Senate Bill 2109 Seeks to Extinguish Navajo and Hopi Water Rights

Guest Commentary
by Navajo Grassroots Representatives
Mr. Becenti serves as a spokesperson for Navajo grassroot’s people.

TUBA CITY, ARIZONA – Senators Jon Kyl, Arizona – R, and John McCain, Arizona – R, will be in Tuba City on Thursday, April 5, 2012, to persuade Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribal leaders to give up their peoples’ aboriginal and Treaty-guaranteed priority Water Rights by accepting a “Settlement Agreement” written to benefit some of the West’s most powerful mining and energy corporations.

They are doing so by trying to persuade the Navajo Nation and Hopi leaders to support and endorse Senate Bill 2109. Senate Bill 2109 45; the “Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012” was introduced by Kyl and McCain on February 14, 2012, and is on a fast track to give Arizona corporations and water interests a “100 th birthday present” that will close the door forever on Navajo and Hopi food and water sovereignty, security and self-reliance.

S.2109 asks the Navajo and Hopi peoples to waive their priority Water Rights to the surface waters of the Little Colorado River “from time immemorial and thereafter, forever” in return for the shallow promise of uncertain federal appropriations to supply minimal amounts of drinking water to a handful of reservation communities.

The Bill – and the “Settlement Agreement” it ratifies – do not quantify Navajo and Hopi water rights – the foundation of all other southwestern Indian Water Rights settlements to date – thereby denying the Tribes the economic market value of their water rights, and forcing them into perpetual dependence on uncertain federal funding for any water projects.

Senators Kyl and McCain know well that without water, life is not possible. Yet, their Bill and the “Settlement Agreement” close the door forever to any possibility of irrigated agriculture and water conservation projects to heal and restore Navajo and Hopi watersheds (keeping sediment from filling downstream reservoirs) to grow high-value income and employment-producing livestock and crops for Navajo, Hopi and external markets; and to provide once again for healthy, diabetes – and obesity-free nutrition and active lifestyles for all future generations of Navajo and Hopi children.

Senators Kyl and McCain demand that the Navajo and Hopi people waive and give up all their rights to legal protection of injury to surface and ground water supply and quality in the past, present, and future – yet the Navajo and Hopi peoples do not even know the full extent and nature of the rights they are being pressured to waive because the details of the “Settlement Agreement” are not being shared with the public.

This is wrong.

Navajo and Hopi water and public health have already been damaged severely by past uranium and coal mining in and upstream of Navajo and Hopi communities. Senators Kyl and McCain are trying now to take away all rightful legal protections against the present and real danger of such contaminations occurring again.

S.2109 and the “Settlement Agreement” deny the Navajo and Hopi people the resources and means to assess comprehensive long-term water needs of every community, village, and watershed; and deny the resources and means to plan for, and develop sufficient domestic, municipal, industrial and agricultural “wet water” projects essential to the permanent well-being, prosperity and health of their homelands and children’s children. This is absolutely counter to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1908 Winter’s Doctrine that explicitly reserves and safeguards the water needed for that permanent well-being and prosperity.

S.2109 and the “Settlement Agreement” deny the Navajo and Hopi people the resources and means to bank their own waters, or to recharge their aquifers depleted and damaged by the mining and energy corporations that S.2109 benefits. S.2109 and the “Settlement Agreement” require Navajo and Hopi to give Peabody Coal Mining Company and the Salt River Project and other owners of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) tens of thousands of acre-feet of Navajo and Hopi water annually – without any compensation – and to force the extension of Peabody and NGS leases without Navajo and Hopi community input, or regard for past and continuing harmful impacts to public health, water supplies and water quality – as necessary pre-conditions to Navajo and Hopi receiving Congressional appropriations for minimal domestic water development.

This is coercive and wrong.

