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The Back Room: The Brutality of US Immigration Officers

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In brief research for this essay I have come across accounts of rude and unfair treatment, poor judgment, and discrimination by British and Canadian immigration officials among others. A Spanish, German, French or Italian language Internet search would most likely produce similar examples having taken place in continental Europe. Rigid immigration laws and blind bureaucratic adherence to their implementation amount to an invisible, red tape equivalent of physical barriers erected by governments around the world in order to define political spheres of influence and restrict movements of goods and people.

Examples are the Mexico – US border fence or the Israeli West Bank wall, the upcoming Israeli Egyptian wall, and the no longer standing Berlin Wall, the fall of which was celebrated with pomp and fanfare throughout the world last year. At the core of protectionist immigration policies lies the idea that health care, education, and professional opportunities are finite resources reserved for nations' citizens or residents and are in danger of being depleted by those deemed unworthy by the qualification process and therefore of lesser human value.

This forceful segregation on the part of the developed world is a panicked attempt to preserve its economic advantage and ethnic composition of a given country, in Israel's case, its national and religious purity. The restrictive immigration laws are generally economically and not racially motivated in my opinion; however, a quick look at a wealth distribution map of first, second and third worlds makes it apparent that a more liberal immigration attitude on the part of first world countries would tip the racial balance away from its original makeup of dominantly white constitution.

The United States attracts many desiring immigrants from around the world. In that sense, the country views itself as a victim of its own economic and political success. It therefore deems justifiable to hold a defensive immigration stance. The US maintains difficult to attain immigration criteria and the immigration process is expensive, lengthy, and arduous, all aspects of which were made factorially more difficult with the advent of the USA Patriot Act in 2001. Among the immigration processes of the developed countries, the US practices of the last decade are arguably the most repressive. If you travel only occasionally and are rooted in a single place, jumping through the hoops of US immigration is a foreign experience to you. The inefficiencies and outright failure of the brute force, rudimentary psychology which border control agents engage in, may surprise you. If you are in any way ambiguous residency wise, rely on visas and have not committed to one country as your home, or are a citizen of a nation where day to day living is a never ending struggle – this post is for you, in solidarity.

Multitudes of people whizzing through airports daily, wide and long across North America don't know about the "back room" behind the stalls of the stone faced immigration officials "greeting" visitors and citizens into the United States. If you are a US citizen — you have never seen one, unless you are visibly dark-haired, dark-eyed and dark-skinned and were racially profiled and therefore automatically classified as a threat or otherwise ended up on a no-fly list. It is very likely that you may not know that such rooms even exist at all international terminals in the US and at some Canadian airports where the Canadian flights are channeled into domestic gates. If you are a tourist – you are not aware of the back room either. That is, if you are visiting for a week or two and have secured the required visa. Residents – the green card holders and professionals on various types of work visas, roll through the back room at one point or another fairly smoothly yet without the courtesy due. To the rest of us who are not easily classifiable, commit the error of naive honesty, or whose paperwork is out of step with the suspected intent – the same offices become interrogation rooms, where coercive questioning and forceful intimidation take place.

I lined up in the long, winding queue indicated for visitors, my Canadian passport at hand, having disembarked off a Lot Polish airline flight from Warsaw to Chicago. I noted with irony how consistent all arrivals to the USA are, irregardless of the port of entry. US citizens and residents stand in a line apart which is always shorter and moves quicker than its languishing visitors' counterpart. On December 22, 2009 our line was made up of Poles, but also Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and others to whom Warsaw — as if the Iron Curtain has arcanely shifted further east — is the gateway to the West. The visitors' line I estimated, was tenfold longer than the other queue and unusually resistant.

The flat screens over the immigration stalls looped a "Welcome to the United States" video. "Propaganda," I observed to myself, looking at the images of healthy, happy, well assimilated people of color, images of African-American girls skipping rope in a sunlit park, and smiling, well dressed Central or South American Immigrants. I have learned to differentiate the fake PR face of the United States from the hard, street reality I witnessed firsthand while living in the country as a professional class visa holder on and off for the last 10 years. The flyover views of Manhattan, the mandatory inclusion of the Statue of Liberty, lest anyone forget what America professes to be, did not mix in images of homelessness, rampant obesity among the low income population, perennial theft and street vandalism, violent youth crime, prison overcrowding, and extreme poverty in hallmark cities such as San Francisco for example, where I used to live.

It was my turn to step up to the booth and face the immigration official. The usual questions followed: why am I coming to the United States, how long and where will I stay. Being a poor strategist and arriving with genuine, lawful intentions, I didn't think twice about telling it like it was: I was coming to stay with my boyfriend whom I have not seen in a long time. I was going to live with him and hoped to stay for several months. Tired after a long flight and unsuspecting, I spoke in casual, conversational manner. In retrospect I ought to have stuck to dry facts, for it soon became apparent that the job the immigration officials at the airport take upon themselves is to nail and indict and not to fairly adjudicate.

I was escorted to the back room for further questioning. I sat down, not yet excessively worried, and took a look around. There were others whose fate was swinging in the  balance, while they waited too. I noted right away a young black woman on the bench in front of me, her back hunched, arms resting on her thighs, head hanging low. Three hours later, when I was set free, she still maintained her posture, as if immobilized by the weight of her predicament. During that entire time, her name was never called, not a single immigration official had approached her, and she never gave away a clue as to what her story might have been.

Out of Vancouver, when the dust has finally settled, I investigated what went wrong for me that night. Not a hint of explanation was given to me during or after the interrogation to assure the office of US Immigration had a one-sided, overwhelming position of power. I wasn't informed of the bureaucratic inconsistency my case presented. As a Canadian citizen I'd made the mistake of attempting to enter the United States on a visa waiver, whereas I should have applied for an entry visa after all due to my expectation to stay longer than the 90 days accounted for by the program. I was suspected of having a dual intent without accompanying, appropriate visa or in lay terms, intending to immigrate into the US illegally.

"What is it that you want?"  asked the first female officer with an all-knowing smirk, leaning back in her chair and cocking her head. I looked at her apprehensively, sensing that I was presumed guilty before my personal situation was duly examined. "I don't think you are asking the right question, it isn't up to me to say what I want, it is up to you to tell me what I can or cannot do." I was scolded for getting smart and forcefully led on with the expected line of inquiry. "Do you want to work?" I collected myself and delivered a vague explanation of being "in transition," and how I expected to take the time of my stay in the US following a difficult apartment renovation project in Warsaw to reconnect with my boyfriend and decide on a direction in which I was going to take my life. So no, I did not intend to work, at least not right away and certainly not illegally. I proceeded to remind her what should have been glaringly obvious had she payed even the slightest attention to my immigration history as opposed to the stereotype she saw me as — that of an Eastern European woman with a marked accent coming to stay with her "boyfriend who has a job and will provide," perhaps a case of a Russian Bride.

I lived and worked in the States for seven years this time around while enjoying the H1B status twice, having had ample time to legally pursue a green card. I had made no such attempt. I consciously rejected the chance of becoming an American permanent resident. I simply did not want, or need to, having both a well respected Canadian citizenship and an EU passport. It wouldn't make any sense, given my history, to pursue the illegal alien route to US immigration. That irony was lost on my overzealous inquisitor. I couldn't point it out to her as I was rarely allowed to complete a sentence even in a direct attempt to answer questions.

It was time to get back to the benches, along with the others, and wait. A Latin American family with kids was brought in, then another. None of the families spoke among themselves, but remained reserved, knowing full well their lower hand. Routine, random checks it seemed, since they were processed and handed back their passports without a word before my second round of interrogation came up. A Russian woman in her mid-30s, wearing tall white boots, flowery knit stockings, elaborate coat, and too much makeup arrived and sat down. She was confident. Perhaps she, like I in the past — armed with a thick stack of corporate documents and visa processing approvals — was yet unaware of the precarious, fine line she was walking. I overheard the officers speak among themselves within her ears' reach, knowing she would not understand, that she had all the necessary invitations by the Russian Foundation. To their poorly disguised surprise, they had no grounds to detain her. An old man with a hearing aid, whom I had seen lost and confused earlier when he was being helped by an airport worker also turned up and nervously tried to explain in his limited English that his son lived and worked here and he came to visit his son. He bowed repeatedly on exit when handed back his passport, thankful, shaken, and teary-eyed. There was Mrs. Ferrera or Ferreira, a Spaniard or a South American, whose brother, husband or companion — an airline pilot — peeked in and asked: "You're still here?" to which she just shrugged and nodded, as if immigration detentions were something she has come to expect.

My name was called again. This time I was facing the first female officer and her supervisor, also a woman. The US border control watchdog was springing heads. The lights seemed to glow brighter, the entire experience started to take on a surreal quality. I realized that my words would make the difference between an allowed discretionary entry and a deportation. I repeated my story as I have recounted it previously. The supervisor kept interrupting. Questioning became personal, my relationship to my boyfriend quizzed, private arrangements and money matters combed through in embarrassing detail. I maintained that my stay would be a visit — not a migration. I was not listened to, believed or otherwise my story did not compute. The supervising officer summed it up: "You are not a bonified tourist," I was told, likely intending to convey that I did not deserve a special consideration. Sadly, that is precisely who I was. I arrived bona fide, never intending to break the law. While on a work visa in the past, I dutifully payed taxes, having had all the responsibilities of a resident but none of the privileges. With a squeaky clean immigration record, never having overstayed my visas, arriving as a tourist for the first time in a decade, my good faith was being violently questioned without justification. I was ordered to get back to the benches, once again.

I was summoned back, for the third time, sometime later. The US immigration personified this time by a three-headed, all female, bloodthirsty chimera —  Cerberus—  guarded the gates of Hades. The newly arrived third officer turned the interrogation up yet another notch. I was yelled at and heard myself say: "Please don't raise your voice, why are you trying to intimidate me?"

"If you feel intimidated that's your problem," was the response. I recall eventually hunching forward, resting my forearms on my thighs. Cerberus, sensing capitulation, slowly started sieving her words and the verdict. I held my breath. I was being graced with a two-week entry into the United States of America. One of the officers indicated that I should follow her to finalize the visa. She lectured me on having "an attitude and no respect for authority" which would be recorded in my file, while all I ever tried to accomplish was to calmly and respectfully answer questions I was being posed. She added: "I bet that have you had to deal with Polish authorities, you'd behave all together different." I waited for her to stamp my passport then looked her in the eye, shook my head in resigned disbelief and muttered, "Why do you assume so much, you don't even know me."

My personal story was recently, uncannily echoed by the story of a Nova Scotia woman Ayat Manna who was denied entry to the United States when flying to visit her husband. She was interrogated, yelled at and intimidated by the US immigration officials as I was, perhaps more, and was never told why she was being subjected to such treatment. It is clear that neither my incident nor hers are unique and that they weren't a case of a few bad apples among the immigration officers who took out their bad mood on random travelers.  They are too similar. The abuse is systemic. The women officers were expressly trained and instructed to coerce and brutalize instead of investigate potential migratory transgressions. When did we as human beings, as citizens of the world, come to accept and condone a governing system that not only monitors and restricts our movements but keeps us from visiting loved ones?

As I was stepping of a gate and onto a San Francisco-Vancouver flight precisely two weeks later, an airline official took my boarding pass, checked my passport and smiled. "Going home?"

I nodded. "Yes I am, and please take that I-94."

"So you're not coming back?"

With great satisfaction I answered: "No, I am not," and lighter than air I floated on board.

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About Patricia Pawlak

  • gansvv

    Is there a way to post feedback on US immigration officials or the experience? I would think any developed country with a mature immigration system would take feedback and see if any of that is constructive and useful to improve the system. I could not find any feedback page on the USCIS site for providing good feedback on immigration location/ officials. Does anyone know of any?

  • S.V

    “It is clear that neither my incident nor hers are unique and that they weren’t a case of a few bad apples among the immigration officers who took out their bad mood on random travelers. They are too similar.”

    The exact same happened to me; I was denied entry and guards escorted me to an awaiting airplane. I was also threatened with jail-time because I couldn’t compose myself. I quote: “If you don’t stop crying, you’ll be put in County Jail to calm down.”

    No one should have to be treated like this.

  • zingzing

    Ruvy: “you’ll see that BP fucked up the Gulf Stream…”

    i did see that. and that’s actually one that i’m fairly concerned about. but the uptick in foul weather won’t sit only at our door. it’ll sit in europe and other places as well. who knows how much it will affect weather worldwide and what will the consequences be? i guess we’ve got no other option than to wait and see.

  • Ruvy

    zing, I’m just glad I’m not stuck on the sinking ship, the USS America. What you believe of what I say is irrelevant to me. Just check out your weather, and you’ll see that BP fucked up the Gulf Stream with their use of Corexit 9500 to “suppress” the oil on a collapsing sea floor. There is no warm water going north anymore and therefore, no warm air. A wolf is now at your door. Just the first of many to come. Happy 2011, boychick.

  • zingzing

    [Edited] ruvy’s the boy who cried wolf too many time now. what isn’t going to destroy america at this point? is it our perverted culture? our raging fascism? airborne animal-themed diseases? a giant fart from the gulf of mexico? phantom chinese missiles? islam? god’s wrath?

    i’m no fan of tsa pat downs, but if you want to hold that up against 20th century fascism, you’ll find it more than a little wanting. you can believe ruvy’s hysteria all you like, but i’ll wait for something a little more definitive. it’s like ruvy coughs and declares he must have lung cancer.

    sorry if i won’t declare the end of america over a security check. and sorry if you can’t see how far gone ruvy is, or pay any attention to what i’m really saying here. no, i don’t like pat downs. no, hitler’s not around the corner. no, you can’t read whatever the fuck you please into something and expect me to respect whatever you want to make up. it’s sad and it’s old, roger.

  • Ruvy


    He grasped me firmly but gently just above my elbow and guided me into a room, his room. Then he quietly shut the door and we were alone. He approached me soundlessly, from behind, and spoke in a low, reassuring voice close to my ear. “Just relax.”

    Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong, calloused hands start at my ankles, gently probing, and moving upward along my calves slowly but steadily. My breath caught in my throat. I knew I should be afraid, but somehow I didn’t care. His touch was so experienced, so sure.

    When his hands moved up onto my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and
    partly closed my eyes. My pulse was pounding. I felt his knowing fingers caress my abdomen, my ribcage. And then, as he cupped my firm, full breasts in his hands, I inhaled sharply. Probing, searching, knowing what he wanted, he brought his hands to my shoulders, slid them down my tingling spine and into my panties.

    Although I knew nothing about this man, I felt oddly trusting and
    expectant. This is a man, I thought. A man used to taking charge. A man not used to taking `no’ for an answer. A man who would tell me what he wanted. A man who would look into my soul and say…

    “Okay, ma’am,” said a voice. “All done.”

    My eyes snapped open and he was standing in front of me, smiling,
    holding out my purse. “You can board your flight now.”

  • zingzing

    the new fascism ain’t got shit on the old fascism. now that was fascism.

  • Ruvy

    Pablo made this point to Glenn nearly a year ago, and it is stands out in even sharper contrast now with all the groping tales of the TSA.

    This new fascism demands obedience, and they are in the process of training us to be good slaves.

    It is all part and parcel of the body scanners, taking off your shoes, frisking grandmothers, and treating all alike as a non person and a terror threat. It is indeed a sad thing to witness, I myself am a frequent global traveler and I have seen it first hand numerous times.

    If people do not stand up and demand to be treated with courtesy and respect, this kind of thing will continue. Shame on Glenn for suggesting we continue to kiss the ass of such thugs.

    It’s the new fascism, Glenn. Get used to it. Either you are part of the problem – or you are part of the solution. If you want to dance with the devil, you are part of the problem.

  • Yasmin

    @ Glenn… You say the Homeland Security are dead serious about their jobs…. My question is, Has there ever been a time when a terrorist/ a person who is a security risk, has actually been apprehended at the Port of Entry???? The fact that the REAL threats continue to elude the US Authorities, does not mean the frustration has to be taken out on normal travelers wishing to vist their families or friends. Also the majority of ‘Illegal Immigrants’ DO NOT fly into the country. I suffered a similar fate as Patricia at a US Border. Only in my case i was travelling with my 2 children (all British citizens) to spend Christmas with my fiance (US Resident) & we were refused entry because the very ‘knowledgeable’ immigration officer claimed she was not convinced my fiance and i would not decide to get married on that trip. What a Crock!!!
    Sorry to say, but some of these border officers are highly learned in ignorance and closed-mindedness, that its either they cannot hear or understand your explanation.

    The officer asked why i had my childrens birth certificate on me. I tried to explain to her that since we visited Marrakesh a few years before and i was asked to show proof they were my kids, i have made it a habit of travelling with certain vital documents. As expected she could not understand my explanation. To her, having my childrens BC on me translated to my fiance and i were planning to marry on that trip…. as if its the children getting married.

  • Eric Montgomery

    I grew up in the USA, from age 4 to 23 years, and because of a very minor conviction for simple cannabis possession in Vancouver, I have been consistently denied entry into America since the advent of the Homeland Sicherheitsdienst, or SD for short.
    I might add that I have a clean record in the States, that it was unjust, in my view, for Canadian authorities to ever share my “criminal” marijuana possession conviction with anyone, and that I have not seen my mother and father and sister for more than seven years, not to mention friends and fondly remembered places of my childhood and youth.
    To this day I speak English with a markedly Southern accent and am asked ‘where in the States I’m from’ every day in Canada.

  • Dear Lou,

    Your story touched me. I am sorry for the nightmare you’re going through right now. Recently in the news is a story about the US deploying more unmanned drones, like those they use to kill people in Afghanistan and Pakistan to patrol its border with Mexico but also Canada. Canada shares its criminal database in full with the United States, btw. And what is going on in Arizona, right now… It is clear to me that the US has become a police state. It will only get progressively worse. I am glad to be caught outside of it at this disgraceful period in its history.

    Do you have other options such as you going to live in Canada? If your wife has a Canadian passport and is a citizen, she may be able to sponsor you as a permanent resident.

    More than anything Lou, don’t despair and do not give up!

  • Lou

    I am experiencing this right now, I got married back in April of this year in Canada.

    I had no idea of the nightmare that I was about to be introduced to while standing in line to return to the US after my marriage,I chanced to meet a woman who asked me about the new ring on my finger.

    I explained that I had just been married to my fiancee of three years,she said oh I’m sorry for you then,I said why? she said I have been trying to get my Canadian husband home to US for three years now good luck they won’t make it easy.

    Yesterday they denied my wife passage even with her Canadian passport and a round trip ticket to just visit me, I think I will never touch my wife again,never hold her again,never feel her kiss again,why would they feel my wife was such a threat to the most powerful nation on the face of the planet?

  • Richard M.


    Justice prior to love; and then all the love you have for your boyfriend will prevail and triumph over this, and all, totalitarian regimes.



  • (and not so scary)

    for Jeannie 🙂

  • Hiya Jeannie,

    I will happily move on. 🙂

    (And I will try to be more sensitive in the future.)

  • What link? I never looked.

    Sometimes the past only holds us down.( Mox Nix)my own language so I can spell it how I pronounce it.

    :] Hello Roger

  • Well, Jeannie. I still think Cindy shouldn’t have directed you to that link.

  • Cindy, #375,

    You might be scaring her away.(please don’t take this as an insult.)


    I am only pointing to how I have taken your comments in the past.( totally misunderstood.)

    and as I constantly feel the need to apologise to everyone here except for the “Pope”, Please accept mine. OK?

    :[ Please?

  • Which one? The one she had started or the one it had degenerated into?

    We shall know one way or another, if not sooner than later.

    Anyway, it was a productive session, don’t you think?

  • I am hoping Patricia might be interested in joining the discussion.

  • Anyways, Mark, we should be able to move parts of this discussion to the other thread – insofar that it doesn’t really concern anyone’s particular view but rather the conceptual and the existential questions that arise from the dynamics at work.

  • Irene Wagner

    I think I meant “restraint” 5th from the bottom of #369.

  • Ruvy,

    I don’t recall thinking anything much less conjecturing your beliefs. In fact I said nothing about you at all. Please look back.

  • Irene Wagner

    Ruvy, would you think of including a discussion of Jeremiah 29:4 – 14 focusing on the extent (if any) to which Diaspora Jews found it relevant to their situation? Do any observant Middle Eastern Jews currently find it relevant to theirs? This passage has come to mind so many times this month, and I’m not sure why.

    Some of Israel’s critics are unfair. Even if the Jews had moved quietly and unarmed to the Promised Land in 1945, there would’ve still existed the ancient unprovoked hatred toward them that had recently manifested in the Holocaust.

    There is, however, lots of middle ground between two extreme views: “the only error Israel can make is to exercise constraint in the way it re-acquires every square inch promised in the Bible” vs. “everyone in the world, except the Jews, has a right and duty to defend himself against aggression and oppression?”

    Where do you fall in the spectrum between those views, Ruvy?

    (It may take a few days for me to come back to BC to see that article, but I intend to.)

    Pinch and a punch to everyone else. 🙂

  • “… because they are not able to link the Jewish partisans who fought in Poland to the ruling secular aristocracy in Israel.”

    Well, that would be a heck of an assumption for an unassuming mind. But if so, then the argument must be that the partisans were more or less secular to begin with – which is to say, not exactly in the best tradition of religious Jewish orthodoxy.

    Which in turn seems to resolve the apparent paradox: being against the resistance in the Warsaw ghetto is no different than being against the Israeli secular elite (because in either case it represents a departure from submission to God’s will).

    So according to the best of my understanding – and it’s only provisional, let me say it first – Ruvy is vindicated thus of the charge of inconsistency.


  • Glenn,

    That is a good idea for an article. Thanks!

  • Mark,

    Ruvy, I tried to represent your point here, as best I understand it in oversimplified terms, while awaiting your arrival.

    That is why didn’t really address you with examples in comment #362. We did have a similar discussion – I remember it well – but Roger and Cindy carried it to a different place, assuming opinions that they just do not know, because they are not able to link the Jewish partisans who fought in Poland to the ruling secular aristocracy in Israel.

    I probably could find the comment thread. it had to do with peace in the Middle East, I know that much. But right now it is after 1:30 in the morning and even I can’t manage to stay awake much longer. It has been a long and eventful evening here….

    BTW, thanks for trying to represent my opinions, Mark. I appreciate it.

    Be well,

  • Mark

    Glenn, Ruvy and I had this conversation once before some years back…wish I could come up with the comment thread.

  • Mark

    Ruvy, I tried to represent your point here, as best I understand it in oversimplified terms, while awaiting your arrival.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    We all make wrong assumptions from time to time…and I think that, if you’ll take the time to educate them about No.s 1-4 in comment #362, Mark, Cindy, and especially Roger would be happy to learn what you believe (as would I). We might not agree with what you, but it would help us understand why you are the way you are.

    Perhaps you should put it in the ‘Culture’ section.

  • Mark, Cindy and Roger,

    You have all made a number of unwarranted assumptions about what my opinions are and aren’t.

    May I suggest this to you. My opinions arise out of
    1. my knowledge of Jewish history and Jewish culture,
    2. my knowledge of Torah and Tana”kh,
    3. my knowledge of Israeli history and
    4. my understanding of the role of violence and non-violence in relation to non-Jews, particularly those who would kill us.

    I would politely suggest that none of you really have that bank of knowledge that you can assume what my opinions are or aren’t – or whether they are really valid in the examples you wish to use.

