Notes and Comment Blog

If they’re half-naked and wearing perfume

Jan 22nd, 2016 11:33 am | By

Deutsche Welle reports:

A Salafist imam in Cologne has said victims of the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults were partly responsible for the attacks…

In an interview with Russian television channel REN TV, the Cologne imam said the attacks must be discussed “openly.”

“We mustn’t attack each other,” he said, warning that this would only “add fuel to the fire.”

Sami Abu-Yusuf also said one of the reasons why the men raped or assaulted the women was “due to the way they dressed.”

“If they’re half-naked and wearing perfume, it’s not surprising that such things would happen,” Abu-Yusuf said.

Oh I see. It’s as if they were drenched in pepper, and people around them burst into sneezes. It’s not something people can help doing. Exactly the same way, if women go out in public not wearing abayas, it’s not surprising that gangs of men would hold them captive and assault them. It’s the women’s fault, actually.

In a follow-up interview with local Cologne paper “Express,” the 42-year-old imam said his comments about the attacks had been “taken out of context.”

“There were scantily clad women who were wearing perfume as they walked through the drunken crowd. For some North Africans, this was reason to grope the women,” Abu-Yusuf told “Express.”

Yes, we get it. Women who go outside not wearing an abaya have to expect gangs of men to trap them and assault them. The whores.

And Riyadh is an influential regional power

Jan 21st, 2016 5:40 pm | By

Canada has declined to give Raif Badawi Canadian citizenship (and the Canadian passport it would make possible).

The Trudeau government says it won’t grant imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi Canadian citizenship, arguing this would not help the case of a man sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for blasphemy.

Mr. Badawi’s spouse and their three children were granted sanctuary in Canada last year and now live in Sherbrooke, Que. Ensaf Haidar, speaking to The Globe and Mail last week, said Canada must do more to help her husband and said “the first thing” it could do now is give Mr. Badawi a Canadian passport.

She argued Canadian citizenship would give Ottawa more standing to push for his release.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion disagrees. Speaking after a cabinet retreat in southwestern New Brunswick Tuesday, he said he doesn’t believe Canadian citizenship would improve Mr. Badawi’s situation.

Why not do it anyway, because it might?

Granting Ms. Haidar’s request could complicate Canada’s relations with Saudi Arabia and jeopardize a $15-billion deal to sell weaponized armoured vehicles to Riyadh over 14 years.

Oh. That’s why not. Because they would rather sell weaponized armoured vehicles to that horrible blot of a government.

Canadian citizenship could give Canada more leverage to keep tabs on Mr. Badawi.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper used to say that Canada’s influence in Mr. Badawi’s case was limited because the writer was not a Canadian citizen.

Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, has said a Canadian passport could help.

“Amnesty International continues to urge the Canadian government to explore all possible strategies for securing Mr. Badawi’s release, allowing him to reunite with his family in Canada. A grant of citizenship, further to his wife Ensaf Haidar’s request, could boost the effectiveness of Canada’s pleas on his behalf.”

And say goodbye to $15 billion? Don’t be silly.

Mr. Trudeau is being advised in briefing books to strengthen economic ties with Saudi Arabia because it would be good for business and Riyadh is an influential regional power.

So just never mind its disgusting human rights record, its way of abusing foreign domestic workers, its unrelenting hatred of women, its passion for beheading people, its efforts to silence critics…

Concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products

Jan 21st, 2016 1:04 pm | By

This is unsurprising, but it makes me sick. An example of women being deliberately deleted from a cultural product on the grounds that boys hate girls.

According to an industry insider, the dearth of Rey merchandise for The Force Awakens was no accident — it was an intentional decision.

The inside source shared their story with Michael Boehm at Sweatpants and Coffee, speaking on the condition of anonymity…

The source alleges that, during toy pitches held last January for executives, “initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently.” But under the direction of the executives, Rey’s presence was deliberately minimized in the planned merchandise.

“One or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products,” Boehm reports. “Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise.”

Allegedly, the industry insider was told, “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”

It’s not at all new or unusual, but it infuriates me. We need to fix this loathing of all things female, not encourage it and defer to it and empty the world of women because of it. Boys hate girl cooties because of all this constant relentless endless teaching, and so we get more and more movies with five or ten men doing something and women nowhere to be seen.

“Diminishing of girl characters is common in the industry,” the anonymous source relates. “Power Rangers asked us to do it. Paw Patrol, too.” Allegedly, this philosophy has developed into a solid mandate in the toy industry to “maintain the sharp boy/girl product division” and “marginalize girl characters in items not specifically marketed as girl-oriented.”

But the extreme cultural impact of Star Wars, coupled with Rey’s inarguable prominence in The Force Awakens, has thrust the question of “Where’s Rey?” (and its corresponding hashtag) into the spotlight. Most notably, Hasbro was recently compelled to reassure fans that the movie’s main character would be included in an upcoming Monopoly set.

Much as they wish they could omit her.

For far too long, fans searching for merchandise of their favorite female characters have been told that the onus is on their wallets. “Buy the toys that are out there,” the message has echoed, even as fans scour the unyielding shelves for a green-skinned assassin, a black-clad Avenger — and now a fearless young woman who hums with the power of the Force.

It is time to reverse the conversation. Toy and merchandise companies muststop taking a character’s gender into consideration when including them in products. Put Gamora with the rest of the Guardians. Leave Black Widow on her motorcycle. And when Star Wars: Episode VIII finally arrives, don’t make us ask “Where’s Rey?”

This isn’t Saudi Arabia, after all. Wake up.

A merger

Jan 21st, 2016 11:26 am | By

CFI sent out a press release today:

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science to Merge with Center for Inquiry

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and the Center for Inquiry, two of the world’s most respected freethought institutions, have announced their intent to merge. The new organization, which will be the largest secularist organization in the United States, will bear the name of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science (RDFRS) becoming a division of CFI.

Robyn Blumner, currently president & CEO of RDFRS, will become CEO of the combined entity on January 25. Ronald A. Lindsay, currently president & CEO of CFI, will retain the title of president until the merger is complete, and will work closely with Blumner during the transition period. Previous to leading RDFRS, Blumner was a syndicated columnist for the Tampa Bay Times and led two statewide affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Richard Dawkins, founder and chair of RDFRS, will become a member of the CFI board of directors along with the other directors of RDFRS once the merger is complete.

