Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to “call Americans” “Domestic Terrorists”

(By Juan Cole)

Not since George W. Bush complained that the problem with the American economy was that “too many of our imports come from abroad” has such hilarious use of the English language been on display. The furor on the Right about Harry Reid terming “domestic terrorists” the militiamen who brought sniper rifles across state lines to confront the Bureau of Land Management produced the following interview by Fox News of Rand Paul.

Eric Bolling asked Sen. Paul, “Is there any reason to call Americans domestic terrorists?”

So, Mr. Bolling, you see, the category of “domestic terrorist,” when used inside the United States, cannot be used for foreigners, only for “Americans.”

If you meant to ask whether there are any domestic terrorists, I think Timothy McVeigh might be an answer to your question.

So, yes, there is sometimes a reason to call Americans domestic terrorists. When they are.

If what you meant to say is that “white Americans” should not be called “terrorists” and that the term should be reserved for brown-skinned peoples, that is just Fox News editorial policy, not a feature of, like, the English language. It is a feature I have complained about all week

The remark is at 0:20 here:

Rand Paul: Harry Reid Needs to ‘Calm the Rhetoric’ on Bundy Ranch

Senator Reid on Friday defended his use of the term:

Reid said he hadn’t been referring to Cliven Bundy, the deadbeat cattle rancher, himself when he spoke of domestic terrorists, but the armed militiamen who interfered with the confiscation of Bundy’s cattle for non-payment of fees.

“600 people came armed, they had practiced, they had maneuvered… they set up snipers in strategic locations… they had automatic weapon . . . And they boasted about the fact they put women and children . . . so they would get hit first” . . . “If there were ever an example of people who were domestic violent terrorist wannabes, these are the guys . . .”

Good for Reid!

It should be noted that deploying firearms to interfere with the Bureau of Land Management officers is a felony, and that crossing state lines (as many of the militiamen had done) with firearms in order to commit a felony is a Federal offense.

One of my readers wrote last week:

“Imagine that the Bundy ranching family in Nevada, instead of being white and Mormon, are all black and Muslim. And imagine that they, too, believe not only that the federal government should have no jurisdiction over the public land adjoining their ranch, but also that a second revolutionary war should topple the U.S. government.

Imagine that, just like Mr. Bundy, they lost two court decisions and are expected to either pay one million in overdue fees or have their cattle seized to pay the debt. Imagine that they send out a call, via Facebook and Twitter, for all like-minded thinkers to take up arms and prepare to fight the agents sent to collect the cattle.

How would the media describe some 2000 black, Muslim men, armed with automatic rifles and shotguns, who drive from all across the country to show up in Nevada ready to kill government officials?

How would the media portray those black, Muslim men when they used their guns to shut down I-15, a major interstate freeway, forcing hundreds of travelers to bake in the hot desert sun until the road could be re-opened?

What would right-wing pundits say about those black, Muslim men who were crouched on overpasses training their sniper sights on the cowboys and drivers hired by the federal government to move the cattle?

Would they agree with those black, Muslim militants who planned to put their wives and girlfriends on the front lines so there would be news footage of federal agents shooting women?

Would Nevada politicians, senator Dean Heller and Governor Brian Sandoval, still throw their support behind a Bundy who said, “. . . I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing,” if he were Muslim and black?

Try as hard as I can, I can’t see people on the right using any word other than “terrorist” to describe homegrown, black, Muslim militants who are willing to use violence to support their belief that the U.S. government is meaningless.

And that shows us exactly how far Americans have to go before we define each other by character, not race or religion.”

22 Responses

  1. [Ed. note: The reader has mistaken a satire for a real event]

    Juan: Actually a black variant has just recently happened. In Harlem, a parade ground belonging to a defunct armory was turned into a garden. The neighborhood lost in court. When the GSA showed up with bulldozers, hundreds blocked their path while Black Panthers took up positions on the buildings as snipers. The GSA backed off for now. I have said it dozens of times before, even here, that what is happening now happened in America during the early part of the Depression.

    • Mr. Moore, the Harlem event never happened. Not sure where you saw it, but the original piece was satire. (my name links to the original)

    • So, are the liberals now going to start screaming at the black people who illegally planted a garded on our defunt armory? That defunt armory belongs to us taxpayers and it’s being managed for our benefit by the Goverment. The court has weighed in. Will the liberals be happy when the New Black Panthers are attacked and the garden is returned to the benevolent control of our beloved Agencies?