    Roger, if you want to use Poles resisting the Russian, German and Austrian oppression of Poland, that might be a good idea; Cindy, if you wish to use the examples of either the Polish or Russian oppression of the Ukraine, that would be a good idea. That way both of you can draw upon deep wells of understanding based on personal knowledge or knowledge passed down through your families – instead of assuming what my opinions are, coupled with an ignorance of the data bank where I draw them from.

    I bid you all a pleasant Sunday.

  • Roger,

    I don’t think the situation is transferable. And I am sure the circumstantial evidence, in the case at hand, is not against you.

  • I’m sure glad I never asked you for your phone number.

    They say otherwise, but we all know you can be hanged on the strength of circumstantial evidence.

    Good God must have been watching.

  • Don’t say now I had anything to do with that.

    Nope, you are off the hook. I was just reading about Indra’s Net. I am a strange combination of a curious cat and a timid mouse.

  • should be MO . . .

    Sometimes I’m really stupid. Out of bourbon and cigarettes, I guess.

  • #353,

    Don’t say now I had anything to do with that.

    As to #356, I can only suppose so. But if you’re right in what you’re saying, Cindy, than Mark has been holding out on us – like keeping a couple of aces in the hole.

    But that’s his standard MOS anyway to always lead the person by the nose. Nothing really surprising.

  • Apparently, you’ve been working with this contrast all along.

    That is what he meant by what he wrote in 352. (I think I got one!)

  • I’ll make certain, Cindy, that by the end of the day there will be a convergence, if not on this then on another thread.

  • I can’t go there, Mark, other than suggest that you also may have been conflicted – natural human response, no?

    But because of the above, I have no choice but to trivialize the subject matter and bring it to another plane – the intellectual dynamics involved. Apparently, you’ve been working with this contrast all along.

  • Yes, we are having a brainstorm. Mine is taking a different path than yours, Roger.

    Unfortunately, I am trying to jimmy the exit door while the sirens are sounding in a building I alarmed, myself, a long time ago.

    :-0 (ahhh)

  • Mark

    Rog, #347 – the ‘loss of innocence’ involved in the story broke my heart years ago.

  • One way or another, Mark, Cindy. I believe we’re having a brainstorm.

    We should all thank Jordan and Patricia and all the participants and ask their forgiveness.

  • Cindy, I used the historical context and account in the first place. It was you who spoke of empathy in the context of human development as persons. Two different things. I only clarified my own meaning. Did not suggest that your notion of empathy wasn’t valid.

  • (#347 … occurred)

    You realize what you’re doing, of course. You’re employing the notion of faith, however indirectly, as defining the center of the “ethical self-transformation process,” to use Foucault’s terminology.

    Which is all to the good, because as they say, All roads lead to Rome.

    (Of course, Ruvy would correct me here and say “Jerusalem.”

  • 341 – I like this. I will read her.

  • I believe you’re on to something here, Mark. Has it just occur to you or have you playing with this idea all along?

  • I have to say the historical context did not make any sense to me.

  • #340, again:

    But we can’t take Ruvy’s notion at full face value – if only because he himself advocates resistance, although not to Nazis in his case but the secular Israeli state. Which is neither here nor there.

    The original setup is still a good starting point – regardless of Ruvy’s take.

  • Resistance entailed a certain ‘turning away’ from a reliance on one’s god…

    Hmmm, something interesting and different than I thought.

    Roger, I am not making headway with your explanation: That’s a different context and different language game… Well why would you do that then in reply to me?– use a whole ‘nother context. Seems it makes things more muddled.

  • #340,

    Now I understand the issue more fully.
    It DOES provide for a dynamic context in which to examine the viability of the resistance idea in Foucauldian terms.

    Do you hear, Cindy? When I spoke of the historical context only, I overlooked the underlying idea – namely, “that God will provide.”

  • Resistance was a novel idea, Cindy.

    Oh, you mean as opposed to what was happening? Is that true? There was not always resistance?

    So we’re looking for a more mundane, clockworkish example of societal transformation?

    I don’t think so. The community did become what it resisted. I just wonder if it did because it resisted or because it held particular religious views about being chosen people.

    Because in one case resistance can be salvaged. I’m defending my belief in resistance. I will have to find an opening through this to see anything in a different light.

  • According to Judith Butler’s “What is Critique? An Essay on Foucault’s Virtue” (I believe the last cited link on our thread), critique is a general kind of stance, a virtuous kind of stance one adopts in all matters, large and small.

    Don’t baby steps count for something? At least the beginning?

    Or alternatively, can a tortoise ever make to its destination but only one infinitesimal step at a time? Can Achilles?

  • Mark

    Resistance entailed a certain ‘turning away’ from a reliance on one’s god…Ruvy argues that this relationship of reliance is a perversion of Judaism that developed due to conditions in the diaspora.

  • “What does there always having had empathy mean?”

    I’m speaking from a historical standpoint; and from the same, historical standpoint, it’s also (more or less the case) that “resistance” was rarely if ever a general kind of response.

    (Ergo: I’m not talking about how persons acquire empathy as individuals, as a result of normal or abnormal course of human development. That’s a different context and different language game, if I allow myself to be so smug.)

  • “So, how can it be that we can credit resistance with the whole problem of their transformation into oppressors?”

    I’m not making that argument, especially not if your stress is on the word “whole.”

  • Mark

    So we’re looking for a more mundane, clockworkish example of societal transformation?

  • Resistance was a novel idea, Cindy.

  • Rog, the positive is that the community survives perhaps to someday become a model for humanity if it can find its way back to a relationship with its god.

    There, the empathy.

  • Roger,

    I don’t understand this:

    Resistance did empower them; it was a rather new idea.

    That resistance empowered them doesn’t seem to speak to my question, I don’t think. i.e. resistance empowered other people with different results. Resistance was a new idea? That part I don’t understand at all.

    As to empathy, I would like to say they were always strong on empathy.

    I am not talking about “they”–I am talking about human beings. Other human beings have been subjugated and resisted without necessarily having the same outcome as the Jews. So, how can it be that we can credit resistance with the whole problem of their transformation into oppressors?

    What does there always having had empathy mean? Do we not learn from new experiences? If you imprison me, might I not now learn deeper empathy for other prisoners? Or is it explained by saying “I always had empathy.”?

  • Also, one can’t knock the subversion idea just because of some negatives – especially not when individual and community survival are at stake.

    But this is an extreme type of case and for that very reason, perhaps, less informative than one might have hoped for. You think?

  • Mark

    Rog, the positive is that the community survives perhaps to someday become a model for humanity if it can find its way back to a relationship with its god.

  • I’ll try.

    Meanwhile, as regards #325:

    Resistance did empower them; it was a rather new idea. As to empathy, I would like to say they were always strong on empathy.

    Well, not always, because I’m not certain to what extent and in what proportions it carried over to non-Jews.

  • correction to 325: I think [I understand] what you mean about the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto.

  • Roger, I wish you would come up with an example per 320.

  • And BTW, you don’t have to respond. There are times when silence speaks louder than words.

  • Oh, 325 relates to 318

  • But I only asked you about “the positives?”
    You mean you can’t think of any? Because if that’s the case, then it provides a definite clue as to how one ought read #318.

    There was no other reason for my madness.

  • ack my comment didn’t post…

    The gist was that this sounds sort of like something we read (but I don’t think it was Foucault) about the resistance once having gained power becomes the new dominator.

    I think what you mean about the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. But I am wondering how one tells if it was their subversion or their religion (or) that made them what they are. Because I am thinking that not all all so subjected people were transformed, themselves, into racist subjugators.

    I imagine that some people come out of such situations transformed with empathy.

    So, how exactly, I wonder, does the subversion (resistance) factor in?

  • Mark

    Hey, the nazis made the trains run on time, or so they say, and were quite the environmentalists. Looking at the Jordan River today leaves the impression that this last value was not one that bled through in the resistance.

    But I don’t want to be negative.

  • I didn’t pose the question because I wanted to inquire how Ruvy would respond. That’s a given.

    Which is to say (but I really needn’t say it), I was trying to think through the ramifications.

  • Mark

    Ruvy spits and pees on my opinion on this subject.

  • Or, perhaps I should add, aren’t there any positives to speak of that may have accrued as a result?

  • Very nice Mark, and thank you so I don’t have to comb my brain. But isn’t Ruvy going to object, if what you’re offering is a critique of a community because it has become “militaristic”?

    Am I completely off the mark?

  • Don’t be suspicious now. I haven’t seen your comment until I posted the long quote. Then I posted two more right after lest you get a wrong impression. So don’t say now I’m not being attentive.

    Now, let me think of an instance, but I hope Mark’s gonna beat me to it.

  • Mark

    Cindy, imo the subversive action of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto transformed world Judaism forever…in a very real sense, the community has become what it resisted.

  • 315 – Yes, that much I understood and would have agreed with at the outset. I just don’t understand this instance.

  • haha! You mean you didn’t read my comment and reply all inside one minute? slowpoke 😉

  • Re #311, Cindy, it’s simply got to do with the fact that the results (intended or unintended) of what we do or say have less to do with defining what we do or say or are than the intent behind it. And that’s a general kind of point, with obvious application to any specific instance.

  • Sorry, #312 wasn’t meant as response to #311.

  • What do you make of all this, Patrica?

  • I think the following quote from Koopman’s article on Foucault is in order:

    Foucault describes his work in this book as tracing “[t]he constant division between the normal and the abnormal.”30 The point of the delinquency which Discipline and Punish traces the genealogy of is not to exclude the criminal, the mad, and the free romantic, but to preserve them by dividing them off from the legal, the sane, and the docile. In his Collège de France course lectures he was giving at the time Discipline and Punish was published, Foucault described the changing face of power in the modern age as the passage “from a technology of power that drives out, excludes, banishes, marginalizes, and represses, to a fundamentally positive power that fashions, observes, knows, and multiplies itself on the basis of its own effects.”31 Foucault’s contrast here is between division by way of repressive exclusion and division by way of productive categorization. The formerly excluded ‘other’ is now included within the reach of a positive power which preserves the ‘abnormal’ as the ever-present inverse of the normal. Foucault’s point, put in general terms, is that freedom and power now stand in a relationship of reciprocal incompatibility in which they both imply one another and oppose one another such that neither is capable of overturning the other. Could this be the meaning of Foucault’s often-quoted but little-understood claim in his late essay “The Subject and Power”? “Power is exercised only over free subjects, and only insofar as they are ‘free’.”32 Perhaps Foucault is not here offering a normative recommendation for freedom as a positive counterweight to power. Perhaps Foucault is here rather urging the point that modern power and freedom are reciprocally incompatible such that they both require one another and cannot be mixed with one another. His point would thus not be that freedom is good and power is bad—for both have their advantages and disadvantages. His point would be that modern conceptions of freedom as liberation and modern conceptions of power as disciplinary are tied up with one another such that transforming one requires transforming the other. (pp. 18-9)

  • 305, 307 –

    Put it in other words for me? Mark or Roger or both. Give me any example? I think I almost understand.

  • Thanks. I have never heard of Indra’s Net. I will do that.

  • Jermiah Johnson looks more like the standard Indians = bad guys movie. I don’t remember that part. I guess fighting wasn’t terribly interesting to me.

  • Mark

    Cindy #304, as you’ve already gone over the standard definitions of the dialectic, give me a bit to come up with something that might be original and descriptive.

    Start by looking up Indra’s Net if you haven’t already…then bracket that image.

  • I like the last statement. It’s WHY you’re doing what you’re doing which defines an act as being essentially transformative or not.
    If you’re thinking “merely liberation,” you’re still part of the problem. But if you think outside the box, then perhaps you’ve got it beat.

  • lol, Jeremiah Johnson. I loved that movie! Ah, to be 11 again with everything still ahead.

  • Mark

    The crunch comes when ‘the system’ refuses to allow you to ignore it. Thus, for example, if one wants to experiment with alternative methods of distributing surpluses that he produces, he quickly runs up against tax law.

    “Can’t cheat the mountain, pilgrim.”

    How about: the subversive act is transformative whether liberating or not.

  • 297 – Mark

    That is interesting. I don’t grasp it, but, it’s interesting. Define dialectic, could you? I have been looking it up for two years, ever since I talked to Les about it and I still don’t understand it much better.

    …we must reject the entire victim-oppressor schema…

    …and the underlying conflict/cooperation pair that drives our thinking about the social dialectic

    How would we do it?

  • 300 –

    That’s what some people say. But, would that not mean failure to recognize all sorts of problems, like starvation, etc?

    But, hasn’t resistance provided change? How did slavery change? How did segregation change? By people ignoring or bypassing them or resisting them?

    I am not sure it isn’t entirely a position that can on;y be embraced when one is safe. So, if I am homeless, I have no food or home, or rights I might have to resist and oppose. If I am safe and I’m not starving or being severely oppressed then I can ignore.

    So, what am I missing? We stop war by living outside that paradigm when people are being blown to smithereens (as long as it’s not us personally)?

  • #297:

    Now, that’s taking the particular into the realm of the general.

    Soon, we’re all be breathing rarified air.

  • Fair enough.

  • A larger point, perhaps, concerning the most effective strategy (never mind now the question of “how right it feels”)- isn’t ignoring or bypassing the existing political relations a greater blow to them then merely resisting or opposing them?

    Doesn’t resistance perpetuates and actualizes the pressure?

  • Mark

    Rog #296, I saw your comment and agreed with you response…but I din’t want to sully the thread with talk of Marx and his ideas about surplus value.

  • #292 and #293:

    But in what sense is being subversive different from active pursuit of freedom as liberation from power? And if the latter is a product of misconception, isn’t it so also for the former?

  • Mark

    …we must reject the entire victim-oppressor schema…

    …and the underlying conflict/cooperation pair that drives our thinking about the social dialectic

  • Mark,

    I posted a response to your comment about the economic concept of “demand.” I don’t think you’ve seen it.

  • Cindy,

    My remark wasn’t meant to include extraordinary cases but address precisely the ordinary ones.

    I’m also rather ambivalent about the necessity “to feel uncomfortable” – unless you’re talking here about a sense of hypocrisy one might feel about making use of the existing power structures. (But is it hypocritical, I should ask.)

    I think an enlightened reading of Foucault would be to say that we must reject the entire victim-oppressor schema (for in not rejecting the latter we’re necessarily committed to acknowledging the former) and to act instead outside of that schema.

  • To not think so is the necessary stance, because to think otherwise incapacitates a person and provides them, as you said, with rationalizations.

    I don’t think I agree completely. I do see your aim, I think. But let me take this into another pov. Sure we can embrace the mental state of the guy in Shawshank Redemption, thereby being free at least in our minds. That is good thing–to not take a victim ‘stance’. But he was in another sense indisputably a victim. I mean his actual body was locked up.

    Now if this being locked up thing is not a problem, or is besides the point because since he didn’t feel like a victim then he wasn’t–then I suggest we stop trying to change the world and just change our attitudes. It would be easier that way. We can all just go around believing everything is fine the way it is no matter what anyone else does to us.

    Here is what I think, I think: I think we can be a victim (defined as someone who is oppressed by someone else), yet reject a ‘victim stance’.

    You say to think so incapacitates a person and provides them, as you said, with rationalizations.

    I say to NOT think so can be seen as having the same effect. The spouse of the alcoholic IS a victim. If she does not see that why change anything? Enacting a ‘victim stance’ however, won’t help. It is in seeing her own strength that she can change herself.

    I hold that we simply aim to stop rationalizing and learn to be uncomfortable. Because that is really how life is. It isn’t black and white. We are not victims–yes or no. In some ways we are and in others we are not.

    Learn to be uncomfortable. Discomfort may be a sign that change is happening.

  • lmao!

  • Mark

    I have a friend who thought he was ‘doing his part’ by lying on all surveys, censuses, etc. I asked him recently how that was working for him, and he informed me that he had figured out that the statisticians were factoring in his lies…so now he answers based on a coin toss.

  • sorry: as to #284 …

  • To not think so is the necessary stance, because to think otherwise incapacitates a person and provides them, as you said, with rationalizations.

    Ad to #284, I think it expresses what Foucault has called “a critical stance” (as per my last link on the other thread.)

  • Roger,

    I think in some way we are also victims. That can be used as an excuse to simply not try to change things at all or in such a way that you try what you can and you don’t punish yourself where you cannot. Schindler thought he could have done more.

    I don’t see compliance at the border necessarily as failure to reject a system or to recognize an enemy. I see it as something I must do because I am being treated badly and oppressively. I will resist it when I can. I will not fight a border authority to the death, however, Even Gandhi and Jesus complied sometimes.

  • Put another way, your position is a rationalization made to get you out of discomfort. It says, if I justify not rejecting govt I don’t have to ever feel hypocritical.

    The proper thing to do is: If you hold a system as dehumanizing, then you reject that system. You may feel uncomfortable all the time, but you start with rejecting that system.

    I rejected the idea of govt entirely less than two years ago. I feel like a hypocrite daily. As time goes by I am changing my behavior to feel like less of one. Who knows in 10 years maybe I will be willing to do more courageous things. Right now I have another life that depends on me. Putting his welfare at stake is not acceptable. Putting the welfare of your wife and her family at stake may not be acceptable to you.

    I think you are forgetting that we, as humans, are not a destination. We are always becoming something, if we are lucky enough to be at all open-minded.

    The proper action does not start with a fully thought out end to which we must adhere. The proper action usually follows from the experiences we get after we put one foot forward. Our best actions do not come from our heads beforehand. We don’t know what changes are in store until we start somewhere.

  • Interesting concept, Cindy. So we do seem to have two radically different (if not inconsistent) approaches/understandings/etc:

    a) all or nothing at all;
    b) do what you can when you can.

    BTW, you should also avail yourself of the link provided in #284. It should be required viewing for anyone who posted on this thread.

  • So Jordan, let me see if I’ve got you. The Jews in a concentration camp had no business claiming the Nazis were their enemies if they were going to comply with anything the Nazis had them do.

    Slaves should have refrained from seeing their masters are their enemies while they were apparently complicit in following their master’s instructions.

    Is that what life is to you? All or nothing? A person who opposes the police should fight an officer to the death over a littering ticket?

    We do what we can do, when we can do it. There is a world of choices in between do everything at all times or do nothing ever.

    The alternative, is what you have chosen. Mentally embrace a system you know is dehumanizing so that you can be comfortably consistent. You are merely trying to rationalize your compliance without discomfort.

    Otherwise you would be making uncomfortable choices about compliance day in and day out. I don’t see that perfection is the goal.

  • OIGI,

    Whenever you see fresh meat you run towards it.

    :/ grrrrr

  • Good comment, Jordan, except for

    “I think there are fundamental flaws in such thinking, the greatest of which is in the assignment of vile traits to individuals who are, just as we are, slogging it through this human experience as best they know how.”

    You’re right, of course, in principle, and yet . . .

    Would you take a job as a security guard at the airport, or a parking maid, or (to take a drastic example) as an SS-man in a Nazi concentration camp? I know I wouldn’t.

    Some jobs are dehumanizing, and we know it, and that’s regardless of what we may think of the individuals filling them. And the value of the last example – perhaps to suggest the slippery slope operating here, that it’s a matter of degree. Which, again, doesn’t detract from your main point as to what the proper stance towards all humans ought to be – only to suggest that not, it’s not quite true that we’re all “slogging it through this human experience as best . . . [we] know how.”

    Lastly, may I suggest what I regard an excellent PBS series from Masterpiece Contemporary, The Last Enemy. It’s still science fiction and yet, quite arguably, right around the corner.

    Happy viewing.

  • Chris

    This article couldn’t be more accurate. I am a US citizen and travel to and from Canada often. I never encounter any problems going into Canada. The border guards are always friendly and courteous. On the other hand when I come back into the US it’s an interrogation. I’ve been in that room you speak of several times…most recently because my girlfriend (Canadian) was coming in with me for a visit. They are not only rude, but ask personal questions they have no business knowing. It’s unfortunate, but I have to expect the worst every time I return from a visit with my friends in Toronto.

  • I watched The Empire yesterday, and went to sleep last night feeling a deep and utter shame in my country…We are not allowed to teach our children the real truth in any school; they must stumble upon it on their own…

    :[ jeannie and her American heart.

  • Jordan Richardson


    With respect to the notion that compliance with immigration and/or border officials constitutes a tacit support of their abuses, I’m curious as to how we can actively address a passive stance to immigration authorities.

    In other words, I find it striking that you outline instances in which compliance is permissible while simultaneously considering these authorities to not only be your “enemies” but also to be abusive.

    It would seem to be, especially if one were to take the words of Gandhi seriously, that in order to “be the change” we ought not to comply with abusers or masters or authorities under any circumstances and, as you said yourself, we should strive to refuse compliance in those instances that make us least comfortable.

    So, to me, the least comfortable way to apply these principles would be to refuse to travel across the border or to refuse compliance with searches and questioning especially in the instance when I’m visiting my family or friends. It should matter most to me, as it were, when the most is on the line. If I can’t stand up for these purported values when everything is on the line, I have no business standing up for them when little is on the line.

    To me, Cindy, stating an enemy is more than a mere qualitative statement. It is a statement that requires action and movement that is reflective of such a worldview. In stating that border guards are abusive authorities figures, you are setting up a worldview that should require an active reaction. We should NEVER comply with abusers.

    “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.” – Gandhi

    Conversely, I would posit to you a worldview couched in compassion, conscience, sacrifice, and morality. I would suggest NOT defining others as enemies or assuming an adversarial posture, but rather assuming a posture of, as Gandhi said:

    “It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”

    Or, if you prefer, Nelson Mandela:

    “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

    I think we need to redefine, regardless of our politics, who and/or what we are creating animosity towards and just how helpful it is in furthering a worldview based on compassion.

    This is not to suggest that we assume a posture of mindless submission or that we do not question and criticize authority, but it does suggest that there are perhaps more complexities here than a simple blanket philosophy of adversarial thought that promotes an “us vs. them” worldview. I think there are fundamental flaws in such thinking, the greatest of which is in the assignment of vile traits to individuals who are, just as we are, slogging it through this human experience as best they know how.

    “Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Teresa

  • I don’t believe in visas and passports and immigration quotas. I think we need to move toward a global society. They use the word “globalization,” but they use it in a very narrow sense to mean the freedom of corporations to move across boundaries. But what we need is a freedom of people and things to move across boundaries.
    The great Howard Zinn (rip).

  • Cindy,
    It takes one to know one. Cheers!
    I’ll be watching your blogspot.

  • Oh, sorry Clavos. I should have linked it, but I wanted to make a strong point!

    I’ve been practicing.:)

  • Clavos the Impaler


    If you don’t want to be scolded by Doc and/or Chris, please don’t post entire stories from other sources — pick a few choice quotes and link them.

  • Patricia,

    You are computer savvy enough to know, people don’t show who they really are here.

    :|jeannie- just stating a fact…

  • Yes, I agree with that Roger. Absolutely.

  • “So, my compliance does not make the border authorities any less my enemy.”

    Still, they’re only symbolic enemy, or at least unwitting, merely a manifestation of the regime of truth and existing power relations. They’re still to be won over, if at all possible, otherwise you’ll remain an island.

  • Speak no more, Pablo. I’m getting homesick.

  • 254 – Jordan,

    Border authorities are my enemies.

    It is a not a statement of action, it is a qualitative statement. It does not suggest any particular behavior. It states a condition. It’s like saying slave masters are the enemies of slaves. Does that mean that slaves should take action to immediately kill the slave masters in all situations? If I say the prison guard is my enemy, does that suggest any particular action I must take at any given time?

    Does it make sense that because someone is your enemy that only one action should ever be taken toward them regardless of the circumstances? Yet, at the same time, is compliance with an enemy fostering the condition imposed? I would say yes.

