Posted: November 21, 2015 Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs, morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics
Boston buried in snow last winter. I really do not want to see a repeat of this.
To my horror, a good-sized winter storm is working its way across the middle and upper Midwest. A previous storm already dropped a lot of snow on Colorado and Nebraska. This one is more widespread.
Associated Press via ABC News: Storm Blankets Parts of Midwest With More Than Foot of Snow.
The first significant wintry storm of the season blanketed parts of the Midwest with a foot of snow and more was on the way Saturday, creating hazardous conditions as some travelers prepared to depart for the Thanksgiving holiday.
While winter has not officially begun, the shovels and snow blowers were out from South Dakota through southern Minnesota, Iowa and southern Wisconsin to northern Illinois and Indiana. The National Weather Service said the snow would continue in Illinois and Indiana on Saturday and move into Michigan. The front will head northeast to Canada late on Saturday and into Sunday.
Selfishly, I really hope it heads to Canada and skips New England entirely.
Snowfall reports so far
The Weather Channel reports in depth: Winter Storm Bella Dumps Up to 18 Inches of Snow in South Dakota; First Snow of Season For Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit.
Winter Storm Bella will continue to bring the first, not to mention locally heavy, accumulating snow of the season for some in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Saturday after dumping up to 18 inches of snow in the Missouri Valley Friday.
Parts of the Sioux City, South Dakota metro area picked up over a foot of snow in an intense snowband Friday. Snow has since ended, there, but has now spread into the Great Lakes, with some totals over 10 inches already coming in from parts of Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Winter storm warnings continue from parts of eastern Iowa into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, including the Quad Cities, Madison, Rockford, Milwaukee and Chicago.
In the much of the Upper Midwest, this means a likelihood for at least 6 inches of snow in 12 hours, or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours.
Winter weather advisories are posted for much of Lower Michigan and far northern Indiana, including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing, where somewhat lower snowfall totals are expected.
When I spoke to my mom this morning, she was headed out to the grocery store, because they are expecting snow and then heavy rain this afternoon. This much snow this early is pretty rare in much of the Midwest. Can you believe even Arkansas got a small amount of snow from this storm?
One factor in how much snow will fall this winter could be El Nino. The Weather Channel: The Impact of El Niño on Seasonal Snowfall.
El Niño, the periodic warming of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean, can have a number of effects on weather around the world, from heavy rain to extreme drought, persistent warmth to stubborn cold, and inactive versus hyperactive tropical cyclone seasons.
Does El Niño also influence how snowy your winter is?
To answer that, we examined NOAA seasonal snowfall data for 51 U.S. locations for which sufficient data exists and snowfall is at least typical once a year.
We grouped these seasonal snowfall totals into El Niño, La Niña (its opposite, namely, a cooling of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean) and neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) seasons.
Since no two El Niños/La Niñas are alike and the intensity of each matters for impacts, we further examined moderate and strong El Niño seasons, based on the categorization by Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services.
For most of the 51 locations, we had 23 El Niño, 20 La Niña, and 22 neutral seasons of snowfall data. One admitted drawback to this study is the rather limited sample size of strong El Niño seasons (five such cases), given NOAA’s Oceanic Niño Index dates only to 1950.
Finally, given El Niño/La Niña is not the sole driver of the atmosphere at any time, we thought it would be interesting to examine another atmospheric influencer during the winter months, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
Put simply, a positive NAO typically means cold air will drain from west to east across Canada, rather than plunging into the eastern U.S. Conversely, in a negative NAO, more blocking of the upper atmospheric pattern over the north Atlantic Ocean sends cold air deep into the eastern two-thirds of the nation.
Read the results of the Weather Channel study at the link. As you can well imagine, I’m hoping that Boston will not get a repeat of last winter–the worst one on record with more than 100 inches of snow.
So….I decided to write about the weather so I could stave off the even worse news of the day. Here’s a sampling.
The Guardian: Brussels in lockdown after terror threat level is raised to maximum.
Brussels has been blanketed with security after the Belgian government raised alert levels on terrorist threats to the maximum, warning of the “serious and imminent” possibility of a Paris-style attack involving firearms and explosives.
Brussels metro on Saturday (from The Guardian)
The city’s metro system was closed down on Saturday until Sunday afternoon at the earliest as shops shut, shopping malls were partly shuttered, professional football was cancelled, concerts were called off and music venues, museums, and galleries closed their doors for the weekend.
The heightened alert level followed meetings of the national security and counter-terror services late on Friday, which concluded, on the basis of undisclosed evidence, that a major attack was being planned in Brussels. The rest of the country was put on a level three alert, one level short of the maximum.
“Following a new assessment, the terror alert level has been raised to level four, very serious, for the Brussels region,” said a government statement. “Analysis shows a serious and imminent threat that requires taking specific security measures as well as specific recommendations for the public.”
People were told to avoid rail stations and airports, shopping centres, concerts, and other public events where people congregate.
“We’re mobilising very strong security capacities,” said Charles Michel, the prime minister. “There’s a threat of attack by several individuals in several places. The [crisis centre] took this decision following information on a risk of attack similar to Paris.”
I sure hope this is a false alarm, but it will probably make Republican politicians even more panicked than they already are.
A security officer gives instructions to security forces inside the hotel
Photograph: Mali TV ORTM/AP
Another terrorism report from ABC News: Mali Hotel Attack Survivor Barricaded Himself as Gunmen Stormed Grounds.
Mukesh Chellani, a businessman from Indian, said he and his employees locked themselves in a room at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako on Friday. The country’s Ministry of the Interior said 21 people were killed — 18 hotel guests, a Malian policeman, and two attackers.
“We covered the door with lot of heavy stuff,” Chellani recalled. “At some point of time, we heard someone is knocking the door and lots of bullets.” ….
President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.
“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorismthreatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.
President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.
“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorism threatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.
Slate reports: Obama Meets With Refugees: “They’re Just Like Our Kids.”
President Obama tried to put a human face on the global crisis that has become a political battle back back home as he sat down with migrant children in Malaysia on Saturday, vowing that the US would keep its doors open to refugees “as long as I’m president.” Obama met with elementary-school-age children in Kuala Lampur at a humanitarian center who had already been cleared to enter the United States. “They’re just like our kids,” Obama said.
“They were indistinguishable from any child in America,” Obama said. “And the notion that somehow we would be fearful of them, that our politics would somehow leave us to turn our sights away from their plight, is not representative of the best of who we are.” The words were clearly directed at the politicians—including governors, lawmakers, and Republican presidential candidates—who have spoken about the possibility of blocking the arrival of Syrian refugees into the US after the Paris terror attacks.
Of course, Obama’s words will have no effect on Republican politicians. Here’s the latest ugly example from Buzzfeed: Steve King, Citing Obama’s Time In Indonesia, Says Obama Is Filling U.S. With Terrorists.
Republican Rep. Steve King, while discussing on Thursday the Obama administration’s plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, said President Obama is “filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us” and cited Obama’s upbringing in Indonesia as giving him an entirely different idea of what America should be like.
“We just should remember that, when — where we grew up is — when we were in our grade school that’s when the world was right and we tend to want to recreate that idyllic scene in our adulthood thinking that’s the best thing for America. And in my case, it is. I grew up with ‘Fun with Dick and Jane,’” said King onBoston Herald Radio. “Wonderful. But you know, while I was going on, he was going to a school in Indonesia, so his idea of America is entirely different than the idea that most Americans have of what we ought to be like, and he’s filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us.”
What a sweetheart Steve King is, bless his heart.
I’ll have more links in the comments. What stories are you following today?
Posted: November 20, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe and Mediterranean, morning reads, the GOP | Tags: David Vitter, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Right Wing Hysteria and paranoia, Syrian refugees, xenophobia
It’s coming up on the weekend here in Louisiana and we will be voting for Governor tomorrow. It really, really looks like we will have a Blue Dog Democrat for governor. The polls are consistently showing Senator David Vitter losing the race. You can tell how badly Vitter’s doing by the way his ads have gotten increasingly shameful on so many levels. They are full of lies, distortion, racism, and hate. A number of Republicans from Vitter’s home parish and congressional district have come out in support of his Democratic opponent John Bel Edwards. Edwards is not my idea of a Democratic candidate, but I’m firmly in the any one but Vitter column. I will go to the polls tomorrow. The fact that Louisiana could be creeping back into the purple state category should be a lesson for many. The fact the vitriol is not working should also. Bel Edwards is dishing it right back out to him with a cherry on top.