      • that was a satire, not a real story.

        And, since half the 2.4 million people in America’s prison gulag are African-American, the idea that they are being treated with kid gloves is ridiculous.

      • Besides that being a joke, you ought to know that there really was a black counterpart to the Branch Davidian crisis. In 1985, a black separatist group named MOVE was violently burned out of their Philadelphia HQ because they were an annoyance to their neighbors and an embarrassment to the black mayor.

        link to

        Where were all the anti-big government militia patriots to worship MOVE the way they do Koresh, and attack the cops the way they do the BATF?

        Different when black? Or when opposing capitalism? Maybe these militiamen even dream of the day when they can burn down all the ghettoes and expel or kill all blacks, as occurs in their bible “The Turner Diaries”. No one seems to have the guts to ask them.

  2. Well, Pres. Obama was once said to have been “palling around with [domestic] terrorists,” and that statement got applause by the Right-wing.

    P.S. Was there any actual quotes of Rand Paul here? It is hard to tell. My computer has video viewing issues…

  3. Congress is corrupt.

    Half of Congress are millionaires and the other half are becoming millionaires with inside information.

    Can America ever start voting in people that will represent the 98% of Americans, not the corrupt billionaires and their corrupt families, news medias and corporations?

    Please someone tell me how this can be done?

    • Term limits…problem is that these same crooks have to vote to get the limits…maybe we,the tax payers should foot the bill for all elections..make them short and to the TV…

    • The problem, of course, lies not with our politicians but with the folks eligible to vote (and who are not prevented from doing so by Republican laws intended to make it difficult for people in Democratic-leaning demographics to vote.)

      People don’t have to listen exclusively to AM hate radio or get their news exclusively from the Rupert Murdock/Roger Ailes propaganda machine. If enough of them do, however, we get Republicans voted into office on the promise that they will take away health insurance from anyone sick enough to need it (i.e. repeal ObamaCare, and again allow insurers to cancel the policies of the chronically ill).

      Of course, the Republicans also promise to defund programs that protect these voters if they happen to lose their jobs, or are hit with a natural disaster – but they tell the voters that such cuts will only affect the “moochers”, and enough voters believe these puerile arguments that such Republicans win elections in their heavily-gerrymandered districts.

      But, hey, it’s still a democracy – the influence of money to buy TV ads only works if people are simple enough to believe those ads.

    • Firstly, the capitalists chose America to corrupt because it is powerful, and because it has a deep racial division that the rich created and have always exploited.

      But other democracies also have:
      a. a more positive attitude towards public vs private power
      b. much higher voter turnout rates
      c. much higher % of people who are members of a political party

      Low turnout rates have been a boon to US oligarchs and the extremists they have run for office. These bastards get plenty of ad money to lie about opponents and issues that have nothing to do with their own agendas, and lots of independent (or “low-information”, if you prefer) voters get taken in by the ads. In Europe, voters are highly partisan, so they know who the extremist parties are and what they stand for. Whereas right at this very moment men from far-right movements are running as Democrats this fall in a naked attempt to mislead voters.

      link to

      Not only do liberals not do this, but it doesn’t happen in other democracies. This movement has open contempt for democracy and the fitness of people different than themselves to govern, so it exploits our low-turnout culture shamelessly and denounces any talk of a more class-conscious, politicized working class as Communism.

    • Another possible reform would be to restore the ratio of congressmen to citizens back to what it was in 1789, 1 to 30,000. Since there are now 300,000,000 of us, there should be 10,000 representatives. Boy, that would keep the rich and the lobbyists busy. But with such tiny districts, TV ads would look like a buyout by the rich and be mistrusted. Those 30,000 citizens would have to keep watch, of course. Maybe they’d require congressmen to live locally year-round and phone their votes in.

    • Nobody, my friend, you are too cheap a cynic!

      While it was quite a stack of coin back in the day, being a millionaire is hardly a big deal these days. Further, it is not necessarily a bad thing if most Congressional representatives are reasonably well off, millionaires. They would at least have the capacity to be personally independent from moneyed interests of scale.

      The De-glittering generality that “Congress is corrupt” is but a natural law. Power is nothing, if not corrupt by definition. The Constitution and three branches of government never attempted the illogic of eliminating corruption but to contain it within bounds.

