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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Is it really asking too much…?

Blogger Lorenzo has some relevant thoughts about the conflict between moral sensibilities and modernity for some groups of people:

So, religions do not only matter as generators of rituals and doctrines, they also matter in the way they deeply influence moral sensibilities, attitudes to time, ways of looking at the world; and do so even without regular attendance to the rituals or strong adherence to doctrines. The sensibilities, temporal orientations and other framings can remain after belief and participation has departed.

Of the existing civilisations sharing this planet, only one is prominently having an extended temper tantrum about modernity; an extended temper tantrum with a distinctly homicidal edge.

The West essentially invented modernity, Japan has long since embraced it; China et al are very much up for it (the Beijing regime would just like to indigenise a congenial-to-it version); Russia et al ditto; Latin America is trying to get there (despite an unfortunate institutional legacy and outbreaks of really bad policy ideas); sub-Saharan Africa is struggling under bad boundaries and poor institutions but is also trying.

It is only Islam that is producing significant murderous insurgencies against modernity (and especially against the egalitarian cosmopolitanism which is such a strong strain within modernity--there is nothing like attacking schools, universities, cafes, soccer matches, rock concerts, along with beheadings, crucifixions and killing bloggers while re-introducing slavery to say "we hate modernity").

One needs to be aware the Salafism comes in various flavours (quietist, activist, jihadi) which overlap with Saudi Wahhabism but are not identical (pdf). Moreover, its "quietist" tradition is quite hostile (pdf) to Islamism (especially its takfiri tendencies) and its prioritisation of political engagement. While Islamism--political Islam--has Salafist versions. Islamism also comes out of the later C19th but does not reach much in the way of organised form until the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. This confusing welter of responses is itself a sign of the difficulties modernity poses for Islam as religion and as a source of normative framings.
A reasonable estimate for Islamists is about 10-15% of Muslims. There are about 1.6bn Muslims, so that suggests 160m to 240m Islamists (most of whom are Salafis, Wahhabis or Deobandis). Thus, Christian revivalist movements have considerably more adherents than Muslim revivalist movements (revivalism whether as purification or as political activism). But the Christian revivalism goes largely unremarked and un-newsworthy because Christian revivalism does not have remotely the homicidal edge Islamic revivalism does. For what one is attempting to return to, makes a difference.

The jihadis are the most dramatic manifestation of the tension between Islam and modernity, yet they are far from the only manifestation thereof. The grounding of morality so thoroughly in revelation creates a profound gulf between believers and non-believers; between those who accept the revelations which are the only true grounding of moral judgement and those who do not. This is the basis of an Islamic supremacism or triumphalism that has seeped into the moral sensibilities of Muslims over the centuries. It is why, for example, there is so much persecution of religious minorities across the Muslim world; persecution which follows recurring patterns.

Attitudes that do not magically disappear simply by migrating to the West. Particularly when migration to the West cuts people off from the various evolved mechanisms for softening the harsher elements of Islam.

The US and Australia are unlikely to experience similar problems because their Muslim minorities are less than 2% of the population: at that level, it is rational for Muslim communities to cooperate with local security forces. There are still the problem of "lone wolf" attacks, as there is significant jihadi social media activity aimed as recruiting and grooming such. But, as the US in particular already has a home-grown mass shooter problem, that is a comparatively minor law-and-order issue.

Once Muslim minorities start heading towards 10% of the population, then enclave problems are much more likely to develop and cooperation with security forces is likely to be much patchier and resistance to the agents of the state is likely to develop. Accepting a Muslim minority of that sort of size is also, effectively, a decision to export one's Jews.

The notion that there are no issues specific to Muslim migration is nonsense on stilts. Of course there are: it is very different, religiously-defined civilisation with very different presumptions and framings. Yelling "racism" does not change that, although it does close down debate: so is precisely the sort of shouting polarising that is not in any way helpful.

No, it is not merely a matter of Islamic doctrine, though that has plenty of problematic aspects. It is also the effects of centuries (indeed, over a millennium) of Islamic doctrine, ritual and teaching on the moral sensibilities and framings, the cosmological outlook, of Muslims, of people of Muslim heritage: the notion that their religious identity is at once terribly important to people of Muslim heritage yet has no problematic content is nonsense--it is turning people into abstractions for moral points-scoring between Westerners.

As the experiences of Europe in its various difficulties with Muslim migrants and migrant communities demonstrate, you cannot just wish that heritage away and shouting at people because you don't wish it to be so may be satisfyingly childish but does not change anything except to make the development of intelligent, well-grounded responses that much harder and leave far more ground for political entrepreneurs to garner support from frustrated, concerned and angry voters left with nowhere else to go.

Even if a majority of Muslims are not supremacists there are still good reasons to take the matter seriously.  The search for identity and meaning are very powerful human motivations:
It's a commonplace to anyone who's studied the rise of fascism, of which Islamofascism is the most recent variety.  The main problem with democratic capitalism is that it's so successful, and therefore very boring.  A generation or two of European intellectuals bemoaned the great triumph of science and industry, which they portrayed as relentlessly stifling the human soul, burying us under a hill of material things.
...
 The 20th-century fascists were largely secular, substituting their own rituals for traditional religious ones;  Islamofascism turns it around, substituting religious rituals and beliefs for the largely secular ones that defined the "modern world."
This problem is likely to be with us for a long time.  Military action may be appropriate at some points, aiding others such as the Kurds may also help.  Our screening process needs meaningful improvement:
Our screening system is badly broken, and we have an administration that is more concerned with enforcing political correctness than protecting the American people. We know that terrorists use social media to spread propaganda, recruit operatives and plan attacks. Yet MSNBC reports that in 2011, officials in the Department of Homeland Security proposed a policy of scouring social media of visa applicants to look for terrorist ties. The proposal went through a year-long review and was about to be issued as official policy — when it was quashed by senior officials. 