Ed Becenti, Navajo, has lived on the Navajo Reservation his entire life. He grew up on tradition and culture taught by his elders in the Navajo language. Mr. Becenti serves as a spokesperson Navajo people in the political environment challenging sensitive Native issues in local, state, and national government. Presently, protecting sacred tribal water rights has become personal priority for him; not only on behalf of Navajo people, but for the neighboring Hopi Nation. He resides in Window Rock, Arizona.

posted April 4, 2012 7:57 am edt


Americans Elect Organizational History Review



“Americans Elect Organization”

Americans Elect was formed by many of the individuals who were responsible for a previous attempt to nominate (a…n) internet candidate, Unity08, and has substantially identical goals for the 2012 presidential election cycle (Beca Fulcher).

Unity08” may also refer to the 2008 convention of Unity Journalists of Color, Inc.

Unity08 was an American political reform movement that sought to offer all voters an opportunity to directly engage in politics by ranking the most crucial issues facing the country, discussing them with the candidates and engaging in an online, secure vote to nominate a bipartisan alternative to the Democratic Party and Republican Party presidential tickets for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
[VandeHei, Jim (2006-05-31). “From the Internet to the White House”. The Washington Post. p. A04. Retrieved 2006-10-20.]
Founded in 2006, the group gained attention from various media outlets, with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter dubbing the group’s efforts a kind of open source politics.[Alter, Jonathan (2006-06-05). “A New Open-Source Politics”. Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2006-10-21]

In January 2008, Unity08 organizers announced that the group had suspended operations due to funding problems.
[Group suspends ballot access project for bipartisan ticket, Retrieved on 2008-01-11 (Link Broken)]
Americans Elect 2012 is an organization that was formed by many of the individuals that were responsible for Unity 08, and has substantially identical goals for the 2012 presidential election cycle.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Kahlil Byrd, and the chairman is Peter Ackerman.
The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is Joshua S. Levine.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is Elliot Ackerman, son of Peter Ackerman.
Tom Sansonetti and Chris Arterton[15] are co-chairs of the rules committee.[16]
Wendy Drake is the (Chief Leadership Officer).
Sarah Malm (Chief Communications Officer) and
Daniel Winslow (Chief Legal Counsel) are listed as senior staff.
Doug Schoen works as a paid adviser to Americans Elect.[17]

15. “The Arena: – Chris Arterton Bio”. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-10-28.
16. “A third-party solution”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-10-28.
17. Doug Schoen: ?Democrat??

With the help of Beca Fulcher from Facebook messages to Manu Martinez (EarthdayFestival).
Edited by Manu Martinez
9 January 2012

Deportation of U.S. Teen to Colombia Latest Failure of Immigration System

Deportation of U.S. Teen to Colombia Latest Failure of Immigration System

Below are direct links to people who were interviewed by Democracy Now!
Its important to pay attention to America’s Government in solving issues by creating Departmental Agencies such as ‘Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE)’.

Due to continual dominated two party Congress, it has Failed to Pass the “Dream Act” and Obama’s Policy has essentially not gone as expected.
It is a tragedy to Non-criminal immigrant families and children and even American citizens who are incarcerated and deported (Human Tragedy said simply and nicely for their is more to it). Who is accountable? I will raise my hand first as an American citizen for not becoming aware, educated and participating to correct these misfortunes to my fellow immigrants and US citizens. Who will it be the next person?

What is Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE)? Its purpose?
Facts and Fiction?

FACT: Media have suggested that ICE is aggressively dismissing cases based on a directive from Director Morton. This just isn’t true. ICE enforcement is alive and well. For two years in a row, ICE has removed a record number of illegal aliens from communities across the United States. The agency focuses limited resources on three high priority areas—the identification and removal of criminals and national security threats, fugitives, and recent border entrants and others who game the system. Last year, ICE removed substantially more criminal aliens than ever before.

Contrary to what our ICE agency’s website is publicly disseminating. Ronald Campell’s article in
‘Orange County Register’
“How many criminals is ICE really deporting?”

The Obama administration says it is deporting a record number of criminals.
The truth, however, is more complicated — and the administration’s rhetoric may be influenced by the political tightrope it’s walking as it tries simultaneously to please Latinos and independent voters.


