By Doug Porter
Right-wing politicians in the United States are working overtime to drum up fears about refugees in the wake of last weekend’s terrorism in Paris. Today we’ll look at the coverage of these cowardly lions and the facts which, unsurprisingly, don’t support their case.
Twelve million people have fled their homes in Syria over the past five years. Four million of those displaced have fled the country, coming mostly from what’s left of the once-burgeoning middle class. Half of those leaving the country are children.
At present, the United States is poised to accept 10,000 refugees in the coming year. Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the United States has taken in 1,800 refugees. It is likely some of the refugees well be resettled through San Diego, given the existing infrastructure.
After all the hair-on-fire reports of the Paris terrorists having infiltrated Europe alongside refugees, it now turns out that most–if not all–were French and Belgian nationals. The Independent and other international media have run stories quoting intelligence sources who now believe the passports found at the scene of one of the bombings were deliberately placed.
French officials say that they have no proof that the Stade de France suicide bomber – one of three who detonated crude explosive belts at the stadium – was Mr Almuhamed. Intelligence sources in the US told CBS news that there are doubts whether the passport is authentic. The number of the document is incorrect and name does not match the picture, it was claimed…
…French investigators fear that the apparent “planting” of the passport is part of a sophisticated propaganda war being waged by Isis. “There are three possibilities,” one source said. “He is the man whose name is on the passport. He was a false refugee, travelling on a false passport. Or he is someone else and a false passport was deliberately left there to sow confusion.”
The lack of conclusive data hasn’t stopped GOP presidential candidates from competing to make the most draconian statement. To gain some info on their stances, I got out my bottle of hand sanitizer and spray bleach bottle, heading over to Newsmax, a reliable purveyor of right wing political porn.
Christians Only Need Apply
Jeb! and Ted Cruz both mentioned applying some sort of religious litmus test. Fox media mogul Rupurt Murdoch tweeted about making an exception for “proven” Christians.
UPDATE: Jeb! had a moment of reasonableness:
In a Tuesday interview with Bloomberg Politics, Bush said he has concerns with whether the Obama administration is capable of pulling off its plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country over the next year, but that the appropriate response isn’t a full-scale ban on refugees from troubled Middle Eastern countries.
Donald Trump wants to buy a big piece of land in Syria (he can get a good price!) and send all the refugees there, to be protected from bombs, armored vehicles and Toyota trucks with machine guns mounted in the back by his charisma. Or maybe Do Not Enter signs. He also said he’d consider closing down mosques as president.
Chris Christie told radio host Hugh Hewitt, “The fact is that we need appropriate vetting, and I don’t think that orphans under 5 should be admitted to the United States at this point.”
Ben Carson wants Congress to defund any “ongoing federal programs that seek to resettle refugees and/or migrants from Syria into the United States, effective immediately,” It looks like House Speaker Paul Ryan may be willing to oblige, to point of even shutting down the government.
Rand Paul said he will soon introduce legislation to suspend the issuance of visas to Syrian refugees and up to 30 other countries, including France, pending a strict background check.
Mike Huckabee wanted refugees resettled in neighborhoods where limousine liberals live.
The rest of the Republican pack also said no, but can no longer afford speech writers to come up with snappy lines.
The nation’s Republican governors, despite having absolutely no authority over federal immigration policy, joined a chorus of ‘not in my state.’ New Hampshire’s Gov. Maggie Hassan, whose state accepted just a handful of refugees last year, was the sole Democrat joining this pitiful bunch.
“That’s Not American”
President Obama responded to all this Republican pomposity from Turkey, where he’s attending a meeting of the G20.
“When I hear folks say that maybe we should just admit the Christians and not the Muslims (refugees), when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted — when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution — that’s shameful. That’s not American,” Obama said, whose plans currently call for 10,000 Syrians to be admitted over the coming year.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Democratic governors in a dozen states committed to accepting Syrian refugees, including California Gov. Jerry Brown.
“I intend to work closely with the president so that he can both uphold America’s traditional role as a place of asylum, but also ensure that anyone seeking refuge in America is fully vetted in a sophisticated and utterly reliable way,” Brown said. “You can be sure that we will do everything in our power to protect the people of our state.”
The President is Only Half Right…
…These Republicans are not doing the right thing, AND they’re actually helping the bad guys.
