Columns Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

What was the president really saying last night?

Immigrants from Honduras and Guatemala seeking asylum arrive at the bus station after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on June 21, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. President Trump signed an executive order to end family separations at the border. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Did you watch the President’s speech last night?

If so, then you might have noticed something.

Its main theme was fear. Fear of “them.” Fear of being overrun. Fear of crime. Fear of drugs. Fear of….

Whatever else you might want to say about his speech, whatever other inquiries you might want to make into the veracity of his remarks, that was what was going on.

Pure, unadulterated fear. His speech was a binder bulging with fears.

Fears have a way of becoming pathological. When that happens, they become phobias.

Phobias have a way of migrating into hatred — to the extent that we often confuse phobia with hatred, as in homophobia, Judeophobia…

Oh, right.

Xenophobia. The fear of foreigners/the hatred of foreigners.

So, let’s talk about fear.

Let’s study a passage of Talmud that teaches us about different kinds of fears.

If you have a fear of studying Talmud — Talmudphobia — try to shed it.

At least for a few moments.

The Talmud (Shabbat 77b) tells us there are four kinds of fear (eimah), in which the strong fears the weak:

  • when the scorpion fears the spider;
  • when the elephant fears the mosquito;
  • when the eagle fears the swallow;
  • and when the lion fears the gnat.
  • (there is actually a fifth fear — when a huge sea monster fears a small fish, but you get the idea).

What is going on here?

Let’s take each fear, one at a time.

The scorpion fears the poisonous spider. We can understand why the scorpion would be afraid of the poisonous spider.

Yes, the spider is comparatively small. But, despite its small size, the spider can inflict a mortal wound.

The elephant fears the mosquito. Again, we can understand why the scorpion would be afraid of the spider. But, the elephant has no rational reason to fear the mosquito.

So, why is the elephant afraid of the mosquito? When the mosquito travels up the elephant’s trunk and drives it crazy. The mosquito is, relatively speaking, a mere nuisance — but a painful one.

The eagle fears the sparrow. Again, why?

RASHI, the eleventh century commentator, explains that the sparrow creeps underneath the wings of the eagle and hinders it from spreading its wings — thus preventing it from flying.

When the lion fears the gnat. The lion has nothing to fear from the gnat, right?

Here, again, RASHI has something to teach us. “The gnat might be a small animal, but it makes a loud sound.” Therefore, the lion becomes intimidated.

I submit this mini-Talmud lesson to you so that you can think about your own fears, American fears, and yes, American Jewish fears and Israeli fears.

Jewish fears? There are many, and there have always been many: fear of anti-semitism, fear of anti-Zionism, fear of not being able to make a distinction between the two, fear that the two are actually the same, fear of our demographic shrinkage, fear of assimilation.

In which categories of fears would you locate American Jewish fears? Are we a strong community, and how irrational, therefore, are our fears?

For here is what I have discerned. We have two tribes in America: the fearists, and the non-fearists. Those who love their own fears, and those who want to transcend those fears.

Israeli fears? Fear of international isolation, fear of BDS, fear of our young people protesting Birthright, fear of Palestinian terror, fear of Iran, fear of the internal divisions in Israeli society and political life.

In some cases, these are fears that a strong party has of a weaker party. Our young people protesting Birthright? At the moment, it feels like lion vs. gnat.

In other cases, like Iran — the fear is not irrational.

American fears — of what is happening on our border?

Frankly, I don’t see those fears falling into any Talmudic category of fears. Frankly, I don’t understand those fears — other than good old xenophobia.

That is what I fear — that fear will paralyze our ability to think creatively, compassionately, and communally.

The same is true with the American Jewish community. It has been my experience that when communities allow fear to determine planning, they lose the ability to think expansively.

God has many different names. There is one name of God that we find in Genesis that is particularly odd.

It is Pachad Yitzchak — Isaac’s fear.

It is as if Isaac experienced his momentary fear of his father Abraham’s knife as a moment of divine encounter — and that at least one generation of his descendants also identified that terror with God.

I do know that this is not a great God. Nor is it a sustainable God for our children and grandchildren.

Finally, I would share this quote from the Reform movement’s siddur, Mishkan T’filah:

We pray that we may live — not by our fears, but by our hopes; not by our words, but by our deeds.

What scares me?

People who like to be scared.

 

 

 

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

159 Comments

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  • Its not fear, it is pragmatics. Billions of dollars are spent to apprehend those entering illegally, to house them, feed them, medically evaluate and treat them, monitor them, process them through the legal system, pay for their transportation home if deported, to provide food stamps and other assistance, to educate their children increasing the burden of property taxes, driving down wages in various income sectors, eliminating jobs that could benefit American citizens. In addition some who enter illegally commit crimes that have caused grave injury and death, facilitate the use of illegal drugs that are ruining lives and costing lives and so on and so on. In addition millions if not billions of dollars are taken out of the US economy as money earned is wired home south of the border.

    A hard physical border that prevented crossing into US territory would eliminate the need for billions of dollars for this and allow five very important things:
    1. reasonable immigration – knowing who is here, selecting folks who can actually benefit the US as a whole as well as benefit from being here, who won’t be a drain on the US citizen taxpayer
    2. free up resources to focus on drug smuggling but isolating available entry points
    3. free up dollars for actual assistance to countries that need internal development enabling these countries to become more able to support their own people improving the lives for all their citizens not just those who enter the US illegally.
    4. free up additional funding to help US citizens get back on their feet (like the homeless veteran population for whom mental health and other resources are not sufficiently available)
    5. help reduce the national debt as we are spending more money (and this is part of the reason) than we are taking in even with record tax revenue in recent years.

