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Trump to allow ‘outrageous’ gold rush-style grab of public lands to begin in less than 48 hours

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Despite protests from conservationists, local tribe leaders, Democratic lawmakers, and even the United Nations’ expert on indigenous rights, at 6am on Friday the Trump administration will allow citizens and companies to start staking claims on sections of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah so the new stakeholders can conduct hard rock mining on the formerly protected lands.

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“It is outrageous to witness the dismantling of the Bears Ears national monument, in what constitutes a serious attack on indigenous peoples’ rights in the United States,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Tauli-Corpuz noted that the previous administration’s decision to create the monument “protected thousands of sacred sites which are central to the preservation of regional Native culture,” and warned President Donald Trump’s December decision to reduce Bears Ears’ area by about 85 percent “exposes thousands of acres of sacred lands and archaeological sites to the threats of desecration, contamination, and permanent destruction.”

Critics have turned to social media to denounce the “modern land run.”

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In response to the attacks on public lands and a proposal from Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) that purports to give management control of the remaining land to indigenous leaders—who say the measure “is tribal in name only”—a group of Democratic senators has introduced a bill to fight back against Trump and Republicans in Congress:

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In spite of widespread opposition, the Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to move forward with allowing stakeholders to claim plots of land on Friday, and has determined the process will be governed by the General Mining Law of 1872, which covers mining for metals such as copper, gold, silver, and uranium (but not coal and petroleum).

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“The process for staking a claim remains much as it did during the Gold Rush,” Reuters reports:

A prospector hammers four poles into the ground corresponding to the four points of a parcel that can be as big as 20 acres, and attaches a written description of the claim onto one of them. A prospector then has 30 days to record the claim at the local BLM office….

The costs of claiming are low: a $212 filing fee, and an annual maintenance fee of $150. Unlike laws governing petroleum extraction, there are no environmental guidelines specific to hard rock mining, and no requirement to pay a royalty. The claims provide prospectors mineral rights but not ownership of the land.

Lauren Pagel, the policy director of the nonprofit Earthworks, criticized the law as outdated, telling Reuters, “It’s really the last law still on the books from that Manifest Destiny era encouraging a resources free-for-all.”

This article was originally published at Common Dreams

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Ex-White House aide describes Trump’s abusive tantrums when he doesn’t get his way: ‘Not normal at all’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, former Donald Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman backed up assertions in the book " A Very Stable Genius" that the president is prone to tantrums when he doesn't get his way and becomes abusive to staffers and cabinet members alike.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Omarosa -- who wrote an insider's account of life in the White House after she was unceremoniously fired -- said there was little in the new book that surprised her.

Digging into her Oval Office days, the former adviser and longtime Trump associate described the president's "zero to 200" screaming jags when displeased.

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Ex-Bush aide admits GOP would have removed Obama if he did ‘one tenth of what Trump has done’

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A former strategist for former President George W. Bush accused Republican lawmakers of hypocrisy on Sunday for for failing to honestly consider the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Matthew Dowd, a campaign strategist-turned-media-analyst, made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday.

"Deep in their hearts the Republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what President Trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him," Dowd wrote. "And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And Trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines."

Deep in their hearts The republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what president trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him. And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines.

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‘Opportunistic’ Trump has an ulterior motive for hyping Virginia gun rally on MLK day: MSNBC guest

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During a panel discussion on MSNBC's "AM Joy," the Reverend Mark Thompson claimed that President Donald Trump is sending a message to his rabid base by hyping up a pro-gun rally in Virginia on Martin Luther King Day.

Addressing the rally to be held in Richmond, which has the entire state on edge and forced lawmakers to ban weapons at the event in the name of safety, Thompson told host Joy Reid it was accident that the president linked the rally to a day when Americans celebrate the life of the civil rights leader who was gunned down in 1968 in Memphis.

Asked about Trump's tweets about the rally, the reverend called them disgraceful.

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