Edwards is a Democrat, Vitter a Republican, and both are Catholics in a state with a strong evangelical presence—and a state that thrives on politics as blood sport. The central issue in this election campaign is a 2007 prostitution scandal that Vitter thought he had put behind him.
This election has become the dirtiest slug fest since the 1991 “race from hell” when Edwin Edwards (no kin to John Bel), though trailed by corruption scandals, won a record fourth term, crushing David Duke, the former Klan leader and closet Nazi. Both men later went to prison. Duke for mail fraud, Edwards for extortion tied to casino licenses. Such are the vagaries of democracy in the Bayou State.
The pivotal question this year is whether Edwards’s growing lead is a purely anti-Vitter phenomenon—and whether the senator is capable of reversing it. Vitter does possess samurai-level skills in slash-attack politics.
But a November 12 University of New Orleans (UNO) poll has Edwards at 54 percent, with a 22 point lead, gaining two points since the Tuesday debate.
A larger question looms: If the margin holds, does the Edwards surge signal a sputtering of the Republican Southern strategy that exploits racial division by demonizing President Obama?
Either way, if Edwards wins big, you can bet the car that Hillary Rodham Clinton will try to make him her new best friend.
A lawyer and West Point graduate who frequently cites the military academy’s honor code and touts himself as “pro-life and pro-gun,” Edwards is a blue dog Democrat—one of the last of the centrist-conservative Democrats, blue dogs being an endangered species in Congress and nearly extinct in statewide offices across the beef red South. But there is nothing cookie-cutter about Edwards’s views: Since taking his seat in the state legislature in 2006 and particularly since 2012, when he became state House minority leader, Edwards has spearheaded the opposition to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s deep cuts to higher education and his refusal to take Medicaid funds under Obamacare—to no avail.
The state race isn’t the only one where lies, distortion, racism, and vitriol is rampant. Donald Trump’s rhetoric is just the most overt example of
The U.S. has committed at least 15,000 combat troops and billions of dollars to extend the war of Afghanistan another 10 years, to 2024. Imagine what Americans would have thought if Bush had told them what was in store after 9/11.
what’s left in the Republican Party. His suggestion to keep a federal register of Muslims in the U.S. is rightly drawing comparisons to the registrations of Jewish populations in Hitler’s NAZI Germany. I’m not one to appreciate the tendency of folks to Godwin but Trump has clearly jumped into the fascism part of the political spectrum and should be shamed. Hillary tweeted condemnation of Trump’s suggestion yesterday and characterized his rhetoric as “shocking”. She was joined by the other Democrats in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Hillary Clinton condemned Donald Trump’s call to require Muslims to register in a database, calling his idea “shocking.”
“This is shocking rhetoric. It should be denounced by all seeking to lead this country. –H,” she tweeted, linking to a New York Times story, quoting Trump as saying he’d “absolutely” require Muslims to do so.
In an interview with NBC news Thursday night, Trump was asked to clarify comments he had made to Yahoo News, saying he would not rule out such a registry for Muslims if he were president.
“Should there be a database system that tracks the Muslims in this country?” an NBC reporter asked Trump at an event in Newton, Iowa.
“There should be a lot of systems. Beyond database, we should have a lot of systems. And today, you can do it,” Trump said. “I would certainly implement that — absolutely.”
He said the database would stop people from coming into the United States illegally. And he could accomplish it with “good management procedures,” he said.
The other two Democratic presidential candidates also rebuked Trump.
Bernie Sanders called the statement “outrageous and bigoted.”
“What an outrageous and bigoted statement. @realDonaldTrump should be ashamed of himself,” the Vermont senator tweeted.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley addressed Trump’s comments Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“When you hear people like Donald Trump talking about wanting to do ID cards based on religion, what the hell is that? I mean, how is that at all American?” he asked.
Even Texas whackadoo Ted Cruz rejected the idea. Cruz may be getting a whiff of doom for the Donald.
Ted Cruz on Friday disavowed Donald Trump’s support for requiring American Muslims register as such, a rare public break with the current GOP frontrunner.
“I’m a big fan of Donald Trump’s but I’m not a fan of government registries of American citizens,” he told reporters of a plan Trump said he backed a day earlier. “The First Amendment protects religious liberty, I’ve spent the past several decades defending religious liberty.”
Marco Rubio, however, has adopted similar over-the-top xenophobic and unconstitutional policy calling for a shut down of any place where Muslims might gather and be inspired. This leaves Jeb Bush as the voice of reason in the little tent of horror.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seems to be going further than even Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in advocating the crackdown of U.S. Muslims. He doesn’t just want to consider shutting down mosques, as Trump says, but wants to shut down “any place where radicals are being inspired.”
“It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired,” Rubio said on Fox News’ The Kelly File on Thursday night when asked if he agreed with Trump. “The bigger problem we have is our inability to find out where these places are, because we’ve crippled our intelligence programs, both through unauthorized disclosures by a traitor, in Edward Snowden, or by some of the things this president has put in place with the support even of some from my own party to diminish our intelligence capabilities.”
“So whatever facility is being used — it’s not just a mosque — any facility that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States, should be a place that we look at,” he continued.
Trump first articulated potentially shutting down U.S. mosques on Monday during a call in to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when hosts asked if he would consider doing the same thing France did and shut down U.S. mosques with direct terrorist ties. Trump said he would “strongly consider” it, then lamented NYPD shutting down its domestic surveillance program targeting Muslims in New York City. Later this week he suggested the U.S. would “absolutely” create a federal database of Muslimsif he were elected president.
Both Trump and Rubio could be putting forth these ideas because polling suggests that limiting rights of Muslims is popular with Republican voters. A poll released this week found that 25 percent of Rubio supporters liked the idea of shutting down U.S. mosques.
Meanwhile establishment candidate Jeb Bush has resisted targeting of U.S. mosques: “You talk about closing mosques, you talk about registering people, that’s just wrong …. it’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears. That’s not strength. That’s weakness.”
These are typical chicken hawks. They speak of bombing everything in sight and the run in fear of widows and orphans and healthcare workerstending to the Ebola stricken. Paul Krugman is quick to point to the right wing’s tendency to panic under infinitesimally small odds of bad things. His op ed today is focused on the Erick Erickson who is very high on my list of worst human being on the planet.
The French themselves are making a point of staying calm, indeed of going out to cafes to show that they refuse to be intimidated. But Mr. Erickson declared on his website that he won’t be going to see the new “Star Wars” movie on opening day, because “there are no metal detectors at American theaters.”
Lightsabers aside, are Mr. Erickson’s fears any sillier than those of the dozens of governors — almost all Republicans — who want to ban Syrian refugees from their states?
Mr. Obama certainly thinks they’re being ridiculous; he mocked politicians who claim that they’re so tough that they could stare down America’s enemies, but are “scared of widows and orphans.” (He was probably talking in particular about Chris Christie, who has said that he even wants to ban young children.) Again, the contrast with France, where President François Hollande has reaffirmed the nation’s willingness to take in refugees, is striking.
I didn’t hear similar rhetoric when folks in a theatre were shot up and many murdered in either Colorado or Louisiana. I just read calls for more armed citizens to join in the shoot ups. But, Krugman believes the paranoia is part and parcel of their basic reaction to what goes on framed in terms of an Obama Presidency. As mentioned in the Vitter-Edwards fight above, Republics seem to connect every little bad thing to the President and state it in completely hyped up terms. Connecting Mary Landrieu to Obama certainly worked in the negative Louisiana Senatorial race last year.
What explains the modern right’s propensity for panic? Part of it, no doubt, is the familiar point that many bullies are also cowards. But I think it’s also linked to the apocalyptic mind-set that has developed among Republicans during the Obama years.
Think about it. From the day Mr. Obama took office, his political foes have warned about imminent catastrophe. Fiscal crisis! Hyperinflation! Economic collapse, brought on by the scourge of health insurance! And nobody on the right dares point out the failure of the promised disasters to materialize, or suggest a more nuanced approach.
Given this context, it’s only natural that the right would seize on a terrorist attack in France as proof that Mr. Obama has left America undefended and vulnerable. Ted Cruz, who has a real chance of becoming the Republican nominee, goes so far as to declare that the president “does not wish to defend this country.”
