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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 11, 2011 4:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Countdown in Yacolt. The next post in this blog is Trade mission update, Day 2. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, February 11, 2011

For quiet rebel, a day of reckoning

Here's a guy who made a lot of trouble over a public land giveaway to the usual suspects in the oil and gas industries. Did he block a road? Chain himself to a fence? Climb up a tree and refuse to come down?

None of the above.

In a burst of creativity, he showed up at the Bureau of Land Management's lease auction and starting bidding. Making bids he couldn't pay, of course. It was an act of peaceful protest.

Now, facing 10 years in the federal slammer, Tim DeChristopher is apparently refusing any plea deal. His lawyers will argue a "necessity" defense, and hope for a sympathetic jury, when the criminal trial begins two weeks from Monday. But good luck -- it's in Utah. And outside the courthouse will apparently be a media circus about climate change. Robert Redford, the whole works. If DeChristopher's found guilty, a harried judge may be in a hanging mood.

On one web page supporting the defendant, there is written, "People pay attention when others make sacrifices." True words. But let's hope this guy's sacrifice isn't too major.

Comments (20)

clever kid

There's all sorts of examples of public resources being literally given away to the highest bidder...In campaign contributions to certain politicians, not by the competitive bidding process.

Want to reduce water use? Stop giving it away to certain well-heeled individuals as the government now does. And stop giving away the power to pump it too.

Bidding on and winning rights to a single lease would would be an act of civil disobedience. Continuing on to win 14 leases and then refusing to plea bargain are acts of immaturity.

Continuing on to win 14 leases and then refusing to plea bargain are acts of immaturity.
--Newleaf, 2010

This treasonous act of seizing the Crown's land is nothing more than an act of immaturity, the willful disobedience of a child left to its own devices.
--Lord Cornwallis, 1775, on the American takings of land intended for Crown development

I don't even have to make this stuff up; it's almost too scary to believe when I see it.

My point exactly ecohuman. As I seem recall, 1775 was a time of armed rebellion. Just how civil is that?

My point exactly ecohuman.

I'm sorry, then; I entirely misunderstood your point when you said his ultimate behavior was immature.

Beats the heck out of that idiot who camped out on the side of a building before eventually getting busted for shoplifting in B.C.

Let me state my position more completely.

Maturity and effective civil disobedience imply patience, making one's point symbolically and carefully, and not forcing it down others' throats. Rosa Parks didn't hijack the bus, she just sat down. Lunch counter sit-in protestors typically occupied open stools and politely ordered food and drink. They didn't needlessly interfere with other customers.

If I were sitting on this dude’s jury it would be easy to overlook a single fraudulent incident (which likely would not have been brought up for prosecution). But with the needless repetition and insistence on promoting his views, in the back of my mind I would be wondering whether Mr. DeChristopher is just a step or two away from a rendezvous with the Monkey Wrench Gang.

Puts me in a hanging mood.

I'm curious about what law allows up to 10 years for making fraudulent bids. I could see maybe a year or so, but 10 years seems like overkill to me.

Is there footage of him outbidding the pissed off oil and mining people? That would be fun to watch.

Here is someone who stood up for our public land against "usual suspects in the oil and gas industries." Yet nothing is done about the behind the scenes set up that facilitate going against public interests. There are some who might call this thievery, yet it is a part of our culture and apparently accepted.

...and what is done to those involved in fraud regarding the housing bubble?

But with the needless repetition and insistence on promoting his views

Why needless? And his views are my views too, and the views of many others. So, in effect, he was "promoting" the view of a lot of people.

in the back of my mind I would be wondering whether Mr. DeChristopher is just a step or two away from a rendezvous with the Monkey Wrench Gang.

I can't think of a more peaceful way to make a point about land grabs than what he did. Nobody was harmed--unless, that is, you're referring to the financial gains of an oil or gas company seeking to get the land.

According to your philosophy, maturity and effective civil disobedience require patience.

I am not against having maturity and patience so long as it applies universally.

Tim DeChristopher knew what was happening to the land that belonged to all of us. What are he or we to do, buy back land that belongs to us? ...or are public lands and facilities there for the easy taking depending upon whom they are entrusted to?

From activist to "lightning rod", that's my prediction.

Instead of shining a light on government waste and mismanagement he should have climbed out a window with a tv or two or stole an identity...he would be sure to get 2 years and early release for "over crowding".

Ecohuman, while I respect and understand your point of view I don't buy the proposition that interfering with economic opportunity and activity is harmless.

Mr. DeChristopher didn't need to lie about his ability and willingness to pay for drilling rights in order to express his point of view and enter his point of view into the debate any more than the evil (in your point of view) drillers have a right to interfere in whatever productive activity Mr. DeChristopher (or his sponsors) engage in to support his lifestyle.

Protecting all of us against fraud and deception is a legitimate government role. When DeChristopher went beyond a fraudulent bid or two, he crossed the line from making a point to interference, in my view.

As for the frauds that created the housing bubble, I would love to see the politicians who created and promoted and then condoned the practices Freddie and Fannie, brought to the bar of accountability -- recognizing that this would include almost all who have been in Congress for more than four years and the current President of the United States. Bring it on!

...or are public lands and facilities there for the easy taking depending upon whom they are entrusted to?

Our children’s future depends upon whom all is entrusted to.

Protecting all of us against fraud and deception is a legitimate government role.

Sounds good. What about the fraud and deception the Bush Administration practiced in arranging for public lands to be auctioned off?

You see, you want to start the story at this fellow's intervention, not where the problem he was responding to began. I'd find your argument more interesting if you applied your ethics and morals equally to the Bush Administration's hijinks in this and other stunningly unethical abuse of public land and natural "resources".

recognizing that this would include almost all who have been in Congress for more than four years and the current President of the United States.

It would also specifically include Bush, Cheney, and Bernanke (who was appointed by Bush).

So: do you believe Bush should be brought to justice for what he did (and attempted to do) to public lands and wilderness areas?

Bless his heart. Reminds me of the spotted owl days (mid to late 80's) when folks parked themselves on trees to save habitat. Friends went out to support, bring groceries, etc. Heard the story of a sheriff (cue, Beverly Hills theme song here) who tried enticing one squatter down. "What's your name, son?" "Doug." "What's your last name?" "Fir. Doug Fir." True story.


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Road Work

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At this date last year: 3
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