CFI and RDFRS plan to begin unified operations immediately, although the merger will not become final until later this spring, after necessary legal filings and regulatory approval.

The merged organization will be the largest in the United States with a mission of promoting secularism and science, with an annual budget in excess of $6 million and a staff of about 45 employees.

I knew about the merger, but I didn’t know Blumner would be the CEO and I didn’t know Dawkins would be on the board.

I’m seeing a lot of hostile responses to the news on Facebook, and not many friendly ones.

I think the merger is unfortunate. Five years ago I wouldn’t have, but now I do. In the interim Dawkins discovered Twitter, and the result has been unpleasant. I think CFI is better than that, and it makes me sad that now CFI is linked to Dawkins and his daily outbursts on Twitter.

“I am very pleased that my foundation is about to join forces with the Center for Inquiry,” said Richard Dawkins. “CFI is the biggest player in the secular / non-religious / skeptical world, and I like to hope that RDFRS will have something to add to its already flourishing enterprise. In turn, among our projects which will benefit from a larger team of professionals are Openly Secular and the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES). I look forward to adding my voice to CFI’s focus on promoting secular humanism and fighting the proliferation of pseudoscience. I am also especially delighted that Robyn Blumner, the present CEO of RDFRS, is to become the President and CEO of the whole organisation. Ron Lindsay is truly (forgive the cliché) a hard act to follow. If anyone can do it, Robyn can.”

I don’t look forward to Dawkins’s adding his voice to CFI’s focus on promoting secular humanism, because I think he’s seriously and damagingly bad at the humanist part. To be specific, I think he’s way too quick to display his contempt for people who get things wrong, and all too often for people who simply say things he dislikes – especially feminists. I think that’s a bad look for CFI.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it will work out well. But I’m not optimistic.

Liberty for the sexual harassers

Jan 20th, 2016 3:41 pm | By

A pretty story from Inside Higher Ed:

Is there a backlash to the backlash against sexual harassment in astronomy? A group calling itself the Astronomy Underground sent an open letter to leaders of the American Astronomical Society on Tuesday alleging inappropriate, vigilante-style attempts to root out harassers in the discipline.

“We ask [the American Astronomical Society] Council and the [society’s Astronomy Education Board] to publicly explain how these actions have been allowed to occur for so long, and with what license [the society] has acted to investigate its members, damaging their careers, their personal lives and the health of the society in the process,” reads the letter.

The Astronomy Underground alleges that the society is somehow involved in such inquiries, and demands that it publicly explain how it intends to “1) repair the damage done to those who have been ‘investigated’ under the [society’s] name, 2) redirect the astronomy experience for our youngest members who have now spent their entire careers focused on these matters rather than on the science and 3) repair the reputation of astronomy on the national landscape, for the purposes of future recruitment and funding.”

Repair the reputation of astronomy by continuing to ignore sexual harassment? Brilliant plan, highly ethical, can’t possibly go wrong.

The letter follows several recent high-profile cases in which known harassers have been named and shamed by their peers and, in one case, by a U.S. congresswoman. In October, Geoff Marcy stepped down from his professorship in astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley after a series of news reports revealed that he’d been harassing women for years on multiple campuses. Many criticized Berkeley’s response to its own investigation — to warn Marcy not to repeat the behavior, or risk dismissal, rather than move to fire him immediately — and called the public pressure campaign leading up to his resignation a success.

A success if you want sexual harassment to stop. If you want it to continue, well then obviously it’s a disaster.

The hand that commits blasphemy should be chopped off

Jan 20th, 2016 12:09 pm | By

In further news from Pakistan

After a Pakistani boy cut off his own hand following a public accusation of blasphemy, BBC Urdu’s Iram Abbasi travelled to his village in Punjab province to find out what happened. She is the first international broadcaster to speak to him. Some readers may find the details that follow disturbing.

“Why should I feel any pain or trouble in cutting off the hand that was raised against the Holy Prophet?”

Those are the words of 15-year-old Qaiser (not his real name) who chopped off his right hand just a few days ago believing he had committed blasphemy.

Why? Because he was at a birthday party for the prophet at his local mosque, and a few hours into the party the cleric called for a show of hands from followers of Mo. The expected result was achieved. Then he asked for a show of hands from scoundrels who don’t believe Mo’s teachings. Qaiser misheard what the cleric said, and raised his hand. The cleric of course accused him of blasphemy. Naturally Qaiser went home and cut his hand off.

The Beeb has a picture of him with his bandaged stump.

He’s happy about it, or at least says he is.

“I didn’t feel any pain when I chopped it off so why would I feel any now? The hand that commits blasphemy should be chopped off,” he said, with a restrained smile.

His entire village is celebrating the act of expiation. The extreme nature of this “devotional” act has made Qaiser into a revered figure.

If he hadn’t done it? The village probably would have killed him.

That Qaiser punished himself so severely after being accused of blasphemy is unprecedented in Pakistan. But some say he may have been spared a worse fate in an increasingly conservative country, where people accused of blasphemy, or those who defend them, can end up victims of mob violence and lynching.

Allahu an evil piece of shit.

20 isn’t just a figure

Jan 20th, 2016 11:46 am | By

Gulalai Ismail on Facebook:

Looking at this young guy Sajjad Anjum who lost his life in today’s terrorist attack in Bacha Khan University, I wonder how come our media and state institutes were calling it “a successful operation” and “enemy couldn’t achieve its objectives”. 20 other such lives were lost today, and 20 isn’t just a figure. It’s 20 lives like him, it’s 20 families. They didn’t deserve to die at this young age.

Sajjad Anjum

19 killed, 17 injured

Jan 20th, 2016 11:37 am | By

The BBC:

Security forces have ended a gun and bomb attack on a university in north-west Pakistan in which 19 people were killed and 17 injured.

Four suspected attackers also died in a battle that lasted nearly three hours at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.

One Pakistani Taliban commander said the group had carried out the assault, but its main spokesman denied this.

Someone should claim it. If people don’t know who did it, how can they submit to the demands?

One student told television reporters he was in class when he heard gunshots: “We saw three terrorists shouting, ‘God is great!’ and rushing towards the stairs of our department.

“One student jumped out of the classroom through the window. We never saw him get up.”