The context also explains why Beltway insiders were so foolish when they imagined that the Paris attacks would deflate Donald Trump’s candidacy, that Republican voters would turn to establishment candidates who are serious about national security.
Who, exactly, are these serious candidates? And why would the establishment, which has spent years encouraging the base to indulge its fears and reject nuance, now expect that base to understand the difference between tough talk and actual effectiveness?
Sure enough, polling since the Paris attack suggests that Mr. Trump has actually gained ground.
The point is that at this point panic is what the right is all about, and the Republican nomination will go to whoever can most effectively channel that panic. Will the same hold true in the general election?
The fact that all of the Paris bombers were European nationals is completely ignored by the right wing media. I grew up in a a hell hole of backwardness called Omaha, Nebraska. Most of the folks that I know that basically never left or moved into neighboring hellholes are putting up some of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen including linking refugees to the Fort Hood Shooter who was born in Virginia. I also actually had some one point out to me that if we didn’t stop the Syrian refugees we might go the way of Native Americans when the Colonists came over. I’ve never seen such an level of panic that people appear to have left any sense of proportion in a gutter somewhere. It seems worse than the Ebola hysteria of a few years ago.
We’ve had an attack today on a Western Hotel in Malia. Additionally, there have been recent attacks in Kenya and Lebanon that appear to be Isis-inspired and possibly planned. I can understand being extremely careful in places like this. How do these events or events in Paris translate to being paranoid in small towns in the middle of the country where even most Americans wouldn’t and don’t want to live? We’ve had plenty of pressers by NYC officials–NYC is definitely always a potential terrorist target–and they’re doing their usual thing and not particularly worried.
What should be worrying is the weird attraction of any extremist philosophy–including fundamentalist religions of all types–to young people. What is it that is causing many young people to feel so disenfranchised from the mainstream they hook up with cults? This has always been a challenge in the developed world.
You may want to spend some time with a profile at the Daily Mail on the female jihadi killed in St.-Denis. People who do not live countries with abject poverty and little opportunity for education and economic advancement are less of a concern than our homemade terrorists. This includes folks drawn to white supremacy as well as the violent jihadi mentality.
The woman killed in the Saint-Denis siege was a party animal with a string of boyfriends who had shown no interest in religion, it emerged today.
Hasna Ait Boulahcen, 26, was blown to bits when a second unnamed terrorist detonated a bomb after anti-terror police closed in on the safehouse where she was hiding with her cousin, the mastermind of the Paris attacks.
Just a day after her death, family and acquaintances gave extraordinary accounts of a young woman with a ‘bad reputation’ who was known for her love of alcohol and cigarettes rather than devotion to Islam.
Her brother Youssouf Ait Boulahcen said that she had had no interest in religion, never read the Koran and had only started wearing a Muslim veil a month ago.
A photograph has also emerged of Ait Boulahcen posing for a selfie in the bath. Her face is covered in heavy make-up and she wears nothing but jewellery.
She’s not exactly the posterchild for your basic practicing cafeteria Muslim let alone a Jihadi. What on earth happened to flip her?
(Update: She was not a suicide bomber but was blown up when a man next to her detonated his suicide vest.)
Home grown white male christian extremists are far more of a danger here in this country yet, law enforcement has to keep its concerns underwrap for fear of inciting a Fox Nation backlash. The NRA isn’t concerned about any terrorist, felon, or mentally ill person getting access to an arsenal. How do we explain right wing paranoia in light of that? In this country, toddlers kill more people that radical jihadists.
All I know is that I’m very sick and tired of this racist, hateful, unconstitutional and down right UnAmerican response to the latest panic from the right. A few years ago it was stopping all flights from an entire continent. Now, it’s stopping refugees from one single country that’s in the middle of a civil war.
It’s ridiculous and it’s unbecoming.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: November 19, 2015 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Paris attacks, Syrian refugees
I’m sure you’ve heard that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected “ringleader” of the Paris attacks, was killed during an intense siege by French police. NBC News reports: Abdelhamid Abaaoud Killed in Saint-Denis Raid.
PARIS — The Belgian jihadi suspected of being the ringleader of the Paris terrorist attacks was killed during a raid on a suburban apartment, officials said Thursday.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, died during Wednesday’s operation in Saint-Denis, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office. He was identified by his fingerprints. His body was riddled with bullets, according to officials.
Abaaoud died along with a woman who blew herself up with a suicide belt when elite police forces stormed the scene. Eight other people were arrested.
In addition to being the suspected ringleader of Friday’s coordinated assaults, he had been linked to the thwarted attackson a Paris-bound high-speed trainand a church near the French capital earlier this year.
Abaaoud boasted in ISIS propaganda about avoiding capture and claimed he had been able to travel between Europe and Syria without being noticed.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later said that Abaaoud was involved in four of the six attacks foiled by French intelligence since this spring.
Go to the link to read the rest. There’s quite a bit of background on Abaaoud in this article at The New York Times that I can’t copy and paste from. I’m sure we’ll be learning much more about him.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. the public assault on Syrian refugees continues in the U.S., and there have been multiple attacks on muslims since the Paris attacks, thanks to the ugly hate speech that has been spewed by childish and decidedly unpresidential GOP presidential candidates and other politicians looking for attention. Unfortunately, the worst example so far comes from the Democratic mayor of Roanoke, Virginia. From USA Today:
A Roanoke mayor is getting national attention after citing the use of internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II to justify suspending the relocation of Syrian refugees to his city in Virginia.
After requesting that all Roanoke Valley agencies stop Syrian refugee assistance, Mayor David Bowers, a Democrat, wrote in a statement: “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”
The comment has sparked outrage on social media from citizens of Roanoke and the rest of the country — including celebrities.
The Japanese internment camps, which detained about 120,000 Japanese-American men, women and children, are widely remembered as one of the U.S. government’s most shameful acts. More than four decades after World War II, the U.S. government issued a formal apology and paid reparations to former Japanese internees and their heirs.
Roanoke VA Mayor David Bowers
Actor George Takei, whose family was interned with other Japanese-Americans after World War II responded on Facebook. Here’s Takei’s post, From Vox:
1) The internment (not a “sequester”) was not of Japanese “foreign nationals,” but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.
2) There never was any proven incident of espionage or sabotage from the suspected “enemies” then, just as there has been no act of terrorism from any of the 1,854 Syrian refugees the U.S. already has accepted. We were judged based on who we looked like, and that is about as un-American as it gets.
3) If you are attempting to compare the actual threat of harm from the 120,000 of us who were interned then to the Syrian situation now, the simple answer is this: There was no threat. We loved America. We were decent, honest, hard-working folks. Tens of thousands of lives were ruined, over nothing.
I’m not going to quote the garbage that has come out of the mouths of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruze, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. I’ll just stand with President Obama and his calm insistence that we be true to our principles as Americans. From Newsweek: Obama: Republicans Blocking Syrian Refugees ‘Scared of Widows and 3-Year-Old Orphans.’
President Obama continues to push back against governors and lawmakers who want to block Syrian refugees from entering the United States. On Tuesday, speaking from the Philippines, Obama said those who seek to shut the door on refugees fleeing the ever-expanding violence in Syria are “scared of widows and 3-year-old orphans.” ….
Obama said shutting the door on refugees and treating Christian refugees differently plays into the hands of the Islamic State militant group, known as ISIS or ISIL, which French media has blamed for the attacks. “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate,” the president said. “ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.”
Sadly, a new Bloomberg poll found that most Americans now want to refuse to accept Syrian refugees. You can read the details at the link.
Ben Carson’s campaign could be in trouble after The New York Times published remarks made by Carson’s foreign policy advisers: Ben Carson is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say. Again, I can’t copy and paste, but I hope you’ll read it if you haven’t already. David Corn has a fascinating article about this at Mother Jones: The Spooky and Scandalous Past of Ben Carson’s Top National Security Adviser.
On Tuesday, theNew York Timespublished astorythat had the politerati abuzz. The headline was bold: “Ben Carson Is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say.” The piece reported that the GOP presidential candidate’s “remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject,” and it noted that “two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.” Duane Clarridge, a top adviser to Carson on terrorism and national security, told theTimes, “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.” Ouch.
The Carson campaign immediately blamed the messengers. Carson’s spokesmancalledthe article “an affront to good journalistic practices” and claimed that theTimeshad taken “advantage of an elderly gentleman.” Clarridge—known to his pals as Dewey—is 82 years old. But the damage was done. Clarridge’s observations reinforced the impression that Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is in over his head when it comes to national security issues.
