Some friends shared yesterday’s blog entry about immigration. Of course, there was screeching outrageary on both sides. Here’s how the day went.
Friend was debating leftard on some immigration thread. Cites my blog – since I’m an immigrant and all , and I work in national security, so I might know a little about it.
Leftard: that site is BS!
Friend: did you read the article?
Cretin automatically assumed that since my friend did not agree with her refugee stance and cited my blog to support her contention, that the site was bullshit.
Another friend shared my blog on her page. The link previews the first couple of sentences.
As many of you know, I’m an immigrant. My parents and I came here as refugees from the Soviet Union in 1980, so this weekend’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” hits close to home.
Trumpanzee: Legally, I assume. Again, I’m all for LEGAL immigration. But why should we continue to look the other way at ILLEGAL immigration?
Me: You obviously haven’t read the piece. It has nothing to do with illegal immigration.
Because my immigration status has anything to do with whether or not the piece has merit, right?
And even later today.
Follower shares blog entry on Twitter.
Retard replies with the following:
— Dave (@Davesbits) January 30, 2017
Another one who obviously hasn’t read the blog, but decided that since I’m an immigrant, I must be a proponent of a flood of radical Islamist illegals coming into our country!
People are idiots.
So as I was trying to figure out what to write about today, I came across this little tidbit from Starbucks – an announcement that Starbucks would hire 10,000 refugees.
There was immediate outrage from my conservative friends that ranged from scoffing and ridicule to promises never to buy Starbucks again. Why?
They obviously didn’t read the release.
Hiring Refugees: We have a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world. This is why we are doubling down on this commitment by working with our equity market employees as well as joint venture and licensed market partners in a concerted effort to welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination. There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business. And we will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.
They’re not defying the law. They’re not hiring refugees, while discriminating against others. Ten thousand over five years in 75 countries is not all that many. And here in the United States, they’re focusing on deserving people who are here legally, and who have helped the U.S. military during our missions worldwide.
This is what you’re protesting?
This is what you’re condemning?
This is why you’re boycotting the company?
Because they dared to say they will be providing opportunities to people who have escaped death and destruction, who have been granted refugee status, and who have provided support to our troops?
What the fuck is wrong with some people? I guess they’d rather have these people, who in many cases have helped our service members, sitting around their apartments, sucking on the government’s teat, and getting bennies at taxpayer expense, than see them get decent pay in exchange for providing a service?
This is not a reason to boycott Starbucks.
Do I agree with all their policies? It doesn’t matter. Yes, they provide health care to their employees. Yes, they support ObamaCare. Yes, they plan on continuing doing business in Mexico, where they have a ton of business. Yes, they support illegal immigrants who were brought here as young kids by reimbursing them for the biennial fee they must pay to stay in the program.
It doesn’t matter if I agree with them or not. It’s their business and they obviously do well with it. Their business is none of mine.
Am I going to get upset or boycott them because they have stated that they will work to hire people here legally who have helped American service members? Sorry, I’m just not that much of an asshole.
But I guess some people will get outraged at anything, even a stupid cup.
As many of you know, I’m an immigrant. My parents and I came here as refugees from the Soviet Union in 1980, so this weekend’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” hits close to home.
First of all, let’s get something straight: this isn’t anything new. President Obama in 2011 all but halted visas for Iraqis after two Iraqi immigrants were arrested in Kentucky on suspicion of terrorist ties. Further back, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first piece of American legislation meant to prevent a specific ethnic group from entering the United States. The left’s Patron Deity of Statist Assery FDR in 1942 turned away hundreds of desperate Jewish refugees on the SS Drottningholm, claiming they were a threat to national security.
It’s a shitty history, but I don’t see the pearl-clutching condemners of Trump’s recent Executive Order mentioning it in their current outrage about the halt to immigration.
There’s some good analysis here, although I’m loath to ascribe malevolence to this order, as the author of the blog does. When analyzing any piece of information it is inadvisable to make an assessment on the state of mind of the subject, unless it’s blatantly obvious. It is not here. The text of the Executive Order says nothing about Islam or Muslims, and 45’s calls for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” provide context into one possible motivation. Alternatively, he could be just keeping a campaign promise, or trying to examine what is needed to improve our visa system before he allows any more refugees into the country. It does not necessarily imply malevolence.
