Stripping and Selling America

September 20, 2017


Get real clear on this.
The Republican Party has made common cause with the global fossil fuel industry, with Russian Oligarchs, and with the violent White Supremacist right wing,  in order to make war on the very idea that there can be any institution, any interest, any law, that limits the greed or the reach of those with great wealth and power.

Interior Secretary Zinke proposes first steps, only the first steps,  in the handover of America’s Crown Jewels to the rape, ruin, and run crowd.

Reuters via AOL News:

WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – The head of U.S. Department of the Interior called for changes to the management of 10 national monuments that would lift restrictions on activities such as logging and mining and shrink the area covered of at least four of the sites, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump reduce the boundaries of the monuments known as Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.

Zinke also called for relaxing current restrictions within some of the monuments’ boundaries for activities such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing, according to a copy of the memo that the Post obtained.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante monument has areas that “contain an estimated several billion tons of coal and large oil deposits,” Zinke’s report said, suggesting that it could be opened to energy production if Trump makes a reduction in the footprint of the monument.

The Trump administration has promoted “energy dominance,” or plans to produce more coal, oil, and gas for domestic use and selling to allies. With Grand Staircase-Escalante being remote, and oil and coal being plentiful elsewhere, it is uncertain if energy interests would actually drill and mine there, if the monument’s boundaries were changed.


Zinke noted that most public comment on the monuments review ”were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments” but were the result of “a well-orchestrated national campaign organized by multiple organizations.” Opponents of the monuments tended to be local residents associated with grazing, timber production, mining, hunting and fishing and motorized recreation, he wrote.

“It appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects,” Zinke found. He said many also failed to adequately account for local opinion.

Zinke noted that areas protected by the 1.8 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante, created in 1996, contain “several billion tons or coal and large oil deposits. In the case of Cascade-Siskikou, created by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and expanded by Obama eight days before he left office, there are 4 to 6 million board feet of lumber on 16,591 acres set aside by a 1937 federal law for sustainable timber production. Zinke recommended ending the prohibition on logging on that land.

Except for red crab and American lobster fisheries, commercial fishing is currently prohibited in the 3,972 square miles of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off Cape Cod. Zinke recommended lifting the fishing ban there and at the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll monuments in the Pacific that have an economic impact on American Samoa.

Zinke also told the president that he recommends creating three new national monuments, including Camp Nelson in Kentucky where African-American soldiers received training during the Civil War; the home of slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson, Miss.; and the Badger-Two Medicine area in the Lewis and Clark National Forest in his home state of Montana.

Zinke visited several of the monuments he was asked to review and announced in advance of the August report to Trump that some required no alternations.

Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., who led efforts to stop any adjustment to monuments on California’s coast, said he was relieved that Zinke’s leaked recommendations apparently spared them, but he urged the president to make the report public.

Taking a different tack, House Natural Resources Committee chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, called for “an immediate and thorough investigation” of how the document leaked.

“Ultimately, it is the president who will decide whether or not prior designations violated the intent and size limitations of the law,” Bishop said in a statement. “I also appreciate the secretary’s recommendations on the need for congressional action, which is the only way to prevent future abuses.”

The Hill:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke added a new feature to the Department of the Interior’s cafeteria this week — the “Big Buck Hunter” arcade game.

Zinke placed the hunting themed arcade game in the cafeteria in an effort to promote hunting, announcing the addition in a tweet on Tuesday.

“To highlight  contributions 2 conservation I installed Big Buck Hunter in the employee cafeteria. Get excited for  season!” Zinke wrote alongside a photo of the game.

Zinke’s announcement follows his submittal of a formal report to President Trump recommending that several national monuments be downsized and opened up for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreational activities.

13 Responses to “Stripping and Selling America”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    One of the most sad, pathetic and chilling things I ever read was about Hermann Göring playing with toy trains.

    Zinke’s child-like behavior here is a reminder that mental illness is often a sort of caricature of childhood. Stunted emotional growth like this looks like just a slightly twisted version of normal because our whole society is twisted, and killing animals when it’s not necessary for food–and now games that simulate killing animals–are considered fun. Sometimes behavior like that is an indication of what used to be called psychopathy or sociopathy. It means there’s worse to come as the child comes into adulthood, and gets beyond the restraint of more wise, mature and healthy people and gets the power to do what they want.

    We should be very afraid. We are so very close to being in Third Reich territory, to being in the Year Zero where horrific revenge for childhood slights (real and imagined) is enacted on infidels, intellectuals, other races, women and any other outsiders as well as the rest of nature. We need to stop this, and impeachment of one guy isn’t going to do it.

    • webej Says:

      Agree. Very close, although I would rather emphasize the surveillance state that keeps being further rolled out, piggy backing on the terrorism narrative. Or the vast secret state apparatus (a million employees), which everybody agrees is the antithesis of democracy. Hard to know where this will go ultimately, although the unabashed crony coporatocracy is a strong signal. Have grave doubts whether the people are going to be able to wrest back control, since they are complicit.

  2. Earl Mardle Says:

    When the empire has done with stripping the vassal states and there is not enough left in them to promote “growth” it cannibalises itself.

    Tah daaah!

  3. ubrew12 Says:

    If Zinke is speaking for the hunting/fishing community, I must say: we could do worse. Hunters and fishers are outdoorsmen and women and will not let global warming play havoc with their backyard.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Really? Is that right?