 According to a retired DHS  employee, efforts to possibly prevent attacks were thwarted:

During my 13 years at the Department of Homeland Security, I worked tirelessly to identify and prevent terrorism in the United States. As a recognized “founding member” of DHS, it was among my responsibilities to raise concern, not only about the individuals primed for imminent attack, but about the networks and ideological support that makes those terrorist attacks possible.

I investigated numerous groups such as the Deobandi Movement, Tablighi Jamaat, and al Huda as their members traveled into and out of the United States in the course of my work. Many were traveling on the visa waiver program, which minimizes the checks and balances due to agreements with the countries involved. But the scrutiny we were authorized to apply was having results. This investigation could possibly have prevented the San Bernardino jihadist attack by identifying its perpetrators, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, based on their associations with these groups.

Almost a year into this investigation, it was halted by the State Department and the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. They not only stopped us from connecting more dots, the records of our targets were deleted from the shared DHS database. The combination of Farook’s involvement with the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque and Malik’s attendance at al Huda would have indicated, at minimum, an urgent need for comprehensive screening. Instead, Malik was able to avoid serious vetting upon entering the United States on a fiancé visa and more than a dozen Americans are dead as a result.

The investigation was not stopped because it was ineffective, it was stopped because the Administration told us the civil rights of the foreign nationals we were investigating could be violated. When did foreign nationals gain civil rights in the United States, especially when they are associated with groups we already know are involved in terrorist activity? Based on what I have seen in the Department of Homeland Security, I no longer have the confidence this administration can adequately vet or screen refugees or immigrants from Islamic countries.

That same retired employee, Philip Haney, provided a very good interview at The Daily Caller:
With nowhere else to turn, he went to Congress to see if they would listen. He became a “whistleblower” facing further consequences and investigations. Consequences he promises to tell later. He is optimistic that investigations in the House and Senate appear poised to be launched, and he stands ready to help in any way he can to protect this nation, and take the handcuffs off law enforcement.

Asked whether the motivation to stop his work was political correctness or something more nefarious, Haney said, “I think the players are pretty obvious at this point. Islamic-based influence groups definitely play a role in controlling the narrative. The administration side definitely plays a role in submitting to that narrative. And combined together they create a potent force that has shattered our ability to do our job.”

The administration and their supporters have complained about the irrational fear of terrorism voiced by some people in this country.  I would suggest that if they really wanted to quell those fears that they should take their national security responsibilities seriously.  Is that really asking too much?

103 comments:

erp said...

...irrational fear of terrorism? Who was it who said, you're not paranoid, if they're really out to get ya?

Life as parody really isn't as much fun as it sounds.

Peter said...

Is that really asking too much?

One would think not in the face of all the atrocities, but ever since 9/11, several factors have made such straight line thinking very difficult, both legally and in the court of public opinion:

A) It is perfectly acceptable in the West to attack "religion" in the most strident terms, but not to target a particular religion, especially a non-Western one. Public opinion is largely secular in essence and cannot compute the idea that one religion is dangerous and destructive, while another benign or even a benefit, even in the face of daily proof to the contrary on prime time television. Just ask Harry;

B) Wars today must be defended as wars of liberation, not conquest. Public opinion and support in the countries attacked is seen as key to the legitimacy of the interventions. Bush started this in 2001 by insisting he was not fighting Islam(and that the terrorists were not "true" Muslims)and it's proven impossible to jump off that train. The public will support reality-based security measures based on terrorist associations, but not when they are derived generally from analysis of the Koran or amateur public opinion;

C)The dogmatic left has a million arguments as to why it is all the West's fault. Most people don't buy into it totally, but it has its effect on public opinion. People want to see compassion and even contriteness in our relations ("Sorry for making such a mess in Iraq and Libya. How can we make it up to you?"). Also, there is a very strong current of opinion that holds it has nothing to do with religion and that once they savour the benefits of economic development/democracy/social justice, etc., it will all go away. We're all materialists at heart now;

D) The Holocaust and, to a lesser extent, Jim Crow, have gone down as the greatest existential evils in the West of the 20th century. They are burned into our psyches. They have left a great proportion of the population petrified of being seen as hostile to any particular race or religion;

E) Giving refuge to those fleeing war and oppression in other countries is a very powerful, formative myth in our history and reflects what many people want to see when they look in a mirror;

F) Taking a vocal anti-Muslim line and arguing for policies based on it puts one in the company of yahoos and other people you wouldn't ever invite to dinner.

G) Finally, there are real, legitimate concerns about what a huge security apparatus on a perpetual war footing is doing to freedom of the citizen and the rule of law. The terrorists know this and are very happy about it.

I call it all "noble denial" and really don't have many answers.

Harry Eagar said...

Ask Harry indeed: http://wonkette.com/597420/ted-cruzs-fundie-dad-thinks-god-did-bang-up-job-writing-u-s-constitution

It was not so long ago that American citizens were publicly whipped for flouting the silly morals of people like Cruz, by agents of elected governments. The only difference between American Christianity and Islam is that the are hundreds of mutually antagonistic Christian sects.

If Southern Baptists had the measure of civil power and income that Sunni Muslims have, we would unquestionably see a Southern Baptist Wahhabism; and bloody wars against whatever the second-largest cult was -- possibly Methodism.

We know this because there was a time when there were only 2 major Christian cults and the result was 3 centuries of unexampled slaughter.

Right now the primary effort of the most violent among the Muslims is directed not against modernity and the West but at purifying Islam. This has been an incessant theme for 1,400 years, or about the same term during which Christian purification movements used slaughter as their preferred measure of conversion.

Western colonialists added their mite to the brew. In the 18th and 19th centuries there were significant Muslim elites who wished to move toward modernity. When they sought to open a western style high school in Tunisia the French governors rejected them, judging it would be easier to control traditional Muslims. They were wrong and are paying that price now.