To be sure, the executive order does not say anything as crass as: “Sec. 14. Burdening Muslim Lives to Make Political Point.” It doesn’t need to. There’s simply no reason in reading it to ignore everything Trump said during the campaign, during which he repeatedly called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
So, no, I’m not going to assess malice, where so little evidence for it exists.
Additionally, despite the screeching about Muslim countries where Trump has business interests not being included in the ban, the logic behind including the countries it did include is a bit more complex than that. The list of countries enumerated in the EO was apparently based on one signed into law by the former Obama administration in late 2015. The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act was part of an omnibus spending bill, and the ACLU and NIAC Action — the sister organization of the National Iranian American Council — both opposed the act, which passed despite their protestations.
That said, the author of the blog is correct in that it should be worrisome that the EO, which usually undergoes a rigorous interagency process to ensure it is correctly written and reduce any chance of the order being misinterpreted in any way, was not coordinated with the relevant agencies.
I will leave it to others to make the hefty assessments about the efficacy of the new EO. I’m not an expert on border security, but there’s a part of me that wonders how the hell green card holders, who have already been living and working in this country without problems, all of a sudden represent a threat to national security.
I will say this, however. As an immigrant, I remember how grateful, how honored we were to enter this country! We were vetted – meticulously so – given the fact that we entered this country at the height of the Cold War from a nation that was the primary national security threat to the United States. We waited around in Italy, filling out paperwork and our backgrounds being investigated for more than a month. And the debriefings continued months and months after we crossed the border into the country.
Being allowed into America was always a privilege for us. It was an honor, and we worked hard to pay this country back for its kindness, its freedoms, and the opportunities it afforded us to work, achieve, and succeed. We were willing to do everything possible to be allowed to enter, stay, and ultimately become citizens.
Our first apartment in Brooklyn, NY was smelly and roach infested. No matter how much the building management sprayed, the roaches were everywhere. I woke up in the middle of the night once to get some milk, walked into the kitchen, turned on the light, and found my hand was covered in cockroaches. We raided trash on our neighbors’ curbs for clothing and furniture. The public school I attended had me in a class of 40 kids with no ESL classes, so I sat there day after day, not understanding a word of what was being taught.
Maybe I’m crazy, but there seems to be a certain amount of entitlement to today’s refugees. They expect to be processed quickly, regardless of whether or not the resources exist to vet them properly. They’re entitled to benefits, assistance to needy families, housing, and Medicaid. And yet, some sue because the schools aren’t good enough. They are detained at the airport? Outrage. There’s a temporary ban placed on their entry? Outrage. It’s like they’re entitled to be here. Like they’re entitled to enter because off their plight, regardless of the threat – no matter how insignificant – to our own people.
It strikes me as a bit… presumptive. It’s like their plight gives them the right to come here. Coming here should be an ultimate honor – a privilege granted to those who are trusted to enter, not an entitlement.
Now, I really do have the utmost sympathy for refugees striving to escape violence and bloodshed. My heart bleeds for them, and I would like nothing more than to see these people safe – far away from Asad’s atrocities and Russian bombs. But at the same time, I’ve always said that need is not a claim check, and as someone who has dedicated her life to ensuring this country and her people are safe, our first priority should always be our own people.
To say that I’m torn on the topic is… well.. an understatement.
But as a former refugee, a naturalized citizen, a military veteran, and someone who took an oath to protect this country – someone who understands the desperation of abused, persecuted, and hurt people – I also have to remind myself that the security of this country should always come first.
If it doesn’t, these poor, abused people will have no country to escape to.
I woke up relatively late for me, which means my dog and my cat actually allowed me to sleep today without singing me the song of their people entitled, “Pet me! No one has petted me in eight hours,” and “My food bowl is empty, bitch! Let’s go!” I have to admit it was cool to actually sleep until 9 on a weekend.
