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Op-Ed: Rep. Connolly Betrayed Our Democratic Values

by RestonNow.com — November 20, 2015 at 3:35 pm 286 Comments

Rep. Gerry ConnollyThis is an op-ed by Reston resident Jonathan Damm. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

On Thursday, Rep. Gerry Connolly [D-VA 11th] was among 47 Democrats to join House Republicans to vote yes for H.R. 4038 — a bill sponsored by Republicans, which they called: the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, or the American Safe Act of 2015. I prefer to call it the Anti-Refugee Act. But 137 House Democrats stood firm and voted no.

Until yesterday, I admired Rep. Connolly and respected his body of work. Tragically, this one vote makes it absolutely impossible for me to vote for or support him in the future, notwithstanding his past work on behalf of the 11th District. I feel he has betrayed our fundamental Democratic values by siding with those who devised this hasty legislation on behalf of those more inclined to react out of fear to the terrorism in Paris. But we are better than that. As our national anthem reminds us, we are the home of the brave.

Of course, like most citizens, I expect the federal government to take reasonable steps to protect us against the very real threats that exist in the world. But voting to add a layer of unnecessary delay and burden to the process for refugees entering our country was completely unnecessary.

Just a little research shows that the vetting process is already 18-24 months long, and before the events in Paris, there was no large movement calling for any changes. In other words, the system works; it is not broken. Hundreds of Syrian refugees have been processed in this country since 2011. They have not attacked us.

So why on earth did Rep. Connolly choose this odd time to break from our Democratic ideals of welcoming refugees and immigrants into this country? Only he can answer that. But the answers he has provided thus far are entirely unacceptable and hint at an adolescent immaturity, which is quite frankly disturbing.

Connolly’s statement on his website.

If you look closely at some of the remarks made by Rep. Connolly and his fellow Anti-Refugee colleagues — in the wake the vote — they seem to be saying that the Obama Administration wasn’t persuasive enough. For example, Rep. Connolly said the following, “It isn’t what it was characterized as, so why would we oppose that?” Steve Israel [D-N.Y.] also voted with Republicans and said, “I’ve seen better presentations in my time here.”

There is a well known deep-seeded animosity among some Democrats on the Hill who are upset that the Obama Administration lacks ideal communication skills. But that is hardly a reason to vote yes on H.R. 4038. What a historically inopportune time to essentially throw the equivalent of a childish tantrum.

The bill is not long at all and clearly creates administrative burden and delay. Rep. Connolly should have easily been able to read it for himself and draw that obvious conclusion. Here is a particularly relevant section of the very short bill:

(b) Certification by unanimous concurrence

A covered alien may only be admitted to the United States after the Secretary of Homeland Security, with the unanimous concurrence of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence, certifies to the appropriate Congressional Committees that the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States.

So the Administration was correct to assert that H.R. 4038 would add unnecessary delay to an otherwise sound system for vetting refugees. These are additional legislative requirements on top of an already lengthy and thorough vetting process.

And Rep. Connolly actually acknowledged the problem. He said, “They are concerned that the … consequence of this is to simply add to the difficulty and timeline of status approval. So what’s already an 18- to 24-month process could become twice that,” [a]nd obviously … no one wants that as an outcome.”

But he wishfully supposed that some administrative magic would smooth out the additional layers and perhaps make the process just a little bit less onerous. He said, “can’t we work that out administratively by adding resources, delegating certification, maybe even collapsing all of this into a more expedited, accelerated process across the board?”

Well that is wishful thinking and pure subterfuge. The Administration wisely and correctly noted very quickly that, “we don’t have the staff.” Has Rep. Connolly been asleep over the past seven years as the size of the Federal government has continued to shrink due to budget cuts? His remarks, excuses and callousness are astonishing to me.

There is no way to get around the fact that these are additional requirements. How much delay might they cause? At 30 minutes a refugee, if there are 10,000 refugees, it would take 300,000 minutes or nearly 2.5-years of full-time work on behalf of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the FBI just to meet this new statutory requirement to vet and certify all the refugees by unanimous concurrence. That is on top of the 18-24 months it already takes to fulfill all the other vetting requirements already in place. Plus, the Secretary and Director have many other important duties.

So it is absurd and disingenuous for Rep. Connolly to suggest that this is somehow an innocuous bill. It clearly adds time consuming layers of bureaucracy on top of an already long process. Rep. Connolly said administering this bill is “just a matter of mechanics, it’s not a matter of principle or statute,” [a]nd that’s not a good enough reason for me to vote no.”

I disagree with every fiber of my being. He is wrong about it being just about mechanics. And he is immoral to say this is not about principle. My grandfather escaped Nazi Germany during WWII. I am an American today because the people of our country have always stood up and welcomed refugees and immigrants. As the words next to the Statue of Liberty proclaim:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Representative Connolly and 47 Democrats betrayed these words and our common humanity. Unless Rep. Connolly repudiates, apologizes and admits his vote was a tragic and thoughtless mistake, I will never vote for him again.

Jonathan Damm
Reston, VA

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  • SouthRestonResident

    Just curious, when was the last time someone with conservative values or a republican politician had an op-ed or weekly column on this site?

    • The Right One

      The last time any of them wanted to I expect.

      Would you consider Maynard’s op-eds here last spring re the foolishness of the Tetra purchase advocating conservative (i.e.–fiscally responsible) values?

    • Ming the Merciless

      Haven’t you heard the eternal excuse? Only elected representatives of Reston get to have their opinions published here.

      • Karen Goff

        Ming, take a break. It’s the weekend. You comment on this site 30 times a day. I would say your opinion is well represented. Want more space? Send me a letter to the editor and I will publish it, as any reader is welcome to do. Can’t help you with the elected officials, but it’s not an “excuse” as there are zero GOP members representing Reston.

        • John Weis

          You are so sensible and I give you much respect. Don’t lose heart.

        • Richard

          An op-ed would require Ming to spew his garbage without the cloak of anonymity. Won’t happen.

    • Karen Goff

      We’ve been over this. Anyone is welcome to send me an op-ed. As far as regular columns from Republican officials, there are none representing Reston, so you are out of luck there.

  • MJay

    If 47 democrats voted with the republicans, shouldn’t that essentially be referred to as “bipartisan?”

    • Ming the Merciless

      No, no, no, “bipartisan” is only when the Republicans do what the Democrats want.

      • Jim Judge

        I am a latecomer to this slugfest, but am also compelled to comment regarding Mr. Damm’s overreaching, self-righteous, and bombastic rhetoric. It brings to mind an old paradox uttered by Martin Luther: Exactly when we are most righteous we are unrighteous . . . .

        I have disagreed with Congressman Connolly’s positions in the past and communicated my thoughts to his Capitol Hill website. Since he is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, it stands to reason that he may have reached his position after thoughtful deliberation and access to persuasive source material. And since when must we assume that his constituency should always be marching in partisan lockstep or mind-numbing obeisance to someone’s tyrannical perception of political correctness?

        The position taken by Congressman Connolly and the perceptive views expressed on this Post are refreshing evidence that diversity is still viable and thriving in our community.

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          Evidently you didn’t read the act, nor read what was already in place prior too it. Another no information voter.

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      No bi-partisan would carry the majority of both parties.

  • susie

    I was shocked Gerry voted the way he did – pleased, but shocked.

  • FoetusBlow

    That won’t ever satisfy Mr. Damm or his ilk, MJay…first to decry and then first to cry…sanctimoniousness and self righteousness are hallmarks for the proselytizing namby-pamby noobs that would rather fall on their own swords than ever acknowledge their feeble misconceptions of how things really work, that is, until the dogs of war are barking at their own pathetic doors… to quote Col. Jessup…”You can’t handle the truth”… and MJay, they never will, so don’t waste your breath, brother.

  • SouthRestonResident

    How do you do a background check on a person in a country that doesn’t have records or databases? You going to interview their neighbors? Their family? Their former co-workers?

    You honestly can’t believe we can just take their word for it right? Do I wish we could help everyone? Sure, but this isn’t a land of make believe. There is a serious crisis on our hands right now. The JV team is not contained, it’s spreading.

    And yes, maybe out of those 10,000 people only 20 have bad intentions. But guess how many people it took for Paris to turn into a grand-a Mongolian Charlie-Foxtrot?

    • Ming the Merciless

      And of course the Syrian government is our good buddy and would neeeeever send any bad guys here… nor would any other countries or groups recruit any Syrians to come here in the guise of refugees… nor would any previously “innocent” folk have an attack of sudden jihad syndrome. All this is merely hysterical Republican delusion!

      • footballexpt

        No refugee has committed an act of terrorism in US since 9/11. However we have plenty of crazy people with guns shooting people everyday. Why don’t we do something about that?

        • Mike M

          “No refugee has committed an act of terrorism in US since 9/11.”

          So, you want to reverse that positive trend so we can be more like Europe?

          Might wanna stick to football.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Yes, the answer to crazy people with guns shooting people every day is definitely to increase the number of crazy people with guns who shoot people every day. Anyone can easily see how that makes perfect sense.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            That’s what the GOP and NRA want. NRA even wants it to remian legal to sell guns to those on the terror watchlist!

          • Ming the Merciless

            The question here shouldn’t be “why does the NRA oppose using the terror watch list on a civil context?” but “why doesn’t everybody oppose using this list on a civil context?” Whether you like it or not, the right to keep and bear arms is protected by the U.S. Constitution and cannot be restricted without serious cause. Of course Second Amendment advocates are opposed to the importation of this list into the firearms background check system. They understand well that it cannot be relied upon as a justification for denial. We are not talking here about selling guns to people who have been convicted in a court of law; that is already illegal. Rather, we are talking about selling guns to people who, as far as the state is concerned, have done nothing wrong and who must not therefore have their liberties abridged. It is an ugly testament to the illiberalism of many modern-day progressives that they are happily lining up on the authoritarian side against not just one, but two of America’s premier civil rights organizations.

            Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/427266/nra-absolutely-right-fear-terrorism-watch-list-charles-c-w-cooke

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            So you openly admit that you think it is ok to sell guns to terrorists. We can’t let them on a plane, (which is also protected by the Constitution for the uneducated) but it’s OK to sell them guns. I seriously hope your neighbor is a gun toting person on the terror watch list. The same list some RethugliCONs want to put all Muslim-Americans on.

          • Ming the Merciless

            So you admit that if “terrorists” have not been convicted of any crime, then they should lose their rights? Great. Let’s start with their right to remain in the country (which isn’t even a right) and deport them all.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Except many on the terror watch list are Americans. Where are we to deport them to? To your moms basement to live with you?

          • Ming the Merciless

            Guantanamo is fine.

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        Sorry clueless, refugees are not sent by the country they are running for their life from.

        • Mike M

          Namecalling again?

        • Ming the Merciless

          And you know this because…. ?

    • deirdrebeth
    • Justice4Ureserved©

      Since you have to ask, it means you have no clue. Secondly, before this BS bill was passed, it was already in place that if no background info was available for any person, they would not be admitted. So what was wrong with that??

  • FoetusBlow

    Newsflash, Monsieur Damm…Connolly is a p-o-l-i-t-i-c-i-a-n. He does NOT care for you, about you or in your opinion…just your pathetic vote, which you dutifully bestow upon the Democratic party like the dullard that you make yourself to be. I’m sure he’s in mourning over your vociferous bout, so if you really want to “punish” him, vote Republican. :=)

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      No need the DNC is dropping all these morons. They will be replaced by non DINO’s

  • shagga

    i would like to applaud Gerry Connolly for his vote. The syrians should in be in camps protected and cared for the by the UN. If any syrian refugee that is already here commits a terrorist act i hope Jonathan Damm can be sued in civil court for aiding in the attack.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Democratic values – in both senses of the word – used to mean defense of the country against foreign enemies. It is neither necessary nor desirable to bring ANY Syrians to this country in order to assist them.

    Connolly has at last done something to earn Ming’s vote!

  • rokidtoo

    As far as I’m concerned, Rep Connolly voted against his President, his Pope, Christianity, American values, and common decency. If he’s going to espouse callus, “no-nothing” Tea Party values, then he’s lost my vote and my monetary support.

    Yes, Mr. Damm is one vote. I’m one vote. However, there are a lot of former supporters that are disgusted with Rep. Connolly’s vote. Does he really think he’ll attract Tea Partier support to beat a Republican challenger? Does he really think he’ll get Democratic support to pursue higher office?

    If Tom Davis runs again, he’s got my support!

    • Ming the Merciless

      You are right on one of those – the first one. But,
      1. The Pope has no business telling America who to admit.
      2. Christianity does not require us to accept any refugees at all.
      3. American values do not require us to accept any refugees at all.
      4. Common decency does not require us to accept any refugees at all.

      2, 3, and 4 can be satisfied easily and completely by helping Syrians in Syria not by bringing them here.

      • rokidtoo

        1. Yes he does. Morals are the Pope’s business and helping, or not helping, refugees is a moral issue.

        2. Yes it does. Go back and read the Bible. Jesus didn’t say “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…” There was no caveat, “unless it’s inconvenient or you’re scared”.

        3. Yes they do. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore….”. Americans like to think they’re exceptional. Now is a time to prove it.

        4. I say it does. 1-3 says it does. “Common decency” implies that you help people in need. These Syrian refugees are certainly in need. What’s stopping us from helping? Lack of resources? Lack of compassion? Irrational fear of the unknown?

        “2, 3, and 4 can be satisfied easily and completely by helping Syrians in Syria not by bringing them here.”

        How? I guess we could drop nukes and kill everyone in Syria. No more refugee problem!

        Alternately, we could set up refugee camps in Syria. I’m sure ISIL, Assad, the Russians, the Iranians, Al Qaeda, etc. wouldn’t attack them. Any other ideas for helping Syrians in Syria?

        • Mike M

          I am reminded of the guys who excessively cite the Koran on matters of reasoning. You know them.

        • Sword of Justice

          “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against the flesh and blood… Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace…taking the shield of faith…and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:11-17)

          “I have come not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Mt 10:34-36; cf. Lk 12:51-53)

          “Cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed.” (Jer 48:10)

          • rokidtoo

            And, your point is?

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        You must not be a Christian, or have never read the bible. Saying no to the refugees is saying no to Christ. Matthew 25:34-46

        34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,f you did it to me.’

        41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

        • Mike M

          I prefer to make decisions based upon reason. You sound like ISIS, presuming everyone should accept your religion.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Where did I say anyone had to join anything, OR say anything was my religion? I am mainly pointing out the deadly hypocrisy of those who say they are Christians. Please try getting a clue Mikey.

          • Mike M

            Mikey? Excellent retort. You say those who do not agree with your religious and moral judgements are not wrong and you give no rationale. You said quoted the bible and spoke of eternal punishment. Honestly, take responsibility for your argument, if nothing else.

          • Grumpier

            Umm, from what I saw she stated her education in religion and posted a quoted passage from the Bible. She never put forth anything about her judging. Just posted the hypocracy of those who say they are Christians, yet fail to follow their own Bible. OH, and it was the Bible talking about eternal punishment, she was just quoting it. You might want to read before responding.

          • Ming the Merciless

            I think the repeated statement “enjoy your eternal punishment” qualifies as judging people. She is not just quoting it, she thinks that is what will (and should) happen to those who disagree with her.

            Also, since liberals claims to hate, hate, hate “hypocrisy”… and to be much smarter than stupid conservatives… they really ought to learn how to spell it.

          • Mike M

            And what does the bible, any more than the Koran, have to do with reasonable decisions?

        • Ming the Merciless

          (sigh) We do not have to bring them here to feed them or help them. It was NEVER considered a Christian obligation to bring foreigners into Christian lands for well over a thousand years. To argue this now is simply to cite scripture for the Devils purposes.

        • Praise Unto You

          “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29/Mk 10:29-30/Lk 18:29-30)

    • susie

      Have you not seen the flood of YOUNG MEN flowing into Western countries as “migrants”? Women are blowing themselves up as suicide bombers. This is not a political issue as this bipartisan vote demonstrated. It is a matter of national security. ISIS has threatened to attack Washington D.C. You can live in your utopia where this is not a real threat – but don’t think everyone lives in it.

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        ONE woman set off a suicide bomb in Belgium, and she was NOT SYRIAN, NOR A REFUGEE.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Which only goes to show that Western countries should not admit immigrants from other Middle Eastern countries than Syria, and should refuse admission to migrants as well as so-called refugees.

        • Numnutsius

          Actually it was ONE woman in France. not Belgium.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            But she was NOT a refugee nor Syrian.

  • Blah Blah Blah

    If you want to hear Gerry’s, er, explanation or excuse for this stupid vote, click here:

    http://connolly.house.gov/news/connolly-statement-on-the-syrian-refugee-crisis/
    In the end, his political calculus was that selling fear buys votes, and it’s only a year until he has to face the electorate again. Unless, of course, the Dems throw him out early.

    • Mike M

      They whine and fuss, but they can be counted upon to zombie back into the polls and pull the lever next to the D. Jon Damm, Redhand, and Razwana Neem will vote for Connolly, unless a Socialist gets on the ballot. I remain tickled that so many Obamaphiles argued they were not Socialists, then Bernie came along and about half of them gave their support without compunction. It is the left moving leftward more than the right moving rightward that shapes today’s politics.

  • redhand32

    Jonathan Damm is spot on. Those like Connelly and the Bigoted Fear-Pimps who support him and the far right, and in fact a majority of “Americans” have it wrong. The Founding Fathers designed our institutions like indirect voting for the President, and Judicial Review, and setting a high bar for Constitutional Reform because they feared the tyranny of the Majority in cases like this. And, that’s why there is a Bill of Rights, to protect minorities against lynch mob majorities. Yet, as with German Jewish children, turned away from the US to Germany and death in Auschwitz in the 30s, internement of Japenese AMERICAN citizens, and yes, Mr. Connoly, ugly anti-Irish rejection of your ancestors, you have it all wrong. Thank you Mr. Damm for laying out straight.

    • susie

      “To protect minorities against lynch mob majorities” ? Are you saying that our constitution protects “migrants” from another part of the world?

      • redhand32

        Yes, once migrants arrive here they are entitled to Constitutional protections, just like any other Legal Resident, or US Citizens. It’s the Law. Of course, migrants not legally admitted have no such US Constitutional Rights, but do have Rights covered by the UN, International Law, etc. From the perspective of all the right wing Christian hypocrites, I submit that Scripture requires that “migrants” and others have human dignity rights, clearly defined by Jesus Christ in Scripture (see my earlier post with specifics.) Yet, these hypocrites ignore this, claiming to be “pro-life (Fetus only).” The tyranny of the Majority does not make Syrian Refugee exclusion right.

        • Ming the Merciless

          You know nothing about Christianity. There is NOTHING in Christianity that requires us to bring refugees here. Therefore there is no “hypocrisy”.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Really?
            31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,f you did it to me.’

            41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

            Enjoy eternal punishment.

          • Mike M

            Sounds eerily like, “There is but one God, and that God is Alla. Allahu Akhbar!” Note the similarity?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            So not a believer in God at all.. Hope you enjoy darkness.