Reports say a chemistry lecturer, named by media as Syed Hamid Husain, shot back at the gunmen to allow his students to flee, before he was killed.

Well at least they shouted “Allahu akbar,” so I guess that’s enough of a demand to be going on with. Be more submissive to Allah would be the gist of it, so the targets can try that, pending further information.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan has some analysis at the end of the story.

There have been conflicting claims about who could be involved in the attack, a sign of the kaleidoscopic mix of militant networks evolving along the Pakistan-Afghan border region in the north.

The attack comes amid a sudden spike in militant violence in Pakistan, after a year of relative peace and quiet largely attributed to a 2014 military operation against militant sanctuaries in Waziristan. Questions are now being raised over whether that operation really destroyed the ability of militants to regroup and strike at will.

Well it’s like the Paris massacres, and the one in San Bernardino. Most targets are soft targets, and there’s no way to change that without an unimaginable and unaffordable level of militarization. It would be nice if people would just stop wanting to murder random others to make a point.

About 3,000 students are enrolled at Bacha Khan, but hundreds of visitors were also expected on Wednesday for a poetry event.

There is a symbolic value attached to Bacha Khan University as it is named after a Pashtun nationalist leader who believed in non-violent struggle, says BBC Urdu’s Asad Ali Chaudry.

The title of Wednesday’s poetry programme in his honour was “peace”, he adds.

So much for that idea.

Parthenogenesis wins

Jan 20th, 2016 9:55 am | By


Pink News:

A proposal to add mothers’ names to marriage certificates has been rejected for excluding gay couples.

The proposal had intended to include mothers’ names on marriage certificates, in a bid to “reflect modern Britain”.

The certificates currently only ask for the name of each spouse’s father. The new proposals are intended to include mothers on equal footing to fathers.

However the Home Office has rejected the plans, saying it could not agree to them as assuming that couples have opposite-sex parents is exclusionary.

So…it’s fine to name only fathers, but it’s impermissible to mention mothers. Well what if the parents are a lesbian couple?

Then you put the father’s name, just as it is now. Everybody has a father, duh, even if the father has had nothing to do with actually raising the child. Not everyone has a mother.

A Bill will be debated in Parliament next month would make changes to the Marriage Act 1949 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

It would “make provision for the recording of the name and occupation of the mother of each party to a marriage or civil partnership for registration purposes”.

Labour MP Christina Rees, who proposed the legislation, said: “It is safe to extrapolate that hundreds of thousands of marriages have taken place while the Government failed to act.

“That is hundreds of thousands of instances in which women have been accorded second-class status. In a developed country in the 21st century that beggars belief.”

Another MP who also supports the campaign to have the change made, said: “On behalf of ordinary, average, not brilliant, fantastic mothers everywhere, I want to say that sometimes our children love us too and might want us on their marriage certificates, along with their fathers.”

Stupid cishet cows. Nobody cares about mothers, ffs, it’s fathers who count. Those MPs are probably TERFs.

Leila Alaoui

Jan 19th, 2016 4:33 pm | By

Damn it to hell.

Leila Alaoui, a French-Moroccan photographer whose hauntingly beautiful photographs explored themes of migration, cultural identity and displacement, died on Monday night from injuries sustained during a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She was 33.

The French culture minister, Fleur Pellerin, confirmed her death on Twitter.

Ms. Alaoui, whose work has been displayed around the world, was described as one of the most promising photographers of her generation by Jean-Luc Monterosso, director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

God-lovers who hate humans destroy as many good people and things as they can reach.

The North African affiliate of Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility forthe rampage, which killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens more.

Ms. Alaoui had been on assignment in Burkina Faso for Amnesty for less than a week, working on a series of photographs focused on women’s rights.

So the North African affiliate of Al Qaeda will be hugging itself in joy.

In a joint statement, Mr. Monterosso and Jack Lang, a former French minister of culture who is now president of the Institut du Monde Arabe, hailed Ms. Alaoui as a champion of the downtrodden and the dispossessed.

“She was fighting to give life to those forgotten by society, to homeless people, to migrants, deploying one weapon: photography,” they said.

Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for west and central Africa, said Amnesty had chosen Ms. Alaoui to create portraits in Burkina Faso because of her ability to make “faces talk” without turning those subjects into victims.

Damn it damn it damn it.

H/t Meredith Tax

The thirstiest commodity is the cow

Jan 19th, 2016 4:14 pm | By

Many startling figures and percentages here – Christopher Ketcham in The New Republic a year ago on the way cattle ranching is sucking the west dry.

Food production consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States. “Within agriculture in the West, the thirstiest commodity is the cow,” says George Wuerthner, an ecologist at the Foundation for Deep Ecology, who has studied the livestock industry. Humans drink about a gallon of water a day; cows, upwards of 23 gallons. The alfalfa, hay, and pasturage raised to feed livestock in California account for approximately half of the water used in the state, with alfalfa representing the highest-acreage crop…90 percent of Nevada’s cropland is dedicated to raising hay. Half of Idaho’s three million acres of irrigated farmland grows forage and feed exclusively for cattle, and livestock production represents 60 percent of the state’s water use. In Utah, cows are the top agricultural product, and three-fifths of the state’s cropland is planted with hay. All told, alfalfa and hay production in the West requires more than ten times the water used by the region’s cities and industries combined, according to some estimates. Researchers at Cornell University concluded that producing one kilogram of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing one kilogram of grain protein. It is a staggeringly inefficient food system.

Especially when water is a scarce resource…and also, by the way, necessary for life. If we run out of water we’re dead.

So, the whole thing should be less wasteful, yeah?

One obvious and immediate solution to the western water crisis would be to curtail the waste of the livestock industry. The logical start to this process would be to target its least important sector: public lands ranching. The grazing of cattle and sheep on hundreds of millions of acres of federally managed land has been a fact of western rural life for over 100 years. It is considered an almost sacred profession…Grazing cattle and sheep in this arid landscape is the single most important cause of erosion and desertification on a public domain whose trees, rich soil, and grasslands function as ecosystem watersheds. “Livestock production, along with its coddled baby sibling, public lands ranching,” says Jon Marvel, founder of the Idaho nonprofit Western Watersheds Project (WWP), “is responsible for the largest single human use, degradation, and pollution of public watersheds in the western United States.”

Yet these are the people claiming the federal government is oppressing them.

