Zoolander and what it would have taken to get Democrats to support a border wall

President Biden has ostentatiously deported, contrary to international law, at least a small percentage of the Haitians who walked across the river in Texas. This has been done in a manner far more aggressive than anything Donald Trump ever did and thus has revealed that a Democrat-ruled U.S. will roll out the welcome mat for almost anyone, but not absolutely everyone.

In light of this new information, i.e., that there are some migrants whom the Democrats will not welcome, I wonder if the best way to understand the 2016-2020 conflict between Trump and the Democrats regarding the border wall is by studying the Derek Zoolander versus Hansel conflict:

  • Derek Zoolander: “And all he had to do was turn left. [to win the walk-off]”
  • Matilda: “What do you mean?”
  • Derek Zoolander: “I’m not an ambi-turner. It’s a problem I had since I was a baby. I can’t turn left.”
  • Matilda: “Derek, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who can’t turn…I mean, there have got to be some people out there just like you who can’t…turn…turn…left.”

Is it fair to say that all Donald Trump would have had to do to get Democrats in Congress to fund his border wall was find some Black people who would agree to show up on the southern banks of the Rio Grande?


  • “‘They treated us like animals’: Haitians angry and in despair at being deported from US” (Guardian): The Biden administration’s decision to deport thousands of Haitians under such circumstances drew opprobrium around the world, and prompted the US envoy to Haiti to resign in protest. Haiti is “a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life”, he wrote in his resignation letter. “Surging migration to our borders will only grow as we add to Haiti’s unacceptable misery.” Last week, the world was shocked by images of police officers on horseback charging at desperate Haitian migrants near a camp of 12,000, set up under the Del Río-Ciudad Acuña International Bridge. Delva was on his way to buy food and water for his family when the cavalry charge sent him and dozens of his compatriots running in a frenzy. “We were rounded up like cattle and shackled like criminals,” he said, having spent the six-hour flight from San Antonio with his hands and legs tied. US authorities were so slapdash in their rapid deportation of the migrants that they also swept up an Angolan man who had never set foot in Haiti. “I told them I am not Haitian,” said Belone Mpembele, as he emerged, dazed, from the terminal. “But they didn’t listen.” New arrivals each received about $50 in cash as well a hygiene kit including toilet paper, soap and toothbrushes, emblazoned with the USAID logo and slogan: “A gift from the American people.”
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U.S. promotion of shutdowns and coronapanic results in migration boom

From today’s Wall Street Journal: “Latin American Migration, Once Limited to a Few Countries, Turns Into a Mass Exodus; Haitian standoff in Texas reflects broader mix of nationalities fleeing pandemic-hobbled economies from around the hemisphere.” (worth a look just for the photos)

Let’s roll back the clock to March 2020. The first country hit by SARS-CoV-2 infection was China, a country and society obsessed with protecting human life at all costs (where else do you see signs all over the subway system on how to avoid injury on escalators, etc.?). Ignoring established WHO advice on pandemics, the Chinese decided to attack the respiratory virus with strict lockdowns. The typical U.S. state governor copied this idea with about the same level of success that you see in the documentary American Factory, where an attempt is made in Ohio to produce automotive glass with the same quality and attention to detail that has been achieved in China. The U.S. states that were the most aggressive with lockdowns, mask orders, and other disruptions nearly all ended up with higher COVID-19-tagged death rates than give-the-finger-to-the-virus-sweep-up-and-move-on Sweden. Maybe nobody got infected in the shut-for-a-year K-12 schools, but adults could meet and mingle at bars, on Tinder, and while shopping for “essential” alcohol and marijuana in Massachusetts (there was no Chinese model for how to run a marijuana store during a respiratory virus pandemic because marijuana is illegal in China).

At the end of March 2020, I asked here ““For every saved American [via shutdown], though, aren’t we guaranteed to cause more than one death in a poor country?” Without the U.S. as a trade, tourism, and travel partner for Latin America, during the first 18 months (so far) of 14 days to flatten the curve, what actually happened? WSJ:

The broad wave includes single mothers from Ecuador, Nicaraguan teenagers and farm laborers in Chile. Many cite the same reasons for uprooting their lives and heading north: economic hits from the pandemic that cost jobs and income, the allure of a booming U.S. economy and the belief that President Biden’s administration would welcome them.