          • Mike M

            Darkness? Again, I don’t share your beliefs, so I am a stupid coward? Is that how your God tells you to behave? I know some serial killers who believe in God. They declare “Allahu Akhbar” after they murder someone. Some of your arguments are about as rationale as theirs.

          • Ming the Merciless

            Nothing in the passages you cite requires us to bring anyone to this country.

            If you are so anxious to help them, you can go abroad and help them, as countless Christians have done for many centuries.

          • Purgatory

            Purgatory is a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC 1030). It notes that “this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1031).

            The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            But to continually commit the same sin already forgiven, is to never have really repented, nor ask for forgiveness, and repeating that sin, voids the forgiveness until you no longer sin, and ask for forgiveness again. For if you are not repenting with your heart, you are only lying to God.

        • Mike M

          So, I need to adhere to your religion? That’s the ISIS way. Hmmn.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            ISIS wants everyone dead to bring about the end of man. It is NOT a religion.

          • Mike M

            Again you have nothing but your opinion and religion.

          • Ming the Merciless

            What does that first “I” in ISIS stand for, again?

          • shagga

            correct they are extreme followers of the islamic faith, sort of like a militant religious club, they quote passages from their holy book to justify what they do, sort of like you with your quotes from your holy book. Religious texts are all so logical….

          • Mike M

            ISIS is entirely is based on Islam. Their goal is Islamic domination.

        • susie

          Correction – migrants are entitled to be subsidized by American citizens for the rest of their lives. At least that is what our dear leader is promoting around the world. Coincidence that our debt has doubled while illegal immigration and “refugees” are flooding our country?

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          Actually by law our Constituion gives protection to every single human being standing in the US or its territories. Even undocumented immigrants are protected by the constitution.

          • Mike M

            All the more reason to start keeping people out.

          • shagga

            illegal aliens are actually criminals that should be deported when encountered by law enforcement. They failed to get permission to travel to our nation either by visa to work here or permission to immigrate here. Undocumented immigrants, that is cute, lol.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            If you want to get technical, all those here without Native American ancestors, are here illegally, and only by murder.

          • shagga

            not technical, just the current laws on the books. If you have issues with the first settlers of the new world you should take up that grievance with the kings of England, Spain, and France. Maybe you can summon them up on your ouija board, just like your friends with all of the sources.

          • Grumpier

            Careful. Your obvious lack of maturity is showing.

          • shagga

            Careful. Your lack of argument makes you look irrelevant.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Careful. Your lack of argument makes you look irrelevant, and proves he is right.

          • shagga

            Can you articulate his argument? I see it as just name calling.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            The main thing I see is you arguing to argue, and calling others names. You made the personal attack, not him, he was just repeating your words. It’s a bitch when karma shows up.

          • shagga

            no, i repeated his words, but thanks for trying to articulate what “your lack of maturity is showing” meant. I will tell you what it means, he and you cant refute what i have posted so you dither about karma or some other garbage. By the way the 3rd suicide bomber in france was a migrant that took your magical car ride. The bbc is reporting it, so i guess you will need to come up some clever way of mocking that media outlet so you can stick your head in the sand.

          • redhand32

            You may be right. My wording was misleading. By my “migrants not legally admitted” I meant specifically those migrants who have not yet arrived in the US or other US territory. Those who remain off US soil have no US Constitutional rights. I am not a lawyer. But, those who are undocumented (illegal) may not be entitled to all US Constitutional rights, I suspect. [If you are not an Attorney, or are otherwise academically qualified in Constitutional Law, your opinion is just that, probably just PC stuff exclusively. And, therefore, it wastes my time further responding on this issue. Others here qualified to speak on Constitutional Law ,please provide CREDIBLE clarification. Remember: Opinions are like AHs; everyone (you and I, and the most intellectually deprived among us e.g. Republicans/’baggers, has one !

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Mine is based in law, not opinion. This might help.. http://www.ijrcenter.org/refugee-law/

          • redhand32

            That all works very well on migrants or refugees OUTSIDE the US/Territories. Nothing on this website, or anything I read grants US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS to non-Citizens on foreign soil. But, again I emphasize that neither you or I are Lawyers or Constitutional Academicians. We have opinions. . Your opinion, i.e. that “foreign domiciled non-US Citizens have US Constitutional rights,” is not supported by the website you cited, or any other credible source that I know of.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Please go re-read my post. I stated: Actually by law our Constituion gives protection to every single human being standing in the US or its territories. I never said non citizens had any US Constitutional rights outside the US. Unless they are in a US embassy.

    • shagga

      you fail to justify bringing them here where they could be a threat to our citizens versus taking care of them in a UN/international refugee camp over in turkey or Lebanon. Thanks for trying though to push your flawed logic. If someone gave me a bowl of 100 peanuts and said just one could kill me and my family if i ate the wrong one i wouldn’t want to risk it. Thanks~

      • Rizwana Neem

        Jeez..if some of the comments on here represent America then we have officially ceased to be land of the brave. No wonder we are hated world over. We’d rather cower from offering shelter but think nothing of putting our soldiers in harms way to decimate another’s land (which has been our m.o.) It’s time to try it a different way people!

        • Mike M

          Rizwana. It is not always morally superior to say yes. In fact, our inability to say no to every sob story is our greatest weakness. It is in the process of bankrupting us. Please give that concept some thought. If this country is not up to your righteousness standards, I would gladly help you pack.

          When you say “We are hated world over,” are you implying ISIS has a point? Many Liberals send that message and I assure you, it does not help their argument. I have traveled and worked widely. I never had the sense the rest of the world hates us. I think I receive more good will because I am an American than I would otherwise. But then I wouldn’t care if they did. That would be a little cowardly for a leader, wouldn’t it? Almost teen-aged in outlook.

          • Ming the Merciless

            We are hated the world over… so hey let’s bring a bazillion of those people who hate us over to live here. What could go wrong?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Let’s keep them out so we teach the young ones to keep hating us when they grow up. Yeah, that’s brilliant!

          • Mike M

            They have hated before there was a US. When you have to succeed on your own in the real world you learn that it’s not all about trying to make everyone like you. It can be expensive and since we are within sight of bankruptcy, why don’t you commit your personal largess and not mine. I don’t want them here.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            And I could care less what you want. BTW junior, I had succeeded on my own, raising a family, before you were a gleam in your daddy’s eye.

          • Mike M

            You have no idea of my age. Lizards raise families.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            It’s about mentality and maturity. I do know your age junior.

          • Mike M

            No. You don’t. And if you are female it is highly unlikely that you have served bravely in the military and have been disfigured.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Thank you for spitting on a decorated disabled combat Vet. No, no women were injured or killed in combat..

            “Women in Combat: Issues for Congress”
            Burrelli, David F. Congressional Research Service, April 5, 2012.

            Summary: “In approximately 10 years of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 283,000 female members have been deployed, over 800 have been wounded and over 130 have died. According to the Department of Defense (DOD), as of February 29, 2012, over 20,000 female members have or are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. (U.S. forces were out of Iraq as of Dec. 2011.) On numerous occasions women have been recognized for their heroism, two earning Silver Star medals. This outcome has resulted in a renewed interest in Congress, the Administration, and beyond in reviewing and possibly refining or redefining the role of women in the military.”

          • Mike M

            I don’t recall spitting on you. Your credibility is really weak. I am pretty much done with you.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Expected reply from the TROLL. I am not almost done with you, but far past it. KMA little one, I only wish I could be around to see the karama hit you.

            Next time you see a woman in military uniform, please go up to her and say the things you have said to me. It will be like a gift from me, when you wake up in an ambulance.

          • Mike M

            I am sorry but your responses are pathetic.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Yes you are sorry, and pathetic.

          • Ming the Merciless

            LOL we do not have to care whether they like us or hate us if they are not in our country. It is only when they live among us that they can express their hate. And why is it that when we do help them and bring them here, they still hate us and attack us?

            There is absolutely no way to control whether foreigners like us or hate us. And indeed, “making people like us” is a totally unsound basis for foreign policy. When you give people what they want, under the delusion that this will make people like you, lo and behold they always decide they want more.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            LOL, it’s not about making people like us fool, it’s about stopping making people hate us. If you think they have to live here to attack, you never took one single class in history. Did you drop out in 1st grade?

          • Ming the Merciless

            Good grief, if you know anything about history, you know that bringing them here does not make them stop hating us, it makes them hate us even more.

            If they are not in this country, as they should not be, then the amount of damage they can do to us is extremely limited. This is not even kindergarten logic, but it is beyond you.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            So now I have to ask. Have you ever been there or even ANY 3rd world country? If not, as I can guess, you really have no clue. And of course, showing compassion, love and help to those who have lost everything causes hate right? Let us know when you have serious life problems so we can come and spit on you and throw you out, then we can see how much love you show..or if it’s hate as anyone with any common sense would tell you.

          • Ming the Merciless

            It is exactly because I have been to such places that I do not want their people coming here. Not to put too fine a point on it, Somalians are the reason Somalia sucks (and many other countries like it). If you bring Somalians here, they do not magically leave behind in the departure lounge all the attitudes and behaviors that caused Somalia to suck. They will merely turn the USA into Somalia.

            And once again, it is in no way necessary to bring ANYONE to this country in order to help poor people overseas or to prove that we don’t “hate” them. To deny this is to spit in the face of countless Christian missionaries over the centuries.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Evidently you have not been listening to the worlds response to this safe act right? Things like America is no longer that shining light in the storm. No longer the home of the brave.

            And even after these attacks in Paris, they CONTINUE TO TAKE IN REFUGEES.

            Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment….

            Enjoy your eternal punishment!

