“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Privatization of open federal land holdings under the present corruption in Washington DC will be nothing more than a land grab by the oligarchs on Wall Street

We May Be About to Witness One of the Great Privatizations of America's Public Lands

How the raid on Malheur screened a future raid on real estate.

It goes without saying that in a democracy everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions. The trouble starts when people think they are also entitled to their own facts.

Away out West, on the hundreds of millions of acres of public lands that most Americans take for granted (if they are aware of them at all), the trouble is deep, widespread, and won’t soon go away. Last winter’s armed take-over and 41-day occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon is a case in point. It was carried out by people who, if they hadn’t been white and dressed as cowboys, might have been called “terrorists” and treated as such. Their interpretation of the history of western lands and of the judicial basis for federal land ownership—or at least that of their leaders, since they weren’t exactly a band of intellectuals—was only loosely linked to reality.

At least some of them took inspiration from the notion that Jesus Christ wrote the Constitution (which would be news to the Deists, like James Madison, who were its actual authors) and that it prohibits federal ownership of any land excepting administrative sites within the United States—a contention that more than two centuries of American jurisprudence has emphatically repudiated.
he troubling thing is that similar delusions infect pockets of unrest throughout the West, lending a kind of twisted legitimacy to efforts at both the state and national level to transfer western public lands to states and counties. To be sure, not all the proponents of this liquidation of America’s national patrimony subscribe to wing-nut doctrines; sometimes they just use them.

Greed can suffice to motivate those who lust for the real estate bonanzas and resource giveaways that would result if states gained title to, say, the 264 million acres presently controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). General combativeness and hostility toward government also play their roles, and the usual right-wing mega-donors, including the Koch brothers, pump money into a bewildering array of agitator groups to help keep the fires of resentment burning.
The louder the drum chant of crazy "facts" gets, the more the Alice-in-Wonderland logic behind them threatens to seize the popular narrative about America’s public lands—how they came to be and what they represent.  This, in turn, prepares the way for the betrayal of one of the nation’s deepest traditions and for the loss of yet more of its natural heritage. Conversely, those who value American public lands have been laggard in articulating an updated vision for those open spaces appropriate to the twenty-first century and capable of expressing what the unsettled “fruited plains” and “purple mountain majesties” of the West still mean for our national experience and our capacity to meet the challenges of the future.

The Malice at Malheur

The leaders of the Malheur occupation, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, are the sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher and public lands scofflaw who gained notoriety two years ago following a standoff with federal law enforcement officers. Back in the 1990s, the elder Bundy had stopped paying grazing fees, claiming that the federal government had no authority to regulate the public lands where his cattle fed. In 2014, with Bundy $1.1 million in arrears and his grazing permits transferred to the local county government, the Bureau of Land Management moved to round up and confiscate his 400 head of cattle.

Via social media, Bundy appealed to militia and “patriot” groups for support, and hundreds of armed resisters rallied to his ranch 90 miles north of Las Vegas. When the ensuing showdown threatened to become a bloodbath like the Waco siege of 1993, the authorities withdrew.

The government’s retreat and its failure to arrest members of the Bundy family or their allies for acts of armed resistance set the stage for the Malheur takeover, but the roots of the incident go back to the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and 1980s and the Wise Use Movement that succeeded it. The Sagebrush Rebellion was triggered by a national inventory of public lands to identify areas appropriate for designation as “wilderness” (under the National Wilderness Preservation System).  Its advocates also protested the enforcement of government protections for archaeological sites and endangered species. Wise Use groups echoed those complaints and essentially argued against anything the environmental movement was for, urging the amped-up exploitation of natural resources on western lands.
Ammon Bundy put his own rogue-Mormon spin on that message by claiming divine inspiration and sanction for his actions. Ostensibly, the Malheur occupation was intended to show support for nearby ranchers Dwight and Stephen Hammond, who faced jail terms for setting illegal range fires (and who immediately distanced themselves from the occupation). But Bundy didn’t stop there. He called on “patriots all over the country” to join his cause and help “free up” federal land for ranching, mining, and logging, pointedly adding, “We need you to bring your guns.”

Malheur was an odd place for white guys to make a stand in favor of “returning” federal land to its “rightful owners” -- that is, themselves. The refuge was established in 1908 when Teddy Roosevelt declared a modest area of public domain to be a wildlife refuge. If anyone then occupied the land, it was members of the Burns Paiute tribe, not white settlers. In the 1930s, the refuge expanded when the government bought the bankrupt remnants of a former cattle baron’s empire. At the time, Malheur was its own mini-Dust Bowl. The purchase, which enlarged protection for once-fabulous wetlands supporting thousands of migrating birds, was essentially a bailout.