Since I wasn’t particularly tired, I had no excuse not to go to the gym, so I went. It was the first time I attempted a workout since the orthopedist sliced my ankle open over the summer and stitched together my ligaments, so I wondered how long I would last before collapsing. I didn’t do too badly.
Yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself. Not bad for the first workout since last summer.
The rest of the day will be spent in pajamas, hanging out with the animals and the husband. Chillin’.
Our plan was to find a movie to watch on one of the premium channels, because there’s not a single news channel that’s not either severely slanted left, or ridiculously skewed right. Want to see liberals losing their shit over an Executive Order? Go to CNN or MSNBC. Want to see the right collectively tongue bathe Trump’s ball sack? Tune in to Fox News.
Either way, the vapid, dull, biased outrageary has gotten old.
So, movies. I was distraught to find out from Snopes that Hollywood really wasn’t threatening a strike to force Trump to resign.
I was kind of hoping they would, and then I wouldn’t be subjected to such “classics” as the “Ghostbusters” remake, the “Independence Day” sequel, and the unwatchable and boring “Fifty Shades of ZZZzzz…”
If there’s a single reason for Trump to stay in office, let this be it!
Too bad it was a hoax.
Because maybe without the usual Hollywood histrionics, virtue signaling, and political messaging, maybe we’d have some interesting movies to watch.
We wound up watching last year’s Tarzan movie with Alexander Skaarsgard and Christoph Waltz. It wasn’t Oscar material or anything – at least by today’s standards. It was just cookie cutter fun. Nothing complex. Nothing particularly intelligent. Just a lot of beefcake thanks to Skaarsgard’s shirtless yumminess.
I guess I’ll spend the rest of the day watching “Charmed” reruns. At least their brand of feminism doesn’t involve parading around dressed as bloody tampons.
If you haven’t heard already, in light of Mexican president Pina Nieto’s big middle finger to Trump’s grandiose plan to make his country pay for a “big, beautiful wall” on the border with the United States, 45 has made another proposal: let’s levy a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico!
Some of the Republicans I know, who normally oppose more taxation, were doing a happy dance. “YEAH! Mexico will pay for the wall one way or another!”
Ummmmm… no. YOU morons will. You will buy more expensive Mexican products, and by the way, since Mexico is one of our top five sources of oil, you’ll likely be paying more to fill up your big, ole truck too! It’s a tax on U.S. consumers, not on Mexico, and I won’t even mention what that’s doing to U.S.-Mexico relations, even as Mexico becomes one of our most important partners in fighting cartels, stopping illicit funds from crossing the border, and working to freeze and block the assets of illicit financiers.
Some, who realize that a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods =\= Mexico paying for a wall, have developed other “bright” ideas.
“Oh, I know! Let’s tax all remittances going to Mexico! That’ll be GREAT! Most of them are illegals sending money home anyway! YEAH!”
I’ve detailed previously why this is a bad idea when Trump tried to threaten Mexico with seizing remittances.
Immigrants both legal and illegal send money back home to Mexico. How the hell does one separate the “good” money from the “bad?”
Seizure of private property without due process in order to threaten Mexico with reducing the country’s GDP by an estimated less than two percent? Good plan, there, Sparky!
Stop all financial transactions from banks here to Mexico? You’ve just pissed off the financial sector and empowered bulk cash smugglers, who make billions of dollars per year carting monetary instruments across the Mexican border.
But beyond that, even if you don’t stop the remittances, you would have to examine each one to see if it would be subject to this tariff. This idiot plan would drive up compliance costs for money service businesses (MSB), such as Western Union and MoneyGram, and grow the surveillance state.
Right now, under the Bank Secrecy Act, financial institutions, including MSBs, must file a currency transaction report (CTR) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for each transaction in currency of more than $10,000. If you think the average remittance to Mexico exceeds this amount, you’re an idiot. The average remittance amount to Mexico in 2003 was $321, according to World Bank data. Even if it’s doubled or trebled in the last 15 years, it will still be far below the threshold.
So, we’d have to decrease the CTR amount. No big deal, right?