          • Mike M

            As a leader, I know that when you start worrying about what people say about you, you are no longer leading. You Liberals always assume that the US is in the wrong and that anyone else must be right. In this way I see you as treacherous. At the end of the day, you just seem to feel smarter and morally superior to your fellow Americans based upon NOTHING.

          • Mike M

            So, we need to follow Europe’s lead because . . .?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Well most REAL Americans still believe this is the home of the free and brave, not cowards like you. But we can stop taking in refugees and migrants, as long as we make it retroactive so ALL YOU MIGRANTS can leave. Does that make you feel better Mikey?

          • Mike M

            REAL Americans? Those who agree with you? You sound like the right wing loons. I guess the extremists have a lot in common. You make my point exactly. Native Americans were at one time dominant here. Perhaps they were a little too accommodating. You get what you tolerate or don’t defeat. THAT is my point. You suggestions that current Americans leave and Syrians come in makes no sense on the surface.

            And I am a coward because . . . I don’t agree with you. Just like the others in here with your view, you resort to name calling. I am pretty sure I have proceeded in danger where most people haven’t. But you have no idea. You are just calling names. No surprise there.

          • Ming the Merciless

            I couldn’t care less what “the world” thinks about it.

            Are you in Syria now? Why are you still here?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            I guess you are also clueless to the FACT, it was already in place that anyone that they could not get a background on, would NOT BE ADMITTED TO THE US. Is there a part of that your pea brain can’t comprehend? Let’s do 18 months of background checks on YOU. I bet you would end up in prison if we did.

          • Ming the Merciless

            You are clueless to the FACT that it is impossible to get a reliable or accurate background check on any of these people, no matter how long you take. And that would be true even if the bad guys were not trying to send terrorists into our midst. And last but not least, even if we did do a thorough background check, they could change their minds and decide to attack us after they got here, as so many Middle Easterners have done.

        • shagga

          I prefer to use logic than pure emotion when making a decision. Like i said, we can fund camps over there instead of wasting money bringing them over here. Europe opened up their borders to these people and gave them aide and in return their citizens are being murdered and terrorized. Their sporting events canceled, mass transit being delayed and over all their lives are being made miserable. So no thanks, Connolly made the correct vote. One can be brave with out being stupid.

          • Guest83

            I live in Europe, Sweden specifically. The terror attacks in Paris were not committed by refugees, they were committed by radicalized individuals born in Europe. Our murder rates are among the lowest in the world and I’ve never met anyone here living their life ‘terrorized’. Very active imagination you have though, I’ll give you credit for that.

          • shagga
          • Guest83

            I stand corrected on that one individual out of at least 8 and cede you the point – if the news proves correct – and still maintain all other points which you have conveniently ignored, not least of which that noone here sounds anywhere near as terrified as you. Strange that you speak so authoritatively on how we live our lives in Europe from several thousand miles away.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            And other reports say they drove to Greece from Belgium.

          • shagga

            fantastic sources you offer, i am sure these other reports you speak of come from your imaginary friend or some .org site you visit.

          • Mike M

            Stay in Sweden. Your attack is coming. Your facts are wrong. At least one Paris attacker was a refugee.

          • Guest83

            Attacks anywhere can come at any time and noone here lives in terror of them. If you want to cower at the thought of dangerous dangerous refugees be my guest. My odds of getting killed by a criminal when I lived in Fairfax were far greater than my odds of getting killed by a terrorist here…and I can’t say I’ve ever been scared of either. At any rate my point isn’t to imply there is no such thing as terrorism or a threat of terrorism or a need to combat terrorism or blah blah blah, it is to put down any sort of ignorant suggestion that Europeans are running around scared and miserable by people trying to push their own policy suggestions. You also run into people here who think you all are cowering at fear of gun violence. Do you feel you are? I doubt it.

          • east297

            Perhaps you should sign up to receive Syrian refugees..am sure they would be appreciative.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment….

            Enjoy your eternal punishment!

          • Guest83

            I did. During the initial period when my country did not have enough adequate places to house the refugees coming in I kept a family for a few days until they had a place to live, as thousands of my fellow countrymen did. And you’re absolutely right, they were incredibly appreciative and I made friends for life. Just because you’re scared of these people doesn’t mean we are. And lest you start going on about how we can’t take anymore in you may be right, we’re reaching capacity in how many we can handle at the moment because so few others are stepping up…but my point isn’t about numbers; again it was merely to say that those who say we’re all terrified and miserable are those who have likely never set foot here and at any rate have no clue what the climate here is. Pure projection is all.

          • Mike M

            You imply I cower? I don’t. But I guess that makes you feel better. That’s why I support gun rights. If the Euros want to melt away their identity under a wave of Middle Easterners and debt, that is their right. It is my right to opine that we don’t have to follow their lead.It is typical of leftists Euros to scorn Americans for all kinds of reasons. But I know that when push comes to shove Americans will step up. You might recall your country sat on the sidelines in World War 2. So call us cowardly all you like. Your view really doesn’t matter when it’s not backed by reason.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            No he wasn’t Mikey, that was a FAKE passport, he signed in at that checkpoint, and then they DROVE THE CAR BACK TO BELGIUM. Try to keep up.

          • susie

            Are you this supportive of Christian refugees or just Muslims?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            All, the Constitution does not allow religious tests, and I follow the Constitution.

          • susie

            Right.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            So you admit you do not support the US Constition especially the first amendment. Got it. BTW, in the US, that is coincidence treasonous. If we were in Marsal law, the military could legally shoot you for that. We take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign AND domestic.

          • east297

            Really! Why was Copenhagen airport closed last week?

          • Guest83

            Because two Greek men made a joke about a bomb and got arrested for it. Which has to do with refugees how?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Or we can just ship you there, that would be more American!

          • Mike M

            Most Americans don’t agree with you. So, perhaps we should ship you there if the rest of us are not up to your standards.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Actually the majority of Americans do agree with me, just not on Faux Noose.

          • Mike M

            Actually, they do. And THAT is why Gerry voted the way he did and Hilary is adjusting her position wit the popular winds. Faux Noose?

          • Ming the Merciless

            Why aren’t you in Syria helping people right now?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Why aren’t YOU serving? I’ve already completed a lifetime of military deployments leaving me totally disabled while protecting you.

          • Ming the Merciless

            I had all four limbs blown off when I threw myself on a grenade to save the platoon.

          • shagga

            i know, you cant defeat my arguments logically, its better to try to remove reason from your universe so you can live in la la land.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            ROFLMAO!

          • shagga

            cackle from the unhinged, how delightful.

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        Well if you think that is such a great plan, get your family ready, we can fly you all to Syria so you can walk to Turkey and see if you enjoy the refugee camp. Don’t pack, you can only take what you can carry, and it’s going to be at least a thousand mile travel for you to walk, all the while going through places where they will shoot and try to kill you all. Some of your family will die in this trip.

        We’ll make sure everything you used to own is taken or destroyed.

        After you complete this all, when you arrive at the camp, expect to be spit on and live on bread, there isn’t much else. And by then, you’ll have a small idea what it’s like to be a refugee.

        • Mike M

          If the Liberals get their way, we will all be living like refugees because we will know bankruptcy. We don’t have to take these people, and there are solid reasons to avoid doing so. There is the risk of terror, there is the fact that they share none of our values, they could fight for their own country and liberty, and finally, we can’t afford to cover every sob story that comes down the pike. Time to say no.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Really? Now you are an economist? Please tell us how adding 200 people to each state will bankrupt us? We have more tourist than that every day fool.

          • Mike M

            It’s called drawing the line. We already have absorbed millions of Latin refugees. My opposition to the Syrians is not only based on the terrorist threat. It’s also about getting a handle on our debt fueled largess. It’s how we got $19 trillion in debt – one more program that by itself won’t clobber us. Another reason I don’t want the Syrians is because most of them do not aspire to American ideals.

        • Ming the Merciless

          So wait, you yourself are in Syria or Turkey helping them? Why not? I thought you were a paragon of Christian virtue?

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Wait, I thought you had balls and we’re going to take care of all this. Oh wait I guess you lost those balls some time ago.. And I never stated my religion. I talk aboutreligion to educate and point out hypocracy, as you see having a PhD in Religious Science, that makes sense.

            But I do understand when some people are too dense to understand any concepts, or too uneducated to even know what an education is. Sorry you were one kid left behind.

          • Ming the Merciless

            You are the one who says we need to help these people or we’ll go to hell, so I figured you must be over there helping them right now.

            And gee, if you are not a Christian, then how is it you are so eager to tell everyone what their Christian obligations are. And why should we listen to you about Christianity if you are not a Christian?

            You claim to have a PhD… and you sneer at other people as uneducated and stupid… and you cannot spell “hypocrisy” correctly. LMAO! This doesn’t exactly support your claims to have any education at all, let alone a PhD.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Ummm I can’t believe you are really that dense. Been there done that fool, thus the reason I am a totally disabled combat Vet. You?

            As far as misspelling something, feel free to google autocorrect and IOS and see all the funny things autocorrect does to real words. If that is the best you’ve got, you’re seriously in need of mental health.

            Did I say if I was Christian or not? No I leave my religion out of it and only point to the way people use their Christianity for excuses, without realizing they are violating their own beliefs. But I guess that’s just too far above your intellectual capabilities.

          • Ming the Merciless

            The ignorant always blame autocorrect.

            Your religion is absolutely relevant because you are constantly telling Christians how they should behave and what the Bible requires.

            The fact of the matter is, you are taking your desired political outcome and working backwards to find Biblical justifications for it, which is wrong no matter what religion you are or claim to be.

