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Old 06-25-2011, 05:41 PM   #31
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Rather than importing refugees we need a 21st Century method to effectively export and support the Western principles of democracy, capitalism, human rights, rule of law, property ownership and such without military occupation or colonialism.

Maybe we could practice on San Fransico and Berkeley first.
In Washing D.C. there are two buildings, facing each other, which we could start getting rid of. Because since the 1970s, and especially since Reagan, they've purported to do exactly that. Culminating which became to be known as the "Washington Consensus". Done a hell of a job.
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Old 06-25-2011, 05:47 PM   #32
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Rather than importing refugees we need a 21st Century method to effectively export and support the Western principles of democracy, capitalism, human rights, rule of law, property ownership and such without military occupation or colonialism.
Not a fan of American Dream stories, eh? Because had that been the thinking 100 or 150 or 200 years ago, an awful lot of us wouldn't be here. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free and all that. It's not incompatible with simultaneously supporting human rights and freedoms abroad, either.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:13 PM   #33
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Not one person I know was sympathetic to them in that time. Even a Sri Lankan friend of mine was embarrassed beyond belief

Yes I agree. But as Bono mentions when he discusses Africa. The situation is beyond politics. It is an Emergency, all actions are valid to bring attention except further violence.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:29 PM   #34
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This is a very near-sighted and irresponsible view. It's very easy to say "fix your own backyard" when you're thousands of kms away in front of a computer screen. How can you not have sympathy?
I actually have plenty of sympathy and compassion. I work in Education and see heartbreaking cases every day, although not to the same degree.

But I also believe in personal responsibility. Seriously if you feel compelled to move on this cause work with some people in your community who may have recently arrived who face language barriers and other hurdles.

You may not save a boat load of people but you can make a difference.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:30 PM   #35
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give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free and all that.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:06 PM   #36
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Not a fan of American Dream stories, eh? Because had that been the thinking 100 or 150 or 200 years ago, an awful lot of us wouldn't be here. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free and all that. It's not incompatible with simultaneously supporting human rights and freedoms abroad, either.
Not of fan of people being driven from their homes--giving up all their possessions other than what they can carry--pulled apart from loved ones--forced to cross mountains, deserts or seas--facing death from hunger, exposure or violence all along the way.

To use liberal speak, shouldn't we go after the "root cause" of what produces refugees in the first place? Tyranny, poverty, instability and the inability to manage natural disasters.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:02 AM   #37
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Austria frightens me. But so does Holland with Wilders, France with LePen, Belgium with Vlaams Belang or Denmark with its far right party (now closing off their borders again). And mostly Hungary. What happens there right now is the worst you've seen from the far right in decades.
In Germany, we have larger problems with racism in East Germany. Though one has to be careful because all too easily people start dividing the country into the dangerous East and the better West. In the western part of the country, intolerance and racism do exist as well, but they tend to cover it more than in East Germany. Yet, perhaps mostly due to our history the far-right parties only draw small numbers of voters, keeping them out of most parliaments. And it's our task to make sure it will stay that way.
The far right frightens me too. But keep in mind it is not the far right thats in power currently. Neither in Austria, nor in France. It´s not Strache or Le Pen, the ghost always painted on the walls, it is the policies of the established medium right conservative parties at work. Strache is not part of the government in Austria (yet - things under him might get even worse), and Lepen is not France´s President. Those responsible for current policies are people like Sarkozy, Merkel, and Fekter (former Austrian interior minister, followed by Mikl-Leitner, who also is medium-right conservative with so called Christian values, just that I don´t see those values anywhere).

The danger is in the middle-right parties taking the positions of the far right to gain their voters. they don´t seem to remember racist voters always prefer the original. Also, a lot of those policies are centrally ordered by the EU, Frontex is an EU organization that was build up to stop all the poor Africans going to rich Europe - by all means. If you only chase the far right enemy, you forget that the established middle-right parties are to blame for the current situation.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:30 AM   #38
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Excellent post. I am very concerned that Europe is returning to its racist past. The majority of Europeans are irreligious these days so a politician that talks of 'Christian values' is almost always, in reality, touting for the racist vote, pure and simple. People like Strasser, Sarkozy and, for that matter, Berlusconi are irresponsible. While they may not personally be racists (I doubt if Sarkozy is, as he is Jewish), they are more than happy to exploit and stoke up racist tensions for political advantage, albeit in a sly and clever way.
Exactly. I am concerned too. Berlusconi is another special case. Just two weeks ago I had the chance to speak to Giancarlo Caselli, one of the leading prosecutors in Italy who told me of "Lex Berlusconi", equivalent to special laws the Italian parliament passed so Berlusconi couldn´t be brought to justice.