The people who joined the Bundys in the Malheur occupation were a strange lot. Few had any relationship to ranching or actual cows, aside from sitting down to eat a hamburger. Some were ex-military; others claimed to be (but weren’t). Quite a few had links to Tea Party groups or to “patriot” organizations including the Oath Keepers, theThree Percenters, and an assortment of other militia outfits. One described himself as “an old hippie from San Francisco,” jazzed by the excitement of the occupation and uncaring about its purposes. He also happened to be a convicted murderer (second degree) -- of his father.

Straight thinking was not a requirement for admission to the occupiers’ cause. The fellow who photogenically rode his horse around the refuge while displaying a large American flag, for example, turned out to be acutely concerned lest the federal government divest itself of public lands. He feared the loss of access to cherished places where he liked to ride his horse. Because of that, he joined an armed effort aimed at forcing the government to do exactly what he didn’t want. Go figure.

Following the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum, the Malheur occupier who committed suicide-by-cop at a roadblock on January 26th, the occupation unraveled. At last count, the Bundy brothers and 24 others had been arrested and charged with a laundry list of crimes, including conspiracy to prevent federal employees from carrying out their duties and destruction of public property. All but one or two of them are still in jail.

Nor did the feds stop there. They finally nabbed Cliven Bundy at an airport after he attended a memorial service for Finicum, and also charged 18 others in connection with the 2014 Nevada standoff. Some of the 18 were already in custody for their involvement at Malheur. Bundy’s illegal cattle, which the government unsuccessfully tried to confiscate in 2014, remain at large.

More Mad Cowboy Disease in Utah

Despite the government’s thorough, if belated, crackdown, the hostility toward public lands on display at Malheur has hardly been contained. Such resentments are of a piece with the anger suffusing the presidential campaigns, although paradoxically enough Donald Trump has spoken out in favor of retaining federal lands. (Ted Cruz, by contrast, campaigned against Trump in Nevada by promising to “fight day and night to return full control of Nevada’s lands to its rightful owners, its citizens.”)

The darkest side of this “movement” is undoubtedly its well-documented association with armed militia groups and their persistent threat of violence. Gunmen from the Oath Keepers, for instance, obstructed federal officials from shutting down mines violating environmental regulations in both Oregon and Montana.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the current, rapid growth of militia groups is unprecedented and appears to have been spurred by the 2014 standoff at the Bundy ranch. Notices for “meet-ups” among “patriots” to show support for the incarcerated Bundys and the “martyred” Finicum are abundant on social media.

A similar virus has infected several western state legislatures, including those of Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, and Nevada. Representative Michele Fiore, who hovered at the fringes of the Malheur occupation, for instance, introduced a bill in the Nevada legislature to transfer federal lands there to state control, irrespective of federal wishes. Considered patently unconstitutional, it was quickly dismissed. A Nevada senate resolution calling on Washington D.C. to initiate action to transfer those lands received more serious consideration.

The game is being played more cagily in Utah. There, lawmakers approved legislation in March that authorized and partly funded the state’s attorney general to sue the federal government for title to approximately 30 million acres of Utah public lands. The suit would pursue strategies advanced via a study produced by a New Orleans law firm outlining “legitimate legal theories” that, it contended, might lead to the wholesale transfer of lands to the state.

The expected cost of the litigation has been estimated at $14 million and Utah has sought allies among other western states. So far, they’ve found no takers willing to join the suit, possibly because other attorneys general have concluded that the legal theories behind it are rubbish.

Utah has also exported its anti-federalism to Capitol Hill. One of its congressmen, Rob Bishop, currently chairs the House Natural Resources Committee and sympathetically held hearings in February on several bills, introduced by representatives from Alaska, Idaho, and Utah, that would place federal lands under state control. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska and chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has promoted similar bills in the Senate.

Hanging on to “the Solace of Open Spaces”

Lost among the headlines, sound bites, and posturing is any serious discussion of America’s public lands and their purposes. Ammon Bundy was completely correct, early in the occupation of Malheur, when he said, “This refuge is rightfully owned by the people.” His problem was that his definition of “people” only included people like him. The Burns Paiute tribe, whose ancestral homeland includes Malheur and whose sacred sites are protected by federal law, certainly did not figure into his plans. The thousands of annual visitors to Malheur, who appreciate its 320 bird species and other wildlife, and the millions more who support the National Wildlife Refuge System, also seem not to be the “people” Bundy had in mind. The same might be said for anyone attracted to the idea of intact natural landscapes and functioning ecosystems.