    The US simply does not have the resource to be the sugar daddy for the world.

  • If it’s fear, and that is bad, why do Pelosi and Schumer have 24-hour protection and security at their homes and offices?

    Why do banks have safes?

    It’s commonsense, and when it suits their political purposes both Pelosi and Schumer, and the late John McCain and Bill Clinton, have talked commonsense.

    Then after getting elected they’ve read from the script you just summarized and done …. nothing at all.

  • Why does Trump not show us his tax forms so we can see what a danger he is to US security with all his business with our enemies?

  • You are right we don’t have the resources to be the sugar daddy of the world. BUT all your other comments are simply wrong.

    IF we don’t spend the resources helping other people’s we do so at our own peril. Many of the problems the folks on our southern border face were caused by American interference. So we OWE those folks something, for our failures, failed policies, corruption, support of corrupts governments, etc.

    The reality is that the numbers seeking asylum here have declined over the last ten years, partially because jobs for unskilled workers can’t be found and social service benefits run out for those seeking asylum–the benefits are there to get them started.

  • You said you don’t see how the American fears fall into any Talmudic category of fears. They all fit perfectly! The “American Fears” that Trump uses so well are all described in the Sermon on The Mount– Blessed are the Weak for they shall inherit the earth. This is exactly what weak, small minded people are afraid of–those that they see as being weaker and worthless (weak, small minded people have to have others they see as being weaker to pick on in order to make themselves feel BIG) might get what they think belongs to them–it is the elephant fearing the mosquito, and the eagle fearing the swallow (that keeps the eagle from spreading its wings and claiming its birth right), and the lion the gnat (that annoys the lion with its constant buzzing–demands for fair treatment, and the scorpion?. Well it thinks it is the BIG tough guy on the block only to discover that there is something tougher that is even smaller.

  • A more generous legal immigration policy and amnesty for the 10 million already here would be a lot cheaper and simpler than devoting the resources equivalent to other nation’s militaries reinforcing the border and chasing people down.

  • We did that 30+ years ago.

    It lead to MORE illegal immigration.

    border – noun

    1 A line separating two countries, administrative divisions, or other areas.

    Eleven million plus individuals in this country illegally indicates we do not actually have a border.

  • “IF we don’t spend the resources helping other people’s we do so at our own peril. Many of the problems the folks on our southern border face were caused by American interference.”

    No, the history of Central and South America is that they were free and clear by the early 19th century and immediately began digging their own holes to climb into.

    Yes, in the late 19th century some Americans took advantage of their corruption, ignorance, and general backwardness, but Americans did not create those problems, and these countries have done little or nothing themselves to correct them.

  • Eleven million illegal immigrants is not a mosquito.

    Your attempt at poetry notwithstanding, it is actually a fairly simple matter to build and maintain borders as numerous countries around the world have shown and continue to show.

  • I don’t like Trump. Never did. Never will. And did not vote for him. (Hillary neither.) That being said, he has made some interesting comments about his wall and why we need it. For example, I was surprised by the number of illegals who try to enter from Mexico every year. Yes, he overstated the number last night but the actual number is much larger than I expected: ” Available Customs and Border Protection data shows a total of 396,579 people were apprehended by the US Border Patrol for fiscal year 2018 at the southwest border, which would mean an average of 1,087 each day — hardly the “thousands” that Trump purports. The numbers differ each month. The highest number of apprehensions was in September, with a daily average of nearly 1,400.”

    And if you check his other “facts”, yes they were overstated but he was not that far off. But what bothers me is that we should be bombing the hell out of the drug dens of South America, the major cause of the immigrant exodus instead of building useless walls !!!

  • I think a lot of people were “surprised” last night. They were expecting a brainless xenophobic rant (because the Libbie Media told them to expect it). So Trump does his speech, and voila!! Common Sense On Camera.

    So now we have the Libbie Media’s greatest fear: that Americans will actually listen to Trump and think for themselves, without first putting on the standard Libbie blinders.

  • There is no need to house the majority of those who cross illegally in detention centers. Most will and do appear for immigration court hearings. Much money could be saved if the current administration stopped its policy of detaining almost everyone.

    Before it was scrapped sometime after 1996, there was a regulation that permitted persons in removal proceedings to apply for employment authorization. Because the people were lawfully employed, they did not drive down wages, because they had to be paid lawful wages.

    It has not been established that immigrants take away jobs from US citizens. Immigrants (and pre-civil rights era, African Americans) have traditionally held jobs that US citizens and white people did not want.

    Immigrants (except for those granted asylum, or those who arrive as refugees, or those who are granted resident status as a resulted of being a victim of domestic abuse) do not qualify do get Food Stamps or other public assistance. Those who have no status are universally unable to receive any type of public assistance.

    There is a consensus among researchers that those who are here without status commit fewer crimes than do those who are here lawfully and that immigrants in general commit fewer crimes than do US citizens. Here is an article that talks about some of the studies that have been done. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/19/two-charts-demolish-the-notion-that-immigrants-here-illegally-commit-more-crime/?utm_term=.afb6c06187b2

    The DOS and the DEA have stated that most drugs enter the US in cars that cross legally at border points, or through airport entries.

    That’s just a bit…..

  • You’re right. I watched Trump, and thought for myself. I have never seen or heard such racial hatred in my life. He is a white supremacist. He really ought to take a look in the mirror. He is one of the most hideous looking people I have ever seen in my entire life. The stuff nightmares are made of! He thinks he’s superior to brown people?