Thousands of people realize that the system they live in and its representatives are completely corrupted. Those thousands are too dull in their luxury, fed by cheap goods from around the world, to take it to the streets. A few protests here and there, maybe, but the mass of sheep follows the leader. And what else can they do - violence at protests is not an option and won´t change anything. Non-violent protests are ignored by representatives, they rather spy on civil society to collect material to use it against them when they need.

The current Austrian situation with the new Anti-Mafia-law (that was used against a peacefully protesting animal rights group!) reminds a lot of people, including me, of former Stasi methods. And of course it´s so easy to swallow all that when the stupid sheep blame the asylum seekers. After all, they steal "our jobs" - not the corporate boss who fired his employees. After all, they are ruining our country by pocketing social welfare - not the politicians who bailed out the banks with billions of Euros. And after all, the Greek are lazy and corrupt - not our own folks like Strasser. The EU and (of course) the banks was doing very good business with Greece before the ratings came in, and still continue to do so.

The focus is geared towards Northern Africa. Shit, what can we do when millions of Libyans and Egyptians will flee to our beautiful fascist Stasi-Europe? This fear is first ingested, then carefully cultivated by those who want to continue their corrupt little deals in the dark - where´s the next national train line or tv station that we can privatise, cashing off 5%?
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:37 AM   #39
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That's very true, the existence of those far-right lunatics drives overall conservative politics further right. As former boss of the CSU and Bavaria, Strauß, once said: There's no party to the right of the CSU. And his party is making damn sure it stays that way.
But as you say, there's many who prefer the "original", so while the position of the conservative party shifts to the right, the far-right gains voters with each election, resulting in even more right-wing populism by the established parties.

Forex should be seen as a breach of the Declaration of Human Rights. It's amazing with what they are able to get away with. Apparently with anything.

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To use liberal speak, shouldn't we go after the "root cause" of what produces refugees in the first place? Tyranny, poverty, instability and the inability to manage natural disasters.
Like, establishing fair trade relationships, promoting real development instead of theoretical FDI restrictions that are not being undermined by the promotion of special economic zones, the abolition of subsidies and standard setting which only use is to circumvent quota and tariff regimes and holding our own multinationals to account when they are once again trying to screw over entire countries by sending a shitload of overpaid lawyers formulating contracts which are unconscionable.
Don't get me wrong, it's not like the West is entirely to blame and anything that goes wrong in developing nations is not their fault, but at the same time, Europe, the US and other industrialised countries have a very poor record when it comes to genuinely trying to change things for the better.
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:01 AM   #40
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Kind of an aside, but I doubt Sarkozy's Jewishness is all that relevant one way or the other; it might increase the statistical likelihood that he'd hesitate where Strasser or Berlusconi mightn't, but nothing more than that.
Intersting stats, yolland! Just to clarify, Strasser was former interior ministry from Austria. Later he went to the EU parliament where his lobbying activities were proved by an investigative journalist. Excuse the quick hijack, but it might be entertaining.. watch it here (btw he´s not exactly mastering the english language, is he): YouTube - ‪Strasser‬‏
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:19 AM   #41
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I loved how after it was exposed Strasser quickly said he was just playing sort of an undercover agent and wanted to report these people, but then got tied up in other work so he had to delay the reporting.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:33 PM   #42
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Not of fan of people being driven from their homes--giving up all their possessions other than what they can carry--pulled apart from loved ones--forced to cross mountains, deserts or seas--facing death from hunger, exposure or violence all along the way.
Well of course not! But who is? The whole point of having the UN Refugee Convention binding signatories to certain responsibilities towards refugees and asylum-seekers on their territories is to protect the most vulnerable, given the unavoidable reality that there will never be a time when peace, freedom and adequate access to basic survival needs reigns everywhere. Refusing to help the victims in their hour of need won't solve their countries' problems. The US doesn't have a particularly large refugee population in any case, especially relative to our population's size and wealth--Pakistan's housing eight times as many refugees, Iran and Syria four times as many--and, as opposed to asylum-seekers, the majority of refugees ultimately aspire to return home. Currently, the majority of refugees in the US comprise political refugees from China, political and war refugees from Colombia, and earthquake victims from Haiti with needs that can't be adequately met by on-site relief sources at this time. None of these precipitating situations are new, and while the merits of our government's respective approaches to them over time could certainly be debated, it's hardly like we've been ignoring them. And again, I just don't see how or why the present situation is all that different from those that brought many of our own ancestors here a century or two ago. The Irish, the Polish, the Germans, the Ashkenazi Jews...these weren't just poor-but-ambitious people who figured their hard work might take them further in America; millions of them arrived as desperate people, persecuted people, victims of exactly the kinds of situations so many of today's refugees are fleeing from--revolutions and war, ethnic and religious and political persecution and oppression. And of course many of those arrivals occasioned fierce controversy at the time, too.
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:07 PM   #43
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Not to mention Cuban refugees for the past 50 years and Vietnamese in the later half of the 70's.