    What does this look like in practice?

    In practice I would do whatever I could, For example, I once was on on a vacation when I got word that my grandmother had died. I left my luggage with my husband and his sons and came back alone from the Caribbean–luggageless. I was interrogated, but I refused to explain why I had no luggage. I was asked questions that later I realized were probes to see if I were a drug smuggler. Finally I was let go and I never did explain. So, that was something I could and did do. Now, were I risking never seeing my family again, I am sure I would have simply complied. I would not feel bad, even though my compliance is still perpetuating the problem. I can do what I can and I cannot do what I can’t.

    So, my compliance does not make the border authorities any less my enemy.

    I’m curious as to how I can apply it to my life when faced with the real consequences of never seeing my wife’s family again.

    I think you probably cannot apply direct rebellion. Perhaps you can do other things. We do what we can. But simply advocating compliance at all times, for all people, just to make life easier is definitely not right imo. Not that I am suggesting you are doing that.

  • pablo

    Roger 270

    Yes I do know what you mean by the Bay Area. I grew up right in the city, in 1967 I was 14. I literally walked from my house to the Human Be In Jan 15, 1967, the Polo Fields Golden Gate Park. The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Diggers, the Airplane, Lenore Kandell, Tim Leary, Allen Ginsberg, and 30,000 young idealist acid dropping hippies.

    The people that were not there have no idea of what it was like. That is why they used to be called love ins, or happenings.

    I know Berkeley, Peoples Park, Provo Park, University Ave, Shattuck, the Oakland Hills, and Marin County, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Greenbrae, San Rafael, Kentfield, Tiburon, Fairfax, and San Anselmo like the back of my hand bro.

    San Francisco, the Haight where I was a token runaway at aget 14 staying at Huckleberry House for Runaways, the Panhandle, Speedway Meadows in the Park. Yep Rog thats my home turf man.

  • Last Night’s State of the Union

    *Obama Appeals for Revived Health Care Support

    *President Barack Obama appealed in his State of the Union address for support for the health care overhaul plan

    *Obama urged Democrats not to abandon the effort.

    *President Obama said, “By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance.”

    *Obama said, “Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber.”

    *He said, “Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close.”

    *2nd Place Not Good Enough
    President Obama said, “Change has not come fast enough.”

    *Obama said, “I do not accept second-place for the United States of America. As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may be, it’s time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.”

    *Obama called on Democrats and Republicans to “overcome the numbing weight of our politics” and agree on solutions to the nation’s problems.

    *President Obama said, “We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years.”

    *Obama said, “Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership.” my favorite!

    *Obama on Supreme Court Decision
    He said, “It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress.” strong stance!

    *Obama said, “And it’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office.”

    *He said, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign companies – to spend without limit in our elections.”

    *Obama said, “Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities.”

    *He said, “They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

    *$30 Billion for Community Banks
    Obama said, “I know the anxieties of Americans’ struggling to pay the bills while big banks get bailouts and bonuses.”

    *Obama asked Congress to enact a second stimulus package without delay.

    *He urged that it contain help for small businesses and funding for infrastructure projects.

    *Obama said he will initiate a $30 billion program to provide money to community banks at low rates, if they boost lending to small businesses.

    *The money would come from balances left in the $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund.

    *Obama said, The program was about as popular as a root canal.

    *He said, “I hated it.”

    *Threat of Veto
    Obama said he would veto any bills that do not adhere to his demand for a 3-year freeze on some domestic spending. nobody ever said the mess that the last Admin left us was going to be easy to get out of.

    *He announced a new bipartisan deficit-reduction task force.

    *Obama said he would cut $20 billion in inefficient programs in next year’s budget and go over it “line by line” to find more.

    *Obama Accepts Blame
    Obama took blame for not adequately explaining his plans to the public and connecting with their everyday worries.

    *He said, “I campaigned on the promise of change, ‘change we can believe in,’ the slogan went.”

    *Obama said, “And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren’t sure if they still believe we can change, or at least that I can deliver it.”

    The above transcript transcript is from, “The Ed Show.”

  • And don’t forget, amigo – California is my home. Lived there for over thirty years and you can’t imagine how I miss it.

    You must know how multicultural it all is – especially the Bay Area. You’ve gone through the Haight-Ashbury scene, if I recall, so you know what I mean.

  • Of course I understood, Pablo, just thought it funny the way to put it.

  • I agree, but to what extent is the passive undertaking of the “rules of your enemy” harmful to the overall cause?

    To the extent that we do it. I can’t imagine a situation that it is not harmful. That’s why I think we should try not to do it whenever possible.

    Isn’t granting border guards authority by using their services and using the border in a compliant fashion a tacit stamp of approval on their various abuses? Isn’t that, as you said to Glenn, “tolerating abusive behaviour?”

    Yes, I think it is.

    Isn’t my peaceful “yes sir, no sir” method of getting across the border putting us all on the road to totalitarian ruin?

    Yes, I think it is.

  • pablo


    Let me clarify what I meant exactly about Filipinos so there is no misunderstanding. What I actually meant to say, but did not because I did not want to be offensive, is that I like as a rule Filipino people much more than most Americans. I certainly would never say, that as a rule I like most americans, because as a rule I don’t. Ok? Kapeesh?

    Believe it or not Davao is the safest place in the Philippines, both for natives and foreigners. I know, I know, I know many state departments and foreign offices will issue very harsh warnings about westerners going to Mindanao. I do not go to Muslim dominated areas of Mindanao. Davao by area is the largest city in the world, and has a population of about 1.5 million people. I do not like Manila, from what I have seen it is dirty, way too congested, and can be dangerous. I have NEVER felt ill at ease in Davao, there is little to no air pollution as in Manila, crime is almost non-existent due to a very law and order Mayor that does not put up with any bullshit. I am treated with respect and courtesy by almost everyone that I encounter over here.

  • Here’s an idea, Jordan, from the Eagles:

    “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” Of course, once you leave, don’t bother coming back.

  • just refuse to participate

    I think that is the exact right answer. Refuse to participate. (whenever you can)

    It is a rephrasing of what Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    It sometimes shocks people to not comply with what they take for granted as the norm. Why for example should one have respect for authority?

    She lectured me on having “an attitude and no respect for authority” which would be recorded in my file…

    That comment right there shows the real motive behind the mistreatment. Mistreatment is not necessary for any reason except infliction of authority. It is a game of domination and compliance.

    That is a presumed reality. People should have respect for authority. I disagree. People should have respect for kindness, good treatment, justice, fairness–not authority–which is some empty title that simply validates bullying.

  • As for me, since I have a distinct distaste for America’s foreign policies, I have chosen not to contribute money to the American State Department by not renewing any of our passports. IF we ever come to the United States again, it will be on an Israeli passport.

    I haven’t given up my citizenship, but I don’t have to be polite at the US embassy or consulate if they give me shit when I apply for Social Security (if you still have the money to pay) – and I will not hesitate to organize demonstrations of Americans who are routinely abused by the assholes at the State Department.

    I’m a fan of Rav Meir Kahana, z”l, hy”d (as in “militant Jewish Dense League), I don’t believe in non-violence, and I still know how to swing a baseball bat pretty well. And I have the baseball bat.

    I’ll let you all connect the dots….

  • Jordan Richardson

    I myself am on Mindanao, in Davao.

    Cool. Jen wants to visit her relatives over there soon, so I might be making a trip. One of her uncles was shot and killed in Manila, so she’s been really jonesing for some contact as of late. It’s tough.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I agree, but to what extent is the passive undertaking of the “rules of your enemy” harmful to the overall cause?

    Isn’t granting border guards authority by using their services and using the border in a compliant fashion a tacit stamp of approval on their various abuses? Isn’t that, as you said to Glenn, “tolerating abusive behaviour?”

    Isn’t my peaceful “yes sir, no sir” method of getting across the border putting us all on the road to totalitarian ruin?

  • “for the most part,” Pablo?

    You mean they’re human, too?

    Just kidding.

  • pablo


    I see that you have a Filipino wife. I myself am on Mindanao, in Davao. I just thought that I would share that with you. I like Filipinos very much for the most part.

  • Patricia, #240,

    A, B, C, D, and any other letter, I agree with you fully.

    Although I don’t personally know much about A.

    :|Boy, the level of gray matter really dips and sways here , doesn’t it?
    I was very happy with this morning’s debate, Jordan, Pablo, and Patricia.

  • Well, Jordan is more constrained in this matter than you on account of his particular circumstances. On the other hand, you may be more constrained than Jordan is on some other matter.

    For all intents and purposes, you’re probably of the same mind insofar as the principle goes.

  • Jordan,

    Here is how I see it. I do what I can do, when I can do it. When I cannot object, I comply. I try not to blame myself for not being able to do everything. Also, I think it is important to voice my ideas. It puts them out there and makes them real to like-minded people.

  • Here’s your chance, Cindy, to invoke the notion of creative resistance to the prevailing power relations: just refuse to participate.

  • “I don’t have any borders to protect. Border authorities are my enemies.”

    Great quote. Let me suggest another:

    “For what will it profit a nation to protect itself if it forfeits its soul?”

    A variation on the theme (English Standard Version, 2001)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Border authorities are my enemies.


    What does this look like in practice? What do you do when you cross the border? Do you cross the border or do you look for an opening and hop the fence? Or do you just press the gas pedal and hope to blow through the border?

    I’m attempting to ask a straight question here because I’m curious to see how this form of action takes shape. I agree with your general philosophy, to be sure, but I’m curious as to how I can apply it to my life when faced with the real consequences of never seeing my wife’s family again.

    How do others, like my wife’s Filipino relatives living in Manila, deal with these issues? While they wait for immigration documents that will enable them to be reunited with their families in America, how do they practice appropriate disdain for the way things are? Or should they acknowledge that the system is evil and refuse to participate in it by remaining apart?

    There’s no question that we need to question authorities and hold them accountable for abuses. But a proclamation to suggest that “border authorities” are enemies seems, to me, to lack real world application to those struggling to maintain composure while remaining worlds apart.

  • Glenn,

    I pretty much agree with all the criticisms that have already been made against you and would like to add a couple more that were not mentioned yet.

    #20 You say to Pablo: I know your comment using my favorite poem was made out of sheer ignorance.

    I’ll advise you, because I know you like to work with ‘facts’, to check out what your homeland has been doing to immigrants. ICE and DHS regularly detain and abuse immigrants, fail to report their deaths, prevent them from contacting the outside world, keep them from getting legal council.

    Your advice reads like the speedy road to a totalitarian society. It is against all healthy common sense to cater to an authoritarian or abuser. It gives them power. In tolerating a behavior one normalizes it. Normalizing a state of abuse is not recommended for healthy minds. It is like suggesting if a battered spouse doesn’t want any trouble then s/he shouldn’t upset the abuser.
    I agree you did not state whether you thought the actions of the border authorities were right or wrong. You defended their actions right or wrong. You are recommending people put into practice the dynamic by which abuse becomes tolerated.

    There is a time and a place for civil disobedience. I agree. It is usually best advised to practice it where it is the least comfortable. Where it forces discomfort and change.

    As far as they are only doing their jobs…they are not doing any job on my behalf. I don’t have any borders to protect. Border authorities are my enemies.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Perhaps on an even more personal level for me than a trip to Idaho, Cindy, is the reality that my wife is currently in the immigration process. As sick, depraved, etc. as the whole IDEA is to us as a couple, what are we to actually do in order to simultaneously be together as a married couple living in Canada in all practical senses with the intention on having a family, etc. and express our discontent with the whole idea of the process in the first place?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Here’s what I’m wondering, Cindy, and again this speaks to, I guess, my desire for some sort of “take home” out of this or some form of practical application:

    The moral of the story to me, is not to “do all the research and apply for the correct visa”…but to question the perverse nature of an immigration system and government by extension we in the so called “civilized” world have arrived at.

    Can’t you do both? I mean, I made damn sure that I applied for the correct passport and filled out the forms correctly just so that I could go visit my wife’s extended family in Idaho. Along the way, I also made damn sure that I questioned the whole process to begin with and that I bemoaned the whole idea of borders, countries, etc.

    But at what point do I stop doing one of those things and just do the other? In other words, is it at all possible to be principled and still “play the game” of acquiring the “right documentation?”

    Or should I just stay the hell home as a form of protest?

  • Polish people rock! 🙂

  • She’s Polish, Cindy. Speaking from the heart is the national trait.

  • I love Patricia Pawlak. love, love, love…. A woman after my own heart.

    I have been meaning to read your article for a few days. But I wanted to get time to read all the comments too. Today is the day.

    Excellent article and every one of your comments was spot on. Just to highlight one of the many points I appreciated:

    The moral of the story to me, is not to “do all the research and apply for the correct visa”…but to question the perverse nature of an immigration system and government by extension we in the so called “civilized” world have arrived at. (Patricia)

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s the nature of the beast, Pablo. We’re all doing the best we can with this limited form of communication. No harm, no foul.

  • pablo

    My apologies that I misunderstood what you were saying Jordan regarding torture. The way that you wrote it let me to assume something that I should not have assumed.

    It is true that I can be too defensive on this site, and more often than I should I also tend to be caustic, and/or overbearing. I will say in my own defense however that much of it comes from my history on this site, in being attacked for my beliefs. I will try in the future to be more conciliatory and polite when communicating to you.

  • Jordan Richardson

    By the way, Patricia, it’s good to see another Vancouverite around these parts.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And you’re absolutely on the money to suggest that it is within our responsibilities as citizens of the world to scrutinize our authority figures and hold them to the highest of standards.

    This follows through with what I was driving at in regards to natural rights and natural law. We must confirm and assert these rights outside of any sort of government protection and use concepts of civil disobedience and non-violent protest to confirm who really is in charge here.

    Sadly, the continued drone of partisanship and pettiness dominates the airwaves instead and we find ourselves, as a society, divided over the smaller things. The smaller things, I’d argue, are merely symptoms of the bigger picture.

    And true, principled change comes from an overhaul of the divisive, poisonous, immoral foundation on which we’re building nations and societies.

  • Jordan Richardson


    I have to admit that my participation in this topic had little to do with your experience and more to do with the natural evolution that these topics tend to take.

    In terms of your specific case, I agree with all four of your points and to your accurate, concise summation.

    We do need to question and criticize authority, but we need to do so accurately and appropriately so as to maximize the impact of our criticisms and questions. Writing articles like this is a great way to do such a thing, for instance, and I applaud you for speaking out on your experiences.

    I hope you don’t misconstrue my part in this discussion as condoning the actions of border guards in general or as condoning any sort of abuse of authority of any kind. A quick reading through any of my comments in their broader context would reveal that my idealistic, ridiculous slant towards compassionate politics would certainly not allow for any such treatment.

  • Jordan 183 ( and Glenn)

    If anyone still cares about the original point.

    To you and all those who still mistakenly think that the core of my article is this:

    Remember that the broader issue here is that of immigration and/or border guards. The post I was responding to implied a “loss of freedom” due to the fact that when traveling to another country one has to produce adequate documentation.

    A – The visa waiver program permits a 90 stay in the US without Visa for citizens of certain countries including Canada. So I wasn’t trying to get away with anything illegal. I was denied my full rights.

    B – The heart of the story if you missed the title is the unwarranted abuse . And no, the immigration officials do not have the right to badger a person because they are tired and have a difficult job to do. It is the same as saying that a medical intern in emergency care for example (long hours lots of stress) – can yell and lash out at their patient. You’d be outraged if that happened. But because the people in question wear a uniform – their brutality is excusable according to you.

    C – Had I behaved the way the border officials did at my work place – I’d be fired. The reason they aren’t is because – the authoritarian state the US has become in the last decades – is ok with that. More than ok. Psychological intimidation and coercive behavior are an integral part of their training. That is what I mean by saying that the “abuse is systemic”.

    D – Power corrupts. I am sure it is a non partisan truism you can agree with me on.
    Therefore Authority – all authority – should be by default viewed with suspicion. Cowing obedience and non critical bowing to those in power and in uniform – was the people’s attitude which allowed Nazism to sweep Germany in the 30’s.

    To sum it up: If we as citizens willingly subject ourselves to be governed by a certain authority – then that governing body – ought to be subjected to the same amount (or more) of scrutiny by us.

    Democracy is not a one way street.

    Authoritarianism is.

  • Jeannie,

    Don’t get twisted out of shape. Your disagreement with Jordan on the airport personnel issue is minor compared to the kind of things you agree on. Think on that.

  • what? You wait till I come back buddy! I’ll have a good answer to that one!

  • I better get up and do something. I think I have Deep Leg Thromboses or something now! bye 🙂 Jordan and Pablo.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Jeannie, how many meals have you missed today? And what bridge are you living under?

    Seriously, if we can’t agree that the basic meeting of human needs is more important than the upholding of a class system, I think there’s not much point in continuing.

  • Without a middle class we will all be the poor. Most of us are poor already if you read The Realist’s article..but then maybe he is being facetious.

  • Jordan Richardson


    I’m looking at the “Extortion” document right now that you linked. It seems most interesting, especially the bit about it being written in the “fictional year of 2009.”

    You’ll have to note the Disclaimer of this little PDF, too, which reads:

    I am not offering Legal Advice in this book just a culmination of thoughts and ideas concerning Law and how people have over come difficulties within it. If you want Legal advice speak with a Lawyer.


  • Not to this proportion.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Honestly, Jeannie, I’d rather save the poor before I think about saving the middle class. I know that’s not a popular position.

  • YES, this is what we need.

    When I talk about building a system of politics that relies upon compassion

    Then we are talking about saving the middle class and helping the impoverished to better their own economic standing!

  • Jordan Richardson


    Why are you beating me over the head with this battle?

    Actually, I was being empathetic. I understand where you’re coming from in terms of border guards and others in positions of authority abusing their positions. I’m agreeing with you and support your statement that these abuses are wrong and should be stopped.

    Jordan, you live in Canada, where you are not bombarded by all this crap!

    There’s plenty of crap in Canada, too.

    There is not a huge billboard in your face every three yards, telling you to BUY BUY BUY.

    What kind of magical dream land do you think Canada is?

    So, consequently , you are treated with more respect by your own people than we are. SIMPLE FACT!

    Not necessarily true. My wife is an American and there are plenty of examples of respectful and disrespectful treatment from both sides of the border. People are people, regardless of where they’re from, and part of why I push for a more fluid discussion of politics is that I understand the need to be inclusive when we’re talking about where we’re from and what we’ve gone through.

    There is no battle here, Jeannie. But, just like Pablo, it appears that you’ve been conditioned to assume a defensive posture during any discussion of values. It’s too bad, because the fear and paranoia are really poisoning what could be an honest discussion of what government really should do about justice and how we, as citizens of the world, should live with one another.

    The truth is, Jeannie, that our two societies are not all that different. The problems of economic strife, commercialism, corporatism, violence, poverty, abuse, and government corruption inflict us in Canada too.

  • Jordan,

    I hope you read my comments too!

  • Jordan Richardson


    Under that school of thought you might well agree with former US Attorney General Gonzalez, who when asked said that it would be legal for the President to order as commander in chief, the testicles cut off of children in front of their parents to glean vital information

    Again, you’re demonstrating your inability to see nuance. You’ll notice that I’m arguing against the “ticking time bomb” sentiment and against making reactionary laws that appeal to our fears and emotions. Nowhere in there do I suggest that I support a school of thought that enables Gonzalez or any of the other cronies to perform the sorts of actions you mention.

    Where do you draw the line Jordan

    With what?

    Again, Pablo, I can’t help but think that you aren’t seeing the bigger picture here. You’re picking apart things in a very systematic fashion, but I really think that undercuts the entire tone of what I’m driving at and undermines the basics of what I’m proposing we start ascribing to.

    When I talk about building a system of politics that relies upon compassion, I see no room for the sorts of vile behaviours you’re suggesting I would lean towards.

    what gives the executive the right to chop off the testicles of children in front of their parents?

    Nothing does. Again, I’m not sure why you’re asking me this.

  • Of course you are going to look at all my complaints and say, “What is the big deal?”

    Come live here, you’ll see.

  • Again,

    This is the way I see it,

    Jordan, you live in Canada, where you are not bombarded by all this crap!

    Rush, Limbaugh, O really, Maddow, even ED…

    There is not a huge billboard in your face every three yards, telling you to BUY BUY BUY.

    I could give a zillion more examples, but they were all erased! 🙁

    So, consequently , you are treated with more respect by your own people than we are. SIMPLE FACT!

  • pablo

    Jordan 214:

    “You might argue it’s a slippery slope from impoliteness to real abuse, but I’d argue that Jack Bauer and the Republicans use the same logic when telling us that torture is okay. We cannot allow a “ticking time bomb threat” to aid in the forming of policy. Ever.”

    Under that school of thought you might well agree with former US Attorney General Gonzalez, who when asked said that it would be legal for the President to order as commander in chief, the testicles cut off of children in front of their parents to glean vital information. I am not making this up. Again under this type of thinking not only does the executive make the law, she/he becomes as God, or the Devil as it were.

    It is an interesting but repugnant argument Jordan. The main problem as I see it with this kind of thinking aside from its horror, is that it is wrong….period. Some things in this world for whatever reason are just plain wrong.

    I also personally find it repugnant that the Fox network’s 24 uses this torture frequently. Imho it is a way of brainwashing the american people to accept such behavior. Where do you draw the line Jordan. Or is there one. If there is a line, what gives the executive the right to chop off the testicles of children in front of their parents?

    On a side note, being the coinspiracist that I am, I find it interesting that Jack Bauer has the same last name of the Rothschilds before they changed it. BAUER

    Of course I do believe that Rupert Murdoch and FOX are puppets of the Rothchilds, so it is no great surprise to me. They are always doing shit like this. In Plain view as it were.

  • PABLO WROTE TO JEANNIE I like you because I sense your heart, also I sense in you someone that has more of an open mind than many others around here. As I am sure your aware of the old adage, minds only function when open.

    I think I will have this bronzed!


  • Thanks Pablo,

    But, I feel really guilty about Haiti…all this other BS surfaced ,the stupidity of the new SCOTUS ruling, defending this new writer, Scot Brown, that Senator from Montana-what’s his name, Obama SOTU-which I wholeheartedly support because the party of “NO” can’t do any better… hope I haven’t offended you now…

    The list goes on and on…:(

  • pablo

    Oh and Jeannie?

    I wanted to tell you that I like you. I know we probably got off on the wrong foot, when I made some disparaging comments about the Red Cross. It was not meant to be hurtful towards you, or to hinder people who are trying to financially help the people of Haiti. I just have a pet peeve about them for reasons that I quoted,, and others as well.

    I like you because I sense your heart, also I sense in you someone that has more of an open mind than many others around here. As I am sure your aware of the old adage, minds only function when open.

    So thanks for your comments, I do read some of them, and always if directed towards me and I see it, I will respond in kind.

  • pablo


    I am sorry as far as I know it is only available as a PDF document. If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can do a quick google search and download it.

  • pablo


    I also like Robert Arthur Menard, a Canadian who is very prominent in the sovereignty movement up there. He is easily found on youtube.

  • Pablo,

    I can’t read that link, can you find a different file? Or website?

  • telling! not tell! Why do I not see my words when I write them?

  • pablo


    Put this in your pipe and smoke on it for awhile. I have not read the entire document, but it does deal specifically with Canada and Canadian law. I also suspect (not trying to be condescending here) that the author not only knows more about the law in Canada than you or I do, but law itself, particularly in the arena of individual sovereignty.