  • “There is no need to house the majority of those who cross illegally in detention centers.”

    Certainly not if we stop the majority of those who cross illegally from crossing illegally.

    “It has not been established that immigrants take away jobs from US citizens.”

    But it HAS been established that illegal aliens are here illegally.

    “The DOS and the DEA have stated that most drugs enter the US in cars that cross legally at border points, or through airport entries.”

    In both cases they were speaking of heroin only.

    Heroin originates in Asia.

    Cocaine originates in Central and South America.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-drugs-are-getting-smuggled-from-south-america-to-the-us-2017-9

  • These are all lies.
    Illegal immigrants are enrolled in public schools, receive state aid, use the ER as a doctor office visit, are paid in cash – so they pay no taxes, drive without insurance – causing bodily and financial harm to innocents and make up 25% of the federal prison population.
    Plus, they they obviously don’t believe in the rule of law.
    BUT, they are potential democrat voters.
    That is what this is really about.
    And that, rabbi; is what I am fearful of. It’s not a brown America; it’s a socialist America.

  • Israel would say otherwise.
    Do you know the us congress just approved $100 million in federal aid to Jordan so that they can build a wall?
    Nancy Pelosi thinks it will work between Syria and Jordan; but not the us and Mexico.
    Interesting.

  • What a load of garbage!

    First of all illegal aliens are not collecting public assistance of any type outside of those services given to anyone to prevent them from being public hazards. They have to work to survive or make a living. They pay into our system far more than they can ever get out of it.

    They certainly aren’t driving down wages. Americans are unwilling to do the jobs people are hiring illegal aliens for. Preferring to collect welfare than do the kind of menial work involved. What really drives down wages is the attacks on organized labor by conservatives.

    Illegal aliens and their communities commit far fewer crimes proportionally than US citizens do on average. They are a far safer community than the people who are hell bent on the government attacking them.

    The wall is a fantasy which will do nothing more than shift the methods illegal aliens enter the country from. $5 Billion + wasted on a useless boondoggle which could go towards our infrastructure and maintaining the health of the nation. Add to that the billions lost in an economy crippled by a government shutdown caused by Trump’s immature petulance.

    1.Conservatives have never been interested in a reasonable immigration policy. It has always been motivated by white supremacy. Keeping people out to keep the demographics of the nation from moving away from a white majority. All of their suggestions actually cripple the nation economically.

    2. Considering how often drugs are smuggled in by tunnel, boat or plane, a wall is an idea which is obsolete before it even gets budgeted

    3. No money is freed up with the wall since it is a money draining boondoggle which can’t even effectively be created. It is money taken away from anything else.

    4, See #3. The wall saves no money but diverts it from where it can be used effectively.

    5. Trump added $1.5T to the national debt with nothing to show for it other than job losses, wage stagnation and diversion of public resources to the detriment of working and middle class. If you gave a crap about national debt you would never go near Donald Trump.

    The US does not need to be wasting billions of dollars on the vanity project of an incompetent leader, just to placate his ignorant and bigoted support base.

    BTW DONALD TRUMP HIRES ILLEGAL ALIENS AND USES FAKE IDS FOR THEM
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/06/politics/trump-bedminster-club-undocumented-workers/index.html

  • Israel has a smaller border, different security concerns and HOSTILE NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES AND A LONG HISTORY OF CROSS BORDER TERRORISM. The wall itself has stopped serving its purpose in Israel as well since the PA has lost funding to keep up the “armed struggle”.

    “Do you know the us congress just approved $100 million in federal aid to Jordan so that they can build a wall?”

    Nope. Provide a link.

  • You cite nothing compared to Alexandra’s use of an outside source. Facts apparently have an anti-trump bias.

    Illegal aliens receive benefits which prevent them from being public hazards. They do no collect welfare, SNAP or other forms of income based public assistance. You lie when you say they are a drain to our economy. Quite the opposite. They are paying far more in to it than they would ever receive from it.

    All of which are saving taxpayers money which would be spent dealing with health and public order problems which would be faced if we denied them access to even those paltry services.

  • Trump lied like a cheap rug.

    US border patrol figures are actually down by over 30% since Trump took office. But he created an additional stressline there by refusing to treat the Central American caravan as a refugee wave. Something all prior presidents would have.

  • Manual labor visas, reducing illegal status (without a criminal record) to stiff fines, an executive branch which wasn’t hostile to due process of asylum claims, and applicant portable employment visas would not only save money, but allow immigrants to contribute more towards the economy.

  • Not even going to bother to click a breitbart link They are not known for their veracity.

    https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/breitbart/
    QUESTIONABLE SOURCE
    A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news.

    A factual search reveals numerous failed fact checks…Overall, we rate Breitbart Questionable based on extreme right wing bias and publication of numerous false claims

    Is Fox News reporting it too? I will consider them an actual news source for this issue.

  • A day later and still no response – for the obvious reason that everyone knows those empty words, like all the others he utters, were just bullsh*t from the orange-tinted mouth of Glorious Leader.

  • The best way to dry up the flow of illegal aliens who either cross the border or overstay a visa is to put the burden and punishment on the employers whether it is a homeowner looking for yard work or housework, the farmer, the construction contractor, or a Fortune 500 company. When these employers pay heavy fines, the cost of deportation and spend some time in jail for owners who are repeat offenders; hiring illegal immigrants will dry up. Require all those who hire a person to determine the individual is a legal resident of the US. If added immigrant labor is needed either on a seasonal basis or permanent basis; then develop a system for legal employment and appropriate visas.