According to Marvel, a single cow on public land can deposit over a ton of waste on the ground every month, with a high percentage of that waste seeping into surface water. A single cattle feedlot in Idaho, located a mile from the Snake River, produces more untreated solid and liquid waste every day than four cities the size of Denver.

Wo! That one knocked me back when I read it.

“Every stream on public lands grazed by livestock is polluted and shows a huge surge in E. coli bacterial contamination during the grazing season,” says Marvel. “No wonder we can’t drink the water.”

But it’s ranchers who have stolen Malheur wildlife refuge. I guess they think they should get to destroy all the land.

Ketcham goes on to explain that ranchers have a lock on the government, not because they buy it the way other industries, but just because of the mystique of the cowboy. They get massive subsidies, they pay drastically reduced taxes, and they’re given lots of exemptions.

In 2013, the Obama administration directed the BLM to assess ecological damage caused by human activity in the western United States. Livestock was exempted from the study.

Brilliant, isn’t it? It’s like doing a study of traffic congestion and exempting cars.

Everyone knows that climate-created drought in the West is made undeniably worse by livestock production. We are trying to bend the natural landscape to our will by raising a water-loving animal in the desert. The dewatering of streams and rivers for irrigation is the reason so many fish and amphibians in the West are endangered. The majority of dams that block the migration of salmon and steelhead are built primarily for irrigation water storage so we can grow alfalfa. “The capture of the West’s landscape by the cattle industry may be one of the biggest ongoing mistakes of our history,” says Wuerthner. And for what? To protect a mythological hero called the cowboy.

John Wayne and Gary Cooper have a lot to answer for.

Textbook narcissistic rage

Jan 19th, 2016 11:31 am | By

I missed this two years ago – someone called Flavia Dzodan wrote a nasty misogynist piece attacking a list of feminist women for crimes like getting paid for writing articles. Ross Wolfe wrote a post in response titled, aptly, Identity and Narcissism. (I see a lot of that combination these days.)

So it would seem that Flavia Dzodan — an Amsterdam-based marketing consultant — denounced me last night. All this as part of a highly-public (online) breakdown of staggering proportions. Not just me, of course. Quite a few others were likewise singled out for abuse in Dzodan’s hate-filled tirade, endearingly titled “I hate you all media vultures.” Most of those she called out were well-known feminists: Louise Pennington, Laurie Penny, Michelle Goldberg, Becca Reilly-Cooper, Glosswitch, Helen Lewis, Meghan Murphy, Julie Bindel, and Gia Milinovich.

Funny thing, I’m friendly with all those women now, and get to share in their jokes. I have all the luck.

In a roughly thousand word blogpost, dripping with invective, she accuses everyone of profiting at her expense. We’re “media whores,” according to Dzodan, “the top of a vat of turds floating in our own media shit.” By contrast, she and her supporters are “the bootstraps we pull in the hopes of rising to the top,” since we’ve allegedly co-opted her language, ideas, and freedom.

It’s always nice when a woman calls a bunch of women “whores.”

What originally set her off was just a casual remark about a picture someone sent me of Flavia after I said the impression I got from her website photo was that she was “white.” Didn’t mean anything by it. Seemed reasonable to me considering her last name sounded Serbo-Croatian — something Slavic from the Balkan peninsula. Anyway, the photo I received afterward only confirmed my initial impression…Going from the picture above, I have to say that if I saw her on the street I’d probably just assume she’s white. That doesn’t mean she is white, or that she identifies as white. Just means that she looked white to me. Unfortunately for everyone involved, merely stating my opinion resulted in her throwing an epic tantrum across the Twitterverse. Reilly-Cooper later noted, correctly, that Flavia’s whole reaction was almost “textbook narcissistic rage.”

That sounds familiar. It sounds like the epic tantrums that a few people like to throw if someone accidentally uses a “wrong” pronoun to refer to them.

Wolfe goes on to a little parenthetical meditation on narcissism, citing Christopher Lasch.

Today’s networked political theater finds a different stage, not in the streets but in the depthless realm of cyberspace. It would be too neat an inversion to take very seriously, but the temptation is there all the same: Could Frantz Fanon’s disquisition on Black Skin, White Masks have finally turned back on itself, so that an emancipatory politics subjectivity can only be articulated from the standpoint of the most oppressed? Perhaps a kind of “white skin, black masks” approach to radicalization? This insight would hardly be limited to Flavia Dzodan, extending to many white radicals for whom the only authentic form of struggle is that of “the Other.” Mike Ely of the Kasama Project comes to mind as the sort of archetypal whiteboy who likes to call other whiteboys “crackers,” in some vain throwback to 1960s black nationalism.

That’s probably even more popular now – as in all those white feminist women who like to rage at what they furiously call “white feminism.”

Meghan Murphy also wrote a piece about Dzodan’s public tantrum: My feminism will reject misogynistic screeds, or it will be bullshit. That title made me laugh, because the reason I became aware of Dzodan at all is because people keep posting and re-posting that stupid meme “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” and attributing it to her…as if it were so profound and so original that it had to be attributed to someone, when in fact it’s just a stupid internetty blurt. What a tragic source of fame.

On to Murphy’s post.

A number of feminist writers, myself included, were attacked and defamed online (yet again) in an abhorrently hateful and misogynist diatribe today. Many women spoke out, naming the vitriolic words as sexist, ad hominem attacks, professional jealousy, and manipulation.

We were called “media whores” and “turds” who had no ethics, humanity, or compassion (an ironic accusation when stated within a completely unethical post maligning female writers and journalists, dehumanizing them, and calling them a bunch of hateful, misogynist names). We were accused of selling out and of the crime of *gasp* being paid for some our work.

The author writes:

“I hate you all Glosswitches, booblediboops [sic], Laurie Pennys, Louise Penningtons, Julie Bindels, Megan Murphys [sic], Michelle Goldbergs and your ilk. The B Classes of white feminism fighting tooth and nail for a place at the table. At our expense. With your writing commissions, the coins tossed in your direction by the men who own the media you so desperately want to be part of.”

Not all of the women she lists are paid writers or journalists, for starters — and the author seems to have a completely deluded understanding of how much money one makes doing freelance writing (hint: not very much!). Beyond that, it is pretty appalling to attack women for being paid for their work. Is that not the very opposite of what we are fighting for?