    I am quite curious as to your take on it Jordan, and thanks for taking the time out to share your beliefs on the law. I do find this subject fascinating.

    The Extortion System of the Ruling Elite PDF

  • Jordan,

    I am sitting at home looking at a blizzard outside my window right now..and wishing we could listen to music or talk about what it’s like to live in Canada..I am always tell Rick how I would love to move there!

    But, we will continue this battle?

    I also think it stinks that my dad has to stick to the basics at the border so that he doesn’t arouse suspicions when he takes his truck down to Texas or Utah or wherever the hell. But my dad, if he wants to get his job done and just get on with his day, also realizes the importance of picking his battles. And, again, this is one that just isn’t all that worth it.

    Why are you beating me over the head with this battle?

    Then again, I skimmed over a thread on the way to make breakfast that read like a bunch of third graders..oh yes Jordan, we need more education. So, maybe you couldn’t dummy yourself down to their level either.

    I am talking about a thread here in POLITICS… you know who you are.

    tsk, tsk, tsk, and yesterday, I thought that they were rocket scientists…:|

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think there’s room in a discussion about security for varying shades of meaning, even if many people disagree.

    I think there’s plenty of room for a conversation involving reasonable security and I don’t believe that advocating certain security measures, like proper identification and reasonable searches, means that one has to also advocate a horde of other measures, like routine traffic stops or tracking devices.

    I think we’re advanced and mature enough to understand that this discussion, like other discussions, can and should involve varying degrees of understanding as to what benefits the most people. Just like a persons shouldn’t be confined to “right” or “left” in terms of political beliefs, this discussion shouldn’t just be confined to a sort of all or nothing approach.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think there’s room in today’s modern world for more fluid conversations about politics. I think the days of aligning with one particular party line on all issues should end and that people should approach politics in a new way that complements an understanding of a new, advanced culture.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And let me be clear: I think it stinks that I can’t smile in my passport photo. I think my picture makes me look like a criminal, but it’s also not a fight I’m going to take on because I think my time and energy is better spent elsewhere.

    I also think it stinks that my dad has to stick to the basics at the border so that he doesn’t arouse suspicions when he takes his truck down to Texas or Utah or wherever the hell. But my dad, if he wants to get his job done and just get on with his day, also realizes the importance of picking his battles. And, again, this is one that just isn’t all that worth it.

    Now issues of real brutality, real abuse, and so forth are damn sure worth fighting for. But I’m not going to get all bent out of shape because I shouldn’t look overly suspicious to border guards trained to be extremely sensitive to nonverbal “clues.”

    You might argue it’s a slippery slope from impoliteness to real abuse, but I’d argue that Jack Bauer and the Republicans use the same logic when telling us that torture is okay. We cannot allow a “ticking time bomb threat” to aid in the forming of policy. Ever.

  • Mark

    It would seem reasonable to exercise some control over movement within countries where we know that cells of terrorists exist…within the US, how about we routinely ‘present our papers’ at State borders and again when entering and exiting metropolitan areas?

    How about routine road blocks throughout the country similar to those that you find in the Southwestern States where armed bureaucrats are empowered to ask: “Papers?”

    Or maybe we should go with private industry backed up by government mandate…every man, woman, and child in and entering the country must buy and carry a (gps activated) iphone (or its equivalent when developed).

    there’s a fortune to be made in security apps

  • Well I liked the comment you made the other day when Cindy and Roger were talking about Chicken Marsala. You said, ” This thread has become simply delicious!”

    🙂 I don’t want to fight with you, at least not today, because now I’m starving! Friends? I know you won this argument as far as substance is concerned.

    I have to go eat! Later I’ll look for your response.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You train the border guards to be polite.

    Border guards are not trained to be discourteous, I don’t think. There is obviously going to be a range of politeness and courtesy, too, and that has to be explored. My wife crossed the border on a daily basis when she worked in the United States and her experiences ran the gamut of the very polite and conversational U.S. Customs agents to the very rude and confrontational. Like other public service jobs, you just can’t mandate consistency.

    I agree that people dealing with the public should strive for courtesy. But I also agree that humanity and our various circumstances and experiences dictates a broader sense of understanding. In other words, border guards will never always be polite just as Wal-Mart cashiers will never always be polite.

    You don’t tell everyone travelling to hold their heads down , don’t maintain too much eye contact, and you certainly don’t tell the traveller that they better speak in a soft voice.

    Oh sure. I’m not overly pleased that I can’t smile in my bloody passport picture, but I’m not really counting that as all that big of a deal nor do I find it as an erosion of my freedoms.

    Again, I think this conversation is more nuanced than that.

    And Howard Zinn, I would dare suggest, was largely concerned with greater issues than the politeness of border guards.

  • So what do you do? Where’s the reasonable application of this sort of thing? How do you tell the border guards to leave you alone while simultaneously offering you protection from harm (ie. upholding the law that you want them to uphold)?

    You train the border guards to be polite.

    You don’t tell everyone travelling to hold their heads down , don’t maintain too much eye contact, and you certainly don’t tell the traveller that they better speak in a soft voice.

    :O I thought you admired Howard. He would probably agree with my comments.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think we all write from emotion, Jeannie. If we don’t, we damn sure should. This is, after all, just an avenue of communication and we should be able to be as honest as possible to express ourselves.

    That said, we need to be aware of just how unreliable our emotions can be sometimes. And believe me, that’s something I know well.

    I view posting here as an opportunity to learn by yammering on endlessly. I try to be as honest as possible, even when I know I’m going to be eviscerated for it, and I hope I’m able to learn something in the process.

  • Jordan,

    I write from emotion, that is the way I communicate..it drives my husband crazy, ha ha ha.

    I wish that you could see my humor, Jordan.

    😐I am not on the verge of a nervous breakdown!…yet.

  • Jordan Richardson


    Just Google “border search exception.” It’s a completely reasonable component of American criminal law. While you’re at it, have a look at “reasonable suspicion” as relates to my post.

    We where intruded upon by a routine traffic stop, and it was the questions asked of us that where offensive, not the traffic stop itself.

    Completely different situation to the one I’m addressing here. I’m talking to you about Enhanced Driver Licenses and reasonable measures for identification and crossing the border. That’s been my thread of thought this whole time.

    In terms of what happened to you at a routine traffic stop, I’m sure a lot of us have stories of unfair, vile treatment from various legal officers. I know I sure have. There’s no question that there are many, many abuses among law enforcement officers. A particular case involving the tasering and subsequent death of a Polish man at YVR comes to mind, for instance.

    In cases like these, we need to use all available avenues to stand up for our rights as citizens and implore our officers and governments to uphold standards of the law as pertains to protecting us from harm – even when that harm comes from those sworn to serve and protect.

  • Jordan Richardson


    I think you’re bound by fear.

    Now to what extent should you be allowed to move about your country without “intrusion?” I’d argue that, were there no such thing as private property and were there no active and continual threats to public security, that you should be able to go wherever the hell you wanted.

    As it is, however, we live in a more complicated world and this complicated world requires a set of circumstances that must be varied and specific in their application. Our society demands more colourful, dynamic, fluid approaches to security and the law because it is in a constant state of movement. It is not the same world when the founders walked the earth, so it’s unreasonable to assume that their expectations can hold firm in a digital age and in an age where global travel is possible within a matter of hours (unless you’re using Air Canada).

    So while you may be idealistic enough to assume that you ought to be able to travel wherever you want without someone impeding your journey, a different set of circumstances dictates a different approach.

    Anything can enslave us or harm us, Jeannie. Anything. Your toaster can. Keep an eye on it.

    The point is that these things only enslave us if we let them. If we capitulate to the fear of an enhanced piece of identification, we’re capitulating to every form of information we don’t understand. Yes, we have a right to an expectation of privacy. But we also want to be kept safe and we also live in a complex world, so those rights have to intersect somewhere.

    We have to understand that there are ways to use this technology and this security to enhance our lives in this modern world. We have to understand that we needn’t be crippled by fear if we take our power and use it.

    To that end,

    “Is there a global tracking chip in there somewhere?”

    Find out.

    “Why do they connect with homeland security when you show this license, aren’t you a Canadian citizen?”

    To find out if I’m on some sort of watch list or if I shouldn’t be allowed in to the country. Homeland Security is the consolidation of all of the various services, including the border guards, so it stands to reason that the information would go through there.

    You also must admit that HS would be getting an earful from the entire US population if they didn’t screen people at the border and if a terrorist incident did occur because they didn’t stop the buggers from coming in.

    So what do you do? Where’s the reasonable application of this sort of thing? How do you tell the border guards to leave you alone while simultaneously offering you protection from harm (ie. upholding the law that you want them to uphold)?

  • You never fully read my original comment, did you?

    We where intruded upon by a routine traffic stop, and it was the questions asked of us that where offensive, not the traffic stop itself.

  • A border search exception to the Fourth Amendment that allows Customs and border guards to search travelers and their belongings without probable cause.

    I would like to read this. Do you have a link? I don’t even want to Google that!

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’d also argue that we ought not to make laws or regulations based on what could occur. We ought to make and uphold laws to serve the interests of the most people and to limit and/or contain harm to others.

    It’s when laws become emotional or when they serve particular agendas that they become troublesome. That’s also when the application of those laws becomes incredibly subjective, I think, and that’s territory that we should be above by now.

    Just as we can’t start subscribing a whole series of laws based upon perceived threats to “national security,” we also can’t pretend that threats don’t exist. There should be reasonable applications of laws and allowances to ensure the security of the people.

    Are routine searches reasonable when you’re traveling to another country or entering a place where public safety is of paramount concern? I think so. Are nonroutine searches reasonable? Should you be strip searched and embarrassed by tactless border guards? Absolutely not.

  • Jordan, #178,

    You know, the same technology that has allowed us this fantastic communication with each other, is also the technology that can enslave us…yep, this is how I see it.

    The enhancement of your license is the foot in the door, my friend.

    “Is there a global tracking chip in there somewhere?” and “Why do they connect with homeland security when you show this license, aren’t you a Canadian citizen?”

    Now you might start thinking that this woman is a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not. I am a middle-aged housewife from America and I want to move about my country in a free and peaceful manner without intrusion.

    It’s my right to pursue freedom of, person, religion and speech.

    :0 I’m not yelling, this is just the way I talk!

  • Jordan Richardson


    I’d argue that there’s some nuance to be had here with what is done in the name of security. As a society, regardless of the country, we do need to have accepted degrees of security that protect the greater good and/or the majority of citizens.

    As Pablo has said here, the government is obligated to protect/uphold the rights of the citizens in the United States and, as Ruvy has illustrated, the rights of the citizens come from “the people.”

    So to what extent can the government uphold these rights? What lengths can the government go to in order to protect the security of the citizens?

    Let’s keep in mind that there is a border search exception to the Fourth Amendment that allows Customs and border guards to search travelers and their belongings without probable cause. This is a part of American criminal law and it involves the difference between “routine” and “nonroutine” searches. Searches deemed to be “nonroutine” are searches that involve strip searches, body cavity searches, and involuntary X-ray searches. These “nonroutine” searches must be supported by what is called reasonable suspicion.

    Now, reasonable suspicion dates back to the late 60s and essentially discusses the notion that searches (or other law enforcement “interventions”) can be conducted with reasonable suspicion in the event with a reasonable expectation of crime prevention.

    Terry v. Ohio is the case that set this precedent, I think. You can look it up if that sort of thing interests you.

    These laws, incidentally, have been on the books long before Homeland Security was ever put together as a consolidation of a slew of various other departments.

    So that “path” is something you’ve been on for quite a while.

  • Pablo, #181,

    I don’t think everyone fully realizes how true this statement can become,

    This is a cute way of saying “Your papers please”, something that most americans at one time would have found not only repugnant and unamerican but downright frightening.

    This fifty-two year old woman grew up watching old footage of Germany on TV with her dad.

    I say to all,

    “Wake the hell up to the path we are travelling on right now, all in the name of Homeland Security!”

  • To your two comments above, I can only note that the Bill of Rights of 1960 was not good enough for Canadians; they demanded a document that would supersede normal legislation. Personally, I think this was wise. Stan Denham might differ with that assessment.

    As for keeping the mention of G-d out of a governance document like a constitution, I agree with you. But if I remember correctly, the Queen of Canada also has the title “defender of the faith”. So you get stuck with references to G-d anyway in legislation, and get lucky that no state religion is mentioned.

    As to the source of human rights, I would argue that all children of G-d (and all of humanity are children of G-d, have certain inalienable rights like life, liberty and property, as well as the pursuit of happiness (the Bill of Rights of 1689, and the Declaration of Independence of 1776). But that is my narrow American point of view that comes out. These concepts also coincide with the Seven Laws of Noah, which apply to all of Mankind – that is the Jew in me talking.

    But here we get to issues of philosophy rather than law.

    Speaking as a practical matter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is barely worth the paper it is written on – it would be worth more if it didn’t have the imprimatur of the United Nothings. But as it is, I don’t trust the UN for anything except a regular supply of Jew-hatred in its resolutions and its literature. I see a UN truck on the road here, and wish I had a rifle to blow its tires out.

  • Jordan Richardson


    I’m going to sift through some more of this and try to solidify/simplify what it is I’m driving at. Thanks for the education.

  • Jordan,

    I was aware of the fact that the Constitution Act of 1982 ended any role of British sovereignty over Canada. While ending even the theoretical right of the Westminster Parliament to legislate in or for Canada was important to Canadians, the key issue I was raising was not Britain’s relationship to Canada. For all practical purposes, Canada achieved full independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1931, long before either you or I were born.

    The key issue that I raised was that this document is a grant from the Queen – of Canada. Having granted you those rights, NOW you can assert that the Queen of Canada – and all of her representatives, from the Privy Council for Canada, the Senate, the Lieutenants-Governor for the various provinces – all are subject to the will of the people of Canada.

    But the rights you all get are a grant from a sovereign, and the way the government is structured extends specific rights to localities from that sovereign, and do not state anywhere that these rights come from the people.

    This is a theoretical difference at best; I’d wager that the average Canadian has more freedom than the average American at this point in time. But the source that any American sees immediately for whatever he understands his rights to be come from those three important words at the beginning of the constitution of of 1787 – WE THE PEOPLE. For you to get to that point, you need to extrapolate some. Pablo, by contrast does, not need to.

    Having looked at the interplay of your comments made me write mine. The minute an American walks away from the declaration of independence and the constitution of 1787, either he has a replacement document in hand – or he is surrendering his rights to whatever freedom he might have.

  • Jordan Richardson

    At the heart of what I’m driving at, I think, is where human rights actually come from.

    Are they derived from reason? God? Nature? Human nature? Do we agree with Aristotle when he suggests that we have human rights because we have abilities to think, love, feel, etc.? Does that mean we have a right to everything our human nature requires us to possess?

    Or is it different? Do we agree with Hobbes and the idea that, because we must move to survive as human beings, certain rights must be given for us to maintain such movement? Is it that basic?

    Or are human rights arbitrary? Are they groups of “rights” agreed upon by groups of people looking out for their common good? Or are they subjective laws designed individually? Or are they projections of our desires and wishes?

    I’m almost inclined to support the simple idea that our human rights are connected to our personhood and our dignity, as outlined in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Of course, this opens up a raft of speculation, but I do appreciate that it enforces rights outside of cultural or national lines and serves as a sort of compassionate implication for humans around the world.

  • Jordan Richardson

    To this, Ruvy, we also have to keep in mind the preamble from Canada’s 1960 Bill of Rights that reads as follows:

    The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions;

    Canada’s Christian Heritage Party see it like this:

    “‘Human rights’ as expressed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can only, therefore, be legitimately interpreted in light of, or in conjunction with, the higher Moral Law of God.”

    We have to account for, like Canadian Muslims have, the order of things in the preamble. It is clear to see that the “supremacy of God” comes prior to the “rule of law” and well before any mention of powers or authorities meted out by or extending from the Queen or from British authority in general.

    So again, I guess I would quibble a little with your inference that Canada’s laws don’t offer any sense of inalienable rights from a deistic concept.

    I’m also not convinced you can argue “Nature or Nature’s God” as a philosophical underpinning for America’s Constitution without ruffling quite a few feathers and needing to do a little idealogical tapdancing.

    Frankly, I’d prefer no mention of God in the Canadian Constitution.

    And again, for the record, I barely know what I’m talking about here. My issues above are related to things that are external to this sort of documentation of legal rights.

    I do appreciate the discussion, though.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ruvy, thanks for that.

    I’m sure you’re aware that the 1982 Constitution Act was an act of patriation by Canada. In other words, prior to it we had a Constitution that was governed by British law that could only be changed by an act from the British government. Following patriation, the British government had no right to make any amendments to our Constitution. It was, in effect, the acquisition of full sovereignty for Canada.

    So in a weird way, the idea that our rights “extend” from the Queen in any modern, meaningful way sort of ends with the 1982. Insomuch as she has a “role” as Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II receives her authority from the Canadian people just the same as the American government receives its authority from the people. From there, the Queen of Canada serves to relegate that power, again the power granted by the Canadian people, to the Prime Minister. Canada’s government, as of the 1986 Act, has no legal or formal ties to British Parliament.

    In Canada’s capacity as a constitutional monarchy, the Queen of Canada’s role as Sovereign implies that she abides by the decisions of our democratically-elected Canadian government.

    At this point and time, the Queen is little more than a symbol. She has a role, yes, but is of little actual legal consequence.

    There is no declaration of independence in Canada stating that you have inalienable rights granted by “Nature and Nature’s God”

    Not entirely accurate:

    Whereas Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law

    Canada’s relationship with fundamental human rights was confirmed by Pierre Trudeau with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. This aligned Canada with the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 and solidified the notion that the government of Canada can not remove the fundamental rights (outlined at the outset of the 1982 Act, for example).

    Of course, no right or law can be absolute and that’s where the Section 1 Charter test really comes into play. To what end can the government (any government) choose to take away certain fundamental rights? What does “reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” mean? And how does that collide with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

  • Jordan,

    BTW, I AM a student of constitutional law, specifically that of federations of various types.

  • Jordan,

    May I draw your attention to Part VII, Sect. 58 of the Constitution Act, 1982?

    It recites as follows:

    Subject to section 59, this Act shall come into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation issued by the Queen or the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada.

    All of your rights, whatever they are as a Canadian, extend from a proclamation of the Queen and her representative in Canada, the Governor General.

    Put simply, structurally, they are granted you by the Queen. While this seems a minor point, it is really a major one.

    There is no declaration of independence in Canada stating that you have inalienable rights granted by “Nature and Nature’s God”, which is the philosophical underpinning for the Constitution of 1787 which governs the United States. While that Declaration has no force of law except as a document separating the thirteen provinces from the Kingdom of Great Britain, it has the force of philosophical underpinning for the constitution that supposedly governs the United States.

    Now let’s look at the what is now referred to as the Constitution Act of 1867, what is known to most Americans as the British North America Act. This legislation of the British Parliament is included within the Canadian Constituion Act of 1982. Specifically, let us go to Section 91. It recites as follows:

    91. It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces;….

    Let’s cut this language down to cut to the chase here. What this says is that the Canadian Parliament will have the authority to pass laws for the good government of Canada on all subjects not reserved for the provinces. The following few sections in the British North America Act then detail the rights of the federal government and the provinces respectively.

    This is the precise opposite of the constitution of 1787, which enumerates the rights of the federal congress.

    Thus, the American constitution is a negative grant of liberties, while the Canadian constitution is a grant of liberties from the monarch.

    This difference, which you sort of inhale as a Canadian, outlines your point of view and how it differs from most Americans.

    This does not mean that Canada is materially less free than the United States. It means that structurally, an American’s rights come from “Nature and Nature’s God”, while your rights come from Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth II, respectively.

    The real difference is where you get those rights. Your rights are a grant from a government. An American’s rights extend from “We, the People”.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Bear in mind, too, that I’m no student of American law or rights or amendments. I’m asking these questions as a largely idealistic, ignorant outsider.

  • Jordan Richardson


    Exactly. You view the United States government as guarantors of your rights. In other words, the United States government is pledging that the “debt of your rights” will be paid.

    You have a certain expectation, as an American citizen, that your rights as said American citizen be protected by the U.S. government as part of their obligation to you as a citizen. They have a legal duty to uphold these rights as outlined in the various documents you are clearly very aware of.

    So you require, as a citizen of the United States, the government’s obligation to protect/uphold/provide those rights. But what obligation does the government have to protect your human rights? Or your natural rights? Or the concept of “freedom?”

    Again, I’ve argued that freedom is not equal to rights. Natural rights, moral rights that include the right to life, exist outside of any government apparatus. Legal rights, on the other hand, are upheld by the documents you speak of and require citizenship as the basis or foundation for these rights. While these rights are often very common, they are generally based on a certain society’s customs or laws and are protected by obligation of the government. Or at least that’s how I’m wrapping my head around it for now…

    Now again, we’re on two different wavelengths and your condescending insistence (“Is that so difficult to understand Jordan?”) isn’t overly helpful.

    I’ll ask a few of my key questions and more basic points to you again. Bear in mind that these sit in the context of the discussion I was having when you interjected back in #181:

    1. I’d argue that the entire notion of living in a society requires an understanding of the nuances and shades of freedom.

    2. We can hide by amendments and treat the law as though it grants us rights as human beings that we wouldn’t otherwise have, but living in a society and accepting some form of social contract implies a loss of absolute freedom to some degree because it implies the interjection of other, greater values.

    In other words, Pablo, do you subscribe to the idea of some sort of social contract that implies natural rights? Or do you subscribe to an idea in which the government is obligated to upholding and/or protecting those rights? Or are the two concepts intertwined?

    3. We need to impose a broader understanding that goes beyond, yes, dead documents and old words from limited, ignorant founders.

    In other words, are there perhaps newer rights that are required in today’s world that the founders and the Constitution do not include? Should there be “new rights” in the legal sense in the United States? Should the Constitution stand as a concrete, unimpeachable document worthy of worship? Or should we accept that natural law implies a certain degree of fluidity in order to moderate effectively compassionate terms?

    See, while you’re talking about founding documents and the U.S. government upholding those documents as law and as part of their obligations, I’m talking about something I deem to be much larger and more important. This, at least in my view, speaks to how America relates to the rest of the world and how compassionate politics and laws can impact the globe.

  • pablo


    yes I do view the law and the government as guarantors of my unalienable rights.

    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”

    The above quote from the Declaration of Independence sums it up quite nicely. This is the whole purpose of government as set forth above, that I subscribe to.

    I am not so much dependent on government to protect me, as I am demanding that they do not violate their oath to uphold these documents, in the case of the declaration as americans, in the case of the constitution by law.

    I have had no problems in life in general with the exception of government intrusions, with asserting my rights as a human being, and being left alone to be free. I simply am demanding that those that swear to uphold the founding documents do. Is that so difficult to understand Jordan?

  • Jordan Richardson


    You argue that you were born with your “rights” in your comment, but your article merely shows you as dependent on government protection for those rights.

    You begin praising the various government documents that ensure you protection of your rights, instantaneously retreating to a position that again asserts the government’s value in defining you as a human being.

    You spend all this time discussing the various amendments and the Constitution, fashioning yourself to be quite an expert in the field. That is commendable.

    But I’m speaking about a bigger, broader picture and it appears to be outside of your grasp – at least in the context of this discussion. It seems you almost view the government and, logically, the laws as guarantors of your assertion to certain inalienable rights.

    Further to that, your comment completely dismisses the entire context of what I was talking about: freedom. Freedom is not analogous to your rights as an American citizen, Pablo.

