Monday, November 23, 2015


A new CBS poll says that Americans are split on whether to allow Syrian refugees into the country -- "47 percent say they should be allowed to enter as long as they go through a screening process, but slightly more - 50 percent - say they should not be allowed to come to the U.S. at this time." Republicans, needless to say, oppose admitting the Syrians, while Democrats are in favor.

But on the question of screening, there's no partisan divide:
... there is widespread agreement on a stricter screening process for Syrian refugees. Nearly eight in 10 Americans (78 percent) - including majorities of all partisan stripes - say it is necessary for Syrian refugees to go through a stricter security process than they do now.
So, America, you say the current screening process is inadequately strict. And you believe this because it consists of what exactly? And is done at what speed?

I'm being facetious, of course -- how many Americans do you think realize the vetting process tends to take about two years, and consists of approximately twenty separate steps?

The New York Times made this clear in an infographic posted on Friday -- but what percentage of Americans read the Times? And what other news sources have made clear that this is a long, painstaking process? For the matter, how hard have the Obama administration and Democrats in general worked to get this across?

Here are the steps, as listed by the Times: 1. Registration with the United Nations. 2. Interview with the United Nations. 3. Refugee status granted by the United Nations. 4. Referral for resettlement in the United States. 5. Interview with State Department contractors. 6. First background check. 7. Higher-level background check for some. 8. Another background check. 9. First fingerprint screening; photo taken. 10. Second fingerprint screening. 11. Third fingerprint screening. 12. Case reviewed at United States immigration headquarters. 13. Some cases referred for additional review. 14. Extensive, in-person interview with Homeland Security officer. 15. Homeland Security approval is required. 16. Screening for contagious diseases. 17. Cultural orientation class. 18. Matched with an American resettlement agency. 19. Multi-agency security check before leaving for the United States. 20. Final security check at an American airport.

And there are additional steps for Syrians.

If CBS isn't going to report this, could the polling unit at least poll it? Ask respondents how long they think the process takes. I bet the most typical answer is a few days, if not mere hours or minutes.

We need to know if people know these things. Most of the media doesn't seem to regard keeping the broad public informed as part of its mission. The administration is staffed almost exclusively by people who've been high-achieving brainiacs all their lives, up to and including the president. All the people they know are well informed, so they seem incapable of imagining that other people aren't.

Here's another result in the CBS poll:
Just over a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, only 23 percent of Americans think President Barack Obama has a clear plan for dealing with the militant group ISIS, the lowest number yet recorded in the CBS News Poll. Sixty-six percent do not think he has a clear plan - a new high.

Large majorities of Republicans and independents say the President doesn't have a clear plan, and almost half of Democrats (40 percent) agree. More Democrats (45 percent) say he doesn't have a plan than say he does.
Americans are saying that the plan isn't "clear," and I wonder what they mean by that. Do they think it's not clear because they couldn't sum it up in one sentence? Or are they substituting "successful" for "clear" because the good guys don't seem to be winning?

Again, the president doesn't seem to want to explain what he's doing to the public -- and, again, neither does much of the news media. But does the public even know what's being done? I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I want the public polled on the air campaign. How many U.S. airstrikes do most Americans think there have been against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria? The answer, as of last Thursday, is 8,289. I'd bet money that that's at least 8,000 more than most Americans think there have been.

Is the president's strategy effective? Is it adequate? It's certainly reasonable to argue that a strategy focused on airstrikes isn't adequate -- but Americans at least ought to know what's being done.

Do they? We don't know. And apparently the press and the administration don't care to know.


H.K. Anders said...

The most critical point here, with respect to ISIS infiltration, is not the complexity of the screening process.

It is the fact that the United Nations only refers about 1 percent of the global refugee population for resettlement anywhere. That means whatever meager number of refugees end up getting resettled in the United States is just a fraction of that 1 percent.