    Develop a system of rapid deportation for those caught here illegally. The wall will prove ineffective and is an insult to humanity just as walls in other parts of the world such as the Berlin Wall or Israeli Wall.

  • Julian of Norwich describes four kinds of fear: fear of fright which suddenly comes to a man through weakness, fear of pain, bodily death and spiritual enemies (both of which can be either positive or negative), a doubtful fear – a doubt that God will be good to us, which is only negative, and a reverent fear of God which is “most gentle and sweet”.

    “Blessed are the weak” is not in the sermon on the mount. Blessed are the poor in spirit (see Isaiah 61 for context), blessed are those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and those who are persecuted because of righteousness.

    I was amazed to learn that “meek” used to mean something very different than it does today. It did not mean “enduring injury with patience and without resentment; deficient in spirit and courage (submissive); or not violent or strong (from Webster’s)”. It apparently used to mean being filled with a quiet strength, like a gentle breeze that moves a sailboat, a calming word to a wild colt being broken, or an antidote that drives out a poison. I like to see the Sermon as a progression for the journey of life. I start by admitting I need saving. I mourn for my sins and the sins of the world. I allow the Holy Spirit to fill my being. I stand up for the poor and broken who have no ability to stand up for themselves. I try to remember the mercy I have been shown and show the same to others. I set my heart only on love. In humility, I work for peace. And if I should suffer for doing right in His name, that is much better than suffering for being a sinner.

    How that relates to the question of immigration – I understand that we should desire for people to come to this country legally. I do not understand wanting to keep the poor, the oppressed and the broken out of the country altogether. These people ARE our neighbors. I am horrified that children are being separated from their parents as a deterrent to make people not want to try to immigrate here. And I am outraged that we allow conditions to exist that would cause children to die from disease.

  • I said read the article linked to Vice that is contained in the Breitbart story.
    You have cited Vice previously.

  • If you wanted to quote Vice here,you would have done so before or now.

    You haven’t actually cited them here.

  • Those initiatives sound very good. They would be useful supplements to the wall.

    The Berlin Wall was actually rather effective, as is the Israeli wall today.

  • I did not click the Breitbart link. If you have the link to the Vice article, give it. Otherwise we can move on.

  • Please believe me, I don’t want a racist for a president. There is no confirmation bias in my comments. When it talks like racist …

  • Xenophobia – fear of foreigners. It’s the reason we feel threatened by immigrants who don’t look like us. The deplorables are acting up again, and Trump is stirring up the xenophobia that lurks in the heart of white Americans – racists who are so hateful and stingy that they refuse to share their milk and honey with ethnic interlopers.

    Except that meme (and Rabbi Salkin’s gloss on it) is wrong – completely, scientifically, and embarrassingly, wrong. A recent study by the trading group Insider Monkey crunched the numbers from two separate surveys gauging the responses of 85,000 people from 61 countries whether they would object to people from other races living next door to them.

    Oddly, the only predominately white country to score among the Top 25 most xenophobic was Russia, which came in at #20. The results were top-heavy with Asian countries, ranging from the Middle East to the Far East. The USA didn’t even make the list.

    Clearly, it’s time to send the world’s refugees to Asia, as they, more than others, need to learn how to be more tolerant of racial and ethnic differences. Also clearly, it’s past time to retire the meme of the fearful and bigoted white American Heartland Dweller, and dump it into the dustbin of “fake news,” where it belongs.

  • Read Matthew 5: 7 Also called the Beatitudes. I did misquote–using the word weak instead of meek!

    You are right about the meaning of meek. It has changed, and meant mild mannered, calm, serene–not a wimp!

    Trump portrays the people on our southern border as criminals and violent people, as people to be feared and THUS this justifies our actions against them. The Talmud and many others, your example of Julian of Norwich, Epictetus a Greek Philosopher, Lao Tzu in the Tao teh Ching, and Confucius and I am sure there are others advise us that those that appear to be weak, unworthy, of no account might just have hidden strengths that those who see themselves as powerful, strong, worthy should fear because they are strengths that they lack and can’t comprehend. The youngest children that have made the trek to our southern border are greater than Trump and his advisors!

  • I just listened to the speech again. It was thoughtful, well reasoned, and compassionate.

    Simply incredulous that anyone could find “racial hatred” or “white supremacy” in it. That just wasn’t there.

  • The Border Patrol Agents, who actually police the actual border, want the wall to be built.
    Why?
    Because they want to “insult humanity?”

  • Yeah, that survey is pretty wonky and largely garbage.

    Most of the countries surveyed do not have significant racial minorities or any history of immigration. They called Serbia the least racist country in Europe. Kind of burying the lede there glossing over their recent history genocide against other classes of people based on traits other than race.

    The president was appealing to bigots and fools. Blaming others for problems he created. Demanding something wholly unreasonable, pointless and costly in exchange for doing his duty as the leader of the country.

  • The same people who want illegal aliens living in fear of ICE are the ones exploiting their labor. They want the underground economy. They also don’t particularly like regulations or enforcement of them which affect large scale businesses in any way. So you are never going to see employment enforcement from conservatives beyond token measures for the news.

    The demand for menial labor and the lack of people in this country willing to do the work brings them here. Our economy is always the driving force here. If you want to really address the issue then we need three things which are rather inexpensive:
    1. Manual labor visas so we can meet the clear labor demands our country is making here
    2. Turning illegal status into a stiff fine (in the absence of a criminal history). You pay, you stay.
    3. Treating asylum/refugee claims seriously.