    We’re on two different wavelengths.

  • pablo

    185 Jordan:

    “And Pablo: true freedom isn’t given to you by governments or laws or the Constitution.”

    I too do not need a lesson on where my rights come from. I have never said nor implied that my rights come from government. I was born with them. Perhaps you have never read my article on the 9th amendment to the constitution. I have hyperlinked for you, should you decide to read it. By the way the reason that I know longer write for blogcritics is their ban on writing articles questioning the official 9/11 story. Until that ban is lifted I will not write a new article.

    Rights vs. Privileges: An Essay on the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution


    Thanks for your comment. The roots of Wahibbism are indeed steeped in British intel all the way back to Philby. The Brotherhood however is fascinating particularly with respect to US and UK intel as well as the Nazis. Dave Emory is convinced as I am that there is an underground Reich that operates as a secret government, and goes back to the days of Operation Paperclip, Reinhardt Gehlen, and Werner Von Braun.

    I do also agree with what you said in your comment. Thanks again for sharing it.

  • Paul,

    Thank you for the links. I have looked at a few of them, and will look at others later.

    I feel just a bit embarrassed. I should have seen where you were coming from with your comments on the CIA “infiltrating” the Wahhabi. But it is all a matter of perspective. From your perspective on the Puget Sound, you have trouble seeing that if the British and American bankers empowered the existence of a Wahhabi state in the first place (Prescott Bush funding ibn-Saud in the mid 1920’s), they didn’t have to “infiltrate” its organs of overseas operations, like the Ikhwan Muslimía. They were there on the ground floor, so to speak, always a latent presence in this cancer upon Islam, the Wahhabi. This was so obvious to me that I took it for granted, like one takes breaths of air.

    I had not even consciously considered the obvious – that in its attempts to control Egypt, MI-6 would have used the Ikhwan Muslimía as a counterweight to the less than friendly régime of Nasser 55 years ago.

    But, there it is, in black and white.

    So, thank you again.

    As to being anti-Nazi, of course I am. What many reading here miss is that it is one thing to fight a régime dedicated to overthrowing your own – it is quite another to agree with the basic premises of that régime. This was the exact position of much to the British and American governments with respect to Hitler. While they had to fight to overthrow the Nazi state, which threatened the existence of both the UK and the United States, many officials agreed with the essential goals of the Nazis, murdering off the Jews, and they agreed with imposing totalitarian methods to bring about better conditions for the citizenry. So, setting up “rat-lines” to Egypt, Syria, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and elsewhere was a benefit in multiple portions for the élites running the USA and the UK. But I really shouldn’t hijack this thread to discuss that assertion.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And Pablo: true freedom isn’t given to you by governments or laws or the Constitution.

    How can you have true freedom supported by law when you also have property “rights” supported by the same code of laws? The U.S. Constitution supports private property as a “fundamental freedom,” according to guys like Richard Pipes, adding further support to my notion of the need for a larger discussion of the nuances and shades of freedom.

    The extent to which this “fundamental freedom” intersects with your notion of “going about your business” is most certainly interesting.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Let me also add that the “law is not a holy thing.” Rest In Peace, Howard Zinn.

    I believe that there’s more to it than these sorts of controlled rights that Pablo stands up for. I believe in a broader spectrum of compassion and social justice, which to me requires an understanding of the nuances of freedom and the necessity of equality.

    At some point and time, we have to understand that we have to be able to just walk down the street and get on with our day. That’s really the territory I’m interested in discussing here. We can hide by amendments and treat the law as though it grants us rights as human beings that we wouldn’t otherwise have, but living in a society and accepting some form of social contract implies a loss of absolute freedom to some degree because it implies the interjection of other, greater values.

    I believe that our values as a society, as humanity, are intertwined. I believe that freedom cannot exist without justice. I believe that principles must coexist with politics and that wealth must come as a result of work. A conscience must accompany pleasure and morality must accompany commerce.

    The freedom to “go about one’s business” is limited and should be. If one’s business involves a removal of my dignity or my humanity, I’d argue that one shouldn’t have the freedom to merely strip those indelible values away. Again, the real life application comes into play here. We have to coexist with one another to a certain degree and we have to understand that the nuances and shades of freedoms inevitably colour our interactions. Should a person have the freedom to impose their will on another human being? Absolutely not. Should I have the freedom to a certain expectation of privacy and security? Absolutely.

    But humanity colours those expectations and those freedoms with its own frailty, so we need to impose a broader understanding that goes beyond, yes, dead documents and old words from limited, ignorant founders. Americans need to press towards a fuller understanding of compassion, morality, principle, character, sacrifice, and humanity before they start picking fights about border documents and security guards. All the amendments in the world don’t mean shit if there isn’t an understanding of the bigger picture, of the real time, real life application of basic human principles.

    I know to many of the people around here, these words are bullshit. I know that many cannot understand the idea of Gandhi’s social sins or the nuances of humanity. I know that many are looking for an absolute, one-size-fits-all understanding of life. Many need amendments, rules, commandments, a Constitution. Many require the words of dead men, crippled by ignorance and buoyed by slavery and rape, to quell the desire for law and order in their hearts.

    I, on the other hand, prefer existence on a somewhat larger scale than that. And maybe that’s why I make more concessions and maybe that’s why I understand that the border guards and the security guards and the police just have an arbitrary job to do in the end. And, insomuch as the laws of man do not trump the spirit of humanity, I guess what may seem like concessions to some seem more like real world applications of my principles to me.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Oh, and by the way, I’m perfectly aware of the fact that my suggestion of “nuances and shades of freedom” with have me labeled a “fascist,” “Nazi,” “Hitler,” “authoritarian,” etc. by people with limited ability to interpret subtlety and/or by people unwilling to understand a more complex world that dares to exist beyond the Holy Constitution.

    Have at it.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And I suggest, Pablo, that you attempt to put my remarks in context before you condescend to me to tell me what “freedom” is.

    Remember that the broader issue here is that of immigration and/or border guards. The post I was responding to implied a “loss of freedom” due to the fact that when traveling to another country one has to produce adequate documentation.

    I understand that you want the world to be your oyster and that you believe your freedoms ought to trump the freedoms of others, but I’d argue that the entire notion of living in a society requires an understanding of the nuances and shades of freedom.

    I know nuance is a tricky word in the world of “left or right,” “all or nothing” American political discussion. I also realize that it is perhaps my more modest understanding as a Canadian that tempers this discussion with a sort of casual disregard for, I dunno, whatever it is I should be “worried about” when heading downtown to get a passport. But I still can’t help but think that there are more important things to worry about than being asked for ID every once in a while.

    Now perhaps that’s me taking things too lightly and, yes, perhaps that’s me opening the doors up for the Nazis or the aliens or the Commies or the Teabaggers or the Marvel Comics villains or whatever to come in and steal all of our freedoms. Perhaps that really is the case. Perhaps there are Evil Forces waiting in the wings for us to give up our freedoms as a society and perhaps this whole thing starts with us applying for an EDL or agreeing to let a security guard search our bags before heading in to a hockey game.

    But to be quite honest, I’d rather just get on with my day and let them do what they have to do. Maybe the concert security guard will, by searching someone’s bag or asking someone where he or she is going, lead the way to internment camps and firing squads and gas chambers. Maybe.

    And I guess if that happens, you can all blame me for choosing to cooperate with the border guard and Canada Customs when I could have been raising a holy terror and arguing with them every step of the way.

    See, Pablo, I get your information and I get your amendments and all that. But I just wonder how you apply your philosophy in day-to-day life. What does that look like in real time? How do you live your life apart from posting on the internet? What do you do when you have to cross the border? How do you proceed when police stop you in traffic or want you to use an alternate route in a parade?

    Talking and discussing this sort of thing is all well and good. It can be a lot of fun. But I actually have to exist out here, with designs on having a family and whatnot someday. If I actually applied what you say and think to my everyday life, I’d be looking upon EVERYONE with suspicion and derision. Shit, I’d be a Canadian version of Ruvy and I’d probably never watch a hockey game because I’d think Molson was out to get me and I’d never visit a public library because I’d think they’d be using library cards to round me up for my eyeballs.

    When does it end?

  • pablo

    Jordan 178 you say:

    “So is having security guards in shopping malls or police officers standing on corners during parades, but the unfortunate reality is that we’ve proven as a society that we need a certain degree of “where are you going/who are you?” style security”

    This is a cute way of saying “Your papers please”, something that most americans at one time would have found not only repugnant and unamerican but downright frightening.

    I suggest Jordan that you take a good long look at the 4th amendment to the US Constitution, that lacking probable cause that a person has committed a crime, the police have NO authority whatsoever over a citizen. Thats called FREEDOM Jordan, the FREE ability for a person to about her/his business unmolested by arbitrary intrusion by law enforcement. After all Jordan, if these cops are enforcing the law they would uphold the law of the land, that even to this day, happens to be the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights that BIND all police to it, and I might add that they swore to uphold. It is quoted below, in case you have forgotten its text Jordan.

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

  • pablo

    Ruvy 173,

    Hmmmm that is interesting, try clicking the google search link below, and you will find numerous sites referring to exactly what I was talking about. I have also included an audio link to Dave Emory an anti fascist researcher for over 30 years. It is a one hour program on the Brotherhood, he has numerous programs on this subject as well as their links to US and British intellegence. Furthermore as you are probably aware, the roots of the Muslim Brotherhood are firmly entrenched in Nazi history. If you have never listened to Emory Ruvy, you might find him to be an excellent resource on geo politics, with particular reference to what Emory refers to as an Underground Reich within the US, as started by the Bormann Flight Capital Network, established by Martin Bormann at the end of WW2.

    I have no doubt Ruvy that you are as much of a sworn enemy of Nazism as I am. Emory is an expert on the subject.

    The Muslim Brotherhood was thoroughly infiltrated by US and British intelligence after World War 2. Leading up to the creation the the Mujahadeen by Brzenski and the Trilateral Commission in the late 70’s.

    I do not source most of my research on Alex Jones, and never have. In fact Mr. Jones has never so much as done a show on this subject. I was studying this stuff back when Mr. Jones was in elementary school.

    Audio Link Dave Emory Compendium on the Muslim Brotherhood

    google search link on the Muslim Brotherhood

    Full list of Dave Emory Audio Links

  • Jordan Richardson

    Stopping citizens and systematically asking them where they are coming from and where they are going is a loss of freedom in my book

    So is having security guards in shopping malls or police officers standing on corners during parades, but the unfortunate reality is that we’ve proven as a society that we need a certain degree of “where are you going/who are you?” style security.

    Sure, it’s a “loss of freedom” to have people check your shopping bags because they think you may have shoplifted. And it’s a “loss of freedom” to walk through a metal detector at the airport. It’s also a “loss of freedom” to be searched for drugs and booze before concerts, isn’t it?

    But aren’t such “losses” necessary to the security and/or comfort of others? And couldn’t it be argued that the peace of mind that additional security can bring can enhance one’s “freedom” to enjoy flying/driving/swimming/being at a concert?

  • Jordan Richardson

    They also are talking about enhanced drivers licenses, so perhaps you should be worried.

    Yeah. I have one. Why would I be worried?

  • Clavos the Impaler


    Welcome to Blogcritics. I agree with you as regards the arrogance oF US Immigration practices and the officials charged with enforcing them.

    That said, I worked for thirty years in the travel industry, during which time I experienced not only American, but foreign offficials’ arrogance in countries all around the world; it’s not unique to the US.

    I believe it stems from the mindset that people in such positions develop — a mindset that comes when people in relatively unchallenging, routine jobs are given too much authority with too little accountability — a hallmark of most low-level government jobs worldwide.

  • Patricia,

    Great! I came back for just a minute or two.

    So glad to see you are OK..I have to go now, State Of the Union Tonight..half of the people bitching about it tomorrow will not have even have watched it..go figure!

    :] see ya in the threads!

  • Good to hear from you, Patricia. I’m glad we haven’t chased you away.

    Glenn is on the authoritarian side, I’ve just found out – no doubt because of his lifelong career in the military – but other than that, he’s always a straight shooter.

  • I love you all! I mean it. I couldn’t have asked for a better first time experience on BC. I comment sparingly, but read every single one of your thoughts – errr… sometimes there is not a trace of a thought – then I should rather say: self expressions. You seem like a fun and tight bunch. You are lovely, quirky, nutty, and some of you are also wrong, nevertheless lovely. Princeton Conservative has a sense of humor, Glenn means well, others I haven’t figured out quite yet. I don’t take anything that goes on here too seriously or too personally. I’ll see you around on other threads I am sure. Thanks for your time and attention.

  • Regarding comments #149 and #164. OK Paul, I’ll play straight.

    I looked up on Google the words, “infiltration, Muslim Brotherhood” and got about 75,000 hits to look up. Every single one on about 12 pages (120 of the hits) talked about their infiltration of us. I found NOTHING dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood being infiltrated by the FBI, CIA or MI5/6.

    Thanks for the compliments, by the way….

  • OMG, look at the time.


  • “If I write an article, will it be published?”

    This is the same as asking, “If a tree falls in the woods, will anybody hear it?”


  • Yes Doc,

    All of the above!

  • Patricia,

    Hello. It might be the time difference or else you now hate us, all of us. If this is the case let me apologize for these..clowns?

    You said yesterday you also had a blog.

    If you would be interested in forming a friendship with one of these clowns, then please visit my blog and then we can converse without being attacked.

    :] jeannie – the nice one

  • What are you writing about, Jeannie? Could racist, sexist, chauvinist… work?

  • What is another word for bigot? I’m right in the middle of an article right now.

  • Why don’t you go respond to the comment I left for you on Dave’s thread?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    You addressed not a single one of the points I raised in comment #150, nor the supporting observations by Jordan in comment #153.

    It’s starting to look like you don’t want to give any consideration whatsoever to the possibility that you’re falling into the trap of accepting only one side of the story.

    Remember, in my first several comments on this thread, I specifically said that I was NOT judging Immigration’s actions as right or wrong, but was explaining their mindset…but you’re giving no credence at all to the possibility that you don’t know the whole story, that Patricia might not be 100% on the up-and-up even after I pointed out the obvious holes in her article.

    I’m sorry that you think it’s “a loss of freedom” for an Immigration official to ask where you’re coming from and where you’re going when crossing the border…but with all due respect, your opinion is quite naive. Your rights END where the need for national security begins…and the most important line of physical defense for our national security is at our border. There IS such a thing as too much freedom. Any married woman should know that – after all, what would husbands do if the wife let them get away with too much?


  • pablo

    Ruvy 149

    Excellent post, however due to your very slick wit, I cannot determine if you were serious about links regarding the Brotherhood. If you were just comment back on this thread and I will be happy to provide you with links about them that I think are good.


    Why don’t some of you read my articles and tear them apart, piece by piece!

    Then they will get read!

  • Look how Patricia won’t talk with us now.. See, I told you all to be nicer.

    She probably woke up this morning saying, “Crazy critics!”

  • Thank you Ruvy, You read my comment!

  • In any event it is about time you pathetically arrogant North Americans learned a thing or two from us Israelis – especially about something we are damned good at – security.

  • Sorry folks – the crap that Patricia went through – not Sarah. Where did Sarah pop into my head from?

    I wonder.

  • Phyllis Chesler, writing this brief “Terrorism Quiz” at Pajamas Media, says it all. Every major terrorism event she refers to was caused by Muslim extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

    Unless you Americans are willing to adopt the Israeli in-depth security rules at the airports – and profile for Muslim extremists between the age of 17-40, you will progressively lose more and more of your liberties to bullshit rules that DO NOT stop terrorists. All the crap that you are going through now – the crap that Sarah went through, the crap that Jeannie went through, the attitude of subservient submission that all of you have to adopt in the alleged “land of the free” is all BULLSHIT!

    And in your hearts, you know I’m right. All of you!

  • I worry all the time now.

  • Jordan,

    It is a big deal to some of us. They also are talking about enhanced drivers licenses, so perhaps you should be worried.

    I don’t know why you only picked up on that part of my comment.

    Stopping citizens and systematically asking them where they are coming from and where they are going is a loss of freedom in my book..:(

  • Haven’t you heard, Jordan, that Jewish men are most oversexed? And it doesn’t wane with age.

  • Jordan Richardson

    the “g-string dancing Jordan”

    So now I’ve got a Jewish man twice my age imagining me in a g-string. Fuck.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Glenn #150,


    My wife dealt with border guards on a daily basis to get to work and we are now dealing with immigration frequently. It is vital to remember that these people are human beings and that they are navigating a rather thorny ball of circumstances and rules. And they are doing this on top of dealing with all different types of people crossing that border on a daily basis.

    My wife has always been treated kindly by both Canadian and American border guards and has never had a problem in her hundreds of crossings per year. She has no Nexus pass or anything, either, and gets in line like the rest. Others, like my father, have had different sorts of issues and problems, but they’ve been relatively minor.

    In the end, I think poor treatment at border crossings is rare. It’s akin to other people in positions of authority and, every so often, there are those who cross the line and engage in misbehaviour. And as long as we insist on employing those damn human beings, misbehaviour is bound to happen sometimes.

  • Jordan Richardson

    We live near the Canadian border, and since they now demand a passport from all US citizens to enter Canada, I say, “We are now prisoners in our own land!”

    We need a passport to cross into the United States, too. While certain things “should be enough,” I guess I just don’t see this as that big of a deal.

    Maybe I’m just not that dramatic or maybe I don’t see every single action as some sort way of my freedoms being taken away.

    How are you a prisoner in your land just because you need a passport to cross the border? You can cross the border, right?

    While I get that we need to be sure to be vigilant, I guess I’d just rather pick my battles. Needing a passport to do a little cross border shopping in Seattle doesn’t rate that highly on my list of things to worry about.

  • Glenn,

    I found out about a really good House Bill yesterday, HR4290, may I suggest that you look at it.

    Tell me what you think..:)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger, Jeannie, and Patricia –

    Roger implied a low opinion of the ‘training and caliber of low-level bureaucrats at Immigration, and I think that’s important to address:

    1) They don’t have college degrees.

    2) They have a vast body of regulations they have to enforce.

    3) They are each charged with processing hundreds – and often thousands – of people crossing the border each day.

    4) They have to decide on the possible threat that each and every one of those people may present…because if a terrorist slips through, the low-level bureaucrat will like lose his or her job.

    5) And each and every one of the people they process are individual human beings – some are good, some are bad, some are happy, some are sad, some wear their hearts on their sleeves, and some wear chips on their shoulders.

    6) AND these low-level bureaucrats are every bit as human as the people they process. They have families to feed, a job to protect, lovers, friends, threats, a nebulous hope for retirement at some point in the future….

    This is NOT a recipe for efficiency…but it’s what we have right now. If you’ve got a better practical idea on how to make it work without having the occasional problem with people like Patricia, I’d like to hear it. But the solution must be practical, workable, pragmatic – because while idealism makes for wonderful rhetoric and politics, it often fails when it comes to walking the proverbial walk.

    What I see so far on this topic is that almost everyone is so quick to assume that “the low-level bureaucrat (and/or the system) MUST be the villain!” But what I do NOT see on this topic is much of an effort of others to look at every side of the story.

    Apparently I’ve got a bit more experience than most when it comes to Immigration and government service in general, and it is SO easy for those with little or no experience in government to assume that the bureaucrat in question is uneducated/robotic/stupid/lecherous/bad/wrong/evil, whatever.

    Roger, you yourself point out how you weren’t there – and of course, neither were Jeannie or myself. Only Patricia was there…and the Immigration officer is not here to defend herself. When Patricia makes her accusations, should we take her story as unvarnished gospel? Should we? Do we not all have experiences where we were SO ticked-off at someone, but later found out that we were actually the one in the wrong?

    I will NOT assume everything in Patricia’s article is right OR wrong. I WILL assume that we’re getting only ONE side of the story, that there’s a lot more that we do not know, AND we should not be so quick to judge.

    Am I being too quick to judge? In the first several comments I made on this topic, I specifically stated that I was NOT making a judgement as to whether the Immigration officer was right or wrong. It was only after a couple days that I went back and looked through Patricia’s story for holes and assumptions…and found them.

    I recommend that all of you step back and refrain from being so quick to judge the low-level government bureaucrat – that is, unless you have a better understanding than I do of that bureaucrat’s side of the story.

  • Pablo,

    Now you have me curious. I can get a zillion hits on how the Muslim brotherhood is (supposedly?) infiltrating America, Europe, Israel, Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Alpha Centauri, not to mention the Andromeda Galaxy!

    But I know that already!

    Heck, my brother-in-law 4 times removed, the tri-sexual guy with thirteen hands and 12 legs from the planet Flotz 3 (which goes around the star Sirius, just 9 light years away) has told me how the Ikhwan Muslimiya is handing out prayer rugs (they gotta be big for guys with 12 legs) and getting everybody to listen to to the muezzin and pray 5 times a day. This is a pretty neat feat, considering that the Flotzniks have no mouths or ears and no spine to speak of, so they can’t even bend down!

    But you alleged that the Ikhwan Muslimia was infiltrated, if I remember right, by the CIA and MI5 or MI6. After searching using the terms CIA, infiltration, and Muslim Brotherhood, I’ve only come up with how the Ikhwan Muslimia is infiltrating us. As I pointed out, this is not news to me at all.

    Help me out here, Paul. If you don’t want to give out the links here, so that the “g-string dancing Jordan” won’t snort in contempt in having drawn you out, give me a holler at my e-mail addy – found easily at my blogsite.

    You have, by the way been posting excellent comments here. I’m just saying what I shoulda said long ago, pal.

  • allowed was the correct spelling among other grammatical errors that can be singled out in my comment #147.

    I am hoping that we will all read the content!

  • This is the comment I was referring to,

    There have been numerous lawsuits of late by US citizens decrying their treatment by US Customs officials particularly in regard to their private papers (computers). It has gotten so bad that most businesses are recommending to their employees that when returning to their native homeland that they wipe their hard drives clean, to protect against nosy, intrusive authoritarian customs officials. The can and will take your laptop to the back room and plug it in and download the entire contents.

    They will also ask questions of US citizens that are frankly no business of theirs at all. Such things as what do you do for a living, why were you abroad, and in general being very nosy.

    Are they being nosy just at the border? NO.

    A few years ago, my husband and I were returning home after a St Patty’s day party at one of our friends home. We left the party to drive home around 9 PM.

    There was a road block set up in the middle of a very busy commercial district. Every car was stopped by an officer. I don’t know what they asked all the other drivers that night, but they asked my husband, ” Where are you coming from this evening sir, and where are you going?”

    The appropriate question should have been, “Have you had any alcohol to drink this evening sir?” at the very least!

    Now, I don’t give a damn how polite we are to each other! It was frankly, “None of their F_______g! business! and We were NOT at a border crossing!

    When you are no longer aloud to move freely within your own land, in a peaceful manner, then there is a very serious problem here.

  • Pablo,

    I hear you, buddy. Loud and clear!

    We live near the Canadian border, and since they now demand a passport from all US citizens to enter Canada, I say, “We are now prisoners in our own land!” I have a valid NYS drivers licence and that should be enough. and…”When is enough going to be enough in this country? ”

    If we don’t fight this river of fear,then WHAT we are going to allow history to repeat..Sig Heil?

    Don’t all freak out now saying 911, 911, 911!

    Yes, I am sorry for the loss of all lives, American and Foreign that day..but that doesn’t mean I am going to hand over all my rights in the name of ” Keeping US safe!”

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think you’re thinking of In-N-Out, yeah. Haven’t been there myself but I’ve heard great things.