Struggling to put food on the table after the pandemic closed her small coffee business, Mayra Aguilar sold her car and left her home in Ecuador’s southern Andes last month, hoping for a better life in the United States.

Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole suffered the world’s steepest economic contraction last year, and the region’s biggest decline since the Great Depression, according to the International Monetary Fund. The pandemic cost some 26 million jobs.

Earlier this year, Yanisleidys Diaz began her trek to the U.S. after she was told she had to leave Chile in 180 days. The 39-year-old single mother from Cuba arrived in Chile in 2019 with her two sons, seeking informal work because they lacked a work permit. Her oldest boy, 17-year-old Leodan Riveros, worked construction and as a fruit picker at a farm, earning less than minimum wage.

They struggled to make ends meet even before the pandemic. Then Ms. Diaz said she was notified by the government that they could no longer stay without residency. They sold their furniture and clothes to pay for five bus rides to cross Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

The U.S. is not entirely to blame for other countries failing to follow the Swedish “experiment” (doing what humans have been doing for millions of years is an “experiment” while trying something that has never been tried before and for which no data exist is “following the science”), of course, but I think it is fair to say that we’re reaping what we sowed. As with our wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we went into lockdowns with no exit strategy and it didn’t occur to us that other nations might not have the ability to print money indefinitely while people cowered in place rather than work and study.

We are continuing our economic war against neighbors in this hemisphere, e.g., via telling Americans not to travel and/or making travel onerous (testing requirements, prison ship atmosphere on commercial airliners (mask orders, threats of fines if mask order is not complied with strictly and completely, etc.)). Is there any number of desperate migrants who show up on our border that would convince us that this isn’t a war worth fighting? (If we have 150,000 daily positive PCR tests (“cases”), that means we have roughly 1 million Americans who are infected and contagious at any one time, right? (not everyone who is infected will get tested and people who are infected will be contagious for several days) Why do we then require Americans to get a COVID-19 test as a condition of returning from a vacation in the Caribbean? Our theory is that 1 million coronaplagued people is bad, but 1,000,002 coronaplagued people is an out-of-control situation? Same question for European visitors! If we have 1 million residents incubating SARS-CoV-2, why does it matter if 6 more show up on Lufthansa?)


  • If All Lives Have Equal Value, why does Bill Gates support shutting down the U.S. economy? (March 28, 2020), in which I asked “For every saved American [via shutdown], though, aren’t we guaranteed to cause more than one death in a poor country? The U.S. is 15 percent of the world economy. Our shutdown is going to make us poorer so we’ll buy less from the world’s poorest countries. People in those poorest of countries who were at a subsistence standard of living in 2019 are going to be without sufficient funds for food, shelter, and medicine in 2020. Even citizens of medium-income countries, e.g., those who work in industries that are tied to trade with the U.S., might be unable to afford previously affordable life-saving medical interventions. … It has proven to be an interesting window into the logic of the American Righteous. Planet Earth is exquisitely interconnected such that bringing a reusable shopping bag to the Columbus Circle Whole Foods will stop global warming and thus keep the seas from inundating Jakarta. On the other hand, we can stop trading with a country where people are living on $2/day and there will be no adverse consequences for those people.”
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Why are we deporting anyone to Haiti?

On May 22, 2021, the Biden Administration decided that nobody could be sent back to Haiti (DHS.gov):

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a new 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This new TPS designation enables Haitian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) currently residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.

Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home.”

When did this temporary government program start?

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano initially designated Haiti for TPS in January 2010 based on extraordinary and temporary conditions within the country, specifically the effects of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. In 2011, Haiti’s designation was extended, and the country was also redesignated for TPS at the same time. Haiti’s designation was subsequently extended again for 18 months in 2013 and 2015, and for an additional six months in 2017.

In January 2018, a Federal Register notice announced termination of Haiti’s TPS designation effective July 22, 2019. Four separate lawsuits challenged that termination. Due to court injunctions and other rulings, TPS for Haiti remains in effect pending case outcomes.

(Proof of the adage that “nothing is more permanent than a temporary government program”?)

The New York Times tells us that Haitians who arrived last week are being deported. Haiti is safe for them. But Haitians who arrived prior to July 29 will find that Haiti is unsafe. Thus, they can stay and enjoy a lifetime of means-tested housing, Medicaid, SNAP/EBT, and Obamaphone (none of which is “welfare” because these are non-cash benefits):

Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said on Monday that while the United States has extended protection for Haitians who had arrived in the country before July 29, those who arrive now are not covered.