    BTW Trump has no problems hiring illegal aliens and he wants them in fear so they are cheaper to hire.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/immigration-reform/trump-s-new-jersey-golf-club-employs-undocumented-immigrants-women-n945056

  • You seriously misquoted it.

    The Greek word so poorly translated in many English versions as “meek” is actually “praus”, for which there is no exact English equivalent. It can mean “docile”, “tame”, “gentle” “reserved”, -not in the sense of weakness – but rather in the sense that the Greeks could use it for a well trained war horse (certainly not an image of weakness!). The English “meek” lacks this combination of gentleness/control and strength, and leads many astray.

  • Nope. He was engaging in hysterical and dishonest appeals. Trying to paint people from Latin America as a criminal peril which must be stopped. White supremacists consider him their own.

  • Their union wanted it because morale is at an all time low and hard line policies tend to get them riled up.

  • Hardly. He has been engaging in hysterics and inferring all people from there are criminals and gang members. Its not the first time he has done that and won’t be the last. Pointing out individual examples and pretending they represent the entire group. Like when bigots point to the race or ethnicity of a criminal offender.

    His support base includes white supremacists and he frequently has appealed to them in public statements,

  • You’re really reaching for an alternate explanation. The real (and simple) answer is that they want the wall because they know from hard experience that walls work, and will help make their job easier to do.

  • Most of the countries surveyed do not have significant racial minorities or any history of immigration.”

    Are you kidding? India, Lebanon, Egypt and the Phillipines (numbers 1, 2, 5 & 6 on the list) have all either experienced waves of foreign immigration, or harbor despised minorities (or dueling religions) or both.

    Your response is not EVEN wonky… but it IS largely garbage.

  • Unless you can explain how the country with the most extensive history of genocide in Europe in the last generation can come in as one of the least racist countries in the world, your list was wonky garbage.

  • How is that “better?” Because it’s a deflection? I asked you why the Border Patrol Agents want the wall built — and you offer me the opinions of a completely different set of Americans. Who knows why they feel the way they do (I can think of several reasons), but the Agents want the wall because they know from hard experience that walls work, and will help make their job easier to do

  • Because Serbia’s genocide was religious, not racial or ethnic.
    And I’m taking it that you have no “actual evidence in hand” — otherwise your would have provided it.

  • It is more proof that the wall is not particularly popular for those affected by it. The Border Patrol Agents Union is not a particularly objective group nor actually a gauge of the desires for its members. Actual agents weren’t asked.

  • And you’re continuing to cast your refusal to answer my question as some kind of “point-making.” No wonder you “win” so many arguments — in your own mind. By all means, continue to pile up the fantasy trophies.

  • But right on target for “racism”…which, after all, was the subject of the article, and the specific charge leveled against the wall-wanters.

  • Nope. A faulty survey used in opposition to fairly clear calls of bigotry and hysteria. A waste of time here.

  • You use a faulty survey to prove a point and it failed miserably and wasted our time. It was hardly the refutation of the bigoted hysterical appeals made by our white supremacist president.

  • Kool-aid drinkers tend to believe that. There is no compassion, reason, or good intentions in Donald Trump. Life is a zero sum game for him. What can I say, you voted for a man who spewed racism. What does that make you?

  • He said a LOT MORE to justify physically reinforcing the border.

    He did NOT suggest taking ANY actions against them in their home countries.

    The only people who would be impacted by a wall would be people who are attempting to commit illegal actions.

  • You’ve made two attempts to specify the “fault” so far — and come up short both times. Want to go for three fails?

  • Two attempts on your part to identify the alleged “methodological flaws” — both failures, and both shown to be such. The evidence stands.

  • Bingo — three it is!
    Want to know where you can reliably find “relevance”? It’s in the eye of the beholder.

  • LOL! BTW, have you ever actually looked at that lawandcrime website that Tater keeps citing? It’s a complete sewer of vulgarity and cluelessness, full of people exactly on Tater’s level.

    Any citation to that mess is nothing but a plus to the opposition.

  • See, I don’t want it to be there. I do not want a racist president. It started with birtherism and continues, and not very subtly.

  • the article that you kindly referenced at “business insider” states :

    “Much of that traffic eventually makes landfall, and then it’s “going pretty easily through Mexico and … almost entirely crossing the land border” in the US, said Adam Isacson, senior associate for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America.

    “Some of it may take a jump out into the eastern Pacific and go up the coast of California in a panga boat or something,” Isacson told Business Insider, “but … this is almost all overland.”

    so in the case of cocaine they were speaking of coming in cars through the mexican border points .

  • It was already “there” in their pre-existing image of him. Starting from within their own minds, and looking for Donald Trump’s “racism,” they don’t have far to go. It’s a disinformation feedback loop, and because of that, is actually an easy bubble to maintain — as long as you can guard it from encountering the sharp prickles of Reality.

  • Exactly. It could merit a chapter all by itself in that popular book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”.

  • The Berlin wall in key places was a double fence, mined and guarded by guys with machine guns 24/7. Not a good comparison.

  • There is nothing xenophobic about recognizing the negative effects of the massive numbers of undocumented aliens on state and local resources, crime (ANY crime, much less the disproportionate number of crimes both violent and in total if the rest of the country is anything like Arizona), and on jobs for some of those born here or here legally.

    But for too many businesses and the Democratic Party, illegal immigration is like the sugar quota—who cares what impact it has on the country as a whole, so long as it benefits or has the support of our particular constituents?