The greatest vulnerability of America’s public lands is that the millions of their rightful owners scarcely know they exist. Ask the average New Yorker what the Bureau of Land Management is, and the odds are that you’ll get a confused stare. Even many people in the West, who live close to those public lands, have trouble differentiating the National Parks from the National Forests, though those two classes of land are administered for substantially different purposes by two different government departments, Interior and Agriculture. Yet most people agree that the wild open spaces of the nation’s grandest landscapes constitute a collective treasure.

In essence, they are our national commons, our shared resource, not just for material goods, like timber, clean water, and minerals, but for recreation and inspiration. Seventy percent of all hunters are said to use public lands, and the percentages of birders, campers, hikers, and other recreationists must be at least as high. Public lands also help buffer us against the uncertainties of the future. Only public lands, for instance, spread unbroken over great enough distances to offer the connectedness that many plants and animals will require to adapt, to the extent possible, to a warming climate. Moreover, as the struggle to wean the economy away from fossil fuels continues, only public lands, with their unified federal ownership, are susceptible to the kind of sweeping shift in national energy policy necessary to “keep it in the ground.”

For all these reasons, the future of the nation’s 640 million acres of public lands deserves a more prominent place in our national discourse. The patterns of the past, emphasizing extractive, industrial uses of those lands, have long been in decline. An alternate path focused on restoration and biodiversity conservation has instead steadily gained traction, and indeed, its priorities—which include making room for endangered species—have inspired many of the objections of the Malheur occupiers.

Two things are certain: when large acreages of public domain are transferred to the states, significant portions of them end up being sold off to private interests. That creates a new kind of inequality that, in the natural world, parallels this era’s growing economic gap between rich and poor. It is an inequality of access to big, wild lands and to the ineffable something that Wyoming writer Gretel Ehrlich called the “solace of open spaces” and Pulitzer-winning novelist Wallace Stegner termed “the native home of hope.”

Thanks to the great western commons, which the Bundys and their legislative champions would like to dismantle, all Americans still enjoy the freedom to roam on some of the most spectacular lands on the planet. That access and that connection have been part of the American experience from Plymouth Rock through the westward migration to the present day. It is part of what makes us Americans.

The Depression-era folksinger Woody Guthrie understood the issues attending the privatization of common land. He offered his opinion of them in the least sung verse of his most famous song:
“There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me
Sign was painted, said: "Private Property"
But on the back side it didn't say nothing—
This land was made for you and me.”


  1. Not one cent will flow to any ordinary American from the sale of public lands. Any money made will be sucked into some lobby controlled giveaway in DC.

  2. The public airwaves were given away and who controls the media today?

  3. The exact pattern will be duplicated with the so-called transfer of public land to "private entities".


    Keep all our Federal lands in Federal control.

    YOU can use them.

    YOU can hike them.

    YOU can hunt and fish them.

    If they are privatized YOU will be looking at a "KEEP OUT - NO TRESSPASSING - PRIVATR PROPERTY" sign.

    Our national forests are world treasures.

    Keep them always for ALL USA citizens, and the people of the world, too.

    Love them, protect them, guard and keep them IN PERPETUITY for US ALL.

    1. Germans and other Europeans often come to the University of Idaho for forestry education.

      They can't believe it, are in awe of what they see out west here in our National Forests and public lands.

      These are world treasures.

      We MUST protect them !

  5. You want to see how privatization works, go to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. Where you once could go anywhere on either island, it is now all “private”, “no trespassing”, “camera surveillance” and closed to everyone else.

    The game is rigged. Don’t be suckered into playing.

  6. Floating the Salmony River

    1. BIG fines for leaving ANY TRASH !

      Floating the Salmony River -

      Ladle Rapids !

      (I want to send Quirk down these in a kayak)

    2. Double Drop on the Selway !

      These rapids have Doug's name on them...

    3. It's 'Moose Juice' for Roofus -

    4. What the Hell !

      It's Moose Juice for ALL OF US !

    5. Got to run....



    6. Just one more - and these are just the beginning -

      Flip Ahoy ! Selway's Wolf Creek Rapids

      Good Floating !....


  7. Deuce ☂Thu May 19, 12:45:00 AM EDT
    “We”, being you, the Neocons, Likud, radical right wing Zionist fanatics and your new best friends, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey

    You Jew obsessed.