Once [Aminadel Glezil] was on an airport shuttle, heading to a plane, he realized he was being deported, he said, and began to protest that he had never seen an immigration official and had no deportation order. He said he was beaten by officers and handcuffed for the flight.

“I couldn’t believe a powerful country like the U.S. would treat us that way,” he said.

Many of the migrants said they spent their life’s savings on the arduous trip, on foot and by bus, to the United States.

Some described the long march across a stretch of jungle along the border between Panama and Colombia called the Darien Gap, saying they stumbled past the cadavers of fellow travelers.

Despite receiving billions of dollars in reconstruction aid after a devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti is a dangerous and politically turbulent country.

Armed gangs control many areas. Poverty and hunger are rising. The country’s few institutions are so underfunded as to seem meaningless, and its Parliament, with only eleven elected officials still in office, was stunned this summer by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

If it is our moral duty to accept Haitians who arrived prior to July 29, and provide them with 3 or 4 generations of what was formerly called “welfare”, why don’t we have any duty to provide residence and citizenship to those who arrived after July 29? If we don’t have a moral duty to Haitians who walked into Texas after July 29, why do we have any duty to continue to house, feed, and provide health care to those who arrived before July 29?

Separately, how are any Haitians being deported? If they say that they’re being attacked at home, they can apply for asylum as domestic violence survivors. If they say that they identify as LGBQTIA+, they can apply for asylum on the grounds that their neighbors back home in Haiti are anti-LGBTQIA+ (“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Haiti may face social and legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents … Public opinion tends to be opposed to LGBT rights, which is why LGBT people are not protected from discrimination, are not included in hate crimes laws and households headed by same-sex couples do not have any of the legal rights given to married couples.” — Wikipedia). They can claim that gangs back in Haiti will kill them if they show up. At a minimum, they should be entitled to a multi-year process of hearings, etc. Assuming that Haitians do any research at all into U.S. asylum procedure, how are we able to just round people up and put them on a chartered airliner without hearing their asylum tale?

(A friend of a friend has been extracting people from Afghanistan and delivering them into the U.S. refugee/asylum system. He advises all of the asylum-seekers to claim LGBTQIA+ orientation as the reason that they can’t live among fellow devout Muslims. Note that this doesn’t always work. My friend who observed the drama of Au pair to green card later employed a Ukrainian au pair who tried the asylum gambit by claiming that she was being targeted by the police for going to a Pride rally and that she was herself LGBTQIA+. This was ultimately unsuccessful due to Ukraine not having any laws against LGBTQIA+ sexual activity.)

Finally, if Biden is deporting Haitians into a society that his own administration says is “experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic”, how does that make him better than Donald Trump? Is the argument that Trump deported migrants in economy seats while Biden is deporting migrants in First Class?

So many questions! I hope readers can enlighten me.


  • “U.S. expulsions of Haitians may violate international law – UN refugee boss” (Reuters): The mass expulsion of Haitians from the United States without screening for their protection needs may contravene international law and constitute forced returns, the United Nations’ top refugee official Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday. He urged the United States to lift its Title 42 health-related restrictions in place since March 2020, saying they “deny most people arriving at the southwest U.S. land border any opportunity to request asylum”. “The summary, mass expulsions of individuals currently under way under the Title 42 authority, without screening for protection needs, is inconsistent with international norms and may constitute refoulement,” Grandi said in the Geneva-based agency’s strongest statement since the crisis began. … “We are disturbed by the images that we have seen and by the fact that we have seen all these migrants and refugees and asylum-seekers in transport to Port-au-Prince,” U.N. human rights spokesperson Marta Hurtado told a briefing in Geneva. “We are seriously concerned by the fact that it appears there have not been any individual assessments of the cases … and that therefore maybe some of these people have not received the protection that they needed.” … “While some people arriving at the border may not be refugees, anyone who … claims to have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their country of origin – they should have access to asylum and to have their claim assessed before being subjected to expulsion or deportation,” U.N. refugee agency spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told the briefing.
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Why do asylum-seekers from Haiti have to be rugged enough to survive under a bridge in order to live in the U.S.?

