Thursday, November 19, 2015

Are Syrian refugees as dangerous as Ben Carson?



    So let's talk about risk.
    Is it a subject we approach cooly, rationally? 
    Or is it prone to fear, distortions, odd excesses and lapses?
    The easiest way to answer that is with this simple sentence:
    People are afraid to fly but not afraid to drive.
    Generally, that is. Fear of flying is common, and fear of driving rare. We sweat before flights and ponder the possibilities of doom. We hop in the car and go, sometimes buckling up, sometimes not.  
     Yet driving is far, far, far more dangerous than flying. The numbers break down differently, whether you use passenger miles or passenger hours. But driving is, roughly, 20 to 200 times more dangerous than flying. Every year 30,000 people die on the roads in the United States. While there are years, sometimes several years in a row, when no one dies at all in airplane accidents. 
     So we fear the safe activity, and don't fear the dangerous one.
    Why is that?
     Simple.
     We trust ourselves and doubt others. We are confident about driving because we are the people doing it, and of course we know what we're doing.
    While these pilots --really, who knows? A shifty lot.
     So here's the question:
     Is this the only place we see this — flying and driving?
     No.
     Look at the present moment of refugee hysteria in this country.
     Republican governors, candidates, and rank and file, whose entire worldview is based on fear, say that the risk of terrorists slipping in with immigrants, which might have been the case with one Parisian terrorist, or might not, is so great that the whole endeavor must be stopped.  Rather like a person who won't get on a plane. Because it could, possibly, crash.
    Meanwhile, those same people insist that guns be disseminated everywhere, with the minimum of oversight, regulation, law or even commonsense safety features. 
     Indiana rejects a Syrian family, sight unseen, on general principles. Who knows who they are?
     Meanwhile, the Republican front runner for president is retired surgeon Ben Carson, a man who had never held public office, who has no experience in international relations, who is so clueless he's desperately boning up on world events, even as he campaigns. It isn't his critics who say this; it's his staff, his advisers.  The story was on the front page of the New York Times Wednesday. The man isn't even bright enough to be embarrassed. 
     So really, which is a bigger threat? 
     Sure, a terrorist could slip in with Syrian refugees. Or one could become a terrorist, just as a native born American could become the next Timothy McVeigh. 
     But an inept president can kill far more Americans, and has. How many young soldiers died in George W. Bush's wars? Five thousand? Ten thousand? More? Yet Carson's sleepy murmurings send the GOP over the moon in rapture. While they cringe in fear at a bunch of exhausted moms and traumatized children. 
     It would look laughable, improbably in fiction. But it is not fiction. It is what is happening right now, in our country.  A great nation that prides itself on its clear-eyed view of the world.

70 comments:

  1. Ben Carson is like Chance (played by Peter Sellers) in 'Being There'. I saw the movie but thought is was too far fetched.

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    1. Yes, I recall that movie.

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  2. No, not these "same people," Mr. Steinberg. There are plenty of people who worry about national safety yet despise the NRA and the gun lobby or obsessive gun hoarders.

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    1. Of course certain geniuses (at least in their own minds) on here will say that's not a generalization. Only I generalize around here.

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    3. " Republican governors, candidates, and rank and file"..."those same people." Seems like he specified whom he was referring to. He didn't say that all those who objected admitting refugees oppose gun control.

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    4. very well.... just frustrated

      Someone here said on a post the other day somewhere, no, not looking it up- that some writer said if they were dissed by both left and right they were doing something right, so am I. People here think I'm too conservative and on a conserve. site I'm seen as too liberal. So I'm doing it right. Moderates rule!

      Miss those adult student debates in the class.

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    5. I don't recall anyone stating that you are too conservative. Most people here either agree or disagree with a point that has been made, rather then pin a label on the person who has made it.

      Is mentioning that a particular view you have is more in line with one particular political stance than another am unfair statement or simply an observation?

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  3. P.S. and let's not forget those who are leary, and rightfully so, of some Syrian refugees but find Carson laughable.

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  4. To put things in perspective, here is a list of U.S. military deaths in unnecessary wars:
    McKinley's Spanish American War 2,910 KIA
    Wilson's World War I 53,402 KIA
    Truman's Korean War 44,500 KIA
    Kennedy's Vietnam War 58,307 KIA
    Bush's Iraq War 4,491 (up to 2014) KIA
    Bush's Afghanistan War 2,356 (up to 2014) KIA
    Judging all the presidential candidates and their bellicose nature, or lack thereof, I'd place Carson in the lower middle. The most likely to start a new war, starting at the top would be, Cruz, Bush, Trump, Fiorina, and as a sidebar, g-d help the nation at the top of America's S-list if President Hillary feels a need to wag the dog. Recently historians have been blaming the start of World War I on the incompetence of Kaiser Wilhelm's military advisors. It would be the height of irony if a warmongering Joint Chiefs of Staff spend months trying to convince President Carson war is necessary in Syria, only to have him solemnly state, "the Chinese presence in Syria makes war too dangerous."