Oh no no no – feminism is all about continuing the grand old tradition whereby women’s work is never paid, because it’s not “work” in that sense, it’s just what they do out of their throbbing maternal instinct plus their innate talent for getting stains out of bathtubs.

To be clear (though it shouldn’t have to be said), this is not about “righteous anger” nor is it about people “speaking out” nor is it about “critique.” There is NO critique here. There are no politics here. These are sexist, unethical, manipulative attacks and I am sick to death of fellow progressives or feminists defending them. This is indefensible.

And yet…Flavia Dzodan invented the unique, irreplaceable combination of words, “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit,” so everything else she ever said is also perfect, yes including calling women “whores.” Get with the program.

And if people are supporting this behaviour out of fear, it’s time to look at that. Because if you are afraid and staying silent out of fear, something is wrong. Because, as the ever-on point Glosswitch wrote, “my feminism is not about being afraid.” Because you know who rules and controls and silences women through fear? Abusive men. Met any? Recognize that feeling of walking on eggshells, never quite sure when you will become the target of an attack? Yeah. That’s what the patriarchy does. It forces us to live in fear and stay silent because of it. It teaches us to take up as little space as possible in the hope that we will go unnoticed and, therefore, safe from attack. This shouldn’t be the goal or outcome of feminism.

Both Glosswitch and I have said it before, and who knows how many more times and how many more of us will need to say it again, but if your activism is focused on vicious, concerted efforts to silence women, you’re not doing feminism, you’re doing misogyny. And I promise you — I fucking guarantee you this — supporting bullies won’t protect you. It will not save you from being bullied yourself. Because some day you’ll step out of line and become the target yourself.


Ammon Bundy and his bullyboys aren’t trying to free federal lands

Jan 19th, 2016 10:54 am | By

An Oregon citizen writes a letter to the Oregonian rebuking its recent headline on the illegal seizure of Malheur.

The Oregonian’s A1 headline on Sunday, Jan. 17, “Effort to free federal lands,” is inaccurate and irresponsible. The article that follows it is a mere mouthpiece for the scofflaws illegally occupying public buildings and land, repeating their lies and distortions of history and law.

Ammon Bundy and his bullyboys aren’t trying to free federal lands, but to hold them hostage. I can’t go to the Malheur refuge now, though as a citizen of the United States, I own it and have the freedom of it. That’s what public land is: land that belongs to the public — me, you, every law-abiding American. The people it doesn’t belong to and who don’t belong there are those who grabbed it by force of arms, flaunting their contempt for the local citizens.

Those citizens of Harney County have carefully hammered out agreements to manage the refuge in the best interest of landowners, scientists, visitors, tourists, livestock and wildlife. They’re suffering more every day, economically and otherwise, from this invasion by outsiders.

Instead of parroting the meaningless rants of a flock of Right-Winged Loonybirds infesting the refuge, why doesn’t The Oregonian talk to the people who live there?

Ursula K. Le Guin

Northwest Portland

H/t Chris Clarke & Lady Mondegreen

Getting Occupiers of the Historic Oregon Malheur Evicted

Jan 19th, 2016 10:09 am | By

So this Oregon group Getting Occupiers of the Historic Oregon Malheur Evicted (see what they did there? Initials=G.O.H.O.M.E.) have a good wheeze.

Brothers Zach and Jake Klonoski launched the group’s fundraising efforts on Sunday morning.

By 5:45 p.m. Monday, the group received $30,000 in pledges.

“We thought, let’s create this vehicle so Oregonians can step up with one collective voice and say that we don’t support this, we want them to leave,” Zach Klonoski told KOIN 6 News.

The Klonoski brothers say they’re frustrated by what’s going on at the refuge, and figure there are thousands of Oregonians who would also like to express their opposition in a “peaceful, meaningful way”.

G.O.H.O.M.E. will continue to raise money in protest of the protesters every day the armed group remains at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

The longer the thieves stay, the more money is raised for groups the thieves won’t like.

The funds will go to 4 different organizations: Burns’ Paiute Tribe, Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Malheur National Wildlife refuge itself.

“These people came in heavily armed… we feel that they are likely not in support of gun reform. So we thought [Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions] would be a good organization to choose,” Klonoski explained.

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks and researches extremist groups all around the U.S., which the occupiers qualify as.

“Every day that they stay, they’re funding the very groups that fight against their actions,” Klonoski explained. “The longer they stay there, the more funds are contributed to groups that are really antithetical to the occupiers’ goals.”

Good plan; I like it.

Updating to add: Rrr points out that the donation website is unsecured, and the thieves hack websites, so it’s probably risky to use that site to donate.

Where the birds find a place to rest and feed

Jan 19th, 2016 9:33 am | By

What about what local people think about the criminals who have stolen Malheur National Wildlife Refuge? What about what birders think? What about the local economy?

The Portland Tribune reports on that:

According to a 2008 Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife report, wildlife-viewing tourism accounts for about $8 million of travel spending per year in Harney County.

Ah. That sounds small, but reporting has been saying that Harney County is not rich. The people who depend on that $8 million probably don’t consider it too small to notice.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the vast populations of waterbirds that were being decimated.

“The occupation of Malheur by armed, out-of-state militia groups puts one of America’s most important wildlife refuges at risk,” wrote local Audubon Society Conservation Director Bob Sallinger, who recommended that local birders avoid the area while under occupation. “We hope for a safe, expeditious end to this armed occupation so that the myriad of local and non-local stakeholders can continue to work together to restore Malheur in ways that are supportive of both the local ecology and the local economy — the occupiers are serving nobody’s interests except their own,” Sallinger added.

It’s a wildlife refuge. It’s not a prison or an extrajudicial detention center or a nuclear waste dump. It’s a wildlife refuge. It’s not an insult to cattle ranchers, and it doesn’t steal anything that belongs to cattle ranchers. They don’t own federal lands, because we all do and therefore no one has the right to damage and exploit them for their personal profit. The feds let them graze their cattle on federal land for a fraction of what private landowners charge, so they should get the fuck out of our wildlife refuge.

Three local residents, who are birders and active in conservation and restoration work in the county, commented on what is happening at the refuge:

Dick and Sally Shook

“We are sorry that the refuge has been chosen as a protest site by the ‘outsiders.’ It is our opinion that the land is rightfully under the control of the federal government as ruled on at least two occasions by the Supreme Court,” noted Milwaukie resident Dick Shook.