    If I can be as stereotypically Canadian as humanly possible, I do frequent Tim Horton’s on almost a daily basis.

  • STM

    Likewise … except for a decent ‘burger.

    Not from a chain joint though … although I’ve heard there’s one in the US that everyone raves about.

    Can’t think of the name. In-N-Out maybe, in California …???

  • Jordan Richardson

    Taco Bell has been one of the few US fast-food institutions NOT to cross the extra-large pond.


    I’ve discovered that I can’t eat fast food if I’m sober.

  • STM

    Jordan: “For some reason, this makes me think of Taco Bell.”

    Taco Bell has been one of the few US fast-food institutions NOT to cross the extra-large pond.

    They did try in Sydney the 1970s, but a local mexican restaurant with a similar name argued in court that people might confuse the fast-food chain with his restaurant, which could damage the reputation of his restaurant.

    Amazingly, he won. They came back in the ’90s but it fizzled out again and now we have none.

    I didn’t mind them when I was in the states, but as far as fast food goes, what beats a nice yankee-style ‘burger?


  • Jordan Richardson

    You know me, I’m always on guard.

  • zingzing

    “Pablo kept saying something about showing me the Illuminati and I just hummed the Canadian national anthem.”

    ahh, the political hummer.

    “i disa-a-a-a-A-A-GREEEEEEEEeeeeeeee…”

  • Jordan Richardson

    what the fuck happened between 9:45 and 9:48? you two run off and have some sexy time?

    I should probably admit that we did. Pablo kept saying something about showing me the Illuminati and I just hummed the Canadian national anthem.

    Bizarre, but surprisingly gentle.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The sun shining out of your own arse is blinding you.

    For some reason, this makes me think of Taco Bell.

  • STM

    Glenn: “but without patriotism, the Allies could not have defeated the Nazi threat.”

    To which the Poles, fighting with the British, made a hugely significant contribution right from the outset, although most Americans probably aren’t aware of just how much.

    As for Princeton conservative, if your jingoistic, bombastic, bullying and ignorant comments are an indicator of what America’s instititions of higher learning are currently churning out, then America’s in waaaaaay more sh.t than we thought.

    Especially the bit in which, reading between the lines, Princeton buys into the myth of American exceptionailism, the old light on the hill, the one true beacon of hope.

    What a load of f.cking bollocks. It’s none of those things. It’s just another western democracy trying to muddle through one crisis after another, most of which are of its own making (the GFC, unemployment and the American recession for starters).

    She’s got a legitimate beef, even if she’s expressed it in an over-the-top way. I understand that tea-towel wearing lunatics flying jets full of innocent Americans into skyscrapers full of innocent Americans will up the ante on this stuff and that the US has every right to protect both its interests and its borders, but it doesn’t mean the authorities need to go to extremes and behave like blackshirts.

    And if you’re looking for clues as to why people around the world seem to dislike Americans, the first place to look would be in your own bathroom mirror, mate.

    The sun shining out of your own arse is blinding you.

    Besides, that’s the beauty of democracy … she’s free to state her case. And her level of insult in the original piece was considerably lower than yours too.

    The Ivy League just ain’t what it used to be …

  • Jordan Richardson

    Zinger, this is about how it went down.

    I mentioned that the internet is not necessarily a reliable source of information, making what I deem to be a pretty uncontroversial point about Pablo’s “cursory Google search.”

    From there, Pablo assumed that I had some “stuff” on the “Muslim Brotherhood” and assumed that I was somehow insulting him or being snide.

    I said I wasn’t being insulting or being snide and that I was sorry if it came across that way. Pablo insulted my musical taste, probably based on my music reviews or something, and my politics. Then Pablo apologized, mostly likely after he saw my apology and the red haze left his eyes.

    Yep. Honestly, the only “stuff” I have on the Muslim Brotherhood is this.

  • zingzing

    what the fuck happened between 9:45 and 9:48? you two run off and have some sexy time? and what does pablo mean by “musically” in #130? i can’t figure out where that comes from. i’d really like to hear some conspiracy rock (or at least take a look at the theory behind it).

  • pablo

    I apologize too Jordan.

  • Jordan Richardson

    By the way, I meant nothing derogatory about what I said about the reliability of internet information and “cursory Google searches.” I do apologize if I came across that way, Pablo.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The difference between you and I Jordan, both musically and politically, is that I am just a wee bit more, shall we say advanced than you are.


  • pablo

    Whatever Jordan.

  • pablo

    Show me your stuff on the Brotherhood Jordan, I am not interested in your snide remarks.

    Yes the internet is full of information, some of it bullshit and some of it not. I would like to see some of the information on the Brotherhood that you find valuable and intersting. Is that too much to ask for? And I will reciprocate in kind.

    The fact that you say alot of stuff on the internet is bs, so what? Everyone knows that Jordan, and that was not the point of what I was talking about. My point Jordan, was that the MSM is a propaganda arm of US foreign policy. If you dispute that say so and pontificate on it, and I will respond in kind.

    I never said nor implied that I was not on the defensive on this site, I have been for over 2 years. So???

    Tell me something that I do not know Jordan, that I find worthwhile. Snideness I do not.
    I have no doubt should your mind be open even a crack, which I highly doubt, particularly in reference to your musical tastes, that I could show you stuff on the Brotherhood, and back that info up, that you were completely unaware of. Yes I am arrogant, full of myself politically, that is a given. You can easily ignore me. The difference between you and I Jordan, both musically and politically, is that I am just a wee bit more, shall we say advanced than you are.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Whatever, Pablo.

  • pablo

    Hey Jordan,

    You call comments 121, 122, and 124 elaborate??
    Hmmm that is interesting.

    If you ever took the time to read what I have spent considerable time and energy commenting on then perhaps you could call some of them elaborate pal. As it is I just see a snide remark with no oomph or bang for the buck as it were.

    I also meant what I said, unlike your snide remark, I would be happy to discuss at length and also point out information on the Muslim Brotherhood that I find factual and interesting.

    I point these things out because you were commenting in a very snide fashion on comment 118, which I took the time out to compose, and thats all you can say about it. Indeed that reflects more on you than me Jordan. How about some meat with them potatoes?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Pray tell what does it say about me also?

    It says that you’re so defensive that you take the simple notion of “the internet isn’t always reliable in terms of information” and turn it into some sort of attack on your “stuff.”

    Jesus Christ.

  • Jordan Richardson

    What “huff and puff,” Pablo? Let me say something clear as relates to any topic: the internet is not necessarily a reliable source of information.

    Do you disagree with this most basic of points? Do you understand that I am not saying anything about the Brotherhood or your sources or your bloody information?

    Pal? Buddy? Chief? Dude? Mate?

  • pablo

    Oh and Jordan? Pray tell what does it say about me also?

    Hey Glenn,

    I am still waiting patiently for you over on the warmer mongering article. Nothing new to say?

  • pablo

    If you say so Jordan. As I figured your all huff and puff, with no real stuff. I am all ears pal, show me your stuff on the Brotherhood.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Pablo, you essentially took a point I made about the reliability of internet information and turned it into an elaborate attack. That says more about you than it says about me, chief.

  • pablo

    Just as I thought Jordan, a sideline kind of guy. In and out with your jabs, nothing real to say.

  • pablo

    I got an idea Jordan. You list your factual information on the Brotherhood including relevant links, and I will reciprocate.

    I doubt that you will however, you would rather sit on the sidelines and not actually debate an issue, but just interject snideness. I challenge you. Show me your stuff Jordan, and I will show you mine.

  • pablo

    And what would you know about factually accurate results on the Muslim Brotherhood Jordan? I am all ears pal.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Even a cursory google search on them would yield fascinating results

    Yes it would. Now whether a cursory Google search on the history of the Muslim Brotherhood would turn up factually accurate results is another matter altogether.

  • pablo

    Patricia and Jeannie,

    Thank you so much for your kind remarks regarding my posts. It is indeed very rare for anyone on this site to post something positive about what I have to say. I think primarily the reasons for this is that I am not part of the left/right paradigm and I frequently criticize both liberals and conservatives! I also have a rather conspiratorial bent, regarding politics, and this frequently makes others feel uncomfortable.

    Regarding Princeton chap, I would not even take the time to respond to such petty drivel as she/he dishes out for obviously no other purpose than to needle and more than likely I sense a very lonely person behind the facade.

    As to Silas and Glenn’s suckup to bureaucrats that do not know how to do their jobs without being mean, obnoxious, petty, and authoritarian I have this to say.

    Perhaps if this were an isolated case one could ascribe it to a poor hiring process. However the border patrol situation, both with immigration, and customs officials is a national disgrace at the moment. This is both in terms of visitors and US citizens.

    There have been numerous lawsuits of late by US citizens decrying their treatment by US Customs officials particularly in regard to their private papers (computers). It has gotten so bad that most businesses are recommending to their employees that when returning to their native homeland that they wipe their hard drives clean, to protect against nosy, intrusive authoritarian customs officials. The can and will take your laptop to the back room and plug it in and download the entire contents.

    They will also ask questions of US citizens that are frankly no business of theirs at all. Such things as what do you do for a living, why were you abroad, and in general being very nosy.

    The Glenns and Silas’s of the world probably have no issue with this sort of behavior by government agents. I being a frequent global traveler and a single man in my 50’s do have a problem with it. It is a cold day in hell when I am not treated with disrespect by US customs officials for no other reason than my gender and age.

    It has gotten to the point when questioned at US borders by these agents, I preempt them, and tell them I have no criminal history, and I am not a pedophile, and that I have never after all the times that I have been searched had any contraband on me or my computer.

    There is NOTHING like coming back to your native homeland to a welcoming committee like this. One time I was detained for over an hour and a half, while a guard went through my computer in minute detail. As I am a man who loves the opposite gender, I did have some material on there that was shall we say risque. I had to wonder at this point who really was more embarrassed by viewing this material, myself or the female border guard. I suspect it was her.

    It is the same today all over the country. Showing submissiveness and being treated quite frankly as cattle when traveling today in the us of a.

    I also recall a few years ago, I was leaving the country for a trip to Asia. As I was in the departure lounge, numerous US border patrol guards entered and started questioning people myself included. Now my understanding of the law, in my own country, is that these goons have no authority to question me whatsoever upon departing, as if I had an outstanding warrant, it would obviously have flagged me before departure. These goons wanted to know why I was going, what I did for a living, who I was going to see, and for how long.

    This type of behavior is not only unamerican, it is illegal on its face. I was not entering the country, I was on my own soil. This type of questioning is typical of a totalitarian state, and I have been traveling worldwide for well over 30 years, and have NEVER had this happen before. It was not me that they were singling out, but everyone citizen and alien alike.

    That is how far out of control this border situation has become. There is only ONE reason that I did not make a stink. I wonder if you the reader can figure it out.

    They now have an arbitrary no due process black list, that once a person is on, it is difficult or impossible to get off of it, not to mention the time frame involved. So I did not invoke my rights as an american to not be subject to this random intrusion upon myself on us soil before departure because of this list. I make a stink, I demand names, badge numbers etc, perhaps call my attorney, and the next thing you know I am on a black list.

    So when I read Patricia’s excellent article, I am moved to voice my opinion on this subject. People such as Silas and Glenn who are obsessed with the bogeyman of Al-Ciada, have no understanding at all of how they have been hoodwinked. They are so frightened of ghosts in the dark, of an enemy that have been manufactured for all intents and purposes to get people to willingly give up their rights. It is working.

    I would be willing to bet money that neither Silas nor Glenn has any real understanding as I do, of the history of the Muslim Brotherhood for instance. This terrorist organization was successfully infiltrated by US and UK intelligence well over 35 years ago. Even a cursory google search on them would yield fascinating results. Of course neither of them has ever done such a search. They are more than happy to accept whatever CNN, FOX, PBS and the other propaganda arms of US foreign policy tells them about.

    I would, but I won’t just out of spite, include numerous url’s specifying in great detail exactly what I am alluding to regarding the Muslim Brotherhood. Ignorance is bliss, and in this case it is the warm comfy fuzzy feeling of being protected by goons. Indignation is what is needed. Unfortunately for our country it is filled with the likes of Silas’s and Glenn’s and they are not even right wing republicans. God help us all.

  • Just so I am clear, the writer admits to having the wrong paperwork but it’s everyone else who is at fault in this situation?

    I would like to work up more sympathy but I can’t. Also, we are only hearing her side from an event that allegedly took place a month ago and considering we know there’s no vetting of articles here, like the college student who pretended to be a lawyer, I’ll take these events with a grain of salt. Could the situation be true? Absolutely. Did it happen as has been portrayed? Impossible to tell.

    Not sure why Just One Princeton H&Conservative hasn’t been given the boot yet. Undermines the whole point of banning someone multiple times.

  • Glenn,
    Here is an alternative scenario which I tend to think should not be too far fetched even for you. All else being equal, an immigration official sequesters me to the back room because the VWP does not foresee a stay over 90 days in principle. My immigration history is reviewed. No violations are found. I am reprimanded for not having the right visa. I am informed that VWP allows stay no longer than 90 days. I apologize and thank them. We part ways.

    Compare and contrast to what indeed happened. Keep in mind that at all times I spoke my mind but have done so softly, used thank you and please in my sentences. I was not accorded the same courtesy back and I only found out about what potentially has been the reason for my problem by diligently searching Google and Wikipedia.

    Most importantly it isn’t about me. My story is just the tip of an iceberg. When white middle class women with clean immigration record like me are being yelled at when trying to visit a country – there is a problem. You Glenn are in denial. You can keep justifying your opinion that I got the treatment that I deserved – but you will be hard pressed to justify every single story out of hundreds if not thousands that are out there. Please watch this if you haven’t: Ayat Manna.

  • I don’t know, Glenn. I wasn’t there. But people with authority should be extra careful about how they exercise it.

    And you do seem to assume a great deal about the caliber and training of those people. My experience with bureaucrats and lower-lever enforcement people in any kind of official capacity doesn’t permit me to make such assumptions.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Read the last paragraph on the third page of her article…and put yourself in the shoes of the Immigration officer who’s getting told how to do her job by a young lady who doesn’t have the right visa…and who assumed that she was being stereotyped by the Immigration officer.

  • Silas,

    Yes you are. I was looking at your picture yesterday.:) You seem like a nice man, but…we’ll see!

    Talk to me after the state of the union!

    :] night

  • Jeannie, I’m not human.

  • I agree, Roger. The bottom line — the political change we must achieve is not limited by borders. This is a global initiative. Perhaps it should be less about making the United States a Third World country and more about bringing other countries up to a standard of living that is fair, balanced and humane.

    Insofar as foreign policy is concerned, we have a problem. Terrorist networks are trying to get WMDs. That’s reality — not scare tactics. Soon, we won’t be able to afford the protections we need to keep our citizenry safe thanks to an economy brought to its knees by a domino effect following 9/11. Our forces are stretched to the max and the number of troops we have on our own soil is dangerously low. The “front lines” employed by TSA and Immigration couldn’t pass an IQ test administered by Kermit the Frog. So, is the behavior of some of these officials “superiority-based” or is it just plain stupidity? I don’t like “profiling” any more than the next guy but can it be avoided these days? I think not.

    Like I’ve said many times, Roger, if there’s an attack on our soil I plan on being somewhere occupied by immigrants from the Middle East or the former Soviet Union. I have more chance of surviving in their home than I would in the home of a typical American.

  • Goodnight Patricia,

    Maybe we can talk tomorrow without the guards watching…:[

  • Again!

  • To the welcoming committee,

    Please stop trying to scare this writer from ever submitting to BC again!

    The politics of fear don’t work here.

    This is really reminding me of the first slug-fest in my thread, before I found out that all of you actually were just human beings like myself.

    :0 Please chill out!

  • If we should look to other countries, Silas, for example, then we may as well join them. Only recently you argued with Andy that we are becoming a Third World. Well, let’s skip the pretense then and tie the knot.

    It’s happening anyway, so why prolong the agony.

  • Well so much for civil debate. Political correctness be damned, here goes…

    Yeah, there are issues with U.S. Immigration Officers. We’re at war with an enemy we have difficulty identifying. Terrorists – most of whom are Muslim – have one goal – the annihilation of the United States. So, should we be politically correct and sympathetic to every Muslim who lives in our land or attempts to cross our borders? In this “p.c.” world it seems the answer is yes. Sorry, folks. National security takes precendence. If that means strip searching every non-citizen Muslim before being given entry, so be it. Until the Muslim community rises up against their own who are terrorist nothing will change. Peaceful freedom loving Muslims need to have their own dialog within their own community without the interference of Christians who have done enough damage already.

    Now, let’s talk about treatment of U.S. citizens abroad. Does anyone discuss the treatment of Americans in former Soviet bloc countries? Does anyone expose the innate corruption of officials in Russia, Ukraine or other former satellites? Does anyone bother to expose the corrupt officials who stand at their borders with their hands out expecting cash payoffs from every visiting American? I’ve heard countless stories of Americans who have visited Eastern Europe only to be shaken down by police officers, immigration officials and more who routinely harass American citizens for no other reason than to grab a wad of cash.

    There are plenty of folks living in our our communities who are being shaken down by that system. We just don’t hear about it. If police or government officials obtain knowledge that a citizen has relatives living in America, they become targets. Millions of dollars are sent out of the United States every year from this country to feed the cash addiction of corrupt Eastern European officials — yet no one talks about it in the MSM.

    If we knew about a fraction of the deals former Soviet officials made with terrorist groups during the Soviet breakup, I wonder just how we would view freedom in Eastern Europe. A handful of former Soviet military officials made millions by selling arms, supplies and technology to the highest bidder. Well, I guess that is something American politicians have with corrupt officials in Eastern Europe — the highest bidder wins.

    So, before the bitching continues about U.S. Immigration officials, let’s take a look at the way treatment is meted in other countries. And let’s look at just what precipitates the violence we see today and understand that war is cash and vice versa.

  • I don’t know what you mean, Glenn, by dual intent, I really don’t. But the matter of having a wrong kind of visa is not a criminal offense. I could and should have been explained to her promptly and courteously.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    You know I hold you in high regard. You apparently don’t think much of what I have to say regarding Patricia’s article…

    …so I invite you to address the observation I made, that I repeated in italics in comment #106.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    Thank you for the compliment.

    I do my best to be a gentleman. However, I worked in law enforcement long enough and supervised women long enough to know that one cannot always speak to all of them with the gentle courtesy that the vast majority of women deserve and should expect.

    I’ve pointed out the obvious holes in Patricia’s article. She richly deserved what she got and should count herself lucky it wasn’t worse. This was NEVER about protecting her personal dignity. This WAS about protecting her personal pride…and I’m sure you understand the difference between dignity and pride.

    Personally I prefer working with women than with men – women tend to be more trustworthy on the job. But if someone needs a butt-chewing, a wake-up call to the real world, I will do that – regardless of whether it’s a man or a woman.

    I think there are exactly four women I’ve yelled at. One was my grandmother, for insulting my wife. Two were my wives – and my second one forgave me and stuck with me anyway. The fourth was a supervisor who was clueless about what proper supervision really is.

    Come to think of it, I’ve yelled at more men in one day – heck, in one HOUR – than all the women I’ve yelled at in all my life.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a shower – my wife and I got back from yoga a little while ago. Tomorrow morning at the gym she’s introducing me to something called ‘Zumba’, which will be followed by step-exercise. The step-exercise is good – I can use the aerobics – and of course I have no opinion on ‘Zumba’ yet…but I really, really like the yoga. If you haven’t tried it, I heartily encourage you to do so.

  • How much worse should it get for the offense?

    I get it now. Get caught smoking pot in Mexico and you’ll be jailed for twenty years.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Patricia –

    I see you did not address my observation:

    She had the wrong type of visa for what she wanted to do, apparently showed signs of dual intent, and – as is clear at the end of page 3 – quickly became defensive and argumentative. By her own admission she was telling the immigration officials what their job was.

    Patricia, you yourself told us why they questioned you. You yourself showed that you quickly became argumentative.

    Did you somehow think that they’re supposed to check you less than anyone else? Did you somehow think that they told themselves, “Hey, let’s go interrogate that black-haired girl just because we want to!”?

    AND THERE’S MORE! Were the Immigration officers told to keep an eye out for a possible threat, that might be a black-haired girl? YOU DON’T KNOW. And you should NOT know.

    One of us has a clue when it comes to national security, Patricia – and it ain’t you.

    Say all the bad things you want about America – go ahead, you can do that…and some of what you say will certainly be true.

    BUT if you violate the rules and then go arguing with those who enforce the rules as if you know their jobs better than they do…

    Have you ever heard the old saying, “When in Rome, do as Romans do”? When you’re trying to enter AMERICA. You have to abide by AMERICAN law, just as I’d have to abide by Japanese law in Japan. If you appear to violate the American rules for entry…and then get argumentative with those who are questioning you…

    …young lady, you richly deserved what you got. Frankly, if you were wise, you’d be grateful that it didn’t get any worse than it did.

  • Glenn’s take:

    “This is my story & I’m sticking to it.”

  • Jeannie, if ‘Princeton Conservative’ is who I think he is, you won’t be seeing him around for much longer. Be that as it may, he is currently restricting himself to criticising the article, however crudely. He’s done nothing as yet to incur the editorial scissors.

  • Princeton Conservative


    “The women officers at the Immigration control are the real victims of the system.”

    Wait first you were the victim, than the Muslim woman was the victim and now its the Immigration officers who are the victims? All very confusing.

    I think I am on to you. You should have labeled this “Parody”. Many of those reading are having a hard time figuring it out!

  • Ruvy 89,

    I agree with you. It was in fact heart breaking to watch. The women officers at the Immigration control are the real victims of the system. They were indoctrinated and boot camped to behave the way they did. I wasn’t a person to them but a threat. A threat – who incidentally has payed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to the US coffers btw. Talk about stopping undesirable immigration… ROLF – I FINKZ TEH SISTEM IZ BROKD.

    Me? I just shrug it off and blog about it. One day I hope to be able to take more meaningful action.

  • Glenn really is a good writer here at BC.

    I don’t think he would mind sharing his articles. I admire Liberals, especially Liberal Veterans.:)

    :)meant sincerely, Glenn I hope we can find some point of common ground here.

  • Princeton Conservative

    jeannie danna why are you incouraging personal attacks? The idea here is to challenge and discuss ideas. That doesnt mean we have to agree.

    While it is well written, as Glenn points out it has little basis in the reality of what Patricia actually reports as happening.

    If she refuses to defend her work or argue that point that is her right to do so.

  • Gotta go, time to eat.:)

  • Patricia,

    See the name next to the number of the comment?

    If it is highlighted in light blue, then that means the person commenting has the balls to stand by their words.

    You will be able to see their articles or blog if you click on it.

    Look up Glenn Contrarian in the writers index here and then, you can criticise his writing also!


  • I’m used to Ruvy, I believe he doesn’t mean any harm to you Patricia, but Glenn, you should know better. In fact, where is all this southern courtesy towards women you claim to posses?

  • Doc? are you here right now?

  • #94.5,

    In fact, if this personal attack continues then we will bring it to the attention of the moderators.

  • Patricia,

    I am new to BC myself, as I have only been here for about a year.

    I learned not to answer all of the pixels that comment in these threads. Roger and Ruvy are writers here at BC, as well as Glenn. Pablo is a wonderful commenter

    What that other typer is, I don’t know. So I will not respond to it.

    You are not expected to answer every little critic that flows down the river here and please do not feel you have to defend every sentence that you write.

    You are an excellent writer!