We accept asylum-seekers because it is our moral duty, or so we are informed. Yet, as a practical matter, most of the people who can request asylum are those who are physically tough enough to travel to our southern border and then live under a bridge for a while. See “Thousands of Migrants Huddle in Squalid Conditions Under Texas Bridge” (NYT, 9/16/2021):

The temporary camp in Del Rio has grown with staggering speed in recent days during a massive surge in migration that has overwhelmed the authorities.

The U.S. Border Patrol said that more than 9,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti, were being held in a temporary staging area under the Del Rio International Bridge as agents worked as quickly as they could to process them.

The temporary camp has grown with staggering speed in recent days, from just a few hundred people earlier in the week. The authorities and city officials said they expected thousands more to cross the ankle-deep river between Mexico and Del Rio in coming days.

The Southwest border has been inundated in recent months with a surge in unauthorized crossings not seen in more than two decades. More than 200,000 people crossed last month, bringing the total this fiscal year to more than 1.5 million.

The vast majority of those who arrived appeared to be fleeing Haiti, the Caribbean country still reeling from a series of natural disasters and the assassination in July of its president, Jovenel Moïse, local officials said.

If people have the right to live in the U.S. because they formerly lived in Haiti (incorrectly characterized as a less than awesome place by Donald Trump), isn’t it our moral duty to send Airbus A380s every hour to Toussaint Louverture International Airport and bring 900 people, potentially elderly and infirm, to IAD, SFO, ORD, LAX, and other airports in the U.S. that are near Americans who express a sincere desire to help migrants (e.g., with lawn signs)?

From Labadee port guide, an image of the hardship that I witnessed first-hand in Haiti. A toothbrush shortage leads to unorthodox methods of dental hygiene:

We were able to flee:

More seriously… why not an airlift of anyone from Haiti who wants to request asylum? If even one Haitian has a moral right to live for the rest of his/her/zir/their life here in the U.S. (in means-tested public housing, let’s hope!), why shouldn’t that right extend to all Haitians equally? We don’t have any reason to believe that the people who walked across the Rio Grande and are now living under the bridge are morally superior to those who stayed behind in Haiti (or Tapachula; see below), do we?

The Los Angeles Times says that we might want to set up a permanent hotel underneath the bridge… “Tens of thousands of Haitian migrants are trapped in southern Mexico”:

TAPACHULA, Mexico — Psyching themselves up for a 1,000-mile journey, hundreds of migrants gathered near the central plaza of this southern Mexican city and broke into a chant: “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

This sweltering city near the Guatemalan border has become a vast open-air detention camp, a dead end for as many as 50,000 migrants who scramble daily to pay for food and shelter as they mull new strategies to break out and get to the United States.

Their presence here is so ubiquitous that the city can seem like a slice of the Caribbean. Haitians line up at banks, aid agencies and cellphone shops. They hang out in the central plaza. Street markets, cafes and hair salons have sprung up to serve them. Haitian music blares from storefronts.

The Haitians here are not fleeing in the aftermath of last month’s earthquake or the July assassination of the country’s president.

Rather they are among the 250,000 Haitians who left their homeland after the devastating 2010 earthquake there and settled in Chile or Brazil. Both those countries have suffered steep economic declines during the pandemic, sparking the current exodus.

The journey to Mexico is epic, but the goal is to reach the United States — where the Biden administration is already trying to figure out what to do about an encampment of thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, outside of Del Rio, Texas.

The economics of this aren’t important because we have framed providing asylum as a moral issue. However, the dollar figures can still be interesting… We are assured by our ruling elite that low-skill migrants make everyone in the U.S. richer (disagreeing with a Harvard prof). Will we get rich off the 11,000 Haitians at the bridge and the 50,000 who are right behind them? The CIA says that Haitians are roughly 50 percent more economically successful than Afghans (generating GDP of roughly 1/20th the American per capita average compared to 1/30th for Afghans). So, under our current political logic in which the lower the skill the more economically valuable the person, one million Haitian migrants will not make us quite as rich as one million Afghan migrants.

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Should we start a matchmaking service between Afghan migrant men and daughters of the righteous?

Photos below of a church in Bethesda, Maryland, one of the nation’s wealthiest neighborhoods (thank you, Big Government!). We learn the preferred pronouns of the minister. Also that Kara Scroggins prefers not to work in person. Worship is via Zoom and YouTube (but there will be growth in the spring and perhaps then, when all is well in the garden, in-person gatherings can resume after a two-year hiatus?