A particularly intriguing aspect of this dustup was that Carson had turned to Clarridge for foreign policy advice. Often portrayed as a veteran spymaster in the media, Clarridge has indeed had a long career in intelligence, but it has been a checkered one.
Carson is being advised by one of the main people behind the Iran Contra scandal.
Clarridge first achieved public notoriety during the Iran-contra affair—the doozy of a scandal in which President Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms to the terrorist-supporting regime of Iran in order to free American hostagesandin which his national security crew used these ill-gotten proceeds to secretly finance the CIA-backed contras who were trying to overthrow the socialist government of Nicaragua. Clarridge, then a top CIA official, played a role in both sides of the conspiracy. He helped White House aide Oliver North use a CIA front company to ship US-made HAWK missiles to Iran. According to the independent counsel who investigated the scandal, he also sought funding from the apartheid regime of South Africa for the contras, after Congress had cut off assistance for the contras. Clarridge retired from the CIA in 1987 after being formally reprimanded for his involvement in the Iran weapons deal.
But there was worse blowback to come. In 1991, independent counsel Lawrence Walsh charged Clarridge for lying to congressional investigators and a presidential commission about his role in the trading-arms-for-hostages skullduggery. Essentially, after news of the clandestine deal with Tehran broke, Walsh alleged, Clarridge had repeatedly lied to investigators, claiming that he had not known that the shipments he had helped North arrange contained weapons. Clarridge had stuck to the cover story that these shipments involved oil drilling equipment. Walsh asserted, “There was strong evidence that Clarridge’s testimony was false.”
Walsh also pointed out that Clarridge had falsely testified when he had told government investigators that he had not known about Reagan administration efforts (arguably illegal) to seek secret financial aid from other countries for the contras and and that he himself had not sought such funds for the contras.
Much more at the Mother Jones link.
A new poll by WBUR (NPR) in Boston shows Carson’s support dropping in New Hampshire and a new Fox News poll has Carson in fourth place there, according to CNN. Unfortunately, that leaves Donald Trump securely in first place in the first primary state.
Two more important stories:
ABC News The Note: Democrats Take Center Stage on National Security.
HILLARY CLINTON SET TO LAY OUT ISIS STRATEGY:This morning, Hillary Clinton will unveil her plan to combat ISIS during remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York,ABC’s LIZ KREUTZnotes. According to her aides, her speech will focus broadly on three objectives: “1) Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and across the region. 2) Disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing, arms, and propaganda around the world. 3) Harden our defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats.” Earlier this week Clinton called the rhetoric from the GOP who don’t want Syrian refugees coming to U.S. “a new low” and said not allowing them would undermine “who we are as Americans.”
—BERNIE SANDERS DETERMINED TO BE HEARD ON FOREIGN POLICY: During a whopping 32-minute interview Tuesday, Yahoo’s Katie Couric asked Bernie Sanders simply, “What about those who say you’re not that strong on foreign policy?” The Vermont senator scoffed. “Oh, really? Well, compared to whom?” he said with a little guttural gruff. “Many of the serious problems we face in the Gulf region and the Middle East are, in fact, attributable to the war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into. And it is not only that I voted against it – and Secretary Clinton voted for it – I helped lead the opposition against it.” Such a response, in a nutshell, is the crux of Sanders’ argument for why he is fit to be commander in chief, and he’s sticking to it. it would have been easy for the independent Sanders, 74, to shy away from this topic, his perceived weakness, in the days after the head-to-head debate in Iowa. But he has done the opposite. The bellicose rhetoric from Republicans on the other side has offered the progressive an excuse to hit the airwaves, opening himself up to interviews focused on foreign policy.ABC’s MARYALICE PARKShas more.http://abcn.ws/1X0AoDa
–HAPPENING TODAY:The Sanders campaign says the Vermont senator will address his vision for responding to ISIS as a part of a major speech he has scheduled at Georgetown University this afternoon.
The Washington Post: O’Malley’s presidential campaign is perilously close to financial collapse.
The Democratic hopeful this week began asking the roughly 30 staffers at his Baltimore headquarters to redeploy to Iowa and elsewhere, a tacit acknowledgment that he will need a surprisingly strong showing in the first caucus state to stay in the race.
And the campaign is now planning to seek public matching funds, a move that could help pay bills in the short term but undercut the candidate’s ability to compete once the voting begins. In recent cycles, major candidates have opted out of the antiquated matching system because it imposes state-by-state spending caps now considered impractical.
“You might get the plane off the ground, but then you quickly run out of gas,” said Joe Trippi, a veteran Democratic operative who served as the co-manager of the 2008 campaign of John Edwards, the last major Democratic candidate to accept matching funds and the accompanying spending limits.
Given the meager amount O’Malley has raised to this point, “it’s not a dumb thing” to seek matching funds, Trippi said. But, he added: “You die now or die later. Either way, it’s not going to end well.”
Other observers greeted the decision this week by O’Malley to move headquarters staffers to Iowa as the likely beginning of the end for a candidate who still lags far behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the polls and is rapidly running out of opportunities to change the narrative of the race.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great Thursday!
Posted: November 18, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, France, Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe and Mediterranean, morning reads, Political and Editorial Cartoons, Republican politics, U.S. Politics
Nigel Powers: There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.
Yes, I am intolerant.
Of the Intolerant Bigoted Hypocritical Christian Conservatives.
The ones who play the victim when someone confronts them about their “beliefs” or as I did recently, what and who they support in the political arena.
I don’t know, maybe I took it too far, but as you saw yesterday…even Boston Boomer was using the “F” word in her post ;) .
This entire scene regarding the Syrian immigration has us all very upset. I went from discussing the refugee situation in an intelligent manner with my old friend of 35 years, Jose, who is the brother-in-law of Aasif Mandvi….to being patronized and having my words twisted to play into the conservative Christian victimization routine by another old friend of 22 years, who now lives among the cornfields of Iowa.
It is all so depressing.
In response, all I can muster today is a heavy cartoon post.
11/18/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller
11/15/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller
This next cartoon is also from Heller, but from October 7th of this year:
10/07/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller
I am a little behind on this one:
Free Speech vs. Safe Space: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe
More of these Safe Space cartoons later.
A message to ISIS: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath
11/17/2015 Cartoon by Charlie Daniel
11/17/2015 Cartoon by David Horsey
11/18/2015 Cartoon by Joel Pett
Digital Threat: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers
Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Clay Bennett
Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Clay Bennett
11/17/2015 Cartoon by MStreeter
11/18/2015 Cartoon by MStreeter
11/17/2015 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies
How to tell the difference between ISIS and Muslims: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen
11/17/2015 Cartoon by Phil Hands
11/18/2015 Cartoon by Scott Stantis
11/18/2015 Cartoon by John Cole
Je Suis Paris: 11/16/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers
The Pinata: 11/15/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers
A Call to Harams: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley
Prince of Darkness Roast: 11/13/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley
From Cagle Cartoons:
Critical Thinking Needed by Tom Purcell
Anchor Baby Battle by Will Durst
Donald Trump dropping by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund
Stuff Happens by Political Cartoonist Kevin Siers
ISISsssss by Political Cartoonist Bill Day
Strategy to destroy ISIS by Political Cartoonist Paresh Nath
Russian Doping Scandal by Political Cartoonist Jimmy Margulies
Syrian refugees and Rep King by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund
Jumpstarting the Jeb! Bush Campaign by Political Cartoonist R.J. Matson
Refugees by Political Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons
Muslim Refugees by Political Cartoonist John Darkow
Terror in Paris by Political Cartoonist Christo Komarnitski
Paris Terror by Political Cartoonist Bob Englehart
Daesh Target by Political Cartoonist Stavro Jabra
Terror in Paris by Political Cartoonist Mike Keefe
ViVe La France by Political Cartoonist Milt Priggee
France Weeps | DarylCagle.com
Paris Attack by Political Cartoonist Nate Beeler
Signe Wilkinson: City of Darkness – Signe Wilkinson – Truthdig
Nick Anderson: Safe Space – Nick Anderson – Truthdig
11/18/2015 Cartoon by Chan Lowe
Relax?: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Eric J Garcia
11/18/2015 Cartoon by John Branch
War Near Christmas: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley
Radical Islam Death Wish: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Monte Wolverton
Bruce Plante Cartoon: Syrian refugees: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante
Bruce Plante Cartoon: Wages are too high?: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante
11/18/2015 Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez
11/18/2015 Cartoon by Nick Anderson
Let’s end it with a cartoon that is from October 6th:
Exhibition by Political Cartoonist Pavel Constantin
And that is all folks…this is an open thread.
