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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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One Bad Apple

Uploaded: Nov 22, 2015
We are now seeing the results from "one bad apple." Maybe it's two bad apples or 10 bad apples, but the bad apples are still the minority. Like the baby with the bathwater (to hop on the cliché bandwagon), don't throw away all of the apples because a few are bad. Check the apples first. That's what's called "vetting."

Yeah I'm talking about Syrian refugees. I know there are hostile folks who haven't a clue about human beings, and think anyone who isn't them or agrees with them is dangerous. Rational thinking is dangerous to these fear mongers.

I recently sent this eamil to Representative Swalwell and our two Senators. Of course most of California is tilted to the political Left, so our Senators probably don't need this level of urging, but Swalwell started out more moderate, and I wanted to be sure he knew how I felt.

"Dear Congresspersons,

I am Jewish. I was born in 1942. If my family was in Europe, I either would not have been born or I would have died in a Concentration Camp. Don't do this to any other group of innocent people. Syrian civilians do not deserve to go back to the turmoil they are fleeing.

I support allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted group of people who come to the U.S. and we have an opportunity to help those fleeing attacks that have destroyed their country.

I urge you to vote no on H.R. 4038 or any other efforts to abandon Syrian refugees.

We cannot turn our backs on those most in need.

Rosalind Rogoff"

Swalwell voted NO. I don't know if my impassioned plea influenced this vote or if he just voted with the more liberal faction of the Democrat party, but I'm pleased to see that he isn't for rejecting immigrants in need of help. In the 1930's, Jewish refugees were kept out. In the 1970's the Vietnamese boat people were allowed in.

For the most part America has been strengthened by the immigration of people with different faiths, ethnicities, and nationalities. I hope that fear mongering does not stifle this noble cause. Could one of these immigrants blow up a public place? Sure.

Could one of anybody blow up a public place? Of course. Many of these suicidal activists are not immigrants but confused young people looking for a cause to believe in. They could be your daughter or your sister or your grandson.

Pay attention to your own family and make sure none of them are falling under the wrong influence. The Syrian refugees have seen enough horror not to want to continue it, but there could always be one bad apple. Look out for that one and let the others be.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 24, 2015 at 10:13 am

Roz, I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with you.

This bill, contrary to how the Obama Administration tried to label it, is not some extreme, right wing partisan bill. If it was, 47 members of Obama's Democratic party would never had voted in favor of it. When was the last time 47 Democrats in this congress voted against Obama on anything? That alone should tell you something. This issue is not about "one bad apple" who may kill innocent Americans. It is about stopping an evil terrorist organization from infiltrating the refugees. ISIS has stated on numerous occasions that they will and have infiltrated the Syrian refugees and will use them to kill their enemy. At least one of the ISIS terrorist who killed over 129 innocent people in Paris infiltrated the Syrian refugees with false paperwork. Contrary to Obama claims, ISIS is not "the JV", they are not "contained", and we have not seen an enemy as capable of pure evil as this in decades. Honduran Officials also have found alleged Syrian refugees with false papers who stated their intent was to travel to the US.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from the liberal Bay Area, who serves on the Intelligence Committee and has access to top secret classified information, sharply contradicted Obama on this issue when interviewed by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, making it clear that ISIS is not contained, and she has never been more concerned.

Moreover, FBI Director James Comey(an Obama appointee)recently testified in congress, "If someone has not made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or interests in our data base we can query our data bases until the cows come home but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person".

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson(an Obama appointee) stated, "It is true that we are not going to know a whole lot about the Syrians that come forth in this process...that is definitely a challenge...We know that organizations like ISIL might like to exploit this program".

Yes, we have to have compassion for the Syrian refugees, and Obama should have had compassion for them two years ago when the terrorist crossed the red line and started killing and raping and torturing them. He did nothing, despite the international committee warning him it would cause a huge surge of refugees with terrorist infiltrating their members. I feel horrible for the innocent victims, but as even Obama has stated, "Government's most important job is to keep American's safe", and we need this bipartisan bill to keep American's safe.