Nevertheless, although the influence of the West has been mixed, the tendencies within Islam are almost entirely traditional, and based on the structural requirements of any universalizing salvationist monotheism.

People like Lorenzo might wish to answer the question, where are the descendants of the minority Muslim population -- probably in the neighborhood of 10% as it happens -- that once lived in southern Italy?

Then get back to us about how Islam is inherently worse than Christianity.

Harry Eagar said...

Purification: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-executes-47-sheikh-nimr-shiite-cleric.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Saudi purification executions in 2015 exceeded the combined death toll in the San Bernardino and second Paris attacks, though not if you add in the Charlie Hrbdo-deli count.



Clovis e Adri said...

I like this narrative on how they could have detected the bad guys "only if"... Where whatever the reason they give, it is always about giving more power for someone in the govt.

And reading it in a Libertarian blog only makes it better.

Harry Eagar said...

The quality of the ex-protecters of the republic does not inspire confidence, does it?

erp said...

Harry, it's not giving more power to the government, it's maintaining the rule of law which is being flaunted on all sides. People who have sworn to uphold the law are now merely another tool of the fascists who cherry pick those they wish to prosecute by their value to them as pawns.

Clovis, The fascist elites chose weaklings who will do their biding to serve in the highest levels of government including Homeland Security, the CIA, the FBI, ATF, INS and countless other agencies and programs spending our money on perks and junkets in their course of advancing the narrative. Those few who demur are summarily dismissed and/or demonized and besmirched by their media allies.

erp said...

A perfect example of our fascist government persecuting those not willing to be serfs.

Harry Eagar said...

erp, you are sadly confused about what the rule of law means. And it wasn't so long ago you were doubting the existence of Oathkeepers.

erp said...

Harry, I am neither confused about what the rule of law meant in the this country until the recent past, nor am I confused about what your cohort has done to destroy it.

Here's what the never partisan Washington Post had to say about the Oathkeepers.

I say it's a damn shame that ordinary citizens have to do what those who've taken a real oath and are being paid to see that the law is upheld are subverting.

Howard said...

Clovis,

Allowing people like Mr.Haney to continue what they were doing is hardly a major power grab and it hardly compares with interning American citizens of Japanese decent. Also, all but the most extreme libertarians consider national defense and security to be a legitimate governmental responsibility.

Harry,

She might have a point or two of agreement with you, but Ayaan Hirsi Ali would call BS on you, BIG TIME. (very worthwhile video)

Harry Eagar said...

For erp, who truly does not understand the rule of law;

http://www.occupydemocrats.com/twitter-unloads-on-media-for-their-double-standard-when-covering-armed-white-militias/

What the Haneys did was foolish, dangerous, illegal and an assault against property. But let's allow a fact or two to intrude. The Haneys are not racist antigovernment fruitcakes and gun nuts like the Bundys. They have repudiated the Oathkeepers and arranged to complete serving their terms, as required by our rule of law.

Ali knows a great deal about Islam, but I would not qualify her as expert on Christianity. I was amused when, trying to jump ahead of Kristol's stilted intro, I landed on her description of her school in Nairobi. It sounded exactly like Christian schools in America.

Anyhow, the argument is not that Islam is evil but that Christianity is just as evil. Nobody took me up on my question about the descendants of the Muslims of southern Italy. I wonder why that is?

erp said...

Harry, a. Why don't you tell us why you you think the fascists should appropriate a citizen's land and b. Why don't you tell us what happened to Moslems in Italy instead of keeping us in suspense.

Harry Eagar said...

No citizen's land was appropriated.

You know so much, look it up. You won't because you area afraid of fscts.

erp said...

Call it what you want.

Clovis e Adri said...

I see, we've got to the point where some govt workers are supposed to be screening all facebook posts of their fellow citizens (not to mention all the non-fellow citizens, what's a billion more people anyway?), all day long, for the rest of their lives, because that's surely the best way to catch any potential threat to the nation.

And that's a perfect role for the State for any reasonably minded Libertarian smarty, I am here assured.

OK, point taken.

erp said...

Clovis, to what is your comment referring. As you know, there are many ways to monitor internet traffic that doesn't include reading every word and law enforcement was very good at arresting bad guys even before the internet.

Only now, they look the other way.

Harry Eagar said...

Guilt by association, Clovis. Rightwingers loved it during McCarthy's reign of terror and they love it now -- so long as it isn't aimed at them.

erp said...

Come on Harry. Give it up. McCarthy was proven right by your homeboys, the Soviets.

Harry Eagar said...

See, there's the problem with not reading history, erp. McCarthy wasn't proven right.

erp said...

Semantics.

Barry Meislin said...

I call it all "noble denial"...

Indeed.

Leading to morally justified and ethically mandated suicide. ("Because we're better than they are, of course.")

As in, "Let's murder our culture and expose our citizenry to all manner of outrages to show how ethically superior we are---and how sorry we are to have caused grievous harm to others." (And then let's slap ourselves again for forgetting that we're not ethically superior to other cultures....)

As in, EU-thenasia.

(To be sure, Europe has been urging Israel to commit suicide for so many years now, that it is altogether reassuring to discover that it has finally, finally, put its money---such as it is---where it's mouth is.)

Alas, it doesn't get much crazier than this.

File under: Moral creep (aka mea culpa, ad absurdum)

Harry Eagar said...

'Leading to morally justified and ethically mandated suicide.'

That's the problem with rightwingers generally and American rightwingers in particular: they have no confidence in democracy or the ability of people to manage their own affairs.

erp said...

Harry, for once, I totally agree. Right wingers aka fascists like the ones in charge now do not believe in democracy or the ability of people to manage their own affairs.

Mazel tov on finally getting it.

Susan's Husband said...

CLovis;

"some govt workers are supposed to be screening all facebook posts of their fellow citizens"

Could you provide a cite for that? I don't see it in the original article or any comment following.

erp said...