      What you wish for is that legislators would be more responsive to voters rather than their financial supporters?

      The superficial problem is one of imbalance (money v. votes or democratic masses v aristocratic elites) heightened by recent Supreme Court decisions. To address that is ironic because moneyed interests now have excessive influence in elections. Thus, it would be ironic to suggest we can elect other people (the Tea Party argument)–whether poor or rich — who would be more responsive to voters. Rather, people would have to take to the streets in more serious ways than the one-day protest with a parade permit. That’s not likely because the stakeholders are too impoverished and would lose too much more, if that seems possible, in the process—ignoring for the moment the new police state that has largely come about out of the fear elites have of the new starving masses.

      Now it used to be, and there are still wealthy aristocrats who believe this besides Warren Buffet–but the nation is better off and more apt to grow economically with a strong middle class–a business needs customers. The problem is that individual investors profit in a nationless market not concerned with local manufacturing and other business concerns.

      The wealthy no longer are willing to support the greater cause (pay taxes). Why–They no longer are invested and dependent nationally but are portfolio-ed internationally. These new age cowboys are able to hold all governments hostage profitably. America’s problems in Congress and governance are common. Governments are compelled to compete for the self-interests of elites just as are politicians. “Money get back I’m all right Jack keep your hands off my stack.” (old quote of not a new problem). Elites no longer depend on the profits of a factory or a portfolio of, say for example, American businesses but profit from exchange rate fluctuations, arbitrage, take-overs (like Romney’s Bain equity capital firm) which place short-term profits—generally involving liquidation of pension funds and capital assets—in front of long-term security) and other financial deals because it is legal and nothing else matters. The equity capitalist is now a MBA/JD—making money is now a legal game where the target is disadvantaged in the court room besides whatever economic inequities matter.

      The City-State failed because it was reliant on local elites contributing to the temples of the local gods. When they refused to do so, the foundation of Greece was broken as the City States were no longer able to uphold the central government as before. Rome had a new system but also failed when elites refused to play their part well.
      In today’s global economy, the millionaire and the Nation-State are anachronisms.
      I understand your exasperation. Scapegoating Congress persons in general is however unproductive. If there was an answer to your question, we would be well past the problem. Things will have to get much worse before a new system emerges from the ashes as the adage goes. If nothing else, we all still have hope.

  4. Bundy may be a domestic terrorist. Nonetheless, can we aknowledge that not all the people who have complained about the way government controls land have been rich white men? Consider the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles that was destroyed in order to build Dodger Stadium.

    • But that wasn’t the Federal government. State governments have been fine tools for oligarchs, racists, secessionists, and religious extremists since the Revolution. If a particular level of government is owned by oligarchs, we have to use other levels of government to oppose it. The point of States’ Rights was to make such opposition impossible, for the benefit of white supremacists.

  5. I listened to the whole clip about ‘domestic terrorists’ on the Nevada ranch. I heard Rand Paul defend the rancher, call for turning such matters over to the states and keeping the federal government at bay. I did not hear him make any of the comments you ‘quoted’ in your piece (even citing a location: ‘.0.20’). So I am puzzled as to where you got those quotes.

    • Actually, there were lots of black cowboys and several who ran large cattle operations. One of the more famous black cattle ranchers was Daniel Webster Wallace; he worked as a cowboy and, in 1885, he purchased 1280 acres in Texas where he later ran his cattle. When he died in 1939, his estate was worth more than 1 million dollars.
      link to

      If you Google “black cowboys”, you’ll see lots of great images from the frontier days!

      As for today…
      Here’s a video of Charles Sampson (1982 World Champion bull rider)
      link to

      And here’s another “Black Cowboys In Texas” featuring rodeo riders.
      link to

      Given that a number of Black Americans (like boxer Muhammad Ali) converted to Islam in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it’s certainly within historical possibility that there could have been a black ranching family who’d run cattle since the late 1800’s and converted to Islam in the 20th century.

      • You fail to address the muslim portion of Juan’s analogy… it would never happen because smallish minorities don’t typically own lots of land and take up ranching in middle of nowhere, typically speaking. Therefore it’s not something worth fantasizing about with all our liberal might

  6. With some, or more likely lot of luck, Native-Americans and their supporters will turn back the Feds on Keystone XL: ‘Moccasins on the Ground’ Aims to Shield People from ‘Black Venom’ of Keystone XL by Tom Weis – link to

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