This bill has no religious test. The bill simply requires greater security, which is necessary due to ISIS mounting threat to our safety. Read the bill. It simply requires the FBI Director to certify that the applicant has received a background check thorough enough to determine whether they are a threat, and the Homeland Security Secretary and Director of National Intelligence certify that the person is not a threat. Due to the world we now live in, this seems to be a very logical, rational requirement, and although it will obviously somewhat delay the process, isn't our national security worth it?

Historically, if immigrants passing thru Ellis Island had a cough, cold, etc, it would delay their immigration status. FDR's Democratic administration was famous for limiting immigrants simply due to having a cough. Now, after 911, ISIS blowing up the Russian jet, and killing 129 people in Paris, and ISIS stating they will infiltrate the Syrian refugees, you can see why 47 members of Obama's Democratic congress broke ranks with him and voted for this bipartisan, common sense bill.

We need to be compassionate for the refugees by continuing to donate money and supplies to them. The most compassionate thing we can do for them is help create a safe Syria so they can return to their homeland.

I attended the funeral of hero Tom Burnett at Saint Isidore Church in Danville after he died in 911, and I will never forget the look in the eyes of his widow and children at that funeral. That brought 911 home to me. I never want to see that look again in any American's eyes.

This bill is a fair, bipartisan attempt to keep us safe, and I admire the 47 Democrats who had the courage to ignore the threats from Obama and vote their conscience to keep us safe.

Posted by Ed, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Nov 25, 2015 at 9:56 am

Our Statue of Liberty welcomes those from oppressed lands "yearning to be free". I fully support that attitude...but in this case our own heads of the FBI, NSA, Homeland Security, etc. have all said publicly that they can't guarantee they can successfully vet out any and all "bad guys" from the Syrian refugees, ALL of whom are coming from a place where many have pledged to destroy us. ISIS has told us they are coming so it's only logical that they would try to sneak in a few operatives among the throngs of the innocent, knowing they can't be caught. Are we so naïve to think this wouldn't happen?
4 out of 5 Syrians are being absorbed by Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Why not help those countries absorb the rest? That way, when things quiet down (if they ever do), these folks can more easily return to their homeland?
We could satisfy our need to help the innocent while at the same time keeping the bad guys out?

Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 25, 2015 at 7:07 pm

What isn't being asked or discussed with regards to Syrian's being allowed to come here is:

Who will pay to bring them here?
Who will pay to feed and house them?
Where will they find jobs?
Are they ever going back?

Wouldn't it be better of the USA sent funds to those countries already accepting the majority of the refugee flood?

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 26, 2015 at 3:39 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Nothing is ever guaranteed but most of the refugees are not terrorists, and some American citizens could become terrorists. That's like saying you won't drive on the freeway because drunk drivers could kill you.

I'm nervous about flying back to Maine next year to visit my mother, but I'm still going to go. If something happens then it happens.

I'm sure our government and many charities are providing aid, medicine and food to the refugees. I can't imagine what it is like to have to leave your home and country and be rejected wherever you try to go. Saying we'll help them as long as they are "Not In My Backyard" isn't a good enough answer.


Posted by for Scott, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 26, 2015 at 8:22 am

Here are your answers:

Who will pay to bring them here? Taxpayers from the US
Who will pay to feed and house them? Taxpayers from the US
Where will they find jobs? No need, taxpayers from the US will provide them with housing, food, schools and free medical benefits
Are they ever going back? Are you kidding? Why would they go back when they can live like kings here on the backs of the American taxpayers.

As for vetting them to assure that no terrorists get in, I find it incredible that any rational thinking human being could believe that lie. It is simply not possible.

Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 26, 2015 at 9:15 am

I buy the 'terrorist' theory/worry. many other ways to get here and faster.

however, I do think the taxpayers should get a say. And my answer would be no since there are other countries that don't require a multi-thousand dollar plane ride. And yeah, once here and all provided they would never go back.