“If these people leave before the migration season, and don’t damage any of the facilities, probably they won’t have much of an impact. However, if they don’t leave by March or spring migration time, the county and Burns will suffer economically,” he said.

“The headquarters, where the encampment is taking place, is the small area that attracts the migrating birds because it is the best, maybe only, place where there is a concentration of water and large, varied, green trees where the birds find a place to rest and feed before resuming their flights to their breeding grounds,” Shook said.

He added that this same spot is where birders from all over the country come, as well, and Burns and the surrounding area is where they stay and spend their money.

The Shooks have volunteered at the Malheur Field Station which is three or four miles from the refuge headquarters, where the occupiers have taken their stand. They also did a week of volunteer work at the refuge more than 10 years ago, Shook said.

“One of the many enchanting, memorable incidents was watching at dusk several pairs of short-eared owls in a courtship dance, that included clapping their wings together while flying in and out and around low-growing trees and shrubs. It was always a thrill to sight a new species of bird, for us, such as a Virginia rail or the secretive sora,” Shook said.

The violent bullying criminal thieves who have stolen Malheur are messing all that up. A pox on them.

Amnesty is confused

Jan 18th, 2016 5:53 pm | By

Amnesty International has a report on the physical assault, exploitation and sexual harassment that refugee women face as they reach Europe.

Governments and aid agencies are failing to provide even basic protections to women refugees traveling from Syria and Iraq. New research conducted by Amnesty International shows that women and girl refugees face violence, assault, exploitation and sexual harassment at every stage of their journey, including on European soil. 

The organization interviewed 40 refugee women and girls in Germany and Norway last month who travelled from Turkey to Greece and then across the Balkans. All the women described feeling threatened and unsafe during the journey. Many reported that in almost all of the countries they passed through they experienced physical abuse and financial exploitation, being groped or pressured to have sex by smugglers, security staff or other refugees. 

But that’s sex work. Surely Amnesty views it as their right, as well as the right of the smugglers, security staff and other refugees.

A dozen of the women interviewed said that they had been touched, stroked or leered at in European transit camps. One 22-year-old Iraqi woman told Amnesty International that when she was in Germany a uniformed security guard offered to give her some clothes in exchange for “spending time alone” with him.     

“Nobody should have to take these dangerous routes in the first place. The best way to avoid abuses and exploitation by smugglers is for European governments to allow safe and legal routes from the outset. For those who have no other choice, it is completely unacceptable that their passage across Europe exposes them to further humiliation, uncertainty and insecurity,” said Tirana Hassan. 

Abuses? Exploitation? That sounds very sex-negative. How can Amnesty International call an opportunity for sex work “humiliation”?

Smugglers target women who are travelling alone knowing they are more vulnerable. When they lacked the financial resources to pay for their journey smugglers would often try to coerce them into having sex.

At least three women said that smugglers and those working with the smugglers’ network harassed them or others, and offered them a discounted trip or a shorter wait to get on the boat across the Mediterranean, in exchange for sex.

Well what’s the problem? It’s sex work, which Amnesty thinks should be totally legalized for pimps and johns as well as the sex workers.

Hala, a 23-year-old woman from Aleppo told Amnesty International,

“At the hotel in Turkey, one of the men working with the smuggler, a Syrian man, said if I sleep with him, I will not pay or pay less. Of course I said no, it was disgusting. The same happened in Jordan to all of us.”

“My friend who came with me from Syria ran out of money in Turkey, so the smuggler’s assistant offered her to have sex with him [in exchange for a place on a boat]; she of course said no, and couldn’t leave Turkey, so she’s staying there.”

But it’s just sex work. Sex work is pleasant, enjoyable work, which meets men’s inherent need for “intimacy.” How can it be disgusting? Why did her friend say no?

Nahla, a 20-year old from Syria told Amnesty International

“The smuggler was harassing me. He tried to touch me a couple of times. Only when my male cousin was around he did not come close. I was very afraid, especially that we hear stories along the way of women who can’t afford the smugglers who would be given the option to sleep with the smugglers for a discount.”

He has a need for “intimacy” like any other man. He’s just exercising his right to try to get some.

Reem, a 20-year-old from Syria who was travelling with her 15-year-old cousin:

“I never got the chance to sleep in settlements. I was too scared that anyone would touch me. The tents were all mixed and I witnessed violence… I felt safer in movements, especially on the bus, the only place I could shut my eyes and sleep. In the camps we are so prone to being touched, and women can’t really complain and they don’t want to cause issues to disrupt their trip.”

If they would just think of it as sex work, and the men groping them as potential sources of income, everyone would be happy.

The womb is not only a vessel for bringing in souls to the physical plane

Jan 18th, 2016 4:06 pm | By

Remember detox? Remember detox socks? No, you probably don’t, because it was seven years ago, but I do, because it was so absurd.

The ‘detox’ question is pretty amusing.

In the majority of cases, producers and retailers contacted by the young scientists were forced to admit that they are renaming mundane things, like cleaning or brushing, as ‘detox’. They range in price from £1-2 for a detox drink to £36.95 for detox bath accessories.

Hahahaha – are there detox rubber duckies? Detox loofahs? Detox washcloths? All priced at ten times the normal rate because of their magical detox powers which the producers and retailers have admitted they don’t actually have?

The dossier shows that, while companies and individuals now use the claim ‘detox’ to promote everything from foot patches to hair straighteners, they are unable to provide reliable evidence or consistent explanations of what the ‘detox’ process is supposed to be.

Foot patches! Hahahahahahaha. ‘What’s that, Joe?’ ‘It’s my detox foot patch.’ ‘Oh yes, of course.’ Hair straighteners! Detox hair straighteners! Hahahahahahaha.

But this item is more horrifying than funny, even though it is full of absurd bullshit. The site is called Embrace Pangaea, and it tells you to detox your “womb” by sticking herbal “detox pearls” into it and leaving them there for three days. (Actually of course you can’t stick things in your uterus the way you can stick them in your pocket, so the pearls would just sit in the vagina.)

The womb is the sixth elimination organ for women. The womb is not only a vessel for bringing in souls to the physical plane, but also a vessel that can hold on to emotional, physical, and spiritual pain and trauma. The herbal womb detox pearls have been specially created with ancient herbs that are effective at cleaning the womb.

