Sunday, February 17, 2008

Looking Interior

Just for fun, and to keep you fans up to date, here's one about the U.S. Department of the Interior: Casino Battle Rages in Congress.

OK, they're just one of the players, but I love the quote. I'll Cliff Note the article for those of you who don't want to wade through it.

Some Indian tribes are trying to get land, prime land near Detroit and the Canadian border to settle some old claims. Land for casinos, which would affect other casinos. A classic, with greed, lobbying, political influence and power. Always power. That about covers it.

And DOI? From the article: "The Interior Department opposes the legislation because if Congress acts, the agency would not be able to assess the impact of the land-claim settlement on the environment or on other tribes. It also would circumvent the department's role in reviewing gambling compacts between tribes and the states."

The quote? "It may provide a road map for others to follow," Carl Artman, assistant interior secretary for Indian affairs, told the committee.

I guess those tribes just aren't ready to govern themselves.


cactus said...

In Interior's view, who IS ready to govern themselves?

KAP said...

Coal companies?

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...


lil_hammerhead said...

Interior should have a branch whose only focus is finding funds to make every single Native American and Native Hawaiian a millionaire. That's it, that's all this branch should do.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Sounds all too familiar. "Poor downtrodden souls unable to govern themselves. Why we must jump in and save them." goes the Interior refrain. Unlike a century ago, they hide the guns a bit better now. The system is pretty much the same.

As to millionaires and (thousandaires as well), all they need is for government to stand back and get out of the way.

They will not get out of the way, of course. Their prime directive being to cut a piece of everyone’s pie so they can redistribute it to themselves and their political cronies and pals back home. The left over funds will be used to run roughshod over one group or another til they tow that line properly and to pander to some additional voters with a bag of handouts. Story concludes.

lil_hammerhead said...

Government got out of the way in Hawaii.. they got totally out of the way, and basically let Dole and other companies run right over the Hawaiians.

bradinthesand said...

"Interior should have a branch whose only focus is finding funds to make every single Native American and Native Hawaiian a millionaire. That's it, that's all this branch should do."


should there be a similar branch of the u.n devoted to enriching people who lost land to a war?

"Government got out of the way in Hawaii.. they got totally out of the way, and basically let Dole and other companies run right over the Hawaiians."

after the revolution, dole became the president of hawaii and petitioned for statehood.

lil_hammerhead said...

During the 1840s and 1850s secured recognition of the kingdom from the US, Britain, and France. As the American presence on the islands increased, however, so did pressure for US annexation—a movement opposed by Alexander Liholiho, who ruled as Kamehameha IV after his father's death in 1854. His brief reign and that of his brother Lot (Kamehameha V) witnessed the arrival of Chinese contract laborers and of the first Japanese immigrants, along with the continued growth of Hawaii as an international port of call (especially for whalers) and of the increasing influence of American sugar planters. Lot's death in 1872 left no direct descendant of Kamehameha, and the legislature elected a new king, whose death only a year later required yet another election. The consequent crowning of Kalakaua, known as the Merry Monarch, inaugurated a stormy decade during which his imperial schemes clashed with the power of the legislature and the interests of the planters. The most significant event of Kalakaua's unstable reign was the signing of a treaty with the US in 1876, guaranteeing Hawaii an American sugar market. The treaty was renewed in 1887 with a clause leasing Pearl Harbor to the US.

Kalakaua died during a visit to San Francisco in 1891 and was succeeded by his sister, Liliuokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch. Two years later, after further political wrangling, she was deposed in an American-led revolution that produced a provisional government under the leadership of Sanford B. Dole. The new regime immediately requested annexation by the US, but the treaty providing for it bogged down in the Senate, and died after the inauguration of President Grover Cleveland, an opponent of expansionism. The provisional government then drafted a new constitution and on 4 July 1894 proclaimed the Republic of Hawaii, with Dole as president.

Hawaii's unofficial annexation in 1898 was made "official" in June 1900.

Until annexation in 1898, Hawaii was an independent sovereign state, recognized by the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany with exchange of ambassadors.

Dole and other plantation moguls used strongarm tactics to, in effect, undermine and eventually overthrow the native Hawaiian monarchy and take control of the government administration of Hawaii. Against the orders of President Grover Cleveland himself, in initially secret collusion with Minister John L. Stevens, a company of US Marines and two companies of US Sailors, along with the militia group, the "Honolulu Rifles", assisted the Dole-led overthrow of the monarchy and creation of a "provisional government" led by Dole.

An immediate investigation into the events of the overthrow was commissioned by President Cleveland was conducted by former Congressman James Henderson Blount. The Blount Report was completed on July 17, 1893 and concluded that "United States diplomatic and military representatives had abused their authority and were responsible for the change in government.".[9]

Minister Stevens was recalled, and the military commander of forces in Hawaiʻi was forced to resign his commission.

Nonetheless, the damage had been done, and despite President Cleveland's attempts to correct the wrongdoing by his administration officials and sugar magnates.. Control of Hawaii remained with the sugar companies. This was due in part to the new need to strengthen US position in the Pacific around the time of the Spanish-American war.

lil_hammerhead said...

Hawaiians need to be paid for the rich rich rich land that was "annexed".. stolen. What did they get for it.. third class citizenship. Poverty. Homelessness. Population decimation.

Not a whole lot. Pay them their due.

cactus said...

I presume all of this was accompanied by loud protestations about how the coup and annexation were "necessary," even beneficial and in the best interest of the people, in light of the "imcompetent" and "corrupt" state of the native government.

Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this federalization business. The local government is doing a great job making sure wages are fair and reasonable. Why would federal intervention be needed?

KAP said...

Geez, anonymous, that comment sets up something else I wanted to say so perfectly that Brad will think it's me trying to 'stir the pot'.

"Federalization" doesn't have to be a package meal, I prefer to take it a la Carte. You can talk about 'federalization' of the minimum wage, of immigration, of education or any number of subjects.

I picked on Interior because I suspected that both sides of the wage and immigration debate might be able to find some common ground here.

DOI is the department everyone loves to hate. It gives away mineral rights for a pittance and doesn't enforce cleanup laws. It clearcut some of my favorite areas. It plays big brother to tribes and to insular possessions. The federal government owns half of most western states. My view is that Interior is by far the worst manager of that land. It has been a bastion of corruption and influence-peddling since well before Teapot Dome.

That said, I like Jeff Schorr and am something of a David Cohen fan. They just happened to work in the belly of the beast.

rhinoceros said...

Jeff Schorr is alright, but you are going to have a hard time convincing me that David Cohen is just a nice guy "working in the belly of the beast" and not part of the beast himself.

He drafted the immigration bill. Maybe he had to draft something, but he could have drafted it a hundred different ways that would have provided some kind of substantive role for CNMI opinion, and preserved a meaningful measure of local self-government.

Instead of trying something creative, however, he chose to follow the typical Interior model: the Great White Father commands, and the natives obey.

And it's not like he didn't know what he was doing. This is the guy who said "we must ensure that the people of the CNMI participate fully in decisions that will affect their future."

So I think it is fair to say that, juding him by his own standards, he does not measure up very well.