Except that MSBs and other financial institutions would have to hire extra compliance staffs to fill out the CTRs and subsequent suspicious activity reports (SAR) when a customer inevitably decides that it’s not worth having his $400 examined and probed by numerous people and declines to complete the transaction. Extra compliance personnel cost money – not just in salaries, but benefits as well. There skyrocket your costs of sending a couple of hundred bucks to your mom in Mexico! And there plunges your volume. Because, really… who the hell would want to pay an extra $10-$20 just to have mom pick up the cash in Coahila?
And then there are the compliance costs on the government side. Guess who gets to pay for those! How many new feds do you think would have to be hired to comb through the volumes of CTRs and SARs generated by the new thresholds? Considering just how many Mexicans we have sending money back home, lowering the transaction threshold would mean that thousands more feds will be combing through thousands more reports that are generated. The feds already have a lot of access to transactional data. You really want to give them more?
Additionally, as Larry Correia mentioned yesterday, “you start regulating something, the shadow economy will grow.”
I mentioned bulk cash smugglers above. Cartels already have hawala-like networks of trusted associates to conduct mirror transactions. That’s a market, I’m sure they couldn’t wait to tap, especially if there’s a mass exodus from regular MSBs! You start increasing regulations on hawalas, and aside from causing dilatory second and third order effects in countries without developed financial sectors that rely on hawala networks to move money, you’re also going to once again increase the compliance personnel required for said increased regulatory environment.
Wanna pay for more feds to snoop into everyone’s finances? Most Republicans, before 45 took office, would have screamed a vigorous “NO!” Now… not so much.
And by the way, if you think there aren’t ways to avoid the formal financial system, I encourage you to purchase a gift card. For a fee of $5.00 and a couple of stamps, you too can send a $400 Visa gift card to your mom in Mexico, which she can use to buy groceries or anything else she needs! You want to regulate that? You’ll need extra post office personnel to go through all the mail, identify the letters going to Mexico, and track the remittances that way.
Or, just start charging an extra fee for every gift card purchased, which will go directly to the feds to build that wall. In which case, once again, YOU are the ones paying for it!
That’s how you build a police state, Republicans. Enjoy!
I was thinking about the short piece I wrote yesterday about the media, which considers itself somehow the guardian of the truth, being flogged, jerked around, and trolled by the President, while the real, consequential stories and facts fall by the wayside, as the journalists trip all over themselves to be the first to prove the President wrong, to expose wrongdoing, and to advance the narrative. There have been quite a few comments that “just the facts” reporting hasn’t existed for a long time, and has been replaced with spin, “analysis” masquerading as journalism, and outright lies and obfuscation.
What happened to our media? Was there any point at which we could honestly look at journalism and hold it up as a bastion of objectivity? Probably not for a long time, if ever. Journalists are people, and just like any person have their own views on politics. Additionally, as Ted Galen Carpenter pointed out in “The Captive Press,” (really good book, by the way, that I had to read when I was working on my Master’s degree) there’s also the matter of being threatened by those in power, wanting that “exclusive,” the desire for access, and being part of the “team,” which often acts as enticement for the media to publish what those in power want and putting a spin on the news in order to lick the boots of their masters.
At the same time, the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet, and global media access is driving competition among outlets to be first, to garner the most views, and to do so by tapping into the collective outrage of the masses, who by and large have access to mass amounts of information around the clock, and who many times are too lazy to verify before they screech. Yes, the media outlets need to tap into that in order to stay competitive in today’s market.
As someone commented recently, this could be attributed to a decline in our education system. Kids are coming out of schools without the ability to research, reason, or critically think about the information they’re fed. I can’t tell you how appalled I am at some of the more junior writers I’ve seen, who cannot even process information critically, but rely on opinion journalism as a primary source (not that they even know what a primary source is!), because it’s quick, easy, and strokes their confirmation biases like a cheap Thai whore.