We also learn that the parishioners want us to welcome Afghan refugees, noting that Jesus him/her/zir/theirself was a child refugee (the gender ID of the historical Jesus is unknown; note that the refugee flight into Egypt is “regarded doubtfully by modern scholars”).

Most of the migrants from Afghanistan are men (source), presumably reasonably young and fit since they were the ones who made it to the airport (“Inside the Afghan Evacuation: Rogue Flights, Crowded Tents, Hope and Chaos” (NYT)). Unless these guys want to be celibate, they will need to marry:

Pre-marital sex is absolutely forbidden in Islam, no matter whether it is with a girl-friend or a prostitute. Pre-marital sex is fornication (zina).

They can’t marry Afghan migrant women because the migrant population is now overwhelmingly male. They can’t marry each other in a beautiful rainbow ceremony because homosexual acts are forbidden by Islamic law:

One way of fulfilling the sexual urge which is now becoming acceptable in the Western world is sexual relations between members of the same sex: homosexuality (which by definition includes lesbianism). By saying that it is becoming acceptable in liberal societies I do not mean to say that homosexuality is a 20th century phenomenon; no, not at all.

But there is one big difference between the past and the present: in the past, homosexuality was considered a perverted sexual behavior whereas now it is being labeled as ‘natural’ and as a result of ‘inborn tendency’!

So we see that as far as the Qur’an is concerned, homosexuality is an “indecency,” and that Allah had destroyed a whole nation because of this indecent sexual behavior.

In the Islamic legal system, homosexuality is a punishable crime against the laws of God. In the case of homosexuality between two males, the active partner is to be lashed a hundred times if he is unmarried and killed if he is married; whereas the passive partner is to be killed regardless of his marital status.

Under Islamic law, therefore, they will need to find people who identify as “women” to marry. A lack of integration of Afghanistan into the world air travel network might make it tough for single male refugees to exfiltrate women from the old country (as Syed Rizwan Farook did when he brought Tashfeen Malik over). The simplest solution, therefore, would be women who are already present in the U.S.

Afghan immigrants tend to be the lowest-income migrants in the U.S. (“Challenges to the economic integration of Afghan refugees in the U.S.”). American women are already rejecting median-income American men as not having sufficient income to be desirable (see “Are There Not Enough Men Worth Marrying?” Psychology Today, 9/10/2019; note that, in many states, having sex with an already-married high-income man pays better than a long-term marriage to a medium-income man, so marriage is not an economically rational strategy for a typical woman seeking to maximize her spending power). If native-born American men don’t earn enough for women to want to marry them, what hope is there for a low-skill Afghan migrant?

This is where there is opportunity for our new nonprofit organization. There are righteous Americans, e.g., the parishioners of the North Bethesda United Methodist Church, who say that they want to help Afghan migrants. Presumably, therefore, they’d be delighted to see their daughters going out on dates with, and ultimately marrying, the guys for whom they are praying. We can help facilitate. We could help the guys write their Tinder profiles. We could fund a speed dating night at the North Bethesda United Methodist Church for Afghan migrants and daughters of churchgoers. We could pay for first dates. We could offer to fund a trousseau of burqas for any American Christian woman who decides to marry a migrant and chooses to adhere to her husband’s family’s notions of feminine modesty. We could provide a bride price, using funds raised by Uber and other righteous organizations, in which the woman gets paid the difference between what her Afghan migrant husband earns and what she would have obtained in child support if she’d popped a Clomid and had sex with a married dentist.

Readers: What should this bridge between two cultures be called?

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Relative importance of getting a ride from Uber versus helping the Afghan refugees

A follow-up to We care more about Afghan migrants than about homegrown indigent?

To celebrate the company’s plan to provide 86 cents per Afghan refugee (see below), the Uber app now has a “Help Afghan Families” button that is approximately 8X the size of the “Request a ride” button:

From this can we infer that it is approximately 8X more important to help the Afghan refugees (with 86 cents each!) than to get a ride? Why is it only 8X? If Uber is truly passionate about the refugees, shouldn’t the “help” button be at least half of the screen? (Or maybe all of the screen and then users would scroll down to get a ride?)

What if a person doesn’t need a ride from Uber? How can Uber remind them regarding what it implies is its core mission? My inbox today, under a subject line of “Help Aghan refugees today”:

It looks as though Uber is going to give $2 million in cash to non-profit organizations in the Refugee-Industrial Complex. How much would you give if you wanted to be equally virtuous? Uber has a market cap of $76 billion. So you’d multiply your net worth by 0.00002631578 in order to be just as generous as Uber. For example, a millionaire would donate $26.

