Monday, August 22, 2011

Tea Party Rockstar or Crazy person? You decide.

Dear Reader,

Please keep in mind the following definition as we proceed through our little tale of the postfire politicking on the national forests of Arizona.
se·di·tion [si-dish-uhn] noun
1.incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.
2.any action, especially in speech or writing, promoting such discontent or rebellion.
3. Archaic. rebellious disorder. (via)
New Mexico congressman Steve Pearce, who we've, uh... portrayed here before, was recently up in Arizona (emphasis added to ensure reader awareness of the geographic mismatch between where his business actually is and where he's just getting into others' business), explaining - nay, urging- counties to take back control of all the land within their boundaries, even land considered to be in the possession of the federal government. In this case, he meant the National Forest.
Pearce, speaking at a Town Hall in Eagar with Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ1), recommended several tactics for the retaking of America....Pearce talked about three counties in the U. S. in which local officials are taking control.

Otero County, NM, after seeing the results of handling of the Wallow Fire, is not waiting for the government to clean up its forests. The county commissioners have told the U.S. Forest Service they will clean it themselves, and have issued requests for proposals (RFQ) for loggers to come in and start thinning around towns.

The County Sheriff, he said, is backing up the commissioners, and has threatened to arrest any Forest Service personnel that try to interfere. They expect to start cutting as early as Sept. 17.
Apprently, Pearce used this and several other frightening examples to demonstrate how the road closures following the Wallow Fire are "illegal" and urging citizens (emphasis on U.S. citizens, we're sure) to go back into closed areas and take back their land.

Fucking genius idea, Boss.

Seriously, have you seen the employment stats on Apache County, where he made his little stand? Government employment tops the list, with USDA Forest Service in the top five major employers. Or what about the literacy rates? Apache County weighs in with a "low literacy" rate of 41 percent. Sixteen percent of adults don't have high school diplomas. Over a third live in poverty.

Given these depressing statistics, we're pretty sure that:
a) Apache County isn't quite ready to run itself.
b) Unless the county wins the lottery, it's not likely to be able to provide the services that the federal government is now supporting.
c) Where would all the jobs go? To private logging companies? That's really short-sighted thinking, no? Sure, it would be a hell of a boom time. And in five to ten years there would be no more forest. Duh.
So, we're going with crazy person on this one. If not worse. (See above.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Heart the Tar Sands Resisters!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Bill McKibben, et al, for reminding us today that even if you lose (and you likely will), there are still some people stirred up enough about the future to put their bodies on the line.
The largest act of civil disobedience by environmentalists in decades began outside the White House this morning, as over 70 activists were arrested at the north gates during a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline, which if approved by the administration, would carry 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The activists, who sat down at the gates at 11 a.m. holding large banners reading “Climate change is not in our national interest,” were warned three times by U.S. Park Police to move along, and were handcuffed and removed after they refused. Over 2,000 people have pledged to be arrested outside the White House every day until September 3, in daily installments of 75 to 100 people. Via The Nation
It ain't gonna work. Obama is a complete freaking sell-out. And we're basically doomed. But it's mighty sweet of y'all to try.

It's game over, but we might as well keep playing our final cards. What more have we got to lose?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Skiers have rights, too. Because recreation and core beliefs are the same thing.

We just read this poignant piece by Mary Sojourner regarding the Snow Bowl effluent snow-making on San Francisco Peaks. She writes about going to the resistance camp on the mountain
A mile or so of the road is reduced to one lane because the ski resort is dynamiting and gouging a trench in which they plan to lay pipes in which treated wastewater will be carried to make fake snow. Thousands of Native Americans, their supporters and environmentalists have battled the Snowbowl’s plan for at least ten years — in the courts, on the streets, in the parking lot of the resort, in front of Flagstaff’s local newspaper office, on-line and, most recently, by locking themselves down to the equipment that is now lacerating the face of the mountain.
Fucking capitalism. Once again.

Friends don't let friends ski the Snow Bowl.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book review: A World Made by Hand

A near-future fiction novel by James Howard Kunstler. And optimistic as hell.

The basic premise of the book is that America has gone down the tubes, sometime shortly after what seems like now, with nuclear attacks in D.C. and L.A., and everyone in between scrambling for what's left of law and order, wheat, and anti-biotics. There is a lot of death and melancholic looking back, but there is also still small scale agriculture, some trade, new communities and hierarchies and anarchies, and there are still some bullets. Apparently.

What most struck us were the descriptions of the ecosystems rebounding, with fish sizes and populations returning to pre-1900s levels, and of wolves interbreeding with coyotes and making their way back as predators. Now that is something to look forward to! No bureaucrats with enough power to doom them and not enough bullets to finish the job...

Yes, it's actually quite optimistic from a non-human perspective, especially because the humans have apparently been impacted reproductively and aren't making as many kids as they used to. Which means that even the rebuilding of some of the social structures and other markers of "civilization," one is left without the impression that it will be an instant replay of our time.

It's kinder than The Road and Oryx and Crake, while still being brutally honest about the future without fossil fuels, grocery stores, and clear lines of top-down power.

So, a quick read with a pro-collapse message, without being too maudlin about the folks who don't make it through the "hard times." And end of summer read.

We welcome your comments.