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    1. There is a small Chinese Muslim population in China and of course they have to tread lightly. China should offer to bring in some Syrian refugees and help them. Since some of the refugees are good folks, the few terrorist ones that might slip in or develop later wouldn't dare try anything in China. They know what that clampdown would be like.

      That's the concern here: some Muslims that might enter as innocents could be recruited later. Yes, we know there are some crazy American killers but inviting possible terrorists would really be asking for more problems.

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    2. And more Muslims would be recruited here then those of other religions to turn against us. Check the stats, trends and latest developments.

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    3. The facts do not support your position; read the article below.

      http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21674694-america-should-reclaim-its-role-beacon-those-fleeing-persecution-and-war-yearning?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/yearningtobreathefree

      "Of the 745,000 refugees resettled since September 11th, only two Iraqis in Kentucky have been arrested on terrorist charges, for aiding al-Qaeda in Iraq." In other words, even those two committed no violent acts on U.S. soil.

      I would expect the vast majority of refugees to be grateful to have been given a haven from the oppression and violence in their homeland.

      If you can cite/link to something to the contrary, I will certainly take it into consideration.

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    4. Yes, like they were grateful in France, some even as citizens there.

      Madame, sorry I don't have the link, I watch and read tons of decent news articles and no time or wish to search it to prove to you I don't make things up. One can find anything to support their arguments on the net depending on if it's a liberal or conserve site or source. Some links might contradict yours. Just cause something didn't happen doesn't mean it won't. It could even take a longer time. Sigh.

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    5. Concerning the sabber rattling by presidential contenders, a quote of the deposed King Lear raving against the storm, seems apt. "I will do such things, I know not what they are, but they will be the terrors of the earth."

      Of all of them I would consider only Hillary what the British call a "safe pair of hands." From her experience at State she would be realistic about the limitations of our ability to influence events. And how useless bluster is liable to be. And she did get along well with the military. In the senate and, as Secretary of State, with DOD Secretary Gates.

      Tom Evans

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    6. And that Belgium Muslim citizen was super loyal to his nation too. cough

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    7. I'd consider Billary too if she wasn't so shady in some areas and if she would put her husband's balls on a necklace then wear it, not have enabled him and gotten a divorce. So much for her being a real feminist. Go stand by your man, phony Billary with your business deal style marriage. Anything for power and politics. Cornutone!

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    8. The Belgian-born terrorist was not a refugee, so I'm not sure what you're trying to get across. Again, no one has denied that terrorists exist and are bad.

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    9. You are so wise, Coey and so domineering. Who can compete? Now grab your geometry book that you claimed to have liked and realize that this was just an example. It shows that even kids of immigrants from some groups can make trouble later. No one says it will happen the day after they get here, sigh. Stop splitting hairs.

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    10. Tom,
      I thought I was ahead of the game because our textbook in International Law at UICC was Politics Among Nations, then you reveal Hans Morgenthau himself taught you International Law, you are the Man. Senator Clinton did voted for most, if not all, war authorization bills that went before congress, supporting Bush's wars. Hillary Clinton has an above average ability to learn from her mistakes, labels like flip-flopper are stupid. I agree she has acquired the wisdom to restrain from taking bold action in the aftermath of another tragedy. But in minor events like Grenada, Somali, and utilizing strategic air strikes, she would be a player. A weak apology for Bush, what would any other president have done in the wake of 2,977 deaths on 9/11?

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    11. You didn't ask me, Bernie, but I believe that most, short of Mother Teresa, would have sought to eliminate the safe haven for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and sought Bin Laden, almost certainly including boots on the ground there. But I've never believed that Al Gore would have invaded Iraq, had he been President. I think things might have gone quite differently in the "war on terror" absent that diversion of focus and resources, and the "Pottery Barn" scenario that had once been foreseen and indeed came to pass in Iraq.

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    12. Agree, Jak, about Gore and the mess that Bush/ Cheney caused.

      Bernie, agree about your assessment of Hillary.

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    13. UICC became UIC in the 80s, Bernie.

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  5. Wilhelm was also insecure with that arm of his and had to prove himself. He didn't respect his Uncle King Edward or Cousin George V and wanted to compete with their navy. He didn't even respect his own parents. Luckily, he had some care for his Grandma Victoria. Some say Bismarck pushed him toward militarism but then Wilhelm turned on him too later.

    Tipping my cap to you, Bernie, as far as not typing out the letter o in God as most conservative or orthodox Jews won't.

    As for escalation, I'd call Vietnam more Johnson's war than Kennedy.

    One can almost understand why the U.S. wanted to be isolated after the Treaty of Versailles and WWI mess. Wilson's 14 pts were going nowhere.