They want to come here, get in line like everybody else does from other countries. And once here you are excluded from any financial help from taxpayers.

We have plenty here already that are hungry and under housed. Why add to that issue?

And for those in the minority who want to help by bringing them here; house them in YOUR house and provide them with YOUR funds. If you aren't willing, then your opinion falls kinda flat, no?

Other countries are much closer; let them help.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 26, 2015 at 10:27 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Ed says: "Why not help those countries absorb the rest?"

Because not having those refugees (and Amnesty by extension) robs the Democrats of a key constituency. They need their plantation voters so as to keep power.

Imagine the billions of $ that could be saved and used for the betterment of Citizens if we had sane immigration and refugee policies.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 1:47 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Refuges escaping dangerous countries are brought here by religious or humanitarian organizations. They work hard, start business, and add to the economy. Most of them do not get taxpayer money or go on welfare.

Somali immigrants who moved to Maine have revitalized dying cities. Here's an article from 2009 about the improvements Somali immigrants have made to Lewiston, ME. Web Link

Here's a link to more statistics on legal immigrants.
Web Link

Blame the Democrats, Dan? Citizens vote, immigrants don't. It takes about 7 or 8 years of residency, attending citizenship classes, and passing a difficult exam to become a citizen. I doubt you would qualify.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 8:49 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"Citizens vote, immigrants don't."

I didn't say they do. The implication is that they will once they obtain citizenship.


Posted by for Roz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 9:05 am

You are so wrong about them not taking public money.

They get section 8 vouchers for free housing -- who pays for that? When they call 911 for their crying kid do the medics take payment in advance because these are not taxpaying citizens? They go to public schools -- who pays for that? Many collect SSI -- who pays for that?

These people cannot be properly vetted, even the FBI admits that. We have plenty of people living here, who are entitled to be here, who are living in abject poverty. Let's help them first and worry later about those "refugees" escaping economic hardship by coming here to live off of those of us who work.

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Billie is a registered user.

HR4038 narrowly addresses one specific senario (refugee) and covers only Syria and Iraq. With UN processing and additional vetting by US Intelligence agencies, the refugee process is already the toughest way to enter the United States legally. This bill does nothing to shore up the gaps in our visa programs and further our safety here in America.
Web Link

For example, the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE. With the exception of one on a student visa, the nineteen terrorists were in the US on tourist and business visas.
Web Link

As for the Paris attack, most of the Paris terrorists were French or Belgium nationals who would have had access to the US under our visa waiver program. This means that all a traveler from any one of 38 countries, including France and Belgium, needs to come into the US is a passport and a ticket.

HR4038 does nothing to make America safer. Should those organizations vetting refugees be extra vigilant against extremists? Absolutely. But the process exists today for that. The visa programs, on the other hand, need some work. Luckily Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, will be introducing a bill to do just that.

"The Feinstein-Flake bill, which is set to be formally introduced after Thanksgiving, would keep foreigners who've traveled to Syria or Iraq in the last five years from using the visa waiver program. It would also mandate fingerprinting for all travelers entering the U.S. from visa waiver countries and requires all foreigners from those countries to have a modern passport that has an embedded e-chip that is more secure and includes an individual's biometric information and other data."
Web Link

It's too bad Congress hasn't felt the same urgency to spend a couple of their 132 days at work this last year to pass bills that would actually benefit Americans, provide jobs, and take care of our aged roads and bridges, and oh yeah, keep America safe. But then I guess when you're making $174,000 base salary doing nothing, and something comes up that allows you to focus fear-mongering without really doing anything of value, then it's business as usual.

Talk about costing the taxpayer!

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Billie is a registered user.

@Formerly Dan
"plantation voters". Really? Come on. Your terminology connotes a certain picture since I'm pretty sure you aren't referring to the "plantation" owners. Instead of worrying about how to "rob" a political party of potential votes, or actually hindering voter registration and access as several states have done, why not celebrate our process and encourage every citizen to exercise our voting privilege, no matter which side of a party, politician, or issue they fall on. And then, to make sure every vote counts, maybe we could get rid of the electoral college and let our Presidents be elected by the popular vote of the people.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"Instead of worrying about how to "rob" a political party of potential votes,..."

