of the sun-baked terrain.

Last summer, Mr. Obama designated more than a million acres of land in California, Nevada and Texas to the national monuments list, invoking the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, who championed the national parks system.


In 1996, President Bill Clinton caused an uproar when he created the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah despite the opposition of local officials. Since then, presidents have been more careful in using the designation, generally choosing places where the idea has regional support, according to Mark Squillace, a law professor at the University of Colorado who worked on the Grand Staircase project during the Clinton administration.

The California desert designation is considered less contentious than previous ones because it has the support of the state’s senators.

Environmentalists are pushing for national monument designations in other places, including a region of southeastern Utah known as Bears Ears, and a region of eastern Oregon known as the Owyhee Canyonlands. The canyonlands are not far from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the recently occupied federal bird sanctuary.

In both places, regional officials have spoken out against the efforts.


Republicans have made frequent efforts to alter the Antiquities Act, and Professor Squillace said that Mr. Obama may be pushing for new designations because the act’s future is uncertain.

“If a Republican is elected president, it would not be surprising if we were to see changes to the Antiquities Act,” Professor Squillace said.

“That would dramatically change things. I doubt we’d see many more monuments.”

By Jeff Mapes (OPB) {

Date = Feb 2, 2016
Source = Owyhee Wilderness Proposal In Spotlight After Refuge Occupation

The White House website boasts that Obama has already protected more square miles under the Antiquities Act than any other president, although the vast majority has been in marine sanctuaries. Consideration of national monuments has stepped up as Obama enters the last year of his term, which is when presidents often take actions that don’t require congressional action and are aimed at cementing their legacy.


“All the arrows are pointing to a designation,” said Bob Skinner, a Jordan Valley rancher who leads Citizens in Opposition to the Owyhee Canyonlands Monument. He said he heard from Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both D-Ore., as well as from his congressional representative, Republican Greg Walden, that the administration was considering the designation.

Merkley said in an interview that he resisted introducing legislation on the Owyhee, saying he preferred to focus on wilderness proposals that have local support. The senator said he hasn’t taken a stand on the Owyhee proposal.

Merkley said he wants to make sure the White House understands “all the concerns the community expresses. … If the administration chooses to do a monument, I want to make sure they address those issues.”

Wyden has also stayed neutral, said Wyden’s spokesman Keith Chu, adding that “he’s definitely asked for feedback from everyone who has an interest.” }

Owyhee Canyonlands is going to happen because it's about legacy

This is one of the three proposed monuments I put on our watchlist in the previous post. Highlights:

1. It does seem to be about legacy. Basically, it's very much about psychology. In fact, too much here on both sides is about psychology. This is why this time the dooming feels so freaky.

2. The alleged tactics of environmental groups. I don't get the part about huge settlements and the rancher is likely biased against the groups. But the groups targeting the BLM for restricting associated activities and not going after the ranchers and their use of land directly sounds rather smart and true.

3. I don't know what are his sources, but he seems to be sure that the monument is going to happen.

Larry Meyer (The Argus Observer) {

Date = Jan 17, 2016

Source = Rancher braces for impacts of designation

The Owyhee Canyonlands monument, as proposed, would take in about 2.5 million acres. That would make it bigger than any other existing monument, Skinner said, and would include about 300,000 more acres than Yellowstone Park.

“It’s going to [have] a big economic impact,” he said.

While it’s going to have a direct impact on the cattle industry, a national monument designation is going to trickle down to everyone, Skinner said.

Malheur County Commissioner Larry Wilson, noting that cattle is now largest agricultural commodity in Oregon in sales and generating more sales than other crops combined, said decline or loss in the cattle industry would impact producers of crops used in cattle feed and suppliers to agriculture producers and other businesses.


While wilderness and monument laws say such activities as grazing can continue, once a special land-use designation is applied, environmentalists begin filing lawsuits, Skinner said.

They don’t sue the ranchers, he said. Instead, they go after the Bureau of Land Management to request such things as restricting uses or activities that support those uses such as cattle grazing. Those restrictions can include using vehicles to check on the cattle or take out supplies, Skinner said.

Environmental groups use the Equal Access to Just Law to pay for their legal actions, Skinner said.

“They receive huge settlements,” he said.


Designation as a national monument can come through declaration or order by the president under the Antiquities Act, Skinner said, but he said the act was never intended to take in larger areas.

As originally written, the purpose of the Antiquities Act was to grab smaller areas for protection, and a monument was to be confined to the smallest area, Skinner said.

In the case of the Owyhee Canyonlands, “it’s gone way past that,” Skinner said.

“All of our sources say it is going to happen,” Skinner said.

When a member of the audience asked if presidential orders or declaration can be overturned, Skinner said they can be but never have been by the next president.

He said he doesn’t believe the issue is about the environment.

“It’s about legacy,” he said. “The president wants a legacy.” }