Another person interviewed by Democracy Now, Jacqueline Stevens, Northwestern University, Political Science Professor, has on her blog an article,

“Of Course ICE Is Deporting Teenage Americans Who Speak No Spanish To Colombia”

states the following, “The horrifying experience of Jakadrian Turner, a 14 year-old U.S. citizen who speaks no Spanish but who was deported to Colombia in April, 2011, will come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the systematic law-breaking by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and the failure of the Department of Justice to do anything about it.”

Two other persons from Dallas, TX were interviewed by Democracy Now.
Rev. Peter Johnson and Ralph Isenberg gave their experiences of ICE’s misuse of authority on Immigrants and US citizens.

Rev. Johnson (Civil Rights advocate) and Isenberg (Immigration advocate) are long time friends. Isenberg has been reported by Brett Shipp of News, ‘Outspoken contributor snubbed by Obama’ …”At least one person who paid his $10,000 to eat and mingle with President Obama in Dallas Monday evening did not show up.”

Isenberg has also been reported by New York Times – Julia Preston,
“Deportation Halted for Some Students as Lawmakers Seek New Policy” has reported on ‘Isenburg’ Immigrant advocate, ‘The agent said ICE “was supposed to be concentrating on criminals, not on Dream students,” said Ralph Isenberg, a Dallas businessman who advocates for immigrants and made it his cause to prevent Ms. Zanella from being deported. Mr. Isenberg’s challenges to ICE had kept Ms. Zanella in the country even after the final date for her deportation in February.’

Rev. Johnson and R. Isenberg mentioned two lawyers who have helped bring justice to ICE’s misuse of authority on non-criminal immigrants and law abiding U.S. citizens.

Theodore N. Cox, NY Lawyer:

Founder, owner and lead attorney of the firm has more than 20 years of litigation experience, primarily in federal district and circuit courts, including habeas claims, appeals from the Board of Immigration Appeals, and other appeals in immigration matters.

Joshua Bardavis, NY Lawyer:

Principal attorney, has years of experience in immigration practice. He has successfully litigated hundreds of immigration cases, and has been lead counsel in several precedent setting appeals.

Please take about a half hour of your American Civic duty. All children depend on us for their inherited future.

Manu Martinez


6 January 2012

Citizens United Backlash Grows from Cali. to NYC Urging Congress to Overturn Corporate Personhood

Citizens United Backlash Grows from Cali. to NYC Urging Congress to Overturn Corporate Personhood


Adding to a growing nationwide backlash against the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, California lawmakers have introduced a resolution that calls on Congress to “propose and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.” The New York City Council has just passed a similar resolution, echoing measures passed in Los Angeles, Oakland, Albany and Boulder. We speak to Public Citizen President Robert Weissman; California Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, who introduced the state’s Citizens United resolution; and New York City Council Member and measure co-sponsor Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I think it taps into the sentiment that we’re seeing around the country growing, regarding Occupy Wall Street, where people really feel that government is disconnected from the vast majority of the population, and because of this influence that corporate interests have,” Mark-Viverito says.

With Amy Goodman & Juan Gonzalez

(Via Democracy Now)

As States Take on Citizens United, Lawrence Lessig Offers Bold Plan to Get Money Out of Politics

As States Take on Citizens United, Lawrence Lessig Offers Bold Plan to Get Money Out of Politics: “LAWRENCE LESSIG:

Lawrence Lessig.png

Yeah, so, this is a debate that’s, of course, animated extraordinary energy to push for reform. And that’s what’s happening in California. That’s what will happen in New York today, when legislatures vote to try to overturn Citizens United. My own view is that that is a partial solution to this problem. You know, it’s not as if on January 20th, 2010, the day before Citizens United was decided, democracy in America was humming along perfectly well and then was broken by the Supreme Court. Democracy was already broken in the United States in 2010. And it’s broken because the tiniest slice of Americans, 0.26 percent, fund—give more than $200 in a congressional campaign. 0.05 percent max out in a congressional campaign. The tiniest slice of the top 1 percent of America funds elections in America. And that reality will always, whether corporations are persons or not, corrupt the system in Washington. And the only solution to that problem is not just limiting the ability of corporations or private individuals to spend unlimited amounts in political expenditures, it’s also to begin to talk openly and honestly about the need to fund publicly public elections. And that’s the part of the debate that even the activists, even the outsiders, are not willing to come clean on, and I think they need to come clean if we’re going to have real reform.”