What if we were to divide the $2 million in cash by the number of refugees who’ve already left Afghanistan? The BBC story below says that there should be roughly 2.32 million Afghans who either were already refugees or who were newly airlifted out. Uber is thus alerting us to a program in which 86 cents per refugee has been committed.

(Separately, since corporations could distribute profits to shareholders and let the shareholders donate to charity, corporate charitable donations are typically considered a form of management stealing from shareholders. The Uber executives who donate $millions that would have belonged to shareholders, for example, will get the benefits of being charitable donors: invitations to elaborate dinners, connections to other rich people (or other managerial thieves!), etc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi got paid $42 million in 2019 while his buddies near the top got an additional $82 million. Together they could certainly give 86 cents to each Afghan refugee, but why not keep the money to spend on luxury consumption if instead the shareholders’ money can be donated?)


  • “Afghanistan: How many refugees are there and where will they go?” (BBC): The United Nations has warned that up to half a million Afghans could flee the country by the end of the year and has called on neighbouring countries to keep their borders open. The current crisis comes on top of the 2.2 million Afghan refugees already in neighbouring countries and 3.5 million people forced to flee their homes within Afghanistan’s borders. More than 123,000 civilians were evacuated by US forces and its coalition partners after the Taliban took control of the capital on 14 August …As many as 300,000 Afghans have been affiliated with US operations in the country since 2001, according to the International Rescue Committee …
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We care more about Afghan migrants than about homegrown indigent?

Prior to coronapanic, approximately 40 million Americans were suffering in poverty (HHS). To these unfortunates, 8 million were added via shutdowns, mask orders, and economic slowdowns (Bloomberg). Who is first in our thoughts when we’re looking to extend a helping hand? Afghan migrants, says the NYT. “Americans Stretch Across Political Divides to Welcome Afghan Refugees”:

In rural Minnesota, an agricultural specialist has been working on visa applications and providing temporary housing for the newcomers, and she has set up an area for halal meat processing on her farm. In California, a group of veterans has sent a welcoming committee to the Sacramento airport to greet every arriving family. In Arkansas, volunteers are signing up to buy groceries, do airport pickups and host families in their homes.

The moment stands in contrast to the last four years when the country, led by a president who restricted immigration and enacted a ban on travel from several majority-Muslim countries, was split over whether to welcome or shun people seeking safe haven. And with much of the electorate still deeply divided over immigration, the durability of the present welcome mat remains unknown.

(How many Muslims immigrated or traveled to the U.S. during this purported “ban”?)

Uber thoughtfully interrupted my locked iPhone with a notification:

(The canine portion of this image is a friend’s Samoyed puppy.)

Where does the urgent notification lead?

What’s interesting to me about this is that Uber has never notified me regarding the need to help the homeless encamped within a few blocks of their headquarter. From Working in San Francisco today (January 2019):

[the meeting is] inside of WeWork Civic Center on Mission between 7th and 8th wedged between a homeless encampment and emergency heroin detox center. I would recommend picking a hotel in another part of town. … Due to the layout and direction of the one way streets and traffic I’ve found cabs/Uber to work fairly poorly and often take longer than BART. I stopped using cars when junkies started trying to open my door at stop lights.

The described location is literally 2 minutes away from the Uber HQ. As with other rich Californians, it’s not that Uber couldn’t help these people, e.g., by funding construction of an apartment building or the rental of one or more apartments … it is just that Uber doesn’t want to.

Maybe it is because we have more hope for Afghan migrants than we do for people who’ve already failed within U.S. society? (they couldn’t even get organized to collect welfare, which in some states is more lucrative than working at the median wage)

I talked to a Harvard graduate and lifelong Democrat about this. She said “It will probably take three generations before they are fully integrated into American society.” I thought it was interesting that she assumed that adopting our value system was inevitable and desirable. (See also Omar Mateen, the most famous second-generation Afghan-American, reared by “All-American” and “moderate Muslim” immigrant parents.) Is it fair to call the assumption that immigrants would want to assimilate a sign of white supremacy? The U.S. is plainly richer than Afghanistan (Afghans are close to being the world’s least economically successful people), but is the U.S. value and moral system superior to what prevails in Afghanistan? Other than white supremacy, what is our basis for saying that our rainbow flag religion is better than Islam, for example?


