June 6, 2016

"A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed conflict to save it?"

There's a clickbait headline. It goes to The Washington Post, so you might not want to use up your free views if you don't have a subscription. But this is a very interesting story about the potential for Obama, acting alone, to designate 1.8 million acres of Utah — to the southeast of Canyonlands and Glen Canyon National Parks — as Bear Ears National Monument. There is, we are told, a problem of people looting and vandalizing ancient archeological sites. And there are also "ATVs and motorbikes tearing through the desert terrain."

But what's the risk of armed conflict?
In a state where the federal government owns 65 percent of the land, many conservatives already resent existing restrictions because they bar development that could generate additional revenue. Out-of-state militias came to San Juan County two years ago, when Commissioner Phil Lyman helped lead an all-terrain-vehicle protest ride through a canyon the Bureau of Land Management had closed to motorized traffic in 2007. Lyman is appealing the 10-day jail sentence he received in connection with the protest, and he argues that his case shows how BLM officials place the priorities of environmentalists over those of local residents.

“I would hope that my fellow Utahans would not use violence, but there are some deeply held positions that cannot just be ignored,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the veteran Republican lawmaker, said in an interview....

[S]ome lawmakers have suggested that unilateral action by the president, under the 1906 Antiquities Act, could provoke the same sort of resistance that led to the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year. “There is a lot of conflict that has escalated into being on the precipice of violence that is unnecessary and unwarranted,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who opposes the designation.
Much more at the link.

37 comments:

David Begley said...

False choice. Obama and the State of Utah should use existing law to prosecute and jail looters and such. No need to create a National Monument.

False choice is a favorite of Obama. Either pull out of Iraq or full scale war with 100,000 troops.

Fernandinande said...

Major Native Americans are writing editorials to the local papers about how Bear's Ears shouldn't be a national monument because they use the land.

E.g. Bears Ears National Monument designation disastrous for Utah grassroots Navajos

Fernandinande said...

Part of the above letter:

"Trusting the federal government has historically resulted in broken promises for Native Americans.

As a DinĂ©/Navajo woman, a resident of San Juan County and Commissioner, I speak in behalf of my constituents – the Grassroots Utah Navajos.

We strongly oppose the Bears Ears National Monument designation in San Juan County on our sacred and spiritual grounds.

Having hunted, gathered and raised our families in and around the Bears Ears buttes near Utah’s Navajo Nation, we do not agree with Native American tribes outside of Utah cutting deals with environmental groups. "

Fernandinande said...

Arg, should be this link.

The Drill SGT said...

Easterners don't understand the sense of foreign occupation that sometimes exists out West, where the bulk of the land is owned by the Feds

holdfast said...

Historically, it's always worked out great for the Indians when armed Federal agents are involved.

Levi Starks said...

The federal government already owns every square inch of the USA. It's only a ruse to collect taxes (rent) that they allow us the mirage of ownership.
The sooner we recognize this the better.

Birches said...

Utah was already burned once when Clinton left office. Remember Escalante/Grand Staircase National Monument?

n.n said...

Sacrificing people to some secular idol is second only to abortion rites in anti-human policies.

Fernandinande said...

The Drill SGT said...
Easterners don't understand the sense of foreign occupation that sometimes exists out West, where the bulk of the land is owned by the Feds


I have yet to see the constitutional basis for the feds owning land other than areas like military bases and consulates.

Brian said...

"And there are also 'ATVs and motorbikes tearing through the desert terrain.'"

People in places that urban leftists never go are having fun in ways that urban leftists find distasteful. Clearly some federal action is required.

Stoutcat said...

Brian said...

"People in places that urban leftists never go are having fun in ways that urban leftists find distasteful. Clearly some federal action is required."

This is known as "wrongfun" and is very very bad.

Terry said...

Is it possible to draw a bright line between Obama, who will never face an election again, and East and West coast environmentalists, declaring 1.8 million of Utah off limits to local development, and colonization?

mockturtle said...

As one who regularly enjoys the beauty and serenity of federal lands and parks, I'd like to see them protected. But we certainly have enough land designated now.

Terry said...

Brian said...
"And there are also 'ATVs and motorbikes tearing through the desert terrain.'"
People in places that urban leftists never go are having fun in ways that urban leftists find distasteful. Clearly some federal action is required.


Urban leftists don't drive through their cities. They tear threw them. Bastards. Otta be a law.

PB said...

I love incognito mode! Make 'em put up a real pay wall and watch their readership plummet.

Ambrose said...

1.8 million acres is more than a "site"

hombre said...

Ah yes, the "armed takeover" of a federal facility in Oregon. The one where no one was shot or threatened by the trespassers that ended when Oregon state police imposed the death penalty for trespassing by gunning down one of the protest leaders. That takeover?

Anyone thinking of a similar protest in this region should remember the propensity of unionized police to obey their political masters when dealing with "right wing domestic terrorists."

damikesc said...

I have yet to see the constitutional basis for the feds owning land other than areas like military bases and consulates.

Thing is, they don't OWN the land. It's owned by the people. The government oversees it. Which makes their desire to shut down parks and make it miserable during government shutdowns so bad. In the private world, anybody shutting down something they just oversee would lead to jail time, especially if the money is there to pay for it.

Real American said...

Obama doesn't risk arm conflict, he instigates it, and he'd do so over much more trivial matters than this.

n.n said...

federal facility in Oregon... The one where no one was shot or threatened by the trespassers

No threats, real or implied. No abortions committed in privacy or in public. Not even a campaign of public and private harassment. Could there be a more innocuous assembly? Perhaps the TEA Party.

Yeah, that's the one.

gunning down one of the protest leaders

Apparently, this happened in the course of their seeking counsel with local authorities.