        • shagga

          you are right any time a war breaks out in the world lets take all the civilians of either side and let them live here. You are such a simplistic fool, the world is an ugly place and wars break out we should offer those victims aid where they can actually reach on their own. Your solution isnt going to jive with our war on global warming, fly thousands of people here and then back again after the war ends. Think of all the innocent islanders that will drown when the glaciers melt!

    • Paulette Lincoln-Baker

      Agree with Jonathan too. I am just stunned he could betray our American values the way he did. Very short term memory–the 9/11 hijackers came into our country via student and tourist visas. This absurd bill he agreed to would have missed them as it would also have overlooked the Paris attackers all of w whom were European nationals – i.e. had visas. This overreaction on people’s part is all based on pathetic fear and ignorance and it is a shame that our representative reflects that fear and ignorance as well.

      • Mike M

        I disagree with you, so I am stupid. Sorry. I’ll bet I am better educated and more experienced than are you. Either way, I can support my position with reason.

      • Ming the Merciless

        That is an argument for stopping ALL immigration from Middle Eastern countries, not just Syrians and not just “refugees”. Which is what we should do.

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          Right after we ship your coward butt to Raqqa. Show us how big and bad you are. So brave you use a brutal dictator as your icon and name,just like the criminal you most likely are.

          • shagga

            there you go with shipping off people you cant logically refute. Tell me, did you learn this from chairman mao or your idol stalin?

          • Gramdpa Jack

            Instead of a Seeing Eye dog, what about a gun? It’s cheaper than a dog, plus if you walk around shooting all the time people are going to get out of the way. Cars, too!

          • Ming the Merciless

            So wait, is that my Christian duty according to you? Why are you not there then?

  • footballexpt

    Very disappointing. Bowing to the fear mongers.

    • shagga

      i know under estimating the enemy makes you feel safe. Too bad the real world is just a bit too dangerous for naive people. They are bit more determined than you realize.

      An Islamic State terror suspect crossed the Arctic Circle by bicycle to sneak into Europe.

      Armed police seized Mutar Muthanna Majid, 25, at a refugee hostel in Boliden, north-east Sweden, on Thursday night.

      Iraqi-born
      Majid was among several dozen migrants who flew from Turkey, via
      Moscow, to the Russian arctic port of Murmansk, police said.

      From
      there, they bought bicycles and cycled 80 miles to the Norwegian
      border, which allows them to cross without checks – making use of a
      loophole that allows cyclists to be waved across the border.

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3327776/Jihadi-suspect-arrested-Sweden-crossing-Arctic-Circle-BICYCLE-sneak-Europe-backdoor.html#ixzz3s67aIcXR

      Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • June Smith

    For once – Connolly voted the right way

  • redhand32

    This is for all those “pro-life” Christian Evangelicals, and right wing Catholics who back Connelly, a coat holder for the Bigot-puppet masters who control him: http://www.liberalamerica.org/2015/11/20/conservative-abandon-god/

    • shagga

      so you want to bring them all over, not properly screened and give them aid all the things france just did and expect a different result? I call that insanity.

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        That was not going to happen. Try to learn the FACTS, and not the FUD.

        • shagga

          Fact: france and most of europe has given these refugees generous benefits, housing, education, and not just syrians but to many muslims. And despite all this a a group of Belgian, french and yes, your refugees right off the rubber dingies landed in greece massacred the hands that fed them. Your guarantee of our safety in this matter is a joke.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            That supposed fact is not fact. They DROVE THE CAR to check in then DROVE THE CAR back to Belgium. All homegrown do to the hate. Hate cause hate period.

          • shagga

            Got it, your imaginary friend told you this. Never mind the Greeks actually have two of the attackers fingerprints from a group that got right off a raft with a group of refugees they were in processing. It was referenced in one of the links i included above. That evil international media must have a agenda that conflicts with your own. tut, tut.

          • Mike M

            Not home grown. Grown among an immigrant community.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            So if you grow up in East LA, even being Chinese, you are from Mexico. Got it. ROFL

          • Mike M

            I don’t recall saying that. Good bye.

  • ErikKengaard

    ” . . . happy to work closely with any like-minded citizens towards his inevitable ouster.”
    Count me in, for completely different reasons.

  • ErikKengaard

    Arguing “Nation of immigrants” and Emma Lazarus – sure sign that emotion and belief overrule logic.

  • ErikKengaard

    You nailed it – leftists, name calling, emotion, lack of logic . . . . go together like you know what.

  • ErikKengaard

    Doesn’t Connolly get some points with the left for supporting the administration’s burdening of Fairfax taxpayers with hundreds of additional unpaid for students?

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      Well how about the extra taxes and losses many of us have for Bush’s two unpaid for wars…

      • Mike M

        Wars end. The giveaway machine is bigger than the rest of our budget. It only gets bigger and you want to give it to Syrians?

  • rokidtoo

    Well, I guess you and Gerry have the same value system. That’s why I’m not supporting him again.

  • Sally Forth

    Thanks to Jonathan Damm for his fine, accurate letter. Connolly is a huge disappointment and will NEVER get my vote again. What a coward!

  • freestylergbb

    Connolly was wrong. And I can only assume that the dominant anti-refugee commentary here is based on fear. Your hatred for “the other” is no way to solve problems or survive. That’s ISIS’ approach.

    • susie

      So anyone who disagrees with you is like ISIS?

      • freestylergbb

        Not disagreeing with me. Theoretically acting like ISIS = hating the “other.”

        • susie

          delusional – and not worth debating.

          • freestylergbb

            Happy to abstain from wasting even a few minutes on your small-minded, reactionary views.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Did we “hate” the Nazis during WW2?

          Did we admit German “civilian refugees” from the Allied bombing to the United States?

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        Those who fear, have already let them win.

        • Ming the Merciless

          If we keep them out and they call us fearful haters, then I call that a win and (according to you) they will also call that a win. What’s wrong with a win-win situation like that? Works for me.

        • shagga

          or we dont learn mistakes from others and just let anybody in… ploptastic logic you are sporting.

    • Ming the Merciless

      It is correct as well as sane, not only to fear those who hate you and want to kill you, but also to take steps to avoid them.

      Hating “the other” appears to be working very well for ISIS as an approach to solving problems and surviving. That’s how they’ve gone from nothing to control of significant portions of Syria and Iraq. So your diagnosis is way off there, chief. But you should also take note of the fact that ISIS’s approach – their success – takes advantage of the fact that all too many people are too soft and weak-minded to oppose them effectively.

      • freestylergbb

        The 9/11 attackers did not enter the US as refugees, but rather as students and through other means. The murderers in Paris were not Syrian but Belgian and French. Yes, know your enemies but be wise in how you defeat them. Reacting to ISIS through fear and extremist reactionary measures, like anti-refugee hate measures, will not deter, defuse or destroy them.

        • susie

          Please, can your group please stop using the “hate” argument. It’s on par with a toddler’s rationale.

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          No it won’t as it is exactly what they want.

        • Ming the Merciless

          (shrug) I don’t want Middle Eastern countries to send “students” here either. And no, the murderers were not “Belgian and French” they were Middle Easterners who were born in Belgium and France. (If a cat has kittens in a dog house, that doesn’t make the offspring puppies.) The children of Middle Easterners have committed numerous atrocities in this country too, which is yet another reason not to let them come here, i.e., even the second generation does not assimilate or become Westernized.

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        ISIS uses the same tactic the GOP uses, FUD. Fear uncertainty and doubt. BTW, refusing to take them in is both fear and hate. Most of us call it cowardly.

        • susie

          People like you scare me. You compare an entire political group (Republicans) that disagrees with you to ISIS. Anyone who does not follow your views on taking in unknown refugees needs to be destroyed and sent to hell (using scriptures to justify your twisted logic). Really – you are scary.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Nobody with an ounce of common sense or awareness of history has any fear, uncertainty, or doubt about the fact that it is totally insane to admit Middle Easterners to Western countries. The blood-soaked record of the folly of this policy is abundantly clear. It is not “cowardice” to protect yourself from your enemies – it is simply common sense.

        • shagga

          dont fear or hate that car speeding down the road when you are in the cross walk, have blind faith every thing will be fine and cross that road.

        • Greendayer

          Actually, the vote to strengthen the vetting process was bipartisan. And correcting this administration’s many failings in its execution of the law is not cowardly, but rather a responsibility of legislative oversight.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            47 votes does not make it bi-partisan.

  • Mike M

    Right. We already established that I disagree with you, so you assume I am stupid. I’m not sure how I got three degrees in three different fields, a variety of certifications, and experience working in 32 foreign countries. So, try again.

    You are a lefty and Socialist? Great creds.

    I know all about WW2 and I know that Auschwitz was not operational in the 1930s when the US turned back refugees. But that’s 20/20 history to find fault with your own country. We ended up doing plenty to shut down the Nazis. Enough of your wayback machine. This is about 2015.

    “Who we are” is not a single misguided leftist who wants to pretend the US is the root of evils that predate its existence. I disagree that we owe these people anything. In 2015 it is a different world than 1941 and 1880. In this world I agree with those who say NO to these people. We disagree. So that makes you morally superior. Because you say so. In your world we owe it to ourselves to throw our resources at every sob story. We don’t. It is bankrupting us. Then we’ll be in the creek too.

  • east297

    Finally Connolly got it right…thank you for putting US citizens first!

  • freestylergbb

    A thoughtful defense of refugees and the bill Connolly voted against — and yes, it addresses security concerns:
    ‘The Statue of Liberty Must Be Crying With Shame’ http://tinyurl.com/qeyocby

    • Ming the Merciless

      Pop quiz: how many children of Middle Eastern or Muslim immigrants have committed terrorist acts in the USA? (Hint: the answer is not zero.)