No. No, no, no. The uterus mostly cleans itself, and if it doesn’t you need a doctor, not a little bag of garbage sitting in the vadge for three days. I foresee wrongful death lawsuits in Embrace Pangaea’s future.

Tech Times says don’t do it.

Health experts warn the public about a new type of “womb detox” that involves inserting herbal balls into the vagina. The product promises to cleanse the uterus, but for health professionals, it may only cause irritation and the deadly toxic shock syndrome.

The product called “herbal womb detox pearls” are being sold online by U.S. company Embrace Pangaea. The firm claims that the herbal balls can correct foul odor, bacterial vaginosis, fibroids, endometriosis and yeast infections.

“Herbal womb detox pearls are designed to cleanse the womb and return it to a balanced state,” the company’s website states.

I wonder what makes them think they know the pearls do any such thing. I suspect the answer is nothing – I suspect they just thought it would be a pleasant thing, like lighting a scented candle next to the bathtub, so they threw some herbs into some little pouches, and hey presto detox pearls. They smell nice, so they must detox the “womb” if you shove them up yourself, right? Only you would think a familiarity with how tampons work would disabuse them of that idea…

Embrace Pangaea recommends inserting the balls into the vagina for at least three days for best results. For ob-gyn and a pain medicine physician Dr. Jen Gunter, the entire idea and process is not only pointless but also harmful to women’s health.

Gunter explains that leaving the herbal balls for three days inside the vagina can promote the growth of bad bacteria and subsequently cause infection.

Gunter also wrote that putting stuff inside the vagina for too long a period may cause toxic shock syndrome, which has already claimed the lives of many. This is also one of the reasons why women are instructed to not leave tampons inside the vagina for more than eight hours.

In short the people behind this Pangaea place really didn’t stop to think at all, let alone do any research – yet they felt happy advertising their dangerous product to a credulous public.

Stick to the detox socks, they’re fraudulent but at least they’re not dangerous.

With each passing day, more gun-toting people arrive

Jan 18th, 2016 11:54 am | By

Weirdly sympathetic reporting in the Chicago Tribune on the armed criminals at Malheur.

Several dozen armed men and women now control this federal facility in remote southeastern Oregon, a growing siege staged to protest the imprisonment of two local ranchers and a federal government that they say is out of control. They spend their days concocting strategies, meeting with reporters and well-wishers, and organizing mundane chore charts, all while remaining on hair-trigger alert to any effort to infiltrate their ranks or forcibly end the occupation.

On stolen property, using stolen equipment, with the use of lethal weapons. The Trib almost sounds as if the government has no right to evict the armed criminals who are trying to steal the Refuge.

There is no visible law enforcement presence for miles; the occupiers are free to come and go as they please. Still, the group’s members are certain that their movements and communications are being monitored by police and the FBI. They listen for drones, stare down passing vehicles and keep a 360-degree watch from a 150-foot observation tower adjacent to the compound. They are on guard.

They’re also violent criminals. They’re not the victims here.

On this day, the threat quickly dissipates. “All stations be advised the provocateur is driven off,” a voice crackles over a hand-held radio a few minutes after the commotion in the kitchen.

But it’s a brittle peace. LaVoy Finicum, a 54-year-old Arizona rancher and one of the group’s leaders, says the siege will continue until the federal government cedes control of the 187,000-acre refuge to Harney County.

“It needs to be very clear that these buildings will never, ever return to the federal government,” says Finicum, who wears a cowboy hat and a Colt 45 pistol holstered on his hip.

As he continues to live in and use a federal facility that belongs to all of us, not to him and his armed buddies.

Ammon Bundy sits at a desk in a refuge administrative office. A documentary crew working on a film about Western land use is peppering him with questions. He is soft-spoken, articulate, impassioned and certain of his positions.

After the crew leaves, he admits that he is tired. Asked if he wishes things had unfolded differently, he sits up and leans forward.

“Everything is happening just like it’s supposed to,” he says. “That’s what you have when you have divine guidance that is assisting. The right people come. The right words are said.”

Now the Trib tells us something I didn’t realize, which is that the feds are not only not evicting the thieves, they’re not stopping new ones joining the theft.

With each passing day, more gun-toting people arrive, from Alabama, Utah, North Carolina, Georgia. The vast majority are white men, but others are coming, too.

A woman from California, who would identify herself only as a mom, said she came to be on the right side of history.

And Brendan Dowd, who is black, drove from Colorado Springs to “fight against all the negative things the federal government is doing.” Dowd, 31, said it was “time for the people to stand up and take control.”

I won’t even try to deal with all the ironies of that.

But anyway – what in hell is everyone doing, letting more armed people join in? I get that they don’t want a bloodbath and martyrs and another Timothy McVeigh, but they could surely close the fucking road.

For now, the protesters remain firmly in place. The FBI has established a command center in Burns at the small city-owned airport outside of the town center, but law enforcement continues to maintain a low profile. And a resolution feels very far away.

On Thursday, a supporter drove to the refuge from neighboring Nevada to drop off 180 pounds of frozen meat. The occupiers are hunkering down, ready for whatever.

Near the refuge entrance, Corey Lequieu sits on an ATV with an AR-15 rifle slung across his lap.

The 45-year-old Army veteran from Nevada has just finished a four-hour shift in the observation tower. If the feds come, he says, he’ll be ready.

“What’s the worst they can do – kill me?”

Back in Burns, a clerk at one of the town’s few motels said the FBI has booked rooms through March.

Are we a failed state?

Pain porn

Jan 17th, 2016 5:45 pm | By

Carole Cadwalladr has a scathing review of The Revenant (as did all three of the guests on Saturday Review yesterday). It sounds absolutely rebarbative.

It’s a tale of “revenge, retribution and primal violence”, according to theGuardian’s Peter Bradshaw, “as thrilling and painful as a sheet of ice held to the skin”. This is praise, by the way. It’s “unthinkingly, aggressively masculine,” saysGQ. That’s praise too.

The film is based on a true story of the American frontier from 1823 and I’ll summarise the plot for you: man seeks revenge, man gets revenge. That’s it, basically, for two and a half hours, though there is a brief reprieve when you get to see Leonardo DiCaprio being mauled by a grizzly bear. Early reports suggested that he was raped. But no, that’s a fate reserved for one of the two women who appear fleetingly on screen. (The other one is slaughtered. But don’t worry, you have no idea who she is so you won’t actually care.)