But this isn't 1860 or even 1960 and all native resistance isn't due solely to lack of compassion, bigotry or jingoism. Here's 3 great real concerns off the top of my head.

1) Immigrants of all kinds are slower to assimilate now due to the multitude of programs available in their native tongue and less social pressure to due so. This is a problem from California to Denmark to France. The melting pot becoming more à la carte so to speak.
2) These services (education, health care, social services, private or public food programs) cost money. Raise your hand if your government's budget is in surplus or even balanced.
3) Of most importance is the changing economies of the West. The percentage of agriculture and manufacturing jobs is ever shrinking making the unskilled or semiskilled labor pool deeper.

Easy to point fingers--hard to provide solutions.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:07 AM   #44
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To use liberal speak, shouldn't we go after the "root cause" of what produces refugees in the first place? Tyranny, poverty, instability and the inability to manage natural disasters.
Definitely, but a solution to that is surely tens, if not hundreds, of years away.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:26 PM   #45
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GlobalPost, Sept. 6
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Reality TV: Who wants to be a refugee?


The latest sensation on Dutch TV is a quiz show featuring five young refugees who compete to prove their attachment to the Netherlands by answering questions about tulips and bikes, identifying corny local pop tunes and carving an outline of the country's map from a slice of Gouda cheese. The winner gets a plastic suitcase containing 4,000 euros ($5,680) to take with them when they are expelled. All five have already had their asylum requests rejected, and face an uncertain future when they are deported to countries they barely remember.

Broadcast across the nation last Thursday, the show may sound like a scene from a surreal black comedy, but "Weg van Nederland" (it can translate as either "Away from the Netherlands" or "Crazy about the Netherlands") was for real. The contestants are students who fled their homelands as children and grew up in the Netherlands. Now, though, their adopted nation has tightened its asylum policies, and their time is up.
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With its ever-smiling presenter, flanked by a pair of gyrating blondes in sexed-up police uniforms with mini-skirts and plunging necklines, the show makes disturbing viewing. Contestants are invited to “come on down” in traditional gameshow fashion, and are introduced by a peppy, off-screen announcer. Viewers are told, for example, that 18-year-old Gulistan is from Armenia and her brother was murdered. She's lived in the Netherlands for 11 years, wants to be a lawyer and loves syrup waffles. Dutch viewers watching at home were able to participate in the quiz by answering the questions online. Their top prize was a vacation on the Caribbean island of Curaçao and the presenter joked that, unlike the asylum seekers, they'd get a return ticket.

Although the show's deliberate bad taste has provoked outrage, supporters, who include refugee rights groups, say the shock tactics are an effective way of raising public awareness and provoking debate on the issue. “Of course it's terrible, but it is also very smart,” said Janneke Bruil, from the Foundation for Refugee Students, which helped find contestants for the show. “When you watch this show it hits you right into your heart. You can't help but think that something is wrong. It's a game, but at the same time these people are going to be sent off on a plane, and it's their life. You have to ask 'what is going on here?'”
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The Netherlands long had a tradition of welcoming refugees, but in recent years there has been a surge of support for political parties opposed to immigration amid concern that the number of foreigners living in the country is undermining Dutch culture. The anti-Islamic Party of Freedom scored 15.5% in last year's general election, making it the third-largest group in Parliament, and the center-right government is dependent on its support. Asylum policies have been tightened.

“They don't see us like human, animals have more rights than asylum seekers,” said Blessing, 24, one of the contestants on last week's show. Full names of the participants were not released for privacy reasons. “They just see us a bunch of thieves and liars, but they need to start seeing us as individuals. Look at the people on the program; we have so much to contribute,” she insisted. “We are not just eating, sleeping and waiting for the government to do things for us, we are hard-working people, we've proven to them that we are integrated into the system and we are ready to contribute and to give back.” Blessing fled Cameroon when she was 15 and is now about to complete her Aviation Engineering degree at the Hogeschool Amsterdam University, but has had her residency revoked and risks deportation. She defends the show's unconventional approach. “There have been so many serious shows about this subject, so many very sad interviews,” she told GlobalPost in a telephone interview. “It's a serious issue, but by treating it in a funny way we can do something different from what people are already used to and get more attention. We wanted to show that we are not pathetic people, we are just normal, that's why we took a fun approach.” Competing against rivals from Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Syria and Armenia, Blessing was the first contestant eliminated from the show due to her inability to carve cheese or answer questions like: how many bicycles were stolen in the Netherlands during 2010? (The answer: 524,000). As a consolation prize, she was given a bulletproof vest decorated in the style of traditional Delft blue tiles.
BBC story on 'Weg van Nederland'
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