SH, so nice to hear your voice. :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG's Ghost: I am happy to oblige .

I point out a relevant quote:


---
"U.S. government monitoring of social media… as part of granting or denying visas is troubling for a number of reasons,” says Fred Cate, a cybersecurity expert and vice president for research at Indiana University. “It could potentially violate the First Amendment to the Constitution, which blocks the government from interfering with freedom of expression—even of non-U.S. citizens. It could easily become an unintended cover for discrimination on the basis of race, religion, nationality, or political views."
---

Susan's Husband said...

Visas are granted by the USA to non-citizens. Your quote specifically says "citizens". Try again.

Barry Meislin said...

That's the problem with rightwingers generally....

Hmmm, might one presume that you are referring to those crass, unrepentant, barbaric Swedish rightwingers?:

http://libertyunyielding.com/2015/10/30/swedens-foreign-minister-country-in-danger-of-collapse-due-to-migrant-crisis/

Or perhaps the Norwegian ones? The Danish?

http://www.barenakedislam.com/2014/02/01/first-norway-now-denmark-wants-to-stop-muslim-immigration/

Or maybe it's the French? Or the Swiss? The German?

The Polish? The Czech? The Italian? Australian? The English? The Dutch?

(The Canadians, of course, are way too polite. For now, at least.)

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Visas are granted by the USA to non-citizens. Your quote specifically says "citizens". Try again.
---

Easy: as happened with NSA's collection of data in past, it is ludicruous to think that such intrusions will be restricted to foreigners, as the pursued communication is often between a citizen and a non-citizen. It gets only more complex in a network like Facebook.

But that's not even my main point. I am very skeptical about Haney's claims that he could have detected the San Bernardino threat. Sounds very oportunistic in my view, but maybe that's just me.

Susan's Husband said...

Because the process would be driven by visa applications, which are unlikely to be done by citizens, I think very much overstate the risk. And risk of what? The government looking at my public data? You use the term "communications" but the subject at hand is public postings, which are not between a non-citizen and a citizen, but from a non-citizen to everyone.

I agree that in this particular case such examination would have had little chance of detecting anything untoward, but that's frequently not the case and to have an immigration policy that says " we will not examine public records for the applicant" is moronic. Why have an application process at all in that case?

erp said...

... Why have an application process at all in that case?

Make work project for the unions.

Harry Eagar said...

If you read a real news outlet -- as I have advised more than once -- you'd know that what Wallstrom said was:

“I think most people feel that we cannot maintain a system where perhaps 190,000 people will arrive every year – in the long run, our system will collapse. And that welcome is not going to receive popular support,” said Wallström, echoing her Social Democrat colleague's comments.

And that her view is not generally held. And if you'd even read your own source you'd have seen that she expects European democrats to manage the affair.

Sheesh.

Peter said...

If you read a real news outlet?

You mean, like Wonkette?

Harry Eagar said...

Wonkette is one of them. It's an aggregator, links back to sources.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

----
I agree that in this particular case such examination would have had little chance of detecting anything untoward, but that's frequently not the case and to have an immigration policy that says " we will not examine public records for the applicant" is moronic. Why have an application process at all in that case?
----

Can you justify how "that's frequently not the case"?

As you point out, this is about public data. What are the odds it will give up details of a terrorist plot? OTOH, what are the odds it will be used for the exercise of prejudices by moronic govt employees?

Hey Skipper said...

[harry:] Wonkette is one of them. It's an aggregator, links back to sources.

Dr. Zoom is, and I know this is a high bar, the most vile progressive on the internet. That's bad enough, but almost without exception his nastiness rests on a pile of ignorance, lies, and crimes against reasoning. Oh, and self referential linking.

But hey, if you think that he is a good source, by all means. And don't forget you can get judged by the company you keep.

It was not so long ago that American citizens were publicly whipped for flouting the silly morals of people like Cruz, by agents of elected governments.

How long ago, Harry?

The only difference between American Christianity and Islam is that the are hundreds of mutually antagonistic Christian sects.

That is, and I know this is a high bar, even more flagrantly stupid than anything Dr. Zoom has ever said. Indeed, the OP gave you many reasons to know how stupid that is. But then there is nothing like a progressive for ideological blindness.

You are pretty busy channeling Zoom's offal, so maybe you haven't read any real news outlets lately.

So you probably missed what happened a few nights ago, not 40 miles from where I live.

Yep, exactly the way Christians act.

erp said...

Skipper, didn't the mayor, a self-identifying female, fault the behavior (probably the cold temps kept their bodies sufficiently covered up) of those making the accusations for the "disturbance"?

IOW -- the female devils made them do it.

Susan's Husband said...

Clovis;

"As you point out, this is about public data. What are the odds it will give up details of a terrorist plot?"

Yet another straw man. Checking social media of visa applicants is about determining if the person is sufficiently radical to be dangerous, not about finding details of a specific plot.

I note that we've moved from "govt workers are supposed to be screening all facebook posts of their fellow citizens" to "exercise of prejudices by moronic govt employees". In the spirit of this discussion, that means you think Americans should be exposed to dangerous terrorists so that DHS doesn't have to exert itself to prevent moronic employees from exercising their prejudices?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
In the spirit of this discussion, that means you think Americans should be exposed to dangerous terrorists so that DHS doesn't have to exert itself to prevent moronic employees from exercising their prejudices?
---
Speaking of straw men, there we have a very strawy one.

In my view, it is ludicrous to believe that checks of Facebook posts of visa applicants will be anything other than a huge waste of time and money, if not directly counterproductive.

Being a US Citizen, you may not be aware of what visa applicants are already required to provide. Having been such an applicant, let me help you out:

- I was required to provide my (equivalent to) IRS declaration, with details on all my income sources, assets, etc.

- I needed to provide a list of countries I have been to before, even if for only tourism.

- I needed to check boxes explicitly asking, among other things:

1) If I intended to practice terrorism in the USA.