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  6. The Ghost of Christmas PastNovember 19, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    I'm in favor of admitting 5 million Syrian refugees and heavily arming them. Because I am pro-immigrant and a consistent Second Amendment supporter.

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  7. See now Ghost, many here will like your comments especially on the first part of your sentence.

    Or some think I make up all the aliases.

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    1. Again, no one has ever said that you are the only player who has used an alias; in fact, Ghost in particular has been mentioned as one who has done so. Your "poor me" attitude doesn't seem warranted.

      Since we're on the topic, would you have any objection to clarifying why it is that you choose to post under many different monickers rather then one consistent one? Not that you are under any obligation to do so. I just am bewildered by the choice.

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    2. Ha! That should be "poster," not "player."

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    3. privacy for work related viewers and nosy relatives or neighbors makes for anon

      lol, I'm certainly not a player

      oh well, I can't fight 15 people at once here, no that isn't a martyr like statement

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  8. Xenophobia: The most reliable play in the GOP playbook.

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    1. Xenophobes don't want any immigrants or foreigners in. This isn't the case, Bitter.

      so don't be so bitter

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    2. Mark the words of those concerned of what will happen to
      Europe down the line after some , not all, of these migrants are settled and then not happy with their economic conditions or not happy with how they view western life.

      Let's worry about the kids in our backyards who don't even have winter coats or parents have no jobs. I'd love to know what Fr. Phleger thinks of the refugees.

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    3. I haven't seen what Fr. Pfleger has had to say about the refugees, but the Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, whom one might assume is a lot more conservative than Fr. Pfleger, issued a statement. An excerpt:

      "I am disturbed, however, by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris. They are extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives. We cannot and should not blame them for the actions of a terrorist organization."

      In full: http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-157.cfm

      Just guessing, but I would imagine that Fr. Pfleger is more than capable of concern for the plight of Syrian refugees without it impinging on the work he does on behalf of his flock in Chicago.

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    4. Who is a GOP, Bitter? Certainly not I.

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  9. All you who are afraid to use your names, as opposed to 'anonymous,' don't expect me to give your opinions much credence. It bothers me that Neil lets you prattle on in secret.

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    1. if he doesn't care, why should you, Maida?

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  10. Elsewhere, our Anonymous friend has written: "All is not well as one here might think." Just because we don't think the U.S. should pull up the drawbridge in the faces of the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" doesn't mean that we don't realize that there's a big problem with terrorism in the world. For crying out loud. Of course, some terrorists could enter the country through immigration, legal or illegal. Such is the inherent risk of being a nation that supposedly welcomes immigrants. There have ALWAYS been bad people coming in among the good, no matter what their nationality or religion. As I recall, it's not like America was a crime-free paradise before 9/11. There were more murders in Chicago in 1974 than in any year before or since, after all. We had quite a crime spree during prohibition, but IIRC, Al Capone was not a Muslim.

    We're not denying the threat of terrorism, but trying to put it in some perspective. Does it make a difference if you're afraid to go to a movie theater because there might be a terrorist attack, or because some true-blue American might decide to shoot it up with a semi-automatic weapon? The question here isn't whether there's terrorism, whether it's scary or whether we should attempt to prevent it. The question is whether or not the people punished for terrorism should be innocent folks who have already been victimized by it in their own country and want to go someplace else. IMHO.

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    1. An interesting piece on NPR this morning pointing out that it is far easier to get into the U.S. under the Special Immigrant Visa Program than as a refugee. That's not a problem Congress is willing to tackle, however, because there are many powerful interests behind the program, including employers who want ability to freely recruit foreigners with special talents. Much easier to pass a meaningless bill banning Syrian refugees and let Obama veto it so Democrats can be called "soft on terrorism" in future campaigns.

      Tom Evans

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    2. Yes, like Chinese or Indian engineers.

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  11. Your aforementioned people still weren't as dangerous to huge masses of people in a bygone area. Some still don't get it. Those people didn't come in vowing to hate American and threatening to do damage from the get go, sigh. What's the use.

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  12. Just last night heard on news that DC was being threatened. Now tell me what other migrant pulled that one. Obviously the Japanese were a danger to the west coast, but that's a different story. Get all of your heads out of your rears, folks.

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    1. "Obviously, the Japanese were a danger to the west coast..." said the hater, based on nothing, re-writing history wildly as he goes.

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  13. As our host points out, the risk of admitting potential terrorists is not zero. Your risk of dying from a terrorist act is not zero, although you have about as good a chance of being killed by a piece of your own furniture. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/americans-are-as-likely-to-be-killed-by-their-own-furniture-as-by-terrorism/258156/

    Be that as it may, some choose to focus on the actual present needs of tens of thousands of innocent, suffering people rather than on the future possibility of one or more of them being a bad guy. To use an analogy, I didn't stop working at or donating to the local homeless shelter when my wallet was stolen there.