  • Usually ’round these parts where most people see religious news, some people see an opportunity to broadcast an anti-religious message, a pro-LGBT lobby message, or both.

    On this article, however, it is irrelevant since the religious content is zip and the “Jeffrey K. Salkin parrots the Democratic party line” is the message.

  • That is why nothing gets done. We did one amnesty

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Reform_and_Control_Act_of_1986

    and Congress failed to follow up with any actions to prevent more illegal aliens.

    How bad is it and how dishonest are the folks in Congress? Here is the late John McCain, a “Republican”,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0lwusMxiHc

    running in 2010.

    Guess how he voted AFTER getting reelected?

    Right.

    The American public has gotten sick and tired of being lied to.

  • They have to cry racism because they can’t sell any of their other ideas on the merits. It’s a tired and ragged card, to be sure, but it’s the only little offering they have left.

  • So you are annoyed about the accusation of racism, but not refuting or denying it. Its easy to cry bigotry when Trump acts in deliberately bigoted ways. Its called being honest. There is a reason white supremacists flock to support him. He appeals to them directly.

  • People looking for Trump’s racism don’t have far to go because it is so obvious. Hence avowed racists flock to support and endorse him. A man who called Neo-nazis, “very fine people”.

  • I’m not annoyed by it in the least. I find it funny, in a pitiable sort of way, to see so-called progressives digging their own graves with it.

  • Apparently you missed the point of my observation. Was it too subtle for you? Actually, it’s hard to tell whether you were attempting a deliberate deflection or if you were genuinely confused. But for your benefit, here’s the point again, desubtle-ized and unconfused:

    “STARTING FROM WITHIN THEIR OWN MINDS…they don’t have far to go” because the “racism” they find is also within their own minds. Both the searching and the finding are happening in the same place. That’s why it’s so easy to sustain the illusion; the circuit of Trump-hatred is complete – from beginning to end – within your own subjectivity. The only thing that can interrupt that energy-flow is an intrusive dose of Reality.

  • LOL! Still trying to pretend racism is just a figment of the imagination of others. Showing more concern for the accusation than actually bothering to address it reasonably. Pure deflection and avoidance.

    I see nothing in your rather dishonest rant indicating that refutes such accusations. Only that you are thin skinned about reading about them. Its not a rational argument here. Calling someone a racist typically is an apt and honest description of their positions.

    In this case, the use of demonizing language, the panicky appeal here and the employment of well worn arguments used by white supremacists for draconian immigration measures which are over a century old.

    Its not merely the perception of bigotry here, its the reality and expression of it.

  • Or border walls.

    Heartened by the overwhelming support of fellow Americans who have donated over $20 million to the viral GoFundMe campaign “We the People Will Fund the Wall,” war hero and triple-amputee veteran Brian Kolfage announced the launch of a 501(c)4 called “We Build the Wall, Inc.” which will fund the private construction of a wall along the United States’ Southern Border.

    Kolfage launched “Fund the Wall” on December 17th, and so far, the campaign has raised over $20 million from more than 330,000 American patriots across the country. “Better equipped than our own federal government, we have made significant progress in less than a month, having begun extensive due diligence and commenced feasibility studies,” Kolfage commented.

    “We are already taking action on identifying the most densely crossed areas of the border, soliciting affected landowners along the Southern border, and ascertaining the willingness of border landowners to provide no or low-cost easements on their property for wall construction.”

    “We Build the Wall” has assembled a board of directors led by Kolfage and engaged an impressive team of advisors to provide critical guidance on the project’s legal, engineering, contracting, environmental, accounting, maintenance, and real estate issues and serve on the advisory board and or the construction, finance and or audit committees.

    The board of directors is a cornucopia of crackpottery: Former Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, former Sheriff David Clarke, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, and others.

    From a message posted today in an update on the GoFundMe page:

    The federal government won’t be able to accept our donations anytime soon. We are better equipped than our own government to use the donated funds to build an actual wall on the southern border. When I created this fundraiser, I said if we did not reach our goal we will refund donors. I am honoring that commitment today.

    We will promptly refund your donation unless you tell us you approve our new plan for action. I WANT TO BUILD THE WALL! You MUST tell GoFundMe you still want to Build the Wall or your contribution will not be included in this historic project.

    And in very related news just out:

    The veteran who set up the GoFundMe fundraiser for President Trump’s border wall allegedly pocketed money meant for wounded veterans in the past, according to a new BuzzFeed News investigation.

    Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee and Purple Heart recipient, reportedly previously spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign that raised thousands of dollars for an effort to mentor veterans at military hospitals. Representatives for the centers told BuzzFeed News that they don’t have record of Kolfage working with veterans at their facilities.

  • Of course you are annoyed at being called a bigot and demonstrating the truth of such accusations. Its just tough to admit to that in public. 🙂

  • “The board of directors is a cornucopia of crackpottery: Former Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, former Sheriff David Clarke, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, and others.”

    One of which can buy and sell you, and the other three of which unlike yourself served as elected officials.

    Now for crackpottery I would look at Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, California, who “alerted” city residents to imminent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in February, 2018.

    https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/02/26/oakland-mayor-warning-people-immigration-sweeps/

    “The veteran who set up the GoFundMe fundraiser for President Trump’s border wall allegedly pocketed money meant for wounded veterans in the past, according to a new BuzzFeed News investigation.”

    Allegedly?

    No indictment?

    No trial?

    No conviction?

    “Representatives for the centers ….”.