Who and What is “United Citizens vs. FEC”

(via Democracy Now)

‘Americans Elect’ Group Challenges U.S. Presidential Primary Process | PBS NewsHour | Aug. 22, 2011 | PBS

‘Americans Elect’ Group Challenges U.S. Presidential Primary Process | PBS NewsHour | Aug. 22, 2011 | PBS.

Americans Elect is a non-partisan and alternative ‘Nominating Process’.

Any US citizen register to vote can become a delegate and state an issue and make a nomination of a US citizen for presidency.

Please criticize and improve our nations People’s Government.

Your actions, small or large, will help leave a better future for our children and through the world.


‘Americans Elect’ Group Challenges U.S. Presidential Primary Process

Thousands Protest Disputed Russian Election, Anti-Corruption Journalist Murdered

Democracy Now! | Headlines for December 19, 2011

“Thousands Protest Disputed Russian Election, Anti-Corruption Journalist Murdered

As many as 8,000 people turned out in Moscow and St. Petersburg Sunday to protest Russia’s contested parliamentary election results. Demonstrators and independent observers claim the government of Prime Minister Vladamir Putin won the contest through cheating. Meanwhile, the founder of a Russian newspaper devoted to uncovering government corruption was found shot to death last week. Hadzhimurad Kamalov was shot 14 times as he left his office on Thursday. According to the International Press Institute, 40 Russian journalists have been killed since 2000, including at least four this year. Tanya Lokshina is the office deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Moscow.
Tanya Lokshina, office deputy director of Human Rights Watch, Moscow: ‘The North Caucasus is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work. And in past few years, many independent journalists, citizens and activists have died, died as payback for their work in the North Caucasus. And therefore, everything that’s happened, everything that happened with Kamalov, it’s on one side a horrible shock, but on the other side, it was almost even expected.'”


Other Sources Saying the Same Thing:

Wiki Leaks

Article 19 inspires the work of our journalists and other volunteers. It states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. We agree, and we seek to uphold this and the other Articles of the Declaration.

Indefinite Detention Bill No Longer Faces Veto Threat From White House (UPDATE)

Indefinite Detention Bill No Longer Faces Veto Threat From White House (UPDATE): “WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday abandoned its threat to veto a defense bill that sets in stone the commander in chief’s authority to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, including Americans, in military custody.

The switch came just before the House voted 283-136 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act despite impassioned opposition that crossed party lines, with Democrats splitting on the bill and more than 40 Republicans opposing it. Numerous national security experts and civil liberties advocates had argued that the indefinite detention measure enshrines recent, questionable investigative practices that are contrary to fundamental American rights. The Senate was expected to follow suit soon.

The White House had threatened to veto the bill as it stood coming from the Senate, but reversed course shortly before the House vote. The administration cited changes to the legislation made during a conference committee that worked out differences between the House and Senate versions over the weekend.

Civil liberties advocates had already declared that the changes were not nearly good enough and that all they did was make it harder for law enforcers to interpret the legislation. But White House officials, who spent two full days pondering the changes before revoking the veto threat, decided they were enough.

While opponents had looked to President Barack Obama to defend what they see as a fresh attack on American freedom, a statement released by White House press secretary Jay Carney addressed such issues only obliquely.

‘After intensive engagement by senior administration officials and the President himself, the administration has succeeded in prompting the authors of the detainee provisions to make several important changes,’ the statement said.

‘While we remain concerned about the uncertainty that this law will create for our counterterrorism professionals, the most recent changes give the President additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength,’ it said.

‘We have concluded that the language does not challenge or constrain the president’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people,’ the statement said, although it added that if the uncertainty raised by the legislation does impede investigations, the White House expects lawmakers to write a fix.

One of the major changes was shifting to the White House the responsibility for determining who does not have to be detained forever by the military. In an earlier version of the bill, the Department of Defense made the call. And while the bill makes the military the default investigator for Islamic terrorism cases, new provisions assert that the FBI and other civil law enforcers still have the authority to investigate terrorism and interrogate suspects.