Now, imagine you're an ISIS fighter whose only desire in life is to blow yourself up in the U.S. and take a daycare center full of American kids with you. The dumbest thing you could do is throw yourself into the global refugee population and hope to end up somehow in America. Your odds of ever actually setting foot on American soil would be better if you tried to cross the ocean in a rowboat. You would have a better chance of getting struck by lighting and winning the lottery at the exact same moment.

Yet, tens of millions of Americans believe hordes of ISIS terrorists are going to go rampaging down Mainstreet, USA after slipping into the country as Syrian refugees.

Our politics has gone insane.

Victor said...

Obama used Bill Clinton as his "Explainer-in-Chief" prior to the 2012 election - and he did a credible job.

But even Bill, who's from Arkansas - one of the most pig-ignorant states - can't help explain things to the growing "Idiocracy," that is America.

We need a modern Dr. Seuss to do it - only someone who uses language less complex than used in "The Cat in the Hat," or, "Hop on Pop!"

Too many Americans are both ignorant and stupid.
Part of that is our own fault, as Americans.
But the larger part of the blame - imo - lies with MSM.
They're so afraid of offending some "source" or other (that they may need for more bullshit stories in the future to help them move up the MSM ladder), that they can't openly question Trump and Carson - and, frankly, the rest of the GOP candidates - if what they're proposing isn't Fascistic and un-American.

Of course, to the conservative hive-mind, Fascism is totally American.
Hell, not only did (do) they secretly admire Nazi Germany's total control, these virulent anti-Communists also admired the old USSR in its ability to control dissent.

Scratch a conservative - and not too deep, either - and you're find a Totalitarian Authoritarian:
As long as they're the ones in total authority, of course...

Not like that Totalitarian Muslim Nigrah in the (former) White (people's) House!

BroD said...

"how hard have the Obama administration and Democrats in general worked to get this across?"
Thank you.

Unknown said...

Victor, it SOUNDS like a job for Colbert.

"If CBS isn't going to report this, could the polling unit at least poll it?"

Bear in mind that by far MOST of the polling on these sorts of issues are done by:
(1) Gallup, who on politics quite literally were sold to the Republican establishment over a decade ago,
(2) PEW, whose recent performance on anything approaching politics - which, after all, touches on almost every social issue - has ranged from disappointing to spotty since 2012, and
(3) Rasmussen, which somehow STILL EXISTS!

Victor said...

"Cracked" magazine - of all places - has an article about ISIS, where they point out that - believe it or not - Tha ISIS has a very informative glossy magazine.

I'd provide a link, but I'm on my NOOK tabloid, and don't know how - Daily Kos has a link.

John Taylor said...

The terrorists, the ones that are citizens of visa exempt countries, can just buy a plane ticket. Much easier than trying to get accepted as a refugee.

Ken_L said...

Any American who's ever endured the experience of getting approval for their goddamed WIFE to come live in the USA, if the marriage happens to have occurred in some exotic place like the Philippines, will know how long and arduous a process it is. I can't even begin to imagine how stoic someone would have to be to get all the way through the refugee evaluation. If it were me, I'd run out of the room at about step 8, screaming "Please, please, let me just go back to Mosul!"

Roger said...

I take that Pentagon figure of 8,289 sorties (?) with a grain of salt. Now all U.S. combat aircraft are equipped with automatic cameras so the intelligence guys can estimate after a mission approximately what damage they actually did, which is always far less than what the pilots think they did. Well, Moon of Alabama pointed out that an PBS News Hour had to use Russian video of one of their air strikes because the Pentagon didn't provide American video of our supposed strikes Now this might be because of the super-elevated secrecy of the Obama administration, but usually the Pentagon is pretty good at putting out films that make them look good.

Aunt Snow said...

Sarah Palin, when confronted with these facts by Seth Meyers, dismissed them, saying how could we be sure the government would actually perform these steps?

That's the answer to everything for these guys. A hearty "Nu - uh!"