2) If I were ever involved with drugs.

3) If I ever used the service of a prostitutes.

4) If I ever had training with weapons.

- I needed to provide lists of people whom they could contact to check my answers and my connections, both personal and professional ones.

Now, if you think that a Facebook page will provide much more relevant information than that, I think you would make a very good govt employee - you must have waisted your life in the private market. TSA and DHS are keenly waiting for your application.

Susan's Husband said...

Clovis;

"Speaking of straw men, there we have a very strawy one" - quite so, that's what I meant by getting in to the spirit of the discussion.

I would note that the private sector makes checking public Facebook and other social media pages a common ingredient in checking potential employees. Apparently they find it useful.

I will quote the original article - "The investigation was not stopped because it was ineffective, it was stopped because the Administration told us the civil rights of the foreign nationals we were investigating could be violated". Your argument may be correct, but it was not the one used to justify the decision. I doubt I would find much of an issue here had the program been dropped due to lack of results.

P.S. I note that we've now moved from "exercise of prejudices by moronic govt employees" to "inefficient".

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
P.S. I note that we've now moved from "exercise of prejudices by moronic govt employees" to "inefficient".
---
That's precisely one of the sources of the inefficiency. It may be fun to check the cleavage of the applicants, but it ends up being detrimental to more important things.


----
I would note that the private sector makes checking public Facebook and other social media pages a common ingredient in checking potential employees. Apparently they find it useful.
----
Excellent point. HR departments are just as moronic as any govt agency out there, and for similar reasons.

erp said...

People, people.

Neither foreign nationals, anyone else on earth nor visitors from outer space have U.S. Civil Rights. Those are reserved for We, the People.

Others are here, not by any right, but by our sufferance and those who find our ways onerous are invited to go away.

Before our lives were perfected by science, entry level jobs went to the top scorers on simple competency tests. HR departments weren't even a gleam in the eye of the fascisti.

Clovis e Adri said...

Just to be clear Erp, this is the animus you want every other country to apply towards Americans in their land too?

Susan's Husband said...

Clovis;

As far as I can tell, that's already the case.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Skipper, didn't the mayor, a self-identifying female, fault the behavior (probably the cold temps kept their bodies sufficiently covered up) of those making the accusations for the "disturbance"?

She didn't so much fault their behavior, as give them additional guidelines to avoid being victimized. Along the lines of stay home, travel with a male relative, walk with downcast eyes, and wear a burkah.

Okay, I made some of that up, but what she said was nearly as bad.

I have no idea what is the problem with politicians over here (unless it is that they are left wingers avoiding reality). The appropriate response would have been to say that in the future, during such public gatherings, there will be a strong police presence, including plain clothes officers to spot trouble, and we will hurl every one of you a$$holes back to your cesspool countries schnell.

It seems there were similar attacks at three other cities in Germany, plus more in Austria.

That, for some reason, took days to make the news.

If the Germans had a second amendment, I'd bet the new arrivals would be more, umm, restrained.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] In my view, it is ludicrous to believe that checks of Facebook posts of visa applicants will be anything other than a huge waste of time and money, if not directly counterproductive.

...

Now, if you think that a Facebook page will provide much more relevant information than that, I think you would make a very good govt employee - you must have waisted your life in the private market. TSA and DHS are keenly waiting for your application.


You have mixed up information with evidence. Attestations about various things amounts to information, which may bear a greater or lesser relationship to the truth. Evidence helps asses the degree do which attestations do so. So, as an ICE employee reviewing an application, if the content of FB posts mirrors their attestations, wonderful.

But in asserting that such efforts are wasted, you are in effect stating that FB posts will always be consistent with attestations.

In other words, people never have reason to lie on visa applications.

erp said...

Clovis, of course.

If I visit a foreign land, I expect to abide by their rules, follow their laws, etc. no matter how different they may be from our own. If I visit the Vatican, I will wear a head covering, in Saudi Arabia, I won't drive or wear short shorts :-)... If these restrictions are too onerous, I'll stay away.

What else?

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Duplicate comment genie back on the job.

Harry Eagar said...

'You have mixed up information with evidence. Attestations about various things amounts to information, which may bear a greater or lesser relationship to the truth. Evidence helps asses the degree do which attestations do so.'

Alert, this is not the Skipper who posts about chiropractic. This is his evil twin.

Hey Skipper said...

Alert: this is the Harry who fails reading comprehension.

People can say all kinds of things; only fools would forego the opportunity to verify what they say.

erp said...

Harry, your typos are getting more and more Freudian. ;-}

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG and Erp,

---
As far as I can tell, that's already the case.
---

Is it?

Erp just told me that foreigners should have no civil rights. I am pretty sure that foreigners in Brazil are treated under the same laws as citizens, they are not lesser humans. I also believe that such is the rule in most of the civilized world.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
In other words, people never have reason to lie on visa applications.
----
I fancy whether can you quote me saying so.

For instance, I very much doubt most applicants are honest about their use of drugs, prostitutes or their HIV status.

My point was not to argue people won't lie, but that FB is mostly irrelevant when you actually look how intrusive is the standard process. My examples above apply to a meager tourism visa, so I guess a residence visa - like the one involved in the San Bernardino case, for his fiance - is probably even more detailed.

There are sorts of murder-suicides that won't ever be foreseeable. IMHO, Mr. Haynes is taking advantadge of such a case and some hysterical people are falling for that.

erp said...

Foreign visitors are not lesser human beings, but they are not citizens with the rights and responsibilities that entails.

I think this may be the crux of the problem. Somehow all the world is under the impression we are required to absorb all comers without imposing any restraints or requirements on those pouring over our borders and must allow our communities to become balkanized into foreign ghettoes where a way of life inimical to our values must perforce be not only tolerated, but funded and encouraged.

This, of course, is nonsense.