    🙂 Jeannie

  • Princeton Conservative

    Glenn, perfectly stated!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    No, her human dignity did NOT get raped. I read her article again…and the people at Immigration were doing their job. She had the wrong type of visa for what she wanted to do, apparently showed signs of dual intent, and – as is clear at the end of page 3 – quickly became defensive and argumentative. By her own admission she was telling the immigration officials what their job was.

    Get argumentative with immigration officials of ANY country…and you get what you deserve. I have no – repeat, NO – sympathy for her whatsoever.

    This is the problem with blogs like this – people read her story, take her story as gospel, join a resounding chorus of condemnation against the accused…and forget that there just might be two sides to the story. Read her article again. You’re old enough to read between the lines.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Some of “you people” are thins skinned.

  • I realize how careful one needs to be writing these things. I have a wife who had to deal with the bullshit rules the Feds make all their employees follow…. She no longer works for the bastards.

  • There was no personal attack against the Polish Princess. Did you read her post? There was no brutality anywhere to be found outside of the imagination of the author.

    No, Ms. Pawlak didn’t get raped in the “back room”. Her possessions weren’t seized from her. Her money wasn’t stolen. But her human dignity was raped – and not by her choice (as would be in a visit to the proctologist or gynecologist) – but by the choice of underpaid bureaucrats who are not allowed to do their jobs properly by politically correct scum who theorize and spin bullshit in their offices at GS13 or GS14 pay levels while the on-line types have to get by on GS5, GS6 or GS7 pay levels, if that.

    Having had a wife who had to tolerate this bullshit on her job with the Feds, and having lived on the street being chased around by $4/hr hobby cops, I understand something about both sides of this. I feel for both Patricia Pawlak, and her tormentors – and the families of the tormentors as well.

    And I reiterate what I said in my first comment here. The last place I would want to be is the United States of America.

  • Princeton Conservative

    No Roger…if you are born here you have the right to be an idiot!

  • In that case, let’s have an IQ test for the native population and get rid of the inferior strain.

    Problem solved.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Roger…so lets have a tourist IQ test. Some of these so-called tourist and students use these lies just to get into the country. Its not that difficult to understand.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Patricia…sorry you had so many links it would have taken hours to read everyone.

    Keep up the attacks on those who question your opinion. A bigot? Where did that come from?

    I went back and read the other fairly tale …I mean story. Go figure a person with a persecution complex links to a story about another person with a persecution complex!

    Was that woman dumb or mentally challenged? She didnt know why she was singled out…thats laugable. Radical Islam wants to destroy the western world. Profiling is an effective means of security.

  • No immigration was involved, PC, and you know it. Simple tourism.

  • Princeton Conservative 82,
    I gave you too much credit. I assumed you read my article. I guess you’re here only to bark your bigoted opinions, not to take anything in.
    I’ll just ignore you from now on.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Patricia 75…now we post imaginary links?

  • Yes, Patricia is more than welcome here! 🙂

  • Roger,

    Hello friend.

    :] I’ll be around later…

  • Princeton Conservative

    Roger…maybe we should increase the our immigration standards! Would be much cheaper and effective,

  • #73,

    Perhaps. But she didn’t strike me as paranoid. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be subjected to that kind of experience.

    Perhaps we should upgrade the personnel in charge of Homeland Security. Perhaps that was the point of the article.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
    $18.71 million

    The Californian’s net worth rose nearly 16 percent in 2007, adding $2.5 million to her personal wealth.

    Among her assets, Pelosi lists a Norden, Calif., town house valued at $1 million to $5 million and a real estate investment in Napa, Calif., worth at least $500,000.

    In addition, her husband owns a commercial property in San Francisco valued at $5 million to $25 million. In 2006, the property was listed as worth $1 million to $5 million, so that property alone added $4 million to Pelosi’s net worth last year.

    The couple also owns a vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., valued at $5 million to $25 million.

    The Speaker’s husband also increased tenfold his holdings in Apple Computer Inc. stock to at least $5 million, up from a minimum of $500,000 in 2006.

    Pelosi and her husband also owe mortgage debt on several of their properties, including the vineyard, totaling at least $8.75 million.

    Other debts listed by Pelosi include lines of credit totaling at least $3.5 million.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Jeannie….great job keep up the good work thats just what we need here in the US..”low paying manufacturing jobs”. There gone, there dead and they should be shipped overseas.

    You should have asked Madame Speaker how many “low paying” jobs her husband and her have in the personal businesses. Your barking up the wrong tree!

  • Princeton Conservative 73,
    Ayat Mana – click on that link – not only in my head. Now, that you did – I expect you to bash her on this forum as well.

  • Glenn, #56,

    Here is what you wrote,

    When it comes to what you think is sexism on my part, keep an eye out – in the next few days I’ll have to post an article in the ‘Culture’ section on how important it is to be a gentleman, treat a lady like a lady in all the positive meanings of that phrase, and how this all can and does fit in with what I believe to be modern liberalism. Hopefully you’ll see that there are proper applications of machismo, and that additional courtesy towards a woman does NOT equate with sexism.

    I don’t want you to treat me like a lady here. I want you to treat me as your intellectual equal.

    Mind you, it’s not that I’m not feminine. That’s not the point ! The point is there are no doors for you to open for me here at BC, no chairs to pull out for me, and no comments that I need you to explain for me right now.

    When I don’t understand something I try to ask the author, or Roger, because I respect his interpretations.
    I don’t want you to segregate my mind!

    And as a side note, I e-mailed Speaker Pelosi today regarding the House Republican’s push to create even more low paying, out-sourced, manufacturing jobs in places like, Panama and South Korea…instead of here where we need them!

    So, if you are a strong southern Liberal,
    Start bitching about that!!!!

  • I apologize, PC, for the innuendos. Won’t happen again. But what is the topic?
    I only responded to your vicious attack on the author of this article, nothing else.

    If you happen to think we should all eat shit, whatever is dished our way, in the name of whatever other, higher value, there’s really nothing to discuss.

  • I was right, after all. You are a Polack in disguise. A double whammy. Not only a Princeton reject but also a Polack reject.

    Now, the first one is rather easy to come by, but the second, oh boy! You really have to work hard to earn that distinction.

  • Should be “Polack.”

    Haven’t used that term in a very long while, but the occasion fits.

  • “Your own homeland . . . is a country that treats women as chattel and property…”

    How would you know, PC? Are you a Pollack in disguise?

    For your info, PC, abortions were legal in Poland even in the sixties while the right-thinking Americans still consider it a sin.

    I would think that given America’s checkered history with slavery, you should be the lest person to talk about chattel and property.

    But then again, perhaps you are a Pollack in disguise, and a Princeton reject to boot.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Patricia….anyone who lives, works or attends Princeton University knows…they have no shame! The once great halls of learning are now nothing more than an affirmative action diploma mill!

    Dont ever denegrate sausages…its un-American! I am surprised they didn’t tell you that during the….lol…. “brutality” you suffered!

  • Patricia,

    Hello! and Welcome to our nightmare. wink ;]

    :0 It is not always this mean here…

  • Princeton Conservative 61,
    I have no country and I am not a liberal. I am a civil libertarian but a fiscal conservative, if you must. Btw, Copernicus, Marie Curie, Chopin, Conrad and for your info specifically: Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko (google:Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko American Independence). Please, not Kie?basa or Pierogi. You put Princeton to shame.

  • Princeton Conservative

    Classic liberal response —

    1. Launch personal attack against the person who disagrees with you
    2. Take the position that you are smarter and know better…
    3. Don’t answer the question

    Your attack reveals how misguided you are. “non denominational, humanistic, global perspective” What gibberish! Your own homeland the great country that gave us….kielbasa and pirogues..oh and the telescope…is a country that treats women as chattel and property…and you could care less.
    You waste your time with a story about a US border guard doing their job of keeping in place as wise mouth trouble maker who doesn’t even deserve to be let in here.

    In addition the reason you gave to immigration to enter the US is hilarious!!!
    “I need to enter the US on a very important “non denominational, humanistic, global perspective” mission. I have to bang my boy friend!”

  • Pablo, Jeannie
    – Hi. 🙂

  • Princeton Conservative 42,
    You clearly did not assimilate the leading paragraph preceding my personal story. The kind of a non denominational, humanistic, global perspective I espouse – must be way over your head. Polish immigration issues? It seems that we have a symmetric corollary, you and I. This is precisely the topic of my next essay. You will be reading, no doubt.

  • No question. But there was also a suggestion, however implicit, that the author of the article behaved inappropriately. If she’d only put up with the BS, as we all should, everything would be honky-dory.

    The fact that Glenn offers us useful reminders how we ought to behave in a crowded theater does not negate the fact that, for some at least, the situation is becoming intolerable.

  • Personally, I strongly feel that if a bunch of Muslim men want to board a plane chanting Allahu akbar, that’s their right, and I wouldn’t do anything about it. Problem is, it would spook most of the other passengers…and things would spiral downhill from there.

    I’m reminded of the old joke about the man wearing a copper suit climbing to the top of a hill during a thunderstorm and shouting out “All gods are bastards!”

    Does he have a right to do it? Certainly.
    Is he a complete and utter moron for doing it? Absolutely.
    Is there any sort of point to it? Not really.

    There is, as Glenn has been trying to explain, a time and a place.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    WHAT questions?


    Civil disobedience by any American is a right, not a crime! Understand me ?

    Did you say any of this crap about the recent flood of Tea Parties that have filled our television screens, the streets of our cities and towns, and our newspapers? No, you didn’t did you…

    I never said civil disobedience is not a right. I DID say that there are places where it doesn’t belong, just as shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater.

    And if you don’t think I’ve said anything about the Tea Party, you didn’t see the long, long battle Dave and I had about racism among conservatives…and how after looking at hundreds of photos of Tea Party gatherings, I found a total of perhaps a dozen people of color! His reply about blacks in the Republican party? “Well, the blacks we have are high-quality blacks.”

    Yeah. He said that.

    When it comes to what you think is sexism on my part, keep an eye out – in the next few days I’ll have to post an article in the ‘Culture’ section on how important it is to be a gentleman, treat a lady like a lady in all the positive meanings of that phrase, and how this all can and does fit in with what I believe to be modern liberalism. Hopefully you’ll see that there are proper applications of machismo, and that additional courtesy towards a woman does NOT equate with sexism.

    Frankly, my dear, this southern gentleman does give a damn!

  • I’m am going to leave you now, before they ban me! and that would hurt way too much..:(

  • Princeton Conservative


    “Why even bother visiting the US anymore?”

    You have just created a solution for everyones problems! If the moronic low life foreigners stay away…they wont have to deal with our “poor mannered” immigration officials!! Meaning we can lay off some more federal employees which will help us lower the deficit!

    What a perfect solution….

  • Why do I have the most emotional arguments with fellow veterans here?

    We all want to serve and protect, don’t we?

  • That fairer sex crack that you made, shows me just how much further we still need to go with each other in this country. You need to see that women not only are truly equal to men, but that they always have been!!!

  • Civil disobedience by any American is a right, not a crime! Understand me ?

    Did you say any of this crap about the recent flood of Tea Parties that have filled our television screens, the streets of our cities and towns, and our newspapers? No, you didn’t did you…

  • You did not address one single point that I made to you.

  • opps there it is!

  • Glenn,

    I’m sitting right here, and you should have the intelligence and bravery to answer comments addressed to you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    As the song (and the Psalm) said, “For everything there is a season”. There’s a time for civil disobedience, and there is a time to keep one’s mouth shut for practicality’s and pragmatism’s sake.

    Personally, I strongly feel that if a bunch of Muslim men want to board a plane chanting Allahu akbar, that’s their right, and I wouldn’t do anything about it. Problem is, it would spook most of the other passengers…and things would spiral downhill from there.

    And just as there’s times for (and not for) civil disobedience, there IS such a thing as too much freedom…like the Supreme Court’s latest decision on campaign finance.

    Once more, I point out to you that I did NOT say that Immigration’s actions towards Patricia was right. All I was doing was explaining their mindset…and what can happen if she falls afoul of that mindset.

    Now when it comes to being a liberal, one wonders who has more ‘liberal cred’ – thee, or me? Things get interesting when one’s an avowed liberal on active duty…

    …but let me remind you of the old observation that organizing liberals is like herding cats – unlike the conservatives, we ALWAYS disagree on something. Not only that, but it’s a major fallacy if we assume that the conservatives are wrong about everything – they’re not – but look at them. They march in lockstep against us, don’t they? If one says anything bad about a fellow conservative, what happens? The offender has thus fallen afoul of Reagan’s maxim of “Thou shalt not speak ill of another conservative”.

    But we liberals aren’t that way. We disagree on a whole slew of issues, and we aren’t afraid to say so…and being against someone committing civil disobedience in an airport should NOT be some kind of litmus test of one’s ‘liberal cred’.

    Civil disobedience has its place – absolutely! But anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of mass psychology can tell you that people who are about to board a plane are already significantly more nervous, more on edge than they normally are. Civil disobedience in such a situation may well be seen as something akin to shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.

    For everything, there is a season. Moderation in everything, Jeannie.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pablo –

    Hm. I wonder if I got your attention….


    When it comes to patriotism, you’re making a false argument. Yes, patriotism was used by Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia…but without patriotism, the Allies could not have defeated the Nazi threat.

    Patriotism – like religion and philosophy – can be compared to a loaded gun. It can be wielded for good or for ill, depending on the wielder.

    You wouldn’t know a true patriot from a blind obedient flag waving neo con. My country right or wrong. Wrong.

    You accused me of making assumptions…and then you post an assumption at least as egregious – and at least as wrong – as any I’ve made. There’s something I do when I found out I did or said something wrong…but I won’t ask it of you. Why? Because if that particular thing is not something you really want to do, then it is meaningless; but if you really did want to do it, then you’d do it regardless of whether I wanted you to or not.

    I think perhaps what happened here is that you – along with Patricia and Jeannie – didn’t really get the gist of my original comment. I said in my original comment that I was NOT trying to say that Immigration or DHS was right or wrong in what they did, but I was trying to explain their MINDSET. Can you find anywhere that I said that the way Immigration acted was right? Can you?

    Except for the separate line for American citizens, no, you can’t. All I did was explain their mindset.

    If you really want to worry about your freedoms, Pablo, then the airport is NOT where you should start. Instead, protest where it will do the most GOOD, beginning with the Supreme Court’s latest decision concerning campaign finance. THAT, sir, is a FAR more worrisome issue than Patricia’s problems at the airport.

    Attack the biggest problems first…and when the biggest problem is taken care of, suddenly the smaller problems aren’t so bad….

  • Glenn,

    I haven’t accused you of racism (and as for sexism, it’s not for me to say). But perhaps you haven’t overcome quite yet having been raised in the South. That’s precisely the attitude of many blacks there – even to this day: the docile stance. And we know why.

    No one is advocating inciting a riot, but I tell you what, Glenn. When basic rights are being trampled upon and the citizens are treated without due respect and proper human dignity, it’s time to call it quits. No national security is or should be more important than the security and respect that ought to be accorded to persons. And when the latter suffers in order to defend the former, such a country or nation is no longer worth defending.

    So yes, perhaps your years in the military have also made an undue impression.

  • Princeton Conservative

    According to a 2008 report on human rights by that “Right Wing Group” Amnesty International…….

    The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed its concerns about the repeated rejection by Parliament of a comprehensive law on gender equality. The Committee also expressed concerns about the abolition of the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Status of Women and Men in 2005. The new government declined to re-establish the post, despite appeals by NGOs.

    No nothing to see here…instead lets write a story on how US immigration officials made “me feel uncomfortable” and “didnt offer me a latte”!


  • Great distinction, Mark.

    Pablo’s reference to “homeland” is also a great point. Reminds one of “Fatherland,” a call to arms during Third Reich.

    Just a coincidence, folks?

  • Princeton Conservative

    What nonsense…Patricia it is our right as US citizens to expect that the government does all it can to keep freeloaders and illegal’s from walking across our borders or entering the US using fake educational visas.

    Gee…why don’t you just go back to Poland where their track record of treating women and minorities is sooooooooooooooo much better than the US.

    Here is a suggestion…please stop with these disingenuous anti-American arguments and write an expose concerning immigrant rights in Poland’s or any of third world cesspool …

  • Mark

    #24 – These bureaucrats are not morons. They lack models of (social vrs civic) virtue.

  • Roger, #24,

    Ditto to your referral of morons being hired. I’m afraid that’s all there is to choose from! ( not really, just punctuating.)

    We need to actually start educating our children in this country and stop obsessing over those darn school taxes.

  • Patricia, #23,

    See why I pleaded with you to continue writing for BC?

    Welcome to America sister!

    :)I am betting that you will like Cindy and Christine. Because, even though we all have different political beliefs from one another , we are able to connect in an intelligent manner.

    I tend to write from my emotion here at BC and someone doesn’t think that I’m “fair enough.” I am as strong as I want to be…

  • Pablo, #35,

    After reading this response, I will never pass over anything you have to say!

    I know I’m not the only salmon swimming up stream.

    :]I am a real Liberal.

  • Glen, #28,

    OMG, there is so much here for me to cut, copy and paste this morning….tsk, tsk, tsk, where do I start.

    Let’s start with this little gem.

    Here, I did my duty – I know what could happen as a result of your desire for ‘civil disobedience’, and I warned both you and Jeannie against it.

    Do you not refer to yourself as a “proud Liberal” in your author bio? or do I have you mixed up with, “fill in the blank with the dictator of your choice.”

    Civil disobedience by any American is a right, not a crime! Understand me ?

    Did you say any of this crap about the recent flood of Tea Parties that have filled our television screens, the streets of our cities and towns, and our newspapers? No, you didn’t did you…

    Please chew on this one for a little while, proud liberal.

    P.S. That fairer sex crack that you made, shows me just how much further we still need to go with each other in this country. You need to see that women not only are truly equal to men, but that they always have been!!!

    I will address that comment in depth with you , right after my next cup of TEA.

    The last time I looked in my closet, I didn’t see any Burkas hanging there.

  • Ruvy

    I looked at the comment I sent you, Roger. Such an Amero-centric medium that will not pick up Polish orthography – how narrow minded!

    For you and Patricia Mazurek Dambrowskiego and another tune you may have heard from time to time.

    Some of us put meaning to the flags we salute, Paul.

  • pablo

    Glenn 31:

    “I only say this because I don’t recall you ever defending anyone or anything in BC – I only remember attacks that you’ve made.”

    Hmmm. Perhaps you don’t read my comment too much Glenn. That is all well and fine by me. However if you had, you would know that I have always defended, and continue to defend the basic premise that founded our country. The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. I have always defended sovereign individual rights that individuals are endowed with by their creator at birth.

    As to attacking. I attack, intolerance, prejudice, sexism, racism, totalitarianism, big brother, the military industrial complex, ignorance, blind obedience to authority, and numerous other things that I find distasteful.

    As to love, counting my blessings etc. This is the political section of a blog site Glenn. Hence I restrict my comments to politics, sometimes they bleed into economics which are intimately connected to politics.

    In case you have not noticed Glenn, but I have, the world is on the brink of catastrophe of proportions that you cannot even begin to imagine, hence you don’t. And I am not talking about C02 pal, but a global conspiracy that if successful will make Adolph seem like a liberal.

    I know that you do not share this vision Glenn, but suppose for s minute that you did god forbid. That what you saw coming down the pike was genocide on a scale of billions, those that are left besides the ultra powerful and rich, i e the masses, nothing more than serfs and slaves to lick their boots 24/7.

    What would you do Glenn if you god forbid shared such a vision? I am asking you in all sincerity. Would you carry on about how sweet and fair and patriotic you can be in the political section of a website?

    I dare say you would not be. You would be sounding the alarm as Paul Revere did only digitally, as I do and others.

    I do as you do Glenn, I espouse my beliefs. I believe that rude obnoxious border guards are being taught to train us to be slaves. I know, I know that is outlandish to you, however in MY beliefs it is not.

    As to attacks personally, with very very very few exceptions on this site, I was always attacked FIRST, and as I do not subscribe to the spread the other cheek school of debate, I usually respond in kind.

    If treated with respect (no you do not have to agree with me) and civility, you will find me reciprocating in kind. However if you condescend to me as you have frequently done Glenn, or try to represent something as a fact, when its not, as in the case of your warmer mongering (I will stop using that phrase when and if you stop using the denier phrase btw), I will challenge you and perhaps occasionally interject sarcasm.

    You of course Glenn are quite free to ignore my posts, as several of my detractors now do and go about your business. However should you decide to engage me, try and not to condescend to me, and I will respond in kind.

    Your cute little remark over on the warming mongering thread, about my beliefs not reflecting well on me as a person is a case in point. The remark was condescending, rude, arrogant and smarmy, I have responded to you in kind sir.

  • pablo

    Oh and Glenn? I am still waiting patiently for you over on the warmer mongering thread. Care to comment pal?

  • pablo

    Glenn 30 you said:

    “What will happen if she acts up – if she’s lucky – is that she’d be put on the no-fly list…no questions asked”

    Whatever happened to the land of the free Glenn? You sound more like one of Bush Jr.’s totalitarian neo cons, than a liberal concerned bout the rule of law and civil rights. What give the government the right without any due process, you know that term don’t ya Glenn, DUE PROCESS, to put someone on a no fly list. A list that has no legal recourse, and did not have one to begin with. An arbitrary list, that any Homeland Security thug, and just put you on because they don’t like your attitude.

    That sounds more like Nazi Germany Glenn, than the good old us of a, where a person has rights.
    But in your world Glenn people don’t have any rights when they are in public, particularly when they are at an airport. Did it ever occur to you in your zeal for jack booted behavior, that this type of thing will soon be happening at ANY place where the public gathers? Such as malls, concerts, gatherings etc. In fact the government according to your beliefs, has the right to do this anywhere where the public may be threatened. As nature abhors a vacuum Glenn, governement (any government) by its very nature loves one.

    I bet you don’t have any problem even with your so called liberalism, having every car on the road scanned by a camera for outstanding warrants, and geo-located 24/7 by our benign protecters of the public safety. I bet you have no problem Glenn with the government in real time monitoring 24/7 the millions of cell phones out there, for keywords, and geo positioning them as already mandated by the FCC.

    Am I wrong Glenn? Please set the record straight pal. Cause the feeling I am left with is you have no problem at all with big brother, and you feel that they really are out to protect us. God forbid Glenn that our government would EVER use things such as a no-fly list to politically target individuals, because they did not like what they stood for, particularly in the area of civil liberties.

    Thank god Glenn that this sort of blind obedience is not shared by others of a liberal bent. That there are still groups that stand up for the rule of law (DUE PROCESS OF LAW), respecting the rights of individuals to go about their business unmolested, without probable cause as required by the 4th amendment to the consitution. You remember that docuement don’t ya Glenn? You know the document that ALL politicians and employees of the government SWEAR to uphold?

    I wonder how you felt in the military with your pals Glenn seeing on a constant basis armed agents of the military openly abrogating their sworn oath to uphold it. As in only Congress can declare war, not the president. But hey thats a minor technicality ain’t it?

    Your so called liberalism is a lot more in synch with totalitarianism, and the arbitrary use of coercian without due process than you are willing to concede. I see it clear as day however Glenn.

    Still no reply to comment 27 Glenn? I am all ears pal.

    As I also just see comment 31 by you i will comment on it too.

    Patriotism what a wonderful word. As in cloaking oneself in its warm fuzzy superior mantle. As in the USA Patriot Act that abrogates the constitution of the us of a. Patriotism as the love of ones country as it goes around the world usually clandestinely coercing, murdering, torturing, and fixing elections all in the name of PATRIOTISM.