    But you claim that the Jews run the world and are creating the chaos in the arab/moslem world.

    IF you only were correct.

    But iran is ripe for a take down.

    Most of it's citizens are NOT persian, it's a totalitarian bully that hangs it's gays, stones it's women and spends billions supporting terrorists around the world.

    Many people will celebrate the take down of Iran besides the Jews.

    As for your claim that Egypt and Arabia are Israel/Jews new BFFs?

    Hardly but I welcome Egyptian and Arabia reformations that bring them into the 21st century.

    Meanwhile Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah storm troopers are dying in SYRIA everyday.

    Warms the heart.

    1. I missed Turkey, no Deuce, the Turks, (the original genocidial asswipes of the 20th Century) are on a straight shot to being an Islamist shithole.

  8. How HORRIBLE Iran is to disenfranchised people.

    Jawad Jafari and his wife Masoomi start crying almost simultaneously as they recall their departure from Iran and the lengthy voyage that culminated in a refugee camp in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin.

    Jawad, 31, and Masoomi, 26, were both born in Iran to Afghan parents who had been driven from their country during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s.

    Asked why he left Iran, Jawad replies: "How do I explain 31 years of problems?"

    Iran hosts some three million Afghan refugees, many of whom have poured into the country since the United States-led invasion in 2001. However, only an estimated 950,000 are United Nations-registered, as Iranian authorities have not provided all Afghan refugees with an opportunity to legally claim asylum.

    Those born in the country are afforded UN-recognised refugee status, but they hold only a fraction of the rights granted to Iranian citizens. Many live without residency documents and are forced to exist off the grid, making their living from the black market.

    "For Afghans, there is no chance for a future in Iran," Jawad says. "For the Iranian government, it wasn't enough that we are Muslims like them. I had to pay bribes to work, and the police were always harassing me."

    "We were both born in Iran, but neither of us has documents," his wife Masoomi explains. "We don't want our children to face the same problems and racist treatment."

    Why do these people have no rights?

    Why can they not vote?

    Why the silence of Deuce our Blog host?

    Oh that's right, it's not important.

  9. Iran, a hanging good time to be had for all.......

    Iran executes hundreds in brutal crane hangings at mega-prison outside Tehran

    Now to be fair, this is ancient history, almost 10 months ago...

    At least 1,900 people have been executed in Iran since President Hassan Rouhani took office in June 2013, an NGO has warned.

    Iran has one of the highest rates of executions in the world and Iran Human Rights (IHR) estimated at least 570 prisoners, 10 of whom were women, were hanged during the first half of 2015, with a rate of three executions per day. The figure has increased by 40% compared to the first half of 2014.

    This is the perfect society that Deuce holds up to Israel.

  10. The post is about US public lands. Please try to put away your (as you say above).Jew obsessed. all about Israel all the time comments for another time.

    1. LOL

      Are you going to enforce this policy to all other people and off topic posts??

    2. No, just you, just to let you know, I still care.

    3. .

      WiO, you never did answer my two part question the other day: do you ever question or criticize the statements or policies coming out of Washington, and if you do, why is it that we have never seen you question those coming out of the government or military in Israel?

      I would say you have your own little Jew obsession going there.


    4. I do find fault with a lot of things in both Israel and the USA.

      But there is no reason to criticize anything Israel at this blog which by it's own admission, hates Israel, Jews and the faith of the Jewish people.


    5. So Deuce admits it, one set of rules for the Jews, no rules for anyone else


      Deuce your neo-nazi membership card is STILL valid.

      Sieg Heil

      Oh how your father is rolling in his grave...

    6. .

      My question included statements by the Israeli administration and military. The obvious example is Mordecai's assertion of ISIS and Hamas cooperating and exchanging weapons and favors.

      Why did you automatically accept those statements when he provided nothing to back them up and there are a numbers of factors arguing against it.


    7. Quirk, feel free to give ISIS and Hamas the benefit of the doubt.

      They are your kind of folks.

      Me? Even if you discount my personal experience and knowledge, Israel's experience and knowledge and it's press as lacky's?

      They have (and I have) a better understanding in the situation there.

      the very idea that you need "evidence" "proof" or convincing? Is your problem.

      But then again, you put Israel on the same level as Iran and Saudi Arabia....

      How sad.

      I dont.

    8. .

      the very idea that you need "evidence" "proof" or convincing? Is your problem.