Controlled orderly immigration of those wanting to assimilate is desirable and only that.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Somehow all the world is under the impression we are required to absorb all comers without imposing any restraints or requirements [...]
---
I can't talk about "all the world", but I am pretty sure no one in my piece of the world thinks so.

What I guess a good part of the world - at least the civilized one - may think is that humans are, you know, humans, and should be treated likewise. Sometimes it means innocent people shouldn't be drone-bombed out of the blue, or that their application to enter some other country should be considered by fair standards. Those are simple things that, not so long ago, even Americans could agree with. Good old times those ones.

Next time I try to renew my tourist visa, I guess this post will be read by some bureaucrat, and I am toast - filed under "Too dangerously anti-American radical". It is only fair, I have no freedom of expression after all.

erp said...

Clovis, I know you know the difference between illegal immigrants who are invading us and visitors/tourists.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

But have you noticed the whole topic is about visa applicants, which means *legal* immigrants?

erp said...

Sorry, no I didn't. Apologies.

Susan's Husband said...

Clovis;

"Erp just told me that foreigners should have no civil rights".

No, she didn't. She said what civil protections they have, here, is entirely at our discretion. I think it good policy to extend most of our civil protections to foreigners but that's purely policy, they have no "rights" as such. My experience is this is exactly how other nations view us and our "rights" in their nations. I think it is a completely reasonable point of view.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper: In other words, people never have reason to lie on visa applications.
----

[Clovis:] I fancy whether can you quote me saying so.


You are right, I can't. I apologize for implying you said anything like that.

My point was not to argue people won't lie, but that FB is mostly irrelevant when you actually look how intrusive is the standard process.

From today's NYT: Iraqi Refugees in Texas and California Accused of Terrorism Ties

The indictment accuses Mr. Hardan of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State and lying on his application to become an American citizen by stating that he was not associated with a terrorist organization and had never received weapons training.

Prosecutors said on Thursday that Mr. Hardan has been associated with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, since 2014 and was trained to use automatic machine guns. He has been charged with one count each of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State, procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully, and making false statements, prosecutors said.

In California, the indictment accuses Mr. Jayab of discussing his experience fighting against the government of Syria, and planning to return to fight alongside terrorist groups, over social media in 2012 and 2013.

“O God, grant us martyrdom for your sake while engaged in fighting and not retreating; a martyrdom that would make you satisfied with us,” Mr. Jayab wrote in one online exchange
from April 2013, according to the indictment.


If online activity is good enough to throw people in jail, why isn't it good enough to keep the out in the first place?

Erp just told me that foreigners should have no civil rights. I am pretty sure that foreigners in Brazil are treated under the same laws as citizens, they are not lesser humans. I also believe that such is the rule in most of the civilized world.

Erp over egged her case a bit. Foreigners have no right to enter the US, and their permission to stay may be revoked at any time, for all manner of reasons. Things that citizens can say with impunity will get foreigners tossed. In those regards, the US is no different than any other country I can think of.

But that doesn't mean foreigners have no civil rights at all.

erp said...

Skipper, I stand by what I said: Neither foreign nationals, anyone else on earth nor visitors from outer space have U.S. Civil Rights. Those are reserved for We, the People.

Others are here, not by any right, but by our sufferance and those who find our ways onerous are invited to go
[or stay] away.

Non-citizens have no rights of any kind except those extended to them by We, the People who've been far more generous and welcoming than any other peoples in history -- to my knowledge.

Where's the error here?

Hey Skipper said...

SFAIK, and I am neither a lawyer, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, habeas corpus extends to all US inhabitants.

This article notes that for non-citizens, some civil rights are attenuated.

And this, from Volokh, notes that A federal statute currently bans both contributions and independent expenditures [to political candidates] by non-permanent-resident non-citizens ...

This Slate article asserts that non-citizens to have some constitutional rights.

When you say Non-citizens have no rights of any kind except those extended to them by We, the People ... you are in a sense right, but in ways that raise a serious question. The constitution is based upon natural rights axioms -- that is, people have rights inherent to their existence that governments can violate, but not take away.

Those inherent rights are God given, not bestowed by mortals. To the extent that is true, then some of our limitations seem both presumptuous and common sensical.

erp said...

Skipper, I'll give you a pass that if non-citizens are in our land by our sufferance, not illegally, they may, of course, expect basic God-given/natural rights and be treated courteously as one would treat any guest.

Hey Skipper said...

In that regard, you are absolutely correct, SFAIK.

However, as non-citizens, they can be shown the door for things that wouldn't be justiciable for citizens.

Which I'm perfectly OK with, since the reasons for showing them the door are, for the most part, directly related to activities that are antagonistic to the concept of natural rights.

Like pretty much everything Islamists say or think.

erp said...

Agreed.

Peter said...

As courteous as Americans may be, erp, there is more substance to it than that. It's long been a matter of international law that non-citizens are entitled to be treated the same as citizens when charged with a crime. Good thing, too, because we courtesy-challenged Canadians might just throw your countrymen into a dungeon for a few decades for stepping out of line on their summer vacations.

erp said...

Peter, are we signatories to that law because I remember hearing about people being expelled from the country rather than being tried in our courts.

... and our vacationing citizens invading the north country in the summer are nothing on the hordes of your geezers gumming up the works here in the southland winters ... yet we treat them courteously even when we can hardly understand a word they say and hardly ever toss them in dungeons, except, of course, unless it's for their good.

Harry Eagar said...

Here's a fun fact (secret except to people who read a daily newspaper): The place in the world where a woman is most at risk of gang-rape has no Muslims, no Jews, no Buddhists, no Sikhs, no Hindus, no Parsees and even no atheists. It is all Christian.

Hey Skipper said...

Without any reference at all, I'm calling Shenanigans.

BTW:

[Harry:] It was not so long ago that American citizens were publicly whipped for flouting the silly morals of people like Cruz, by agents of elected governments.