    Patriotism loving the usa so much that we are willing to ignore the rule of law in the interest of public safety. Indeed patriotism the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    Let me tell you what real patriotism is about Glenn, since you have seem to forgotten or never knew what it meant to begin with.

    Patriotism mean you stand up against arbitrary use of government coercian. Patriotism means that you believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. You know the declaration don’t ya Glenn? Where people, (not just americans, but all human beings are born with rights), these rights are recognized and not created by legislation. And where I have a right, it is not only mine by virtue of being endowed with it by my creator, I am sovereign in it. My rights are my domain, up until the point where it can be clearly shown that my rights abut yours, then and only then does government have a right to intercede, and that is only by DUE PROCESS OF LAW Glenn, not by arbitrary power in a government blind black list.

    Yes Glenn I know about patriotism very well, I also know how it is frequently invoked in the true name of totalitarianism , nationalism, and love of the father land as was so well exemplified in Nazi Germany pal.

    You wouldn’t know a true patriot from a blind obedient flag waving neo con. My country right or wrong. Wrong.

    I don’t need any lessons or pontifications from you regarding patriotism Glenn, at least not until you address such things as the War Powers Act to me, and due process of law, and the arbitrary use of government power to deny human beings basic rights. Until that time pal, your just another flag waving blind obedient ignoramus.

  • Ruvy


    Your comment #24 was a hoot! Have you been drinking my coffee or eating my houmus? You sound like me! What’s the matter with you?

    You know, Poland beckons:

    Marsz, marsz D?browski,
    Z ziemi w?oskiej do Polski.
    Za twoim przewodem
    Z??czym si? z narodem.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pablo –

    I know someone who came to America as an illegal immigrant, and after several years she became a citizen. She worked her fingers to the bone to provide for her family, and now…if I said any more, it’d sound like bragging.

    You know what I did? I married her.

    Dave and Clavos – and you, it seems – think little of patriotism. I don’t go around wrapping myself in the flag, but I’m pretty doggone patriotic – most retired military are. My wife’s twice as patriotic as I am.

    Pablo, whatever you say doesn’t matter, because I’ve seen time after time after time examples of immigrants (illegal or not) come to America and become real success stories. Ask Ben Cayetano, the former governor of Hawaii. It wasn’t until after he was elected that he admitted that his parents were illegal immigrants.

    And here’s the flip side of the coin – of the immigrants I’ve known, maybe a third have gone back to their native lands after retirement (and I will be leaving soon myself). The rest have grown old here. Maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you, but when someone retires, they begin thinking REAL hard about where they’d like to grow old. If America was as bad as you say, so many of these immigrants – who ALL have the opportunity to go elsewhere, where they’d feel right at home – would not choose to stay here to grow old.

    If I read you rightly, Pablo, your bitterness is misplaced…and I’d like to recommend a remedy of sorts: for every bitter complaint, for every negative you decry, find a positive, something that’s right. Apply this not only to America, but to people, to companies, to your financial situation, to your health, to everything in life. I only say this because I don’t recall you ever defending anyone or anything in BC – I only remember attacks that you’ve made.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, and I apologize if I am – but you will know whether I’m right or wrong in my impression of you.

    Gratitude in everything, Pablo – for you cannot have happiness without gratitude.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    That’s a very good point. But this isn’t a matter of racism, is it? It’s obviously not even a matter of racial profiling, either, if her picture is any indication.

    By the same token, what do you feel would happen if she were to exercise ‘civil disobedience’ in the airport? Given the current trend that passengers are being VERY proactive in complaining about or even taking down fellow passengers, do you really think that ‘civil disobedience’ has any place on a plane or in an airport?

    What will happen if she acts up – if she’s lucky – is that she’d be put on the no-fly list…no questions asked, no jury, no trial. If she’s not so lucky, then she’ll wind up in jail waiting to be deported, and face the very real possibility of being put on a no-fly list for the entire British Commonwealth (they DO communicate with the DHS, you know – the crotch bomber was an exception to the rule). Taking a cruise to Europe so that she can visit her native Poland would be a lot more fun than taking a plane…but cruises cost a lot more, and take a lot more time.

    Roger, there’s a time to stand up for one’s personal freedoms by engaging in civil disobedience – absolutely! But NOT in the airport, and NOT in the airplane.

    There’s a time for idealism, but this not-so-young idealist who’s paid his dues for being too idealistic knows that there’s a time for pragmatism, as well.

    So for PATRICIA – I can’t stop you from letting your temper get the best of you in an airport. All I can do is to give you an idea of what can happen if you do, and let you make that choice.

  • pablo

    Glenn 20

    Sheer ignorance my ass pal.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Patricia –

    I’m a firm believer in that if I see a problem and I don’t do something about it, then I’m part of that problem. Here, I did my duty – I know what could happen as a result of your desire for ‘civil disobedience’, and I warned both you and Jeannie against it.

    Read my original comment again. At NO point did I blame YOU for what happened. What I DID do is to explain to you why Immigration and the Department of Homeland Security have the mindset that they have. Here’s precisely how I summarized it:

    Please notice that I’m not saying that DHS and Immigration (which is part of DHS) are right or wrong. I’m telling you how they see it, and why they do what they do.

    I didn’t blame the victim…but I’m wondering – you’re fairly young, and you’re from Poland. Are you aware of what happened during the millennium? Remember, I live just a little ways south of you. It was either just before or just after the millennium that a man was caught on the Black Ball Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles with a large amount of explosives in his car. He was on his way to L.A. to blow up the LAX control tower.

    So YES, we look at EVERYONE who wants to come to America…Canadians included.

    I also addressed your complaint about how American citizens returning home are allowed to stand in a separate line which happens to move faster. Again, my nation, my country has a bit of a siege mentality – we don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. If you can’t understand that, then you’ve got some growing up to do.

    And one last thing – I recommend that you learn to be REAL careful about who you accuse of being sexist…because I’m about as sexist as I am racist, and you can read my previous articles to find out about that. If your article and your subsequent replies are any indication, your outlook is very judgmental. Perhaps it’s your youth, for those who are young tend to see things in black-and-white, whereas those with several decades behind them tend to see things in shades of gray.

    That’s a little bit of hard-earned wisdom, if you’ve the heart to understand it.

  • pablo


    I wonder if you can answer one single question from me. I have asked it repeatedly over the last 9 years, of other americans, and have always got the same answer.

    Prior to 9/11 in all of your years in the states, do you know of, or anyone that you know of, ever heard the phrase referring to our country as the Homeland? North, South, East, West, urban, rural, red state, blue state, lib, conservative, white collar, blue collar, immigrant, native people, red neck, hippies, crackers, white, yellow, brown or red.

    The answer of course as we both know is NO. Has that ever even occurred to you Glenn? It is by nature a foreign phrase to any and all subcultures in america, you know it, and I know it pal. It simply until now has never been part of our lexicon.

    I for one when I hear it, Homeland Security; immediately am hit by mental images of totalitarianism and jack booted thugs. Apparently you are not. Why do you think the powers that be chose this very unamerican terminology Glenn? I am so curious as to your thoughts.

  • Sorry, Glenn. It’s the same kind of advice that’s being given to blacks – to be polite to the police even as they’re mistreating you.

    And guess who usually ends up saying this kind of garbage advice: the well-meaning whiteys, who then blame the victims’ lack of cooperation for police brutality.

    I’m certain you can think of examples.

  • pablo

    Patricia 23

    I just love it when so called liberals are the first in line to promote boot licking.

    The fact is that these folks (border patrol) do have a job do to. However that being said, there is NO excuse for incordiality, arrogance, and meanness on their part, which unfortunately these jack booted thugs are showing on a regular basis now. I do not think however that it is being done by mistake.

    It is my opinion that the thug behavior is being taught by their superiors. This new fascism demands obedience, and they are in the process of training us to be good slaves.

    It is all part and parcel of the body scanners, taking off your shoes, frisking grandmothers, and treating all alike as a non person and a terror threat. It is indeed a sad thing to witness, I myself am a frequent global traveler and I have seen it first hand numerous times.

    If people do not stand up and demand to be treated with courtesy and respect, this kind of thing will continue. Shame on Glenn for suggesting we continue to kiss the ass of such thugs.

  • “. . .to the Department of Homeland Security, your personal feelings and your dignity are a FAR lower priority than protecting America and American citizens.”

    That’s no fucking excuse. They’re hiring morons to do these jobs.

    Why even bother visiting the US anymore? It’s becoming a shithole anyway. If I were a foreigner, I’d say fuck you all and go to hell.

  • Glenn, what’s been on my mind as you’ve been dispensing your unsolicited sexist advice to the fairer sex is a massive campaign contracting a charter plane to deposit politically conscious volunteers, ideally people of color at a US airport without proper documents. I’d like to see an entire plane of passengers mistreated, abused, deported and arrested for an act of civil disobedience. I’d make sure the media were present. You are arrogant to assume that I have done something to provoke the wrath of the border control officials. It is in equally bad taste as blaming the rape victim for her ordeal, after all she shouldn’t have worn that mini-skirt.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    99 times out of 100 one should be gentle and courteous towards others, especially when one believes those others to be good and honest people…and when the other is one of the fairer sex, it’s closer to ‘never, ever, ever’.

    However, there are times when the occasion calls for it. You encouraged someone who’d previously had a bad experience with DHS to continue to continue to show attitude…and if she followed your encouragement, she could wind up in further trouble even with her own government, and she could have drawn attention towards herself that needed to be paid elsewhere.

    I’m sorry, Jeannie, but your encouragement of Patricia was not just unwise, but irresponsible. I had to get your (and her) attention, for her sake and for the sake of those strangers traveling with her. My rudeness to you was not just appropriate, but absolutely necessary. Why? Because next time you or Patricia (or other readers of BC who may’ve followed this thread) fly, you’ll be a lot more likely to not do that which can only end badly for you.

  • Glenn, #19,

    I am not encouraging anyone to make the job of Homeland Security any harder..and please don’t yell at me in bold like that. It is rude.

    I am sorry to read of your experiences while serving in the Navy, Glenn.

    Those that work in the department of HS need to treat their own citizens with respect also…

    and by the way, if we are to be judged by attitude alone, then I wouldn’t be the only American citizen hauled off to GITMO.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pablo –

    Thankfully, I’ve seen enough immigrants come to America who’ve made far better lives for themselves and their families that I know your comment using my favorite poem was made out of sheer ignorance.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    The reason I gave Patricia the advice that I did is that if she shows attitude at the airport, they might detain her and pay so much unwanted attention to her that they’ll miss the REAL threats.

    And if you encourage her to do that which might get her that unwanted attention, then what happens as a result is partially your fault, too.

    You know how progressive, how far to the left I am. But I also appreciate the seriousness of the threat we face. Remember when the Cole was bombed in Yemen? MY office received a phoned-in threat telling us that when the Abraham Lincoln pulled into port in the Middle East, that a boat next to us would blow up. We informed everybody that needed to know, but we couldn’t inform our families, and I spent a lot of sleepless nights in the three weeks before we deployed. My ship pulled into Dubai at the end of September (and we were keeping nervous eyes on all the other ships docked around us), and four days after we pulled out, the Cole was bombed. We were relieved (“It wasn’t us!”)…and we were outraged and shamed (“It should’ve been us!”).

    So do NOT go encouraging anyone to go making the jobs of those at Immigration and the Department of Homeland Security any harder. You will be literally doing more harm than good.

    Those who work for Immigration and for the Department of Homeland Security have a job to do…and they are deadly serious. Thanks to idiots like the neo-cons and Cheney, DHS has to be deadly serious. As I told Patricia, to the Department of Homeland Security, your personal feelings and your dignity are a FAR lower priority than protecting America and American citizens.

    And that’s the way it should be, whether you like it or not.

  • Hi Jordan 🙂

  • Patricia,

    Always be yourself.

    The individuals working in these terminals need to get over themselves and start treating all people with respect.

    If they weren’t looking at every one of us as terrorists, then maybe, they would see the real threats.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ah, the beauty of immigration. Canada’s process, as experienced by my wife, has been slightly better but it’s still a mad pain in the ass and they certainly don’t do anything to make it easier. Harper cutting funding for immigration and shutting down a bunch of facilities hasn’t helped either.

  • STM

    Yes, actually Glenn’s advice is pretty good.

    Being courteous is the right advice; not getting frustrated and frazzled and uptight. If you have a genuine case to state, then state your case clearly.

    As in (politely): “Do you mind if I explain something to you?”

    If they still won’t listen … you’re buggered 🙂

    However, for all that, you don’t have to be blind freddie to work out that the border control authorities in the US have become far more pedantic in the wake of 9-11. There is another classic case of a Canadian living legally in the US and working as technician in Utah for 10 years, had family there (including US citizen grandchildren), a house, job … eveything, who was turned around at the border after going back to Canada for a week to visit family (not the first time he’d done so).

    Apparently, there is now provision for border control and immigration to decide whether you might be keeping a job from an American … even if you’ve had it for 10 years and no one else can do it.

    Try googling Kevin Gibbons and Utah.

    They are completely bemused by the whole thing, and rightly so. Their lives have been destroyed as Gibbons and his wife have had to mobe back to Vancouver, he’s lost his job, had to sell the house, can’t visit their family.

    Would I be the only one who thinks that case is a case of taking everything one step (or half a dozen steps) too far??

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And for all –

    If you want to avoid problems with immigration, here’s how: be humble, honest, forthright, courteous, cooperative, and refuse to allow yourself to be offended because of this or that particular slight.

    Now that you know this, if they see you have the least bit of temper or impatience, well, you deserve the treatment you get.

    In all my travels in North America, Asia, and Africa, I’ve never once had a problem. Not even once.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Patricia –

    I live not too far south from you, almost directly west of Seattle across Puget Sound.

    I worked in Immigration for four months, and of all the jobs I’ve ever had – including my twenty years in the Navy – working at Immigration was the only job I ever really loved (but that’s another story). My closest friend (other than family) still works there.

    Let me turn the coin for you, that you might see the other side.

    I’m progressive, to the left of most Democrats. I really don’t like Bush, and I despise Cheney – I think they both should be standing at the Hague for war crimes…for our invasion of Iraq was a war crime by every definition of the term.

    That said, America’s had a siege mentality since 9/11. I refuse to live in big cities here in general, and especially New York and Washington D.C., because they’re targets. We can’t wish this fact away even though much of the hatred against us that we see is due to what Bush/Cheney did – for they certainly made it many times worse (thanks to Abu Ghirab et al).

    It also doesn’t help that while President Obama’s trying to rebuild our reputation in the world, he’s being ridiculed, torn down, and castigated by the very group of people that took us down the path to the invasion of Iraq.

    What it boils down to, Patricia, is until the American people feel truly at peace once more – as we generally felt through most of the 1990’s – we’ll still have a siege mentality, and those who work for the Department of Homeland Security – who are strictly charged with protecting America and the American people – place your personal feelings and your dignity on a FAR lower priority than keeping terrorists out.

    Please notice that I’m not saying that DHS and Immigration (which is part of DHS) are right or wrong. I’m telling you how they see it, and why they do what they do.

    Now let me address a particularly wrong paradigm of yours:

    I lined up in the long, winding queue indicated for visitors, my Canadian passport at hand, having disembarked off a Lot Polish airline flight from Warsaw to Chicago. I noted with irony how consistent all arrivals to the USA are, irregardless of the port of entry. US citizens and residents stand in a line apart which is always shorter and moves quicker than its languishing visitors’ counterpart.

    YES! Why, I ask you, should an American citizen who is returning to America have to stand in a longer line with all those who are not American citizens? Yes, you’re just as human as any American citizen…but you’re NOT an American citizen returning home. On this particular point, you need to get over yourself.

    Lastly, (hopefully) this September I’ll be retiring overseas to a third-world country where I expect to live out the remainder of my days. I know my country’s many, many problems. I know there are many better, safer, healthier places to live (of which Canada is certainly one). But I will always stand up for my country, America.

  • STM

    Doc: “Well, the first time was 11 o’clock at night; the second was lunchtime.”

    Most of the flights come in a rush early in the morning. It seems non-stop from about 5am for a few hours.

    They get frazzled … plus, if you’re going through at 5.30 in the morning, some of them have got up on the wrong side of the bed.

    I have heard some horror stories about the US, though.

    It kind of makes me not want to go there again.

    Imagine turning up for holiday with your family and being turned around … thousands wasted in airfares and hotel accomodation, with no right of redress.

    That’s the worst bit. You have no comeback. They order, your obey … even if it means going home on the next flight.

    One Aussie family going to visit their ill father in LA were turned around last year and held for over 24 hours at LAX.

    The problem I suspect: originally from Bangladesh. However, they own a nice house in a suburb not far from me, the kids are all going to local schools, husband and wife have jobs, and they had – importantly – dated return airline tickets to Sydney worth $6400.

    They were also Australian citizens obviously going for a family visit. You can tell when people are trying to illegally enter a country. Why would you bother buying six grand’s worth of return tickets??

    They migrated to Australia four years ago and are happy here and have made their home here. When you are from a place like Bangladesh and miraculously get offered the chance to live in Australia, why would you be interested in the second prize: living in the US?

    Doesn’t make sense. It’s obvious profiling … and really, really unfair at first glance.

    The US border mob said they had their reasons, but I’d bet London to a brick not a single one of them would stack up if they examined closely.

    Plus, some of the kids had already visited the US the year before to see the family.

    And one of our reporters was held at LAX a few years back too. His problem even though he was born in Australia and grew up here and is as Australian as the next bloke: his father was Egyptian and he has an Arabic surname.

    I think the US border patrol were left in no doubt as to his nationality after he let fly with some Aussie invective. He got in (and was in possession of a valid visa), but there was drama.

    Also, in regard top the family turned around, Australia has a visa waiver program with the US. You don’t need to get a visa before you lob in the US.

    I understand it’s the right of the US to deny people entry, but there is no doubt they have become very heavy-handed.

    I suppose jets flying into skyscrapers will do that to you.

    But I’ll bet most of the people getting caught up in this are just ordinary travellers with no ulterior motives, either to live in the US or to do harm to the US.

  • Well, the first time was 11 o’clock at night; the second was lunchtime.

    Was close to Christmas on both occasions, though. Make of that what you will.

  • STM

    And Doc, you must have been lucky when you came here.

    Quiet morning perhaps, instead of the normal 50 flights and hour.

    Or maybe it was coming up to Christmas 🙂

  • STM

    Patricia … this isn’t confined to the United States.

    I’m an Australian citizen and have been marked out for “extra” questioning on my return home on a number of occasions.

    There is a bit of profiling involved. Shoulder length surfie har and a suntan mark you out immediately at first base as you go through the first line of customs.

    The extra questioning is cursory stuff if a little detailed: where have you been, what were you doing, have you been there before, etc.

    Returning from places like Thailand or the Philippines seems to cause a stir, although a couple of years ago I was returning from Portugal and they gave me the once over and I was bullied a bit by a very grumpy customs officer at the initial passport check.

    They’ve never searched my bags, although if I were singled out I’d understand.

    What worries me in regard to that is: ifr that’s how they profile their own citizens and the grumpy, gruff treatment is what’s dished out, how must first-time visitors to this country find that treatment?

    “Welcome to Australia.”

    Yeah, right … thanks for that.

    So the US is absolutely not the only place this goes on.

    Interestingly, the two times I haven’t been pulled up were once going through with my family, although they went to move on me before they realised I wasn’t travelling with wife and child, and once when I’d had my haircut before returning home.

  • Thank You all for your comments. The moral of the story to me, is not to “do all the research and apply for the correct visa” as Dr Dreadful suggested (I know that he means well) – but to question the perverse nature of an immigration system and government by extension we in the so called “civilized” world have arrived at. I imagine that all of us agree that some sort of a governing body is essential to running a country and arguably responsible for providing a rudimentary level of safety. We can debate terms and details of course, but the main point is that when a government finds its way literally inbetween myself and my loved one, when it restricts people’s freedom of movement and treats every foreigner as an immediate suspect – it is an authoritarian State. The Polish communist state prevented its citizens from leaving without proper authorization and passports had to be held at special government office. The American government proves capable of the same exact totalitarian streak. Joel’s comment highlighting the plight of Mexican Americans, Mexicans and Latinos – is right on the dot. They are a population which has historically greatly suffered from the immigration’s systemic abuse. Yet, we amazingly tolerate it, put up with it and therefore condone it, as long as it doesn’t happen to us.

  • Joel Wischkaemper

    I don’t believe it. Border Patrol Officer have a great deal of Empathy for the illegal aliens. Many are Mexican American. Many are Hispanic, very dedicated, and absolutely committed to the justice for the illegal aliens. What is really nice is that they are also very committed to nailing every rotten dope peddler to the barn door… and legally.

    And everytime they take someone like that off the streets, that means one more Hispanic Child grows up in a place where he can…… just say no.

    Hooray for our detention personnel and our Border Patrol Officers!

  • As I’ve been a permanent resident since 2003 it’s been quite a while since I’ve had to stand in ‘the long line’. US immigration officers, as they are in every country in the world except Australia, are almost invariably surly and unwelcoming and it doesn’t surprise me that they give people whose paperwork isn’t quite straight a hard time.

    I’ve been in the Back Room a couple of times while I was waiting for Adjustment of Status. I was officially in limbo at the time, and was staying in the US at the pleasure and discretion of then Attorney-General Ashcroft. In order to go back home to England to visit friends and family I had to apply for something alarmingly – and, I’m sure, quite deliberately – called Advance Parole. It was basically just a piece of paper with my photo on it, explaining why I wanted to leave the country temporarily; without it, I’d have been considered to have abandoned my immigration application and wouldn’t have been allowed back, even as a tourist.

    On both occasions I was looked at by the officer rather as if I was something he’d found in his Kleenex, and was waved through imperiously as if I was wasting his time – even though he wasn’t actually doing anything except standing behind a counter in a waiting room half-full of Middle Eastern-looking men (who all seemed to have been there for some time).

    My experiences with immigration officers at ports of entry stand in contrast to those at the local INS office here in California, where I was always treated with (albeit bureaucratic) courtesy. I was even able once, by being insistent, to get a work permit even though technically I shouldn’t have been allowed one – after I pointed out that the information on their website was misleading as to who qualified.

    The moral of the story, I suppose, is that you absolutely have to do your research and make sure you apply for the correct visa: I’m sure this is true of pretty much any country, not just the US. What you should have received, although I’m not surprised you didn’t, is the very least that even criminal suspects are afforded: an explanation of why they are being questioned.

  • This is a horror story, Patricia.

  • Patricia,

    Even though you do not want to live here, please continue to publish in the politics section of BC. We need to hear your voice here.


  • Patrica,

    This was a riveting portrayal of how we are all being systematically treated in this country today, in the name of, “Homeland Security.”

    Absolute power, implied or other-wise is very dangerous! and if it is left unchecked for much longer here , I hate to envision what’s next.

    You had every right to expect to be treated with respect! After all, and I hear this all the time, “If I am not breaking any laws then why should I be afraid?” I say, “Be very afraid.”

    Isn’t it ironic that the same people who try to give Ronald Reagen all the credit for tearing down that wall, are busy tying to build one here!

  • pablo

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    Why are you here, your papers please,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    thumprint here, bend over for freedom..
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
    Welcome to our Obamanation.”

  • Ruvy

    The more I read about stories like this, the more convinced I become that the last place I wish to be on the planet is the United States of America. And I was born there….