Federal law requires our government to consult with Native American tribes about the Bears Ears monument in southern Utah. But Trump is only giving lip service at best to attempts to the Navajo, Hopi and others about what was once the second-largest national monument in the lower 48 states, before Trump shrunk it by 85%.
Now, the general public has less than a week to file public comments on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s plan that could turn could add more ATV trails and approve cell phone towers and utility lines to what are now two smaller monuments. Bernhardt has appointed an advisory committee that doesn’t include anyone who supported creating the monument in the first place.
“The BLM and the Forest Service are asking people who don’t think the monument should exist for advice on how to manage it,” said Josh Ewing, executive director of Friends of Cedar Mesa.
Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke trimmed Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to 201,876 acres, eliminating Cedar Mesa with its cliff ruins and rock art. He also took out Grand Gulch, a canyon, and other places that five native American tribes wanted protected when they urged former president Barack Obama to create the monument.
The management plan would allow “chaining,” a practice favored by Utah ranchers to clear land for cattle grazing.
“Bears Ears is not the kind of place for chaining thousands of acres of forest or stringing up utility lines,” said Heidi McIntosh of Earthjustice, one of the parties involved in the Indian tribes’ federal lawsuit against the Trump administration over shrinking Bears Ears.
Bernhardt appointed rancher Gail Johnson who holds a grazing allotment that was entirely within the original monument to a Bears Ears advisory group. Johnson and her husband, Sandy, have intervened in the lawsuits challenging Trump’s shrinking Bears Ears, arguing that a larger monument would put them out of business.
Bernhardt also appointed San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams and Ryan Benally,the son of former County Commissioner Rebecca Benally to the panel. San Juan County, the poorest county in Utah, paid $485,600 to a Louisiana law firm to oppose Bears Ears being named a national monument and then to lobby for reducing it.
Bernhardt did not appoint any of the seven people recommended by Rupert Steele, the chairman of the Utah Tribal Leaders Association. Steele’s picks included Navajo medicine man Jonah Yellowman and Kevin Madalena, a paleontologist from the Pueblo of Jemez, N.M.
Scrambling Trump promises to ‘save’ social security after threatening to cut it — but it’s seniors who will pay for his recklessness
It used to be said that cutting Social Security was politics’ third rail, a fatal taking of positions.
If that’s still true, you wouldn’t know it from the emerging attention that cutting Social Security is getting.
Indeed, look at Trump’s handling of Social Security, and you may find real flaws in the armor of a Best-of-All-Time economy cloak that Trump tries to wear.
Even as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden mix it up over whether Biden did or did not say something supportive about a Republican plan in 2008 by then-Rep. Paul D. Ryan for spending reductions, here comes Donald Trump to promise that he is open to revamping entitlement programs towards the end of the year.
The absurd antics of Trump’s lawyers have turned the Senate trial into a bad episode of the Twilight Zone
It’s hard to pick out the best moment for Absurdity around the impeachment trial. In this Twilight Zone-like courtroom reality, there are simply too many choices for Most Absurd.
Like the Oscars, the undramatic competition for the award leans unduly on older, white men, particularly those with preordained decisions already in mind before any outcome.
Certainly, the top three must include continuing claims by Republican senators that they have not learned anything new – after having voted 11 times to deny the admission of new evidence or witnesses beyond the transcripts of the House committee hearings that had led to an impeachment vote.
Trump’s infuriating sham of an impeachment trial confirms our worst fears
So, this is what rot in American politics looks like.
It arrives in the padded cats-feet of mostly polite testimony and argument, of tipping hats and heads to Misters, Ma’ams and Senators, and then slowly twisting the knife of majority-dictated rules to turn search for what’s happened into ridicule and sneer.
If you were unsure before, there are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats and independents in the Senate, and by the end of a long, uncomfortable day of deciding on rules for a Senate “trial” of Donald Trump, the 53-47 outcome was heard 11 times, each aimed at undercutting any sense of actually acknowledging that there was anything wrong with running a rogue shakedown campaign from the White House for personal political gain.