      • freestylergbb

        Meanwhile, during WWII, the U.S. turned away a boat with nearly 1000 Jews fleeing the 3rd Reich, most of them from Germany, who were undoubtedly sent to death camps upon their return. What does that say about turning away refugees fleeing bombs and chemical weapons now?

  • Dennis Hays

    The question for Mr. Damm, of course, is how many would he like? How many inadequately vetted Syrian refugees would he like to accept into his home to shelter, feed and help assimilate into American life? Or perhaps Mr. Damm feels that actually caring for displaced persons is always someone else’s responsibility? I hope Mr. Damm has expressed concern about the families of the victims of this month’s attacks in France, Mali, Russia, Iraq and Lebanon. I hope Mr. Damm has spoken out as forcefully condemning ISIS and other Radical Islamic Terrorist groups as he has our elected representatives. I hope Mr. Damm someday develops a capacity to respect the views and opinions of others. If so, then while I may disagree with his views, he will have my respect as a man of his principles. But if Mr. Damm’s armchair indignation is the extent of his involvement, then not so much.

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      Zero inadequately vetted refugees would have been admitted without this act.

      • shagga

        i would rather have laws in place that mandate verification of vetting of all refugees (just what connolly voted for), i know you hate laws because they tend to have consequences when you ignore them.

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          Those laws were already in place.

  • Lakeannezorro

    Thank you, Mr. Damm, for your clear, analytical assessment of this disappointing, cowardly vote by Rep. Connolly. The language from the legislation he quotes verbatim highlights not only that it is at odds with traditional values and inhumane, but it is an example of what is tying government in knots these days, by requiring three national security agency heads to review each man, woman and child applying for refugee status.

    This Connolly supported law is not only reactionary, but also will help tie key agencies of government in knots. Of course making government fail is a Republican objective. Now, Gerry Connolly seems to be aboard with that as well.
    Shameful.

  • Alia Khan

    Jonathan–thank you so much for the thoughtful and elucidating post. I’ve only skimmed some of the comments you have received, but I am struck by the seeming knee-jerk reactions and sophomoric rhetoric of a handful of respondents who so adamantly endorse Connelly’s vote. It’s as if they’re just pissed because people disagree with them. If their conscience tells them that closing our borders, ignoring crises, refusing aid is the right thing to do — well then there is no need to become defensive or aggressive about their viewpoint. I am grateful that my parents and education taught me to be confident in my beliefs such that I can accept that reasonable people can disagree, and they are no less valid or human than I.

    • Mike M

      Khan, if you read the arguments you will see that the emotionalism is the crux of the pro-refugee argument. Reason has been cited in the counterpoint, But I presume ethnic bias is at play as with two others in here.

  • RuthieS

    Jonathan Damm, thank you for writing this piece, and thank you, RestonNow, for publishing it. I had missed the fact that my congressman made what I consider a horrible betrayal of my faith with his vote on the immigration issue.

  • Justice4Ureserved©

    All 47 regardless if they apologize, need to have their political career ended for life. There is no excuse for spitting on their constituents wishes. Even mine voted for it and we have already informed them this is their first and last term in any political office. They will not br re-elected.

    • Ming the Merciless

      They are not spitting on the wishes of their constituents. Plenty of their constituents agree with this measure, and even think it does not go far enough. We call ourselves “the sanity caucus”.

    • shagga

      moderates is what his country needs, we dont need more fanatics with your off hinged mindet.

    • susie

      Thank God you only have one vote.

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        Same back at you. But me, my kids and grandkids, vote alike.

        • shagga

          one would hope so, it sounds like if they didn’t follow your view point you would send them to siberia to build a railroad.

  • Justice4Ureserved©

    Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment…

    Enjoy your eternal punishment….

    • Ming the Merciless

      How many homeless people are living in your house right now?

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        A family of three, how about your home? How many are you housing and feeding?

        BTW, I have had homeless people in my home until they get back on their feet for over 20 years now. Almost every family also included a homeless Veteran, and the majority I have had stay with me have been disabled Vets, just like me. In fact they are usually referred to me by the local Veterans Administration clinic when I let my VA Doctor know I have an opening as the only shelter here is always full.

        Can you say the same?

        • susie

          Since this is the internet – let me just say that I am often mistaken for Angelina Jolie,

        • Ming the Merciless

          I don’t even believe you for a minute. You are just posturing.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Like I care what you believe. ROFLMAO!

        • Ming the Merciless

          Let’s say there are two people:

          1. Joe allows a homeless family to live in his home, and feeds them at his expense.

          2. Bob does not allow homeless people to live in his house. However, he volunteers at the homeless shelter and donates to charities that help the homeless.

          Is only Joe going to heaven? Is Bob necessarily condemned to eternal punishment? Someone with a PhD in religious studies should have no trouble answering this question, and also elucidating the relevance of this analogy to American refugee policy.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            Bob is feeding them isn’t he. If you have to ask any more, you have no clue.

          • Ming the Merciless

            Bob is doing what I suggest. Namely, helping the Syrians where they are, in Syria, not bringing them here to live in our house.

  • Justice4Ureserved©

    You forgot the point that even without this act, if they were unable to get good background info to properly vett them, they WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ADMITTED. So this act provides zero extra security. Hopefully it will never pass.

    • John Higgins

      J4U, your passion for the underdog and oppressed is obvious and admirable. On a theoretical level, it us hard to argue against humanitarian efforts in support of this group of refugees. In fact, the theory would have the US accepting every refugee, from any country. But we live in the real world. When someone comes up with a real world solution to legitimate safety concerns, your receptive audience will expand considerably.

      The argument in favor of the bill discussed here turns on the very words you used. “Would not” is different from “will not”. Absent specific direction from the people (Congress), the executive decides the standards for refugee admittance. Our current executive has signaled a propensity to achieve his agenda regardless of long-standard practices, rules, and yes, laws. So, while refugees “would not” be accepted under today’s rules for adequate vetting, it is perhaps naive to believe they “will not” be accepted as the executive moves the goal posts.

      The saving grace of this legislation is that it calls for personal accountability by certain senior government officials. Has the bar been set too high? Perhaps. I’d like to hear the alternatives. Practical, effective, real world.

      • Justice4Ureserved©

        If we had a real Congress that would be true. But with the party of no, the party elected by illegal gerrymandering, what we have is a Congress that does NOT represent the people, thus an illegally seated Congress. THAT is reality. When you can have the Democrats actually have 1.5 million MORE VOTES THAN REPUBLICAN, yet the Republicans win, it’s illegal and as far from Democracy as you can get. That is where your voter fraud is, the Republican GERRYMANDERING party that should be ended.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    And so, for one vote against non-American who don’t hold visas already and aren’t even in the country, you would defile Gerry Connoly and now no longer see him as a worthy of office.

    Just go ahead and say it, Damm, Gerry Connolly is a Democrat In Name Only. He has violated some “unsigned” pledge to Progressive Ideals. He can no longer pass the Left Wing Purity Test and, therefore, must be run out of office.

    Yep, Damm, you and people like you are the Tea Partiers of the Left. You are as loud and obnoxious and your Brethren on the Right. What’s more, you are now part of the polarization of American Politics — Purity before Pragmatism — that has created so many dysfunctional political structures in American government.

    Here’s a hint. No Politician — especially a Left Wing Pol — is ever going to meet every standard of your ideal. My only hope is that you get so disgusted with every politician because they all fall short of your measure, that you can’t bring yourself to vote for anybody.

    (BTW, I’m left leaning so, no, this is diatribe is not part of “The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”.)

  • Chuck Morningwood

    BTW, I think Gerry Connolly did the right thing, but not because these people are Syrians, but because there are all ready too many darned people in this country already. If you don’t closely monitor the size of the herd, it’s just a matter of time before it overruns the ecosystem.

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      Well Chuck we could thin the herd by you and your family moving to Raqqa. And if you think we have too many people living in the US, keep in mind 47% if the US is UNOCCUPIED. That’s about 2864521.196 square miles if open unoccupied land. Then think how many are living in China. It’s obvious you have never left the US or never been to a third world country, thus you are so spoiled, you could never survive without your couch, bed, microwave or TV. How would you feel if you had to crap in a dirt hole and not even know what a toilet is. Yes, there is over 1/3 of the planet, that has never even seen one. We have plenty of land. Hell going by Chinese standards, you could fit anther 150 people in your home.

      • Mike M

        As usual, you neglect the cost in money. By the way, just because we have the space, doesn’t mean we need to give any to them. A rather Socialist notion. Obviously property rights (and the Constitution) are not important to you.

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          So I take it you could not comprehend the statement that the US is too crowded… BTW, I have taken the oath on more than one occasion to uphold and protect the Constitution, and have put my life on the line for it enough times to end up totally disabled fighting to protect this country. What have you done?

          • Mike M

            I comprehend that we are not going to give away land because we have it. I comprehend that debt can kill a nation. I served in the first Gulf War and for many years on either end of that.

      • susie

        So you think if we move all the poor people in the world that are suffering to our UNOCCUPIED land – that will solve the problem? I have taught in FCPS with all the “refugees” from Latin America. They are for the most part an entitled bunch who feel we taxpayers can never do enough for them. Your proposal would destroy us.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        Why the frack would I want to move to Raqqa?

        BTW, I used to work for State. I’ve been to a great many countries in the world and seen how they live. I have sympathy for them. However, they still need to fix their problems in their countries, and not by exporting their problems to other countries.

        As a second aside, I have no interest in creating a population density as high as China or India here in the US. You do realize, of course, that the Indians have a population density 9 times that of the US and China’s is 3 times ours. To see how that feels, just move 8 more people into your bedroom — et voila — you’re now sleeping in India.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        Interesting that you should say that. I have seen quite a bit of the world. I used to work for State Dept. I have seen some of the Crapholes in the world. You know what? In my assessment, most of these Crapholes are Crapholes of their making.