      Thank you. The comment says it all.


    9. The Saudi and the Iranians are certainly comparable ...

      And the Israeli have allied themselves with the Saudis.

      Caroline Glick, in the JPost, provides an ...
      Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance

      The Israeli, the Saudi and the Iranians, all operating at the same level.
      The Israeli continuing to pose a nuclear proliferation threat.

      Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons

  11. .

    The Land and Who Owns It

    There were two issues in the Lead story on this stream.

    The first involves the Malheur incident and government land 'mismanagement'. Any objective observer would have to conclude that the federal governments vindictive and continued prosecution of Dwight and Stephen Hammond was an example of governmental overreach by people who did it simply because they could in order to send a message to other land owners not to get uppity. I am tempted here to go into a tirade of PC pricks and the absolutist tactics of certain environmentalist and government agencies but I won't. However, I won't.

    The second point is the legacy of free and open land that over decades the US has designated to be held in perpetuity as the 'people's land' so that even the poorest American will have access to them.

    The Bundys and the other groups like them merely seem to believe that the world owes them a living and they will take what they want. I don't khow how many there are of them but I suspect quite a few especially out west. The other jackalopes that took part in the 'occupation' are merely fringe nuts jobs. Regardless, the whole occupation was insignificant compared to what is represented by one sentence in the story above...

    Two things are certain: when large acreages of public domain are transferred to the states, significant portions of them end up being sold off to private interests. That creates a new kind of inequality that, in the natural world, parallels this era’s growing economic gap between rich and poor. It is an inequality of access to big, wild lands and to the ineffable something that Wyoming writer Gretel Ehrlich called the “solace of open spaces” and Pulitzer-winning novelist Wallace Stegner termed “the native home of hope.”

    Thanks to the great western commons, which the Bundys and their legislative champions would like to dismantle, all Americans still enjoy the freedom to roam on some of the most spectacular lands on the planet. That access and that connection have been part of the American experience from Plymouth Rock through the westward migration to the present day. It is part of what makes us Americans.

    This is important because of the growing inequality in both the US and the world.

    I remember reading an article a couple years ago...

    Eight Individuals Own 2% of All American Land

    When someone owns land in the US larger than some of our smaller states its a problem it represents a problem.



    1. .

      The rich have every right to own all the private land they can buy. The problem is when they are allowed to buy ALL the land, public and private.

      Good old fashioned land has become one of the hottest investments in the world, as stocks disappoint, currencies go to war, and food prices soar.

      Luckily, America has a lot of land.

      Especially America's 100 biggest private landowners, according to the latest data from The Land Report.

      The top dog on the list is, for the second year running, media tycoon John Malone, who owns 2.2 million acres—more than twice as much land as Delaware. He narrowly beat out fellow media tycoon Ted Turner.

      More informative is the land study itself with names and pictures. You can see it here...

      Land Study


    2. .

      But this isn't just a US problem. Saw an article a couple days ago titled 'China is Buying up Canada'. One-third of Vancouver's property sales last year were to the Chinese. They are also buying up the oil sands.

      Nor that they are not also buying property in the US.


    3. .

      But it's not just one country, it is a class, it is the rich searching for places to put their money. It tends to reflect the continuing economic divide between rich and poor.

      Here is a study from 2006. No doubt dated, but we can only assume that the divide has only grown larger.

      December 7, 2006 A new study on The World Distribution of Household Wealth by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University was launched earlier this week. The study shows the richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth. The most comprehensive study of personal wealth ever undertaken also reports that the richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total. In contrast, the bottom half of the world adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth...

      Exactly how rich are the Top 1%?

      People often wonder exactly how much income and/or wealth someone needs to have to be included in the Top 1% or the Top 20%; Table 1 below lists some absolute dollar amounts associated with various income and wealth classes, but the important point to keep in mind is that for the most part, it's the relative positions of wealth holders and income earners that we are trying to comprehend in this document.

      Table 1: Income, net worth, and financial worth in the U.S. by percentile, in 2010 dollars

      Wealth or income class Mean household income Mean household net worth Mean household financial (non-home) wealth
      Top 1 percent $1,318,200 $16,439,400 $15,171,600
      Top 20 percent $226,200 $2,061,600 $1,719,800
      60th-80th percentile $72,000 $216,900 $100,700
      40th-60th percentile $41,700 $61,000 $12,200
      Bottom 40 percent $17,300 -$10,600 -$14,800

      From Wolff (2012); only mean figures are available, not medians. Note that income and wealth are separate measures; so, for example, the top 1% of income-earners is not exactly the same group of people as the top 1% of wealth-holders, although there is considerable overlap


    4. .

      the numbers don't look as pretty as when I first put them in but you get the idea.