Posted: November 17, 2015 Filed under: morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Charlie Baker, Massachusetts, Syrian refugees
Actually I’m fuming this morning. It’s bad enough that–like others here at Sky Dancing blog–I have a nasty cold; but what’s really making me mad as hell is that Charlie Baker, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, joined the hateful crew of governors who say they don’t want Syrian refugees in his state.
Curses on all the idiots who voted for this man! Shame on them! We could have had the first woman governor of this state, an intelligent and compassionate person–Martha Coakley. Instead we have Charlie fucking Baker, who doesn’t seem to understand that he can’t control who comes into this state. This is America. We don’t ask people to produce their papers at state borders. Anyway, as Dakinikat noted yesterday, the Constitution gives authority over immigration to the federal government.
I hope the Massachusetts cities that typically help immigrants and refugees–like Lowell and Cambridge, for example–will continue their good work to help desperate people who are trying to escape from terrorism and live normal productive lives and show our stupid governor what true humanity is all about. I hope my town will do the same.
I’m so angry right now that I think it’s actually clearing out my sinuses. Here’s the Boston Globe on Baker: Baker’s stance on refugees draws ire of immigration groups.
Governor Charlie Baker joined more than two dozen other governors Monday who said they did not want Syrian refugees to resettle in their states, citing security concerns after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
“I would say no as of right now,” Baker told reporters at the State House, shortly before he attended a Thanksgiving luncheon honoring immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts. “No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria.”
What an asshole.
Baker’s remarks — a departure from Septemberwhen he signaled support for the refugees— earned swift rebuke from immigrant advocates. Lawyers said under the Refugee Act of 1980, governors cannot legally block refugees….
Since October 2011, the United States has admitted 2,159 Syrian refugees into the country, according to the State Department, including 72 in Massachusetts. After a year, refugees can obtain a green card after undergoing more background checks, and after five years they can apply for US citizenship.
Under federal law,the president, after consulting with Congress, sets the number of refugees admitted every yearand the government works with the United Nations and nonprofits to resettle refugees around the United States.
“Neither Massachusetts nor any other state can fence Syrian refugees out of the state,” said Laurence Tribe, a Harvard constitutional law scholar. “We are a union and must sink or swim together.”
So there, Baker. Now sit down and shut up.
From Slate, here’s a list of the governors who say they don’t want desperate human beings who are only trying to protect their families from terrorism:
- Republican Robert Bentley of Alabama
- Republican Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
- Republican Rick Scott of Florida
- Republican Nathan Deal of Georgia
- Republican Mike Pence of Indiana
- Republican Bruce Rauner of Illinois
- Republican Bobby Jindal of Louisiana (who is the son of parents who emigrated to the U.S. from India’s troubled Punjab state in 1971)
- Republican Paul LePage of Maine
- Republican Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
- Republican Rick Snyder of Michigan
- Republican Phil Bryant of Mississippi
- Democrat Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
- Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey
- Republican Pat McCrory of North Carolina
- Republican John Kasich of Ohio
- Republican Greg Abbott of Texas
- Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin
More reactions to Baker’s ugly and ignorant statement and the actions of the rest of these hateful governors:
Worcester Telegram: Local Syrians decry Baker’s refugee stance.
Salah Asfoura understands Gov. Charles D Baker Jr.’s reluctance to accept Syrian refugees in Massachusetts aftr terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris. But Mr. Asfoura said it was a difficult and personal issue to judge objectively: Mr. Asfoura’s brother and his family fled Syria and arrived in Worcester just a few weeks ago.
“I understand the worries after what’s happened in France and on the international level, I can understand the worries of having insurgents come in,” said Mr. Asfoura, president of the New England chapter of the American Syrian Forum, an organization to increase awareness of the Syrian crisis. “It depends on how you evaluate them … but then, you can’t say you can’t do it anymore, you can’t not accept any.” [….]
Local Syrian-Americans, a recent refugee and others were disappointed in the news.
“I believe that this decision is wrong, because we cannot judge the victims for the crime of the terrorists,” said Bashar, a recent refugee to this country. Bashar, who arrived here with his family about 1½ years ago after his business and property were destroyed in Syria, asked that his last name not be used because family members remain in the country and may be targeted by terrorists.
His immediate family is applying for political asylum, he said. “Those who killed the people in France killed people in Syria. It was ISIS, and now (governors) are punishing the victims.” [….]
“There are tens and tens of thousands of terrorists who came from all over the world to my country to kill my people, and those terrorists are managed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” Bashar said. “I wish the U.S. put the utmost pressure on those governments – Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan – to stop funding, training and facilitating the passage of terrorists through the borders into my country.”
MassLive: Anti-Defamation League ‘deeply disappointed’ with GOP governors, including Charlie Baker, for refusal to accept Syrian refugees after Paris attacks.
The Anti-Defamation League said it is “deeply disappointed” with GOP governors, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, for refusing to accept Syrian refugees after Friday’sISIS attacks that killed 129 people and injured more than 430 others in Paris.
“This country must not give into fear or bias by turning its back on our nation’s fundamental commitment to refugee protection and human rights,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said Monday, urging governors to keep their doors open during the humanitarian crisis.
“Now is precisely the time to stand up for our core values, including that we are a proud nation of immigrants,” Greenblatt said. “To do otherwise signals to the terrorists that they are winning the battle against democracy and freedom.”
Now here’s an assessment from ultimate Villager Chris Cillizza: You might not like Republicans calling for a ban on refugees. But it’s smart politics.
Think what you will, but one thing is clear: The political upside for Republican politicians pushing an immigration ban on Syrians and/or Muslims as a broader response to the threat posed by the Islamic State sure looks like a political winner.
The Pew Research Center did an in-depth poll looking into Americans’ view on Islamic extremism in the the fall of 2014 — and its findings suggest that politicians like Cruz have virtually nothing to lose in this fight over how best to respond to ISIS’s latest act of violence.
More than 7 in 10 Republican voters said they were “very concerned” about the rise of Islamic extremism in the United States. That’s almost double the amount of Democrats (46 percent) who said the same and 30 percentage points higher than independents who expressed great concern about Islamic extremism in America.
That marked concern with the threat of Islamic extremism is accentuated by a deep lack of confidence among Republicans with the Obama administration’s ability to handle what they perceive to be a growing threat.
For people like Cillizza, there is no right and wrong. There is only political expediency. These people turn my stomach.
What do you think? Please post your thoughts and comments on any topic in the thread below.
Posted: November 16, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, Bobby Jindal, morning reads, Republican presidential politics, right wing hate grouups | Tags: Bigoted First Generation Republican Politicians, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Syrian Refugee Crisis
It’s a Monday and it feels like it!!!
The one thing Martin O’Malley said Saturday night that really stayed with me was his assertion that the symbol of the United States is not the barbed wire fence but the Statue of Liberty. We’re having our principles and values tested and many of our elected leaders are coming up short. This includes my absentee Governor Bobby “the Jingoist” Jindal and the Governor of Texas both who profess to belong to a religion where the guru clearly states this:
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’…
I am not one to quote folks’ imaginary friends. But, this is ridiculous. You can’t profess that religion and then totally ignore the overwhelming message of its primary teacher which is basically to love one another and help the least among us.
Unlike the self aggrandizing election propaganda pushed by the likes of David “Spy Master and professional John” Vitter and Bobby Jindal (alleged christians), there have not been 10,000 Syrian refuges sent to Louisiana. There have been 14 relocated to the state. Jindal and others want our doors slammed shut to the refugees fleeing an enemy of our own creation.
A day after Gov. Bobby Jindal sent a letter to the White House demanding to hear from President Barack Obama the number of Syrian refugees who have been allowed into Louisiana, the State Department confirmed the number this year was 14.
“As Governor of Louisiana, I demand information about the Syrian refugees being placed in Louisiana in hopes that the night of horror in Paris is not duplicated here,” Jindal wrote in his letter Saturday.
Jindal’s letter came at the end of a day in which multiple blogs reporting that 10,000 Syrian refugees had already made their way to New Orleans went viral. Many of the blogs were published earlier this month but appeared to gain new life following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.