        (Speaking of crapping holes, I used to be an Infantryman, so I know all about crapping in holes, probably better than you do. I did an awful lot of deucing in a cat hole’s while out on manevers.)

        So, India has a population density 9 times that of the US and China’s is 3 times that of the US. Do you aspire to turn the US into either China or India? Because allowing them to export their overpopulation problems here only temporarily resolves the overpopulation there. Once there’s slack in the ecosystem, they will breed their way back into the same old problem, but with one difference. We’ll also have a breeding problem here.

        So, I have sympathy with these people. I know it’s tough on them. if they need US assistance to fix their problems, I’m willing to help. But we must remember that their problem is THEIR PROBLEM and requires a solution in THEIR COUNTRY and THEIR CULTURE. Anything that we can do is just put a band-aid on it and/or provide temporary relief.

  • susie

    Bush started the Islamic war on Christians?

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      No Bush started the war in Iraq, including signing the agreement to leave when we did. Bush created ISIS.

  • Stop Gerry Now!

    Cheshire cat smile Gerry is the arch-type cynical, self-serving politician, certainly the most cynical and self-serving this County has produced in decades from either party.

    His only calculus in his position on Syrian refugees was whether voting for or against the bill would get him the most votes and contributions next November. We’ll see. It had nothing to do with homeland security and totally disregarded America’s historic humanitarian role as a sanctuary for political refugees.

    He figures fear-mongering now will get him re-elected next year. We’ll see.

  • Mike M

    Bush started Islamic extremism? Don’t you Liberals ever stop finding fault with the Shrub? Keep in mind Islamic extremism goes back to the origins of Islam. Way before there was even a US.

    Once again, we disagree, so I must be uneducated and inexperienced. I’d argue the opposite since my argument is based upon reason and yours, as usual for Liberals, is based upon emotion and presumed moral superiority.

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      I guess you forgot how he took us into Iraq. Where the hell do you think they came from? Either watch the real news or STFU and go away troll. And you having 3 degrees? BS. In what, oil changing?

      • susie

        Watch the “real news” ?! You mean Obama’s State run supporters like George Stephanopoulas who when Obama says “my Muslim faith” he has to prompt him to say “my Christian faith”?? We’re not that gullible J4U

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          Yep, figured it was nothing but Faux Noose for you. The only Noose agency that sued in court to lie being an “entertainment company’ and not news….

          • susie

            Lame – there is a link that shows this interview.

  • Ming the Merciless

    The US government has already admitted that refugees cannot possibly be vetted. And I wouldn’t believe them if they said it was possible. It is not “morally superior” to admit people who want to bring chaos and destruction on innocent Americans. In fact, it is EVIL.

  • Ming the Merciless

    And because we have gun deaths in the USA, it is totally fine and dandy to bring in people who will cause more gun deaths? This actually makes sense to you? Just listen to yourself…

    • Justice4Ureserved©

      Can you point me to the evidence that refugees are hurting anyone? For the life of me I have looked high and low and so far, none of them have been violent or killed anyone. And that is from MILLIONS of refugees.

      • Ming the Merciless

        The evidence is overwhelming that Middle Eastern immigrants, whether refugees or not, and from all different types of countries, are a source of violence, chaos, and hate. If you don’t see this, it is because you are willfully blind to it.

        • Justice4Ureserved©

          So in other words, you cannot point to a single thing.. Got it. BTW, what you are describing is right here in America. It is why we have more people in prison, than the rest of the world. And you fools STILL think the penalties, including the death penalty deter anything.

          • Ming the Merciless

            I can point to many, many things. But you are oblivious to facts and logic.

          • Justice4Ureserved©

            LMAO Says the guy who still cannot point to ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE. OK, I’m tired of feeding the troll. You are just not worth my time, so have a nice life loser, oh and welcome to my ignore. I only talk to those who can at least attempt to back up their BS, you obviously can’t.

          • Ming the Merciless

            If you are unable to google, I can’t help you. And also, I can’t be bothered.

            The truth is out there, for those not determined to ignore it.

  • motherseer

    Gerry Connally has shamed himself by voting against Democratic values and the lessons of his immigrant heritage. The fact that he has voted against the teachings of his religion is excusable because, other than the Pope’s statements on this issue, Catholicism is all over the place with its values these days. But I’m truly shocked – not Claude Rains shocked – about his vote on this bill. Mr. Damm is right – nothing short of a mea maxima culpa could ever get me to support him again. I don’t know what possessed him, but it’s barely short of the devil. Very sad.

  • Mike M

    I said Sweden sat out WW2. Many Americans gave up their lives to clean up that European mess. I know all about that and other European history.

    Simple mind? That’s name calling which is what folks do when they can’t get logical traction. Europeans are much more like each other than like Americans. No apologies. For example, most Euro countries are taking refugees. We are not. Pretty simple.

    You call us cowards, yet you have no basis. It’s name calling. We owe Syrians nothing. If we choose to let them stink up your country, go for it. Euros will be a lot swarthier and lot less democratic before you know it. Your histories will be quite irrelevant.

    In fact, I told someone on this board that the rest of the world didn’t hate the US as our own Liberals are fond of saying. You will see that in here from the other side. I said leftist Euros badmouth the US liberally. But only the mentally ill own their words in the presence of Americans,

    • Guest83

      Stink up our country? Swarthy? These are human beings my man, not animals. Racism is a particularly nasty form of stupidity. I can work with stupidity but I won’t engage with racism. Cheers, enjoy living your life in self-imposed fear!

      • Mike M

        I fear nothing. Keep calling me afraid, but it has no basis. Least of all the opinion of a self-immolating Europe. By the way, I’ve worked in the Middle East. If you think Europe needs to become more like that, I pity you.

  • Mike M

    You bandy about your statistics like Donald Trump. It’s always 99.9X-something. So the deaths that dwarf the mass murders in volume don’t matter as much? Why? Because MSNBC doesn’t harp on them? I haven’t done a whole lot of talking about terrorism. But it is not logical to assert that because there have been mass shootings, we should let in the Syrian refugees. Sorry. That and all caps words do not constitute an adult argument.

  • Cluster Tycoon

    Jonathan, thanks for your courage to speak out. I believe you are right and you are a true American freedom fighter.

  • Ming the Merciless

    The existence of domestic crime in no way indicates that we should eagerly import foreign criminals.

  • Headless Ned Stark

    Amen I say too you, for Glen of the walking dead did not parish, but survives.

  • Richard

    I’m disgusted by Connolly’s vote for all the reasons noted by Mr. Damm, but I’d throw out another thought as to why Connolly might have voted this way. The legislation, if passed, would create additional government bureaucracy to expedite the detailed vetting of thousands of refugees. Perhaps he’s angling for the new government spending and jobs for which Northern Virginia benefits disproportionally.

  • Solid Citizen

    Johnathan Damm’s comments regarding Rep. Connolly are well taken. This was a cheap and cowardly vote by someone whose political instincts seldom extend further than (1) “go with the flow” and (2) collect checks from real estate developers, gov’t contractors and rent-seeking businesses.

  • redhand32

    What is very clear to me from many of the “rebuttals” is the abject intellectual dishonesty, arrogant ignorance, and diseased Xenophobia, Racism and Sectarianism, of many here. There are the usual suspects too, who are simply clueless, and will believe anyone like hypocrite Connolly, and on Fox “news” who tell them what they want to hear. There are actual facts though.
    1) Many of the Xenophobes repeat “the hoardes” of Refugees. Fact: The US has agreed to admit 10k Syrian Refugees.
    2) The Syrian Refugees could include terrorists. Facts: A renegade Asteroid could hit downtown Chicago during the next 10 years. I could rop dead of a heart attack while writing this; In every human enterprise, or just “being” there are rewards, no rewards, risks. As a human being who is not Republican, a Fox “news” addict, we are able to evaluate risks/rewards/facts/ assess probabilities, make educated prudent decisions. Fact: NO Syrian Refugee was involved in the PAris or other attacks. One suspect was found to have a counterfeit or false Syrian identity paper/passport. HE WAS NOT A SYRIAN REFUGEE.
    3) Syrian Refugees can come right into the country; we don’t know who they are. They could be terrorists. Facts: See #2. And. the vetting process is 18-24 months on different layers/agencies before anyone enters the US. Many of these are small children (like the one in the picture whose body washed up on the beach, for example).
    4) The Syrian Refugees will get Social Security, “welfare”, Food Stamps, take American jobs, etc. Fact: It would be too long to write about this. The Xenophobes and others among you, tear yourself away from Fox “news” long enough to access on-line the actual regulations and law on-line at USDA, Social Security Adm., your State Welfare Dept websites. You will see that none of the above is true.
    5) We have no obligation as Americans, Christians, etc to take in Refugees. I have no facts for you other than Scripture, our history that SAYS we do this as Americans; most of us came from somewhere else, or our ancestors did as Refugees or economic or political migrants FORCED to come here to survive. There is 1 fact. Although we SAY we are Refugee friendly, we ACTUALLY turned away JEWS who were later killed by the Nazis. We actually imprisoned our own Japanese American citizens as potential or actual “terrorists/traitors.” In the 19th Century although we allowed Mr. Connolly’s ancestors, and others here we used the same language of those here to hate them and send them back if we could. In 1924 we past a draconian anti-migrant law. As Americans we were generally hypocrites like Mr. Connolly and many here, the ‘Muricans, phony fetus only “pro Life Christians” flag-waving arrogant ignorant wastes of skin Xenophobes.