    Names of centers?

    Names of representatives?

    Military hospitals DO NOT hand out that sort of information without a FOIA request.

  • LOL! Sorry Tater, but no, I’m not. Spew away with my blessing; you’re hastening your ideology’s own demise and that’s a very good thing.

  • You just support legalized discrimination, advocate malicious actions and attitudes towards certain classes of people and regularly engage in snide stereotypical attacks. Whatevs. Have a nice weekend.

  • If Spuddie Laughs Out Loud and no one pays attention, does it make a sound?

    BTW, your rebuke of my ”demonizing language” is hilarious in light of the scurrilous terms you routinely use to characterize your rhetorical opponents.

    But I can’t accuse you of hypocrisy. That takes a level of self-awareness allowing you to understand the contradiction between preaching and practice. To underdeveloped thinkers, it is perfectly legitimate to attack others for what they themselves are doing because they are “right” and the others are “wrong.” That’s the closed-circuit of prejudice operating once again – beginning and ending in the same place. One labors to imagine how it is even possible to break through that level of self-unconsciousness

  • It’s not your demonizing language I am referring to. It’s that if the president and pretty much everyone dumb enough to support his little planned boondoggle and temper tantrums here.

  • In that case, my comments on your lack of hypocrisy stand – “in light of the scurrilous terms you routinely use to characterize your rhetorical opponents.”

  • Proud Boys, White Supremacists, KKK, all of these groups have said the Republican Party now is the closest political party with their ideology & where they feel comfortable belonging. David Duke ex-Klan Leader was one of the first to endorse Trump.

    It’s safe to say, your concerns about accusations of racism are just cheap denial.

  • Do you know was is really ROFL laughing? Ad hominems!
    You can do the math. A 150 foot roll of 12 inch wide chicken wire costs $33. We’re give ourselves a 50% discount because we’re going to buy all of the chicken wire in the world.
    The length of the US border is roughly 10 million feet. That’s 67,000 rolls, costing $1.067 MILLION. But that’s only 12 inches tall. We’re going to need at least 8 feet tall to stop the average abuela from pole vaulting over. That’s $8.5 Million. Just for chicken wire 8 feet tall. It doesn’t include the poles, the labor, the transportation, or anything else.
    Your hero has asked for 5 BILLION. Even allowing for his usual keen business sense, that’s probably not enough money. $20 million is 1/5 of 1% of the way. But this guy is sure he’s going to get there. Because his donors are just too gullible to go down to Home depot.

  • From your protected subjective space, it’s “safe to say” almost anything, including calling your opponents “racists,” “bigots,” and “evil.” Your closed-circuit of prejudice is not going to be disrupted by the intrusion of actual facts – like a list of extremist thinkers and movements attracted by the Democrats’ lurch to the radical Left.

    But here’s the point: politics in general is becoming both more passionate and more polarized, an intensity that distorts the political landscape. Mainstream political positions are generating (and attracting) extremist versions of themselves at the far reaches of both wings of the divide. That’s what’s happening, and your attempt to taint mainstream voters with the stain of the outliers’ extremism is all too typical of Progressive thinking, and – also typically – is another fail.

  • That was a rather triggered response.

    Sorry dude. When someone is calling you a racist there is generally going to be a good reason for it. Your hurt feelings do not change that.

  • “Do you know was is really ROFL laughing? Ad hominems!”

    Then you must spend your time reading your own posts when you’re feeling down.

    “Your hero has asked for 5 BILLION.”

    Okay. That’s about 7% of this year’s DHS budget:

    https://www.dhs.gov/publication/fy-2018-budget-brief

    It’s a one-time shot, just like building the Pentagon, and then it’s all about maintenance.

    It frees up vast resources currently tied up patrolling the unguarded wide-open border, housing and feeding apprehended illegal aliens, and law enforcement trying to find them dispersed across the USA.

    In fact, it looks like a bargain.

  • “When someone is calling you a racist there is generally going to be a good reason for it.”

    Do you ever listen to yourself?
    An accusation carries an automatic “guilty” verdict.

    That’s the same way of (un)thinking that brought us the Kavanaugh debacle.
    But you’re not a female victim, so… this time, we don’t “have to” believe you – and I don’t.

  • Healthy fear makes us pause, slow down to gain a sense of the surroundings. Healthy fear is a survival tool. Healthy fear is me using my sense of my own fear to make decisions. Unhealthy is allowing someone else to use my fears as a gateway into my senses and decisions. Pleasure can be used the same way. Fear and pleasure act like instincts, values like trust and humility offset those instincts. Learning to combine the two well help for better decision make at the speed life.

    I think people rely on instincts more than values to make decisions. We rationalize decisions after the fact with values. We deceive ourselves so we become more susceptible to deception.

  • BTW…also funny? It looks like GoFundMe is refunding the money to the marks believers patriots.

  • Border Patrol union deletes 2012 anti-border wall web page that argued walls waste taxpayer money
    https://boingboing.net/2019/01/11/border-patrol-union-deleted-ol.html?_ga=2.239309955.1417833301.1547330957-1773295871.1535857934

    What they were saying in 2012
    ““Walls and fences are temporary solutions that focus on the symptom (illegal immigration) rather than the problem (employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens),” the now-deleted page says.”

  • Jim accosta would say otherwise.
    Build the wall.
    Improve technology.
    Hire more agents.
    Inform foreign governments that only LEGAL entry will be allowed.
    end Catch and release.
    Mandate E-verify.
    Cut off federal aid to anti- American sanctuary cities.
    There… fixed it.