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Will there be more post-war Afghan refugees than the entire pre-war population of Afghanistan?

We started the war in Afghanistan in 2001. The country’s total population then was 21.6 million (Google). The estimated 2021 population is 40 million (source). If roughly half of Afghans don’t like the current government, i.e., a similar level of political division to what we have here in the U.S., that means the potential number of refugees seeking to leave could be more than than the total number of people in Afghanistan when we invaded.

If only 20 million want to leave for political reasons, how can the refugee pool expand to 21.6 million? Let’s assume at least a small percentage of people will seek to leave for economic reasons, on top of those who don’t support the Taliban; among nations, Afghanistan is ranked #213 out of 228 in income per person (CIA). Afghans are only 1/4 as successful economically as Guatemalans, for example, whom we are told are “fleeing” poverty when they show up at our open-to-anyone-claiming-abuse southern border. (Once in the U.S., Afghans are the least likely to work of any immigrant group. See “Challenges to the economic integration of Afghan refugees in the U.S.”:

Among adults ages 18–64, Afghans have the lowest rate of employment (59%) among the comparison groups. This is due primarily to the very low rate of employment of Afghan women (46%). The latter is low regardless of how long they have been in the U.S., but it is particularly low among recent arrivals (23% among those in the U.S. for 0–5 years) and those with the lowest and highest levels of education. Further, when controlling for education, Afghan men with a college degree or higher have the lowest levels of employment.

The righteous academics who wrote the above explain why Afghan-Americans don’t work: “we hypothesise that anti-Muslim discrimination is an important unmeasured explanatory factor” (citing white Americans’ support for Donald Trump). Maybe if an Afghan wore a rainbow flag burqa, he/she/ze/they could get a job in San Francisco, despite the postulated anti-Muslim discrimination?)

Is it fair to say that the U.S. will have created a second Afghanistan by invading the first? The second Afghanistan will have the same population as 2001 Afghanistan, but it will be a virtual and distributed country of Afghans in the U.S., Europe, etc.

Here’s the beginning of a design for the rainbow flag burqa, mentioned above:

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Could Donald Trump get asylum in Greece, where they’ve just finished a border wall?

Democrats in New York are continuing to pursue Donald Trump (see, for example, “Trump Organization Could Face Criminal Charges in D.A. Inquiry” (NYT, June 2021)).

Where could our former leader find like-minded folks who might host him in a sovereign jurisdiction where he could be free from politically-motivated prosecution?

“Greece finishes wall on border with Turkey, amid fears of Afghan migrant crisis” (CNN, August 21, 2021):

Greece has finished building a 40-kilometer (25-mile) wall along its border with Turkey, amid concerns in parts of Europe that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan could cause an influx of people seeking asylum.

Greek government ministers toured the fence on Friday and said the overthrow of Afghanistan’s government gave greater urgency to their effort to reduce the flow of migrants across its borders.

“The Afghan crisis is creating new facts in the geopolitical sphere and at the same time it is creating possibilities for migrant flows,” Greece’s Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said in a government statement after touring the completed border wall on Friday. “As a country we cannot remain passive to the possible consequences.”

“It is our decision… to defend and secure our borders,” Chrisochoidis said. “Our borders will remain secure and inviolable. We will not allow uncontrolled and erratic movements and we will not allow any attempt to violate them.”

This raises the question… where in Greece would The Donald most likely live if he did request and receive asylum there? My vote is Meteora, in the old monastery at the top. To get to their prey, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and fellow Democrats would have to scale the cliff as James Bond did.


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Four weeks to flatten the curve (U.S. keeps the border closed)

From the Biden administration:

In other words… “4 weeks to flatten the curve” (“reduce the spread”).

How is this supposed to work? Can’t anyone come in from Canada or Mexico currently, so long as he/she/ze/they says that he/she/ze/they is seeking asylum? (“The Justice Department Overturns Policy That Limited Asylum For Survivors Of Violence” (NPR, June 16, 2021) says “in effect, restoring the possibility of asylum protections for women fleeing from domestic violence in other countries”, but the law should apply to people with all gender IDs, just as the “Violence Against Women Act” in theory can be used by those who identify as “men”. So if two people live together and say that they hit each other, both should be able to apply for asylum, emigrate to the U.S., and move in together to continue their domestic arrangements.)

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls, June 2019.

From the Cirrus:


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