    I positively don’t want anyone to take my word for what I wrote. You can look up the FACTS yourselves. Or, you can remain ignorant of the facts motivated only by “gut checks,” “beliefs” devoid of facts, poisoned by hate, mistrust, irrational fear, that by admitting Syrians, it is your white-dominated Eurocentric world that is slipping away, because for many that is your real bottom line. You just don’t have the balls to come out and say it, do you ?

    • Mike M

      Your strawmen fascinate me. It’standard DNC nonsense. Do you work for them?

      So, does scripture tell you to call those with whom you disagree “wastes of skin?”

  • LMAO

    This from the person who claims to be a totally disabled vet, who spent a “lifetime” in the military but at the same time spent 20 years personally caring for the homeless in her own home, and has a PhD in “religious science”. By your logic, there is a 99.999% chance that who you say you are is not true.

  • Dennis Hays

    Hmm – interesting that only 7 or 8 of the dozens of commentators here actually sign in by full name. And not surprisingly, those named contributors are generally polite and issue focused, although taking all sides of this question. Here’s a thought – if you believe in what you say, be brave enough to stand up and identify yourself. What are you afraid of? Why hide behind a pseudonym? Getting back to the issue, although I disagree with Representative Connelly on many issues I have never doubted he is driven to best serve his district and his nation. Using his best judgement to make difficult decisions after assessing the facts is what I want in a Member of Congress. Do you want something different?

  • John Higgins

    Mr. redhand32,
    Your disrespect for views that you don’t share makes it painful to read your postings. I suspect Will Rogers would have discovered the first exception to his affinity for strangers. Perhaps fewer characterizations, diagnoses, and labels would allow readers to more sympathetically consider your point of view.
    I certainly don’t argue with the facts you present. Fact: Two is a rational number. Fact: Three is a rational number. Fact: The addition of two rational numbers produces a sum. Conclusion: 2+3 = 23. If you disagree, it’s not because the facts are ignored, it’s because they need to be applied in the context of the process at hand.
    Here is my take on your presentation of facts.
    1. I don’t know how many people constitute a horde. We know that there have been several hundred Syrian refugees admitted to the US over the past five years, a period of considerably less turmoil and urgency than today. 10,000 is an exponential increase. Is it a horde? I’m disinclined to use that term with respect to people, but I can’t really say it is factually incorrect.
    2. It appears that you are correct that no Syrian refugees have been identified as part of the Paris slaughters. However, the fact that has caught people’s attention is that those who appear to be behind the attacks, religious extremists (who are either avowed enemies of the US or supported by those who can join in a single sentence “Death to America” and “God is Great”) have demonstrated the ability to fabricate fraudulent Syrian passports and understand its utility in defeating border defense .It really doesn’t take a lot of imagination to appreciate that the needle has moved on our risk meter.
    3. Since your Fact #3 is to see #2, I should pass on comment. But this is a good place to point out that the refugee vetting process as we know it today takes many months for a reason. Part of it is the limited number of people to obtain and examine records and documents supporting a refugee’s application. Part of it is the unavailability of the very records needed to reach conclusions. That’s a fact that should not be glossed over. I don’t have any facts on the number of unaccompanied children who would seek refuge in the US. To those individuals, it’s far easier to say, “Welcome, come on in.” But that’s not the meat of this debate.
    4. Your fourth fact is unquestionably true and valid. It would take too long to discuss the source of financial support of 10,000 displaced individuals who do not share a common language, culture or governmental model. At its heart, this is the least compelling argument, although at some point it will have to be addressed.
    5. Your reference to scripture hinges on acceptance of your particular citations, interpretations, and shared point of reference. I think it is, at best, a precarious perch from which to define governmental policy. (See: Roe v. Wade) Most would agree that the tenets of most religions call for charity and outreach to the needy. I have yet to find a formula to accompany such mandate. If one could wave a sacred wand, perhaps the most charitable thing we could do would be action to resolve the adverse conditions that led to one’s fleeing their homeland. At the other end of the scale, those same principles would call for inviting all refugees into our homes – hundreds of thousands, millions. Oh, if only we had the divine formula showing the extent of our responsibility.
    6. You listed only 5, but I know you recognized important fact #6: Fact: the process of vetting refugees is an administrative whim of the chief executive. By fiat, the president has the ability to instruct the level of scrutiny applied to applicants; the president has the ability to instruct executive departments interpret statutes as best conforms to his philosophy or agenda; by examination of recent history, the president has relegated the ISIS threat coming out of Syria to the back burner.
    The proposed legislation that you so strongly oppose might just be over-reach in controlling that whim. It might, in practice, prevent many refugees from entering the US. Rather than ascribe dark motives to those in the House who supported the goal of maximum integrity in the vetting process, maybe some on both sides of the aisle were brave enough to cast a vote for homeland safety, in spite of the displeasure it created among their most extreme supporters. And so I would ask you and Mr. Damm, what is your Plan B? If it survives a veto, then what? If it fails, do you really believe the security risk is equal to an asteroid impact? I would not ask you to be accountable for those who enter through a less rigorous process, but I’d suggest you pause to role play. Assume you are an ISIS strategist and note that thousands of your countrymen are being considered for admission to the US under today’s vetting process. Do you see an opportunity here? Would you think it foolish for the US to raise the bar for admission?
    By the way, when judging the adequacy of spheroids associated with a posting, I usually look for a name.

  • Greendayer

    The Federal Government is actually spending more than it has than any other year in its history. So, Mr. Damm is wrong when he says that the federal government is shrinking. Hope this helps.

    • Flash Gordon

      The size of the federal workforce has actually shrunk steadily every year since 2010. And it is even smaller than 1998. The facts are right here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/historical-tables/total-government-employment-since-1962/
      So Mr. Damm is not wrong. It seems the issue highlighted in his piece pertains to government personnel and whether there is enough staff to overcome the additional requirements of the Bill – not government spending.

      • John Higgins

        You are right to look at personnel strength rather than total spending in the context of this discussion. The number of people is lower now than in 2010.

        But I’m not sure I see the relevance of the size of Treasury, HHS, Interior, etc. in the context of this discussion. The vetting process falls to State and Homeland Security (now including FBI). The total staffing of these agencies has changed from 169,832 in 2010 to 177,570 in 2014. Sounds to me like an increase. I’m not suggesting the adequacy of this staffing, merely pointing out the hazard of numbers being introduced in these discussions.

        • Flash Gordon

          Without a full breakdown of how those additional employees are allocated through each agency, over the last 5-years, it’s difficult to say how much of an impact they would have in minimizing the delay of the additional certification requirements. But I agree with you, I don’t think it’s a particularly relevant issue for this discussion – especially given that Senator Rubio, as I referenced in my other comment, just admitted that the new requirements would actually block most refugees.

      • Greendayer

        You ignore contractors. And it is the administration’s responsibility to execute the record expenditures approved by Congress. Your condemnation is a condemnation of the administration.

        • Flash Gordon

          It seems nobody knows how many government contractors there are:

          http://federalnewsradio.com/management/2015/03/how-many-contractors-does-the-government-have/

          So it’s hard for us to discuss anything other than what we have facts for. At any rate, it’s not a huge number as a percentage of federal employees.

          The Bill requires vetting by the Secretary of HHS and the Director of the FBI. Whether they would delegate the vetting responsibility to contractors is an open question, I guess we can say. But I seriously doubt it. And anyway, we also have no idea if the hiring of contractors has also declined over the last 10 years.

          But the larger issue here is that the added requirements would cause delay. Many skeptics of the Bill believed it was really a means to not only delay refugee settlement, but to block them entirely. Now, we have Senator Rubio confirming those suspicions in startling fashion. He flat out admits it. See my other post and his quote here:

          http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5651ec89e4b0258edb31dd98

          “The House bill will require both the director of the FBI and of Homeland Security to personally certify each person being admitted has been fully vetted and they’re confident they’re not going to be terrorists,” Rubio said. “They WON’T be able to do that in MOST CASES.”

          • Greendayer

            Thank you for at least doing some research on this. I find so many administration apologists to be emotional rather than rational. At the same time, neither Huff Po or for that matter, Sen Rubio is a referenceable source. These are opinions that should not be confused with fact. The facts are that a bipartisan majority of the House want the current refugee procedures to be stronger. The main reasons are they are either too weak or the administration lacks the thoroughness that the majority feels is necessary. Obama’s failure to make an adequate case for his position has left him rather isolated on the issue

          • Flash Gordon

            I agree, it’s nice to be respectful and rational when discussing these important issues. This is definitely an issue that strikes an emotional chord. But it serves all sides best if folks remain kind to each other when discussing our differences. I like to pretend we are standing in a room, face-to-face. If it’s not something I would say directly in front of someone, chances are I wouldn’t say it in a comment box.

  • Flash Gordon

    Senator Rubio just flat out admitted that H.R. 4038 would block most refugees. He said:

    “The House bill will require both the director of the FBI and of Homeland Security to personally certify each person being admitted has been fully vetted and they’re confident they’re not going to be terrorists,” Rubio said. “They WON’T be able to do that in MOST CASES.”

    He’s quoted right here: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5651ec89e4b0258edb31dd98

    Rubio is focusing on the exact section Mr. Damm quoted in his Op-Ed. This admission makes Rep. Connolly’s recent excuses look even more dubious. He has been trying to say the extra certifications wouldn’t cause too much delay.

    Mr. Damm’s Op-Ed focused on why the Bill would certainly cause delay. But now, a significant GOP leader went out of his way to point out that the Bill will not only cause delay, but refugees won’t be able to meet the extra requirements at all, in most cases.

    So Rep. Connolly’s professed bases for voting for this Bill do not seem to hold up – in light of this new information. It sure would be nice to hear a more forthright explanation from the Representative.

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