On the other side, we have the bloggers. Stoked by their successes in trumping the mainstream media from as far back as 2004, when guys in their “living rooms writing in their pajamas” exposed the asshattery of CBS and its false documents about George W. Bush’s military service, much to the consternation of snotty CBS execs, the bloggers have become a vital part of the information superhighway and the search for the truth. I doubt the discovery of the government’s failure in the “Fast and Furious” operation would have happened without the efforts of my fellow gun rights blogger David Codrea and the late Mike Vanderbaugh. Say what you want about bloggers not being “real” journalists, but they’ve contributed to the efforts to hold government officials accountable. And if you doubt me, look up Alexei Navalny. He was just a blogger too.
The problem with the bloggers is similar to the problem with the media. They want clicks. They all want to be another David Codrea. They all want to be another PJ Media. And as such, they need to stand out and gain readership. They forget how much research and effort it took for Codrea and Vanderbaugh to gain traction with their “gunwalking” story. They probably don’t realize that these guys approached this story with a healthy amount of skepticism, not desperation to advance the narrative.
“I think that within the first week things started to really come together. We were getting corroboration, and we were getting different people talking to us,” Codrea said. Vanderboegh and Codrea had cultivated relationships with ATF agents over the years, having gained a reputation within the community for covering ATF scandal stories.
Codrea said he was skeptical about what his sources at the ATF were sharing. “I still was not sure that there couldn’t be disinformation involved,” Codrea said. “If you come out with something that makes you look like an idiot, your reputation is going to be destroyed. You’re not going to put your credibility out there and have it shredded. So you do your best due diligence.”
That due diligence exists very rarely nowadays. (Note: I’m going to focus on mostly conservative-leaning sites here, but that doesn’t excuse sites like the Daily Kos, Occupy Democrats, Politicus, Addicting Info, and other purveyors of half truths, stupidity, and outright buffonery.)
Consider actor George Takei’s hysterical tweet about the removal of the Obama White House website pages about climate change, LGBT issues, health care, etc., which was quickly picked up by his huge online following full of heartache and angst about how Trump is a horrible person who removed all “progress” over the past eight years! As PolitiFact pointed out, Uncle George, while technically correct, failed to provide additional context to his followers, and morons happy to have their confirmation bias stroked about what a horrible person Trump is, ran with it.
But it’s important to keep in mind that when the Obama administration handed the whitehouse.gov domain to Trump’s team, it was a blank slate. All of the online content published during Obama’s term was purged and archived. They’re now available on a website set up by the National Archives, as was done at the end of the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Did George Takei have an agenda? Indubitably. Did he intentionally ignore context in order to foment frothing hatred among his followers, or was he merely negligent? Who knows? But sites such as diversityinc.com, queerty, and pinknews were only too happy to promote the “homophobic Trump” narrative, ignoring the fact that Trump – for all his other faults – is the only president who took office as being on the record as supporting gay marriage and the only one of the entire GOP primary field who proudly stated in April 2016 that transgender people should be able to use whatever bathrooms they see fit.
On the conservative side, I had to smack down folks who clutched their pearls at this report by some outfit called militaryoneclick, that claimed “OH NOEZ! MILITARY FAMILY SUPPORT PAGE IS GONE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE WEBSITE!”
Yeah, OK imbeciles. See above.
Some site called Liberty Hangout, recently crowed that there’s been a bill submitted to withdraw the United States from the United Nations. Conservatives are elated! Gatewaypundit shat itself in Trump-induced euphoria!
The Republicans are wasting no time helping President Donald Trump deliver on his promises that he made will campaigning to be President of the United States.
Recently a bill was introduced by Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers called the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017 which is in response to his call earlier this month for the United States to sever all ties ties from the United Nations.
No, this bill has little to nothing to do with Trump. The American Sovereignty Restoration Act is nothing new. It was introduced by Ron Paul every damn year as HR1146 between 1997 and 2012, and then by Paul Braun once in 2013, and now for the second time in a row by Rodgers. This has nothing to do with Trump. It’s not meant to help him in any way. This effort has been going on for 20 fucking years now with zero results, but now it’s news because TRUMP! Give me a goddamn break!