Got any more straw men to create?

It's really simple Billie:

We let person "x" illegally gain entry to this country. We then offer person "x" a full range of benefits. Person "x" eventually gains citizenship but retains said benefits.

Here's the test:

1.) The Republican government says to person "x": Vote for us and you will have to work for benefits.
2.) Democrat government says: Vote for us and you can keep your benefits, even if you don't work.

Which scenario is likely?

I know you won't be able honestly answer this. It's too simple and its human nature.

Call them what you want. The democrats NEED these "planation voters". Without them, the democrats wouldn't survive.

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Billie is a registered user.

@Formerly Dan
First of all, is it really *my* "straw men to create" if it's *your* words in your post? lol

Next, aren't you a little off-topic? Your latest post set up a scenario speaking about when "person "x" illegally gain[s] entry to this country". The refugee process is anything but "illegal". Your "test" seems to be based on continuing your comments on undocumented immigrants, so, as the thread is about refugees, I'll speak to that.

According to all the information I found, one source sums it up stating: "[working-age] [r]efugees are expected to have a job within six months of arrival. Refugee men who have recently arrived are employed at a higher rate than native born (67 percent to 60 percent respectively), and refugee women are employed at the same rate as native women."
Web Link

As far as a likely scenario for which way refugees will lean politically . . . the beauty of our political system is that when a refugee becomes a citizen and has the right to vote, they can vote whichever way they lean according to the issues. The majority of Cuban refugees who settled in southern Florida and became citizens have historically voted Republican. Although, according to a Fox News article, that may be changing, even with Senator Marco Rubio in the running. I thought you might appreciate the source. :)
Web Link

Finally, I'm disappointed in your doubling down on the use of "plantation voters". Could it possibly be that people of color may lean/move to the Democratic Party because, while Republicans tout a "big tent" philosophy, the rhetoric is anything but? Here, on the PW, a poster's words are the only thing that give readers a clue about who that poster really is. Words do matter.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.


Let me clarify: "...or actually hindering voter registration and access as several states have done, why not celebrate our process and encourage every citizen to exercise our voting privilege, no matter which side of a party, politician, or issue they fall on."

That was the straw man.

"Next, aren't you a little off-topic? Your latest post set up a scenario speaking about when "person "x" illegally gain[s] entry to this country"."

No, I clearly mentioned amnesty in my first comment. Comprehend much?

"According to all the information I found, one source sums it up stating: "[working-age] [r]efugees are expected to have a job within six months of arrival."

And immigration is strictly (and federally) controlled yet we have, what, 40 million illegal immigrants in this country and pay 100's of billions to support.
I bet you don't get that not-to-subtle point so I'll spell it out for you: The laws on the books are not being supported by our own politicians. So go ahead and point out what policy institutes say, but practice is entirely different.

"Could it possibly be that people of color may lean/move to the Democratic Party because, while Republicans tout a "big tent" philosophy, the rhetoric is anything but?"

I tell you what Billie, care to take a guess on my racial background? I bet you'd be surprised. Most democrats like you like to label people and put them on their planation, so that would be a natural for a genius like you.

"Words do matter."

You're very gifted at stating the obvious.


Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Nov 27, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Billie is a registered user.

@Formerly Dan
There was nothing "straw man" about my statement. Your idea to "rob" a political party of potential votes has been carried out in at least 20 states using voter suppression laws that include requiring voter IDs and then closing voter registration places, elimination of early voting, and fewer precincts in minority areas. Voting is a privilege every citizen is granted and should be encouraged and celebrated, not suppressed. Again, no matter which side of a party, politician, or issue you fall on.

This particular blog was written about HR4038 and its impact, specifically, regarding Syrian refugees. Not illegal immigration, not amnesty. Hence my response.