Seven Syrian refugees have been resettled in Kenner, while six have been placed in New Orleans with one placed in Baton Rouge, a State Department spokesperson said Sunday in response to a request for the numbers from WWL-TV.
The blogs that cited the figure of 10,000 refugees also include an image, purportedly of Syrian men in New Orleans, which actually is a photograph of migrants protesting outside of a train station in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 3.
While the Obama administration has announced plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refuges in the United States in 2016, the State Department on Sunday said those people will be spread across the country, not in one area.
“We do not have projections on how many Syrians will be resettled in each state. However, those allocations are made in close collaboration with the nongovernmental organizations that resettle refugees as well as with state and local government officials,” the State Department said in a statement.
Indeed, the State Department already has a rigorous background check and process in place to assure that our country is safe and that we can welcome refugees and folks that want to become part of the United States. Here’s a transcript of a briefing on the process. You can read more to find more about the programs in each of the countries generally impacted by the current refugee crisis.
So we refer to the program as the USRAP, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, so if I use that acronym that’s what that means. So the USRAP is an interagency process that includes three primary U.S. Government agencies. That’s us, the Department of State, as the primary lead agency; the Department of Homeland Security, specifically U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and the Department of Health and Human Services, their Office of Refugee Resettlement.
So this USRAP involves those three government agencies as well as international organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, a number of nongovernmental organizations – these we normally refer to as resettlement agencies in the United States – as well as U.S. states, cities, private citizens, churches and mosques, and community groups. So it’s a lot of people involved, big process, fairly standard procedures.
So there are a number of processing requirements within the USRAP that cannot be waived, such as an in-person DHS interview, security checks, and a medical exam, including a TB test. And this is one way – one of the many ways in which our Refugee Resettlement Program differs from a lot of other countries’ resettlement programs. A lot of other countries can do things like waive an in-person interview. They can take a case based on dossier. They do very few security checks in some cases. Those are not options that are available to us. So because of these very strict requirements that we have and because at any given time we’re processing cases in 70 or more locations worldwide with a limited amount of resources, it currently takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months or even longer to process a case from referral or application to arrival in the United States.
And I want to focus on that for just a second and repeat that, because it’s an important point. If we had a much smaller case load – let’s say if we processed 5,000 or 10,000 or even 20,000 people a year, and if we only processed in capitals where we have a physical presence, like Amman or Nairobi – processing times would be much shorter. But because we accept referrals from UNHCR for refugees in remote locations and camps all over the world – places like eastern Chad and western Tanzania that are pretty difficult to get to – we can’t send our staff up to interview a case as soon as we have one referral or ten referrals or even a hundred referrals. We’re constantly looking for a critical mass of cases before we go and start processing those cases.
The USRAP is a labor-intensive program. Between the three government agencies, we spent last year a little bit more than $1.1 billion, so it is a labor-intensive and fairly resource-intensive program.
So I’m going to go over the main steps on the overseas processing side first. And the first important step in getting access to the USRAP is either a referral or an application. The vast majority of our referrals come from UNHCR, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the UN Refugee Agency. U.S. embassies and certain NGOs are also qualified to refer cases to us, but we get very few from those two sources. About 75 percent of our referrals to the program come from UNHCR. Another 25 percent of the program – so about a quarter of the program – a quarter of our applicants gain access through direct applications. And so some of you are probably familiar with some of these direct application programs.
Four right-wing, hysterically christian governors are shamefully refusing to resettle Syrian refuges.
At least four Republican governors are moving to block Syrian refugees from entering their states after Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris that killed more than 125 people and wounded hundreds more.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday joined Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in refusing to accept refugees from Syria. “A Syrian ‘refugee’ appears to have been part of the Paris terror attack,” Abbott wrote in a letter informing President Barack Obama of his plans not to allow Syrian refugees into Texas. “American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger.”
Abbott argued that neither the president nor any federal official could guarantee the refugees wouldn’t be part of any terrorist activity. “As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril,” he wrote.
Despite Friday’s deadly attacks, the White House has said Obama still plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.
Hutchinson, Bentley and Snyder have also announced their intentions to halt Syrian refugees from entering their states, with the latter two stating their opposition Sunday.
I cannot be happier that my governor is on his way to oblivion given this executive order. He is a small minded, mean little man who is full of self loathing and hypocrisy. It also looks like Senator David Vitter is about to join him in anonymity and no more jobs based on tax payer dollars. These men can’t even self govern their demons let alone the interests of other people.
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order Monday (Nov. 16) to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in Louisiana.
In issuing the order, Jindal referenced last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and injured hundreds more. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Jindal said the introduction of Syrian refugees into the U.S. without “proper prior screening and follow-up monitoring could result in a threat to the citizens and property of this state.”
He cited a section of the Louisiana Constitution that says “during times of emergency… the governor has emergency powers to protect the citizens and property of the state of Louisiana.”
Jindal also sent a letter to the Obama administration on Saturday demanding information about the refugees being placed in Louisiana.
The Governors of Alabama and Michigan joined in the lunacy. Way to let the terrorists win dudes!!!! This is mostly symbolic which makes it even more shameful.
Legally, the states have limited power to control the flow of foreigners into their states; that authority is reserved largely to the federal government under the Constitution.
This is especially shameful because we’ve found out that the passport of a supposed Syrian refugee involved in the Paris Massacre was in fact, a false flag operation. It was a falsified document. The people who staged the Paris attacks are primarily native French and Belgians. They were not Syrian refugees.
As the dust settles on the Paris attacks, intelligence agencies are scrambling to gather information on the reported attackers. Passports collected on-scene have helped identify the nationalities of a few of the attackers, most of whom are from the European Union. A Syrian passport has also been found, though authorities have warned it could be fake.
French authorities believe that as many as 20 people were involved in planning the attack, claimed by ISIS (also known as ISIL or the Islamic State). Most of the released information indicates that the attackers were born and raised either in France or Belgium. Omar Ismail Mostefai (1) and Salah Abdeslam (2) — who is still at large — are the two names to be officially released so far. Mostefai, who detonated himself in a suicide attack on Friday, was a French national who grew up south of Paris while Abdeslam was born and lived in Brussels.
The passport of an Egyptian national was also found. That man was a victim of the attacks and is critically injured.
Additionally, it shows a shameful lack of understanding of ISIS which is a radical Sunni element that is against ANYONE that’s against its interpretation of Islam. The primary military battles right now are with other ethnic Muslims, notably the Kurdish. ISIS has its own strategy and agenda. It is an apocalyptic cult–much like that of many fundamentalist christian sects in our country–with the goal of establishing a path to the end times and a theocracy based on its interpretation of Muslim theology. It’s at war with every one that’s not ISIS. It has not singled out the west or its culture which is why it also did suicide attacks in Lebanon in close proximity to the Paris attacks. All of the Republican candidates for President are terribly ill-informed when it comes to affairs of state as is their base.
But ISIS isn’t a civilization. In parts of Iraq and Syria, it’s a self-declared, though unrecognized, state. Elsewhere, it’s a network of terrorist groups linked by a common ideology. “Civilizations” are cultural groupings. In calling the Paris attack a “clash of civilizations,” Rubio evoked Samuel Huntington’s famed 1993Foreign Affairs essay of the same name. In that essay, Huntington defined “civilization” as “the broadest level of cultural identity people have.” And he suggested that the world contains “seven or eight” major ones: “Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African.”
The most straightforward way to interpret Rubio’s statement, therefore, is that the civilizational “they” that attacked Paris is Islam. Among the grassroots conservatives Rubio is wooing in his campaign for president, that’s a popular view. After all, recent polling in states like Iowa and North Carolina suggests that upwards of one-third of Republicans would like to make Islam illegal in the United States.
Ben Carson and Donald Trump have indulged that sentiment crudely. Rubio, typically, is doing so more subtly. But it’s worth noting how fundamentally his analysis diverges from that of both of America’s post-9/11 presidents. George W. Bush said America was at war with an ideology that had “hijacked Islam” in the same way Nazism had hijacked Germany or communism had hijacked Russia. Barack Obama has argued that even this assessment gives violent jihadists a stature they don’t deserve. Rubio, by contrast, is going far beyond Bush. And he’s doing exactly what the Islamic State wants: He’s equating ISIS with Islam itself.
