What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 25, 2011

More On John Stossel

From Talkingpointsmemo:
Stossel was on Fox & Friends [on March 24] to discuss some high-paying government jobs recently reported in The Daily Caller. The report found that the "Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs needs someone to run the Facebook page for the Dept. of the Interior and they'll pay up to $115,000 a year." Stossel took that as an opportunity to wonder about the entire concept of a Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs?" he said. "There is no Bureau of Puerto Rican Affairs or Black Affairs or Irish Affairs. And no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians, because we have the treaties, we stole their land. But 200 years later, no group does worse."
The video:

Good to see he includes the "we stole their land" part. So I guess he's not a complete moron. From the Department of State:
The story of westward expansion by European Americans is a basic theme of the American experience, but it also is a history of Indian removal from their traditional lands. Indians lost their lands by purchase and through war, disease, and even extermination, but many transfers of Indian land were formalized by treaty. The Constitution of 1789 empowered Congress to "regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes. Federal policy regarded each tribe as a sovereign entity capable of signing binding treaties with the U.S. Government. In the first 40 years of the new republic, the United States signed multiple treaties with Indian tribes, which usually followed a basic pattern: the signatory tribe withdrew to a prescribed reservation and in return the federal government promised to provide supplies, food, and often an annuity. In 1830, Congress chose to disregard Indian treaty guarantees when it passed the Indian Removal Act, a bill engineered by President Andrew Jackson. Despite its language suggesting a voluntary and fair "exchange" of lands, the act opened the door for the militias of trans-Appalachian and Southern States to simply drive the Indians across the Mississippi by force. The Indians' destination was to be an "Indian Territory" set aside west of Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas.
The U.S. Government's inability and unwillingness to abide by its treaty obligations with Indian tribes was clearly related to an insatiable demand for cheap land for European settlers. To make matter more difficult, Indians generally had a different concept of land ownership than Europeans, emphasizing land use for hunting, farming, or dwelling for the tribe, but not recognizing the concept of individual ownership. Indian society was loose, decentralized, democratic, and nonauthoritarian where "chiefs" were often men of respect and informal authority but not designated by the tribe to make decisions. The result was that treaties were often signed with Indian leaders who did not have the authority of the tribe. Whether the system of Indian treaties were ever meant to work is a matter of debate, but in reality, most Indian treaties were broken.
Nice to see Stossel acknowledged the treaties as well.

Moron. On Fox "News" of course.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Stossel has been around a long time before he showed up on Fox.

Your post is typical flame the messenger and not the message. You agree with the message.

Stossel is no moron.

Name calling is no solution.

Piltdown Man said...

Stossel may not be a moron, but he is a bottom feeding faux-journalist who has built an entire career out of being a muckraker. When he was on ABC, he filled a "need" the network had. They always want at least one person who appears to be an outlier, when in reality they are just slotted into a research-driven niche.

And whether he is a moron or not is open to debate, his comments are indeed stupid. It's just invective, meant to rile people up. It is not intelligent debate or incisive commentary. The answer to "why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs" is long and complex...something which isn't allowed on Fox, or nearly any other media outlet, except perhaps for NPR.

rich10e said...

PM...and what is the answer for the ghetto like reservations that are worse than the blight ridden and crime spawning housing projects that the federal gov't has created!! oh that's right..to create bingo hall and casinos!!

Piltdown Man said...

Rich -

As far as I can tell, I did not address the larger issue of how indigenous tribes were dealt with, and have responded to, the "favors" the US has done for them. I simply stated that Stossel's tossed-off comment wasn't meant to be bring forward thoughtful discussion of the issue, but rather to just ramp up an audience who (they know...) wants to jump on board and say, "Yea, what's the deal with those Injuns! We gave 'em everything and they still jit drunk and huff glue!"

That's want I was addressing, not the larger issue, of which I really don't have enough knowledge to speak to with any degree of intelligence. I'm willing to admit that, but John Stossel and his ilk are not....

alHalwima said...

Stossel indeed makes some very persuasive points, but he is a master of sophistry. Certain statements and arguments, however persuasive, can be so absurd and ridiculous that it further fuels anti-intellectualism in this country. Hence why I believe even RT News and alJazeera are more believable than Fox News, even when it's outright propaganda. Stossel is just a corporate puppet for fake libertarians, that's how I see it.