"plantation voters" . . . your term, not mine.

As for the rest of it, your overt contempt ("Comprehend much?", "I bet you don't get that not-to-subtle point", "a genius like you", "You're very gifted at stating the obvious.") for what I've posted certainly does not mean that I need to respond in kind. So I won't. You have a nice evening!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

I vote for more immigrants for AMERICA!

I have no worry if Syrian immigrants to come to America. If Americans don't like it, PLEASE consider going back to where your ancestors came from ASAP!

AMERICA'S is made up of immigrants and don't you forget it. If you don't like that, then VOTE to destroy the Statue of Liberty.

I don't understand what folks don't like about the face of a changing America?

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 28, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Why not grant US citizenship to any law-abiding person who wants it? What is so special about current citizens? They got here first?

Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 8:42 am

And who pays to let the Syrians jump all lists and come here FREE? Who pays to house them? Who creates a job for them? Who builds more schools for the children. Logistics; a detail forgotten.

American tax payers should not have to pony up. If private organizations and people want to take full liability and sign a contract to provide; then fine be a sponsor and get it done. But don't ask the American tax payers to pay. Or cause the other folks from other countries waiting years to come to wait longer.

And the terrorist angle? Please. Much easier and faster ways to 'get' here. Worry aobut something real; the money.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:30 am

American taxpayers can pay the cost of accepting refugees. What's the problem?

Money is for spending so why not be TRUE AMERICANS and accept the Syrians?

Syrians deserve to be safe just like any other refugees.


Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 2:58 pm

What's the problem? Uh, er, um.....
What part of $$$ is confusing? any Syrians who want to come here can. Just do it just like everybody else in every other country does. Get on list and wait for your name to be called. And you come only if you have resources and/or somebody here agrees to become financially responsible for you; for quite a long time. AND once you here Syrians can't jump onto US Taxpayer funded assistance.

You want to sponsor a family, why not do so?

There are already people here under housed, under fed, under schooled. Why not fix that mess before accepting a flood?

And as noted, USA already sends a pot load of cash overseas. No problem helping those countries already in a position to accept refugees. Close by and when things are better they CAN return. coming here to USA, they would most likely never consider moving back.

USA is not the police force for the world, nor can we accept every single 'huddled mass' group.

American taxpayers shouldn't have to shoulder the costs.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm

It's not just about money. Our country is partly defined by its humanitarian ideals/actions!

Fortunately, Scott does NOT REPRESENT the opinions/votes of all Americans.

Already, I'm handing out a flyer to Spanish speaking residents in CA re: refusing to serve in the US military should there be a declared war. My advice is to educate yourself, hide your draft age children, male/female, so that they can survive an unjust war. I also advize Spanish speaking youth and their families to pay close attention to how college students and the wealthy DODGE THE DRAFT. My next flyer will focus on educating Spanish speaking youth re: how to dodge the draft, just like local/draft students and their parents are planning how not to serve in a time of need at look like loyal citizens.

Also, I strongly advise there there be mass deportations of foreign students on American soil.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Correction: Line 8, last word is "and"...HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 6:06 pm

I'm afraid I only represent my own opinion. Not sure what you are blithering about?
And where is you info congress will declare a war and there will be a draft?
Try and keep on topic.
Still waiting to hear how America will absorb refugees and who will pay for it.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Dec 4, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Hey Billie,

Remember when you hyped the refugee process above? Remember your smugness in quoting and linking all those official government regulations and laws that were supposed to guarantee that none of those refugees would be terrorists in disguise?

Web Link : link from ABC news.

Yeah, turns out the woman terrorist down in SB lied on her Visa application and gave a fake address. She was also connected to the infamous Red Mosque in Pakistan.

Way to go Billie, way to go.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 7, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Where do these refugees stand on:

Womens rights?
Gay rights?

These are stated values of the DNC yet I think we all know the answer to the questions I ask above. The reason the DNC wants these people in is quite simple.
Future voters.

Ask Germany how news years eve just went.....

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