Mind you, everyone says the photography is gorgeous. But the movie as such sounds like an assault.

I wasn’t entertained. Can you tell? I saw it at a press screening two weeks before Christmas when the streets were filled with twinkly fairy lights and I tripped past a Salvation Army band playing Silent Night to spend what felt like several weeks in a dark room waiting – oh dear God, do you wait – for Leo to just get on and hack the other man to death so I could finally go home. A well-oiled publicity machine of the type that fuels an Academy Awards clean sweep has carefully leaked how gruelling the shoot was, how authentically the actors “suffered” in the making. (They got a bit cold, apparently.)

And then they went home to Southern California, where it’s very warm.

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s idea was for it to look as real as possible. Which would have been magnificent if there was something in the way of a story or any meditation on the nature of retribution or anyone – anyone – that you could give one toss about, but there’s not. So the landscape is chilling and the violence is pointless and the whole thing is meaningless. A vacuous revenge tale that is simply pain as spectacle. The Revenant is pain porn.

I don’t mind a little pain porn if it’s about something like the race to the South Pole or Shackleton’s adventure with the Endurance. But hours of pointless violence? No thanks.

And in all probability, it will win every Oscar going. Critics have lavishly praised its “visceral” imagery, its “authentic” feel; it is, they say, “immersive” film-making at its finest. Though, arguably, not as immersive as putting a camera in a cage and then setting a man on fire. Have you seen that one? Where the man is burned alive? It’s not by González Iñárritu, but Isis. It wasn’t nominated for anything but the pain is even more real, more visceral, more – what was the word, thrilling? – than DiCaprio’s.

But then, all of Isis’s video output is inspired by our own entertainments – in its subject matter, its soundtrack, its editing. Islamic State hasn’t invented new narrative tropes, it’s simply lifted them straight from Hollywood. All it’s done is to go one step further, trumped Hollywood at its own game. It has seen what we want, what we thrill to, and given it to us. If there were grizzly bears in the Syrian desert, there’s no doubt that they’d put one in a cage and let us see what it really looks like when one rips a man apart.

That, I think, is an excellent point. I’ve always thought that. I’ve always thought September 11 was basically a disaster movie – imagined and planned as a disaster movie, and enjoyed by the perps and many of the spectators as a disaster movie. I mean “enjoyed” in the most literal and everyday sense – it was fun and exciting and a thrill. We’ve been trained to like that kind of thing, so we like it.

Cadwalladr recommends we don’t waste our money to see it now.

Your choice, though perhaps we could all try and act a little less surprised by the Islamic State’s next video spectacular. Or ask ourselves why pain and suffering and brutalising women and pointless, fetishistic violence – when it’s done by Hollywood – wins awards. Or why we’re so keen for it to look “real”. What neurotransmitters are we releasing? What thirst are we slaking? Isis’s films are simply the next logical step of our films. Their culture is actually our culture too. Isis hasn’t invented any of this. It is just a bit more honest about it. More “authentic”. More “visceral”. More “real”.


How long law enforcement officials can allow the standoff to continue

Jan 17th, 2016 5:08 pm | By

The armed but white thieves trespassing at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are begging to be arrested and evicted, and law enforcement is still standing around daydreaming.

The militiamen occupying a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon have adopted increasingly bold and risky tactics in their protest against the federal government, raising questions about how long law enforcement officials can allow the standoff to continue.

Why do law enforcement officials want to allow the standoff to continue? Why are they asking how long they can keep doing that, instead of not doing that? If those people were not white, we know damn well they wouldn’t be sipping their 10th cup of coffee instead of arresting the thieving gun-having criminals.

Now entering their third week of occupying the Malheur national wildlife refuge in rural Harney County, leaders of the militia appear to be testing the patience of the local sheriff’s department and the FBI by brazenly commandeering and in some cases destroying public property while escalating their anti-government rhetoric.

Community leaders and government officials inOregon and beyond say they fear there could be major damage at the refuge and elevated safety risks for employees and local residents if the militia continues to stand its ground, seemingly emboldened by the continuing lack of consequences.

And nothing happens. A child has a toy gun in a park and blammo, he’s dead ten seconds after the cop car arrives. A pack of men have a lot of real guns in a national wildlife refuge, and they’re left in peace to trash the refuge and threaten the federal workers. It’s just nuts.

On Friday evening, Rodrique said she was horrified to learn that the militia, led by Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, had paved a road through part of the wildlife sanctuary. That move came days after occupiers destroyed part of a US Fish and Wildlife Service fence, to allow cattle to freely graze on public lands the federal government controls.

Militiamen have also removed cameras at the refuge they claim the FBI was using for “surveillance”. LaVoy Finicum, an Arizona rancher and one of the main spokesmen for the militia, showed up to a Saturday morning press conference carrying a basket filled with black cameras.

“Do you not get tired of the mass surveillance in this country?” Finicum told reporters. “This, in my opinion, is unreasonable search.”

At wildlife refuges? No, I don’t. Vandals could go there to trash the place, poachers could go to shoot or capture wildlife. I want the managers to keep an eye on things.

Finicum and other militiamen seemed undeterred by the Oregon state police’s arrest on Friday of occupier Kenneth Medenbach, 62, who drove a government vehicle off the refuge to the local Safeway supermarket in the town of Burns, 30 miles away.

He drove a stolen car to Safeway. Even the forgiving police couldn’t let that slide. But if they drive their own cars? Oh by all means! No problem!

When driving their own vehicles, however, high-profile militia leaders have had no difficulty entering and leaving the compound. In fact, Finicum and Ryan Bundy, Ammon’s brother, recently left the refuge and drove out of Oregon and were then able to return to the occupation without facing any contact with law enforcement, Finicum told the Guardian.

If that’s true it’s just beyond disgusting. Why are they letting these fuckers get away with this?

In addition to his criticisms of the federal government, Finicum slammed Harney County officials for denying the militia access to a community building in Burns, where the occupiers want to present their plans to local residents. Members of a so-called Harney County Committee of Safety, who have worked with Bundy and say they want to take over his cause, are threatening to file a complaint against the county for refusing to allow the militia to use its buildings.

Do these white men feel entitled? I think we can safely say they do.