Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I can recall from long, long ago an older relative calling World War II "the recent unpleasantness."  It had a clever ironic ring to it that made you wake up to how really awful it was.  Indeed, if you don't know how really awful it was, you have no sense of history.  If you are not old enough to remember the war, an over-exposure to images and facts and figures may do the trick; so put a day aside and immerse yourself in a bit of "recent" history.

The "recent unpleasantness" in Paris is a European capital's 9/11.  A wake-up call, not that any European capital needed one.  And it is having all sorts of unintended consequences here, too.  The governors of many (23 as of this morning) American states have decided to close their borders to Syrian refugees who are trying to escape the self-same bastards that are now targeting Europe.  They don't want to be next, "not on my watch."  And who can blame them?  Because of a few evil bastards, hundreds of thousands of innocents will see their cries for help turned aside.

Well, what can we do?  What should we do?  My "expertise," such as it is, is domestic policy.  But I feel a need to say something about this event and its repercussions.  It is ethically "wrong" to deny the cries for help of so many victims of barbarism.  And it is "stupid" to ignore the possible consequences of doing the right thing.  So, here is a proposal that addresses both issues.  But it is not very well thought out.  And it may not be legal.

The President has proposed letting in 10,000 Syrian refugees to safe harbor in the United States.  Subject each and every one of them to two (2) separate lie detector tests (administered by different security professionals acting apart) to ascertain if they might be a danger to the United States.  If they pass both tests, let them in.  How much will this cost us?  If it costs more than $2 million in total (less than 1c to each of us), there is profiteering going on.  If any refugee seeking asylum here protests the indignity of being tested, they should be deemed suspect and denied entry on the grounds of ingratitude.

Paris, je t'aime.  Vive la France!

Addendum: Wednesday, 11/18/2015
The Republican governors' knee-jerk reaction to refuse Syrian refugees into their states must be premised on the notion that they will arrive here all at once and immediately scatter all over the continental 48, that they will not be properly certified innocent and harmless at their entry into the country, or that their certification will not be adequate.  I don't know exactly (really, I said this is not an area of special expertise) what kind of testing ordinary immigrants, or refugee immigrants, or these Syrian refugee immigrants have to undergo, but I know that they will not just be allowed to walk in and get lost on the crowded streets.  The 10,000 that the President wants to let in will be processed in a year or two years' time, not in a day; so, 30 / day, more or less, surely manageable.  Yes, all will have a long wait.  If you are beginning life anew, surely not a great burden.  My "contribution" to the discussion is the addition of lie detector tests to whatever testing authorities already administer.  Condoms, IUDs, the pill are not perfect safeguards against pregnancy but they are pretty good, they will do.  Our typical vetting processes for refugees, which I understand are pretty extensive, enhanced by two independently administered lie detector tests, should satisfy any rational man (except maybe for Republican governors who need to cater to their electoral base).

Every little political question gets blown up until it becomes a matter of life or death.  Democracy is SO messy!