  12. I was good friends with Hal Whitman, Meg Whitman’s dad. ( he was quite a bit older than me)

    He died some years ago. We both worked together for a New York Finance company. His family was very well off through his grandfather; his dad lost most of it; Hal never quite made it but his daughter Meg hit it out of the park. She donated $100 million to Princeton for the Whitman College, made a fortune at Ebay, spent a ton trying to be governor in Calif and now runs Hewlett Packard.

    Hal was a big believer in a 100% death tax after a certain threshold to break up these grotesque disparities in these absurd fortunes that then protect themselves with tax exempt corporations and trusts.

    Nothing should be tax exempt and I believe that Hal was right about the big estates.

    Should they start owning all the public lands, that will be about time for the last act.

    They will go willingly or one day they will go messy.

  13. We will have disorder until the chaos ends.

    1. I agree.

      The chaos will not end until order prevails.

    2. When disorder ends we will have stasis.

    3. "War and weaponry must be abolished."[25] [26]

  14. FBI director: No evidence of terrorist attack
    James Comey has just said that there is no evidence that flight MS804 was brought down intentionally, and that no group had claimed responsibility.

    It has been reported that US intelligence have seen indications that a bomb brought down the plane. Mr Comey appears to be contradicting those reports."
    We must have more Federal Inspectors at Boeing and Airbus where these deathtraps are manufactured.

  15. I just heard a wonderful new term, at least to me -

    'Third party motivated event' for a terror downing of an airliner, or TPME.

    But what I don't get is why 'third party'?

    If the airline crew is the first party, wouldn't the terrorist(s) be the second party ?

    These terms are in contrast to mechanical failure, or:

    Sudden catastrophic mechanical failure or SCMF

    1. It's been too long since you've had a party line.

  16. WaPo poll: 90% of native Americans have no problem with the name “Redskins”

    May 19, 2016 11:21 AM by Ed Morrissey

    Hot Air

    That's it then.

    I'm no longer going to march and protest against the use of the term 'Vandals' for my favorite sports team.

  17. Yuri Kochiyama

    In response to the United States' actions following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Kochiyama stated that "the goal of the war [on terrorism] is more than just getting oil and fuel. The United States is intent on taking over the world" and "it's important we all understand that the main terrorist and the main enemy of the world's people is the U.S. government. Racism has been a weakness of this country from its beginning. Throughout history, all people of color, and all people who don't see eye-to-eye with the U.S. government have been subject to American terror."[22]

    In 2003, while being interviewed by Tamara Kil Ja Kim Nopper in The Objector, Kochiyama said "... I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire. To me, he is in the category of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Fidel Castro, all leaders that I admire ... [who] had severe dislike for the US government and those who held power in the US. I think all of them felt the US government and its spokesmen were all arrogant, racist, hypocritical, self-righteous, and power hungry..... You asked, 'Should freedom fighters support him?' Freedom fighters all over the world, and not just in the Muslim world, don’t just support him; they revere him; they join him in battle. He is no ordinary leader or an ordinary Muslim."

    1. Yuri has a hell of a chip on her shoulder, not totally without cause.

      She might consider however the fierce rabid racism of her people back in Japan, who would have done well to attack into Siberian Russia as the Germans wished them to do, rather than the sleeping giant at Pearl Harbor.

  18. Bob Silverman, a Jew who spent most of his diplomatic career in Muslim-majority nations, will now reach out to Muslims in his own country. The American Jewish Committee recently hired him as its first U.S. director of Muslim-Jewish relations.


    Silverman talked about his new assignment with RNS. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

    Q: You speak Arabic, which must be helpful in your new line of work.

    A: The assumption is for this job that you have to know Arabic. But most American Muslims don’t know Arabic.


    Q: So what book did you translate from Arabic to English?

    A: It was a famous Egyptian’s travel account of his trip to Israel, a best-seller in the Arab world. Ali Salem was a famous playwright who wrote mostly humor.


    Q: Why now has the American Jewish Committee become the first major American Jewish group to create a job like yours?

    A: The political climate in our country has really shifted since 9/11, but in the last year presidential elections have highlighted fear-mongering about Muslims. There are legitimate security concerns about terrorism but that has really nothing to do with the American Muslim community at large.

    Ambassador to Muslims