A fatal climate change caused by catastrophic anthropogenic government whoring over a multi-decadal period. CAGW is a real threat to civil and human rights that includes carbon sequestration regimes (e.g. reactive and planned parenthood) and citizen nullification reforms.

Joe said...

Regardless of whether this is a good idea, letting any president unilaterally designate national monuments has always been an awful idea. Congress needs to remove that power.

Thorley Winston said...

I have yet to see the constitutional basis for the feds owning land other than areas like military bases and consulates.

It’s called the Property Clause and basically it says that the federal government has the power to make rules and regulations regarding federal lands including those in the territory. Since the lands in question were part of the territories that were owned by the federal government and not included in the lands belonging to those States when they were created (part of the federal government’s power when it admits new states is to draw their boundaries and decide which lands will be part of the new state and which will not), they are still owned by the federal government who has the power to make rules and regulations about what uses they may and may not be put to.


Rusty said...

The Navajo people need a casino.
Casinos solve all of the red mans problems.

Thorley Winston said...

Ah yes, the "armed takeover" of a federal facility in Oregon. The one where no one was shot or threatened by the trespassers that ended when Oregon state police imposed the death penalty for trespassing by gunning down one of the protest leaders. That takeover?

I saw the video posted by one of the men involved in the takeover. It was a case of a very stupid man with a death wish who committed suicide by cop.





Fernandinande said...

Ambrose said...
1.8 million acres is more than a "site"


AFAIK, nobody lives there, but Navajos and maybe Utes cut a lot of their firewood there. There are a *lot* of ruins and petroglyphs, but I'm pretty sure the people who made them weren't the ancestors of the Navajos or Utes.

Thorley Winston said...
F-nande: "I have yet to see the constitutional basis for the feds owning land other than areas like military bases and consulates."

It’s called the Property Clause and basically it says that the federal government has the power to make rules and regulations regarding federal lands including those in the territory. ...


This guy says otherwise:

* As for acreage (”other Property”) within state boundaries: Under the Necessary and Proper Clause, the federal government may acquire and retain land necessary for carrying out its enumerated powers. This includes parcels for military bases, post offices, buildings to house federal employees undertaking enumerated functions, and the like. It is not necessary to form federal enclaves for these purposes.

* But within state boundaries the Constitution grants no authority to retain acreage for unenumerated purposes, such as land for grazing, mineral development, agriculture, forests, or parks.

* Once a state is created and is thereby no longer a territory, the federal government has a duty to dispose of tracts not used for enumerated purposes.

Freder Frederson said...

"This guy" is 100 percent wrong. There is nothing in common law, tradition or the constitution that prohibits the Federal Government from owning land. The Supreme Court settled the issue long ago. These guys can explain it to you.

GRW3 said...

Violent identity politics protesters must be understood. People peacefully assembling to protest their government or look to change are reviled and assaulted. Don't be surprised if they learn the lesson that violence get "understanding".

Thorley Winston said...

Once a state is created and is thereby no longer a territory, the federal government has a duty to dispose of tracts not used for enumerated purposes.

The enumerated powers do not place any limits on what the federal government can do with land that it owns nor do they confer a duty on the federal government to transfer ownership of land that it owns to the states or private parties. If you have case law to the contrary, please site it accordingly.

Thank you.

hombre said...

Thorley wrote: "I saw the video posted by one of the men involved in the takeover. It was a case of a very stupid man with a death wish who committed suicide by cop."

I watch a couple of videos - strangely, with the audio omitted - and I didn't see the deceased's gun or anything else in his hands, did you?

"Suicide by cop" is pretty cute, but I'm uncomfortable with the cops shooting a trespasser they have just forced off a public highway before they have verified that he is armed or appears to be armed. But that's just me, I guess.

Thorley Winston said...

I watch a couple of videos - strangely, with the audio omitted - and I didn't see the deceased's gun or anything else in his hands, did you?

I watched two videos – the one of the shooting (looked like aerial footage) where the guy made a run for it and then stopped and put his hand on his hip or side where it could have appeared like he was going from a weapon. The other video was of one of the guys who was with him at the compound who said that he kept talking about dying and going out in a blaze of glory. Looks like he got his wish.

AllenS said...

The government owns all of the land and the buildings on it. Do you own a house? Stop paying your property taxes and see what happens to your place.

bagoh20 said...

What if the ancient Americans likewise restricted development on the land? There would be no artifacts to loot, or protect, or fight about. If we restrict ourselves now, nobody in the future will be able to loot or protect our artifacts, and we will become invisible in history. Will Times Square or the graffiti of Skid Row someday be hallowed ground?

Michael K said...

Fifty dollars this is all about climate wars. The Clinton land grab was about coal. There must be something there the feds want to hide. Nobody cares about the Indians except as convenient victims. If they did, the EPA would not have flooded the Navajo water source with thousands of tons of toxic slurry.

Drago said...

Elizabeth Warren hardest hit.

Big Mike said...

The proposed land area amounts to 3.3% of the total area of the state, in a state that already is 65% federally-owned. Seems to me that one ought to draw a line somewhere.

Fernandinande said...

Thorley Winston said...
The enumerated powers do not place any limits on what the federal government can do with land that it owns nor do they confer a duty on the federal government to transfer ownership of land that it owns to the states or private parties.


Whoa, that's a new one. Federal amusement parks. (Note: I use BLM or NFS land nearly every day, camped all thru it around the Rockies, so it's not like I think it's a terrible idea, just illegal.) I think that many SC decision recently and over the years have been ridiculous, so I'm not really interested in what those government lawyers say. (

If you have case law to the contrary, please site it accordingly.

Or to support your statement. Which we may get in the future.