These Republican governors are playing into ISIS’ hand. They want the west to look bad to Muslims all over the world. They want us all characterized as ‘Crusaders’ and not loving humanitarians capable of discerning evil from ordinary people. Europe has its own set of right wing xenophobes which parrot similar tropes.
The Islamic State’s strategy is to polarize Western society — to “destroy the grayzone,” as it says in its publications. The group hopes frequent, devastating attacks in its name will provoke overreactions by European governments against innocent Muslims, thereby alienating and radicalizing Muslim communities throughout the continent. The atrocities in Paris are only the most recent instances of this accelerating campaign. Since January, European citizens fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have provided online and material support to lethal operations in Paris,Copenhagen and near Lyon, France, as well as attempted attacks in London,Barcelona and near Brussels. Islamic State fighters are likely responsible fordestroying the Russian airliner over the Sinai. These attacks are not random, nor are they aimed primarily at affecting Western policy in the Middle East. They are, rather, part of a militarily capable organization’s campaign to mobilize extremist actors already in Europe and to recruit new ones.
The strategy is explicit. The Islamic State explained after the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine that such attacks “compel the Crusaders to actively destroy the grayzone themselves. . . . Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize . . . or they [emigrate] to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the Crusader governments and citizens.” The group calculates that a small number of attackers can profoundly shift the way that European society views its 44 million Muslim members and, as a result, the way European Muslims view themselves. Through this provocation, it seeks to set conditions for an apocalyptic war with the West.
Unfortunately, elements of European society are reacting as the Islamic State desires. Far-right parties have gained strength in many European countries. France’s National Front is expected to dominate local elections in northern France this winter; on Saturday, Marine Le Pen, its leader, declared “those who maintain links with Islamism” to be “France’s enemies.” The Danish People’s Party gained 21 percent of the vote in national elections in June on a nationalist, anti-Islamic platform. The anti-foreigner Sweden Democrats is steadily growing in popularity.
I remember taking American History in Junior High School. We were beginning to delve into World War 2 in a much more nuanced way. Since I eventually became a history major, I was fascinated by all aspects of history including our culpability in genocides and injustice. I was horrified to find out that we turned away many European Jewish immigrants prior to the NAZI take over. That, and our internment of Japanese citizens was my first experience at critically looking at our country’s modern history of White Christian Male privilege. I discovered the genocide of indigenous people and the horrors of slavery earlier but had thought we’d evolved with the Civil Rights Era.
I do not want our children to ask us why we did not act to save innocents from evil. Being Jewish in German-occupied Europe was a death sentence for those folks. We were complicit. We should not be complicit in this again because we can do something.
Just as my mind knows the faces of Jewish friends who lost family in Germany, I know Syrians with family dead, dying, and trying to escape the horror there. I condemn strongly the hatred, bigotry, and ignorance of any one playing into the hands of ISIS. This is not the Iron Age. This is not the Dark Ages. American is better than people like David Vitter, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and the likes. Notice that TWO of these folks are the children of immigrants too! What if we had closed our doors on them because they were Catholic? They were dark skinned and from India? How dare they redefine our country?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
H/T to Winter Claire Randall for the Matthew quote and to David Bernstein for the State Department link.
Posted: November 15, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, A My Pet Goat Moment, abortion rights, Foreign Affairs, France, Greece, Hillary Clinton, Human Rights, immigration, Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe and Mediterranean, morning reads, Myanmar, religious extremists, Syria, Turkey, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights, worker rights | Tags: #DEMDEBATE, Paris, T1D, Type 1 Diabetes
The Eiffel Tower was darkened last night in honor of those killed during Friday’s attacks on Paris.
As you can see, many countries and cities throughout the world took up the cause and brought Paris, city of lights…into their own, by setting their landmarks, arenas, buildings, etc., alight in three colors of “liberté fraternité et égalité.” Showing support of a city that has been hit by extremist, bloodthirsty, murdering terrorist.
Images from this thread:
People Around the Globe Show Their Solidarity With Paris – NBC News
Good Late Morning/Early Afternoon
Let us start this post with the current updates on France, in quick link fashion:
Two attackers killed in Paris were Frenchmen who lived in Brussels: prosecutor | French News | Expatica France
Two assailants who died in the Paris attacks were Frenchmen who had lived in Brussels, Belgian prosecutors said Sunday.
The Belgian authorities are holding seven people for questioning in connection with the attacks, and investigators have found that two cars used in the operation were rented in Belgium, they added.
“It appears that two French nationals, who lived in Brussels …, were identified as among the attackers who died on the spot,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
“In addition, two cars registered in Belgium were found in Paris, one near the Bataclan and the other near Pere Lachaise,” the statement said.
The Bataclan concert hall is where 89 people were killed, while Pere Lachaise, known for the cemetery where leading literary and other figures are buried, is nearby.
“The investigation shows that the two vehicles were rented at the beginning of the week in the Brussels area,” the statement added.
It said that a total of seven people had been detained for questioning.
French officials: Manhunt in Europe for at least 1 suspect ‘directly involved’ in Paris attacks – The Washington Post
Authorities were scouring Europe on Sunday for at least one other suspect, and possibly two, who were “directly involved” in Friday night’s attacks in Paris, as investigators tried to ascertain whether they were among a number of people arrested over the last 48 hours in Belgium, according to two French officials familiar with the case.
But police continued searching for at least one other participant in the attacks. French officials and the Islamic State both initially claimed that eight men carried out the attacks. Police said seven attackers died, six of them by detonating suicide vests and one in police gunfire.
There is more at the links of all of these articles…
The Latest: Sunny Skies in Paris; Hearts Full of Grief – The New York Times
PARIS — The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris. (All times local)
The Latest: Officials track passport found by bomber’s body – Houston Chronicle
Balkan authorities are tracking the travels of the owner of a Syrian passport that was found next to a suicide bomber’s body at France’s national stadium on Friday night.
Officials in Greece say the passport’s owner entered the country Oct. 3 through Leros, one of the eastern Aegean islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty have been using as a gateway into the 28-nation European Union.
Serbian police say he registered at its border entry with Macedonia on Oct. 7.
Croatian police say he was checked at a refugee center on Oct. 8. Police spokeswoman Helena Biocic said Sunday the man was not flagged as suspicious and continued his journey toward Hungary and Austria.
It is still not yet clear whether the Syrian passport is fake or real, or whether it belonged to the dead bomber. European officials say there is a brisk trade in fake Syrian passports to help people get refugee status in the EU.
I think I will refrain from comment on the passport thing until all the facts are in. Because the news on this is very fluid:
Two men linked to Paris attacks registered as migrants in Greece: police | French News | Expatica France
Two men who French police are seeking to identify in connection with the Paris attacks registered as migrants with Greek authorities earlier this year, the Greek police confirmed on Saturday.
French authorities had asked their Greek counterparts to check a passport and fingerprints of one man who died in the attacks and the fingerprints of another.
Both were thought to have registered in Greece, the main entry point into Europe for Syrian refugees.
At least one Syrian passport was found at the scene of the Stade de France attack.
The Greek minister for citizen protection, Nikos Toskas, said in a statement that one of the men had been registered on the Greek island of Leros in October.
“We confirm that the (Syrian) passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,” said a statement issued by Toskas.
French police said the passport was found “near the body of one of the attackers” during the investigation into the main attack of Friday’s carnage, at the Bataclan concert hall, where 82 people were killed.
The authenticity of the passport was being checked, but its discovery indicates a possible Syrian connection which has been a working hypothesis for investigators after assailants hit six separate locations in Paris late Friday.
A Greek police source said the second man had also registered in Greece, with TV station Mega adding this was also on Leros in August.
European security officials had long feared that jihadists could take advantage of the mass migration influx, mainly from war-torn Syria, that Europe has been experiencing since the beginning of the year.
“It is clear now that together with the victims of Islamo-fascism in the Middle East that come as refugees, extreme elements are crossing to Europe,” Defence Minister Panos Kammenos after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Greek police are not ruling out that the Syrian passport changed hands before the attacks.
However, a European security expert on Saturday argued: “The most logical assumption is that it’s the same person, sent on a mission to Europe.”
– ‘Unequalled challenge’ –
“If this is established, it would be the first such case. In any event, this proves that the unchecked flow poses an unequalled challenge for European security. We simply don’t know who is coming through,” the expert added.
