Several more Northern California counties plan secession votes:
Voters in Del Norte and Tehama, with a combined population of about 91,000, will decide June 3 on an advisory measure that asks each county’s board of supervisors to join a wider effort to form a 51st state named Jefferson.
Elected officials in Glenn, Modoc, Siskiyou and Yuba counties already voted to join the movement. Supervisors in Butte County will vote June 10, while local bodies in other northern counties are awaiting the June 3 ballot results before deciding what to do.
A similar but unrelated question on the primary ballot in Siskiyou County asks voters to rename that county the Republic of Jefferson.
“We have 11 counties up here that share one state senator,” compared to 20 for the greater Los Angeles area and 10 for the San Francisco Bay Area, said Aaron Funk of Crescent City, a coastal town in Del Norte County near the Oregon border. “Essentially, we have no representation whatsoever.”
Frank Bryan, the legendary historian of Vermont town meeting politics, has a new essay in Green Mountain Noise, the Second Vermont Republic’s magazine, about decentralism and human-scale government:
Within the chaos of incompetency lies the great danger to our Republic. A proliferation of unseen, unaccountable and thus uncontrollable nodes of influence have arisen to deal with the complexity of governing a continental enterprise from the center. The result is what political scientists have traditionally called the “politics of muddling through.” Accordingly, any serious notion of “democratic accountability” has long since vanished.
Those who face the daunting challenge of reinstating a truly democratic America should see this as an opportunity. The tide of history is with us. We are not challenging a healthy, robust and competent democracy. We are challenging a tired democracy and therefore a weak democracy; a splendid achievement in the history collective human behavior that unfortunately has been hobbled by its inability to reign in its natural appetite for aggrandizing authority — even though the cost of this authority was paid in terms of democratic legitimacy. …
In 1789, we created the framework for a continental, federal enterprise, dividing authority between the states and the central government. More importantly we trumped any chance of coherent central enterprise (one thinks of Canada) by setting our national institutions against one another. …
The structure of our democracy is currently out of whack. Power to the states and within the states, power to the towns and within the towns, power to the individual and within each individual the awareness that it is in the small community alone that true distinctiveness can be accurately perceived, assessed, and rewarded – where authentic individualism is possible.
We live in a democratic moment and place. Let us behave accordingly.
Big news in Hawaii:
The Interior Department issued a notice of proposed rule-making Friday, before the holiday weekend, to solicit comments on how to “facilitate the re-establishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.”
… Granting tribal status would allow the state’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs to provide race-based benefits for Native Hawaiians, a practice that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2000.
And here we sort of get to the heart of the current OHA controversy regarding CEO Kamana’opono’s sovereignty query; it was after something more than federal suzerainty. The question OHA faces is, does it seek more than spoils for the ~130,000 members of its Kana’iolowalu Roll?
Some want the ongoing nation-building process to move forward as planned and believe federal or state recognition is the best option for the indigenous community. Nearly a dozen people held up signs at Thursday’s hearing indicating that they have signed and support the current roll.
But many others want greater independence, citing the current occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S. government.
A popular refrain during public testimony Thursday morning was that Hawaiian sovereignty endures and that federal recognition similar to that of many Native American tribes wouldn’t be adequate.
The disagreement is reflected within OHA itself. Recently, Crabbe sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry seeking a legal opinion on whether the Hawaiian Kingdom, overthrown in 1893, still exists. And if it does, what does that mean for OHA and its efforts to rebuild a Hawaiian nation? The Board of Trustees later rescinded the letter.
The occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom will be included in this year’s War Report, from Oxford University Press.
Some coverage of Ralph Nader’s unstoppable left-right coalition conference at the Carnegie Institute this week. I was there for much of it, and it was invigorating if also (inevitably) scattered. The defense and trade parts were both very interesting, I’ll link video when it goes online.
Fast Company on some unusual micronations, including the Republic of Kugelmugel.
Obama vows to never leave the world alone.
Tibetan singer detained for singing a song about protecting the Tibetan language.
A new state in southern India:
India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh has formally split in two, with its northern area carved out to create a new state called Telangana.
The move followed prolonged protests by residents of Telangana, who felt the region had long been neglected.
Telangana, which officially came into existence at midnight local time, will become the country’s 29th state.
Possible test for the new Indian government’s commitment to pluralism: Goa’s chief minister has accused a Jesuit priest of fomenting sedition.
Springtime of Nations on Donetsk and Lugansk, and the new flag of Novorussiya, a saltire that bears striking resemblance to the Confederate battle flag (also the Russian naval ensign, but still):
Buddhist nationalism is impacting foreign investment in Myanmar
Basques proclaim right to self-determination.