  • Jim Acosta is not an expert on the subject. The border patrol agents union opposed a wall, until it was convenient for them to support one. As noted in my prior link. Then they tries to cover up their change of position. As if it never existed.

    Donald Trump hires illegal aliens in his own business and ignores or violates laws meant to verify their status.
    https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/dec/6/donald-trump-companies-ignoring-e-verify-hiring-il/

    Conservatives waste money and resources trying to harass menial workers rather than sign off on immigration reform such as manual labor visas, less draconian penalties for illegal status, or even going after employers who hire them. White supremacist goals of controlling demographic chane inform the entire discussion for conservatives.

    The wall is stupid, wasteful, and pointless. There is no rational argument for it. Our president is a whinybaby willing to destroy our country in order to get his way. His only negotiation tool is hostage taking. He’s a terrorist.

  • Unions change their mind all the time. Good for them / they realized an issue and adjusted their position.
    Finally, union dues that matter.

  • Erasing prior positions as if they never happened is the sort of thing one expects from totalitarian functionaries. Very Stalinesque. The major difference being that 6 years later, Border patrol actually had fewer people detained on average. By about 25% less. Somehow it goes from pointless to urgent when they were dealing with fewer people?

    It is purely an effort to ingratiate themselves with the Manbaby in Chief.

    “Finally, union dues that matter.”

    So the union who you would cite for primary support here are opportunistic liars by your own admission. Thank you for making clear how ridiculous your position here is.

  • You’re the big union girl. You should support them.
    Oh, I guess the only unions you support are the ones that put American companies out of business.

  • So you support lying when it suits your purpose. Good to know there is no justification for the wall based on rational appeals or common sense here. Its just about having a tantrum at the expense of nearly a million people, the national economy and any notion of responsible leadership.

    You support a m0r0n who wants something too stupid to contemplate. At this point someone should just tell President Manbaby, they just approved a a super-duper invisible force field at the border.

  • The great democrat Barbara Jordan spelled it out so clearly about 20 years ago when democrats cared about the country instead of bringing in illegals to seal their grip on power.

  • Or not. People who lie about illegal aliens voting, like yourself, really have nothing of value to say on the subject. Especially since such positions come right out of white supremacist sources.

    Her views on immigration were pretty even wrong back then. “Strengthening legal immigration” in the last generation has amounted to making employment visas into exploitation rather than useful to the nation (creating illegal aliens who were formerly legal ones) and ignoring the growth of foreign investment in this country and entreprenurial growth.

  • “People who lie about illegal aliens voting, like yourself, really have nothing of value to say on the subject. Especially since such positions come right out of white supremacist sources.”

    Name one.

  • Democrats want illegals – remove the legal/illegal question from the upcoming census. THis will boost the populations for California, New York and Texas. Three large states that stand to gain federal monsey by large populations. Also, illegals will vote Democratic.
    The wall will help funnel people to legal entry points. I’m in favor of a DMZ along the southern border with deadly force used on unauthorized presence in the zone.
    National Debt!!!!! The Democrats always find money for projects that they are in favor of. And Congress seems incapable of making a budget and give us continuing resolutions. How is this Trumps fault?
    Sir, using the bigoted support base makes me want to ask why are you calling me bigoted? I only want people in this country that have entered legally.
    And something you didn’t suggest – the U.S. needs a competent and effective guest worker program that gives some protection to migrant workers and holds the employers accountable, so this would be a win – win situation.

    Would you be interested in paying for all of the emergency room visits by illegals for one year? How about paying for all of the special education teachers or English as a Second Language teachers, or all of the official documents and services across the country in other than English, how about all the funds to support babies born in this country by illegal mothers, snap, school lunch program …….. Walls work. Ask Israel. Ask San Diego!

  • More Gish gallop nonsense

    A census has always counted all people, not just citizens. Starting from those who were considered chattel property at the nation’s inception.

    Republicans want an incorrect and skewed census. Election fraud is their thing (as seen in NC in its most blatant form)

    Illegals aren’t voting in any numbers. Election fraud is always more rumor then truth. That is a flat out lie proven over and over again.

    The wall is a useless boondoggle which won’t ever get completed or work as intended.

    Conservatives have no business talking about national debt after adding $1.5Trillion to it at the expense of everyone who works for a living. With absolutely nothing to show for it.

    As for the bigoted support base, yes they are. It’s never really about immigration. They can’t even be bothered to learn about the system they are talking about. It’s about harassing people of color and trying to keep the nation majority white.

    Trump hires illegal aliens. His policies allow employers to exploit them. He has no interest in actually going after employers.

    Conservatives will never sign off on immigration reform as long as it is convenient to demonize immigrants and make bigoted appeals for votes.

    You want to attack public assistance to natural born US citizens for its own sake. The cost of public hazards from treating them as badly as you want is far more than the cost of the benefits. You are a hateful bigoted fool who wants to harm others for amusement.

    Plenty of illegal immigrants and citizens don’t speak English as their first language. They gave every right to know what the government demands of them in an intelligible manner. They have the same right to access of information from government as you do. Your bigotry against all immigrants is obvious here. You want second class citizens.

    Lastly the 14th amendment is just fine. It is the basis of modern civil liberties in this country. Citizenship by birth is what makes our immigration system work.

    You want to give government the power to strip the citizenship of people born here because you despise their parents. That is short sighted bigoted garbage. It opens the government declaring anyone as non people without rights.

    How stupid are you? That kind of power is pure Nazi level crap.