    And of course that doesn't mean we should disregard those who need our help closer to home. It's not an either/or situation.

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    1. Working at the homeless shelter- what a marvel.

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    2. Frankly, a few others might agree with me to some extent but don't want to risk certain pitbull attacks here.

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    3. So, you crudely insult a bunch of us at 12:41 ("heads out of rears"), pointlessly taunt an infrequent commenter at 4:15, then mock somebody for working at a homeless shelter at 4:17 (WTF?). You equate the substantive discussion today to "pitbull attacks", yet you've made by far the most obnoxious remarks on the thread. Nice work. If there are "a few others" who agree with you, it's not surprising to me that they might not want to jump aboard your bandwagon.

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    4. Don't twist things and play martyr, Jak. I'm not mocking the person working at the homeless shelter. That is a good and brave thing to do. As for the rear I should have said head out of sand.

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    5. Whoever you are, Anon, I think you've got the market cornered on "playing the martyr."

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    6. I helped out at a parish in Maywood serving meals when I was younger, as part of a school group.

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  14. You are not welcome to call me by my name when I don't know yours.

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  15. Lol, MAIDA, do you think all the other people on this forum are using their real names?

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    1. Ben Carson sounds like a perv when he speaks.

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    2. Remember Islam is tougher on gays then any born again would be.

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  16. Ben Carson's op-ed on the Tribune's website is hilarious. Great Onion material.

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    1. I agree. Among other idiocies he proposes setting up a joint Turkish/ Kurdish force to combat ISIS and shutting down bad social media. Less funny has been Trump suggesting warrantless searches of Moslem households, expanded surveillance of mosques, and a requirement that Moslems wear some kind of identifier. That he didn't actually specify yellow stars might be considered mitigating.

      TE

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    2. I don't understand why some politicians refuse to say radical Islamists. But if egotistical Trump doesn't watch his mouth, one of them might blow him up.

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    3. Then read my column Monday -- I wrote exactly on this subject, trying to explain it to people such as yourself. For all the good it will do.

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    4. If the male suicide bombers are brainwashed to think they all these virgins when they die, what's the prize for female suicide bombers.

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  17. I'll re-read it and read all your columns. " People such as myself?" Not like I'm Mr. Trump.

    Anyway, I see a café attack took place today in Paris from some Islamists. It's not a matter of just refugees, but weren't some of the perpetrators in Paris just nice neighbors in certain neighborhoods? Or so some thought.

    Syria they say is so corrupt, anyone can get a fake passport but I digress.

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  18. He may mean Tuesday's column- and I didn't vote for Rauner.

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    1. People speak of losing freedom if all are spied on to catch terrorists. What about freedom to be in peace at an airport, sports / concert arena, public square, etc, city...

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  19. I thought Carsons redrawing of the New England states was pretty funny. Vermont got a nice new coastline. Perhaps he should take a lesson from Sen. Al Frankin:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h0-FYyuvrRk

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  20. Fear is why you went running out of an inner city school district to Northbrook (99.999% white) as soon as your children were entering kindergarten. You're a faker Steinberg. You preach diversity and live in the most segregated area of Chicago. I just finished his last book "You were never in Chicago" if anyone wants to confirm just read what he wrote. Hypocrite!

    John Cassidy

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  21. Bamako (AFP) - Suspected Islamist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali's capital Friday, firing automatic weapons and seizing more than 100 guests and staff in a hostage-taking that has left at least 22 people dead.

    Special forces carried out a dramatic floor-by-floor rescue at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, according to local television and security sources, eventually ending the siege about nine hours after it had begun.

    here's more

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  22. The post seems to have been removed, but a party here linked to this article:
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/americanattacks.htm

    Clearly not approaching the matter from a "liberal" or pro-Islam stance, it lists deaths due to what it terms "Islamic terror" in the US in the past 45 years. Other than the horrendous, yet anomalous, death toll from the September 11 attacks, it cites 130 deaths over that period, or less than 3 a year. One is too many, of course, but compared to a few months in Chicago, not statistically significant.

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    1. "Clearly not approaching the matter from a "liberal" or pro-Islam stance..." How does a liberal list 82 terror attacks on American soil differently?

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  23. Interesting point.

    A.

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  24. Stupid question here...who pays? I mean who pays for 10 thousand refugees to come into this country? Who will put them up? We are going to take in 10 thousand people next year when we have 30-50 thousand homeless veterans on our streets and plenty of people already in this country on welfare. Look at Illinois budget. We can't pay for the poor people we already have here and they are U.S. citizens. Where is the money going to come from to pay for these incoming people? Will they have jobs? Will they go right to welfare? Will they become section 8s? I haven't seen much written about this. So again folks. Who Pays??

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  25. I hinted at that in another post and it's a good point.

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