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Indigenous groups applaud protection of grizzly bear as Liz Cheney claims rule harms ‘Western Way of Life’

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“Liz Cheney is very upset that the people whose land was taken have interfered with the people who took the land.”

Native tribes and their supporters on Friday defended their push for the continued inclusion of the grizzly bear of Yellowstone National Park on the endangered species list, after Rep. Liz Cheney claimed the protection of the bear violates the “Western way of life.”

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The bear was officially returned to the list created by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on Tuesday, nearly a year after a federal judge found that the Trump administration had exceeded its authority when it attempted to remove the species.

“I would remind the congresswoman that at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition an estimated 100,000 grizzly bears roamed from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast…Now there are fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears and our people live in Third World conditions on meager reservations in the poorest counties in the U.S. Does she really want to talk about ‘destroying’ a ‘way of life’?”
—Tom Rodgers, RMTLC
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) sought to allow trophy hunters to shoot the Yellowstone bears, whose population in the park is just over 700, and to open up the public lands for fossil fuel industries. Native tribes including the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes joined with the Humane Society and Wildearth Guardians to fight the administration.

When the bear was officially returned to the list this week, Wyoming Republican Cheney claimed that the so-called “radical” groups were “intent on destroying our Western way of life” and had pushed for a rule that was “needless and harmful to the ecosystem.”

The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (RMTLC), which testified at a congressional hearing in May on the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act, took issue with Cheney’s suggestion that hunters and oil companies’ desire to profit off the demise of the grizzly bear trumps the heritage of native tribes and the need for biodiversity.

“So, in striving to protect our culture, our religious and spiritual freedoms, our sovereignty, and our treaty rights—all of which are encapsulated in the grizzly issue—we are ‘destroying’ Cheney’s idea of the ‘Western way of life’?” Tom Rodgers, senior adviser to the RMTLC, told Native News Online.

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“I would remind the congresswoman that at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition an estimated 100,000 grizzly bears roamed from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast,” he added. “That was all Indian Country. Now there are fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears and our people live in Third World conditions on meager reservations in the poorest counties in the U.S. Does she really want to talk about ‘destroying’ a ‘way of life’?” asked Rodgers.

Progressive congressional candidate Mckayla Wilkes was among the critics who took to social media to slam Cheney’s comments, calling them “absolutely surreal” considering the centuries-long and continued destruction of Native tribes’ “way of life” by numerousgovernment policies.

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As Native News Online reported, the USFWS worked closely with the fossil fuel services company Amec Wheeler Foster—whose CEO is a former executive of Halliburton, the multinational company whose Cheney’s father led in the 1990s—to conduct a peer review of its proposed rule de-listing the bear.

“That puts ‘harmful to the ecosystem’ into its true context,” Rodgers told the outlet.

Cheney introduced the Grizzly Bear State Management Act earlier this year to de-list the bear through congressional action.

As Rodgers told Native News Online, however, “There’s more chance of her father receiving the Nobel Peace Prize than her Grizzly Bear State Management Act reaching the House floor.”

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Carl Bernstein: There are 7-9 ‘wobbly’ Republicans who want witnesses but Mitch McConnell is trying to block them

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In a CNN panel discussion Wednesday, notorious Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein revealed that there are seven to nine Republican senators who are wavering after the compelling argument that the House has provided for the impeachment. The problem, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to allow any break from the party line.

"I think this is a hugely damaging narrative that was laid out today, and that Mitch McConnell understands, and has understood for a while that this hugely damaging narrative was going to affect his members," said Bernstein. "And that his strategy -- I've talked to some Republicans about this -- #MidnightMitch is to wear out his own members so that they don't vote for more witnesses because there are six, seven, eight, nine wobbly Republicans."

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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