The bill’s strongest supporters, including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), had argued that it was necessary to make plain that the military has the authority to detain Americans. Other less-fervent supporters argued that, although they were not entirely happy with the practice, the fact is that the executive branch already detains Americans — as it did in the case of convicted terrorism suspect Jose Padilla.

‘If you have a problem with indefinite detention, that is a problem with current law,’ said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. ‘The problems that people have, and I share some of them, are with existing law, not with this bill. Defeat this bill, and that will not change a piece of that existing law that we’ve heard about that we should all be concerned about.’

Opponents of the indefinite detention provisions have argued that, although it is true Americans have been held, the Supreme Court has not ruled on the validity of those detentions. Writing those practices into law, they argue, goes further than anything the nation’s founders ever would have contemplated.

‘We are in danger of losing out most precious heritage not because a band of thugs threatens out freedom, but because we are at risk of forgetting who we are and what makes the United States a truly great nation,’ said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Ground Zero. ‘In the last 10 years, we have begun to let go of our freedoms, bit by bit, with each new executive order, court decision and, yes, act of Congress.

‘We have begun giving away our rights to privacy, our right to our day in court when the government harms us, and, with this legislation, we are continuing down the path of destroying the right to be free from imprisonment without due process of law,’ Nadler added.

He also took issue with Smith’s assertion that the bill just spells out what is already law.

‘It doesn’t codify existing law. It codifies claims of power by the last two administrations that have not been confirmed by [the Supreme Court] — rather terrifying claims of power, claims of the right to put Americans in jail indefinitely without a trial, even in the United States,’ Nadler said.

Smith and others have pointed to a provision in the legislation that they say exempts U.S. citizens. The measure reads, ‘The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.’

But numerous legal authorities have pointed out to The Huffington Post that, even though that provision does not require the detention of Americans, it also does not say they cannot be detained. And the legislation’s definition of terrorism suspects does not exclude Americans, which means the military is authorized to detain Americans. An amendment that would have barred detentions of U.S. citizens failed in the Senate. The decision on whether an American goes to the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility — which must remain open to accommodate new suspects — will lie with the White House.

The final bill is also likely to pass the Senate on Wednesday or Thursday.

Opponents called on President Obama to ignore his advisers and veto the bill anyway.

‘As people of faith, we know that the right cause is also sometimes a lonely cause,’ said the Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

‘The president’s advisers have abandoned their opposition to the bill,’ Killmer said. ‘But, as president, President Obama is still in a position to stand up for American values and stop this legislation. The decision is his, not his advisers. He can and should veto this bill. If he does, he will find that Americans of all faiths will stand with him.’

‘If President Obama signs this bill, it will damage both his legacy and Americans’ reputation for upholding the rule of law,’ warned Laura Murphy, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era, and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill.’

Update: 7:18 p.m. — The story has been updated to include the House’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. 10 p.m. — It was also updated to make clearer that the military is authorized to detain American citizens.

Michael McAuliff covers politics and Congress for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

(Via Michael McAuliff.)

House-Senate Revise Indefinite Detention Bill in Bid to Avoid White House Veto, But Fears Remain

House-Senate Revise Indefinite Detention Bill in Bid to Avoid White House Veto, But Fears Remain: “Button__detention

The House is expected to vote today on a massive $662 billion defense bill that could usher in a radical expansion of indefinite detention under the U.S. government. A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act would authorize the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. The measure would effectively extend the definition of what is considered the U.S. military’s battlefield to anywhere in the world, even the United States. The White House has issued a veto threat with backing from top officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and FBI Director Robert Mueller. Lawmakers are hoping several last-minute revisions will address the concerns and eliminate the veto threat, but critics warn the bill poses a major threat to basic constitutional rights. We speak to Chris Anders, the senior legislative counsel in the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office. ‘This is putting people in prison, potentially for the rest of their lives, based on nothing more than suspicion,’ Anders warns. [includes rush transcript]

(Via Democracy Now!.)