Greece’s junior minister for migration Yiannis Mouzalas had admitted in September that it would be “foolish” to completely discount the possibility of jihadists sneaking into Europe among the refugee wave.
Over 800,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with over 3,400 dying in the process.
But Mouzalas noted that the number of Europeans joining extremist groups in the Middle East was far higher.
The important part to remember here is this…the people, refugees, are fleeing this kind of treatment in their own country.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday insisted that the refugees fleeing Syria “are hunted by the same terrorists” that struck in Paris on Friday.
“We must find solutions to the drama of the people who leave their homes, hunted by the same terrorists, and drown in the Mediterranean,” Tsipras said in a televised address, after conferring with his police, migration and intelligence chiefs.
But back to the passport thing:
Holder of Syrian passport found in Paris attack was asylum seeker | Reuters
The holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen who died in Friday night’s attacks in Paris was registered as a refugee in several European countries last month, authorities said.
The man, identified by Serbian authorities only by his initials A.A., came into Europe through the Greek island of Leros, where he was processed on Oct. 3, Greek officials said on Saturday. He was among 70 refugees who arrived on a small vessel from Turkey.
Serbian authorities said on Sunday the same man had been registered at a border crossing from Macedonia into Serbia a few days later.
The information is significant because if one or more of the Paris gunmen turned out to have come into Europe among refugees and migrants fleeing war-torn countries, this could change the political debate about accepting refugees.
“One of the suspected terrorists, A.A., who is of interest to the French security agencies, was registered on the Presevo border crossing on October 7 this year, where he formally sought asylum,” the Serbian interior ministry said in a statement.
“Checks have confirmed that his details match those of the person who on October 3 was identified in Greece. There was no Interpol warrant issued against this person.”
A spokeswoman for the Croatian interior ministry said the man was registered in the country’s Opatovac refugee camp on Oct. 8 and from there he crossed into Hungary and then Austria.
“There was no (police) record about him at the time of registration and there was no reason for us to stop him in any way,” she said.
Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said however the assertion that the suspect attacker had passed through Austria had “no concrete basis.”
“According to the latest information available, that is no more than conjecture and speculation,” he said.
Any identity documents and fingerprint records would have to be matched with the remains of the attackers to establish whether they passed through various countries posing as refugees, or perhaps bought or stole passports along the way.
Greek government sources said a second suspect attacker was also likely to have passed through Greece.
Following the Paris bloodshed, populist leaders around Europe have rushed to demand a halt to an influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Poland said it could not accept migrants under EU quotas without security guarantees.
Human Rights Watch’s Emergency Director Peter Bouckaert said on Twitter the Syrian passport found may have been fake, adding such fake documents are widely available for sale in Turkey.
“The answer to the Paris attacks and the possibility that one of the attackers came by rubber dinghy to Greece… is not to shut the door on those desperately fleeing war,” he said, calling for Europe to put in place a coherent asylum policy that would both help those on need and address security concerns raised by uncontrolled flows.
“People fleeing war need refuge. And trying to build fences and stopping them at sea only drives them deeper into the hands of criminal gangs, and drives them underground where there is no control over who comes and goes.”
Paris Attacks: What We Know and Don’t Know – The New York Times
Paris attacks highlight France’s gun control problems | World news | The Guardian
No credible threats found in US after Paris attacks as cities step up security | World news | The Guardian
No credible threats found in US after Paris attacks as cities step up security | World news | The Guardian
ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: Paris. First Thoughts
Paris. First Thoughts.
Paris bleeds because it is part of a river of blood: The Russian plane dying in the skies over Egypt, the Hazaras of Afghanistanbeing relieved of their heads, the suicide bombings in a Shiite neighborhood of Beirut, Libanon.Or so the propagandists of Daesh or ISIS or ISIL tell us. Some of those rivers of blood may be from old rivulets, sourced from old racial hatreds (the Hazara massacre), old religious schisms (the Shias vs. the Sunnis, the Muslims vs. the Christians). But the Daesh river of blood is real and has not yet been dammed.
And its sources are many. I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by American oil politics and Western colonialism, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, no way of choosing another form of rebellion but an extreme life-denying religious one, as if the religion they had created for themselves* from what the Saudi Wahhabism supports and funds in this world** has played no role. Instead, millions and millions of westerners are equally to blame, for genetic or historical reasons or at least for not voting various politicians out of power.
I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by their religion, that every single of hundreds of millions of Muslims is just waiting to behead the first infidel they come across. Once again, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, as if millions and millions of Muslims are equally to blame, just because ISIS calls its religion theirs.
And I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by western discrimination and racism or by old religious discrimination in various Middle Eastern countries, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency at all.
Puppets. ISIS consists of nothing but puppets. Who holds the strings depends on the tweeter’s own prior beliefs, on whom he or she would wish to blame. There are even some who believe that US has created ISIS on purpose and funds it!
And what was tweeted on Friday night and later, truly reflected the hobby-horses of various tweeters. Frank Bruni writes and I concur:
Can’t we wait until we’ve resolved the body count? Until the identities of all of the victims have been determined and their families informed? Until the sirens stop wailing? Until the blood is dry?
Or must we instantly bootstrap obliquely related agendas and utterly unconnected grievances to the carnage in Paris, responding to it with an unsavory opportunism instead of a respectful grief?
Is this the famous death of empathy possibly caused by staring at an inanimate screen while talking to real people? Is it the masks we wear in cyberspace which allow us to act as if we have mislaid our hearts altogether, as if all that matters is the well-being of whichever group or theory we hold most dearly? And in counterpoint, is empty sentimentalism or patriotism the answer we assume if then accused of heartlessness?
It’s as if many in social media forgot about the ones who lost the most in those terrorist attacks, whose lives were prematurely discarded, whose pain served a political function, whose personalities were erased, whose families were left with bleeding wounds, perhaps never to close. In that they appear in agreement with the Daesh who also regarded the victims as less than nothing: a bit of filth to be sucked up by the divine vacuum cleaner.
The old customs about the immediate aftermath of death serve a function: Spend some time thinking about the deceased, give support to the family who is bereaved, sit in silence for a while, offer a cooked dish and offer help.
We don’t really have a cyberspace version of that respect for the individual. But surely all the different commentators with their pet issues could wait a day or two before forgetting all about the actual human lives which were ended or permanently mutilated by the terrorists?
And from Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo.
Meanwhile in news outside of Paris:
U.S., allies conduct 18 strikes in Syria, Iraq: military | Reuters
Turkey: Suicide bomber wounds 5 Turkish police during raid | Miami Herald The Police were raiding a suspected Isis safe house.
Labour may back action against Syria without UN approval – Lord Falconer | Politics | The Guardian
This next one is good: Reality check: Number of displaced Syrians in Europe – Al Jazeera English
And again it must be said: Here are 10 of the worst domestic terror attacks by extreme Christians and right-wing white men
What about the debate last night? Here is a series of links that discuss just that:
Who Won the Democratic Presidential Debate in Des Moines? – The Atlantic
The Daily 202: A defensive Hillary Clinton lost last night’s debate – The Washington Post
If you missed the debate last night, Election 2016: Democratic debate transcript: Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley in Iowa – CBS News
The Second Democratic Debate: What the Candidates Said About Paris and ISIS – The Atlantic
Huckabee: Dems More Interested in Protecting Islam’s Image Than Protecting Americans | Mediaite
I hate Huckabee.
CNN’s take of course: Hillary Clinton doesn’t capitalize on resume at debate – CNNPolitics.com
And this last batch of links are about other things in general…
Disturbing as hell: CIA Director Documentary: ‘The Attacks Will Be Spectacular’ – POLITICO Magazine
From prison to power: Aung San Suu Kyi, Mandela and others… – BBC News
Baltimore homicides top 300 for year, worst since 1999 | Reuters
Contract calls for anti-abortion group to line up counseling | WISH-TV
Yemen: Travel Ban on Women’s Rights Advocate | Human Rights Watch
Republicans Look for Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood, Repeal Parts of Health Law – WSJ
‘Poverty Pay’ Leads Wal-Mart Employees to Steal Lunches From Co-Workers – Truthdig
And lastly, a link dump about T1D:
Type 1 Diabetes: An Unrelenting Disease – US News
14 realities of having type 1 diabetes in your 20s | BreakingNews.ie
Call For Healthy Eating And Exercise On World Diabetes Day Neglects Innocent Type 1 Patients
So what are you reading about today?
I realize this is a lot of links….take it one at a time. ;)