From a Bloomberg editorial:
[T]he American system for harboring people fleeing war and repression is different from that of Europe, which is struggling with a flood of refugees turning up in boats on its shores. In the U.S., it’s a careful, lengthy process that has always put domestic security first. Just as important, it’s a manifestation of cherished ideals from a nation founded largely by people fleeing oppression. […]
If the legal pipeline is closed, more refugees will turn to human-smuggling networks or succumb to Islamic State recruitment efforts. The best way to protect uprooted Syrians will be to end the war in Syria. In the meantime, refusing to help the refugees betrays American ideals, and can only increase the extremists’ appeal.
And the Baltimore Sun:
If the people of this nation learned anything from 9/11, surely it’s the danger posed by an unthinking, emotional response to acts of terror. That’s what can cause a nation to nearly scrap its constitution, ignore due process and lose its very identity; to invade countries on trumped up evidence of a threat; to torture suspects; and run off-shore prisons that would make a dictator proud and serve mostly to help terrorists recruit new members. That’s what terrorists want — chest-thumping, outsized reactions to the danger they pose. They want democracies to act undemocratic, they want people to cower in fear, they want to draw others into their fight and unwittingly help destabilize the political structures they seek to topple.
What Part of “Never Again” Don’t They Understand?
The United States made the same mistake these GOP clowns are advocating with Jews trying to flee Nazi Germany. Back in the day, the great fear was that Hitler’s spies would use the refugees to infiltrate the country. It didn’t hurt that a great many of America’s “business leaders” were openly anti-semitic.
US Jan 20 ’39: Should the US government permit 10,000 mostly Jewish refugee children to come in from Germany? pic.twitter.com/5cFs5RabQn
— Historical Opinion (@HistOpinion) November 17, 2015
This poll was reprinted in Hadley Cantril’s Public Opinion, 1935-1946.
Two final things.
From Slate, on the vetting process for refugees:
It takes anywhere from 18–24 months for a Syrian refugee to be cleared to live in the United States. First he or she must be registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. This agency interviews refugees, conducts background checks, takes their biometric data, and establishes whether they belong to one of roughly 45 “categories of concern” given their past lives and work history in Syria. Typically, the applicants are women and children. If anything looks amiss, they are pulled from consideration. Then the U.S. government begins its own vetting. The applicants are interviewed again, and their names and particulars are run through terrorism databases. They receive additional screening when they arrive in the United States and then again after their first year in the country.
You’re going to die. Everybody does. But….
You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
And if you do die from a terrorist attack, it’s way more likely to come via domestic extremists, most of which come from the far right these days.
One other bit of news…
Will the County Stop Ramona Paramilitary Pig Killings?
A representative of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has filed a complaint with the County of San Diego asking them to intervene to prevent a scheduled monthly paramilitary training in Ramona that includes shooting and injuring live pigs.
Here’s an excerpt from their letter to Mark Wardlaw, Director, Planning and Development Services, County of San Diego:
A whistleblower recently informed PETA that Oceanside-based contractor SIMMEC Training Solutions (www.simmectraining.com) is apparently shooting and injuring live pigs during ongoing paramilitary training drills conducted each month on private property at 25279 Creek Hollow Rd., Ramona, CA 92065 (Parcel ID #: 2870323700), which has an A72 (Agricultural) zoning classification that does not permit these activities without a major use permit. The next course is apparently scheduled for November 18, 2015.
SIMMEC’s apparently illegal land use for medical training is especially troubling because there is no need to mutilate and kill pigs for this purpose.
Military studies show that personnel who learn how to perform emergency medical procedures on human simulators instead of by maiming animals are as proficient as—or more so than—those trained using animals.
We urge you to stop this apparently illegal land use scheduled for November 18 and any future dates, levy applicable penalties against SIMMEC for apparent violations of the SDCZO, and reject all applications for a major use permit.
On This Day: 1800 – The Congress held its first session in Washington, DC, in the partially completed Capitol building. 1947 – With many U.S. political leaders gripped by the fear of communism and questioning citizen loyalties in the years following World War II, the Screen Actors Guild voted to force its officers to take a “non-communist” pledge. A few days earlier the Hollywood Ten had been called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. 1968 – NBC cut away from the final minutes of a New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game to begin a TV special, “Heidi,” on schedule. The Raiders came from behind to beat the Jets 43-32
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.