How long ago?

erp said...

According to wiki, it's South Africa. Https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_South_Africa

erp said...

http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/The-Rape-Capital-of-the-World-2014082

Sorry, I am using the infernal devil's tool and pasted the wrong link.

erp said...

http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/The-Rape-Capital-of-the-World-20140821

Trying again.

😜

Hey Skipper said...

erp:

Your link was broken, although it sure looks like it should be good.

Instead, I searched on [rape capital of the world.

All of the results substantiate my suspicion that Harry is adding to his big bag of bollocks.

erp said...

I had read about Sweden, but since there are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and even atheists there, I knew it couldn't be the answer.

It's surely not all Christian.

Harry, no doubt means a Mormon cult.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
From today's NYT: Iraqi Refugees in Texas and California Accused of Terrorism Ties
----
Well, I can't argue with facts. It is amazing how any level of stupid I can think of is surpassed by someone out there.

By the way, the links on non-citizen rights you provided were very interesting, thanks.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

----
Skipper, I'll give you a pass that if non-citizens are in our land by our sufferance, not illegally, they may, of course, expect basic God-given/natural rights and be treated courteously as one would treat any guest.
----
You are a personal paradox to me. You place so much emphasis on foreigners having no rights, yet you treated this one foreigner here like a king. Go figure.

erp said...

You were smart enough to travel with Adri and Andreas. Otherwise we would have had you arrested and whipped as a dangerous alien with nefarious motives and still might send out our minions to do you bodily harm if you don't send timely pictures of the little guy. Full disclosure: Andreas is the second cutest kid on the planet after our granddaughter Harlowe and a possible match may be in the making ... keep tuned.

To be serious: you don't have rights that We, the People didn't allow you. That's my point.

Harry Eagar said...

Wrong search, Skipper. Not what I wrote.

Read a newspaper.

Harry Eagar said...

Who's the threat to chastity in Germany?

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/09/world/europe/over-200-members-of-german-choir-were-abused-investigator-says.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Hey Skipper said...

[harry:] Wrong search, Skipper. Not what I wrote.

Read a newspaper.


To refresh your memory, here is what you wrote:

Here's a fun fact (secret except to people who read a daily newspaper): The place in the world where a woman is most at risk of gang-rape has no Muslims, no Jews, no Buddhists, no Sikhs, no Hindus, no Parsees and even no atheists. It is all Christian.

Allow me to give you some advice. Writing something like that, which you do frequently, is truly annoying, because it requires me to search out what the heck it is you are talking about: click on the link, in case my meaning isn't crystal clear. Then, following it up with a snotty reply turns the annoyance level to 11. Higher, even, than when you trot out a bollocks pronunciamento and then, when called on it, fail to have the integrity to acknowledge your error (unless, of course, it was intentional).

Which leads to the pro-tip: Don't make us guess, tell us where this place is in the world. Because until you do, I'm assuming it exists only in your imagination, that has a decidedly defamatory itch.

Who's the threat to chastity in Germany?

So let me get this straight, because abuse happened in a church choir, that rampaging gangs in four cities in Germany is OK with you? That those gangs aren't a threat?

Otherwise, I'm really struggling to figure out what your point is.

erp said...

Skipper, I'll try my hand at decoding. I think Harry's point is that Christians are so evil and have committed so many atrocities, that Moslems can never catch up with them, so they should be given a pass no matter what they do.

Harry Eagar said...

You're on the spot. I hear a report (All Things Considered today) that before New Year's there was a campaign (#outcry) in Germany against such attacks, which are especially prevalent by ethnic Germans at Oktoberfest.

I wouldn't know about that. Perhaps you noticed but thought nothing of it?

Hey Skipper said...

[harry:] Read a newspaper.

I hear a report (All Things Considered today) ...


NPR is a newspaper?

... that before New Year's there was a campaign (#outcry) in Germany against such attacks, which are especially prevalent by ethnic Germans at Oktoberfest.

Not as shows up on searches, or that I have heard of. Lots of people and lots of alcohol; sure there are going to be a few problems. But especially prevalent sex attacks by ethnic Germans?

Sounds like progs shouting SQUIRREL! to me.

erp said...

Skipper, apparently there have been assorted problems during Oktoberfestivities over the years that weren't important enough to make BIG NEWS, but now that we need some moral relevance, it's prequel* time.

*Back filling reportage to show that past events were even worse than whatever the current protected population is perpetrating.

It's easy to understand once you realize that effect no longer follows cause, but precedes it.

Barry Meislin said...

Despair not (alle ye who enter heere):

Innovative, hi-tech solutions are on the way solve every problem and unruffle ever feather (in the spirit of fellowship---and necessity):

http://www.thelocal.se/20160108/swimming-hall-split-pools-between-men-and-women

Truly an idea whose time has come....

Barry Meislin said...

Looks like more unconscionable fascist reporting:

http://neoneocon.com/2016/01/08/new-years-eve-sexual-assaults-in-finland-too/

(Tolerance and understanding seem to be lacking in Finland, too...)

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

For several days now, I've been watching the stories of the mass sexual assaults in Cologne and elsewhere in Europe. I was fascinated by how the political elites, press and even the police seemed completely tongue-tied and had nothing to say, except rote drivel about how we can't blame all refugees, real Muslims are horrified, blah, blah. The denial seemed almost surreal. It seemed apparent to me that the forces of nativism among a simmering public were going to grow, which would benefit some pretty nasty movements and be politically chaotic. Everybody knows this, as it's happening in plain view, but still the beautiful people are sticking to yesterday's playbook. I thought it was tragic and scary.