Is it a lack of research? Is it laziness? Is it intentional? I can’t tell you about motivations, but I can tell you it’s part of what is driving this “fake news” narrative. Now, I said “part of what is driving this narrative,” so I don’t want to see the immediate knee-jerkiness into “Well, CNN…! Well lamestream media…!”
No. We will hold our own as accountable as we hold the lamestream media you all so revile. More so.
But back to the subject at hand.
I’ve previously mentioned Breitbart’s lunatic article that falsely screamed, “PRESIDENT OBAMA AWARDS HIMSELF DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE MEDAL!” That one caused me to slap down several friends who should have known better for their stupidity.
The Distinguished Public Service Medal is not given by the President. It’s given by the Secretary of Defense. There’s no basis to assess that Obama somehow ordered Ash Carter to give him a medal, other than the right’s deranged hatred of the current POTUS. A little bit of research would have also revealed that two Presidents in recent times have received the Distinguished Public Service Medal: George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, both awarded toward the end of their presidencies. Is Trumpbart really going to claim that Bush and Clinton both ordered their respective SECDEFs to award them medals? Or does that dubious honor only apply to Democrats? Apparently the rights’ disdainboner only gets turgid for Democrats – to such a degree, that publishing obviously misleading information is not frowned upon.
Obviously false and misleading headline, but how many went running for their outrage buttons and pounded their little indignation out on their keyboards? They got the clicks they wanted, didn’t they?
What about the alleged “assassination attempt” against Trump in early November? Remember that?
Trump was rushed off the stage, because a disturbance broke out. You know what numerous sub-morons in some “media” outlets reported? An assassination attempt.
You know what the Trump campaign immediately touted, because its candidate is oh-so-victimized, and subsequently oh-so-courageous to get right back in the game? An assassination attempt.
You know what it really was? Some guy with a sign that said, “REPUBLICANS AGAINST TRUMP.”
Got you to click, though, didn’t it?
And then there are these retards.
Recently, Secret Service agent Kerry O’Grady suggested in her social media postings (hello, stupid!) that she wouldn’t take a bullet for President Trump. O’Grady in October posted that she would rather go to jail than take a bullet for Trump, who she claimed would be a disaster for this country. O’Grady works in Denver, and part of her job is to coordinate presidential visits to the area. Chances are she would have very few opportunities to “take a bullet” for Trump anyway. But more importantly, in an interview with the Washington Examiner, she explained why she removed the pre-election posts, although she only did so after complaints were lodged to her supervisors.
“It was an internal struggle for me but as soon as I put it up, I thought it was not the sentiment that I needed to share because I care very deeply about the mission,” she said.
O’Grady repeatedly stressed that she would in no way shirk her duties to protect the president because of her opposition to Trump’s candidacy and support for Clinton.
“No, not at all. I firmly believe in this job. I’m proud to do it and we serve the office of the president,” she said.
The reasons and the timing aside, is Trump really in danger? Come the fuck on, people! The worst that will happen is that she will not be allowed anywhere near the president, and she’s not part of his protective detail anyway, so what gives? Ah! Clickbait!
These sites are riding on the success of sites such as PJ Media and others, hoping to capitalize on what those who do it better and cleaner than they do have already done. I don’t even consider them media. Most people I know look at them as “alternative media.” Alternative to what? Good reporting? Accuracy? Objectivity? These sites are no different, and no better than their counterparts on the other side of the political aisle. Those who complain about the “lamestream media” spinning and lying, fail to recognize the same problems on outlets with which they agree.
Freedom of the press also means freedom to publish shit like the above. Freedom comes with its warts, but we need to protect it at all costs.
So after putting my scattered thoughts down in writing, I have come to the conclusion that the only thing for audiences to do is to stop being lazy, ignorant, uninformed cretins and read.
Read primary sources. Do research. Take every single report with a grain of salt, and find sources that will corroborate the published or broadcast claims. Opinion journalism has made a lot of people wealthy and well-known very quickly, so there’s no incentive for them to change. That means every one of us has a responsibility to ourselves to get informed and do our own research.
Bottom line: we can’t trust the media.