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January 07, 2016


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I kind of wonder if at the root of this ceding federal land back to the states movement, there isn't a bunch of greedy speculators and developers eyeballing all the National Forest land surrounding the west coast cities. Looking at a map, you can see prime real estate adjoining most of the western cities, as well the Southeastern U.S. We already know that high probability of fire up the canyons around L.A. isn't a deterrent. Santa Barbara could be the next big city on the coast, the Four Peaks Wilderness could have Scottsdale halfway up it's western flank, the possibilities are endless.

Park land and other forms of nature preserves are one area where I probably skew more liberal than on a lot of issues.

These are true treasures and once you break that seal and turn them private, they're gone forever and will never be the same.

I am in favor of allowing the sale and development of government land in a slow and reasoned pace, as necessary for the good of people, but adding cheap amusements to one of the wonders of the world does not qualify. I also do not believe that soiling pristine wilderness with development just because someone will buy the land and develop it, is a worthwhile enough reason, if there are plenty of other places for people to live and develop.

As Pat notes, we need to be wary of selling off valuable, pristine lands just because we can get a lot of money for them (by selling them to people who will develop them and make untold multiples more money from the land than the government did). It also seems the government tends to sell its lands off off for less than they are truly worth, either out of ignorance or because it will benefit the government actors or their friends and boosters personally.

We are already seeing private management of state parks in Arizona and even a privately managed pay-to-play tubing site in the Coconino National Forest north of Flagstaff. Public lands and open space are what make the West great.

Great piece Jon. It's even getting rave reviews from a number of my Republican friends. Yes friends.

Besides stupid they R phonies.

and from the Paiute tribe to Johnny come lately cowboys.


If I find time I throw in a few Abbey quotes and tell you why privatization sucks.
Plus words supporting more Roadless WILDERNESS

The need for drama in some lives sometimes comes with a fatal lack of irony. For a couple of dozen (maybe) "patriots", it was a short road from utter delusion to brazen idiocy. There is no floor on the right now when it comes to the wanton abandon of reason. It's all good now, from Der Donald to the latest cast of Real American Victims. Watch them audition their latest Facebook videos and bet on which high-grade swamp fever goes viral. Maybe they can appear on Duck Dynasty for snack money, or maybe Fox News will see some raw talent in a manic bearded face, and make him (or her) the next voice crying in the wilderness that is cable TV. Glenn Beck may well be taking notes.

The noisier democracy gets, the more alluring authoritarians become. We think maybe this one will finally tell the schvartzes to shut up once and for all. But life is weird because nothing stays put. Blacks find a way into our remotest inner sanctums and Oval Offices. What seemed like a bad dream in the 1960s now looks like a music video. Who unleashed all this insane energy? The Kardashians? Hollywood? ESPN?

We no longer know with absolute certitude what is real except people on TV have more reality than you or I. We'll fight over which projections appears more accurate but our agreed cosmic battle keeps shifting to some fresher lunacy. Who will fight over and tribalize around next week? Can Der Donald keep us mesmerized or will we finally ask for a sedative in the shape of Jeb? We shouldn't let a collective nervous breakdown go to waste. We may be slouching to Gomorrah with a techno beat but the distant neon says endless distractions are your Constitutional birthright.

It turns out Ammon Bundy is a half-million bucks into the federal government he doesn't recognize for a small business loan. It was for a trucking company (what else?), which kind of begs the question, what the hell is he doing hanging out and making trouble when he should be focused on his business, so he can pay us back what he owes? Or is the only thing left of the business the debt?

TR and JM overlooking Yosemite (at Dewey Point?) What might Yosemite look like if not public? That assumes that Ansel Adams or Joe Sixpack could get in to photograph it and let the rest of us know. OTOH I wish that I could see Hetch Hetch as it was at the turn of the last century.

Hetch Hetchy. This time I'll use "Preview."

What these dudes in Harney County hope to accomplish is very far from being realized. What they will have realized remains to be seen, but there will be consequences stemming from the limit testing and role modeling that's taking place. I hope not, but am concerned that this presents a template wherein heavily armed groups move into public (even private?) spaces dressing up their actions in "legitimate" rhetoric while expecting relatively little downside (as happened in Nevada.) By the way, where is the Tough on Crime crowd in all of the commentary? All of this ethical relativism! I'm a gonna choose the laws.

If this is theater it is boring as hell theater. Having cowboy types cradling their guns like well-polished and well-loved dildos is only so interesting. Agreed?

Ultimately if you introduce guns into a play then, a la Chekhov, bullets have got to fly. All my life from Matt Dillon to Walter White the good guys and the semi-good guys have won the day with a blast from a gun. These modern cowboys surely have learned that cultural lesson as well. They need to win the day for justice. After all: "Daddy swore an oath".

Instead, they just sit on their asses all day demanding free land without pulling a single trigger. Yawn. Give me some action or let's change the channel to something with some pep.

So here's an idea to put some zip back into this tedious Western:

A unruly mob of unarmed lefties should surround the bird sanctuary and taunt the loons: "Get a job fatty. Get off your asses and go make a living like the rest of us". And such similar apt right-whig slurs. Maybe that will coax these drugstore cowboys into loosing some lead and hieing this stale plot along.

Or how about some left-wing hobbyists with drones? Why aren't there dozens of drones circulating and photographing this snooze fest and begging for the cowboys to shoot 'em down?

Thank god for football at least.

Please please please: Do something cowboy. Either shoot something up, or get off the taxpayer-funded toilets you freedom fighters are crapping in these days. Because this tired theater won't play for much longer in Peoria (or Peoria AZ either).

Fair column, Jon, in most respects. You write "...Otherwise, these rugged individualists wanted the government gone. Some of Arizona's leading statesmen opposed making a National Park at Grand Canyon..." At that time, these "leading statesmen" must have been...wait for it...Democrats!

The New York Times catches up with Rogue in exploring the Republicans' ambitions to give away the people's land:


Regarding the Grand Canyon: Roosevelt could not get the Republican-controlled Congress to create a Grand Canyon National Park, so he made it a national monument via executive order in 1908. The D-majority 65th Congress passed the Grand Canyon Park Act of 1919 with the help of Arizona Congressional Representatives-all Democrats- including Senator Carl Hayden.

Historically, Grand Canyon National Park's opposition was comprised of local ranchers and miners. Now, many ranchers and miners opposed to creation and preservation of public lands are very wealthy, government-subsidized, and represented by multi-national agriculture and mining corporations. Land=profit, then and now.

Without question, the American public prefers their government as stewards of our public lands, yet Democrats fail to control the message on this critically important issue. Instead, right wing media fills the airwaves with mumbo-jumbo about big, bad government taking away our land, guns, and freedom.


Robert H. Bohannan, how do you respond to wakeupAZ? Because that was quite an essay from him.

Emergency side note:


I'm a she, ChrisInDenver. Ha.

Here's some recent polling about how people in western states feel about public lands.


wakeupAZ, regardless of you gender thanks for the info. good stuff.

Please no one confuse Democrats with Dixiecrats! The Goobers have left the Democratic Party and now are the problem of the Republicans.
We need to work on regaining political power at all levels of government and calling those traitors to account.
Sorry, guys, you lost the Civil War. Get used to it.

Hattie I'm sure you meant the last Civil War?

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