Or so I thought. Then, Harry (completely out of the blue and without so much as a thread on the subject) made me put it all in perspective. Forty to sixty years ago a youth choir director in Germany abused a lot of members, thus proving what happened on New Year's had its origins in Christianity and we have no right whatsoever to complain. One might say let he who is without sin...etc., but Harry gets uncomfortable when scripture backs him. Anyway, get rid of Christianity first and then we'll worry about refugees. Not only that, there have been assaults at past Oktoberfests by "ethnic Germans". Not just Germans, but ethnic Germans---the scary kind. Only right wing racists could fail to see this demonstrates Cologne was just a typical festive day in Germany and that, between the boozing and the groping, the refugees are actually assimilating fast.

As Harry himself might say, nothing to see here, let's move on. Thanks, Harry.

Note to file: Gotta read more newspapers

Barry Meislin said...

If only there were a Hippocratic Oath for politicians....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3392158/Russian-doctor-punched-patient-floor-killing-instantly.html?ito=social-twitter_mailonline

erp said...

Barry, re: sexes segregated at Swedish pool. The Swedes sure opened a can of worms listening to their visitors.

How can the people in charge tell who's what? If someone looks like a man, but identifies as a woman ... and vice versa, what will be the criterion for determining who is which and which is what?

Can't wait for the rest of this story.

Barry Meislin said...

I wouldn't worry. I have full confidence in the Swedes.

(Don't forget: these are the people who gave the world turnips.)

If they can divide a pool into two, they can certainly divide one into three, four, five or even six. (Don't ask. I don't even want to think about it....)

All those Saab engineers who were laid off when the automotives division went belly up can be put back to work. First pools. Then saunas. Then kiddie pools. Skating rinks. Sidewalks. Restaurants. It's endless. I, for one, am looking forward to that renowned Swedish ingenuity and their nordic problem-solving abilities.

erp said...

Barry, I too have confidence in Swedish engineering, it's their, or anybody's really, ability to distinguish between the 51 sexes identified recently by our genius overlords and not only sex, it's now impossible to distinguish a 52 year old man from a six year old girl.

Howard said...

...but still the beautiful people are sticking to yesterday's playbook

Well you realize that is part of the groupthink of their tribal identity.

Note to file: Gotta read more newspapers

After starting by giving the benefit of the doubt about his political views, we eventually learned that our newspaper enthusiast (n.e.) was unable to grasp the benefits of limited government as easily learned from a casual study of history or introductory political science.

...get rid of Christianity first and then we'll worry about...

More recently it had been my impression that life experiences with race and also religion had left the n.e. so traumatized as to be unable to think clearly on such matters. But at this point, perhaps rather than call the n.e. Harry we should start calling him Franz:

I hope it is clear by now that the particular flavor of thoughtcrime alleged is irrelevant to understanding the operation of kafkatraps and how to avoid being abused and manipulated by kafkatrappers. In times past the kafkatrapper was usually a religious zealot; today, he or she is just as likely to be advancing an ideology of racial, gender, sexual-minority, or economic grievance. Whatever your opinion of any of these causes in their ‘pure’ forms may be, there are reasons that the employment of kafkatrapping is a sure sign of corruption.

The practice of kafkatrapping corrupts causes in many ways, some obvious and some more subtle. The most obvious way is that abusive and manipulative ways of controlling people tend to hollow out the causes for which they are employed, smothering whatever worthy goals they may have begun with and reducing them to vehicles for the attainment of power and privilege over others.

A subtler form of corruption is that those who use kafkatraps in order to manipulate others are prone to fall into them themselves. Becoming unable to see out of the traps, their ability to communicate with and engage anyone who has not fallen in becomes progressively more damaged. At the extreme, such causes frequently become epistemically closed, with a jargon and discourse so tightly wrapped around the logical fallacies in the kafkatraps that their doctrine is largely unintelligible to outsiders.


(h/t to Ed Driscoll via Instapundit with a major nod to Eric Raymond)
As Instapundit likes to say - read the whole thing.

Barry Meislin said...

Shhhhhhhhhhh.

(Wouldn't want to empower any of those conservatives....)

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/223706/

erp said...

My favorite part is they, the police, were shocked by the violence at first, but then it became so commonplace, they were no longer bothered by it -- it's just a variation on the old commie proverb about breaking eggs to make omelets -- you know, the greater good and all that.

IMO this proves without a doubt that even those Nordic countries held up as triumphs of socialism are as corrupt as all the other failed examples of the "noble experiment."

Barry Meislin said...

Um, er, erp, we're not being terribly sensitive here.

In fact, I believe we're being downright insensitive.

(Have we no shame?)

Besides, one ought to take into consideration that these lies and cover-ups had to be made official policy by European governments because "they have no confidence in democracy or the ability of people to manage their own affairs."

Perfectly understandable, really....

erp said...

Exactly, those women had it coming. The nerve of them thinking they could wander around at will.

What to they think they are, men!!

Susan's Husband said...

Clovis;

"You are a personal paradox to me. You place so much emphasis on foreigners having no rights, yet you treated this one foreigner here like a king. Go figure."

This is my soap box and I say the thing you seem to miss continually with regard to such questions is consent. Your puzzlement only makes sense if you think erp's view is that any not required must be forbidden. That is, if erp thinks it not required to treat foreigners well, she must think it forbidden and that she doesn't is the source of your "paradox".

Clovis e Adri said...

SH (BTW, why did you abandon the AOG alias?),

Thanks for your metacomment.

You may be metaright in general, but in this case I'd say the source of conflict here is another meta: Erp's metadiscourse. Her overemphasis on something trivial (foreigners having no constitutional granted rights) is what tipped me off to wrongly believe she was implying the non-trivial (they shouldn't have rights at all, ever).

erp said...

Clovis, maybe he's mellowed and isn't angry any more. :-)

Barry Meislin said...

To the contrary, he's probably angry as all get out.

Meta-angry.

Meta-seething.

Meta-outraged.

It's just that he's gone straight through and came out the other side. So he's taken it to another dimension, entirely...

...into meta-satori (might one say?).

(If I may assume...though perhaps I assume too much...)

File under: Heavy meta.