      Read any outdoor/hunting/fishing magazines lately?

      Most of them equate Democrats with the Devil who wants to take your gun away, and global warming as a problem which has no political aspects.

      Most gun forums are basically an outpost of the KKK – some seriously crazy folks there.

  4. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Terribly depressing.
    Cancervative mentality. 😦

  5. Gingerbaker Says:

    And I say this as a hunter, a fisherman, and a gun owner.

    This is a serious issue. Tens of millions ( 33 million – I looked it up) of outdoor sportsmen, most of them will never vote for a Democrat – why?

    Because the Democrats can not shut up about gun control.

    They won’t shut up despite the fact that the right to own and carry is now thrice explicitly delineated. They won’t shut up despite continuing to lose election after election because of it.

    33 million voters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Think about that for second.

    Guess who DOES get it? Ans: Bernie Sanders

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      I see some nice fellow has already given my last post a downvote.

      So, I spent about 10 seconds googling, and found these:

      “The last Democratic wave – sweeping in a Democratic Congress in 2006 and a Democratic president in 2008 – was set in motion by downplaying gun control. The conservative magazine Human Events noted that in the 2006 elections, four of the six winning Democratic Senate challengers won with gun rights rhetoric, as did more than half of the 31 new House Democrats. Two Democrats with “A” ratings from the NRA won Senate seats in 2008, plus one more in 2010.


      and this:

      Re big-time 2014 Democratic defeats:

      ” For nearly two years Democrats and Democrat-run gun control groups claimed that 90 percent of Americans supported more gun control….

      But in the end Americans were too busy buying firearms and firearm accessories to listen to the Democrat talking points.

      When one sees that 81 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Independents, and even 41 percent of Democrats think this way the explanation for November 4 2014 is clear — “It’s the Second Amendment, stupid.”


      More than 71 million people hunt, fish, and/or recreate in the wild outdoors. Almost all of them believe in conservation. These should and could be Democrat voters, because the Left actually believes in conservation.

      But, nope. They ain’t. To a large degree, it because Democrats don’t know how to shut up. Evidently, losing elections is a point of honor to them.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Republicans capture votes to try to get the wealth, power and control they crave by lying to their small half of the electorate about white victimhood, government as the problem, competition, the evil of abortion, etc.–all about feeling isolated and alone as individuals* (And by gerrymandering, suppressing Democratic votes, and probably hacking voting machines.) Democrats try to get wealth, power and control and capture votes by lying to their half about trying to help the working class, women and minorities, gay rights, etc. The 2 parties’ economic policies are almost the same except for the speed at which they’re hurtling us deeper into fascism.

        A resurgent left almost got control of the Democratic party with Sanders, but failed, having underestimated the lengths to which establishment Democrats would go, and underestimated the number and effectiveness of the lines of defense the oligarchy has to protect itself.

        As long as the Obama-Clinton-Wasserman-Schultz wing refuses to give up being Republicans light by lying to their half of the dupes, the people on the left who have understandably given up on voting, and those who vote Green, Socialist, etc., will not vote Democrat in big enough numbers for the Dems to overcome Republican lying and cheating. And the money and voters the neoliberal Democrats attract are less likely to want serious gun control. So the Dems can’t do both—keep to neoliberalism AND use gun control and still win majorities in the US. Soon, as harsh events, and conservative frames spread by both halves of the duopoly continue to move the country to the right, they won’t be able to use any of the other social issues, either, because of the same contradiction. I’m guessing at that point the Democratic party will cease to exist; people will either become Republicans or join the progressive coalition.

        Gun control is not the problem, it’s just an indication of the problem—right wing Democrats. The answer is to abandon the right wing economic ideology and double down on progressive policies of all kinds: climate, ecology, rights for nature: universal health care, income, and education; stronger rights for women, minorities, refugees, a comprehensive plan to deal with the coming vast increase in refugees and disasters. etc.

        * see George Lakoff, Don’t Think of an Elephant, etc.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Right on. 🙂

          Really wish Sanders had already dropped the Dems like a bad habit and started his own Progressive Party. They could have been fundraising the Dems out of existence already. It sure would be good to have some hope again.

  6. Of course it’s “clean and green” when such lands and/or their viewsheds are defiled by rows of massive wind turbines that can be seen 30-50 miles away. After all, their footprint “only” encompasses the land where the highly-visible towers actually touch the ground. All that vertical despoliation is “beautiful” because windnuts lacking any real respect for what used to exist. They are poser environmentalists.

    That’s sarcasm, but it’s said with a straight face by wind power supporters who forget that ANWR drilling advocates used the same ruse to pretend “only” 2,000 acres of that coastal plain would be impacted. It’s a lie in both the context of oil and wind power. When confronted with that truth, the windnuts just call them “beautiful” and stomp off.

    Wind turbines also kill bird and bat species that house cats and car windows don’t affect, but those critters are expendable for “the greater good” when anything “green” is doing the slaughtering.

  7. […] The real aim is for a tiny group of fantastically wealthy oligarchs, in the US and elsewhere, to destroy the very idea that anyone, any agency, any government, or any law can stand in the way of unmitigated, rapacious greed. The unraveling of a century of attempts to preserve the natural world is underway. […]

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